11 Beautiful Rooftop Restaurants in India to Indulge Your Senses

My readers often ask me for recommendations on dining out. I know it has been raining cats and dogs in most parts of India right now, especially in my city – Mumbai. But that shouldn’t mean that you have to stay cooped up in your house all the time. If you can brave the rains, even if it is only to step out for a meal, you’ll be rewarded with some lovely views! Today’s article lists 11 restaurants from across the country that offer rooftop dining, and needless to say, breathtaking sights from above. My foodie friend, Vidya, suggests her picks from Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai & Chennai. Are you ready to be tantalized? 😉

Delhi

The Potbelly Rooftop Café

Courtesy: The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe

Courtesy: The Potbelly Rooftop Cafe

One of the few places in Delhi to serve Bihari cuisine, this restaurant tops our list. The Potbelly is a great choice for when you want to have a good time with your friends and family. Their flavours are not only authentic but also worth the money. The colours of the interiors enhance the overall ambience and act as mood-lifters. Also, we absolutely love the bamboo decor of this rooftop cafe!

Address: 116-C, 4th Floor, Shahpur Jat

Q’BA

Courtesy: Q'BA

Courtesy: Q’BA

Located in the capital’s posh neighbourhood, Q’BA is a high-end casual dining restaurant. Its distinct spaces let you enjoy a romantic dinner date at the same time as your friends gear up for a loud night of partying. Their rooftop seating offers neat views of Connaught Place. However, we think you’ll be more engrossed in the food on your plate. 😉

Address: E – 42 & 43 Inner Circle, Connaught Place

Parikrama- The Revolving Restaurant

Courtesy: Parikrama - The Revolving Restaurant

Courtesy: Parikrama – The Revolving Restaurant

The high point of Parikrama is its view. This restaurant on the 24th floor revolves and gives you a bird’s eye view of some of Delhi’s most iconic attractions. The classy character aside, you will delight in their service as the staff are quite courteous. Give their Mughlai items a try as that is what they specialize in (think kebabs).

Address: 22, Antriksh Bhavan, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, Connaught Place

Bangalore

The Tao Terraces

Courtesy: The Tao Terraces

Courtesy: The Tao Terraces

Craving for Far Eastern cuisine? Tao Terraces has got your covered! In addition to the hugely popular Chinese and Thai food, they serve Korean, Burmese and Japanese. This zen-themed restaurant scores high on ambience. The place looks decadent after sunset with its dimly lit space. If you are a family with a baby in tow, ask them for a high chair.

Address: 5th Floor, 1 MG Mall, opposite Vivanta by Taj, MG Road

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Fenny’s Lounge & Kitchen

Courtesy: Fenny's Lounge & Kitchen

Courtesy: Fenny’s Lounge & Kitchen

These guys are really popular in Bangalore and that is why they are always busy serving their customers. The music in the background is not too loud, so you can enjoy your meal at peace. Prepare to be mesmerized by the greenery around you as there are plants all over the place. This is a nice lounge to sample some Mediterranean food and a wood-fired pizza.

Address: 115, 3rd Floor, Opposite Raheja Arcade, Koramangala 7th Block

The Local – Terrace Drinkery

Courtesy: The Local - Terrace Drinkery

Courtesy: The Local – Terrace Drinkery

With earthy interiors and quirky furniture, this terrace “drinkery” steals our hearts. Even though the items on their food menu are limited, you can choose from steamed, smoked or stir-fried starters. Thanks to the roof over this rooftop eatery, you can visit here even when it’s pouring. After a tiring day at work, this is the perfect place to chill with your friends.

Address: 467, 80 Feet Road, Opposite BMTC Bus Depot, Koramangala 6th Block

Mumbai

The Dome

The Dome (Courtesy: InterContinental Marine Drive)

The Dome (Courtesy: InterContinental Marine Drive)

The InterContinental hotel provides a beautiful way to enjoy South Bombay at its terrace restaurant – The Dome. This is where you can take your romance a notch higher, thanks to the gorgeous view of Marine Drive. The Arabian Sea ensures that your time here is always breezy. They mostly serve finger foods and nibbles to go with your drinks.

Address: Hotel InterContinental, 135, Churchgate

Sheesha Sky Lounge

Sheesha Sky Lounge Gold Juhu (Courtesy: Sheesha Sky Lounge, Lower Parel)

Sheesha Sky Lounge Gold Juhu (Courtesy: Sheesha Sky Lounge, Lower Parel)

This lounge is known for its tandoori preparations. Enjoy a refreshing mocktail with some kebabs. The open-roof ambience adds to the charm of this place. Sheesha Sky Lounge now has several outlets across the Maximum City. If you can’t make it to the one in Bandra, head to Juhu or Lower Parel. (You can also compare their service and let us know if there is consistency. 😉 )

Address: Bandra Link Road, Above Shoppers Stop, Bandra West

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The Cult

Courtesy: Peninsula Grand Hotel

Courtesy: Peninsula Grand Hotel

Not too far from the airport, The Cult is where you should go for your last party before you fly out of town. They only open after 4:30 pm, so this is definitely for the night owls. They play their best music after 10 in the night though. So if you plan on dancing, fill your tummy with some grub to fuel your moves on the dance floor.

Address: Hotel Peninsula Grand, Rooftop, Opposite Sakinaka Metro Station, Andheri Airport Road, Sakinaka

Chennai

Above Sea Level

Above Sea Level (Courtesy: The Raintree, St. Mary's Road)

Above Sea Level (Courtesy: The Raintree, St. Mary’s Road)

Couples in Chennai searching for a romantic place for a candlelight dinner look no further. Above Sea Level on the 14th floor of The Raintree hotel will enchant you. Their rooftop seating is by the poolside and dinners here are undoubtedly memorable. The restaurant specializes in seafood and the place is quite popular. So, make a reservation before you reach.

Address: The Raintree, 120, St Mary’s Road, Alwarpet

The Crown – The Residency Towers

The Crown (Courtesy: The Residency Towers, Chennai)

The Crown (Courtesy: The Residency Towers, Chennai)

A premium fine-dining restaurant, The Crown wins hearts with its terrace views that look over an infinity pool. Their selection of European and Indian dishes are gourmet and a tad heavy on the pocket. But they get full marks for their superior service and ambience. Live music is another reason to lavish on a meal here.

Address: The Residency Towers, 115, Pondy Bazaar, Sir Thyagaraya Road, T. Nagar

Been to any cute rooftop restaurant lately?

Send in your recommendations in the comments!

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Discover Kerala With Backpacker Panda: Fort Kochi And Beyond

The rainy month of July began on a sunny note for me as I flew down to Cochin to kick off my shoes and relax in Kerala. Even though this month sees terrible monsoons, my time by the Arabian Sea coincided with clear weather in the region. I should have guessed this South Indian state gets plenty of sunshine when I landed at the world’s first fully solar-powered airport. Cochin International Airport is power neutral, thanks to the acres of solar panels installed next to the aerodrome. A 90-minute drive brought me to Backpacker Panda’s Santa Maria hostel in Fort Kochi – conveniently located close to the harbour.

A Walk Down Kerala’s Past

Mattancherry Palace - a gift from the Portuguese

Mattancherry Palace – a gift from the Portuguese

The first European township in India, Fort Kochi’s culture is also influenced by the Chinese, the Arabs and the Jews. The marina is only a stone’s throw from the hostel – a nice place to watch the ferries transport people, animals and even cars and auto-rickshaws from the nearby islands. Sunrises and sunsets are best spent walking along the coast. There, you can admire the bright purple and blue Chinese fishing nets introduced to the local fishermen by Chinese traders. The neighbourhood of Mattancherry brims with Portuguese, Dutch and Jewish auras. The Mattancherry Palace and its surrounding complex are a result of the Portuguese and later, Dutch occupation. Almost adjoining is the oldest active Jewish temple in all of the Commonwealth nations – Paradesi Synagogue.

What’s So Special About Santa Maria?

Santa Maria Hostel - one of the cheapest backpackers' hostels in Fort Kochi

Santa Maria Hostel – one of the cheapest backpackers’ hostels in Fort Kochi

My choice of stay was an integral part of my Kerala experience. I had planned this trip in a hurry, hoping to make the most of the rare fair-weather window in the off-season. Nonetheless, Backpacker Panda was quite efficient in confirming my booking and assisting with the directions to their hostel. Santa Maria is perhaps the cheapest place you can find in a destination so loved by tourists. For as little as INR 250, you can have a bed in an air-conditioned dorm with en-suite bathroom! Their private rooms are not too costly either. The friendly owners of the hostel are generally around to help you plan your days in Fort Kochi.

Jew Town – Where Chaos & Calm Coexist

The busy marketplace of Jew Town

The busy marketplace of Jew Town

Kerala has a small Jewish population. Several years ago, displaced Israelites left their home-country due to religious persecution and sought shelter in various parts of the world. Some of the Jews settled in Mattancherry and brought their culture with them. Apart from the synagogue, the area has a shopping street – a long, narrow lane lined with shops that sell clothing, souvenirs, spices and handicrafts. You can very quickly escape the bustle of the marketplace as you enter their house of worship or stride into a cafe.

Inside A Backpacker Panda Dorm

The girls' dorm with 3 bunk beds is a cosy room.

The girls’ dorm with 3 bunk beds is a cosy room.

After a full day spent walking about, you long for a comfortable place of rest. Santa Maria’s rooms are basic but pleasant. During my stay at the hostel, I had a chance to sleep on both a double bed (in one of their private rooms) and a bunk bed (in the girls’ dormitory). All of the Backpacker Panda properties have mixed dorms also. The dorms have lockers under the beds but you’ll have to bring along a padlock. The bathrooms are neat and stocked with toilet paper. However, you’ll have to carry your own soap and towel (unless you stay in a private room).

Tour The Backwaters On A Houseboat

Houseboats docked by the palm groves in Kerala's backwaters

Houseboats docked by the palm groves in Kerala’s backwaters

If any object can be a symbol of Kerala, it is the traditional houseboat. These elegant floating vessels are wooden boats that are covered with bamboo and cane, ropes of jute and coconut husk tying them together. Depending on how much you love nature, you can cruise over the backwaters for three hours to a couple of days. Kerala’s backwaters are shallow and the person steering the houseboat uses a long bamboo pole to push against the foliage and earth. The ride really is delightful as it lets you hear the lovely sounds of birds, gaze at paddling ducks and pristine lotuses and occasionally, watch villagers go about their lives.

Where Art Has A Chance To Flourish

With all the paintings on the walls, it is easy to see that the hostel hosts a lot of artists.

With all the paintings on the walls, it is easy to see that the hostel hosts a lot of artists.

Fort Kochi has a vibrant community of artists, many from other countries. The Kochi Biennale held from December to March showcases art exhibitions across multiple venues. Apart from art galleries, these exhibitions are held at an art cafe. The art wave has birthed a lot of art cafes in Fort Cochin – Kashi & Mocha art cafes are worth a visit. Sharing the artsy spirit of the place, Santa Maria Hostel frequently hosts students and proponents of art. Most of the walls in the hostel show off the works of the artists who’ve stayed here.

Keralite Cuisine – More Than Rice & Spice

Traditional Keralite lunch served on a banana leaf.

Traditional Keralite lunch served on a banana leaf.

Culinary exploration is an essential element of all the trips I undertake. Kerala did not disappoint. Right from the roadside bondas to the elaborate meals served on banana leaves, Keralite cuisine promises variety. Rice is the predominant staple and curries are generally spicy. My personal favourite is the fluffy kalappam with a thick, mildly sweet centre which tapers out to a paper-thin consistency and crispiness. Coconut, whether shredded, whole or its milk, imparts a unique flavour and texture to the dishes.

The ‘Common’ Factor Between Two Strangers

The common space at Backpacker Panda's Santa Maria Hostel

The common space at Backpacker Panda’s Santa Maria Hostel

I like hostels that have common areas to facilitate interaction among the guests. Santa Maria’s common spaces are full of art. There are also books, board games and musical instruments for those who enjoy other kinds of art. Most of the furniture is of wood or cane, lending a sophisticated character to the otherwise carefree place. Tea and coffee are available round the clock and you can access the kitchen to make your own dish. Drinking water is free, but you need to get your own bottle which can be refilled at the water station.

Care For Some Kathakali?

Kathakali performance at the Greenix Village cultural art centre.

Kathakali performance at the Greenix Village cultural art centre.

When you are in a state that loves its art and culture, you cannot miss the dances. I spent an evening at Greenix Village – a performing arts centre in Fort Kochi. Apart from concert halls, the venue has a Kathakali museum that showcases all the musical instruments and dance costumes used in this traditional dance form. Before the show begins, you can watch the makeup artist paint that famous fierce green face on the male actor. The program commenced with a graceful Mohiniyattam piece – another classical dance of Kerala. The highlight of the evening was, of course, a Kathakali skit. That was followed by a demonstration of Kalaripayattu – a martial art style in which poles, swords and shields are employed. The final presentation was Tholpavakoothu – shadow puppetry with the use of leather dolls.

Be A Backpacker!

Peaceful mornings at Santa Maria Hostel - the perfect setting for some quiet reading.

Peaceful mornings at Santa Maria Hostel – the perfect setting for some quiet reading.

All of the backpacking trips that I’ve made around India and the world have taught me this – it is always a good idea to travel light. It is also a myth that there is no privacy in hostels. You often get lucky and find your room empty when the others have left. And those times are best spent relaxing with a book (for me at least).

Know other places in Fort Kochi that will interest me?

Ever stayed at an art hostel?

Let me know through your comments below. 🙂

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You too can experience backpacking in different parts of India through Backpacker Panda. I’ve got an exclusive 15% discount for you! 😉 Use OINDRILA15 as the coupon code when you book your stay with them (valid till 31-September-2018).

Beautiful Monsoon Destinations In India

I’m busy packing for a trip as I type today’s post. (Keep an eye on my social media updates to know where I’m headed! 😉 ) The weather in my city is unpredictable this time of the year – it pours heavily a few minutes, then it’s sunny as if it never rained. However, I’ll have to leave Mumbai alone in this game of hide-n-seek as I go to a part of India I’ve never explored before. Meanwhile, I have collaborated with three of my travel writer friends to tell you about four places from four different parts of this country that you can holiday in while the rains are on:-

East: Cooch Behar – West Bengal

Cooch Behar Palace

Cooch Behar Palace

The state of West Bengal has so much more to offer than the oft-hyped hill station of Darjeeling. If you are looking to beat the clutter of Kolkata and the tourist-traps of the Eastern Himalayas, catch a train to Cooch Behar. Before the independence of India, the region was a princely state under the reign of Maharaja Nripendra Narayan. This district in North Bengal looks ravishing in the monsoon! Enjoy the idyllic backyard ponds of old brick-houses where Bengali men gather to talk about politics and education while they indulge in fishing – a favourite pastime.

If you appreciate history and architecture, take a tour of the majestic Cooch Behar Palace which was built in the late 19th century. Boasting of Italian Rennaissance design, this mansion draws its inspiration from London’s Buckingham Palace. There is a museum inside that displays photographs of the royal family and records the history of the province. The palace neighbourhood has a sprawling garden with manicured bushes and carefully chosen flowers, some the size of my head. There is also a lake and benches to enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

North: Jibhi – Himachal Pradesh

Jibhi (Courtesy: Natalia Shipkova)

Jibhi (Courtesy: Natalia Shipkova)

Recommendation by Natalia Shipkova – My Trip Hack

“If you want to experience the power of monsoons, Himalaya is the place to be. Since it becomes a popular destination during summers due to the favourable climate, I recommend looking for offbeat destinations there. One of them is Jibhi – a hidden village in Banjar valley. Jibhi is a very calm place with just a few vehicles passing daily. Though it’s a slow travel destination, there are a few interesting activities, especially for adventure seekers. Being situated close to Jalori Pass, it is possible to trek to a lake from there. You can explore authentic Himalayan architecture in the neighbouring villages or hike to a waterfall.

You will find accommodation in Jibhi within 8-15 USD (500-1000 INR) per night. Most of the houses are converted into homestays, though there are also a few camping sites. I recommend staying with a family to experience the Himalayan cuisine, local traditions and get a feel of the village. Note, if you are looking to work remotely, you can get internet connectivity outside of the homes (so seek stays with cute balconies overlooking river 😉 )”

South: Karimnagar – Telangana

Karimnagar (Courtesy: Neeharika Satyavada)

Karimnagar (Courtesy: Neeharika Satyavada)

Recommendation by Neeharika Satyavada – Map In My Pocket

“If you love photography and it is dramatic clouds that you seek, then Karimnagar in Telangana is the place to be. And, even if it isn’t photos you are after, Karimnagar, with its ancient Buddhist ruins, forgotten Hindu temples and striking Islamic forts makes for a beautiful monsoon destination. For instance, the Elgandal Fort whose beautiful Teen Minar – which oscillate when shaken – seemingly piercing the rain clouds, herald your entry to the fort. Even before you can cross the ancient moat and begin your hike up the hill.

Also in Karimnagar are two ancient Hindu stone temples whose ruins, now overrun by nature, make for a setting straight out of Jungle Book. The precariously balanced pillars, the lush green trees everywhere – inside, outside, through the fissures in the walls, make for delightful vistas and the rain clouds only set the scene. Karimnagar is a two and half hours drive from Hyderabad and you can read everything to need to plan your trip to Karimnagar, here.”

West: Mumbai – Maharashtra

Western Ghats (Courtesy: Rashmi & Chalukya)

Western Ghats (Courtesy: Rashmi & Chalukya)

Recommendation by Rashmi & Chalukya – Go Beyond Bounds

“Mumbai is a bustling city, popular for a plenitude of street shopping and street food. It is also the place if you love exploring heritage sites. But very few know that there are ample trekking places in and around Mumbai which are a great respite from the busy life of the capital of Maharashtra. Monsoons are the best time to visit these places when they turn lush green, the mountains peaks are shrouded in mist and covered with innumerable waterfalls by the rainwater – a wonderful sight to behold!

Most of the trekking spots are located close to quaint villages where the villagers have a part of their homes turned into small eateries and homestays, providing an unusual experience. Many other trekking spots are at the ruins of ancient forts and temples. So when you visit them, you get to explore and learn a bit about the history of the state of Maharashtra. These places can be easily reached by the local trains (the suburban railway network of Mumbai). From the station, you have plenty of options, such as autorickshaws and buses to reach the spot. Alternatively, hire a cab all the way to the destination.”

Are you a fan of the rains?

Which is your favourite monsoon destination in India?

Let me know through your comments below! 🙂

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Beautiful Monsoon Destinations In Asia

Now that monsoon is in full swing in my part of the world, I’ve been thinking of exploring places other than my city (Mumbai). A few days back, I had asked my travel blogger friends for some holiday suggestions in Asia, and they’ve sent me some amazing locations that I hope to explore someday. So, here is the list of beautiful monsoon destinations in Asia as recommended by seasoned travellers around the globe:-

Cherrapunji – Meghalaya

Cherrapunjee (Courtesy: Punita Malhotra)

Cherrapunjee (Courtesy: Punita Malhotra)

Recommendation by Punita Malhotra – 100 Cobbled Roads

“Meghalaya (abode of the clouds), a state of North Eastern India is famed and adored for its ‘all-the-time, anytime’ cloud cover. It is an experience in itself to soak up the full glory of the wettest place on earth at any time of the year in Cherrapunji (‘land of oranges’), also called Sohra. Monsoon is even more special if you’re ready to blend in with the weather. Think little villages, fertile farmlands, tin-roofed houses, vibrant wildflowers, grazing farm animals, and sarong-clad Khasi women.

Redefine your idea of green with the picturesque vision of lush meadows cloaked in a thick cover of mist. Just drive, drive and drive more till you can see nothing but green when you shut your eyelids. Indulge in a walk with the clouds caressing your cheeks. Witness the wonder of Nohkalikai Falls, India’s tallest plunge waterfall, dropping from a sheer cliff 1115 feet and foaming softly into a clear turquoise pool. Come back inspired and refreshed.” Read the full post here.

Udawalawe National Park – Sri Lanka

Safari in Sri Lanka (Courtesy: Eileen Cotter Wright)

Safari in Sri Lanka (Courtesy: Eileen Cotter Wright)

Recommendation by Eileen Cotter Wright – Pure Wander

“Animals love water – so what better time to spot Sri Lanka’s wildlife than during the monsoon season? In Udawalawe National Park, visitors have the opportunity to take jeep tours along dirt roads in search of protected Asian elephants. Hundreds roam this land, so you have a great chance of spotting them by the side of the road and in the wading ponds. There are plenty of other creatures who call this park home too, such as water buffalo, leopards, deer and countless colourful birds.

Do be mindful in the monsoon season though, flash floods and heavy rains can happen quickly. We got stuck in a downpour and also had to force the jeep to get to safety. Water levels rose and our guide joked we wouldn’t be out-of-range for the crocodiles. (I hope he was kidding!) But the local guides expertly navigate the rains so we felt safe. It was the highlight of our trip to Sri Lanka.”

Annapurna Circuit – Nepal

Annapurna Circuit (Courtesy: Zheng Yen Ang)

Annapurna Circuit (Courtesy: Zheng Yen Ang)

Recommendation by Zheng Yen Ang – Swing Abroad

“I guess a lot of people have been warned against trekking in the monsoon season due to unpredictable weather and disasters. Yep, I can’t deny that trekking the Annapurna Circuit during the monsoon is dangerous, but it’s also one of the best things I’ve ever done! What makes it so special anyway? Well, first of all, Annapurna Circuit traverses through some magical places which fall in rain shadow. That means almost the whole trek is protected against rain in the daytime. During my 14-day trek there, it only rained the first two days. It poured almost every midnight, for your information.

Secondly, crowds are never seen due to the unpopularity of trekking in monsoon. Most of the teahouses are unoccupied, and they will compete for any trekkers passing by. The best thing? They offer free stay as long as you dine in their hostel for dinner and have breakfast the next day! Some might need negotiations. If you’ve never tried trekking in the rainy season, try Annapurna Circuit. And only that! Most of the other treks are not in rain shadow, so they’re not protected against the rain clouds. Check out my article for more info – Trekking Annapurna Circuit in Monsoon Season: Good Idea or Not?

Koh Kood – Thailand

Koh Kood (Courtesy: The Lost Passport)

Koh Kood (Courtesy: The Lost Passport)

Recommendation by Josh Shephard – The Lost Passport

“Thailand’s monsoon season goes from July to October. While places like Bangkok experience flash flooding and chaotic traffic, islands such as Koh Kood are quite the opposite. Koh Kood is already an off the beaten track destination with only a handful of tourists in the high season. However come here in the monsoon season and you’ll just about have the island to yourself.

The mornings are hot and humid, perfect weather to go for a dip in the cool clear water surrounding the island, or hang out on the rope swings along the beach. As the heavy rain comes down in the afternoon, the island will transform into a beautiful rainforest setting. The rain is typically warm, so rather than hiding, you can just stand outside and enjoy a shower in nature, the way things should be. Koh Kood is a beautiful island all year round, but even more amazing during the monsoon season. The only tricky part is getting there, as some ferry services stop running.”

Hong Kong

Hongkong Skyline (Courtesy: Clemens Sehi)

Hongkong Skyline (Courtesy: Clemens Sehi)

Recommendation by Clemens Sehi – Travellers Archive

“Start of the monsoon season in Hong Kong is in May. However, that isn’t the worst time to be there. On the contrary, it might be a good idea to avoid the summer season when it can get really hot, humid and have bad rainfall. Hong Kong has a wealth of amazing things to do on rainy days, and staying indoors can be just as entertaining as exploring the islands.

Indulge in an afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hong Kong, go shopping in the huge malls, check out the galleries and boutiques at PMQ (the former Police Married Quarters of the Hollywood Road Police Force), take the Star Ferry between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island and enjoy the view from Victoria Peak. Why? Because the most interesting part of the monsoon season in Hong Kong is the skyline that often disappears in the clouds with a somehow mysterious effect!”

Sen Monorom – Cambodia

Sen Monorom, Cambodia (Courtesy: Danny Newman)

Sen Monorom, Cambodia (Courtesy: Danny Newman)

Recommendation by Danny Newman – Coddiwomp

“When I think of beautiful Asian monsoons, I immediately travel back to my time in Sen Monorom, Cambodia. I went to this incredible country for a month last year with my girlfriend and, unbeknownst to us, we’d booked our trip in the heart of the rainy season, between August and September. Frankly, it didn’t much matter that the weather was wetter than we’d planned for! The country remained as accessible and superbly beautiful as it would have in the dry season, just with fewer tourists and a cooler climate. Having said that, the rain was something else- a true sight to behold. I’ve been in other Asian countries in the wet season, but I don’t recall rain falling the way it did in Cambodia. It fell relentlessly at times, bucket loads; raindrops the size of stones falling ceaselessly for considerable periods. Rivers rose and roads flooded. It was remarkable.

We got particularly wet in Sen Monorom- a town in the wild east of the country. Brave or stupid, we booked an overnight jungle trek there. Needless to say, we got wet. It started raining in the early afternoon and just did not stop. For hours it fell, soaking us to the core. But there was magic to it. Deep in the jungle, surrounded by nature- immersed in it, even- it felt utterly unlike home; totally and completely removed from normality. It was intense, fresh, wonderful and novel; a unique experience on the other side of the world. And isn’t that why we travel? To be displaced and removed, physically and mentally, from the confines of home? For me it is. And this beautiful monsoon made it happen.”

Sabah – Malaysia

Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia (Courtesy: Karen Alexis)

Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia (Courtesy: Karen Alexis)

Recommendation by Karen Alexis – Wanderlustingk

“If you’re interested in seeing wildlife IN THE WILD, you must visit Sabah, Malaysia. I visited Borneo in December and January. I was nervous that the rainy season would mean that it was downpouring all the time, but there was enough good weather that the rain didn’t interfere much with our plans. It’s low season during the monsoon, so if you dream of seeing wild primates in Borneo, you’ll find affordable rates for resorts that will take you out on wildlife safaris. If you’re lucky, you might even spot wild pygmy elephants!

Ever since I was a child, I dreamed of being a National Geographic Explorer in Borneo, and going in the rains made all my dreams come true, especially after I saw three wild orangutans as well as countless monkeys in the rainforest near the Kinabatangan river valley. It was a dream come true, so be sure to visit Malaysian Borneo!”

Have you been to any of these places in the monsoon?

Know other destinations that look beautiful in the rains?

Let me know through your comments below! 🙂

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5 Reasons Why You Need to Go to Bali

Most of my pals who have travelled to Bali tell me it is a trip worth making. One of my friends from Australia recently vacationed there and has requested me to run her guest post on my blog. I am yet to visit this South East Asian marvel, but you can read Lena’s account below. Hope her article fuels your wanderlust to book your next holiday in this place! 🙂

Tanah Lot (Courtesy: Thomas Depenbusch)

Tanah Lot (Courtesy: Thomas Depenbusch)

“One of Indonesia’s most beautiful islands, Bali has seen something of a boom in popularity in recent times. According to 1Cover, the number of Australians visitors to Bali has increased by 546% since 2006! And it is not difficult to see why. Bali has it all – from history and culture to appetizing food and eye-catching views. These are only but a few delights. Here are five reasons why you need to go to Bali:-

1. For The Culture

Rice paddies in Tegalalang (Courtesy: Jamie Fenn)

Rice paddies in Tegalalang (Courtesy: Jamie Fenn)

One of the best things about travel is learning how people from around the world live, and seeing how different that is from your own life. Bali is no exception when it comes to providing an unusual experience. Pay a visit to the rice paddies in Tegalalang as the sun rises. Then head to the village to spend some time with the local families and explore the surroundings.

2. For The Food

Quinoa Gado Gado (Courtesy: Like the Grand Canyon)

Quinoa Gado Gado (Courtesy: Like the Grand Canyon)

Bali’s food scene is not to be missed! There is something for everyone, no matter what your dietary preference. With the abundance of fresh produce, each dish is guaranteed to be packed with flavour.

Five dishes to try in Bali:-

Babi guling — suckling pig
Local fish (fresh catch)
Gado-gado — vegetable salad in peanut sauce
Mie goreng — fried noodles served with vegetables (you can also add chicken, shrimp or pork)
Pisang goreng — fried bananas served with honey and coconut

3. For The History

An oasis of green (Courtesy: Artem Bali)

An oasis of green (Courtesy: Artem Bali)

There’s plenty of fascinating history to explore in Bali. Ubud Palace is an excellent example of Balinese architecture, plus traditional dances are held there regularly. (They’re a must-see if you love the arts!) Also, don’t forget the temples. It is difficult to choose which ones to see, but it’s well worth ticking Besakih off the list. Known as the Mother Temple, it’s the oldest one on the island and is made up of 23 smaller temples. Dedicate a day to looking around and finding ancient secrets.

4. For The Outdoor Activities

Surfer at Uluwatu in Bali (Courtesy: Simon Sees)

Surfer at Uluwatu in Bali (Courtesy: Simon Sees)

Bali is best known for being a haven for surf enthusiasts. Uluwatu, Keramas and Padang Padang are the best surfing spots to ride some waves. Visitors of all experience levels will find an area to suit them. While, beginners can get started at one of the local surf schools, the more experienced surfers are spoilt for choice when it comes to new challenges.

 

That said, there’s more to the island than catching waves. Whitewater rafting, scuba diving, kite surfing and hiking are just some of the activities you can enjoy if you want to do more than sit on the beach all day. You can make your holiday as laidback or as adventurous as you wish.

5. For The Sunsets

Four Seasons Resort Jimbaran Bay (Courtesy: Sackerman519)

Four Seasons Resort Jimbaran Bay (Courtesy: Sackerman519)

Chances are, you’ll see a stunning sunset no matter where you are on the island, but Jimbaran Bay is a remarkably good location. Bring your camera, find a spot to relax in,and snap some postcard-worthy pictures to remember your trip by.”

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