After posting the itinerary for Bali and our experience, I have received a lot of emails with questions – primarily – around the budget, airlines, hotels, car rentals and general tips. I’ve put them as a FAQ below; hope this helps fellow travelers.
What was your budget?
Honestly, we were traveling on budget. We had planned about Rs.70,000 per head and wanted to make the most out of it. We did.
Is there a split?
This is naturally going to differ, but here is an idea.
- Airfare – 40%
- Visa & entrance fees – 10%
- Stay – 15%
- Local transport – 15%
- Shopping – 10%
- Meals – 10%
Good idea for my first overseas vacation?
Absolutely! There is always a first time for everything. Just plan well. Here are 10 great tips for international travel.
Is February a good time?
Most of the forums said Feb wasn’t a great time to be in Bali, but I think that’s more applicable to surfers.
Transit Bangkok or Singapore?
While Bangkok was an option View full article »
Planning a trip there was quite a experience as I’ve already detailed here. But after much research, we finally had a plan for Bali and I want to share the detailed itinerary so you don’t have to go through the drill. We were traveling on budget – not the usual honeymoon splurge – so using the services of an agent was not going to help. I still checked with a couple and on hearing my budget (more on this here), they said I should look at another place as the airfares itself very quite expensive for Bali. But I was determined to work something out.
Day 1:Water sports
- Marine sport activities at Tanjung Benoa
Day 2: Head North (East route)
- Goa Gajah Temple
- Ubud art village (drive-by)
- Monkey Forest (skip)
- Coffee plantation & tasting
- Tegalalang rice terrace (drive-by)
- Kintamani: View of Mt.Batur & Batur lake
- Singaraja beach (sunset)
Day 3: Back to Kuta (West route)
A few months back I was planning my vacation and things weren’t as easy as I thought. I had figured out the destination, booked air tickets, short-listed places to see and hired a car. The challenge however was to set up a local itinerary. I had X places to cover in Y days with optimized routes so we weren’t spending all our time travelling. This required finding exact locations & distances between them so as to figure how much could be covered in available time. I had nothing at my disposal but Google Maps & notepad.
Based on my own needs, and the way I go about planning my vacation, here are some high-level ‘market needs’:
- Itinerary Planer: Create, visualize & execute itineraries on interactive maps & calendar
- Vacation Content: Genuine holiday suggestions, based on demographics, with verified itineraries[
- Marketplace: Get quotes from interested agents on my itinerary
- Integration: Link with booking, review, customer engagement & social media platforms
Google map created for my Singapore holiday
Am I working on this project? View full article »
I was having a discussion with my friend/colleague Amit Shinde about the quality of things, and he brought up this topic of expiry dates. Fortunately for us, here in India, we now – at least – have an expiry date for most food stuff sold on the primary economy. The underground economy – or System D as it is known – is so vast and so uncontrolled that the government cannot even dream of regulating it.
But Amit’s concern was much beyond perishables. He mentioned his iPlugs for example (I’m not a Apple guy and don’t know if they call the iPhone earplugs that). He said that although there was no visual damage, they weren’t performing as they did. After all, everything has a shelf life – which may or may not be straight-forward to predict.
Take vessels for example. The old copper & brass vessels – now costly souveniers – have served families for years. There even exists a maintence process to extend its life. But the non-stick we use today in our fast lives is not built for centuries. Who knows how the coating disintegrates or how the lower layers react with oil/soap. I’m sure there is a point at which it has to be discarded – which is left to the consumer’s discretion. And when it comes to Indians, experimenting overage tolerances on expiry dates
View full article »
I traveled international from Mumbai airport after a couple of years, and the change was more than pleasing. While work is still on, the infrastructure plan is magnanimous and state-of-the-art, and air traffic is comparable to any major hub. I could see a long trail of blinking lights in the moon light and there no longer seems to be a hold position at the end of the run-way. It was a good flight on Singapore Airlines, although the much-hyped Singapore Sling was a bit disappointing. Dixit Jasani, Vaibhav Pani and I were on a business trip. Dixit had been to Singapore just a month back. Vaibhav’s epic moment was to set foot in a foreign country. Mine was to catch a glimpse of the A380.
Crab fritters & more
Without family, I had an option of trying some local food. Vaibhav and I tried some Indonesian-Chinese noodles, Chinese crab fritter and Indonesian fish cake. Honestly, it wasn’t until a glass of Milo that I started feeling better again. My mom would never agree to $1 chocolate drink when she could add 7 spoons of Milo to half a liter milk and make enough drink for the entire family. But honestly, that is how we all think. Fortunately on this trip, I did less of multiplication & more of subtraction when spending – if you know what I mean. I’m sure I’ll forget the math altogether when I start earning in a stronger currency.
At Marina Bay
Singapore is more like what it was in 2006; Mustafa got bigger & better and Marina Bay looks better with the Singapore Flyer and Marina Sands hotel in the background. It was good to meet a couple of old friends: Pritish Purohit & Ashish Singh. After a good breakfast at the hotel with samosas, what was supposed to be a 1.5 hour part on my side at the meeting, went on close to 5 hours, and I was involved right until the end. It was great to receive a very different kind of compliment from an attendee: “thank you, you enlightened me about P2P”. That’s precious!
On the way back, moments into the air, I had the epic moment of my life: I caught a glimpse of a Qantas A380. Krisworld, SQ’s inflight entertainment system, introduced me to ‘Come fly with me’, one of the most hilarious parodies I’ve ever seen; unfortunately, this mocked one of old favorites – Airport on BBC. I would still say that the food is better on Air India. As usual, I couldn’t sleep on board – there’s nothing like getting back home!
I couldn’t have found a better day & subject to resume blogging than recall memories on the birthday of my beloved grandpa – Late Shri Madhukar Bhaskar Gupte – who very unfortunately passed away on January 22 this year. His loss wasn’t limited to his progeny, but people far and wide in his friend & family circle who had fond memories of him.
Born 29th March, 1931 at Murud-Janjira, he was the 3rd child of the late Shri Bhaskar Govind Gupte. Bhaskar bhai as he was known to most people in Murud was a very successful lawyer of his time, with stories of his arguments in court cases, as well as during prohibition still recited in the family. Of the siblings who survived adulthood (several passed away before teenage), Aajoba was #3 after his elder sister Sulochana (later Mrs. Chaubal), elder brother late Shri. Vinayak Gupte (a.k.a. Bal or Vinu who passed early 90s), and followed by two younger brothers: Shri Sudhakar (a.k.a. Appa or Sudha) & Shri Srinivas (a.k.a Baba). Only Bal ajooba had passed away before his death.
Aaji-Aajoba's Marriage (1956)
Aajoba attended Sir S A High School in Murud, and moved to Mumbai after matriculation to study law at Ruia College, Matunga. At the time, he lived with his elder sister’s family and shared a very strong bond with her children Mohan & Pratibha, who fondly called him Nana mama. We’ve heard stories of Aajoba carrying Mohan kaka View full article »
Last year I began drafting a theme for the year 2011. I called it ‘Being my own superhero‘. Although I did work on those lines and achieve quite a bit, the post remained a draft all year. Here’s a snippet:
I really can’t make sense of what’s going on in life. Sometimes I feel I’m being overly optimistic about things – like the sole warrior fighting all odds. Are will & determination enough to survive tough times? Can & should one person bring about change in so many people? make them realize things? help them think right? I really don’t know. But I’m going to try. Because if I don’t, someday I might curse myself for having lost a chance to make things better for myself & those around. So I’m taking this chance to be a super-hero – my own super-hero. That’s the theme for 2011. And I will try to have one each new year to set a direction to life. Cheers!
This year I thought I’ll publish it in time. But before everything else, here’s wishing you & your family a very happy, prosperous & healthy new year. But here’s what is going to really make it a ‘new year’:
Its New Year. Welcome it with a new vision, ambition & persona. Stop worrying about things that don’t matter. Respect & love people selflessly. Don’t do things that make you feel sorry. Then its a Happy New Year! Cheers
And continuing on those lines, this year’s theme is: Unf*#k your mind. Everyday I meet sane people who are bogged by the pressure exerted on them by those people around View full article »
I hope I’m writing a new post just in time – before someone inquires my whereabouts. #exaggeration. No one cares where I am or what I’m doing; whether I’m writing or I’m not. But that’s not too bad either.
But honestly, who am I writing for? I don’t write to seek fan following or money, so numbers don’t bother me. Few read my thoughts, most of them come here to demystify jargon or sync their Thunderbird address book with LDAP or check ferry timings. But numbers are not completely discouraging: in less than 2 years (starting Jun ’09) we’ve got over 28000 hits, close to 50 unique visitors visit us each day. And that’s not too bad either.
Simple Wishes: Was it that bad?
7 months back, I went through the toughest times and life couldn’t have taught me more. I was paranoid for inspiration & motivation. I picked up Amit Gupte’s practice of wishing luck to friends and realized life is short, and my friend list is too long. It would take me over 3 yrs to wish each one of them, and more pain View full article »
11 Feb, 2011
16:30hrs: Its 28′c – not really pleasant – and we’re headed to one of India oldest & busiest railway stations: Howrah. Oh, by the way, I’m in Kolkata and Pranab Mukherjee & Rahul Gandhi are all over the place. While my colleagues enjoyed their tea with some local biscuits (which in total cost Rs.5 for 2 persons), I had my eyes elsewhere: on gol gappe (pani puri) & momos selling on the local thelas. Sometimes I appreciate the clarity I possess: I denied tea because I doubted its quality, but I was willing to risk my life for pani puri – as if it was prepared using Aquafina. As we listen to our taxi driver share his political views, we’ve passed Rajarhat (where real estate is booming) & Salt Lake City (where my friends Panda & Sanjay work). Our driver just mentioned that his ‘fabharit leadar‘ (favorite leader) is Narendra Modi and he’s impressed with his work and the ‘Golden Gujarat’ campaign. His take on the nation: ‘Yeh bahut difficult India hai‘.
19:03 hrs: Just realized the importance of 3 minutes and how far I can run when I have been slowed down. The story starts with some useless waiting at Park Street for a cab, after which we took a local bus over Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge) which actually moved faster than other cars. Then we just ran the entire width of Howrah station from platform 1 to 23 (which happens to be on the other half of the station), only to find the guard, ironically, waving the green flag at us and the train showing its @$$.
21:30 hrs: After hours of driving (& waiting in hope) we finally reached Sher-e-Punjab, a notable dhaba on the road to Mumbai (which is still 1900 kms away). The menu card was exemplar for creativity; receipe groups were named like: Bakre Ke Nakhre (Mutton), Sleeping in the night/Morning is the tight (curd/raitas), View full article »