Tag Archives: Travel

Hong Kong for first timers

10 Apr
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Yes the same shot of Hong Kong you see in every Hollywood movie featuring the city

 

They say – a minute in New York is a second in Hong Kong. And I could why. My first trip to HongKong was nothing short of spectacular. The glamorous billboards and ubiquitous skyscrapers, glitzy pubs and cafes of Lan Kwai Fong, the melt in the mouth din sums, the nostalgia inducing boat rides at Victoria Terminus…

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Walking the streets endlessly for hours watching locals and ex pats going about their business never felt so good.

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But what I loved most about Hong Kong is the vibe — throbbing and pulsating with energy. For someone who loves the city life,  it’s infectious and addictive.

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Hop on board the Star Ferry  

To get an up close look at life in the charming city, hop on board the Star Ferry. For just 3HKD you will be treated to one of the most scenic boat rides in the world. The boat ferries passengers from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and back.

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The Victoria Harbour also happens to the most photographed harbours in the world. So be armed with your cameras. The best time to ride it is in the evenings.

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The Mid-Level escalator in Hong Kong

It’s quite astonishing to find an escalator (the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator) cutting through the hustle bustle of the city. The Life spills over on to the streets on both sides of the 2624 ft escalator. They only move in one direction, and go with rush hour — in the mornings they go down, and in the evenings they go up. It’s not only a touristy must-do, but very practical too.

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The night is always young at Lan Kwai Fong – the party district of Hong Kong

Lan Kwai Fong is where you head to paint the town red. The atmosphere saddles from stylish wine clubs, sedate cafes and raucous sports bars.  The area comes alive at night when the action spills on to the streets. Even if you are not a party animal, LKF is a great place for people watching.

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Strolling along Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade is one of the best ways to see the beautiful views of the Hong Kong skyline and bustling Victoria Harbour.

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This amazing city is a melting pot of food, culture and fun just waiting to be discovered.

 

 

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I found my paradise in Maldives – Gili Lankanfushi

6 Feb

glm_crusoe-residence-exterior-with-hammockIt’s not hard to see why Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives keep winning Travellers Choice awards for luxury hotels

My shoes were collected and stowed away the moment I stepped into the luxurious speed boat that came to pick me up at the airport. Gili Lankanfushi  has a ‘No News No Shoes,’ policy. They were returned to me only when I left the resort for my flight back to India!

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Book Streets of Mumbai

21 Apr
Low res Dilip Mahindkar at the booth on Book Street

Dilip Mahindkar specialises in architecture and interior design books

It’s true that there are book streets all over India but none rivals the ambiance of the one in Mumbai. Nestled against the backdrop of beautiful Victorian buildings and tall peepal trees the book street in Mumbai is where Vikram Seth jostles for space with William Shakespeare. Who knows what you could find here?

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The Staycation rage

16 Jan

Traveling to a beautiful resort in a picturesque location isn’t the only way to vacation. This holiday season, plan a ‘staycation’ and unwind within (or just outside) your own four walls. Let me tell you how…

 

Low res The Taj Mahal Hotel dome

Dome of Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai 

Instead of gobbling up the cheap airfares and hotel rooms and spending time, energy and money on a vacation to a faraway place, try staying home, or close to home, and give yourself a much needed staycation.

A staycation is a holiday or vacation time when you stay and relax at home and explore nearby areas of entertainment and recreation. Though the concept achieved popularity in the US during the Great Recession and in the UK due to the weak Pound which made overseas holidays more expensive, it finds resonance even today with those short on time and reeling under ever increasing cost of living. Unwinding minus the stress is the central theory behind a staycation.

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8 things you ought to do in Leh

5 Aug

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Nothing prepares you for the beauty that’s Leh – breathtaking lakes, majestic snow clad mountains, mesmerising sand dunes, stunning blue skies, magnificent gompas and luscious momos. After much deliberation I finally made it to Leh in May this year. And what a trip it was. From climbing mountains, frolicking in the snow, riding a camel to meditating in a gompa…I did it all. Here’s a list of the 8 things you must do in Leh

Attend the marriage of two rivers

Zanskar, Lake, leh, tourism, ladakh, beauty, natureI have seen many rivers but never the merging of two rivers – Indus and the Zanskar. The confluence of these two rivers is distinctive in the colours (dark brown of Zangsar and white of the Indus). They come together and flow towards Pakistan. If you are the adventurous sorts you could even go river rafting here.

 

Meditate at Diskit monastery

monastery, Leh, LadakhThe 32 meters tall golden Buddha statue is both awe-inspiring and humbling. The other monasteries worth spending time are Hemis, Thikse, Spitok and Shey. Just close your eyes and sit at the Buddha feet. Peace comes naturally.

Ride a two-humped camel in the sand dunes of Nubra Valley

camel, double humped camel, dessert, nubra valley, lehRiding a camel was a first for me (leave alone the double humped one). The gentle souls decorated with embroidered patches just glide across the dessert. While here don’t miss the wild horses, mountain dogs and goats.

Play in the snow
photo (100)I had seen snow before but what I saw in Leh just amazed me – powdery, fluffy and pristine. As cheesy as it sounds I jumped out of the car to pluck icicles hanging off the mountains and face the snowflakes flying in the air. I learnt to speed down the mountain and attack unsuspecting tourists with snow bombs. For someone who spent her childhood throwing styrofoam bits in the air and pretending to be under a snowfall, this was magical.

Just chill by the lake at Pangong

Pangong Lake, Leh, Ladakh, river, lake, salt water lake   Remember the postcards we collected as kids of blue lakes and brown mountains? Pangong is simply that. Sit by the river and you could even spot rare migratory birds like the Black necked Siberian. Sixty per cent of the lake lies in China and the rest in India. Lake freezes completely in the winter even though it is a salt water lake.

Traverse the Khardugla Pass

Khardungla Pass, Leh, Mountain, snow, ladakhAt an altitude of 5359 meters it truly feels like on top of the world. The drive itself to this second highest motorable road in the world is scenic with snow capped mountains and valleys. Don’t forget to get off the car to feel the chill breeze on your face and some steaming hot chai.

Gorge on momos and Thupka
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Ladakhi food is blend of Tibetan, Indian and Continental.  Summer Harvest at Leh market has the best momos. They also do a decent Chinese fare. Try the regional speciality – thupka a soup of vegetables and noodles.

Shop Shop Shop
I always wondered what the fuss about Pashmina Shawl was all about until I held it in my hand – beautiful, warm and soft enough to fit into a handbag. The Leh market is the best place to pick up a genuine pashmina along with semi precious stones and tribal jewellery. Bargain hard.

Have you been to Leh? Do write in with your experiences.

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