Tag : where-to-go

Travel | Decoded – Las Vegas Vanilla Edition

What pops into your mind when you think of Las Vegas? I’m thinking probably casinos, shopping malls, and clubs? After college, I’ve been visiting Las Vegas to get away from the cold and its delicious food, amazing entertainment, and pretty things.IMG_20140312_062722

This time, we stayed at Vdara Spa and Hotel, which turned out to be an excellent choice. Vdara does not have house a casino and is relatively tucked away with its valet only parking service. We stayed at the 40th floor with a perfect view of Bellagio and a little bit of the fountain.PhotoGrid_1397062491398The first place we tackled after arriving early in the morning is Hash House a Go Go at The Quad. It is in the middle of the casino floor and accessible by its exclusive escalator. Its dish was featured on Man vs Food and thus I had to try it. The line was quite long even at 10:30am, but after 30 min wait, we were in. When the famous Sage Fried Chicken & Waffles arrived, people around us kept asking to take photos of it because it was enormous.

Since we were super full, we went to The Cosmos (a partner hotel of Ritz-Carlton) and walked around and remembered a recommendation to try out the Secret Pizza Place. The place was not labeled and we were directed to the wrong floor. After wandering from the east tower to west tower and barging into employee resting area, we pored over the Yelp reviews to find that it was next to the Blue Ribbon Sushi on 3rd floor. Because it took us quite some time to find the place, now we are ready to down more food. It was delicious! Definitely recommend if you don’t have too much time and want to eat something quick.

PhotoGrid_1397060259059When we took the tram from Vdara to Bellagio, we saw an advertisement for Las Vegas restaurant week that actually fell on the week of our visit. For those who don’t know what restaurant week is, it’s basically a week where numerous restaurants come up with a 3 course lunch and/or dinner meal at a fixed price almost like prix fixe.

From the list, we chose Alizé at Palms, a one Michelin place and known as the restaurant with the best view. At 56th floor, seated at the corner, we had a breathtaking view of Las Vegas. The food was delicious (lighting was terrible for pictures, but the most important thing is in the experience, right?).


The following morning, we headed over to Aria‘s Jean Philippe for breakfast. It was difficult deciding between all the mouth-watering selections of crepes, desserts, and pastries, so we ended up with the variety sandwiches and sweet trio. The chilled sandwiches was delicious, despite being chilled, the bread was still soft and chewy. The flavor was decadent with mustard seed, water cress and other gourmet ingredients. The sweet trio is also my favorite with the mini rose macarons, peanut butter lollipop and crème brûlée.


For lunch, we drove off the strip to Bachi Burger and we were so glad we did. The must orders are oxtail chili fried, pork belly steam buns, truffle fries and their burgers. Since there were only two of us, we went with the pork belly steam buns, Kiki’s burger and Shogun burger with wagyu and fried egg. The steam buns were delicious, but Kiki’s is amazing! Angus beef with shitake, enoki, and eryngi mushroom, caramelized bacon and onion with sauce, who can resist?

PhotoGrid_1397058950096Then we head to the Las Vegas Strip and if you’ve never been, Coca Cola World and M&M World are must visits. At Coca Cola, try the 16 Coca Cola products around the world and believe me, try the Beverly then if you brave the whole cup, get the I tasted Beverly pin to show it.

At M&M world, watch the free 4-D movie, “I Lost My M In Vegas” at 3rd floor. It is silly but so cute. At the fourth floor, we bumped into the blue M&M and took a pic with him.PhotoGrid_1397059743342My favorite M&M products are actually the Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Munch, etc inspired t-shirts. The idea is brilliant. PhotoGrid_1397053903534We had planned to watch Celine Dion that night at Caesars and settled with Mesa Grill owned by Bobby Flay for a pre-show dinner. Since it is located right next to the Colisseum, it was the perfect place to dine without having to rush. My favorite is the coffee rubbed filet mignon and the unexpectedly delicious corn tamales.

PhotoGrid_1397058525763We decided to check out the Fremont St Experience, the place that all tours visit, but out-shined by the Strip. Parking is not free at hotels near Fremont St, so be prepared to pay for street parking or parking garages. The place is run down, but it’s the other side of Las Vegas that everyone should experience. (Every night from 6pm to midnight, there is a light show on the strip. If you have a chance, check it out!)

We also ran into Mint 400 track racing inspection near the end of Fremont St. and saw a lot of really cool roadsters and off-road race cars.

PhotoGrid_1397058744204I’ve been wanting to visit the High Roller Ferris Wheel anticipating its opening this spring, but alas when we went, it is still not ready. However, I felt better after getting the tall spiked slushie that I’ve always wanted to get but never had the chance. (You can purchase ticket now by going here. There is high demand, so purchase ticket online.)PhotoGrid_1397059152280The one lobby that I visit every single time I go to Las Vegas is Bellagio. Their flower arrangement follows the season and is always so refreshing. I love how this time, it seemed as though we’ve shrank to the size of a bug walking in a glamorous garden.PhotoGrid_1397059273886And of course, before we fly out, we headed to Jean Philippe at Bellagio this time to get the rose macaron.



My Recommendations

Bacchanal Buffet | Caesars
Wicked Spoon | The Cosmopolitan554571_1940186537796_1833001197_nThe Buffet at Aria (best for weekend brunch for crab legs and desserts by Jean Philippe)

539222_1940185937781_1471207798_nFine Dining
Alizé | Palms
Mesa Grill | Caesars

Fast Food
Bachi Burger | 470 E. Windmill Ln. Ste100
Secret Pizza Place | The Cosmopolitan

Jean Philippe | Aria or Bellagio

The O Show | Bellagio
Celine Dion | Caesars

Places to Visit
The Shops at Crystals
The Fashion Mall (There is live fashion show on Fri, Sat, and Sun from 12pm-5pm every hour. Takes place near Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom)
Las Vegas Premium Outlets
Palazzo | The Venetian
Forum Shoppes | Caesars

Coca Cola World
M&M World
Fremont St Experience
High Roller | The Linq
Bellagio Garden Lobby



Above: Aug 2013 Display | Below: View from Vdara Hotel Room


Where do you visit when you go to Vegas?

Thanks for reading ^^

Categories: Travel

Travel | My Magical Disney Experience: Orlando, Florida

It’s been two years since I’ve last been to Disneyworld. When my bro told my sis and I that he’ll be going to Orlando, Florida, for a conference, my sis and I had the perfect excuse to visit Disneyworld, which had the new Fantasyland open the previous year.

已經兩年沒去迪士奈樂園,這次拜我哥所賜,我姊跟我有了這個天賜良機再回溫ㄧ次。順便去看去年新完工的Fantasyland (美女與野獸的城堡)

Last time we stayed at Walt Disney World Swan, little did we know that it was a conference/ convention hotel and that like Dolphin, it does not have the special extra services like the other hotels from the series.


This time we were smarter, we booked a different hotel from the series and enjoyed a completely different experience. From one month before our trip, Disney started sending packages after packages with information, reminders, luggage tags, vouchers, and all kinds of other packages. It was a very personal experience with all packages personalized with your name and information.

這次定對飯店,收到好幾個包裹,有行李牌,接送車票,各項服務和簡介,和魔法手帶(Magic Band). 所有你有想到跟沒想到的事都幫你安排好了。


There are also vouchers for Disney Quest at Downtown Disney, Miniature Golf, Arcade, and many other activities, so if you are thinking of visiting Disneyworld and staying at one of the resorts, give yourself ample time to take advantage of all its magic. Did I mention the Disney Quest ticket itself is already $47.93 for an adult?

對了! 那一包一包裡面還有一本Coupon Book,免費去Disney Quest, 迷你高爾夫,遊戲間兌幣,和其他有的沒有的。如果要來Disneyworld, 要待久一點才利用的到每個設施。在 Downtown Disney 的 Disney Quest,到了才發現大人票一張$47.93。如果沒有兌換券,千萬不要浪費錢哦。

Since we visited two years ago, we didn’t think the experience would be THAT different and there was a mention about being picked for testing for the magic band. I was having trouble customizing it online and forgot about it until the trip just to find out how special the whole package was. The first package contains a USB that has the first clip you just saw as well as this second clip. And the magic bands arrived customized in your chosen color with your name in the back.

我呆呆的心想這兩年不會有太大的不同,魔法代的客制系統出問題我就沒有去追究那當然也沒收到客製的包裹,真的虧大了。 哭哭~~~!



The main purpose of this trip was to visit Fantasyland, which we did and took full advantage of the two new attractions, “Be Our Guest” Restaurant and Enchanted Tales with Belle.



If you’ve grown up with Disney, you’d find all of these scenes familiar. The mosaic, the entrance, the forbidden west wing and the bright ball room. All of which are dining space. Noticed the grey stuff? It’s delicious. Did I mention your magic band is tracked so they know exactly where to deliver your order…? Creepy cool!


At the Enchanted Tales with Belle, I’m not going to spoil the surprises for you, but you’ll have no idea how we got to here and that’s good because it’s supposed to be magical. We do however had an adorable beast as the volunteer who got to dance with Belle. *melt*



This time, the biggest difference was with the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. It was unlike before with random projections and random Disney guests’ photos, but rather this time, Disney combined music with various scenes from the movies to make it extra magical. Look! They even have Frozen and “Let It Go” already! With the spectacular prequel, I guess they cut down on the fireworks? It wasn’t as long or memorable as the previous time.


Just when we returned to the hotel night before leaving, we see this hanging outside of our hotel room. It’s our airport shuttle itinerary!! They’ve seriously thought this through.



Did I mention that if you have check in luggage, you can attach the yellow sticker prior to check-in and when you arrive at Disney, they would have already pulled your luggage out from the back and delivered to your hotel? And if your departing flight is after 8am, you can directly check in at the hotel.


Even though I just returned, I can’t wait to vacation there next time taking full advantage of their wonderful service and magical experience.


If you had photos taken by Disney staff, they tap your Magic Band and when you go home, you can access them and add all kinds of cute frames!

你如果有給迪士奈的員工照相,回家就可以把美美的照片都加上迪士奈特有的框框! 這也是新的,真後悔沒有多厚臉皮的叫他們照 (跟小孩搶好像也不是很好…)

Categories: Travel

Travel | Happy Lantern Festival: Taiwan

It’s February 14th, Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the 15th day after the lunar new year making it the Lantern Festival. As the name suggests, it’s the day for lanterns. Every city in Taiwan, big and small, holds their own lantern displays professionally and locally made. One special city is selected to have the biggest display of lanterns and main light display. This year it is in Nantou’s ChungXin Village.

I was able to visit four different cities this time. If you have a chance around lunar new year, stay from Day 1 through the 15th and you’ll sure have a blast.

KaoHsiung City Love River (愛河)

Strolling down the river, welcomed by intricately designed lights and numerous booths with delicious treats, KaoHsiung welcomes you.DSC_0086-001ChungXin Village (中興新村)

I didn’t visit at night, but it was the biggest ever lantern display using over 20,000 LED lightbulbs.

chungxin VillageTaichung City (圓滿劇場)

The entire area was filled with people. It was quite impossible to navigate around. Good thing there is a amphitheater with a concert going on so there was space to rest.IMG_5786

Tainan City (月津港)

Instead of the common theme, horse, for the year of the horse, Tainan went with.. Jellyfish? With the water element at the bay, the light displays are quite impressive.


Special Events

There are also two very special events on this special day. One in Northern Taiwan and the other in Southern Taiwan. Commonly referred to as “北天燈,南蜂炮” or “Northern Lanterns and Southern Firecracker”

In Pingxi, tens of thousands of people decorates their own lantern with their wishes and desire and sends it off for good luck.

平溪天燈Pingxifrom http://www.travelplayhard.com/

In Southern Taiwan, Yen Shui, the city is filled with firecrackers pointing toward the street for the fearless and the adventurous. It is recommended that you are fully armed before attempting to try this out.

鹽水蜂炮Tainanfrom http://timefortaiwan.tw/

Every year, Taiwan spends millions upon millions of dollar on this day. If you ever plan on visiting Taiwan, plan strategically and check the lunar calendar and you will experience Taiwan at its best (given that you tried out the food and toured around a bit that is).


Categories: Travel