Part of the travel experience, for me, is choosing the hotel. Our travel philosophy is to utilize the maximum resources on sightseeing and shopping, and keeping a very limited budget for our hotel stay.
If you thought limited budget = seedy little hotel/backpacker’s hostels/soulless hotels, think again. A little research is all it takes to find charming places to lay your head down at the end of a day of hard sightseeing.
For someone who loves to travel, this year has not been too great. I’ve taken only two trips this year (boo!), with one to come in the last week of December (yay!).
So from the two trips I took in 2010, here are the 5 things I enjoyed the most:
McLeod Ganj, May/June 2010
This was the first time the husband and I traveled with friends; we generally travel alone. It was a different experience – we quite enjoyed ourselves.
Carpe Diem, Jogiwara Road – excellent food, a must visit at McLeod Ganj
Norbulingka Institute, Sidhpur – located about 7 odd kms from McLeod Ganj, it’s an excellent place to stay, even if just for a night. If you don’t want to stay far from McLeod Ganj, do visit the institute – they have a lovely monastery, a beautiful doll museum and artisans at work.
The Monastery, McLeod Ganj – courses are held here when the Dalai Lama is in residence. The thangka paintings and statues are magnificent.
Shopping – avoid the shops along the Monastery – they’re overpriced and rude. Explore the many tiny shops along the three main roads in McLeod Ganj, you’ll be sure to find plenty of treasures!
2. Silver shopping! We went to Johri Bazaar and explored the many silver shops there. Found one that had awesome, unique stuff – went back to him thrice!
3. Getting fooled at Johri Bazaar – and finding out and giving it back to the shopkeeper. That was fun! Once we got to know he sold us fake stuff, we went back to his shop, created a scene, made him give us our money back, and made off with the earrings we had bought from him to boot! Served the bastards right, I say! 😉
4. Discovered three excellent places to eat and hang out –
Flow at Diggi Palace – great ambiance, good food.
Clark’s Amer – rooftop bar – great drinks for cheap
Anokhi cafe – excellent range of organic tea, coffee, pastries, and sandwiches.
5. Late night talkathons over drinks and snacks.
I haven’t written up a blog post on this trip, but you can read more about Jaipur from an earlier post I wrote on my travel to this wonderful city.