Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Watching sunrise in Kanyakumari

Kanyakumari is known for its spectacular view of sunrise and sunset. There are many places for the tourists to view this magic. Kanyakumari tourism dept has built up a number of sunrise and sunset view points. This way the crowd gets divided among these points and one can watch the phenomenon in peace. The hotel which I was staying in, Hotel Singaar International, had its own viewpoint. Luckily, we had our rooms on the same floor. I made sure I put up multiple alarms to wake up at least 15 minutes before sunrise, choose my spot and prepare my tripod.
Sunrise series in kanyakumari
First light of the day. 20 minutes before the sun came out of the horizon

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A day at Vivekananda Memorial Rock, Kanyakumari

The time had come for us to start packing and leave for our trip to Kanyakumari and Rameswaram. I had created the itinerary based on several blogs and travel portals. A visit to Vivekananda memorial rock was on top of every list. Legend says that while Swami Vivekananda was in Kanyakumari, he saw this monolith rock and wanted to go there. He asked a fisherman to take him on his boat to the rock. The fisherman refused as the water was shark infested. Swami had decided to reach the rock anyhow. He dived into the waters and swam towards the rock. He meditated there for 3 days before departing for Chicago for a conference.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Zoomcar or Carzonrent Myles? My experience with car rental services.

Bangalore has always been a city where innovative startups took a small step and went on to become one of the most successful ventures in India. Zoomcar is one such startup. Self drive rental services was not popular in India unlike our western counterparts. Thanks to zoomcar, who brought this concept in India and started with Bangalore.
I have rented car from Zoomcar on many occasions over the last couple of years. I've found the price quite reasonable (Expensive on weekends and public holidays though). The website mentions every detail you need to know before booking a car. If you call the staff, they are courteous enough to answer your queries. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

From South to North East: Gangtok City Tour

We had planned to stay in Gangtok for the first two days of our seven day trip to Sikkim. We chose to complete city tour on the first day of our trip. As I had mentioned in my previous blog, I wanted to keep the expense minimum by traveling in shared cabs wherever I'll go. But it would have stolen the exclusivity which I wanted and the freedom to stop anywhere and enjoy for as much as I want. So my wife and I decided to hire an exclusive cab. We asked our hotel manager where can we book the cab. The manager told us he can arrange it and gave us a couple of options. We had the option to book a Wagon R, an Innova, or a shared cab (Mahindra Maxx or Bolero). We booked Wagon R as it was cheaper than the rest and since we were just two, we didn't really need a big car.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

From South to North-East: Reaching Gangtok from Bagdogra.

Direct flights were not there from Bangalore. Our flight to Bagdogra was via Kolkata. Bagdogra Airport has prepaid taxi booth where we hired a cab for Gangtok. We wanted to share the cab with other travelers to reduce expense. Unfortunately, we didn't find anyone traveling to Gangtok as most of them were going to Darjeeling. Out of curiosity, we consulted about chopper (Yes, chopper service is available) as well.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

From South to North-east: How I planned a trip to Sikkim.

Our 2nd wedding anniversary was coming closer and we had no plans to travel. We were rather thinking on going to a swanky restaurant and splurge on shopping. But destiny had other plans. We were watching TV where a travel show was running and the host was in North Sikkim. The location was just beautiful. We instantly decided to plan our anniversary trip to Sikkim. This was little over a month ago to our anniversary. I started searching for cheapest flights from Bangalore. Return flights for 2 were coming over 36k which I think was expensive. I waited a couple of more days before finally booking the tickets for 28K ( which was still expensive).

Guru Dongmar Lake, North Sikkim
Guru Dongmar Lake, North Sikkim

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Andaman Islands - The most exotic honeymoon destination in India. ( Part 2)

Our next day started with Elephant beach. We took a jetty from Havelock port. There's one more way to reach the beach. It's a trekking route. I would want to take this route next time. I am not sure how the beach got it's name from, as you won't see any elephant here. This is the beach if you want to enjoy all kinds of water sports. There's jet skiing, snorkeling, kayaking etc. It's a beautiful beach with blue water, green trees, white sand. Elephant beach is surrounded by corals. It is quite near to the beach and hardly 2 meters deep. There are lots of vendor running on the beach with the equipment. I got hold of one of them and went into the deep blue water. It was an amazing experience watching water world from up so close. I wish I had a go pro at that time to capture the beauty.
elephant beach, havelock island
Elephant Beach 
scary clouds formation
Scary cloud formation. Looks like it's raining out there

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Andaman Islands - The most exotic honeymoon destination in India. ( Part I)

When it comes to choosing a honeymoon destination in India, it's always a war between two types of destinations. 1) Beaches or 2) Hill Stations. I was fighting the same war and it was too difficult to choose between these two. I love mountains and snows and I love beaches as well. I finally zeroed down to either going to the Northeast or Andaman. I brainstormed the idea with my wife and finally concluded we'll go to Andaman. We went with one more couple. My colleague and one of my best friend got married just 10 days after us. So we planned to go for honeymoon together. We spoke with several tour managers and operators for a good deal and finally decided to go with a local Andaman tour operator, Totto Tour and Travels.

We got our flight to Port Blair from Chennai as there wasn't any direct flight from either Bangalore or Delhi.  We boarded Chennai mail from Bangalore to Chennai and reached well before our flight. Our friends also reached Chennai from Delhi and we were eagerly waiting for our flight.
Port Blair Airport approaching
View from flight when we were just about to reach Port Blair
Captured on HTC One

We reached Port Blair airport, known as Veer Savarkar International Airport around noon. Tour operator's representative was there at the airport to receive us. We had a car (Innova) at our disposal during the whole vacation. We reached our hotel which was hardly 5 km from the airport. The representative gave us some time get fresh and asked us to meet him at the reception after lunch to start our tour.
Port Blair hotel panorama view
View from our room at Da Bay Inn Hotel, Port Blair

Our tour started with a visit to Cellular Jail. Cellular jail, also known as "Kaala Pani", was a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago. The complex serves as a national memorial monument.
cellular jail, port blair, andaman islands
Cellular jail premises
Prison cell, cellular jail, andaman island, port blair
Prison cell hallway