Showing posts with label travel plan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel plan. Show all posts

North East 2018 planning

Long prologue … someone once said
“Happiness is to plan a trip to somewhere new with your loved ones”. 

One best friend from Santanu’s engineering college got transferred from Bangalore to Shillong last year. In his send-off party, everyone committed that they would like to visit that part of the country. The friend in question is serving our country and he promised to be our host there while we visit Shillong, the Scotland of East and British summer capital of North East.

Our travel planning started way back in the month of January it was left to Santanu as he grew up in NorthEast to talk to relatives & friends, read travel blogs and come up with a rough itinerary. While initially, he wanted to travel all the way to Dibrugarh, he has fond memories of that places as he studied there between 1st and 4th standard a long long time ago.  But he dropped that idea as it would have been too much of traveling. So the first cut and final looked like this. We are really thankful to Mr. Manju Barua (Wild Grass, Kaziranga) for his valuable selfless inputs.



First Draft
What we did
Guwahati
Guwahati
Kaziranga
Shillong
Gibbon
Cherrapunji
Majuli
Kaziranga (bypassing  Guwahati)
Nameri
Gibbon & Sibsagar
Shillong
Majuli
Cherrapunji
Nameri and back to Guwahati



It is easy to start and end with Guwahati in NorthEast as it is well connected to rest of India with many flights and trains. To explore and have a relaxing trip we almost decided to have 2 nights halt in most places. The key challenge was rain as Kaziranga closes by end of April. One friend said he would be joining us for Meghalaya part so we changed the first draft and opted to visit Meghalaya first and Assam second. 

Seeing our detail itinerary many eyebrows were raised.  Few of the friends gave up saying they can not have this type of strenuous vacation. Vacation for them is getting up late...relaxing, enjoying food and not mandatorily visiting all tourist points….aargh just the opposite of our thinking style.

We never gave up on our thinking as we are what we are….For us traveling means getting up early, beat the traffic or the other tourists irrespective of breakfast time, cover as many possible, eat foods from roadside small eatery or any recommended place(traditional food) as per convenience. We are so used to all this that my 10 years old also got adjusted to the same. Without complaining, he too enjoys this kind of travel.

“Once the travel bug bites, there is no looking back we are happily infected till we can”

Exploring so many places means we need to have a car of our own to travel. We talked to few reliable drivers as suggested by friends and family, their rates were almost similar but was on the higher side for us as we had almost 2 weeks to cover. Moreover, each day we do not plan to travel a lot on the road,  so it was more economical to self-drive. There are not many options like other major Metros but ZOOMCAR is there and we made our booking with them in advance. 

Also, we are used to self-drive as it gives us privacy and the complete back seat to Aarush. He really likes it that way as it gives him liberty to take a small nap in between if needed. Santanu made most hotel booking well in advance, but he kept two buffer days without any prior hotel booking to accommodate any unplanned situation.

We also planned to visit to Siliguri to visit my mother-in-law for a day and Calcutta for 2 nights on our way back.

While we write more on this long trip,  please take few minutes off and see this wonderful official video of Assam Tourism.



Uttarakhand - prelude

It has been such a long time that we posted something we almost forgot how to type long paragraphs. Maybe all due to Facebook and WhatsApp which is instant but then in when you look back you have no way to figure out what all the noise was about. Well enough of rant now let me type….

Beginning of 2017 we were very much looking for a vacation and Pamela was interested in Uttarakhand. Now Uttarakhand is not a big state, it was carved out of Uttar Pradesh around 17 years back(A.D.2000 to be precise). But being a hilly region you can not just go around and see it all. There are two main parts Garhwal & Kumaon. And we were lost in between which part to visit. At the end, we made up some plan after talking to friends who are quite familiar with the UK. That made me more confused. Now comparing to the trip of Himachal Pradesh 3 years back, I was quite sure would be able to drive myself in the hills unless we plan to visit high altitude areas where roads would be narrow and tricky. Also if you recollect there was a major natural calamity in 2013 which washed away most roads and caused havoc during the peak of summer vacation. And I was not so keen for Dhams ( seats/abode) yatra as it means visiting temples and religious places. So at the end, I posted my planned itinerary in team-bhp. Now, as usual, got useful advice and modified our itinerary accordingly.

Now the plan was to fly to New Delhi and then rent a car and drive to Uttarakhand.  Here is the high-level plan.

  1. Night at Mussoorie - Morning flight to From Delhi and then  drive  to Mussoorie
  2. Night at Haridwar - Full day Explore Mussoorie; Leave for Haridwar later
  3. Night at Haridwar - Explore Haridwar
  4. Night at Corbett Tiger Reserve
  5. Night at Corbett Tiger Reserve
  6. Night at Binsar - Via Nainital & Almora 5/6 hrs Drive
  7. Night at Binsar - Binsar wildlife sanctuary and from there trekking till zero point. Next will be seeing the Jageshwar group of temples.
  8. Night at Kausani
  9. Night at Kausani
  10. Night at Nainital
  11. Night at Nainital
  12. Long drive 7/8 hours & fly out to Bangalore (late evening flight)

Hotel bookings, I pre-booked Corbett Tiger Reserve using their official website. The booking to Corbett is very tricky. You need to be on online and ready and at your best, I had my caffeine shot just before 10. The booking opens 45 days prior for Indians. And without night booking Dhikala region the best region to explore within Corbett remains off limit to you.

If you are serious about CRT, my simple advice is you MUST have a booking at Dhikala. You will see and capture what is totally depends on your luck. But just for the experience, you must do the booking in Dhikala zone. The other zones are small and open for day safari as well so that way they become more crowded.  

Rest of the Hotels are booked via KMVN and GMVN website directly. Also booked Kausani well before hand as it looked like a good option again Team-BHP.

Visiting Paris a Desi Guide

Me and Pamela are living in Paris for a while now and we are still enjoying going around and exploring Paris. Lots of my friends asked me about our personal opinions on the same before visiting Paris and France for a week or so. So here it is will all the best information that I can write down with out making it too boring for you.


A brief about Paris:Paris is divided in 2 main parts by the River Seine; the left bank and the right. Traditionally the city was divided just like a human brain left one for art and music where right one for money and power. Now there no such difference any more. It has 20 districts or arrondisement in a snail pattern starting at the center of Paris.
Top attractions: [Not in any particular order]There are lots of Photos from Paris in www.santm.com
  1. Eiffel Tower
  2. Sacre Coeur
  3. Arc de Triomphe
  4. Champs Eleysees - and Concorde
  5. Notre Dame and Saint Chapel - If possible a cup of coffee on the top roof of Samaretine (now closed till 2012) to have the best view of Paris Center. But you can try Institute de Monde Arabe .
  6. La Defense - Paris version of New York Manhatten.
  7. The Mega Stores - Galeries Lafayette and Printemps
  8. Boat Ride. This gives the best magnificent view of Paris architectures
  9. Pantheon
  10. Bastille - Best hang out place lots of bars and food place a happening place
  11. Moulin Rouge or Lido [Both French Cabarets] your choice ;)
  12. Tower Montparnasse
Museums:
  1. Louvre - home of Monalisa
  2. Orsay - best place to go if you like impressionism artists like Monet/Gaugh etc.
  3. Rodin - Sculpture
  4. Picasso - the name say it all
Outside Paris:
  • Versailles
Few Tips:
  • Be aware of pickpockets and small thefts.
  • Paris is a small City it is only 15KM by 10KM.
  • Ask for a metro Map when you get here.
  • It involves a lot of walking so get yourself a good pair of walking shoes.
  • There are not many public toilets and you need to carry change [coins] to use them.
  • Get yourself a phone card from "TABAC" [where you buy cigarettes] for calling inside and outside France. There are special cards for India or US if you need any.
  • Metro tickets you can buy the 10 tickets "carnet" or day pass depending upon your travel plan. You can use the same on any other public transport as long as you with in Paris.
  • Each Street corner will have road names and tells you which arrondisement you are in.

Getting a place to Stay/ Hotel:It is expensive when it comes to hotel in Europe and Paris in particular. The rooms are small and expensive. Personally I think if you get a hotel around Latin Quarter that is 5th, 6th is best as you are close to city center and the locality is nice. 7th, 8th are also good with 1st to 4th. Paris is very safe city in general. I personally do not like the area around the big Train stations of Gare de Nord and Gare del'Est The 18th,19th and 20th are should be avoided from my own prospective and you have happen to stay in 13th-16th make sure your hotel is not very far from Metro Station as these are more residential arrondisements with metro stations not very close by like center of city.
Food:Few lines about French food; if you do not take fish and a Indian vegetarian then there are not many choice for you L. Fish and Sea food is very common in French cuisine; it is almost considered vegetarians some times. But the pastry, bakery products and chocolates are delicious I am not joking.But there are lots of Indian place to choose from but make sure you ask for right amount of spices as it is very scaled down for locals.