Enjoying the Ultimate Theme Parks in Orlando, Florida.

EXPERIENCE

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oRLANDO

Exploring the heart of Orlando city that is installed with theme park glory and filled with excitement for all

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Orlando in Brief

The city of Orlando is centrally located in the U.S. state of Florida, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Orlando is the states third largest metropolis. With 233 sunny days a year and thrilling theme parks, makes Orlando the theme park capital of the world. For thrill seekers, millions of visitors come to Orlando for just one thing – Action. It is the place where imagination run wild. Millions of visitors escape to this sunny state, just to experience and visit these fun-pack incredible theme parks and attractions. Whether it is a white-knuckled thrill ride, exhilarating skydive encounter, soothing massage, exciting round of gold, mega shopping junket or a moving theatre performance, Orlando and the surrounding Central Florida region is a perennial favourite destination among holiday-makers around the world. Orlando is the place where they want visitors to stay all day and come back the next day. This is why visitors come to explore unique things to do in Orlando. There are many more reasons why and there are plenty of it? 

Variety of pictures of scenery below

Why Go?

When you may think, you know all you need to about Orlando is theme parks, but there is much more to do and so many things to enjoy in Orlando. However, there is more to this Central Florida city than Disney’s Epcot and Universal’s Wizard World of Harry Potter. In reality, Orlando has a little of this and little of that to appeal to all ages, and there is more to do here than visit theme parks. The subtropical climate makes this city great for golfing and the downtown city landscape is too attractive not to explore.

I wanted to treat myself to an eclectic food scene to venturing over gator-infested waters via zip line and many other plenty of activities in Orlando that weren’t on my radar. I wanted to step-away from the rollercoasters and flashy amusements and slip into the great outdoors which this city have plenty of natural beauty.

My Highlights

It was in early May, I set off for my annual overseas trip and chose to spend two weeks exploring Orlando. I have been to Orlando and other parts of Florida state and I loved it. I have found that Orlando is one of those places, once you visit the place, you will want to come back and stay. This time, I thought, I’ll enjoy exploring the theme parks and other major attractions outside Orlando. Though, I find theme parks to be family oriented but at times, I wanted to amuse myself, with no exception, Orlando is the place where it happens. 

As soon as I set foot in Orlando, I knew what I wanted to see and do, it wasn’t hard filling up my time and was able to do a wide variety of things that pleased me as a free-independent-traveller (FIT). From taking the adrenaline theme park rides to getting lost within the towering giant buildings and being mesmerised in Orlandos nightlife. There was plenty of nature, culture and entertainment.

In Orlando, there are botanical gardens, world-class museums and art galleries and inner city attractions. Over the course of two weeks, I began my Orlando experience with a trip to theme parks, moving next down to Kennedy Space Centre and finishing up my trip in Daytona Beach for 3 days, winding down before continuing to my next destination. It was a wonderful holiday filled with beauty and adventure.   

With so much to do and see int he area, it can be a bit overwhelming to make the most of my stay, here are some tips on that to do and see in Orlando area before heading to the coast – Daytona for relaxation by the beach.

Animal Kingdom Park

My ten day trip began with a visit toDisney’s Animal Kingdom Park, which is one of the 4 largest theme parks that are perfectly located at Walt Disney Resort. This park is filled with endless attractions, adventures and entertainment that reflect Walt Disney’s dedication to nature and conservation. The park is home to more than 1700 animals from over 200 species and sprawling across acres of lush landscape. This is the park’s biggest animal-themed park in the world and here you can see some of the region’s most interesting animals along with others brought in from different countries and learn more about them.

Here you’re able to encounter rare and majestic animals and even get close enough to pet some of them. This park in Orlando was an action-packed day out for me and sure, I went the next day to see and spent more time in the park. What a thrill and magical  experience it was. I felt like, I was seeing the spectacular scenery from the African savannah to exotic animals of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Whether you’re an animal lover or not, this is the right place to create that imagination of “All creatures, great and small” are gathered in one location for children, family and lone travellers come to enjoy. 

Enjoying the views of Pink Flamingos

Sea World

There is no one place on earth more than seeing the underworld creatures, bigger than human beings that is so magical that will linger-on for the rest of my life. I spent a full day at this park exploring the awe-inspiring world of marine life where every encounter was a new adventure. I just loved coming face-to-face with playful dolphins. I just immersed myself in wonder at this park and could see this aquatic world coming alive in from of me as I wandered around. Apart from seeing the world through the eyes of a penguin in the thrilling, chilling adventure of Antartica and laughing to the all-new Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High show, I then climbed aboard and ride the might manta where I experience the power and grace of killer whales in the awe-inspiring Shamu show. It is pure delight and incredible to experience all this in one location.

The park itself is mainly to entertain visitors of marine creatures but there are few other wildlife section where you can enjoy them including dangerous sea-creatures like the sharks and other marine live – fish etc which can be viewed through the glass like in the aquarium.

Kennedy Space Centre

One of the places, I was looking forward to visit which was on my priority list was taking a trip out to Kennedy Space Centre. Growing up as a child, one of my childhood ambition was to see how rockets were built and launched. It was a childhood fairytale, actually turning out to be a reality was beyond. I spend the ultimate day exploring the fascinating Kennedy Space Centre at Cape Canaveral. Here you learn about the history of the US space program and watch stunning IMAX films and I had the chance to walk under a Saturn V rocket and got a close-up view of the Space Shuttle launch pad. It was just mind-boggling.

If you have the time, you are able to join in a lunch with an astronaut and will take you behind the scenes of the centres launch facility. It is an experience that every traveller need to see

Daytona Beach

After spending six wonderful days in the city of Orlando, it was time to get back on track for leisure and relaxation. I ventured slightly off route to see some of the small places along the way to Daytona beach. After arriving in Daytona, it was time to rewind after an “action-packed” lifestyle of Orlando. My plan was to do nothing but spent more time at the beach strolling along in the mornings to see the sunrise and in the evenings to see the sunset.

In the middle of the day, my day was spent at the resort’s pool-side reading my favourite scientific thriller book by Lee Child to let the day go by. I continue on my own tour fo the beach for few days before it was time to leave. 

All in all, it was a wonderful ten days in Orlando and I would highly recommend it if you are visiting Orlando and Daytona area.

Daytona beach that goes for miles and miles away

ABOUT ME


ic.golina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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My Ultimate Visit to Washington DC’s Landmarks and Museums

EXPERIENCE

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washington dc

Once you land in D.C you feel the sense of history and power but there is more than just Federal Government. It is vibrant and charming in this nation’s capital.

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Washington D.C in Brief

Washington DC, situated on the east of USA along the banks of the Potomac River is the United States capital. Washington was founded as the nation’s capital in 1971. The states capital is more than the Federal government and politics but the district’s National Mall’s monuments and memorials, eclectic neighbourhoods filled with character and charm brings true local flavour. Washington DC is a place unlike any other. It is a world-class destination featuring breathtaking views and hundreds of free things to do. You get to experience outstanding performing arts at acclaimed theatres, shop in historic Georgetown and be dazzled by a flourishing dining scenes. 

Washington D.C

Why Go?

In my prime time of travelling, I planned a trip to the nation’s capital, Washing DC. Nothing particular in mind but decided go a self-educational journey. America’s capital is rich with history and incredible sights to see. It is one of the most visited cities in the USA and it has been always a great place to visit. This great city offers a variety of interesting experiences from learning about American history and government to seeing many of the most iconic sights in the country. With such a unique place with so much history attached to it, a trip to this destination was going to entertain and educate me. This vibrant city will welcome me to some of the great food, art, cultural attractions and much more. All I need was to pay attention and it will open its beauty to me. 

Exploring the area

Washington DC is a place where as soon as you land there, you get the sense of power, history as the metropolis represent. I feel the vibe around me. I found this city entirely possible to get around and visited many attractions and places by foot. DC as known is home to some of the most significant buildings, monuments and memorials. It has some of the best museums in the world and most of them are also free to the public. When it comes to American history, this is where it all comes together. 

As I decided to get around the town easily than on foot, I got on the Capital Bikeshare program which allowed me to cruise freely around the city without wasting petrol or getting stuck in traffic. I began my Washington DC tour at the National Mall, where I found monuments, memorials and government buildings instead of tons of shopping. I then checked out the Watergate Hotel and Kennedy Centre where I stopped at Foggy Bottom, then I moved on to Georgetown, the oldest district in D.C. This place is filled with 18th-century buildings and the university itself. After I had a stop at the National Cathedral, I made my way to the Smithsonian Zoo. I must say, this is the perfect stop for families with young children and the people young at heart, like I was.

I was so amazed to learn that Washington D.C is home to almost 20 of the Smithsonian Museums and most of the notable museums are free to the public. These museums offer most adults and children of all ages can have an unforgettable experience. From the Air and Space Museum and the National Museum of American History to the Natural History Museum and the American Indian Museum. I spent hours and hours at each and still did not have time to see it all during my entire vacation. A visit to this great district isn’t complete without a stop into these renowned institutions. 

As I explored these museums, by than I was quite curious and I felt the need to channel my inner 007, I went to the International Spy Museum and it was a total complete mind-boggling. Here I learn about the covert operations and intelligence agencies that have shaped the world we live in. It was absolutely surreal. When anyone is visiting Washington D.C, you can’t enjoy any D.C. tourism attractions without admiring the White House. I made sure that it was on my “must-see” priority list.

Some of the highlights of my visit to America’s capital include:

White House

One of the highlight of my stay in D.C was visiting the White House. Taking a tour of the White House in D.C is one of the most popular things to do when visiting the area. It was totally worth it to see the White House up close, even just seeing it from the outside, viewing the grounds and stopping in at the White House Visitor Centre is an experience you won’t forget. Here I learn about the history of the White House, the first families who lived there, the furnishings, the architecture and much more.

Arlington National Cemetery

Experiencing Arlington National Cemetery was perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring sights I had ever witness in DC, besides the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Here, is where more than 250,000 men and women who served in the USA Military have been laid to rest. I wondered along the endless rows of tombstones dedicated to those who made their ultimate sacrifice to the country. This is also home to the Tomb of the Unknowns. This area is guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I also made sure to view the Eternal Flame, which marks the grave of President John F. Kennedy’s final resting place and the Arlington House, a tribute to Robert E. Lee. 

U.S Capitol

A grand symbol of the U.S.A Government and American democracy. The Capitol Building is both a monument and working office building is recognised across the world as one of the country’s most prominent icons of Democracy. It sits atop Capital Hill. The setting provides dramatic vistas of the Washington Monument as well as the other memorials, monuments and buildings that line the Mall. This striking white dome acts as a focal point to the building which welcomes thousands of visitors every year. The guided tours are offered all day long and it certainly gave me an inside look into how United States government works.

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Popular Attractions

Washington D.C has lot more attractions than political buildings, iconic monuments, memorials and museums. There is an abundance of interesting sights to see and visit which are outside the district and the list is endless. To fully enjoy and explore more of America’s capital, you need to stay more than a week to two. Nothing beats the real feel of the place then seeing it on movies, television and magazines.

Where to stay?

There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget ranging from resorts, hotels, holiday houses, apartments and B&Bs. Also, the town offers a range of properties throughout the district to fit most holiday styles and budgets.

What a thrill to be visiting this great place. It is a vibrant and charming city, yet so much history attached to it. It is a reminder, how great this powerful nation is.

ABOUT ME


ic.golina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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Why Las Vegas is My Number 1 Spot in America

EXPERIENCE

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Las Vegas

The best thing about visiting this location is its attractions.

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Las Vegas in brief

Springing up from the Mojave desert like an oasis is the city of Las Vegas, situated in the western state of Nevada. This famous city, renowned for its vibrant lifestyle has its residents and visitors enjoy 300 days of sunshine a year. 

Las Vegas, widely known as “Sin City” is famous for its gambling and neo-lights but there is so much more than casinos (slot machines and poker tables), luxury hotels, comedy acts, musical productions and extravagant shows. This is the city that continuously beats the odds. Over the decades, Las Vegas screwed into kind of neon lights, casinos and rat-pegs style became almost legendary. Las Vegas today is not just a city and you will be blown away and I mean really blown away. Las Vegas, in the 21st century is like visiting another planet – a pleasure planet, like a fantasy land. Everyone come here, for a good time. 

Neon Lights of Las Vegas city

Why Go?

I last visited Las Vegas on my Great American Road Trip in 2005. I decided, it was time to re-visit Las Vegas again as I found this city has jaw-dropping beauty, vibrant lifestyle and world-renowned attractions. I wanted to explore and discover more of its major sites and attractions as I had more time to do it on my own rather than a quick tour of the highlights of the city in my last road trip. Las Vegas has it all and is a very popular choice for many tourists and travellers around the world. I have fallen in love with this majestic city and I think everyone should visit once in their lifetime. 

When it came to choosing my ideal spot holiday destination, of course, I want great scenery, plenty of major sites and attractions to visit and plenty of activities to do, a good social life and great restaurants. You can find these almost anywhere but there are unbelievable things that you only experience in Las Vegas. With all that, I found, Las Vegas was my top priority and a clear winner. It absolutely nailed every criteria of my travel itinerary and will make my soul feel happy, clean and lucky.  

Getting there?

Getting into Las Vegas was tiring, after a long flight from Brisbane to Los Angeles. We landed early hours of the morning just before 8am. I then I took a short domestic flight out of LA to Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a clear blue sky with no turbulence and the view from above was breathtaking as we flew over Los Angeles with houses lined below looked like a tight-packed sardines from above. We flew over the desert lands before landing in Las Vegas. Though, it was a short flight but it seems like eternity as I was tired and ready for a good sleep.

Where to stay?

With my pre-booked accommodation arrangement, I went direct to my hotel from the airport without diverting to various location in search for accommodation. There are various types of accommodations in the area to suit all budget but I stayed in Caesar Palace, with a touch of luxury that came with being guaranteed to be looked after. Staying in the heart of Las Vegas major hub filled with activities and attractions is something that I came to experience. 

This hotel was absolutely amazing, with fountains, pools and employees in their Roman-themed uniforms gave me a sense that I was in a different place, yet I was in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was an immediate hit as I enter the hotel and it certainly set the standard for the theme-hotels which are so common in this Sin City today.

My Las Vegas Highlights

My day in Las Vegas began with the recovery from jet-lag. I spent the day lazing by the poolside sipping on recovery cocktails. This was a great recipe for recovery and in time to venture out to explore more of the city.

I found Las Vegas had lot to offer and is endless. I wasn’t visiting the area for a quick wedding nor family holiday but I returned to explore and discover more of the city. There are thousands of activities that I can take part in. From gambling, nightclubs, world-class shows to incredible food and I am sure, I won’t leave Vegas disappointed. It is true that, Las Vegas has full of so many attractions and activities that likely, I was not be able to fit in everything on my list.

Below are some of the top spots I had visited with a touch of fun along the way.

1. The Strip

Interestingly, Las Vegas main attractions are all concentrated within the area commonly referred to as the fabulous “Strip”. It is the epicentre of any Vegas getaway. Here I found Las Vegas’ most iconic landmarks, including the Bellagio Fountains, the Eiffel tower at Paris, Las Vegas, the Pyramid and Sphinx belonging to The Luxor and The Venetian’s Grand Canal. It is filled with over-the-top casinos that allow tourists to visit different countries and see world landmarks without setting foot off The Strip, officially aka Las Vegas Boulevard. 

Taking a tour of the strip and hopping on one of the city’s double-decker bus took me through the Strip, downtown and back again. Known as the Deuce, these buses are cheap and best way to get introduced to Vegas life. Travellers say it is best to visit the Strip at night to see all the casinos and attractions light up in the desert. The whole area completely transforms into arrays of neon lights flashing and blinking.  I wandered the Strip at night but I was mindful of my surroundings (and my wallet) after dark – the last thing I wanted was to lose my winnings to a pickpocket.

2. Water Show

One of the “must-see” sights in the city which I found very amusing, amazing and awesome is the Fountains of the Bellagio. It is one of the most popular attractions in Vegas with its signature dancing fountains. It has the dazzling displays of dancing water, light and music. They explode in a fusion of light and music, ranging from opera to Broadway tunes. It is definitely hard to argue with the Bellagio when it refers to this show as the most “ambitious, choreographically complex water feature ever conceived”. It is hard to believe that every moves are perfectly synchronised. I loved the fountains and couldn’t get enough of them. I went and watched a couple times a day. 

Ground level view of Belagio Fountain

3. Fremont Street – Downtown

Don’t be fooled by the active attractions of the Strip., there is more to this than the Strip alone. After an early dinner, I made my way down to downtown Fremont Street by public transport which is easily accessible. Fremont Street, once dominated by classic but less-frequented casinos that seemed past their prime. Today, this section of downtown Las Vegas is once again competing with the Strip for visitor’s attention.

Located on a 5-block section of Fremont Street near the Mob Museum, known as Glitter Gulch in the city’s early years is a top-notch sound and the immense Viva Vision light show that will WOW the senses. This stunning and incredible colourful display of lights, sound and loud music takes places several times a night under a 90-foot high canopy. With more than 12 million Led lights streak through the pedestrian mall located in the historic section of Las Vegas makes the show can only be described as “totally awesome and surreal”. 

What an experience! In my view, this is much better than the Strip and the whole Fremont Street experience was absolutely amusing. It is an attraction on its own. No visitors to Vegas should miss out on. I was totally very impressed but the overall atmosphere was unnerving, especially at night.

4. Gambling

It is hard to go to Vegas without visiting a gambling casino. The slot machines are everywhere, including in the airport. Since, I was staying at Caesars Palace, it is perhaps one of the best places to visit for gambling pleasure. For those who aren’t a pro at gambling and don’t want to lose all your money, I would recommend to visit the Gamblers General Store in Downtown Vegas, which has a library of books on how to gamble.

Bellagio is one of the best places to go if you like poker but it is one of the places to some of the world’s top players in action. If slots are your thing, you may want to head to the Palms, where the payouts are above average.

I tried my luck at MGM casino and was lucky enough to get away with US$500 which was sufficient enough to feed myself for a week. Whilst I was there. I found casinos to be great place for people watching and entertainment. I almost went every night.

5. Mob Museum

I am great fan of visiting historical museums. I find them fascinating how things have changed and progressed, some good and others bad or worse. In Vegas, there are several museums you can visit but according to the local tourist guides, the best ones include The Atomic Testing Museum and the Mob Museum. To learn more about the Sin City’s darker side, The Mob Museum details the mafia’s involvement in Vegas. and sheds light on the city’s pervasiveness in the 20th century gangster era. Las Vegas’ former federal courthouse now houses distinct interactive exhibits devoted to exposing America’s mob history. 

My visit to the museum gave me profound understanding about such notorious gangsters such as Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel and john Gotti and the dedicated G-men and FBI agents, like J, Edgar Hoover, Eliot Ness and Harry Anslinger, who worked to quell crime across America. This museum walks travellers through a detailed history of mob activity in the US and around the world, from the rise of organised crime families to the intricate gambling scams still perpetrated today.

I found the staff to be extremely friendly, helpful and very knowledgeable. The exhibits are in-depth and well curated for easier understanding of the past history.

6. World Tour in Vegas

One of the “must-do” in the city which I found very amusing is the Tour the World in Vegas. When visiting this place, I felt like I was travelling the world when only I was in Vegas. Many of the hotels built here were to pay homage to popular destinations around the world. The Paris Las Vegas made me feel like I was in Paris visiting the Eiffel Tower and taking a gondola ride at the Venetian, gave me a taste of Venice. In Bellagio, the replica of Italy’s Lake Como was surreal and the Big Apple, the New York New York gave me a sense of reality that I was in New York visiting the Statute of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park. I was totally blown away with all the creativity.

On my last day, I went on an early shopping spree before retiring at the hotel around mid-night as I didn’t have to get to the airport until mid-afternoon the next day. I have seen that, there is more to do in Las Vegas than just gambling and neon lights. There were so many activities I choose from and it was difficult for me to narrow down what was worth doing and what I should have skipped. From the great outdoors, thrill rides, shopping, great meals and just spending quiet moments in a poolside with great cocktails, I felt that I have done it all but it wasn’t. However, the activities I have done, kept me occupied in and around the city for several days. It is true, this party capital of the world does actually offers an amazing variety of activities for every type of traveller.

ABOUT ME


ic.golina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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Enjoying San Francisco was the best choice I ever made

Enjoying this beautiful city of San Francisco in Northern California

I have been visiting America since 2004 and like many other visitors, visiting San Francisco was a dream of mine. San Francisco city, best known for the Golden Gate and cable cars is beautiful, spectacular and fun city. Located in northern California is set on the tip of a peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area and is about 700 kilometres from Los Angeles. It is a bursting city with a youthful energy that will guaranteed you with an amazing and unforgettable experience and adventure. This lively city offers tourists with an abundance of exciting things to see and do.

Getting around

After a day of refuelling from traveling, it was time to explore this fun city that I heard so much on television, magazines and movies, especially the Great Prison Escape from infamous Alcatraz prison, a tiny island off the shores of San Francisco city. Like many other modern western cities, many forms of transportations are readily available from push bikes to rental cars and makes it so accessible to move around in every destination. Getting around in San Francisco is easy and readily available. Here, I used local bus services as my main form of transportation to move around the city. Sometimes, it can be a little surprising because some places, the bus drivers do not carry cash on hand at all. You have to purchase the tickets in advance to board local buses. Most bus ticket vendors are located along the streets near bus stops but for a first time visitor to the area, you are more likely to mistaken them for car parking meter machines.   

Attractions and Activities

After visiting many attraction sites along with never ending activities, I was so amazed to see and learn so much about this city so rich in history and culture. Known for its lovely Victorian homes and ethnic neighbourhoods, Chinatown, especially most famous for displays its colourful arrays of shops, markets, architecture, traditions and food. Apart from this, I have found that this city is packed with many world-class art galleries, museums, theatres, operas and ballets which present a variety of live performances. If you want to take a break from history, museums and shopping, visitors can indulge themselves at the San Francisco Zoo, Steinart Aquarium and the Morrison Planetarium which are best great family attractions. Right outside the city are beaches and recreational areas which San Francisco visitors can relax, swim, sail, surf, camp and see local marine and land species. There is no end of things to see in San Francisco.

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Like many countries I have visited, taking time to see some of the cities best iconic places or landmarks are first priority to me before leaving to my next destination. Taking a visit to the Golden Gate was something that I had to do in San Francisco city before driving up to Portland, Oregon and Washington State.

Union Square

Staying right in the heart of San Francisco downtown, meant that I was able to explore this city on foot, especially the downtown area before visiting other places of interest. Taking a stroll down to Union Square, I must admit, it is the best people watching in San Francisco. Made up of just one square bordered by four roads – Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton streets in downtown San Francisco, it is actually a lot packed into this dense area that serves as the city’s main commercial heart. To make it so surreal, many major hotels are jammed into Union Square itself where I was staying in one of the hotels. This is the central commercial, shopping and theatre district where everything happens here. It is certainly the place that I didn’t want to miss out on. However, there are many major tourist attraction at the intersection of Powell and Market street and also the place where the manual cable car turnaround.

Downtown Union Square
Waiting to take a cable-car downtown

 Fisherman’s Wharf

One of the most popular tourist attractions in San Francisco is the Fisherman’s Wharf area. A popular waterfront district lined with souvenir shops and seafood restaurants. Like any other first time visitor to San Francisco, my first visit to this area of Fisherman’s Wharf was just amazing. Without a doubt, this is a great place to be to see the best sights and attractions that this city has to offer and must-visit place for any visitor. Being a very popular place in a touristed area, there are endless lines of chain stores and tourist traps all around and all these can be spotted from a mile away. This historic waterfront was the hub of San Francisco’s fishing fleet and is still famous for having some of the best seafood restaurants in the city. Also, here at the wharf is where tourists are able to catch a ferry across to Alcatraz Island to take a tour of this famous notorious prison in American history.

Apart from the endless line of chain stores, there are so many impressive things to do and it is a perfect place to enjoy outdoors. There are other endless tourist attractions at the wharf include museums, souvenir stores, historical buildings, scenic vistas over the Bay and the famous sea lions at Pier 39. Whilst I was there, I took a short ride on the Sausalito Ferry about 30 minutes ride to Sausalito for a day visit. One of the interesting part of taking this journey itself is – it is one of the best ways to experience San Francisco Bay first-hand. It is unbelievably a perfect way to see this place from a different angle. In fact, this was voted by the Society of American Travel Writers as the second best ferry crossing in the world. With various piers and vibrant and buzzing seaside atmosphere of the place makes, Fisherman’s Wharf a great place to stay if you like your city holiday destinations to be busy and by the sea. 

Attractions at Fisherman’s Wharf

Pier 39 – Sea Lions

Golden Gate Bridge 

San Francisco’s most iconic man-made structure and undoubtedly the city’s number one attraction is the Golden Gate Bridge. This amazing bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the strait between San Francisco and Marin County to the north. 

This bridge was completed in 1937 after taking four years to build and it the longest suspension bridge span in the world when it was completed. Today, this bridge has become an internationally recognised symbol of San Francisco and California. With its famous red-orange colour of the bridge was specifically chosen to make the bridge more easily visible through the thick fog that frequently shrouds the bridge.

Many tourists today, coming from all over the world, including locals take a drive, bike ride or walk across this famous suspension bridge, just to admire and photograph stunning views. To me, this was one of the highlight on my bucket-list that I had to tick off. Apart from this incredible bridge and stunning views, one of the other city’s most prominent landmarks are its historical cable cars which are memorable way to experience the steep inclines and main sights that can’t be missed out. 

The city of San Francisco today is definitely an exciting destination to visit, home to endless streets of cuisine and independent chain of stores, art galleries, museum historical buildings and cocktail of culture and ethnicity makes it an internationally recognised tourist destination. Here you find locals ranging from the bohemian to the hipster, from the homeless to multi-millionaires, diverse of population and vibrant and yet laid-back city makes it a very rewarding and friendly destination – a must-visit city for San Francisco visitors.

From personal perspective: Having enjoyed this city from historical perspective to outdoor attractions, it certainly gave me great knowledge about how history transits – changes over time, like any history of any country around the world. Having read or heard so much about a particular place, area or destination and to be physically visiting the place, gives me a different perspective. To be able to understand and absorb the history and knowledge that we gained through our travels is something that we walk away either accepting it or not depending on each individual. 

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© COPYRIGHT: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

© akamau.org. (2017). Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material (photography and writing) without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to akamau.org with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Enjoying Miami’s beautiful beaches and Everglades

EXPERIENCE

___________________________________

MIAMI

The city of white sandy beaches with latin mix of nightlife that has no end

Miami in brief

Miami, Florida is a dream destination that everybody loves to visit. Miami, a sub-tropical city is located int he southeastern Florida off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It has the largest Latin American population outside of Latin America. Though Miami is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin-America” but it is also known as the “Cruise Capital of the World.” Miami has the major port that manages some of the world’s largest number of passenger cruise ships.

Miami is undoubtedly an exciting and one of the most vivacious cities in the USA. It is best known for its Latin culture and world famous sizzling vibrant nightlife, stunning beaches and beautiful people. Within easy easy short distance drive takes you to various surreal swamps, abundant wildlife and many lovely tropical islands and keys. With all its trendy nightlife, beaches and world class hotels, I can see why Miami attracts tourists from all over the planet. It is definitely a melting point of ethnic cultures with its wide array of exciting attractions, activities and offers something for everyone. No wonder, it is one of the world’s most popular holiday destination hot spots. I am so excited and so thrilled to be here in Miami to explore this dream destination all alone.

View of various parts of Miami

Why Go?

Miami has a diverse cultures and has a strong dose of the arts and a splash of ocean water. To look at the fantastic art museums and the blossoming gastronomical scene. I found it hard to believe that just a century ago, this colourful Floridian city was covered in swampland but once developers rushed into the area, this city became one of the most popular tourist destinations with spectacular city skylines in the country was born. Today, with South Beach before you and the Everglades behind you, you can walk through the bustling streets past historical homes with Spanish words and Caribbean music floating into your ears. 

This mini melting pot has preserved multicultural neighbourhoods like famous Little Havana as enclaves for unique attractions to thrive. United, they form an electric network – Miami. Its reputation for vibrant nightlife and extravagant parties in Miami Beach, a barrier island to the east of the mainland. Meanwhile, the down-to-earth city proper cultivates an artsy vibe. For a taste of Miami Beach, sign up for one of the city’s best boat tours, where you will be able to marvel at the glitzy skyline from the water.

The trip

As we descend into Miami airport from New York, we flew over Biscayne Bay and I could spot the wonderful white sandy beaches that attract nearly 14 million visitors each year – Yes, welcome to Miami. I was to spend over a week here to explore this city that I heard so much positive feedback through social media – Trip-advisor, friends and tourists that I have come in contact with. I was to have a treat-of-a-lifetime in this dream destination that everyone loves to visit.

Staying in South Beach, located within Miami Beach is a hot spot for both day and night. It is call the American Riviera and an Art Deco Playground but there is more to this than just known for its fine white sandy beach and colourful buildings. This place offers unbelievably a vibrant mix of world-class galleries, boutiques to designer and speciality stores. At the same time, it is a dining hot spot for everything from gourmet to casual beachside cuisine. By night time, this place becomes alive with crowds both tourists and locals ready to go out and have a world-class evening out. This place cannot be over-looked by visitors who come here to this destination. With its world-class partying hotspot, tis destination is more notable and perhaps, more memorable than the night life.

I woken to Miami way of life instantly and took a stroll along the main street and the beach on foot, noting that this palm-tree lined city is amazingly stunning with sunny beaches that ranged from family resorts to part scenes that offer everything from sunbathing and water sports to shopping, dining and entertainment. As I began to uncover that Miami is more than just visiting a single destination. With its incredible array of tourist attractions, it gave me a great opportunity, not only to admire and enjoy the attractions but to explore some of its major attractions

My highlights of Miami

Miami Beach

Travellers go to Miami mainly for Miami Beach and they go to Miami Beach mainly for South Beach, the regions’ unrivalled crown jewel, which visitors say they can’t get enough. Here, the art deco history of the city meets the bright lights and vibrant nightlife of the younger generation.

There is something for everyone in Miami Beach – and a lot of it. White sand, an eclectic dining scene, prime shopping, luxurious spas and world are all staples in Miami Beach.

Right in the heart of the Miamis’ famous South Beach is Lummus Park Beach, an urban park in the middle of all the action. Right on the Atlantic Ocean, Lummus Park Beach is an iconic spot that has been featured in countless films, television shows and music videos. This place is the ideal place to start or end a walking tour of the top attractions in Miami. It is just steps away from wonderful bars, restaurants, shops and even Art Deco architecture. This beach with its crystal clear blue water and the white sandy beaches is a must-see for any Miami visitor, even the locals can’t get enough of it. This long stretch of beautiful beach that goes for miles and miles away is just stunning.

Bayfront Park

In the city of skyscrapers, Bayfront Park provides a welcome green space in downtown Miami. This park is located right in the city centre of Downtown Miami. What’s more, the park boast a waterfront location on Biscayne Bay. This is what visitors come to see. Whilst there, you get to set off on an unbelievably scenic walk right by the blue waters. The panoramic views of the bay and the lines of buildings along the shoreline is something that you couldn’t get lucky enough to enjoy this place. It is home to a wide range of events and performances and a flying trapeze school. It is a gorgeous spot for visitors and locals who come to hang-out and enjoy what the area has to offer. However, some visitors noted that vagabonds tend to populate the area, meaning it me be unsafe after dark.

Bayside Marketplace

Situated between Bayfront Park, Miamarina and the Port Miami cruise ship terminal, the Bayside Marketplace is a popular hub for visitors who want to shop and dine, it is also a popular and free to people-watch and walk around. This is a one-stop shop to grab all sorts of Miami souvenirs. The Marketplace with more than 150 shops and eateries, there is something for everyone. This place also features live music from local bands every afternoon and evening and is home to tour boat operators.

Bus Tour

Miami is a main hub for bus tours and you get to selected a bus tour that suits you on what you prefer to see. On couple of occasion, I went on two different coaches for sightseeing and tours of the city. It takes you to various places and most of the tours allows you enough time to wander around which is a great way to explore more of the city. The informative tour guides gives you a great insight on the history of the area and you will understand more of the area once the tour ends.

Boat Tour

Whilst in the area, I would recommend going on a boat cruise around Miami. You certainly see it from different perspective you cruise around the harbour and islands, seeing where rich and famous live. This is the great way to explore Miami and by the end of the tour, you depart with full knowledge of this city.

Airboat Tour

Knowing Miami, with thousands of “must-do” activities and attractions, a visit to the Everglades National Park is absolutely an amazing experience. Just 60 kilometres west of downtown Miami and a world away from flashy South Beach, the Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wetland in the U.S. It is one of the country’s most unique ecosystems that consists of swamps, sub-tropical jungles and flooded wetlands which makes it a perfect home to crocodiles, manatees and Florida panthers. Known as the “River of Grass” for its slow-moving water, the national park offers a unique look into the diverse ecosystem and vegetation that filters water as it moves farther south towards the Florida Bay and Key West. Yes, the most fun and better way to experience the Everglades is by an airboat ride. What a thrill it is. However, for precaution, the airboat rides may be too loud for sensitive ears.

Exploring the area

The best way to get around Miami and exploring the area is by car. Driving around in this area is possible if you have the time and want to see more of the area on your visit. Having your own wheels will give you the freedom to roam the streets and neighbourhoods as you please. Taxis or ride-hailing services are another option, however your wallet won’t thank you for hailing them so often. There are several free public transportation options are also available, including the trolley and Metromover. These can be viable options if you’re planning to base yourself downtown. And as with most big cities, bike-share and scooter programs are another option for exploring short distance. However, to fully enjoy your stay in this area and to make the most of the region’s attractions, I’d recommend staying right in the main centre of the area. 

After spending a week in Miami, I went away without being disappointed. I began to realise how this city offers so many attractions for everyone from family to solo travellers. There is so much to see and do to enjoy but you can’t get enough of. Spending a week in Miami and for anyone is not enough to thoroughly explore this dream destination. I now can see why it is known as the capital of the world-class nightlife apart from its surreal beautiful white sandy beaches and attractions.

ABOUT ME


ic.golina

Papua New Guinean living in Cairns, Australia. Weekend getaway adventurer and Free-Independent-Traveller (FIT). Lover of unique and exotic travel experiences with a touch of luxury. Follow me to my travel world, brining you closer to your destination.

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