Category Archives: My Travel Log

Hiking Trails of Bavaria

Traveling being a major part of my life, I constantly try to absorb the vivid colors of nature as much as I can. Blue skies, green meadows, tranquil waterfalls, rapid rivers and majestic mountains are always a big yes for me. Recently, I found all of these together on my hike through Partnachklamm in Germany.

Partnachklamm also known as Partnach Gorge is located in Garmisch – Partenkirchen and is one hour away from the city of Munich by rail. This mountainous region is a part of massive Bavarian Alps and is a year round holiday destination. You can easily spend a day hiking at Partnachklamm, exploring the caves and the waterfalls or enjoying the breathtaking views of river Partnach. The scenic view spilling the shades of magical greens, blue and black is totally worth the effort and will help you escape the hustle of the busy city life.

 

The Partnach Gorge is a starting point for many hiking routes and costs 5 Euros as an entry charge per person. If you have a larger appetite for hiking you can chose from many more hiking trails available in different levels of difficulty to suit everyone. Although walking and hiking is probably the focus for you, renting a bike or using a romantic horse drawn carriage is also a good idea to reach the beginning of Partnach Gorge.
Hiking can make you hungry and tired. To keep you going, there are several eating and resting options available on the way. However, if you like you can carry a snack and have it on the banks of the Partnach River. (Please do not litter)
On the way back definitely make a stop at the famous cliff side beer garden and toast with some new friends.
Summer or winter, Gorge’s beauty is worthy of a visit. Don’t forget to carry a light jacket, a good pair of walking/hiking shoes and a bottle of drinking water.

Happy Hiking!

P.C – Albert Bangula

The Great Wall of China

File 11-06-16, 3 43 17 PM

He who has not climbed the great wall is not a true man
– Mao Zedong

The moment I landed in China, I was excited to tick another attraction on my list. The Great Wall, one of the greatest wonders of the world. Listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO and having a historical significance for over 2000 years this wall is stretching approximately 21000 kilometers from east to west of China and indeed is an architectural marvel.

Photo 30-05-16, 7 43 00 AM (1)

Stairs leading to the watch tower
Stairs leading to the watch tower

The Great Wall of China is not one long wall but a system of many walls built over years by different dynasties coming in to power in China with a purpose of protecting their kingdom & people. The wall has a lot of beacon and watch towers which were built to garrison troops. The labor forces used to construct the wall were mainly soldiers and convicts. Many of them who died during the construction were buried within the wall itself. During the war times this wall played a vital role for communication. Messages were relayed by smoke and fire signals.

View of the wall with watch towers
View of the wall with watch towers

Today due to natural erosion & visitor induced damage a big part of the wall is missing but there are many sections which are restored and are open for tourism. Several well-preserved stretches of the Wall are near Beijing and are just a short drive away. The most touristic, crowded and restored of them being Badaling section of the great wall. Mutianyu section is a little far and less touristic. The third section which is Jinshanling is far from the city but is in the original state without any restoration.

To get to Mutianyu from Beijing, one can catch a bus, take a day tour or use a private car rental. The best alternative is to use a car rental. An excellent 4 seater car would cost something between 500 – 700 RMB (all inclusive) for a round trip and 4 – 5 hours of waiting time at the wall.

To enjoy the great wall it’s important to start early as the most of the crowd reaches by midday. I planned to visit the Mutianyu section and left early in the morning. It was a good decision as there was no traffic on the way and I was at the wall by Seven O’clock. Mutianyu is at an incredibly scenic location; the Wall looks like a giant stone snake built over ridges of mountains. You could get spectacular view while you are climbing up. If you don’t like climbing stairs to reach the wall then the easy way up is a cable car.

After getting up to the wall you can stroll between any of the twenty two watch towers and enjoy the beautiful forest scenery or impressive rolling hills. The wall has lot of steep climbs and descends so a good pair of walking shoes is a must along with lot of energy and enthusiasm as the climb is quite a challenge.

Scenic forest view from the wall
Scenic forest view from the wall

During your stay up at the wall if you feel like having a refreshment break then just next to tower 10 you a have kiosk selling cold and hot beverages. Feel free to have a can of Sing Tao (Chinese beer). There is also a graffiti wall available at tower 14 where you can mark your presence.

Graffiti wall available at tower 14
Graffiti wall available at tower 14

Planning to go back proceed to tower 6 where you can take a toboggan ride down the great wall in style. The individual carts are self controlled and fun, provided you don’t have someone slow in front of you to spoil the thrill. After all you don’t get a chance to slide down The Great Wall of China every day.

The entry ticket cost 60 RMB
Cable car/toboggan rides available at an additional cost.

To book a trip to the great wall visit:
http://www.wildgreatwall.com

Vibrant Istanbul

Photo 01-03-017..Another city discovered. One more story added to many of mine.
A city designed multiple times, a city where the east meets the west.
A city with which you might fall in love – Istanbul!

The most important thing to do when planning a trip to Istanbul is to allow enough time to explore the city. Begin by choosing a hotel close to a district where you would like to spend your evenings. I began my Istanbul tour from Taksim, a landmark in itself; this area has everything a tourist might need. From shopping to nightlife, history to trade & street food to a variety of upscale restaurants. It is indeed a very interesting place to spend few hours as it spreads till the Istiklal Caddesi, one of the most touristy and busy street. While wandering on these streets, if you don’t feel like walking anymore then try the famous historic red trams. The experience will turn out to be a beautiful memory.

View of  Istiklal Caddesi during the day
View of Istiklal Caddesi during the day

In order to save yourself from “too much to see and too little time” kind of a situation, plan an old town tour the first thing. My suggestion is to take a Big Bus Tour. The ticket is valid for 48 hours, gives you unlimited rides throughout the city & saves you from the hassles of the taxi drivers.

File 09-03-16, 11 46 27 AM

For more information, visit – http://eng.bigbustours.com/istanbul/home.html

The Big Bus tour route is very carefully designed and takes you to all the major landmarks and historic sites.  At the same time you are connected to the free wifi and have access to your personal recorded commentary in eight different languages explaining about the history and culture of this city. If the weather is in your favour, you can take a seat in the upper deck of the bus and enjoy the magnificent view of Bosphorus Bridge, the Blue Mosque, Dolmabahce Palace, Galata Tower and much more. I think for solo travelers like me, the Big Bus tour is one of the safest and relaxing ways to discover Istanbul.

Sultan Ahmet Camii or The Blue Mosque
Sultan Ahmet Camii or The Blue Mosque
Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia
Bosphorus bridge
Bosphorus bridge

Once done with the historic tour of Istanbul it’s time to turn towards the culinary side. When visiting the heart of Turkey, there is no need to comprise on taste. Food from all categories exists here and you should try it all! I personally started from the Simits (sesame breads), moved to the Doners (wraps) and continued shuffling between Pide (flatbread with cheese and meat), Kofte (meat balls) & Balik Ekmek (grilled fish in bread). However many other seafood and mezze options are widely available in addition to the famous food chains.

A vendor selling Simits or sesame breads
A vendor selling Simits or sesame breads
Freshly made  Balik Ekmek
Freshly made Balik Ekmek

Before your trip comes to an end be sure to take a Bosphorus cruise, bargain at the bazaars, get scrubbed in a hammam, sip the amazing turkish teas/coffees and sample a few varieties of Baklava or Lokum (Turkish delight).

Bosphorus Cruise Ship
Bosphorus Cruise Ship
A cup of hot turkish tea
A cup of hot turkish tea
The famous Hafiz Mustafa - Baklava shop
The famous Hafiz Mustafa – Baklava shop

Istanbul, with so much of diversity, history and art is definitely a full package vacation deal and I am sure with a bit of research and information you will enjoy it the same way I did.

The Adult Paradise – Las Vegas.

Photo 29-09-15, 10 39 27 PMThe moment you start outlining your first trip to Las Vegas, a string of thoughts will crawl through your mind. There is definitely some sin in the sin city and its time for you to plan it really well.
When you come to this adult paradise you might encounter things probably which shouldn’t be there. If you’re easily offended by things like adult services, topless pools and smoke filled casinos, then you might want to stay away from the Strip. Otherwise, just take a deep breath and go with the flow. Participation in all of the above is not a must however keeping an open mind is advised.

Photo 16-09-15, 2 43 14 AM
The first thing you should work upon is booking a right hotel for yourself. Choose the hotel which is right in the center of the strip. No need to go towards the far ends as it has nothing much to offer. My suggestion is to stay anywhere in Zone 1.
HotelZones1The hotels are much far from each other than they appear but still walking down the strip is a good idea. In my opinion everything here is based on the tips. More generous you become better treatment you get. Throw money around and see the good things coming your way. Room upgrades, quick return of the casino cocktail waitress, complimentary mini bar etc.

Photo 16-09-15, 3 15 27 AM Photo 14-09-15, 3 50 46 AM Photo 16-09-15, 3 30 15 AM
In a place like Vegas staying away from gambling is a little tough. It’s a place where you will see 100’s of artfully designed and digital slot machines inviting you with pure  lust for those dollars you got in your pocket. If you would like to try your hands on some other card games the opportunities are endless my friend. Just remember, gambling is fun when you’re playing with the money that you can afford to lose. Don’t get tempted by the free drinks or by the glamour around you, pick a limit and stick to it.

Keep a day to explore popular places in and around Vegas. One of the most popular activities in Las Vegas is to explore the majestic Grand Canyon. You will be able to book a tour from anywhere and it should be including The Grand Canyons, Lake Mead, and Hoover Dam. After the tour if you still have some energy left the Vegas downtown or Fremont Street is definitely a Go!

Photo 14-09-15, 9 52 06 PM Photo 15-09-15, 12 53 40 AM Photo 15-09-15, 12 33 57 AM
There are a lot of shows to be seen in Vegas. Some of them are really famous but before you buy the tickets make sure to compare the prices online or visit a nearest half price ticket store. Taking a taxi is another expensive affair in Vegas due to long hauling. The best way to avoid it, use Google maps & make sure your driver sees that.

Photo 16-09-15, 3 48 45 AM
Speaking of taxis, finding a taxi could be a task sometimes especially when you need it desperately. Don’t try to stop one at the strip. It is illegal for them to stop there. Instead just go to the nearest hotel taxi stand and you’ll find a line of taxis waiting to take you wherever you need to go.

Photo 16-09-15, 2 02 32 AM
If like me some of you share this mad love for clubbing, Vegas is the place. Some of the best clubs can be found on the Las Vegas strip. Remember to dress up appropriately as here people believe what they see. Most of the time you have to choose from these 2 options – buy a table with a bottle service or stay in the queue for hours, and have your 20$ drink in a cramped up corner. Decide! If you want to have some fun then go for the first option and yeah, you can thank me later.
Ladies, you enter for free!

Do whatever you wish to do in Vegas but just don’t get married when you are drunk. If still somehow you wish to then the Las Vegas Marriage Bureau is open till midnight every night. Just remember your wedding the next day. 😉

Photo 16-09-15, 4 01 59 AM
There is always plenty to do in Las Vegas so just try to get some rest in between your action packed nights and hangover filled days. Have fun and remember what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!

To book show tickets visit:
http://www.tix4tonight.com

To book a tour:
https://www.pinkjeeptours.com

_____________________________________________________________________


Escape destination – Bali, Indonesia

Vacation for me is beaches, clear blue sky, tropical surroundings, a variety of bars and restaurants. All of this when mixed with crazy fun and exciting people becomes even more interesting and memorable.

Until now the only place which uses to top the list was Goa, India. This time one of my friends came up with an idea to visit Bali, Indonesia. I instantly accepted this destination because of two main reasons; first because of easy access (Connections, visas and overall budget) second I wanted to visit this much discussed iconic island.
Visa Few weeks of planning and we were already at Ngurah Rai International Airport Denpasar, Waiting for a taxi to take us to Kuta. While we were being drove to Kuta we realized that Denpasar is nothing less than a busy corporate capital city filled with a lot of trade and industries along with major government institutions.

Whereas, Kuta being not very far from the city is probably the largest tourist area in Indonesia famous for surfing, few good accommodations and nightlife. We selected Bali Bungalo Hotel for being fairly reasonable and also for its location.
Booking was done at – http://www.booking.com

Bali is relaxing part of Indonesia that has something or the other which interests people of all age. Unfortunately this time of the year it was raining on and off. So, couldn’t really plan well but still managed to visit few interesting spots. The days were mostly spent strolling in the busy tourist streets while nights were kept strictly for celebrations.
10730934_10152904561474766_4740670837376638775_n
The first day was blown enjoying water sports in Nusa Dua, strolling in the busy tourist streets of Kuta relishing nasi goreng, mie goreng & satays (off course with Bintang) whereas night was celebrated in Boshe VVIP Club. Second day was calm and relaxed, in the morning after the breakfast headed towards the famous Ubud Village & the Sacred Monkey Forest followed by Potato Head Beach Club in the evening. Third day was filled with some thrill and action as we tried our hands on river rafting in Sanur and spent some quality time at Ayana Rock Bar.
DSC00242 DSC00214 10731078_10152903748449766_3676386010597147155_n DSC00255Finally it was day 4, last day for me to enjoy this vibrant, colorful paradise. Spent it lazing at the beach!
1404731_10152611097523152_2531185916838689747_oExploring Bali is exciting as the attractions are diverse and natural landscapes are breath taking.  I will definitely visit this all-in-one vacation spot again to relax and unwind; this time probably will keep few more days in hand.