What all things to keep in mind for a solo travel in India

‘I love to travel but have to wait for my friends to get free time which would match mine’

‘I love to travel but want to experience a solo trip but am too scared about it’

‘I love to travel and want to travel solo but don’t know where to start from and how to do it’

Sounds familiar?

Most of us want to travel, rather love travelling. But when those friends and family are not available when you are available to go then you keep postponing the dates as per their availability.

Sometimes, you just want to have the experience of ‘solo’ travelling but somehow never started off.

So what are the things that you need to know before stepping out for travelling solo?

Here are some important pointers based on my own experiences which you would find useful while travelling solo in India –

Know your place

A little bit pre-researched information about the place where you are going is always helpful. Example, the kind of weather conditions, culture, dressing sense, food, transport availability, etc.

Transport

All places in India are mostly connected by trains and bus. So after you have selected the place you want to go, see the rental options of four wheeler and two wheeler if you want to avoid public transport.

For trains it is better to book beforehand. For the bus transport check for the State run transport first as it is much faster and budget friendly.

If you are moving from one destination to another then check the connectivity. For example, when I went to Rajasthan, I rented two wheeler at Jaipur and covered all the nearby places with that.

Food

Best way to enjoy the foods and have the hygiene factor covered is by having the local authentic foods. You get the fresh fruits and vegetables and also the processed items intake would be less when you are tasting the local delicacies. And given India is majorly a vegetarian country, you would get all types of food at almost all states.

Take your own reusable bottle with a filter attached (although it’s a bit expensive). This will help you to have pure drinking water. Buying water every time if you are on a long trip would weigh down on the budget.

Clothes

India is a vast country with tropical climate. Whatever destination you travel to, better to check the weather conditions prior to that. Especially the clothes you will require at the Northern India is different from Southern India.

However, it is good to have interchangeable clothes and light multi-purpose jackets which you can mix and match and wear anytime.

Another important thing is to wear clothes which does not attract unnecessary attention (especially for women travelers). Prefer to wear clothes covering more than 70% of the body. Not all places are same but just to be on the safer side you would like to take this into consideration.

Also keep in mind, while visiting most of the religious places, wear a fully covered dress and better to cover the head.

Be a Responsible Traveler

Traveling is not just about fun. It’s also about experiences and learning. Wherever you go ensure that you respect not just the people and culture but also the place. Do NOT litter around even if you find litter lying here and there. It will not only help you have a satisfied journey but also you might inspire and encourage others to follow the same, you never know!

Hacks & Tips

Ladies, it is a good idea to fake a ring on your finger! It works most of the time. This peculiar trick keeps away unwanted men most of the time.

Keep a whistle, key, spray(any deodorant will also do) and torch handy always for safety purpose.

Keep emergency numbers handy. Local police and hospital details should always be with you wherever you are traveling to.

While India is a diverse country with a diverse culture, it is always advisable to respect and be humble and empathetic while traveling towards the locals and the fellow travelers.

If you have some other tips and experience do share it in the comments below. Would love to hear.

Happy traveling 🙂

EatStreet at Brisbane. Food paradise in Australia

When you are in a new country, the first thing you look for is food, be it your native food or the local food. But when you have the option of pampering your taste buds with not just your native food but also local foods and delicacies from all over the world, what do you do? Yes you are in the Food Heaven!

In brief – EatStreet is a place at North Shore Hamilton, Brisbane where there is a food festival on all Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays of the year. From food, beverages to live performances at more than 2 stages, you can enjoy your time and dine by the Brisbane River watching the mesmerizing sunset.

On the occasion of the 5 years anniversary of the EatStreet, here are some of the moments captured.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another of my Moon shot 🙂

If you are at Brisbane, definitely visit EatStreet for some mouth watering experience!! Happy travelling 🙂

 

 

How to travel frequently having a full time job

How many of us wish to travel often but are pulled down due to our full time jobs? We all have at least one friend who fits in the above scenario. Or rather, some of us are the exact ones. Just imagine if you get the trick to travel frequently even with a full time job, how brilliant does that sound? Amazing right!

I have been working in a full time job since few years now, but the urge to go and visit new places, meet new people and most importantly try out amazing delicacies, has always kept a fire burning in my heart since a long time. In simple terms, explore the amazing World given to us by Mother Nature! In most of my travel stories shared with you all in my blog, maximum have been done during weekends, be it with family/friends or solo. You can check out all those with budget and itinerary!

Trips with friends and family are always welcome, but the problem comes when the time adjustment as per their availability does not match with mine and vice-versa.

Hence, I decided to take the plunge and raft with the flow. But the entire planning authority and freedom is mine for these trips and it gives an amazing sense of accomplishment and freedom!

So, most of us have 5 days job. But few even have Saturdays working. So what you can do is –

  1. First, look for long weekends where you can combine 1 or 2 days extra along with Saturday and Sunday for your trip, if not even then it’s fine
  2. List down all the nearby destinations from your location (you can always include the far off destinations with one night journey if you feel like)
  3. Check the train/bus/flight availability

If you are on a budget, then better to take train/bus. Some good websites to book online – IRCTC (I guess foreigners without user id cannot book from here, but there are other options) 

Yatra (some good offers are available round the year, just keep an eye on it)

MakeMyTrip (again look out for offers and discounts from time to time)

Goibibo (good discounts especially during the festive seasons)

Easemytrip (they don’t charge for the convenience fee)

4. Do some research about the place – Now this will be according to your taste and likeness which means if you are an adventure seeker, look out for what you can do in that place or if you are going with your family then what all options are available to explore

5. Set your budget for the entire trip including tickets

6. Calculate your travel time. If you are at a place say for example, Mumbai or Delhi and after office hours if you have to catch the train/bus at Friday night, then how many hours will be taken to reach your destination next day morning. I would suggest not to waste time beyond morning of the next day (Saturday), then you can utilize the max amount of time in the destination

7. If you are more of an explorer like me instead of a tourist, then checkout for hosts/travelers in Couchsurfing . The locals give you the better information about places and activities that tourists don’t get easily

Check out sites like TripAdvisor , LonelyPlanet, Tripoto . There are forums where you can even post your queries and get answers from genuine travelers.

8. If you are fine with not booking in advance for your accommodation, that’s okay but only if that’s a non-peak season. It’s advisable to book accommodation in advance especially if you are traveling in peak season

Booking.com (this is amazing to book good accommodations including homestay, hotel, resorts with excellent deals and you can even book without any advance booking fee and can cancel anytime before a specified timeline!)

My travel is mostly – start friday night, reach Saturday morning, Sunday again start for the return journey and Monday morning back to base. But if there are some mondays or fridays that can be taken as leave or clubbed with any National holidays, it’s more beneficial!

If you need any help or brainstorming regarding any place/trip, do get in touch with me. Always ready to help 🙂

Happy traveling 🙂

 

10 Best Places in India for Solo Female Travelers – Budget Friendly

With a full time job and only few weekends to spend for myself in a year, it’s a little bit of extra work of planning for a solo trip. Although there are lots of places in India to visit solo(for everyone irrespective of men or women), here are the top most as per budget, food and traveler friendly.

Source : Mumbai

Trip Duration (each) : 2-4 days (over the weekend)

Budget : Within INR 7000

Accomodation : Through makemytrip.combooking.com (these offer some really good budget-friendly deals) and Couchsurfing(the worldwide common platform for cultural exchange with travel experiences and hospitality- the best out of all the options!).

Budget : Pocket friendly (All prices might vary from season to season and person to person. These are the ones I completed my trips within).

1. Hampi – Paradise for all backpackers

Approx trip cost – INR 2000

The land of monuments and the Tungabhadra River, Hampi is more than just scenic beauty and an ideal place for backpackers, it is an experience with best of ancient touch and the warm and mordern gestures of the locals. The ancient temples, monuments and the giant rocks and boulders of Hampi will leave you amazed. The locals there speak fluent English so language is not a problem for anyone communicating in English.

Definitely take the Coracle ride once to cross the river. It’s really fun! And it is very well within the pocket-friendly budget. Have delicious foods at Mango Tree cafe with unlimited access to wifi and great ambiance.

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Tip : Take enough cash as there is no facility of card swipe at most of the places. The only ATM is at Hospet, 10 km from Hampi.

For detailed info, check here.

2. Goa – Indian travel hotspot year round for all kinds of travelers

Approx trip cost – INR 4000

The most happening place for solo traveling. Parties, serene beauty, water sports, adventure or just chilling out – Goa offers everything and is most frequented by solo travelers. You can visit Goa at any time of the year except the Summer season(it’s too hot!) During Monsoons only the water activities are closed due to high tides, otherwise every place can be explored and it’s a scenic beauty treat to the eyes during monsoon.

Try out the local cuisines and rent a two-wheeler (rent options available almost everywhere) for an ultimate enjoyable experience.

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Tip : Take good amount of sunscreen whichever month it be. Try out all kinds of booze at cheap rates than any other state.

3. Sikkim : The abode of natural beauty

Approx trip cost – INR 7000

Known as the most disciplined state, Sikkim is the abode of natural beauty and peace. You can never get enough of its serenity. The food, shopping and people are simply amazing. Definitely visit the Monastery, Phelling, Tsangu Lake. Gorge on yummiest momos and soups!

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Tip : Take a light jacket for the night in off winter season and definitely the woolens during winter.

4. Varanasi – Essence of Indian culture

Approx trip cost – INR 4500

As the saying goes ‘Varanasi is not just a place, it’s an experience’ is very true and you can experience this once you visit here. The Ganges, the Ghats, the Ganga Aarti , the innumerous diyas at the bank of the River – India’s culture reflects in every corner of Varanasi. At least once in life you must pay a visit. In the evening take a ride in the boat along the Assi Ghats and watch and immerse in the essence of Ganga Aarti.

Tip : Take proper care of not to get trapped by the ‘pandas’ at the temples.

5. Udaipur – The City of Lakes

Approx trip cost – INR 3000

Rajasthan has always attracted people from all over the world due to its rich history, culture and architecture. One of the safest destination for women travelers. The people are very friendly and helpful. The City of Lakes – Udaipur . The vintage car museum, the City Palace, the stroll near the banks of the lakes and getting immersed in the golden hue of sunset are just some of the many things you should do in Udaipur.

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Tip : Sit by the lakes (especially Lake Pichola) by the evening to enjoy the picturesque beauty and soothing breeze and try out the German Bakery stuffs over there!

6. Jaipur – The Pink City

Approx trip cost – INR 3000

Enjoy the Forts, palaces and vintage museums of the Pink City – Jaipur with delicious traditional foods that the city has to offer. The largest physical sun dial is located here at Jantar Mantar. It’s thrilling how the astronomy and engineering was so perfect at the ancient era in India!

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Tip : If you love walking, then can explore most the city by walking only.

For detailed info check here.

7. Jodhpur – Rajasthan treasures

Approx trip cost – INR 2500

The Blue City – Jodhpur is famous for the Mehrangarh Fort, one of the biggest in India and the Golden City. Along with that the world’s largest Royal residential heritage hotel – Umaid Bhavan Palace is located here.

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Tip : Try walking up the road to the Fort through the narrow backstreet from where the view is breathtaking, especially early in the morning and late evening.

For detailed info, check here.

8. Pondicherry – Touch of French culture

Approx trip cost – INR 5000

The French Colony of India is a place which has something that most of the place has in scarcity – peace and serenity. The delectable French cuisines, the old buildings, the small clean beautiful lanes, the Aurobindo Ashram, the simple people leading their simple lives, the shops for some great shopping experience – you can enjoy all these at Pondicherry. Do spend the evening at the Ocean rocks, it’s a beautiful experience.

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Tip : Take the direct bus from Chennai if you are opting for public transport or better book a cab for more convenience.

9. Khajuraho – Ancient architecture of India

Approx trip cost – 5000

A bit surprised? Yes Khajuraho is one of the best places for female solo travelers to visit and explore. Ofcourse a little cautiousness is needed just like any other place, but once you get the idea you are good to go ahead. The temple is the biggest attraction here and two lakes are also present nearby.

Khajuraho railway station is located in Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh. Along with that the Khajuraho airport is another option. By roadways, you can take buses which are available from Satna in Madhya Pradesh and Jhansi, Delhi and few other.

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Tip : While buying souvenirs at the shops outside the temple, negotiate as much as you can as they don’t give up easily.

10. Jhansi and Orchha – History of bravery and valour

Approx trip cost – 4000

In Jhansi, the Fort is the only attraction but the Orchha Palace is something not to be missed. An official guide at this place would be helpful to understand the details.

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Tip : Take a shared tempo from Jhansi to Orchha and vice versa for a distance of around 10 kms. It is cheap and convenient too.

So step out and explore and enjoy the beauties of every part of India! This list of course is going to increase as days pass by. If you know any other places which should add up to this list, please do share in the comment section. Happy traveling 🙂

Pros and Cons of Solo traveling

It has been quite sometime now people have come to know the term ‘solo travel’, thanks to the internet. But just like everything under the Sun has its pros and cons, so does solo traveling. Before you head out, be familiar with the pros and cons of solo traveling.

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Let’s see the cons first –

  1. Can be lonely – Solo traveling can be lonely sometimes. Especially when we would like to share any special moment with someone. Also for clicking photos selfie sticks are a savior in today’s time but still there are situations where we need to ask some stranger to take photos of us against the backdrop of the object or location
  2. Can be less safe – At some places and situations, solo traveling can be less safe, be it for a man or woman. So always be careful for own safety
  3. Can be expensive – Since we are all on our own, the expenses can get expensive sometimes, especially when not planned out well in advance

Coming to the Pros –

  1. Freedom – From A to Z typically, we plan everything for the trip, even if not the complete plan but at least the tickets, accommodation, place to visit, etc. This gives the freedom to chalk things out in our own sweet and comfortable way
  2. Self confidence – This point requires a five-star! Solo traveling not only develops and boosts our self confidence but also makes us a person with a to-do attitude in life
  3. Acceptance – We learn to accept other people and culture much easily into our lives and hence blending into the diversity
  4. New friends – Surely we make some wonderful friends, sometimes for lifetime!
  5. Broader perspective – We become (more)open minded and see things in a broader perspective with a positive attitude towards life
  6. ‘Me’ time – To get away from the daily routine, chaos or responsibility, we find ourselves some ‘own’ time just for our self, which is extremely essential for our mental and emotional being
  7. Problem solving – There are situations that we need to face and fix the problem all alone. This teaches to handle problems in our own way and how effectively we can do it

Even though there are some cons to it, yet solo traveling unleashes a whole new range of experience and exploration. All the benefits, advantages or the pros (as mentioned here) of this kind of adventure is something to be enjoyed and cherished. Personally I would suggest at least once everyone should travel and experience some destination solo in life. It is worth it! Happy traveling 🙂

P.S. – If you have traveled solo and found some real benefits/experiences other than those mentioned here, please feel free to share in the comment section. Would love to hear them!

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Best place to have food on Iftar in Mumbai – Mohammed Ali Road

What comes to your mind when it’s the month of Ramzaan? Iftar food! Undoubtedly, one of the most delectable and finger-licking taste could be found this time of the year. But the question is where should you go to have this food? The answer is Mohammad Ali Road, Mumbai.

Next question is, with a plethora of such a huge variety of items, what should you eat? Here is a quick guide to help you enjoy the Iftar moments.

Head straight to Md Ali Road, under the JJ Flyover. The entire street is fully packed with people and foods! Yes, it’s madly crowded. But just relax, take a deep breath and take the plunge into the ocean of food lovers. Reach Minara Masjid and walk through the entire street bursting with food joints.

Tip : There are other Masjid around. Be sure to check in map or ask someone the way to Minara Masjib. It is under the flyover.

Most of these food items mentioned below are available at almost all the restaurants and food stalls. However, as per the public reviews and personal experience, Chinese n Grill, Hindustan restaurant , Faham restaurant and Jaffer Bhai’s Delhi Durbar tops the chart. The food stalls are no less too.

The fast is traditionally broken with dates or a glass of water. It can also be done with a delicious dish – Haleem  (also known ad Khichda in Mumbai). This is made out of wheat, lentils and meat. The preparation may vary from region to region all over the world, however, in India it’s a standard and a favorite in this month.

No food walk can be complete without the kebabs. The various types of juicy and mouth watering spicy hot kebabs are a must try. The open food stalls offer a long list to choose from.

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Kebabs and tikkas

Have a plate of Tandoor Quail from the food stalls opposite to Islahi Dawakhana. The chicken angara is another must try with tandoori/rumali roti.

Surti Barah Handi – a slow cooking meat dish will leave you wanting for more. The cooking is done in earthen clay pots, adding to the authentic aroma and texture leaving the meat as tender as possible with gravy.

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Rolls and Mughlai paranthas

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Nalli Nihari, another tender cooked meat dish is a must try with roti at Chinese n Grill. Needless to say, the Biryani is always there to gorge in.

No treat can be complete without desserts. The ones during Iftar has a special highlight. These traditional desserts are a must try. Phirni, pink sherbat, badam sherbat, rabdi, malpua and many more.

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Phirni and Rabdi

Given the choice of delicacies, everything cannot be tasted in an hour or two, so take quite sometime and enjoy these yummy treats to satisfy your taste buds and soul.

Things to do in Penang(Malaysia) in a Day! #SoloTraveling

Welcome again travelers! Penang – in a day sounds really confusing right? So let me tell you this story is going to be about the places, foods and the people of Penang that I have experienced in a day’s time! I will provide as much information as possible and it is going to be a bit lengthy, so keep reading and enjoying the images too.

  • Mumbai to Penang round trip offers you will get on MakeMyTrip, Yatra, EaseMyTrip. Round trip costs around 20k approx (provided you book it advance).
  • Accommodation are available at budget friendly rates in Booking.com , Hostel World and others too.
  • For visa you need to apply beforehand.
  • Checkout the conversion rates too and preferably better to take some converted cash from here itself than Airport, since the conversion rates are a bit higher there at the Airports.

Overview :

George Town, Capital city of Penang has many interesting places and some amazing foods for the taste buds. Some of the best places – St. George Church, Goddess of Mercy Temple (Chinese style ancient temple), Penang State Museum and Art, Kek Lok Si (19th century Buddhist Temple), Little India, the creative and colorful Art works at almost all streets, Queen Street, Cheong Fatt Tze (The Blue Mansion) and many  more.

What to do in a single day :

Well, you cannot cover all the places and see everything in a day’s time. So these are some points of interest which are worth visiting and exploring.

Morning – Go to Penang Hill, the highest point of Penang with an exquisite flora and fauna and breathtaking view from the top. You can take the train which takes around 15 mins to reach the top or can hike – although train is the fastest and comfortable route. You can spend few hours or whole day depending on your likeness.

Day/Evening – Tour around the town by walking. You definitely need to visit the streets of Chinese Temples, Little India and Kalitan Mosque, all one after the other. The amazing street arts are so creative that every art form portrays a message. See few of the Art forms below.

These are just few of the Street Art works (below) you would come across at all the streets and corners.

These are so vibrant and creative with a strong and beautiful message in every Art form.

Go to the Blue Mansion – It is a Government gazetted heritage building. It is now a Chinese boutique hotel. This was made at the end of 19th century and has 38 rooms, 5 granite-paved courtyards, 7 staircases and 220 vernacular timber louvre windows. This is a must visit which portrays the Chinese architecture and Feng Shui in every corner of the mansion.

Food : This is my favorite section. Definitely try out the local foods there, especially if you are non-veg and sea food lover. Veg options are also quite good.

This is the place where you can get fresh sea foods.

There are lots of things to do and see at Penang. But if you have a single day out there, you can definitely go for these above things. The food, culture and the people will leave you wanting to come back again.

Happy traveling 🙂