Hoi An Experience

Hoi An by far is the best place in Vietnam solely for its beauty. The moment I searched for Vietnam . Hoi An is mentioned in literary each post. After seeing so many posts one feels obliged to visit the town. Hoi An can be reached from Da Nang on a motorbike. It is hardly 30 Km from Da Nang town. Da Nang is a modern city with all the modern infrastructure & perfect town city. Hoi An, on the other hand, is beautiful & will take you to vintage Vietnam. Small houses located beautifully around the river. So, here is my Hoi An Experience.

The Beach

The road from Da Nang to Hoi An is pretty straight & without any potholes. On the way to Hoi An, one will find lots of resorts & also marble mountain. The road is pretty scenic & the ride is enjoyable. The fun starts after entering the town. The old town (the most beautiful part of Hoi An) is a bit far from the city entry point. The beach is welcoming you to the city, clean beach with blue water is a great place to relax from the city’s hassle.

Once the person enters the Hoi An town, the roads are running through the lush green landscapes, at some point, one will witness lush green paddy fields, tree branches falling on the roads & if you are not amazed by the beautiful sites then you can also ride your motorbike on a path running parallel to the estuaries. The fun of riding a motorbike at such beautiful sites are always memorable. The tourists are riding cycle to enjoy these beautiful paths. If one has enjoyed riding motorbike or cycle. The most famous attraction of the place. Old Town is waiting for you.

Hoi An Lanterns

Old City Hoi An

The best way to explore the old town is by walking across the lanes. There are 3 to 4 lanes which are beautiful & worth visiting. The old town is painted in the yellow color & sky is covered in colorful lanterns. The evening is pleasant & much more colorful. Different color of lanterns lits up during the evening which makes it much more pleasant & much more delightful. The beauty of the place can only be experienced. There is no better site than sitting at some roadside cafes near river & enjoying vibrant evening colors with local drinks. Sit in some cafe enjoy some random conversation or better enjoy nature. This can be one of the best things to do in Hoi An.

The old shops are beautifully decorated from both inside & outside. The evenings are much more beautiful & colorful. Shops are crowded with the tourists & once the lanterns are lit the view of the city is transformed to the good. Walk across the lanes & enjoy the pristine views & experiences.

The place is beautiful & a lovely getaway from even traveling. Enjoy local food, local cuisine & let your self to soak this beautiful town. You can check Hoi An Travel Guide here.

Hoi An Vietnam Travel Guide

Here are few handy resources to help you in a better way.

Agoda: Best place to book hotels of your liking. Agoda provides the best solution & great offer while booking a hotel.

Skyscanner: Skyscanner compares various sites & sort the flights based on the rates. A great way to check flight cost. Although the only drawback is that rates are flexible. Hence, the cost might change while you are making the payment.

Jetradar: Jetradar is a comparing site which is just like Skyscanner. But, is much more accurate & much more handy in use.

Booking: Best place to book hostel rooms. There are plenty of options available & with so many properties booking becomes much easier.

Travel Insurance: There are numerous options available to get one. So, you can choose anything which suits your requirement. Make sure you read the terms & conditions before buying one.

Things To Do In Da Nang

Da Nang has all the making of an expat town. A riverfront, great beach, world-class hotels & fantastic nightlife. The place is not so populated compared to the cities like Ho Chi Minh & Hanoi but still has great infrastructure, to say the least. Even though the place checks most of the boxes for traveling. The place somehow is not in the traveling list of the people visiting Vietnam. Enough said about the place. Here is the list of things to do in Da Nang.

Marble Mountains:

There are five elements in the world & each element has a peak dedicated to it. There are many caves in here & if you are mentally strong you can climb to one of the peaks of the mountain to enjoy the beautiful views of the city. The place was used by the Buddhist monks to pray & glimpse of it still visible. The best cave to visit in Marble Mountain is definitely Huyen Khong Cave. Many people lit a candle at this place & offer their prayers. A nice place to enjoy some peace. The view of sun rays falling from small patches of the hole on to the ground is a memorable experience to witness. Do visit this gem of the place.

View From Top Of Peak

Hai Van Pass:

Hai Van Pass is a major tourist attraction near Da Nang. The pass is very picturesque & mesmerizing. An unending landscape on one side & mighty hills on the other side. The pass demand to be driven on. During the monsoon, the place gets as beautiful as it can get. There are few patches in the route which is a glimpse of the best of Vietnam. The whole to & fro trip from Hai Van Pass to Da Nang will take a few hours. So, take some out to witness this bliss.

Hai Van Pass Da Nang

Hoi An:

Most people spend a couple of days at this UNESCO world heritage site. The beauty of the place is hard to ignore & the pleasant evenings are memorable & will have a lasting impact on your life. Most of the people will sit near Japan bridge & enjoy the calming impact of the place. The place is too beautiful to be missed.

Lady Buddha:

A white sculpture of lady buddha can be seen from most part of the Da Nang the place is located at such height in Da Nang. A short drive to this hill will amaze you with its view. The whole city can be seen from the point & most of the people apart from paying homage to God, people click their next display picture. The beauty of the place is breathtaking.

Dragon Bridge:

Probably the most famous spot in Da Nang. As the name suggests dragon bridge got its name for its shape. The dragon breath fire & water during special occasions like Sat & Sun. The show is pretty unique to watch & enjoy.

My Khe Beach:

One part of the city is surrounded by the water & its clean & long beach is pretty popular among the locals & tourists. The water is clean & so is the beach. One can enjoy time at the beach.

Nightlife:

Da Nang nightlife is as good as Ho Chi Minh. The parties last till early morning hours & one will not be disappointed with the discs & pubs. Although the clubs are on the costlier side. But, one can have a great time during the nights.

Market:

There are a number of flea markets in Da Nang & is easy to find anything you are looking for. Con Market is locals delight, it is kind of a supermarket where you can find most of the stuff for daily use. So, if you are looking to shop in Da Nang this landmark will be important to you.

My Son Sanctuary & Hue are two more places that one can visit while staying at Da Nang. My Son is the site of ruins left of Indian Hinduism, the temples are estimated to be constructed between 4-13th century. A place for historic significance. On the other hand, Hue town was the capital of the Nguyen Dynasty.

These are the best things to do in Da Nang. This post is meant to help you plan your trip in a better & fulfilling way.

Do subscribe & comment on the post. This will help me to keep on working & publishing articles.

Also, A trip is incomplete without the pics. During the time of this trip, I had iPhone 4 which didn’t have a great camera. Hence, photos are bit weird. But, last year I bought iPhone 6 which drastically improved my pictures. So, I would recommend you buying a great camera phone to take some breathtaking pics.

Apart from a phone camera, I use GoPro an adventure camera to shoot video & click photos. The product is pretty handy & captures mind blogging videos. GoPro is easy & handy to use, which makes it a must buy.

Europe Travel

Europe is on the list of every traveler. Reason for such vast popularity is the landscapes, culture & beauty in the place. The beauty of Europe is unmatched. Traveling to Europe for the first time is always exciting. because of unknown adventure & some lifetime of memories. This is enough reason for a person to make a travel plan to Europe. I was no different I wanted to travel to Europe while I am young. Most of the people wait until mid-age to visit because of the costly nature of the place. Accumulating funds takes time. But, for me, it was a different case I travel mostly on budget & avoiding luxury to travel freely was never a hindrance for me.

Europe is a nice blend of everything from artistic touch to modern outlook; from villages to modern cities. It has a flavor of everything. One requires at least 6 months to explore the place fully due to its vastness. While traveling, the most basic question arises is; which all cities to cover. There are many cities & choosing few of them is always tough, as no one wants to miss an opportunity to visit best cities. But, I will suggest to jot down few & travel only those.




I brainstormed few weeks before deciding on the cities I wanted to cover. It was always a tough choice to decide on few cities. As basic human psychology is to cover maximum possible places at one time only. This not only robs us of the feel of the city but also wastes quality time. It is always better to stay in a place for few days & explore the city like a locale. This not only helps us to enjoy the place but also help us to know about the place in a more better way.

Amsterdam Experience:

Europe is a bit different from South East Asia. It is hard to find warmness like South East Asia, the smile on people face. The greeting is there but that warmness is missing. People are to themselves only. During my stay in Amsterdam, I hardly saw a person who smiled at fellow traveler. People are helpful for sure but they won’t go an extra mile to help you out. It was very cold feeling out there.  Amsterdam nightlife is awesome the place gets started by 11 pm or after that. Music can be turn off feature over there. Along with the fact that one needs to pay to use the washroom in pub or bar. Insane practice. This was pretty new to me that they charge you for using it.  Cities cycling culture is tremendous nearly everyone uses a cycle to commute. This not only helps to keep you fit but also promotes pollution free environment, which has become essential in age like this. So, Amsterdam was a lovely affair for me. This was my first ever city in Europe & I have a fond memory of it.

Paris:

Paris has a different vibe compared to Amsterdam. Romance is in the air of Paris. Every place one visit; there are few love stories to be spoken. Paris has rich culture behind it; the history has many stories to share. The architect is fantastic & the main attraction Eiffel Tower is surely the best part of the city. I feel Paris can be experienced best with the soul mate. It has that kind of aura to deliver. Of all the attraction I went, I felt the view of Eiffel tower during the evening time is the best view available. The clear blue sky in the background & dim light of Eiffel taking full effect is amazing to see. When I went to Eiffel tower there were few guys playing theme music of Titanic. No matter how efficiently I will try to explain the scene. It is just impossible to describe those moments. I stayed in Paris for a day only. Still, I was able to enjoy the vibe of the place.

Barcelona:

Barcelona was the last city during my trip. The reason why I always chose beach place for the last; as it helps me to relive the moment of my trip. The moment when you are sitting on the beach watching the beautiful sunset; every good instance of the trip comes into the mind one by one. Barcelona is a treat for an eye. The architecture, the buildings, the lanes etc are unique. The place is aesthetically beautiful & one can notice the same after putting first step in Barcelona. Barcelona has a young crowd. It is warmer than the rest of Europe. Thus, attracts a huge number of crowd. So, if you are in the early twenties this can be a fun ride for sure. The place doesn’t get started till 12 am & it stays open till 6 or 7 am.  The party culture is amazing. However, Barcelona is not all about parties. It also has many attractions like Sagrada Familia, Park Guell etc. The place has breathtaking scenery & chill out environment. Barcelona will surely be in my top 3 destinations to visit TILL NOW  😛.

This was based on my experience, after my visit to Europe. I suggested my friend visit Barcelona for sure & he too liked the place. I would suggest you guys as well to travel to these places & experience the aura of the place.

“Travel often to places you love; to relive the moments you admire”

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First Impression of Bangkok

Tourism is one of the most important factors which contribute to Thailand’s economy. Traveling to Thailand has entered on the bucket list of thousands of travellers. One of the reasons of attracting travelers from India is its affordability & VOA (Visa On Arrival). The process is simple & cheap thus lots of Indians chose Thailand for their holidays & honeymoons. I went to Bangkok & Pattaya for 4 days on a solo trip & here is my first impression of Bangkok.

 

Arriving at Bangkok airport: First thing first, applied for Bangkok visa on arrival. It is a very simple process. For me, it took approx 20 mins to complete the entire process. However, during the rush period, it takes more than 2 hours of time as well.

The moment I stepped outside the Airport. The city engaged me with its charm & vibe. The best way to explore a city is by living like a locale; use public transport, eat on streets etc etc.

Human Interactions:

People of Bangkok were really very nice. They were helpful in every best way possible. From helping me understand the currencies to board the buses, they helped me everywhere. Best cities have best people to support them & Bangkok is one such example.I was traveling by bus & asked a fellow passenger to inform me when to get down, the lady was super sweet & helped me to get down at my designated destination. She also helped me in deciphering the currency. One more incident that showed the generosity of Thai people was like this.

I was searching for my home stay in Pattaya, it was hot & humid & I walked for at least an hour to find my hostel. But, I was not able to locate the address.Tired of walking, I stopped at one shop.

The shop owners asked me “What happened?”.

I said “I am lost”.

They were generous enough to call that homeowner thrice to locate the house. So, from whatever experience I had; I felt that they were super sweet to me.

Infrastructure

The city has a beautiful infrastructure & fantastic public transport system. It is easy to get around the place. Taxis are equipped with meters to avoid any inconvenience. Police are active in Bangkok & it is very easy to locate their car while on routes. But, I don’t think you will every require it. I certainly hope; that you don’t ever require it :D.

Mark My Adventure

 

Culture:

Bangkok is a proper backpackers place. You can wear shorts & travel to most to the places & local people will hardly roll their eyes. Every place you visit, there will be some traveler accompanying you.

Once I went to China Town for a trip, I was hungry so ordered a plate of noodles & specifically told the lady to “prepare a veg noodle”. The lady didn’t know the English; hence it was difficult to communicate with her. However, seeing the lady in a problem; a local girl came to her help & told her what needs to be done.

I guess helping others is engraved in their nature.It doesn’t feel like you are traveling to a different place if you meet such helpful peoples. It is refreshing to see the energy of the city. The moment you land on the airport the pain of traveling long hours just vanishes. It is such experience which can not be captured in any amount of words.It is refreshing to see the energy of the city.

Activities:

Places in Bangkok doesn’t disappoint you a bit. It is very easy to see the pics & get excited but by the time you reach the place is opposite of what you expected (Filters effect). But, Bangkok was the opposite, the places were exorbitant beautiful. I only covered places which grabbed my attention. It is better to cover few places completely than covering all the places. One activity which needs to checked is the adult shows. Adult shows are one of the most sought of activities in Bangkok & also the most duped ones. It is better to check the place before entering these places. There are lots of stories of people getting duped here.First impression of bangkok

Overall, I would suggest everyone, to visit this place, the place is amazing; especially the Khao San Road. It is on the list of every travelers & tourist. The place gets insanely happening after the midnight. The crowd dancing to beats without any reason is epic to watch. I spent two nights there & loved every bit of it.

One thing that I loved was canal rides in speed boats. It was one of the very rare experiences for me from this trip. Just stand at the front & experience cities skyline like a movie star.

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Bangkok On A Budget

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand. The place is on the list of every traveler. Throughout crowded with tourists & travelers, the buzz of this place is amazing. When traveling to this wonderful place; it is very easy to lose an account of money. I went for 4 days & spent around 15K INR inclusive of everything. The place is dirt cheap according to western traveler & I too feel the same. Here is my guide to cover Bangkok On A Budget.
I have covered 3 countries till now (out of India) under INR 1 Lac cumulatively. When I circulate this fact, their eyes pops out.

So the big question

How I managed to keep my expenses low?

This post is the guide for Bangkok on a budget. However, the main principles to save money while traveling remains the same for each & every place.

Let’s Start

Expenses are generally bifurcated into broad headings like flight tickets, Accommodations, Activities, Food & site seeing. Out of all these expenses, the major chunk of money goes into Flight tickets. If this factor is catered, then it is easy to manage other heads.
Flights: Here is the tip, a TO & FRO Flights cost less compared to two individual flights. The prices of tickets from India to Thailand has dropped dramatically. During offer, it is easy to find flight tickets at a price of INR 3.5 K one way. Yeah!!!! Just INR 7 K from India to Thailand. But usually, the offer is from one or two airports only. In my case, I chose Chennai for my departure. I got an offer of 5K INR from Chennai. Whereas, the same flight costs me approx. 11K INR from Mumbai. Thus, I traveled to Chennai via train & boarded a flight from Chennai. This way, I was able to cut down on my flight charges. The best place to find cheap tickets is SKYSCANNER.

Accommodation: Staying is another factor which can pull a major chunk of money. However, as Thailand is much cheaper than western countries &hence it is easy to find good accommodation at a cheap rate. Hostels price starts from as low as INR 150 & goes up to INR 1500 for a night. I booked a hostel through BOOKING.COM & stayed in one of the best hostels at the premium location of Khan Sao Road; at a cost of INR 250 per night. I prefer hostels for two reasons; one it costs very low & second it provides an opportunity to meet new people. I made several friends while staying at hostels.

Food: Being vegetarian it is difficult to survive outside India. One of the best ways to eat cheap & veg food is to have food on streets. I was able to eat noodles, rice, bread & butter, juices all on the street that to at the cheapest of prices. A price of noodle plate costs INR 40; whereas the same plate cost approx. INR 120 in some restaurants. There is not a major difference in the taste but there is surely a difference in prices. There is one departmental store in Bangkok which is 7 11. It is the best departmental store I came across ever. The place is open 24 * 7 & it offers everything on an MRP. Thus, no matter where you are, you can always find a good offer in this shop. This shop is located at every corner of Bangkok. So, the best way to have anything is from this shop only.

Public Transport: Bangkok has a very efficient public transport system, buses, metro & waterway all have a decent connectivity. The buses run from each corner & connect major points in Bangkok. I traveled mostly through Buses & ferries. I liked ferries more as it was a nice change for me as it also gave a feeling of some movie. The prices of bus tickets are as low as INR 2.

Also, I have not done activities which do not excite me, I am a person who believes in experiences, so rather than doing everything; I just did the things which were interesting enough for me. This is a nice way to keep cost on a check.
All these techniques helped me to reduce price subsequently. If on a single trip one can save upto 40% of the trip cost (which is a huge cost); it is always a blessing. There will be many people who will be against such thinking, but it is ok. I am here to share my stories ;).
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In case, of any queries; you can mail me at untouchedroads@gmail.com.

Why I Travel Solo

Traveling with friends is always fun. Before China became my first solo trip outside India, I used to travel in a group only. However, my perception changed after my first solo travel. I enjoyed it so much that now I prefer solo traveling, over group travel.

WHAT Solo Trip, R U MAD ???

Reason Mark My Adventure

This is the general answer people gets when they say the word Solo Travel.

Why is it still a taboo to travel solo in India?

Some of the reason I can think of are followings.

Fear: The fear of traveling alone is the most common reason. Fear of “IF”. What if you are lost, what if you are in some problem, what if you get sick, what if you die. But there is an interesting quote from Mark Twain he said “I have had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened”  which is true.

Unknown Territory: It is difficult to plan every move in traveling. Visiting an unknown territory always terrorizes humans.

Expense: While traveling in a group all the expense is distributed equally. However, while traveling solo expenditure has to be borne by a single person which can result in high expenditure.

Safety: Safety is one important aspect which possibly plays an important role in deciding. As being solo one need to be extra smart, extra active & extra observant to avoid any kind of mishappening.

I consider above points as a prime villain’s against solo travel. I too came across all these points while deciding on my first solo trip outside India. In general, I take calculated risk. If I know 70% of things I will do that thing. (“At some point, I had even gone for far less than 70% as I really wanted to experience that thing even if the result was a failure”)

Leap of Faith

Conquering fears are the foremost thing while traveling. The moment mind is in control things seems to get in control. First time I was about to board the flight to China my heart pounded like anything. With no history of traveling outside the country,  my mind was covered with all types of thoughts. It was too hard to keep it stable. I took a deep breath drank water & promised myself not to react to any insane thoughts. I believe that“If you can’t control thing, you shall not worry; if you can then why to worry“. Sounds cheesy but I try to think of this quote in stress.

The World is there for taking 😛

So, while on the roads following were my observation.

Confidence: Stepping outside is always a challenging part. While on roads one needs to make several decisions whether it is good or bad needs to be decided in fractions of moments.  Small small decisions like taking a public mode of transport or taxi, staying in a hotel or a hostel boost confidence of an individual. The more decision we take the more confident we become. With confidence fear of unknown vanishes.

Observation: While on roads it is required to observe your surrounding as anything can happen. While coming back from Mount Hua to Xian I missed last bullet train, I was short on cash to check into a hotel or hostel, thus I decided to travel back. I took a taxi to a local station which was remotely located. I observed everything which driver did to be extra sure of the situation. Sounds scary but it is one good habit to develop while on the roads.

Company of the Self: I am not much of a social bug. While traveling my mobile phone is generally switched off. I believe “If you are not happy with yourself you are in wrong company 😀“. So, I stay away from the technology & spend much of the time to understand myself, to understand nature, to enjoy little things on road. I have watched people doing a group dance to invite customers to have food in China. Saw a kid playing some instrument while trekking to waterfall. I found out “the more you travel alone the more you start loving yourself rather finding yourself.”

Adventure: Traveling solo gives a sense of adventure. In this monotonous life, it is hard to break the norms. But, with traveling alone one can do the same. There is no one to help you no one to comfort you. For some this is scary. However, it is adventurous for me. I went to see waterfall by myself in Bali, I trekked Mount Hua solo.

Health: Health is an important criteria for current generation. There are some studies which shows that traveling makes you smarter, stronger & healthier. While browsing through some of the articles. I came across a very enlighting article about how traveling changes health. Read the article here.

P.S: I am smiling at present by remembering the glimpse of the same. This is how traveling solo shapes you up.

Faith & Trust: One need to make a decision by himself/herself. Whether it is good or bad you are the only sufferer. I took risk of traveling in the night at 11 pm in Bali. I trusted people to show me right path while looking for an address. While looking for my hostel in Pattaya local shop owner called my host to locate the exact place for me. All these are minute things but it builds the trust & faith.

A beautiful place: I was stranded in Mount Hua while trekking; a group of Chinese people went out of the way & offered me night torch along with showing me the path. I asked for a direction from a shop owner who did not know English in Bali but explained the direction with his gestures. These small act encourages humanity in the world.

New insight: Traveling alone has its benefit you tend to meet new people’s, you get to know about their story & their traveling experience. I met many people who were traveling for 6 months & planned to travel more. I enjoy talking to new people. It’s a worthy experience to know about different cultures.

Freedom: Solo travel often comes with a freedom to do anything. No more waiting for the group to decide on an activity. While solo you can decide for yourself. I relaxed on Gilli Air beach rather than opting for snorkeling.

Memories: You come back with million of memories. Even while writing this post, my memories of traveling to China, Bangkok & Bali came into my mind. I believe that fact that it best to COLLECT MOMENTS, NOT MONEY. While traveling alone “I forever engraved my solo experiences with me. When I am old I will tell about these stories to younger generation’s 😀 (Melodramatic I know)”

Drug: Solo travel is like a drug. Once this bites you, it’s hard to come back to normal life.I did my first solo trip on Nov 15 & the very next year I went to Bangkok & Bali. This year I am planning for Europe. I truly believe it is a drug.

If a solo trip has so many benefits why not do it now when you are young & free. I did mine & truly loved it. I hope you will do the same. Hoping to hear some inspiring stories.