Kyoto – A place full of religious architecture including shrines, temples, castles and its rich culture

Hello Friends,

Here is my adventure about my stay in Kyoto after Osaka in Japan. It was an emotional and spiritual journey after all and I did enjoyed it a lot. 

I would encourage you to migrate your followership to my new website and check out the posts about Japan and other current ventures of my life on my new website.

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I would love to keep in touch going forward hence please add me on twitter(KavitaJoshi84 ), facebook(https://www.facebook.com/KavitaJoshiTravels), Instagram, Pinterest, tumbler, here and my new blog (http://kavitajoshitravels.com).

Have a lovely weekend you all!

Regards,

Kavita Joshi

Osaka – City with character, home to nearly nine million and a shopping hub

Hello Friends,

Here is my adventure about my stay in Osaka. Although I would encourage you to migrate. Check out the post about it on my new website.

I would love to keep in touch going forward hence please add me on twitter(KavitaJoshi84 ), facebook(https://www.facebook.com/KavitaJoshiTravels), Instagram, Pinterest, tumbler, here and my new blog (http://kavitajoshitravels.com).

Have a lovely weekend you all!

Regards,

Kavita Joshi

Tips to travel in Japan – Preparation Steps

Hi All,

Some of you must be wondering that how did I prepare myself to go to Japan and travelled there so smoothly. Yes I did have some preparation before I left as you all know its a country with different culture and language which makes it hard to travel in such countries if you are not much familiar with the customs and the language. I had some hiccups where I had trouble asking for directions along with boarding the wrong bus and some other small things that are part of travel I think and we need to be ready to tackle any such things while travelling solo. Here is a link to my post about tips to travel in Japan in my latest blog.

http://kavitajoshitravels.com/2014/09/tips-to-travel-in-japan-preparation-steps/

Japan – A positively overwhelming and colorful experience

Please find my latest article about my trip to Japan and I will be posting about each place seperately as there is so much to talk about when it comes to Japan.

http://kavitajoshitravels.com/2014/09/japan-a-positively-overwhelming-and-colorful-experience/

Please subscribe to my new website (kavitajoshitravels.com) as I would be posting there in future and currently I am migrating from here to my new custom build website. Thanks for all your support.

You can connect with me through facebook as well – https://www.facebook.com/KavitaJoshiTravels?ref=hl and Twitter – https://twitter.com/KavitaJoshi84 so that we don’t miss each other’s communication. I would follow you back as well.

Here is the list in chronological order of all the places I went in 10 days of my stay there.

1. Nagoya – Fly in

2. Hiroshima

3. Miyajima – Very close to Hiroshima but I would love to write a seperate post about it as I had a moving experience there along with some adventure

4. Osaka

5. Kyoto – C ity of ancient culture with beautiful temples and shrines

6. Tokyo – I never thought Japan has such a massive city

7. Kamakura – I was lucky to attend the lantern festival in a nearby island, Enoshima,  during my visit to Kamakura

7. Mt. Fuji – It made me cry and it made me laugh is all I would say before I write the details in the coming post

8. Kariya – Met one of the best couch surfing host here who helped me after another host of mine changed the plans at the last moment

9. Nagoya – Sightseeing and fly out from here

Back to LA and now on my way to San Diego and then Miami and Orlando

Well you already know the adventure I had so far in USA on my trip to Los Angeles (LA) and Las Vegas so far. If not then here is a link to my adventurous travel including hitchhiking from Las Vegas to LA : https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/los-angeles-to-miami-a-journey-full-of-adventures-including-a-very-unplanned-hitchhiking/

Now here is the rest of my travel in North America with some more stories and fun things –

It was a fun ride back to Los Angeles. If you haven’t read about it then please do have a look at my hitchhiking adventure which wasn’t planned but somehow happened during my trip in North America.

Now it was time to visit beautiful San Diego and I was all excited to see some of this nice place I had head about after all. I didn’t get to visit most of it as I was there for one night and half a day only after getting to LA so late the other day. But I did get a chance to shake a leg in the pub there and also visit the maritime museum there. It was lovely to see this place I had heard about so much. And then soon it was time to head to Miami for New Year.

It was a bit sad to say good bye to my friend in Los Angeles but few things you got to do after all you are on the road and you never know whom you are going to meet on your next stop. But I love travelling for that reason as you have instant connection to people on the way and you have those precious memories in your  heart afterwards. Now my first sight of Miami was the foggy morning and the bus stand where I waited for 15-20 minutes for the bus to go to Collins Ave on North beach. Now I felt better that I booked my accommodation in a nice area. There were big hotels all around and it was 10 minutes walk to the beach from my hostel. I walked to  Miami beach in order to get some food and choose to walk by the beach to do some sightseeing as well on the way. So many people were running and I felt a bit out of track after watching them pass by every now and then as I guess I still need to work on the exercise part when I go travelling other than walking of course.

Soon I was in Miami Beach and now I chose a beachside restaurant. If you are not strict then the people from restaurant can be a bit pushy to ask you to come-in and buy food there. I end up getting my breakfast at one of the joints after walking past few places. It was nice to finally have some food after the long flight. Now I was all set to see the place again but I end up going shopping in a shopping mall there and after clothes I did buy some food as well. Now I was loaded with so many shopping bags that I had to put them down to wait for the bus. The bus system is good in Miami so don’t worry if you like to commute the local way. I love riding the busses and trains as it gives me a feeling as if I am local. But remember not everyone speaks English there so if you are not equipped with Spanish then it might take a while to start chatting with the locals.

Now it was time to celebrate New Year the next day. First I went to the so called famous mall that everyone tells you to go called – Aventura Mall, Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL, United States. It was a good and a bad thing. Bad that I spend the whole day walking and shopping there and good that I did buy some nice clothes. But yes if you live in Australia then you would certainly appreciate shopping in States as the clothes are more fashionable and affordable hence I could not let this opportunity go away from me. In the evening I went to attend a hostel party in Miami beach which went very good after I met many people and also a couple from France. I had one of the best night with these people celebrating the New Year’s eve dancing and more dancing as I didn’t drink….Cudos 😉  Yes I did it..I didn’t drink at all on this trip.

Next day I had some more time to relax and go to this awesome museum called Vizcaya Museum & Gardens (Address: 3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, Miami-Dade, Florida 33129, United States). To get there you would have to take a bus to Downtown Miami. And if you are at all interested in art and history and architecture then this is a place to be. I loved the whole day that I spend at this place and took a lot of pictures as well. After that I took a tour to go to Orlando the next day to visit Disney World. It was really big, so big that you have to take busses or train to get from one park to another. Soon after I returned from Orlando, it was time to head to the airport as I had an early flight so I chose to stay in the airport for couple of hours rather than sleeping in and missing my flight by any chance. This was very long flight as I was supposed to catch another plane once I got to Los Angeles from here and then to Sydney from there. It was going to be a long flight I thought but wasn’t quiet ready for the bumps on the way yet to come.

Funny enough I had an interesting night in the airport as I was totally wet from the rain in Orlando and my shoes, cap, jeans, jacket and few other clothes… everything was super wet so I had to now dry them all to reduce the weight of my luggage and still keep it as carry on. Now if you ever tried to dry anything in the drier in the washroom other than hands then you would know what I am talking about. It took me four hours to dry everything and it gave me a chance to talk to the lady cleaning the place as well. It must have been weird for her to see the door of the washroom closed for sooo long and hear the drier. I know I have this was not something people do but I had nothing else to do in the airport anyways although it did make me laugh thinking what all things I can do at desperate times….LOL. Anyways you always remember such things so I don’t regret now.

Another stop was at Atlanta where we were supposed to change planes. I soon had a heavy breakfast after de-boarding the plane which I regretted soon as it was way too heavy for my stomach. But soon I realized that it was a good idea to have some food as we were stuck in Atlanta for next 6 hours now due to the weather conditions. Storm was coming from New York and all the incoming flights were either delayed or cancelled. After 3 hours I started to get worried now as I had to catch another plane in Los Angeles and that too with different airline with no insurance in case I miss the flight. Zeez it started to get a bit scary as every hour passed. I started to loose my nerve now after almost no sleep last night and waiting in the airport for so long. I soon went to get another boarding pass (this was fourth in a row) and made a joke to some one standing near the machine while getting the boarding pass. I was almost into tears but then this guy made me feel better by talking to me about the whole situation and about my travel in USA. Some times I guess just the human touch can do wonders. And that’s what I felt after I talked to him after being so frustrated. Finally we boarded the flight. Once I got off the plane in Los Angeles, my friend there came to visit me and we went for dinner before my next flight back to Sydney.

 My friend then dropped me back to the airport only for me to realize that after all this travelling (day and night), I had forgotten the actual date of my flight and was in the airport a day early. My god, jetlag and lots of planes with no sleep can do that to you I thought. But I was lucky as the lady at the desk pre-poned my flight and got me on a plane the same night due to the cancellation of lot of other incoming flights.  And I was able to come to Sydney on Sunday rather than Monday morning just before work. It was really good as I did need to take some rest before I could go to work again. Pffff…so this was my journey to USA, first time in the main land other than Hawaii last year. And I can say it was hilarious, scary, emotional, adventurous and fun. Nothing that I every thought of but for the best. God Bless USA 🙂

Warm Regards,

Kavita

Antarctica – A journey to remember

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As you know I bought a ticket to Antarctica for myself for my birthday and it went amazing after many years. I had the best birthday in many years or I must say since I grew up. Last year was not bad either as I was diving deep with Manta Rays in the night in Hawaii but this year I celebrated it with so many people and that made it extra special. I threw my first house party as well in Australia for my birthday and it went well with almost a dozen attendees and I must say it was like Christmas for me last when I started from the last weekend in Antarctica and then till yesterday with a house party and dinners, lunches along the way. It was like a whole week celebration and I do feel like a celebrity now. And with so many wishes here from all of you my lovely friends. I couldn’t have asked for more.

But I know you must be eagerly waiting for the pictures from Antarctica now so here they are as I was so busy the whole week that didn’t get a chance to upload them. But it’s never too late anyways. It was one of the most amazing things one can do and I guess I might take the boat one day to get there even closer than this time.

It was not just the destination, but I felt it was the whole journey and various aspect of this trip that made it special. I went to Brisbane for this trip and it was funny as I didn’t know what to pack as I was flying there to fly again and most of the time I was about to spend in the plane and the airport. But anyways as always I did pack few extra clothes and some of my dresses just in case I go out in the night to see the night life in Brisbane. But I end up spending time in the hostel I was staying watching a movie and I only had three hours of sleep before my trip which was not ideal but sometimes you do loose time when you meet awesome people to talk. And there I was with my tag around my neck like a medal and walking all proud in the airport to get to my gate for the flight. I was a bit early and all excited to get on the plane. Then slowly people started pouring from nowhere and in an hour we had more than 100 people almost. And I preferred to be at the end almost as it’s saves you queuing up for so long. But then the moment we got comfortable in the plane we were told that one of the extra engine has failed and the team of engineers is fixing this. But it was not a fortunate start so we had to de-board the plane soon for few hours to get the engine fixed properly. Fortunately we were able to fly the same day although after 4 hours but it was worth the wait. We were served Champaign soon after we boarded and then comes a snack pack that I did finish quickly as I felt a bit hungry by this time. We then flew in this big jumbo jet and I started watching the movie – ‘Last Vegas’ after having a small conversation with my fellow travellers next to my seat. I thought I might have a nap but the environment was full of excitement so I couldn’t afford a sleep at all.

Then finally we were told that soon we would spot our first iceberg and then people started getting up from their seat and start queuing up next to the window to see the first sight of the ice berg. It was all white at first (of-course what else was I expecting). But the first sight was more of a water and ice mixer to be honest but not long after we were over the top of few really big ice bergs and considering the height we were at, they were really big I must say. Also then we started getting plane ice all over and then a stream of water among those big rocks of ice. The adventure had started and now it was time to spot various sights in the same colour. Good thing is now the water is blue so it was easy to tell the ice bergs apart from the water and also we did spot a ship on the so called harbour. People were co-operative and were giving others space to see if they had their share of sight seeing over some places. Almost everyone was out there with their cameras and glasses.

Note: Do not forget your sunglasses as the light reflected from the ice is quiet strong that may even hurt your eye.

So there it was my first trip to Antarctica and my birthday gift to myself. Let me know if you have ever been there or want to go in future or if even are fascinated by the whole fact. I am waiting for your comments and opinions about this whole adventure my friend.

Link to book the flight: http://www.antarcticaflights.com.au/

Regards,

Kavita (Sunshine and hugs from Sydney)

Australia day in Perth with a house party and lot more fun sand boarding on the way to the dessert

I had booked this trip last year as Perth and Alice Spring ware left on my list after last years domestic travelling around Australia (https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/category/travelling/australia/).

 Also one of my bucket list (https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/category/bucket-list/bucket-list-2013/bucket-list-items/) item for last year  was to travel at least seven cities around Australia in 7 months. I was luckily able to do more than that though and here is the link to the same (https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/bucket-list-2013-week-15-7-places-traveled-in-3-months-rather-than-7-months/).

 So here I was in Perth arrived after 9:30 PM on Friday night after finishing my work in Sydney. I was on a adventure trip I should have realized since I was trying couch surfing (https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/dont-drink-before-diving-with-great-white-sharks-week-3/) again in Perth. I usually call it adventure but some people might call it a disaster or trouble when you arrive in a new place and you don’t know where you are going to stay as your host doesn’t pick up the call and the other couch host who promised to give you a ride to your destination changes the plan at the last moment. So here I was in Perth trying to call my host but didn’t get through but you know what you learn from past and this had happened to me in Armidale before when the host didn’t pick up my call all night and I didn’t even have his address (being a newbie to couch surfing). You must be thinking why do I even do it then – couch surfing when it is so much trouble at times. But the thing is you sometime never get to experience the place like a local if you don’t stay with locals and this trip of mine to Perth re-confirmed this again.

 So I was smart this time and had another contact as well in Perth for couch surfing and was able to get through Jason (another couch surfer host) and thankfully I found his place around 1 AM and was able to get few hours of sleep before I headed for the tour to  ‘Pinnacle dessert’ early morning.  His house was full of four other couch surfers that night but he was so nice that I didn’t mind staying in the space available although I did doubt my decision for a moment thinking why do I chose a night with no proper bed and rest and why do I have to even try this couch surfing. But anyways I did make a decision and stick to it and luckily I get through and had some awesome people around me during that time. For me the person who was hosting me was super nice and that changed my mind and I preferred to stay there for the whole duration because of the fact that the host as well as the other couch surfers were awesome company and comfort really didn’t matter after that and that too just for three days. I met Julie, Marie from France and Gosia, Piotrek from Poland. And I can say they make great friends along with Jason and made me feel home when I was in this new city (Perth). So I would recommend to know your priorities while trying something new as you might like it or not but you should always know what your preference would be in case you need to choose and to make sure no matter what but you have a great time doing that new thing while travelling.

 So here was a new lesson for me where I learned more about myself and others. And yes we are good friends now and I miss them already 🙂 Now to continue the story, the next day I went to Pinnacle dessert and I met this guy I saw in the airport as co-incidentally he was also travelling from Sydney in the same plane and doing the same tour as mine. Hence now I had a travel buddy for this trip which made it even more fun. We went to a zoo on the way to the dessert and did a lot of sand boarding on the way back from there. The tour guide said that he hasn’t seen adrenalin junkies like us on a sand boarding place. Well I went uphill almost 10 times and other few were the same. What if my calf muscles were killing me, I couldn’t resist the urge to feel the rush of sand boarding again and again. You must visit Pinnacle dessert if you go to Perth and have some time under your belt and if you are even a little bit into adventure then do try sand boarding, its fun. So this was the highlight of my day and in the night I hit three different bars/pubs/clubs in Fremantle, Perth. It was such a fun night out with some great music and lots of lots of dancing. I met few more people during this which made the night even more fun and interesting. No wonder I love travelling as its always a surprise at every other corner even like meeting different people from different places/ areas of life.  Hence the first day was full on and I did well I must say 🙂 And I would share the highlights of Australia Day and my visit around the city in the next post.  So stay tuned. And I know I still need to share my experience of San Diego and Miami in USA which I am working on currently and would be back with some interesting things to share with you.

Exploring Perth, Western Australia this year on Australia Day

 It was a quick trip so I wasn’t really thinking much about it till it was the day I had to leave for Perth. I quickly searched for the things I can do in Perth and few options were given as must see in Perth:

Attractions around Perth:

  • Pinnacles Desert
  • Wave Rock
  • Rottnest Island
  • Monkey Mia Dolphins
  • Wildflowers and Aboriginal Cultural
  • Kalbarri National Park
  • Wildlife Cruise

Here is a link to few tours if you are interested:

http://www.viator.com/perth-tours/d389-ttd?pref=02&aid=g2308

http://www.travelaust.com.au/perth-tours.html?gclid=CJ3T99L6n7wCFQsDvAodu0kA2w

https://www.aussieperthtours.com.au/tour_styles.php?style=full-day-tours

 I had three days to spend in Perth, including Australia day hence I decided to take a tour for the first day (25th Jan) so that I still have two days to celebrate Australia day and checked out some local places for less money. As tours usually cost a lot in Australia hence every time you go somewhere try to mix tours and free attractions to make the most of your visit to that place.

 Other than the above attractions that takes a fair bit of drive (2 – 3 hours each), there are some local attractions/places that you should visit when you are in Perth.

  • Fremantle
  • Cottesloe beach
  • Northbridge
  • Kings Park

 Public transport: It can be difficult to get around quickly in Perth if you rely on the public transport too much but still the connectivity is good and it saves you some money if time is not an issue. If you are flying there then  there is a shuttle (bus number 37 ) that is free from airport but make sure you check the timetable for this bus as I arrived in Perth airport around 9:30 and by the time I checked out I was told that the shuttle doesn’t run after certain time. So I wasn’t able to use this facility but see if your timing are appropriate to take this shuttle to city and then make your way from there.

Here is a link of the transport website: http://www.perthairport.com.au/ToTheAirport/PublicTransport.aspx

 Weather:

 Springtime in Perth: Spring begins in September in Perth,

  1. Average Spring Temperatures
 
  1. September: Daytime 18-21C
  1. Overnight Minimum 9-12C
  1. October: Daytime 21-24C
  1. Overnight Minimum 9-12C
  1. November: Daytime 24-27C
  1. Overnight Minimum 12-15C

 Summer in Perth: The official start of summer in Perth is December, finishing 3 months later at the end of February.

  1. Average Summer Temperatures
 
  1. December: Daytime 27-30C
  1. Overnight Minimum 15-18C
  1. January: Daytime 30-33C
  1. Overnight Minimum 18-21C
  1. February: Daytime 30-33C
  1. Overnight Minimum 18-21C

  Autumn in Perth: Autumn begins in March and finishes at the end of May

  1. Average Autumn Temperatures
 
  1. March: Daytime 27-30C
  1. Overnight Minimum 15-18C
  1. April: Daytime 24-27C
  1. Overnight Minimum 12-15C
  1. May: Daytime 21-24C
  1. Overnight Minimum 9-12C

 Winter in Perth: The mild Perth winter begins at the start of June and finishes at the end of August.

  1. Average Winter Temperatures
 
  1. June: Daytime 18-21C
  1. Overnight Minimum 9-12C
  1. July: Daytime 15-18C
  1. Overnight Minimum 6-9C
  1. August: Daytime 18-21C
  1. Overnight Minimum 9-12C

 [Reference: http://www.perthtouristcentre.com.au/weather.php]

 And apart from the facts about the place here is more about my adventure in Perth. I am not sure why even the simplest trip as this one turns into some sort of adventure or roller coaster for me. Well ma be you guys would know it by now that if I am on the road then nothing less than adventure really suits my life and my travelling style so I can’t complain 🙂

Love at first sight – Grand Canyon

I literally didn’t have a better heading to give this time due to lack of words to describe my experience of Grand Canyon. It is one of those moments where youvfeel overwhelmed by the magnificient view and the magnitude of this beautiful place.

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Bucket-List 2013 : Plan for New Year and Christmas in Miami and Los Angeles

A smile and hug from Sydney. I had an amazing weekend this time like many others and I am back to share some stories and experience with you including my bucketlist adventure. Here is a link for my bucket list if you haven’t read it yet.

My Promise to live life – My BucketList 2013

A little bit different and another post about the fears I have in my life with a reflection of other reader’s experiences along with it.

My Fears

Item #11: Plan for New Year and Christmas in Miami and Los Angeles

Looks like things are falling in place and I am off to Los Angeles for Christmas and Miami for New Year. Awesome holidays after hard work at the job. I am lucky to have you all to share my happiness as well. I am planning to also visit Las Vegas and Grand Canyon when I am in Los Angeles. It should be a lot of fun and I am looking forward to this break now.

Whitest Beach in the world – Awesome way to spend weekend

Whiteheaven is one of the whitest beach in the world. So if you are in Sydney then try to go to Whitsundays and from there you can sail to Whiteheaven, Hamilton and many beautiful islands. The closest mainland area is Airle Beach and you can get there from Sydney in 1 hour by flight. Or you can choose to fly to Mackay which is bit cheaper and take greyhound bus to Airle Beach. The bus only runs once in a day each way so plan accordingly. It was a hectic trip due to less number of days but it was an amazing experience. I would share some more tips and details of my trip in the next post. And more pics from the Daydream island where I spend half of my day eating good lunch n relaxing near the pool bar so stay tuned 🙂

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Bucket-List 2013 Week 25 – 25.Visit atleast one historical town in Australia (Armidale)

Hello My Lovely Fellow Bloggers,

A smile and hug from Sydney. I had an amazing weekend this time like many others and I am back to share some stories and experience with you including my bucketlist adventure. Here is a link for my bucket list if you haven’t read it yet.

My Promise to live life – My BucketList 2013

A little bit different and another post about the fears I have in my life with a reflection of other reader’s experiences along with it.

My Fears

This time I had a wonderful time in a city called Armidale, located in the northern tableland in New South Wales, Australia. It has population of around 25,000 people and is known as one of the higest city in Australia at 1,110 meter above sea level. It is a beautiful area covered by world heritage national parks and it has also got an airport at 1,084 metres (3,556 ft), the highest licensed airport in New South Wales. It is 5 hours 30 minutes drive from Sydney, but I don’t drive so I caught the Greyhound bus in the evening from Central, Sydney to get here. It is a bit cold in Armidale due to it’s high location hence it is advisable to carry few warm clothes usually.

I think this is one of the most relaxed and happy weekend I had for quiet a while. And as I look back, I feel that the time I had spent here in this little town was blissful. Why do I feel blissful? A number of things happened on my trip to Armidale this weekend and I was content and happy after such a wonderful weekend with few  hiccups. I left Sydney around 5:30 PM on Friday evening when everyone was getting in the party mood in the city. People were leaving work on time or even early to start feeling Friday fever. I was in the bus waiting to get out of the city and get a snooze before I arrive in Armidale at 2:30 AM in the morning. It was a nice bus ride where I met this French couple who were spending their honeymoon travelling around the world for 6 months. What an awesome way to celebrate I must say. I love meeting people from different culture as you can see and we instantly hit it off and shared a lot of experiences from past travelling. I was lucky to get the next seat free in the bus as it was enough for me to curl up and get some sleep on my way to Armidale. As this was the first time I was going there so I checked quiet a few times with the driver about where we were and that made him wonder why I might be going to this little town where he himself hadn’t been for ages. Anyways finally I was there. The moment I left the bus a wave of cold air took me by surprise. It was around -2.0 C which I was not quiet prepared to be honest and the warm clothes I was carrying were mainly for the bus in case the AC was too low which sometimes is the case when you take a bus. But I was very glad that I did have few warm clothes and I tried to wear all of them to make myself more comfortable in this cold night.

I met some locals and made some really good friends I must say. It was just such a nice trip if I look back.  I went for a walk/run to enjoy the atmosphere and that took me to the University of New England in Armidale, where there was some function taking place. Then I also visited the city and the Dangar waterfall that is 20 minutes drive from Armidale, a very serene place. There are few other nice places to visit that I didn’t get a chance to go but worth seeing if you have few days in Armidale:

• Oxley Wild RIvers Nationalpark
• Zoology Museum
• Museum of Antiquities
• New England Regional Art Museum
• Hillgrove Museum
• Cathedral Rock National Park
• Dangars Lagoon and Racecourse Lagoon
• Deeargee Woolshed
• Eastview Estate Winery
• Geraldine 4WD Recreation Park
• Mount Mutton Walking Trail
• Mount Yarrowyck Nature Reserve
• Thunderbolts Rock
• Uralla Heritage Walk
• Wollomombi Falls – This is one of the highest fall in Australia. Wollomombi Falls are located less than one kilometre south of the village of Wollomombi and approximately two and a half kilometres by road. The access turn off is one and a half kilometres from Wollomombi on the Waterfall Way towards Armidale.

10 People You Don’t Want To Travel With

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  1. Can never be happy
  2. Complain a lot about something or the other
  3. In-flexible with environment
  4. Extremely moody
  5. Fearful and nervous about everything and anything and scream all the time
  6. Never leave work in office but rather live with it all the time
  7. Party animals and can’t stop drinking
  8. Won’t give a damn to the rules of any new place and would love to live according to what they think is right
  9. No risk-takers – Everything is too dear to risk for them in life
  10. Not ready to learn anything new at any time

Guide to a happy return after travelling

 

Stanwell Park

Stanwell Park

 

I know it sounds almost impossible to be happy when you love travelling and now it is time to go back to your old life with a job and regular day to day life. I have felt this many times and I am sure you have too. But this time when I came back and I knew I can not travel international for rest of the year as I just got a new job and to get my citizenship in this country I might have to be here at least 1.5 years then I wasn’t happy thinking about it. But then as a matter of fact you don’t stop living with so many things in your mind and you have to find a way out. Here are some tips that I would like to share with you that I am using in my day to day life to make my life with not enough travel happier and more content.

  •  It’s never over – You should never think its over as travelling can never finish when you love travelling. Hence it is just a refreshing break from the long or short term travel and time to reflect back with awesome memories till you go back again to some more awesome places.
  • Don’t stop completely – You should still plan some short term or weekend gateway away as that keep the momentum and its always good to get away for a change. That is the very reason you started travelling and even you go to the places you have been before those places would be different for you this time with a completely new perspective.
  • Do something you really love  Sometimes travelling restricts us from doing many things that require to stay at one place or more money when we are not earning. For example: you always wanted to learn dancing or martial arts. This is the time to do it. You love doing these things then do it. No matter whether travelling or dancing makes you happy, doing something you love will make your life so much more happier.
  • Be grateful – Very important rule in life – if you want to be happy then be grateful for what you have and never take any thing for granted. And when I say any thing that means literally anything as many people out there don’t have it and they would be very fortunate to be able to have your life.
  • Make new friends – This you can do everywhere even though when you are travelling you feel more confident meeting new people. But try meeting new people in your own city/town this time as it would make such a big difference.
  • Make the world travel to you – Invite people to visit you. What if you can’t travel but the world can travel to you. Couch surfing is a great way to meet people from around the world. Or you can even join meet-up groups (http://www.meetup.com/) for different interests or age groups.
  • Stop comparing – You are not missing out while others are travelling as you are just taking a break and when others would be back then you would be out on the road. A lot of times we are not unhappy due to our own issues but rather unhappy due to others happiness or activities. Stop comparing as who else is doing what as that will reduce life time of your miseries to be honest. I know its hard but if you think about you have something else which others might not have and you are learning something else in the course of life.
  • Stop being lazy – Now that you are home you don’t get up early anymore even on the weekends as you think travelling was the time you had something to do but now its boring life again. I have started doing tours or things I wasn’t able to do while travelling like – advanced scuba dive course, salsa classes. This gives me a reason to wake up early and go. I wasn’t going to gym for a long time and I find it good to join back and get on the fitness track again before I hit the road again.
  • Indulge yourself into food – You can always try different cuisines even in your home country. Or at least you can try cooking for a change if you like. I put this thing in my bucket list try 10 different new cuisines and guess what, I got introduced to some amazing flavours that I never knew exists before.
  • Friends gathering – You miss to meet friends when you are away and even when I am travelling more domestic on weekends I miss my friends so I make a point to meet each one of them when I am back. That way I am in touch with them and its always something happening to keep me busy.
  • Learn something new – You can always learn something new. Either it’s a new language or new skill. You would have more money and time to dedicate yourself to learn these things when you are back and before you go on travelling again. It will even enrich your experience when you travel next with all these new learning’s as well.
  • Plan  – You can always plan where and how you want to travel in new future. One of the best thing about travelling is to look forward to travel and you can always maintain it with the plans and discussion around your travelling. I am excited even after just having thought of going to South America next year with my friends. Its always gives you a reason to smile and something to look forward to.

Sand Boarding in Port Stephen and Dolphin Cruise in Nelson Bay after encountering few animals

It was hard to wake up on Saturday morning as I am not a morning person usually. But after looking at those flowers and kangaroos in the Wildlife park it felt so worth. And no, even before that I remember now when I left home and got to the main street, I spotted many riders on their bikes. It was nice to see so much happening in the morning. It was so motivating to see so many people up and on their way to a fresh start of the day. I think I have started considering to be a morning person. Although the only issue is that I don’t sleep early and then it becomes even harder to get up early. But I guess I am going to make a way in that direction too. But anyways coming to the point I had planned a tour this Saturday to Nelson Bay, Port Stephen. It is a few hours drive north from Sydney and I had heard a lot about the sand dunes there so here I was heading to the beautiful view from the sand dunes – one of the longest in Australia next to the beautiful beach. We made a quick stop at the wildlife park and I did feed some Kangaroos there. It was such a beautiful start of the morning. Then next thing I knew we were walking around Nelson Bay and getting some food before boarding this big boat called ‘Moonshadow’. Then soon we were on the way to spot some dolphins. We did get a chance to see some of them but not so close as I did see them last weekend in Jarvis Bay. Here are some pics if you want to look at them from my last trip.

Hang Gliders and Dolphins

Then after coming back from the cruise we headed to ride some sand 🙂 It was so scary to look at the high Sand dunes let alone thinking about riding them. But then I saw so many people going to the top of the sand dunes with a board that I got tempted with my camera mounted on my head – all determined to take chance and try this new adventure. And as I am not used to of slopes and last time I tried a new sport I did suffer from concussion (Concussion couldn’t stop me from skiing – Pain is temporary, but if I quit then it will last forever) , not that I am complaining but it was just a moment of fear for me when I sat there at the top with my board just looking down and thinking why the hell I even have to do this. Then after few minutes it all looked good and something happened in my mind and a voice said just go and there I was doing sand boarding. And after once it became like a second nature to get up and walk back with my board to the highest possible place and slide down. It was so much fun and yes I shouted as loud as possible to emphasis on how much fun I had doing this. I missed it the most when we left in a 4 wheel drive to get back to our tour bus. And I think I might go back one day to try it again as it is a lot of fun and if you haven’t tried then I recommend it to adrenalin junkies and adventure lovers.

Hang Gliders and Dolphins with some Ice Cream – All in one day made it a Happy Day

Apologies first of all for not writing here my friends. It was one hell of a week with some sad times when evening were spent locked away in my room first time in a year. I did need a good weekend and guess what I did get one and here are some snaps from one of those days from my wonderful weekend.

I booked this tour some time back as since I was back from Darwin and India it was getting a bit boring to stay home doing nothing and here I was away for a day tour to explore more of my own surroundings in Sydney. It was a tour to Jervis Bay that I had always wanted to do. It included sightseeing to Stanwell Park, Kiama Beach, Jervis Bay and Kangaroo Valley. So much in one tour, I know right.

I had already been to first two but visiting again was refreshing as well. I didn’t expect much but after watching some beautiful dolphins my day turned into a bliss really. It was love and just love in my heart and in my mind as I knew that dolphins can feel  your feelings and come to you if they feel the good vibration and I think my trick worked as there were so many out there, the whole nursery actually. I just loved to see them playing, swimming and going in circles near our boat.

Solo woman travelling to India – Fear or Joy

It made me think after I had an interview with BBC last night about how I feel as an Indian woman travelling around India by myself. It was around 12:30 AM Sydney time (24th August 2013) when I got a call from Chris, one of the producers of BBC news shows after my twitter update about my travel to India in few hours. Initially I thought it might be just a joke as at this hour I am getting a call to participate in an interview that too live. But soon I realized that it was actually happening and I had two choices – one go to bed as there were only 5-6 hours left to get some sleep before I catch my flight in the morning or stay awake for this interview discussion as not everyday you are given this opportunity. Guess what I chose the second option. Although before actually realizing what we are going to discuss I was all excited but soon enough the smile was replaced by the sadness and the excitement was replaced by the sheer anger and frustation.

The discussion was about the various issues that solo woman travellers face when they travel around India. It was inspired after a overnight hit article written by Michaela Cross, an Americal student who went to India to persue her studies in Abroad culture and civilization. It threw me into the same ocean of emotions that I have lived for almost 4-6 years when I was living back in India. All those memories dashed my mind in few minutes and some known emotions (anger, frustation, hatred, pain) made me feel overwhelmed.

I read the article published in CNN as adviced by Chris and instantly I felt a connection to this woman and her story.

Here is the link for the article:
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/20/world/american-student-india-sexual-harassment-irpt

Also I would share my thought of my India trip in this regard soon.

Travel Myths

 

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  • It is very expensive
  • I do not have a job so I can not travel as of now
  • I have a family and travel is for single people
  • I have pets and I can not leave them to travel
  • I have a good job so I can not travel
  • I may get killed or abducted
  • I am a responsible person so I can not leave everything and go travelling
  • I am not crazy to go travelling myself people will think I am mad
  • Not now but someday I might get a chance to travel
  • It’s not safe to travel alone
  • How can I travel alone as my partner and friends are not interested in travelling
  • I am vegetarian so I can not travel as I might not find good food
  • My family might not like it
  • I do not know many languages, how will I survive in foreign land
  • I do not have to run away from anything so why travel
  • Break in my career would not look good so I can not travel
  • I have a mortgage for house/car/education so its not possible for me to travel
  • I watch all the places in TV and travel show so why travel
  • I am not sure where to go as world is so big
  • Its not a good time to travel in this economy
  • I am too young to travel alone
  • I am too old to travel alone
  • No one travels alone from my culture, what would other people say
  • I am not retired yet as then I can go travel when I would have more time

We have so many excuses/myths not to travel even when we dream to go to beautiful places to experience wonderful new cultures, food and interaction with different people. So what can you do? Open a notepad and start writing why would you want to travel and I am damn sure that the reason to travel will outnumber the reason why you are not able to travel. Life is short and if you like travelling then nothing should stop you other than procrastination. So stop making excuses and book your next destination as even when you can’t leave your job and go away for long time, but you can always plan short trips with family, friends or your own wonderful company.

I had never travelled alone in my country as my parents would not let me go even to the next town alone. And my brother would always tag along wherever I went. Not that I didn’t like his company but I never really got the confidence that I can make it alone. But here I am after many years, travelling solo almost everywhere for last 2.5 years after my first solo adventure to Fiji. So if I, a single Indian girl, can do it then so can you. Just need to take a step at a time and then you will see that a whole new world of opportunities is waiting for you.

Happy and safe travels!

Darwin – Place to relax and enjoy Crocodile Dundy

I have been here for last 20 hours and have seen and done enough for a day so far. It was early morning or I should say just after midnight that my flight landed here (1 AM) and I end up spending the night in the airport. Then I took a bus for 16 AUD and got to my hostel around 6 AM. It was nice to keep my stuff away even when they told me to check in later. I had my breakfast (Beef pie with musroom) with my slow brain at that time of the day and hit the road to see the nearby (only) beach. I took pictures and had a little bit of a walk while exploring the new ways in Darwin with a happy mind. It took me through some parks and waterfront areas. I finally got to the beach and felt tired. I then retired at the park near beach and slept there for a while (almost 2 hours). Its not a bad idea to take nap I am thinking now 🙂

Then I came back and headed to my bucket list item – dive with crocodiles. I had an awesome time and will be back with some awesome pics and videos of it. I had fun with my Go Pro this time. Then I came back, checked in, had another nap as I am so super tired and then headed for open air cinema – Movie called ‘Crocodile Dundy’. Awesome day so far and now I feel like going out for a drink if energy in me permits.

Stay tuned as I will be back with pics and more adventure friends 🙂

Last minute check before travelling

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Most Important things:

  1. Passport / ID card depending upon where (domestic/international) you are travelling is available
  2. Air/train/bus ticket handy
  3. Visa is stamped if required
  4. Stay is arranged at the destination
  5. Backpack / suitcase ready for travelling
  6. Clothes packed as per the weather of the destination
  7. Medicines are available as per the individual requirement
  8. Copy a list of important numbers and save them separately in case of emergency (phone’s battery is dead)

Other Important things:

  1. Printout/copy of all the booked tours is handy
  2. Camera is charged and handy to take pictures with enough memory
  3. Phone is charged
  4. Phone has got the roaming activated if required
  5. Web-check in is done as it expedite the process while you are in the airport these days
  6. You have got the credit card working and also have some cash with you
  7. Check the fees that is charged on your card and keep the online banking details handy

Last but not the least keep smiling as sometimes preparation can be stressful but you need to remember that travel makes you happy 🙂

Hobart – 7th most famous cities in the world in 2013

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Leaving Sydney for Hobart, Tasmania

Awesome breakfast made by Sam (host)

Awesome breakfast made by Sam (host)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hobart – When I went to Tasmania, I wasn’t expecting much to be honest as the trip to Sunshine coast a few days before this made me a bit tired. And as it was going to be extreme change of weather from hot to cold so I was a bit nervous about my health as well. But then how come my trip can go without any adventure or a story to tell after all. So yes, I did have an awesome time with a lot to do in 4 days of my stay in Hobart that included meeting some really amazing people from Hobart.

The moment I arrived in Hobart I wrapped myself with scarf, beanie and a lot of clothes to make myself warm before leaving the plane and that worked really well. It was a dramatic entry to the city in the dark and cloudy night. This time I was about to experience my second couch surfing experience after Adelaide. I was a little bit nervous as this is something I am not very experienced after all and although I love meeting people but living at some one else’s place does throw you out of your comfort zone a little bit specially when saving money is not your priority.  But now when I look back I am glad that I did take the risk and did go ahead with my decision of being a couch surfer for one more time as otherwise I would not have met Sam, Steve and David. The most amazing and wonderful hosts in Hobart you can live with and have all the fun in the world. I cooked with David, learned salsa (I end up spinning in the wrong direction most of the times though) from Sam and Steve, did kayaking with  Steve and Sam, partied with Sam and his friends, watched a movie with Steve and Sam and so much more. I didn’t even feel that I just met them and rather felt like friends/family living at their place.

Seriously if you have never tried couch surfing then I would suggest to try it at least once in your life as this is such an amazing experience and if you meet some wonderful hosts like I did then you might have life time of memories to think about. Alright so what is about Hobart that makes it special. So here are some things that you should do when you are there:

  1. Visit Mona, museum of old and new art – This place defines art in some way. It is moreover based on the concept of death and sex so you might not like to take kids everywhere or may be just don’t give them Audio if they are very young. The owner, David Walsh, has described this museum as ‘subversive adult Disneyland’. This place gives you the feel of Hobart as art dominating place and it will also its opening date is same as the third MONA FOMA festival (21st January 2011).
  2. Salamanca Market – Every Saturday this famous market is held next to the beautiful dockland of Hobart. You might like to just walk around this area in case you have other plans on Saturday morning. Also this place lit-up in the night and is very famous among the party goers during the weekend due to many famous pubs and bars around.   20130808_101242      20130808_101502       20130808_102650
  3. Trip to Bruny Island – This trip usually takes three hours if you have your own car to get to the point from where the ferry leaves for the echo adventure tour otherwise day tours are also available. There is a seal colony at another edge of this island. You can spend some time knowing more about seals at this place.
  4. Mount Wellington – 1,271 meters high, this mountain is also referred as ‘The Mountain’ by the locals here. Hobart is located at the foothill of this mountain. And good news is that you can drive to the top as there is a road build by the many hard working people right up to the top for those who either don’t have enough time for trekking or don’t want to walk due to the bad weather. It was winter when I was there so I was able to get some snow at the peak of this mountain. There is a lookout near the summit from where you can get some really good views although it was raining and sky was a cloudy when I was there so I wasn’t able to spot much other than fog from here. You can read more about it’s history on the various steel slabs in this lookout and feel the part of this place itself.  20130809_16295420130809_162714 20130809_163056 20130809_163122 20130809_163605 20130809_163650
  5. Kayaking in the Derwent river around Hobart is an amazing way to explore the beautiful surroundings of Hobart

Also for more attraction other than the above you can use the below links.

10 must do things when you are in India

 

  1. Attend a festival – We have so many festivals in India that every month you can count a few.  India is the most colorful land when it comes to festivals. No matter which month you go, there is always something going on. Although few big festivals are Holi, Diwali and Dussehra are the main festivals.
  2. Attend a marriage – Indians have big fat weddings and some of the riches are famous for show off as well but it’s worth attending a marriage when you are there as it is an easy way to immerse yourself in the culture and get the feel of the soul of Indian culture in short time that too with a lot of fun.
  3. Cook an Indian meal – You will learn so much about different spices that Indians use in their food as well as the reason to use them. Ever spice has a property that helps either in digestion or healing or something else in your body that you will discover when you try cooking some of the stuff. Do learn how to cook ‘daal’ and ‘saag’. You would be able to boast when you go back that you can cook some Indian food and guess what lots of people around the world love Indian food.
  4. Watch any classical dance performance – We have many
  5. Go to temple and worship in traditional way. Every evening devotees gather to sing praise in temples and it is music to ear and one of the things that you must experience
  6. Eat at the stalls by the side of streets – Give it some more time when you arrive in India as you might be new to this kind of non-hygienic way of eating but locals eat on such place almost every day. Even the corporate professionals walk down the street from their work place to enjoy some snacks every now and then. Make sure that you eat something that is cooked in front of you and not sitting there for quiet a while. There are some hygienic but little expensive options to try the same things in good restaurants like Haldiram where hygiene is guaranteed. Although many Indians think it doesn’t taste as good as the roadside food but it should be fine as long as you can get the feel of various food here. Like everywhere else you can also get McDonald here but with an Indian touch. Although I would suggest to avoid that if you are not feeling home sick.
  7. Shop from the street market and bargain the price – One of the surprising experience you might have when you buy something less than 20% of the actual cost. You need to know that most of the times shop keepers rise the price when they think you are a foreigner. So make sure not to get ripped just because you are travelling. One of the tricks to get a good bargain is not to show much interest otherwise they are smart enough to know that you like the stuff and you might be happy to pay any price they ask for.
  8. Live with a local family – This is the closest you can see and live the soul of the very culture in any country. And India is no different. So make friends and try to live with some one’s family and eat home made food. I bet you wouldn’t regret it.
  9. Get a pic on a rickshaw and bus – You will see the difference immediately from other places. It’s fun though.
  10. Travel by train – I know its is a little bit tough and scary at first but after listening to many fellow traveler I can say one thing. You can see true India here. Just few hours of journey and you will make lots of friends and hear many stories. But make sure you keep your bags around you all the time in case something is not insured.

Second day at Byron Bay…the weekend was yet not over

I didn’t have any plans for rest of the day after the Hot Air Ballooning adventure of mine. Once I was back in my hostel, I came to know about this monthly market that was held today in town. I felt excited once again to see something new so I checked out of the hostel, as my train back to Sydney was in the evening, and headed to the town with my backpack with me. I was again on my way for some more sight seeing. I was lucky that I got to visit this market and it was a nice way to explore more about the culture of the place as well. Market was more like a fair in this little town and there were colors everywhere. I did try some ice-cream and enjoyed some live music with the locals. It was a true authentic experience that makes you feel almost a part of the place.

After visiting the market, I called one of the friends that I made yesterday to catch up before I leave and he was generous to give me a nice tour of the nearby beach and then a small town called ‘Bungalow’. If you are looking for some peaceful and small place to stay then this is your destination. It is more like a countryside with a road full of greenery leading to it. It is a nice 15 minutes drive from Byron Bay with nice cafe and small market of its own. Also there are many art galleries and shops at this place. We came back to Byron Bay and as there was an hour left before I could catch my bus so we though of getting something to eat and drink in a nearby cafe just across the bus stand while still enjoying the sunset. It was 5:00 PM when I saw a bus with the Country Link logo waiting at the bus stand. I checked my itinerary and the time to board the bus was 5:15 PM on it. I still thought it’s better to board the bus in advance so I started getting my stuff together in order to get to the bus stand. The moment I arrived the bus stand the bus left. What? This can’t be happening I thought in my head. My friend was still with me so he offered me a ride to the next stop to catch the bus. Soon we were chasing this bus but soon it disappeared. I panicked thinking about the incidence last morning when I missed the station but this time I was angry thinking how can the bus leave earlier than the time mentioned on the itinerary. Suddenly my friend realized that the direction we were going was not correct and it was leading us to Brisbane (in the opposite direction to Sydney) and we saw another bus coming from the opposite direction. We quickly took a U-Turn and drove back to the bus stand as we realized we were chasing the wrong bus altogether and the bus to Sydney was on time. That’s what happens when you panic and when you have already missed your bus/station in past. I said good by to my friend and finally boarded the bus to Sydney (its a break journey – bus to Casino and then another train to Sydney from there). This time I didn’t miss anything and got home the next morning before going to work. So overall it was a weekend full of fun, adventure, thrill and excitement I must say. Hope you enjoyed it with me 🙂 I will be back with some more stories as I plan my next destination which is not far but only two weeks from now. Where? That I will reveal in my future posts.  Till then enjoy life and keep smiling my friend 🙂

Second day at Byron Bay – Hot Air Ballooning with a bunch of Sky Divers

 So far you have enjoyed the last two articles about my adventurous weekend in Byron Bay, Australia. Now I would love to share my experience of day 2 which was also full of excitement and joy. In case you missed my other two posts then here is the link to the same for you my friend.

Hot Air Ballooning with 7 Sky Divers

Hot Air Ballooning with 7 Sky Divers

Alarm went off around 4:30 AM and first time in weeks I was not frustrated as I had enough sleep this time so I quickly jumped out of the bed with excitement. Today was the day I was going to experience Hot Air Ballooning. So many times I dreamt of doing it but every time I felt I should wait for some one special to do it with. But finally I decided to do it on my own after one of my friend suggested that it is an experience that you get to feel individually anyways so why wait for some one when you can do it by yourself. So here I was waiting at the gate of the hostel to get picked up around 5:15 AM. A car pulled up next to me and I confirmed that it was from the Ballooning company. After a warm welcome message from the guy driving the car, I fastened my seat belt and we headed to the location for base(the office for ballooning ). It was still dark when we arrived at the base. I could see many people getting ready in their gears for sky diving. I felt as if I was the only one in the balloon staying back and almost everyone else was going to jump. I wished I could jump with them for a moment and this thought was interrupted by one of the sky divers. She introduced herself and a formal round of introduction kick started for few minutes. These were professionals with more than few hundred and even few thousand jumps. My goodness, I almost freeze to digest this information now. I was excited and felt a bit naive to talk to these people now as whatever jargons they were using I couldn’t understand half of them. I met Thomas, the chief pilot of Byron Bay Ballooning (http://www.byronbayballooning.com.au) and signed some forms as part of the formal process. Thomas was quiet reassuring as I was a bit nervous as well excited, this being my first balloon flight.

Thomas after successful landing

Thomas after successful landing

Soon we started for Casino, place from where the balloon was supposed to fly. I was cold but super excited. I chose to sit with other sky divers in the first van to listen to some insightful information they would like to share during this one hour journey. It was a nice ride till the patrol station where the drivers stopped to fill patrol. I was told a lot of things and these people were very nice to explain me a lot of new concepts that made me look a bit puzzled. I shared rest of the way with other set of people and got to know some more people on my way to Casino. It was an overwhelming morning I must say, so much that I kind of forgot that I was here for ballooning really.

Once we arrived in Casino, the process of unloading the balloon and setting it up started. It was such a huge balloon, I guess all of them are but I was witnessing it for the first time. It was like preparing for a festival, with so many people helping in the process and some of us trying to shoot the process or take pictures of the location. As the balloon rose, it was such a mesmerising view with all the colours rising in the sky with the bright light of  the sun. Then we climbed into the balloon and Thomas started to fill the balloon with hot air and the balloon took off. It was so smooth that we didn’t feel anything but only the view started changing as we gained height. Just so that you know Thomas has been flying since the age of 22 and has also won many awards.  So if you are in Byron Bay and feel like ballooning then he is your guy. I was trying to absorb this whole experience while also taking a lot of pictures at the same time. The basket is divided in three compartments and the middle one is reserved for the pilot with some gas cylinders. We were almost 12 people, 6 in each baskets on both the sides and out of which 7 were sky divers. Soon we rose to the height of 6000 feet and it was an amazing view. It felt so light and beautiful to see the whole area at this hour of the morning. It was around 8:45 AM. The divers were all ready to jump and soon we hit the height of 9000 feet from where they were supposed to jump. It was more scary to look at them standing on the edges of the basket. And I guess I was more excited and worried than them. Some of them were doing it for the first time which I thought was very brave and increased my respect for all these divers. Soon before I realised they started jumping from the balloon. It was so fast that I didn’t even get chance to take many pictures of them jumping and soon they disappeared from the sight. We started moving towards the destination, Thomas was co-ordinating with rest of the team to make sure all the divers are safe and have been located after reaching the ground.

Thomas started to prepare us for landing and soon we were descending fast, not that you can feel it other than the height displayed on the system. We landed on a  farm with more than 50  bulls all staring at us in not so welcoming mood. Thomas waited for rest of the team to come to this location and get the permission from the farm owner before getting us all climb out of the balloon. Once the team was here, the bulls started heading towards their vans and soon we were out of this adventurous and risky zone. And next thing I remember, we were all rolling the balloon and packing everything back in the vehicle to head back. I was still floating in the sky in my thoughts though as it is a last longing experience and it takes some time to get back to reality I can say. Thomas stopped in a nice cafe on the way and bought lunch for all of us as part of the package. I chose Spanish Omelette and you know what, it was the best breakfast ever after such a beautiful start of the day. What else can you ask from life I thought with a smile. The day is yet not over my friend and I still have to share my experience of the monthly market, beach and one of the most beautiful town/village in the area before I finish my story. So keep an eye for another post after this 🙂 Till then have a wonderful day my friend.

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Fabulous Day at Byron Bay – Kayaking, Flying and some sight seeing

    So now that you know how it all started, you might be ready to know the best part of the day. And if you missed the last part then here is the link to it:
    It all happened so quickly when I was wondering about the plan for rest of the day in this new place. I saw the advertisement for Kayaking and one of my friends had told me about this awesome experience as must have in Byron Bay. And the hostel manager of Cape Byron Lodge(oldest backpacker in Byron Bay – http://www.capebyronlodge.com) was quiet nice to book it quickly for me and before I unpacked all the stuff I got the time for their pickup around 9:30 AM and within half an hour I was on my way for Kayaking (http://www.goseakayakbyronbay.com.au).

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It was exactly what I need, splash of water, a bumpy entry into the ocean through some rough waves that almost flicked me out of the boat and a serene beauty of the place to look at. I was almost lost in the place and this whole fun experience. It was a reward of all that hard work I felt and all that planning that went behind this. I was so relaxed that I almost forgot all about morning. We spotted so many dolphins while kayaking. Me and my buddy even went back to catch some more waves but the second time we got washed away by the bigger waves. It was great fun and the people in the kayaking company were super friendly that started this whole trip in a very nice manner. I met many interesting and friendly people on this trip and when I came back I couldn’t stop smiling thinking about such an interesting morning. Once I was back in hostel I requested the manager for some more information on hand gliding as I had heard that it is also a very nice activity that you can do and it was on my bucket list as well. He even booked one for me, although a different version with micro light plane as the wind was not good for flying otherwise. img_6072_med_hr img_6073_med_hrimg_6091_med_hr It was good to fly over the coastal line of Byron Bay with an expert pilot (http://byronbayskysurfers.com). And after my flight I made friends with few pilots and one of them offered me a ride but unfortunately I had to head back to hostel but I promised to come back to Byron Bay again for it. See, very nice people really. I love Byron Bay J After returning to my hostel I went to the light house and the hostel manager was very friendly to arrange the hostel van to give me a ride to the light house. And I had some cool shot of sunset after two of my other adventures. It was the best way to wind down the day really.

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 I was thinking to go out that night even though I have quit drinking but I can still enjoy with plain juice I thought. But then I had arranged the Hot Air Ballooning the other day so it made sense to get some rest before my pick up around 5:15 AM the next day. I made some noodles and had some baked apple for my dinner and went to bed with a happy soul J Best day after getting burnt out last week with hectic life and work not that this day wasn’t busy but I guess this is my way to relax 😉 So what happens the next day? Yes I am about to start writing about that so stay tuned. And here is the link to the next post.

Second day at Byron Bay – Hot Air Ballooning with a bunch of Sky Divers

 

Road to Byron Bay – Not so easy but worthwhile for an interesting weekend

About to start a long train journey to get to my next stop - Byron Bay

About to start a long train journey to get to my next stop – Byron Bay

That's happy me before the journey started..all excited for the trip

That’s happy me before the journey started..all excited for the trip

Queue for dinner in the train..yes I kind of liked this whole new experience after taking so many flights recently :)

Queue for dinner in the train..yes I kind of liked this whole new experience after taking so many flights recently 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a long train journey and got worse when couldn’t get comfortable to get enough sleep. Yes, right I didn’t sleep all night to make sure I get down at the Casino to catch a bus to Byron Bay, even asked the guy working in the train to wake me up just in case. And good thing that it’s their job to wake people up otherwise in the night trains it might be chaos if people who board can’t get the seat because other people have forgotten to get down. I was able to get 1 hour nap and caught the bus to Byron Bay. And then I decided to watch a movie as the journey was only for 3 hours. So I started a dance movie that was downloaded on my phone. I watched some of it but then sitting in a bus where everyone was sleeping and there was not enough light at this time of the night so I felt a bit sleepy. I took a nap and put an alarm to wake me up as I was supposed to get down at Byron Bay around 5:55 AM. My alarm ran off and I realized its 4:55 AM and felt like having a 5 minutes nap which I do at home sometimes before going to work. I heard someone mentioning Byron Bay but I felt I was dreaming.

Suddenly I woke up and looked at my phone. It was 6:15 AM and I was supposed to be going Hot Air Ballooning before 6 AM (a guy was waiting in Byron Bay to pick me up). Shit! That was my exact expression. I ran to the driver and asked how far Byron Bay is. He looked at me in surprise and told me that Byron Bay station already passed. What? I didn’t sleep all night for this. What…I didn’t have words for few minutes and I asked him how far it is? It was 20-25 minutes away and I wanted to jump out of bus to catch a ride back but at this hour it was neither safe nor a very good option. The driver realized I was travelling by myself so he tried to help me out by dropping me in a safe place (it was the next town) and called the other bus driver from the same company who was supposed to go to Byron Bay via this place. I waited for one hour near this beautiful little town called Brunswick Head from about 6:30 AM to 7:30 AM.

Yes, that's me sad and cold in the morning when I missed my station :(

Yes, that’s me sad and cold in the morning when I missed my station 😦

It was cold but I managed to walk to the nearby river and get some nice shots before I realized that my shoes were wet with the dew on the grass. I looked at the sky and asked – What’s next? Hit me with a lightning now. I was angry at myself to miss the Ballooning today not knowing how the weather would be the next day. I was angry at myself to stand in this cold weather where not many options were available in the town even to get some hot coffee at this hour. But an hour passed quickly now that I think about it and I caught the bus while the driver knew me as the girl who slept and missed her station. Yes, that makes me a little famous now. But you know what I wasn’t wrong when I was thinking everything happens for a reason, and you will find out soon why.

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I got to my hostel which was way too far and even after getting lost on the way (as the road on which the hostel was located was not in the map I had with me), I managed to get there before 8: 30 AM with the help of some really nice locals. And after getting there I found the reception is closed and many people are waiting there including a couple whom I saw in the bus with me. I wished if they could have waked me up in Byron Bay station but of course they might not have known my station. Finally the manager of the hostel came and told everyone that he is still hung over and just found out that there is no one at the reception. When it was my turn to check in, I end up having a decent conversation with him as he felt a little bit embarrassed with the whole situation at the reception with so many people waiting to check in. He felt relaxed and I felt better after talking to someone in a light manner in spite of having a really bad morning. What happens next? How the day gets better and better? Yes, I am still writing that and want you to have this first part till then. I will be back with the awesome day after this soon my lovely friend.

All lined up to throw up – Yes it was the case before diving into GBR

Yes it sounds gross to talk about throwing up and it is best not to discuss about it when you are going through some windy weather in a small boat for diving. Believe me it does make you throw up at the end. It was the day I was going for my dive in Great Barrier Reef and it was a 2.5 hours journey to get there by boat. I started talking to this American guy who was afraid of getting sick and in process of telling him various ways not to get sick I myself started feeling sick. Eventually I went to the front of the boat to look at the horizon (well known technique to stop you from throwing up). And soon there was almost a bunch of people who joined me and here is a picture that I took as it was the first time I found so many people all getting sick at the same time. And the people inside the boat were not in the great shape either almost half of the people were holding a bag to make sure they don’t get throw up inside the boat after listening to the embarrassing stories told by the guide in the boat. Anyways I guess getting sick is part of travel as well. There are few things that you can do as a precaution not to get sick but if you do then just better to throw up and move on to enjoy your holiday/trip and not to screw rest of it if possible.

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What do you do in the plane? Is travelling by air easy?

Did you say sleep? But not always right and if you travel very frequently then you would know what I mean. Who loves the window seat. I do but only when its a short flight. If it’s a couple sitting next to me then I prefer to take a aisle seat to make sure I don’t have to knock to go to washroom or a stroll in a long flight. People love the window seat from where you can see the view when plane is landing and taking off. But do you ever think the use of it when its a night flight. I see so many people booking the seats mindlessly as if they are going to watch a movie in a theater and the choice of seats are always fixed – center back. I have learned this lesson long back when people on long flight like to sleep and to go to pee you have to keep trying to wake them up in most polite way and then once again if they fall asleep till you come back. So what’s your preference for seat when you fly?

I like to keep a book handy in case I get a cheap deal with flights and then they would not have any movies to play without buying each one of them. Also I like to keep my camera handy as you get free view from the sky, like a helicopter tour in case you are sitting away from the wings. If movies are free and good quality then I don’t mind watching a few and keep myself updated. But then you would also want to get some sleep in a long flight, whereas people get a bit anxious in a short flight as its too much hassle for an hour or so flight to check in and then looking for checked in baggage. I travel light with only a carry on backpack which people stare for long when I get in the queue. And quiet a few times I have to either throw stuff (I do have spare things in case I don’t get time to check the weight in advance) or wear some more clothes. I do not prefer to let my backpack get out of my sight as it otherwise can turn into a loss of property which in turn might ruin my short trip anyways. And for few days we don’t need much anyways so carry on is a good way to save money and travel easy with no worry.

Do write about what you like to do when you fly. I would love to hear all about it.

Regards,

Kavita

Diving and Snorkelling at Great Barrier Reef – Bucket-List 2013 Week 8

Item Number #32 – Dive and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

It was a cloudy day and I had only 3-4 hours of sleep as I was staying in a backpacker where everyone was in party mood and after my experience of divign with Great White Shark I was more cautious to be fully awake and in good shape before diving in the world famous reef – ‘Great Barrier Reef’. But it was not good enough I guess as I was accompanied by a guy from USA who was  feeling sick and at first me and his friend were making jokes about throwing up and soon I myself got sick as well. It was a bumpy ride of 2.5 hours to the reef from the harbour of Cairns. But I think water is remedy for everything and as soon as I jumped into the water after gearing up for my scuba diving, I was once again smiling. It was a short (23 minutes), 15.7 meter deep dive. I loved it as this was the reason I had started Scuba Diving in the first place – to be able to dive in Great Barrier Reef. And here I was diving in this famous reef which is unfortunately getting destroyed by cyclones and fishing in past few years. I went for snorkelling after first dive and then for the second dive. It was hard to stay in the boat and not feel sick so I preffered to spend most of my time under water 🙂 It was such a nice day in my life, I met lots of people, made new friends and even being so sore didn’t matter anymore :)I am sharing my pics of that day with you all. I hope you enjoy them.

Top 5 crazy things you can do in India

India is a land of spirituality and festivals. People go to India for different reasons. Some of them are listed here:

Spiritual Meditation Yoga
Exotic Culture Food
Travel a new country Attend a marriage Seventh wonder – Taj Mahal
Stop Over Work Study – very less
Trekking Adventure Live

But there is a crazy side of India as well and five of them you can do are listed here.

  1. Diving with elephants – You must have heard of diving with sharks, whales, dolphins and many other sea life creatures, but elephants. Yes, you can do such things in India in Andaman. Its a good location for diving. Emerald Isles is the place where you can either snorkel or dive with this amazing elephant called Rajan.
  2. Feed rats – Don’t throw the food if a rat has bitten it. It doesn’t sound very appealing right, but there is a temple in India where people feed rats and eat the food bitten by rat with high regards. It is a house for more than 20,000 rats and spotting a white rat is considered auspicious for religious purposes.
  3. Self driven car – It’s very unlikely that you will get a car that can drive itself. But something that can never happen anywhere can happen in India. Yes there is a place in Ladakh called Magnetic Hill where if you stop your car and put it to neutral then it will start moving at the speed of 10-20 KM per hour. No it is not a ghost town but there are some
  4. Live in a tree house  – Why not, live the dream you had since your childhood and live in the tree house in Kerala. Vythiri Resort provides a comfortable to live in a tree house where you will have all the luxury you can imagine with an amazing view of this bird territory.
  5. Auto-rickshaw race – Now this is not so out-of-the-box after all. But still sounds a bit wired. This challenge  is called MUMBAI XPRESS. This 14 days challenge will cover 1900 KM (approx. 1180 miles) and can be done in a team of two. It starts every year in August from Mumbai and ends in July in Chennai. You can see the variety of the geography (from hills to valley and beaches) doing this if you ever fancy going completely crazy. http://www.rickshawchallenge.com/trips/mumbai-xpress/

How to save money to travel

 

  1. Cut back on the movie night outs and get a DVD with friends and family and enjoy at home.
  2. Try to prepare healthy meals more at home – saves the cost and you might get into more cooking and that will really help when travelling for long and guess what it will also help you make new friends as people love good food 😉
  3. Make sure that you check your wardrobe before going for shopping as most of the times you might already have enough clothes or other stuff that you might be thinking to buy. So better give the existing stuff a try.
  4. Subscriptions – So many times we subscribe for magazines or other things and pay for them month after month that we never even use. Try to find out if you are paying for something every month and not really using it as much. It’s better to buy it once or twice when you really want it then a monthly or weekly supply in that case.
  5. Party – Many of us love partying, but it is always possible to throw some economic ones where everyone can bring their own booze and something to share. More variety to share and no one has the burden to do a lot.
  6. Alcohol – This used to make a big hole in my pocket every time I used to go out as this used to deduct a good amount from my budget while travelling. Now it wouldn’t be the case as I quit drinking, but you can also save some money by making sure that you do not drink too much outside as it is far more expensive to drink in the pub or bar, even better if you can get your friends at home and buy from the wholesale shop as that’s cheaper as well. Dry July in Australia is also a good way to stop drinking for a month as it will immensely motivate you to save and then once you know how much you can save by not drinking, you might be tempted to do it more often.  Just keep a jar in the kitchen or a place where you can see it regularly and put the money in the jar whenever you think of drinking and label it a picture of your dream destination – mine is Greece 🙂
  7. Try to take a walk every now and then instead of warming your car every time you get out of house as this will do some good to you health wise and also will save you some bucks.
  8. Make a list of things that you do on regular basis – hobbies, outing with friends or family and try see the activities where you might be spending more money and see if you can reduce the frequency of those activities and replace them with less expensive activities. Example: Go outdoor rock-climbing than indoor that way you can save the cost for entry every time you go for rock climbing and will get more experience in the real world.
  9. Many times when we are free then we tend to spend more money without realizing at times so my advice would be to take upon some hobbies like hiking, cycling or running as this will give something to utilize your time and will be good for your health at the same time.
  10. Make new friends with the similar objectives to save money either for travelling or house or something else. As this will help you to get motivated and also you wouldn’t be forced to spend more money each time you go out.
  11. Many creative activities are not so expensive as writing, photography or painting etc. This way you can still live a fun life without getting bored and still saving for your travel.
  12. Make sure you are staying in reasonably priced place as this can be a big part of your weekly/monthly expenses whereas you need a place to sleep every night and relax really. I myself live in a place which is comfortable enough but not very expensive on the other side. At times I get tempted to get my own place but that means easily three times the expenses and when I travel I live in backpackers anyways so why spoil the habit way too much. So it is very important that you choose carefully where you live.
  13. Make sure your phone plan is according to your usage as sometimes we hardly use the credit we pay for or we get a plan for everything but we never even use much of it. This seems like small thing but we have number of such expenditure that accumulates into big money.
  14. Also because you are planning to travel so make sure you do not buy anything extra unnecessary that you might have to get rid of soon.  If you can cut back on any new expenses then do that. I have not bought even a single piece of furniture other than a single bed since I moved to Australia for last 2.5 years. No TV not evens a heater. People think I am rich but I would say that I am really good with savings as I have no support but myself to do all the things I have been done in my life since a very early age so I would give credit to my ability to save and know my priorities well.
  15. Use online banking often to see how much money have you got in your account and try not to use credit card too much as it makes you lose account of the money you owe very easily and next thing you know – you are in big debt and that becomes another reason not to be able to travel. Also if you do use credit card then sign up for rewards on credit cards.
  16. If you put your heart on travelling then it’s a good advice to be extremely cautious before taking any loan as that can restrict you with time and money both. Go for house loan only when you are sure you can rent it out for good amount of money when you go away and still pay the mortgage as that is one of the biggest reason people can’t travel many times. Once you are done travelling there will be plenty of opportunity to think about such long time commitments but till then it’s better to keep an eye on your ambitious plans about owning things.
  17. Make a list of things you might like to do before you travel and then prioritise them as many times there are things that make you happier and are less expensive to do so this will give you a clear picture as to what you might like to do to save money and still stay happy.
  18. Open a saving account and transfer some money to that account when you get your salary and forget about it as this will make sure that you are saving some money every month no matter what. And then either you can contribute to it more or take out from it in case of emergency.
  19. Take up another job if you can and also think of starting something new that can help you support while you are travelling. Example: online business, travel blog etc.
  20. Keep an eye on the flight deals for the various destinations. Also few airlines give cheap tickets on certain days of the week so better plan accordingly as it can easily make difference of 10% to 50% sometimes.
  21. See if you can do without the gym membership as sometimes a good gym can cost quite a bit. And if you are already doing hiking or running outside then you can keep some weights and few other things at home and make a mini gym to work out for no fee at all.
  22. Buying used stuff can sound not so good but at times it is worth considering for furniture and other stuff if you really need it. Also make sure you can differentiate between the things you may want and things that you need. As many times we have huge expenses over things that we want and not really need.
  23. Deals and coupons’ are a great way to save money. Since I have moved to Australia I myself have done so many things with some very good deals. And if you are flexible enough then you can get yourself a very good deal for the things you want to do or for food outlets.
  24. Sometimes we have so many things that we can use so go for a garage sale and try to get rid of the stuff you don’t need. This is a win-win as you make money and also get rid of extra stuff.
  25. Make a diary if you can with some pictures of various places you want to go in the front few pages and write down the inflow and outflow of money every month. You can do it with the online banking and see how much you are earning, how much you are saving and how much you are spending. Once you make this habit then you will start thinking in the direction of saving money and you will be able to come up with new ideas to save money as a way to go to these dream destinations. Think how much fun it would be to sit in one of the most beautiful locations in the world and think about all the smart thinking you put in all this planning that successfully got you there. It is worth doing I promise.

Why do I travel?

As a human I am gifted with different senses, emotions and witty nature. I was thinking today to write few reasons why do I love travelling. I felt that it’s the basic need for me to feel human and it is something that keeps me in touch of reality. So I am writing the reasons here in my way – Why do I travel?

  • Eyes: I have been gifted with these eyes to see everyday so I want to see what ever this world has to offer. I can choose on my way to close my eyes when I do not want to witness the cruelty of others but I can still look into other’s eyes with compassion and love. I want to express myself to as many people as I can and try to know them better.
  • Skin: We have this amazing ability to feel the touch, I want to feel like a kid again and close my eyes to feel the sensation of touching something different and new everyday. I want to touch the rock in a different country, I want to take sand in my hands and see it getting washed away with water.
  • Ears: I have ears to hear so I want to indulge myself into the music of various kind. I want to hear others to know what they have to say. I want to hear the noise and voice of wildlife creatures. I want to listen to the waves soaring, rivers roaring and wind blowing.
  • Mouth: I want to talk to people from different part of the world. I want to hear how they speak their language and how they pronounce different words. I want to try and speak their language if I can.
  • Lips: I want to smile as much as I can as its the simplest act that can do wonders I feel.
  • Legs: I have been given these legs to be mobile so no reason for me to crib and sit at one place all day. I want to walk around the cities, villages, towns, forests and run in the farms, hike the mountains and drag myself to bed 🙂
  • Tongue:  Why restrict myself from the distinct taste that various cuisines have to offer. I want to immerse myself in the nice aroma of the food all over the world.
  •  Nose: I want to smell the flowers, water, wet soil, farms, food and much more all over the world. 
  • Hands: I want to give a helping hand to someone in need when I travel. I want to shake hands and make new friends. I want to give a hug to someone close to my heart. I want to a gesture of friendliness to strangers.
  • Brain: I want to use it more into creating new ideas, solving problems at hand while travelling. I want to innovate and think new concepts to make every one around happy.
  •  Heart: I want to love myself and others. I want to love nature, love the wildlife, love people. I want to stop being choosy and love unconditionally.
  •  Soul: I want to give peace to my soul. I do not want to bother my soul from the nitty gritty of life but I rather would like to relax and be happy.

 All this happens naturally when I travel. I feel closer to myself and closer to nature when I travel. 

I would summarise it in one line what it means to travel for me – ‘I finally found myself after getting completely lost’. Now that I have found myself I do not want to loose sight of it even for a moment.

I believe that we have been gifted with this beautiful planet that we call Earth. It is so big and full of wonders then why not explore it while we are on this journey of life. Why not get to know how it feels to get up every day and see a new view from the window. Why limit ourselves because the possibilities are limitless. Let’s travel or at least see the world with new eyes and accept ourselves with big and open heart with love, compassion and kindness. You don’t have to travel to far away places to do any of this if that’s what limiting you but you can rather adopt the thinking of a traveller and you will be able to see the same place you walk everyday with new eyes, you will be able to walk to work and will be able to see more, you will be able to explore new parks around the corner, natural resources for your new found happiness. I think you can change the world if you change yourself for good. Use your imagination to create a happy world out there and to do that just create a happy place inside and you will see the world changing outside at the same time.

Kayaking in Nepal – Some serious fun

It was one of the best experiences I had that continued for 4 days unlike many other adventures that last only few hours. Yes, I am talking about my experience of Kayaking in Nepal this year. I paddle river Trisuli being relatively new to this sport. But I am determined to go back to Nepal to kayak in more than one river this time as it has got a lot to offer. It’s was one of the best holiday where we were staying in camp site and had proper meal for three times with snacks in between. All we had to do was have breakfast and go for kayaking, take a break for lunch and then paddle again for few hours and come back for evening tea. Then we played volleyball with the locals and then get ready for delicious dinner. It couldn’t have been better as all we had to do was lots of adventure all day. Nepal is one of the best and cheap places to kayak with some of the world’s best rivers. Nepal has got a lot to offer from hiking to paragliding, kayaking to rafting and so much more. I can’t wait to go back to do more of everything. I would give you some overview of the various rivers that you can run in Nepal. You can hire all the gears and the kayak there only so no need to pack everything from home with you. But some essentials would be good to have:

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Gears required: Kayak, life jacket, helmet, wetsuit, dry bags for gears, tent (if you are camping on the way to the final destination), and personal gear bag

Items that you would need for camping (minimum requirement): Sleeping bag, light weight pants, a fleece style jacket, toiletries, light weight sleeved t-shirt, spare glasses, water bottle, long sleeved thermal top and bottoms, light weight hiking boots, toilet paper and lighter, day pack (depending whether you are hiking to get to the river trip or not). If you are planning to kayak on your own then you might also have to carry the gears mentioned above with meal and cooking utensils.

Items to carry with you in the river: Sunscreen, sunglasses, shorts, swimwear, river sandals (they are handy when you have to walk in shallow water on the rocks holding your kayak),

Courses: If you are new to Kayaking then you can start with ‘Beginner Kayak Clinic’ course that usually is for 4 days. Otherwise Intermediate and Advanced Kayak Courses are also available here for more experienced paddlers.

 Cost: It can cost you around 35 USD to 50 USD per day for food, accommodation and gears, depending upon which river you are paddling. It is good to ask the rates from different tour operators decide according to your budget. Sometimes they also include transport to and from the destination so make sure to ask them beforehand as it’s a long way to get to the camp site sometimes. We got free transport from Pokhara to the camp site and then after we finish the course they dropped us to Kathmandu for free which was our next destination as Trisuli river is same distance both from Kathmandu and Pokhara.

 Tour Operators: This is one of the main sources of income in Nepal so there are many tour companies that are involved in this business. Here are links for some of them although once you are there it’s better to check out their shop and have a chat as that will give you more confidence with the people and their services.

 Before I start talking about various Rivers in Nepal, here is the definition of various grades of rapids in White Water Rivers:

  • Grade I – Flat water, No rapids
  • Grade II – Bubbling current, small rapids
  • GradeIII – More technical and require more expertise
  • Grade IV & V – Seriously big rapids. Require some kayaking experience and confidence in water since there are possibilities of getting stuck in the whirlpool if the kayak flips or can’t control the direction of kayak
  • Grade VI – Not run by the tour companies due to the serious risk involved

 Rivers

  1. Trisuli – It is great for beginners or good for experienced paddlers to warm up before they go for other rivers. It is easily accessible from Kathmandu as well as Pokhara. This river swells enormously during the monsoon season and that time it is one of the most challenging and dangerous river to paddle.                                                               Duration: 1 – 3 Days, Distance: 60 kilometers Trisuli
  2. Seti – This River is again divided into Lower Seti and Upper Seti. Lower Seti is great for families due to its calm and relaxing water and gentle rapids, whereas Upper Seti is good for intermediate Kayakers. This river Seti has plenty of grades I – III rapids and it provides a scenic view of the valley, forests and a nice white sandy beach.              Duration: 1/2 – 2 Days, Distance: 32 kilometers, Grade: I – IIISeti
  3. Bhote Kosi – This River is great for continuous rapids of grade IV and V at high flow and grade III at lower flows. It is very close to Kathmandu hence easily accessible. Not long but full of fun and adventure and also provide a scenic view of the surroundings. People do get a chance to feel being in a washing machine in the river and have couple of swims generally until unless you are really good with kayaking. This is a perfect river for a roller coaster ride because of the drops it provides. This goes near Tibet border.                                                                                 Duration: 1 – 2 Days, Distance: 22 kilometers Bhote Kosi
  4. Kali Gandaki – Great for fun and also known as the Holy River, Kali is known to be named after the Hindu goddess for destruction. It is flowing between Annapurna and Dhaulagiri mountain range and takes you to the deepest point. It provides grade III, IV and V grade challenging rapids where more techniques will be required. Like other rivers, this river also gives you a closer view of the beautiful wildlife.                                                                           Duration: 3 Days, Distance: 90 kilometers, Grade: III – VKali Gandaki
  5. Marshyandi – This river is some serious fun and requires some skills to go down on it is one of the best white water river that runs in the world. It provides rapids with IV and V grades and require discipline to really get through them as it has many technical and steep rapids throughout the stretch.                                                                             Duration: 3 – 5 Days, Distance – 27 kilometers, Grade: IV – VMarshyandi
  6. Sun Kosi – Longest river trip with a stretch of almost 270 Kilometer, Sun Kosi is almost 3 hours drive from Kathmandu.  It is also known as one of the top 10 rivers in the world to paddle. It provides breath-taking scenery all along the way. It has rapids of all grades from II to V. By the time you run this river you can cover from Tibetan border to North Indian plains.                                                                                                                                                              Duration: 8 – 10 Days, Distance: 270 kilometers, Grade: III – VSun Kosi
  7. Karnali – This river has earned a lot of respect for being the mightiest river in Nepal. It gives you a fulfillment to run this river as it has everything for a kayaker from various range of rapids to technical steep drops. It does give you a reason to boast about your kayaking skills once you have paddled this river. It is also one of the top 10 rivers in the world to paddle. It has rapids from grade III to V+.                                                                                      Duration: 8 – 10 Days, Distance: 180 kilometers, Grade: III – V+Karnali
  8. Tamur – Not so commercial, this river provides exceptionally challenging white-water rapids. With beautiful view of the gorge it passes through the secluded beaches and wilderness in Nepal. There are towering canyons around this river that makes it more challenging during the first 16 kilometres with high grade rapids.                         Duration: 11 Days, Distance: 120 kilometers, Grade: III – IVTamur
  9. Bheri – This is more over for family trips with amazing scenery and easy rapids of grade II to III.                    Duration: 4 days Distance: 105 kilometers, Grade: II – III

More Angles to this Building – Queen Victoria Building Part 2

I think either I like Queen Victoria Building a lot or it just happen to be the place I am passing through very often. I can say both really. For those who want to know more about this place I have written another post some time back and here is the link:

Don’t clap too hard – it’s a very old building. – John Osborne

So this time when I was passing through it then I saw it again in a complete different light and from different angles so couldn’t resist taking some pictures. Here they are for you.

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Every floor of this building is designed with a unique tile pattern.

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Golden Day Colored Naturally

I had some time to absorb the beauty around me this morning before my sailing lesson. So here are few shots from my collection for you to enjoy.

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Bridge of your choice from one end to another

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What direction would you take now 🙂

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Down under somewhere the beauty lies – Are you ready to have a look and enjoy!

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Flags for happiness – Do you like the idea?

Why do you travel?

Hi My Dear Friends,

How was your day so far? I have been thinking about the various reasons why people travel or why they would like to travel in their life and have been intrigued by the myths around not travelling and the reasons for the as well. Here is a very basic image that I created in order to understand the advantages and disadvantages of travelling. On the left hand side are some of the reasons to travel and right hand side are the fears or reasons not to travel. Please share your insight in this as most of you do travel or want to travel so give me 5 reasons for travelling and few for not travelling. I would love to hear from you on this 🙂

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Travel Myths

We call them myths because we ourselves are creating them.

  • Its expensive
  • I would not have any job if I travel
  • Danger – I may get killed or robbed
  • I have kids
  • It’s not safe to travel
  • I am alone
  • It’s irresponsible
  • Its a stupid risk to leave your job and travel
  • I am vegeterian
  • It’s bad economy so can’t leave job
  • I have a husband and he doesn’t want to travel / I have a wife and she doesn’t want to travel
  • I have a house and stuff here
  • I am planning to travel in future
  • I don’t want to be called crazy

Let’s share some insight and experiences that you had around this as many of us might have some issues while starting on their various travel expeditions.

Don’t clap too hard – it’s a very old building. – John Osborne

 

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The Queen Victoria Building, now affectionately known as the QVB, was designed by George McRae and completed in 1898, replacing the original Sydney markets on the site. Built as a monument to the long reigning monarch, construction took place in dire times, as Sydney was in a severe recession. The elaborate Romanesque architecture was specially planned for the grand building so the Government could employ many out-of-work craftsmen – stonemasons, plasterers, and stained window artists – in a worthwhile project. Originally, a concert hall, coffee shops, offices, showrooms, warehouses and a wide variety of tradespeople, such as tailors, mercers, hairdressers and florists, were accommodated. (reference: http://www.qvb.com.au/about-qvb)

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World’s End is here, what you are going to do? Please don’t Jump at least – Part 4 (Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days)

Yes I really mean it – don’t jump when you see World’ end. You will see what I mean. So in continuation of my last three posts here is the fourth one and hopefully we will finish with the journey soon. Here are the links to my old posts in the series in case you are interested, although there is no as such dependency hence you can enjoy just this post as well.

Part 1: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-
days
Part 2: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/go-go-go-rest-of-sri-lanka-is-waiting-part-2-travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/
Part 3: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/time-to-slow-down-wait-one-more-day-to-go-before-that-part-3-travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

And now that we have enjoyed one of the most amazing train ride to Nuwara Eliya, time to explore this city located at an altitude of 1,868 m (6,128 ft) and one of the most important location for tea production. So do remember to drink tea here 🙂

It was almost 3 AM when I got here so first thing I wanted to do was to find a place to live. As always I depended upon the local expert advice and got a home stay after some research around the area – close enough to be able to walk to the main market and far enough to get it in budget. But it’s a very expensive place to live as compared to other towns as most of the things are imported in this town. But after talking to locals they feel it’s worth as the water here is purified and tap water is drinkable as compared to the other towns and many other good things about the town in spite of high taxes. After arranging my stay in a small lodge, owned by a very friendly family, I headed to find my favorite Sri Lankan food – Kottu (roti/bread made with various vegetables). I try to look for places where locals eat as such places have got more authentic food and also you get to meet locals at times. I end up meeting few people who could speak Hindi (my native language) in one of such local restaurant. They treated me like a VIP, and to be honest after such a long and tiring day I just loved it. They also told me a little bit about how to get around and places worth visiting here. I was lucky to witness a festival, a Hindu procession, that they were celebrating that day in the town as well. And then I visited a local temple.

I bid goodbye to my new local friends in the restaurant and it was time to mingle with the family where I was staying. I had a really nice conversation with them and they told me about a place called – ‘World’s End’. I listened to the name and that’s it. It was something I had to see as the name was so fascinating that I had to see what’s it all about. Now to remind you, in Sri Lanka there is entrance fees on most of the things. And the this was one of the most expensive places to visit. As there is no public transport to get here so you have a choice from hiring a car to an Auto-rickshaw. Also it takes at least 3 hours (with speed) to visit this place and 1.5 hours to get here. So in total at least 6 hours time is needed. One more tip: This is actually a very high place (you will see the details soon), and the weather here is clear mostly in the mornings only so the earlier you start, the better it is. Also if you can get some locals to show you around then it is awesome because the fees for local is lot less than foreigners (4500 Sri Lankan Rupee) and 3500 Rupee for Auto-rickshaw hire. So here I was, about to start my journey to the world’s end and was about to find out the truth. Is it really the end of the world? I was so excited and it reminded me of movie 2012. Is it going to be more adventurous than that. Lol, lets find out.

There are two main places here – World’s End (870 m) and Mini World’s End (270 m). Depending upon which way you choose, you will arrive at one of them first and then another 0.5 KM will take you to the another spot. Its about 8 KM walk that also includes a waterfall called – Baker’s Fall. A very beautiful and scenic place but requires some climbing down to it. Although locals makes it looks simple even in their floaters but be careful as it might be slippery and steep so keep your stuff in a bag and good shoes will help as well. And do not worry about getting dirty in the mud as it is also a possibility. Weather wise this place is amazing as every half kilometer the weather changes and you might get a chance to see sun, rain and fog all in few hours. So keep a jumper and a rain jacket with you in case you prefer to stay warm and cozy.

Now that I am running out of space in this post so I will continue in next post with the closing of this series. But next destination is full of natural places that you can visit for free. And also a very heart warming story is waiting for you that melted my heart as I was about to get a bit frustrated of being treated like a tourist (money spending machine) all the time. So hold on as I will be back soon. Till then Stay healthy and keep smiling 🙂

Time to Slow down? Wait one more day to go before that – Part 3 (Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days)

I am back 🙂 I know you have enjoyed the last two posts and hope I can share as much as possible in this post with you as well. I didn’t intent to make it a series here but had so many pics and so many incidents to share that turned out that can’t be written in one post. So after last two posts here comes some adventure and more relaxing way to travel in third post 😉

Here is the link to last two posts in case you haven’t read them already or want to read again 😉 Although to be clear there is not much dependency so you can go ahead and read this only as well.

Part 1: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

Part 2: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/go-go-go-rest-of-sri-lanka-is-waiting-part-2-travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

Now that I was done with Sigiriya, I took another bus to get to Dambulla, city famous for cave temple. It takes almost 40 minutes to get there. But to be honest I felt its more over a stop over for few hours and better to continue to next destination after this if you don’t want to spend time in one place only. I checked out the Cave Temple.

Now that I had seen the temple it was time to go to another city where I could be more comfortable staying and might get a chance to go out. Kandy, my next stop, was like a town in India (Nainital – near my home town Almora). Its main attraction is the lake in the center of the town. It has got a feel of hill station to it. And I really felt glad that this is where I planned to stay finally.

 

It was this feeling that made me more energetic after already been to two towns before getting here. Now the next task ahead was to find a place to live. It was close to 4 PM so not much time in hand but still enough. So I stated walking around the lake. I saw a road going uphill and started walking on it with my backpack. It was a rough walk after a tiring day but then I was not going to settle down with just any Auto-rickshaw telling me where I can stay as they always quote a higher price. And by now I was in the country for 4 days so felt like I am already an expert (which was a mistake really to be this over confident). I kept walking and then I realized the higher you go the more expensive the hotels were. I talked to few locals and they pointed out to few directions I could go and I finally went to a home-stay but at this height, not even home stay was cheap. I gave up and as directed by one of the locals, I finally took an Auto-rickshaw and went to find a better and cheap place to stay that can fit in my backpacker’s budget. Note: You don’t have backpackers much in countries like this (other than Colombo). But it’s still cheaper to get a room at your own.

I finally found a really nice place and that too very cheap in a hotel. And it was time to get some food as my physical strength was giving up by now. I got fresh and headed to the town now. Got some local food like last time – Kottu (roti made with various vegetables). I loved it and was eating it almost everyday. This time I was really brave and determined to at least try few Sri Lanka dishes and one fruit, one sweet-dish and if possible one local drink. And guess what – I tried them all. And you know what now I am already feeling hungry talking about it 🙂 So after food and some desert, I was ready to go out for a drink. I met a polish guy who was also willing to see some nice club in the town. The more the merrier and we headed to a nice place and I tried the local drink called Arrack. Also spelled arak, it is a distilled alcoholic drink made from either the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain (e.g. red rice) or fruit, depending upon the country of origin. It was really strong and I felt right to order just once. And was happy enough that I could still remember the way to home..lol. Don’ t worry I am never that drunk as directions are like my sixth sense and if I know the  way then I can always get my way no matter what.

Next morning was so beautiful that I could not complain to get up early. I had inquired the last evening where I wanted to go today – ‘Bahirawakanda Viharaya’. Its a 88 feet high Buddha temple on top of a hill and provide a bird’s eye view of the town.

I was already on my way to this place as I was missing some exercise so I planned to walk to this place. It’s an hour walk at max and very pleasant if you start first thing in the morning, although I started around 10 AM. But it was fine anyways. I made sure that I keep my sandals with me in my bag (just in case I loose it as I could not afford walking back barefoot). It was a treat for eyes to see this very big statue of Buddha. It has got a little museum with different wall cravings on it. It was a nice and refreshing walk back to the town.

Now it was time to head to the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya. It is located in the hill country of the central province in Sri Lanka. Its name means – City of Light. If you ever go to Sri Lanka then the train ride is a must. So you better get ready for one of the most amazing train ride through a very beautiful breathtaking scenery.