Friday, October 24, 2014

Las Vegas Part 1 Journey to the West

There's a saying goes, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". Hence, I'm not going to share with you everything that I experienced in Las Vegas. =P

This was my first trip to the United States of America and the first city I went to was Las Vegas, Nevada. I was there for a conference so I didn't actually have much time to spare for leisure activities except for 1 full day before the start of the conference and some nights during the week. For Singaporeans, if you are traveling for less than 90 days, you don't have to apply for VISA, as our passport is one of the best in the world. Instead, we need to apply for ESTA at with an application fee of USD 14, which I got approved within 20 minutes.

11 Oct 2014, Singapore

As I'd be flying alone to the US, I was very nervous and paranoid even one week before this trip commenced. Nervous - transit, afraid that I'll miss my connecting flight; paranoid - Ebola, even though there's no case in Las Vegas. Similar to how I felt when I went to Taiwan alone last year, I couldn't sleep all night.

I booked my flight on United Airlines two weeks prior to departure. I arrived at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 at about 4am on 11 Oct, Saturday, for my flight departing at 6am to Narita, Tokyo. I'll be flying to Las Vegas via Narita (Tokyo) and Los Angeles. I need to take 3 flights with 2 transit points before I could get to Las Vegas, in nearly 24 hours. =(

United Airlines have a self check-in counter at the airport. The process was pretty simple and you could even change your seat at the counter yourself. All 3 boarding passes were issued at the counter and after receiving them, I proceeded to drop off my baggage at 'Baggage Drop-Off' counter with an United Airlines personnel. I do not need to collect my checked-in baggage at Narita but I have to collect it at my first point of entry into USA which would be Los Angeles for this trip.

SIN-NRT (Singapore - Narita)
1st leg: Singapore to Narita

Boeing 777-200, UA804 SIN-NRT

Thanks for the safe landing at Narita airport and hey look! There's a Kitty plane behind. 
Eva Air's Hello Kitty Plane
I got 3 hours to spare at Narita airport before my next flight to Los Angeles. Firstly, I had to clear immigration for transiting passengers. Then I went around looking for food. I am so determined to try their sushi as I DID NOT HAVE A DECENT SUSHI DURING MY LAST 10-DAY TRIP TO JAPAN IN 2012. HOW SILLY!

Walked passed McDonald's which I had my first Pork Burger back in 2012

They got this pumpkin mcflurry thingie!
Here's a sushi restaurant that I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND you to try it if you are transiting at Narita Airport! It's called Sushi Kyotatsu and locates near to Gate 34 in Terminal 1. Their sushi was DAMN AWESOME!!! Every mouth brings great excitement and satisfaction! I swear I'll go back to this restaurant if I ever pass by NRT airport! So thankful that the lady at the information desk recommended this restaurant to me. It is ranked No.2 in Best Narita Restaurants in Trip Advisor!

Sushi Kyotatsu
Address: 1 Furugome, Narita International Airport, Terminal 1, Narita, Chiba Prefecture 282-0004, Japan
Address (Japanese): 〒282-0004 千葉県成田市 古込1-1 成田国際空港第1ターミナル 第3サテライト
Contact: +81 476-32-1777
Operating Hours: 8.30am - 9.00pm

You can choose to sit at the table next to the chefs to watch them prepare the sushi or next to the window to watch the planes!

SGD 20 for 8 pieces of sushi and it's SO WORTH IT
I sat by the window to watch the planes

What I ordered; if you can understand nihongo~

Payment at the counter
NRT-LAX (Narita - Los Angeles)

Next leg, Japan to L.A.! Finally I'm on board the magnificent Boeing 787 Dreamliner! The aircraft was so nice and new! It was a very comfortable ride albeit a long journey. On this flight, I witnessed many DIFFERENT colours of the sky ranging from orange to blue to PURPLE!! I swear it was the MOST GORGEOUS PURPLE SKY I'VE EVER SEEN. My camera just ain't good enough to capture that glory. Of course, a picture can never match up to the real scene.

Power socket available underneath in between seats

More than half-way there

Witnessing sunrise

Here's the purple sky - TOTALLY DIFFERENT from what I saw which was darker and prettier =(

Amazing blue, again this pic is NOT representative at all

Breakfast? I mixed up my time zone by now

Love this tomato juice

Hello L.A.!
This may sound silly but I felt so surreal after I got off the plane. I'm in U.S.A.!!! It's half a globe away and I've never thought that I'll ever visit this country so early in my life (well I'm not that young but I expected it to be like late twenties/early thirties). The people are so friendly in the U.S.! Strangers will smile at you, talk to you and even crack jokes! I sat next to a guy who was sleeping, when he woke up, he turned to me and said "you're sneaking up on me huh?" Hahaha =D

Since L.A. was the first entry point of U.S., I had to claim my checked-in baggage and clear immigration. It took me nearly an hour to clear the custom, re-deposited my baggage and entered immigration again. Be careful on your connection time when you are booking your flight to the States. I'd recommend at least 1.5h to be safe. :) All items, including shoes & jackets, had to be scanned. While my items were being scanned, I had to walk through a huge machine, held my hands up, while it was scanning my entire body. Woah, the security level is UPs man. 

Matcha Latte to perk me up after 2 long flights
LAX-LAS (Los Angeles - Las Vegas)

Ohhhh last leg!!! Enroute to Las Vegas!!

Las Vegas

Yea, slots machine in the airport. Seems legit.

Took a train to claim my baggage

There are 2 ways to get to the city from LAS McCarran International Airport. First is by the most convenient way, taxi. A cab would cost about USD 20-30, depending on where you stay. And in this country, you have to give about 20% tips. As I wasn't sure if I could claim the taxi fare, I took the alternative way, a shuttle bus which cost me USD 9.50. There are many booths with different airport shuttles with comparable pricing. You just got to tell them where you are going and they'll assign you to a shuttle bus.

If you are rushing, I'll urge you to take a cab (15-20min) as the shuttle bus ride was 40min (excluding 15min waiting time). Why? 'Cause there were different groups of tourists on the bus going to different hotels and my hotel wasn't located on the Strip. However, it gave me a good city tour of Las Vegas. =) *always look on the bright side of life*

"City Tour" begins:

Palms Casino Resort
Address: 4321 W. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, NV 89103
Contact: 702.942.7777

After a 25 hour journey from Singapore to Las Vegas, I finally reached my destination on the same day, 11 October, nearly 4pm (12 Oct, 7am SG time).

Excited while the shuttle was making it's turn into the resort

The place where I gonna spent 6 nights of rest
My hotel room was so welcoming!!!! Huge ass room with super comfy king sized bed!! Moreover, it has a great view of Las Vegas (not the main part but it's good enough)!!

I took a shower and napped till 9pm as I was too tired from the more-than-a-day journey! I actually missed the dinner with my new colleagues who were meeting at 6pm. =/ Nevertheless, I was hungry and my natural instinct pulled me to the eatery at the ground floor of the hotel.

Night view from my hotel room

A small portion of the Strip viewable from my window

Casino at the lobby

The Eatery with different stalls

I spotted Earl of Sandwich and decided to give it a try as I have read online that they sell good sandwiches.

A sandwich from Earl of Sandwich and a Hot Chocolate from The Coffee Bean

The Original 1762

Roast Beef Sandwich
The sandwich cost USD 6.49 (SGD 8.30). Ouch. Food in U.S.A. are not cheap at all! It tasted good and filled my stomach well. That's it for Day 1 (a super long day > 24h). I didn't fall asleep till 3am, still adjusting to the new time zone. I'd be going to the premium outlet the next day which I'll update the blog soon. =)

#LCinUSA posts

2016 Seattle-Arizona (Blogging soon)
  • Apr 2016 Part 1 Seattle
  • Apr 2016 Part 2 Arizona Road Trip
  • Apr 2016 Part 3 Arizona Road Trip
  • Apr 2016 Part 4 Arizona Road Trip
2015 Seattle
2014 Las Vegas


  1. The cab fare from the airport to Las Vegas Strip, or the strip, should be $20 including tips, not $30. Tell the driver to not go on the freeway.

    BTW, Palms is not on the strip, so not recommending people without a car staying there. Stay at Bally's or Flamingo that are in the middle of the strip and not as expensive as Caesars, Paris, and Cosmopolitan.

    1. Hi, yes I know that The Palms is not located on the Strip. Thus it has a longer distance to the airport as compared to those hotels located in the Strip. Also, I wanted to get to the airport asap that day so I took the freeway as recommended by my colleague (I was there for a conference). The cab fare was USD 25.90 but he just took $30 from me without offering a change. :( Of course, if I were to go to Las Vegas again as a personal trip, I'd definitely stay in the Strip. Thanks for your recommendation though.

  2. You have made quite a trip there. I would really love to do the same and visit Las Vegas but there is the issue with the money. I have checked some hotels through Reservation Counter but most of the hotels are quite expensive. And I can not imagine how much I would have to pay for the flight. How much did you spend for the whole trip?

    1. Hi Johnathan, it's a business trip to Las Vegas for me thus my company paid for my air ticket, hotel as well as per diem. Without the reimbursement, I'd have spent nearly SGD 4600 for my whole trip including transport, accommodation, meals as well as shopping.

  3. Hi Lynne! Can i check with you if you had encounter any bedbugs with this hotel? This is because i am planning a trip to las vegas and most of the hotels i googled have bed bugs. haha.

    1. Hello Peng Long! Fortunately, no! Yea, I hate bed bugs! I encountered it once when I was in Taipei (Happiness Inn at Ximending area). Bedbugs are carried around by travelers so any hotel might have the chance of having it at some point in time. Just pray that you can get a room without bedbugs!

  4. Hi Lynne!

    Thanks for your insights! haha. I will be travelling via United airlines to the states for the first time. Can i ask hows your experience with united airlines? Can the seats recline such that you are able to get your beauty rest? Oh ya one more thing is i arrive at SFO at 0915 and i have to catch another flight(book separately under another airline) to LAX at 1100, therefore can i ask is 1hr 45 mins enough time? or do u think i should give more allowance in between, in light of the recent events occuring around the world and hence tigher security? Thanks for your help once again!! So grateful for your blog. Cheers!!

    1. Hi Peng Long, my experience with United Airlines so far have been okay. Don't expect to see all young flight attendants on board like Singapore Airlines. Having flown with them a couple of times, I experienced both good and bad services, more of the good. I think it all depends on your luck. The seat-recline was normal, if you are someone who can fall asleep easily, it shouldn't be a problem for you in Economy class. Premium Economy would be better with longer leg room. If you are going to connect to another airline, maybe 1h45min is not a good gap considering there could be delays and crowded security checks. You will be fine if you are connecting to the same airline as the airline will probably make arrangement for you should you miss your connection. For me, if I am going to connect to a different airline, I will give myself 2-3 hours allowance. Nevertheless, if everything is smooth, 1h 45min is good enough. Good luck to you!