Tag Archives: budget traveler

The Pushkar Experience

20 Jan

On the third day of our Rajasthan trip, we found ourselves in the small desert town of Pushkar, where we spent nearly 3 days.  And I must say that nothing had prepared us for what to expect in this visit. For starters, this town is very very small (you can walk from one corner to the other numerous times in a day), its full of temples (every building is either a temple or every house has a temple), has more foreigners than Indians, is brimming with every possible color, is very cheap for everything and all food here is fully vegetarian (non-vegetarian food and alcohol is prohibited here). Though this place is more famous for the Pushkar fair, we decided to visit it before the fair to just get an actual flavor and feel of this town. And I must say, we loved this place.

In Pushkar there is just one main road which is full of shops, eataries and temples. One side of this road are ghats and the Pushkar Lake while on the other side you have the small by-lanes with shops, houses and more temples. The town is so small that you can cover it several times in the day and all on foot. Also, you will notice that there are more tourists than locals and only two kinds of tourists – Indian pilgrims or foreign backpackers. Because of all the international tourists everyone here speaks english and all internal cuisines are available. In fact the food here was so amazing that I’ll write a separate post on it.

While there is nothing per se to see here, there is a world here to experience. So here’s my experience of Pushkar in pictures –

An ancient door of an ancient haveli

An ancient door of an ancient haveli

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Rural Cruising in Rajasthan

9 Jan

After  an exciting Day 1 of our holiday in Bundi, we had decided to start our second day pretty early with a trip to a nearby Jain temple called Bijoliya Parasnath, then return to Bundi for lunch and then start for our long drive to Pushkar.

And in order to manage everything in time, we started pretty early from Bundi at 6.30am (in fact it was so early that we had to wake up the haveli staff to open the doors J) for our journey to Bijoliyaji Parasnath. Now the distance between these 2 places is only around 50 Kms but the drive takes around 2 hours one way, due to the bad conditions of the road.

Drive to Bijoliya Parasnath

Drive to Bijoliya Parasnath

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Bundi, a small town lost in time

1 Jan

Rajasthan, for some inexplicable reason, has been a place that always beckons me to visit, no matter how many times I have already been there (and I have been there 7 – 8 times already). Hence it’s not surprising that I ended up there yet again for a short holiday in October this year. And like always, this holiday didn’t disappoint us in fact we saw a completely new face of Rajasthan.

For this trip, I decided to visit Bundi (a small town in Rajasthan), drive through a few villages (a rural journey) and ultimately visit Pushkar (the temple town). You can read more on my travel planning and itinerary in my previous post – Travel Plans for a quick trip to Rajasthan.

Bundi, a beautiful palace overlooking the city

Bundi, a beautiful palace overlooking the city

We started our trip when our train dropped us at the Kota station at 5am on Day 1. We had booked a cab in advance (since it was early morning), but you can just reach the station and take a cab for Bundi directly. We found our dozing driver and then set off for our journey towards Kesariya Patan.

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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.

one-lovely-blog1

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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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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Flying in the Air like a Gibbon

25 Nov

Whenever I travel to any new place, I always like to do a few hidden / not as known things / or things that you normally don’t associate with that place. So in Bangkok, apart from all the shopping and temples, a trip to the Khao San road and other touristy stuff we went for a flying fox eco adventure atop the rainforest.

Now the story of how we found out about this place is also very interesting. A friend of ours had researched quite a bit for her trip to Bangkok but for some reason had not been able to make it. So she had forgotten a lot of details but asked us to do the walk in the trees in Bangkok. I hunted all over the internet but was just not able to find any reference to any walk on the trees. Then by sheer luck / chance I was chatting just with a colleague who had just returned from Bangkok and happened to mention this and he told me that it’s called the “Flight of the Gibbon” and its super fun.

The Flight of the Gibbon, Bangkok

The Flight of the Gibbon, Bangkok

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