Gadabout's Corner

Bird of passage

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OXFORD on Foot: Must Do’s List

Matthew Arnold addressed the amazement of Oxford in his Thyrsis way back in 1865 in which the beauty remains until today, despite over 150 years later.

Oxford is probably the best city to represent the civilization of the Victorian Era, with early establishment back in the 12th century. The result is an architectural masterpieces that keep inspiring artists, writers, fantasists and we travellers for years.

Every corners of this city is awakening, so it’s best to take your time and explore it at your own pace and on foot. Please, let me show you how you could easily wander around Oxford, from my own experience.

How to get there from London?
Must Do’s List (On Foot)

Exploring and covering the whole major scenes in Oxford takes time, not because it’s big but because you’ll stop and be amazed by what you see every 5 minutes. I’d suggest you use this list as a guide, because it’s organized by putting places in the same area together.

I. Magdalen College
  • Punting along River Cherwell
  • Addison’s Walk
  • Magdalen Chapel
    • Daily from 1PM – 6PM
    • Daily from 10AM – 7PM in Jul – Sep
    • Admission fee: 6£

Let’s start by heading East toward the farthest spot; the Magdalen College. Once you arrive here, the first thing you could do is punting along the River Cherwell, which you can hire from the Magdalen Bridge. You could also keep going to the Addison’s Walk, which is a trail that goes around a small island that is surrounded by the river. From Addison’s Walk, you’ll be able to see the Deer Park, the Magdalen Tower and the Magdalen Bridge.

After this, you might wanna have look around the College’s buildings and spend some time at the Magdalen Chapel.

II. Queen's Lane to Catte Street

Radcliffe Camera

  • Queen’s College
  • University Church of St Mary the Virgin
    • Mon – Sat from 9.30 AM – 5PM
    •  Sun from 1PM – 5PM
    • No entrance fee
    • 4£ to climb the tower
  • All Souls College
    • Mon – Fri from 2PM – 4PM
    • No Entrance fee
  • Radcliffe Camera
  • Hertford College
    • Daily from 2PM – 4.30 PM
    • No entrance fee
  • Bridge of Sighs
  • Trinity College
    • Mon – Fri from 9AM – 4PM
    • Sat – Sun from 1PM – 4PM
    • Admission fee: 3£
  • Sheldonian Theatre

Sheldonian Theatre

Five minutes walking from Magdalen College, you’ll ended up at the Queen’s Lane and the first thing you could see is the elegance Queen’s College. You could only go inside if you make an appointment in advance at the Visitor Information Centre. It’s free!

Then from Queen’s College, keep walking along the High Street and you’ll see the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. At this church, you could go on top of the tower and get the best view of the Radcliffe Camera.

After that, turn right to the Catte Street and you’ll be at the Radcliffe Square, where there are so many things to see; All Souls College, Codrington Library, Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, Hertford College and its Bridge of Sighs.

All Souls College

From Bridge of Sighs, you might wanna turn left to Broad Street and check out the Trinity College and the Sheldonian Theatre.

III. Turl Street
  • Exeter College
    • Daily from 2PM – 5PM
    • No entrance fee
  • Brasenose College
    • Mon – Fri from 10AM – 11.30 AM
    • Sat – Sun from 9AM – 10.30 AM
    • Admission fee: 2£
  • Covered Market

From Broad Street, turn left onto Turl Street, then take another left to Brasenose Lane and stop at the Exeter College and maybe have a look inside their Dining Hall and the Chapel.

After that, make your way to Brasenose College and have a look around the Covered Market. There, you could buy souvenirs, and get some food.

IV. St Aldate's Street
  • Alice’s Shop
    • Daily from 10.30 AM – 5PM
  • Christ Church Meadow
  • Christ Church College
    • Mon – Sat from 10 AM – 4PM
    • Sat from 2PM – 4PM
    • Admission fee: 7£ – 9£
  • St Aldates Church
  • Carfax Tower
    • Daily from 10AM – 4.30 PM
    • Admission fee: 2£

View from Carfax Tower

From the market, get yourself to St Aldate’s Street and you might want to make your way down first so you could slowly make our way back up.

Continue the street until you reach Alice’s Shop. This is the place that inspires Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland way back over 150 years ago. It’s right next to the Christ Church Meadow, which is a perfect resting place.

From there, you could make your way up by visiting the Christ Church College and have a look inside their Dining Hall, which is the same one as the Hogwart’s. You also don’t wanna miss the Christ Church Cathedral and the Tom Tower. Then you cross over to Christ Church Cathedral School and St Aldates Church.

Keep walking along St Aldate’s Street until you see Carfax Tower on your left. You definitely have to climb this tower as it will give you one of the best Central Oxford skyline view.

V. Cornmarket Street
  • St Michael at the North Gate
  • St Mary Magdalen
  • Martyrs Memorial
  • Gloucester Green Town Square
  • Wesley Memorial Methodist Church
  • Nuffield College
    • Mon – Fri from 9AM – 5PM
    • No entrance fee
  • Oxford Castle
  • Castle Mill Stream

From Carfax Tower, take the exit to Cornmarket Street and keep walking until St Michael at the North Gate is by your right. Not too far, you’ll also see St Mary Magdalen and Martyrs Memorial.

From there, turn left onto Beaumont Street and left again at Gloucester Street. If it’s Wednesday, Thursday or Saturday, you definitely have to check out the Gloucester Green Town Square. During these days, there will be the open air market that sells everything! If you can’t find it, it’s exactly where the National Express Bus Station is.

From there, you should keep walking along New Inn Hall Street and stop at Wesley Memorial Methodist Church. Next, walk toward the Nuffield College, explore the Castle Mound until you reach the Oxford Castle.

From the Castle, turn into Tidmarsh Lane and find the Hythe Bridge. By the bridge, you’ll see a small walking trail that will allow you to walk next to the Castle Mill Stream in which you can choose to turn or stop however you want to. This trail is wonderful! It’s a perfect place to relax and call it a day.

Where to eat best pub meal?

A lot of walking will be done, so there will be a lot of eating as well. Here is the list of where you should eat in Oxford.

  • The Eagle and Child
  • The White Horse
  • Turf Tavern

Where to stay?

  • YHA Hostel
  • Airbnb
    • Unique Artist’s Riverside Studio
    • Narrowboat on idyllic Oxford Canal (Ben the Boat)

 

 

 

 

 

BANGALORE: The Silicon Valley of India

Bangalore might be known as the biggest hub for technology companies and studies in India, but that’s not why we go there.

Bengaluru is also known as the “Rock Capital of India,” because it’s the liveliest city in the whole massive country like India. That is still not the reason why we go there. The reason why we go there is because there are great histories and perfectly blended cultures.

How to get there?
  • Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru
  • Bangalore City Railway Station
  • KSRTC Bus

There is an International Airport in Bangalore, which is only an hour away from the city by car or by bus.

If you are already inside India, but you don’t want to fly then you could also get here by train or by bus. It takes a lot longer than flying but it’s a once in a life time experience. From Mumbai by train, it takes a day to arrive Bangalore. By bus, it takes about 20 hours.

How to get around Bangalore?
  • BMTC Buses
  • Namma Metro
  • Rickshaw
  • Taxis

There are red and black buses taking you around the City of Bangalore as well as to the Airport and the suburbs. These buses are what locals call “Vayu Vajra.” Tickets are available when boarding.

Another alternative to get around Bangalore is the Namma Metro. Tokens can be easily bought at stations and facilities are really convenience. There are few routes that take you outside Bangalore, which could be added as another choice when train is not suitable.

If you are commuting in a short distance then you might want to hop onto the Rickshaw. If you are in India, you at least have to try it once. Otherwise, taxis are also very convenience and there are everywhere too.

Where to go in Bangalore and Mysore?

  • St. Mary’s Basilica
  • Russel Market
  • Vidhana Soudha
  • Venkatappa Art Gallery
  • Bangalore Palace
  • Mysore Palace
  • Chamundi Hill
    • Sri Chamundeshwari Temple
    • Nandi Bull Temple
  • St. Philomena’s Cathedral

St. Mary’s Basilica is one of the oldest churches in Bangalore, with the age of 134 years old and it is highly valued among all Indians. The tall Gothic styled structure is beautifully decorated with stained glass windows. It lights up stunningly at night.

It’s reachable by a short walk from Shivaji Nagar Bus Stand.

Not too far from the Basilica, there is the Russel Market, which is the oldest market in Bangalore. There are freshest fruits, veggies and flowers as well as some exotic animals. The area is worth exploring and it’s a great opportunity to observe the culture.

At Cubbon Park, there are few landmarks to explore. The first one, sitting in the middle of the park is the Vidhana Soudha. It’s a State Legislative Assembly Building. I’d recommend checking it out when it lights up, which is on Sundays from 6.00 – 8.30 p.m. However, the place is open to visit every weekdays from 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Not far from the Legislative Assembly Building, there is this outstanding red building, which is the Venkatappa Art Gallery. The building itself is already quite impressive, but if you check out the collections inside, you’ll love it. These amazing arts are majorly done by K. Venkatappa, whom is respected for his creativity, and specialty in watercolors.

Honestly, one of my favourite palace out of all that I’ve seen is the Bangalore Palace. I just like the green colour that makes it look different from any other palaces, but once I stepped inside, I liked it a lot more.

Inside, there is a courtyard under the dome, where light hits from different angles, through different pillars and it is decorated with stained glass windows. It looks so good that I just wanted to sit there and admire.

It’s also easy to reach, by bus and by metro. The entrance fees actually worth what you’ll see, 210 Rs for Indians and 450 Rs for foreigners. There is an extra charge for those who want to bring camera inside in which I suggest you do. Don’t make the same mistake like what I did.

If you are looking for a place to stay in Bangalore and you want a more luxurious experience, you should check out The Leela Palace Hotel. It looks like a dreamland and you might feel like a royal prince or princess.

Moving on, from Bengaluru to Mysuru, which takes around 3 hours by metro, the first place that you should stop by is the Mysore Palace. It’s one of the most famous tourist attractions in India, only after the Taj Mahal. This place is a mix of Gothic styled decorations, Hindu and Muslim senses.

Inside, the first thing that impressed me was the maroon coloured marble domes above the gray granite floor. Then there is a hall with collections of various sculptures. Some look like they are from Europe, some look like they are from India and for some, I just have no clue. Next, there is this peacock focused room. The floor is decorated with peacock designed mosaic and the ceiling is made from stained glass with peacock’s feathers design.

Next stop in Mysore should be the Chamundi Hills. The journey to the top is amazing. At some point, you can see the whole Mysore and Bangalore. There are local buses that take you there and it shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes to arrive.

Once on the top of the hill, you gotta try to visit the Sri Chamundeshwari Temple. The Goddess inside looks amazing and you’ll see how devoted are the people who go there. The experience is so different from visiting any other temples.

Though, once you are satisfies with Sri Chamundeshwari Temple, you might want to check out the Nandi Bull Temple nearby. It’s also a good place to get some handmade souvenirs. There are locals, sitting on the footpath, tailoring souvenirs in a reasonable price.

The final stop in Mysore is the St. Philomena’s Cathedral or what locals call St. Joseph Cathedral. I guess it’s because there is a massive St. Joseph statue right in front of the church. It’s one of the tallest churches in Asia and it is inspired by the Neo-Gothic styled architecture from the Cologne Cathedral. Some says both churches are almost identical.

 

 

 

 

 

KOH PHANGAN: An Island in the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Phangan is one of the most popular islands in Thailand. Not only because it houses the world’s famous party but also because of what it has to offer naturally. It’s a place for all preferences. There’s something for everyone.

Please click here to read more.

 

It’s very close to Koh Samui and they share similar features, especially the weather and transportation.

You could check out my previous post about Koh Samui here.

Top Beaches in Koh Phangan
  • Mae Haad Beach
  • Koh Ma
  • Chaloklum Bay
  • Thong Nai Pan
  • Haad Thong Reng
  • Haad Nam Tok
  • Haad Rin
  • Baan Tai

The sand bar of Mae Haad Beach links the main island with Ma Island.

 

The clear water in the area of Koh Ma.

 

The beach by the main pier at Thong Sala in Koh Phangan is a great place to relax after the journey or before saying goodbye to this island.

 

Baan Tai Beach taken with an analog camera; Minolta A3

 

 The finest sand of Baan Tai Beach

This amazing sunset was shot at Baan Tai Beach area in front of our resort.

Top Waterfalls in Phangan
  • Paradise Waterfall
  • Thaan Prawet Waterfall
  • Thaan Sadet Waterfall
  • Thaan Praphad Waterfall
  • Phaeng Waterfall

Phaeng Waterfall

Activities that You Should Try While in Phangan
  • Full Moon Party at Haad Rin
  • Wakeboarding at Wake Up! Wakeboarding
  • Wipeout at the Challenge Koh Phangan
  • Daytime party at Slip N Fly
  • Kiteboarding with Breeze Kiteboarding

 

 

These things make Koh Phangan so special and I can confidently say that you’ll never get enough of this island.

Please click here to read the full article.

 

 

 

 

 

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