denver places to visit

 Here are a few Denver places to visit (that are worth your time)

During our trip to denver, my husband and I visited some beautiful places.  Colorado Springs and Boulder are great, but Denver is the main hub of business in the state of Colorado with more restaurant options of things to do for tourists and locals alike.  We have listed some tourist attractions that you might like.

  •  Denver Museum of Nature and Sciencedenver-places-to-visit-3Denver has a world class museum exhibiting some of the best that the natural sciences have to offer.  From sea life to the solar system and going back billions of years to the formation of the Earth, you will not be disappointed.  I was blown away by the 3D planet projection in the planetarium.  The interactive exhibits about Mar geology and space exploration stole the show for most of the kids that walked in the building.  If you are traveling to Denver with kids, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is a MUST.  The museum also has REAL Egyptian mummies, an exhaustive dinosaur wing and a stunning display of precious metals, gems and mineral deposits.  It was an amazing experience overall and it is so worth it. You see a lot more than what you paid for. denver-nature-and-science-museumAdmission fee is $12 per person. 
  • Denver Botanic Gardens.denver-places-to-visit-10Denver Botanic Gardens has a variety of plants and a spectacular glass exhibit by the famous American sculptor, Dale Chihully (that ended last November 30, 2014). The botanic garden has plenty of species of plants but it is not so lively if you go during cold season.  Some of the plants are dead or dormant in winter. It is best to go during summer. The garden is a popular attraction in Denver so expect a crowd on the weekends. The parking lot is tight so it will take time to get a parking spot. They also conduct special events such as weddings. Denver Botanic Gardens website prices of tickets is not updated as it says $12.50 (adults). Maybe it changes by season or if there are exhibits.denver-places-to-visit-5Admission fee is $15.00 for adults.
  •  Downtown Aquarium.

    Denver downtown aquarium features an impressive array of sea creatures and habitats that will be pretty hard to find anywhere else in the Rocky Mountains. They also offer a dining experience where you eat a delicious meal while watching a mermaid show. Its fun and exciting to see! Food is expensive with very little options.  Like the museums, the aquarium also gives military and senior discounts as well as free parking after 6 pm when you dine in the restaurant. Ticket price for adults (12-64) is $ 17.99, didn’t know a 12 yrs old is already an adult. lol!

  •  Elitch Gardens Theme Park.

    If you are looking for thrills, then Elitch Gardens is the place to go.  It’s great for families. It consists of 70 acres of land with all kinds of rides for small kids, teens and adults.  Tickets ranges from $31.99/per person and above and can also be purchased online before the day of your adventure. Within the theme park you can expect to have decent dining, expensive shopping, concerts and special events.         

  •  Downtown bars.

    Looking for a cool place to chill out and have a Colorado brewed beer?  Go to downtown Denver at night.  What was surprising to me is that there are marijuana stores around the area.  Colorado has legalized weed so it is okay to sell it openly (with some controlled substance restrictions, of course).  Its very common to see stores that look like pharmacies except with a green cross logo and bars on the windows.  The most important thing I have learned is that my ID must be carried everywhere.  We could not go inside the bar because I forgot my ID. Too bad but better luck next time :-)

  •  Sports Authority Field at Mile High.denver-places-to-visit-97686 If you are into sports then you might want to check out a football game.. American Football.  Its huge in Denver.  Sports Authority Field is home of the Denver Broncos.  It is a giant stadium that can accommodate thousands of people for the event.  Even if you are not into sports, its an amazing sight to see!

Denver is beautiful and there are many things to do.  Whether you are visiting just to sight see, ride roller coasters, or go to a game and drink beer, there is really something for everyone.  There are so many things we did not mention!

haneda airport map

Here are some Haneda Airport maps.  I have been through Haneda a few times as I have traveled in and out of asia.  Its one of the best, simplest and easy airports to navigate.  Its modernized with PLENTY of outlets.

Normally, if I am flying withing Japan or short trips in Asia, I go through Haneda airport.  If its very long International flights, I am going through Narita.

haneda airport map 2011-1

haneda airport map 2011 – Cross section Map of Handed’s Security Check A/B

haneda map 2011

haneda map 2011 JR East Travel Service Center, Monorail, Terminal 1 and direction to International Terminal 2


haneda map 2011

haneda map 2011

Terminal 1 & 2 Map:

Ohayuni71 Tour of Haneda Airport

Sharla in HANEDA!! OMG, BECKY!!!

Cebu Nightlife

Cebu Nightlife over Manila Nightlife

Cebu nightlife offers a very fun variety of activities for whatever you are into.  From night clubs, to gentlemen’s clubs to bars and malls that stay open until 11pm, Cebu nightlife is great.

You can really have a great time in both Manila and Cebu.  Since Manila is way bigger and more populated you can find much more to do there at night.  But there are a few reasons you might prefer Cebu nightlife over Manila nightlife.



Cebu Nightlife has less people.  Cebu nightlife is not as crowded and congested as Manila nightlife.  Manila is one of the most populated metropolitan cities in the world.  It is actually one of the 12 most populous metropolitan areas in the world (2010).  Its extremely tight for most of the night.

Writer of this blog had also shared his/her experience with the kindness of people in Cebu when they got lost, asked for help and was sent back to the place where they were staying. In manila, not sure if that kind of act of kindness still happens.

Cebu Nightlife is Safer than Manila.  There are more crimes reported in Manila than Cebu.  There are over twice as many people in Manila as Cebu (about 4+ million people in Cebu but over 11 million in Manila as of 2011).  So it makes sense that the crime rate is higher.

Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) According to the comparative crime statistics report of the CPPO, the number of crimes fell to 3,999 from the 5,036 cases last year, or a drop by 31.20 percent (CPPO news).

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) data showed that reported crimes went up from 18,671 from January to June 2011 to 29,231 in 2012 (ABS-CBN).

Comments on the web about Cebu vs. Mania:

Cebu City vs. Makati (Makati has the image of being relatively safe but in reality there are frequent news reports about violent crimes in the city.)
Cebu City vs. Malate (Personally, I avoid Malate unless I need to head to the Embassy.)

Cebu City vs. Pasay (Pasay is an extremely diverse area so it may be hard to compare. You have Mall of Asia, which is safe, but you also have Baclaran, which is shady at best.)
Cebu City vs. Taguig (This is the Fort Bonifacio area. I would say that the Fort and Ortigas, which is in Pasig City, are most likely the two safest areas in Metro Manila.)


I have lived in Cebu only 3 months now, but my impressions so far are its reasonably safe and the people generally are friendly. Yes you need
to be aware of security issues and use some common sense but if you do that its reasonably safe. I have been to Manila and didn’t have any
problems there either, I think maybe Cebu City a little safer than Manila but outside of the city in the provinces I’m sure is safer.

I’m not sure which security issue posts you are referring to but if its the ones advocating that foreigners should be allowed to own and carry
handguns I can see why you would feel concerned for safety in Cebu. Do I think there is someone waiting round every corner here with
an illegal hand gun waiting to rob the next Kano that comes along? well no, its unlikely many can afford a gun and the ammunition for it.
Do I think every Kano here is in danger if they are not carrying a hand gun? Well no I think to attempt a shoot out is more likely to result in
you getting shot.

My thoughts are if you avoid carrying large sums of money around needlessly, and if in the unlikely even you are robbed at gun point you
just hand over something (dummy wallet with some cash in it is a good idea), I think its unlikely you will get shot. A gunfight at the OK Corral
situation as a flight of fancy as advocated by some on this forum is not the sensible solution (just the quick route to jail for a Kano) so don’t worry about it and have a nice day   Chaz


colorado vacation destinations

Colorado is internationally famous for the skiing/snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking and winter sports.  For this reason Colorado vacation destinations are not only in the two biggest cities: Denver and Colorado Springs but also Aspen and the rocky mountains.

colorado vacation destination aspen-mountain

colorado vacation destination aspen-mountain

Aspen - “With four world-class mountains within the area, Aspen boasts the most diverse selection of terrain and on-snow experiences in Colorado. The best part is: A ski pass is valid at all four of our mountains!” 

I remember being in Australia and receiving the obligatory question, “Where are you from in the US?”

My typical answer: “I am from California, but living in Colorado.”  To which the young Aussie replied, “Oh, I love Colorado.  I was on vacation there and lived in Aspen working at a sky resort.

colorado vacation destinations Rocky Mountains

Colorado vacation destinations Rocky Mountains

Rocky Mountains – Colorado has the MOST 14,000+ foot mountains in the United States.  It has a total of 53 mountains over 14,000 feet (4200 meter mountains)!  For this reason, Colorado is a mountain climber paradise.  Half the state is the “rockiest” part of the rocky mountains.  It has the highest average elevation of any state.

Rocky Mountain National Park is located in Colorado.  Rocky Mountain National Park is ALL mountains with inspiring skylines, beautiful wildflowers, abundant with multiday backpack trips and climbing adventurers for every level of hiker.




best hotel in cebu

The best hotel in Cebu is difficult to find because there are so many incredible hotels in Cebu City its hard to choose one.  But here is our list of those that are among the best.  We chose them based on quality of staff, service, online reviews from actual guest and accommodations.
1. J Park Island Resort and Waterpark formerly Imperial Palace Cebu Waterpark is one of the most luxurious resorts in Cebu with a variety of amenities at 5 star quality.  The location is in Phil BXT Corp Tourism Economic Zone in Barangay Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. J Park Resort consists of 556 rooms in a 7.5 hectares land area. It has very good review from its guests.

best hotel in cebu

Reviews from tripadvisor :

A video of Imperial Cebu:


2. Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa is one of the best.  Based on my personal experience the food, the drinks and accommodation are top notch.  If you go, make sure you try the beach bar.  The have great drinks and a great view. The staff is friendly and welcoming. Shangri-La has a small beach area but I would say the customer service, cleanliness and landscape really makes up for it.  The management does an excellent job hiring great people to work there.

best hotel in cebu city 1

Review from Trip Advisor:

Shangri-La Hotel Video:


3. Moevenpick Hotel Mactan Island Cebu formerly Hilton Hotel is located beside Shangri-la Mactan. It has a beautiful interior and exterior design. Great ambiance.

best hotel in cebu 5

Hotel Review from

Agoda Review


4. Crimson Resort and Spa Mactan is another luxurious 5 star resort hotel in Cebu. It also consistently gets good reviews from the travelers and their previous guests for their food and accommodation.

best hotel in cebu city 1

Crimson Resort Review from;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2061482106;srpos=1#tab-reviews

Hotel Video:


5. Marco Polo Plaza Cebu has probably the best variety in their breakfast. I would rate it as excellent. It is expensive but it is worth it. The rooms are nice.  The experience matches the price you pay. Customer service is good.

best hotel in cebu best hotel in cebu 2

Hotel Review:

Marco Polo Plaza

Cool flair tending Show


best hotel in cebu 3


6. Waterfront Cebu City Hotel & Casino is a 3 star hotel located at Lahug, Cebu City. The exterior needs better landscaping but you won’t be disappointed by the interior. The rooms are all carpeted. The customer service is fine, but could use some improvement. They should train and hire better staff who know about their jobs as some are not so attentive, or friendly.

Hotel Review:

Hotel Video:


7. Marriott Hotel is located beside the Ayala Mall. It has good set of breakfast buffet and a very comfortable bed. The staff is very professional and attentive to guest’s needs. Its average room price is around P 8,000.00 but its worth it for the service and the amenities you get.

best hotel in cebu 6

Tripadvisor Review:


8. Mandarin Plaza Hotel is rated as a 4 star hotel that also has good reviews from people. Its location is in IT Park Lahug. Guests had given a rating of good to excellent. Its given high marks for its excellent food, accessibility and good accommodation.

best hotel in cebu 4


Hotel Review:;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2766869920;srpos=1

Hotel Video


9. Best Western Plus Lex Cebu is a newly built 4 star hotel located at capitol site Escario St. Cebu city. It has been rated in Tripadvisor as number 4 of the recommended hotels in Cebu City from people who have stayed there. One great thing about Lex is its location. It is very accessible to the hang out spots, malls and tourist spots around Cebu City.

best hotel in cebu

Hotel Review:

10. Cebu Parklane International Hotelbest hotel in cebu city 1 is located next to Ayala mall. It is very accessible, fine rooms and its rates. It has an indoor pool and a fine buffet breakfast but not so much variety of food.

Hotel Review:;dcid=1#tab-reviews


11. Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu is located beside SM Mall Cebu. It has a huge, luxurious lobby. They also have a fine landscape around the hotel and a nice pool. Radisson blu has a function room called Santa Maria Grand Ballroom that can cater 1500 people.



12. The Henry Hotel is a 4 star boutique hotel in Cebu City. It has a very unique and cool design. It has great reviews on customer service as well.. although there are no bathroom doors lol. For travelers that are into art, I think this hotel would be fun!

best hotel in cebu 8

Tripadvisor Review:


13. Diamond Suites And Residences is rated as a 4 star hotel located a few steps away from Ayala mall. Great location and customer service. The hotel is new, modern type with great online deals lower than 50 usd. Very good value for your money.

best hotel in cebu city

Tripadvisor Review:


14. Plantation Bay Resort and Spa is a very beautiful 5 star resort. It has an amazing landscape and a peaceful environment. It offers the privacy that guests need with a cultural dance entertainment at night time. What you see in pictures are exactly how it looks in person.

best hotel in cebu city 1 Plantation Bay Review:;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2061482106;srpos=3#tab-reviews

Hotel Video:


15. Alta Cebu Resort is located in Cordova, Lapu-lapu City. It has a mini zoo and a quiet environment. Alta Resort has 2 pools , a mini bar and a restaurant. They also offer huge budget rooms for guests that are in big groups.

best hotel in cebu 7


Hotel Review:;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2061482106;srpos=6


Philippines tourism top 10 tourist destinations

Philippines tourism Top 10 Tourist Destinations

1. Banaue Rice Terraces is a masterpiece. It was previously listed as one of the 7 wonders of the world.

philippines tourism 2


2. Boracay Island is like a smaller Miami Beach of the Philippines. It has a very fine  powder like white  sand.

philippines tourism


3. Bohol

philippines tourism 4


is where the smallest monkey Tarsiers live. It also has a small version of Boracay called Alona Beach. Chocolate Hills of Bohol is one of the Must see tourist attraction in the Philippines. It is very unique and very beautiful.



4. Palawan is where the underground river is located,Tubbataha Reef Marine Parkand El Nido white sand beaches.

philippines tourism 5


5. Cebu is rich in diving spots, beaches, islands (Malapascua , Bantayan) and  historical places.

ayala mall

ayala mall

6. Manila has many tourist attractions, US embassy , MOA – the biggest mall in Asia and opportunities for investments.

philippines tourism 7

The Fortress of Intramuros

7. Davao is famous for its durian fruit.  It smells weird but it taste good. Davao has many tourist spots and is a very clean city with a strict ordinance. 

philippines tourism



8. Vigan also known as ‘ The Old City’ with 150 stone houses built during the Spanish era.

philippines tourism


9. Camarines Sur (Camsur) province is located in Bicol Region. It has lots of beautiful beaches and islands.

philippines tourism


10. Baguio City is one top destination of local tourists. Philippines has a very hot climate and only Baguio City has a cold temperature that filipinos want to experience.

philippines tourism image:

VAT Refund during your travel to thailand

Some countries allow tourist to get some of the money they spent on taxes while visiting.  This adds some incentives for tourist to return.  This is known as a Value added tax (VAT) Refund.  If you travel to Thailand, you can get a VAT Refund.  But there are few things you need to do.

1. When Shopping

  • Show your passport when purchasing to get a VAT Refund for Tourist sticker or VAT receipt. (this was not listed of the flyer but I seen it on their website site.
  • Shop at stores that have VAT REFUND for tourists signs.
  • Minimum purchase  at the same store per person should be 2,000 baht.
  • Ask for P.P.10 Form and original tax invoices at the store on the day of purchase.
  • Take your goods out of Thailand within 60 days of purchase via international airport.

vat refund during your travel to thailand

2. Procedure at the Customs

  • Present your purchases (P.P 10 Form, original tax invoices and purchased goods) at the Customs office before taking your luggage  at the international airports of Thailand (Subarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Hat Yai, U-Tapao, Krabi and Samui).

3. Refunding

  • Submit P.P.10 Form and all original tax invoices to claim your refund at VAT Refund for Tourist Offices after the passport control.
    travel to thailand VAT Refund

    Location of VAT Refund Office in Subarnabhumi is at the right side after ‘ Z’ check -in

  • Show your purchased Luxury goods like jewelry, ornaments, designer collection stuff pens etc with a value of 10,000 baht or more per item to the officer for reinspection at the VAT Refund for Tourist Office.
  • If the amount exceeds 30,000 baht, the refund payment  will be made by the form of draft or credit card account.

If you are in  a hurry after all inspections have been made, you can drop the P.P.10 Form and original tax invoices into the box in front of the VAT Refund for Tourist office or mail them to the address below:

VAT Refund for Tourist Office

The Revenue Department of Thailand

90 Phaholyothin 7, Phayathai,

Bangkok 10400, Thailand

*Location of VAT Refund Office in Subarnabhumi is at the right side after ‘ Z’ check -in counter.


For inquiries, email address of VAT Refund for Tourist is:

Note: For sim cards and internet browsing, You can buy a sim cards at 7 Eleven Stores and Family Mart. They also have those machines where you can purchase for internet.

visiting north korea

Dear Americans,

Why in the world are you Visiting North Korea?  Do you know that several other Americans between 1996 and 2014 have gone there with the same results: They are detained,  forced to read some bullshit propaganda and then released (sometimes) only after they are begged by a major US political figure.

Name Detained Released Reason for detention
Evan Hunziker 26 August 1996 27 November 1996 Charged with espionage
Euna Lee 18 March 2009 4 August 2009 Crossed into North Korea from China without a visa.
Laura Ling
Aijalon Gomes 25 January 2010 26 August 2010 Illegally entered North Korea
Kenneth Bae 3 November 2012 Currently detained Planned a religious coup d’état, along with other reasons.
Merrill Newman 26 October 2013 7 December 2013 War crimes during the Korean War.
Miller Matthew Todd 10 April 2014 Currently detained Wanted political asylum from North Korea.[1]
Jeffrey Edward Fowle 29 April 2014 Currently detained Acted “contrary to the purpose of tourism.”[1]

Here are a few fun facts about North Korea:

visiting north korea

visiting north korea

Political prison camps with 40% malnutrition.  One of the reasons that the citizens seems so happy about Kim Jung {x} is that political dissent can earn you and your entire family an indefinite stay in one of several luxurious concentration camps.  Fun for the WHOLE family (for generations).  (see Torture, Starvation in North Korean Political Prisons)

Reeducation Camps. It is not ANYTHING like anger management classes.  Its a place where people by the hundreds go to die for things like illegal border crossing, illegal trading, or being accused of disagreeing with Kim Jung {x}.

People are shot or imprisoned for attempting to LEAVE.  Movement in or out of North Korea is strictly controlled.  Not only can North Koreans NOT leave the country easily they are not allowed to move WITHIN the country easily.  Anyone who tries to immigrate to another country is considered a defector.




North Korea is a place that has death camps the whole family can enjoy.


Thailand Travelling Basic Etiquette

Before arriving at your destination, it is important to know a bit of the country’s customs and courtesies when visiting.  It will help you interact better with the locals and leave a good impression on the citizens. DO not be an asshole!

When found that Thailand was no exception to this simple rule.  Although its more open than many other countries, you should still abide by basic etiquette.

thailand travelling basic etiquette

1. Dress Appropriately -  Women, be very aware of what you are wearing. Most areas of thailand are very conservative with dress and appearance. For example, in Bangkok wearing short shorts is very unusual and will earn you unwelcome looks.  You can get away with this in Pattaya or other high tourist areas where a lot is forgiven.  But if you are visiting temples ALWAYS wear long sleeves and pants.

2.  Traditional Greeting ‘Wai” a slight bow and prayer like gesture is how thai people greet each other. They also use this in saying thank you and goodbye.

3. Know basic words as you are traveling. Knowing a few Thai words make a great impression on people.  You will see smiles just from saying “Arun-sawat” (good morning).  They see that you are putting some effort when you say, “Khob Khun Kaa” (feminine Thank You) or “Khob khun krab” (masculine thank you).

4. If they offer a service refuse politely. No need to be rude, they are just trying to pay the bills.  You will find that most Thai people are not super aggressive when selling or marketing to tourist.

5. Pointing is very rude for thai people especially for religious monuments. Maybe in your country its ok, but in Thailand its not.

6. Touching somebody in the head is very offensive. It is considered the most sacred part of the body. Touching is also a sign of trust.

7. Kissing a local on their cheek may offend them. Unlike other culture kissing a friend on the cheek is normal as a part of greeting, but in Thailand its too much.

8. Leave your shoes outside upon visiting a house.

9. Smile – Thai people will sometimes give a polite smile.  Its like saying hello.  Its ok to smile back.

10. Be polite. I noticed that thai people are well mannered and never yell in public places at all.

disney sea tokyo

Disney Sea Tokyo (東京ディズニーシー) is worth seeing if you have the time and money.  If you have been to the Disneyland or Disney’s California in LA, then you may be a little disappointed by the small size of the Disney Sea.  Its technically larger (176 acres compared to 160 acres) but there is a huge man made lake (Mediterranean Harbor) in the middle of the park that makes the actual walking area smaller.

image :

image :

Disney Sea Tokyo is definitely not a waste of time especially if you have kids.  They will really enjoy it.

disney sea tokyo

Just like the Disneyland in LA, you can expect Disney Sea Tokyo to be ridiculously packed and expensive.  If you travel on a dime, then you may want to bring your own food into the park.  Also, bring sunblock and a sunhat.

If you have been to Disneyland LA, then I would recommend seeing Disney Sea.  It has a different feel than the typical Disneyland and if its hot its nice to go there and get a little wet on the rides and attractions.



Not all the rides are water rides by the way. I was expecting a sort of “splash mountain water park” feel.  But its not really like that.  They did a great job of mixing wet and dry.  Even though Disney sea is not owned by the Disney company, it still FEELS like Disneyland.



What is most memorable to me about Disney Sea Tokyo and what stands out in my mind (besides the insane HEAT and LINES) was the show in Mediterranean Harbor.  It was one of the most unique shows I have ever seen i the water.

People in costume in jetskis with giant water guns.


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