Archive | December, 2012

A big thanks for all the blog awards…. 2

30 Dec

Continuing from my earlier post – The Blog Awards 1, this post continues with thanking all the other fellow bloggers who have nominated me for these various awards and given me a chance to spread the cheer during this festive season. So here we go –

One Lovely Blog Award – I would like to thank Dre at Grackle & SunCelena, Anil Cm and Shantaya for nominating me for this award and honor.

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You can follow their blogs at –

1.         Dre at Grackle & Sun – http://grackleandsun.wordpress.com/

2.         Celena – http://myunexcusedlife.wordpress.com/

3.         Anil Cm – http://exxtracts.wordpress.com/

4.         Shantaya – http://thepinkexpat.com/

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A Big Thanks for the Blog Awards… Part 1

28 Dec
It makes me giddy (with elation),
It makes me laugh (with happiness),
Because you want my autograph (for all these awards).

 These numerous blog awards have done this to me, wherein I am reminded of this childhood jingle that we used to sing at receiving any awards for our academic accomplishments. Today, I am super happy and elated that my blog (which is less than a year old) has received so much appreciation, recognition and a variety of blog awards. In this short time span, blogging has come to mean the world to me wherein I have made new friends, shared my travel stories with other bloggers, had new adventures while reading posts of other bloggers and most of all writing in my own way. So here’s a big thank you to all of you who have been following, reading, commenting, nominating and visiting this small space of mine…

 For simplicity, I have compiled a list of all the awards that I have received in the last 9 months and will write 2 blog posts to thank all the bloggers who have nominated me and to nominate other blogs for these awards. So here we go –

 The Kreativ Blogger Award – I would like to thank TheBurntMap for this award and honor, in April 2012 (when I was hardly 4 months old). You should visit his blog at http://trippinonlife.wordpress.com/the-burnt-what-2/  to follow his travel chronicles all over India.

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Travel Plans for a quick 5 day off-beat trip to Rajasthan

18 Dec

October this year came up with a fabulous opportunity to take a quick unplanned holiday. In a week, the Wednesday was an off and so was that same Friday, so if you just took a thursday off – you got full 5 days holiday.  On seeing this small window of opportunity, the travel junkie in me just couldn’t resist and decided to go somewhere, rather go anywhere. However realty hit me hard, when I saw the extremely expensive air fare for any place that I wanted to visit, so I decided to leave all those places and check my options via an overnight train travel from Mumbai.

Now, I am one of those people who really need to plan for a trip much in advance and research / mull on it for at least a month. But in this case I decided the broad trip details in 2 days and landed up at the place with only the trains and hotels booked. Rest all, I left to be discovered en route; I guess this is as impulsive as I’ll ever get. And I am glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed; in fact, I realised that there is a different experience all together when you travel like this. For starters, you haven’t read a lot about a place so it’s all new and unexpected. Secondly this allows you a lot of flexibility in the paths to take or things to do.

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2012, the year that went by and 2013, the year to come

13 Dec

December, for some inexplicable reason, always ends up becoming a month of stock taking (of how the year went by) and planning for the brand new coming year (which is exciting). While I have long ago given up the whole resolution business (couldn’t keep any single one anyways) , I still like the chance to prepare for things to done in the new year, holidays to be taken and personal goals to be achieved. I guess this gives the control freak in me another chance to plan for things and be prepared in my own ways. 🙂

So when I has planned for the year 2012, I had decided to set up something for writing on my travels / sharing travel stories (though I hadn’t decided on a blog then), visit at least 2 new places in India and 2 new places internationally in and improve my photography skills.

So how did 2012 finally turn out? Well, 2012 was not a good year personally but it was otherwise a great year and I ended up doing a lot of new things. After reading an article on blogging, I set up this travel blog in late January 2012. I am super happy with it as in less than a year I have 92 posts, support of 950+ followers, 1200 comments, learnt of so many new places (through other blogs) and I have discovered a whole new world of blogging friends. On the travel front – for a long time it seemed I will not be able to visit the 4 new places, as all plans kept getting cancelled for various reasons. But luckily a few plans did work out and I am happy to say that in the end I managed to achieve these travel targets. I ended up travelling internationally to Thailand, Cambodia and Dubai and in India to Delhi, Pushkar and Bundi. Is this enough? Definitely not but I learnt a lot about better planning of holidays, managing more in limited time, improving my photohgraphy skills and discovering the joy in visiting those off beat simple places.

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Points to keep in mind before purchasing a Digital Camera

9 Dec

An important aspect of any successful travel blogger is the art of capturing and posting beautiful photographs. As all well written posts need actual photographs to enable the readers to relate to the post. So I decided to invest in a good quality digital camera and searched for options online –

Just a quick initial search threw up more than 2000 options and the sheer variety and number of options available were mind-boggling. Reading up more on this topic confused me further and a chat with a couple of camera enthusiasts just killed the purchase process as all the individual views, physics and mechanics of camera parts threw me into further indecision. And the more I researched the more the word “digital camera” became a monster from my school physics classes that I never got the hang of. Things reached such an epic proportion that I decided to give up this entire process and continue photographing with my iPhone camera.

However before I gave up the search, I decided to speak with a friend who is self-trained in photography and is pursuing a career in this space. A chat with him really helped me clarify this whole process so much so that I was finally able to purchase my own fabulous digital camera and also create a kind of questionnaire that has been helpful in simplifying this process for a lot of other people I know. While I am no authority on this subject, I felt that there are a lot of practical aspects (apart from the actual camera features) that one should consider before investing in a camera. Hence I decided to write this post and share the same with you today in case you are in the same boat that I was in then.

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Places to shop in Bangkok

8 Dec

Apart from all other attractions that Bangkok is famous for, there is one particular thing that a lot of Indians swear by. And that’s shopping in this city. It is said that shopping in this city is very cheap and you get loads of amazing stuff. Well, my views differ slightly.

Shopping in Bangkok is relatively cheap (not “very” and the current exchange rate is not helping) for certain stuff such as T-shirts, bags, casual clothes, accessories, TVs etc but if you want to buy the branded stuff, then it is pretty much the same as in India. Though there are benefits – like shopping for brands that are not available in India or their local designers, etc. We shopped quite a bit here and I have listed below my recommendations on this topic –

Malls – 

  • Platinum Mall – This is one of the best places to shop for bargain stuff in Bangkok. This is one huge mall with 3 zones and a couple of floors filled with clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, etc etc. This is more of a wholesale market and  the way to shop is – there is a certain price for buying 1 item and there is a discount if you buy 3 items of the same kind.
    • Good Things – Good stuff at good bargains. We bought shoes, accessories, clothes etc which were good quality and at a good bargain.
    • Not So Good Things – This is a huge place and very crowded and chaotic. You have to hunt through a lot of stuff to get what you like.
    • How to reach here – Take a BTS Skytrain to Chidlom station and then it is a 15 – 20 minute walk.
Platinum Mall. Photo courtesy -mithunonthe.net

Platinum Mall. Photo courtesy -mithunonthe.net

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Things to Do in Cambodia (apart from the temples)

2 Dec

Whenever you talk to people about visiting Cambodia, the first thing they say is – “visit the Angkor Wat Temples” and if some people know a bit more than they talk about visiting the Khmer Rouge rule and the killing fields etc in Phnom Penh. But after my trip to Cambodia, I discovered that this country has so much more to offer (apart from the normal touristy stuff mentioned in various websites and guidebooks) that one should definitely incorporate in their travel itineraries. So I have decided to list down a few things that I feel you should definitely keep time for whenever you decide to visit this beautiful country.

  • Interact with local people – This is one of my most recommended things to do here. The local population here is very poor (yes I felt that even after coming from India) and have suffered immensely under the Khmer Rouge rule (every person you meet here has lost numerous family members to this tragedy). Still they are open to talk about the history, about what happened, how they lost their family, the politics, how they survived against all odds, etc etc. And the best part is that during this entire conversation, they talk about moving forward and their future plans for their kids. So much so that you really feel like lauding them for their courage, hard work and positivity. This encounter also helped me thank god once again for what I have and am in life. Also, if you are into portrait photography, then you will find very interesting models in people and kids around here.
Monks at the temples of Siem Reap

Monks at the temples of Siem Reap

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