Phang na Bay and James Bond island

The best day trip of Thailand tour! After Phi Phi islands for another day we booked this tour and it was an experience worth cherishing. There are many islands near Phuket you will find it extremely difficult to choose the tour. All are beautiful to relax, snorkel, see great marine life but this one is completely different.

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Phang na Bay has several islands but the major difference is the spectacular canoeing experience you will get in the caves . Let me take you through a virtual tour of our itinerary.

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We selected a big boat to go to Phang na Bay as that is the most convenient and relaxing option. The way you enjoy watching the sea in big boat is not comparable to speed boat.

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 Limestone cliffs and bat caves at Phang na Bay

Phang na Bay has these big limestone cliffs and caves which you can witness through canoeing. A kayak guide will take you from your big boat to the caves in the kayak.

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The experience is quite adventurous in itself the caves are dark and you have to lie down in the kayak and view these amazing caves. There will be places where you will see the cave so close that you might feel your nose is going to touch it.

Another great thing which we saw were bat caves and so many bats in it. Viewing an original bat cave looked so unreal but I am glad I witnessed it.

This place was by far the best, while coming out we got a chance to see a live Jelly fish in the sea. I think I was lucky to witness so much. Check out this video to see the Jelly fish.

Hong Islands canoeing

The second spot for canoeing was Hong Islands beautiful view coming out from the caves. There are lagoons on this island which can be seen only in low tide, unfortunately we were not able to see it because of unfavourable tide conditions.

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Breakfast and lunch were served in the boat as our tour had lot to show us. Check out the video of canoeing at Hong Islands.

James Bond Island

This island got its name from the famous James Bond movie “The Man with the golden gun” which was shot here. The island has a nice beach and a great view.

My sister and her husband at the James bond island…

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It an amazing photo spot, you can see so many people taking pictures at various places. Here are some of my favourite pictures from the trip.

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Signature pose at this place…

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Caves at the James Bond Island…

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Don’t go inside the caves a lot for pictures, as there are snakes at this place. We saw a green snake and there was lot of public commotion because of that.

An unknown island

This trip was full of surprises and enriching experience, the last spot on the tour was Lawa island to swim and relax. Our boat guys told us the tide conditions are not favourable so they are taking us to another island.

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This island was completely untouched, looked liked no humans came here before. Our boat was the only boat with around 25 people on the entire beach, the weather was becoming cloudy giving a serene feeling.

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I felt the joy of visiting a private beach, swimming relaxing it was great fun.

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While going back also witnessed the rain and eagles flying in the group to hunt. It was a cherry on the top to see after such a nice tour.

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Tips:

  • An extra pair of clothes
  • A water proof pouch for your phone
  • Sun glasses and sun tan lotion with high spf
  • Snacks to eat if your are fussy about the food

Phang na Bay is highly recommended on your visit to Thailand. If you love nature and have a sense of adventure this place is great for both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yumthang valley of flowers covered in snow

Yumthang valley is popularly known as valley of flowers and is one of the most picturesque location in North Sikkim. This place is a renowned tourist location because of its scenic beauty apart from the flowers which are like cherry on the top. Yumthang valley was on my bucket list of my North Sikkim tour and was totally worth it.

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Yumthang valley is located at a height of  11800 ft. and a 6 hour drive from Gangtok. We already took our way to see Gurudongmar lake and in return stayed at Lachung which is 2 hours from Lachen. We took a night halt in Lachung. Yamthung valley is 1.5 hour drive from Lachung.

We started early morning and I was thinking maybe, I could see some flowers as we didn’t go in the best season for flowers.Our driver told us it snowed last night.

I was really excited to see the snow covered valley and believe me I was delighted to reach there.

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I was worried though how we were going in the snow without proper outfits and boots. As we reached near the parking there were many small shops to rent these things at a very nominal price. It was such a relief. During my entire Sikkim trip I admired the honesty and hospitality of the locals.

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The valley was fully covered in snow and the place looked beautiful. Some of my favourite pictures…

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Playing in the snow was absolute fun, valley was gorgeous but what next, I was hungry. We returned to the parking and had breakfast at the same place where we rented the boots, gloves and jacket.

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Best part is you get to eat with locals not in the fancy restaurants. Everything is very affordable and special thanks to Maggie, it is like the staple food here.

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Seeing so much beauty and satisfaction around makes me think life can exist in the most beautiful forms even at extremes.

We skipped the Zero point tour as we already saw the snow in the valley, but if you go and see the flowers and wish to see snow as well then you can definitely go to zero point.

Best season to go if you wish to see flowers is February to June and to see the snow covered valley is September to December.

Location:

Gurudongmar Lake a glimpse of paradise

Beauty upholds itself hiding in the serenity dwelling between the laps of mountains, kissed by the blowing wind, shinning like a mirror gazing at you is the Gurudongmar Lake. This lake is situated at an altitude of 17100 ft. in North Sikkim second highest in India and in top 17 highest lakes of the world.

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It is popularly known for its immaculate religious importance and a belief in lot of people, that the water has healing powers. Near the lake you will see a place called “Sarva Dharma Sthal” it means a place for worshipers of all religion. I loved the name, as I truly believe religion should always bring us closer to God and not divide us through boundaries.

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Before you start the journey there are important pre requisites for a hassle free journey:

  • Permit needed to visit this lake as it is close to Indo Tibetan border
  • Bring your identity proof
  • Carry glasses with Polaroid and UV protection lenses to withstand heavy sun rays
  • Take some light food and water as journey is quite long
  • Sunscreen with high SPF
  • Medicines for nausea or any other frequent illness you have

Now that you have everything ready, let’s get started.

Most important of all cover as much as you can yourself, its really cold out there.

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How to reach Gurudongmar Lake?

At this height humans can’t possibly survive for long, so the residence nearest to this place is Thangu village which is located at 14000 ft. but this is again a very small village to take a stay.

It takes close to 9 hours to reach this place from Gangtok, which would make the journey tiresome, the best staying option is Lachen a town located at 10000 feet, you can reach the lake in 4 hours from here.

We took a night halt in Lachen and started early around 4.30 in the morning for Gurudongmar Lake. You can sleep in the car for some time but don’t sleep for long otherwise you will miss the most spectacular views of this adventurous journey.

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We stopped at Thangu for breakfast, please use the washroom otherwise you won’t get any till you reach and come back. You get Maggi and coffee in breakfast and have to pay for using washrooms. I was amazed to see people put locks to their washrooms as they are located outside of their house.

Locals are really welcoming and nice people, haven’t seen such hospitality anywhere. I was astounded by seeing so much of contentment with so less. In a one room house the entire family stays happily.

The day we visited there was slight snow on the roads that morning resulting in a jam. Our car got stuck, drivers were helping each other, our driver also tried a lot of times but the tyre was stuck in snow. That moment, I was wondering will I be able to make it, I didn’t want to go back empty handed.

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Kudos to our driver he managed to get the car out and we made it but lot of others were still stuck, we reached our final passing, which was the highest military base camp. Salute to all soldiers who are protecting the country and staying at such extreme locations.

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As we passed the gate, I was flabbergasted by the view, saw landmines for the first time in my life and finally reached to this dazzling Gurudongmar Lake which was partially frozen at that time and sparkling like a mirror.

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It is not recommended to stay here for more than an hour as oxygen is scarce and you might feel dizzy after sometime.

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Wind blows so high and loud shows you the power of the nature, you feel so tiny standing in front of these huge snow covered mountains. I was spellbound by the charismatic lake and enjoyed the silence, the view is still in my eyes and one of the best experience ever.

I returned with this awesome memory which I will cherish for life. The adventure was not over yet, the roads are really tough to drive and for miles you will not see humans. Always check with your driver that he has a spare tyre you might need one in the journey as we did.

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Just look at the poor tyre but thanks to God our driver was our lifeline, he fixed it quickly and we came back enjoying the beautiful way.

Several waterfalls and greenery adds to the beauty of the journey.

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Best season to go

As you read there could be odds like snow or storm it better to go in a favourable season well, November to June is the best time to go.

Location:

Paragliding in Kamshet wonderful experience

Kamshet paragliding trip

My paragliding experience at Kamshet was an adventure assorted with fun, hope you savour the same by reading this experience.

Kamshet is located at 45 kms from Pune, the roads become rusty as you reach towards your destination. This location is huge and excellent for paragliding. Open space beyond your eyes can see. You must have your own vehicle for commuting, as this place is in outskirts and you won’t find any other option than a private vehicle.

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Do I know how to do paragliding alone? I wish, I could have done it alone but as I wasn’t trained, I had to go for Tandem Paragliding. Well it’s nothing technical, you can have the awesome experience without even knowing it. You will have a trained tandem pilot who would take you on the joy ride.

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What are you supposed to do then? Nothing enjoy the breeze with open arms at hundreds of meters of altitude. Is it scary, of course it is, otherwise what’s the fun in it? My pilot also did some flips in the air it was thrilling and an incredible moment.

Where to book?

Don’t make the mistake of going directly without booking as you might be disappointed. There will be several paragliding companies you can find which will offer you the experience, we booked it through “Nirvana adventures” which was indeed the best thing to do.

We chose to have our journey with “Nirvana Adventures” to book this breath-taking experience as they have the best trained gliders and facilities at their base camp.

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The camp is beautiful, surrounded by lush green trees. This place has absolute serenity which makes you feel like sleeping in lap of nature.

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We also had fun with friends exploring this place along with wonderful memories. The only thing which I regret was, we had to leave the place in one day due to work commitments.

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“Nirvana adventures” also offers other facilities like accommodation, food and airport pick up. So if you are bag packer nirvana does the work for you.

You can also learn to fly alone they offer different packages from a two day to week long courses. Isn’t it amazing? Next time I will make sure I fetch out one week’s time to visit this place and fly alone this time for much more thrilling experience.

Official site: www.flynirvana.com

Location:

What are things you should definitely carry when you go for a one day trip?

You get nothing here at the spot where paragliding happens so do carry the essentials:

  • Bottle of water
  • Shoes
  • Sun glasses
  • Sun tan lotion
  • Snacks
  • Camera

Important tip

Paragliding is a complete weather and wind dependent sport, there could be last minute changes. I advice you to reach early. Usually a normal tandem trip costs around 2500 for 15 mins, it varies with the company you book with.

If you are visiting Pune, do take out some time to visit Kamshet to have this awesome experience.

Mt. Batur Bali: The sunrise trek

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Yes it’s a sunrise trek! Mt. Batur is one of the three active volcanoes on the island and it is indeed a thrilling experience to walk up to the mouth of Batur and watch the sun rise right across the horizon. But, it also meant we needed to start at midnight!

When Umesh told me that he was booking us on a sunrise trek for our Bali trip, I didn’t take him seriously, after all my husband isn’t a morning person at all. In fact, I doubted he had ever seen the sunrise in the last decade!

Basically we two are very lazy and sleep loving people. So my reaction, “hey! don’t forget we are on a vacation! Getting up so early is like a punishment.”
We went to the tour office to check the list of things to do in Ubud, that’s where I saw some pictures of Batur sunrise trek that was the moment I told Umesh, “we must go for it”.

Important things to carry before you go for Batur sunrise trek:
1. Carry the best shoes as the route is real tough
2. Don’t stuff your bag too much
3. Camera is a must to capture the beauty
4. Carry your cap and sun glasses it will be sunny when you get down
5. Carry a jacket because its cold

We had our van pick up at 2 am from the hotel, I was really “excited” because it was my first trek and that too a Sunrise Trek. I was thrilled!!

While we were yet to reach the base, Umesh told me “I think, I made a mistake booking this trek, it would be too tiring and since you haven’t done any it would be very exhausting for you”. I said “never mind, will give it a shot”

As we arrived the parking we met our guide who was this very lean young boy, he told us he does the trek every day. I told myself ” if this little chap can do it every day then I can of course do it once!”. We got few bananas for breakfast and started on with our trek with a torch in our hand.

Initially it was quite okay and we saw many people walking with torches and their tour guides, after sometime the trek started becoming steeper and steeper.
It was difficult to walk for long, it was really cold even in August, we had to rest after every 20 mins to catch our breath to move forward.

On that particular day I guess we were the only Indians on the Trek, I could see girls wearing shorts and spaghetti while trekking. I was freaked out “aren’t they feeling cold?”
Funny part was our guide and I were coping up quite well but poor Umesh was having the time of his life. He literally wanted us to stop at every five minutes so that he could sit and catch his breath.

There was a time I thought he will give up, the guide was very encouraging “sir u can do it” every 30 seconds Umesh asked how much more time? The guide kept saying “10 more minutes” eventually after half n hour Umesh said are your 10 mins ever going to end.

We reached a flat surface somewhere around 4 am of course because we were super slow. I saw that smile on Umesh’s face
He was like finally “I did it” there was a very fishy smile on our guide’s face I knew something is there, “sir its just the mid way” .

All the smiles vanished Umesh is like “you gotta be kidding me” we started off again with more energy, as he said “if you walk too slow, you will miss the sunrise”.

Umesh got a little pumped up when he saw kids walking faster than him, we reached our first spot right in time, there was this second spot as well which was ever higher, the weather was too foggy, so we decided to stay at the first point.
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He was so relieved that we reached, we grabbed a seat on the bench, last thing we asked our guide was what time will be the sunrise? You won’t believe what he answered “let’s see if it rises as its too foggy today”. I still remember the shock on Umesh’s face on hearing that reply.

We waited patiently on the bench, sipping on the coffee, shivering in cold, waiting for the sun to come out. There was this kid sitting beside me around 12 years old, holding his tripod and camera. I asked him was it tiring for him to trek. He smiled “yes, a bit but this Sunrise is worth it. I am going to record all of it and take back these memories and cherish this for life.”

I was still wondering is it going to be so wonderful, as the colours changed and clouds moved everything around was so beautiful.


I stopped feeling cold, did not feel people around me, the view was spectacularly amazing. Honestly, no words to describe the same.

The experience was so Godly, I felt like in heaven and closer to clouds wanted to run and catch them, what I saw is still in my memories and it was all worth it.

The story is not over yet, after the sunrise we went back and we thought again about the entire trek, we were so not ready for it. Getting down was less of effort but more of caution, it was slippery and dangerous but our guide was our life line.
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When we reached the flat surface which he called was midway, we started walking towards a grass land which was plain nice road, no stones so convenient to walk.
Umesh is like gosch “why didn’t you get us up from this route?”, guess what the guide said “what’s the fun it that? It was supposed to be a trek”.


We saw a lot of vegetation on our return, onions, tomatoes, cabbage it was memorable and informative.

You might be wondering where is that perfect sunrise? you gotta see it yourself.
Loved the experience and is worth a lifetime, so if you ever go to Bali you must trek to Mt. Batur.