Vegas To New York

Where do I start from?
The Casinos or the SkyScrapers!!
The Gambling City or the City that Never Sleeps!!
Las Vegas or New York!!

Everything about both the cities is completely different with each one having it’s own charm.The never ending world of casinos where time has no value with that delusion of coming closer to deep pockets!
On the other hand, New York , a concrete jungle with people constantly hustling all along the day!

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At The Venetian, Las Vegas

My trip to both Vegas and New York are short two day trips. This blog would definitely help you get an idea about the places to explore, if you are a first time visitor and if you have less time on hand.

Let’s just start with travel tips for each of these cities!

Las Vegas

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Temperature : Around 40-43 C (In August)
Well, It’s a desert, what else can you expect!

Accommodation : We stayed at The Venetian Resort. We chose weekdays for Vegas as the otherwise expensive luxurious accomodation seemed affordable (especially, plan it during the weekdays just before a long weekend – you would end up getting great deals)

For those of you who aren’t aware about this casino world, Vegas has numerous hotels/resorts which have casinos and clubs of their own which are open for the visitors. It’s totally up to you about how many you would like to visit and explore. I will let you know the main ones in this blog

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The World of Casino

 

Things To Do:

Walk along The Strip – It’s the main street of Vegas where all the action happens. Sprawling with casinos, resorts, strip clubs, and a lot more, this street should be the first place you should visit to get the actual vibe of the place (preferably in the night). It looks spectacular in the night with all those brightly lit buildings.

Explore The Venetian and Caesers Palace – These are two exquisite resorts with Italian and Roman themed architecture respectively. Both of them are open for visitors to roam around, shop and gamble. Both of them host one of the biggest casinos, luxury brands outlet stores and some decent restaurants.

Watch the Bellagio Fountain Show  – It is an incredible 15 min fountain show where the fountain movement is choreographed with light and music. It usually starts at 8 pm and goes on till midnight (Do check the timings as it might vary for weekdays and weekends)

Experience Night Clubs and Strip Clubs  –  The Night Club experience is particularly different in Vegas. Few popular ones are Omnia, Marquee and XS. The strip clubs in Vegas are famous too. You can try them if you are interested

Watch the Volcano Show at Mirage – This is one more fountain show which gives the illusion of a volcanic eruption with light and fire, along with choreographed movement of it with music. It is a 5 min show which happens daily at 7 pm/8pm/9 pm.

Explore Vegas Shows – Cirque du Soleil is one of the popular shows in Vegas. I couldn’t find a show during my visit. If you do get a chance, try that. There are many other shows that one could see. (Entry Charge is slightly expensive for this show – around 100$)

Try Daiquiri – It’s a cocktail where you can mix the flavours of your choice. There are many stores on the strip which offer these. Fat Tuesday’s daiquiri is one of the popular ones.

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At ‘The Strip’

Travel Tips :

Good night clubs usually has an entry charge which is almost like 100$. You can avoid that by getting on to the guest list in advance for a specific night club (Google about guest list for a club — you will find lot of links to submit your name). Only disadvantage of guest list is that you need to be there by 8/9 pm which I feel is a decent tradeoff for 100$

Plan your vacation in Vegas during weekdays when the accomodation charges are almost 1/4th the price during weekends

Be there for the fountain shows at-least 15 min before the show timing so that you have some space to view it, before the crowd steps in.

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At Caesars Palace

New York

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Times Square

Temperature : Around 15-20 C (In September)
It was raining heavily too on one day (So, plan for some winter and monsoon wear if you plan to visit around the same time)

Accommodation : I stayed at my cousin’s place. Accomodation in NYC is expensive enough. If you are a budget traveller like me, try couch surfing or staying at New Jersey or Brooklyn (which have decent travel access to NYC).

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Streets near WTC

Places to Visit:

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Times Square

Times Square – Of course, who misses to visit the Time Square if you are visiting NYC. The huge digital banners changing all the time, the artists and the crowd is what makes Time Square the place it is! It is definitely different and entertaining to spend your evenings around here.

Brooklyn Bridge and Dumbo – I personally loved the view from Dumbo which is on the other side of Hudson river giving the entire view of NYC. I found Brooklyn Bridge to be a little overhyped but the view from there is decent 🙂

Empire State Building  – Checking out the panoramic view of the city from the 84th floor of  Empire State Building should be on your list. I visited the place in the morning but it would be much more beautiful if you can visit once the sun sets. It is open till 2 am in the morning. Entry fee is around 35$ to go to the deck

Financial District – World Trade Center, Wall Street : The area around WTC is where the twin towers of NYC were! If you are interested, there is a museum about the twin towers and the tragic event.

Apart from this, the streets around WTC have great wall art, and good food options. One can just walk around to explore the place

Fifth Avenue – It’s a street for luxury shopping. If you are into it, this is the best place as it has a wide range of designs

Central Park – Don’t miss this if you have time. (I couldn’t :/ Saving it for the next time)
I happened to visit Bryant Park, which is a pretty little park that has decent cafes to hang around.

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Brooklyn Bridge

Also, Statue of Liberty was last on my list as it didn’t seem interesting to me except the ride on Hudson river till the island.

Travel Tips :

Internal transport in NY is one of the best in USA. I personally used the metro to travel, with each ride costing around 2.75$. There is bus transport available too.

I would say, NY is beautiful in the night. So, if possible, explore the city in the night rather than mornings

Try veg pizza at Artichoke Basille’s Pizza, cup cakes at Melissa Bakery (Being lactose intolerant has knocked me out of the option to try the pizza but do try, if you can). The cupcakes were decent enough, even though not so extraordinary

Go to a one of those famous NY broadway shows. The prices vary depending on the show. Do check the availability and plan in advance.

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From 78th Floor of Empire State Building

I hardly had two days in New York.With rain ruining my plans for one complete day, there is lot that I could not explore. Saving the rest for the next time!

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Vegas or New York 🙂

Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Photos by Satwik Varala 

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Previous post :  A Californian Experience Through My Lens : 10 Must Visit Places In And Around San Francisco

Black Bell Bottoms : Shein |White Top : Shein|White Blazer, White Mules, Olive Jacket, Beige Skirt, Black Top, Box Bag : Zara |White Shoes : Nike

A Californian Experience Through My Lens : 10 Must Visit Places In And Around San Francisco

Never knew that this deserted land had so much in store, for me to experience. Be it , the colourful hues of the California sunsets which are one of the most beautiful sunsets, or the stunning deserted landscapes with windmills and a clear blue sky, or the scenic beauty of the Pacific coastline – West Coast surprised me in many ways!!

With just a week in San Francisco, let me just take you through my experience, do’s and dont’s!

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Best time to visit : September to October (I was there during the start of September)

Temperature : It usually varies between 25-30˚C. In the main city of SF, you can expect cold breeze. However, when you step out of the city, the temperature along with hot breeze during the day will give you a tough time!

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb close to the golden gate bridge. The rates for a decent airbnb range from INR 4-6 grand per night. You can check out our airbnb here

Internal Travel : This is probably the worst part of SF, the public transport is definitely not going to help you in any way. There is BART which is a cheaper mode of transport to reach SF. Apart from that, Muni is San Francisco public transport (Bus, Metro, Cable Cars) [Find more details here] . It’s advisable to rent a car if you know driving (Uber and Lyft are other options). We used our personal vehicle to roam around.

10 Must Visit Places In And Around San Francisco

1. Visit Tenaya Lake of Yosemite

This one tops all the places that I visited. I initially stepped into Yosemite with a perception to witness the legendary rock formations and this lake, which is certainly a 2 hr drive from the main Yosemite area is a genuine surprise. It’s beauty couldn’t be comprehended!! The serene surroundings of this lake just made me stay there till the sun set behind those huge rocks and trees. We had the place entirely to ourselves. It is of-course, not-so-explored among the tourists.

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Tenaya Lake
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El Capitan

We did a day trip to Yosemite from SF but I would recommend you to stay there for a day or two to spot such amazing non-touristy gems. It is around a 3 hr drive from SF.

Apart from the Tenaya Lake, do stop by those legendary rock formations of Half Dome, El Capitan, Bridalveil falls and the Tunnel view
(I was not able to cover tunnel view as I decided to stay back at Tenaya for a while!! :/ )

2. Witness the Beauty of Lake Tahoe From The Top Most View Points
Lake Tahoe, a 4 hour drive from SF, is definitely a must-visit. The view looking down on the Emerald Bay of Southern Lake Tahoe is the best. Preferred view points are Inspiration Point, Emerald Bay Lookout. There are many other view points along the road that you can stop by, as per your convenience. Parking is a problem at these view points during peak hours.
There are few hikes which give you amazing view of Lake Tahoe. Explore them if you are interested. We did a day trip to Lake Tahoe, but again, if you want to experience this place by hiking, stay back for a day or two.

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Emerald Bay LookOut
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At Emerald Bay LookOut

3. Experience Lake Tahoe From Zephyr Cove Resort and explore the Tahoe City
Zephyr Cove Resort has a private beach area which even the visitors can access if you can pay a minimum charge of 10$. This beach is comparatively less crowded and gives you stunning view of the sunset.
Explore the Lake Tahoe Boulevard of Tahoe City which is a pretty place with shops and restaurants.

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Zephyr Cove Resort Beach

4. Drive Along Big Sur
With just a 2 hrs drive from SF, Big Sur offers an incredible view of coastline and sea side cliffs. Do check out the weather conditions before heading to Big Sur as it is mostly misty. It was extremely misty when we reached, which got cleared by noon.

Visit the Bixby Bridge an Carmel River State Beach (Non-touristy  and less crowded beach in a pretty neighbourhood). There are definitely other spots that you could visit but the heavy mist spoiled our day 😦

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Carmel Beach

5. Don’t Miss The ’17 Mile-Drive’
The 17 Mile-Drive is close to Big Sur and it is a coastal drive in a private property area. You need to pay a toll of 25$ per vehicle to get into this area. Describing the drive along 17 Mile-Drive as beautiful would be an understatement!!
It offers exhilarating views of sea-side cliffs, pebble beach, golf courses along the coast. A must-visit if you happen to visit Big Sur.
Big Sur could be done as a day trip from SF. (Not easily accessible by public transport)

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View Along 17 Mile-Drive

6. Watch The Bay Area Sleep From Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve
It is a place which is mostly familiar among the locals. Head to this place in the night (not accessible by public transport) to see the city that is entirely lit up. It is known for its sunset view too.

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Sierra Vista

7. Head to Treasure Island to get the best view of SF Skyline in the Night
Treasure Island which is an artificial island in SF city neighbourhood is the apt spot to enjoy the SF skyline in the night. (Not easily accessible by public transport)

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SF Skyline From Treasure Island

8. Explore Ghirardelli Square, Lombard Street, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf &
Taste the Famous Crab Cakes and Clam Chowder Sourdough Bowl in SF City
Pier 39 is a lively area with music, street performers, restaurants and shops. You can even get a view of the sea lions from this Pier. It’s good for an evening stroll.
Fisherman’s Wharf is famous for crab cakes and clam chowder served in sourdough bowl. Grab one of these and enjoy them, if you are into sea food.

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Pier 39
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Near Pier 39

Ghirardelli Square is good for an evening stroll along side the river. You can just sit and watch the sun set. You can try Ghirardelli chocolates at their cafe which are famous, however they didn’t beat Godiva for me 😛

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Crab Cakes

Lombard Street renowned as the crooked street, is located in a good neighbourhood. Try to reach this place by sunset to get a good sunset view of the city.

9. Enjoy A Closer View of Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer
This is the best among the other view points of Golden Bridge. It gives a closer view of the bridge from the top of a hill. Do explore the beach view points, if you have time.
Also, if mist is a spoiler and you don’t get to see the golden gate bridge, you need not be surprised as it is the case for most of the times!! 😦

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Golden Gate Bridge (Battery Spencer)

10. Head to the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz
Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz experiences a gravity anomaly. There are demonstrations which are done to show you how the laws of gravity don’t hold true in that spot.
This spot is an hour drive from SF but again, not easily accessible by public transport.

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Outside the Mystery Spot
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Look at me enjoying the slant position at the Mystery Spot without falling!!

If someone said shopping in US is cheap, I would just laugh out loudly now!! It’s not the case unless you earn in USD!!
Most of the clothes or accessories are expensive. The designs of affordable US brands were not appealing. I would prefer European affordable brands over US affordable brands, any time!
However, you may find cosmetics at a steal price compared to India. So, stock up on those. The Market Street in SF is a good shopping area. If you want to explore discounted options, outlet malls would be the place to go. However, I personally didn’t like the stock over there as the collection would be one to two seasons old.

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Photos by Satwik Kodangal Varala, Vyomika Lekkala

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Orange maxi, Yellow Top, Red Cap, Beige Skirt, white top, Red Handheld bag : Zara | Saree : Handloom Exhibition| Sneakers, black crop top : Nike| Accessories : thrift store \ White Skirt, Pant Suit : HnM

 

 

 

Travel Tips To Explore Bali

There is a lot of research that goes into planning a trip by yourself. Starting from transportation from airport, internal travel, shortlisting the places to visit,  making an itinerary, currency exchange, accommodation and the list goes on…

Let me try to make it a little simple for those planning to visit Bali.

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Hondara Golf Club 

Accommodation:

Bali has in-numerous affordable options to stay, which are luxurious enough for the amount that you pay. I personally prefer airbnb’s over hotels and those that are really close to the main centre. It’s important that you stay close to the centre as there is no internal transport within the city unless you rent a bike/car.

I got many questions about my stay in Ubud, which was a beautiful double storey house with all facilities and a wonderful host. I would highly recommend this place if you don’t want to travel much or if you don’t have a bike/car.

Ubud Airbnb Link : https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/10709554

We stayed at Gili Twarangan for 2 nights and then headed to Ubud to stay for 5 nights.

Since Bali offers good hotels at a cheaper price compared to India, I wanted to pamper myself (for my 25th birthday 😛 ) by booking a luxurious resort on the beach side in Gili Twarangan. It is perfect for a lazy and relaxed holiday with all luxurious comforts and amazing service.

However, there are much cheaper options available in Gili T, which are really good. (Based on your preference)

Gili Twarangan Hotel :  Pearl of Twarangan (Booked a Pearl Pool Villa)

Internal Travel

Bali doesn’t have any public transport system. You can either rent a bike (which costs you around IDR 50,000- 60,000 per day). There are shops on every street in the main centre to rent a bike) – Ensure you have license!!

Second option would be to take a cab for a day. There would be many cab drivers asking for a ride, right on the streets. However, not everyone charges reasonably. Usually, the price would be around IDR 250,000 – 300,000 for a ride from airport to Ubud. You can find a lot of cab drivers right outside the airport.

But, if you are planning to visit places which are like 1-2 hrs away from your accommodation, they would charge around IDR 500,000 – 700,000 for 10 hrs. We have hired a driver who used to charge IDR 500,000 per day for 10 hrs. He was very helpful in guiding us with local timings, arranging for tickets to the islands. You can DM me on Instagram for his details.

In case of Gili islands, cycles and horse carriages are the only available commute options. Once you get down at Gili Twarangan, there are many cycles parked for rent on the main road, get one from them (they usually have better cycles and are comparatively less priced than hotel cycles). Rent for 1 day is around IDR 50,000. It’s better to rent a cycle.

Minimum price for 1 km ride on horse carriage would be around IDR 100,000 in Gili T.

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Wanagiri Hills

Currency Exchange and Sim Cards

There is at-least one currency exchange store at the corner of every street in the main centres. Indian rupee can’t be converted to Indonesian rupee and we usually don’t get IDR in India. It’s always suggested to carry US dollars/ Australian dollars/ Malysian Ringgit to convert into IDR at a local store (Do take a receipt). Conversion rates are usually the same across all the stores unless you are selecting a store which is in a remote location.

Most of the transactions in Bali, be it, shopping or food, happen in cash. So, carry enough cash!! Also, don’t convert too much cash at a time, as it would be waste if you end up not using it by the end of the trip. Since, there are a lot of shops to do currency exchange, do it multiple times, once you get a hang of how much money you would be spending per day.

Telkomsel network has better connectivity in Bali, even on Islands. Simcard is priced at around IDR 200,000 – 250,000 for 7 GB data (valid for a month) along with local calls and SMS.

Shopping

As mentioned in my last blog,  Ubud Local Market and Tegalalang Street are good options to shop.
Bali, has insane collection of home decor items at comparatively lower prices than India. I wouldn’t say it is too cheap but it is cheaper than India.
I found Ubud Local Market to be expensive with less creative designs than Tegalalang Street (Not many people know about Tegalalang Street)
In case of Ubud local Market, you need to bargain a lot (ask for 1/4 th the price that they demand).

Check out these:

  • Straw bags which range between IDR 100,000 – IDR 250,000 depending on the designs
  • Other straw utility items for kitchen
  • Paintings on Canvas papers
  • Wall Hangings
  • Door Hangings
  • Quotation Boards

 

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Home Decor (Ubud Local Market)

Food

This is something that I found a little expensive!!
A normal meal for three of us costed around IDR 300,000 if we visited a good restaurant, which I found to be more expensive than Indian restaurants.
Try their traditional dishes like Nasi Goreng, yoghurt smoothies

9 Day Itinerary

We planned it in such a way that we don’t strain ourselves too much and visit the places without any hurry.
Day 1 – Land in Bali Airport and head to Padang Bai to catch a boat to Gili (Plan your flight in such a way that you reach Bali by 10-11 am as Gili boats function only till 3 pm)

If you have a flight which lands in Bali around evening, then you can stay in Kuta(close to airport)  for that night and head to Gili next morning. We stayed in Ubud for one night, but it was too far from airport and it would just be tiring to travel all again to Padang Bai next day.

Day 2 & Day 3 – Stay in Gili Twarangan, experience the beautiful sunset, go for scuba diving, explore the night markets, go on day trips to Gili Meno/Gili Air and enjoy the party vibe

Day 4 – Head to Ubud, relax and explore the local market and visit Saraswati Temple

Day 5 – Visit Danu Bratan (for sunrise – leave at 4 am from Ubud)), Hondara Golf Club, coffee tasting at a plantation, Wanagiri Hills and return to hotel by 3 pm. Watch Balinese dance in Ubud Palace (in the evening)

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Coffee Tasting

Day 6 – Head to Nusa Penida for a Day trip and visit Kelingkling beach, Broken Bridge, Angel’s BillaBong, and Crystal Bay Beach. Head back to Ubud in the evening

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Nusa Penida

Day 7 Go to Tegenungan waterfall, Mount Batur view point, visit orange fields on way, head to Tegalalang rice terraces and explore Tegalalang street for local handicraft goods

Day 8 – Visit Lempuyang Temple (for sunrise- leave at 4 am from Ubud), Jemaluk View Point

Day 9 – Start early to visit Uluwatu temple and head to Airport later.

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Swing at Wanagiri Hills

 

Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Photos by Durga Pulijala

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Previous post : Top 15 Things To Do In Bali In A Week

Top 15 Things To Do In Bali In A Week

The land of volcanos, forests, beaches, and adventures has finally made it on my compass. Be it, the spell-bounding pictures that one gets to witness about this place on social media, or the extent to which people praise about Bali, those made me inquisitive enough to mark it next on my journey.

Well, to start with, there are certain incredible places in Bali which make you wonder about how much beauty nature encapsulates within itself and then, there are few more renowned places which are definitely not worth the hype. This blog has my suggestions about the places to visit and places you can skip based on my experience in Bali.

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To start with, we didn’t try to squeeze in too many places in a week as we were looking for a relaxed holiday. We have stayed for 2 days in Gili Twarangan while the rest 5 days in Ubud.

Ubud is in Central Bali and is bound to offer you an authentic Bali atmosphere with the architecture involving their mythological characters, which take you back in time. It is a good place to stay, if you are not into the partying mode of Kuta/Semniyak. We made day trips to Eastern Bali, Nusa Penida island, and Northern Bali.

Gili Island, on the other hand, is a group of 3 islands located at around an hour distance from Bali. They are known for their white sand beaches, diving, partying and beautiful sunsets. Gili Twarangan, which is the most popular and largest among the 3 islands is known for its party vibe and of course, the sunset points. We stayed there for 2 days, just cycling around all the time (No motor vehicles in the island, grab your cycles or take a walk around or may be take a horse carriage), watching beautiful sunsets, and enjoying Balinese spa. If you are looking for calmer islands, try Gili Meno and Gili Air.

Let me dive into the list now.

1. Visit Kelingking Beach, Nusa Penida

If there is one place in Bali that makes me to think visit Bali again, it would be Nusa Penida island. Unlike the crowded and commercialised islands of Gili, these islands are much more calmer with stunning landscapes.

You can reach Nusa Penida by taking a boat ride from Sanur beach harbour. There are many stalls, right on Sanur Beach which sell tickets (should not cost you one more than IDR 500,000 for two-way journey per person). We have done a 1-day trip to Nusa Penida but if you have enough time, I would recommend to skip Gili and stay in Nusa.

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Kelingking Beach

Kelingking is one of the most beautiful marvel of nature with its water showcasing shades of blue and the cliffs standing out, in the huge expanse of the ocean. Even though, it is touristy, it is worth visiting. Wear comfortable shoes as it involves hiking. Ensure you have at-least 2 hrs to visit this place so that you can go to the beach.

Nusa Penida has a very rough terrain with steep hilly and broken roads. It’s highly advisable to take a four-wheeler within Nusa Penida to ride around. The island is huge enough to not be able to cover by walking. Each place is atleast 1/2 hours from the main centre.

2. Dive/Snorkel in Crystal Bay Beach, Nusa Penida

This beach is known for snorkelling and diving. Nusa Penida, particularly has amazing diving spots. In case you are planning a day trip, ensure you carry an extra pair of clothes to snorkel or dive.

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Crystal Bay Beach

Tall coconut trees, wild sea and the changing shades of sea is enough to soothe you, even though you are not into diving or snorkelling.

3. Hike to the Broken Bridge, Nusa Penida

It is a natural bridge formed by rocks with turquoise shades of water flowing underneath. One of the spectacular spots to not miss and it is usually slightly crowded with tourists. Plan it early in the day so that it is less crowded. It is a very short hike of not more than 30 min.

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Broken Bridge

4. Head to Jemeluk View Point in Eastern Bali

This view point is going to sweep you off your feet with the view of the majestic Mount Agung and the Jemeluk Beach stretching right below, and the tall green coconut trees surrounding the beach, and last but not the least, watching all these while the dusk sets in. It gives a much better view of Agung compared to the view from Lempuyang temple.

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Jemeluk View Point

It is going to be a long ride of approximately 3 hrs from Ubud. However, it’s definitely worth it. I happen to visit this in early morning but if you have time to visit it during sunset, it would be the most calm and romantic place.

5. Watch Sunrise at Ulu Danu Bratan in Northern Bali

Ulu Danu Bratan is a temple in Bali, that is right on the shore of the huge lake Bratan which is surrounded by huge mountains of Bedugul in the background.
Hold on, before you judge that this is a temple, Indonesians have scouted the best locations in entire Bali to build temples which overlook that scenery. So, even if you are an atheist, I would recommend you to visit this place. The drive to this place is incredible with beautiful panoramas of lush green trees and mountains.

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Ulu Danu Bratan

This place is at its best if you reach there by 6 (2 hrs journey from Ubud). The mountains would be partially covered by clouds, with the rays of rising sun touching the waters of Lake Bratan.

6. Visit Uluwatu Temple in Southern Bali

It is located on top of the highest cliff which is standing tall on the shores of Uluwatu beach. The view is spell-bounding and it is usually less crowded if you reach before 9 am in the morning. However, this spot is known for its sunset. So, if you can plan a visit during sunset, it would be great 🙂

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Uluwatu Temple (right at the top of the cliff)

Beware of monkeys in this temple.

7. Watch the Sun Set on the beaches of Gili Twarangan

Gili T is usually noisy and crowded on the main streets of the island. However, the sunset beaches of Gili are much more calmer with slow music and a chilled-out vibe.

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Sunset on Gili T.

You can even walk to the night markets of Gili, which start from 9 pm. They sell some unique handmade products.

8. Visit the renowned “Gateway to Heaven” in Lempuyang

The famous “Gateway to Heaven” is in Lempuyang temple which overlooks the Mt.Agung (biggest active volcanic mountain in Bali). Try to reach there by 6 am in the morning to catch the spectacular view with clouds partially covering Mt.Agung and the sun rising above the horizon.

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Lempuyang Temple

It is a 2 hr drive from Ubud (Start by 4 am in the morning from Ubud to catch sunrise). The ride to the temple is spectacular in the early morning. Also, the 4 wheelers are not allowed beyond a certain point near the temple due to extremely steep roads. There would be bike taxis that you can take if you don’t prefer to walk (They charged around IDR 100,000 for one-way but you can bargain for lesser price)

9. Dive in the waters of Gili

More than the underwater world which is not as good as Andaman, the diving experience with Dive Central Gili is amazing. They take you through the basics and teach you useful techniques in diving. Ask for Rose if you are in there, she is amazing at teaching the art of diving for beginners

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Diving at Bounty Wreck, Gili 
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Spotted a turtle during our dive (Turtles are famous in Gili Waters)

10. Trek to Mount Batur

This is a famous trek to Mt.Batur (one of the volcanic mountains)  which many recommend. It is usually a night trek where you reach the peak during sunrise. Bali Bliss Tours organises this trek for around IDR 48,000 per person (which includes Rice terraces trekking as well after the Batur trek)

If you couldn’t make it to trek, then you can head to this restaurant called “Batur Sari Resto” which gives a closer panoramic view of Mt.Batur. It is definitely worth the visit.

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That’s Mt.Batur in the background

The ride to Mt.Batur is around 1.5 hrs from Ubud. Again, the journey is incredible with greenery all around.

11. Visit Sarawasti Temple in Ubud

This temple takes you back in time with its architecture and the lotus ponds. It is right in the centre of Ubud and usually gets crowded after 8 am. Try to reach there before 8 am to get a good view of the temple and to sit and relax around.

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Saraswati Temple, Ubud

12. Explore the Tegalalang Street and Local Markets of Ubud

If you are into interior decor and handmade straw bags, Ubud has it all. Even though many people recommend local markets of Ubud, I found Tegalalang street sporting more variety in terms of shopping and it is reasonably priced compared to Ubud local markets. We came to know about the Tegalalang street after shopping in Ubud local markets, so we couldn’t shop much there. But, if you are thinking of shopping, head to Tegalalang Street.

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Handmade Straw Bags 

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But, be sure to bargain for 1/4th the price that they demand in Ubud Local Markets and around half the price that they demand in Tegalalang Street.

13. Visit the swings on Wanagiri Hills

You must have seen the Bali swing pictures with amazing background, and many other major iconic picturesque nests. On the way back from Danu Bratan, there would be many swings on Wanagiri Hills, you can just stop by one of those and click the pictures.

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Overlooking the Wanagiri Hills

The actual Bali Swing which is just a swing on the edge of little valley and few other spots to click pictures, is way too overhyped and way too expensive (charging around IDR 1,100,000). It would be a sheer waste of money unless you want to spend so much for pictures which you can anyways get on Wanagiri Hills.

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Bali Swing

14. Get a Balinese Spa and Taste the Indonesian cuisine

Balinese spas are renowned and relaxing. Kaveri Spa in Ubud is one good spa recommendation. Not all the spas are good, look up for the reviews before you go ahead.

Indonesians have a lot of healthy options for food. The smoothies, acai bowls are famous for breakfasts and Nasi Goreng, famous Indonesian dish is something that you can try.

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Acai Bowl from “Acai Queen”

If you are into beer, you can try their local beer “Bintang” which is one of the best beers in terms of taste.

If you are not into having noodles/ fried rice everyday, I suggest you carry some ready-to-eat food or they have good vegetables and wide range of options for fruits.

15. Visit Tegenungan waterfall

This is a renowned  waterfall with good view and I would recommend you to visit this place before 8 am as it gets crowded after that.

Inspite of it being famous, I didn’t find it so beautiful as it is currently in a very bad state with litter all around. There are other good waterfalls which you could visit – Padang Bulia, Timbumana waterfalls which are much cleaner.

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Tegenungan Waterfall

Tips:

  • If you are wondering why I haven’t recommended rice terraces, I didn’t find them interesting or beautiful in any way. It is just a different way of growing rice. Being an Indian, paddy fields are a common sight which could be one of the reasons that it didn’t intrigue me
  • The interesting part about temples in Bali is that tourists are allowed to see the temple, only from outside. They are not allowed to enter inside to watch the idols. In case of any temple ceremonies, temples are completely closed for tourists. So, in case you are planning to visit the temples, check the temple ceremonies schedule
  • Temples in Bali permit fully covered clothes for both men and women. Ensure you avoid short clothes while visiting temples or else, they do offer Sarong ( a piece of cloth to tie around the waist) which you can rent for minimum price

Few more tips about Bali travel, and shopping tips would come up in my next blog. Until then, stay connected on my Instagram for more updates 🙂

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Previous post : Travel Guide To Paris and Barcelona

White skorts, white top, blue top, black maxi : Zara | Saree : R city| Footwear : Lefties| Straw Bag : Bali thrift store|  Backpack : Shein|Accessories(Jewellery) : Thrift stores | Blue maxi : Global Desi| Floral Skirt : HnM

Travel Guide To Paris and Barcelona

An Artist Has No Better Home Than Paris In Europe

This would be an enough hint to guess about my next destination after Belgium. It’s Paris!!

Well, I heard a lot of mixed reviews about Paris before heading there, some were of the opinion that it is too overhyped while some said that the city is truly a ‘city of love’ !!
I also met a few people who stayed at Paris for few months and they absolutely loved the city and they usually say that, the vibe couldn’t be matched with any other city in Europe!!

With the kind of expectations that I had about Paris, this city didn’t disappoint me with the kind of art it embodies but the Parisians really turned out to be averse to welcoming or helping tourists. This is something which I have not noticed in any other European city so far, except Paris. It is a tad bit disappointing in that aspect.

The last and final destination of this trip after Paris was Barcelona and this turned out to be my second visit to Barca!! So, I am not going to get into detailed travel tips about it. You can check out my old post about Barcelona!! (Well, I visited Barca again because we had a company off-site in Barca for 4 days !!  )

Let’s dive in to the trip details now 😀

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Paris

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 8-10 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes are recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at a cute little studio apartment (airbnb) in Paris. It was a good stay and the place is not more than 3-5km from all the major touristy spots.

The way we explored Paris was more touristy than the actual local experience. We eventually found that 2 days is not enough to explore this place. I am definitely going again to explore it properly. If you are planning to visit Paris, plan for at-least 4 days so that you can leisurely explore the place.

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Eiffel Tower

Main Places to Visit:

Eiffel Tower – Of course, one can’t miss this beauty. Though, initially I expected that Eiffel tower would be uninteresting, I absolutely loved it when I saw it!! The magnanimous structure standing out in the city is a true visual retreat. Entrance fee is almost half for anyone below 25 yrs. Don’t forget to mention it at counter, if it applies for you.

Arc de Triomphe – The view of Paris from the top of Arc de Triomphe is magnificent!! I personally loved the view from here rather than the view from the top of Eiffel tower!! It is free entry for anyone below 26 yrs.

Louvre Museum –  This is one of the the top most recommended places of Paris but we ended up visiting on Tuesday which is an official holiday for Louvre. So, plan your schedule accordingly. We missed it this time!!

Notre-Dame De Paris – It is a beautiful architectural masterpiece which is bound to mesmerise you!! It is all about the glass painted interiors , stunning exteriors, and the French gothic architecture.

Montmartre or Sacré-Cœur – One of my friends recommended this place for the stunning view of the city. We visited this place in the night and it did have a good view of the city. I would recommend to visit this place in daylight as the surrounding areas are usually unsafe in terms of robbery.

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View from Arc De Triomphe
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Eiffel Tower In The Night
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Notre-Dame De Paris
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Louvre Musuem

Things To Do :

Visit Eiffel tower in the daylight and also, once the sun sets!! Especially, don’t miss the flickering lights show of Eiffel Tower which happens every hour after the sun sets till 11 pm.

Walk along Champs-Élysées where you get to see all the high street brands. One should experience that atmosphere if you are into fashion. Also, Paris has a lot to offer in terms of street fashion!! So much to learn- I wish I could stay in the city just to learn about Fashion

Don’t forget to taste those yummy french crepes 

Not to forget, the famous macarons and the french wine
(I personally didn’t like macarons though!! )

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Travel Tips for Paris :

If you are below 25 years, you would be getting discount in entry fee at almost all historical locations

Paris is comparatively expensive than most other cities in Europe. So, plan accordingly

Shopoholics, ensure that you have at-least a day to explore the shopping streets. Do note that they close by 7-8 pm

Don’t stay far off the city as travelling is a bit expensive. We have tried “Chauffeur Prive” app in Paris which offered 5 euros discount on each of first six rides. You can try that!!

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Bridges and Canals of Paris

Barcelona

I am including only the new places that I visited and found interesting this time. Do check out my previous post for more detailed Barcelona travel tips.

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 20-25 C  (Visited towards the end of October. Might require a jacket during the night)

Accommodation : Le Meridian, La Rambla.
It is located right in La Ramblas, the famous street of Barcelona. All major locations are not more than 1 or 2 km from the hotel. However, this 5 start hotel didn’t provide service that matches up to the 5 star standards.

Newly Explored Places:

La Boqueria – It is the biggest market in Barcelona which has shops selling all different kinds of fruits, vegetables, sea food, chocolates and what not!! If you are a foodie or a grocery-shopping enthusiast like me, you should not miss this place. You will discover many new food items.

Streets of Gothic Quarters – The ancient vibe of gothic quarters in its narrow lanes and the small little squares is something one can’t miss. And, if you are looking for some vintage shopping, this is where you need to go. Carrer del Duc,Carrer de Retrizol, and  Carrer de Bisbe are some streets which I loved.

Camp Nou – We watched a FCB Vs Inter Milan match at this Stadium. The vibe and energy in the stadium is commendable. A Life time experience!!
Even though, you are not a football enthusiast, I would recommend you to watch a match if possible or visit the stadium.

Montserrat Monastery in Barcelona – It is famous for a monastery located on the top of one of the hills of Montserrat mountain range. However, I found the journey and the view from the top much more beautiful. It is a 40 min train from Barcelona city. You could do a day trip. The mountain range looks incredible when you are going to the monastery.

Torres Vineyard – We went on a vineyard tour which was interesting to a certain extent in terms of understanding about the wine making process and also, the wine tasting session. Ping me on Instagram if you want to know more details about it.

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Different type of Mushrooms at La Boqueria
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At Camp Nou
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Montserrat
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Torres Vineyard
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La Boqueria

Shopping Tips in Barcelona :

Zara and Mango are cheaper than India as these companies have main manufacturing units in Spain and Portugal. Visit Zara store in Plaça de Catalunya for good collection.

Sephora near La Ramblas is a very huge store and has massive discounts on few items which are way too expensive in India. So, girls, visit it if you like makeup and skincare

Visit Hema or Flying Tiger for cute knick knacks and some good gifts at affordable price

You can visit Pulls and Bear for good t-shirts. They have good collection. I found urban outfitters way too expensive.

Do visit Bershka, their shoe collection is usually good and the casual clothes too.

HnM is much cheaper in India than Europe. So, don’t waste money over there unless you like something very much

The streets in Gothic quarters have some amazing vintage stores which sell unique stuff but they are way too expensive

You can get good post cards, souvenir boards and magnets on La Ramblas.

Also, pickpocketing is very common in Barcelona. Be extremely careful.

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Plaza De Colon, Barcelona
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Zara Outlet
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Common Sight of Dressed Up Artists at La Ramblas 

That’s it for this trip!! 

Hope you enjoy my content and hope it would be useful if you happen to visit these places!!

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Photos by Naincy Suman

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Previous post : Travel Tales of Belgium

Red Sneakers, white flared trousers : Zara |White Blazer : Forever21| Boots : Zara | Ref Crop top : Lefties|  Backpack : Shein|Accessories(Jewellery) : Thrift stores | Saree : Handloom Store 

 

Travel Tales of Belgium

While most of my trips are usually restricted to exploring places rather than food, this Belgium trip was more about food than places. Who would not want to taste those extremely soft waffles topped with some heavenly whipped cream and strawberries, or who wouldn’t want to relish the widely renowned Belgian chocolates and fries, and not to forget the wide variety of Belgian beers that are available!!

By the way, this is in continuation to my previous blog on Amsterdam which was my first destination in the backpacking trip. From Netherlands, we headed to Bruges followed by Brussels in Belgium.

Let me just jump into the details now 🙂

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Bruges, Belgium

Bruges

Also known as ‘Venice of North’, this little town on the countryside of Belgium is widely known for its medieval homes, cobble-stoned streets with horse carriages roaming around and small canals lined with colorful dutch houses and filled with in-numerous white swans. The moment you see those streets and houses, I can guarantee you that it will just take you back in time. It feels like a fairy tale!!

( A must-visit place if you are planning to visit any nearby major cities. If you are visiting Brussels, then it’s just a 2 hr travel to reach this place and most of the tourists visit this place for a day tour)

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 10-15 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb in Hertsberge, Bruges which is 14 km away from the Bruges city centre. We choose this place as it had the best reviews and undoubtedly, our host was extremely cordial and the airbnb was too good. The only drawback is the location which is quite far off from the city and the lack of good internal public transport in the city makes it difficult unless you have a personal vehicle.

Main Places to Visit:

Belfry – It is the clocktower in the main market square of Bruges where you can take the stairs to go to the top of the tower. It gives a panoramic view of the entire city, sunset is usually good. Charges per person are around 10 euros but if you are below 25, there is a discount.

Markt – The main market square of Bruges where you get to see the horse carriages and the colourful medieval buildings along with the city hall.

Walplein Square – This is my most favourite spot in Bruges. It truly takes you back to 1900’s. It is a quaint little square with horse carriages and a canal filled with swans all the time. One can just sit back and relax.

Minnewater park – The castle in the minnewater park which is just by the lake is a visual retreat to anyone.

Begijnhuisje (Ten Wijngaerde) is a preserved beguinage (UNESCO World Heritage Site). I personally didn’t find it interesting. If you want to visit this place, visit before 5 pm and it is near Walplein.
We visited Church of Old Lady as well but didn’t find anything very special about it. It was similar to many other churches.

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Markt
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Streets of Bruges
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View from the top of Belfry
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Belfry of Bruges
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Castle of Minnewater Park
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Canal at Walplein

Things To Do :

Canal Boat Tour – Though it was not as good as Amsterdam, Bruges canal tour is interesting in terms of the very tiny canals that it has, and the beautiful houses. Costs around 8-10 Euro per person and is not more than 30 min. We choose Canal Boat Tours , the experience with them was just average (Guide was speaking Dutch, so it was difficult to understand)

Walk on the streets near Walplein –  Noordstraat and Mariastraat are some good streets. Best way to explore Bruges is by walking around and since it is a small town, it is not so tiring to cover it by walking.

Try waffles at Chez Albert .The plain waffle is just too delicious.

Try Belgian fries at Chez Vincent

Try strawberries dipped in chocolate

If you are into berries, this place has really good berries

Belgium is famous for Lace as well. However, I found it expensive than India.

The only travel tip that I would suggest for Bruges is that, walking in the city is the best way to explore it.

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Belgian Fries With Tender Chicken
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Walplein

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Streets of Bruges
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Strawberries dipped in Chocolate

Brussels

Brussels has a busy city vibe with people hustling around. I didn’t find it interesting as a place, as I am inclined towards nature-centric or less-crowded places. However, one has to visit this place atleast for the chocolates, waffles, beers and fries.

Duration of Visit : 2 nights and 2 days

Temperature : 10-15 C  (Visited in Mid-October. Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at an airbnb right next to Manneken pis, which is just a 2 min walk to the Grand Place of Brussels (Main City Centre). It was a comfortable stay and it was very close to all the main locations of the city.

There are a lots of trains and buses running from Bruges to Brussels and vice versa (Also, you can get a train ticket at half the price if you are below 26). The journey is ~2 hrs.

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Streets of Brussels

Main Places to Visit:

Grand Place – It is a square in the centre of the city which is surrounded by age-old buildings with spell-bound architecture. Do visit this place in the night once all the buildings are well-lit and the vibe couldn’t be missed in the night!!

Place Poelaert – It is a place suggested by my friend and which is not so popular but has an amazing view of the city. Visit during sunset for the best experience.

Sablon – This is a peaceful and less crowded locality in Brussels with good restaurants around. Walk to explore this place.

Mont De Arts – It is a good place away from the hustle and bustle of Grand place with a view of the highest tower of Grand Place buildings. The view is good and if you want to chill and relax for some time, it’s a good place

We also visited Royal Palace of Brussels which was a good masterpiece of architecture. However, we couldn’t cover the European Parliament area (Do visit if you have time) and Atomium ( We didn’t find it interesting)

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Grand Place
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Grand Place

Things To Do :

Visit Delirium Cafe which serves almost 2000 types of brewed beers (If you are into beer, this should be on your list)

Taste desserts at  Aux Merveilleux de FredExpect long queues and these desserts are slightly on the sweeter side. If you are into dark chocolates and don’t like too much sugar, it is not a place for you. But, it also serves amazing chocolate buns and croissants

Taste waffles at Waffle factory. Slightly expensive but I loved the whipped cream over there 😛 ( But I loved Bruges waffles more)

Taste fries at Fritland. They are really good and the sauce is something special which adds to the taste

Go to Rue Neuve  for shopping. It almost has all the brands covered. Ensure you don’t plan it on Sunday as shops are usually closed on Sunday. Also, on weekdays, the stores get closed by 7 pm. Plan accordingly.

For more general Europe travel tips, visit my previous blog post.

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Brussels or Bruges 🙂

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Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Photos by Naincy Suman

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Previous post : A Ticket To Amsterdam

Red Sneakers, black halter top, glitter pants : Zara |White offshoulder top : Shein| Boots : Zara | White fitting top: HnM |  Backpack : Shein|Accessories(Jewellery) : Thrift stores

 

 

 

A Ticket To Amsterdam

Amsterdam!!
It just broke the clichéd opinion that I had about this city before visiting. I knew this place more as a city for stoners and thought it to be over-hyped. To my surprise, it hosts some of the most beautiful canals, bridges, flowers and dutch architecture. The streets were all vibrant and buzzing with people who are moving around on cycles at any hour of the day.

Also known as a city where Cannabis and prostitution are legal, and where you can savour some of the most amazing dutch pancakes, and of course, lots and lots of canals and bridges.

Before I could explain any further about the city, let me just dive into the actual things to do and places to visit in Amsterdam. We spent around 4 days in Amsterdam during mid-October.

Temperature : 15-20 C  (Warm clothes recommended as the place is windy)

Accommodation : We stayed at our friend’s place in Amsterdam Amstel which is pretty close to the city centre. Since I had already done my research about good hostels, dropping in some suggestions here : ClinkNOORD, Flying Pig

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Canals of Jordaan

Main Places to Visit:

Rijks Museum – It is one of the best museums that I have seen so far. It showcases the rich heritage of their ancestors and their lifestyle incredibly. If you plan to visit, don’t forget to cover 2nd floor and also, the 1.2 section in 1st floor.

Red Light District – The widely renowned red light district of Amsterdam is a must visit after 11pm when the streets get lit up with red lights.

Zaanse Saanch – It is 40 min metro ride from Amsterdam to this beautiful place which is designed in a way to give you an essence of age-old dutch countryside with windmills!! It takes atleast 3 hrs to explore this place properly. Don’t miss this place if you have enough time.

Anne Frank House – It was the place where Anne Frank was reportedly in hiding for around 2 years during WWII. However, if you are planning to visit this place, ensure that you book your online tickets (no offline tickets available) well in advance (We couldn’t get the tickets :/ )

Vondel Park – If you want to relax in a very silent place filled with beautiful trees, canals, and swans, you must visit this place. It had insane variety of trees sporting different fall colours. It is also a place where public sex is legal!!

Van Gogh Museum – If you are into paintings, you should consider visiting this place. (We couldn’t find time to visit it)

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At Museum Entrance

If you want to go shopping, you can find many shops near Dam Square or for street shopping, you can visit Albert Cuyp Market.

Also, you might want to get clicked before ” I Amsterdam ” Symbol which is just close to Van Gogh/ Rjiks Museum. You are lucky if you get a good picture without the crowd.

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Coffee Shop (Smokeys)
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Adam’s Lookout (Look at the view)
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Amsterdam Canals (Canal Cruise)

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Few Travel Tips :

If you are below 25 yrs, you are most likely to get a discount in entry fees in most of the museums, historical monuments in Europe. Just ask them about it and flash your passport and you get a discount 😀 (I availed many such discounts)

If you are planning to rent a bicycle in Amsterdam, you can visit Mac Bikes . They charge around 10-15 Euros per day. Also, ensure that you carry a mobile holder otherwise it gets difficult to deal with google maps.

If you are planning for shopping, never plan it on Sunday as most of the stores remain closed that day. During regular days, the shops shut by 7-8 pm, so plan your shopping accordingly. Also, street shopping markets shut by 5 pm

Ensure that you have a minimum of 2-3 hrs to explore each museum. If you don’t have enough time, ask for the must-visit spots in the museum at the ticket counter. Also, while planning for museums, check for working days.

Pick pocketing is common in Europe. Be alert (Especially your passports and wallets)

You can get a metro pass for 4 days which costs around 18 Euros. It would be really helpful for internal travel.

If you are into exploring other museums, you can checkout “I Amsterdam” Card which offers many activities at a discounted price of 75 Euros per person. It covers most of the museums. Since I am not into museums, I didn’t take one.

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I hope you find it useful if you are planning to visit Amsterdam 🙂

Feel free to ping me on my Instagram or email me for any more travel tips or doubts 😀

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Photos by Naincy Suman

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Previous post : Ways To Style A Kurti

Olive Trouser : Mango |White Top : Shein| Sneakers: Nike |Boots : Forever21 | Blue Dress and brown top : Forever21 |  Backpack : Shein | Sling bag : Zara | Skirt : Zara | Accessories(Jewellery) : Primarc

Exploring Lisbon!!

After a tiresome road journey of 12 hrs from Madrid, Portugal welcomed us with an impeccable view of the sunrise over the huge expanse of Tagus River on Vasco Da Gama Bridge. It just reminds me of how sleep deprived I was and how my eyes couldn’t stay open but that view was too mesmerising that my mind started shouting, ‘You Moron!! Look at the beauty and skip your sleep for sometime!! ‘ 😀

Cobblestone streets that are lined up with pastel coloured houses having balconies that flaunt the most colourful bunch of flowers are just a visual retreat in the older parts of the city. This hilly capital city with coastal beauty has a lot to offer!!

The essence and the actual culture of any city could be best witnessed in the older parts of the city. Go to such place and walk around to experience the best!!

We had 3 days to spend in Lisbon and I am a person who is not so keen on visiting the historical monuments unless it is highly highly recommended. So, if you are expecting that from this blog, then 😐

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LISBON

4 days and 3 nights stay

Accommodation : Hub Lisbon Patio Hostel (The worst maintained among all other hostels I have been to, so please avoid it and search for some other option )

Main Places To Visit :

Alfamas – It’s old Lisbon and it literally takes you back in time with the trams on the road, old buildings, century old cathedrals ,castles and not to forget some old wine shops!! Visit the famous Lisbon cathedral if you visit Alfamas – the interiors are sure to impress you!!

Miradouro das Portas do Sol – This is the one of the best view point to see the entire rooftop view of Alfamas. Must visit!!

Bairro Alto – The streets have such a lovely vibe with Fado (Traditional Portugal music) being played by people and is lined up with some amazing restaurants!! Again, walk to experience 🙂

Cais do sodré – Best riverside neighbourhood to walk around and relax!!

Sintra – This place is on the countryside which is 40 min from Lisbon by train and is totally worth visiting. It has fairytale streets lined with tall and lush-green trees, not something you could see anywhere in Lisbon. Visit Pena Palace in Sintra for the incredible view it offers from the top!!

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Miradouro das Portas do Sol, Alfamas
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Miradouro das Portas do Sol
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Bairro Alto
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Pena Palace, Sintra
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Pena Palace, Sintra

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Things to Do :

A walk in the streets of Alfamas 

Try pizza and portugese red wine in Bairro Alto – totally flattered!!

Watch the sun go down with live jazz in background at Miradouro das Portas do Sol

If you like to just sit and watch the Tagus river, Praça do Comércio and Cais do sodré are the go-to options

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Streets of Alfamas
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Praça do Comércio
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Near Praça do Comércio

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Photos by Rishabh Kumar

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Previous post : Backpacking Trip To Spain

Maxi : Shein |Saree : Suta Bombay| Sneakers: Nike | Heels : Zara | Neckpiece : Jaipur thrift store

Backpacking Trip To Spain

When it comes to ticking things off my bucket list, I have my head clear and my mind focussed 😀

Do you think anyone would want to have ‘facing a gruesome accident but managing to get out alive’ in their bucket list? Well, I did tick it off my list 😛

Brushing aside such not-so-sane things, I do have some travel goals and Europe was always on the list and I wanted to do one backpackers trip with strangers before I turn 25. And yeah, it’s done now (atleast, a little part of Europe)

Spain and Portugal exploration happened to be my first leg of Europe journey. To all those people who wanted to know about how I have planned the trip, about the backpackers group and about my experience in these two countries- this blog post, the upcoming one and my Instagram posts would answer all your queries. I will be pitching in my suggestions about the places to visit, the places you could skip and also, the precautions you need to take based on my personal experience.

Let’s get started!! 😀

Mumbai > Barcelona > Ibiza > Madrid > Lisbon > Mumbai

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BARCELONA

5 days and 4 nights stay

Accommodation : Generator Hostel

Main Places to Visit:

La Sagrada Familia – Renowned for its captivating Gaudi architecture and magnificence. Book your tickets online and they don’t allow post your time slot (Be on Time).It will be a guided tour provided you make it on time. By the way, it is still being built!! (since a century almost :/ )

Gothic Quarter – Old city of Barcelona. Explore the place on foot. Has a plethora of options for restaurants and clubs. Night life is good here.

La Rambla – You can’t miss this street. It is one of the best to witness the vibe of Barcelona city.

La Barceloneta – Seaside neighbourhood of Barcelona lined up with good restaurants along with a splendid view

Things to Do:

Cycling tour in the city ( they are going to show you some of the best streets in Barca)

Try Sangria and Aperol Spritz if you are into wine and alcohol

Try PaellaTapas, Churros, Croissants  when in Spain (Food)

Camp Nou (didn’t visit as I am not so much into football) and Opium (popular pub) are two things which have good feedback but I couldn’t make it. Try those if you find time.

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Streets of Barcelona 
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L’esquerra de L’eixample
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Gaudi Fountain
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La Sagrada Familia

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IBIZA

2 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Amistat Island Hostel 

Main Places to Visit:

Sant Antoni de Portmany – Town on the west coast of Ibiza (party place). Explore port area for night life.

Dalt Vila – It’s the old town of Ibiza which should be explored on foot. Such amazing fairy tale streets!!

Castell de Eivissa – You might want to visit this place to get a good panoramic view of Ibiza.

Things to Do:

Boat Party – You should not miss on this. A unique experience all together. Costs around 6-8k per person.

Watch the sun go down with wonderful live instrumental music and some wine at/ near Café Mambo in Sant Antoni de Portmany. Have to say, my best sunset so far.

Amnesia is apparently an amazing pub you can visit in Ibiza. We chose to party by the sea-side with some good wine and good company !! (my way of partying 😛 )

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Carretera de Cala Gracio`
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Sunset near Cafe Mambos in Sant Antoni de Portmany
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View from Castell de Eivissa
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Near Playa De Bossa

MADRID

3 days and 2 nights

Accommodation : Sun Gate One (best hostel in the entire trip)

Main Places to Visit:

Royal Palace of Madrid – One of the most popular places in Madrid. We didn’t enter inside though!! We were enjoying the view with some good live music 😀

Gran Via – This street is always buzzing and is the best for shopping 🙂

Toledo – It’s on countryside, a 45 min ride from Madrid. You can find many local travel agencies conducting a day trip to Toledo. Historically significant place!! Again, explore this beauty on foot.

Also, Stadio Santiago Bernabeu  if you are interested in football 🙂

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Royal Palace of Madrid
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Streets of Madrid
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Streets of Toledo
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View of Toledo from the highest view point
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Near Gran Via

I didn’t find Madrid interesting though!! It mostly had the busy city vibe with good partying and shopping places. Teatro Kapitol is a must visit pub if you are into partying.

Alert : Pickpocketing is damn prominent in Spain. Be very very careful with your belongings!! You never even notice it, they are too good at it.

Backpackers Group

‘When in City’ is one such travel agency which frequently does backpackers’ trips across the world every year. Well, there are enough pros and cons when dealing with this group. So, weigh those if you are planning to join their trips :/

Pros being that you might end up meeting really cool people like I did. It could be a coincidence too. Of course, more than anything else, people you are with, is important.

Cons being that you are going to overpay for their not-so-good service and their not-so-experienced team. You end up paying a premium compared to other such groups. They have limited knowledge about the best places to explore (atleast in case of Spain and Portugal)- had received misleading guidance at times, and you will also see them become stingy :/ (mostly in case of accommodation)  –  which was so disappointing for many of us. Their packages include only accommodation at hostels, internal flights and a trip guide ( International flights , visa charges not included). Many things in their itinerary require additional payment. So, take note of all those.

So, before you go ahead, decide if you are okay with the cons and then take a call.

Well!! These are some suggestions based on my travel experience. DM me on Instagram for more details. Would always love to help you guys 🙂

Hope this post is helpful for those planning to any of these places!!

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Those who made the trip worth-while 😀

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Wide Leg Red Trouser : Shein |Flats : Tressmode| Sneakers: Nike |Sunglasses : Primarc | Red Offshoulder top : Romwe | White, pastel green offshoulder top : Shein | Backpack : Shein | Sling bag : Zara | Denim shorts, black dress, floral skirt : Forever 21 | Gingham top : Shein | Swimsuit, Lace Cover-up : Shein | Shirt, embroidered skirt, white skort, black short  : Zara

5 Things To Do In South Goa

Sun-soaked skin, salty hair, fresh air, breath-taking sunsets, isolated beaches, beach walks, tired bodies, energized souls, tan lines, delicious food, long drives, lush green trees, pretty little alleys, cozy cafes with slow jazz, unexplored paths, interesting people, old memories, deep conversations and refreshed minds.

This sums up my recent trip to South Goa 🙂

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It was a 3-day short trip but we managed to explore 4 beaches 😀

Here I go with the details of my trip :

Accommodation

Patrice’s Villa – We booked this place in Airbnb and it is more like a homestay than a regular hotel. Since this trip was mostly like a get-together, we preferred an Airbnb. It is well maintained by a foreigner. The place is close to the beaches – almost like 500 m from Canacona beach and 2 km from Palolem beach. Everything was fine with the villa except the dim light in the house and frequent electricity fluctuation which was a major downside :/

5 Things To Do In South Goa

1. Visit Galgibag Beach

It is the best beach that I have been to in India, other than the Andaman beaches ( If you haven’t read my Andaman travel story- Here it is ). It’s almost around 10 km from Palolem further down south. It is a perfect place to just sit and let your thoughts flow 🙂

You can hardly find anyone on the beach and there are no beach shacks. It is not yet commercialized and hence, the clear water and unpolluted atmosphere. Would definitely be my go-to place the next time too 🙂

This beach is known for turtles but we couldn’t spot any 😐

Also, there are narrow alleys near the beach which are more than perfect for a peaceful walk 😀

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Sunset at Galgibag Beach

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Galgibag Beach

2.  A Long Drive To Talpona Beach

Talpona beach is a very small stretch of beach compared to Galgibag and it comes right on the way to Galgibag. The ride to this beach is refreshing with isolated lanes lined up with tall trees and bridges over narrow creeks.

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3.   Taste the Goan food

If you are a sea food lover, you have to try out Dropadi beach restaurant in Palolem . It also serves good cocktails 🙂

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Crab Masala at Dropadi

If you want to experience the Goan atmosphere and some good jazz, drop by Jaali Cafe near Patnem Beach or Siyaram’s on Palolem Beach.

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Jaali Cafe
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Goan Fish Fry
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At Jaali Cafe

4.   Attend a Silent Disco Party

I am not quite sure if these parties are held in North Goa but Neptune’s Point on Palolem beach hosts a silent disco party every Saturday.

Wear that wireless headset and move your feet to the tune while the rest would be enjoying the silence 🙂 It would be a completely different experience.

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Sunset at Palolem Beach

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5.   Finally, Explore Shopping at Palolem

Unlike the usual shopping experience at Anjuna flea market or any of the North Goa beaches where you mostly find beach clothes, Palolem streets offer a wide variety of handmade knick-knacks for home decor. I stocked upon some cloth lamps,  hand woven storage boxes, tassel key-chains and bamboo accessories. There are good dream catchers too 🙂

Don’t forget to bargain 😀

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Shopping on Palolem streets

 

Canacona is also one beach that we have been to. It is more of a rocky beach with a beautiful view and less noise. You can even try Patnem which is close to Palolem. Agonda is also one more popular beaches in South Goa.

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Canacona Beach

Honestly, there are good beaches if you could travel further down towards South from Palolem. We had limited time so we were able to explore only few beaches. If you do have time, explore the place as much as you can.

Always, explore the unexplored paths !!

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Sweat Shirt : Zara | Romper : Forever21 | Coordinates and Mesh Top : Shein | Mules : Koovs, Metro | Shades : HnM | Accessories : Colaba Causeway , Romwe 

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