Thursday, October 23, 2014

Suiza escénica

SwissTours estuvo mostrando anuncios en Mumbai Mirror. Aunque ya nosotros viajamos a Suiza, decidimos viajar otra vez. La gira incluyo Zermatt, Stanserhorn, Mount Pilatus, Grindelwald y Harder Kulm cuales estaban nuevas lugares para nosotros. La oficina de SwissTours es en Khar.

El formato de la gira es muy bueno.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lavasa... The Premium Holiday Destination..

One of the most sort after destinations around Mumbai and Pune, Lavasa... This is a promoted as a premium holiday destination.. and thats what it is...
Premium in terms of monies and not real value for money..

Monday, February 24, 2014

Little Rann of Kutch My friend was just back from his vacation to Gir and during our talks he mentioned that in general there are lots of birds in Gujarat. Asked him to check if there was any destination that we can target as a weekend birding destination. Few inquiries around, indicated that the Little Rann of Kutch would be a good option. Search for hotels then started off. There are two resorts that you can go to when visiting Little Rann of Kutch. Rann Riders and Desert Coursers. Based on the tariffs mentioned on their websites, Desert Coursers looked to be a lot cheaper and we decided to opt for it. We checked travellers' reviews for this place, and nearly without exception, these were good. You can check my review of the place here.

The place is being run by Dhanraj Mallik whom we contacted for our bookings (+91-999 8305501). We got a package of 1950/- per person per day which included stay (twin-sharing), all meals + 1 safari.

Desert coursers is around 125 kms from Ahmedabad railway station and takes around 2.5 hours to reach there.  Dhanraj recommeded Mr Ashok (+91 98251 98925/ +91 9979 666 444) for the pickup car arrangments. We got an indigo for Rs 2500/- for pickup from Ahmedabad railway station and drop at Desert Coursers. The car was in good condition and dealing with Ashok was hassle-free.

Ahmedabad has good rail connectivity with many trains plying between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. Our rail booking were as below
Mumbai -> Ahmedabad: Bhuj SF AC Express (22903),
Ahmedabad -> Mumbai: Ahmedabad Mumbai Duronto Express (12268)

The arrival timings of these trains are very good which means that you have the entire day of arrival at your disposal.

We took 2 safaris in to the Rann and a safari for birding to a lake nearby.  All outings were very good in terms of sightings. The drivers that accompanied us were good at spotting and IDing birds/animals. We spotted the Indian Wild Ass, Desert Fox, Nilgai, Mongoose in addition to Pelicans, Greater flamingos, Nightjar, etc.

For the return journey we planned to do the Nal Sarovar which is a Ramsar Convention Site. It is about a 40km detour on the way back to Ahmedabad. Thol Lake which is another site popular for birding is around 10 km from Ahmedabad. As luck would have it, both these place were closed for the day for bird census when we went there . This meant that we had time on our hands. We had our lunch at "The Village" in Himalaya Mall, took in a movie and then went to the Sabarmati Waterfront. This is a good place to spend time in the evening.

Check out the photos from the trip below.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary, Travel Tips

Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary is around 140 kms from Mumbai and is supposed to have the densest population of wildlife around Mumbai. Phansad is famous for a rich diversity of flora and fauna. It was the hunting ground for the former princely state of Murud-Janjira. It has a good combination of forest, wetlands and grasslands. For me, its USP is that you can go on foot for the safaris. All vehicles are banned within the sanctuary. To experience the wilderness on foot was a very enjoyable experience. 

The entrance to the sanctuary is at Supegaon which is around 10kms from Kashid. We booked our stay at Friends and Family Restaurant which is a budget hotel very near to Prakruti Resort in Kashid. [This is a budget hotel and the rooms are clean. Meal options were limited but the quality was good.] Tent accommodation is available within the sanctuary and is very reasonably priced. There is a small eatery at the entrance of the Sanctuary which is operated by the local Mahila Bachat Sanghatana. The food served here is divine (and cheap as well). In case you intend to have your meals here, inform them in advance. 

There are a number of watering holes in the sanctuary which act as good spots for wildlife. We went to Chikhalgan and Savratgan. The trail to each of these watering holes is around 6 kms from the ticket window. The ticket window for the park opens at 6:00 in the morning. We went into the sanctuary at 6:00 and took the Chikhalgan trail. From here we came back by around 1:00 pm. Had delicious lunch and then took the Savratgan trail. Both the trails are well marked. Ensure that you carry sufficient water, caps and a torch in case you are likely to get late.

On the Chikhalgan trail we were able to get sightings of the Green Vine Snake, Grey Hornbill, Paradise Flycatcher, Yellow Footed Green Pigeon, Black, Ashy and White Bellied Drongo, Golden Fronted Leaf Bird, Jungle Owlet and White Throated Kingfisher. During the evening trail to Savratgan, we were lucky with sightings of Indian Giant Squirrel, Jungle Fowl, Rufous Treepie and another sighting of the Paradise Flycatcher.

Use the link below to see more photos from that trip.

Monday, January 13, 2014


Tawang Photos, Tawang Travel Tips
Tawang was brought in to limelight of Indian tourism by Madhuri Dixit Nene because of the movie Koyla. Though the movie was below par, the beauty of Tawang shot during its making soon made it a popular location. But given its distant location, it still doesn't see many tourists. 

We decided to go to Tawang and plan our tour around it. The nearest airport with good connectivity, is Guwahati. We booked our airline tickets in advance and then started planning for the tour.

The initial plan was to go to Guwahati, travel to Orang National Park and then go Tawang using Pawan Hans helicopters. Orang National Park is around 2 hours drive from Guwahati airport and is famous for its Rhino population. Additionally, park has good bird sightings, the highlight being the Bengal Florican which is on the critically endangered list. The below link from Assam Tourism has more information about the park

We tried to get in touch with numbers for Divisional Forest Officer and Range Forest Officer mentioned in the link in order to plan our stay there. But we werent able to get through. The other thing that happened, was that we came to know that Pawan Hans had suspended operations in Arunachal Pradesh after the Arunachal CM died in an accident. 
[Pawan Hans has now started operating helicopter flights from Guwahati to Tawang. Check link below for your bookings Am sure it will be a amazing journey]

With this, the logistics seemed to be getting difficult and we started checking on whether there is a tour operator to operates in this region. We then came upon the Essential Poorvanchal tour operated by Aradhana Travels. My parents had done multiple tours through them and were very happy with the experience. I am not a big fan of guided tours, but this looked to be the only option. I can now say that I just loved the tour and was glad that we did it through Aradhana Tours. The tour is meticulously planned, good hotels, a caring manager (Mandar Kirane) and divine food. Even though there are some long drives involved in the tour, carefully chosen stops means that you dont really feel tired.

The tour covered Shillong, Cherrapunji, Tezpur, Tawang and Kaziranga. The north eastern states are beautiful. Through this tour we got our first glimpse of their natural beauty and we decided to return back for more.

Below are some photos of the tour.