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Top 10 Attractions of The Lake City- Udaipur

August 8, 2017

I have always been curious to visit India. India has this certain vibe that makes you want to explore and understand their culture more. Himanshu of Pearls India Tour is here to bring us to The Lake City – Udaipur and to make us fall in love with their country.

T O P 10 A T T R A C T I O N S

Historically speaking, Udaipur is one of the richest sites in India. Named after the Rajput ruler, Maharana Udai Singh, Udaipur used to be the capital of the Sisodia clan of the Rajputs (“Son of a King”). Udaipur is located in the western state of Rajasthan in India, and is the administrative headquarters of the Udaipur district. It is about 403 km from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.

Udaipur has also been nicknamed the “Venice of the East” owing to its many lakes and majestic palaces from the ruling era of the Rajputs. Due to its picturesque look and prosperous air, made even more prominent by the impressive structures, Udaipur has been the site of many Indian as well as international productions. If you are planning your first expedition to India, in particular western India, be sure to visit the “City of Lakes” as Udaipur is endearingly called, with ample time on your hands. Short tours are also possible with a good understanding of the plethora of sights well beforehand.

You’ll be smitten with this imperial consignment from the past and will end up feeling like royalty yourself! We bring you the top 10 most sought after destinations of this regal city.

  1. Bagore Ki Haveli 

    Bagore Ki Haveli is the perfect time machine for the history lovers and will take you through a magical walk in the royal past of the kings from eons ago. The enchanting mansion was built in late 18th century, between 1751- 1778, by the Prime Minister of Mewar, Shri Amarchand Badwa. Located on the scenic bank of the Pichola Lake at Gangauri Ghat, it brings to light many windows that show us glimpses of the rulers in the era of their primes. The interior is beautifully furnished with various artifacts of the Haveli itself, as well as modern art. Two peacock glassworks are among the most popular adornments in it. Items used in the heyday of nobility such as floor coverings, costumes, paintings, hookahs, low tables, traditional arts and crafts with other everyday household objects are displayed, in addition to some of the rooms having been converted to imitate living conditions of the royal era. A puppet gallery can also be viewed, with the turban collection, which houses the world’s largest turban. The Haveli is open all days of the week (10 am to 7 pm) with a puppet show and a folk-dance performance in the evenings from 7 pm to 8 pm. With 138 rooms, corridors, balconies and courtyards there is a whole world to explore in the royal quarters, dressing rooms, living rooms and many other alcoves from the stately times.

  2. City Palace

    City Palace is a stunning complex of many palaces which have been standing for hundreds of years and they hold innumerable stories from the legendary days of the Rajput rulers. An astounding conglomeration of different palaces, City Palace is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture which were built across an impressive duration of more than 400 years. This was started in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh of the Sisodiya clan. The balconies of these palaces bestow a panoramic view of the Jag Mandir on one side with the city of Udaipur on the other. Gardens, courtyards, corridors, terraces and intricately decorated mosaics of the interiors await you as you enter through the Tripolia- a three-arched doorway, built in 1725. City Palace also houses the world’s largest collection of crystals; additionally, two palace hotels and the City Palace Museum are also located within the palace complex. Make sure you attend the hour-long Mewar Sound and Light show at the complex. It is in the list of things to do in Udaipur. City Palace has been the location of many movie productions too. You can visit it daily from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.

  3. Lake Palace (Formerly, “Jag Niwas”)

    The ultimate luxurious quixotic getaway for all your romantic wishes, the Lake Palace will impress you and leave a lasting imprint on your mind.

    Renowned as one of the most romantic hotels in India and the whole world, the Lake Palace is located on the Jag Niwas Island in Lake Pichola. The most gripping attraction of Udaipur, Lake Palace has 83 rooms which are exquisitely adorned, with the upper room built in a perfect circle. The floor is assembled of black and white marbles while the walls are lavishly decorated with different colored stones. The beauty of this palace is further emphasized by the Aravalli Hills and the city itself in the milieu of the sight. Concept of the palace is like that of Jal Mahal Palace in Jaipur, a must-visit.

  4. Lake Pichola

    A watery wonderland of endless sights and beauty, Lake Pichola will take you on imaginative journeys as you take a tour of the lake. Lake Pichola, along with Fateh Sagar Lake to which it is connected by a channel, make up the largest of the man-made lakes in Udaipur. Lake Pichola is the domicile of four islands, the “Jag Niwas” island on which the Lake Palace is built, the Jag Mandir which houses a palace of the same name, the Mohan Mandir and the Arsi Vilas. You can indulge in the charming views of the Lake Palace as well as the City Palace complex with a beautiful view of the havelis and the Ghats that line the lake by taking boat rides on the lake. Boats can be boarded from the Rameshwar Ghat (from City Palace gardens) and Lal Ghat (which includes stopping at Jag Mandir) with reasonable fares.

  5. Shilpgram

    The rustic yet charming nook of rural Rajasthan is beautifully re-created in this expansive location with lots to see and buy!

    Translated as “Village of Craftsmen”, Shilpgram is best described as a living museum of Rajasthani lifestyle, costumes, crafts and villages. About 3 km away from Udaipur, this was established in 1986. Countryside style of living comes to life in this life-size representation of not just Rajasthani culture but also of the neighboring states. Admire the authentic architecture and spend delightful hours of shopping traditional craft items and wares. Folk dances are also performed here. It is a sprawling complex of 55 acres that is packed with revelry during the Shilpgram Arts and Crafts Fair, or the Shilpgram Utsav (celebration) held in late December. It is open from 11 am to 7 pm.

  6. Saheliyon-ki-Bari

    Be it lovebirds of the introspective traveler, Saheliyon-Ki-Bari is just the thing where you can get some serene privacy and sit in nature’s copious lap of graceful beauty.

    This “Garden of The Maids” was fabricated by Maharana Bhopal Singh for the 48 lasses who had been a part of the dowry of a princess, and had escorted her to Udaipur. This garden is an idyllic setting for romance and love and had been portrayed in many Indian movies. The fountains, marble artifacts and sculptures and pools make for a relaxing and tranquil experience. It is open every day during the week from 8 am to 7 pm and a small nominal entry fee is needed to be paid for accessing this soothing nook of Udaipur.

  7. Udaipur Ropeway, or, “Karni Mata Ropeway”

    Exciting, yet mesmerizing, the Udaipur ropeway offers an incredible view of the lakes and islands with palaces and other structures.

    The famous Karni Mata Ropeway features short one way trip on a ropeway in red cable cars in between Deen Dayal Park (Dudh Talai) to the Karni Mata Temple. Being a popular tourist appealer, the queues can be extensive at times. Once you dismount from the cable cars, you can catch a stunning yet leisurely view of the sunset from a viewing platform.

  8. Jagdish Temple

    A touching and fortifying boost awaits you in this hypnotizing place of worship. The Jagdish Temple is one of the most impressive beacons of Udaipur that simply cannot be missed. With its striking white structure and rich embellishments of elaborate carvings immersed in a fusion of Indian and Aryan architecture, it is a hard-to- miss milestone. Built in 1651 by Maharana Jagat Singh, it is located in the City Palace complex, near its entrance. The most revered deity is a black idol carved from a single slab of stone, representing Lord Jagannath, one of the many manifestations of Lord Vishnu. It is open daily from 5 am to 2 pm, and from 4 pm to 10:30 pm. The “aarti” (ceremonial worship) held every morning and evening is reminiscence-inducing and leaves you feeling touched and uplifted.

  9. Vintage Collection of Cars Museum

    The ultimate destination for the lover of olden ages and mechanical buffs, this museum has a splendid compilation of old cars in functioning states.

    For the car aficionado, this is a must-see. Classic cars borne from the era of sophisticated and lavish routines continue to rumble and run in this car museum. This archetypal anthology of four-wheelers from the day’s bygone belong to the current Maharaja and all preceding royal lineages. With all the automobiles in working condition, you can not only admire them, but also be awed by the living, reverberating machines which have seen and moved through many pages of history. It is open from 9 am to 8 pm, all days of the week.

  10. Pratap Smarak

    To honor one of the greatest and most loved warriors of ancient India, this memorial boasts of a remarkable full-sized statue of Maharana Pratap riding on his beloved horse, Chetak. The Pratap Smarak is a memorial dedicated to the famous warrior and ruler, Maharana Pratap and his loyal steed, Chetak. This is life-sized bronze statue of the Maharana on his favorite horse is evocative and alluring to the history buffs as Chetak was known to be faithful and very protecting of his master. Before he died of his wounds in the battle of Haldighati, this heroic steed whisked away the Maharana away from the perilous milieu of the raging conflict. Located atop Moti Margi (Pearl Hill), this is a reverential site to pay homage to the warrior and his devoted companion. For the photographer, this location is bountiful with scenic views and magnificent angles.

    Much More to Behold

    The City of Lakes has much more in store than you can possibly fit into one single journey. Do make sure to also visit the Sajjangarh Palace, the Ek Ling Nath Ji Temple, Udaipur Solar Observatory, Gulab Bagh and Zoo, Dudh Talai, Pratap Museum and Ahar Museum.

    Author’s Bio:

    Smitten by the lavish views of Udaipur, Himanshu yearns to share his trips and travels to other breathtaking locations in India and share them with the world through PearlsIndiaTour.

USA

New York Travel Diary

August 7, 2017

Last June 26, my mom and I officially left for the United States of America! The main reason why we had to go to the States was for my grandma. It’s her first time to experience an international flight and we wanted her to enjoy. So, to officially start this USA journey, we started off with New York City (making this trip my 2nd time)

New York City – a place where there’s something new you can do every day. From Staten Island til the Bronx, you surely will not run out of interesting things to do and experience in New York.

Here are a few things you should remember when visiting New York:

  • New York is a walkable city but if you need to go from one place to another, you can always take the subway or taxi.
  • Study the subway and the map of New York. These will be your lifesavers when you  navigate around New York.
  • Wear comfortable shoes since you’ll be walking a lot.

A T T R A C T I O N S

  • Times Square 

You haven’t been to New York if you haven’t experienced Times Square. New York Times Square is a major tourist hub. Giant billboards and bright lights. Costumed characters and people playing instruments. Broadway shows, a lot of tourists and crazy traffic.

  • Museum of Modern Art

Known as MoMA, it’s a museum that showcases different kinds of artworks done by famous artists. Famous artists like Andy Warhol and Van Gogh can be found here. Be wary though, it’s a big museum so expect to have your stay in the museum around 2-3 hours. There is also an entrance fee which will cost around $25. It’s expensive but it will be worth it – that is if you are really interested of museums and artworks.

  • St. Patrick’s Cathedral

This is a famous Catholic Church found at the heart of New York City. What makes this cathedral interesting is its architectural design. The Cathedral is made out of brick but overlaid in marble. Once you enter the Cathedral, you can feel at peace and being one with Christ.

  • Broadway Shows

If you love watching Broadway shows, then it’s a MUST for you to experience watching one in New York. Fortunately, I was able to watch Anastasia. If you get lucky, you get the chance to meet the casts of the certain play you would want to watch. Since I watched Anastasia, I was able to meet Derek Klena (who plays as Dmitri), John Bolton (as Vlad) and Christy Altomare (as Anastasia).

F O O D

Finally, there is this fast food chain that I believe beats McDonalds. It is no other than Shake Shack. Everywhere we went to in New York, you can actually see Shake Shack. When I get the chance to go back to New York, will definitely try their shakes this time!

Umami is a Japanese term that stands for “deliciousness”. They stand true to their word. With every bite I took, I felt like I was in heaven. You can actually taste how juicy their beef was cooked. The size of the burger was just right and worth your money.

Cafe Lalo is a small cafe located at the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They serve mouthwatering pastries that makes me want to go back. We got Strawberry Tart & Carrot Cake. When eating desserts, I tend to share with someone since I can’t really finish it. Lo and behold, I was able to finish the Strawberry Tart by myself. That’s how yummy it was!

Fun Fact: Cafe Lalo appeared in the 1988 movie, You’ve Got Mail.

  • Bibble & Sip

Bibble & Sip is a 3rd wave & hole in a wall coffee shop. I am glad I was able to try this coffee shop. I went to this place twice within a week! They have cute interiors that made me want to stay longer. Sadly, limited seats were available.

O T H E R  A T T R A C T I O N S

Since it’s my 2nd time to go to New York, we didn’t bother going back to the other attractions in New York (Grand Central Terminal & Central Park specifically). At the same time, I still have to go back for the 3rd time because we were not able to go to other attractions when we were there.

  • Statue of Liberty

  • The Oculus

  • Brooklyn Bridge

Care to share other attractions I should go to when I get the chance to go back to New York?

Personal, Philippines, Travel

One Weekend in San Juan, La Union

April 27, 2017

It’s a nice feeling to get lost in thought while appreciating the wonderful view by the beach. You can hear the loud waves crash by the shore. You get to see the beautiful sunrise/sunset by the beach.  That is what we exactly did last weekend, April 1-2 in San Juan, La Union.

San Juan, La Union is known as one of the surfing spots of the Philippines. This is where surfers go to if they want to surf and have a quick getaway. If you are not fond of surfing, you can laze around, walk by the beach and watch other people surf.

It was my first time to go to San Juan, La Union with my college best friend and her boyfriend. We decided to go to La Union (despite the long travel) because we wanted to explore the North and a change of scenery. We left Manila around 11pm via Partas.

Around 4 in the morning, we arrived San Juan, La Union. We had a lot of time to wander around since our check-in time in Barkadahan is around 12pm. We decided to chill by Flotsam and Jetsam and talk about life. We were able to watch the beautiful stars and sunrise by the beach.

Around 8am, we had a quick breakfast in Flotsam and Jetsam. After, we decided to go to back to our hotel and have another set of breakfast. We enjoyed our 2nd breakfast because we ordered corn beef which is our favorite breakfast dish!

To pass time, we decided to try out different restaurants along San Juan, La Union. The first restaurant we went to was El Union. Let the photos do the talking of the restaurant.

Next, we tried out Tagpuan since my friend told me that they serve bagnet (I highly recommend you watch I’m Drunk, I Love You if you want to know about the hype of bagnet). Their bagnet was yummy! But I found it expensive for its food serving.

Around 2pm, we were able to put our things in the room and dressed up for the beach. Good thing it wasn’t that hot when we went to the beach around 4pm. We took a few pictures (for me and my best friend’s blog) and enjoyed the beautiful sunset by the beach.

Around 7pm, we had dinner in Surf Shack. Surf Shack was just alright. I found the restaurant quite expensive and since there were a lot of people, the staffs were all over the place. It was hard for us to call a staff and we kept on reminding them about our orders. After our dinner, we decided to go back to the hotel and we had a good rest.

_____________________________________________________________________________

The next day, April 2, we woke up around 6am and prepared for another day ahead of us. We went back to the beach because my best friend still had one more swimsuit to wear and have photos with it. In the process of her photoshoot, my shorts got wet! I wanted to have a picture with her by the beach and the waves were too strong. But it was all good because I had extra shorts.

After her photoshoot, we had a quick lunch in Olas Banditos. The price of their food was just right. The ambiance was laidback and suited with the theme of the restaurant. I am for sure going back to this restaurant!

After lunch, we bade goodbye to San Juan, La Union. It was a bittersweet and quick getaway. For sure, we are going back and we will be more ready since we will know what to expect.

P.S. This is leaning more on a personal travel post. I actually miss writing these kinds of posts for the blog.

Philippines, Travel

A Hidden Gem: Pinto Art Museum

February 1, 2017

I was just browsing through my camera then suddenly, I saw pictures I took in Pinto Art Museum. I totally forgot to make a blog post about it – how wonderful this museum is.

Last 2014, my friends and I visited Pinto Art Museum. We decided to check this museum because we saw great photos of this museum in Instagram and we love discovering new places. We had high expectations. Join us as we discover Pinto Art Museum!

Pinto Art Museum is located in a subdivision. It is quite hard to find the subdivision since you will have to get in an esquinita. Just be wary while driving – you should be able to see a sign that points you to Grand Heights Subdivision. Once you are by the area, there are no available parking but you can park along the street.

A Hidden Gem

Pinto Art Museum is not your typical museum. It’s a large property where you will be doing a lot of walking and climbing of stairs. The architectural design of the museum reminded me of Greece. There are also a lot of plants and trees. Aside from visiting the museum, this is a perfect location for pre-wedding photos. When we went there, we saw a couple having their pre-wedding photos taken.

Upon getting inside the museum, you will get to see different artworks. These artworks are so interesting that it made me want to buy one and put it inside my room. The nice thing with these artworks is that these are all made by Filipino artists. If you enjoy looking at artworks, you can surely last the whole day.

Pinto Art Museum is the type of museum that will spark your love for art. From the architecture til the paintings, it is already a work of art. Aside from having your pre-wedding pictorials, you can bring your significant other and have a chill and relaxing date. I can’t wait to go back to this museum. Who knows, there might be new and interesting artworks.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Open from Tuesdays til Saturdays
  • 200php – regular ticket
  • 180 php – senior citizens & PWD
  • 100 – students & children
Hotel Reviews, Philippines, Travel

Damires Hills : A Short Getaway in Janiuay, Iloilo

January 23, 2017

The main reason we went to Iloilo was to celebrate New Year with the relatives. The original plan was to go to a beach like Lakawon Island and do a day trip. But, we lacked time to prepare our beach trip. So, my aunt suggested to visit a nearby resort instead. This resort is Damires Hills.

Damires Hills is becoming quite known in Iloilo. Located at Janiuay, it’s a resort that offers nature and adrenaline activities. It’s a nice place to unwind and appreciate the beautiful view. There are a lot of activities that is perfect for kids and adults.

I appreciated this resort because I love nature and there were a lot of activities one can do. The only activities I was able to try were the Canopy Walk and The ATV. My younger cousin and her other cousins from the mom side had the chance to swim. Other activities include zipline, Kids Adventure Park and Team Building.

Upon our stay in this resort, we were able to rent a cottage. Inclusive of the daytime cottage are the food and drinks which was reasonable. The food was just right, nothing special with it. If you want to sleep in this resort, they offer overnight cottages.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Janiuay is  a 30 minute – 1 hour drive from Iloilo City.
  • Entrance Rates: Adult/Kid – 100; Senior Citizen – 80; Swimming – 120
  • Daytime Cottages (w/ food and drinks):
    Gardenia 10,000 / max of 40
    Dahlia 10,000 / max of 40
    Kalachuchi 8,000 / max of 30
    Gumamela 3,000 / max of 12
    Bougainvillea 3,000 / max of 12
    Azucena 3,000/ max of 12
    Margarita 3,000 / max of 12
    Sampaguita 2, 500 / max of 10
    Dama de Noche 2, 500 / max of 10
    Yellow Irish 3,000/ max of 12
    Santan 3,000/ max of 12
    Daisy 3,000/ max of 12
    Aster 3,000/ max of 12
  • Overnight Cottages:

Balay Mangga – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max 0f 9)

Balay Durian – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)

Balay Badiang – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)

Balay Bugnay – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)

Balay Langka – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)
Balay Chiko – 4,500 (8 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 9)

Upper & Lower House – 3,500 (6 pax) + 300/head in excess (max of 7)

Adelfa, Begonia, Cattleya, Rosa & Zinnia – 2,800 (Good for 2 pax max of 3 with free breakfast for 2 persons)

Damires Hills Adventure:

  • Zipline (Sitting) 200
    Zipline (Superman) 300
    Bungee Trampoline Free
    ATV Ride 300
  • Contact Information: (033) 396-8144 / (033) 531-6519 [Landline] ; 09399060689 / 09176325901 [Mobile]
  • Website: http://www.damireshills.com/

GENERAL THOUGHTS

Damires Hills is a great getaway if you don’t have the time to get out of the city. There are a lot of activities one can do there. You can enjoy Mother Nature there. If I do get the chance to go back to Iloilo, I might would want to consider going back to Damires Hills.

Europe, Norway

Explore Norway: Places To Discover!

January 10, 2017

After a few hours from our trip in Iceland, we arrived at Norway. At the beginning of our Norway trip, I was neautral about it since all I know about Norway are the fjords. After exploring the 2 cities namely Oslo and Bergen in 5 days, I fell in love with Norway.  It was a tiring trip indeed but the experience was magical and worth it.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Norway is EXPENSIVE, just like Iceland. We arrived at Norway coming from Iceland via plane that is why we were able to save.
  • Norway is a walkable country. You don’t really need a tour guide to roam around. But if you are in a hurry just like us, then joining a tour is advisable.
  • In Oslo, we rented an AirBNB. For our Bergen trip, we stayed in a hotel.
  • Just like Iceland, salmon was my most favorite dish.
  • Norway is rich in history. So if you really want to learn more about Norway, I highly suggest going to their museums since they are detailed and entertaining.

The first city we roamed around at was in Oslo, Norway. On our first day, we were able to roam around the city in a nutshell by joining a bus tour.

1. Holmenkollen

It’s a large ski jumping hill where the Olympics for ski jump is usually held.

2. The Vigeland Park

It’s the world’s largest sculpture park created by a single artist named Gustav Vigeland. It is free entrance so you get to enjoy and observe the artworks done by Gustav.

3. Viking Ship Museum

This is where you can find the remains of Viking burial ships that are more than a 1000 yr old.

4. Fram Museum

This is where you will get to learn the explorers who were able to reach the North Pole.

After our short city tour, we were able to roam around some more.

5. Nobel Peace Center

6. Opera House

7. Norway in a Nutshell Tour

You will get to experience what Norway is all about. You will experience riding the train, a boat and a bus all in one day. Through the tour, you will get to experience the famous fjords and the gateway to Bergen, Norway.

Bergen, Norway

Bergen, Norway has its own charm. We didn’t bother getting a tour anymore because we wanted to explore what Bergen has to offer.

1. Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf

This is a part of the World Heritage Site. You will be able to see bright painted wooden buildings that have been existing for hundreds of years.

2. Fish Market

It is located somewhere near the Bryggen. You can look around and grab something to eat. It was mainly fish when we went here. I remember they told us the other type of market happens in another season, which we just missed.

3. Mount Floyen and The Funicular

This is a good spot if you want to view Bergen City. We went during the night time and it was a splendid view.

4. Art Museum

If you want to discover Norwegian’s artists, then head over to this museum. It’s actually near the Holberg Statue.

The Holberg Statue

With the pictures I shared, I hope I was able to bring you along throughout my Europe trip journey. I hope you get the chance to visit Europe and discover the places worthy to see and explore. Europe in general is expensive but with the proper research and information, I am totally sure you will be able to go to Europe on a budget.

Til my next Europe trip adventure!

Travel

My First AirBNB Experience

December 20, 2016

Last October, my family and I had our first trip to Europe. Since it was our first trip to Europe, we had no clue on where to stay. We had to search everything ourselves and look for hotels that were easy on the pocket. We couldn’t look for affordable hotels so we decided to try out AirBNB.

I have heard of AirBNB for a few years already and at the beginning, I was quite hesitant. If you are not familiar, AirBNB is a site where tourists can rent local’s apartments and feel like they are at home away from home. It gives the locals the chance to earn some cash from renting their apartments to other tourists.

My Experience

Our first trip was held at Edinburgh, Scotland. The place we got in Edinburgh is located at Rose St., within the city  center. Everywhere we went to was a walking distance. We barely rode any taxis while roaming around the city. Even while bringing our luggages to and fro the train station, we didn’t bother getting a taxi. The only time we rode a public transportation was when we went to St. Andrews to visit the history of golf.

Since it was our first time to avail of an AirBNB, we had no idea if the place had an elevator to manage our luggage. We were only able to find out as we arrived the apartment. We had to carry our luggage in 4 flights of stairs. As we went in the apartment, I was pleased with the outcome because the way the apartment looks in real life exactly looks like how it was posted in the AirBNB website.

The owner of the apartment, Lynne, was courteous and hospitable. We were not able to meet up with her during our stay in Edinburgh since she was also on vacation. We met with her friend, Claire instead. Inside the apartment, there is this booklet where you can find instructions during your stay and how to operate certain items like the heater, TV, etc. After your stay, you are recommended to leave a review so that other guests can see it and how the owner of the apartment can improve some more. Below are pictures of the apartment of Lynne:

Disclaimer: Got the pictures through the owner’s page in AirBNB

After Edinburgh, London was the next place in our itinerary. This is where we had our 2nd trial of AirBNB. The apartment’s located at Central Limehouse. From King’s Cross Station, it will take you 30 minutes to reach Limehouse Station. The apartment was near the train station. It will take you around 5 minutes just to walk to the train station. It will take you a bus stop away to go to attractions like Tower Bridge, St. Paul, Trafalgar Square.

When we reached the apartment, we were not able to meet Stephenie (owner) since she was busy that day. She was able to give me clear instructions on how to get in the apartment and what we should do before checking out. Security of the apartment was tight indeed. But, we had a hard time to get in. The door that time could not open remotely. A kind gentleman was able to help us get in instead. After that small incident, everything went smoothly.

Stephenie’s apartment was cozy. The place looked exactly like the pictures posted in the AirBNB website. What lacked in her amenities were the duvets. But, it was okay since we were able to find a way for me not to feel cold while I slept on the couch. Other amenities that we needed can be found in her apartment.

Disclaimer: Got the pictures through the owner’s page in AirBNB

With the way that AirBNB is changing the travel industry, I will definitely use AirBNB for my future travels. AirBNB is ideal for big groups and families. If you are a solo traveler and don’t have the budget, then I highly suggest you check out websites like Agoda.

TIPS

  1. MAKE SURE to check the host’s reviews. It is through the reviews that you will know how secure a place will be.
  2. If you need to confirm something with your desired home, always make sure to leave a message to the host before clicking the book button. You want to make sure that the host can accommodate to your needs.
  3. Take care of the host’s belongings and be a great tenant!
  4. Relax and have fun!

Have you ever tried AirBNB? If so, kindly share your experience. If you haven’t, would you want to try it out? Why or why not? 

Iceland

Explore Iceland: Places To Discover!

December 16, 2016

To be honest, I never saw myself visiting Iceland. I didn’t really know what to see and expect in this small place. Since my mom’s friend wanted to explore Iceland, then I decided why not give this place a try. We might never know, there might be great sights to explore.

Lo and behold, there sure were great attractions in Iceland.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Iceland is EXPENSIVE. If you want to travel to Iceland, I suggest you MUST come from another European country. During our trip, we went to Iceland coming from London via Icelandair.
  • If you are the type of person who would love to do Do-It-Yourself, then I suggest renting a car. It’s quite easy to explore Iceland. You need to make sure you have a map with you.
  • If you are quite hesitant to explore Iceland on your own, there are a lot of tour agencies being offered in Iceland. I recommend IceLine Travel. This tour agency is owned by Kristjan and Gugga. They are a lovely couple. If you do get the chance to get this travel agency, please do send my regards!
  • My family and I stayed at Icelandair Natura, under the Icelandair Management. If you have the budget to stay in this hotel, then this is a good recommendation. If you are on a tight budget, I recommend checking out Agoda or Airbnb.
  • Among all the food I have tried in Iceland, salmon is my most favorite dish. The way they prepare their salmon is fresh and you won’t have to worry about anything.
  • In general, it is safe in Iceland. You won’t see any army roaming around Iceland.
  • It is safe to drink water coming from the faucet. When you buy water, Icelandic people will ask you again if it’s okay for you to buy water since they will remind you that it is okay to drink water from the faucet.

PLACES TO SEE

  1. The Northern Lights 

The best time to see the Northern Lights is during latter October til February or March. The weather has to be very good – 0 degrees temp, around midnight and clear skies. If you really want to take good shots of the Northern Lights, I highly suggest you bring a tripod with you.

Test shot

2. Stekkjarkot

These are small cottages of fishermen and was occupied for 30 years. These cottages actually reminds me of the stone houses in Batanes.

3. Bru Milli Heimsalfa (Bridge Between Continents)

4. Hot Springs

*One of the beaches in Iceland as a stopover

5. Blue Lagoon

6. Reykjavik City

7. Hallgrimskirkja

8. Thingvellir National Park 

Tip: Game of Thrones was shot in this place

9. Geysir

10. Gulfoss

11. Godafoss

12. Golden Hour 

13. Seljalandfoss

15. Skogafoss

“There’s always a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow”

16. Black Beach

Tip: Game of Thrones was also shot in this exact location

17. Solheimajokull Glacier

 

Iceland in a nutshell is a great country to go to. You know you can feel safe and there are a lot of sightseeing places to go to. 5 days is not enough to roam around Iceland. We were not even able to go to their museums, which should be a priority since this is where we will know the history and culture of Iceland. There are other far away places in Iceland we can visit and explore. If given the chance to go back to Iceland, I will grab that opportunity and do everything Do-It-Yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

Travel

#IAmUrbanBrave

December 13, 2016

As someone who lives in an urban jungle like Manila, the traffic and chaos in the city can be a bothersome. I may be immune to my surroundings in Manila but there are times that I crave for adventure. So once I crave for an adventure, I start to search for places that I could go to and fits my budget. If it will be a quick getaway, I choose places within the Philippines because there are 7107+ islands in the country. If it will be long haul flights, I get to choose the location wisely because you would want to make sure that the time and money spent will be worth it.

This year, I was able to travel to different parts of the Philippines and the world. In the first 6 months of the year, I was given the opportunity to go to Cebu for Sinulog Festival and Boracay for Labor Day. The next 6 months, I was able to go to Kalinga and international trips mainly Cambodia and Europe (London, Scotland, Iceland and Norway). You see, travelling gives me this sense of fulfillment. When I go to different places in the world, this makes me understand the country’s history and culture. I feel so alive that I would rather embrace Do-It-Yourself trips rather than joining group tours.

In being able to travel, I get to share my experiences through the platform, Instagram. I love taking pictures and Instagram is a good avenue for me to share my photography skills and inspire other people that they can travel no matter where they are. All you need is guts and determination.

Kawasan Falls in Cebu

Palm Trees in Boracay Island

One of the temples in Siem Reap

 

The start of the trek to visit Apo Whang Od

Apo Whang Od doing her craft

The famous Scott’s View in Scotland

The famous stonehenge in London

Glacier in Iceland

The famous fjords in Oslo, Norway

One MUST invest in good items for travelling. Thankfully, there’s Urbanize to help solve every traveler’s problems.

URBANIZE ITEMS

Pacsafe – Venturesafe 55L Anti Theft Travel Pack

This has the features of a slashguard, interlocking zip pullers, puncture resistant toughzip, anti-theft anchor lock, stainless steel locking cable

Cabin Zero – Classic 44L, Ultra Light Cabin Bag, Absolute Black

This has a built in global luggage tracker, lockable zippers on main compartment, 10 yrs. warranty, thick padded shoulder straps and fully lined. 

Loqi – Airplane Tote Bag

This is perfect if I go to the beach since this is water resistant! I can also use this to put my dirty clothes in.

Dosh – RFID Wallet

 This will help protect my card information from those people trying to steal data. This is also water resistant!

Pacsafe – Camsafe Anti-Theft Compact Camera Bag

When I travel, I tend to have a hard time to bring my DSLR with me. With this bag, this will be easy for me to bring my DSLR wherever I go.

Sherpani – Luna Crossbody/ Shoulder Bag

This bag will be perfect when I get to roam around a city.

Lewis N Clark – Adjustable Neck Pillow

This is perfect for long haul flights. You will surely get a good sleep.

Lewis N Clark – Surge Protector w/ USB Charger

This is a MUST especially when travelling in Europe.

Lewis N Clark – Eye Mask

With all these bags and accessories I can find in Urbanize, I know I won’t go wrong with my decisions. I will surely enjoy my trips and make each moments last.


GENERAL INFORMATION

Branches: Gateway, Shangri-La, UP Town Center, Nuvali, Glorietta 3, Uptown Mall BGC, Alabang Town Center, Serin, The District, Kiss & Fly

Website: urbanize.com.ph

 

Europe, Travel, United Kingdom

A Day in Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio Tour

December 12, 2016

Everyone knows I am a BIG HARRY POTTER fan. I made sure to read all the 7 books and watch the movies. I even told myself that I should visit Leavesden Studios since this is where they shoot the film. When we got the chance to go to London, finally my dreams came true!

How To Get There & General Information

The Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio Tour (known as Leavesden Studios before) is located at Leavesden. There are many options to get to Leavesden. If you live in London, you can definitely bring your own car. If you are a tourist, one option is to take public transportation and a shuttle bus to the tour. If you want a fast journey to Leavesden, you can take an Uber.

When you book a ticket, you will pick a time slot that best suits you. You have to make sure not to be late for your tour. If you miss it, they will do their best to put you in the next slot available. This is a self-guided tour so you don’t have to rush yourself.

What To Expect

Here comes the fun part! I don’t want to spoil everything so I would rather you take a look at the pictures I took during the tour. Mind you, this is a post full of pictures. That is how much I enjoyed the tour. Enjoy!

harry-potter-1The famous cupboard under the stairs. This is the smallest set where they shot

harry-potter-4The entrance to the Great Hall. 

Get ready to enter the magical world of Harry Potter!

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harry-potter-2Dinner is served!

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harry-potter-10Professor McGonagall, Professor Dumbledore and Professor Snape

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harry-potter-12The Yule Ball

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Gryffindor’s Mens Room. 

Did You Know: They used the same beds for all the of the movies. As the actors were growing up, they had to be in a fetus position in order to fit

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The Leaky Cauldron

Hagrid’s Home

Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

The Weasley’s Abode

Professor Umbridge’s Office

The famous Flying Car

Fetus of Lord Voldemort

 

Til next time!