7 days in Sri Lanka

After 30 days in India, I went to Sri Lanka to rest. Yes, to rest! 

I took SriLankan Airlines for the first time. Great service and great food which I did not expect to be served for this short flight. There were plenty of movies/tv shows/music to select from so I sure got entertained well for 3 1/2 hours flight.

  

 I arrived Bandaranaike International Airport around 10pm. I was picked up and a big surprise when I arrived to my reserved B&B which is 5th Lane House in Colombo. A huge room with huge bathroom and a bath tub. It can’t be any more relaxing than this.

   

 

 

   

I was in this place for 3 nights. Since there is really not much to see in Colombo, I spent most of my days and nights in this room. Watching  online or soaking in the bath or both! The breakfast included was quite nice too. It just felt perfect after traveling for at least 5 months.

I did a little walk in the city and saw nothing interesting. LOL!   

  

  

  

  

I transferred to Colombo City Hostel. I thought I’d like it but I didn’t. The place is too hot not to have AC. The fan was too dirty to blow air. I don’t think the value for money is good. I stayed one night and left with a couple from UK. 

 

 

We decided to stay in Negombo which is near the airport since we were all just waiting for our flight out. 

The beach is not clean so we went to Rani Beach Resort and rented their swimming pool for 500 LKR for the whole day.

  

 Beach is always nice for sunset though.

   

 

 

I stayed in Colombo Aiport Luxury Hostel for couple nights. 

 

I paid 650 LKR per night. No AC but it wasn’t too hot in the room downstairs. 

There are two lovely ladies running this place and they were like family to me during my 3 days stay. 

 

  

 

Here, I also met 3 Chinese travelers. We had good seafood lunch together.

   

 

Brad, Hollie and I decided to go to Lords Restaurant Complex on our last night. This being number one on tripadvisor, we saved the best for last. (At least we were hoping!)

 

  

  

 

After we ate, we got to have free fish spa. 🙂 They said they fed us so we feed their fish in return. LOL!  

 

  

  

The food was great and so was the service. We even met the owner Martin who approached us while in the premises. I’d say they definitely deserve their rank! 

Sri Lanka is an island and since I am from the island of the Philippines, I did not bother to go somewhere else because I’ve been to beautiful beaches in my own country. It was nice to set my foot in Sri Lanka though. 🙂


30 Days in India

I finally set my foot in India on February 16, 2015. It felt more like an achievement to me since I’ve been wanting to visit this country since 2012. 

Below are the places I was able to visit during my 30 days visa.

CHENNAI – 2 days
YELAGIRI HILLS – 2 days
PONDICHERRY – 2 days
COCHIN – 2 days
MUNNAR – 3 days
MUMBAI – 3 days
NEW DELHI – 3 days
JAISALMER – 6 days
JAIPUR – 3 days
AGRA – 2 days

The breathtaking views of Munnar and the relaxing atmosphere of Jaisalmer are my favorites.

There were local people who took care of me while I was in Chennai, Yelagiri Hills and Mumbai. There were expats I met in Jaisalmer who then took care of me in Jaipur and New Delhi. I’d say I had the most fun in these places. Having people to show you around makes a big difference. You get to see a totally different side of the city. 

India is such a beautiful country. I just wish that people are more disciplined specially with trash and traffic. I find it pretty intense to go from one place to another. India can be overwhelming and drain your energy. 🙂

Today is my 30th day and I am leaving India with a feeling of contentment. Despite all the scary news we often hear about India specially for women, I safely finished my 30 days. 

Here are my favorite pics taken during my  trip in India.























Taj Mahal 

Who doesn’t know the famous Taj Mahal in India? Who doesn’t want to see the most recognizable structures in the world? 

I think one person can’t say he or she has been to India if he/she did not see this one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. It stands as a symbol of eternal love built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

I just had to see Taj Mahal located in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India. Despite the rainy weather, I got up early and walked to the ticketing office. I paid 750 INR for the ticket, they gave me a small bottle of water and shoe socks. They provide shuttle to the entrance and back. It will be more convenient if you don’t bring anything with you other than your wallet and phone/camera. I met a guy who had to go back out to leave his selfie stick in one of the stores outside because it’s not allowed! One girl told me she was not allowed to get in with her journal so she left her bag in one of the stores as well. These stores won’t charge you for keeping your stuff but they sure hope you’d buy something in exchange of their “good deeds”. The restrictions don’t make sense but you are allowed to bring your camera and phone so I guess that’s all that matters. 

Stunning. Beautiful. Lovely. 





What else can I say? It was just stunning, beautiful, lovely!  🙂

This is my 28th day in India and Taj Mahal is my last stop before I reach my 30th and last day in this country. I can now tick this off my bucket list. 🙂

Here’s a selfie of me and Taj. LOL!



Yey, I got to see Taj Mahal in India! 😉


Jaipur to Agra

I went to the ticket resevation office in Jaipur where window 1 is dedicated to serve foreigners and senior citizens. I filled out a form and luckily there was available seat to Agra the next day when I intend to leave but it departs at 7:05AM. The guy said the next train is not until 3PM so I took the morning one. I was surprised about the fact that it cost 565 rupees for 3 1/2 hours journey. My 18 hours train from Delhi to Jaisalmer was only 460 rupees! Well, I did not ask any question cos I wanted to leave anyway so I just paid and left. 



Later on, I was told that Shatabdi train, chair car class is considered high class so that explained the cost. I was told they will give you news paper and a meal on board so that made me excited. 

I arrived at the train station at 6:30AM. As the train arrived, I already saw how the chairs look comfortable. 



The chairs are like those on economical planes except I think this is more comfortable. You get spacious leg room and the chairs are reclined in a comfortable position. 

As soon as the train departed, a guy gave out news papers (Hindi and English version), served bottle of water and a small tray consists of a packet of biscuit, tea, creamer and sugar. It was followed by a cup and a thermos with hot water.



I was  expecting a meal but this was perfectly fine with me cos these don’t get served on the planes anymore. 

I made myself comfortable and a guy woke me up after an hour to give this tray with a meal. I did not expect this at all.





No idea what that hot meal is but it is definitely vegetarian. It was a little spicy and yummy.

It was followed by a lime juice which was also good. 



What a nice short train ride! ;-)

Jaipur (Rajasthan, India)

The 12 hours train ride from Jaisalmer to Jaipur on a sleeper train was not bad at all. It departed Jaisalmer at 5PM and arrived Jaipur at 5AM. I slept most of the time. I made a reservation at Vinayak Guesthouse which is about 600 meters from the train station. It should be 40 rupees by rickshaw but I chose and managed to walk (at 5AM). There were small coffee shops that were already open so I just asked the people there and I found my guesthouse easily. Although, what I did was probably not a good idea for a woman alone! 

The gate was not locked so I just went in and rang the door bell. I waited couple minutes and a man who was probably half asleep opened the door and showed me my room. I got to check in at 5AM so that was nice! 



I got a single bed, shared bathroom. 

I got to sleep for couple hours then I decided to go to the famous Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace). A rickshaw cost me 70 rupees for one way. The entrance fee to the palace is 50 rupees for foreigners. I found it peaceful inside. This place would have been more peaceful and comfortable for me if there were not a lot of Indian tourists constantly staring at me. 😉





I went back to my guesthouse and met 3 German guys. We decided to see Amer Fort and monkey temple. We hired a rickshaw for 600 rupees for the 4 of us. 

I like Amer Fort because there are no people living inside unlike in Jaisalmer Fort and it’s cleaner! Jaisalmer’s Fort has nicer architechture than Amer Fort though (in my opinion).



After we visited Amer Fort, the view right across was inviting us. These seem to be never ending stairs made us want to go on top to see a better view of Amer Fort. 





We did! The steps were big so it was more exhausting for a woman like me with short legs! I almost did not want to continue but the guys kept encouraging me to go on so it helped. We made it to the top and here’s what I got. It was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! The sore legs the next day was definitely worth it! 🙂











We then went to the monkey temple. We got on top and there was this lady who welcomed us, put something on our forehead, tied a thread on our hand and asked for 100 rupees donation afterwards. Oh boy why this did not surprise me at all! I just knew it was coming. One german gave a hundred then she said it should be 100 rupees donation for each! I was like, “no way!” I told her donation should bevoluntarily  and no amount required. She then said, “okay, 50 rupees”. I said no and asked the guys to leave the place. As we were leaving she was asking for coins from our country instead. What the fudge! That ruined it so we just went back to the guesthouse. Later on, I find out we did not really get to see the monkey temple. Instead of going up to that stupid temple on top where donation is made to be compulsary, we should have went straight. I did not find this out until I met Maria the next day. I met her in Jaisalmer during holi festival. She is from Spain who works in Jaipur. Oh well, we just missed the monkey temple but no big deal to me because it was the guys who wanted to see it anyway.

So I spent my second day in Jaipur with Maria. She took me to central park and Jawahal Kala Kendra (multi arts centre). The central park was nice but mostly Indian men were there. I did like Jawahal Kala Kendra though. It was a quiet place and they have a nice cafe inside. The food was very cheap and good for the price. We then went to Maria’s flat which is near University of Rajasthan where she works. I just love this part of Jaipur! 

I found out that Maria uses Himalaya products and told her I use and like Himalaya products as well so she took me to a Himalaya store near silver square mall. I shopped for hair conditioner, toothpaste, lip balm, face moisturizer, body lotion, body soap, facial wash and facial scrub. All these for 585 rupees or about $10. That was extremely cheap so I am very happy. 🙂



My first day in Jaipur was fun and tiring. The second/last day was sure  fun and relaxing. Gracias Maria! 😉

Mystic Camel Safari Tour

A Camel Safari in the sand dunes is one of the main attraction in Jaisalmer. I decided to do it the day after holi festival. I availed the Mystic Camel Safari Tour for 1500 INR through Mystic Jaisalmer where I am staying. 

There was a total of 11 people in the group including myself. Each of us were given a bottle of water before we left the guesthouse at 2:30PM using a jeep and a car. We stopped to see couple villages. 





Then there was our camel waiting for us. Each person gets one camel guided by young happy camel drivers. 🙂




It took just a little over an hour then we reached the desert camp. The beautiful ride reminded me of the book I read, “The Alchemist”.



As we soon as we arrived, they served us tea. We then watched the beautiful sunset.



We gathered around bonfire, had snacks while they prepare our dinner. 

They served us rajasthani veg dinner and you can eat as much as you want. 



After dinner, we spent some time chatting, some of the boys were singing, some people were dancing, some were just chillin’ like me. I spent most of my time stargazing. 

I requested for my sleeping mat (no tent) to be set up just before 10pm. I’m sure it did not take long for me to fall asleep. Watching the moon and the stars over my head was just too relaxing. The weather was not too cold so I slept very well.

I found this poor dog sleeping at the foot of the mat when I woke up around 6:45AM. I was the first one to wake up in our group. 



The sun looks like a moon so we did not see a beautiful sunrise but for everyone, it was still a beautiful morning. 



We gathered for breakfast. (tea, toast, maggie noodles, fruits.)



We were given enough time to play in the sand before we leave the desert.



Then our camels arrived to pick us up.









With my camel driver. 🙂



We got back in the guesthouse around 10:30AM. The tour was well organized. The guides did an amazing job. They all seemed to be happy with what they do. 

Camel Safari Tour is definitely one of the most amazing and unforgettable experience in my backpacking life.  

Holi Festival in Jaisalmer

Holi is a festival of colours or love which happen to be celebrated on my second day in Jaisalmer. I was not going to play outside until a group of expats arrived from Jaipur. They were in the dorm I’m in and they invited me to go out with them which I’m glad I did. We started to walk to the fort and even before we arrived, we got all messy! 🙂 





After the fun day, I spent the night on the rooftop watching full moon. It was the first time I’ve seen the moon came out like a sunrise. It started from red to orange to yellow until it became white and lit the whole desert! It was just beautiful and relaxing! 

Oh I love Jaisalmer! 🙂






To Jaisalmer. In Jaisalmer. (Rajasthan, India)

For the first time, I am taking a train in India. A sleeper train for 18 hours only cost 440 INR! I expected it to be crazy. 

The train did not leave the Old Delhi station until 6PM. The next thing I know, the train is packed with locals travelling to home from work. It lasted until 9PM then I got my bed. 



It was a little cold throughout the night but I slept fine. I woke up around 6AM when we reached Jodphur then I went back to sleep and did not wake up until 8:30AM. I freshened up and had to use the disgusting toilet because I did not have any choice! I then just looked through the window as I wait to reach Jaisalmer.





The train reached around 12:15PM. 



Mr. EK from Mystic Jaisalmer where I chose to stay was outside to pick me up. It was not even 10 minutes and we reached the guesthouse. 









I got this cute little bed in the 6-bed dorm with a view.



I had brunch in their rooftop restaurant which offers a nice view of the fort. 





I tried the Rajasthani Thali which was very good! 



I chose to have dinner in the hotel next door. They also offer good views and I got to see a beautiful sunset. I ordered pasta which was okay.





First day in Jaisalmer was very nice. In fact, I loved it the moment I arrived! 

I decided to stay here for 6 nights so more Jaisalmer stories to come. :-)

A day in Delhi

Since I am not a city person, I was not too excited about Delhi. I landed from Mumbai and took the prepaid airport taxi which was very disorganized. It cost 300 INR to Arakashan road where Zostel is. It was a beautiful ride from the airport until I got to Arakashan area which was too crowded since it is near to the New Delhi railway station. I was too tired when I arrived around noon so I just slept. I signed up for the Zostel’s city walk the next morning in Old Delhi.





I then went to the railway station around noon to get a train ticket to Jaisalmer. 







I went to the International Tourist Bureau and I was surprised by the fast customer service. They did not have any available seat for the next day so I availed the sleeper class for the same day. For some reason, I was so relieved when I got my ticket. Some kind of happiness knowing I am leaving Delhi! 🙂

I did not get to see much in Delhi and I don’t feel bad about it!!! 😉

Mumbai (Maharashtra, India)

I flew from Cochin to Mumbai using IndiGo airlines. I chose to take the taxi with a lady driver in Mumbai which cost me 650 INR to my hotel. My dear friend Juhi hooked me up to her friend in Mumbai to show me around so she met me an hour after I arrived. She came to my hotel and after she saw the place she offered for me to stay in her place instead which was very nice of her. She first showed me around. Of course, we went to Gateway of India first. 



She had me tried some street food before we headed to Marine Drive.









After the tiring yet beautiful night, we went back to my hotel to get my bag then took train to her place. We were in first class and it was after 9PM so it was not that bad.



The next day, she had to go to college so she did bring me along with her. I got to meet her cool friends. We had breakfast then we went to Bandra Fort.





This time, they had me tried second class train to go home. It was c-r-a-z-y!!!





The following day, they showed me around again. We went to slum area and Jivdani Temple where we climbed 1500 steps to reach the top.





On my last day, Kinjal and I went on her scootie to a fort. 







We chilled out at her place for the rest of the day and they dressed me up with a beautiful saree which reminded me of my childhood where I would wear my mother’s clothes and play like a princess. 





Just before I went to sleep for my early morning flight to New Delhi, I had to make sure I get a picture with my friend’s mom. She is one of the sweetest mother I’ve met. 🙂



I am not a city person and I’d say I wouldn’t have enjoyed Mumbai if not because of these people. 

Munnar (Kerala, India)

I took a bus from Cochin to Munnar which took about 3 hours and the fare was about 200 INR. It was a non AC bus for 3 hours! 
The bus dropped me off in the bus stop near my guesthouse, Nakshathra Inn. I just had to walk a little bit and there was my place for couple days. It’s being managed by a young man. The place was okay but definitely not well maintained. The guesthouse is about 7km before Munnar City.

The rate was 1500 INR per night including breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast bread. We went trekking through the tea plantation the next morning. It was beautiful. Just beautiful! Once you get a little higher, you will hear nothing but birds and see nothing but greens. Just breathtaking! 






In the afternoon, we went around with his scooter. I saw more beautiful tea plantation landscape. 





We stopped for this ice cream and oh my God the mango was very delicious! I had two and I wish I could have taken more with me. Don’t miss this on your way to Munnar City!



Right next to it, is a cashew store. It was only 40 INR per 100 grams and that was cheap! I bought cashews worth 100 INR. 🙂



On our way back to the guesthouse, he took me to this place I don’t know where it’s at nor what they call it but it was right by the Muslim Mosque. 🙂







I had to leave early the next morning to go back to Cochin for my flight to Mumbai. Munnar is certainly one of those places I wish I could have stay longer. 

Backwater Tour (Cochin, India)

I availed the backwater group tour for 850 INR. I went with my dormmates. We were picked up a little after 8am. It took us about an hour to get to our destination.

We first went on this little boat for the first couple hours.



The water was dirty but it became clearer as we move along. There were fish and ducks and birds. 







I became bored after and was just looking forward for lunch. Our group had lunch with a whole bunch of French people.



We then hopped on a bigger boat for another hour. I slept most of the way. It was just tiring and the boat ride surely was relaxing. 



I was so glad when the tour was over!