Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tour de Vegas

The North Strip - Las Vegas
Lights, camera and long walks – Welcome to Las Vegas people!
I know I was on a considerably long hiatus from blogging since grad-life has started getting to me, but I am back with some party vibes and fun, I guess. I usually write about history, nature or some really pretty but not widely known place of the world – but today I break the trend with a city that literally never sleeps! The desert city of Las Vegas is undoubtedly one of the most famous tourist destinations of the United States and I got to see why during my winter break in December. Though the place invoked some mixed feelings in me.

Vegas is engineered to lure tourists and mint money in whatever way possible – from world class chefs’ restaurants, to multiple bars in every hotel; from casinos that keep running almost 24x7 to open invite parties at night; from strip clubs to artsy shows; from limousines lined everywhere to tour busses; and of course, the glory of every hotel in making itself as amazing and aligned with its own theme. Sounds fun? Maybe it does, but it didn’t to me so I focused on what I loved the most of the list stated above – architecture, and enjoyed my trip to Vegas to some extent no doubt!    

From the very first glance, one can tell that this place was all about the pomp and the show. We reached Las Vegas at about 7:30, and were all ready to explore the city – at least the North Strip in an hour! Just getting out of our hotel Circus Circus took us about half an hour! The lobbies of the hotels of Vegas are huge and are like a trap for people for all kinds of interests – gambling, parties, food, shopping, and music – and Circus Circus was no different. In our case we also saw a small scale circus during our venture of finding the exit. Carryout food, inexpensive Uber ride and there we were at the start of the strip – Mandalay Bay.

I have to admit; I was in awe of all the structures aka hotels of Vegas. The hotels of Vegas make you a fan of architecture for sure if nothing else and this experience starts with the gates and gargoyles of Mandalay Bay, the luminous pyramid keystone and Egyptian statues of Luxor and the Scottish Kingdom themed hotel Excalibur. 

It feels like you move from an era to another, but unfortunately do not feel the touch of history in any.

Soon you get to New York and Paris – both take you to the cities on some funky rides and party nights. New York New York sticks to an image of party and shopping center while Paris gives you the first “real” feel of casino and culinary art in Vegas. But this is all a warm up!

New York New York
While the center area of North Strip gets modern in architectural sense with New York New York, Monte Carlo, MGM, Paris etc., the best of Vegas follows this section and takes you back to some old school architecture treat flavoured with royal essence. Surprisingly this section is the Casino hub of Vegas too but all I could think about was the beautiful interiors and the classic amalgamation of modern and ancient elements of architecture!

Bellagio and the Fountains
Bellagio fountains and the street performers there made the slowly turning dull evening beautiful and vibrant again. 15 mins, different songs and the fountains dance to them. In those 15 minutes, street performers keep you company with dance, music and mime. But if you are not a fan of that either and are there with your partner – well, you will love this place!

Lobby of Caesar's Palace
While Bellagio starts with a touch of Roman Era – Caesar’s Palace just takes you back completely to Caesar’s time in a way. This Greco-Roman hotel is probably the second largest of Vegas and is considered to be one of the most known Casino Hotels of the world! 

Caesar's Palace is like this throughout! 
Caesar Palace’s grandeur is not limited to its casino glory image or external architecture with the King Towers, Roman baths and sculpted fountains – the interiors of this place is a must see! 

Forum Mall
Imagine a hotel that has life size statues of Roman Gods and Kings – sculpted and imported from Italy and has frescos and spiral escalators (not just staircase) – do you want to miss this place? I was in a spell of wonder, but only till the time I reached Venetian though.

The Venetian - the largest hotel of Vegas, second largest in the world – is literally Venice in Vegas and the prettiest hotel on the strip! The gondolas of Great Canal and ornate frescos on the ceiling of the lobby and game area left me speechless. 

Not Venice, it The Venetian
The minute I entered the Grand Canal Shoppes I actually felt like I was in Venice – just prettier and cleaner! Oh and I forgot it was night 1 o clock – thanks to the false 3d sky. (Think Hogwarts Great Hall ceiling) 

It is just 1 o clock at night
Anyways to get a ride of the canal and check out beautiful windows, small but classy shops, cafes and restaurants – there is no way one can hate that right? If you have just an hour to spend in Vegas, you know which hotel to hit.
This is no Roman Palace or Church or Museum
There are more hotels to consider like Mirage – known for its volcano fountain show, Stratosphere which has the second highest thrill ride of the world, Treasure Island and Tropicana etc… but given the contented feeling The Venetian left me with, I decided to retire for the night and end my Tour de Vegas!

Some Tips for First Timers in Vegas!
-        Carry Water with you!
-        Do not take the bus if you are a group of four or more. Ubers in Vegas turn out to be a lot cheaper.
-        The Fountains of Bellagio have fixed timings: - Monday – Friday there is a show every half hour from 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. while on Saturdays and holidays the show runs every half hour from 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 8 p.m. – 12 p.m.
-        Volcano Shows at Mirage are at 8 and 9 on weekdays and an additional show at 10 happens during weekends and holidays.
-        The Gondola Rides at The Venetian and The Forum Mall at Caesar palace both shut down at 11 p.m. and while you can still walk the gondola ride area at any hour of the day, entry to Forum after hours is not possible.

Accommodation cost in Vegas ranges from 45-250 per night during Decembers at least. Yup it is relatively cheap! I stayed at Circus Circus in a Two Queens Room that costed 44 USD/night. 

Hope this post does give you some reason to visit Vegas even if casinos and parties are not your thing. Because Las Vegas, no matter how quirky and fancy, gives everyone a reason to visit at least once if not more! 

And yes, I am leaving you guys with "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" performance!


  1. Vegas! Such a pretty place, we are not much of a casino people but would visit Las Vegas to see all its glory and glamour... :)

  2. We had so much fun there. I would say this is the city to be in, especially on New Year's!

    Your post brought-up so many wonderful memories...I have some of the same pics as yours, have to write-up sometime.

  3. Great pictures with well written write up !!

  4. Beautiful tour of the mesmerising place.

  5. Wow!! Beautiful photos and good information!!

  6. A place like no other perhaps!

  7. Ugh Vegas. My guilty pleasure. I have loved and will always love everything about Vegas. The Glitz, glamour and gaudiness without being too out there. I loved staying in Cesears Palace! I swear the whole city always has something new to offer. You should try the neon boneyard, it's really cool!

  8. I want to visit Vegas just to see the glitz and glam. I'm not into casino but I would love to stay in their luxurious hotels and witness the fountain show. For now I'm happy to see Vegas through your photos. Somehow it ignites my wanderlust to visit the city soon. :-)

  9. Thanks for sharing your experience in Vegas. The sparkling desert oasis seems to have been kind to you. Welcome back to blogging, as well.

  10. I've got to get myself to Vegas ASAP! Great post!

  11. I'd love to go to Vegas one day, can't wait to wander there and go to casinos, and also to stay at their luxurious hotels!

  12. For a person like me who isn't into night life, this place would definitely not excite me BUT after your post, I'd give it a try for the themed architecture. Great pics Vish! Loved the Venetian theme :)

  13. Your right, Vegas never sleeps! Nightlife is so rare of a thing for me, though. I like Vegas more from its grand architectural designs. The Venetian is my favorite as it takes me back to the wonderful city of Venice.

  14. Nice to see Las Vegas through your lens! Indeed very colorful and so full of life! Amazing - the city never sleeps! The very thought makes me dream of visiting Las Vegas!

  15. you click really nice pictures. have you learned photography during academics?

  16. I love Vegas. No matter what people say about its pomp and shows but it has its unique glamour that will make you high with its own charm. Even Vegas downtown has a fascinating architectures. Can't wait to visit Vegas soon!

  17. I'd LOVE to visit Las Vegas! I find it fascinating what they did in the middle of the dessert, there's definitely no other spot where you can visit so many different places of the world in a single city! That Bellagio fountain looks amazing by the way, I've seen some videos before of the fountain show and it's breathtaking!

  18. I can go there any day. Vegas is fun for all. Just a question - you mentioned inexpensive Uber rides, someone said Uber is bad there, was your experience good?