Exploring Leh, The Touristy Way | Guide to travel Leh

Please read part one and part two before reading this blog.

Part 1: Packing for an epic Leh and, Ladakh trip (opens in a new tab)
Part 2: Manali to Leh Roadtrip (opens in a new tab)
Part 3: Exploring Leh, the touristy way (opens in a new tab)
Part 4: Land of Baltic People, Turtuk (opens in a new tab)
Part 5:
Nubra – The Cold Desert of India (opens in a new tab)
Part 6: Coming soon

Last night, we fell into deep slumber soon after we laid down in not so comfortable guest house. We woke up at 7:30 AM, took a bath, and started looking for better hotels to stay in on google. Fortunately, we were able to find one deluxe room at Zostel. We checked in to our hotel and rented a scooty to explore Leh, and nearby places.

Important Tip: On day one, either take complete rest or go easy and explore nearby places.

Pathar Sahib Gurudwara
A selfie outside Gurudwara because a camera is not allowed inside Gurudwara.
The story of a demon and power of Spirituality – Who is powerful, any thoughts!

Once upon a time, a demon lived near the mountains of the Gurudwara whose terror couldn’t be tamed. While traveling back to Punjab, Guru Nanak decided to take some rest at this place. On learning about this, the frightened people approached Guru Nanak for help. So, he decided to help people and spend a few days here. One day, when Guru Nanak was meditating, the demon pushed a boulder from a nearby hill towards him. When the stone came in contact with Guru Nanak, it transformed into soft wax. The demon was not ready to accept defeat and he tried to push the gigantic boulder with his right foot. Guru Nanak was unharmed and continued meditating and the demon was shocked by such a powerful personality. The impressions of Guru Nanak’s back and right foot of demon are still preserved here.

Locals built the Gurudwara to commemorate the visit of Guru Nanak. Now, this region comes under the Indian government so it is maintained by the Indian army. You will see a lot of military presence in this area. We had langar with Prasadam and continued driving towards the famous magnetic hills of Ladakh.

The Mysterious Magnetic Hill of Ladakh

Some villagers believed that there was a time when a road existed at the same place that could take people to heaven!

Mysterious Magnetic Hill

At this place, you can park the car in neutral and the car rolls backward uphill. This phenomenon stirred up many scientists as well. It might happen due to the optical illusion of landscape where an uphill seems to be downhill or vice-versa. No doubt, this place is scenic and one can’t resist capturing it in their memory. Have you visited Magnetic hills? Share your experience in the comments.

Sangam of Indus and Zanskar river

It is another touristy spot in Leh that should not be missed. If you are driving from Kargil-Leh then you can visit it on your way. The confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers is clearly visible. We had spent an hour near the riverside then the sand storm had some other plans for us.

Zanskar river gushing towards Indus
Confluence of Zanskar and Indus river
One can distinguish the two rivers by their colors
Driving towards Nimmu

It was a spontaneous decision to drive towards Nimmu and go for a village walk. We haven’t explored any specific place but spotted some old mud houses.

A shot while going for a Village walk
Shanti Stupa – A Buddhist Stupa

The stupa is huge and, located on a hilltop in Leh. When evening prayers started, this place became more magical. From this place, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city.

Shanti Stupa
A cup of tea/chai at this high-altitude cafe, anyone?

You can also enjoy an evening meal at the cafรฉ inside the Stupa premises.

Leh !
Shanti Stupa

The view from Stupa
Thikshey Monastery

On the 6th day of the trip, while returning back to Leh from Pangong Tso, we visited Thikshey and Shey monastery which gave us some insight into the life of Buddhist people and monks.

First sight of Shey Gompa! Beautiful isn’t!
Shey Monastery
The vibrant colors at Thikse Gompa!
A night lamp inside Thikse Gompa
Bird-eye view from Thikse Gompa
The flowers are blooming inside Thikse Gompa
An evening at Leh Market
Mall road, Leh
  • Buy some dehydrated berries, and apricots from locals.
  • Enjoy local bread if you enjoy trying new food.
  • Buy some local woolens for winter.
  • Enjoy an evening at a Cafรฉ.
More places to explore near Leh
  • Hall of fame
  • Leh Palace to see the panoramic view of the city.
  • Monasteries – Stakna Monastery

Where to stay in Leh?

Stay is not a problem in Leh. It can cater to all types of travelers right from budget to luxury. We had booked our stay with Zostel and Smanla Guest House, both of them are located close to Leh market.

Where to eat in Leh?

Leh has good restaurants, cafes, and marts. You can get a lot of options in the Leh market.

De Khambir

Punjabi Tadka Restaurant ( Leh market) – For good quality North Indian food at an affordable price. We enjoyed eating aloo parathas with chole, curd, and pickle. So yum!

De Khambir (Leh market) – You can enjoy local bread such as Khambir, juices, and traditional butter tea at this place.

Meta Cafe for Coffee lovers (Leh market)

Butter Tea and local bread sandwiches at De Khambir

How to rent a bike/car/shared taxi in Leh?

  • Bikes and Scooty – You can get a range of two-wheelers in and around Leh market. We rented a scooty for INR 800/- per day.
  • Self-Drive Cars – The roads and terrain of Ladakh are tricky for inexperienced drivers. It’s better to travel with drivers who drove100 times on these roads and are aware of the terrain and weather. It is not allowed to rent a self-drive car in Ladakh. You can hire a car or a sharing taxi from the taxi stand. We booked a Tata Aria and shared it with another couple with the help of Ancient tracks. The driver and staff are very polite and experienced.

Best time to visit Leh?

The peak season to visit Leh is summer, April to June, and thousands of tourists explore this valley. Winters are extremely harsh in Ladakh and most of the places are inaccessible. Unsurprisingly, you can visit Leh in winter via flight. Some hotels and restaurants operate in winter as well. Chadar Trek is a popular attraction in Ladakh in December.

When are you planning to visit Leh! Share your thoughts in the comments.

Manali to Leh Roadtrip – Unbelievable Landscapes

Please read part one before reading this blog.

Part 1: Packing for an epic Leh and, Ladakh trip (opens in a new tab)
Part 2: Manali to Leh Roadtrip (opens in a new tab)
Part 3: Exploring Leh, the touristy way (opens in a new tab)
Part 4: Land of Baltic People, Turtuk (opens in a new tab)
Part 5:
Nubra – The Cold Desert of India (opens in a new tab)
Part 6: Coming soon

We woke up at 4:45 AM exactly 15 minutes before the expected alarm, completed our morning activities, and did some last-minute packing. The driver bhaiya arrived and we left for the Manali bus stand. With great silence and excitement, we reached mall road, and then, driver bhaiya went out to find more passengers.

Good Morning, Manali

It was 7:30 AM, and everyone in the shared taxi started losing patience and requested bhaiya to start the journey. He was able to arrange a few travelers for the same route and we started the journey towards Leh, Yayy!

We had crossed a high altitude 9.2 Kilometers long, Atal Tunnel and drove parallel to the Sissu river reaching Sissu. We had taken our first break at Sissu.

Snow around Atal Tunnel

We had taken a stop of 5-15 minutes at the below spots. It’s better to start early so that you have sufficient time to stop at several gorgeous places. Here’s a list of places you will enjoy while traveling on the Manali-Leh highway.

  • Manali
  • Atal Tunnel
  • Sissu
  • Jispa
  • Deepak Taal
  • Zingzingbar
  • Suraj Taal
  • Baralacha Pass
  • Gata Loops
  • Nakee La Pass
  • Lachulung La Pass
  • Taglang La Pass
Scenic loops
Sit back and enjoy 50 shades of landscape

Bhaiya kept driving through stunning roads connecting Manali and Leh so that we could sit back and enjoy the long ride filled with lakes and unbelievable landscape.

Gorgeous panoramas
Frozen Suraj Taal
Driving through these roads was surreal
Off-roading with snowy patches
Baralacha Pass
Little Dhaba at high altitude serving hot food, Pang
In snow land
Barren snow-capped mountains
Crossing Baralacha Pass
Crossing high passes with my love, Ranjan
Traveling with monks from Leh to Manali!

To avoid discomfort, we had booked one front seat and the other on the middle seat. I kept the window open to avoid suffocation. On the way to Pang, we had to go off-roading for a few kilometers, the driver asked me to close the window so I closed it a couple of times but I felt suffocated so I reopened it and forgot to close it. After a few minutes, Ranjan tapped on my shoulder and asked me to close the window again. When I turned back, the middle and back seats were filled with a lot of dust! No one said anything but their facial expressions were enough to convey the discomfort due to dust. Then I looked at the monks, they seems undisturbed radiating positive energy with a slight smile on their faces. I apologized, closed the window, and went into a loop of thoughts!

Reaching Taglang La with monks
Prayer flags at Taglang La Pass
It looks like the ruins of a sand castle

How to reach Leh from Manali?

Traffic at high altitude
By Road
  • Via HRTC Bus or special tourist bus deployed during season time (~June – August). You can get details about buses from the bus stand.
  • Private Taxi – Hire a taxi from Mall Road.
  • Reserve your seat in Shared Taxi/ Tempo Traveler (Shared Taxi Stand at Mall Road)
  • Bike ride/Self-drive cars/ Personal cars – To drive on the roads Manali-Leh highway is an altogether different experience. If you have prior experience of driving in mountains(including off-roading and snowy roads) then go with this option. During May end and June, you can get snow patches and a slip can cost your life.
By Air

You can book a direct flight from Srinagar, Delhi, Chandigarh, and Mumbai. It is said to be one of the cheapest scenic flights where you get to see an aerial view of Ladakh.

By Rail
  • Leh is inaccessible via direct trains from major cities in India. For those who prefer train journeys, the nearest Railway station is Jammu Tawi Railway station.
  • Then, navigate to Leh via Srinagar-Leh Highway.

To make our trip budget-friendly, we preferred a shared taxi.

Where to stay and eat on a Manali to Leh Roadtrip?

  • You can eat hot food in Keylong, Pang, Sarchu, Upshi, Karu, etc. at small mountain dhabas.
  • HRTC/ Tourist bus takes a halt at Keylong, where you can take a rest and acclimatize to the high altitude.
  • Prefer a night’s stay at Jispa over Keylong, if you are driving by yourself. Jispa offers numerous river camping ranging from budget-friendly to luxury stays. You can also book a hotel here.
  • If required, you can take a rest at Pang, Sarchu, and Darcha. Keep in mind, it has limited homestays owned by a few local families. We have seen some bike riders taking a rest at Pang. (1-2 small homestays)
  • Reaching Leh – We reached Leh around 10:00 PM and we didn’t find good hotels around the bus stand as most of the hotels and markets were closed by then. Also, our heads were spinning due to a little uncomfortable journey in a shared taxi. So, we had to book our stay at Tomchay guest house, not recommended as the rooms were below average for INR 1000/-
  • For other days in Leh, we had booked our stay at Zostel and Smanla Guest House.

Acclimatizing to high altitude and more!

  • Take proper rest upon reaching Leh, don’t rush out to explore. Listen to your body, don’t miss that thirst, and sip water.
  • If you are reaching Leh by flight then you must spend a day taking a rest, a short walk, or an evening stroll in Leh market.
  • If you travel by road then the body has adjusted to high altitude gradually during the long journey so you can head out to explore the next day. Try to explore local touristy places on your first day. In case, you feel any discomfort then prefer taking rest.
  • On this beautiful trip, we carried 5 liters of a water bottle and refilled it wherever and whenever possible. You can also carry your own water bottles(even a small one is good) and help in reducing plastic consumption.
  • When you are shopping from small shops in Leh, or any other remote location then don’t bargain beyond a reasonable price.
  • Prefer local food, buy fruits from local shops instead of carrying packaged food.
  • Don’t throw plastics/ other garbage in rivers/mountains/roads.

Packing Bag For An Epic Ladakh Trip

Part 1: Packing for an epic Leh and, Ladakh trip (opens in a new tab)
Part 2: Manali to Leh Roadtrip (opens in a new tab)
Part 3: Exploring Leh, the touristy way (opens in a new tab)
Part 4: Land of Baltic People, Turtuk (opens in a new tab)
Part 5:
Nubra – The Cold Desert of India (opens in a new tab)
Part 6: Coming soon

Ladakh is known for its beautiful landscape, Buddhism, monasteries, lamas, wildlife, culture, and extreme weather. The temperature varies from -20 to 22 degrees Celsius. It offers direct sunlight, and harsh cold and arid air. In order to enjoy the beauty of this place, one has to be comfortable in terms of clothing, skincare, and booking a stay.

Well prepared for high-altitude passes.

Skincare for Ladakh Trip

I started my journey towards minimal skincare routine 5 months back. I like using coconut oil for the face, body, and hair. For this trip, I have packed coconut oil and boroline cream for extreme dryness. You can also add sunscreen to protect your skin from direct sunlight.

  • Hair – Coconut Oil and Scarf.
  • Lips – Ghee
  • Face – Coconut oil and Boroline.
  • Body – Coconut oil, Borololine, and Olive oil as backup (when there is no sunlight to melt the coconut oil)
  • Makeup – Kajal, eyeliner (not used though), and lipstick.

You can also add body butter instead of the usual lotions for this trip.

Let’s pack clothes!

For this trip, you will need a mix of breathable cotton dresses and woolens.

Mind your Head, Face, and Neck

  • Beanie/ Woolen cap
  • Cotton Scarf
  • Woolen Scarf/ Multipurpose Woolen Bandana
Breathable cotton kurta and loose pants for daytime in Nubra

Upper Body

  • 2-3 cotton T-shirts
  • Cotton short kurta
  • Cotton long kurta
  • Light weight Saari
  • You can also pack pretty maxi dresses
  • Down jacket
  • Woolen sweater/ Sweatshirt/ Warm long sleeve
  • 1 pair of thermals for extremely cold nights

Lower Body

  • Comfortable breathable pants
  • Leggings
  • Jeans
  • Pajamas
  • Warm bottom wear by Decathlon

Protect your Hands

  • Woolen Gloves

Protect your Legs

  • 4-5 pairs of socks
  • Running/walking Shoes, slippers/ chappals, trekking shoes/ fancy boots.
Saari, the most comfortable dress for all sorts of weather.
PJs and chappals to explore the early morning walks.
A cotton scarf/ shawl for cold evenings in Nubra valley.
Kurta, scarf, and mandatory boots for a comfortable long daytime journey in Nubra valley
Cotton hoodie t-shirt with warm long sleeves for exploring leh during daytime.

What networks/sims work in Ladakh?

Try to carry a postpaid BSNL/Airtel sim along with you. Also, you can get a postpaid sim from the Leh market, prepaid sim cards don’t work in Ladakh. In Nubra and Pangong, you will not get a strong network everywhere so be prepared and inform your family in advance.

How to eat healthy on a Ladakh trip?

You can carry some roasted peanuts, jaggery, chivda, etc. for snacks. There are vegetables and fruits shops in Leh and Nubra valley, you can buy bananas/ fruits of your choice. You can also buy dried berries, apricots, etc. from Leh market and enjoy them throughout the trip.

Don’t ignore the thirst, keep sipping water and stay hydrated while traveling.

Take proper rest and Acclimatize

When you will reach Ladakh, you might face problems such as headache, lethargy, dizziness, etc., make sure that you take one day of proper rest.(especially if you are traveling by Air). Your body needs some time to adjust to high altitude and it can happen to anyone despite high or low fitness levels.
If you are traveling via Manali-Leh or Srinagar-Leh route then you can skip it.

Shubh Yatra ๐Ÿ™‚

Jewels of Odisha | Travel Guide to Odisha

Jai Jagannath!
Locals would greet you when you are in Odisha. Jagannath is a diety in Jagannath Temple at Puri, Odisha. This temple is also part of the Char Dham pilgrimage site. Odisha offers a variety of places for tourists/devotees/explorers/historians such as great architectural temples, clean beaches, national parks, scenic road journeys, good food, handicrafts, and many more.

Odisha is still among the less explored places in India.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Explore Puri

Travel to Puri and seek the blessings of Lord Jagannath.

It’s good to keep a few things in mind while visiting the temple.

  • Restrain from paying money to the pandits for special queues in the temple. It will take 30-40 minutes for darshan.
  • Only Hindus are allowed inside the temple.
  • Carry your adhar card and proof of vaccination. Although there is a free facility to keep mobile and bags on temple premises it’s always better to carry less.
  • Be patient while in a queue, don’t create chaos.

If you have more time in the day then club day 2 with day 1.

Front view of Lord Jagannath Temple.
Day 2 – Explore the beach and indulge in shopping

Visit nearby temples in Puri –

  • Narendra Pushkarni.
  • Narsimha Temple
  • Gundicha Temple
  • Loknath Temple
  • Ram Mandir
  • Sasural of Lord Jagannath
  • Bedi Hanuman
  • House of Subhadra
  • Isckon center
  • Samadhi of Haridas Thakur
Where to eat in Puri?

Puri – We liked eating at The Grand located near the temple. You can also eat Mahaprasadam inside the temple.
Bhubneshwar – Hare Krishna

Whatever we ate, we felt a slight sweetness in it. If you enjoy spicy food, then carry homemade snacks along.

  • Spend some time at Golden beach
  • One can’t resist shopping when there is a huge variety of handicrafts and handloom materials.
Day 3 – Explore nearby places
Memorable ride, Marine road.
  • Drive to marine drive road – It will be a memorable ride.
  • Spend some time at Chandrabaga beach – The beaches of Odisha are very clean, you will enjoy that.
  • Konark Sun Temple – Great architecture.
  • Nandankanan Zoological Park – The first zoo in the World to breed White tigers and Melanistic tigers.
Chandrabaga Beach, Odisha

In 1984, the Konark Sun temple of Orissa was added to the world heritage site by UNESCO. The structure of the temple is similar to a huge chariot with 12 pairs of wheels. These wheels are also known as dhoopgadi because they are capable of telling the current time of day. There are 7 horses which are considered as 7 days of the week. The lions and elephants are guardians of the temple and deliver an important message. The lion is a symbol of pride and the elephant are related to wealth, both of them kill human.

A very few people at the beach
Konark Sun Temple

It would take around 3 hours to see the Sun temple, and museum. It was highly crowded during our visit.

You can also plan to watch the light and sound show at the temple.

Look at these details!

Nandankanan zoological park has a variety of animals, birds, reptiles, etc. You can book a caddie car and explore the park and botanical garden.

Welcome to Nandankanan Zoological Park.
Day 4 – Explore Bhubneshwar
  • Visit Lingaraj Temple
  • Mukteshwar Temple

However, if you want to stay longer in the state here are some places you can pick.

  • Chilka lake for bird watching and dolphins.
  • Udaiyagiri and Khandagiri Caves
  • Chandipur beach
  • Raghurajpur – A village of artists.
ISKCON Bhubaneswar
Puskarni near Lingaraj Temple
Beautiful garden near Lingaraj Temple

Some Delicacies of Odisha

Hare Krishna Restaurant, Bhubneshwar
  • Chenna Poda
  • Chenna payas
  • Rasbali
  • Rabdi
  • Khaja
  • Dalma
  • Chuda kadamba and many more.

I was recovering from food poisoning (Pakhiralay, Sunderbans) and fever but with the association of both of our parents, I enjoyed each and every day of this trip. Also, the cities and beaches are very clean.

It is advised to drink mineral water during the trip and consume food at good restaurants.

How to reach Bhubneshwar and Puri?

To reach Bhubneshwar, book a flight ticket for Biju Patnaik Airport/Bhubneshwar Airport. Bhubneshwar and Puri are well connected with trains and buses.

To explore nearby places, we booked a cab through a local tour company.

Beware of auto drivers in Puri, they charge 2 to 3 times of actual cost.

Best weather to visit Odisha?

Winter – October to February.
In summer, Odisha is hot and quite humid which makes it difficult to explore places during the day.
Monsoon – Beautiful waterfalls are only active during the rainy season.

Where to stay in Odisha?

Bhubneshwar – Ratna Resort Bhubneshwar, near the airport.
Puri – Assam Jatri Niwas is situated at West Gate(of Lord Jagannath Temple), Lalmohria Assam Panda.

Bhubneshwar and Puri provide luxurious stays as well as budget-friendly, feel free to choose a hotel of your choice. Some options are The Presidency Hotel, Ginger Bhubneshwar, MAYFAIR Lagoon, and OYO Crystal

Happy Travelling ๐Ÿ™‚

Largest Mangrove Forest In The World, Sunderbans

The mangrove area in the delta formed by the confluence of Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna Rivers in the Bay of Bengal is known as Sundarbans. It is the largest mangrove forest in the world. It is home to several animals, birds, and dreadful `Man-Eating Royal Bengal Tigers`.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Reach Gadkhali ferry ghat from Kolkata. It takes approximately 4 hours depending on the area in Kolkata.
  • Enjoy the ferry ride from ferry ghat to Gosaba and then to Pakhiralay.
  • Reach resort, eat lunch and relax for an hour.
  • Watch sunset from Pakhiralay Sunset Point(from ferry)
Day 2
  • Sajnekhali Wildlife Sanctuary/ Sajnekhali Sunderban Tiger Reserve viewpoint.
  • Dobanki View point.
  • Few view points from boat.
  • Folk dance and drama.
Day 3
  • Learn about Hamilton Bunglow
  • Return journey to Kolkata.

The cost per person for 3 days and 2 nights is INR 4277/- and this cost varies as per season and tour company. It includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and hotel expenses.

Best Season To Explore Sunderbans

Winter months – End of October to March.
There are high chances of Tiger visibility in summers but it’s very hot and humid.

Let’s Explore Island and Sundarbans together ๐Ÿ™‚

Day 1

We were very happy to plan the last trip of the year 2021 with both of our parents. On day 1, it took 6 hours approximately, including waiting time to reach the hotel from Kolkata. The tour company provided tea, lunch, and requested to be ready by 3:30 PM IST.

Happy faces Happy family ๐Ÿ™‚
Waiting for boat
First glimpse of Mangrove trees ๐Ÿ™‚

Don’t miss sunrise and sunset in Pakhirala, it’s beautiful.

Gorgeous Sunset from boat at Pakhirala
Folk Dance
Day 2

I woke up early and borrowed a bicycle from a worker in the hotel and explored the island. The island is filled with private and public pools as they are a source of sweet water for them.

Private Lotus pond

At 8:00 AM, we went on a ferry where we have to spend the whole day. It took us to the Sunderbans.

View from Sandhrekhali and Dobanki viewpoints. The probability to see the tiger, other animals are high at these points. We were unfortunate that we couldn’t see a tiger, the overall probability that one could spot a tiger is low because these forests are vast.

We also saw the confluence of five rivers – Padma, Meghna, Bhairab, Madhumati, and Hugli. All the meals except dinner were provided on the boat.

Day 3

We had breakfast at the hotel and went out to explore the market. We bought a few wild almonds/baksho almonds for home. It tastes similar to a mix of soaked almonds and peanuts/ pumpkin seeds.

The driver dropped us at the ferry point and requested us to visit the Hamilton bungalow which was closed.

What to expect from Sunderbans trip and some tips
  • The probability to see tiger is very low.
  • Rather sit back and enjoy nature.
  • We recommend to book the package for 1 night and 2 days, important points can be covered in a day.
  • The route for all ferry are predefined by government so day 2 is similar for all boats.
  • Unless you are booking a luxirous boat stay, book your accomodation on island.
  • It is paradise for Non-vegeterians, some people solely plan this trip for it while vegeterians might face some challenges in terms of quality of food. All 9 of us didn’t like food and on last day they served us stale food which lead to food poisioning.
  • There are also issues with water, we highly recommend to buy filtered water bottles.
Tour Packages

Planning Long Term Holiday In Goa

Consider the below factors while planning your long-term holiday with a 9 to 5 job.

Step 1: Decide Destination

There are many travel destinations in and outside India, it’s up to you to decide the view for the WFH setting. India is endowed with almost all the topographical features such as gigantic mountains, plateaus, and wide plains with rivers. If you are a beginner, consider India’s most traveled places such as Goa, Shimla, Manali, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Kerala, and many more.

Another important factor while making your booking is deciding the area in which you want to live and explore.

Step 2: Choose your priority – Managing Daily Meals and Internet

When I started hunting for an apartment, my priority was kitchen and wi-fi. I enjoy homemade food whether it is one pot recipe or a platter so I searched for an apartment with a kitchen and wi-fi. It also contributes to reducing the cost of living at any place. In case, you don’t enjoy cooking, search for cafรฉ/ restaurants which provide meals at a reasonable price. Those who can manage eating outside daily, they can also book hotels/ hostels without a kitchen or a common kitchen. Similarly, choose your priority and add them in filters while searching a space.

Step 3: Commute Options

To explore a place post office hours or on weekends sometimes you will also need some sort of transport.

Step 4: Planning Other things

Search for nearby supermarts, hospitals, vegetable shops, etc.
Once you can decide on the above things, start looking for a space on Airbnb, booking.com, or zostel.

Where I stayed in Goa ?

I lived in a 2 BHK apartment near Prana cafรฉ, Ashwem. The beach was just 100 meters away from my apartment, a perfect place to work during day time and go for evening walks at the beach. During this time, I interacted with neighbors, tasted the homemade delicious dodol, explored nearby mountains, and cycled to random places. This flat met my requirements( wi-fi and kitchen), you can find a link below to make your bookings.

If you are using Airbnb for the first time, use the below link to get up to 4000 OFF on your first booking.
Airbnb link to find the space where I stayed – https://www.airbnb.co.in/rooms/31247511?check_in=2021-03-18&check_out=2021-03-20&s=67&unique_share_id=5fb7bca1-233e-4850-8417-e5b6bc0f7350

Host Contact Name and Number : Royston, 8806464663.

For South Goa, I stayed at a luxurious fully furnished apartment in Garden Estate Society, near Palolem Beach hosted by Amit.

Buying Essentials – Grocery and others

Some supermarts at walking distance to buy essentials.

Super mart near Zula: https://g.page/zula-goa?share
OM Mart: https://goo.gl/maps/Ji3aNYqLcRGxyCTJ7
Britto’s Super mart: https://goo.gl/maps/6qnChr17Dj8n91ZJA
Nearest medical shop : Mandrem

There are many shops near Palolem beach and this society.

Get a bike/ car

In Ashwem , North Goa –
Royston for scooty – 8806464663
Contact Tyron if you want bicycles – 9075233202
Bikes and cars – https://goo.gl/maps/88iBHvG8zezQRKiU7
There are many bike rentals options near Koleso 24/7 , take a walk on this road in case above options didn’t work.

For South Goa, we got bikes in Palolem for Rps 200 /- at Seema taxi/cab near Avacado restaurant. There are ample number of options available in this area.

Buying Vegetables and Fruits

Breakfast time

For long-term holidays, I enjoy eating homemade food. In Palolem , while dropping bikes back, we met two girls struggling to buy vegetables at fair price so I thought of including this section.
In Ashwem, you can get fresh vegetables and fruits at a reasonable price in Mandrem market which is 2 km away. There is a nearby Government approved Vegetable shop, I don’t recommend buying from this shop as the price was way higher for not-so-fresh fruits and veggies.
In palolem area, buy veggies on Saturday from Chaudi market at reasonable price.

Nearby Cafรฉ & Restaurants

There are many cafรฉ and restaurant in Ashwem, Arambol and Morjim area. Here are some options which we explored.
Prana Cafรฉ – https://g.page/PranaCafeGoa?share
La Cabana – https://goo.gl/maps/mQAxKNySAaSgLPg99
Leela Beach Club – https://g.page/Beach-club-leela?share

For Vegetarian and Vegan food eat at Wellness Inn yoga & Holistic Center – https://goo.gl/maps/hku8f6TRHwPGag2p7

Near Palolem, there are many options. Here are some which we liked –

  • Zest Cafe
  • Magic Italy
  • Nireas
  • Little world
  • Cafe Inn

Explore Nearby Beaches

Ashwem, North Goa

  • Ashwem
  • Arambol
  • Sweet water lake
  • Morjim
  • Keri

Palolem, South Goa

  • Palolem Beach
  • Agonda
  • Colomb
  • Patnem
  • Rajbaga
  • Galgibag

I hope this information would help you, let me know if you have some suggestions or queries ๐Ÿ™‚

Indian Travelers’ Checklist: Kitchen Essentials

We enjoy eating homemade food while we travel and we have prepared a list of kitchen essentials required for basic cooking. We carry items listed below in our travel bags or buy them after reaching destination.

Spices Checklist

  • Red Chilly powder
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Cumin seeds
  • Asafetida
  • Mustard Seeds
  • Coriander powder
  • Carom seeds
  • Himalayan Black Salt
  • Maggie Magic Masala
  • Jiravan

To prepare Beverages

  • Tea
  • Sugar
  • Coffee
  • Cadbury Hot Chocolate Powder
  • Jaggery

For Snacks

  • Namkeens
  • Gajak
  • Fox nuts
  • Dry fruits
  • Peanuts


  • Scissor
  • Knife set
  • Piece of cloth to clean kitchen and to flip chapatis when tongs are unavailable.

These items and quantity might vary for different people, I hope this list has given a rough idea in packing up/ while buying spices. If you would like to suggest me more items, I would be very happy to hear that in comment section.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

A Day in Bundi, Rajasthan

I am currently living in Kota. Bundi is 40-50 minutes drive from here. It is in the south-east region of Rajasthan. It is known for beautiful forts, Baoris, Colorful Streets, and Stepwells.

I started from Kota at around 10:00 AM IST with my husband and in-laws and reached Garh Palace at 10:40 AM IST. We had bought entry tickets for Palace which is common for Garh Palace, Taragarh Fort, Badal Mahal, Chitra Shala, Phool Mahal, and few more places which are inside the fort.

Exploring Garh Palace and Taragarh Fort

Hathi Pol/Elephant Gate

When you would walk up towards Palace, you would see two elephants blowing bugles at the gate. This gate is known as the Hathi Pol/ Elephant Gate. After crossing this gate, turn right and move upstairs as per the direction indicated on board. You would see Diwan-e-aam/Hall of Public Audience – It was built by Rao Raja Ratan Singh for public discussions/hearing. The throne is build-up from marbles with a hall on the opposite side.

View from Diwan-e-aam

Chitra Mahal, Badal Mahal, Phool Mahal, and Chitrashala are located in the Palace. The walls and ceilings of Chitra Mahal are decorated with colorful paintings and glass. The paintings narrate stories of war and Hindu mythology. There are two massive pillars to set up a swing that comes under Queen’s premises. I have never seen such a massive setup for a swing before. The paintings in the fort are on verge of decay but it’s worth visiting the fort for the rich historical stories, the art, and the beautiful panoramic view of the city. 
You could hire a government guide to learn more about the Palace and Bundi at the entrance. One could use directions painted on walls and boards to navigate inside the fort.
Taragarh Palace is located above Bundi Palace, it’s a small 15-20 minutes steep hike. Although itโ€™s in a state of decay, itโ€™s worth the walk to look down upon the blue hues of this colorful city.

Bundi Fort

After exploring the fort, we ate homemade stuffed Gobi Paratha with Guava curry and chutney in our car near Nawal Sagar.

Rani Ji Ki Baori

All about Rani Ji Ki Baori
Temples carved on walls of Baori
Rani Ji Ki Baori

84 Pillared Cenotaph

It was constructed in 1683 by Raja Anirudh, Maharaja of Bundi in memory of his nurse, Deva. It has 84 pillars, they say you cannot count 84 pillars in one go. It is also known as Music Maharani’s Chhatri. We had identified 80 pillars but 4 pillars were still missing in our count, so when you explore this Cenotaph, let me know in comments section if you were able to count all of them.

84 Pillared Cenotaph

Sukh Mahal and Jait Sagar

A Mahal of bliss surrounded by mountains and Jait Sagar Lake. It was host to Rudyard Kipling who wrote โ€œKimโ€ during his stay here in the 19th century. Sukh Mahal will make you feel very peaceful and calm after a long hectic day.

How to reach Bundi

By Bus and Train – The best way to reach Bundi is via bus, it is well connected to Kota, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ajmer and other major cities. If you are travelling from other states via train then reach Kota junction and then you can catch a bus. Mostly people avoid travelling via train because Bundi railway station is 4km away from the old city.

By Air – Nearest airport is Sanganer Airport, Jaipur which is about 206 kms away.

Best time to visit Bundi

Winters (November – February) is the best time to visit Bundi. Monsoon is also a good time to experience the old city in lush green. Avoid traveling in summers (March – July) to avoid scorching Sun. 

I have followed the below sequence to explore Bundi in a day.

Trip Expenses/Budget

1.Garh Palace and Taragarh Palace tickets85
2.Rani Ji Ki Baori, 84 Pillared Cenotaph and Sukh Mahal tickets combo75
Expense s for Bundi

I had great time here and I will be happy to read your travel stories in comments. Thanks for sharing your time.

In search of Solitude and Camping at Rai-Ling Plateau

Due to some office work related priorities, I was unable to take out time for weekend travel. As soon as I realized that I didn’t have any plans on coming weekend, I started searching for places to camp. I saw an Instagram post from Abhishek about a camping event at Rai-ling. I heard about this place from one of my follower on Instagram when we met in Aurangabad. I packed my tent and left for Railing.

Enroute to Mohari Village
With my tent partner ๐Ÿ™‚

Aarvi picked me up from Honda crystal showroom, Bavdhan. This was my first ride with a female rider. I was 95% excited and 5% scared for this ride. After few minutes, I got comfortable and convinced that she is a bad-ass rider. Together we crossed many villages and green fields.

Travel freaks and base village

Railing plateau is one of the unexplored places situated in the Mahad Taluka of Raigad District, Maharashtra. You can see Raigad Fort and Lingana Fort from top of this plateau.

Into the wild ๐Ÿ™‚

After crossing Velhe village and driving for 40 mins more, the road conditions degraded so we slowed down a little. It was a good off-road biking biking experience. Aarvi and I reached base village and waited for rest of the people. Mohari village comprises of very few houses that one can count on fingers. Once everyone else arrived, we went straight into the forest. It was a easy trail which takes hardly 30-40 minutes approximately. The sun was asking us to pace up as he wanted to go. Meanwhile, Abhishek said same and mostly guys started walking briskly. Leaving everyone behind, Abhishek literally started running towards plateau. Aarvi and I continued to walk with our normal speed.

Race for sunset views

In few minutes, we reached plateau, the sunset was stunningly beautiful. It felt heavenly, mighty Lingana and the sun setting down. Our pale faces brighten up with joy. Everyone was trying to be in moment and seize them. Post sunset, we finished setting up tent, ate dinner and shared some travel stories.

Sunset at Railing Plateau
Mighty Lingana

I found a place to be with myself near my tent. After some time, Roshni joined me and we exchanged our travel tales. Later, Abhishek also joined us and we had some more travel stories.

I went inside my tent but it was too cold that I couldn’t sleep. I stepped out of my tent.
I spent whole night sitting near campfire, listening travel stories. When sun was about to come up and wind went little low, I went inside my collapsed tent to sleep.
When Sun was coming up, I woke up and went out. I had zero expectations about Sunrise but it surprised all of us.

A moment freezed by Sukhi
In frame – Roshni, Abhishek and I
Stunning photo clicked by Sukhi. Checkout his instagram handle for more stunning shots.
Yes, that’s me – Performing midnight rituals :p

Now some people wanted to go for a trek till Lingana base village and some wanted to leave for Pune. Aarvi and I started walking towards Mohari village again.

This is place gives you everything – Sunset, camping, star gazing , solitude and Sunrise views ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know your experiences for this place in comment box below ๐Ÿ™‚

Tents and collapsed tent ๐Ÿ™‚
Unzipping the tent

How to reach Rai-ling plateau

Via Public transport
If you are planning this trip by public transport then you can reach Velhe village and get down at diversion for Singapur- Mohari village. You need to walk for around 8 km to reach Mohari. There is no direct/indirect connectivity via public transport for Mohari.

Via personal vehicle
The roads are in good shape except the last 15 km stretch. It’s complete off-road and might be little challenging for novice riders. So, in case you have plans to drive by yourself to this place, go little slow and drive carefully in last stretch.

Trail Details
Once you reach base village, search Boratyachi Nal Trail and follow the trail. It is easy trail (30-40 mins) but ensure that you reach plateau before sunset.

Distance From Pune:ย 92 km (3 hours approx.)
Distance From Mumbai: 234.5 km (5 hours and 21 minutes approx.)

Village Kids

Where to eat at Railing plateau

Dinner pictures are’nt perfect when everyone look into camera

One can ask villagers to cook breakfast or dinner for you by paying them. You can also stop at Velhe which is base village for Torna to grab some food. We, all carried home made delicacies and some snacks. In morning, we requested villagers to prepare Poha and chai for us ๐Ÿ™‚

Best time to visit Rai-ling plateau

You can visit this place at anytime of the season except monsoon. The roads are not in good shape and it get’s very slippery so the ideal time is just after monsoon. I visited this place in first week of January and May.

Budget to visit Rai-ling plateau

I carried home cooked dinner and a tent so I spent 150 INR the next morning for the breakfast. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚
When are you planning to visit Railing plateau ๐Ÿ™‚

Getting Lost In Andharban Dense Forest !

Yes, you read it right !
I saw a couple of fireflies videos on Facebook and I couldn’t stop thinking about the same for the rest of the day. I enquired about it with my friend and after a day I found a group on Facebook who were organizing similar event at Andharban. Without wasting any minute, we booked our seats ๐Ÿ™‚ The journey started from Pune on Friday night with the same group.

At 12:30 AM IST, after some basic instruction and introduction, we started walking towards jungle.

Andharban is also known as dense forest situated near the Mulshi dam on the Tamhini Ghat road. It is 13 km hardcore jungle trek and a major portion of this trek route involves walking through denseness. Western Ghats jungles twinkle with a small light during the mating season of fireflies i.e pre-monsoon.

Cloudy night

We walked for about 15 minutes and folks in our group started sharing freshly self made horror stories. Trust me if you are in dense forest at night where you can’t even see sky or the other person, its scary to listen to such stories. Ignoring all this, I kept walking and some leaves fell on me, it might sound very light right now but it was one of the scariest moment for me in the dense forest.
As we walked more into dense forest, we were becoming familiar with trees and the sound of dry leaves being crushed by our shoes.

Some clips from trek
Hirdi Village

Watching fireflies was our sole motivation of midnight walk in dense forest. I was quite excited ๐Ÿ˜€ We, all were quite excited. As we crossed the jungle, trek lead pointed towards a tree and said – Ye rahi fireflies. I was little disappointed after realizing that there was just ONE tree having fireflies and it was different from online videos. When I went close to them, they started flying here and there which made me forget everything and I was happy again ๐Ÿ˜Š At least I saw some ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜‰

After walking some more minutes we reached Hirdi village , locals served tea and snacks. While everyone decided to take rest for some time, I wanted to go back to the fireflies point. My friend and I went back, as we were going back it was getting cloudy !
We clicked couple of photos and rushed back to village. We thought of capturing stars but clouds were not in mood to collaborate.๐Ÿ˜ซ

Post descend
Bhira dam

After crossing Hirdi village, our trek leads said we are LOST !! Some panicked, some were discussing..While two members from group were searching right trail, I grabbed a spot and enjoyed watching the game of clouds and moon. Once trek leads found right trail, we started moving ahead. The rest of the trek was just downhill. The sun was bored watching hide and seek of clouds and moon so it came up, and we reached Bhira dam. The view was heavenly ๐Ÿ˜ I tried to freeze the moment and dragged myself into bus with some fun memories.

We ate breakfast on our way to Pune and reached Pune at 10 AM

Bhira Dam

Places To Stay

It is usually done as one day trek. If you have plans to stay then you can stay at one of the lodges in Patnus village or enjoy overnight camping or lakeside camping at Bhira Dam. Alternatively, you can return to Lonavala or Pune and find a variety of budget stays and hotels . There are several forest lodges and resorts near Andharban too.

Where to eat?

For us, everything was planned by the group. We ate our dinner at home and left for adventure. The organizers distributed energy bars, juices and snacks to everyone. You can eat dinner/breakfast in Pune or Lonavala depends on whichever city youโ€™re travelling from.

If youโ€™re coming from Pune side, you can stop at Mulshi before Pimpri and enjoy eating authentic Maharashtrian food in nearby dhabas.

How to reach Andharban forest

As per last year news, permit is made mandatory to enter the Andharban jungle trek. One can also apply online by registering at Tamhini Wildlife sanctuary website. Government imposed some restrictions to ensure our safety and avoid heavy crowd.
You can reach Andharban trail point by searching on Gmaps and follow trail. This forest is quite dense so you should prefer joining some groups who plan such treks.

Trek Time: Approximately 5 hours (13 kilometres trail)
Difficulty level: Easy
Base Village: Pimpri village
Duration: 1 day
Time taken: 4-5 hours

Best time to visit Andharban forest

Plan a trek to the surreal Andharban during monsoon and winter to enjoy the beauty of Sahyadri at its best. This trek is considered as easy trek. In spite of being downhill, the extreme humidity and slippery route make it slightly tough. It takes 4-5 hours to cover this trek

Expenses/Budget for Andharban forest

This event was conducted by a group who charged 800 pp with below inclusions

Pune – Andharban – Pune travel
Dinner and breakfast

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

%d bloggers like this: