Sri Lanka with GG in Rs32000/ $500 (Yala)

We covered alot of terrains, so how could we miss a National park. Yala is a deroute from the road connecting Ela and Mirissa.

Its a huge territory where the animals rule. We are permitted only in a section of the forest. And I am glad its that way. Like other sactuaries the enterance gate is located 20km from the main town. The experience is incomplete without a ride in an open jeep, its windy and dusty but worth it.

Usualy tourists book a pre-packaged deal. And it is difficult to find a cheaper deal for the jeep if you are jus two. Coz they rent the complete jeep which costs around 8000-15000 SRs.(inclusive of enterance fees). We took an afternoon slot for the safari.

Since the permitted area is more of grasslands,its very easy to spot wildlife. In adittion to the below I spotted an elephant, wild boar, deers(ofcourse) and exotic birds. The guide said that we were lucky to find a leopard in such a clearing. (Lady travelers beware , the guides are big time pile ons, so maintain the correct distance) (Tip: carry multiple sets of camera betteries, mine got exhausted just after I clicked a mongoose😫, hence a mobile cam photo of the Leopord) To add on to the trail, the jeeps take everyone to the beach, swimming isn’t allowed but its good to be at a raw & non touristy beach. After the safari, our jeep dropped us to the town. And we were back to our guest house.

Sri Lanka with GG in Rs32000/ $500 (Ella)

Ella is more about the journey rather than the destination. We were way early at the station to grab the best seats. (As I said it was all about the voyage)

There was a seperate toilet for the tourists, and we took advantage of it🤣. We had our breakfast at the confectionary situated at the platform, the shop was fully loaded with eateries . I felt like a 5 year old in the candy shop.😋

Soon our jouney began, a loooooooonnng jouney 8hrs to be precise. As I mentioned before, the first class coaches were full of different nationality travellers, some were on a guided/packaged tour & some were like us. The train had a small pantry from where one could grab hot tea, coffee, water, all at higher price ofcourse. (Better to stock beforehand)

I was mesemerised by the landscape through out the route. Also made some freinds on the way, posed for cameras while looking out of the window and just couldn’t sleep. It is a experience that every traveler to Ella should witness.

Alas during lunch time we reached the mini hillstation. I had already booked a luxurious resort (for a change) “The Okreech cottages” costing $32 for a night.But there are multiple cheaper options available starting $12.

For some reason Okreech’s kitchen was not operational. So we went to the main road for our meals, we were so lazy to climb back that we decided to come back to the hotel after ohr dinner only. We were hardly in Ee for 18hrs in Ella, but utilized our time to the fullest. Travelers with liesure time stay for 3-4 days, to hike and to visit the nearby attractions.

What we did is ate!!

We had a big lunch at Chill cafe. I ordered for a srilankan lunch platter worth 800Srs. (Food at restaurants is very expensive). But I was stuffed. The vibe of the place was nice.

We took a stroll and by the time we finished it was evening. We enjoyed some drinks and live music in a bar. And by 9pm we were in our bed, fast asleep😴

The next morning we revived ourselves with a cup of tea at our patio and yet another journey was waiting for us.

Sri Lanka with GG in Rs32000/ $500 (Kandy)

Early morning we were at the Colombo railway station. Breakfast for us was Nescafe and puffs.(Eating less and selective is the secret of not having a Delhi belly). A narrow gauge train, which looked similar to our Shimla toy train arrived at the platform. We boarded our coach, non ac but 2nd class. Apparently Sri Lanka hardly has any Ac coach in its trains.

After enjoying our 4hrs of journey we reached Kandy. The station was small, clean and less crowded. It felt like we were at a hill station, since the weather made us put on our jackets.

We took an auto from outside the station to our accommodation- Backpack Lanka Kandy (the same chain of hostels where we stayed in colombo) this one had a pool as well. Here we booked a twin room with balcony. (Don’t start to fancy the room readers, we had to use a common bathroom which was 20 steps from our room but was very well maintained). The other part of the story is that we were the only residents and it gave me creeps to go to the loo at night. The best part about the hostels is that they have a kitchen and water dispenser which ars accesible to the distressed guests like us😅

We had limited time in Kandy and had to make the most of it. I consulted the guy at the reception and he showed me multiple tour options. The one which attracted me the most was “The tuk-tuk tour”, that costed us 2400 Srs. The hostel had there own tuk-tuk. With no delay we jumped into the auto, grabbed an on-the-go lunch and were on our way to the beautiful sites.

Temple of the sacred Tooth relic

Girigama tea plantation

Bahiravokanda vihara Buddha statue

Railway museum

Kandy lake

Ranawana temple

Meghalaya-Land of clouds

While I was searching for some information for my trip, I rarely found any descriptive blogs about it.

Since I have explored it now , sharing my experience with everyone.

Days needed= 5 days (long weekend+2days leave). This was one of my short trips.

One can reach shillong from Delhi by taking a flight to Guwahati and then a 2.5hr drive by cab. If you book a cab it costs Rs 2000 and if taking a shared cab it costs 500 each for 4 people sharing one vehicle.

The drive is smooth, it was warm in Guwahati and I was just waiting for the ascend to get some pleasant breeze.

I was a privileged as this time I had somebody known at the destination. And fortunate to have two, my aunt and a college freind. I just had to book my flights and the rest was taken care of. This trip was the most convenient and the safest. The iternerary was pre-arranged by my uncle and home cooked food was an added perk.

Let me show you where was I staying,  it is a holiday retreat in itself.

Day 1 was at leisure enjoying the surroundings of the “Assam rifles” cantonemnt area. The weather is beautiful, as the name suggests ‘Meghalaya’ it is bright and sunny in the morning and starts raining by 3pm. It gets cold at night that a sweater in necessary to go out, may be because this area was 7 km from the main city.
Day 2 was a trip to Cherapunji. About which I read in my Geography or General knowledge classes. “Which place in India recieves the maximum rainfall”. However it is no more topping the list.

The attractions were:

Seven sisters– A place where 7 waterfalls, signifying the 7 states of North East. (A sight to be visited in monsoon, else a waste, since they are dependent on rain water)

Mawsmai caves – Calcium caves, USP of meghalaya. They are only found in the North East. (These can’t be visited as they are flooded)

So one needs to make a choice between the two or visit twice😉

It’s important to note that there are not many public transport in Meghalaya and it’s always better to hire a cab. 

In the evening I went to visit my freind, we met at the ‘5th mile’ cafe, located in Upper shillong. From there we walked to her place.  I stayed overnight, met her family, got to know the traditions and ate Khasi food.

Day 3- it was Easter, my freinds family was all dressed to ho to church but I had to go back to my aunts place, to push off to Mawlynnong.

It was a 3hr drive, also because the roads were busy with celebrations. But it was a sight, I was getting familiar with a new culture.

Living root  bridge one needs to climb down about 150 steps to reach the bridge. There is a double decker bridge in Cherapunji which is 300 steps. These were created by the natives by entangling the roots of the trees and later settling mud over to make a pathway. 

The cleanest village of AsiaIt deserves the title, nobody can say that these people are not horticulture and landscaping experts. The food is available in  one or two restaurants. It is bit expensive as the resources are limited and it is one of the means for the locals to earn.

Essentials to pack for a month long solo women backpack trip

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For all the pround first timers starting with a month long backpacking trips, below are the list of things to pack if you are heading to warmer regions :

Clothing
Trouser/jeans/lower – 2 no.
Tshirts/tops casual – 5
Party wear top- 1
Shorts- 1
Scarf- 2
Towel-1
Undergarments- 3 sets
Bikini – for the beaches
Thin jacket-1
Night dress- 1
Spread sheet

Cosmetics
Body lotion
Sunscreen cream
Kajal/eyeliner
Lipbalm
Nail cutter
Nail filer
Nail paint remover
Nail paint
Small scissor
Razor
Washing powder small sachets
Shampoo – small bottle coz it’s less messy than shampoo sachets
Shower gel with loofah- prevents you from keeping wet soap in your bag
Facewash- 50-100ml bottle
Cotton roll
Toilet roll
Tooth brush
Tooth paste

Electronics
Mobile Charger
Earphones
Battery backup/power bank
Kindle/Novels to read

Accessories
Sunglasses
Hairband
Ruberband

Footwear
Shoes
Flipflops
Trendy but comfortable flat sandals/ballies

First aid
Medicine for vomiting and stomach ache
Paracetamol
Painkiller
Band aid
Dettol
Paper soap

Glimpse of Tibet- Mcleodganj

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Not so far up in the himalayas is this hustly bustly town of Mcleodganj , once the residence of the great Dalai lama.

It was a road trip for me – Enfield, Zig Zag road, view of snow capped mountains and pure air. This was in the month of February.  Folks please do  not choose this month for the  bike trip as it will freeze your bones.

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It is a 14 hrs ride from Delhi,  there are luxury buses and volvos also available for that route which takes exactly 12 hrs one way.

Enroute please do stopover at the small joints to have veg Maggie and some of the shacks serve delicious home made mutton curry and rice.

STAY
There is nothing much  to do in dharamshala, so when you reach Mcleodganj,  firstly  take a room. There are  multiple options to choose from (please refer trip advisor for the same).

EAT
And the second very thing is a heavy tibetan brunch at the ‘Tibet Kitchen’.
*Steam chicken Momos a  must try.

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SHOP
Adjacent to this restaurant is a showroom selling all the tibetan ethnic commodities. I found this shop to be resonably priced than any other shop in the town….Ladies it’s shopping time.

DRINK
Evening coffee at the casual cafes.

CHILL
Two km away from the city is the naag falls- it is too much crowded, so peace lovers may find a place at the shiva cafe or at the foot of the fall to avoid  the footfall.

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TREK
Last but the best attraction is the ‘Triund trek ‘. Adventurers can stay the second night at DHARMAKOT which is 2km away from the town centre and can start the trek early morning. It is a must do trek if you have time and the correct company.

PURIFY
Early risers should go to the main monastry , sit and introspect.

ADMIRE
End the day with mesmerising sunset. For that you need to keep an eye at the right spot. I figured mine.

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So people, pick a weekend , club a Friday and shoot for Mcleodganj.