All posts filed under: India

Soul Food

I’m quite fussy when it comes to eating certain foods with texture normally being the main reason that makes me think twice about what I’m about to eat.  I was under no illusion that travelling around India would have its challenges when my belly was rumbling and wanting some nourishment.  But I also knew it was a great opportunity to try new foods and I was pleasantly surprised with the variety and the flavours of South Indian, Goan and Keralan Cuisines. I chose to eat mainly vegetarian the entire trip only giving in towards the end with a couple of seafood meals. Being so close to the ocean in Goa, it was too tempting to resist and thankfully I survived my trip with no serious bouts of illness from anything I had eaten. With a new appreciation for coconut water, bananas and lentils, here are some of my top recommendations of where to eat and drink in some of the cities and towns I visited. Hotel Saravana Bhavan  I ate three times at this vegetarian …

Places To Stay, India

Probably one of the most frustrating things about travelling in India on my own was having a limited budget to spend on accommodation.  With two people and two budgets I could have stayed in some fabulous places. Accommodation was hit and miss in India and planning only a few days ahead at a time had its advantages and disadvantages as I discovered.  To save you some time trawling through Trip Advisor and various accommodation websites, if you’re looking for mostly mid-range accommodation, here’s where I stayed and who I recommend and which places you need to avoid like the plague. Chennai The Golden Fruits Business Suites.  This was my first experience of accommodation in India and it was fine by Indian standards.  I did struggle understanding the staff but I think this was due to acclimatising to India and their accents!  The breakfast buffet was average and there weren’t many restaurants close by and I found it hard to get my bearings around the area.  Its clean and tidy but I would recommend to hire a driver …

A Touch Of Taj

After two glorious months in India, my journey was coming to an end.  I was about to venture back out again into the unknown.  India had almost become a security blanket for me and I had become use to all of its quirks, delights and annoyances, it was starting to feel like home. I can understand how people are drawn to the place and never want to leave. The North was on my agenda at the start of the trip, however I never made it that far, there was too much to see and experience in the South. Feeling accomplished for travelling on my own, knowing that at times I had to sacrifice experiences because it was “just me” I felt that I deserved for my last night in India some pampering and a bit of luxury.  And since I hadn’t travelled up North to visit the real Taj Mahal in Agra I thought what could be the next best thing? Staying at the Taj Mahal Palace of course! So I booked a room online and was very …

The Gateway To India

I will forever have a lasting memory of my first sighting of Mumbai formerly known as the city of Bombay. I was flying in from Goa, it was mid afternoon on a beautiful sunny day and I was unable to see the landscape below sadly due to a heavy layer of smog.  The approach into Mumbai felt similar to flying into Queenstown in New Zealand, out of nowhere appeared rocky formations outside the plane window giving you the sense that they were too close!  But what really struck me as we descended low enough to see what was on the ground below, was the extensive rows of slums, falling on top of each other. It is believed that over 50% of Mumbai’s population are living in slums. Once on the ground however you discover a bustling cosmopolitan city which I loved experiencing what culturally they had to offer with their museums, restaurants and shops putting them on par with other great cities around the world. You could sense the Bollywood revenue infiltrating its way through parts of …

Under The Goan Sun

It was time to head north to relax and enjoy some time on the beach.  I had ten days to experience the beaches of Goa and I was planning on splitting my time between Arambol, Vagator and Palolem.  All had been recommended by friends to visit. Known for their party vibes, I was warned Arambol and Vagator wouldn’t be quiet destinations, however the beaches were very quiet everywhere, but it was still nice to see more foreigners around. It was now April and with the season starting to wind down, each day resorts would dismantle their properties in preparation for the monsoon season ahead.  It was quite eerie to watch especially when the restaurant I had dined in Palolem the night prior, had disappeared the next day. Arambol with its long stretching coastline was an idyllic spot to rest for a few days. It was windy making it a popular destination for kite surfers, but it was nice to walk along the beach and enjoy the warmth of the sun.  I was greeted with the Buddha …

Old Versus New

Goa was one of those intriguing places I wanted to visit.  I had heard so many mixed stories about it, from people loathing the place and it’s trance party night life, to others who never wanted to leave.  For me, my purpose was purely to relax by the sea. I was warned it would be quiet as it was heading into low season, but that didn’t bother me.  It had been quiet generally everywhere anyway. My first stop was in Panaji, in central Goa.  I arrived late on Good Friday evening, and I spent three nights there.  With it’s Portuguese influence, it was a great place to wonder and admire the architecture. Being Easter places were closed, but there was enough to do and see to keep me occupied.  I spent my first day walking through the streets of the new town and my second day visiting Old Goa.  I stayed in a fabulous guest house in a great location which made my stay that more enjoyable. NEW You can catch a bus from Panaji to …

The Only Way Is Up

After leaving Amrutham Ayurvedic Village Resort refreshed, revived and rejuvenated, I was getting ready to head back up the continent with the view to visiting Hampi, Goa and Mumbai.  But before I made my way there I wanted to visit Madurai and Thanjuvar for their magnificent temples. Logistically it was a large area to cover on my own and I was having a dilemma of how to travel to each destination as I didn’t want to miss anything. But because I had diverted slightly at the start of my trip to meet a friend in Bengularu, I was going to have to zigzag my way back up which was proving to be difficult due to long train journeys, and flights weren’t flying directly to where I wanted to be.  In the end with another recommendation from a friend, I hired a taxi and looped from Kovalam down to the very bottom tip of India to Cape Comorin and then on to Madurai. Kovalam was my least favourite place and I couldn’t wait to leave.  I felt like I was on set …