Monday, 26 June 2017

Weekend Gateway, Alibaug

Alibaug! Most of those who are staying in Mumbai have been to this place and but I still feel the need to write my experiences, and you ask why? Because I had different experiences than just living in a resort or chilling by the pool or a beach. Yes, I did chill on a beach too, but this was something to remember. I had some clips from this trip which I have compiled in a video below.

I and my colleagues were looking for a weekend gateway in December and after surfing (on the internet) through many places near Mumbai like Matheran, Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani and Lonavala; we tabbed on Alibaug. I never had been to Alibaug before and surprisingly none of my colleagues did. We started searching for economical hotels or places to stay. After searching and making calls at few places, we found someone very welcoming. It wasn’t a hotel or resort, it was a cottage. We did go through the pictures of that cottage on their website, and it looked pretty decent to stay. So we booked the cottage with some advance money through bank transfer and we pack our bags.
We stayed there for a day, but it was one of the memorable trips. If you do not know how to reach Alibaug, here’s how:
Step 1: Wherever you are in Mumbai, Reach Churchgate Station.
Step 2: Call a taxi and ask them to take you to the Gateway of India.
Step 3: At Gateway of India, ask someone where to buy the ticket for ferry rides (Most of the times there are plenty of police security around Gateway of India, so they will surely help you.)

As I remember, it cost around 150/- rupees to buy a return ticket to Mandva. Yes! To go to Alibaug, you take a ticket for Mandva. You can take a public transport bus to Alibaug after getting down from the ferry. The ticket for that public transport bus is included in the ticket you bought at the Gateway of India.
If you find that the buses are too crowded, you can opt for a six sitter vehicle; tell them where you need to go and they shall tell you a price. (Make sure to bargain) they call that six sitter vehicle as “Sitara” (God knows where that came from?)

Anyways, the place we booked was pretty much away from Mandva, so he charged us 750 rupees, and the whole Sitara was ours. It took over an hour to reach the place. FYI, we booked a cottage in Chaul (which is in Alibaug). Chaul has a very interesting history, which you can find on Wikipedia. We told the sitara driver about cottage and he knew where it was. Mostly the Sitara drivers are locals, so they know where the cottages, hotels, and resorts are.
On our way to Chaul, Alibaug, we had no idea where the driver was taking us, because we were just traveling through an open space, in some areas there were no roads. Sometimes we were driving through farms, sometimes we were driving through a village. (but we were not as scared because we were 12 people together!)
Anyways, after wondering where we are going for an hour, we finally reached the cottage at Chaul. And everything that we saw at that place was pleasing. We were happy with our choice. It was spacious and most importantly, Clean! there were swings to play, there were places to chill and play outside.

The place was surrounded by betel nut trees. Basically, it was the cottage that was situated in a “wadi”. A wadi is a place which is like a farm. But on this farm you don’t grow crops, instead, you grow trees, hundreds of coconut trees, or flowers or vegetables or betel nut or doub palm trees (locally known as taadgollas). Basically, everything that is grown in wadis is used to make money by the locals. In short, that’s the crop they produce in bulk. 
Best part, there was no dining table inside the house. The dining table was outside the house, right under the palm trees.
There was a special house in the same premise that was ‘only’ kitchen. The rooms were only for sleeping and yes there was a TV, but who cares about the TV when it’s so beautiful outside. You just have to tell the manager, what you want to have for your meal, whether it is vegetarian or non-vegetarian, but in advance and he shall manage it. All meals were cooked on a chullha! That made the meals so delicious and you can have as much as you want!  In villages like Chaul, people have home grown chickens, and freshly caught fishes (whichever fish you demand, it’s going to come right from the sea) We were so happy that the manager and the owner of that cottage were such a humble and warm person! And even if it felt like the middle of nowhere, it was such a safe place to be! We were out in the night till 1:30 AM, that too with only moonlight and torches. What were we doing? Making seekh kababs on a koyla sigree and making a bonfire all by ourselves and dancing around it (needless to say, it turned into a Garba after sometime).
Our day’s schedule was something like this, we left our house in the morning, reached Chaul by afternoon, had delicious and unlimited food, relaxed a bit, had our evening tea, and we decided to stroll around the village to see what else do we find there.
After we walked a through the village looking at people’s colorful houses and their gardens, mandirs and stepped wells, we were tired.
 We asked a villager about the places we should visit. They suggested us to see the Revdanda beach which was nearby from wherever we were (god knows). So we decided to keep walking. We walked almost for an hour since we left our cottage. After all that we reached the Revdanda beach. It happened to be Heaven on earth. There was no one except us on the beach. The beach was pristine clean and untouched.

The air quality, the sound of the waves, pleasing sunlight, the cool and soft sand under our feet; It just felt like some sort of cleansing therapy. We laughed, ran around and collected shells; saw little as well as big crabs. We felt so pure, we forgot all our worries. Our hearts were at peace. Even now, whenever I think about that experience, I smile. Well, that’s why we travel you know; So that in the times of restlessness and despair, we could cherish and relive such moments and get the energy back.
There is also an old fort on Revdanda beach. It isn’t maintained and is only remains of the fort. 

We moved ahead on the beach and got on a bus to Birla temple.
You cannot take any belongings inside the temple, not even your wallet. So, someone had to wait outside with all our belongings. The temple is made up of marble and is surrounded by a well-maintained garden. Birla temple was another place where we felt peaceful. Our bodies were tired from all the traveling and walking but we were happy with all these experiences.
After visiting these two wonderful places, we decided to head towards our cottage. This meant we were going take a bus to the Revdanda beach, walk the entire beach, exit the beach and walk for another hour to reach our cottage. When we left home, it was daytime, but by the time we reached back to the Revdanda beach, it was evening. We witnessed an amazing and most memorable sunset ever! 

And when we started walking towards by our cottage, it was dark, and there were absolutely no street lights and we didn’t realize it while we were going to the beach. As colorful and cheerful the village looked in the afternoon, the spooky it looked after sunset. The dogs were barking at us and we were walking as fast as we can. Plus, we found it too difficult to find our way back in the dark! We were scared but still laughing at our own situation.
Finally, we reached our cottage to find the uncle setting up our delicious dinner!
Next day we headed to the kashid beach, which was again, far from chaul.  We played water sports like banana rides, parasailing, and speed boating and horse riding. We also chilled on a shack and had food on the stalls.

That was our last day in Alibaug, we went back to our cottage freshen up, had our last chullha cooked lunch, and headed back home. While we were riding back home on a ferry we saw a beautiful view of Gateway of India, and the Taj hotels.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Favorites of the month April 2017

Favorite Routine: Tone it Up’s  Daily Moves

Do you work out at home? Or, do you WANT to workout at home because you’re too lazy to go the gym? Don’t worry, Tone it Up’s K&K has you covered! I too, like many of you, used to be too lazy to go the gym or a fitness studio. So, I started working out at home. I used to design the workout routines for myself, but soon I got bored of doing that too. I have been following Tone it Up since a couple of years. I started following their ‘Daily Moves’ 3 months back and I must say, workouts have become more Fun since then. With these daily moves, I don’t have to worry about how am I going to workout each day and also, you don’t get bored to follow the same routine for a month or week. 
Add a shortcut of this link on your home screen to keep reminding you to work out every day.

App: Grammarly

As the name suggests it helps us to correct our grammatical mistakes that MS Word spell check sometimes doesn’t detect. While I write my blog posts, Instagram posts or professional emails, I use Grammarly to detect silly mistakes and to make sentences effective.
You can download the Grammarly HERE

Favorite food: Mango!

I always prefer eating whatever is in season! And the best things you get in Summer are, none other than Mangoes! HERE is everything you need to know about Mangoes. Happy Eating Mangoes this summer!

Video: Elizabeth Gilbert & Marie Forleo on Fear, Authenticity and Big Magic

I have mentioned both Marie Forleo and Elizabeth Gilbert on my blog previously. Marie Forleo’s MarieTV was in my favorites of the month last time. Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my favorite authors, who wrote ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, ‘Big Magic’ and many other wonderful books. I have written a whole 'book reading experience Big Magic’ and it has impacted me in a very positive way to keep creating and living a creative life. I recommend this book to everyone always. 
When I saw two of my favorite personalities in one video, I knew it’s going to have a lot to offer. It’s a little too long, but you will surely gain a lot from it. And if you have read the book, you are going to enjoy it a lot! Watch the video Here!

So that's it for this month! If you like this post make sure to press that G+ button! Share this post with someone you love and care about because Sharing is Caring!

Much Love!
Chitra Takle XOXO

Thursday, 18 May 2017

How to get back peace of mind

I usually write about such things when I have gone through it too many times. Today I decided to jot down what works for me so that if you, my fellow human, are going through the same, can use it too. It is stupid to continue to suffer from a bad and sad mood or sulking over someone’s hurtful speech. Here are things I do, when someone/something is giving me a hard day and there’s nothing I can do about it. 

Cry it out
You will have to admit that we all have been through such situations, at least once. Being an emotional person, I have a hard time holding my tears back. No, that doesn’t mean I cry for everything. But yes, if someone/something hurts me that bad (of course emotionally), I prefer to cry it out because it makes me feel much lighter. Go ahead, nothing wrong with that.

Talk to someone I trust
This definitely works when you tell someone how terrible it felt. Here are some things that might happen:
  • You feel good when you finally share it with someone.
  • You realize that it’s okay, it happens, that’s life and you’re not alone to go through this.
  • Most of the time we get blinded by anger or sadness in such situations; this person may help you to look at the issue from a different dimension and give a solution.
  • Most of the times when you narrate the situation, you realize that it wasn’t that bad.
  • You end up understanding the feelings of the person who hurt you. Maybe that wasn’t the intention, maybe it wasn’t personal, maybe it was right, and maybe the person is immature. You might just find a reason to forgive the person or take a lesson from it and move ahead.

Use the lessons I have learned
If you are older enough, probably above 25, you will have most of the situations handled before. Remember how you handled it previously. If you handled it poorly, this time you can act smarter. If you have handled similar situation efficiently before, well you are a pro now. You know if you prefer to give a damn about it or not, wink!
If you haven’t handled situations of such heartbreaks or insults or awkwardness or anything that doesn’t make you feel good, you can always talk to someone experienced or someone elder. Learn how to deal and use it for your lifetime. That’s how we learn to be stronger J

Read my favorite books of all the time
It isn’t possible in all situations that, I would just go home and read the book. But there are few books which changed the way I look at moments of despair and melancholy. Those books are ‘Mastery of Love’ and ‘The four agreements’. I recommend these books repeatedly on my blog and to everyone who needs it. Everyone must read these books at least once in life. It changed the way I look at problems, people, relationships and most importantly Myself.

As I told you, not all things I am listing here are instant solutions or can be done instantly everywhere, but this is something that had to be on the list. After having a rough day, I make sure to recover. You must have heard or experienced that when we are down emotionally, it affects our body too. To recover physically and mentally Yoga works the best for me. It helps me to uplift my mood, clear the brain fog and definitely makes me feel emotionally and physically stronger.

Listen to music
I am not going to write much about this, every one of you knows what right kind of music can do to your mood. When I listen to music, my brain just shuts down everything and only follows the beats, so I get the much-needed break from overthinking a situation. Yeah, so go ahead listen to some good music.

Do you think you are in a bad situation than anyone in the world? Yes, sometimes we feel so, but know that it could have been worse. There are many people in the world who are less fortunate and you might just want to thank, that you are in much better place. Writing down things I am grateful for always makes me feel better. Be grateful for little things and things you get easily and probably are less appreciated. I have written more about gratitude HERE.

Make lemonade
Na-ah! I am not talking about a making a lemonade to drink. I am talking about converting your energy into something constructive. All the energy you put into crying or hating someone can be used to create something. You may want to write about it, go for a run, workout in the gym, paint, clean your house, write a poem, or you might just create a masterpiece, who knows? Somebody said it rightly when life gives you lemons make lemonade. Look, I had a situation and I made a blog post about it. LOL!

Look in the mirror and Smile!
Go try it right now and experience that shift in your mood.

Want more help, you might like to read BEAT THOSE BLUES.
Still, have questions? Comment below or DM on my Instagram at chitratakle

Much love,
Chitra Takle

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Batu Caves, Malaysia!

I love when (good) unplanned things happen while I travel, for e.g. visiting a place that wasn't on the list. After staying in the clouds at Genting Highlands, we headed to Kuala Lumpur. During our stay at Genting Highlands, our local guide got the news that a huge protest is happening at Dataran Merdeka Square in Kuala Lumpur. The plan was to visit Dataran Merdeka Square, National Mosque, Cricket Field and High Court Building. The route to all these places went through the city center, where the protest was taking place. Our guide decided to let the protest cool down in some days and visit these places later. Unfortunately, by the evening, we were told, that the protest will go on for next three days. This meant we were not going to visit any of the above-mentioned places during our stay in the country.

So, to compensate the change in the plan, we decided to go to Batu Caves. I had seen a lot of beautiful pictures of Batu caves on Instagram. And I was extremely happy that I am going to visit the beautiful caves and click a picture of the giant statue of Lord Murugan.

On arrival at Batu caves, I was disappointed that the giant statue of Lord Murugan was scaffolded. We saw a long staircase going to the temple of Lord Murugan. However, I decided to climb the stairs to temple. And man-o-man, it was a great workout. There are 272 stairs, which I thought wasn't much, but those were the steepest stairs I climbed in my entire life. My heart was beating so fast, that at a point; I felt it would pop out of my chest. (Bad decision to not to take rest in between).

  • If you are planning to climb those stairs and go up to the temple, make sure you take rest in between. It would be highly recommended to breathe properly. Continuously talking while you climb, will tire you quickly. Wear comfortable footwear.
  •  One more very very important thing that you must take care of is the monkeys. There are a lot of monkeys up there, who are not much afraid of humans. Take care of your cameras and other belongings. Avoid feeding the monkeys, chances are, too many monkeys would gather around you.
  • If you plan to go inside the temple, you will have to take off your shoes. Make your family member/ friend take care of your shoes when you go inside. You don’t want the monkeys to take your footwear with them, do you?
  • Thaipusam is a Hindu festival celebrated at Batu caves in  January/ February (Depends on which month the full moon day falls). This place is overcrowded with devotees on these days. (Check the dates and information on Wikipedia Plan your visits accordingly to avoid the crowd.

When I was returning from the temple, I saw another cave which is called as Dark Caves. You can buy tickets for 35 ringgits (that’s what I remember). Those caves have some special species of animals like spiders and bats. These caves are ecologically very rich. However, you cannot go unattended. There are guided tours to these dark caves. I totally missed the tour in the Dark caves, they were closed when we reached there. I am going to provide a link to this gentleman’s blog post HERE, make sure to check out before you go. You also might want to check THIS link to know more before you decide to visit the Dark caves.

Batu caves are made up of Lime stone.

Inside Batu Caves

Enjoy the Beauty Inside the Caves!

Beautiful Cityscape outside Batu Caves

So, that’s it for this post, guys! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it helpful to plan your trip. Make sure to press that G+1 button below. And don’t forget to share it with someone you love, because Sharing is Caring! Chao!

Much Love,
Chitra XOXO

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Favorites of the month March 2017

Damn! This year is passing too fast! We’ve hit the fourth month of the year already! I guess everyone in the northern hemisphere of the world is celebrating the arrival of spring and here we are in INDIA (and our neighbours) are being roasted in the sun and will continue for next two good months! With that, wish you a Happy Spring to everyone on the upper side, and all the best to take the harsh sun, on the southern side! With those lovely wishes to the entire world, let’s get started with my favourites of the month!

Favourite App – Tide

I recently heard of Pomodoro technique and I was impressed by the amount of work I get done with it! It happens to be one of the effective techniques to improve one's productivity. It consists of 25 minutes of continuous and focused work followed by 5 minutes break. To work in Pomodoro, you need an alarm clock or stopwatch. Yes, of course, you can use an alarm clock on your phone, but you have to set it to 25 minutes every time with 5 minutes break alarm. That takes half minute itself. (More about Pomodoro HERE). Tide allows you to set Pomodoro easily with a five-minute break. It also has peaceful background music. You can change the period of Pomodoro and breaks in the settings. Whenever I start working, I open Tide, press start and I am all set to get some real shit done! 
You can download Tide HERE

Favourite book- The Four Agreements

I have read this book once, and currently, I am reading it again. I think self-help or self-improvement books are something you should read periodically. With no doubt, The Four Agreements is one of them. These are the agreements one needs to make with themselves for a better life. Those agreements are:

Be Impeccable with your word

Don't take anything personally

Don't make assumptions

Always do your best

The best way to stick to these agreements is by knowing 'Why'. The Four Agreements gives an explanation of 'Why'. I am not going to reveal or spoil much by going into detail. But yes, definitely it helped me to become an understanding person. (and thereby much peaceful and happy human)

Favourite YouTube Channel – Marie TV

We get Many suggested videos on YouTube. Marie Forleo's YouTube channel was one of them. The reason that made me click on Marie TV among many suggested channels was the titles of the videos. If you are someone who is continuously looking forward to improving yourself, you will click on these videos too. I love the way she talks, presents herself and the way she understands people's problems. She never fails to look at the problem from all possible dimensions while providing a solution. Her solutions to a particular person's problem touch our lives somewhere for sure. So, this month, I am addicted to Marie TV surely!

Favourite drink to beat the heat 

I always heard about the flavoured water but found it pointless. I never liked the idea of putting fruit slices in my water. I'd rather eat fruits than putting them in my drinking water. But you know what? You can always put something that you don't like to eat. As we are approaching scorching summer in India, my mum suggested putting some Cumin seeds (jeera) and Basil seeds (sabja) in my water bottle. The Cumin seeds taste amazingly refreshing! Plus it takes away the body heat. (Another suggestion from my mum is to put Coriander seeds (dhania), but I haven't tried it yet.)

That’s it for this month Guys!! Hope you have a wonderful month ahead. If you find it useful, share with someone you love and care because Sharing is Caring!!

Much Love,
Chitra Takle 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Genting Highlands, Malaysia!

After we spent three amazing days in Singapore, it was time for Malaysia. We proceeded to Malaysia by bus from Singapore. It takes approximately 1 and a half to reach Johor which is in Malaysia. Before reaching Johor, we have to get down at the boarder of two countries, for the immigration, security check and board the bus back again.

 Our first stop in Malaysia was Genting Highlands. It takes another 4 and a half hour to reach Genting highlands from Johor. We had to drop our bus and take Asia's longest and fastest Cable car to Genting Highlands. It was quite an experience though! On your way to Genting highlands by Cable car, you will see thick forest below your feet. It is fun to watch those lush green Malayan forests, see a variety of tall trees and monkeys jumping over, from one tree to another! 

As we were travelling further and at higher altitude, everything below and around us started covering up with fog! There was a point where we could not even see where we are headed or where we came from. Any of the cable cars those were ahead or behind us were not visible. And this continued till we reached the cable car station. Cable cars do not come to a complete halt, neither while you board nor when you get off. They only slow down and you will have to get down in that time. So you have to be a little extra careful, in case you have children or senior citizens with you (plus your luggage). There are attendants to help you to get down however, but I had to tell you, so that you’ll be ready.

The cable car doors are not much wide, neither there is a lot of room for your huge bags to fit in, so you might want to pack a separate and smaller bag, wherein you pack a couple of clothes (warm clothes preferably)and your valuables only.(depends how many days you are going to stay at the hotel). So, does that mean, you have to travel in Malaysia with such a small luggage? No! You can keep your entire heavy luggage in the lockers that are provided at the parking lot at the bottom of Genting highland, (just before you get into the cable car), and it is safe! There’s a reason why you should not carry huge bags to Genting Highland, which I will explain to you very soon!

We stayed at the 'First World Hotel'.  It was fun to stay at that hotel because; it has 7351 rooms, which means the hotel rooms are very compact. Bathrooms are not spacious too! There’s reason why the architect had to design the rooms this way! It was originally only casino. 

For your Information, Malaysians love gambling! And this man Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, built a casino and with time, his casino became famous. Soon, there were many people visiting this famous casino from far lands. So, he expanded the casino to a hotel. His major earnings were made from casino and wanted people to spend more time in the casino and not in their rooms. Rooms are only for resting, and that’s the reason the rooms are small in dimension and large in number. There is barely any space for bulky luggage. However, there are Delux and Super Delux rooms available if you need spacious ones. To read and know more about the ‘First world hotel’ and its history; I have put some links below:

Even if you don’t want to gamble, you must visit the casino! The guard at the entrance may ask for your passport. If you are Muslim, you are not allowed to Gamble or even enter. (As told by my local guide) if you are underage, you are not allowed. (You should be 21). So, don’t forget to keep your passport with you. J I did go inside and saw how people can gamble in different ways, and I am sure, you must have seen all types of gambling in the movies.

Apart from Casino there are many Game zones, shops, Live performances in the Restaurants, Starbucks, rides, Snow World and Ripley's Believe it or not and yes an indoor theme park! What is the fun part about staying here you ask? And what did I enjoy the most? Getting lost in this HUGE hotel! But don’t worry! The direction boards will guide you!

I don’t have much photographs from Genting Highlands, however I have some clips taken, so I am putting the video here.
P.S: I have edited a video for the first time and I have put together all the clips I had, long story short, I am not a Pro. (In case you are good video editor, please forgive me).

Hope you enjoyed reading and watching! Please share with someone you care. Because sharing is Caring!

Much love,

Chitra Takle XOXO

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Favorites of the month February 2017

It’s been a while I have posted on my blog or should I rather say, it’s been “quite” a while since I have posted anything on my blog. My Bad! After going through some crazy renovations at my place and getting everything in order again, I am back here to post my ‘Favorites of the Month!!’ If you are visiting this page for the first time, let me tell you, Favorites of the month is a section on my blog, where I post some useful things I have come across throughout the month, which my fellow humans can use in their life. It could be a song, an app, a book, a person and literally anything that made my life easy or made me happy. Since my goal is to share useful things on my blog, I started this section. So let’s get started!

Favorite Song: Middle of my mind by Tom Rosenthal

My friend suggested this song to me last month. Usually, I am someone who goes with the beats, but Tom Rosenthal’s voice brings a lot of peace to my mind.  I hear this song while I am travelling back home from work or at night or to beat the chaos of thoughts in my mind. Give it a try!

Favorite Person: Gary Vaynerchuk

I wish I could tell you that Gary Vaynerchuk is ‘This’ by profession. Nope! He is too many things to tell, seriously! I came across this dynamic personality through an article I read on MEDIUM (Worth following him). To me, he is a motivator. He puts his thought very meticulously and they reach your brain loud and clearly. His thoughts will leave you with no excuse to do what you aim for. I really would want you to know about him HERE, and read his articles HERE. I have also put a link to one of my favorite my videos in my previous post, which you can watch HERE. That’s a lot of ‘HERE’ LOL!

Favorite App: Pocket

I aim to read many articles and videos every day, of course, situations are not favorable every time. I always think that I will read it later and that ‘later’ never comes. I miss on so many things like this. I came across this App Last month; you just have to put that article/video in Pocket. At the end of the day or week, when I find some quite time, I open this App and I find all articles and videos in one place that too without internet connection! So I am able to read when I am travelling or whenever even when there is no connectivity at all! All you have to do is click on ‘Share’ button and in option you will find a way to put in your ‘Pocket’ and you are good to go!
If you are android user, download the App HERE
If you use IOS HERE is the Link.

Favorite Fitness people: Tone it up

I used to miss my power yoga classes all the time during the period of renovation, so I used to workout whenever I find time. Of course, I could do the same exercises I am being taught at the Power Yoga classes, but it was no fun to do it alone at home. So I needed a company. And who is better than these energetic bombshells? (I am talking about Katrina and Karena, founders of ‘Tone it’) I had saved some videos offline in my YouTube and tune in whenever I want! You can also download a printable version of all workouts on their WEBSITE! Even guys can do these workouts. I am putting the link to some of my favorite workouts down below:

Pump It Up Quick Arm Routine!! #LookforLOVE: 

Burn It Up!: 

Total Body Tone Up! 

 That is it for this month! Comment below if you find my favorites useful and make sure to share with someone you care, because Sharing is Caring!
Much Love and Strength,
Chitra XOXO J

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Singapore! My Travel Story

Hello lovelies, wish you a very happy new year! Hope you all had a blast celebrating Christmas and New Year! with this new year, I have something new on my blog! Yes, this is my first ever travel post and I am super super nervous while writing this. In November 2016, I and my mom traveled three countries in South East Asia and here is my experience in Singapore! If you have any plans to travel there, this will be helpful! So, let’s get started!

Day 1
Singapore is two and a half hours ahead of India and it takes approximately six hours to reach, from Mumbai. We landed on Changi airport, Singapore. After checking in the hotel we went on a city tour. First we took the Singapore river ride where we saw all beautifully built skyscrapers at the edge of the river. All buildings are commercial once, also it is said that, higher is the skyscraper the wealthier is the owner. 

 We also got to see the famous Merlion statue, which happens to be the identity of Singapore. The city was named after the name Singha, means Lion. Many years back when a warrior, (who happens to be the first King) stepped on this land, he saw a Lion at his sight and he named this land as Singa-pore. It is said that this Merlion protects the city and brings many tourists every year, which contributes a considerable amount in Singapore's Economy.

 Of course when you go near the merlion statue, you get to see many things around it, like Marina bay hotel and the Esplanade auditorium. Next we rode the Singapore Flyer and enjoyed the view of city.

I forgot to mention this was my third time in Singapore and was visiting the city after 17 years! Of course, it means that, I was a child back then and the city has changed drastically now, so I had to make a visit!
We also took a tour around the parliament house, City Hall, Orchard Road, Fountain of wealth, the Suntec city and Esplanade auditorium.

 After all this, we were very tired and decided to head back to our hotel to rest. We stayed at the ‘Premium Inn’, which happens to be a very good Hotel on beach road and many attractions in Singapore are just 8 to 10 minutes away from this hotel.

At night, we went for night safari. That's a place where you have to take a tram ride and of course, you are not supposed to get down from the tram even if the tram takes stops in between. There is an audio guide in the tram that tells you on what side the next animal will be. The audio guide provides information about all the animals you will see around. The ride takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes. After the ride we headed for the show called as ‘Creatures of the night’. It is a fun show where some reptiles and small animals perform.

In my entire tour, what I found interesting about attending these shows is, you get to see people from all around the world sitting at one place, and chances are; you get to talk to another tourist from some other country. I cannot tell you how exciting it is to talk to some complete stranger about their lives and family. One thing you will definitely feel while you travel is that, it is more important to be a good fellow human being for this world to be a good place. We may belong to different countries and different culture but, in spite of differences; our lives are more or less similar. You will certainly feel connected as a human and as a traveler.

Day 2

Anyways, Moving on to next day, we spent our entire day at the Universal Studios which was indeed Fun! 

My favorite ride at universal Studios was the transformer ride at the Sci-fi city. It certainly is mind blowing and something that no one should miss! When you take a ticket at universal studios, you will be handed a map of the whole place and a schedule for all the shows and meet and greets. This schedule would tell you where would you get to see the streets shows and at what location you will get to meet your favorite characters and take a photo with them. I managed to attend the ‘Rockfellas’ show and the ‘Sesame street show’. Apart from the street shows, there are some places where the shows are inside the buildings and you can only see them at prescribed timings. For example, 'Lights, Camera, Action'; it is a live show, which is hosted by ‘Steven Spielberg’. It gives you a feel of being in the movie itself. Let me not spoil what scene it is (nothing from Titanic) but it surely some awesome action happening in there!

At Universal Studios, I took first ever roller coaster ride in my life. In fact there are two roller coaster rides. let me put a picture down here.

These are actually two roller coasters with separate entrances. The Red Track is just Twist and turns and the Grey one (the cyclone) is where you turn upside down and lot more (Yayks!)
In these roller coaster rides you can definitely see the tracks of roller coaster, so you know what is going to happen to you next, but same is not the case in the adjacent ride and that's, ‘Revenge of the Mummy ride’; where you cannot see what's going to happen to you next. So, that's one of the many fun rides. Apart from this we visited Lost World (Jurassic Park theme), Far Far Away (Shrek), Madagascar, Hollywood and New York. And that was it for the second day.

Day 3
On third day we took a cable car ride to Sentosa Island. Yes you will see another Merlion statue there but that’s not the original one.

There are many things to see at sentosa Island (Yes, Universal Studios is also at Sentosa Island). We first visited Madame Tussaud's, do I need to tell you about it? It was my third time at Madame Tussaud’s but first two times was in London. If you have been to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum London, you need not to visit this one, because it is much smaller and many statues are not included in Singapore.

 Only addition I saw here, was India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. So if you want to see a grander Madame Tussaud’s wax museum? Go to London, Nothing beats that! Also there is a small boat ride inside the same building, called images of Singapore, it literally takes 2-3 minutes.
Then we walked down to Marine Life Park, which is the largest oceanarium in the world, which contains 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species. 

By this time we were very tired but, there was something relaxing to attend and I believe everyone must! It was a spectacular night show called ‘Wings of Time’. We took a mono rail ride from the aquarium and since we had a lot of time before the show, we went to the manmade beach. The show takes place outdoor at the beach, and is a combination of water and laser.

You can find the whole show on YouTube. But I would suggest not to watch it if you are going to visit there soon. Anyway if you do watch it on YouTube, it won’t be that great, because watching it live on a beach, with so many people, with good Audio quality, and with lovely breezes is quite an experience.

Day 4
I was really excited for the third day because, we were going to visit the place I came to Singapore for! 'Gardens by the bay'. I love plants and nature in general, so I was very excited to visit Gardens by the bay. I wore a nice, georgette maxi dress that day, and guess what? it was a bad choice. Let me tell you why. Gardens by the bay. according to me consists of three main parts, first is 'flower dome', second one is, 'Cloud Forest' and third is super tree. 

Everything fine with the super tree but flower dome and Cloud forest are Air conditioned and the temperature inside these domes is very low. At least, for someone from Mumbai, it was very cold. So in case, you are going to gardens by the bay, make sure you wear something that covers you. Trust me, it says that indoor temperature is 23 to 25 degree Celsius but it is much cold than that! Especially, at the Cloud Forest.

One more tip: If you come out of any dome and will be going back inside again, make sure to take a stamp on your hand at the exit or you will not be allowed to enter again. If you want some great photographs at this place I suggest you to visit it at the morning time around 9 am, because it starts getting crowded later. Also, if you are carrying DSLR/ Professional cameras, know that your lenses are going to get foggy after you come out of the Domes, so you are going to have to wait for at least 20 minutes for the lenses to clear the moisture after you come out. Make sure to carry a lens cleaning cloth with you. 

Gardens by the bay look beautiful at night time too. Someday if I visit Singapore again, I would want to visit the Garden at night. However it wasn't possible in this trip because we had to leave for that afternoon! It was time to say goodbye! Our next stop was Malaysia!
My travel story in Malaysia is coming soon, so stay tuned! Till then, share this post with someone is going to visit Singapore; or may be someone who is not!
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Much Love,
Chitra XOXO