Category Archives: Beach

Post 7: Flowers by Sea Side (To Paint -3/5)

This painting under my ‘5 painting project’ (Please Refer Post-3 ) was just for practice purpose to learn bold strokes. It is a complete imitation of other artists work. I was not feeling good  imitating the painting as well as technique of some other artist but before I could feel  guilty I came across this quote  ” Every body imitates before they innovate”- Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

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Oil on Canvas Sheet 

I felt better. It doesn’t mean I will keep imitating . As I said it was purely for study purpose therefore I look forward to create more paintings using the bold stroke technique.

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All things bright and beautiful.

Week 48-52: Phuket (Amazing Thailand Part-II)

Taking power naps during travel to boost one’s energy is considered as blessing. I am talking about babies, they have mastered this art so well. Phuket was a three hours ride from Krabi, and by the time we reached, my daughter was all ready for the next level of fun while all we wanted to do was get to the hotel and crash. But that is always a distant dream for parents with toddlers. It was drizzling. But then I had become a pro in weather forecast and was mentally prepared for the heavy shower at night in Patong, which was our next destination in Phuket.

Day 3: We reached Patong at 3PM . We had booked Ramada Deevana Phuket through Make My Trip. It is about 500 M walking distance from Patong beach. It gave me a feeling of luxury, and I loved it the moment we entered it.

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The rooms were equally comfortable. Though we had some issues with the safe box as it refused to open every time we wanted it and we had to call the mechanic to fix it. It delayed all our plans by 15-20 minutes causing a little bit of irritation.

We quickly settled. Since we were starving, we thought of eating Pad Thai which was at the top of my to-eat list. I searched trip advisor and found a local eatery shop called “Thai Smile”, best recommended for Pad Thai and that too only 5 minute walk from our hotel. We didn’t need to search much. It was located next to the Ibis hotel and surprisingly had just six tables. It was 4 pm so we din’t need to wait at all and we ordered Pad Thai and rice with basil chicken.

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Both the dishes were delicious. Sadly our daughter didn’t like this sticky rice and vomited. It was the third day and my daughter had refused to eat anything. We were running out of option to offer her to eat. I felt sad and hopeless and concluded that one should never travel with toddlers. All she wanted to do was to either go to the beach or take a dip in the pool, and for all this only God knows from where she got the energy. All she was surviving on was Kinder Joy .

In evening we went to Bangla road. The street was a little too much happening to my liking. My daughter soon started to cry for Roti-Shabji and we ended up in Indian restaurant “Bombay House”. Since we were not hungry, we ordered just a Roti and later had  “Mango & Banana Pancake” from the streets.

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Ice-cream

When we reached hotel, we were very tired and crashed. But the baby had plan for us. She vomited thrice in night and we had to call the room service to change the beddings.

Day 5

We woke up little late in the morning and rushed for complimentary buffet breakfast. It has assorted range of dishes, but most of them had a peculiar smell of sea food which was kind of annoying. But due to variety of other continental dishes we were able to eat well.

After breakfast we went straight to Patong beach. The weather was sunny and the beach was looking stunning blue in sunlight. The beach was perfect for swimming and we didn’t wait at all and jumped in water. Best part was that the marked bathing area was only 5 feet deep for quite a long distance and this was the best ever experience I had in any beach. My toddler got a Japanese friend mean while. While returning we had lunch in an Indian Restaurant for the sake of roti for baby and ordered local green dish and Tom-Yum soup. The food was decent but smell of some pungent spice was disappointing.

In evening we again went to Bangla road. The street was happening and buzzing with loud music. But we didn’t like it much. By this time we were a bit troubled with the toddler’s mood and decided to act as a team. So hubby stopped for Thai massage which happened to be a surprise element for him as the whole massage was too strong for his liking. I headed for room and cooked oats for the baby. Surprisingly she finished it without making any fuss and slept peacefully.

We continued this team work the next day also when I went for a massage and hubby took the baby for lunch.

Next morning, we followed the same routine. first Patong beach and then pool. As i already mentioned , on our way back i went for Thai massage. Learning from other’s mistake, I got the gentle oil massage rather than the thai massage and it was worth taking an experience. It was relaxing. We rested the whole afternoon in hotel as we had fixed the evening for the theme park “Fantasea” located in Kamala beach.

Fantasea was the first theme park that we had visited . It had many shops and stalls to keep you amused before the grand show. The dinner  before the show was arranged in a huge hall which could accommodate upto 5000 people. The seating arrangement was done as per the ethnicity and no wonder we found indian food buffet along with thai food next to our seats.

The show started at 9 pm . No cameras or phones were allowed inside. The show was great but I feel overall Fantasea was overpriced. It costed us 2500 THB per person including pickup and drop.

Day 6: Next morning we spend time in the pool and packed our food from the same Thai smile and took a cab to airport.

I just wished this trip wouldn’t end this soon. I loved my first international trip and so did my baby. My final verdict on traveling with toddlers is that let them be the way they are. Try your best to make arrangements for their likes dislikes but don’t overdo it. Let it be. My daughter didn’t eat the first three days but when I stopped running after her she started eating normally for the remaining three days.

Keep traveling and Keep learning !!!!

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Week 48-52: “Amazing Thailand” Part 1

In this Blog, I have put forward my dreams, desires, fears, secrets, learning, failures, skills, ramblings, stupidities, and what not. This post is also a bit special to me as it marks the first anniversary of the blog. So to make it memorable, I am sharing my latest adventure.

As previously mentioned, I have a great phobia of flight and I thought the best way to overcome it was to fly more, more and more. So, this time I decided to push myself a little further from Goa and my new destination was “The amazing Thailand”.

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THE AMAZING THAILAND

It was my first international trip and I started planning in December. I will recommend  few things which might be helpful to others too.

  1. Check the passport expiry and VISA requirement for the destination.
  2. Economic flight options-We broke our journey and took flight from Kolkata which helped us in saving money.
  3. A capped budget for the trip- For this we fixed a budget of Rs 1.5 Lacs
  4. Decide where to go- As Thailand has some 20-30 beaches and all claiming to be the best. I preferred Phuket and Krabi. Though I was confused between Krabi and Ko Samui. But that was easily sorted out because Koh Samui meant taking one more flight.
  5. A lot of reading to plan your type of vacation (I read many blogs, mostly mommy blogs, searched information of resorts in Trip Advisor, critically reviewed them and after a month of hard work I was able to narrow down the 4560 resorts to 6 resorts of my own liking.
  6. Stay- Finalizing the resort was the toughest task and it almost drove me insane. Finally, I booked Aonang Orchid Resort in Krabi for its beautiful pool and Ramada Deevana in Phuket because one of my friend has stayed there in the past. I made all the booking through Make My Trip.
  7. Itinerary- For this part you should only have a rough sketch in your mind. You cannot finalize it beforehand because while travelling with a toddler you don’t have much of a say.
  8. Currency: -It is better to carry strong currency rather than carrying INR or THB as it fetches much better rates and can be exchanged anywhere. We bought some forex from Thomas Cooks which was costlier so I will advise, for better rates prefer banks.
  9. SIM card:- It is better to buy the local SIM in Thailand only. The counters are available in airport and rates are very competitive. We bought one connection with 100THB talk time and unlimited 4G data which sufficed the complete trip. All hotels, spa and restaurants are Wi-Fi equipped so connectivity and WhatsApp calls were never any issue.

From here on my hubby pitched in. He took my “Get over Flight Phobia”  project so seriously that he booked the flights with maximum stoppages and hops. My first international trip ended up with a total of 8 takeoffs and landings, and two night outs with one sleeping toddler on an aching arm .

He also arranged FOREX, necessary “VOA” documents, SIM details, taxi booking etc. We carried only 10K THB and rest in USD. We paid  for our hotel bookings online.

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AONANG ORCHID RESORT

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RESORT POOL

After the planning phase, usually the time starts when you endlessly dream about your upcoming vacation. Unfortunately in my case it was filled with continuous nightmares of taking flights, Tsunamis and speed boat crashes. I realized I am a person with serious issues.

However this stage soon got over when the time came to pack. Goa had taught us ‘what not to pack’ so we were all prepared to pack light as each kilo could have become heavy on our pockets. Air Asia charges you for each and every thing including your baggage.

I referred many blogs and you tube videos for packing hacks and finally ordered an organizer which had set of 6 bags (three for clothes and three for laundry). The size was so apt that all of our clothes  well fitted into these bags and I was sane throughout the tour.

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MY PACKING BAGS

Phew!! we were now all set to go.

About the flight, I would just mention that now I am going to memorize Vishnu Shahastranaam as Hanuman Chalisa gets over before the “Fasten your seat belt” sign goes off.

So after 24 hours, we landed in Krabi and a cool drizzle welcomed us in the Airport. I had read that Taxi scams are very common in Thailand, so we had searched the most reliable taxi services in Thailand and found- Krabi Shuttle and Phuket Shuttle .We booked all our rides online in advance and smiled when our driver was waiting at arrival lounge with a placard in his hand.

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I was apprehensive about my Thailand trip because April first week was expected to be rainy.  It was raining cats and dogs by the time we reached the hotel.

I could clearly see my holiday plans being washed down with rain and my gallant act of taking 4 flights to reach here seemed to go in drains. Tears rolled down my cheek. My daughter was jumping with joy at the sight of rain, and I wished I could be a child once again. My husband was busy setting the wifi password and my vision went hazy.

After half an hour, I was awakened by my daughter. My husband was standing before me with his mobile, pointing out at the weather forecast site. He was smiling like a wizard. I looked outside, the rain had stopped.

We stepped outside with our umbrellas, not because it was raining but because the toddler wanted to play sword- sword with it. Ao-Nang was a very beautiful place. The lanes were filled with colorful shops, cheerful tourists and tempting food stalls. The breeze was cool and music was floating in the air. There were indian restaurants like Maharaja, Noori, Guru, Tandoori Nights etc. at every 200 mtr.  As we were starving since forever, we chose to have a good indian meal before I started off with the ‘Must Eats in Thailand’. To cheer myself up I chose to have an entire fried fish.

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Day- 1 : As predicted by the wizard, the day was completely sunny. We booked a speed boat for a Ko Phi Phi island tour which included visit to Bamboo Island, Maya Bay, Viking Cave, Monkey Beach, and lunch in Phi Phi Don. The boat had Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Philippines, Russians, Thai and a jocular tour guide who promised crocodile/monkey/anaconda/shark meat to everyone as a special lunch from his side.

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The first stop “Bamboo Island” was a 40 minutes ride from Ao-Nang. The beach was pristine and it had crystal clear shining blue green color water. I had seen such view only in pictures. I was amazed and awestruck. We got only an hour to enjoy the place. We moved further to Maya-bay, where we spent another 20-25 minutes as the area was very small. The bay area is famous because of the shooting of Hollywood movie “The Beach”. Later our speed boat went into deeper water to let the water enthusiasts to take a dive and do snorkeling to enjoy rich marine life of the coast. As I know swimming  only in a four feet deep pool, so i didn’t dare to join the party.

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Next, we went past viking caves which was once the adobe of pirates and has a vivid display of murals and other arts created by vikings. Unfortunately we could not visit them. Viking Caves are inhabited by birds called swifts and their nests are harvested and hunted by the locals.  These nests are used in making the famous Chinese bird nest soups.
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Our destination was the Phi Phi Don which was a commercial hub and our buffet lunch was arranged in a restaurants run by local Thai muslim ladies. Food had local touch and was very tasty indeed. We got almost an hour after lunch and we enjoyed a lot except for the part where my daughter refused to eat anything but cucumber.

We reached the hotel room at 4 pm and concluded the day with a stroll in the nearby market.

Day-2: We booked another tour to Emerald pool and Hot springs. It was half a day tour and this time we preferred to take a tourist van.

Hot springs were an hour drive from Aonang and further 15 minutes walk from the main gate. The place had natural bath tubs where you could sit and take a hot water jacuzzi. Our daughter was scared of entering into hot water so she chose to dip only her feet while we immersed ourselves to enjoy the sauna. We felt very relaxed and fresh after taking the bath.

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Our next stop was the emerald pool. it is a nature made swimming pool and was very beautiful. The pool could be reached by two paths from the main gate, we chose the shorter one as the time allotted to us was only an hour.

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Though the pool was very beautiful but it was too slippery to go in with a toddler.  I and my husband took the dive in turns and didn’t do any adventure because it was very difficult to keep a toddler still.

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Entrance to Emerald Pool

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Emerald Pool

After two variety of baths in a day, it was time for some food. We had  local Thai crunchy chicken on the stick, boiled corn and watermelon ice-cream.

When we returned to Ao-Nang, we were starving and time was right to attack in an Indian restaurant. We found a hotel named “Tandoori Nights” though we visited it in broad sunlight. The hotel had a photo of Gandhi and a map of India and one Sardarji was having beer just under the nose of Mahatma.

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After lunch we rushed to the Aonang beach to take a “I was here” photo in front of the giant fish. The click for photo and the downpour both took place simultaneously and we wrapped up and rushed to our hotel room.

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In evening, We explored the remaining streets of Ao-Nang and did some shopping. At  dinner time, I had a husband who wanted to have Pizzza and a daughter who wanted to have “non-Sticky, non-Thai rice” and this weird combination gave me a headache so all I wanted to take was a nice cup of ginger tea.

After a km walk, we finally found an italian restaurant called “Spaghetti House” with a sign board of  “No Thai Food” and ordered garlic bread as starters. but our daughter had planned something else for us which required an immediate diaper change.

So we had to walk all the way back to our resort. As my tolerance limit had already been reached, I quickly searched for pizza serving indian restaurant near our resort  and found out a restaurant called ‘Zaikai” within 100 mtr. We ordered Pizza, Daal-Chawal and a cup of tea which was the weirdest combination I have ever ordered. The food was delicious and to my relief my daughter ate the daal chawal whole heartedly.

Day- 4 : We spent the next morning in swimming pool and at 12 checked out of the hotel. We were off to Phuket on a SUV booked through phuketshuttle.com.

To be Continued…

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Week 35-40…and I became a ‘Beach Person’

I had been away for almost two month. I can excuse myself by saying that it was a festive month, I was busy cleaning the house, I was planing a mini vacation which involved 5 flights (substantial enough to make me go numb)  etc . But the truth is that managing a blog along with a baby for a working mommy is just impossible. So I thought that instead of giving up I should rather take a break. So here I am.

Last month we had gone to GOA. It wasn’t the first time. We had visited Goa when I was in college. I and my parents along with my BFF and her family had gone on a two days guided tour. I faintly remember taking ride on a tourist bus and a guide with an annoying accent showing us entire Goa allowing 20 minutes stay in each beach. He showed us all the churches, temples,  jail, dolphin ride , evening cruise, the elephant who could paint and what not. By the end of the trip I had enough of GOA and I had vowed that I am done with GOA. So when proposed for a GOA Honeymoon, I had a big NO!  I declared myself a Mountain person. Not because I went on regular hikes, treks  or bike trips to Leh,  but because I was born in the mountains.

I studied in college which has its own beach. So I had lost the charm of beach. But perhaps something was bound to happen. I met another mommy friend who had gone to Goa with her toddler. While browsing her pics I saw the serene beauty of its magnificent beaches and eventful shacks, beautiful local markets, Sea foods etc. Awestuck with inspiration I started searching traveler blogs/vlogs and soon realized that I was so wrong about Goa.

Soon the planning started. Flights searched and booked, resorts negotiated and finalized, beach specific clothing arranged and packed and the toddler was informed that she was going to Goa (as if she cared) .

Day 1: We landed in Goa around 4: 30 pm and by 6:30 pm we were at ” Santana Beach Resort”. The moment we entered, we fell in love with the resort,the green pathway, off white rooms outlined with blue color giving a fresh look, courteous staff etc.

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PC:http://www.santana-goa.com/

The room was very spacious. It had a nice bed, a small sitting area, a balcony with two chairs, and a small but clean bathroom. The resort had two gates one directly opening to the Candolim beach and the other opening to the market place.

We wanted to rush to the beach  that very night but we were informed that all the shacks in the Candolim Beach were temporarily closed due to the license issue. So we decided to hang out at market place. We chose to dine at “De Candolim Deck” . We tried salad, baked chicken and a roti (for toddler). Food was average, but the experience was great due to live music and candle lit table. However we had to kill the romance of candle as the baby had caught hold of the fork and knife and wanted to cut the flame into two.

We did some shopping and returned to our place. The resort room was so comforting that the the moment we fell on the bed we woke up in the morning.

Day 2: I am known for over planning and then spoiling my mood if things don’t go my way. So this time I decided to plan only the essential. The remaining fun part was to be Go with the Flow.

Not being too experimental on the first day we headed straight to BAGA Beach. The cab dropped us at a shack called TITTOS  and suggested we walk all along the beach and reach BRITTOS by lunch. This was the best suggestion of our trip. TITTOS TO BRITTOS  🙂

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We were waiting to see our toddlers reaction the moment she sees the beach and believe me my trip was such a success after seeing her scream with joy. Then there  was no stopping her. We kept walking and playing and then when we reached BRITTOS we  hired a beach bench and lazed there while our daughter played with the sand.

The best mommy tip that I had read in the blogs was to carry talcum powder to get rid of the sand from the baby’s hands and feet. Believe me I was done cleaning her in 5 minutes.

Then the three of us just laid on the bench and stared at the stretch of water. It was the best moment when every thing seemed to disappear only the sea was there. Finally hunger came into picture and we headed to BRITTOS. We ordered finger fish, chicken xacuti and roti. The food was amazing. Only drawback i could find was that they didn’t accept credit cards.
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We  headed back to the hotel and as we were so tired we took afternoon nap and when we got up it was already sun set .

In evening we just walked around the Candolim Market . Bought few gifts for friends and family back home. We bought a swimming costume for our little one .Then we went to the closest restaurant which was playing live music and it happened to be ” The Stone House” . We ordered hakka noodles and chicken sizzler. The chicken gravy (hidden beneath the egg in the photo) in the sizzler was simply amazing.

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Day 3: We had kept this reserved for Vagator. I had great expectation from this beach  but  the moment we entered the beach we were so disappointed as the beach was very rough and i didn’t find it clean. Then i realized that I had read in the blogs about the Small Vagator on the other side of the cliff. We walked all the way back and then to the other side.  The other side was completely different . The beach was very quiet and very less crowd.  I had wanted to go to the shack called Thallassa but it meant  walking another 10 minutes with the baby and I didn’t want to do so. So we went to the nearest shack called ‘Fish Tail’. We settled ourselves there and turn by turn went to take dip in the water.

Here we ordered tuna fish sandwich, which was so heavenly  and spaghetti arrabiata for my husband who doesn’t eat fish .img_20161114_125243-1

The shack was so comfortable and soothing that our toddler slept there for an hour while we sat and looked at the horizon for hours.

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Unwillingly we went back to our resort and before hitting the lazy mode we took a dive into the pool. There we stayed for half an hour and came back and took our siesta.

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In the evening we again headed to the Candolim Beach before the sunset. The tide had retrieved so the beach was just amazing. The most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

On the first day  the tide had made it look scary but this evening it was so amazing. We walked walked and walked and realized that we had walked too far only when our toddler refused to walk further.

For dinner we went to ‘Fisher Man Cove’ This place has the best live music I have ever listened too. However we did a mistake of making wrong orders. The Chicken Cafreal was not as good as it sounded. The Spicy calamari was not a good way to have something for the first time. Buttered calamari would have been better  and Manchao soup did not club with the food as well. However the ambiance was too good hnvbut the place was very crowded.

Day4: We had to check out at 11 am and catch a flight to Pune at 2pm. The moment we woke up, the three of us rushed straight to the beach. The beach was very rough in the morning so we didn’t waste much time there ,instead we headed for breakfast and then soaked ourselves in the pool for the remaining half and hour. After that we broke our record of packing in no time.

Since the day i came back I cannot think  about anything else but GOA. So my suggestions to all the mommies with babies and toddlers is without any fear plan a nice beach vacation. Keep in mind to book a resort which is closest to the beach as well as the other attractions so that you get to do minimum walking/travelling and have fun.

P.S : This post has been written with a toddler clinging and jumping on the laptop. So typos, errors and irregularities may please be overlooked.