Monday, December 29, 2014


Away for a 5 day honeymoon
Hoping that these 5 days do not get over soon
Bali was my choice
Just me and Joice !!

After a week long discussion with Ramshai (Business head, Venture Out), I finally decided that Bali would be the ideal destination for a honeymoon. Apart from my wedding date, I also had Bali on my countdown since I was more than eager to see the holiday package offered by Ram turn into a reality.... and I must say wait was worth it !!
2nd Nov 2014 : Though Malaysian airlines had a few unfortunate incidents in the recent past, we fortunately reached Bali safely by Lunch. We were greeted by our Guide who was awaiting us at the Airport and he accompanied us to hotel. Our accommodation was arranged in Sun Boutique which is a 3* hotel located in Kuta. We spent the day relaxing in the hotel and eagerly awaited for the next day since our Guide had briefed us that he would take us around Bali for sight seeing.

Jalan Waribang : We started the day with a cultural program in Jalan Waribang. The play depicted the fight between good spirit (Barong) and evil spirit (Rangda). The musical play went on for an hour and spectators had their eyes glued on the artists and quite a lot of them were busy with their camera. Interestingly, Jalan Waribang hosts plays depicting Barong, Ramayana and Mahabharath as well !! With this we were done with the cultural program and it was 10:30 AM.

Pura Puseh temple : A temple located in the Batuan village in Bali. Like all other temples in Bali, the temple has gates with 2 symmetrical pillars (each representing the good and evil spirits). It is a mandate to enter the temple in the traditional attire (A cloth wrapped around the waist). Truely a delight for those who admire archaeological sculptures.

Ubud : Ubud is a town in Bali which is not as commercial as Kuta. A place popular for Arts and crafts! A perfect place to shop in Bali. We visited the handicraft gallery, painting gallery and Gallery for silver ornaments.

Kintamani : Kintamani is a place popular due to a volcano eruption which took place in 1968 on Mount Abu. In case you are planning to go sight seeing in Bali, Kintamani would be ideal to have lunch, We sat in one of the hotels in Kintamani and had lunch admiring the beauty of Mount Batur and lake Batur

Coffee farms : Another must visit in Bali are the coffee plantations where you get to see Luwak (the animal which got famous with its poop !! ). The plantation offers nearly 10 varieties of coffee samples for free and I am sure you would definitely buy few of those coffee powders once you taste them !!

This marked the end of our day 2 in Bali. As per our guides update, sunset dinner cruise was planned for the next day !!

Bali hai cruise : By evening we reached Bali Hai Cruise and we could see our Cruise awaiting to board us !! After a welcome drink, we boarded the ship and off it sailed... There were a few photoshoots by the crew members. We started off with the sunset view and then moved inside to watch the Dance show organized by the Crew. This was followed by dinner which I must say was mouth watering !!

Water sports : The next day we were all geared up for some adventure sports. Jet skiing, parasailing, banana boat ride, snorkeling, glassboat ride and visit to Turtle island was planned for the day.

Jet skiing : Water sports started off with Jet skiing. Joice and me were racing against each other on 2 jet skiis !! Unlike my previous experience in Malpe beech, here I got ride the Jet ski on my own. After about 15-20 minutes of Jet skiing, we were back to our bay all set to try the banana boat ride

Banana boat ride :  This was a first time experience for both Joice and me. Its a fun ride wherein we sit on a tube shaped like a banana and a speed boat drags us on the sea. The guide had asked if he should overturn us from the banana boat .. i regret having said No :P

Parasailing : A much awaited activity was here finally !! 1st hand experience for Joice and me. Both of us listened to the instructions carefully and figured out that we wouldn't land on ground unless we pull the string when they shout out our name :D. Felt great when we took off and within no time I was flying like a bird !! After about 5-10 minutes of flying in the air, it was time to pull the string since the instructor kept shouting in the mike "India pull .. india pull".

Snorkeling and glassboat ride : It was now time for snorkeling for which we had to travel in a glassboat to reach the spot. Through the glassboat we got to see a trailer of what was awaiting us - the underwater adventure !! Once we reached the ship, we were given the basic instructions about snorkeling and we then had our life jackets on. Within no time we got into water and dipped our face into the sea. It was a bliss to watch the fishes swimming around us !! We swam around for about 15 minutes feeding the fishes with bread.

Turtle island : Once we were done with Snorkeling, it was time to move on to the next spot - Turtle island !! A small island which sheltered a large number of turtles which are now on the endangered list !! Once we reached Turtle island we realized that it was not just turtles. There were snakes, turtles, pelicans, bats, eagles and what not !! One of the main sources of income there was photography.. no wonder we got looted there :P. But I must admit that those pics are memorable.

With this, our water sports and turtle island visit came to an end. We returned to our hotel and freshened up since our travel agent (Venture Out) had organized a romantic Candle light dinner in Queens tandoor.

Though the idea of a candle light dinner was very fascinating, the venue didnt excite us much since Indian restaurants would be better in India than Indonesia :D. The ambiance was such that we had to sit in a darbar style and have dinner. We were greeted with roses and then served with Indian cuisine. We had Indian food after about 3 days !!

This was the end of our 4th day in Bali.

Our last day in Bali was meant for relaxing since there was nothing planned for the day. After packing and going through our memorable moments in Bali, it was time to bid good bye !! Our guide accompanied us to the airport and waved a good bye. Must say that we were fortunate to get a good guide... thanks to 'Venture Out' .. thanks to Ramshai !!

For those of you who are planning a honeymoon/holiday to Bali, here are few points that need to noted..
# Visa on arrival would cost 30 dollar per head
# While departing from Bali you need to pay 1,00,000 rupayya per head without which you will not be allowed to board the plane !!
# Indian currency cannot be exchanged in Indonesia. So you need to carry currency in dollars and convert them to rupayya as and when required.
# While shopping, convert dollars to rupayya and shop with the rupayya else you would lose some amount for no reason !!
# Need some help in planning your trip, 'Venture Out' is the right option !! Below are the contact details
Contact person : Ramshai (Ph : 9886230120)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ooty - Wellington

Johnson bought his new bullet and this had to be celebrated with a bike trip..and off we ripped to Ooty !!

*ing :- Johnson James, Jacob Idiculla, Vijay Claud and Tony Mathai

28th June 2014 : All of us assembled at BEL circle by morning 6 and off we flew to Ooty on 3 bikes - Jacobs CBR, Johnsons Bullet and my Pulsar !! After the Goa bike trip, 350kms to Ooty seemed like an easy task but the bike made the difference. Mid way to Ooty I realized that comfort should be given preference over style for a long ride and this is when I missed my Unicorn !! Vijay had a tough time sitting behind my bike since Pulsar has a split seat which isnt comfortable for a pillion rider !! 

Our first pit stop was the McDonals in Maddur. Our bikes were thirsty for fuel and we were hungry for food !! Once we were done with refueling, we continued our journey 

Our next stop was at the entrance of Mysore. The board "Welcome to Mysore" brought in lot of memories since Johnson, Vijay and me had once cycled to Mysore and we had stopped at the same spot.
Mylari hotel has always been our choice while passing through Mysore but unfortunately the food wasnt as tasty as it used to be before. 
Once we were done with Masala dosa at Mylari we proceeded towards Ooty which was about 180 kms from Mysore. 

Bandipur : Though I had passed through Bandipur several times, this was my first time on bike and I must say that it was a beautiful !! Though we barely saw animals, ride through the jungle was too good !! Lush green trees on both sides and a cool weather !! 

Further ahead we passed through few more jungles and finally reached our destination - Ooty, Our next target was to reach Wellington Cantonment since Subin had arranged for accommodation in the army cant. The bungalow surrounded by trees looked beautiful and we were sure of exploring the Wellington cantonment. After admiring the place for a while, we decided to explore Wellington and Coonnoor. Johnson and Jacob decided to stay back and take rest, 

Dophins nose : Vijay and me started off with Dolphins nose which is a view point in Coonnoor, The scenic beauty didnt excite us much since we had seen better spots in Gavi, Vagamon and North Karnataka. However, the ride I must say was fabulous. Though I had been to the same spot few years ago, I realized its beauty only when I went by bike !! 

Lambs Rock : After Dolphins nose we proceeded towards Lambs rock and the route again, was a bikers dream !! Cemented roads amidst trees we rode and reached Lambs rock. There was a 15 mins walk through Shola forest to reach this spot. We sipped some hot tea and returned to Wellington. 

By now Johnson and Jacob were all fresh after a nap. We spent the rest of the night watching a mallu movie "Vedivazhipaadu" and playing our favorite card game - UNO. 

29th June 2014 : The next morning we woke up, freshened up and vacated the bungalow. Surprisingly the rent was just Rs.288 for 4 of us !! After having breakfast at some restaurant, we headed towards Avalanche view point. After a quick conversation with the localites we realized that Avalanche is very far which would delay our return journey to Bangalore. So we made a quick change in plan and decided to goto an Elephant camp on our way back.

We stopped at few beautiful spots for a photoshoot and reached Madhumalai by lunch. After reaching the elephant camp we decided to go for a jungle safari. Johnson negotiated with the localites in Madhumalai and managed to get a decent deal for Jungle safari. Unfortunately this turned out to be the most boring part of our trip !! Apart from a peacock, elephant and few deers, we couldnt spot anything. We also stopped by some dam which didnt look interesting !! After an hour long jeep drive, we returned to the elephant camp. We then continued our journey and reached Bangalore by night. 

Thanks to Subin for arranging accommodation in Wellington... this sure was an unforgettable Bike trip since we covered about 800 kms in 2 days !! 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Urban valley

After an eventful 9 day trip to Andaman Islands, it was time for a short bike trip and some adventure sports as well, and Urban valley is what we chose. A lake side resort where you can spend your weekend within Bangalore limits !!

*ing : Vijay Claud, Nishchitha Singh, Chalapathy Manoharan, Amrit Sharma, Jacob Idicula, Johnson James, Anu Srinivas, Ranjani Narendra, Bhavya Krishnan and Tony Mathai

Location : Kanakapura road

Activities : Kayaking, Paint ball

Nov 1st 2013 : Chala on his Bullet, Jacob on his CBR, Johnson on his Pulsar, Vijay on his Yezdi and me on my Unicorn !! We gathered at Madiwala by 8 in the morning and off we left to Kanakapura road for some adventure sports. Chala had gathered some info about the place and he was our guide for the day !!

We planned to start off with some water sports and with no further delay headed towards the lake. A beautiful lake with clear water and lush green trees on the background is what we had in mind. But the water turned out to be dirty. Nevertheless, the climate was good and group was superb which is more than a reason to have fun no matter where you are !!

So we quickly got into our Kayaks and started rowing. At one point we even started racing to make it more interesting. Few of us went to the other side of the lake to admire some birds !!
After about half an hour of rowing and racing, it was time to shift to the next activity - Paintball !!

Paintaball : Our host in Urban Valley divided us into 2 teams and we had to play the flag game. Johnson, Ranjani, Amrit, Bhavya and Chala were in one team. Vijay, Nish, Anu, Jacob and me were on the other team. After a tough fight at the battlefield our team finally won since the other team was eliminated when they ran out of bullets :D With this, the paintball session came to an end and we made a move from there.

We had lunch in Vaishnavi hotel which was very close to Urban Valley. I would suggest this is the best place to have food in case you are on Kanakapura road. A little expensive but the taste compensates for the price. Veg biriyani was surprisingly better for a change !!

We had also planned a surprise birthday party for Bhavya at some CCD on the way but failed to work it out. With this our short and sweet trip came to an end and we returned home by late evening. Thanks to Chala for making this happen.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Delhi, Agra, Mussoorie and Punjab : 3 musketeers - When the boys went north !!

After exploring the beauty of south, it was time to venture into the north !! A trip with some minimal planning and maximum benefits from our friend in the army !!

*ing : Johnson James, Jacob Idiculla, Subin Mathews and Tony Mathai

26th Night Johnson and me left from Bangalore by bus to board the Rajdhani express from Mangalore. Jacob had already boarded the train from Trivandrum. After a nail biting bus journey we managed to reach Mangalore railway station just in time. Jacob was waiting near the footsteps of the train to pull us in like Shahrukh in DDLJ :D.. Glad that we made it in time and the railway Gods favored us by delaying the train for a few minutes in Mangalore railway station !!
After a peaceful sleep and comfortable day journey in Rajdhani we were all geared up since the next morning we would be in Delhi. We spent the entire day playing Uno, watching movies and grabbing all the food that came our way !! Our compartment had turned into a mini theatre and funnily, even the north indians were watching the mallu movies that we screened .. wonder what they understood but they laughed along when we laughed :D We then wished our fellow companions Good night and fell asleep !! As per the instructions given by Subin (our friend in the army), we would be meeting a Jawan in the railway station who would guide us on what needs to be done.

28th Dec 2013 : We reached Delhi railway station and we were welcomed by a Jawan who was kind enough to ensure that our luggage reached the cantonment in Punjab so that we roam around Delhi, Dehradun and Agra with minimal luggage. After a quick round of shopping, as suggested by the Jawan we decided to head towards Dehradun, hire bikes and goto Mussoorie. We got into a train and reached Dehradun by late evening. Subin had arranged for stay in an army cantonment in Dehradun. We had a good sleep since we had been travelling a lot.

Dehradun and Mussorie : 29th Dec - We rented bullets from a nearby garrage and headed towards Mussorie. Though it was just 40 kms away, the ride was unforgettable !! 3 of us on 3 bullets we ripped through the narrow roads listening to "Neelakasham songs" (Neelakasham pacha kadal chuvanna bhoomi is a malayalam film about bike trips and this was the theme for our Mussoorie bike trip).After a few pit stops and photoshoots we reached Mussoorie. We visited some sight seeing spots and also tried the ropeway. We then headed towards Lal tiba.

The route to Lal Tiba is truely a paradise for bikers !! The freezing weather made it even more fabulous. A sip of coffee and hot pakodas is something that you would crave for once you reach here !! Unfortunately an old lady scammed us by serving pakodas for Rs.140 !! We then rushed to Dehradun since we had to board the train to Delhi.

Agra : 30th Dec - We reached Delhi and got into a train heading towards Agra. Bad weather delayed the train journey due to which we had to cut short few places that we had planned in Agra.By late afternoon we reached 'Taj Mahal'. Must say I had underestimated Shah Jahan's tribute to his beloved wife. The white beauty made me wonder how passionate a man could be towards his Love and it made me realize why its being considered as one among the 7 wonders of the world !! Behind Taj lies the incomplete construction of Black Taj which Shah Jahan wanted to symbolize himself as the shadow of his Love. Not sure if the story is true but our Guide told us that Aurangzeb had put his dad in prison fearing that Black Taj would empty his pockets and hence black Taj remained a dream !! After admiring the Taj for a couple of hours, we rushed to the railway station to board the train to Punjab.

Abogarh: 31st Dec - We reached Punjab early morning and Subin had come to receive us. We headed towards his Army cantonment and Ann welcomed us with some mouth watering breakfast !! Late afternoon, Subin took us to the Indo Pakistan border located close to Rajasthan. This was the first time I got to see the border and we were even more thrilled that we would be visiting Waga border as well !! After returning from the border we were all set for the new years eve with the army officers. Thanks to Subin we had a good new year celebration after which we returned to Subins place and played Uno till about 2 AM !!

  After the new year bash, we decided to take a break. We visited a park in the cantonment and lazed around till night. Barbecue was planned for Jan 1st. Subin also invited Lt Kernal Paul for the barbecue night. I must say that we had a wonderful time at Subins house.

Amritsar : 2nd Jan - It was time to bid good bye to the Abogarh cantonment. We headed towards Amritsar in Subins car. We started off with Jalianwala bagh

Jallianwala Bagh : Only in history books I had seen the Jallianwala Bagh and now here it was right in front of my eyes !! All that I had read during school days brushed through my mind and I could visualize the horrifying incident !! The bullet marks of the shootout held in 1919 were still visible. We also saw the well into which many had jumped during the shootout. After spending some time at Jallianwala Bagh, we rushed towards Waga border since the parade happens at 6 PM everyday.

Waga boder : Until I reached Waga, all I had in mind was to see the Pakistan border. Never did I think that a parade would look interesting. Once the Parade started I realized the amount of patriotism that flows in us while watching a parade. It was as entertaining as an India-Pak cricket match since the crowd kept cheering from either side of the border. We were fortunate to get a seat close to the border - thanks to Subin again !! 'No mans land' was just a stone-throw away from me !!

Golden temple : After Waga border we headed towards Golden temple in Amritsar. Movies like Rab ne banadi jodi were running in mind when I entered The Golden Temple. A very peaceful place where you can spend as much time as you wish !! We went for a round around the temple and spent barely about half an hour since we had to head back to Railway station.

After visiting the Golden temple, it was time to bid good bye to Subin. We then boarded the train to Delhi. Our north India trip was  almost coming to an end with just one day to spare.

Delhi : 3rd Jan - We reached Delhi by early morning and contacted some tourist agent who took us around Delhi on a one day package.

We started off with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehrus residence. Then proceeded towards Qutub Minar.

Qutub Minar : On our way to Qutub Minar, Jacob told us about a pillar which was popular for a belief that if you put your arms around it and wish for something, it would come true. Unfortunately we werent allowed to attempt fulfilling our wish since the pillar was no longer open for public to put their arms around :P Qutub Minar is yet another name that I had read in the history books !! After spending about half an hour in Qutub Minar, the guide took us to the next spot.

Red Fort : Red fort which is also known as Lal Kila, was yet another contribution of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, built with red sandstone. As we stepped inside, the background music of "Jodha-Akbar" was running in my mind !! It was fascinating to see the courtyard and the ground which was once upon a time meant for the recreational activities of the Mughal emperors !!

Lotus temple : The last spot in our Delhi Itinerary was the Lotus temple. The temple is built in the shape of a Lotus and is the house of worship for the Bahai. It was interesting to know about the Bahai religion and their ideologies on worship !! The temple had pin drop silence inside and it was a delight to see people from all religions assembling together and praying in silence.

We also visited Indira Gandhis residence, India Gate and Raj Ghat. After visiting all these historic places, it was time to head towards the railway station to board the train to Bangalore. This marked the end of our North Indian trip. But to end this we had an eventful journey since we didnt have confirmed tickets to Bangalore. If not 'UNO' I wonder what would have happened to the 3 of us. We started our trip in a royal style and returned like a common man :D  Our return journey which lasted for 40 hours does deserve a write up in detail so stay tuned ,,, !!