Mt. Bromo and Ijen Crater – Indonesia

 

Bali is probably the most well known destination in Indonesia but this country has other out-of-this-world places which are worth visiting, Mt. Bromo and Ijen Crater being among them.

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Mount Bromo or Gunung Bromo is an active Volcano (it last exploded in November 2015), stands at 2,329 metres and is located in East Java, Indonesia.

It’s difficult to tour this place without a tour guide as only specific jeeps with license are allowed on the mountain and you are better off with a tour guide as you have to drive on mountains in the night. Our guide picked us up at Surabaya Airport at around 10pm to drive us to Mt. Bromo which is 4 hours away. We freshened up at our hotel and left for Penanjakan Peak for the sunrise  which is a few minutes drive up the mountain. The place can get crowded but you can climb the wire railing and watch the sunrise from there. It’s probably the most stunning sunrise we’ve ever seen. The rest of our itinerary was to visit Savanah, Teletubbies Hill and Bromo Crater, all of which are equally stunning.

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The next day we left for Ijen crater which is a 5-6 hours drive. Around 2.00 am that night we trekked the steep mountain for around 2 hours to reach Kawah Ijen. You can see blue flames at night but since there was a lot of fog when we were there, we couldn’t see anything. But the place was still very beautiful. You have to wear gas masks to protect from the sulphur fumes. We saw many sulphur miners working there under dangerous conditions without masks.

Needless of the early mornings, the steep climbs, we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. We also got to taste the most expensive coffee in the world. What more could you ask for?

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We would recommend this place in a heartbeat. Some of the pictures below.


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Taman Negara National Park, Malaysia

Taman Negara National Park encompasses a sprawling tropical rainforest that’s said to be 130 million years old and covers 4343 sq km. It’s also said to be the oldest rainforest in the world. Kuala Tahan, the entry point is about 3-4 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur depending on the route you take. You can also drive to Kuala Tembeling  and take a 3 hour boat ride from there to Kuala Tahan.

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We were in Taman Negara Park for 3 days and it was a very different experience compared to the other holidays we have taken. We stayed in Mutiara Resort which is just across the river and also the place where you can enter to see the famous canopy walkway, the longest of its kind in the world. You can also go for different treks, visit the Orang-Asli village, have lunch while watching the flowing river among other things.

It’s definitely a place worth visiting.

We travelled to the wrong town!

So we were having a nice holiday in Spain and Cadiz, a very popular tourist destination was next on our itinerary. So we rented a car in Sevilla, fed the name of our Cadiz hotel in GPS and after driving for a few hours arrived in the hotel,only to realize that we had booked the hotel in the wrong town. We didn’t know that Cadiz was a province and there was also a town with the same name. We ended up in El  Puerto de Santa Maria which is also technically in Cadiz.

At first we were shocked but we decided to take it in our stride, think of it as an adventure and enjoy another town. We went for a drive around 5 in the evening to get a feel of the place. Everything was closed and the narrow streets were empty. It felt like we landed in one of the those really small, slow, sleepy towns where nothing moves for days.

We went back to our hotel, which was lovely by the way. It was once a monastery and was full of charm. We went out again in the night to a street just 5 mins walking distance from our hotel and which was recommended to us by the hotel staff. It was like entering a completely different world. It was full of people partying, having dinner and just generally milling about.

We enjoyed a good dinner and since there was nothing else to do in the town, decided to take a ferry to our originally intended place, Cadiz. There was apparently a ferry that took 45 mins to reach there and the dock was right behind our hotel. We left early morning the next day (we got to enjoy a spectacular sunrise), spent the day in Cadiz and retuned to our hotel in the evening. Such an unexpected but fun detour. If we would not have come to the wrong town, we would never had seen a town like El Puerto de Santa Maria, and we would never have got to ride on a ferry on the Bay of Cadiz.

Apparently El Puerto de Santa Maria turned out to be much more than we thought it was. It’s the port from which Columbus sailed on his second voyage to the New World. Also his pilot, Juan de la Cosa, created the first map of the world to include the Coast of the New World in El Puerto in 1500. As they say everything happens for the best. Well almost everything.

Short get away to Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

Bharat Tea Plantation

Bharat Tea Plantation

We have recently shifted to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore. The move was extremely hectic for us, plus the culture shock was surprising. We found ourselves looking for a good break, and the long weekend holiday was just the thing we needed.

Cameroon Highlands is a very popular destination amongst Malaysians and Singaporeans alike. Its a 4.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur and the bus journey was really smooth (and relaxing).

Getting a taxi from the bus station to our hotel was not all that easy, mostly because of the traffic jams, owing to the long weekend trips from people like us. It was still surprising to see the long line of cars stuck on the hillside. The weather was absolutely perfect though and we enjoyed the long walks, complete with the envious eyes of those stuck in traffic.

Long Line of cars

Long Line of cars

Cameron highlands is famous for its Tea gardens and we ensured we went to two of its biggest – BOH Tea Plantation and Bharat Plantations. We also visited the Strawberry farm, Bee Farm, Mossy Forest, Butterfly Garden and the Night Market out of which Bee Farm was my favourite. We also did a lot of shopping including strawberries and tea.

BOH Tea Plantation

BOH Tea Plantation

If you need a short break from city life, Cameron highlands is a good choice, although we did feel it was a tad bit commercial. Nevertheless, the trip was highly refreshing.

Bee Farm

Bee Farm

Little Guilin – Singapore

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Living in Singapore, there often comes a time when you want to go somewhere to escape the chaos of the city. While browsing on the internet I stumbled upon pictures of a place called Little Guilin. The western part of Singapore, I find, is much more greener than the East. If the weather is good, it almost feels like you are living on a hill station.

We left home at 11 in the morning. We alighted at Bukit Gombak mrt. Little Guilin is a very short walk from the mrt. As we walked on the winding road with a stadium on the left, we were almost wondering how could a place like that exist between the high rise condos and modern infrastructure. But as you walk closer and spot the towering rock structure from a distance, you know you are in for a treat. We spotted the lake after a few minutes. As we entered the park, it was almost like entering a small paradise. There were 2 boys fishing, a bunch of kids watching the fish struggling as it was pulled out of water and an old man sitting on a rock and watching his grandchildren play. Its like being transported in time when things were simpler.

We sat on a rock nearby and simply watched the ripples on the lake from the light rain. If you avoid looking at the 2 buildings jutting out from behind, it almost feels like you’re not in Singapore.

Note: Little Guilin is modelled after Guilin in China.

Haji Ali mosque – Mumbai

Sometimes it’s nice to be a tourist in your own city. Technically it’s my husbands city but I’ve been there enough times to think site-seeing there would be ridiculous. But during these past few visits, we have been trying to go to various places, some already been to but forgotten. Haji Ali Dargah is one such place.

Haji Ali Dargah or Mosque is an early 19th century mosque situated on the Arabian Sea. It’s one of the most recognisable landmarks of Mumbai. People of all faiths pray there. In-spite of being crowded there is a certain serenity to the place, and being surrounded by the ocean gives it a different charm.

We planned to reach around 6pm so that we could see it in daylight and also enjoy the sunset on the ocean. I’ll leave you with pictures since it’s difficult to describe in words.

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Spain and an Update!

Sorry for being MIA for so long but a lot of things have been happening and our priorities changed. But we have a lot to share and a lot of blogs to go through. It’s always good coming back and seeing what everyone else is up to.
We went to a 16 day trip to Spain, 6 days out of which we spent on Tenerife Island with Mohit’s sisters family. The process of sorting through pictures and experiences is such a huge undertaking that I keep procrastinating. But no more.

For those who are not aware, Tenerife is the largest of the 7 main canary islands and also has the highest elevation point in Spain. It has the third largest volcano in the world. Oh and some part of the movie fast and furious 6 was also shot here.

Spain Tenerife

We would probably never have visited this beautiful island if my sister in law did not stay there. It’s an approximately 4 hr flight from Barcelona. After a 13 direct flight from Singapore to Barcelona we had a 6 hour layover before catching the Air Europa flight to Tenerife. Needless to say it was a long journey. But we were very excited to meet the family after a long time. My MIL, who stays in Mumbai, had already arrived a few days back.

Our main purpose of visiting Spain was meeting the family and celebrating Diwali together. But since we were going so far we planned a 6 day trip to Tenerife and 10 days in mainland Spain after. Needless to say we had a lot of fun. I’ll do a separate post on Tenerife later on. We also visited Madrid, Seville, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Cadiz, Granada and Barcelona in that order. We decide to stick to Spain and not visit the neighboring countries because Spain in itself is so huge that it will take us months to visit the whole country.

Also, I’ll be going to India in December mainly because my sister and my niece are visiting from the US and I want to spend time with them and my family. Since I’ve been freelancing for the time being, I can afford to take the few days off. So not looking forward to the travelling part though. Airports bore me to death, especially if I have to travel alone.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Will be back with another post soon.

Color Run Singapore

Color Run – Singapore

Last year Color Run, we couldn’t get the tickets as they sold out pretty fast but this year we made it a point to get the tickets as soon as they were available.  We had fun, it was a good experience.

Color Run Singapore

Color Run Singapore

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