What is it really like inside Mumbai’s biggest slum?

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Similar to the idea of a township tour whilst I was in Cape Town last summer, a slum tour in Mumbai, an espionage into a poverty-stricken area, seemed like an uncouth thing to do.  Taking part in Reality Tours’ Dhavari slum tour was far from that, however.  What I saw was a tight-knit community which worked hard, earned their living honestly, operated with sustainability in mind, and quite possibly, some of the most enterprising groups of people I have encountered.

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A boat ride around the Ganges in Varanasi

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Varanasi is the epitome of India many people think of before they touch the soil: it is dirty, crowded, loud, noisy and crazy.  When I arrived from an overnight train from Khajuraho, the tuktuk drivers proceeded to harass my friends and I; when we finally got a good deal on a pair of tuktuks (it took a lot of haggling), we passed through narrow streets littered with trash, which was also where skinny cows seemed to loiter around.

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Art, coffee + pretty young things: Bangkok’s Good One Hostel Café + Bar

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Bangkok in June: it’s hot and sticky, and the start of the monsoon season.  Having arrived from an equally humid city (Manila, Philippines), it was fantastic to experience a little rain whilst I waited for my Uber to arrive.  To my delight, it was a humble Mazda kitted as though it was a sports car: many different dials in the macho red and black colours, free wi-fi on-board and bottles of distilled water.  I liked Bangkok already.  What’s more, the security officer by the airport gate was ever so helpful in talking to my cab driver through the phone, kindly informing him of my exact whereabouts in the large arrivals bay of BKK.

Thankfully, the 30-minute ride was short-lived as we drove up to the back alley that paved the entrance to Good One Cafe Bar & Hostel.  The monochromatic and bright interiors of the establishment glowed in the early morning darkness. 

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A Solo Female Traveller’s Guide to Zostels in India

The hanging seat in the balcony (Jaipur)

It is long known that hostels are the best type of accommodation around to meet fellow travellers if you’re going solo.  They’re inexpensive, located in the major backpacking spots in India, and you’re guaranteed a different experience in each location.  Though not as cheap as guesthouses, the friendly atmosphere often created by social spaces and lounges, and probability of finding other solo travellers make it worth the extra rupee.

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Two Months in India: Solo Female Travels on a Budget

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My last stop: sunrise at the Taj Mahal, Agra

India was at the top of my travel bucket list for as long as I can remember.  I’m not sure why or how I became fascinated with this South Asian country, but the promise of a colourful adventure was very appealing.  Rick Stein’s latest programme on India and its cuisine re-affirmed my desire to visit the country.  I just had to go.

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On a shoestring: Singapore

 

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Haji Lane

Singapore has been getting a lot of press lately in the travelling community: it is a bustling hub in the heart of Asia, a perfect stop-over for many, particularly those travelling to Australia/New Zealand.  It has been dubbed the world’s most expensive city – but it does not have to be.

Below, I share my experience in the Lion City, with budget-friendly and alternative, off-beat options for the everyday traveller.

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Friends of Orchha: staying in a homestay in Madhya Pradesh

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Situated over 1 km away from Orchha, the village of Ganj is home to the beautiful initiative created by Asha.  Friends of Orchha is a unique homestay in Madhya Pradesh, showcasing the beauty of rural life in Central India, with particular emphasis on the socio-economic progress of the villagers and the sustainability applied to their day-to-day lives.

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