Travel Diaries

General nukkad-style discussions.
This forum is lightly moderated, and members are expected to moderate themselves.
Javee
BGR Newbie
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Javee » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:09 am

saip wrote:
Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:29 pm
Has anyone been to Sri Lanka? I have about 5 days to spare this trip to India in January. Intend flying from BLR or Chennai into Sri Lanka. Any suggestions?
I have been in both the coasts and the tea garden area. What is that you want to look for? Urban comforts means Colombo, decent beaches are along both the coasts, but I prefer the east coast for personal reasons.

Colombo - Didnt spend a lot of time here, went to Galle roamed around for a day, stayed the night there and left to Kandy by car. Visited the elephant orphanage on the way, kids loved it.
Kandy and Nuwara Eliya is like our Darjeeling, Munnar area - Hilly with plantations. Stayed near the Lake (booked through airbnb), a nice old colonia house. Lake, Buddha's tooth relic and the botanical garden are worth visiting. There are lots of plantations, so you can stay here for days just doing nothing. There is a sightseeing train that runs between Colombo and the tea country, but you have to book them in advance.Dambulla caves and Sigiriya rock is another thing thats a to-do if visiting this area, it's a bit of a longish drive from Kandy, but I was anyway going to east coast, so it was on the way for me. I didnt stay the night there, moved on to Trinco.
East coast - My fave area - I visited Trinco and the beaches around that area. Stayed in the Anilana Nilaveli resort north of Trinco, Piegeon island is a small boat ride away where you get see sharks, corals and turtles. I also visited the Thirukoneswaram temple, its steeped in Tamil and hindu history. The original temple was destroyed by the Portuguese, but a new temple has been built there. The port area is nice and modern with decent coffee shops, places to sit and a pier that you can walk to.

I didnt get to go to North or South East, there are some good wild life parks in the South east. Like any tropical island, weather is a bummer and when it rains it pours. Roads are not express way types, and in some places it would look like India pre 90's, broken single roads. English is spoken and understood and ofcourse Tamil works in the tamil areas. Public transport is very in-adequate, mostly traveled by cabs/tempo traveler types. Inside the city, we can take autos. The food is something that you relish, if you eat seafood, a combination of Tamil/Kerala cuisine. Its not too expensive to visit, if you book a little ahead, the tickets are cheaper than going to MAA-DEL.

Javee
BGR Newbie
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Javee » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:10 am

Any one visited Rann of Kutch during Rann utsav season?

BhairavP
BGR Newbie
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:25 am

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by BhairavP » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:36 am

We visited SL this Diwali - Colombo, Yala and Unawatuna, near Galle.
Quite inexpensive by Indian standards. A tip - if travelling from India, don't convert your rupees to SL Rupees; instead, go for USD and convert them there. You'll get a far better exchange rate.

Javee
BGR Newbie
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Javee » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:33 am

Did a self supported cycling trip to Kutch last week, went from Bhuj to White Rann, Kala Dungor, India Bridge, Than and back to Bhuj. Didnt get time to visit the extreme west end (Lakpat or Koteshwar) as Okchi was on the way, and Dholavira, it was far from the Rann circuit (260kms). Rann Utsav is happening right now and we planned our trip to coincide the super moon of the year. The previous day was better as Okchi brought in a bit of clouds right on the super moon day. Talked to the friendly BSF folks in the check posts, visited one of their bunkers (free for all) and went on the India bridge which was destroyed in 71. White Rann looks exactly like a glacier, the damn salt stripped my shoes though as we walked around for a couple kms.

Even though the passers by cheered us, Kala Dungor bought us flat track bullies down to earth, we huffed and puffed and in couple inclines had to push the cycle up, new found respect for the hill climbers. We hired some local cycles in Ahmedabad, but dont think that alone was the problem. Minimal traffic on the roads, who ever drives, they do drive like maniacs, possibly leave their brains out at home. Its a desolate place mostly, not a lot of things grow near Rann (7500 sqkms) nd Kutch is also the biggest district in India. Visited the crematoriums in Bhuj and the Adalage in AHM.

As they say in Kutch, "Kachchh nahi dekha to kuchchh nahi dekha! :lol:

Karthik
BGR Member
Posts: 300
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:02 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Karthik » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:14 am

Javee wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:09 am
English is spoken and understood and ofcourse Tamil works in the tamil areas.
Is speaking Tamil safe in SL?

Deans
BGR Newbie
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:46 am

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Deans » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:55 am

I've been to Sri Lanka on holiday and on business.
English is a little more widely spoken than India. Non Tamils don't speak or understand Tamil, so you might like to start with a `Tamil Terima ?' to be sure you'd be understood.

Deans
BGR Newbie
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:46 am

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Deans » Wed Dec 06, 2017 12:04 pm

I'm a late visitor to this thread. I like to travel on holiday and my most recent trip (end Oct early Nov) was to Sikkim. I'd highly recommend it.
Visited Gangtok, Nathu La and then North Sikkim. Places like Gurudomar lake (the worlds highest at an altitude of 17300 ft) and the Yumthang valley are out of this world. The scenery is more beautiful than Siwtzerland (which I visited a couple of months earlier). The rough roads & lack of mass tourism have a charm of their own.
One also can't help but admire the army for what they have to put up with in an extended deployment to this area - most of the people and the only organisation within 10 km of the border are the Army & ITBP.

I also admire the civic sense and culture of the people. There's a Rs 5000 fine for just about anything - littering, spitting, urinating by the side of the road, honking etc. The standards of cleanliness of homes and streets and personal grooming are the best I've seen in India.

Javee
BGR Newbie
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Javee » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:48 pm

Karthik wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:14 am
Javee wrote:
Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:09 am
English is spoken and understood and ofcourse Tamil works in the tamil areas.
Is speaking Tamil safe in SL?
Perfectly safe in Trinco, as most of them spoke tamil there anyway.

Shandilya
BGR Newbie
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:10 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Shandilya » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:43 am

Javee wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:33 am
...... Visited the crematoriums in Bhuj and the Adalage in AHM.

As they say in Kutch, "Kachchh nahi dekha to kuchchh nahi dekha! :lol:
Aaaah the stepwells of Adalaj, very nice carvings and cool place hang out. When I visited some 25 years ago (on my trustee Bullet 350) photogiri was prohibited, I still sneaked in a few shots with my philam fuji camera. Lots of elite-dhabha and original rustic-dhabha eateries on the highway there. Some marble workshops too at Gota between Ahmedabad and Adalaj.

Kabir
BGR Member
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:13 am

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Kabir » Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:59 pm

Indian travel gurus, I will be spending around 20 days at the end of Aug-beginning of Sept travelling in India next year. I will be starting from mumbai with a couple of my usual travel mates. Few of them did Mumbai-Leh and Mumbai Karnataka road trips last year. This year I intend to join but am not sure which would be the best route and places to visit around that time of the year. We have all three options open to go East, south or north starting and returning to Mumbai.
Am currently looking at south east and then towards orissa/WB and back or northish right upto rajasthan and border areas (though not much terrain difference in Raj to see).
Third option is straight to Bhutan and back which might take a few days more.
Any advice?

saip
BGR Newbie
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:00 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by saip » Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:08 pm

Javee, Thanks, but we had to drop our plans to Sri Lanka this time around. But will be visiting Ajanta, Ellora and Hampi. May be next time.

We will be landing in Delhi and flying to HYD (ticket is a through ticket to HYD from the USA). I presume our Immigration and Customs will be done at Delhi. If I remember correctly after the customs our baggage will be re-booked to HYD by the airline. So how can I buy Liquor at Delhi? If I buy it at the duty free shop can I take on board with me as I am not sure I will have access to my check in baggage?

Chandragupta
BGR Member
Posts: 306
Joined: Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:49 am

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Chandragupta » Fri Dec 22, 2017 9:57 am

saip wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 3:08 pm
Javee, Thanks, but we had to drop our plans to Sri Lanka this time around. But will be visiting Ajanta, Ellora and Hampi. May be next time.

We will be landing in Delhi and flying to HYD (ticket is a through ticket to HYD from the USA). I presume our Immigration and Customs will be done at Delhi. If I remember correctly after the customs our baggage will be re-booked to HYD by the airline. So how can I buy Liquor at Delhi? If I buy it at the duty free shop can I take on board with me as I am not sure I will have access to my check in baggage?
If you're immigration & customs are done at Delhi, then you should have access to your check-in baggage. Don't buy if you don't have access to your checked in luggage as you're not allowed to take Alcohol on a domestic flight.

saip
BGR Newbie
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:00 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by saip » Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:01 pm

Few years ago I had similar itinerary. At that time I remember the domestic airline picked up our baggage and rebooked it to HYD. This time too I expect it be the same. This is what I think will happen. I will pick up the baggage at Delhi and walk it through the customs. And then someone from AI will take it and book it to HYD. If the duty free shop is BEFORE the customs (which is normal) then I can buy liquor and after customs put it in the Checked baggage and I will not have any problem. Anyway, I will write my experience this time. I am landing in India Jan 3.

saip
BGR Newbie
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:00 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by saip » Sat Dec 30, 2017 1:14 am

I found the interactive layout of the Terminal 3 of the Delhi Airport. It is like:

Immigration --> Duty Free Shops --> Baggage Carousels --> Customs.

So I guess I can buy the liquor bottles and put them in the check in baggage before I reach customs and then hand them over to domestic airline to be checked in again to HYD. Now I have to make sure I will have enough space in my check in baggage.

saip
BGR Newbie
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:00 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by saip » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:09 am

Yesterday I landed at Delhi. I goto the Immigration desk and he asks for the 'form'. What form I say. Immigration form he says. Where is it? There, he points to some table. I go there, no form. I search three more tables (no one there to help) and finally finds it. Short form, fill it and we are through in a couple of minutes. The forms are not available on the aircraft (I checked and the crew said they said they do not have them) Why does not immigration desk keep them in plain sight? Who do I tweet this to? Sushma, aviation minister or someone else?

Then I walk through the Duty free area and pick the liquor. Then to the baggage. I collect it and put the bottles in. Now though my ticket is a through ticket to HYD (by AI) I had to go out and enter the domestic area again. I do not see the reason for it. Intl passengers making a connection should be able to make it without leaving the airside. It happens at the US airports. That means I do not need to go through security again. Considering that IG airport was built recently they should have thought about this. In Istanbul I could get into the Delhi flight without going through security. Actually, in Delhi too if I made the journey by AI, I was told I could have avoided the security as they accept the check in the baggage through to HYD and I could have avoided the security (that is what I was told). When I reached the check in at AI my baggage was found to be overweight by 5 KG. The Turkish airline (I took it from SFO to DEL) baggage policy was two 70 (32kg) bags per head or a total of 280lb (126 kg) for me and wife. Mine wighed at 97kg. It took a while of arguing and explaining (that as tickets were issued by the Turkish airlines to HYD and I traveled substantially on that airline, their baggage policy should apply to the entire trip -- US FAA rule. As a code sharing airline, AI has to comply). After half an hour of arguing and series of phone calls by them they allowed me through. Customs had no issues. Much better than the US where even my Global entry card does not always guarantee free passage (they tell me they 'randomly' selected me for thorough search -- yea right!)

And finally, Praise be to Allah, 2017 is history and the earth did not shaked and we all did not deathed.

Javee
BGR Newbie
Posts: 69
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:03 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by Javee » Thu Jan 04, 2018 7:42 am

126kgs :o , may be I shouldve requested you to bring some stuff from massa :)

shravanp
BGR Member
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:05 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by shravanp » Fri Jan 26, 2018 9:26 pm

Wanted to share my recent trip to Udaipur.

Duration: 3 nights 4 days. Came in early in the day, and left on 4'th day evening. So essentially, had a good enough time to complete major spots.

Day-1: Landed Udaipur. Checked in Mahindra resort (it was a mistake to book here. It's in outskirts of Udaipur and takes anywhere 30-45 mins. and cabs charge quite a lot to ferry you back and forth ~900 rs). Anyways, I reconciled with my situation and in evening went to Udaipur to restaurant "Jhumar" by Fateh sagar lake for dinner. Absolutely fantastic food. I had lal-maas (smoked) and rest of the family had mix of veg/non-veg dishes inc Raj thaali. Coming from Mumbai, I found this food a million times tastier, and on spicier side. Picked up beer/alcohol on way back to keep in my room.

Day-2: Hired cab for city tour. Rs 2000 (not including tickets/parking). Covered city-palace, lakes, Karni mata temple by ropeway, sukhadia circle, saheliyo ki bari. With kids, this trip got tiring at the end of day.

Day-3: Day trip to Chittorgad. Rs 2700. This was a fantastic excursion. Covered all major landmarks. Hired a local guide to show us all spots. I still felt that I merely covered 40-50%, however it was more than half day of touring and with kids around, I was content. My son (7 yrs old) was quite curious on what happened in the battle, and why ladies immolated themselves. (too many 'why's). But one thing was aptly clear. Many temples, monuments clearly display the destruction wrecked by invading Muslim armies. The rock pieces are still scattered around for you to see how demolition spree took place when Khilji/Akbar took over this fort. You undergo a mix of emotion: anger, helplessness (with political situation prevailing now, unable to correct historical tyranny).

Day-4: Early morning: Haldighati Rs 2200. This was a great experience. Visited Rana Pratap museum and I must say, they did a FANTASTIC job of showcasing his life, his struggle. I was mightily pissed off on Maharastha cuz we don't have anything close to this built for Shivaji Maharaj. It's not just sad, its pathetic on how Shivaji is used for political purposes and nothing has been done towards restoring his legacy. Anyways Hats off to the private entrepreneur who did a great job of maintaining Rana Pratap museum and its artifacts. It was a private museum and not government funded, hence the tickets cost more (which is absolutely fine). Paisa lo, lekin acha legacy banao. After this, we proceeded to actual Haldighaati pass, took some soil, put it on my forehead. The color is truly to it's name. It's as yellow as turmeric. And then there's "Mandella effect" . I thought Rana PRatap died in Haldighati, but that's not true. He lived, reconquered the territories and re-established his kingdom. He died of ill-health. God knows how these lies are propagated. It was close to 3-ish and we had simple daal/roti (tasty as hell). Left for the airport and back to amchi mumbai.

sbajwa
BGR Member
Posts: 205
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:49 pm

Re: Travel Diaries

Post by sbajwa » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:47 pm

by Saip
Yesterday I landed at Delhi. I goto the Immigration desk and he asks for the 'form'. What form I say. Immigration form he says. Where is it? There, he points to some table. I go there, no form. I search three more tables (no one there to help) and finally finds it. Short form, fill it and we are through in a couple of minutes. The forms are not available on the aircraft (I checked and the crew said they said they do not have them) Why does not immigration desk keep them in plain sight? Who do I tweet this to? Sushma, aviation minister or someone else?
I was given the form in the airlines that I filled it up. When I arrived at Indira Gandhi airport they had the same form in a computer that I filled out in front of the immigration guy. They I handed him the form which he threw away in waste basket. I told him to make sure it gets shredded as it has my address, date of birth and passport no. No replies from him!

Post Reply