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Travel

Traveling is a pleasure. It brings a change to the otherwise monotonous daily lives. 

However, too much traveling can also be a boredom. A vacation is very much necessary. But the real pleasure of a vacation can be felt only when there are not too many of them. A well planned vacation can be as exciting as an unplanned one. 

All holidays are not expensive. You can make the best of a holiday with a limited budget. It all depends on how well you know your holiday spot. Find out all you can about the place you are planning to visit... hotels, food, places to visit, transport, etc. This would enable you to estimate the expenditure. If it suits your purse, you can proceed... else... you have so many other places that could suit you.

I have visited quite a few places both in India and abroad. A few snaps and some info on them...

Places visited:

In India Abroad
Andaman & Nicobar Islands London
Delhi - Agra - Fatehpur Sikhri Singapore
Goa Malaysia
Jaipur Thailand
Yercaud  
Hogeneikkal  
Ooty  

Andaman and Nicobar Islands

An exotic locale.. with unlimited sun and the sea, though you can't find much of sand. Travelling from the mainland to these islands is quite difficult with air services only from Chennai(Madras) and Kolkata(Calcutta). There are certain cruise liners servicing these islands from these metros as well. Vegetarian Food is a problem here. Local transportation is very cheap, especially taxis. There are quite a number of islands to be visited. Another interesting place not to be missed is the Jolly Buoy / Red Skin island where you get to see under-water coral reefs and other sea creatures through glass-bottomed boats. This is also available at Arbedeen Jetty. The national monument, The Cellular Jail, in the main town, Port Blair, is an interesting place to visit and the show in the evenings is not to be missed. Handicraft items made of shells and wooden items made of Paduk wood make good souvenirs.

Picture of Cellular Jail

 

Delhi - Agra - Fatehpur Sikhri

Known as the golden triangle of India, these three places offer an insight into the monuments built by the Moghul Rulers. Delhi, being the country capital, is an exciting place for shopping as well. 

Agra houses one of the seven wonders, the Taj Mahal. It is a breathtaking sight when you see the Taj Mahal for the first time. It looks entirely different from what we see on postcards and on the screen. The Agra fort and a tomb are other moghul monuments worth visiting in Agra.

Fatehpur Sikhri was once the seat of the kings of the moghul Empire. There are two huge forts which housed the royal durbar and the private chambers of the king and his family.

Delhi, needless to be told has a number of interesting places like the Qutub Minar, Bahai mandir, Birla Mandir alongwith the tombs of national leaders. You can also drive around the RajPath, House of Parliament, Rashtrapathi Bhavan and India Gate. It is a wonderful experience to shop in the markets of Carol Bagh and Connaught Circus.

The best way to cover the golden triangle would be arranging through the travel operators, who sometimes cover Jaipur as well.

>Picture of myself with my sister at Fatehpur

 

Goa

Goa is again all sun, sand and the sea. The place is definitely worth a visit. It is wonderful place to spend a lazy holiday,  with miles of exotic beaches, all different in their own way. Goa, once the seat of Portuguese rule in India, is also home to two of the oldest churches in India, built by the Portuguese. There are about 5-6 major beaches not to be missed. Two wheelers are available for hire, and they make an economical and time-saving mode of transport to cover the various destinations. Food is not a problem for vegetarians. Cashews are said to be cheap here.. so remember to buy some on your way back! 

 

Jaipur

The city has an old charm about it. Palaces and monuments in the rajasthani style of architecture are plenty. Shopping for native handicrafts and accessories is a pleasure in itself. Only the heat becomes unbearable at certain times. Most of the old city is bathed in pink-stone. The city palace, where a part is still held by the royal family, provides great insight into the curtural heritage of the rajputanas. The palaces that have been taken over by star hotel groups are worth a stay if there is a fat purse in your pocket!

 

Yercaud

An off-beat hill station near Salem, this is a peaceful place to spend a weekend. There is nothing much in terms of sight-seeing. It is a perfect get-away for the weekend to unwind oneself. Yercaud is just about 30 kms from Salem. The population is also light and not many hawkers around. Long walks and boating in the lake are sufficient to recharge yourself!

 

Hogeneikkal

Probably the only thing that is plenty here is water! For people from dry places it is just wonderful to see the river Cauvery falling into a deep gorge, from where it continues its way into Tamil Nadu. The falls are enormous. A ride in the 'parisals' along the river and a climb on the rocks brings you to a sight that could not be imagined. Having a shower in these falls is also a commendable experience, but for the crowd!

At the falls

 

Ooty

The queen of hills, Ooty, still retains its charm and appeal as a hill station in South India. However it has become too crowded in the recent times. There are too many tourists and too many hawkers who snatch away the peaceful holiday you look forward to. Try to stay away from the city and the noisy crowd if you very much want to visit this place. For a change from the regular Botanical Gardens and the Ooty Lake, check out Mudumalai Wildlife sanctuary and Pykara falls. Do not trust the local tour operators too much!

London

You see history and heritage all around you. For people visiting a western country for the first time, its simply magnificient. The city is the seat of the world's prominent royal power, which had the largest number of colonies under it at one point of time. Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and the parks around Buckingham Palace are best covered on foot. The Tower of London houses the world's largest uncut diamond - the Kohinoor.  TheMadame Tussaud's wax muesem, although expensive, is not to be missed at all. The city is well connected by the Tube trains and the British Rail. Perfumes and cosmetics are items to be bought back home. However, the place is quite expensive. Other interesting places include Windsor Castle, Tower Bridge and Big Ben. 

 

Singapore

A place with the perfect blend of culture and modernity. Lot of man-made tourist spots are available within the city. Shopping is plenty. For people who like to try out different kinds of food, there is a variety of cuisine to be explored. For people making the trip from India, Serangoon Road in Little India is the ideal place for staying, eating and shopping. Interesting places to be visited include Sentosa Island, Jurong Bird's Park, Chinese and Japanese Gardens, Night Safari and Mandai Zoo. If you happen to visit during christmas, check out Orchard Road for Christmas lighting and at the time of Chinese New Year check out Chinatown. For shopping, anything and everything from household items to gold and electronics can be purchased.

 

Malaysia

There is a lot of variety in terms of geography and environment in this country. You can find beaches, hill stations, culturally rich towns and modern, commercial centric cities. The capital Kuala Lumpur, has gone through a lot of changes in recent times. The international airport at Shah Alam is a beauty in itself. Another interesting spot at Kuala Lumpur are the Twin Towers. Hill stations include Genting and Cameron Highlands. There could be a slight language problem as majority of the localites speak only Malay.

 

Thailand

It is a wonderful country which still retains the old world charm along with modern infrastructure. Bangkok, the capital, is a land of fly-overs. There are quite a number of  Buddhist temples worth a visit, especially the Reclining Buddha, the Golden Buddha and the Marble Buddha. There is also a beach resort named Pattaya which offers a great deal of water sports. Shopping is an interesting experience here.

Picture of the Marble Buddha Temple