All posts filed under: Escape

The Backwaters Of Kerala

The serene backwaters of Kerala are now a distant memory for me, though every time I look at these images I’m taken back to India and wishing I could be there steering into the warm still air.  There’s something very mesmerising about the backwaters.  There is a state of calm and tranquility as the landscapes blend and reflect into the water, locals bathe and wash in the abundance of water surrounding them, children ride their bikes (which seems for miles) to get to school and farmers walk the rice paddy fields. Anyone who’s researched about visiting Kerala will know that the backwaters is a mandatory stop on the itinerary and I was not going to miss the chance to see these stunning landscapes. Travelling on your own has its disadvantages and I was about to experience it first hand when I went to book a house boat tour in Alleppey.  My only option to experience a night on the backwaters was to book an entire house boat to myself.  Surely there must be other people …

A Luxury Escape For Two

Thanks to some creative accounting I was fortunate enough to spend two days at Shreyas Yoga Retreat with my friend Majo.  After spending most of the week in Bengaluru, the prerequisite for the weekend was to retreat away from the city and embark on a wellbeing journey of the luxury kind.  From the moment we departed our hotel, we had a sense we were about to experience something special.  From the chauffeur driven Indian Army car (it pays to have friends in high places), to the ceremonial blessing on arrival and refreshing pineapple and celery drink (who would have thought of that combination), our humid one hour car journey was quickly forgotten and a sense of calm gathered around us as we were transported into another world. Nestled amongst 25 acres of greenery and frangipani gardens, we were guided through the resort to our garden cottage tent named Titiksha.  Titiksha is Sanskrit meaning forbearance. Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 2, Sloka 14) refers to Titiksha as the contact between the senses and the sense objects.  O Arjuna, are the …

Once The Shock Is Over: My First Week In India

I always knew India was going to open my eyes and challenge me in ways I’ve never experienced before, but I don’t think anything can quite prepare you for the first 24 hours you spend in India for the very first time.  The traffic seems to be organised chaos.  There’s the constant noise of car horns sounding all around you.  The first time you attempt to cross a road taking your life what seems into your own hands.  And then there’s the smells, people urinating and spitting on the streets while cows roam freely feeling completely at home in a major city. As I started to come to grips with these new senses and my surroundings in a country that was about to become my home for the next two months, it was a welcome change after spending my first three days in the city of Chennai, that some calm and normality began to creep in when I headed out of town.  I spent three nights in the city Puducherry (formerly know as Pondicherry) which …

Dreaming Of A Thai Getaway

For the last post in my Thailand series, here are some books I stumbled across during my stay to help you with some inspiration when planning your Thai getaway. Thailand’s Best Restaurants by Thailand Tatler.  A yearly guide to who’s the best around to satisfy your taste buds. Thai Street Food by David Thompson.  Enjoy the delights created by the head chef from Nahm restaurant. Kenneth Barrett’s 22 Walks In Bangkok.  Explore the city’s, historic back lanes and byways around one of my favourite cities in the world. For the insider’s guide to Bangkok, keep an eye out in the shops and cafes for BK Magazine.  It’s a free weekly guide with information on what’s happening in the city during the week, from shopping to eating, to events and discovering the nightlife. Bangkok’s Top Street Food Stalls by Chawadee Nualkhair.  Soi 38 is mentioned in here and is on my list to try next time I’m in town. And finally the trusty old Lonely Planet – Thailand.  Always a helpful reliable guide and a starting point for researching your …

A Balancing Act

Having been active all my life, travelling was bound to upset my weekly exercise routine.  There will be no Pilates classes three times a week and the ease to go for a run won’t be as appealing when the temperate is 30 degrees outside with 90% humidity.  But for me exercise is ingrained in my DNA and after a week without it, I start to become irritable. Heading to Thailand and India where Pilates classes are scarce and yoga classes are in abundance, it’s time to head on a yoga journey.  Having only tried yoga a handful of times I’m keen to explore it more.  I’ve also recently started meditating, having had my first introduction only a little over a year ago.  I had an amazing one on one session with a lovely lady named Lani at the Gaia Retreat in Byron Bay.  She was the perfect teacher to set me off on a new spiritual path and journey.  It was a huge help for me last year as I tried to cope with grief and …

24 Hours To Shop In Bangkok

I always spend a few days in Bangkok before I exit Thailand ensuring I give the credit card a good work out before I head home.  I like making the most of different brands and stores on hand that aren’t available in New Zealand.  It was absolutely torturous roaming through the streets of Bangkok, knowing that no power shopping would be occurring on this trip with months of travel ahead of me. I did manage to make one small purchase which I knew I could get away with, the Labradorite bracelet from Mina Code.  I could justify the purchase as it was small to pack and it hasn’t left my wrist since.  It accompanies my Marc by Marc Jacobs Standard  Supply bracelet which was a leaving gift from the Viva team. If you only have one day to shop in Bangkok, here are my picks: Head straight to Siam Square where you can visit easily three malls, Siam Center, Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon which cater for a variety of tastes and budgets. Siam Center is a great place …

Urban Delights

I never tire when in Thailand of the endless flow of Thai food.  It’s always fresh, flavoursome and light.  Accompanied by a nice cool relaxing beer, lunch and dinner times never seem to be a chore.  I was fortunate to eat and drink at some great places during my three-week stay thanks to recommendations from friends. Here are my tops picks from my stay: Fizz Beach Lounge, Sairee Beach Koh Tao.  With a great location on Sairee Beach, this bar is a lovely place to chill and soak up the ambience. Bean bags are sprawled across the beach and large deck making it the perfect place to start your evening with a cocktail by the sea while enjoying great music. Bar Next Door, Chalok Ban Kao, Koh Tao.  We had a fun night out at this bar. Perched on the beach in Chalok Bay, this was our pick of the bars on the strip.  Be entertained by fire dancers while drinking the night away.  You just need to be able to stomach what was the worst …