THE GOAN MONSOON.

Showered greenery looked greener as if assessing my subjective vision, clouds wrapped around the fireball like a summer jacket, wind touched through my face before it intermingled with my curls. Sometimes it would rain and other times sun would light up at its best, rebelling the gloom-ridden sky. The sea was overwhelmed to see me as a baby in nanny’s lap is to see his mother, ready to jump but is restricted by the one holding him. Each wave landed nearer to me as if inviting me to play.

img_2916

I have been to Goa a lot of times, every time during peak season but it was different this time as we chose monsoons for our visit. We were looking for a getaway to celebrate my husband’s birthday in August as it collided with a long weekend. We had a few specifications before we finalized a place.

  • Suitable for families, i.e., elders, and kids
  • Had to be very relaxing
  • A place with kids friendly resorts.
  • Luxurious yet budgetary
  • Within India

After a lot of brainstorming, we all decided on Goa. It offered everything we wanted, but our only concern was – Rains! But we anyway went ahead with the bookings with slight apprehension. Since rain was on our mind, we made sure we find an excellent resort to stay just in case we get stuck indoors. And so began our hunt for a memorable weekend.

img_2920

The biggest challenge was to find a suitable place to stay for everyone as we were a group of diverse age groups. Some people wanted to loiter around; some wanted to relax, some wanted to play in pool & sand. So first we shortlisted north goa, as we all know its full of action, well whatever low action season had to offer.

img_3004.jpg

We first went ahead and booked the tickets which were dust cheap well before our travel dates.we shortlisted north goa keeping everybody’s preference in mind, as we all know its full of action, well whatever low action season had to offer. Also, Northside has a lot of eating joints, pubs and shopping places. Beaches in North Goa are at a shorter distance in comparison to South Goa.

After tickets, we started hunting for accommodation. That was the most challenging part as we wanted something with offered comfort, family friendly, near to the beach. North goa does have a lot of options but nothing was fitting with our expectations, the few which were available were also not fitting the bill. Disappointed, we even thought to change to south goa as it’s a hub to best of resorts. We explored all the travel apps, and luckily we spotted a place which looked great to us. It was a villa hotel. We booked a three bedroom villa which was apt for our whole lot. It also meant we stayed connected and had all the privileges of a hotel too. A pool was located a few steps away right in front of our villa which made it so convenient with kids.

img_3002

Tickets check! Hotel check!

We were finally ready to beat the weather.

Goa welcomed us with a gloomy face. It took us an hour to reach our hotel in Candolim. The drive was full of greenery, thanks to the ongoing monsoon. The hotel location was perfect, and it was everything that we expected. Our villa was very spacious, and it opened itself to a pool. Our parents wanted to rest, kids wanted to jump into the pool, and we wished to hog. Happiness is when everybody gets what they want. The hotel served the yummiest food and even customized few things for our palate. Lack of sun and moving air made the weather pleasant.

I secretly was loving the low season.

img_2956

The benefits of traveling during the offseason are many. air tickets, hotels, everything is so dirt cheap in comparison to the high season. Hospitality is at its best due to fewer visitors. Quieter beaches are so blissful. Best time to visit forts etc in my opinion as cloudy weather saves you from the sun.

img_2924

There are some put-downs as well like party scene is also like the season – OFF! {but since it was a family holiday that anyway was not on our priority list}, no water sports and no beach shacks due to high tide, no weekend flea markets etc.

Goa is a paradise for seafood lover and it is sure to satisfy your appetite be it any season. There are a few lovely restaurants which are a must try if you are in Goa, visit Pousada by the beach on Calangute & Thalassa on Vagator being a few of them {these will be more options during peak season as a lot of them are shut during rains}. They offer the perfect view and satiating flavors which are sure to make your day. SERRADURA is a must try Portuguese dessert.

img_2976

Taxi is available in ample or you could hire Activa. Make sure you wear your helmet and carry your license all the time to avoid paying a fine. There are a lot of nightclubs like Club Cabana, LPK & SinQ, they are running even during the offseason. Some of the pubs on the main road have live bands or singers which really built up the ambiance and lifts up the low energy of the season, good for families as well but be ready to bear with smoking and sheesha.

img_3082

Overall, Goa has a vibe which you just can not miss. You can pick your travel season as per your priority. For me, goa is not only a party place but a lot more than that.

TAKE NOTE

If you are a North Indian, especially vegetarian, try only the proper North Indian restaurants as most restaurants can’t make anything else other than Dal Makhni.

Try tasting Serradura at some authentic restaurant rather than from a street-side vendor.

Taxi’s charge as per the time and also as per each destination point.

LPK club has a kids area as well.

Be a responsible traveler. Do not litter on the beaches, please use bins.

Do not drink and drive, hire a cab.

In the end, I would like to add that, Goa is a place to unwind yourself, loosen up a little and go with the flow.

Do tell us about your Goa holiday.

cheers!

LADAKH

“REAL LADAKH STARTS FROM WHERE THE ROAD ENDS.”

Driving amidst the rocky yet picturesque mountains of Ladakh, I realized why it is called “Heaven on Earth.” Each and every scene you hold in your eyes is so vast and overwhelming that you suddenly find your self-conceit ego shrinking and it literally leaves you breathless. It’s tough to tell whether the mountains have risen up or is it the sky who has descended to embrace the colorful sierras of Ladakh.

2

WHAT TO EXPECT IN LADAKH?

Ladakh is full of scenic spots, water bodies, mountain ranges, monasteries. Yet it is not a regular tourist spot or a hill station. Ladakh is an experience which is tough to be jotted down in words.

The biggest concern people have while traveling to Ladakh is LOW OXYGEN LEVEL. However, complete two days rest will help you acclimatize with this issue, especially if you are traveling by air. Remember not to skip this process even though you feel fine after landing because in some time you might feel symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, nausea, suffocation etc. But there’s nothing to worry, give your body some time or you can speak to your guide or hotel staff. Traveling by road will get you accustomed to the climate more easily as you have gradually risen to the altitude. Also, it is mostly in the mind. Keep yourself well hydrated.

3

As per my personal experience, Ladakh is “Not about the destination but about the journey.”  You will majorly find yourself on road in Ladakh driving through the most beautiful landscapes. Expect anything between 3-6 hours on an average to visit the major destinations such as Nubra valley, Khardungla, Changla, Pangong.  

For a smooth journey, good roads are a must which is well-taken care in Ladakh by two major organizations. You would find witty road signs by BRO & HIMANK.

4

There are VERY LESS ENROUTE FACILITIES like places to eat & toilets. You would find small family run restaurants serving maggie, rice dishes, tea etc. Except for Leh, I would not recommend eating non-veg elsewhere as the raw material supply to restaurants takes time to reach. You will find very basic toilets in these restaurants. AVOID USING PUBLIC TOILETS AT MAJOR TOURIST SPOTS as they are unsanitary. You are supposed to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration. However, it will create an urge to release and you might not find any toilets around, so during urgency do not hold yourself and find a spot behind any huge rock or woods.

5

ARMY ARMY EVERYWHERE as you are around the major border area.

“REAL LADAKH STARTS FROM WHERE THE ROAD ENDS.”

-one of the quotes I came across during my visit to THE HALL OF FAME.

6

There are NO LUXURY ACCOMMODATIONS in Ladakh but small basic hotels are quite comfortable. There are daily life challenges in Ladakh due to its geographical setup that is also faced by hotels sometimes, so always remember you are in Ladakh and not in a city loaded with fancier options.

7

A hub for BUDDHIST MONKS & MONASTERIES. The whole of Ladakh is decorated with colorful prayer flags and they look so beautiful fluttering with the wind. They believe that a prayer is said as the wind blows through them. Visit LAMAYURU to understand the religion at its best. If you are looking for a dose of enlightenment and luck is by your side, you might encounter a RAIPONCHE {reincarnation of a great soul.}

8.png

BEST TIME TO VISIT LADAKH.

APRIL – MID-SEPTEMBER is the best time to visit Ladakh, JULY & AUGUST being the best months. Don’t worry about monsoon as being a cold dessert, Ladakh doesn’t experience a lot of rain.

THINGS TO DO AND VISIT.

  • Visit NURLA VALLEY and experience hall of fame, magnetic hill, confluence, moonland, pathar saheb gurudwara etc on your way.
  • KHARDUNGLA PASS, the highest motorable road in the world.
  • NUBRA VALLEY for sand dunes and double hump camels.
  • The most scenic place to visit is  PANGONG LAKE {3 idiot fame}
  • RIVER RAFTING at the Zanskar river.
  • visit the CONFLUENCE.
  • Try ginger lemon tea.
  • Try the ladakhi food.
  • Try any GERMAN BAKERY.
  • Buy APRICOTS AND APRICOT JAM.

9

WORD OF CAUTION

AVOID TAKING KIDS as I have already mentioned it’s not a regular hill station. Younger kids cant explain if they are feeling unwell.

DO NOT LITTER the place when you visit. Due to increased tourism, you would find plastic bottles, cans, polybags at the major tourist areas. LET IT REMAIN A HEAVEN.

TAKE AMPLE OF REST in Leh to avoid getting unwell. Talk to your doctor before planning a trip.

DO NOT sleep during en route.

LADAKH IS AN EXPERIENCE ONE OF ITS KIND. YOU CAN NOT MISS IT.

Cheers!!

Continue reading “LADAKH”