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The United States of America is also known as, The United States, The U.S., USA or America. With a population of more than 325 million, it is among the most populated and largest countries in the world. America is composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major territories and various other possessions. Excluding Alaska and Hawaii, the other 48 states are located on the North American continent, boarded by Canada, Mexico, the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. The federal district of America is the District of Columbia or more popularly referred to as Washington D.C.
Famously discovered by Christopher Columbus, early settlements were by people from European nations. As the established dominant presence, the British founded the first colony, Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. As more and more settlers came, the surrounding areas were colonised into 13 colonies. By 1732, the Thirteen Colonies was established along the Atlantic coast and came to be known as the New England Colonies. Although the colonies were governed by the Parliament in England, they became very self-governing and soon started resisting Parliament’s orders. The 13 colonies declared independence on the 4th of July, 1776 and became the first states of the United States of America. The colonist felt that the Parliament had no right to impose Tax laws to pay for England’s war debt. This basis started a war that is known as the Revolutionary War which began in 1775 and ended in 1783.
During the period between 1803 till 1860, the country expanded to include the Northwest and Southwest states. Due to the difference in ideals, there was a period where a few Southern states seceded from the United States to form the Confederate States. This action caused the Civil War which lasted for four years beginning in 1861.
Under the Constitution, Congress has the authority to admit new states into America. The number of states expanded from 13 to 50 and the modern United States of America added its final two states with the joining of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959.
The United States has many major cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. These cities are home to a multi-racial population which produces cities with a diverse culture. Big cities are quite popular amongst tourists as it is where most of the attractions are concentrated.
Citizens of foreign countries must obtain a visa prior to entry into the United States unless they are a citizen of one of the 38 countries included in the Visa Waiver Program. The Nonimmigrant visa is the one used primarily by tourist, students and people on a business visit. The process for a Nonimmigrant visa application is explained online at www.ustraveldocs.com . The application includes filling forms, paying a fee and also a visa interview at the US Embassy.
The commonly used language in America is English with Spanish as the second most used language in the country. Even though it has never been formally established as the official language of the United States of America, 32 state governments have declared English as an official language.
There are six major climate regions in the United States; Southwest, Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Mid/South Pacific and Northwest Pacific. Generally, it gets drier further to the west and warmer to the south. Extreme weather can also be expected such as hurricanes and tornadoes.
The typical food associated with America is usually cheeseburgers, pizza, apple pie, French fries and hotdogs among others. Though this is somewhat true, the style and flavours may change depending on the region. Cities like New York and Chicago for example, have their own versions of the same dish like pizza. New Yorkers like their pizzas hand-tossed with a thin crust which is very different from the deep dish Chicago style.
Developed independently throughout time, each regional style of cooking is derived from locally sourced produce and its colonial influences. The New England states like hearty meals and cold-water seafood. This is where Boston baked beans, New England clam chowder and the Maine Lobsters originates. Southern cooking and soul food are the style of cuisine in the Southern states; think southern fried chicken, biscuits, white sauce gravy and barbecue.
New Orleans’ Cajun and Creole cuisine is a mixture of French and Spanish influences. A famous dish in New Orleans is the gumbo, a stew of meats, seafood and sausage. Over the southwestern states, the food is influenced heavily by their Mexican neighbours, so salsa, burritos, nachos, and tacos are common. Lastly, California which is famously known for healthy cuisine thanks to the supply of fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood readily available throughout the seasons.
Flights from Kuala Lumpur to any airport in the United States will usually last more than 17 hours with at least one transit stop in between. For example, a Kuala Lumpur to New York City flight starts from about RM2,500 to RM3,800 depending on the Airlines chosen. On average, it takes more than 20 hours to reach New York with a connecting flight in between. Flights will land in THE John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK Airport). Once there, going to different states can either be by flight, bus or even train.
Travelling long distance between major cities and towns can be done via bus. Busses are generally cheaper than flights although it will take longer to reach your destination. Long distance bus companies like the Greyhoud, Trailways, Megabus and Botbus offers reliable and comfortable services at competitive fares.
You can travel via train from coast to coast across the United States and takes 3 nights. Long distance trains are operated by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation commonly known as Amtrak. Depending on which route you take, there may only be one train per day.
The city is a popular destination among tourists to America in New York City. The city has many iconic buildings and bridges like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Washington Bridge. New York City is also home to many famous museums such as the American Museum of Natural History, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum.
Located in the Pacific, the eight main islands of Hawaii is home to beautiful sandy beaches, warm blue waters as well as diverse flora and fauna. Here you can snorkel and dive around, go whale watching, hike up to Manoa Falls or the Koko Crater Arch in Oahu, take a helicopter tour over Hilo, play a round of golf at Waikoloa or just have a relaxing day on one of its many beaches. A favourite activity among tourist is to join a surf school like Gone Surfing on Waikiki Beach and learn to surf.
If you like going on rides, then Orlando, Florida is perfect for you. Universal Island of Adventure, Disney’s Hollywood Studio, SeaWorld, Legoland are just some of the parks available here. Parks like Disney’s Magic Kingdom offers a magical time with classic rides like the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion with a fireworks show at the end of the day. Since they are a popular attraction especially during the summer months, it might be advisable to consider getting priority or fast passes if available.
The capital of the United States of America where the White House and the United States Capitol is located. Here you can visit memorials and monuments such as The Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial and The Vietnam Veterans Memorial where you can learn about the History of America. There are plenty of tour groups to choose from for people who want detailed information regarding the buildings and monuments. This is also where the Smithsonian is located. The Smithsonian is a complex of 19 museums, 9 research centres and even a zoo.
Located in Midtown Manhattan, this four and a half star hotel is only about a block away from Times Square. The hotel is in walking distance of New York’s attractions like Broadway, Grand Central Terminal and also Central Park. This pet-friendly hotel also has a fitness studio available for guests.
Ideal for those who appreciate classic accommodation in Las Vegas, Bally’s Las Vegas- Hotel and Casino encompasses 450 square feet of living space with chic lounge furniture yielding a stylistic and welcoming atmosphere. With many types of room to choose from, the hotel features many attractions that you may enjoy just within the hotel building itself include; tennis complex, an excellent spa and casino! There is also a selection of eateries where you can have scrumptious dishes while enjoying the life in Las Vegas.
Villa Florence is an Italian-inspired boutique hotel, located right in the heart of downtown San Francisco. The hotel features 189 thoughtfully designed deluxe guestrooms and suites that will give you a memorable stay. It is also located not far away from local attractions such as the Union Square, Alcove Theatre and San Francisco Magic Parlor.