Top 5 Hikes in India

Guest posts are always welcome on my website. This guest post is written by Morgan (mom of two kids); which is about the best hikes in India for visual pleasure. So, not wasting any more time & here is what this guy has to say about top 5 hikes in India.

5 Awesome Hikes to Take in India for Great Views

 

India offers numerous hiking trails and it’s definitely a paradise for the hikers. From snow-covered mountains to beautiful meadows to gushing streams and waterfalls, India has it all. It doesn’t matter if you are a hardcore hiker or a backpacker. There are numerous hiking regions with varying level of difficulties. With so many places available, it’s hard to decide which one to go to. We have come up with five awesome hiking place to go where you can have the best time of your life.

Hemkund and Valley of Flowers, Garhwal

 

At an altitude of 3,600 meters above sea level, the valley of flowers is an utter bliss. It’s the perfect place to start your Himalayan hiking journey as it’s one of those rare natural botanical gardens where flowers bloom in every possible color you can imagine. The best time to visit Hemkund is right after the monsoon season, during July, August, and early September, as the valley is covered with snow during the winter. This picture perfect place has the tranquil river Pushpawati flowing in the middle with snow-clad mountains on one side and a tall sky-high cliff on the other.
There are about 520 species of flowering plants and animals such as Himalayan Black bears, Brown bears, birds and butterflies call this place their home. There are many local tales that the trekkers fall unconscious on the valley with the heavy smell of flowers. (Just giving you some heads up)
This place is a paradise for nature and flower lovers. Every year thousands of hikers gather up during the blossom season to witness the extravagant scenario. It’s a moderately difficult hike that takes about 5 to 6 days to compete. Don’t bother taking up foods along as there are plenty of eateries on the way. Just enjoy the scenic sight of snowy mountains and the riot of colors.
Hemkund Valley of Flowers Mark My Adventure

Great lakes, Jammu and Kashmir

Kashmir’s divine beauty needs no introduction. The hike at the Great lakes will give you an experience that you’ll cherish forever. As the Mughal Emperor Jahangir once said “If there is Heaven on Earth, it is here”, the ethereal beauty of Kashmir surely does justice to the saying.
The best time to enjoy this astounding place is from June to August when the trekking route is lush green and covered in thousands of blooming flowers. This is quite a challenging trek that takes about 7 to 8 days to complete. The highest altitude is at about 13,750 ft. with an approximate route of 63km long. This hiking experience will not only challenge you physically, but it will also challenge your inner strength.
The hiking trip begins at Shitkati. You’ll experience the true beauty of nature on your way from Shitkati to Sonamarg. The greenery of the place will mesmerize you with every passing minute. The next route will take you from Nachnai Pass to Vishanshar Lake. The Vishashar Lake is a serene beauty that is surrounded by four mountains. Just after 1.2km ahead, another beauty awaits the Kishansar Lake. The maximum altitude is reached at Gadsar Pass, the final destination.
Even though the hike is quite a difficult one, but this expedition will undoubtedly give you heaven on earth experience.

Great Lakes Best Hikes In India

Har Ki Dun Valley, Uttarakhand

Haar ki dun is one of those delightful trekking places that you can experience both during winter and summer. It’s one of the most beautiful valleys in the Western Himalayas. It has an altitude of about 3500m above the sea level. You can access this place through Govind national park which is famous for its rich content of flora and fauna. This valley will give you a vintage feeling with the adjacent snow-covered peaks and alpine vegetation.
This cradle shaped valley has local people who have been living here for around 3000 years. Birds and animals are not abundant in this region but you can spot some black bears, wild boars and few other kinds of animals if your luck favors. Har Ki Dun means the valley of Gods and this valley does live up to its name. There are four villages in this valley named Datmir, Gangad, Puani, and Osla. These villages can be accessed only by trekking. Many streams eventually join the main river is Supin. The divine meadows, wildflowers and the lush green forest create a beautiful sight during the monsoon. During winter the snow covered mountains create a picturesque sight. The whole valley stays covered in snow from the month of December to April.
Har Ki Dun Trek Mark My Adventure

Rajmachi Fort

If you’re upset that you can’t make time for the long hikes then the Rajmachi Fort is the perfect place for you. This beautiful trek is blessed with lush green mountains, countless waterfalls, vast plateaus and many more. It has two forts named Shrivardhan and Manaranjan.  The Rajmachi Fort is situated in between the mesmerizing hills of Sahyadri. Rajmachi fort is one of the most visited hiking places in India. Hikers and nature lovers gather here to witness this ethereal beauty from time to time.
This place has a splendid view especially during the monsoon months of June to August when the mountains are covered in fresh greenery. This is a perfect place for the beginner level hikers. The trekking distance is 16km from Lonavala. However, there are various routes available. From the base village, it takes about one hour to reach the top with few stops for snacks in between. Remember, if you’re hiking during the monsoon be extra cautious as the routes get a bit slippery during this time. The breathtaking view from the base camp to the top will give you an experience of a lifetime.
Rajmachi Trek Mark My Adventure

Stok Kangri, Ladhak

There are many long and short trails in the Leh-Ladhak district. Stok Kangri is the most challenging one you’ll face here and undoubtedly the best trails of all.  This is India’s highest trekking point at a jaw-dropping 6,153 meters, which is about seventy percent of Mount Everest. This trek is no child’s game as it requires rigorous dedication, hard work, and willpower to complete. Weather plays a very vital role in this trek. One minute it can bright and sunny then the next minute it can turn in to blizzard. Most people return without climbing the peak as it gets too dangerous sometimes.
Prior experience and health fitness are prime considerations for this hike. Before the journey starts, you need to get accustomed to the extreme weather of this place. The entire hiking journey will take around 9 to 10 days. The route starts from the Stok village which is so beautiful that it seems to have been taken out of a storybook. The mesmerizing views of Ladakh Range, Zanskar Range, and the city of Leh are an absolute treat for the eyes.
The best time to opt for this expedition is from July to September. Every year hikers from all around the world come to participate in the Stok Kangri Summit. Even if you don’t reach the peak, you’ll surely cherish this divine experience for the rest of your life.

Stok Kangri Mark My Adventure

About Me

Hey all, I am Morgan, a mom with two kids. I go hiking & campingat least once a year (unless it is too cold outside). I run a blog called Outdoor Spider to talk about products you might need while living outside for a day or more.

The guest post was on hikes in India for visual pleasure. If you are interested in sharing your content on my blog. I would be happy to post some.

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Things To Do In Mui Ne: Mark My Adventure

Mui Ne is a small town in Vietnam. Mui Ne can be reached from Ho Chi Minh or Nha Trang via a bus or train. I chose bus as my commutation option as it was the most feasible option for me. In my previous post, I have explained about my experience of this place. In this post, I will cover the topic things to do in Mui Ne. Usually, a place has several activities to offer. But, is it worth trying each & every one of them. For some trying each & every activity is must, but for some, it is not. I often shortlist the activities at a place & try to enjoy only them. So, here is the post on the offers by Mui Ne.

Things To Do In Mui Ne

Mui Ne is a perfect destination for a day or a couple of days if one is short on time. However, if one is looking to spend some relaxed time. Then, the person can choose to stay for a week. I covered the activities in a day & on the next day, I was heading towards the Nha Trang. So, during that one day stay here is a list of activities that I experienced.

 

Red Sand Dunes:

Red sand dunes are the place that everyone should visit in Mui Ne. The best time suited to visit this place is just before sunrise. It is mesmerizing to watch the sun glowing to the fullest in the background & red sand slowly reflecting its true color in front of you. Nature gifts to human society. Red sand dunes got its name due to its red appearance. The sand is spread across the acres & is very beautiful to watch. I booked a cab from the hostel which took us to the place. If one wishes to stay for a longer duration then it is advisable to get their own vehicle. As the private tour cab only allows you to stay for an hour or so. Although, the time duration is enough to enjoy the place. But, in case someone wants to enjoy it more then its a problem. Red sand dunes are perfect for a pre-wedding shoot & there were few couples who came in a proper wedding dress & getting clicked. The scenes are too beautiful. The unending sand dunes & glowing sun makes a perfect blend for the eyes. Apart from clicking display pictures & photos. One more activity which is famous is sand surfing. A cupboard big enough to fit you in will be slid from the top of the dunes. I still wonder why people will try something like this. But, people do.
Red Sand Dunes Mark My Adventure
The cab driver will drop at the beginning of the entrance & from there one needs to walk to the top of the dunes. The walk is difficult & tiring if a person feels that he or she will not be able to make the walk. Then, they can choose to travel via a quad bike. There are plenty of options available at the entrance to take you to the top of the dunes. I preferred walking over a quad bike & reached the top of the dune in approx 30 mins.

 

White Sand Dunes:

Like the name suggest while sand dunes are named due to its white appearance. White sand dunes are located approx 20 or 30 mins drive from the Red Sand Dunes. It is amazing to see that both of these places located a few kms from each other.  A  natural phenomenon which is hard to explain. White sand dunes are not as famous as the red sand dunes however, it is worth a visit & like red sand dunes, sand surfing is also an option here. It is funny to watch people surf from the top of the dune. 20 mins are enough for this place, the main thing is to walk to the top of the dunes & enjoy the views of the ocean.  There are few places which offer the best views to click some pictures. After enjoying red sand dunes, this place will find it hard to please you. Maybe after watching the magnificent sunrise from the red sand dunes, visiting this place hardly had any advantages. Anyway, the place is still worth a visit, just to see the natural variance at a single place.

 

Fairy Stream:

The name is exciting enough to try this activity. For the starters, there is no fairy in this place. However, walking on the stream of water is surely some scene from the fairy tales. The place is only for walking. A stream of water only covering your ankle or up to knee length at few small patches is walk everyone should take. The length of the stream is approx 1 or 1.5 km which cuts through the jungle adjacent to some rock formation which is an ideal location to click some pictures. The stream starts from the waterfall, which is the end point of the walk. Most of the tourists only walk till the rock formations & head back towards the entry point. The walk is refreshing for the tiring feet. There are few shops on the way which allows tea or coffee over the stream. A fancy experience to say the least. The trees overlooking the stream seems like the scene from the movie scene. I enjoyed my walk & I feel this should be experienced by everyone.

Fairy Stream

 

 

Fishing Village:

Fishing Village is the place to check out the local living. The village is located on the coastline overlooking the ocean. The moment you will enter the village you will witness a round shape boat trying to catch some fish. The site is perfect to click some pictures. Also, there are lots of restaurants which allows you to taste some local delightful fish sauce. Covering the place will hardly take 15 to 20 mins. I spent around 15 mins, clicked few pictures & came back to my jeep. Visit this place only to watch the local lives of the people of Vietnam. But, the most exciting part is watching those round shaped boats floating over the ocean to catch daily living. A pure joy to watch.

 

Kite Surfing:

Kitesurfing is a seasoned sport. Thus, checking the season is a must. The time I was visiting the place, the season was closed. However, I have heard that people came from different parts of the world to enjoy this thrilling sport.

 

Restaurants & Cafes:

The best part of any coastal city is its restaurants & cafes. Nothing is best in comparison to lazy afternoon sipping tea, coffee or beer & enjoying the breeze overlooking the unending sea. Traveling to beach city is a must on any trip; the reason for it is the thoughts that come into the mind. The whole journey just flashes in front of the eyes. Hence, I love visiting such places.

 

I spent one night at this place which I felt was sufficient to visit the whole town of Mui Ne.  I am sure this post will inspire you to pack your bags & plan a holiday to Vietnam. Don’t wait anymore & make the bookings at the earliest. As there is no better time to visit the place than now.

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Mui Ne Travel Experience

Mui Ne is a beautiful beach city in the Phan Thiet region of Vietnam. The coastline of Vietnam is much celebrated & it is a delight for the tourists & this city is located at one such region. The never-ending coastline with untouched nature is one of the things people look up to while traveling to Vietnam. Mui Ne extends the legends of Vietnam to another level. The place has few surprises which makes it a must visit place in Vietnam. Most of the tourists start their journey either from Ho Chi Minh or from Hanoi & travel to opposite direction via road. There are lots of operators who provide motorcycles on rent. So, finding a motorbike won’t be an issue. However, driving inside the city is not for everyone because of insane driving practice & no traffic sense. However, if you are willing to take chance & more than confident about your driving; you can try driving here.
Mui Ne is approx 4 hours bus drive from both Ho Chi Minh & Nha Trang. I started from Ho Chi Minh & reached Mui Ne via bus. Luckily my hostel, backpackers village was at the highway. Thus, there was no issue in finding my hostel. A coastal road running adjacent to the mighty ocean & overcast climate was my first impression of the place.
There are fabulous resorts all along the way & staying there is kind of dream for most of the people. The grandness of the resorts is hard to believe till the time one experience it. If I will visit the place next time, I will surely try to spend at least one evening at one of these megastructures. Some of the best property as per hostelworld.com are as follows:

Anantara Mui Ne Resort

Aroma Beach Resort & Spa

The Sailing Bay Beach Resort

Bamboo Village Beach Resort & Spa

The Cliff Resort 

These beach resorts are one of the best resorts available at your disposal. The mighty stay is worth it if you are in for some luxury travel. Mui Ne Vietnam is such a place where one can enjoy luxury due to its location & vibe. The city has great coastline & chilling is the prime activity here.

Sand Dunes:

Who would have imagined, that Vietnam will be having sand dunes?

Yeah!!! I was thrilled to learn about the Vietnam Sand Dunes in Mui Ne. At first, I thought it would be a small portion of the land which will be covered with sand. But, my thought soon vanished when I reached the place. I booked a trip from my hostel, it was an early morning trip as I wanted to watch a sunrise. The cab or jeep was historical in itself. The  vehicle model was pretty vintage. The thrill of sitting on such a vehicle is something. I sat in the front & out journey to the sand dunes started. The driver had to pick a couple from a hotel. However, there was a huge miscommunication & we lost valuable time.  It was 5:45 am & we were yet to start from the place. Finally, we were able to find the couple & started our journey. The sun was ready to break the shatters & sun in full flow. We could see light taking its course from the far. We rode till 40 mins before we took a left turn to the site. The red sand was just in front of us.

The Experience:

Red Sand covered the place for miles it seems. The light has totally muscled the darkness. However, the sun was yet to come out of the horizon. But, we have to walk to the hill to watch the beautiful sunrise. The distance itself was about 1 Km. First time in my life I touched the sand dunes with my bare foot. The softness of the sand can only be experienced & one more thing I experienced was walking on the sand which is a tough job. The power to climb the small hills is tough. After a difficult walk of 10 to 15 mins. I realized that walking on the already made path by other people is a better option than walking on a new path. So, I tried to walk on the footprints left by the other people. So, at least for this particular instance, the quote which states travel the untraveled route was not true :D. I continued walking & soon reached a relatively high point compared to the landscape. And just in the time, I was able to witness the sun shining fully. The image of sunrise is one of the beautiful sites one can ever imagine. Further, the location added to the beauty of the place. The redness of the sand can now be felt & its color was only getting bright. I sat there silently & enjoyed the view. I clicked few photos but I mostly sat quietly at the place & enjoyed the sceneries. After watching the sunrise, it was time to head back to the other points.

Red Sand Dunes Mark My Adventure

Other Experiences:

Red sand dunes are the prime attraction of the place. After that, we headed towards the white sand dunes, it got its name due to its color. No guessing required here. The place is not as big as red sand dunes. But, one thing is worth remembering which both these places are located a few km’s apart. So, one can say that nature has its way of showing magic & saying, Humans, you still need to grow. After the white sand dunes, it was time for the fairy stream. A walk over the flowing water, first I thought that it would be only for few meters only. But, once I started walking it took at least half an hour to reach the end of the stream. The stream crossed several beautiful places. It might seem childish at first to walk on the stream. However, after a few meters, you will start to enjoy it. The constant tickles of the water & beautiful surrounding landscapes add to the beauty of the place. After all these activities, I felt walking on stream & watching a sunrise from the red sand dunes are the things worth doing while staying in Mui Ne.

The Nightlife:

I only stayed here for one night, hence I can’t write much about it. However, like every coastal city, there are hardly any pubs or clubs here. But, one thing that keeps night happening is the live music. The restro on the beach, where people sit & enjoy the music in slow music. Live music in an open area has its charm, especially in the place like this where the city gets silent at 8 or 9 pm. These bars are the best options available to the tourists. Apart from these experience, there is nothing much to do. I went to one place, which had beach access & live music. The guy who was singing was perfect in his art. The songs he chose were of the best qualities & I enjoyed the place.

Sandy beaches don’t have much of a say here. As most part of the coastline is covered with concrete. However, there are few patches of sandy beaches which can be accessed by anyone. It is worth noting that most of the sandy beach has private access. The water is muddy & maybe not appropriate for a dip. But, don’t get disheartened as there are other places where one can swim.

Concrete Beaches Of Mui Ne

Mui Ne is one of the towns which is perfect to relax. No rush, not crowded & coastline. A perfect getaway from the hustling & bustling city like Ho Chi Minh. The calmness in the air is much appreciated. This was my experience of the place.

I clicked the photos either from an iPhone or GoPro. I rely on these two products while traveling. Both the products are handy & easy to use. Hence, makes it must have during the trips.

I have earlier written articles on the following topics. If you want to gain some experience, do read some of these.

Vietnam Visa For Indians

Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide

Also, I mostly rely on the following websites to satisfy my basic needs

Amazon For Basic Needs

Jetradar For Flights

Agoda & Booking For Hostel Booking

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Is Ho Chi Minh Safe For Solo Travel

Safety of the place is a concern before traveling to a new place.  If the place is not safe  one is reluctant to travel to that place. For eg. Lots of people conveyed to me that Vietnam is not safe for the solo tourist. So, I wanted to check this fact, Hence I decided to write a post on Is Ho Chi Minh Safe for solo traveling?

Saigon or Ho Chi Minh is basically a safe destination for the tourists. There are hardly any violent activities against the tourists. However, there are few points which should be engraved in the mind before traveling to Ho Chi Minh. Some of these are as follows:

Snatching:

The most common form of crime is snatching. However, the account of such incidents is fairly on a lower side compared to some of the other Vietnam cities. Ho Chi Minh is one of those cities which is pretty safe to travel to. But, there are few such incidents hence one needs to be careful.

Taxi or motorbike:

Taxi or motorbike taxis are common forms of commutation in Ho Chi Minh. It has been observed the driver tries to ask for a higher price than the actual price; if the price is not pre-registered. This happens is most of the travel. I would recommend to fix the price first & then start your journey or go by meter. Apart from this, there is one app “Grab” which is kind of uber of Vietnam & can be used for commutation.

Late Night:

Parties often run till late hours & when one is drunk & with little conscious. It is hard to maintain a stable condition. Sometimes the situation goes out of the hand & it is very obvious that people will support locals compared to the tourists. Thus, the best would be to follow the rule & avoid any mishaps. If you are getting the feeling that something bad will happen then best would be to avoid the situation & move ahead. Don’t try to fight back until & unless it is a must. But, these incidents are very rare still worth remembering.

These are some of the things one should be kept in mind while traveling to Ho Chi Minh for being safe. As being safe is the most important part of solo traveling.

Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide Mark My Adventure

My Experience:

This was my first time in Vietnam. I was nervous at the start of the trip as many people asked me about the safety in the city & I was like why there is so much ambiguity about the city’s safety, as I have had not heard anything ill about the place. For me, Ho Chi Minh city was perfectly safe (touchwood). I traveled by public transport & strolled at the night in not so lively streets surrounded by supporting people. The best way to have a smiling face & greet everyone. This has worked perfectly with me in all my travels & I hope it remains so for the future endeavor as well. 

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Ho Chi Minh Budget Trip: Mark My Adventure

Vietnam is a very economical destination for tourists. If you are from the western world then you won’t need to sweat at all. The prices are very reasonable & at one point in time, you might feel like a millionaire. Based on my experience here is a guide to the Ho Chi Minh budget trip.

Vietnam Visa For Indians

Flight:

Flights from India through Air Asia has been dirt cheap. I booked an Air Asia flight from Hyderabad to Ho Chi Minh to & fro for roughly 15,000 INR only (Approx 200 USD). Thus, if you are aware of the offers, the chances of cracking a deal is very high. Usually, the best way to find cheap flights is searching from a  country rather than from a city. In this way, the search engine will show the cheapest flight from a different destination. A great way to find cheap flights. I usually use Skyscanner or google flights to search for flights & for booking the flights, I either choose a carrier website or some online portal which are offering cash backs or discounts.

Accommodation:

Accommodation is pretty cheap in Ho Chi Minh. I stayed at The Hideout Hostel, which is one of the best hostels to stay. The location is superb & amenities provided by the hostel is good too miss. There are plenty of other options to choose from. One can use platforms like Agoda or Booking.com to make a booking. A typical hostel dorm bed starts from approx. Rs 400 (USD 5). However, the rates are dependant on the season. Thus, the rates may elevate depending on the time one wishes to travel. I would recommend booking at the earliest.

Hideout hostel Mark My Adventure Review

Activities:

Ho Chi Minh is a great place for 2 or 3 days. There are plenty of things to do some of these are Cu Chi Tunnels, War Ramnant etc. All the paid activities are worth visiting. The prices start from 15,000 VND (Vietnamese Dong) (Approx 50 INR or 1.5 USD). If you are short on time, you can shortlist few activities & only do them. However, Cu Chi Tunnels is a must visit activity.

Food & Beverages:

Food is a special attraction in Vietnam. There are dedicated cooking courses for tourists. Eating on the streets is super cheap & super delicious. A plate of noodles or rice will cost you around 20,000 to 25,000 VND (Rs 60 or 2 USD). Further, the price of beer starts from 12,000 VND for a can. The prices are standard across the supermarkets & the number of these supermarkets are ample.

If you are spending wisely & appropriately. The budget of INR 1000- 1500 (20 USD to 25 USD ) is enough for the day. This budget is assuming one is staying at hostels & without shopping for luxury items.

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Things To Do In Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is one of the biggest cities in Vietnam & managing activities is often necessary to fully utilize the time. As people usually visit one place for one time (until & unless is worth going again & again), thus shortlisting the activities is important. To cater to this need, here is the guide to THINGS TO DO IN HO CHI MINH.

The following activities are based on my experience & my knowledge; if someone differs it’s totally cool.

Cu Chi Tunnels:

The foremost activity in Ho Chi Minh is surely the Cu Chi Tunnels. If you wanna taste the conditions during the war & what all it takes to fight a war. Then, this place is perfect. The tunnels are engineering marvel & should be on the list of every traveler visiting Ho Chi Minh. A half day tour to this place is worth visiting & if you have enough braveness in you; do try crawling in the tunnels I bet it will surprise you beyond your expectations. Click here to know more about Cu Chi Tunnels.

Entrance fee of 90,000 VND is applicable.

Cu Chi Tunnels Mark My Adventure

War Ramnant Museum:

Vietnam has to suffer a lot due to invasions from the western countries. At one point during the time they were struggling to stay afloat. However, with the focused mission, the people of Vietnam were able to overcome one of the mightiest powers of the world. But, every war has its side effects & it is the people who feel them. War Remnant is one such museum which will present the war. I personally was emotional while walking through the sections. I would recommend visiting this place to get the feel of the war.

Entrance fee of 15,000 VND is applicable for the adults.

 

Independence Palace:

South Vietnam was ruled by Republican party while North Vietnam was ruled by a communist party. The war was raged due to the difference in the ideologies of the two groups. Reunification Palace or Independence palace was the place for the president of South Vietnam. While proving the dominance over the population North Vietnamese crashed the gates of this Palace to put the final nail on the coffin. The tank is still placed in the garden & is a major tourist attraction.

Entrance fee of 30,000 VND is applicable for the adults

Central Post office & Notre Dame Cathedral:

One of the architectural attractions of the city is the Cathedral Notre dam which is a copy of the famous Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. However, the version is a bit minuscule in front of the real Notre Dam. Just adjacent to this place is National Post Office of Ho Chi Minh. One of the oldest post offices, which is still functional. If you want to fancy to send a post to any part of the world. This is your place. A great place for a half day tour.

Post Office Ho Chi Minh

Ben Thanh Market:

Ben Thanh Market is probably the most visited market in the Ho Chi Minh city. A place which holds hundreds of shops is a place to go for a local shopping. There are shops for literary everything. The market is open even in the night & night shopping is one of the activities promoted by the local people. Along the market, there is a small street to comfort your tasting buds. A street food market. The variety of foods & tastes are explicit. A haven for the foodies a must place to visit.

Pham Ngu Lao Street:

A vibrant place for the young souls. This place is a must visit for parties. Based on the theme of Khao San Road in Bangkok. On either side of the road, there are numbers of restaurants, bars, pubs & what not. A place which starts to party at 11 pm at night. Get your dancing shoes on & visit this evergreen street.

Coffees:

Ho Chi Minh is in love affair with coffees. Coffees are sold at every corner or literary at every shop. There are tons of shops with varieties in the taste. Once in Ho Chi Minh tasting a coffee is often essential. Do try some of the best coffee shops & sip your worries away ;).

Coffee Shop In Ho Chi Minh

Rooftop Bars:

These are a bit luxurious outing for the most. Climbing to the top of the building & enjoying few drinks during the evening is one of the most done activities by the travelers. If you have enough cash in hand. This activity should be on your list.

These are some of the things to do in Ho Chi Minh from Mark My Adventure to help you plan your trip in a better way.  Apart from the above-mentioned activities, one can also try Mekong Delta which is at some distance from Ho Chi Minh (roughly 5 hours journey).

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All the pics have been clicked by me through my iphone. You can buy one from here

Cu Chi Tunnels Guide: Mark My Adventure

Cu Chi Tunnels is one of the major attraction in Ho Chi Minh city. It is a half day tour & is must visit place. These tiny tunnels were used by Vietnamese forces to tame down American forces.  A complex network of tunnels running across 250 Km underground is an engineering marvel of those times. Currently, only 100 Mt long route is open for the tourists, which are made taller & wider deliberately to accommodate tourists. Here is the guide to this fascinating place “Cu Chi Tunnels”. It is astonishing to even imagine that at one point of time whole community used to reside below the earth. There were rooms for kitchen, bedroom etc & all these below the earth surface. Therefore, it became much more important to visit this place.

Cu Chi Tunnels Mark My Adventure

How To Reach:

Cu Chi Tunnels is located some 40 odd km from Ho Chi Minh city. The best way to reach this place is through a tour agency or via self-driving motorbike. I chose to take the option of tour agency as they arranged everything from pick up to drop & a guide. The amount I paid for the services was 1,50,000 VND which was excluding entrance fees which was approx 90,000 VND.  

After Entering:

Your guide will take care of everything for you. He will start the tour from the famous entry or lookout point. An opening big enough only to accommodate one person & that too in a particular way. I tried to enter this opening & was successful. However, it is very compact inside & one can’t move freely inside the chamber. This is just one small opening perfectly camouflaged with the leaves & dust. After showing this guide will cover various other points & showing things like booby traps, ventilation techniques (which by the way is brilliant). There is one tank stationed at the site for the tourists. It is said that this tank was left behind by the Amercian forces.

Cu Chi Tunnels Mark My Adventure

There are also some automated models to show various aspects of people life during the war times. Walking past all these points often take you to the past or more precisely to the war days. It is tough to imagine how Vietnamese force survived in such harsh conditions.

Shooting Range:

Anyone who is interested in some shooting will be overwhelmed by the fact that there is one shooting range which has guns like AK 47, M-16 & Machine Gun. One just needs to pay for the bullets which is a bit pricey to the liking. However, if you are adventurous enough, you should try it once.

Booby Traps Mark My Adventure

Tunnel:

To give the taste of the place, there is one tunnel opened for the tourists. A 100 Mt tunnel constructed little wider & taller to accommodate tourists is open for testing skills. I tried my hand on the same. For the start the path seems to be easy, I could walk with a little bend &  after a few meters, the place got narrower & the height reduced. Now I had to sit & walk (one of the toughest part of the route). After 50 meters the going gets tough, I rested quite a few times before I could see the end of the tunnel & after completing this difficult route I could take a sigh of relief.

Entrance To Tunnels Mark My Adventure

The Experience:

The moment I saw that pit, I was sure that people of Vietnamese had a very tough time during the war days. It is heartbreaking to see the impact the people have on their lives during such horrendous time. I was stunned to see the model where people used to sleep, a bunker with beds one above the other & all inside the earth. One can only imagine how tough it was during wars.

Tunnels Mark My Adventure

These tunnels run approx 250 Km & connect to Saigon river on one part. The engineering by the Vietnamese people was surely ahead of its time. Right from using rubber shoes, to ventilating tunnels, provisions for high & low tide & also booby traps. They thought possibly everything which could have impacted their glory. A must place to visit.

Following links are for your benefits:

Book Cu Chi Tunnels Tour

Ho Chi Minh Travel Guide

Vietnam Visa For Indians

 

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Things To Do In Manali

Manali is a popular destination of north India, especially during summer time. When most of India is scorching in a heat stroke, this town in a middle of mountains provides great relief to the souls. The place is super crowded by the tourists & a wonderful destination for few days. I went to Manali on a few days trip & based on my experience. Here is my list of things to do in Manali.

Vashist:

A small village near Manali can be reached either on a foot or via bike. This small village is famous for hot springs which is the main attraction of the place. The place is worth going once. Also, anyone who is looking to stay away from the crowded place in Manali can choose this place. Here is the link to some of the options to stay. 

Manali Town:

Manali has decent numbers of points which can be covered in a day or two. These are the Hidimba Temple, mall road, Manu temple etc. These are located in the town. All these points can be covered in a day.

Rohtang Pass:

Rohtang is one reason for which people visit this place. This pass is in the list of every traveler who is traveling to Manali. The picturesque beauty of this place is unmatched & unparalleled. One disadvantage is that only a few vehicles are allowed to travel on tourist permit & there are long queues. But, all the pain is worth taking as the scenes will be just too pleasant. Also, the pass is only open for a visit for few months that too in summer. Hence, if planning this should be kept in the mind.

Solang Valley:

Solang valley has its charm & the place is super crowded with the people. Usually, a cab driver will charge some amount to take you to Solang & some en route attractions. Solang is a way too crowded with the tourist & has lost is charm according to the locales. However, it is famous for adventurous activities & it is recommended to try these if you like adventures.

Gulab:

Gulab is a site to enjoy some peaceful scenic view. From this place, one can find ice but for that, you will need to walk. The place is calm & in the midst of mountains. If you want to enjoy just the mountains, this place will surely suit you. Spend few hours at this place & just remember what all have you done in the life.

This list is about the places you can cover during your trip to Manali. The place is super beautiful & sipping a cup of tea in the midst of the mountains shall be one activity which should be on everyone’s things to do in Manali list. For more information on Manali click here

If nothing attracts you, then there is one thing which you must do & that is sipping a cup of tea or a coffee in the midst of beautiful mountains. If this can’t doesn’t excite you to pack your bags; nothing will (cliché :P)

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Is Manali Worth A Trip?

Manali is a town in Himachal Pradesh. An overnight journey from Delhi, it is a great place to enjoy some peaceful time away from the bustling city. The hill station is a famous getaway for newly wed couples & young blood who are looking for some breathtaking experiences. This was my first trip to Manali & based on my experience I would like to conclude if Manali trip is worth?

The Town:

Manali town is divided into two parts old & new. Old Manali is perfect small hill station town. The narrow roads, cedar trees, fewer vehicles & peaceful environment. On the other hand, New Manali is far more commercialized, lot more vehicles & way more traffic. The main commercial hub of the place is Mall Road & most of the people visit this road for shopping & eating purposes.

There is not much to shop around & also not lots of options, but whatever options are there those are good. For city aspects, there is not much to see apart from temples. However, the real fun starts when one travel to nearby places. There are lots of places which are worth a visit. The diversity in the places is freshening & enjoyable.

Manali

Safety:

Safety is one of the major concerns before visiting a place. No body wants to have some bad memory about the place. Specially if one is traveling. Manali I felt is safe to travel. I boarded an auto during the late hours & he dropped me without any hassel or argument. Ofcourse nobody charges you by meter but that is expected from the touristic places. On a broader aspect. I feel the place is safe.

The place is decent for few days. It’s a typical small town not much advanced. However, offers alot. During summer if one is looking to check out some cool place. This could be a great getaway. I would recommend visiting the place once. City has its fun points & giveaways.

Manali

Feel free to share your thoughts in comments.

 

 

Prashar Lake: So Deep, It Touches Your Soul

Prashar lake is one of the most unexplored lakes near Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. Prashar lake trek starts from the Baggi village which is around 20 km from Mandi. I’ve been wanting to visit this lake for a year and suddenly in the first week of March, I decided to trek solo.

It was solo travel, but in reality, I wasn’t traveling or trekking solo. There were lots of people I met which never made me feel alone. I thought it was up to me to go down which path, whether to make friends during my journey or choose my own path and enjoy my own moments.

Delhi to Mandi(Prashar Lake)

I took a bus from Kashmiri gate at 6:30 PM on 9 March 2018 which left me at Mandi around 6 AM the next day. The first bus from Mandi to Baggi village leaves at around 8 AM. I took a bus to Shegli immediately which is 4 km from Baggi village. I met a group which was also going to the trek. I walked and hitchhiked to Baggi village.

There were a few cafes at Baggi village where I did my breakfast. Prices were nominal, not so costly. I had a few parathas there and filled up my water bottles.

Prashar Lake Mark My Adventure

Prashar Lake trek from Baggi village:

I started my trek at 10 AM from Baggi village with the group I met on the bus. The trek started from crossing a naala and then walking straight for around a km on the rocky path. Thereafter, I entered the thick dense pine forests. It was so beautiful in between those pine trees and I didn’t meet any other person on the trek except the group which I met on the bus. I found only one source of water in the whole trek. So, it was good that I carried enough water with me. Before one km from the lake, I reached this open area and found some mud houses. It was an amazing feeling to not find a single soul in the range of a km.

After trekking for around 4 hours, I reached this beautiful peaceful lake and it was all worth it. Prashar temple also lies just near the lake and its architecture was awe-inspiring.

Prashar Lake

The lake is surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of some large mountains. There is a 360-degree view of mountain ranges from the top area of the lake. Peaks of Triund, Indrahar Pass, Chamba, Hanuman Tibba, Spiti, Kinnaur and some other mountain ranges are visible from the top. There is no other two-day trek which gives such pleasant views within such a short distance.

Camp Site

I had my own sleeping bag with me and I knew that there were dorm rooms available in the temple. I went to the temple and talked to the Pandit Ji about the room and he told me to talk to the caretaker. Caretaker bhaiya showed me the room and gave me a mattress. And man, I swear that was one of the best nights of my life. I could see the lake from my window and it was amazing. After putting my backpack in my room, I went outside and ate some Maggi. I spent my entire evening watching the beautiful sunset and then ate Rajma Chawal and slept.

A local guy told me that there is a beautiful site 2 km from the Parashar lake. I followed the road, took a wrong turn and reached this place and enjoyed this stunning sunset alone.

Random place

Prashar lake to Mandi:

I wanted to go down by bus as I trekked while coming up here. So, I enquired about the bus from the people and took it to reach Mandi at 4:30 PM. Drive from Prashar Lake to Mandi was a treat. The bus went through some muddy path in between the lush green valley which was breathtaking for me. I ate some food at Mandi Bus Stand and took the bus to Delhi which reached at 5 AM.

Some amazing stories about this place

  • Till now, various attempts have been made to find the depth of this lake but no one was successful. Isn’t it astonishing in the 21st century?
  • It is believed that Prashar temple is built in the era of Mahabharata and the lake was created by Bhim’s elbow push.
  • No one is allowed to enter the fencing around the lake except the local people who use this lake as a source of water.
  • It is said that the small island which is in the middle of the lake changes its location with respect to the time of the year.
  • The water of this lake is used for drinking by the local people and it tastes amazing.

Useful Information:

  • Tents are available itself near the Prashar lake at the cost of Rs. 300-500
  • Bus from Mandi to Baggi village leaves at around 8 AM and costs around 50/-
  • There are a few cafes in Baggi village where you can eat and pack your lunch for the trek as there are no shops during the trek.
  • Direct buses also run from Mandi to Prashar lake which is the same bus that goes via Baggi village and reaches Prashar lake at 11 AM. The same bus leaves for Mandi at 1:15 PM and reaches Mandi at 4:30 PM.
  • Temple may also be closed in the month of January and February.
  • Various buses run from Delhi to Mandi in the evening and take around 11-12 hours to reach. The prices of Roadways HRTC bus is 530/-, Himmani Deluxe non-AC is 730/- and Himsuta AC Bus is around 1100/-. Prefer HRTC buses over the private ones.
  • This trek can be done within the budget of 1400-2000 depending on which bus you take and where you stay. I did this trek in 1400/-
  • You can take your tent if you want and camp near the lake.
  • Cost of food is nominal near the lake. Maggi costs 30/- and Rajma Chawal cost 60/-
  • Only Jio and Airtel networks are available at the lake.

Best season to visit:

This trek can be done at any time of the year. In winters, the lake freezes, so for the people who love snow, this lake is a blessing.

In summers, the area around the lake is fully green. This trek should be avoided in the Monsoon season as the trail gets slippery.

Prashar Lake

Prashar Lake temperature:

Temperature goes below -4 degree Celsius in the months of January and February. While in the other seasons, it’s between 10-15 degree Celsius.

Whenever you visit this lake, use water of the lake for drinking over plastic bottles. If you purchase some bottles then please take them to Mandi with you because it’s very hard to transfer all the plastics. Let’s make this beautiful lake pollution free.

This post is written by Mayank Gupta & one can follow his work at www.travelfortranquility.com.