Monday, October 28

Brave in Bangalore

India is not included in some tourists' must-see places bucket list. However, having been exposed to souls with the same passion, my yearning for the new and undiscovered led me to agree in taking on a wild and unexpected journey to one of the world's most diverse and populous country.

After about five hours of travel time from Kuala Lumpur, our plane finally landed quietly in Bengaluru International Airport. Before the wheels touched India's landmass, I had a glimpsed above how vast the country of India really was. All I saw were plains, tiny buildings and curving rivers as far as my eyes can see.  I did not have a window seat so I just got content in getting flitting glimpses from the tiny window. The clouds partly hid the view but it still was breathtaking at first glance. The feeling was like falling in love. Exciting, thrilling but always with a hint of uncertainty.

While proceeding to the immigration counters, the below sign greeted us. Visa-on-arrival were given to some ASEAN countries including the Philippines.  If we had known this, perhaps we would consider not applying for a tourist visa back home.  But it is also convenient since you no longer have to spend more time at the airport when all you want to do is drop your bags at the hotel, jump on the bed and sleep.

Monday, October 21

One Night in Kuala Lumpur

It was my first time to travel alone in and out of the country.  Though my friend Marx joined me the next day, it had not really occurred to me that it will actually happen. The thought only sank in the moment I was booking my accommodation for a one-night stay here in Kuala Lumpur a few months back.

The Philippine Islands from above

Tuesday, October 15

Goa's Little Secret

I remember a friend constantly barraging me for updates on what Goa is like. Goa is famous for its long stretch of beach and is considered as one of the major tourist attractions of Western India.  

Sand Castle Guesthouse & Sand Witch Art Cafe. 
What a cool name!
Marx and I had the luxury of staying two nights in this quiet city. There are many big and posh resorts here but I guess staying in a cozy guesthouse will help you feel more at home. 

Saturday, October 12

Kolkata's Sunny Sunflower Guesthouse

Kolkata was the last leg in our two-week India marathon. We arrived early evening on September 29 at Howrah Junction. Again, India surprised us because we felt we were in another country once more.

Once outside, we immediately fell in line at the counter to get our prepaid taxi ticket and asked to be delivered promptly at 7 Royd St. where our guesthouse is located.

Twin A/C room with private bath and cable TV
Hotel lobby
India's treasures as displayed on the guest house's main lounge
WiFi is offered at INR 30 per hour

Friday, October 11

Karan's Guesthouse: Your Home in Jaipur

Arriving at Jaipur Junction promptly at six am, we wasted no time and hired a tuktuk to take us to our home for the next day: Karan's Guesthouse.

Karan's Guesthouse
Our tuktuk driver was having a difficult time communicating with us so we read out loud the guesthouse's address.  After some time, he dropped us off on a quiet street located in Chomu House,  Scheme  C, Jaipur.  

Twin A/C room with private bath, veranda and free WiFi
Our host, Sir Lokendra, was an early riser and greeted us once we rang the doorbell.  Homey and quiet, we were even served breakfast (thank you!) before we were sent off to our spacious room. 

We were supposed to just drop off our bags to start exploring the city.  However, with our stomachs full and tired from the overnight train ride, we found ourselves napping for a few hours.  I was expecting it will become noisy once the citizens of Jaipur awakens but our stay in Karan's Guesthouse often felt like it was always six in the morning.  

The location is perfect.  Not so far from the city's activities but close from all modes of transportation.  Backpackers using the rail will not have a hard time finding this as it is just within two-kilometers of Jaipur Junction.  Tuktuks are also abound in the adjacent main road.  

Visiting the Pink City? Why not make Karan's Guesthouse your home in Jaipur. 

Karan's Guesthouse

Facebook:  Karan's Guesthouse
Address:    D-76, Shiv Heera Path, Chomu House Colony, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302001
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Tuesday, October 1

How to Apply for an Indian Tourist Visa

Applying for a tourist visa is one heck of a hurdle for tourists. But the idea of visiting an uncharted place almost makes this activity a come-on idea for travelers at heart.  

Me and Marx first attempted to file our applications last July 29.  However to our surprise, the attending clerk said that it was still too early since we are only to visit India for a couple of weeks, the embassy might decide to just give us a 1-month visa.  He even stated an example that what if they granted it on August 2, it will logically end on September 2 if we were to be give a one-month visa.  Our departure dates were not until mid-September.  

As we gathered our requirements back for safekeeping, I thought out loud and said to Marx on our way out, "Isn't that the role of our plane tickets, to determine the beginning of validity of our visas?".

Well, we were in no position to argue so we quietly acknowledged his instructions.  This is only based on our story and in no way will determine other travelers' would-be experience. On September 2, we went back and successfully filed our visa application.