405 Freeway south at Mulholland Drive

Another day on the 405 freeway south at Mulholland Drive….

405 Freeway south at Mulholland Drive

405 Freeway south at Mulholland Drive (copyright 2015 JoshWillTravel)

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Is it expensive to island hop in Hawaii? In a word: YES.

Q: Is it expensive to island hop? My fiance and I are coming to the big island for a work trip for 3 days and are looking to extend our trip a couple days. Is it expensive to fly from the big island to Maui? ~ Katie C., Huntington Beach, CA

A: Yes Katie, it is expensive to island hop in Hawaii.

Consider not only the cost in money (airfare, bag fees, transfers, tips, etc.), but in time. Inter-Island travel time is short, but you’ll lose a day at the airport, getting a rental car and checking in to a new hotel.

There’s so much to do on the The Big Island Hawaii:

Watch the sunrise/sunset from the top of Mauna Kea. You can go skiing if there’s snow (and then head for the beach afterwards).

Spend a whole day at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park! Visit the Kīlauea Volcano. Try a tasting at the Volcano Winery, buy a bottle of wine and drive through the lava fields to where the molten lava spills into the ocean. Have dinner at Hawaii Volcano House Hotel and/or stay overnight with a view of the crater.

 Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park - Big Island Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Kilauea meets the sea. Volcanoes National Park – Big Island Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Drive around the island and visit the green sand beaches at South Point in Kalae, the southern most point in the United States. There are lots of places to stop, eat and shop along the way.

Hike Akaka Falls State Park home of two majestic waterfalls and lush tropical gardens. Visit Rainbow Falls and see historic Hilo.

Rainbow Falls - Hilo, Hawaii (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Rainbow Falls – Hilo, Hawaii (copyright 2013 JoshWillTravel)

Snorkel Keauhou Bay and and other spots along the Kona coast, you might get to swim with endangered sea turtles.

Visit the Waipio Valley and “cowboy country”. Have a steak dinner. Go horseback riding. There are lots of places to visit, eat, shop, etc.

Snorkel Honaunau Bay and visit Pu’uhonua O Honaunau Park.

Take a snorkel cruise to the Captain Cook Monument or go whale/dolphin/manta ray watching. Go to a Luau w/dinner & entertainment.

A beautiful Waikoloa sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii (copyright 2010 Joshua Weisel)

A beautiful Waikoloa sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii (copyright 2010 JoshWillTravel)

Visit some of the other amazing Resort Hotels! Hilton Waikoloa Village, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Four Seasons Resort Hualalai at Historic Ka’upulehu, etc. See Petroglyphs, tropical gardens, art, etc. for free.

These are just a few suggestions, there is so much to do and see on the Big Island Hawaii (you wouldn’t be able to do it all in three days if you weren’t working) that isn’t on this list. And of course, take time to just relax and DO NOTHING. Lay on the beach or by the pool and sip umbrella drinks, that’s an essential part of the Hawaiian experience.

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NOTE: You can also spend a week on Maui and not see everything, so consider visiting another island on a return trip.

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Happy Chinese New Year 2015!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Happy Chinese New Year 2015! 

Happy Lunar New Year! It’s the year 4713!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

Gung Hay Fat Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

The Year of the Green Wood Goat!

The Goat/Ram/Sheep (Chinese: ; pinyin: yáng) is the eighth sign of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Wood Goat is associated with the 8th Earthly Branch symbol, 未 (wèi) and the earth element.

Year of the Wood Goat!

Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Green Wood Goat/Ram/Sheep!

The Chinese regard sheep as an auspicious animal and the Year of the Sheep/Ram/Goat heralds a year of promise and prosperity! Goats are described as “peace-loving”, “kind” and “popular”. With the addition of the wood element, the Goat characteristic is thought to love peace and to be helpful and trusting, but yet also to be “clinging” and of a nature resistant to change.

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Best casinos for a first time gambler?

Q: Best casinos for a first time gambler? First trip to Vegas, and I have some money set aside to gamble. I’m fairly new to gambling, so what’s a good overall strategy for a first timer? Best casino’s and games to play? Any tips to help my luck? Thanks! – Neil B.

A: Most of the Casinos in Las Vegas have programs where they will teach you how to play the table games and basic strategy. Just ask at the “Player’s Card” desk and always get a Player’s Card at the casino to earn “Comps” and other freebies while gambling.

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Read a few good books, watch a DVD or two, go online and learn from the pros via youtube, etc. before you go!

Best games to play: Blackjack, Craps and Baccarat have the best odds for the player with basic strategy. Keno, Slots and Video Poker will give you the longest play for your money. Again read a book or watch a tutorial to learn about finding the best odds on the games!

Worst games to play: Roulette, Spin the Wheel/Wheel of Fortune and all the other weird table games. And any game where you don’t know the rules, basic strategy and the odds against you.

Best advice for the first time gambler: set a budget for how much you are willing and can afford to lose! Leave your ATM card at home and win or lose just have fun. (Losing sucks)

NOTE: The Big Las Vegas Strip casinos require larger minimum bets for table games, and the table minimum will increase depending on time/day/crowd/event. Find lower table minimums Downtown on Fremont Street and at the smaller “off-strip” casinos. Your money and your play time will last longer!

GOOD LUCK!

National Council on Problem Gambling 24-Hour Confidential National Helpline: 1-800-522-4700 www.ncpgambling.org

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Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

LUNCH at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood!

Saturday Afternoon in the beautiful San Fernando Valley.

ON THE MENU: Thai Food at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood!

Chicken satay with toast, peanut sauce and cucumber salad, Tom ko soup with chicken & mushrooms, beef panang, pad thai with meat, roasted duck salad, steamed rice and a Thai iced tea (no cream).

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Recommend! The chicken satay with peanut sauce, toast and cucumber salad:

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Chicken Satay w/peanut sauce

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Tom Ko Soup

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Roasted Duck Salad

Recommend! Krua Pad Thai with meat, egg and shrimp:

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Krua Pad Thai

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood

Lunch at Krua Thai Restaurant in North Hollywood – Beef Panang

Everything is delicious and savory! They give you a lot of food for a decent price (actually a real value). There’s an extensive menu of authentic Thai dishes. They have Boba drinks too. And they’re open very late for you night owls!

 Krua Thai Restaurant13130 Sherman Way, North Hollywood, CA 91605

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