As a child every Sunday my parents would take me to either Juhu Beach or Chowpatty. Yes that’s what you will do to spend Sunday’s with family in Mumbai , during late 80’s and early 90’s.
Something I would drink often there was masala milk. Has anyone else tasted masala milk. As I grew up, to be honest, masala milk kind of just vanished from my taste buds. But at about the age of 22… when I started doing Shravan Pooja ( a prayer dedicated to Lord Shiva) my Panditji asked me to arrange Thandai
Shivji loves Thandai, after all milk is offered ei him, the dessert he has is Thandai. Ofcourse for him, if we add cannabis, he loves it even more. And guess what I realised that Thandai tastes exactly like masala milk, childhood memories came alive!
This year, because of pandemic and not much access to many things… I decided to make homemade Thandai… and I don’t think it can taste any better than my recipe 🙂
So read below:
- Take a handful of almonds and cashews… maybe even some pistachios (optional)
- Add in some melon seeds, saunf and black peppercorns, elachi powder
- And most important some poppy seeds (khus khus) – This is mandatory.
- Blend it all in together to make a fine powder . Make sure that the powder remains that consistency and not pasty … so don’t over grind. That’s your Thandai powder. It can stay in the fridge upto a week.
- On the day you want to drink it. Bring your milk to boil.
- Also soak a few strands of kesar (saffron) in some like warm milk and wait fr it to get a nice yellow colour
- Inside the hot milk… say for about 250 ml milk take 2 – 2.5 tsp of the thandai powder mix and 1 tsp sugar and stir it well till it mixes nicely. (If u use cold milk… the whole drink will remain grain, so it’s important to use hot milk)
- Also add in the kesar milk to get the nice yellow colour to the thandai… u need to mix the kesar well
- Now keep in the refrigerator and let it chill for 3 hours
- Serve cold … while serving add in few dried rose petals
Tip: if you wish to make a pan variant, while making the powder, add in some paan (beetel nut leaves) and instead of sugar use gulakand paste.
Being born and brought up in Mumbai , as kids we were always excited about April, not just because school exams would be over, and summer holidays began… but because it was time for the arrival of “ ALPHANSO MANGO”, the king of fruits. As a 3 year old, I would just eat it plain or with chapati (yes Sindhis eat mango with rotis).
But growing up, I realised, commercial establishments would really experiment with this fruit. And why not, it’s so delicious. The most obvious ones were Mango with cream especially at Bachelors, they also have many other mango options (Infact they would actually charge 101 rs , kind of like Prasad amount … LOL ) and mango kulfi at Kulfi Centre. I also found these convenient to reach, its a stone throw away from my house in Marine Drive. My mother would also make the most delicious mango Rabri. The recipe below, and an inspiration from her, and a little bit more of experimenting on that itself.
I was always happy, just eating all these whenever I would, visit Mumbai during mango season. That’s because since my marriage, I’ve moved to Chennai. But due to lockdown, and not going to Mumbai , I was craving all these Mangolicious items. Luckily we do get descent Alphonso mangoes in Chennai, though they are not as big and tasty as the Ratnagiri ones, which are available in Mumbai. Once an Alphonso lover, always an Alphonso lover. Somethings don’t change.
So I thought why not try out something different … something of my own. So to begin here’s what you need.
- 6 medium sized Alphonso mangoes
- 1 to 1.25 litre milk
- Cardamom powder made from about 6 elachis
- 3-4 strands of saffron
- 1 tbsp luke warm milk
- 8-10 tbsp sugar
- 25 unsalted pistachios, powdered in the blender
Making the Kulfi Mix
- Take the milk in a thick bottom pan and allow it to boil.
- Once brought to boil, lower the gas, and keep stirring the milk at regular intervals. Also there is malai that accumulates on the sides. Keep bringing it back into the milk.
- After about 45 mins, you will notice that the milk has become half its quantity and a bit thick. But you need to keep stirring it. If not the milk collects at bottom of pan, and begins to brown and burn a bit.
- Soak the saffron strands into the separate Small quantity of lukewarm milk… stir it so that it becomes a nice yellow orange colour
- At the point when milk is reduced to 1/2 quantity add in the pistachio powder, cardamom powder, sugar and soak saffron stands in the milk to the main vessel of milk.
- Continuously keep stirring for another 40 minutes
- Once the mixture has reduced in quantity, to about 1/3 rd the original quantity of milk, and the mixture has an attractive green colour to it, remove from the gas and allow it to cool, for about atleast one hour.
Adding the Mix to the mangoes
- Now take the mangoes and just cut the top of slightly to form a cap, and using a pair of tongs gently remove the seed from centre. Once the seed is removed there will be a nice rim of mango at the edges.
- Now pour in the kulfi mix inside the mango, in the cavity that was created by removing the seed.
- Put the cap, that was earlier cut off back on, and keep the mangoes in teacups. This helps them to stay upright.
- Now place them in freezer
- Let the mangoes freeze overnight or even 3-4 days, till you are ready to serve.
- When ready, remove from freezer and gently remove from teacup. After about 2 mins in room temperature the mango comes out easily. If not… pour some running water on the teacup, and make sure it doesn’t touch the mango.
- Remove the cap and peel the mango and then cut into rounds or I just find it easier after removing the cap, to cut the horizontal rounds and then skin comes off with the hand only.
ENJOY a twist on this Mango kulfi
Well you can always substitute pistachios for almonds in this recipe … or even just make it a malai kulfi without any dry fruit. The choice is yours !!!
My absolutely most loved spot in all of Thailand is Koh Samui. It’s all about teal water, white sand, beautiful sunsets, warm sunny sunshine, cocktails that make me go tipsy, fresh seafood, night markets, and the luxury of swanky resorts.
Once upon a time, this island was a very low budget one, a bag packers delight and Chaweng Beach was one of the most appalling beaches ever with some Irish pubs, tattoo artists demanding money, shady ladyboy masseurs on the beach, some very dodgy night clubs, and many ladyboys and call girls, shouting out for customers. But then, the beautiful island reinvented itself as an appealing upmarket destination.
Today, there is a very modern, young and cool vibrant energy about the place. Though it’s touristy, it’s still very classy and has an understated elegance. Whether you want to go soak under the sun, chill on a hammock, do some yoga, or relax in a spa, this is definitely my favourite go to destination.
Here are my top things to do when you are in Koh Samui
The W Hotel :
If you want to have a luxurious holiday in Koh Samui, The W Hotel is the number one spot to be staying. Most honeymooners choose to book this resort. It is an ideal place to relax and soak in the sun, have some exotic food, get a Thai massage at the Spa, swim in the turquoise inviting sea. Even if you are staying elsewhere, it is absolutely worth it, to go and visit the pod in the hotel: The W Pod. This is a seating area with couches and tables in a little man made pond, overlooking the sea. It a fantastic idea to make a reservation for a time, half an hour before sunset, and get yourself some exotic cocktails while watching the sky changing colours.
This experience is an absolute delight. I celebrated my second anniversary over this beautiful view.
There’s a lot more to do
The coastline here is so dreamy and blue, that it’s a lovers paradise.
Bophut Fisherman’s Village:
Make sure to come here on a Friday, as there’s a bustling night market with local food and drinks, souvenirs to take home, and just relax and have a great time.
Secret Buddha Garden:
So many Buddha statues together, is what makes this place so magical. It made me a complete poser.
Grandpa Grandma rocks:
Every island in South East Asia has a love story to tell. Get here with your lover, to get some great Instagram shots.
Chaweng Walking Street:
Thailand is about the buzzing nightlife, street food, massages, pubs, and trinket shops. That’s what this street offers. The real local Thai feel.
Besides this you have the jungle cafe with great views, can take a cooking class at a Thai home, take blessings of the Big Buddha and the Mummified Monk
Read more details on Koh Samui at
Hello from Budapest. I recently visited the charming European city of Budapest. That’s when I realised it’s all about food, fashion, old architecture, thermal baths, watering holes, multiple bridges, a gigantic parliament, and ofcourse Danube so blue. This Hungarian capital, is simply charming, gorgeous and has an understated elegance. While Prague boasts about being the most popular tourist destination in Eastern Europe, the city of Budapest is way more exotic. The city is divided into Buda & Pest via the river Danube. I visited this charming city last year, and fell in love with it.
Pro tip: Most of the actions happens, in Pest, so I will suggest staying on that side. However the Hungarian Parliament which is a landmark building is also in Pest, so many tourists would like to stay in Buda, just to get great views of it.
The highlights of the city:
Danube Promenade: walking along either side of the river, you will see old stylish buildings and beautiful bridges.
Buda Castle & the finicular: Ride up the oldest funicular in the world, and don’t forget to watch the change of guards ceremony in the castle.
Fisherman’s Bastion & Matthias Church: get ready to be awed by all the white around you in buildings which are neo gothic style. Matthias church looks very unique as the white is embellished with orange, yellow, red and green mosaic.
The Hungarian Parliament: this is the most important building in the city.
Pro tip : if you want an insider tour, you need to carry along your passport.
Gerauld Cafe: think dessert, think chocolate, think Gerauld cafe. Dive into Indulgence!
Széchenyi Bath: Budapest is a city known for its thermal hot baths. If you really want to enjoy the experience , set aside 1 full day for this.
Bar Ruins: after the war many buildings which had been delapatated have been converted into watering holes.
I have written my entire story of Budapest in detail, in the National Herald.
What’s hot and worth doing at the Kalaghoda fest?
This year marks the 20th year of India’s largest & most iconic art fair. Over the years the number of people has just been increasing.
Here is a quick guide on what to enjoy at the fair over weekend.
Art Installations : there are over 10 of them , but here are the unique ones.
1. Vespa power to earth
Mother Earth with its core elements of fire, wood, water, metal and air depicted through the scooters.
2. Warping Time
This wheel depicts, time since the festival was started. All the efforts that were put and over the years how more effort is being put. I totally love the colourpop.
20 years of celebrating the festival. It’s very relevant to what is happening. Artists gathering together, and putting in tons of effort. To showcase splendour to public, over the years.
Whilst, there are great installations to watch, there’s also art and literature people can create.
This beautiful lamp creation workshop, where the public, spend 90 minutes to design their own lamp. It should have some kinda special meaning for them.
Author a Book:
There are 90 different topical subjects, given as books. As an individual you could choose any number of subjects , that you want to leave your opinion on as many topics that you will like to. After few months, all 90 topics will be combined together to publish a book, which will have name of contributors.
Another really interesting thing to do at the fair is take a foot massage for 15 minutes, from a blind volunteer of the Victoria Memorial School for the Blind. It only costs 100 Rs and is a wonderful means of earning for the blind.
What to shop at Kalaghoda ?
The festival is known for unique decor, clothes, accessories. It is a great platform for budding entrepreneurs.
my favourite stalls
thenandnow: Fantastic decor and furniture hand painted in a series of colours by tribal artists. I am definitely going online and ordering some for my home.
Suchita: really awesome accessories.
Zubiya: very cool footwear. Check these out.
Shopping is subjective, so check it all out.
Food: No festival is complete without food. All restaurants in Kalaghoda area put up their stalls. Grab a grub at Chetna snacks, to get a flavour of Mumbai, and then for the sweet head over to Nutcracker to have their pancake or 7 layer cookie.
This Sunday, the singer Shaan is playing at Asiatic Steps !
During the autumn of 2017, my husband decided to take me to visit the Balkan, Our itinerary included Montenegro, Croatia and Slovenia. While we were in Dubrovnik and saw some day trip getaways, it was just a sudden plan to take a trip to Bosnia & Herzegovinia. And I am so thrilled we did this one, as Kravice and Mostar Bridge are truly hidden gems.
This country has always been a stage of war. 104 years ago in June 1914 Austrian Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in the capital Sarajevo, and thus began the First World War.
Following the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the republic proclaimed independence in 1992, which was followed by the Bosnian War, lasting until late 1995. During the 80 s and early 90s because of its geographical region sandwiched between the Serbs attacking the Croats and Croats defending themselves several innocent civilian lives were lost. The war between Croatia and Serbia completely destroyed Bosnia. A country having a monthly income per person of 2000 euros, today has 50 euros monthly per person.
However the country and their people are slowly picking themselves together and rebuilding brick by brick with the help and support of the United Nations and various other nations as well.
Having seen pictures of Kravice and the beautiful Mostar Bridge we decided to do a daytrip.
Our first stop was the beautiful Kravice waterfall. To me this waterfall was prettier than Niagra. The beautiful green colour of the water with reflection of surrounding nature sure was a mesmerizing sight. This place is actually called Niagra of Europe. However in this poverty stricken land food and alcohol is very reasonably priced. People here want others to give them business in order to have some kind of livehood. While you walk towards the waterfall viewing point there are a few shops, which sell home, made jams, honey and locally distilled liqueurs. The price point for some of these items is in the region of 1 Euro to 5 Euros approximately. Tourists do enjoy taking a dip in the calm green waters, when it is summer and water temperature is enjoyable.
The most famous attraction here is the Starri Most. When you see the bridge from the bottom, there is a beautiful arch, many buildings, including a minarat and a whole lot of greenery. The turquoise blue colour of the water is so inviting.
But the water is freezing cold. Here locals to clean the place up have a tradition of jumping off the bridge. All the tourists who are there collectively give them 10 euro per jump. Infact even the people who jump off the bridge, definitely need to shower, in order to regulate their body temperature, before they take the plunge.
The vibrant humanity and the persistent reminders of the terrible war during the mid 1990scombine to make Mostar a tear jerking experience when you leave the place. It is truly emotional even for the guide when they explain to tourists on a daily basis. The bridge was destroyed during the war and has since been rebuilt and open to public in 2004. In 2008, it has been declared a UNESCO world heritage sight.
Prior to the war, Mostar was famous for its Turkish style stone bridge, which was nearly 4 centuries old. The single-pointed arch was a symbol of Muslim society’s existence here. The architecture was an absolute marvel. It also signifies the town’s status as the place where East met West in Europe. In the mid 1990s, Mostar became a poster child of the Bosnian war.
The shops here definitely had a bit of Turkish influence like cobbled streets; they were more like roadside shops and a bazaar like atmosphere. You could definitely get some good bargain buys here. Some of the famous local items could include rugs, pottery and jewelry. There are lovely little riverside cafes where visitors could relax and have some delicious Turkish coffee.
We had a lovely tasty Bosnian lunch which included a couple of drinks along with starters like pita bread, harissa dip, and hummus.and main course dishes included lamb shwarama and shish touk for two people, all this along with Kawah (Turkish coffee) just for 10 Euro which in Croatia would easily be double to triple the cost.
On our way back to Dubrovnik we stopped at Pocetlji; a small Bosnian town on the Herzegovina side. It was a beautiful old mosque on one side and a bell tower on the other. Again here there was lovely Turkish accessories, and a lot of fresh fruit juices and jams. If your fond of fresh rasberries, you can get almost a ½ a kilo for just 1 Euro. Take some back and enjoy your bus ride back to Dubrovnik.
Some key points to be noted while travelling in this region:
- Since borders are close by it is important to carry passports and other documents for verification purposes.
- You may not be able to bargain too much in Croatia or Montenegro but one can certainly bargain in Bosnia but you do feel bad if one overdoes it given the state of affairs and socioeconomic scenario there.
- Walk carefully on the cobbled steps as you approach the bridge, as it can get slippery.
This definitely is a bucket list item when one visits the Balkans
My favorite time of the year is here! The month of Ramadan. The time to try out as many different tasty treats as I can across India. Without feeling guilty in the name of religion ofcourse! God will forgive me for all those extra calories I consume!During the week that just went by, I was fortunate to be in Hyderabad- the city of Nizams, and took my roomie on a couple of food safaris. The two places that captivated our palates were Toli Chowki and Charminar chowk ( the old city).
I must warn the faint heart that eating a Hyderabadi Iftar is a 6-course meal. Hyderabad is full of Iranian Muslims and this reflects in the food, which during Iftar is a mix of Mughlai, Arabic and Duccani (Deccan or Hyderabad).
So here is how we recommend you go about your meal, or as we call it – “Food Safari”!
The first thing to try is definitely Haleem. From the moment you enter the city, you will see this dish being served at every nook and corner. The reason it is eaten so much is its rich calorie content, which serves as an instant energy source. It is made by pounding meat (mainly goat), wheat, lentils into one big mix and is topped with dry fruits and saffron. Add a little lemon, to give it that tangy zing. Its origin lies in the Middle East but this dish is now synonymous with Hyderabadi food. Recommended places to try this dish are at – Mandar, Pista House and Shah Ghouse.
If the Haleem makes it past your digestive system, do not miss out on the famous Hyderabadi Kebabs! You get all varieties on the roadside stalls of Charminar. Right from Malai tikka, to Chicken tikka, to Pahadi kebabs and the list is endless. If it is a four-legged animal, they can make a Keabab out of it!
Don’t forget to try the Pathar ka ghost (mutton cooked on a granite stone over charcoal), giving it, its very unique flavor. Garnished with onion rings and lemon wedges it melts in your mouth. There is a special fluffy roti you can enjoy these with which is a must try.
Enjoy your kebabs at kebab house, in Charminar and …
If Arabic is what makes your taste buds buzz, try the chicken Shwarma & Chicken Muttabaq. The succulent pieces of chicken are eaten with some pita bread accompanied by a garlic dip, hummus (chickpea) dip or tahini (sesame) dip. Also grab yourself some Muttabaq also known as Murtabaq, which originates from Yemen. These are two pancakes joined together with some egg, spring onion and a lot of meat (chicken / or mutton) in between.Flavor these Middle Eastern dishes at Ice n Spice.
How can one get by Hyderabad without trying out the local Biryani. Now which one do you eat? There is the Nizam’s or the Hyderabadi Biryani,filled with lots of spices, or the Arabic Mandi which is a little less fiery than the former but has a wonderful and strong aroma and is full of flavour. Unlike its Hyderabadi counterpart, which is eaten with Salan ki mirchi and raita, this is consumed with garlic and meat broth and tomato chutney. The dry fruits in it add a great crunch to this. You can enjoy Mandi at Mandar, at Paradise, Bawarchi, Shahghouse and Shadaab restaurant.
And if you still have place left in your stomach for your sweet tooth, try some dessert! There are many Arabic sweets like Ummali, Baklava, or my favorite Kunafa: some seviya, held together with honey and mascarpone cheese. These are the tastiest at Four Season restaurant. Don’t like Arabic sweets? Not to worry. There is a whole lot of Indian variety with Kesar (saffron) and almond milk or the famous double ka meetha. This is very flavorful bread, fragranced with rose water and dripping in condensed milk. It gets all the richness from saffron and a whole lot of dry fruits. Grab a Double ka meetha at Pista House, its truly delicious and finger licking good. Want something closer to home, than drink up some rose Falooda at Shah Ghouse.
End this delightful meal, with some liquid, either a lassi especially from Hyderabad. Yes people here add a whole lot of rose, and dry fruit to their lassi, or some chai (tea), which is infused with Kesar. Shah Ghouse is a famous Irani chai shop. Not the liquid types? Grab yourself some paan, to get a minty flavor.
Some tips while eating here:
1. Eat in 2 areas Toli Chowki and Charminar.
2. Restaurants in Toli Chowki: Shah Ghouse, Mandar, Ice n Spice and Four Seasons.
3. Charminar has the most famous Pista House, so check it out. There are many around, but this is the original, and the best.
4. All your kebabs are mainly at the Charminar food stalls.
5. Arabic dessert is a must at Four Seasons.
6. Try and go in a group so there is more variety to try out
I`m already getting withdrawal symptoms from all that Hyderabadi Iftar! With all of this I’m also remembering my last year Ramadan feast in mumbai. Read about it here https://www.globejamun.com/ramadan-mubarak-eid-food-trail/
Can the next year come any sooner?
2017 has been fairly decent in terms of travel, food and shopping for Globejamun. Between KK and me, we made it to 20 destinations in 9 countries. While we were putting together a roadmap for 2018, we quickly did a throwback to 2017 reminiscing about some fond memories about the places we visited, the cultures we embraced, the people we met and the memories we crafted. Looking forward to travel packed 2018 with many more stories to tell!
A place of global unity located partly in Tamil Nadu and partly in Pondicherry. The best part about this place is the absence of any religion and the fact that it belongs to nobody but everybody! Many artists flock together in pursuit of art and culture.
Andaman Islands, India
These islands have some interesting marine facts – house to the largest living arthropods in the world, The Robber Crab and the largest sea turtle, The Leatherback. The Radhanagar beach which features in the top 10 beaches in the world is a treat to watch and experience. We loved our time soaking up the sun!
I don’t think one can ever get bored of this place. Each time we visit, Bangkok has something new to offer. Not to forget the numerous party places, the crazy night life, never ending shopping, the dont-you-ever-stop massages and the food coma that Bangkok offers. Despite all the madness, Bangkok has some crazy laws, like it’s illegal to leave your home without underwear. What! Really?
Jim Corbett National Park, India
Known for the Bengal Tigers, this park was named after a legendary tiger hunter Jim Corbett. This is perhaps the first time I sighted one; what a magnificent beauty I must say! Apart from the safaris one can only enjoy the sounds of nature.
Los Angeles, USA
KK loves LA for everything the city offers, the beaches and of course Hollywood! The only nagging part is probably the traffic for the cars outnumber the people in LA!
Surrounded by forests, Masinagudi is a great getaway from the mundane city life. Relax in cottages amidst the jungle and listen to the chirping of birds in the morning, creaking sounds of insects in the evening and the silence of the night.
Well we have a different perspective about Mexico. While the country is associated mostly with gangsters and guns, we think this is more to this place. It is a beautiful city with a lot of religious people. Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe is probably one of the prettiest churches we have ever seen!
The land of ‘Thunder Dragons’ or ‘Druk Yul’ is known for it’s GNH (Gross National Happiness) and is fondly called a ‘Happy Nation’. Trust us; there is more to this country: their awe-inspiring architecture, magnificent mountains, soothing air, friendly people, reverence for the King & Queen, amongst many others.
Eat, sleep and repeat. Sumptuous food, organic and fresh produces, healthy juices, massages, Ayurveda, yoga and some more yoga. It only takes these many words to sum up this place. A great place to spend some ‘me’ time.
Another place we keep going back to is Singapore for it is truly a shopper’s haven and a foodie’s paradise. There is something new to explore each time we visit and not to forget the Universal Studios.
Koh Samui, Thailand
The island offers a unique culture and charm apart from beautiful beaches. The attractions in Koh Samui lean more towards the low-key, natural end of the scale, which best suit’s the island’s general ambiance. One can truly enjoy the remarkable sites of historic, cultural and religious significance as well as sights of breath-taking natural beauty.
We made it to the Tulip Festival! There is nothing like the colors of the tulip fields in the spring backed by Mt. Hood and surrounded by fresh country air. Every year the varieties are arranged differently in a new pattern of color. It’s such a candy to the eyes.
Bintan caters for all; whether you are an adventurous explorer or enjoy relaxing in a tropical paradise with endless pearly white beaches, a wide varieties of resorts and holiday activities including golf, spa and water sports.
The only country in the world which has the word ‘love’ in it’s name. The country has some of the friendliest people we have ever come across, extremely warm and accepting. Slovenia is pure pristine beauty – right from the snow-capped peaks to the lush fir trees to icy cold waterfalls to clear and sparkling lakes. We highly recommend you visit this place with a special someone to amplify the love!
Known for it’s surf school, Kovalam is one of India’s top surfing destination. We decided to learn the sport and camped for a couple of nights. The feeling was exhilarating and connected us deeply with the ocean.
The southernmost tip of India where one can witness the confluence of Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. With long stretches of sands of many hues, the beach offers a welcome change. Apart from the many temples, the Vivekananda rock makes for a spectacular sight not worth missing.
Hampi is like a 2 sided coin -serenity on one side, full of culturally rich stories from the Vijayanagara Empire, and salvation on the other with the sin city of Hampi, the ‘hippie’ island. Once upon a time, Hampi meant temples, temples, and more temples. History and heritage served hot on a platter of sun-baked boulders and quiet village life. But today it has more to offer for the low budgets and ‘high spirits’.
Croatia is the perfect blend of everything; mouth-watering food, crazy shopping, stunning beaches and not to forget the drool-worthy men! We could go on and on about the shopping scene here, but we think its best experienced. Definitely value for money!
Sikkim is one of the most serene and peaceful places to visit. The sight of the Himalayas, the rising of the sun amidst the snow cap mountains, the clean glacial water of the valleys, the freshness in the air, the sound of the monks chanting and the simplicity of life in the north east is something that everyone must experience once in a lifetime.
Probably the best kept secret of Tamil Nadu, Tuticorin is the answer to a tired mind and soul. We parked ourselves at Aqua Outback which is a short drive from the city. Equipped with air-conditioned rooms, gastronomic food, water sports, clear blue sea and an amazing host, it is a perfect weekend getaway.
We were visiting family in Singapore and wanted to do a quick weekend getaway to Bintan Island, Indonesia. It takes about an hour by comfortable catamarans. Bintan caters for all; whether you are an adventurous explorer or enjoy relaxing in a tropical paradise with endless pearly white beaches, a wide varieties of resorts and holiday activities including golf, spa and water sports.
We were staying at Indra Maya Pool Villas at Nirwana Resort Hotel. This villas are an exquisite fusion of exotic Indonesian, Thai and Chinese architectural elements. The resort offers a huge variety of activities including water sports, spa, bowling alley, basketball to name a few.
We have just uploaded our first vlog. Would love to hear your feedback and comments.
If you tell someone your visiting Bangkok, I am sure they will say, “You must visit a floating market”. I actually heard this comment when I told someone, I just returned from Bangkok. And when my reply was, “No, I didn’t go”, they were like, “Oh noooooooo”, you missed something really fun, a fabulous experience”. The truth is I did want to visit, but to do that, you need to start your day before sunrise. On my first visit, my laziness got the better of me. So on my second visit to Bangkok, just a couple of weeks ago, I decided to visit these colorful markets.
As soon as I arrived into Bangkok, the first thing I did, was got on to the internet and booked a floating market tour. I decided to visit Damneon Saduk Floating Market. This was basis all the reviews I read. This market is one of the most visited floating markets, and one of the biggest, in and around the vicinity. This tour costs approx $80 with a pick from most hotels in the city. This market is approximately 2 hours from the main city.
I started reading a little bit about what these markets are, and why they are so famous.
There is a long history behind why Thailand has these markets?
A lot of Thailand including Bangkok, are in the low wetlands, the area around is jungle and has a tropical climate. When Thailand first got inhabited, the first areas to get populated were around these rivers. Boats would be the main mode of transport and trade would take place in them.
Even today, these boats which are so colorful and all dressed up, are an interesting trade, and attracts lot of tourists.
The day arrived and I was all excited to go visit this vibrant and colorful place. The bus came and picked me up from the hotel itself. Tour operators are very punctual and arrive atleast 15 mins before your pick up time. Why I am emphasizing this is because, I met a girl Slava, from Slovakia, who was on a 3 month South East Asia tour, and she was quite surprised because in Mynmmar her tours always started an hour or more later. THAILAND IS ON TIME !!
Before the floating market, the tour takes you to a coconut plantation. They tell you how coconut sugar is made. Your get to try it out, and it tastes super yummy. I request you to only buy sugar from there and nothing else from the market in the plantation, because you get a lot more variety at the floating market. To enter the floating market, there are 2 ways, the bus directly takes you to the spot, or you sit in Thai speed boat, and ride through the canal, with beautiful views of authentic Thai houses and lifestyle.
Tip: Please carry a waterproof camera, as a lot of water splashes inside the boat.
On the tour I made friends, with Slava, who I mentioned earlier. We decided to explore the market together.
The point where the boat stops there are very few other boats selling goods. Thats not the actual market. You need to walk a few hundred meters and then you reach multiple souvenir shops. They sell everything right from Jade Buddha to goodies made of coconut shell, to batik dresses, costume jewelry, bags and the famous tuk tuk. As we move further we could pose with the python and hold a lemur (pic with a baby monkey). At first we were very scared to take a picture, because we noticed a few people who would hold him, he didn’t let go of them. So we moved ahead and entered where the boats with traders begun. But before that you need to stop at a picture point (your at a height) and the floating market below you), and pose.
Then we walked down the steps, just to enter a place so vibrant, colorful and full of life.
The merchants in the boats sell thai fruits, corn, vegetables. On either side there are food stalls where you get to taste delicious thai food. Slava and me had some pad thai, and thai tea.we were sitting there and just soaking in the vibe of this very gorgeous place. We took a lot of pictures. The merchants in their boats will pose for you. At such an awesome place you don’t even realize how time flies.
On our way back up we ate some Dosa with egg yolk filling, that slightly sweet and Slava ate the one with carrot and basil. That is savory and a bit spicy. These dosas are unique, and are a speciality here. You can have pancakes too.
TIP: Please do not eat breakfast. There is a whole lot ion great food in the market.
On our way out, Slava mentioned, that she only came to the market to take photo with the Lemur. We both were actually scared, but then she decided to take a photo with Tichi. I too decided to go ahead. And believe you me, holding him was the cutest, most cuddly feeling. I just didn’t want to let go. I wish I could take you home, Tichi. I miss you
Some things to remember at a Floating Market:
Carry cash with you, most places do not accept credit card.
Bargain at the souvenirs shops, slash the price by atlas 60% when you start. You by the end will pay 40%- 45%less than quoted price.
Don’t forget to pose with the lemur. U need to pay 200 baht. But its sure worth the shot
Don’t eat breakfast and come, there are lots of thai delacies in the market.
I recommend to take a tour and not travel on your own, as its very far, your taxi bill will be 3 times the tour cost.
Take a tour that makes you experience the thai boat through the canal to reach the market.
If you wants pictures of the canal while your in the boat, carry a waterproof camera.
Where shorts or 3/4th as in the boats you need to sit crossed legged and bottom of pants if full, will sure get dirty.
Yes a floating market is a check on the bucket list!