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 :

http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Hotel_Review-g298461-d1444058-Reviews-Imperial_Palace_Waterpark_Resort_and_Spa-Lapu_Lapu_Mactan_Island_Cebu_Island_Visayas.html

A video of Imperial Cebu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrXgjlwTjyY

 

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: http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Hotel_Review-g298461-d306050-Reviews-Shangri_La_s_Mactan_Resort_Spa-Lapu_Lapu_Mactan_Island_Cebu_Island_Visayas.html

Shangri-La Hotel Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcWsqZ09TD4

 

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.com:

Agoda Review

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_6tlY2j7NQ

 

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 Booking.com

http://www.booking.com/hotel/ph/crimson-resort-spa-mactan.en-gb.html?sid=1f25ed3158c55566297c6b488a202bce;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2061482106;srpos=1#tab-reviews

Hotel Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vRg9rSEzvc

 

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

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Je_GP_ldj4s

 

best hotel in cebu 3

image: tenminutes.ph

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:

http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Hotel_Review-g298460-d308375-Reviews-Waterfront_Cebu_City_Hotel_Casino-Cebu_City_Cebu_Island_Visayas.html

Hotel Video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhyih4rrDwc

 

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: http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Hotel_Review-g298460-d299773-Reviews-Cebu_City_Marriott_Hotel-Cebu_City_Cebu_Island_Visayas.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtirOyOE_nM

 

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

image: skyscrapercity.com

Hotel Review:

http://www.booking.com/hotel/ph/mandarin-plaza.en-gb.html?sid=1f25ed3158c55566297c6b488a202bce;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2766869920;srpos=1

http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Hotel_Review-g298460-d4610789-Reviews-Mandarin_Plaza_Hotel-Cebu_City_Cebu_Island_Visayas.html

Hotel Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMt2Avbf_hw

 

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: http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Hotel_Review-g298460-d3930930-Reviews-BEST_WESTERN_Plus_Lex_Cebu-Cebu_City_Cebu_Island_Visayas.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FO-cUgiQuE

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:

http://www.booking.com/hotel/ph/cebu-parklane-international.en-gb.html?sid=1f25ed3158c55566297c6b488a202bce;dcid=1#tab-reviews

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHa1H7o1KHs

 

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.

radisson-blu-hotel-cebu-cebu_120920130748181454

http://www.radissonblu.com/explore-hotels/browse#brands=SK&themes=&amenities=&lCountry=PH&lCity=1613

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHa1H7o1KHs

 

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:

http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Hotel_Review-g298460-d3380567-Reviews-The_Henry_Hotel-Cebu_City_Cebu_Island_Visayas.html

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9P8bmM4-eA

 

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:

http://www.tripadvisor.com.ph/Hotel_Review-g298460-d1989765-Reviews-Diamond_Suites_Residences-Cebu_City_Cebu_Island_Visayas.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiPqLjezxiM

 

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

Booking.com Plantation Bay Review:

http://www.booking.com/hotel/ph/plantation-bay-resort-and-spa.en-gb.html?sid=1f25ed3158c55566297c6b488a202bce;dcid=1;origin=disamb;srhash=2061482106;srpos=3#tab-reviews

Hotel Video:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=plantation+bay+resort+in+cebu

 

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

image: everythingcebu.com

Hotel Review:

http://www.booking.com/hotel/ph/alta-cebu-resort.en-gb.html?sid=1f25ed3158c55566297c6b488a202bce;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

image: wallpaper2020.com

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

philippines tourism

image: coupons.com

3. Bohol

philippines tourism 4

Image: dailymail.co.uk

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

image: tubbataha.com

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
image: commons.wikimedia.org

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

image: travelasia.com

 

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

philippines tourism

image: dealsdiba.com

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

philippines tourism

image: flickr.com

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: http://www.holidayphilippinesblog.com/caption

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.

Source: http://www.rd.go.th/vrt/index.html

For inquiries, email address of VAT Refund for Tourist is:  vrefund@rd.go.th

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.

 

image: huffingtonpost.com

image: huffingtonpost.com

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 : weezalgurl.deviantart.com

image : weezalgurl.deviantart.com

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.

image: geocities.jp

image: geocities.jp

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.

image: flickr.com

image: flickr.com

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.

 

country code philippines

Country code Philippines

If you are traveling around the Philippines you may eventually need to call out or have someone call in.  Whatever the case, you may want to take a look at the country codes of the Philippines and maybe zip codes.

The country code of the Philippines is 63.  Here are other additional information of zip codes and phone area code in some cities . http://efilipinowomen.com/country-code-philippines/

country code philippines

 

 

travel warning thailand

Travel Warning Thailand

May 20,2014 the Military took over to the country of Thailand due to its unsolved issue of future governance.  We were in the airport when this happened.  Luckily, no flights were canceled.  Well.. OUR flight was not canceled.

travel warning thailand

The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens reconsider any non-essential travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest and restrictions on internal movements, including an indefinite nighttime curfew throughout Thailand. The Department of State has advised official U.S. government travelers to defer all non-essential travel to Thailand until further notice.  This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on May 23, 2014, and will expire on August 21, 2014. – US Consulate 

This has lead to curfews in certain places around Thailand which was lifted on 15 June 2014.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/21/travel/thailand-tourism-martial-law/

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/05/21/travel/thailand-tourism-martial-law/

ginza japan

ginza japan

ginza japan

Take this blog post as an official “Travel Warning”.  Giza will perform acts of terrorism on your WALLET!  Its too expensive and not at all recommended for DimeTravelers.  you have been warned.

I went to Ginza, Japan in 2009.  I was not there very long.  Once I saw the RIDICULOUS prices, I left.

Ginza 銀座 is considered the “shopping” district of Chuo, Tokyo.  It is very “upscale” and high class with lots of boutiques, restaurants and stores.

Its the kind of place that Paris Hilton or Kim Kardasians might shop for a weekend trip in Japnan.  Its not for normal people with an average income.

Giza is easily accessible from MTR Light Rail. 

http://www.mtr.com.hk/images/LR_routemap.pdf

1 2 3 9