When I think about Kerala, the first thing that strikes me is happiness, peace, people, warmth and a place full of life. Where people love to live life to the fullest and enjoy it too. No mad rush, no competition, just lots of colours aptly known as “God’s own country”.
It was now time for Kuta the popular tourist area of Bali known for beaches and resorts and we checked into Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, a dreamful destination. Yes, it’s so big, beautiful and splendid that I would choose to call it a destination rather than a hotel. For a family of 5 who didn’t want to restrict staying at different rooms connected by inter-room phones, we got the perfect solution without compromising on anything. Thanks to the Discovery Suite of the hotel which comprises of 2 bedrooms and 1 living room. The beautiful suite offered a home away from home with a Master bedroom featuring a King bed, private bathroom with tub, sofa, work desk and LCD television. There are also Junior Suites and Family Suites to suit the need for various guests. Well, the guests here rarely ever want to step out thanks to beautiful offerings they have. With 7 restaurants and bars, 9 function spaces, a spa, a fitness center and a spacious sculptured pool, it caters to leisure and business travellers alike. If you want to shop, you can head to Discovery Shopping Mall which is a few steps away. You can read more about the hotel here.
You would have read our first travelogue on Bali which captured our escapades of our journey from Delhi to Seminyak. Since we are trying to give you a full download of our funfilled trip, here we present the second part of our trip- Ubud. In case you missed the first part, you can click here.
A private villa with a gorgeous pool amidst nature is what our Ubud stay was all about. Nature, villa, private pool, luxury, spa, waterfall, zoo, orangutans, tiger, deer… is what we experienced at The Sanctoo Villa located in Bali’s cultural and spiritual heart of Ubud, adjacent to the world-renowned Bali Zoo.
Golden Rules for Bali:
One thing I like about Bali is that it’s a Visa free country so no issues of getting all documents in place to apply for a Visa. One just has to carry flight tickets and currency but I would suggest you to carry hotel reservations as well.
For currency, I took dollars with myself from India as you get a good rate for Indonesian rupiah in exchange of dollars. Central Kuta gives the best rate. There are multiple outlets in Bali.
If you are not taking a packaged tour, it’s important to book the right transport service. I booked my car from Sanura Tours & Travels. We explored a number of places with them. The efficient drivers came on time, the cars were clean, the drivers were friendly, spoke English, and even clicked our beautiful family pictures. Not to forget, they coordinated with us on WhatsApp too and told us about local attractions as well.
Whether you are travelling with kids or as a couple, Bali Zoo is must in your itinerary. Night at the Zoo was about fun with elephants, snakes, deers, kangaroos, lions, sunbears and tigers in their nocturnal habitat- from feeding the lions, tigers, elephants and deers to touching and playing with the deers & kangaroos who loved us too. Taking a Python snake on us was another adventure and experience altogether! Breakfast with Orangutans was also once in a lifetime experience!
Bali Swing is also a must visit if you wanna be captured at a high. Bali Swing houses numerous jungle swings ranging from 10m, to 78m above the ground and everyone has ample options to choose from a total of 18 swings. A spectacular view which overlooks the river, tropical greenery and waterfalls is a given whichever swing(s) you choose along with its own thrill and adventure. So whether you are on a solo trip or are a couple, a family or are accompanied with friends, this is a must visit.
Devil’s Tear was one of the highlights of our trip. A must must visit! Waves come in force and what we see is epic. A rainbow formed in the midst of water. Wow! What a sight. One can just sit there for hours and watch the amazing sight. Me and my family were simply awestruck with the sight. Though, one must be careful going too close to the waves. This was a part of our Nusa Lembongan trip which we booked through Sunrise Fast Cruise Bali.
Once our dates were decided, we thought of checking out the flight which works well according to our itinerary. We checked tariffs and reviews of various flights and zeroed down on Malindo Air. I had taken Malindo Air to Malaysia earlier and loved my experience and had no second thoughts about this one. We were booked on Malindo flight OD 206 which had to fly out from Delhi at 10:05 PM IST and reach Bali Denpasar Airport at 12:15 PM (Indonesia time) with a three hour stop over at Kuala Lumpur. We were happy to see that the flight was on time and after a smooth check-in at the Malindo Air counter, collecting boarding pass, immigration and security check, me and my family were relaxed. With services like extra legroom, inflight entertainment, baggage allowance and meals on board, the flights are just perfect! Regional selections in entertainment section is just what an Indian traveler would love. Another highlight was the meal. I have hated having cold meals in almost every flight whether domestic or international but Malindo was a pleasant surprise. The meals were hot and yum! Such a pleasure!
One of my best memories while growing up is having bhutta from the street vendor. Our bhutta in the dining concept changed to corn chaat as well as corn on the cob. Little did I know that the crop ‘corn’ has 300 variations and types which are coded with numbers. ‘9126’ is grown on heavy soil and has disease resistance power, 9198 is grown on heavy/ medium soil while 9141 is grown on medium soil. What we eat as bhutta or corn on the cob is 2212…Isn’t this so interesting!
Yes, that’s what I discovered at the recently concluded Corn Festival 2019 held at Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh. Honestly, when I got an invitation from Chhindwara District Administration, CM Kamal Nath Ji & MP Government, I wasn’t sure if I should go. Chhindwara is known to be a Tier 3 city and being in a metro we have a perception of how a Tier 3 city looks like. I did my research and said yes to the invitation which I am till date glad about.
I love the vivid culture India has where one gets to learn about different religions as well as their festivities. I have enjoyed the splendour of Christmas as much as I enjoy Diwali so when I got an invitation for a Ramadan Food Walk from Novotel Hyderabad Airport we could not say ‘NO’. After a 2 hour flight we landed in Hyderabad, the City of Nizams from where in a few minutes we entered the plush and beautiful hotel. A look around and I was captivated with the serene surroundings filled with greenery and nature.
Well, if I think of Rajasthan, the first few things which come to my mind are Jaipur, havelis, forts, history…and this time my Rajasthan trip was about all these things except Jaipur. Yes, it was a trip to Bikaner. It was time to visit Gaj Kesri, Bikaner. I did a little research on the property and its website said “Gaj Kesri is a small elegant hotel in the outskirts of Bikaner with easy access to the city and its chief attraction”. The gallery showcased the best of pictures combined with modernity and tradition and I instantly said yes to visit the place.
Always ready to explore the unexplored, we caught an early morning flight (ATR) to Bikaner. It’s the only flight operated between Delhi and Bikaner. I was quite amazed to see the cozy Bikaner airport operated by Indian Air Force where the luggage does not come on a conveyer belt but it’s transported manually. Due to security reasons, photography is not permitted and I controlled my urge to take pictures.
Let me tell you about my third trip to Jaipur, actually first with parents! My first trip to Jaipur was with friends which was after college when we had started working and saved our meagre salary for a trip to the touristy city, my second trip was for my Corporate Communications job and now I am in Jaipur again which is a trip with parents. When parents travel, they want everything to be comfortable and cozy that too at a central location. It wouldn’t have been ok if I had booked a secluded place for our little getaway! At times I become melodramatic! 😉
So we chose Lemon Tree Premier Jaipur to be our abode. Located at Bani Park, Jaipur, the property is known for plush and spacious interiors taking the zing up a notch. The hotel is a short distance away from Collectorate Circle and MI Road in addition to being be easily accessible from the railway station (2.5 kms). Since ours was road travel, it was a smooth drive for us as the hotel is 3 kms from Ajmer-Delhi National Highway. The hotel is also in close proximity to major tourist attractions like Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, City Palace and the walled city of Jaipur. Hence, we were sorted whether we wanted to go for shopping or visiting tourist attractions.