Gadabout's Corner

Bird of passage

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

KOH SAMUI: An Island in the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Samui is one of the very famous islands, mainly because there is everything for everyone. Samui is Thailand’s second largest island and it houses all the good things, from lit parties to buddhist temples and fishing village. It can be a bit confusing, so let us help you through it.

 

When to go?

Samui features a tropical climate so it’s pretty humid and warm all year round with the average temperature of 28 degree Celsius. The driest months with least rainfall would be February to April, whereas months with heaviest rainfall are September to November. Though, the rest of the year, some rain is expected.

 

How to get there?

1. Plane

There is an airport in Koh Samui (USM) in which you could fly directly from Bangkok, other domestic cities and from few other countries as well. There are also few airports nearby, like the ones in Chumpon and Surat Thani.

2. Ferries

  • Seatran Ferry
    • Donsak – Nathon
  • Raja Ferry
    • Donsak – Lipa Noi

There are 2 ferry services from Surat Thani to Koh Samui, which both of them operate hourly from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m. and journeys are about 1 hour 30 minutes. Ferry is good for those who are connecting from closer towns or for those with vehicles.

Seatran Ferry takes you between Donsak pier in Surat Thani and Nathon pier in Koh Samui. Meanwhile, Raja Ferry Port takes you between Donsak pier and Lipa Noi pier in Koh Samui.

3. High Speed Catamaran

                                                        Lomprayah’s High Speed Catamaran

Lomprayah is a company that operates High Speed Catamaran between many tourist destinations, including Samui Island. The service of Lomprayah includes all transits like airport transfer, buses, trains and piers. They offer many routes and tours to choose from as well.

Lomprayah also offers free transfers and pick-ups between your hotels and the piers for those who book the ticket through their official website; www.lomprayah.com. This kind service is only for those in Koh Samui.

 

How to get around?

1. Airport Transfer

There are several van services that take you and other passengers to hotels and they are always there for all flights.

2. Public Buses

Buses in Koh Samui are red pick-ups with specific route labeled. These local buses costs around 20 baht to 100 baht, depending on the distance. However, they do charge a bit more during the night hours. Remember to check the price with the driver before you hop on.

3. Songthaews (Taxis)

These Taxis look pretty much the same as local buses but they have no sign of their specific routes. These Songthaews have no fixed price and they don’t work with metres, so you’ll have to negotiate with the driver before you hop on. This could be a cheaper alternative if you have a lot of companies.

5. NaviGo Samui

This is a mobile Taxi application, just like Uber. It’s a cheaper alternative as fares are metered. It’s a very convenience option for those with Internet data.

6. Motorbikes

You can rent motorbikes with many rental providers and it shouldn’t cost you more than 200 baht for a day. To rent one, the provider will usually take your passport as the deposit. There are many gas stations and shops that sell gasoline by bottles around the island.

7. Bicycles

They are few bicycle rental places in Samui and there are even areas where there is proper bicycle lane.

8. Cars

If you are traveling in a big group or with family and you plan to go around the island a lot, then you might want to consider car rental. They are many providers, including Avis. Fares should be around 1,300 baht to 1,500 for a day. Again, they might take your passport as the deposit.

 

Where to go?

  • Chaweng Beach
    • Green Mango Street
    • Paris Follies Cabaret
    • Ark Bar Beach Resort
    • Football Golf Club
    • Aquapark
    • Wat Khao Hua Jook Temple
    • Central Festival
    • Chaweng Night Market
  • Lamai Beach
    • Grandmother and Grandfather Rock (Hin Ta and Hin Yai)
    • Thong Takian Beach (Silver Beach)
      • Snorkeling
  • Mae Nam Beach
    • Pink Elephant Samui Water Park
  • Bo Phut Beach
    • Wat Phra Yai Temple (Big Buddha Temple)
    • Lad Koh Viewpoint
    • Fisherman’s Village Walking Street
    • Coco Tams
  • Laem Set Beach
  • Taling Ngam Beach
  • Hin Lad Waterfall
  • Na Muang Waterfalls

The most popular beach of Samui is definitely Chaweng Beach. Apart from great sand range, it’s also the house of all big parties and nightclubs, especially at Green Mango Street. You might also want to check out Paris Follies Cabaret.

The most famous bar is also here; the Ark Bar Beach Resort. You don’t have to stay here to enjoy the best party on the island. This is the place if you want to chill and drink around pool table with your mates. You can even arrange your own tournament. But when you are ready, the beach dance floor is all yours. They even have the fire dance show!

 

If you are up for some fun, you might want to spend your time at Football Golf Club. Here, you don’t use club to hit the ball, you just kick it. It’s really simple and good for everyone. But, if you want to stay on the beach and surrounded by warm water then you might like Aquapark. There are massive inflatables, which are not only great for kids.

However, if you want a little bit of culture, you might want to visit Wat Khao Hua Jook Temple. The pagoda stands tall and elegant. This place also offers a great view of the beach.

But if the heat becomes too much and you want to be inside an air-conditioned shopping complex, then you could spend few hours shopping or eating at Central Festival Koh Samui. However, if you are looking for cheaper and great food then Chaweng Night Market is a place for you. There are street foods, drinks and souvenirs.

At Lamai Beach, there are also many bars and nightclubs but what makes Lamai famous are two genital-shaped rocks; Hin Ta and Hin Yai. These rocks form a small and transparent pool in the middle.

Within the area of Lamai, there is a small beach; Thong Takian Beach. It’s not very known, so there is not many people here. This is a golden secret location as you can bring your own snorkeling equipments and explore! There are also few scuba diving centres.

Mae Nam Beach is the quieter beach in Samui, so a walk along the beach is just amazing. Personally, I think this is the cleanest beach in Samui. In the area, there is Pink Elephant Samui Water Park. Again, it’s great for kids and for those who just want to drink beers and relax in an adult-only Jacuzzi area.

At Bo Phut Beach, there is Wat Phra Yai Temple, which is a place you shouldn’t miss. There is a massive buddha that can be seen from many viewpoints, but at this temple, by the Buddha, you can witness some great view as well.

However, for me the best viewpoint in Samui is the Lad Koh Viewpoint. This is because there are short trekking routes taking you from the road to the rocky curves and formations that you could carefully explore. It looks really good!

If you’re up for a more relaxed night out, Bo Phut is the place as there is the Fisherman’s Village. Here, you could spend your night walking around, getting some drinks and absorb evidences of fishermen’s life. The most amazing beach bar right by the village is the Coco Tams. It’s an easy-going place with tents, pillows, swings and beanbags for you to sit and relax. They also have shisha.

Leam Set Beach is one of the smaller beaches with little people. It has white sand area, but the water can be a bit tricky to swim as only 100 metres out in the water, there is a shallow coral reef. So, if you are not an expert or if you are with small kids, I’d suggest some sort of feet protection so you don’t cut yourself while swimming or snorkeling.

Taling Ngam Beach is another option for those who really want to relax. It’s about an hour by car away from other main beaches like Chaweng. Here, you can see more traditional houses and less luxurious resorts.

If you feel like switching into soaking up the fresh water, then there are 2 waterfalls in Samui for you. Firstly, Hin Lad Waterfall offers a small jungle trail and refreshing pool to sink in. It’s so much fun to explore the area and visit the Hin Lad Temple. Along the way, there are pretty walking paths.

The other bigger waterfall is Na Muang Falls. It’s massive! You’ll enjoy swimming, hiking, picnicking and seeing some animals as well.

 

 

 

 

 

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