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.

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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tenerife spain

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.

Killing time at the Mumbai Airport…

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Although this was our third time traveling via the new Mumbai International Airport Terminal, we never got the chance to really explore it. Blame it on the Mumbai traffic but we almost always reached with enough time to reach the boarding area 45 mins before.

New Mumbai TerminalNew Mumbai TerminalNew Mumbai TerminalYou probably have no interest in seeing how the new Mumbai Terminal looks like but if you travel enough then you also know how important airports can be when you have hours to kill before boarding a flight.

The new Terminal is huge with high ceilings and spacious sections. It’s gleaming and spotless. The best thing though is the design. It embodies a lot of Indian culture, traditions and art. It’s not design for design sake. Everything has a meaning. The no. and variety of shops are limited, especially no bookstores. That was a bummer. But we were told that bookstores would be opening in the future. There is a lot of space to lounge around or lay down for a few minutes if you want to. And considering we reached 4 hours before anticipating heavy traffic dues to rains, it was god sent.

New Mumbai Terminal New Mumbai Terminal New Mumbai TerminalIt’s not the best airport in the world and it does have scope for a lot of improvements, but if you’ve seen the old airport this one is definitely 10 times better.

 

 

Containers: Literally

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Sorry for the not so crisp image, it’s taken with my phone from behind the glass windows of one of the meeting rooms. Ports are a huge part of Singapore economy as Singapore imports/ exports tons of stuff from all over the world. Having worked with Port Singapore Authority for a few months I still cannot imagine how this Port manages to keep itself going day and night without any major goof ups.

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This post is for the Photochallenge

-Trupti

Seoul Tower

A panaromic view of Seoul: The N Seoul tower

On a business trip to Seoul recently, I managed to take some time out to visit the most common tourist spot in Seoul – The N Seoul tower. According to Wikipedia approximately 8.4 million visit the N Seoul Tower every year, so it seemed like a good place to go when time is an issue.

Why  is it so popular, you may ask? It is very near the city, it gives a panoramic view of the Seoul, is very convenient if you want to hangout with friends over a (cheap) beer, is usually crowded but as it is spacious you don’t feel very crunched. Our trip to the tower was very peaceful specifically for these reasons.

We were kind of lucky to time the trip there, as we reached there at about 5:30 PM in the evening. It was the right time as we could see the city lighting up.

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Buy some beer, grab a seat near the observatory windows and let the time fly by. View from the top is really beautiful. You can see the mountains in the background while the busy city is right at your feet.

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The tower changes colors and if you are lucky, with proper lighting you can take some really brilliant snaps.

One of the most interesting parts of the tower is the love-Locks. Make a wish and lock it (literally). Looking at the number of locks, one can safely assume that this tourist spot is mostly frequented by locals. 🙂

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-Mohit

Wangfujing shopping street

Fancy Scorpions on a stick? Go to the Night market in Beijing!!

Wangfujing shopping streetAfter the flag lowering ceremony at The Tienanmen Square, we walked down for a few minutes on a cool, crisp night and entered Wangfujing shopping street.

If you are the adventurous type where food is concerned, this place could be heaven for you. But we don’t really eat much in meat other than chicken and Pork. Sometimes we eat duck but definitely not when we can see the eyes and the beak.

Wangfujing shopping streetYou can find dumplings, scorpions on a stick, heaps of octopuses, baby ducks, snakes and other delicacies. But don’t worry, you can also find things to eat here – satay, Duck Pancakes, kababs among other things.

Wangfujing shopping streetThe atmosphere is lively, there are a lot of tourists around and generally good time can be had just by walking around and trying to recognize things on sticks. We would highly recommend this place even if it’s a place where probably only the tourists visit.

Siem Reap city

Siem Reap: The city of Ankor Wat

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Siem Reap is home to some of most beautiful archeological sites, Ankor Wat being one of them. There is a lot you can do in and around the city. There’s Ankor Wat of course, The night market, Silk factory, Stone Carving workshop, fish spa, shopping among other things.

Siem Reap airportSiem Reap city When we drove into the city from the airport, there seemed to be a mild sand storm or just a lot of wind I guess. The city is not very developed compared to other South East Asian major cities. We stayed in Ankor Paradise which was a great place to stay with some balconies that open on the main road. We bought the hotel voucher through Group-on and it worked well since the location was great. It was just a few minutes walk to the main market.

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The night market is a place where all the tourists and backpackers spend some time drinking and eating. Like any other South East Asian market, it has a lot of bars and massage places. A rather nice and lively place to relax. There is also a huge market for fake goods like LV, Prada and the likes. Also present is a section for pirated books.

Siem Reap citySiem Reap city Years of Khmer rouge atrocities have definitely left a mark. You see headless statues and destroyed work in the temples here. You see people on wheelchairs, a result of the landmines,trying to make a living by selling paintings. Tourism helps.