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Laos to Cambodia border crossing

Having been through the relatively frictionless land crossing from Nong Khai (Thailand) to Vientiane (Laos), we had high hopes that the second land crossing of our journey would be equally smooth. Unfortunately we had not counted on the resourcefulness of the locals, their ability to tell stories to tourists if it will make a sale and border crossing guards. Continue reading “Laos to Cambodia border crossing”

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Water, water, everywhere

One of the continual struggles while travelling around Asia is keeping on top of your water consumption. As the awesome XKCD points out, it is quite difficult to know how much is enough. dehydration

Continue reading “Water, water, everywhere”

Jaipur – Restaurant – Peacock Rooftop Restaurant

The peacock roof top restaurant is getting its delivery just right for its target audience and therefore is usually busy with both western and Indian tourists.
From stylish metal welded seating and tables, to the beautiful serving dishes and well presented, attentive waiting staff.
They don’t have a particularly good view from their roof top, but this doesn’t matter because they have enclosed their roof top with netting and have many plants which, to me, make the restaurant feel more cosy and intimate.
The waiting staff at the Peacock restaurant also do things like wipe your table down after every guest, even after we had sat down (the restaurant was full so we were lucky to get a table) and puts a black and white printed paper place mat in front of every guest with the name of the restaurant and a beautiful drawing of a peacock.
When you tell the waiter what you want, and before the waiter leaves your table, they read your order back to you. This is such a simple thing to do and makes such a big difference to your impression of a place. Common practice in England, but only the second time it has happened in India in 3 weeks. My impression was that they really care about getting our food and drinks order correct.
The chef does a great job of adjusting the heat of his/her dishes while retaining all the Indian tastes.

Over the 4 nights we are in Jaipur we will have eaten breakfast, lunch and evening meal here and we would highly recommend to everyone. (Particularly those with children or those suffering from Delhi Belly and need to order plain food).

Best pizza in India so far!

Jaipur – Tours – Pink City Private Rickshaw Tours

Abdul’s brother Ali picked us up from the train station, courtesy of our hotel, and Abdul was waiting for us to emerge the following day.
Initially sceptical, I got chatting to Abdul and quickly realised that he wasn’t like all of the other auto-rickshaw drivers vying for our business.
I had a birthday present to post to Wales for my father which I had bought 7 days earlier and had struggled to post encountering many obstacles on the way. Abdul took me to the post office and waited at the packaging desk with my parcel while I waited in the queue at the posting counter. Together it took us 30 minutes, with lots of support from Abdul, and we were successful. (We have since had the confidence to post 3 further parcels, 2 from Jaipur!)
Abdul also took us to a laundry which avoided us paying hotel prices and when our washing wasn’t quite ready the following day when we passed by, Abdul popped back to pick it up for us later.
My husband and children also used Abdul’s tour services to visit the Monkey Temple and Amber Fort.
Abdul’s has outstanding customer service and we would highly recommend to solo travellers, women travelling alone, couples and families.

Jaipur – Tour – Vedic Walks

My family and I really enjoyed the walking tour Arpit gave us of Jaipur’s Old Town.
It was a perfect introduction to our few days in Jaipur.
For a ‘market lover’ like me it was a delight to be gently escorted around the different areas being given snippets of information about the town, the professions and the people who live and work here.
Arpit has excellent English and his accent is clear and easy to understand.
We would recommend Arpit as a tour guide for anyone coming to Jaipur or the region.

Udaipur – Attraction – City Palace of Udaipur

We visited the museum and went on the boat ride.

This fascinating museum was made more accessible for us by hiring a guide (400 rupees per hour). We recommend you select your guide carefully because our 77 year old guide had good English but he was hard to hear and so one of us needed to act as a ‘repeater’ for the others.
Official guides wear a lanyard around their necks with an ID card.
(Note: a tip is expected on top of the fixed price fee)

Our children (aged 10 and 12) enjoyed the boat trip and we enjoyed seeing Lake Pichola, islands and lakeside from new angles.
The boat ticket was pricey for what you get even though we would probably have regretted not doing it (not least because our children really wanted to go). It certainly made going round the museum first easier with them knowing that the boat trip was next.

Buy your boat trip ticket (about 400 rupees) and hotel area pass (30 rupees) after you visit the museum because they like to book you at a specific time, however in reality I don’t think they stick to the times.
There was a bit of a scrum getting life jackets so if you arrive at the same time as many others make sure you position yourself well to get jackets from previous visitors as they disembark.

Oh yes … and you will need a camera pass (250 rupees) for each device you want to take photos with inside the museum, this includes mobile phones.

Visited August 2016

Udaipur – Restaurant – Grasswood cafe

Meh!

After seeing all the positive reviews on Trip Advisor I was expecting something special from this cafe.
In truth I was disappointed.
The menu was limited and I found the seating very uncomfortable.
The cafe is tiny seating just 14-16 inside and about 3 outside. Because located at a busy junction sitting outside you are very much ‘on display’ in a noisy, dusty environment.

If you want western food then you will enjoy the quality of the food at Grassroots.

But…. Millets of Mewar is much much better for space, taste, healthy food credentials and a roof top view of Lake Pichola to boot!
Millets of Mewar has become our family’s ‘go to’ cafe for breakfast and we feel is well worth the extra 2-3 minute walk across the footbridge.

Visited August 2016

Udaipur – Travel Agent – Travel Trip

Narayan and Ashish are life savers and Narayan is an expert at buying train tickets when they are all sold out.

Our 10 year old son left his iPad in the seat pocket of our bus this morning.
Ashish went to first one bus office then another bus office and then waited until our bus driver had been contacted, our bus driver had eaten his lunch, checked his bus, found our iPad and then for our bus driver to deliver our iPad back to us at our hotel. All this took over an hour and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief.

While in Udaipur Narayan was our ‘go to’ man for any travel question we had.
We started by booking a bus from Udaipur to Jodpur with him and then popped back most days to pick his brain about train routes, best class for which route and how to book AC3 when only Sleeper class was available.
We are traveller sleeper class on some routes but Narayan highly recommended not to travel sleeper from Agra to Varanasi because tourists are targeted on this route so we cancelled this ticket and rebooked an alternative.

Narayan also came up trumps with ensuring a rickshaw driver came to our guest house this morning at 05:15.
Not forgetting he came round to our hotel last night to tell us that our bus would be leaving from an alternative stop because of the Independence Day festivities. Narayan also made the rickshaw driver aware in advance too. We were out last night so I have no idea how many times Narayan came to our hotel looking for us before we returned.

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In summary Narayan went over and beyond with his service even though he earnt only 50 rupees commission from us.

In the middle of our iPad panic Narayan was calm and absolutely did everything possible to reunite us with our rogue device and on a festival day.

If we are ever in Udaipur we will be making a beeline for Travel Trip travel agency…and we recommend you do the same.

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If you are facing the Grassroots Cafe or Art of Bicycle then Travel Trip is in the left just around the corner.

Udaipur – Accomodation – Jheel Guest House

“Great location for sights and restaurants – fast wifi (old Jheel)”

We stayed for 4 nights and had two rooms in the Old Jheel which is opposite the main building and set back from the lake slightly. Our rooms were on the 2nd floor up some steep and tight stairs (typical of older properties in Udaipur). There was no handrail or banisters on the stairs so these rooms are unsuitable for young children or anyone who has any difficulty climbing stairs.
Both rooms could be twin or doubles and had their own shower room with western toilets.

While we were there builders were up and down the stairs and there was dirt on the stairs. Believe it or not this made us feel like home because we have just moved into a new build where dust and building noise is normal!!! This did not spoil our stay, just added to the ambience, however other travellers might not agree.

We found the staff friendly and attentive even after we asked for our 30th wifi code. In the end they game us a sheet of codes that we used at our leisure.
Wifi in the cafe was poor and patchy.
The new router (old Jheel) installed just outside our room was reliable and fast, however whenever the power was cut, which happened a couple of times a day for no longer than 5 minutes, we needed a new wifi code when power returned.

(If you need to give directions then tell the taxi/rickshaw that the guest house is near Gangaur Ghat.)

We really enjoyed our stay here.
As our first budget hotel in India we can’t compare to others. We’d have liked the room swept daily especially because of the building dust but never got round to asking, I feel if we had asked it would have been no problem.
There is a member of staff who lives in the ground floor room/apartment and during the day sits at the front door of this building, but isn’t present all day so although we could have left our keys on the board we decided to take them with us.

We would use this hotel again.

Link to this review on Trip Advisor

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