Udaipur through my lens: Top Five

Hey guys!

I always share travelogues and details itineraries of my travels but this time I thought I’d let my lens do the talking. Here’s a short photo diary of my trip in Udaipur a few months ago. I know this post is really delayed but if you’re planning a trip to Udaipur, hopefully these photographs will give you an idea of the city. However, having said that if you ask me my top 5 places to see, visit or eat at in Udaipur, here you go

1. Badi Lake: A lake not too many people visit, this should be you go-to spot to just absorb the beauty of the city of lakes. This lake transports you to a different world all together and has to be one of the most spectacular places you’ll visit. You’ll find little to no tourists here and actually enjoy the scenery without the crowds and noise.

2. Ambrai Restaurant: One of the most talked about restaurants in the city, Ambari is a must visit place. The food in this restaurant is very good but not amazing. However, what makes this restaurant an absolute must visit is the ambience in itself. Located at the lake, it’s really as beautiful as it gets. Whether it’s a perfect winter brunch or a cool summer evening, Ambarai offers you the most lovely candle lit evening at the Lake with views to die for. If you’re not staying at a “lake-side” hotel, visiting this restaurant will give you a similar feel to actually living in those hotels!

3. Vintage Car Museum: If youre a vintage lover, car lover or a vintage car fanatic, this is the place for you. This car museum is a private collection of cars of the Maharaja of Udaipur and it’s totally worth going gaga over. Once you’re done being in awe, you can enjoy a lovely at the Garden restaurant serving traditional Rajasthani food. Oh, the laal maas was AMAZING.

4. City Palace Udaipur: This is for all those history lovers out there. Udaipur’s City palace is absolutely beautiful and should be checked out if you want to learn about the history and culture of the city. The place is absolutely beautifully done up and the history of the space is just mesmerizing. I would recommend getting an audio guide or an in-person guide to enjoy the experience a bit more. Be prepared for the space to be very crowded since this is the most visited touristic destination in the city.

5.  Panchwati: An area hardly anyone talks about, Panchwati is a must visit if you want to take a step out of the luxury and experience the city in it’s true essence. With tons of lit up chaat and lcoal food stalls, this area is so “happening” in the evenings that it can really uplift anyone’s mood. You must try out some authentic Rajasthani chaat with Kulfi for an ultimate #foodporn experience

Regarding Accommodation: Accommodation in Udaipur is definitely not cheap and it really depends on the type of hotels you’re looking for. If you’re going backpacking, I am so sure youll be able to find hostels to bunk up in. However, Udaipur is known for its opulence so finding a beautiful hotel in the lap of luxury is very easy. We stayed at the Lalit Laxmi Vilas and it was absolutely stunning. I had NO complaints from the hotel whatsoever and would highly, highly recommend it. Unlike the Taj Lake Palace or the Oberoi Udaivilas, The Lalit Laxmi Vilas is located on lake Fateh Sagar, hence being slightly secluded from the hustle bustle of the main city which we absolutely loved.

Fateh Sagar Lake

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Balcony

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The Laxmi Vilas, Suite

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Evening Band

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Balcony View

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Corridors

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, details

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The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, details

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 The Lalit Laxmi Vilas, Reception

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Badi Lake (must visit)

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The Lake Palace Hotel

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The City Palace

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Cafe in Udaipur City Palace

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The Vintage Car Museum

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Garden Hotel, Vintage Car Museum

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Panchwati (For Chaat)

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Authentic Rajasthani Chaat

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Ambrai (HIGHLY RECOMMEND)

IMG_2994As  always, if you have any queries, you can comment here or ask me on Instagram! Untill next time, xx

Singapore in Five: Must do’s

Hey guys!

I’m back again with a really requested post: My Singapore travelogue. I thought I’d do this travel diary in a different way where instead of sharing my entire day by itinerary, I’ll be listing my absolute must do’s. These are places that I visited and had a great time! However, this was my first time in Singapore and I am sure there are tons of other places that are not mentioned in this list. Nonetheless, if you’re in Singapore for 4-5 days, enjoy these and I’m sure you’ll have a blast 🙂

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 1. Nightlife: Clark Quay (Pronounced as claa-key)

One of my favorite places that I visited 2 times over my short trip in Singapore was Clark Quay. It’s a historical riverside quay in Singapore  that houses over 5 blocks of  restored warehouses that house a ginormous number of nightclubs and restaurants.  There are also moored Chinese  junks (tongkangs) that have been refurbished into floating pubs and restaurants. Whether you want to go for a romantic dinner with your partner, a fun meal & drinks with family or a fun night out with friends, this place has you covered. From my experience here, I did notice that the food was pretty decent but nothing to really to crazy over. In my opinion, this place is definitely more for its ambience as its so happening with tons of people, lit up bars, live music and of course the river side! We tried a vietnamese restaurant called Little Saigon and had a really wonderful experience. Though the food could have been much better, the cocktails were absolutely amazing. If you’re going to Clark Quay over the weekend, be prepared to wait substantially for a table at some of the popular places. 

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2. Luxury and high street & budget shopping:

Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands & Bugis Street

It’s no secret that Singapore is shopping paradise. If you have some money to spend are in the mood for getting your hands on some of the best luxury fashion, Singapore is the place for you. Since there’s a mall every 200 meters and it can get a bit overwhelming for any tourist, you can start your shopping extravaganza at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, ION Orchard and Paragon Shopping Centre.Marina Bay  These three malls will not only leave you speechless for their fabulous and grandeur architecture, but also provide you with some of the best luxury shopping you could ask for. ION Orchard is very well located and is convinient place to start your day  since it’s right on Ochard Road.  Paragon Shopping Centre is a beautiful mall that is dominated by luxury shops but you will find a few high street stores at all. There are also tons of options to eat in the foodcourt so you won’t be hungry through the day at all! Marina Bay Sands should be kept for the evening time since it’s at the Bay front is absolutely stunning at night.The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, two large theatres, seven “celebrity chef” restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, a skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. Enjoy an evening of shopping, a luxurious dinner and then hit the casino for a night to remember! When it comes to high street shopping, you can check out Bugis Junction with stores such as Bershka,Pull & Bear, Sephora etc! Right across Bugis Junction mall is Bugis Street which is the largest street shopping destination in Singapore. You will be able to find all the latest trends in fashion at really competitive prices and haggling is really easy too. However, do keep in mind that the garments aren’t really available in multiple sizes so if you’re looking for a slightly larger size, you may need to hunt a little! Nonetheless, its definitely worth checking out since it offers a nice break from the malls!

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3. Eat at Din Tai Fung

If you’re in Singapore, one restaurant that you just HAVE to try out is Din Tai Fung. Though it’s a michelin star restaurant, it’s very well priced/fairly affordable. We visisted this restaurant two times in this trip and even though I would have loved to try out every single dish on the menu, my dietary restrictions didn’t let me. However, what I did try was simply out of the world. For me, the egg fried rice stole the show through and through. It sounds like such a simple dish but trust me when I say that it’s the best you’ll ever have. From the leafy fresh greens to the delicious dimsums, I don’t have a single complaint or flaw that I can pick on.

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4.Exploring communities and neighbourhoods: 

China Town and Little India

Singapore is very well known for it’s high rises landscape, modern architecture and a metropolitan vibe. Two parts of Singapore that will offer you a very different yet charming perspective are China Town and Little India. Both these neighbourhoods/areas are ethnic enclaves that will teleport you to China and India respectively. Chinatown is a sharp contrast to the rest of the city, with low rise buildings and culture bursting out onto the streets, from the fragrant smells of traditional cuisine to the bold red and gold tones that run through the neighbourhood. There are ornate Chinese, Buddhist and Hindu temples, museums galore and plenty of opportunities to soak up the bustling streets lined with old shophouses. In Chinatown, we enjoyed a lovely chinese meal at Spring Court restaurant that was established in 1929. It’s Singapore old family run restaurant which offers some amazing Singaporean Chinese cuisine. Little India, on the other hand is also one of Singapore’s most vibrant historic districts. As you walk down Serangoon Road and neighbouring streets, you can explore their mix of Hindu and Chinese temples, mosques and churches. It really does feel that you’re walking somewhere in the Southern part of India with the aroma of temple flowers and fragrance of spices that tell of the aura of a culture.When it comes to feed, you just can’t go wrong with a classic traditional south indian meal. We just had a snack – Idli & Vada and I can confidently say that it was amongst the best I have ever had. Packed with flavour and texture, the food spelled out authenticity without any fuss.

China Town

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Spring Court Restaurant: China Town

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Little India

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Vada- Sambar at a local South India restaurant in Little India
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5. Universal Studios, Sentosa

Universal Studios has to be one of the most exciting places to visit in Singapore. Though most people, especially families with children visit Sentosa island for an overnight trip or more, we decided to just check out Universal studios that’s a part of the island. Sentosa however has a lot more to offer than just Universal Studios and if you want to experience it all, you will need a couple of days there. Universal Studios, that has it’s counterpart in LA needs no introduction. No matter what age you are, you just have to visit this “world” in itself. From the magnificent sets, arrchitecturr and grandeur to the spine chilling rides, you will have a blast! I am a rollercoaster junkie so this was just the place for me to sit back and have some fun! It can get really humid in Singapore, so make sure you are well hydrated and be prepared for hours of walking! Though there are numerous cafes and pitstops for you to be refreshed, since the area in itself is so huge, walking is inevitable.

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So these were my top 5 must do’s in Singapore! I am so sure that there are so many things that I missed out on this short trip and hence I would love to visit again. However, if you’re planning a trip with friends or family, I am so sure this post will help you 🙂 For any questions, make sure to follow me on Instagram and ask away! <3

Italy in ten: Rome, Sorrento, Amalfi Coast & Capri #MMTravelDiaries {Part II}

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Hey guys!

I am back with another Europe travel diaries post. I know this post is way too delayed and I really apologise about the same. For some strange reason, I just don’t know why I never ended up writing this part. If you have been reading my blog lately you would have seen I have started posting really consistently and I can promise you that I won’t slack the way I did. I suppose one of the reasons I did’t end up writing this PART II is because I shared so many pictures of my travels on Instagram that I wasn’t sure if you were interested in reading this post in the first place. However, I have received queries about this post recently, so here I am, better late than never!!!

As the title of the post suggests, this is the PART II of my Italy Travelogue. To read part I click here. It will give you a better idea of the trip 🙂 In this post I will talk about DAY 5- DAY 10

DAY FIVE:

Leave for Sorrento// Spend the day in Sorrento

DAY SIX: 

Day trip to Capri Island

DAY SEVEN: 

Leave for Naples from Sorrento // Lunch in Naples // Train to Rome same evening

DAY EIGHT: 

Rome Full day

DAY NINE:

Rome Full day

DAY TEN: 

Leave from Italy

Rather than writing the post as a travelogue, I thought I jot down a my MUST do’s if you plan to visit Rome and Southern Itlay.

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ONE : Get your history cap on

When in Rome, be prepared to walk. There would be tons of people especially if you visit in the summer so don’t get intimated by the number of tourists and long lines. You are visiting one of the most historical cities in the world so be get ready for some long but super interesting history lessons. Since I was in Rome alone, I decided to take a walking tour which was absolutely amazing and worth the money. We checked out the marvellous Colosseum and the grand Roman Forum in a few hours. This little history walk was just the right amount of history I could take in as a tourist and be super interested at the same time.

TWO: Eat as the Romans do 

I was living in an airbnb apartment in Rome which had a fully functional kitchen so I would eat my breakfast at home or at least have a small snack with a cup of coffee before leaving for the day. Rather than having 2-3 large meals, stick to 5-6 very small meals. It would lead you to try out tons of food options. As it is fairly obvious, STICK TO ITALIAN FOOD. I would try and find little pizzerias in the by-lanes of a main square. Eating at the Pantheon for example can be really expensive and the food might just be overhyped. Instead, I chose to eat close to Pantheon but yet not right in the centre. My favourite meal was spaghetti with black truffles and olive oil! nom nom

THREE: Hit the Markets

I knew I wanted to do something different rather than only visiting historical monuments so I searched up for the best flower and farmers markets in the city. Since I had to just visit one Market, I decided to go to Campo di’ Fiore. This piazza hosts undoubtedly the most famous open air market in the city- with flower shops, fruits and vegetable vendors sprawled across selling fresh products.

FOUR: Geltao Time

Make sure you always have room for Gelato. No matter what I ate, the little glutton in me had to complete a meal with a new gelato flavour. My favourite gelato spot in the city has got to be Giolitti. I was so obsessed with this ice-cream parlour that I would see my self walking miles from another end of the city just for the ice-cream. BUT SO WORTH IT.

FIVE: Do Nothing

One of the most lovely things about the city is that it gives you the scope to do nothing. Just spend time sitting in your favourite piazza, the pantheon or the Spanish steps and engage in some people watching. You could also grab a classic cappuccino and simply enjoy the beautiful skyline and sunset across the ancient architecture.

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SOUTHERN ITALY

SIX: Truly Unwind

Unlike Rome with its walking, exploring and crazy tourist vibe, the Amalfi coast can be describe by true luxury and relaxation. Since I went to Southern Italy with my parents, we did stay at the Hilton in Sorrento which is one of the most stunning properties EVER. Located exclusively on a little hill it offers some of the most mind-blowing views of the Coast.

SEVEN: Capri Island

We weren’t sure if Capri Island should be on our must visit list or not but I am so, so glad that we made the plunge and decided to visit the island for a day trip. Offering some of the most stunning landscape views, Capri is a little isle of luxury. Unlike Cinque Terre and its rustic vibe, Capri is all about the yatchs, mimosas and sun dresses. It is a heavily populated island basically full of tourists so a day trip is definitely more than enough. With almost every single luxury shop you can think of, Capri makes everything fancier. There are ferries and hydrofoils that head from Sorrento and Amalfi daily to and fro from the island.

EIGHT: The Amalfi Drive

If you’re not car sick, go for the drive of your life. The Amalfi drive will be the best road trip of your life. Cliffs on one side and water on the other, the Amalfi drive is definitely not overhyped when it’s labelled as one of the most spectacular roads across the world. You can rent your own car or even take a private tour – whatever it is, there is a price tag- but it worth it!

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Once again, I really really apologize  for not posting this on time but I hope you enjoyed reading it 🙂 If you have any queries make sure to comment here/email me or ask me on Instagram!

Until next time, love you!!

The weekend getaway: Walterre

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Hi guys!

My friend Madhavi & I decided to hit the hills for a little weekend getaway on 2nd October weekend. We searched and searched for a cottage or boutique hotel for days but just couldn’t find an accommodation that would fit the bill, i.e.: be reasonable, close to Delhi yet in the hills and have some character to it. Finally, Madhavi told me about a little cottage named Walterre, located about an hour away from Dehradun. As soon as I opened  the website, I knew we just found the place we were looking for. Without overthinking too much, we booked our room online there and then and were ready to go!

The Villa

The villa has 4 large bedrooms, huge gardens, verandas, a living area, dining room, kitchen and a reading nook! It works like any other hotel where you book a room for your self exclusively and have access to all the other common areas. How it works differently is that, you’re essentially sharing a house with 3 other groups/families (staying in the three other rooms). At first, this may be a little strange to some but think of it more like a guest house or a home-stay where you are living in someone’s house and are paying rent for it.

Though you do share the common areas such as verrandas, gardens, living room with other guests, it can be really fun experience since you get to meet new people. If you don’t want to interact with others and want time only for your self, think of these common spaces as a hotel lobby where other guests lounge around doing their thing.

The entire villa is beautifully done up with ever nook and corner carefully thought out. Almost all the walls in the house are adorned with rare natural history lithographs from the owner’s collection, sourced from all over the world! Complementing prints and patterns  beautifully put together truly makes the place stand out as even with an excess of it all, it just all falls into place.

The Rooms

The rooms are huge with four post bed, a little living room, and an attached bathroom. Each room could easily accommodate at least 3 people where the third person charge is extra (Check the website for all tariffs). We rooms were air-conditioned along with having fans and the bathrooms had a geezer so that worked well since the property isn’t located at a very high altitude.

The Service

I don’t know where to begin to compliment the service. It was absolutely outstanding. The accommodation serves three meals a day where breakfast is charged at Rs.250 and lunch + dinner at Rs.350 each (per head). The home caretakers really do a  good job to ensure that the house is spotless clean and all your dietary needs are met! For breakfast, we had a lovely array laid for the both of us on the terrace that included- cereal, eggs, poha, tea/coffee/ toast with home made jams & nutella. What I loved about the place was how personalised things were. You don’t want eggs? No problem! You can tell the chef to prepare something else for you. Dinner was definitely the highlight of our day since the food was absolutely out of the world. Well prepared, home made, good quality food- what more do you need? A typical dinner menu looked something like this- Palak paneer, Chicken curry, Dahi-Benegan, Rice, Rotis, Curd OR Mutton curry, Bhindi, Rice, Rotis, Paneer, Gulab Jamuns. It was a buffet like system where the food was laid on the table and one could eat all you want so Rs.350 for such a lovely meal was worth every penny.

Things To Do 

We checked into Walter on the 1st evening at around 6 pm and checked out on the 4th morning. We did have time on our hands so decided to things at an easy pace. There’s a river right around the property- about a 5-10 mins walk downhill. This place has something to offer to everyone. If you want to spend time in the cottage reading, writing or simply soaking in nature- it’s absolutely perfect as the property is tucked away amongst greenery and the hills. One can take short walks nearby or even go down to the river for a while. On the other hand, it’s an hour’s drive away from Mussoorie if you’re looking for the “hill-station” experience. The villa’s caretaker will arrange for a car and a driver (Need to pay extra) who will drive you down to Mussorie, wait there and bring you back. Since we didn’t want to go to main Mussorie Mall area, we decided to hire the car who dropped us off at “Picture Palace” from where we decided to begin our trek to Char Dukaan and Sister’s Bazaar. The walk uphill to these two places is not easy whatsoever and is pretty tiring. Its about an hour of uphill walking but is absolutely worth it. If you don’t want to walk, you could also tell the driver to take you in the cab but I really recommend walking it! Chaar Dukaan was a delight after the long walk where we gorged on pancakes and bun omelette. It wasn’t half as crowded as the Mall at Mussorie and the weather was pleasant too since it is at a much higher altitude. From Chaar Dukaan, it’s another short walk to Sister’s Bazaar where we went straight to Prakash ki Dukaan to buy some freshly baked cinnamon rolls, peanut butter and home made preserves. If you do decide to go to Mussorie, make sure you go to this shop- YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!

I highly recommend this villa to you especially if you want to live fairly close by to a hill station (that’s not too far from Delhi) and yet be far away from all the craziness and chaos. Walterre defines the term getaway in it’s true sense where it really seems like you’re living in a little cottage right out of a fairy tale.

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IMG_1580Little Notes:

How to reach: The easiest option is to take the Dehradun Shatabdi from Delhi to Dehradun. You could also take a Volo from Delhi to Dehradun. Once you reach Dehradun, you can book an Ola cab that would take approximately Rs.500 to the property. The villa is really secluded in the middle of nowhere so don’t get worry if it takes you a while to find it. You can also call for a pickup to the train station/bus stand from the villa it self but that is way more expensive, even though it’s more convenient.

Tariffs: Approximately Rs. 3,500 a night + taxes

For more pictures from the trip, check out my Instagram handle 🙂

This post is NOT sponsored whatsoever.

 

Airbnb 101 #MMTravelDiaries

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Hey guys!

It’s time for another post in my #MMTravelDiaries series. In this post, I am going to share with you my experience with airbnb.com  along with some basic tips to book your own accommodation. To begin with, Airbnb s an vacation rental service that lets you book unique, fun, interesting & safe (verified) accommodations all over the world (including India)! You can book an extra room in someone’s house or an entire apartment- whatever works for you and your budget. From living in igloos to finding a luxurious apartment no less than any 5 star hotel in terms of it’s services, Airbnb truly  caters to all travelers. Since I lived in airbnb accommodations, I thought it would be helpful for all of you who want to travel using their services, especially if you’re on a budget.

Location, location, location

I don’t know about you but location is key for me! When it comes to cities such as Rome or Paris, I would try finding an accommodation as central as possible to the sites I want to explore. No point living so far away in the pursuit of saving money that you end up spending much more on transportation. However, when it comes to hill stations, the further away from the main city, the better it is! So, when you’re booking an accommodation, the  first thing you need to do is google the places that you really want to visit. Figure out their locations and write them on a piece of paper. When you open the airbnb site and are scouting for accommodations, use the locaton filter to narrow down your accommodation list. Here’s where you initial research comes handy. If you don’t know where a particular accommodation is located, just open google maps on your phone type the area of where you would ideally want to live from the area the apartment you like is located! I got really lucky with all my accommodations as I stayed in the heart of the city- the most lively areas! In Rome, my accommodation was literally a 2 mins walk from the Spanish Steps so I could go in an out of the apartment multiple times rather than getting exhausted from a 15 hr long day!

Budget

Ofcourse this is one of the most important points. As I mentioned earlier, airbnb works for every sort of traveler. So if you are traveling alone or just with a friend and need a room to crash (even if it’s in someone’s house like a paying guest) you have that option. On the other hand, you also have the option of an entire apartment at your disposal. Budgets will of course vary with the number of rooms you want, the location of the apartment and the facilities it has.

Always check the facilities 

Now that you have narrowed down on the location, check out all the facilities that the apartment is providing. I did make a silly error while booking one of my accommodations since I didn’t check out the facilities in detail. I read the word “Heating” and made an assumption that the apartment has “Cooling”- AC too but it didn’t! Heating and cooling are two different services so please do keep things like this in mind. The apartments can also be located on a higher floor since as the 3rd or 4th floor and you should ideally see if “Lift” is mentioned in the facilities offered( that’s if you want a lift!). If nothing is mentioned, simply talk to your host.

Guest policy (additional people)

If you’re traveling to a city where you already have friends living and they may want to crash the night with you- check the guest policy. It varies for every accommodation. Some hosts are really chill with an extra guest at no additional charge and some may charge you a hefty amount.

Always talk to your host before hand

When it comes to airbnb its definetly more personalized. So when you book an accommodation, the host would contact you and you can have a nice little chat! You can ask your host about the exact location of the apartment, places to visit nearby etc. My host in Rome was honestly the best person ever! Once I booked the accommodation, she asked me for my email address and send me an entire booklet with tons of info- how to reach the apartment, airport/train transfers, places to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner in Rome (all categorized by budget), places to visit, laundry, dry cleaners, gorcers- you name it and her little booklet was a life saver. Not all hosts may go through the pain to do that much but if you ask them for details, they will surely help you.

Cancellation policy

This is a tricky one. ALWAYS check the cancellation policy for each accommodation you book. Just remember that if one host is willing to give you the full refund in case of cancellation doesn’t mean that another host in the same city/different city will do the same. It’s a personal choice on behalf of the host.


Now that you have a rough idea of how airbnb works, I would just want to see that give it a shot! It can be a little scary at first cause unlike a hotel chain that has standardized services, you may never know what’s coming your way. Having said that, if you have carefully noted down all your requirements, checked out every single thing the apartment and host offers, it’s nearly impossible to go wrong. PS: the pictures that are uploaded on every host’s site are EXACTLY the same as how the apartment looks in real life. All apartments are verified so the pictures are the real deal!

Photos below are from my stay in Rome and Florence (Pictures are by airbnb)

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Italy in ten: PART 1 #MMTravelDiaries

Hi guys!

So one of my most awaited posts is here:: MY ITALY TRAVELOGUE! PART I  As most of you may know, I went to Turkey, Italy and UK this summer when I graduated from my Masters. Though most part of the trip was with my parents, I did spend a few days alone as well {check out my travelling solo post} to know more about that!

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Before I move on to talk about all the places visited, I thought it would give you guys a better idea if I would write down my Itinerary for you! I hope it helps you if you want to plan a trip to Italy 🙂

DAY ONE:

Arrival in Venice// Spend the day in Venice

DAY TWO:

Leave for Florence// Spend the day in Florence

DAY THREE:

Day trip to Cinque Terre

DAY FOUR:

Tuscany day trip {Sienna, San Gimignano, Pisa}

DAY FIVE:

Leave for Sorrento// Spend the day in Sorrento

DAY SIX:

Day trip to Capri Island

DAY SEVEN:

Leave for Naples from Sorrento // Lunch in Naples // Train to Rome same evening

DAY EIGHT:

Rome Full day

DAY NINE:

Rome Full day

DAY TEN:

Leave from Italy

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Venice:

Venice is absolutely picture perfect and seems like a painting with its little canals and pastel buildings. Venice is one of those places on everyone’s bucket list as a one time visit. If you haven’t been, you must. If you have, you’ll know what I mean when I say you can skip it for round two. This was my first time to Venice was it was obviously on my list. Since its way too crowded, it can be an overwhelming experience, especially if walking is pretty much the only way to navigate.. As you may know, there are no roads in Venice, and there exist only little streets for walking or waterways and canals for water buses, water taxis etc. This also means, that you need to lugg your bags from stair cases, streets etc all the way to the hotel and nothing could escape that. Private Water taxis are crazy expensive you might want to take water buses. When it comes to Venice, it really doesn’t need more than 1-2 nights but then that’s my opinion. In fact, it’s one of those places that you could easily do a day trip from Florence as well!  Since we was there in Venice for half a day and a night we tried to make the most out of it as we walked through the city and take in as much as we could. A cafe that I knew I wanted to visit was Cafe Florian- the oldest cafe in the world! Sitting down in the outdoor seating area with a drink while listening to the cafe’s live orchestra in St. Marco’s square has got to be one those unforgettable experiences. If you’re going to Venice with a romantic partner, you don’t want to miss out on this. Other than the gelato (YUM), pizzeria’s hidden in every nook and corner; you would also find a lot of shopping. And I mean A LOT. Venice is a luxury shopping paradise with almost every designer store with stunning window displays lined up one after the other in the endless maze that the city as to offer! Also, just skip the Gandola ride. I am being very honest when I say that it’s simply a money making business which really pissed me. The gandola drives or whatever one can call them try and act honey sweet and will lure you in and charge you an exorbitant amount- but it’s honestly not worth the money.

Quick tip: Private water taxis are VERY expensive. They make sense if you’re a bigger group and can split the cost. If you’re a couple or a solo traveler, you can definitely save money by taking the waterbus to commute

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Florence/ Firenze

 The next day, we head out to Florence or Firenze. I’m pretty proud of this segment of our trip since I knew exactly what I wanted to see and when. So, for the Tuscany region our base was Florence. We left Venice fairly early in the morning and were in Florence by 12 noon- checked into our lovely airbnb apartment by 1 pm. We had the whole day our selves to explore the city since the next we decided to go in for a day trip to Cinque Terre. We wanted to visited the Uffizi Gallery,but decided to skip the same and instead soak in the city by simply walking around and of course eating yummy food! We did visit the grand Duomo, checked out Piazza Michelango and sit down at the Loggia dei Lanzi and watch the beautiful Piazza della Signoria. Another smart move was to take a pass for a hop on hop off bus. Initially I thought that it looked a little foolish but trust me, you can do a lot with that bus pass. There are a couple of routes that the bus service has where it takes you through all the must see spots. If you want to get off, great. If you don’t, you can simply keep sitting. We also enjoyed a lovely pizza meal at Piazza Republica (see picture below) – one of the prettiest squares in the city, defined by its opulence.

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Cinque Terre

For the next day, we had booked a day trip to Cinque Terre (Pronounced as CHIN-QUAY TERE- literally meaning: 5 villages) and this has to be the best decision of my life. Google the prettiest places on the planet, and it’s on the list. Cique Terre is not that accessible on your own as it involves hiring a car plus a 2-hour drive from Florence. Also, no cars are allowed inside the 5 villages so the car you hire/drive must be parked outside the 5 village gates. To commute between the villages, there are local trains and even ferrys!

We decided to take a semi-private tour using www.viator.com and it was amazing! I really don’t like group tours much maybe cause of past experiences but trust me when I say this was so worth every single penny. This tour consisted of about 8 people in the minivan (including you) and is fairly expensive but makes sense cause less people means you have your own space. The good part is that there isn’t really any “guide” as such but basically the driver of the luxury car who’s super knowledgeable and will give you as many details as possible/answer your questions. This trip also gives you tons of free time. At every island (village) we got atleast an hour or two on hour to do our own thing- eat/swim etc. Click here to see the entire itinerary of our Cinque Terre day trip. If you don’t have Cinque Terre on your list, you must add it. It’s one of the most charming places I have ever been to.

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Tuscany tour Sienna, San Gimignano and Pisa

Happy and satiated from our Cinque Terre day trip, for the next day we booked our selves a Tuscany day trip. YES, we took another tour and I have no regrets whatsoever. If you don’t have time on you, and really want to explore a city ,have a look at these tours and you won’t be disappointed. To be very honest, I realized that it’s impossible to truly manage to explore a place like Italy in a short time span without making using of these tours. We took a tour that was called Tuscany in One Day itself, and it was so worth it, again! It took us to Sienna- we were there for a few hours, then took us to a local vineyard where we had a little wine tasting and followed by unlimited glasses of wine and a traditional Tuscan meal. This had to be the most generous tour ever. After the meal, we went to Gimignano to explore the little town and had the “world’s best gelato” from the award winning Gelateria del Dondoli- Finally, from San Gimiano, we were takento Pisa to see the leaning tower of Pisa! The trip does sound rather hectic and I wouldn’t lie – it was. But, it was also worth every penny and I can confidently say that I did get the feel of the tuscan cities, gothic architecture, and food!

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Part II of the trip will be up soon where I will talk about the second of the trip: Sorrento, Amalfi Coast, Capri Island and Rome!

Untill, then lots of love x