We woke up early at 5am to visit Taj Mahal, the India’s most famous site which is listed in the Seven Wonders of the World. Sunrise is said to be the best time to visit for less crowd and colder temperature. We left the hotel at 5:30am and arrived at the Nature Park in less … Read more Steamy Moments at Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri
Where is that? It’s the normal question from someone who is not familiar with the country of Maldives. It is a small country consisting of several islands located in Indian Ocean. Its neighboring countries are India and Sri Lanka. There is no direct flight from Saudi Arabia going to Maldives as far as I know. … Read more Sighted the Islands of Maldives
I received a call from Cebu Pacific that they cancelled our early morning flight to Caticlan because of typhoon. They gave us options on how to deal with our flight. It’s either in form of full refund or re-booking without fees. I asked the staff if possible to join the flight on the next day … Read more Re-routed to Plantation Bay
Our tourist guide named Ernie picked us in the hotel at 7pm. On the way, we picked us a couple, and a family with four members. All of us have the same status as explained by Ernie. Booking for Underground River tour should be done a month before of planned vacation. Our group just have … Read more Spying Underground River and Caving in Ugong Rock
We woke up early for our Thai breakfast at 7am. The dish was like a porridge with so many spices. The taste was very flavorful. We then prepared to Taling Chan Floating Market which was just 20 minutes from the hotel according to the google map. Unfortunately, the taxi only brought us at Taling Chan … Read more Temples, Palace, Cruise, and a Lotus
I’ve been here in Jubail, Saudi Arabia for quite long years. The month of December is a tight fist fight among expatriates. Everyone wishes to be in their own country to celebrate either Christmas or New Year holiday, whatever religion he is believing. Perhaps not all wishes are to be granted by the bosses. Someone should be left to work as normal day to keep other guys enjoying the celebration back to their countries.
Saudi Arabia is purely an Islamic country. Christmas has no place in the calendar. I saw those flashing lights decorating some of the shops. It looks like holiday lights but they even don’t know that it was. It serves normally as lively decors to attract those choosy customers waving for them to visit.
There is no public displays symbolizing Christmas and New Year but we celebrated it in our own way hidden from the sensitive eyes of the authorities. Everyone knows that such celebration is never allowed. In there, stood a Christmas tree decorated with lights and colorful ornaments. There was a party according to our culture and tradition. Children happily received gifts wrapped in unfamiliar store packaging. Their innocent smiles didn’t even recognize holiday wrappers. We don’t want to skip those happiness from their childhood memory. It was not such grand or even not to be called as party but we know that the spirit of the celebration touches our every souls.
We visited some malls which have huge sale posters. What a joke! I was so surprised that they have this year end sale so low on the same day of the occasion. A shop galore to enjoy and silently ramp pretending that there was a rush hour holiday shopping.
We visited the seaside a few days back and realized that the place is so wonderful and romantic. A beautiful scenery where everyone has no time to appreciate. Beside the sea was a park for a picnic site and rows of restaurants from fast food burger chains to expensive grilled and steak houses. The place is so perfect for a big family because of unlimited feast options. Though not all of expatriates are allowed to bring a family in Saudi Arabia, but there are still ways to celebrate the holidays.
This is a place where a Christmas song sounds unfamiliar but I strongly sense its presence. It is…….. deep in our hearts!
I disbanded from the culture I newly known and started to love. This is what I felt after the Golden Triangle trip in India.
The Golden Triangle is the most preferred tour as most of the tourists I met were with the same route. It refers to the triangular shape formed in the map of the three cities of India; New Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Tourists preferably choose this tour to see the marvelous Taj Mahal of Agra, archaeological sites within Jaipur, and historical landmarks in New Delhi for a certain duration.
The six-day tour price ranges between 12 to 15 thousand Indian rupees per head including 3-star accommodations, transportation, tour guides, taxes, rides and other services as agreed with the tour agency. The more people to join the tour reduces the marked price. Budget tour packages for cheaper option was also offered by the tour agents.
Our customized itinerary prepared by Map My Tours was so hectic but I personally enjoyed it. I traveled with a small kid so we didn’t follow the normal tour program. The continuous communication of the tour agent was necessary to well discuss the arrangements and lay out the certain possibilities of changes to the tour. The role of Mr. Shrawan of Map My Tours was very important and his replies to our messages timely attracted us. His tour package was grabbed which urged us to apply tourist E-visa online to enter India. Besides, he agreed that the whole amount of the tour package will be paid upon arrival. His presence on our arrival and meeting on us on the last day of the tour was deeply appreciated.
I’m very thankful to Sanjay for driving us safely to the tourist sites of the Golden Triangle. He was neat and kept the car clean. He was consistently on time and always offering a cold bottled water to drink after we came back from every tour. He talked less but his working attitude gave us comfortable ride from traffic jam of New Delhi towards cows dominated road of Agra and mountainous highway of Jaipur. I felt sad when he finally brought us back to the airport on the last day. His personality marked on our hearts and I highly recommend him to be my tour driver if ever I visit New Delhi again.
All the hotel bookings during my Golden Triangle trip were arranged by the travel agent. It is my part to give feedback, both positive and negative, on things I encountered. This is my personal assessment and I hope it will be accepted positively.
Taurus Hotel is a few minutes drive from New Delhi Airport. This hotel was our tour starting point. The building is under renovation so the vicinity I’ve seen on arrival was not safe and convenient. The receptionists were so accommodating and helpful.
The room was in ordinary size but the bedding was so comfortable. The AC was working nicely and so cold that we need to adjust its setting.
The hotel has two operating restaurants but we chose Alpha 63 for our early dinner. The restaurant was untidy to look especially the utensils and the table. Flies was also spotted even we were inside the building. The restaurant staffs were so busy at that time, but they managed to entertain us. The “biryani” was served very spicy though I requested to make it non-spicy. The assigned waiter offered to replace it but I declined. I knew, the waiter will be charged when the food was returned. However, the vegetable pizza was delicious and cheesy. This restaurant introduced the levels of spiciness to us.
The complimentary breakfast was mostly Indian cuisines. The attitudes of some guests during our stay were noticeable for they were standing and eating near the buffet table.
Hotel The Taj Vila was our luxury hotel in Agra located near the mall. The receptionists were already expected our arrival. A welcome drink was served while relaxing comfortably at the reception hall.
We had a nice executive room with a coffee table and modern amenities. The bedding was very comfortable which gave us a peaceful night. Unfortunately, the internet was slow so I didn’t enjoy much of my social media life for a night.
The restaurant’s non-veg pasta was the first food we ordered through room service. As expected, it has a little spicy taste. Some menu can’t be served without hot savor. The complimentary breakfast in the restaurant was superb for selection of Indian and Intercontinental cuisines as buffet. Eggs can be cooked according to desire as the standby cook was available. The restaurant has stylish decors and relaxing fined dining atmosphere.
The Anuraag Villas was our next accommodation situated in the middle of residential village in Jaipur for two days. This hotel gave us the feelings that we were just at home. The receptionist was approachable and comfortable to communicate. We were so touched that he offered a complimentary cake for our trip buddy who was celebrating a birthday. The staffs are mostly young and humbly shy on talking just like me. Speaking English language is not our comfort zone.
The room was wide and bedding was basic but that old wood cabinet massages our eyes. Simplicity is beauty as what we called it. The window’s location of the bathroom was so challenging. There was nice view from the window while sitting on the porcelain throne. At night was my greatest concern, my silhouette might be seen from the outside when taking a shower .
The restaurant is purely vegetarian so expected that there is no meat found on the menu aside from eggs. The complimentary breakfast was prepared upon ordering and can be served either in the room, restaurant or in the garden. Breakfast at the garden must be tried to experience dining while a flute musician is serenading.
Lastly, the Clarks Inn Hotel was our hotel in South Delhi for two nights. Its location is excellent because it’s near to metro station. There is also a good restaurant named Storm Bar and Grill which is few minutes away by walk.
The room was big with an old sofa. The bedding was so nice and soft. However, the bed’s headboard was with bad odor so we were avoiding to be near it. The plastic water dipper and bucket in the toilet were dirty.
The restaurant rid us from spicy food. The unknown chef was very appreciated for granting our request of zero spicy taste on our ordered food. It was important for us as we are traveling with a kid and I also have low tolerance on spiciness. We preferred the menu served in the hotel than dining out.
I was surprised that most of the hotel bellboys are always expecting a tip from guests. They didn’t ask verbally but their gestures are showing that they were asking of it.
Majority of the foods served in India are spicy. My sense of taste was crippled due to spiciness. We always relied on the flatbread, “paratha or nan” every time that we can’t survive on the ordered Indian food.
The level of cleanliness in India specifically for toilets and bathrooms were so different compared to previous hotels where I stayed. The toilet bowls were not properly cleaned. Black stains were visible in the toilet bowls of all hotels where we stayed even at the restaurants and Delhi’s modernized airport.
Overall, my trip in India ended with a smile and satisfied feeling. The Indian greetings, the daily transfer, the hot and spicy foods which has burning sensation in my ass, the squirrels, cows, crows, monkeys, and pigeons… I am missing them all.