Blast from the Past: A trip down the memory lane

This year has been uncertain for everyone. Needless to say, all our plans specially travel plans have been indefinitely put on hold. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. In addition to all the numerous trips I had planned, I was specially looking forward to two trips- my birthday trip with my mother to Sri Lanka (which I had almost booked the tickets to) and another with my dad and brother, probably to the Andamans during the later half of the year. Ofcourse it’s been disheartening but I did not wish to sit and crib about it. And since I haven’t written a travel blog in a long time, I was like I should probably trace all the little trips that shaped my love for travel.

I have been fortunate enough to have parents who love travelling and ever since I have been a toddler, they have made sure we take one trip a year and that ritual followed util my brother and I got into college. It’s difficult to trace every trip to their minutest details but it was extremely nostalgic to go back to the albums and relive some of the moments with my parents all over again. I have tried putting the trips in a chronological manner but more often than not I may have jumped the order.

Mussoorie

I was around 1.5 years old when I went on my first trip to Mussoorie. I have absolutely no memory of it but my mother describes me as an easy fuss free child and that experience instilled confidence in them that they can plan more trips with me.

Darjeeling

My father used to travel a lot for work. During one of his trips to Calcutta, my mother and I joined him and we went to Darjeeling from there. This was in the month of October 1993 and my first winter vacation. I remember this trip for a lot of reasons- experienced snow for the first time to how my father always chimes while describing the incident where a 2 year old kid was stuffing her mouth with as much as 15-20 paani puris (popular Indian street food with potato filling and spicy water).

Another thing that I used to do was that I hated walking and Darjeeling had a lot of stretches where my parents had to walk for miles cause of bad roads that didn’t allow vehicular movement. So after every few steps, I used to just stop walking and stretch my hands towards my father and insist of being carried on his shoulders. And I used to only enjoy being carried by him cause it gave me the feeling of being tall and the joy of viewing things from that height and since my mother had always been skinny, her bones used to poke me. Again, I can’t really contest the facts here, just presenting everything verbatim that’s being shared with me.

We went to Tiger Hills, Nathu La Pass (my favourite and a place I vividly remember), Mirik lake, Changu Lake and the beautiful tea estates of Darjeeling.

Beautiful sunrise at Tiger Hills

We happened to visit Darjeeling and Sikkim again after my brother was born.

Nainital

This again is one of my favourite trips. We were celebrating New year in Nainital. My parents chose a lot of places based on their favourite Bollywood films cause my mother absolutely loved posing in the same locations as her favourite actresses . Nainital during the 90s was really famous as a popular Bollywood spot for a lot of films like Kati Patang, Gumrah, Masoom etc.

Orissa

A striking memory I have from this trip has to be the visit to Nandankanan National Park cause I remember this was the time in school when we were taught a lot about wildlife, sanctuaries and national reserves. Also after every summer vacation everyone had to share their experiences so trips like these made it easier for us to tell stories.

Amritsar

The only time I have got the opportunity to eat dollops of white butter on all kinds of exotic parathas and douse down lassi has been during this trip.

This was also the time when I was being dressed in embarrassingly funny clothes and my brother used to wear all my clothes from childhood. Oh and that milton bottle; a constant!

Goa

My first Goa trip happened in 2000 or so. It was obviously unlike any of the Goa trips I go on now. But the best part about it was that we chose to cover South of Goa which is really the best part of Goa if you want to be away from crowds and enjoy the beauty of the beaches in their totality.

Tamil Nadu

After a lot of Bollywood films including my favourite, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak were shot in the pine forests and pristine locations of Ooty, Kodaikanal, my parents took us for a trip there right till Kanyakumari. We visited the beautiful Nilgiri Hills, Kodai Lake, Shola Falls, Thiruvalluvalr’s statue in Kanyakumari (I was quite mesmerised by the grandness of the statue to be honest).

Shimla/ Manali

I think this has been the only time I visited Rohtang pass in Manali. Also as a teenager, got to experience snow peaked mountains from such proximity.

There were a lot of other trips I took with the family but for some reason once we transcended to digital cameras, all the pictures from those trips are buried somewhere I have no memory of. More than anything I just wanted to go back to these trips as a reminder to myself that how every little thing has shaped and contributed to my love for travel. Till I get to travel next, I am going to dream of beautiful beaches and snowy mountains in the hope of getting lost in them, soon!

Thai Cafés

I know it has taken me long to pen this down and there is absolutely no reason except that I had been procrastinating and been on back to back trips ever since I returned from Thailand. I promise (like always) to be more regular and share everything in the coming weeks about where I have been till now. In my last post, I shared my Thailand itinerary, all the places I went to, where I stayed, what I did. Since it was already too extensive, I thought of doing another post only on the places I ate at. So without further ado, below are some of the best places to eat around Thailand and trust me you will not regret experiencing them:

The Velo Cafe, Hua Hin

Hua Hin was our first stop after landing in Bangkok. It is a small, lazy town and while we were there it was raining so we had to spend most of our time indoors. Velo café was very close to our hostel (Jetty hostel) and it was a newly opened cafe (just a few weeks old) run by this young guy who was making everything fresh. We called for one cold mocha and affogato along with a grilled tuna sandwich. Trust me when I say this, I haven’t had a yummier tuna sandwich before because I somehow don’t like the taste and smell of uncooked, cold tuna and I went for this because it was going to be grilled and it tasted amazing.

 

Because I enjoyed my first meal here so much I went here again the next day to have breakfast. This time we called for some cappuccino along with croissant and pancakes, which again was really tasty.

 

The Coffee Club, Hua Hin

For people staying at Hilton, this could be a cheap alternative for the breakfast buffet since it is walking distance from there. I honestly, did not find it very cheap or pocket-friendly due to the addition of VAT in the bill (which was a first for us in Thailand) cause of which this breakfast proved to be a little expensive (around 900 baht for 4 things). Nevertheless, I urge you guys to go for this one if you want to have a sumptuous, filling start to your day. We went for the feta cheese mushroom omelette along with regular pancakes, mocha and ofcourse our favourite coffee dessert these days, affogato. Although in hindsight, I now feel I should have gone for the coconut pancakes since they are the most famous there, so if you happen to visit there, keep it in mind to order the coconut pancakes.

 

Lion and Shark Cafe, Krabi

Our next stop was Krabi, one of the busiest islands in Thailand and given the population of tourists at any given point, the place is flooded with restaurants and cafes every few metres. We went for Lion and Shark cafe for our first night’s meal. We had a nice mushroom pepper soup along with a mexican veggie pizza. The place also has a hostel alongside and hence you will always find some backpackers sitting around, lazing, absorbed in their books.

 

Tom Yam Ton, Ao Nang, Krabi

If there’s one place that gets completely booked out for dinner in Krabi, it is Tom Yam Ton thai food restaurant which was right next to our guest house Ao Nang Guesthouse. The place apparently gets booked out for dinner one day before so the day we reached Ao Nang we couldn’t do dinner there so we made a reservation for next evening. If you are a thai food lover, you will definitely love this place. I went for the classic pad thai noodles along with thai green curry and rice which was absolutely worth the half an hour wait.

thai green curry and pad thai noodles

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Since we enjoyed the place so much we had our next day morning breakfast there which was this really yummy bowl of muesli with fresh fruits and yoghurt.

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Tanya’s Cafe, Koh Samui

We celebrated New Year’s at Koh Samui and spent maximum time here. This is another tourist friendly destination which is flooded with a lot of restaurant/ cafe options and we were looking for a nice breakfast cafe on New Year’s Eve and stumbled on this cafe through TripAdvisor rating. Tripadvisor reviews have been a saviour for us on this trip and all the places that we ate at were thanks to lovely reviews and ratings on TripAdvisor. I strongly suggest you guys to use that when you are travelling internationally.

Since I wanted to eat fruits, which by the way you get in plenty in Thailand. Whether you are in Bangkok, Krabi or any island, the choice of fresh fruits and coconut water that you get here is unparalleled. I went for fresh fruits with cream and chia seeds along with some vegetable omelette, mocha and cappuccino. Everything is freshly prepared by Tanya and her family. She is extremely warm, friendly and would suggest you dishes if you can’t make up your mind like me 😛

 

 

Wile Tribe Cafe, Koh Samui

Another really good cafe for breakfast in Koh Samui is the Wild Tribe cafe, thanks to a wide array of vegan, gluten-free and healthy options on the menu catering to people of every palette. They have a lot of options for smoothies and juices as well. We went for gluten free strawberry pancakes and cheese omelette.

 

Tree House, Koh Tao

Our next stop was Koh Tao where we went specially to dive after seeing all the beautiful pictures and reading so much about it. As compared to Krabi and Koh Samui, Koh Tao is a relatively smaller island where there aren’t a lot of options so while walking one evening we spotted this colourful place and decided to have dinner here. The place is managed by a couple and it is famous for thai food. We called for pad thai noodles along with some hot noodle soup.

 

The Road Less Travelled, Koh Samui

Another interesting, colourful cafe cum hostel that we came across was The Road Less Travelled near the ferry pier at Koh Samui while we were really hungry one evening and wanted to have a quick munchie. Although we couldn’t really eat here anything since they were preparing the place for New Year party, the owners were really sweet to offer us some hot croissants along with coffee. The cafe is really beautifully done and has a great dessert menu so I would highly recommend you to try it since it’s walking distance from the ferry pier.

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Paper Butter, Bangkok

One of my favourite food places on this trip has to be Paper Butter in Bangkok which was inside the vicinity of our hostel, The Yard Hostel where we stayed during the last two days of our trip. They serve these yummy veg and non veg patties in charcoal burgers which are apparently really good for digestion. I went for the beetroot patty while my partner went for their famous beef burger. I have to tell you that it was perhaps one the best burgers I have had in my life. It was soft, juicy and the charcoal burger added this nice burnt flavour to the patty and sauces. Must must go-to place while you are in Bangkok.

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I strongly urge you guys to have local thai food as much as you can along with lots of fruits and coconut water, which is available for really cheap. Even while we were driving around, we used to pack fruits for snacking and they proved to be healthy and filling. I would recommend going local and simply entering these tiny restaurants wherever you are since they would serve the most authentic food along with lots of love and warmth.

 

 

 

All images © Kainat27