Monday, 22 July 2013

Chatuchak market-Bangkok

Chatuchak or Jatujak; weekend market in Bangkok  is the largest market  in THAILAND and the world's largest weekend market. It is also called as JJ market and has an area of about 35acres and  around 15,000 stalls. The market is visited by 200,000 visitors per day.Most stalls open only on the weekend.The market has everything one could imagine.Clothing, Thai handicrafts, religious artifacts, foods,ceramics,antiques,shoes,jewellery,housewares,soaps and live animals and a lot more that you can not even think of.
It is a shopper's paradise and women cannot help but fall in love with this place.The market is huge and you really need to be sure what you are looking for,else you would be lost in the maze.The market is divided into 27 sections which are colour coded,section 5 and 6 and 10 to 24 are for clothing.Antiques and housewares could be found in sections 22 to 26.Sections 8 and 9 are for the pets where you can find numerous cute stuff for puppies.

The market is huge and the chances of you being lost in the lanes are very high.It is advised to go in a small group.If you find something that you really like please buy it chances are you would never be able to trace back your steps.
Bargaining is your right and you are at the right place so do not hesitate.Though some shops are fixed priced and they do not bargain.Quoting half the price then  gradually increasing slightly would do the trick.

Keep yourself hydrated as you need to walk a lot in the humid weather of Bangkok and this overtly crowded market. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
The pet section has such cute puppies you would feel like taking one along.As a tourist you can't :(
There are lot of options for eating as well,from some hot noodles in the open air stall to some hand made ice creams.

The place is full of energy and crowd.You would literally shop till you drop here and be dead by the time you are done shopping.

The iced tea ,coffee and the ice creams here should definitely be tried.The market is open from 6.00am to 6.00pm Wednesday-Thursday(Plants and flowers),Friday(wholesale),Saturday-Sunday(miscellaneous).

 Carry cash and big bags if you are headed for some serious shopping to Chatuchak.Take care of your belongings,Thailand is a safe country but taking care does not hurt.Go early to avoid crowd.
Chautchak can be reached by skytrain,the nearest staion is Mo chit.Take the exit1 and just follow the crowd they would lead you there.Taxi from Chatuchak to Siam(Indira market) would cost you around 200Bhat.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Things to do in Tokyo-Part 1

Moshi Moshi friends,
Tokyo is a  beautiful city which has a unique blend of modernization with old fashioned manners.The city -famous for its beautiful gardens,shrines and the sky scrapers though it offers a lot more than just that.The place is also famous for the food and its bizarre fashion.
The people are extremely polite.The shopkeepers still give you the change with both the hands.You are greeted in a chorus moshi moshi when you enter and arigato gozaimasu when you leave the shop,still rings in the head at times.

The name "Shibuya" is also used to refer to the shopping district which surrounds Shibuya Station, one of Tokyo's busiest railway stations. It is the heart of Tokyo.This area is known as one of the fashion centers of Japan and is super crowded throughout the day.

Shibuya Station is on the Ginza Subway line, the Hanzomon Subway line, the JR Yamanote Line, the JR Saikyo line and the Keio Inokashira line.Shibuya crossing is one of the busiest crossing in Tokyo.The traffic light turns green for the pedestrians and it's a sight in itself to watch the people emerge from all the sides at the intersection.

Shibuya Crossing
The sight can be observed over a cup of coffee from Stabrucks at Tsutaya building.The place offers a great view of the Shibuya crossing.One can sit for hours looking at the trendy crowd of Shibuya!! It is a great place to click some pictures of the Shibuya crossing as well.

One can enjoy the local taste at the Tokyo Food Show at Shibuya station which offers a variety of gourmet eats.

Shibuya is a major shopping area and a definite place to visit for anyone interested in Japanese fashion. Not only are there many very trendy fashion stores, but you can see many young Japanese people wearing the latest and some just outrageous fashion in the streets.There are several famous fashion department stores in Shibuya. Shibuya 109 is a major shopping centre.This place is a shopper's paradise and the energy can be felt in the air.
Hachiko exit-There is a statue of a loyal dog named Hachiko in front of Shibuya station. According to a famous story, the dog waited for his master every day in front of Shibuya Station, and continued to do so for years even after his master had passed away.

Finally, when he himself died on March 8th 1935, many a heart was touched. He was given a huge send off and his body now rests in the National Science Museum. It is one of Tokyo's most popular meeting points. 
As you move to the next station on the Yamanote line,you reach Harajuku. It is the center of Japan's most extreme teenage cultures and fashion styles, but also offers shopping, for adults, and some historic sights.
Harajuko Station

Located directly across from the exit of JR Harajuku Station, Takeshita Street is very popular with young teenagers,  or local young people shopping for small "cute" goods at weekends.The street is full of local shops and crepe stands and food outlets.The very famous 100 yen shop Daiso has a huge store here.
Takeshita Street!!!

In order to experience the teenage culture at its most extreme, visit Harajuku on a Sunday, when many young people gather around Harajuku Station and engage in cosplay ("costume play"), dressed up in crazy costumes to resemble anime characters, punk musicians, etc.

Meiji Shrine-
It is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken located in Harajuku.

If you visit the temple on a Sunday morning, you might get to see a traditional Japanese wedding just like we got.

Priests and maidens wear traditional dress in preparation for a wedding at the Meiji Shrine.
 Traditional Japanese wedding ceremonies are Shinto-style and are held at shrines. Brides wear traditional white kimono called shiromuku, and grooms wear montsuki (black formal kimono), haori (kimono jacket), and hakama (kimono pants)

Traditional wedding hairstyle of a bride at the Meiji shrine
Hair is so important for Japanese Women that it symbolize nearly every facet of her existence.It's common that only family members and close relatives of couples attend Shinto-style ceremonies. A ceremony includes sake drinking rituals, exchanging wedding rings, and more. There are neither bridesmaids nor a best man. 

Referred to as Tokyo's Champs-Elysees, Omotesando is a one kilometer long, tree lined avenue, serving as the main approach to Meiji Shrine. Numerous stores, boutiques, cafes and restaurants, including several leading fashion brand shops, stand along the avenue.
 This area generally caters to an older and wealthier clientele than Takeshita Dor.

Zelkova trees line both sides of the avenue. Around 100,000 cars drive down the main street daily.Taking a stroll down the street in the evenings is a must thing to do in Tokyo.
Cerulean Hotel
 You can stay in the Cerulean tower Tokyo hotel which is 5 min from the Shibuya station and 5 min from Shibuya shopping area.The location is superb and the view spectacular.
View from our room on 32nd floor.We stayed at The Westin and The ANA Intercontinental too but none could beat the location of Cerulean.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Things to do in Mumbai!!

Mumbai, previously known as Bombay, is the capital city of the Indian state of Maharashtra.Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbor. In 2009, Mumbai was named an Alpha world city.The seven islands that came to constitute Mumbai were home to communities of fishing colonies.
Mumbai is known for its friendly people,food,monsoons,sea,fashion,Bollywood and a lot more.Best time to visit Mumbai is from October to march.If you want to enjoy the rains of Mumbai then June is the perfect time,it pours non-stop.Temperature is never that hot,it gets a lot humid though.Traveling in Mumbai is the easiest in India trust me,traveled and lived in so many parts of India,i can vouch for it.Local trains are the best options if you want to avoid traffic.Taxis wallah and Auto wallahs are the most friendliest one here.
Local train
Here are few of our fav places to visit and eat in Mumbai-
1)Colaba Causeway-When you are in Mumbai,the 1st place you should visit is Colaba.The place has got everything from shopping to cafes to Gateway of India to high end hotels to roadside food stalls and what not.
Colaba Causeway
  Apart from upmarket retail showrooms, and small shops dealing in electronic goods, cosmetics, and music, its has pavement book stalls dating back several decades , besides having numerous small shops and footpath outlets selling everything from artifacts to shawls, carpets and minor antiques to slippers of all kind, which make tourists, backpackers and local from South Mumbai, throng the area through the year.The market is flooded with a lot of tourists and locals throughout the year.Shop till you drop here.The place is a stretch which starts from Regal Cinema alongside the road.
Flora Fountain
2)Bade-miyaan-When you are done shopping you would be hungry,you won;t have to worry.This is one of the most famous eateries in Mumbai,heaven for the non vegetarians .The kababs and rolls  here are to die for..The keema,chicken bhuna with romali roti or reshmi paratha is finger licking.

The place has lot of options for vegetarians as well.The place is open till 2AM in the morning frequented by loads of people everyday including  hindi movie actors.Wondering about the price,well everything here is surprisingly very cheap.Gluttony comes at a very low cost here,even  voraciously eating won''t cost much here.
Location-Behind Hotel Taj Mahal

3)Cafe Leopold and Cafe Mondegar- These are the 2 famous cafe in Colaba.The place most frequented by youngsters and tourists.The food along with the drinks is good.The sandwiches,chicken lollypop and other starters are finger licking good.

The staff is very friendly.If you want to enjoy your drink with friends or on your own these are the 2 places you should visit.Cafe Leopold has been mentioned in the famous book "Shantaram".The places are full on weekends and you would have to wait for sometime to get a place.

4)Gateway of India-The Gateway of India is a monument built during the British Raj in Mumbai, India.Located on the waterfront in the Apollo Bunder area in South Mumbai, the monument overlooks the Arabian Sea.This is one of the most photographed places in Mumbai.
Gateway of India
 Enjoy the lovely view and breeze in the evening.The place is always crowded.You can get a ride in Victoria here.If you want to enjoy a meal in luxury,have it in The Taj Mahal Palace hotel which is right opposite this monument.Starbucks is situated just behind Taj,you can enjoy a coffee there.
If you have a day in your hand,you can visit the Ajanta Ellora caves.Ferries are there from Gateway.
All the 4 places are in Colaba,the nearest railway station is Churchgate.There  are a lot of guest houses in this area,so you can stay here as well.
The Taj Mahal Hotel
5)Marine drive-Marine Drive is a 3-kilometre-long boulevard . It is a 'C'-shaped six-lane concrete road along the coast, which is a natural bay.It is also called as Queen's necklace because if viewed at night from an elevated point anywhere along the drive, the street lights resemble a string of pearls,forming a necklace. Visit this place during sunset.It is a 10 min drive from Gateway.
Marine drive
 Apart from these places in South Mumbai,take a walk around Churchgate station,the place has lot of beautiful buildings.Central library,Jehangir art gallery,fashion street are some of the places which you can visit in this area.
Haji Ali
 6)Linking road-Situated in Bandra,this lane offers a lot of shopping options as well.The place has a good collection of footwear,remember to bargain or you might get ripped off.Lot of chunky jewellery is up for sale.It also houses lot of high end brands apart from the roadside shops.Bandra has a lot of eating options from fine dinning to street food.You might like to try Carter's Blue on carter road opposite CCD or Lucky restaurant famous for biryani and kebabs near Bandra Station.Lot of pubs and bars are there like-Red Box,Big Nasty,Red Ant,Bungalows,Out of the Blue,Oilve Bar and restaurant the list is endless.

7)Candies-The place is buzzing with youngsters all around.The crowd is full of energy and you can feel it too.
Lovely ambiance,the tables,the chairs  just love everything about the place.It can get a bit crowded on the weekends and sometimes even on weekdays during lunch and you might have to wait for a good amount of time.
 Service is a bit haphazard,you have to wait until someone attends you and takes your order and then gives your order,sometimes the whole process can take as long as 30min (waiting in the queue-ordering-receiving your order)but once you get the food and sit its all good.I love everything from the punjabi samosa to the chicken lollypops.The coffee served with cute little tarts or chips :)The huge cup of hot chocolate.. yumms is not the word :)The peach ice tea..The salad is fresh and has a lot of variety too.The hot and cheesy lasagna ..can go on and on...Last but not the least the price..With that kind of food and ambiance,this price is nothing.

8)Bandra Bandstand-It is a kilometre long stretch along the sea.The stretch is lined by rocks and has a jogging track as well.Towards the end are Bandra fort and an amphitheater.Mannat,Shahrukh Khan's bungalow and other Hindi movie actors stay in this area.
Enjoying some desserts at Barista Bandstand
 The place attracts a lot of crowd,there are a few food stalls as well.Recently Bollywood walk of stars is added which has statutes,hand prints and signature of Bollywood stars.Mount Mary church and Bandra sea link are other attractions in Bandra.The sea link is visible form Bandra fort.Elco market serves some good chaat.
Bandra Worli Sea Link
 9)Juhu beach or Chowpatty-Visit to Mumbai is incomplete if you don't visit the beaches of Mumbai.These 2 beaches are the most famous ones.Known for the food stalls which serve Paav bhaji,Ragda patties,Bhelpuri,Kulfi Falooda etc.The chaat here is simply superb.Enjoy the sunset as you lick your fingers.

10) Borivali National Park-The park is world's largest park within city limits.It offers amazing views of hills,lakes and is known for the dense forest and bird life.The park has the famous Kanheri Caves and 2 lakes as well. The park is near Borivali station.If you are a nature lover you could also visit the Powai lake located in Powai,this is a man made lake.You can enjoy your evening sitting by the lake or sipping coffee in Renaissance Hotel which offers amazing views of the Powai lake.