Part#2 – Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Part#2 – Tip toeing – Tawang and reaching Dirang!

We slept over with the Soldier’s stories of peace and altitude and how they live in extreme climate conditions at various posts across length and width of this beautiful Country called India.

@Tawang, the night temperature dipped to sub-zero and 3 layers of cloths, 2 blankets and a heater could brave us through that night.

Hold on, if you have landed to this page directly, please click Part#1 to read the prequel. Do come back here.

Day#3 –

  • Bumla Pass and Madhuri lake
  • Travel time – 8 hours tour
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Hotel Mon-Paradise

Woke up fresh and got ready at 8 am after eating some ready to eat poha and upma prepared by Akshata (Chotu). Reached downstairs to find our Chauffer for the day Mr. Tashi.

No, don’t think that Simanta got bored of our poha-jalebi talks and decided to part ways. In Tawang you are required to book a local taxi to visit Bumla Pass and Madhuri lake. Cost is approx. 5000/- all-inclusive and tour duration is about 7~8 hours. I think this arrangement is made to provide earning opportunities to the locals. That’s Good specially for Simanta as he got a rest day to spend with his favourite mawa and probably talk to his family over phone.

Tashi drove a Tata Sumo and could speak Hindi fluently. He had a footballer’s physique, spikes hairstyle and donned Ray-Ban aviators. He played some good music from the 90’s era which we really enjoyed.

Before moving ahead with trip, an important information is that all tourists (including Indians) need an Inner Land Permit(ILP) to enter Arunachal Pradesh border. The fess is about 250/- per person and it can be applied online. Our tour agent got this arranged for us before the commencement of trip.

Tawang to Bumla pass is about 35 Kms and takes about 1.5 hours to reach. The path is so beautiful that you would never want it to end. We visited in February and it was the perfect time as the mountains was covered with magical white fresh snow.

Tashi had to tie a metal chain on the tyres of Sumo to escape skidding on the snow.

Reaching Bumla Pass we were thrilled to the core, only Dev had seen such heavy snow before this day during his visit to Swiss Alps. It was difficult to even walk as the snow was soft, fresh and about 3~4 ft deep or even more.

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All tourists were taken to a Army shed and served free hot tea and water for FREE. You are expected to wash your glasses and keep them clean for the next lot of tourist. Before we move further in the day, let me brief you about Bumlapass, histroy and its geographic importance.

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Bumla Pass, situated at an altitude of over 15,200 ft is snowbound for almost the entire year due to its steep elevation and presents a beautiful view of the Tibetan plateau. The road to the pass takes visitors through many sleepy hamlets and scenic lakes, making the drive memorable. Elegantly maintained by the Indian Army, Bumla Pass is a must for those who want to see how Indian soldiers protect the borders in the harshest of climes. The road to Bum La is also a historical route, the People’s Liberation Army of China invaded India during the 1962 Sino-Indian War. Here in Bum La Pass one of the fiercest battles took place in the 1962 Sino-Indian War. It is the pass from where Dalai Lama entered India escaping from Tibet.

After some tea and talks, one of the army officers took all tourists for a walk towards the border, and while all of us were breathing heavily the siren hooted and we were ordered to march back towards the army shed. It was scary as we thought there is some activity from China’s side but after another free tea and talks later, the officer told us that it was a routine round from the China side and there was nothing to worry about. Let’s go again, he said.

Officer explained us about the meetings that take place every quarter between the two army’s, talks of peace and co-existence, exchange of culture and some gifts from each side. Chinese are tough nuts, he said and guided us back to the Shed. Some pictures, snow fights, another round of tea and bowing down to our soldiers for their courage and bravery later we were all set to visit Madhuri Lake(Sangestar Tso) with our Tashi.

Indian actress namely Madhuri, danced besides Sangestar Tso in koyla movie and since then locals fondly call it as Madhuri lake. Now that’s real swag!

While waiting at Bumla pass, Tashi removed the metal chains thinking they aren’t needed any more. He was wrong, as our cab got stuck in snow as on the way to Madhuri lake.

All of us got down and tried to help but little did we know that our soldier would arrive all of a sudden in a truck and get us moving in minutes. Salute them, smiling and feeling useless at the same time we got inside the cab. Trisha(my wife) started to feel heavy head. Tashi told us it normal to experience this for people from the plains like us. Altitude and extreme sun rays to be blamed.  

Right on the turn towards lake, an army officer told us that the road is blocked due to heavy snow. We could not see the lake where Madhuri Dixit danced in 1997. I was 9 years back then and other three even younger. No worries guys, this kinda stuff keeps on happening on roadtrips and hill terrains told our very own Akshata Dixit. 😛

A few minutes later curvy roads, an army officer in uniform asked us for lift and we happily stopped to invite him inside. I think all soldiers have a lot of stories and they are great story tellers as well. He narrated a few to us and then Soldier and Tashi started to talk about current Prime Minister – Shri Narendra Modi. Tashi told us that, he likes Modi very much and trust that only Modi can uplift Arunachal Pradesh. There was no college in Tawang and everyone either dropped out after high-school or had to enrol in other states for studies, but now Tawang has a basic college, told Tashi.

The soldier got us some hot water to drink, which is the best way to beat the altitude sickness. Trisha felt a little better and after some time tashi dropped us to Hotel.

After lunch Dev and Akshata went on to see Tawang War Memorial with Simanta. Me and Trisha decided to rest for a while. Some chai, talks and lying around was what we needed.

After an early dinner in the ground floor restaurant and thanking Raju- the chef for the lovely food we dozed off again. Yes, like how the pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud.

Day#4 –

  • Tawang local and drive to Dirang
  • Travel time – 9+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Gonpalok Homestay

Next morning, it was time for us to bid adieus to Tawang but not so quick. Simanta had some plans for sight seeing and we also have “never say never” attitude. 1st place was Tawang Monastery. Monasteries are usually serene this was more that just serene. It was surreal. We were welcomed by harmless monkeys and after spending some time in the Monastery, waved goodbyes from young kids wearing Buddhist robes and having books in hands.

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Next up was a Giant Buddha Statue, located at an elevated place. We found a small and pretty café behind the statue to spend some good time and have tea and Maggie.

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Last up was the Tawang local market, almost all shops sell similar stuff which are woollens, souvenirs, incense sticks, cups/ mugs and footwears. We also got some to get back home with us. I love my dragon printed cup and still have my tea in it while writing this for you.

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Our time in Tawang was up and Simanta was ready with his mawa filled mouth and engine thumping. Next destination was Dirang.

Dirang was not in the original plan but last night we decided to alter the plan to ditch Shillong and include Kaziranga National Park. The decision was taken as the travel time to Shillong was too much for a day and we had to celebrate Dev and Chotu’s Anniversary. So, reaching to the next place was very important.

While driving back down-hill, we all admired the innocence and embracing nature of people of the beautiful state called, Arunachal Pradesh.

We stopped at Jang for a sightseeing, you will have to stair down about 200 steps to reach a river valley. Source Wikipedia : Nuranang Falls (also known as Bong Bong Falls), some 100 metres high, is located in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, India. It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in this part of the country, yet is unknown to many travelers. It lies some 2 kilometres away from the town of Jang on the road connecting Tawang and Bomdila, so it is also known as the Jang Falls. There is a small hydel plant located near the base that generates electricity for local use. The Nuranang river originates from the Northern slopes of the Sela Pass. Just below the waterfall it falls into the Tawang river.

We were hungry and Simanta stopped at Jaswant garh war memorial again. Remember in the 1st part I told you about the free tea and hot water. This is the same place that serves them. We got some idlis, dosas, muffins and tea. The taste, view and soldier’s passion deserve respect and admiration.

About 4 hours drive and crossing Sela pass again we finally reached Dirang. Do not miss to buy fresh fruits from the shops on the highway side. Dirang is known to produce variety of fruits.

We faced some difficulty in reaching the home stay but when we entered Gonpalok Homestay. We thought, “stay ho toh aisa.” No words can describe the taste of hot pakodas that were freshly cooked for us by the caretaker lady along with hot tea. Later in the evening we celebrated the much awaited anniversary at hotel Norphel Retreat. It was very well planned and organised by our freelancer travel agent. I leave you with some pictures to ponder on and be jealous of us that we did this the trip only a month before the country wide lock down was imposed to tackle Covid-19 spread.

 

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Sure of waking up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

Hope you liked our journey till now! Write some encouraging words in the comments section and share the link with your friends, also ask them to share and comment…

Part#3 coming soon… where we move towards plains from the mountains and see the mighty Brahmaputra river, tea gardens and 1 horned rhino.

Much Love 🙂

Abhimanyu@Yatripandit

Part#1 Unleashing Northeast India – Land of Lamas, Rains, Rhinos and Momos!! By Abhimanyu

Part#1 – Reaching Tawang from Assam via Bomdila !

It was the occasion of our 2nd anniversary when four Sharmas’ planned to explore North-east, India.

We had a fantastic company of Dev and Akshata who got married a day earlier than me and Trisha in the same month of Feb and year of 2018.

Me and Dev shared room during my 1st job in Mumbai and we jelled up pretty well for obvious reasons like being Sharmas’ from MP/CG and loving beer. Since we got married almost on the same day, we could not attend each other’s weddings, and this was the chance to cut it by celebrating the anniversaries together.

Tickets were booked in August’19 and we then finalized our itenary during December’19.

We read a few posts and then finally decided to book ourselves with a Freelance travel consultant from Assam.

7th Feb 2020, finally the day had come when me and Trisha embarked the road in our new Honda Amaze from Pune to Mumbai. Akshata arrange for a safe car parking over a week’s time in Mumbai. It was an early morning flight from Mumbai to Assam, we had our masks on as there was a buzz of Covid19 around the world already. Landed in Assam to find our driver, Simanta and pre-booked Innova Crysta.

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Mumbai Airport

None of us had slept last night but there was no sense of deprivation. It was the time to make memories, none of us had been to this side of Incredible India.

I decided to narrate this trip in multiple stories in sequence as it was a beautiful long ROAD trip.

Day#1 – Trip start, 0 Kms

  • Guwahati Airport to Bomdila
  • Travel time – 9+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Good (Mostly)
  • Stay – Norgay Guest House Homestay

Journey starts from plains and takes you to the mountains. Located on the Foothills of Himalayas, Bomdila could be considered as an entry point of Arunachal Pradesh. Simanta played some asamese music while driving and halted at a random café so that we can have some Momos, maggie and tea. After 1st stop Hindi music took over Assamese and we were friends with Simanta. He was a character, loved his dose of Indian tobacco(jarda or mawa) while driving and always smiling. Never said no to our demands and was a true host in all senses.

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Lipsmacking Taste

We also got a chance to Enter Bhutan Border, smart Simanta got his diesel tank full as it is cheaper in Bhutan than in India.

As we were driving up-hill the air was getting colder and heavier. We drove alongside a river stream (Kameng river), Simanta told us that it comes all the way from China to meet the mighty Bhramaputra before merging in Bay of Bengal. We will meet Kameng river multiple times during our journey through Arunachal. Just before reaching our homestay in Bomdila we purchased some liquor as it will be helpful in keeping ourselves warm during the course of journey and its cheaper than Goa in Arunachal. 🙂

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Bhutan Border
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River Kameng

Homestay was clean and economical, we had to pay extra Rs. 300/- for a room heater. That’s Ok we were happy and rich (as it was just the first day).

For dinner we walked down the stairs and found a restaurant (name forgotten), but please find it right opposite Dragon restaurant. The momos and noodles which they served were the best that we had during the trip. Please let me know the name of this restaurant in comment section. I can eat those momos all my life and die happily.

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Woke up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

We were sporting jackets and woolens now. Simanta was ready to drive us to Tawang, the dreamland that I wanted to visit since the time I saw it in TV a decade ago.

Day#2

  • Bomdila To Tawang
  • 200 Kms (approx.)
  • Travel time – 8+ Hours
  • Road Condition – Hilly and average
  • Stay – Hotel Mon Paradise

Visited the mesmerising and peaceful Bomdila monastery, saw the little monks chanting and praying in sync. The whole atmosphere was so serene, that trying to narrate it here would be loud and might kill the serenity of the place. Check out our youtube video link below.

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Nam yo ho !! – Buddham Sharnam Gachhami 🙂

After, seeing the monastery we commenced our journey to the land of Lama. The car was cruising slowing with 2 constants, Simanta’s Mawa and Kameng river running alongside.

The drive from Bomdila to Tawang will always be extremely close to my heart because I was about to experience my 1st snow sighting.

Sela pass – You beauty!! I had heard that there is silent a kid within every adult, I was unaware of mine till I saw the 1st snow of my life. I could not stop myself and ran down the stairs, which led to a frozen lake called Sela lake.

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Stairway to Heaven

The whole area was covered with snow we were playing, while clicking some pictures on our phones and many many more in our hearts. While we were down near a frozen lake, those stairs which we walked down seemed like a stairway to heaven. God was generous and suddenly it started to snow, we had such awesome experience before we had to run back to the car as it was a hailstorm. My 1st snow was a helluva experience. Remember the liquor that we bought last night; finally we could do justice to it using fresh snow from the sky..

I even ate some snow. 🙂

Hailstorm turned violent & we had to leave or rather escape from Sela to reach our next pit stop aka Jaswant Garh war memorial. It’s about 22 Kms from Sela and 21 Kms before Tawang.

You must see this video to live Sela Pass a lil more

A bit insight about the memorial – Jaswant Garh is a famous tourist attraction in Arunachal Pradesh and it is widely visited all year round. It is dedicated to the warrior, Jaswant Singh Rawat who was killed during the Indo-China War in 1962. He was an Indian rifleman of 4 Garhwal Rifles, Uttarakhand and for his bravery; Jaswant Rawat was honoured by a memorial at the post where he fought the Chinese army. This magnificent memorial is well kept at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. A small canteen is run by army personnel offering free tea / coffee and hot water to all visitors to keep them warm in cold weather. It is unbelievable in today’s world of worshiping money as God, where almost everyone is running behind money and becoming rich leaving behind empathy towards fellow humans. We relished dosa and idli in Arunachal at such height, it still have the taste in my head while I write about it. My wife, Trisha loved the patty and muffins.

Last but not the least; there is a small shop from where you can buy jackets, socks, gloves, caps, etc to withstand the negative temperatures of Tawang.

The memorial is surrounded by beautiful valley perfect to gaze on while sipping your unlimited free tea.

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Panorama from Jaswant Garh

Hopped back in the innova with happier Simanta, he already had starting chewing mawa.

We reached Tawang in another 1½ hours, the sun sets early and it was almost dark by 5pm when we reached. While, Dev was co-ordinating with the pre-booked homestay owner we had some difficulties in locating the stay. Finally, have found the homestay just to realise that staying there was not a good idea. It was located far away from town in a dark and abandoned area. Girls felt some safety concerns, and we had to honour this being responsible companions. Simanta’s “never say never” attitude and always smiling face helped us find a hotel in the market area. Name of the hotel is Mon Paradise. It was freezing cold, we quickly changed and reached the lobby area with our packed food and theplas. The hotel guys were happy to heat those for us and serve it with dal, egg bhurji and rice which we ordered from them. Sharing our food with a soldier from Indian Army with a lot of border stories was the best thing that we could have thought of in this trip.

Pet-full aur dil housefull, reaching back we slept like pigs would do after spending some playfull times in the mud. Woke up to sunrise, cool breeze and blue sky – What else does a metro lad need!!

Hope you liked our journey till now! Write some encouraging words in the comments section and share the link with your friends, also ask them to share and comment…

Read the part#2 of the story to see Tawang and Dirang from our eyes.

Much Love 🙂

Abhimanyu@Yatripandit

Guest Post || 8 Things to do in Barcelona – By Daniyal

When traveling, one of the objectives is to make the most of the time and to return home with the feeling of not having lost anything in the newly discovered city. It’s a complicated task, I know, so I’ll give you a hand with this selection of the 8 things you can do in Barcelona. If you have many on the list you can always come a second time.

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Walk to discover the city:
Barcelona is a big city, but it is perfect to witness beauty while walking. Forget about a day of the subway or the tourist bus and re-cross it by giving nice walks and wandering around the roads. You can choose to visit the most important buildings and parks of the city such as Citadels, Joan Miro Park or Montjuic castle, but there is also a Barcelona that does not come in the guides. We encourage you to go up to Horta, to know the charm of the Saint Andreu neighborhood, to see a side of the lesser known Example and enjoy unique panoramas.

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Go to concerts:
Barcelona has plenty of live music venues such as Razzmatazz or Sala Apollo, but it also has wonderful concert halls. The Gran Theatre Del Liceu is a splendid survivor decorated with gold leaf, luxurious red carpets and lots of ornamentation. Check the schedule since the tickets are not always as expensive as it may seem and is a place worth a visit.

On the other hand is L’Auditori, an elegant space with capacity for 2,400 spectators that not only program concerts of classical music but also jazz or world music. The Palau de la Musical Catalonia’s is famous for its modernist architecture and the number of activities it hosts. Barcelona also hosts various festivals from Primavera Sound to Barcelona International Jazz Festival, Sonar and Cruilla, and others.

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Gaudi and Modernism:
Undoubtedly, one of the tourist attractions (and also for those who live here) is to admire the modernist architecture and the works of Gaudi in particular. You can find several examples of his work throughout the city, whether civil or religious buildings. The most famous is the Sagrada Familia, impressive on the outside and inside; The Park Guell, a place almost of the story that emulates an English garden or the Pedrera, but do not miss the opportunity to visit other buildings of Gaudi that sometimes occupy a smaller place in the guides.

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Discover the Barcelona of the young Picasso:
Picasso remembered Barcelona as beautiful and brilliant, a city where he spent his first years. Follow the steps of the genius by visiting the regions that marked his youth. Walk along the street of The Queen Cristina and then cross to street number 3 (street of Merce) where his family lived, although the building was destroyed. If you need to stop on the way, get closer to Ells 4 Gats, a place where artists of the time met for dinner parties, dinners, and art meetings. Finally, visit the Picasso Museum, a gallery that houses
the works of Picasso’s formative years.

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Try the seafood cuisine:
Nobody should leave Barcelona without trying their seafood cuisine. The city offers Rias de Galicia, in Poble-sec and Cachitos which is famous for its fantastic variety of fish and seafood. Cal Pep, in La Born, is known for its three-phase, a mixture of fried chanquetes, squid and shrimp and exquisite noodles. In La Barcelonnette, you will find La Mar Salada and Can Sole with fresh fish and seafood every day.

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Climb the mountain of Montjuic:
The Montjuic Mountain is perfect for strolling through trees and having a great view, but it very costly to access… There are facilities that were built for the 1992 Olympic Games, including the Palau Saint Jordi or the telecommunications tower designed by Santiago Calatrava. Those who have more energy and climb to the top of the hill will find the Olympic Stadium and the Jardi Botanic at its feet, Plaza de Espanya is the most popular entrance to the mountain, and you can also take advantage of the Pavello Mie’s van der Rohe and the Caxias forum cultural center.

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Bath in the Mediterranean:
Barcelona has a little more than 4 kilometers of beaches in which to stretch the towel, plant the umbrella smeared with cream and put the backpack to a good collection is a good choice. With just a few minutes by train or a short drive, you can visit other coastal towns with dream beaches. The Mediterranean is a gift!

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Approach the sky:
Even if you are not a loyal believer, you should visit the magnificent churches of Barcelona for pure artistic and architectural pleasure. Saint Pau del Camp is a rare example of Romanesque architecture with a fantastic cover-up and superb pathway and the elegant Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar is perhaps the best example of the survived Catalan Gothic architecture and is a place of peace up to the atheists. The Gothic religious building par excellence is the Cathedral of Barcelona, dedicated to Santa Eulalia, the
patron saint of the city. The majestic Gothic with a monastery is famous for its 13 white hollows.

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About the author in his own words: This article has been written by Daniyal Buksh a Dan.jpgprofessional content strategist and digital marketer at flights to Stockholm from London. You can catch him on Facebook.

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

Guest Post || How To Plan A Multi-generational Family Vacation by Kiley Morrow

A family vacation is tough enough to plan without age difference consideration. Meanwhile, many families use their vacations as an opportunity to spend time with their parents and children.

Going on a holiday with all the family members is fun and exciting. However, the lack of planning may lead to disaster. If you are responsible for the planning part, the below tips can help you come up with a vacation that will satisfy everyone.

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Know That Ideal Vacations Don’t Exist

An ideal multi-generational vacation exists in the same magic universe as Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. If you are planning to go on a vacation with a big family, someone will always find something to be upset about.

Your goal is not to plan an ideal for everyone. It’s to find an option that will satisfy most of the family members.

Plan Ahead

Start planning the vacation as far in advance as possible. People have a way of changing their plans so make sure you set the dates early. The earlier you start planning, the better chance it will be that everyone will make it to the vacation.

Meanwhile, you can get some early booking deals. Early planning allows you to take things slow and avoid being in a constant rut.

Ask for Everyone’s Opinion

Before booking, ask everyone what they want from a vacation. The best way to go about it is to have them make a wish list. Let them know that all the wishes are impossible to consider but you’ll try to factor in at least a couple.

This way you’ll get an idea of what to look for when planning while satisfying at least some wishes of each family member.

Don’t Hesitate to Get Help

If you are the designated vacation planner, it doesn’t mean that everyone else should sit around and do nothing. Delegate some of your responsibilities to the others. While you are busy with hotel booking, someone else can look for car rental options, museum discounts or interesting places to visit. Once they have the options ready, you can proceed to incorporate them into your plan.

 

Choose Accommodation Wisely

Large multi-generational families usually go on a vacation together in order to spend some quality time with each other. That’s why you should consider accommodations that allow everyone to live close. Townhouses and villas are great choices. Such accommodations usually have large common areas such as kitchens and backyards. Meanwhile, everyone gets his or her own room.

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However, some families prefer not to have a common area. They’d rather go to a restaurant and spend quality time there. Ask everyone for their accommodation preferences when they are making their wish lists.

Optimize Your Packing

When several adults from one family are traveling together, they can optimize their packing list. There is no need to bring 3 scissors, 2 tweezers, 2 flat irons, and 4 boxes of Advil. If you are planning to live in the same villa, this over packing is not necessary.

Talk to the family members and designate someone responsible for each shared item.

Consider the Expenses

Since you’ll be living together as one big family, you need to discuss the finances. In most cases, someone pays for the trip (hotel and tickets) but the expenses incurred during the vacation are distributed among the family members. Talk about the financial part in advance in order to avoid misconceptions during the vacation.

Financial matters have a way of ruining even the best of times. A great way to avoid financial complications is to book an all-inclusive vacation, just make sure you pick a family-friendly all-inclusive, not an adults-only resort. When everything is covered in advance, most of the money questions become irrelevant.

Plan For Some Time Apart

Even if you consider all the wishes, it’s hard to plan an ideal vacation for everyone. So occasionally, you need to spend some time apart. Grandparents might feel like taking a nice walk in the park while the kids can take advantage of a water park nearby. Spending a little time apart can make your family vacation even more exciting.

Do a Final Check

Before the trip, make sure both grandparents and children have all the proper documents with them. Check for the requirements in advance. If you are traveling to another country, consider checking up on the rule and law differences that don’t appear intuitive.

Some countries require additional documents for children traveling with just one parent. So if you are divorced, you may need permission from your ex-spouse to travel with the children abroad.

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Get Ready to Be Flexible

When going on a vacation with a large family, unexpected things are bound to happen. Besides coming up with Plan B and Plan C in advance, you have to be in the right mindset.

When it comes to large multi-generational groups, ideal planning doesn’t exist. Get ready to make changes along the way.

Have Fun

Multi-generational vacations are not a burden. They exist to allow the family members to spend quality time together. The only way to do it is to relax and have fun. After all, such vacations don’t happen more often than once a year.

Even if you get tired by the end of the trip, you know you have just created unforgettable memories.

Kiley MorrowAbout the Author:

Kiley Morrow is a travel/lifestyle expert. She’s spent the past 3 years traveling the globe and sharing all the experiences she had through tips and guides.

 

 

PS: Special thanks to Emma Johnson (Digital Marketing Coordinator-Sandals Resorts) for facilitating this brilliant story. 🙂

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

 

Kuch Khaas hai Kaas – Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers

Did you ever wish to visit heaven prior to death? Yes it is possible and is situated in a very close proximity to Mumbai. I am talking about “Kaas plateau” aka “The valley of flowers.” The Plateau has been recognized as “bio diversity heritage site” by UNESCO.

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A car, 3 friends, a DSLR, some beer and kickass music what else do we need for a road trip! All of us being fresh graduates did not own a car but we hired a self-drivediesel car from Girikand cars and headed straight to Mumbai-Pune expressway and reached Satara town in about 6 hours(it’s not that far but we took a couple of breaks to enjoy the journey). Being a national highway, the roads were smooth and there was no scarcity of eateries. We halted at one of the dhabas to fill our tummies and kept moving. It was an uphill journey from Satara to 1 of the 7 wonders of Maharashtra – The Kaas Plateau. This 22 KMs ghat is not a very tough one to drive on and its full of scenic beauty. As we went closer we could seethe blossoms and suddenly it started drizzling making the journey more pleasing. Car parking space is after you cross the valley of flowers and you have to walk back to the valley. Once we reached on the plateau, all we witnessed was an endless carpet of colorful blooms on both sides of the road. It seemed as if the rainbow has been laid on the ground.

The whole stretch was so refreshing and rejuvenating that for once, we thought of quitting our jobs and stay in the valley forever. It is a surely a paradise for shutterbugs and can be an inspiration for poets and painters. Kaas also endorses a breathtaking aerial view of Shivsagar lake. The Kaas plateau is known to be home to around 850 varieties of plants of which around 600 are flowering plants and about 40 of which are only found in Kaas. The volcanic soil i.e. rich in natural minerals is the reason for such wide floral diversity. This plateau is surely an ocean of learning for botanists and researchers. Being a weekend it was crowded.We were luck to visit the heaven in the days when there was no entry fee but now a days, a very minimal fee of Rs 100/- is charged per person. We are sure you won’t mind this once you soak yourself in the carpet of flowers.

Humble Suggestion: Do not pluck or disturb the blossoms and walk only on the pathways marked with stones. Also, buy some stuff(snacks, etc) item from the local vendors as tourism is probably the only source of income.

When to Go: Best time to visit is end august to November as the flowers bloom during these months. Do check this website https://www.kas.ind.in/ before visiting Kaas to see the current pictures of Kaas.

Where to stay: There are a few stay options on the way to Kaas plateau but we went further downhill to a laid back village called Bamnoli and stayed at a local home stay on the lake side. Check our story on this pretty lazy village.

Must carry stuff on a roadtrip: Aux cable, cigarette point charger, knife, water, jacket, extra pair of shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, old newspapers, mat, bedsheet, nail cutter, mug, DSLR, football, snacks,  beachwear (if the place you heading to has a beach)and hell lot of great music.

After experiencing Kaas and staying at Bamnoli, we headed to an un-touched white sand beach on the Konkan coast. Stay tuned for next story to know more about this virgin beach.

Story by: Abhimanyu

Pictures by: Utkarsh

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Guest Post || Wah Taj by Sonam

It was the month of Feb and the Climate in Delhi seemed to be pleasant.  Me and my husband were in Delhi to attend a wedding.

Having a day to spare, we boarded the morning Shatabdi express train@ 6am from Delhi’s Nizamuddin Station to the city of Taj, Agra.

The Journey was very comfortable. If you love Road Travel then you must try the Yamuna express was which connects Delhi to Agra and is a road to cruise on. It will take you to Agra in approx. 3 hours. We reached Agra at 7:50am. We had hired Life India Taxi which turned out to be excellent. Our driver Mr. Shyam Sundar was right on time, to pick us up from the railway station without any hassle. Nowadays the Air Quality in Agra has improved evidently the city is declared “an industry free zone.”

TAJ Mahal – A walk to remember

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When we reached the ancient monument, my first thought was “I couldn’t believe I’m actually standing right in front of the Taj Mahal.” Majestic, magnificent and mesmerizing Taj was standing tall in pure white marble. It is one of the 7 Wonders of the world & the most iconic monument of love, in true sense. This masterpiece was built by Mughal emperor Shan Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the center piece of a 42-acre complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a wall.

It’s advised to be there between 9am-11am. There is less crowd and one gets to spend ample time. Ensure to hire a certified guide for TAJ MAHAL as they will get you the detailed history & also take you to lot of Important Points. They will charge you around Rs. 600 but it’s worth hiring a guide. 

Avoid Hiring a Local Photographer as the quality of the photos is not at all good. You can also book your guide online. Avoid visiting on Friday as the monument is closed on Fridays. We also purchased a beautiful replica from ITDC Store just outside the TAj Mahal Ticketing Gate.

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Overall it was a memorable trip which I will cherish forever. While return we booked the newly launched Gatiman Express train which took us to Delhi in 1.5 hrs.

1About the author – Sonam is a marketing professional in Pune with brilliant communication skill. In her free time she loves to try different cuisines and read. She is a regular visitor to yatripandit.com.

This is her 1st attempt in writing a travel blog. Encouragement via comments is welcomed with wide open arms.

 

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

* All pictures are clicked by Sonam

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

Abhimanyu@yatripandit

Guest Post || Five Things With Kids: Kuala Lumpur – by Ben

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s bustling capital city, is a fantastic destination for a short break or a longer holiday. However, unlike many of Malaysia’s popular tourist hotspots, there isn’t a beach in sight. Crammed full of trendy bars, shopping malls and hotels, it would be easy to think that this South East Asian hotspot wasn’t the best place for a family trip. Listed below then are our 5 top picks for things to do with children in Kuala Lumpur.

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5. Batu Caves

Located just outside of the city, Batu Caves is a significant Hindu holy site built into a large complex of limestone caverns. One of the most important Hindu sites outside of India, the shrine is dedicated to Lord Murugan, the deity of war and features the world’s tallest statue of the god standing 42.7m tall by it’s entrance.

Characterised by the huge flight of 272 steps leading up to the shrine caves, it’s an arduous slog to the top and small feet will get tired (we carried our youngest and, to his credit, our 5 year old managed the entire flight without a single word of complaint).

The draw for families besides the impressive caves and statue of Lord Murugan however, has got to be the families of monkeys that populate the stairs. From the top to the bottom, they are everywhere. Our two children had a great time alternately laughing at their antics and screaming in terror if they came too close.

4. KLCC Park

Situated in the heart of KLCC, at the foot of the iconic Petronas Towers, KLCC park is a natural haven in the centre of a busy city. Full of green space and with literally hundreds of pieces of playground equipment, it will keep children entertained for hours.

Towards the Suria Mall side of the park, there is also a large padding pool area featuring waterfalls and smaller pools for younger children. These are complemented by small changing facilities which make a lengthy, comfortable day out in the park possible. All of these facilities are also free to use.

My only reservation about including KLCC park in the list comes in the form of the viciously vigilant security guards who patrol the park. They take their jobs incredibly seriously and as such it is impossible to relax over the sounds of their zealously blown whistles at busier times. Walking on the grass, playing with a ball, sitting on a see-saw with your 3 year old. All are crimes that will result in a loud blow of the whistle and a stern telling off. Bizarrely, the rule is that as an adult you literally cannot touch the equipment, even if your reason for doing so is to ensure the safety of your child.

If you can cope with this then it’s a great place to spend an afternoon. And if you can’t, we discovered a see-saw out of sight towards the back of the park and played to our hearts content!

3. Hop-on, Hop-off, Bus Tour

We joined this bus tour by chance after it stopped next to us by the KL Aquarium and were very glad that we did. Incredibly reasonable (RM45 per adult, no charge for our 3 year old or our 5 year old) and thorough, this open-top bus tour features 23 stops conveniently located next to most of the cities main tourist attractions. The ticket also last for 24 hours (48 hours also available) meaning you can continue using the ticket the following day depending upon time of purchase.

All of the buses feature a large open-top section with air conditioned seating available towards the rear of the bus upstairs and downstairs.

During busy times the bus does get full and we did witness passengers at the Petronas Towers stop being told to wait for the next bus (a 20/30 minute wait) as the one we arrived on was full.

Similarly, when it rains, the inside of the bus can be very full and vice versa, when the weather is good, outside seating is at a premium.


Courtesy of MyHopOnHopOff.com

2. Petrosains Discovery Centre

A surprising diversion at the top of Suria Mall, Petrosains Discovery Centre is a fantastic attraction for children of all ages from the very young, to young adults.

A dark ride, dozens of interactive experiments, building areas, a large dinosaur and volcano diorama and more. Check out our full review of Petrosains here.

This is definitely one not to be missed.

1. Kidzania Kuala Lumpur

Just outside of the city center by The Curve, Kidzania offers a world of fun for young people of all ages.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, Kidzania is an entire indoor city designed for children. Kidzania KL is based around 2 main streets on the ground floor and one winding thoroughfare upstairs. The streets on all sides are populated by business’ and services, which are sponsored by familiar, real-world business’ and all of which provide fun activities for children.

From fire fighting and driving an ambulance to stocking shelves in a supermarket and constructing their own burgers at McDonalds; families will love Kidzania. The sheer variety of things to do and value for money present in the ticket price is the reason this takes the number one spot when choosing things to do with Kids in Kuala Lumpur.


About the author

Benjamin Burgess fondly know as Ben is an fantastic human and fellow travel blogger. He is an avid traveler and always encourages yatripandit.com.

He describes his blog as “MyExpatFamily.com is a travel blog, specializing in family travel, written by an expat couple based in China. We travel with our two young children and share our experiences around the world with a 3 and 5 year old in tow.”

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Ben with his lovely family

Disclaimer:  *Contents in this story is Authors personal views and presentation.

If you also want to get featured as a guest author on yatripandit.com, share your story with us on info@yatripandit.com

Please click on the ads which appear on the website and help us earn some money to travel. This blog is still very young and growing. If you like the story, do not shy away from reciprocating your love in form of likes comments and sharing on social media

Cheers !!

Credits

Story By

Benjamin Burgess

Edited By

Yatripandit