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Solo Female Travel to Thailand

How to Solo Female Travel in Thailand

From the serene Phi Phi Islands to the iconic Grand Palace, there’s something for every kind of traveler in Thailand, and it’s not hard to grasp why this Southeast Asian country has dominated the tourism industry without putting in much effort. Needless to say, Thailand is one of the best solo travel destinations with friendly people wherever you go. After all, it isn’t called the ‘Land of Smiles’ for no reason. However, I understand that the prospect of solo female travel can unleash some anxiety, which is why I have created this guide comprised of tips and tricks to inspire some confidence in a lone female traveler. 

  • Bring with you appropriate clothing

Although, the perception around Thailand being a laid-back and easy-going country is true, with a significant number of its population being Buddhist, it is pretty religious too. Even though, you can wear bikinis without restraint on the beaches, but hanging around in the streets, shops or restaurants while you have donned on revealing clothing is considered disrespectful. 

In addition to that, I am going to assume that while you are in the country, you are going to want to visit the temples. In that case, it is absolutely imperative for you to cover yourself. Be sure to carry with you a shawl or a scarf to cover your head, shoulders or chest while you enter a religious site. Not only adhering to the scarf/shawl tip would make your time in Thailand more enjoyable and problem-free but you would also be able to shield yourself from the scorching sun.

One more thing that you should bear in mind is that the Royal Family in Thailand is also conservative, so you should essentially be respectful when you are visiting any of the Royal Buildings. 

  • Avoid going on the beach at night

Even though, there haven’t been a whole lot of concerning incidents on the beaches of Thailand, you should better be safe than sorry. Beaches at night are usually unlit and you never know who might be lurking there with impure intentions. So, avoid going to the beach alone at night. Apart from that, we understand that staying in an accommodation on the beach might seem really tempting and the idea of having the liberty to easily watch the sunrise at the beach is too good to pass up on, but I would advise against it. The reason being, you don’t want to go by the unlit beach to get to your accommodation when you return late at night, especially if you are a solo female. In fact, I’d advise you to take the hotel room in a well-lit area where it is easy for you to meet up other backpackers or female travelers. 

  • Catcalling and harassment is non-existent but it can happen

With catcalling and street harassment being almost negligible in the country, it is almost surreal how pleasant Thailand is. However, even though these things don’t happen commonly, they still can happen and you should be cautious. While it is almost unlikely to get harassed by a Thai, there are a lot of foreigners in the country and you never know what kind of person you might run into. In such cases, you should do what you would do in any other country, which is to carry on with your business and ignore them. Your demeanor should always be composed and confident so that harassers aren’t able to intimidate you.

  • Always be cautious of your bag

The biggest problem, I hope you don’t come across in Thailand is bag snatching. To be specific, bags are snatched by driving-by motorcyclists so quickly that you don’t have time to think or react to what just happened. Therefore, it is absolutely not advised that you wear your hand bag on one shoulder or even over your head and across the body because what the thieves tend to do is that they cut off the strap. So, always keep one hand grasping your bag and stay away from road sides where there is the danger of getting robbed. Additionally, keep your phone in your front pocket rather than the back pocket and if you do happen to get mugged then go to the police as soon as you can and tell them as many details as you can so that they can locate your belongings. 

  • Don’t touch monks

Monks all around Thailand can easily be seen. It is forbidden for monks to ever touch a woman so you need to be respectful of their belief and not touch them either. Monks will typically not interact with women or even sit next to them in buses or any other public transportation. So, if you find a seat free next to a monk then don’t think it is okay to go and sit next to them because they will likely get up. 

If you want to give something to a monk, the right way to do it is to put it on the floor and pass it to him or give it to a man to pass it on.  

  • Read the labels

Many Thai products have been known to have bleach in them. It can be disconcerting for a lot of women which is why I urge you to always read the ingredients in the products you are going to purchase. Typically, products like deodorants and creams contain bleach in them while other times you may also find bleach in things you would least expect to be contaminated.

Conclusion:

Travelling to Thailand can be an extremely rewarding experience but your time there can become better by a tenfold if you are respectful to little things that matter to the locals. Covering up yourself, being respectful to the traditions and monks can seem very trivial but they can surely go a long way and if you do adhere by these tips then I assure you that you will get nothing but smiles throughout your trip. 

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10 Things to Do in Peru, Besides Visiting Machu Picchu

Anyone planning a trip to Peru sets out with one mission: to witness one of the seven wonders of the world, which is Machu Picchu. Even though we totally support your decision to have the magnificent Inca citadel on your top priority, we want to encourage you to see the rest of Peru as well. However, it is quite customary for tourists to not know what to do in the country as Machu Picchu diverts all the attention away. So, keeping that in mind, we have created this list to better inform you about the rest of the amazing and breathtaking places that are out there in Peru that would make a great hotspot for tourists. So, without further ado, let’s get started girls!

  • Explore the rainbow mountains

Rainbow mountains are an incredible masterpiece of nature. They have very quickly gained a lot of good name and attracted a whole lot of tourists. Apart from this site being absolutely magnificent, it is just outside of Cusco, which is why tourists can easily make their way there. So, when you are in Cusco, consider taking a day trip to the mountains or if you have a few extra days to spare the make sure to have a multi-day trekking experience. 

  • Visit the Sacred Inca valleys

You don’t have to be a history buff to marvel at the beauty of the Sacred Valley. Speaking in geographical terms, the Sacred Valley meets the Urubamba River from Pisac. Apart from the ruins and historical sites, the valley is famous for its stunning landscapes and flourishing agriculture.

It is quite convenient to arrange trips to the Sacred Valley from Cusco and if you are interested in a guided tour then those are very commonly available too.

  • Surf at the Mancora Beach

Peru is a melting pot of ancient culture. If you are taking a trip to the country, it is quite likely that most of your time will be spent exploring archeological sites, ancient culture and ruins. Once you are done doing the touristy things, you are going to want to spend some time relaxing before you head back home. So, for that, we suggest that you had to the Mancora Beach in the Pacific and unwind. If you have a little more energy left though, you should consider hitting the waves with your surfboard. 

  • Go to Cusco via the Andean Explorer

If you know someone who has been to Peru then chances are, they have told you about one of the 10 most amazing train journeys that goes right through Peru. The hype around the Andean Explorer is all for good reason because the breathtaking vistas of the Altiplano make it worth the 10-hour train ride. You can still go by plane if you don’t have as many days to spare but if you do, don’t miss on the opportunity of going on this scenic train ride. 

  • Witness the Maras Salt Mines

The Maras salt mines are one of the most amazing places to see in Peru. These are basically salt evaporation ponds that are built on top of each other almost like small terraces. These salt mines are older than Machu Picchu and historians believe that they have been around for more than 1,000 years. 

  • Go to Moray

If you are going to Maras to see the salt mines, you should take a trip down to Moray. Moray is only a few kilometers away from Maras but the landscape you will be able to see there is nothing short of out of this world. Many people say that the Inca site almost looks as if it was visited by aliens. Most historians claim that Moray was probably a ritual garden in the ancient times or an agricultural laboratory. The most astounding factor is believed to be the individual climate every step has. 

  • Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is at one point or the other in everyone’s bucket-list. Whether you are a solo female travelling or on women only holidays, the Amazon rainforest is a great place for adventures which are like no other. From seeing pink dolphins to witnessing mysterious tapirs, Amazon rainforest and river is sure to leave a great first impression on you and your girlfriends. 

  • Sandboard near the Huacachina Oasis

Peru has such a wide range of offerings, so much that one day you can be exploring the wildlife of the Amazon and the very next day you can find yourself in the middle of the desert feeling as if you are in the middle of the Sahara and not in South America. The Huacachina Oasis is surreal and it proves to be a great place for people who are into sandboarding or dune buggy riding. 

  • Witness the Nazca lines from above

If you have done your research on Peru then it is quite likely that you have read about the Nazca lines. These lines are located in the Nazca desert, south of Peru. The best way to witness them is to get on mini planes offering their services in the area. Once you are up in the air, take your due time to appreciate their grandeur and mystic nature. However, if you are afraid of getting on a plane then you can get on the surrounding foothills to look at them. 

  • Check out the Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is Peru’s take on the Grand Canyon. With a jaw-dropping depth of 3,270 meters, the majestic Colca Canyon is home to the Andean condor which after years and years of efforts of preservation can finally be seen again and that too in its natural habitat. The Colca Canyon is the third most visited site of Peru and it is well known for the trekking adventure that it offers. In addition to the spectacular views, you get to witness secluded villages and immerse yourself within their tradition, which makes you known to real life of Peruvians. 

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10 Things to do if you’re traveling to Turkey!

YOU ARE WELCOME SISTUURRS !

From vibrant cities such as Istanbul and Ankara where you can see the old and the new mingle seamlessly to the scenic coastal areas such Antalya and Marmaris where you can relax at the beach or dive from a cliff, Turkey, the land of the crescent moon, truly has it all. Whether your flight is to Istanbul or Antalya, this culturally rich country surely makes a great first impression which leaves a lasting result. Turkey is especially a great option for women travel or solo travel as not only is it quite easy to find cheap rooms but you can rent room for rent as well. This land comprised on the huge land of 783,562 km2 stretching from Asia to Europe is abundant in its offerings and for tourists, it is quite customary to get overwhelmed and feel confused about the places that require a must visit or the things that should necessarily be done. So, if you planned a trip to turkey and feel like you are in the same boat of utter confusion then here are 10 things that you should do during your visit.

  • Go for a natural sauna in Pamukkale

Pamukkale, an eternal landmark is a place that shouldn’t be missed out on while in Turkey. The name Pamukkale is derived from the Turkish word Pamuk which means cotton and rightfully so, as the terraces flooding with the mineral-rich water resemble nothing short of a cotton castle. Pamukkale is a UNESCO site and millions of people have come here for thousands of years to bathe in its warm pools. Initially there were a lot of hotels that were using the site as its backyard but ever since it was declared a world heritage site they were required to be torn down. So, if you are already a lot impressed then imagine what seeing this place for real would feel like. So, be sure to have it in your itinerary.  

  • Fly into the Goreme horizon

If all that Goreme had was its historic caves, it would still blow people’s minds away. Add the additional factor of the hot air balloons and it becomes almost mystical. People that have been on a hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia claim it to be magical and spiritual. Some say that you feel like you are on another planet. Living up to its Instagram standards, the hot air balloon ride in Cappadocia is something that should be on your bucket list. 

Hot air balloons go up in the air almost every day, unless the weather conditions don’t allow it which is usually very rare so you’d be more than likely good to go up.

  • Cruise between the continents in Bosporus

Istanbul is divided into two continents: Asia and Europe, and the views of either side are nothing short of spectacular. Istanbul has one of the most amazing skylines in the world and what better way to soak it in than from a ferry on the Bosporus. So, when you land in Istanbul, be sure to get tickets for the Bosporus cruise and find yourself in two places at once .

  • Soak in the view of Uzungol 

Trabzon is one of the most important cities of the Black Sea region and located South of it is Uzungol, which is one of the most popular areas for urban dwellers who are interested in spending some time amongst the mountains and trees of Turkey. Uzungol is the best place to unwind if your trip is meant for relaxation and the view is nothing short of extraordinary. So, if you have a day or two to spare then be sure to head North East of Turkey. 

  • Soak in the sun at the Gumbet beach

Once you have checked out the Black Sea, it’s time to head south to get adventurous on the beaches along the Mediterranean Sea. The golden sandy beaches at the South of Turkey offer some of the most breathtaking views and Bodrum stands out among all of the other cities for its beaches. Bodrum is quite close to Greece so when you visit the beaches you won’t be able to differentiate whether you are in Turkey or Greece. Head to the Gumbet beach as it’s a beautiful, clean beach that offers visitors free umbrellas and day beds to lounge on and soak in the sun.

  • Soar above Mount Babadag

Other than visiting the beaches, the most popular thing to do in the South of Turkey is to paraglide above the emerald blue waters around Fethiye. There are plenty of paragliding service providers that take you up the Mount Babadag where you can try your hand at paragliding. The view is the cherry on top on this once in a lifetime experience. However, if you can’t think of jumping off a mount sober, then grab drinks from the restaurant right next to the take off place to calm your nerves. 

  • Walk through Saklikent Gorge

Since you are heading to Fethiye for your paragliding trip, we would advise you to visit the Saklikent National Park while you are at it. This canyon is incredible with its depth of 300 meters. It is stretched for 18 kilometers. This national park offers a great day trip so be sure to head there. 

  • Visit the Hagia Sophia

You can’t go to Turkey and not visit Hagia Sophia. This landmark is the most important Byzantine sites ever built. Originally Hagia Sophia was built as a Greek Church and later used as a Muslim Mosque but now it functions as a museum.

  • Chill at the Duden Waterfalls

Duden Waterfalls are a great place to visit when in Antalya. It’s basically used as a picnic area by both the locals and the expats. Located 10 kilometers north of the city center of Antalya, you can take a day trip to this place.

  • Head to Aspendos

Just south of Antalya, is the stunning and iconic mammoth bulk of the Roman Theater of Aspendos. It is thought to be the finest sustaining instance of a classical age theater still standing in the world, which is why you should definitely pay it a visit. 

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This International women’s day, let us look at a few solo female travelers who made daring adventurous quests across the globe.

We are already 20 years into the 21st century but being a solo woman traveler is still not easy.  Granted there are a lot safer destinations in this era but the task itself is as mammoth as it gets. Even a single journey requires zillions of preparations, challenges, and security precautions.  Now imagine what women faced a century or two ago when the times where more ominous and discouraging for the fairer sex.

This International Women’s day, let us look at a few solo female traveler who made daring adventurous quests across the globe, breaking through the norms of society and shattering the chains of cultural perceptions of that time. 

Jeanne Baret:  The Fair Maiden of the seas.

Mid-1700’s: The infamous French revolution of the peasants was around the corner. Only half a century had passed since France started expanding its colonies and gained extraordinary power across the European region but somehow the gap in between the riches of the nobles and the ordinary citizens grew in leaps and bounds.  In these disturbing times, an ordinary woman made extraordinary history.    

Jeanne Baret was born in a low peasant family who made their living of the herbs they collected from the lush mountains near her village.  She married Philibert Commerson, a naturist and a nobleman who was a famous botanist of that time.  Her adventure started when Commerson was invited as a botanist in residence on a French expedition to discover new provinces for France.  It might seem as a plot from a movie but what transpired next was in reality a feat of daring events.   Jeanne Baret boarded the ship but not as Jeanne but Jean, her husband’s male assistant.  Wrapping her chest in linen every day, she made sure not to reveal her true identity in front of the other crew members.  Eventually the crew found out about her but by that time, she had already made an extra ordinary history by becoming the first woman to circumnavigate the world.

Raymonde de Laroche:  Legend of the Winds.

The day Raymonde de Laroche made her solo flight, creating history as the first woman to do so is also befittingly celebrated as International Women’s day.   From been known as an aspiring actress, Baroness (cheekily bestowed by the Flight Magazine), daughter of a plumber etc. to been hailed as the champion of the air, de Laroche beat all the odds against her.  

It was a casual suggestion by aviation pioneer Charles Voisin that made de Laroche set her sights on this perilous life-staking endeavor.  Planes were a rather new phenomenon and its technology was in nascent stages.  The dangers and challenges of operating something relatively new, that even the ablest men would not attempt did not hamper her aspirations and she started her lessons at the French airfield at Camp de Chalon’s, about 90 miles east of Paris.  Her wings first took flight on October 22, 1909, and less than a year from that day, on March 8, 1910, which is also celebrated as International Women’s day – de Laroche was awarded a pilot’s license from Federation Aeronautique International and became the first woman pilot.

Her achievements did not end there.  She went on to win the infamous Coupe Femina (a women’s-only aviation competition) in 1913 for a successful flight of more than four hours and also set the women’s altitude record in 1919 by ascending to 15,700 feet cementing her legacy in the world of aviation and inspiring women across the world.

Amelia Earhart: Falcon of the blue sky.

Following on the footsteps of de Laroche and inarguably one of the most inspirational women of all time, Amelia Earhart made history time and again.  Tough to the bone, she became the first woman to fly nonstop solo across the Atlantic Ocean, a rather deadly feat that was achieved by only one person before her.   She went on to conquer more and… more she did.  A few months after her first feat, she made another solo nonstop flight across the United States, from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, setting a new a new record of time and distance by a solo female pilot.  Then again went on to be the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the continental United States.  

However, flying was not the only passion she nurtured in her lifetime.   Her talents varied across many domains.  From designing her own lines of clothing’s, to lobbying congress for aviation legislations, to writing about women’s issues for famous magazines, Earhart had always made an impact on the aspirations of the women across the globe. 

Her never go down with a fight attitude summarizes in one of her quotes.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward – Amelia Earhart    

Freya Stark:  The Adventurous Bond with a pen.

A woman who had lived through two world wars and travelled half the war torn world with only her wits and extraordinary tenancy to explore the unexplored.  The tales of her extraordinary life echo far and wide throughout time and distance.  Born in Paris in 1983 to an artist couple, by the time she had finished college, Freya was already a Polyglot who was fluent in French, German and Italian.   

After serving as a nurse during the First World War, she returned to London and took courses at the School of Oriental Studies.  During her time in the school, some kind of mystical inspiration or just unquenchable curiosity prompted her to travel to the east.  East towards Lebanon, the Biblical land of “Milk and Honey” and here started her life-long love affair with the mysterious Middle East where thrilling adventurous lay forth in abundance.       

Armed with her prowess over languages, Freya mastered Persian (Farsi) and set out for Persia (Iran) with just a local guide and a mule.  Her destination was the enigmatic and mysterious remote valley of the Assassins and after she had reached her haven, she became the first Westerner to identify it on a map. 

During World War II, she was employed by the British Ministry of Information in other Middle East regions such as Aden, Baghdad, Cairo etc. where she used her knowledge of the domain and its people to counteract Nazi propaganda. Her adventures did not end then and even after suffering through bouts of measles and heart troubles, she continued her travels, making a mark for herself in the unknown ambiguous world.  

Le retour à la vie

par Mouna Douab 

En grandissant, nous avons parfois ce désir de vouloir planifier notre futur à la lettre et pourquoi pas quand nous avons un monde de possibilité qui nous attend. Mais qu’arrive-t-il quand l’imprévu trouve sa place sur notre chemin. Je venais tout juste de commencer ma première année en droit quand j’ai appris que j’étais malade.

Je pense que l’inconnu était ce qu’il y avait de pire, ne pas savoir ce qui allait m’arriver. Heureusement, je n’ai jamais baissé les bras et me voici devant vous. 

Dans des moments de la vie où on ne sait plus trop quoi faire de soi, nous n’avons plus rien à perdre. J’avais toujours voulu voyager et explorer ce que ce monde avait à offrir. Je ne savais pas ce que partir pouvait m’apporter, mais il était clair que rester n’était plus une option.

À ma sortie de l’hôpital, la première chose que je m’étais empressé de faire : réserver mon premier billet d’avion. Peu de temps après le deuxième et sans m’en rendre compte, j’en étais à mon septième. 

À la recherche de quelque chose que je ne croyais pas pouvoir trouver ici, je m’envolais vers l’inconnu. Au Maroc, j’ai réappris l’importance de la famille. Au Mexique, j’ai nagé dans les plus belles plages de ce monde en plus d’apprendre ce qui arrivait quand on buvait un peu trop de tequila. En Australie, j’ai rencontré les gens les plus incroyables, mais j’ai aussi compris l’importance d’être seule. Pendant 2 ans, j’ai voyagé, ressenti et vu des choses dont je ne pouvais que rêver de vivre. Toutefois, c’est seulement lors de mon dernier voyage que j’ai compris ce qui m’avait poussé à partir au départ. 

Dès l’instant où mes pieds ont franchi la terre d’Haléakala à Maui, mon esprit y prit refuge. À cet instant, je me suis sentie envahi par une paix inexplicable. Les couleurs orange, jaunes, bleues, vertes dessinaient chaque recoin du volcan avec une telle délicatesse et le calme des nuages les caressait purement par envie. Je m’étais empressé de mettre ma main sur mon cœur pour m’assurer que c’était bien lui qui battait si vite en moi.

Je ne sais pas si c’était les nuages, la vue à couper le souffle ou bien le vent froid, mais mon esprit ressenti absolument tout de cet endroit. Je pense que j’étais choquée et émotionnelle de retrouver autant de beauté dans les paysages les plus simples de ce monde.

J’ai compris que j’étais peut-être comme ce volcan. Un écosystème qui même après éruption avait la possibilité de dessiner sur ses cicatrices des couleurs d’une beauté sans pareil.

Haléakala m’avait fait rappeler à quel point j’étais heureuse d’avoir les yeux pour voir cette vue, d’avoir les oreilles pour entendre ce calme, d’avoir le nez pour sentir ce vent et d’avoir une bouche pour pouvoir apprécier le silence.

Et c’est à ce moment-là que j’ai réalisé: là voilà la raison de mon départ!

J’ai toujours tout simplement voulu me sentir… vivante.

The story of a solo female traveler who wanted to travel to one of the most unsafe places on earth for a single woman.

I had been willing to travel to India!  The mesmerizing country that bounds to enchant travelers across the globe.  A country of vast cultures and different environments. 

My first trip was with a local welfare group that helps children in need across the world.  The group explores the possibilities of reaching out and providing assistance for health needs, sanitation, education etc.  The duration was short but it left a deep desire in me to explore more.  More of what India had to offer.  Maybe it was the sudden cultural shock or maybe it was simply the thrill of the call for an uncharted adventure.  

The next trip took me a while to plan.  For the first one, I had company.  Things were planned in advanced from the group’s end and all I had to do was follow suit.  This time it was trickier and I was literally blank as to where I should start.  

I was a Solo female traveler who incidentally wanted to travel to one of the most unsafe places on earth for a single woman.  I had my thoughts: the insecurity, fear, if’s and don’ts.  Emotions running wild breaking my spirit bit by bit.

Fortunately, I had already visited my destination once and learnt a few tricks to handle on my own.  I decided to start from there.  The first thing that came to my mind is making a list.  A list of ironclad rules to abide by if I had to make this journey and come out victorious.

The first rule on my list was to ensure utmost safety for myself.  I started to explore the options laid in front of me.  It took days just to get a grasp of how vast the variations of cultures lay across the country.  Cities were a lot safer but again the safe spot differed depending on where I wanted to set up my tent.  The second pointer in my list was to make sure I had easy access to my go to destination or at-least have people nearby who I could travel with for my purpose of been there.  The third and the other most important thing was that I had someone to guide me.  I wanted to feel safe and stay safe.  Hence, I wanted someone native and trustworthy to point to the right direction. Someone with immense knowledge about the local community.  Of course, other things were also on my list, like cleanliness of the lodgings and the food available on the menu. Something more like a home away from home. 

I started to make a list of the cities I would visit first.  Delhi, Agra and Jaipur: the golden triangle were my first preference.  There were multiple reasons to choose these but the most important one was the people here are more open to foreign tourists.  My first visit also enlightened me to stay away from the frauds that the local guides and drivers pull on foreign visitors, which is why I had to explore for a trustworthy native guide before I made the journey.  

Booking a stay in advance and making an itinerary is a hassle beyond miserable but fortunately, we have the internet and blogs with reviews of people who had personal experiences while travelling before.  I insisted on reviews given by women in particular and made my decisions accordingly.  I did not choose a hotel room or a lodge but instead zeroed on a home sharing space for women because it was highly recommended by solo or women only travelers.  Not all are great nor can we completely rely on them but we can get a gist of what is in store for us when we make the trip.

With all my plans and itinerary in place, I made the leap and landed in Delhi.  I wanted a tour of “Purani Dilli” a more common name for old Delhi.  It was the core hub of the ancient culture of the city.  My stay was at Pahargunj just a couple of miles away from my destination.  The home space lived up to its reputation and reviews and so did the host.  She was an elderly woman who could make some of the best ‘Chole Baturey – A type of puffed up tacos served with a lip smacking beans curry’.

Red Fort, Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk were my first destinations in Delhi.  I was awestruck by the sheer size and the marvelous architecture of these ancient constructions.  Agreed the traffic is insane, I mean really insane but all the hassles and the time spent were worth it.   I thought I have gotten over with the cultural shock after my first visit but I was completely wrong.  I had a lot to experience and a lot more to learn.  From the jammed packed streets where you find a person per square foot to the massive market that surrounded these majestic structures, everything left a deep impression on my already confused intellect.  People here seemed to not have enough time.  It was work and work and work and eat of course.  P.S Old Delhi or “Purani Dilli” as it is fondly called is also the go to food destination of this large city.  After a few first time psyche jolts, I started to enjoy the experience.  The shopping market is vast, more like a city in the city itself and are divided into different sections.  You could shop for traditional dresses in Chandni Chowk or splurge on ethnic jewelry with a rustic rural visage.     

Day one was a huge success.  Now I had to explore the other destinations on my list.  I went back to my home sharing space and after a satisfying meal retired on my comfortable and clean bed.

The next morning I got up early and a hot cup of tea was served in my room.  The feeling of standing in the balcony with a hot cup of tea to sip on as the cold wind brush across one’s face with a view of the majestic Red Fort is indescribable.  

Today’s itinerary was towards the opposite direct of the city.  My destinations were the Qutub Minar and India Gate.  I wanted to visit the Jantar Mantar too but my last trip made me a little wiser.  I knew that traffic would be an issue here and did not want to rush things. These sites were in close proximity and I had already planned the time I had to spend there.  Note that I have not yet hired a local guide since these were all within the city limits and I did not plan to be out after six in the evening.   

New Delhi is completely different from Old Delhi in terms of infrastructure and environment.  This part of the city is appropriately planned and has a modern outlook to it.  High rising structures and well-laid roads greet you all the way.  However, one experience remains constant all through.  The experience of going through a hell lot of traffic.  Even with wide roads and well-organized infrastructure, I had to spend hours to get to my first destination.  I started early to reach India Gate upon the Lady’s advice and it really worked for me or I would have been stuck in the notorious Delhi traffic for God knows how long.

I reached my destination and was honestly not shocked.  I came to terms with the fact that there would be many visitors at this WW1 memorial too and was not surprised by the crowd.  Families and visitors from across the world walked across the huge sprawling grounds.  The experience was more modern than what I had felt in ‘Purani Dilli’ but still memorable to the best.  Local vendors were selling all sorts of food and stuff.  Overall, the experience was great but I had to hurry to my next destination: The Qutub Minar, maybe upon my next visit I would spend more time here but not today!

How best can I describe the feeling when I first saw the tall heritage structure in the middle of the city? AMAZED! 

Almost a millennium old, the sandstone minaret towers in the middle of other historical sites.  The chaos across the site did not bother me nor hamper my desire to explore the history engraved all across the site.  For some reason I could not stop from taking as many photos as possible.  The spectacular architecture, well preserved to last, made a dramatic impression on my mind.   

The place was clean and like other tourist places, it had its fair share of street vendors.  However, I chose to avoid the street food knowing the limitations of my appetite.  I already had a good meal near India Gate and wanted to make sure that I do not get sick in the moment of sudden excitement.  The park closes at 5pm and it was the right time for me to head back to my homestay (Did not want to take chances in the night).  There are many more places to explore in Delhi, Jantar Mantar, and Humayan Tombs etc. but for now, I am taking a small break.

Before I end this blog, I would like to share a few tips that I learnt from my experience here.

  1. If you are a solo women traveler or a couple of females or if you are travelling alone with your children, its best to choose a Homestay.  Especially the ones that are managed by women.  Tends to have more company and safety than the normal hotels and lodgings.
  2. Do not be carried away in the excitement of the moment and overstay your adventure.  It is best to be back by the setting of the sun to your place of rest.  
  3. Large cities are generally safe but to be sure keep the local authority’s numbers handy.
  4. Limit your diet and make sure to eat from a well-reviewed establishment. 
  5. While travelling to smaller towns or off beaten paths make sure to have company or a trustworthy guide/local.  It makes a lot of positive impact in your overall experience and safety.
  6. Try to wear less revealing clothes if you want to avoid any hassles.  India is yet to accept the western culture and the locals generally have a negative view on western clothing.  Wearing a three-piece salwar is what I recommend.  It gives a sense of respect to the locals and they tend to not mind your presence.
  7. Keep your belongings safe.  Especially your handbags and phones. There are multiple instances of snatchings that occur in crowed places.
  8. Last but not the least. Be safe, play safe.

How to travel the world on a shoestring budget

Traveling broadens our minds but it has a tendency of narrowing our wallets as well.

This doesn’t have to be the case though. Gone are the days when limited funds would dampen your dreams and curiosity of exploring new places and indulging in different cultures.

If your bank account is overflowing, being a budget conscious traveler will only help you travel more, to even better destinations. Check out some frugal travel tips for an astounding international experience even when your account is frowning at you.

Travel offseason  

This might sound pretty obvious but traveling during off-peak season is one of the easiest and smart ways to cut costs. Maybe the weather will be a little bit harsh- a little bit cooler, or some days of rainfall but common! Does that even matter? After all, you’ll have the beaches all to yourself.

Be open to new destinations 

Countries with a lower cost of living generally would save you a lot of bucks. Most people get weary of traveling internationally because the air ticket might seem expensive. But come to think of it, your plate of dinner back home can pay for a pretty decent hotel somewhere in Africa or Asia.

The recent growing appeal of countries in South America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America is in part due to the fact that they’re more affordable and the cost of living is relatively lower compared to other parts of the world.

Do some research (and some math) on exchange rates and take advantage of that. Trust me, once you handle the air ticket, the rest will be a blissful experience.

Be flexible with flight booking dates

This might mean that you won’t have a fixed traveling date since you have to wait for a chance to arise for a last minute deal. Alternatively, you can decide to book your flight months earlier which also offer some luring discounts instead of booking a week before your traveling day.

And of course, the cheapest day of the week to travel is definitely not the weekend! As long as you are open to taking a red-eye flight on a weeknight you can expect to strike a golden chance of traveling cheap! At the end of the day, the flying experience remains the same.

Be open to modern accommodation options 

Thank goodness the 21st century is here and home sharing is an option.  It provides a cheaper alternative for a hotel and a cozier option than a hostel. Sororitie should be your first choice especially as a female travel as it’s dedicated to building safety and trust for women looking to travel abroad.

All-inclusive hotel deals might seem like a great idea but you end up paying for the convenience of not planning anything on your own and it doesn’t offer much flexibility either.

Travel with friends

Lastly yet importantly, never underestimate the power of tagging your friends along in a budget conscious trip. The cost-sharing really saves a lot of money. Don’t be shy to share a hotel room with a couple of friends- after all, you’ll be out and about sightseeing so you’ll be in the room only at night. More to it, a bottle of wine is best shared by two or more.

Living Like a Local in Beautiful Paris

Stunning France has a timeless appeal, with its amazing wine, fabulous food and incredible history.

They say there’s a certain je ne sais quoi about France and I can’t help but agree – from makeshift picnics with delicious wine to spirited conversations in Parisian cocktail bars, I always feel joyful in France.

While there’s no bad way to enjoy the country, experiencing it with help from a local adds so much – especially in Paris. While there’s, of course, the beautiful sights that everyone knows about, there is also much in the city that is far from the pages of a guidebook.

That’s why I was so glad to arrive at the home of Aurelie, who welcomed me to her 11th arrondissement apartment with a warm smile and traditional kiss on each cheek. Like most Parisian apartments, hers was compact but effortlessly stylish. I noticed lots of books on her bookshelf and knew we would get along.

Over the next three days, I loved exploring the more hidden sights of Paris on her recommendation. I visited a market in front of the Palais de Tokyo, buying as many cheeses as I could carry and heading to the gardens of the Pallais Galliera for a makeshift picnic.

 Arriving at the Marché de Barbès market under a train line took a bit more navigation on the Metro but was an amazing opportunity to see a true local market and pick up some affordable souvenirs, including a beautiful scarf.

Market Barberes

 

I also headed out to Bercy on the city’s outskirts, a place historically associated with wine. I walked through the beautiful Promenade de Plantée with its Roman aqueduct and plethora of flowers. Once I got to the end, a stop in at a cute little bistro to enjoy a glass of French champagne and a croissant seemed only fitting.

Perhaps my favourite experience, however, was when Aurelie took me to a cabaret and dinner show in Montmartre. The food was absolutely delicious, and the comedians and singers were so entertaining (even though I had to work hard to follow along in my rudimentary French!)

 

Cabaret Show

The best part of the night, however, was simply chatting with Aurelie about live in France and Australia, as well as everything else we could think of. Books, music, our careers and plans for the future – it all came up over a glass (or two) of Bordeaux. It felt so nice to feel like I had a real friend in beautiful Paris.

After three wonderful days in the city, it was time for me to head on. Leaving with wonderful memories of my stay and a promise to keep in touch, I knew I’d definitely be back one day.

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