Smiles and Shopping in Bangkok in Thailand

I will tell you about our trip to Thailand. We toured much of the country visiting the most typical places like Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket. To travel to Thailand as a tourist for a stay of less than one month, no visa is required. It is only mandatory to have a passport valid for 6 months. Not only has it been a different trip for the destination, but also in terms of the preparations.

Normally we plan the trips well in advance, but this time there was no way to book anything with time because up to three weeks before we did not know for sure that we could go, and that was the time we had to organize everything. We took a travel insurance that included cancellation and health insurance.

The long-awaited day of taking the flight to Thailand arrives. We board the direct flight to Bangkok. For the first time we flew on an A380, the largest plane that exists, with two floors, the upper one destined for first class. We had never flown in an A380 and the experience was magnificent. It is the plane where I had more space for legs in economy class. There was wifi, and the entertainment system on board was great.

We took advantage of to sleep a little and at 13:25 local time we landed at Suvarnabhumi Bangkok International Airport. We collected suitcases and we went out to get a taxi. Once we arrive in that wonderful country we meet the guide who take us to the hotel. We had chosen hotel in the ​​Silom area because of its proximity to metro and sky train. It is 12 in the morning so there is time to get to see that wonderful city.

We check in at the hotel. The room was large, the bathroom was right, the beds comfortable and the wifi powerful, although the furniture was already very old. We have wonderful views from the room although we did not have time to see the pool. But the main problem with the hotel was that it was in the middle of Patpong, one of the nightlife areas of Bangkok. So in the weekend it was very noisy.

Once set we have a quick shower and we decide to go shopping. The shopping centers of Bangkok are magnificent, modern, luxurious and of course at a much higher level. There are conventional shopping centers called Siam Discovery and Siam Center. Further east is the Siam Paragon, the most luxurious shopping center in Bangkok and throughout Thailand. Inside there are luxury boutiques, car dealers such as Maserati or Lotus, the Siam opera and the Siam Ocean World, the largest aquarium in Asia with more than 30,000 fishes.

Following the street is the Central World, the largest shopping center in Southeast Asia, with 8 floors, parking for 7,000 vehicles, a convention center and a hotel. In front of the Central World there is one of the few pedestrian spaces of the city where there is a colorful food market. Other nearby shopping centers that we do not visit are Central Chidlom and Terminal 21.

We go to the MBK Shopping Center. It is a kind of flea market inside a shopping center with hundreds of informal stores and stalls in the corridors that sell cheap and low quality items. Here we eat at a Thai restaurant and we go into the shopping center.

There is everything we can imagine and that is when I go crazy and do not know where to go to buy. There are clothes of all brands, footwear, handbags, watches, personal computers, video cameras, photo albums. The sight is a madness for women and a great stress for men, who no longer know in which hand they will put their partner's shopping bags.

It does not take too long to get tired and we want to relax for a while, taking a beer anywhere. Between shopping and bargaining (always with a smile on the lips) we buy shirts of all brands, watches, and some long pants. We went around the center to see what we could buy the next day, before we left we went into the supermarket area and bought something for dinner at the hotel, in addition to a few bottles of beer for after dinner.

We took a taxi and go back to the hotel. Upon arrival we wanted to swim in the pool. It was a great treat to bathe at night with those views. After another shower, we feel more relaxed, and have dinner before going to bed.

Day 2

The poor alarm clock must have sounded on time but we did not hear it. We had breakfast with what little we found ready, of pancakes with delicious bananas. The driver come to pick us up at the hotel to go for the tour. The bus is where we meet the people with whom we will do the circuit (from the first moment we had a good time).

We find people who stop to ask where we are from, plans and others, to give us useful advice. Many of these people do so with the intention of sending us to jewelry stores and other stores. Some told us to visit the Lucky Buddha temple and they wrote us the name in Thai on our map.

We went to the area of ​​the Grand Palace. When arriving at the great palace it turned out to be closed for some celebrations. So we decided to visit Wat Benchamabophit, built in marble and relatively modern, and the Wat Intharawihan, where is an imposing standing Buddha. At noon, we returned to the palace area, which should have opened. Then we went around the royal palace and we had the chance to see the changing of the guard.

The Grand Palace, built in the eighteenth century, consists of a complex of buildings that include the former royal residence, the temple of the emerald Buddha and various buildings used as government offices among others. The most impressive area is Wat Phra Kaew, where the famous Emerald Buddha is located.

This temple is in turn a labyrinth of temples, chedis and Buddha sculptures and mythological beings to each more spectacular, especially for the brightness of its colors, since most of it is covered with small colored crystals and gold leaf. Here we began to realize the wonders that the country and the Wat Phra Kaew temple with emerald Buddha offered us.

Outside the palace, but next to it, is the Wat Pho temple complex famous for being the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, an impressive image of more than 40 meters, and for its Thai massage school. In the style of the palace temples we find many buildings, chedis, sculptures and beautiful gardens.

The temple is gorgeous, and although the most famous is the impressive reclining Buddha, the largest in all of Thailand, we did not tire of going around the courtyards and other sanctuaries. It also has the largest collection of Buddha images in the country.

Right in front of Wat Pho, on Maharat Road, is a place to eat. Here I tried my first pad thai of the trip. The basis of Thai food is fried or cooked rice with meat and vegetables and rice noodles called Pad See Ew. The famous Thai Pad are sautéed noodles with prawns, bean sprouts and vegetables, although there are many more varieties.

Already full we went to another temple, the Wat Arun. We were able to cross the river from the jetty of Tha Tien without any problem. The jetty was a bit flooded, but they put some planks very well and we did not wet our feet. The Wat Arun or Temple of the Dawn is another of the most visited temples in Bangkok. The central Khmer-style tower is 82 meters high.

The mosaics of flowers and figures are made with broken pieces of Chinese porcelain that used as ballast the Chinese ships that arrived at the port of Bangkok and the Thai boats that returned after having sold the merchandise in China. We crossed the river again and decided to walk to another of the temples we wanted to see, the Wat Suthat. We really liked the mural paintings of the temple.

In front of the temple is the Sao Ching-Cha or Giant Swing. It was one of the places where a festival was celebrated in honor of Shiva. Rama VII forbade it, because the participating teams swung trying to catch a bag of gold hanging from a bamboo pole 15 meters high. Once the visit to these monuments was over, it was time to close the temples and the market next to the palace. As there is very little to do in the area, so we went back to Khao San.

This street is famous for being the backpacker's street. Here we find guest houses and cheap hotels, travel agencies, bars and restaurants with live music, a cheap clothing market, and in short a little bit of everything.

After the visit we returned to the hotel. We decided to first stop to eat at a restaurant that we get on the street. Then we went to the Chao Phraya River to take a walk through its canals for almost 2 hours.

After the tour they left us near Chinatown. So we took the opportunity to enjoy its colors and its people. We loved the bustle of the stalls, the smell of street food, the neon lights, the shops where they sold the most curious things we can imagine. Until then we had only seen the modern city full of skyscrapers and highways, but there we started to see the other Bangkok. Now there was no doubt that we were in Asia.

We see the Neng Noi Yee Temple, one of the oldest Chinese sanctuaries in Bangkok. The dragons on the roof protect the sanctuary from any external evil. I think I saw the durion, a typical fruit that they say is great (we did not taste it). Even though it smells so bad that it is forbidden to take it in airplanes, buses and some hotels. What we were encouraged to try was the street food.

Then we took a tuk-tuk and went to a night market that has a very large Ferris wheel. We reach the famous Suan Lum market (Lumpini). By the way, near the hotel there was a park called Lumphini with a statue of a Rama. There in one of the terraces we took some beers to get strength for shopping.

Already stuffed full in haggling we bought everything a little, from clothes to trinkets. As the bags weighed a lot we decided to stop by the hotel to leave them and go back to Patpong market to continue shopping. We took a walk down the street where are all the nightly shows and we laughed for a while trying not to get into the force to see some of them.

In the market we found a pub where we went to drink something. We were lucky that it was happy hour and we took a shinga beer. Then we continued with the shopping and then we went to dinner in the same market. The site seemed wonderful with spectacular views and a modern and cosmopolitan atmosphere. In the men's washroom while emptying against a glass wall I you enjoy the views of the city.

The prawn spring rolls in red curry was the best of the trip. As we were in the area of Nana, one of the famous red-light districts of Bangkok, we took a quick walk around. Here we came into contact with the lively nightlife of the city and especially with the abundant and ubiquitous prostitution of Bangkok. Several young ladies offered us their services as normally.

They also offered to attend a ping pong show, a show of doubtful taste in which some naked girls demonstrate what they are capable of doing. We took a tuk-tuk to return to the hotel (one of the best races I've ever lived). It reminded me of the taxi drivers in Egypt, of how the race would be. We arrived at the hotel crying with laughter and we gave the driver a well-deserved tip. It was time to go to bed as it was already 3 in the morning and that the next day we had another busy day.

Shopping in Bangkok

Day 3

We got up early at 6.30 and have a good breakfast at the hotel, on the terrace overlooking the river. To continue exploring Bangkok, we took a taxi and went to the Skytrain, very cheap and modern. It took us to the MBK where we keep shopping and buy a pair of shoes. Then we went to the National Stadium (soccer field). Then we went to the Jim Thompson house museum (it is worth visiting it).

In the clothing store that it has, we bought silk polo shirts and Egyptian cotton shirts. We ate at the restaurant there. Jim Thompson was an entrepreneur, architect and member of the American secret service during the World War II, who on one of his trips decided to move to live in Bangkok.

Once here, he realized the enormous quality of Thai silk and built in a few years a commercial empire dedicated to the sale of articles of this material. In the year 1967, during a trip to Malaysia he mysteriously disappeared forever. Near the exit of the house museum is the Erawan Shrine, a altar dedicated to Ganesha where worshipers are continually making offerings or performing ceremonies.

We decide to take a taxi to the Baiyoke building. We asked the driver to put the meter on and he told us that he will not put it and that he would charge us less if we stopped in a store of precious stones. We were inside for 5 minutes since he was given a commission for each client he took. We told him that we accept (we liked that he told us the things clearly).

Once the agreement was fulfilled he took us to Baiyoke. There we took the tickets to use the elevator that goes up to the viewpoint (they have a drink included in the bar). When we got up, we were amazed with the views of the city and the cameras got overheated from so much shooting. Then we went to the bar to have a cocktail and enjoy the wonderful views.

Outside the Baiyoke we find a market (Pratunam), in which we bought nothing (miracle) and went to the hotel to leave the shopping bags. We go to get a massage in the ​​Silom area. We walk, since the distance was not much and that we could see where we wanted to enter. In the end we ended up in the Patpong, since the ones we saw on the way did not convince us.

A very nice girl gave us the price list of massages. The prices seemed good and we decided to enter. We sat in some chairs that they had in the street. They asked us what kind of massage we wanted to do. One of the girls enter and tell me that she can give me a foam massage and everything I wanted. I refuse but the girl's answer was that she did not care and continue insisting.

Finally I go in to get the massage. The thai massage the girl gave me was a joy. At first I thought that they were going to break me, but later I feel great. During the massage the girl had brushed and hinted at me. When I told her that I was not interested, she continued with her work without feeling offended. She also offers a happy ending but I say no, and she does not insist and continue with her work. I paid (tipped the masseurs).

Once the massage was given we went to the hotel to sleep a little as it was 3 in the morning. In the room we ate some nuts and some chocolate as we had not dined and go to sleep.

Tawang Travel Guide

​​Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh located approximately at 3050 meters is a compelling synthesis of those distant worlds, still almost unknown and is wedged between Bhutan, which marks the border in the south and Tibet in the north. The Bhutanese in fact occupy the southernmost part of the great valley of Tawang Chu, the mighty river that flows rushing from here to the distant plains of India, where is located the Trashigang Dzong in Trashiyangtse.

On the border with Bhutan and China, this last outpost of India defend the boundaries. The name of this territory, which also means blessed by a horse, though very remote, is accessible by car even at the end of December, because there is a good road network that is kept open throughout the year for strategic reasons as a result of the 1962 war with China.

Travelling to Tawang requires some acclimatization because the climatic conditions are cold but in return you can fully enjoy the unique world of the Monpa Tribe of ethnic Tibetan lineage. The road to Tawang is truly spectacular, crossing several villages and some interesting landscapes, which winds through the Himalayan valleys with spectacular courses, including Bomdila and Dirang. Along the highest point at 4050 meters, you are likely to find lots of snow on the road, but that is always kept open by the Indian army.

Tawang has thus one of the few areas, where the Tibetan culture is a particularly interesting microcosm to visit. The largest monastery in Tawang, home to 500 monks is host to a beautiful golden statue of Buddha of about 8 meters high, as well as numerous manuscripts, books and thangkas with representations of scenes in the life of Buddha.

The monastery was inaugurated by the fifth Dalai Lama, builder of the Potala and member of Gelugpa school, and was founded in the seventeenth century by Lodre Gyatso, who was popularly known as Mera Lama. It was around this monastery, which in time was forbidden by Tibetan soldiers against the incursions of the Mongols, that grew the city of Tawang.

It seems that the point where the Tawang Monastery was built was chosen by Lodre Gyatso because his horse escaped and refused to move from that place and the Lama took this as a sign from God that this was the place to give rise to a great Gompa. The Gompa is made up of a large number of small buildings perched around a large square overlooked by Du-khang, the main monastery, Par-khang, the library and Rhum-khang, which houses the kitchens.

The monastery remains a wonderful jumble of steep streets, where small houses are intertwined with old beams and walls painted in traditional Tibetan religious scenes grimacing demons and ecstatic Bodhisattvas, within which bustle purple-robed monks. The faithful prostrate themselves repeatedly at full length before the enigmatic smiling deity, muttering the eternal Tibetan mantra om mani padme hum.

The Dukhang is finely frescoed and contains many statues of fine workmanship, including a giant representation of the historical Buddha. Inside the Perkhang are kept a large number of precious ancient texts written with golden letters and many other items of great artistic value. In the hour of prayer, the powerfully beating long Tibetan trumpets and banging cymbals resonate long in the crystalline air of the mountains. The time has stopped here in one of the last monasteries still intact and away from the invasion of tourists, that holds the wealth, the simplicity and the beauty of unspoiled faith.

It is the focal point of the cultural life of the Monpa tribe, along with the spiritual coordinates of 17 other smaller monasteries are spread throughout the territory with wooden prayer wheels rotate endlessly propelled by an invisible hand and flags, in which are listed religious incantations, flap in the wind. We get used to the infamous yak butter tea that is served in por pa or tea bowl and the Thukpas, Tibetan noodle soup ideal for breakfast.

It is a journey that gives a real sense of adventure with an old world appeal to relax and renew the mind and heart, while experiencing the simple thrill of life therein. Here you can read our full Tawang travel experience: Trip to Tawang in a Hidden Corner of India called Arunachal Pradesh.

Tawang Travel Guide

How to Reach Tawang from Guwahati

Day 1 Guwahati/Tezpur - Bomdila/Dirang

Many flights fly to Guwahati. The car leaves Guwahati and passes through Tezpur, through the plains of Assam, to the checkpoint at Bhalukpong, which is 200 km away, where the ILP and the access permissions to enter Arunachal Pradesh are checked.

After passing Bhalukpong starts the hill ascend in Arunachal Pradesh. On the way is located a botanical center at Tippi, where they grow orchids. The road goes along a mighty river and climbs to the Nechipu Pass at about 1650 meters, through a more natural environment characterized by lush greenery and zero visibility fog.

Gradually the car moved through the hilly villages of Tenga at 1250 mt, halfway between Bhalukpong and Bomdila and we came face to face on huge military bases. The Indian army has kept the British taste for the apolitical discipline of golf and curled mustache. For tens of kilometers along the road, each battalion has its well-defined enclosure, with its crest, shacks, its officers households with their little English garden, its basketball courts and its heliports.

Bomdila is at 2350 mt and from here you go down the valley to Dirang at 1640 mt, which is 45 km from Bomdila. To acclimatize you can halt for the night at Bomdila, the main center of the Kameng district or Dirang, as Tawang is another 150 kms from here, with a journey of more than 7 hours. Bomdila and Dirang is inhabited mostly by people of ethnic Monpa tribes. Bomdila is a town nestled in the Himalayan mountains with many houses built of wood and adorned with flowers and a small market. There are two Tibetan Buddhist temples, Lower and Upper Gompa and the second of Gontse Gaden Rabgyeling, an important monastery where stayed the 13th Tsona Gontse Rinpoche of Drepung.

Hidden between the lofty blue hills of the north-eastern himalayan ranges of India in the state of Arunachal Pradesh is this amazing place of Bomdila, one of the popular night stopovers along with Dirang enroute to Tawang. The breathtakingly beautiful place is located at a height of 8000 feet and remains snow-clad for some part of the year. A chilling cold breeze blows in this alpine region for almost the entire day and the nights are equally unrelenting.

The journey to Bomdila is quite as exciting as the town itself. The roaring Kameng River rushes down the mountains, providing some splendid views. Winding past gentle, wooded slopes and the fragrance of pine hanging heavily in the air, the landscape changes dramatically as gnarled gorges give way to plains that undulate into hills.

The origin of Bomdila is lost in time. It was a part of the kingdom of Tibet in medieval times. The Chinese tried to stake claim in the 1960’s but backed-off. The town has lots of Buddhist monasteries or gompas and the famous of them is the Bomdila Monastery or the Gentse Garden Rabgyal Ling Monastery, built by Tsona Gontse Rinpoche in 1965.

People here are mainly from the Monpa tribe and very simple in nature. Their main festival here is Losar celebrated generally in the month of February-March. Bomdila, like other towns in the area, has a strong Buddhist and Tibetan influence and has quaint little eating-places where you can savour traditional Tibetan cuisine and the mouth-watering momos and thukpa.

The Craft Centre at Bomdila turns out a range of exquisitely designed dragon carpets and the traditional thangka wall hangings, paintings and masks are also available here. Most of these are intricately crafted with minute details and varied themes. Other places of interests of Bomdila include the district museum, and the sports complex.

The town is surrounded by lush apple orchards that stretch far and wide, adding to the scenic beauty of the place. The place also has numerous trekking trails that attracts lots of adventure seekers.

Dirang is also surrounded by interesting Monasteries and villages like Dirang Dzong, with old stone houses and towers of about 500 years back. The mountains above the village is the site of Nyingmapa, presenting statues and frescoes guarded by a picturesque Gomchen community. The sightseeing of any of Bomdila/Dirang can be done while the return journey from tawang also.

Day 2 Bomdila/Dirang - Tawang

The road from Dirang gradually climbs over to the Sela Pass at 4170 m, which is 63 km away, where you can encounter a typical alpine environment of high altitude with spectacular scenery, snowfall and a lunar landscape, constantly swept by an icy wind. The climb requires usually about 3 hours and here is found the yak, the mythical animals of Tibet, which appear out of the fog like ghosts.

Over the pass, begins the territory of Tawang and the descent is very beautiful, as it passes from Jaswantgarh mausoleum, a heroic Indian military guard, who showed ingenuity in 1962 to slow the invasion of Chinese troops.

Towards the base of the pass you can see the Nuranang waterfalls or Jang Falls. The river Tawang Chu at 1950 mt, goes up along the other side of the valley up to Tawang.

Day 3 Tawang

Tawang is a town rather large and spread on the mountain valley. The point of interest is the Tibetan Gelugpa monastery, made up of about 60 buildings, with some great monasteries and homes where live the monastic community. Situated on a hill at a short distance from the town, this monastery was founded in 1643 and was once the largest Gompa. Currently they reside there over 400 monks. In the Gompa is found important relics and ancient texts of the Buddhist Dharma painted in gold letters.

Near Tawang there are a number of important Tibetan cultural centers like the Tawang Taktshang Monastery, Ani Gompa, also called Thukje Chueling, which houses about 30 nuns, and Jangchub Choeling, which is home to about 50, both founded in the seventeenth century. The much revered site is the Urgelling Gompa because it is the place where in 1683 was born Tsangyang Gyatso, the sixth Dalai Lama, while the recently founded Choekhorling, is a small community of young monks involved in studies.

The Urgelling Gompa bears testimony to a wonderful story. When the 5th Dalai Lama died prematurely, after leading a bitter struggle against the Mongols who wanted to seize the throne of the regent, Desi Sangye Gyatso, he hid his death for 15 years. But meanwhile, as is customary for the Dalai Lama, his reincarnation was found in Tawang three years later. The sixth Dalai Lama therefore had a secular life until the age of 18 as he frequented the taverns, loved women and wrote wonderful poems.

Legend has it that when he left Tawang to Lhasa, he planted a sandalwood tree, predicting his return when three of its branches have reached the same size. The 6th Dalai Lama reigned few years and then was taken out of Lhasa by the Mongols, who murdered him soon after. The monks of Tawang say that when Tenzing Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama arrived in Tawang in 1959, the three branches of the tree had exactly the same size.

The village of Lumla, located approximately 2250 meters is 35 kms, from where the view extends to the border with Bhutan, towards the Trashigang region, where is located the Gom Kora. From Lumla it goes up a side valley leading to Gorsam Chorten at 1900 mt, which is another 43 km away. Here is a large Chorten of uncertain date, with some sources cite that dates back to the twelfth century, while others to the eighteenth. It is built according to the style of the Boudhanath Stupa in Nepal and Chorten Kora in Bhutan.

Every year there is held a festival where people perform countless circumambulations following their base, with a tradition similar to that of the nearby Bhutanese Cham dance at Gom Kora and Chorten Kora. Just beyond Gorsam is the interesting village, near which there is a small temple guarded by a small Nyingma Gomchen communities containing very beautiful statues. Continuing another 8 km beyond Zemithang, there is the small temple of Zangto Pelri, a representation of the pure land of Guru Rinpoche. A Rimpoche is a great lama, usually the head of an important monastery, which according to Tibetans reincarnates from life to life.

The small road leading to the snaking Zemithang, the last village before the Tibetan border, could not be more picturesque. Everywhere small streams with the water channeled through a large bamboo pipe, fall on huge wooden prayer mills. There is something surreal here as shepherds wearing a traditional yak hair hat on the head, graze their sheep with long furs. Moreover, the closer you get to the border, the more one has the feeling of a no man's land with an inner emptiness.

Day 4 Tawang

Tawang offers a more ample opportunity to discover and enjoy the various places and landscapes of the place over a snowy path to Pankang Teng Tso or PT Tso Lake, Bumla Pass, Sangetser or Madhuri Lake, with rather quiet and deserted views, but romantic impressions.

The Tawang War Memorial built in the style of a great chorten, which can be seen from all sides of the town ber testimony to those who died in the Sino-Indian War of 1962.

Day 5 Tawang - Bhalukpong/Nameri

Here begins the return trip through the spectacular Himalayan valleys of Dirang and Bomdila. It traces the way down to Bhalukpong and Nameri wildlife reserve. You can halt for the night at any of the two locations situated on the edge of the river Brahmaputra. You can also stay at Kaziranga National Park, which is about 110 km from Bhalukpong and 50 km from Tezpur.

Day 6 Bhalukpong/Nameri - Guwahati

Guwahati is 200 kms, with up to 5 hours of travel.

Tawang festival

Torgya is a festival that takes place for three days and aims to drive away evil spirits and protect the population from various disasters. During these three days of rites, the inhabitants of the surrounding villages rush to the monastery dressed in their best colorful outfits. A group of Buddhist monks, sporting a colorful mask representing a deity or animal performs sacred dances to the sound of drums and cymbals.

Tawang hotels

The rooms are good and almost always have a bathroom with hot water and beds, but it is to be noted that these remote eastern regions often are rather spartan and in some locations may require a minimum adaptability such as hot water can be supplied in a bucket.

How to reach tawang

For transportation you can use comfortable vehicles like the Scorpio or Innova. Please note that in many of the areas, currency exchange is not possible and credit cards are often not accepted except cash.

Tawang weather

You should be equipped for the conditions of the region as night temperatures at Tawang can peak around -8 ° C, and the maximum during the daytime hardly exceeds 8-10 ° C. The climate is usually dry, but it's better to have rain protection as that there can always be local rainfall.

Best time to visit tawang

We recommend going to Tawang between the months of October and March. Because of its altitude, in the winter it is normal to be covered with snow, and you will always need warm clothes.

You need to get an Inner Line Permit (ILP), if you're from India and foreigners need clearance from the Home Ministry and a Restricted Area Permit (RAP). The ILP is available from the Arunachal Pradesh Resident Commissioner Offices located in New, Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati. Be sure to apply for them well in advance which takes around a month sometimes to be issued.

Now for the travelling part. You have to first come to Guwahati in Assam and from there you can set forth to Tawang. Guwahati is well connected by Air, Rail or Road from any part of India. So I start after you reach Guwahati with possible halts because you have to halt at a certain place overnight else the journey will be tiresome.

Cheapest option for those on a shoestring budget:

A. Guwahati to Bomdila - by Bus run by Arunachal Pradesh State Transport Corporation (APSTC). It leaves from Guwahati around 5 AM and reaches Bomdila at 4 PM that day. Bomdila is one of the sight-seeing places so you can spend a few hours here and the over-night.

Bomdila to Tawang - Option 1- by Share Car/Jeeps. In this mode you cannot catch sight-seeing places on the way to tawang i.e. mainly Dirang Valley, Sela Pass, Jung Falls, Jaswant Garh and some more places of interest. It takes around 8-9 hours for the journey with all the halts

Option 2- by Reserved Car/Jeep from Bomdila. You can book the car for the entire number of days you want to stay in Tawang and opt for dropping at Bhalukpong during return.


Tawang to Bhalukpong- By reserved car/Jeep. Don't miss Bhalukpong as it is another major sightseeing place and you would love to spend a night out in the small cottages beside the streaming River Kameng maintained by Assam Tourism.

Bhalukpong to Tezpur- by shared car/jeep/bus (around 2 hours). You can have the lunch in Tezpur.

Tezpur to Guwahati- by Bus (Public/Private). Lots of buses are available from here.

For a little costly Option:

B. Guwahati- Tezpur- by shared car/jeep/bus (nearly 6 hours journey). You have to halt for the night here.

Tezpur - Tawang: by reserved car/jeep. It takes around 16 hours to complete the entire journey, so if you want to prevent tiredness, halt at Bomdila as I mentioned earlier and go for Tawang next day. From Tezpur to Bomdila you can also avail the APSTC bus service also.

Return: Same as I mentioned earlier.

tawang sela pass

Costliest Option:

C. Guwahati to Tawang and back with a reserved car all the way from Guwahati itself. with all the halts as I mentioned earlier. If you start from Guwahati it is better for the first halt to be at Bomdila and while on return halt at Bhalukpong to ease a bit of your tiredness with a night stay there amidst the cool river breeze and a visit to some hot water falls and other interests.

D. These days another option is to travel by Helicopter directly to Tawang from Guwahati. The price is quite cheap around Rs. 3000 per head and carries 18 people. But, personally I will not advise this option, as to me, travelling is not about reaching the place itself, but the enjoyment or thrill is in the actual Travel itself, where you can really feel your journey.

Point to note: Good hotels/places of stay are available mainly in Tezpur, Bhalukpong and Bomdila between Guwahati and Tawang. So it is better to choose the places of halt in these places.

Hope this post will help a little bit in your planning for this glorious trip. Also I must mention, you don't need any guide for the trip in Tawang, as your driver carrying you will be your best guide here. If you have any further queries or doubts feel free to let me know. I'll be glad to help you.

Amazing Trip to New York - A Day in the Big Apple

Well, here I go to the Big Apple! A long time ago I created a bucket list of places that I would like to visit. Some of them, such as Florence or Venice have already been visited but I had the thorn in New York or NYC. I love movies since I was a child and I've always watched this great city in movies and TV series, dreaming of going to visit it one day.

It's strange, but I've always had the feeling of seeing it, despite never having been there, through hundreds of moments on big and small screens, many of them everyday. Anyone who is or has been a follower of the Friends TV series will understand what I mean. For the preparation of this trip I have had different documentary material, through the Internet or in printed format such as, for example, the Lonely Planet New York City guide.

Day 1

We got up, dressed and moved to the airport, but not before having a light breakfast of coffee and pastries in a tavern. After checking in at the airport, I start to visualize the hours on the flight. We have a long wait in the departure lounge. The first stretch to Paris goes smoothly. Once there, we have again queues and more waiting until the departure time of the flight that will leave me at JFK.

At last I am going to travel to the Big Apple, but it still did not seem real. I go to my seat, and as soon as a passenger realizes that I am traveling alone, he requests me to change the seat with his to be next to his partner. They have been given separate seats. No problem on my part. Being near the emergency exit, I'll be able to go with my legs stretched all the way.

Between meals, reading and episodes of my favorite series recorded on the Tablet, the trip flies by. When we arrive at JFK, the thing gets messed up. The flight arrives promptly at 5 o'clock local time. So if the immigration procedures and others are fast, I can still see something of the St. Patrick's Day festival.

Here they have a day in advance as against in Ireland. Obviously, I will not be so lucky, and the immigration checks are eternal. At other times, in less than half an hour everything is resolved. Today it takes more than two hours. I guess that being a holiday, many people do not work.

Of the twenty-odd counters, eight are only active. After despairing in the queue, it's my turn with questions, fingerprints and photo to be signed. Now I can pick up my luggage. At the time it is, I have lost all hope of seeing something of the parade, so I take it easy to wait for my suitcase.

As Mr. Murphy said, my luggage has not arrived in NY with my flight. I discover when I arrive at the luggage belt of my flight and I see that it is stopped and almost empty. Almost all passengers have already collected their bags. So I go to the counter to present the claim with the baggage slip attached to the boarding pass.

Without this, everything would have been much more complicated. With the number in it, I am immediately informed that my suitcase has left on the next flight and will arrive on the flight at 19:45. There is little more than half an hour, but they explain to me that they can deliver it to me in the accommodation that I tell them.

I give them the address of the hostel, and in return and as a consolation, they give me a bag with some toiletries, a T-shirt and some socks. They inform me that I also have voucher to buy clothes and toiletries I need, that are valid until the delivery of the luggage.

I go to the exit to take the shuttle that I rented online, along with other passengers who are heading to Manhattan. Luckily, because with the delay I have, I already saw myself taking a taxi. The journey of about 40 minutes on the shuttle is almost a touristic tour of Manhattan, as my accommodation is the last stop.

I begin to get an idea of ​​the enormity of this city. The lights, the traffic and the people make me dumbfounded as we move towards Chelsea. The hostel is well located for what I see, with subway stops. At the time I arrive at the hostel, I have time to register, see the room, ask me to store my luggage when they bring it and a little more.

The most spartan room is old but clean, about 6 square meters, with a single bed, a locker without lock (I bring mine) and a tap with running water. The sink is in the front door, for all the rooms on the floor, and the shower, also common to the entire floor, to turn the corner in the hall. On the lower floor is the dining room and common area, with access to a patio.

Once set, I go for a walk and have some dinner. The thing about buying some clothes is not going to work, because all the stores at this time are closed. I'm too tired to kick around looking for some. So I go to the 8th and I get into the first Deli I see. I take a cheesesteak and a beer and I go to the hostel to rest.

The neighborhood seems lively, as there are many people on the street despite the cold. As soon as I finish eating, I lay down in bed, to wait for the effects of jetlag. I fall asleep right away.

Day 2

At about 7 in the morning the alarm clock sounds to remind me that I am in New York, and without clothes. I put what I had on the flight and I go to reception to see if there is luck and my luggage has arrived. It's here, so I take it to my suite and I take a shower before going down to breakfast with bun, fruit and coffee and start my walk around New York.

My first destination, which I intend to walk, is the Empire State Building, one of the essentials in any visit to NYC. I try to get used to the traffic, the hustle and bustle of the streets at all hours and the network of streets and avenues. Without realizing it, I come to the corner of 5th Avenue and 23rd Street, that is Flatiron Building.

The plank design of the building is particular and interesting and I take the opportunity to take my first photos. The light of the early hour give a special color to the building located at the crossing point of 5th Avenue, Broadway and 23rd Street, just across from Madison Square Park (not Garden).

Satisfied by the first sight, I continue climbing up 5th Avenue, looking up at the sky to see the tip of the most emblematic building in history. I know it has to be around here, but since I have not studied the area very much, I do not get it almost until I get inside by accident, in the 5th with the 34th.

Before 9 o'clock in the morning there is a long queue and a couple of Japanese buses wait to get in. So I ask the attendant if there is a reservation and she replies that it is not necessary. I just stand in line with the others while the explanation of the building that takes place on the ground floor lasts.

After paying the entry fee I pass the security control, in which they keep my multipurpose knife until the descent. I enter with a group of tourists of different nationalities in the elevator that leave us on the 86th floor. The viewpoint rises over Manhattan from its building again higher since the attacks of 9/11.

The day is very clear and the view is spectacular, as expected. I see the Statue of Liberty to the southwest, the Brooklyn Bridge to the southeast, the Chrysler to the northeast and Central Park far to the north. I swell to take pictures of the landscape and to ask other amazed tourists to immortalize me with the city at my feet.

Of course, it is chilly cold as an incessant and icy wind pass in the four viewpoints that surround the building. After a while I go down and get into the store that is just in front of the entrance, to buy my first souvenirs of keychain and Yankee cap! With the coat drawn to the eyebrows, down the 5th I go to the hostel to leave the clutter.

I then go back out and go to the metro station of the 7th with 23rd. I leave the subway and get into a clothing store, where I browse and buy jeans and a dozen socks. I admit, I am a compulsive buyer. With the change in my pocket and after another trip to the hostel to leave the package, I return to the subway.

This time I triumph and I already have the pass in my possession. The operation of the metro is relatively simple (except weekend nights. The only thing more or less complicated, is to guess if the train is local or express. The first one makes all the stops, while the second one skips several of them.

Anyway, I get on one to Harlem. The intention is to go around there, see the Apollo theater and go down Central Park. As soon as I get off the subway at the station, I find myself face to face with General Grant's Tomb, on Riverside Drive, next to the Hudson River.

The park is snowy, but not much, and I take a walk without entering the monument or the Riverside Church. I head to the Apollo Theater, at 125, between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. I go down the avenues to the south, crossing from east to west from time to time (and vice versa).

I reach the northwest entrance of Central Park, after having crossed the Morningside Park and pass in front of St. Luke's Hospital and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, leaving Columbia University in oblivion. I get in Central Park and go wandering through the hundreds of roads that cross it in all directions, until reaching the height of 81st Street.

Here I decide to take refuge from the cold by spending some time in the American Museum of Natural History, star of several movies. Lots of pictures of dioramas and skeletons later, and quite tired already, I go out and I take a sandwich in one of the many street bars that are found throughout the city.

I continue further south to the Dakota building, residence of the late John Lennon. Already in the park, more or less at the same height, I see the Strawberry Fields, dedicated to the memory of the author of Imagine (among others). I go further south, and see one of the Trump Towers, next to the Columbus Circle, with a statue of Columbus included.

We went to browse in the spectacular Apple store. As if it were the Louvre, the store is below ground level and accessed by a glass cube in the style of the Pei pyramid.

The fatigue wins the battle finally and I get into a subway entrance to go to Penn Station. Here I walk around Madison Square Garden and walk down to the hostel. After a well-deserved rest, I go for a final round to find some place to dine. After a couple of streets from the hostel, I get into a pizzeria where they serve some gigantic portions of various types of pizza.

On the way back, I can see the Empire State building in the distance, illuminated by the colors of the Irish flag at the top.

Bundi - A Day in the Fort, Palace and Bollywood Cinema

My trip to Rajasthan was a few years ago, but I still remember each experience as if it were yesterday. It was all chaos, but it is precisely this that I love in this country, that there are almost no rules. So it fits very well with my rebellious nature. On the way between Jaisalmer and Jodhpur, we could see the harshness of rural life in the state of Rajasthan, similar to rural life in many other countries.

As always, the bus from Jaisalmer left us outside the city and from there we took a Tuc Tuc to a kind of market square in the old town of the city. As always, the Tuc Tuc driver insisted that we tell him the hotel we were going to. For what? Because they take you and earn a commission, which means that the room costs more to you than it costs.

That is why we always avoid them and look for accommodation on our own, but sometimes they become so heavy that it is difficult to get rid of them. One knows that they are doing their business, but if you can avoid them much better.

We dedicate ourselves to find a place. Almost all the guesthouses are the same. There are steep stairs, very basic rooms and a terrace-restaurant overlooking the fort. So we chose one of the cheapest.

Day 2

Life happens more slowly in Bundi, so there was no rush to get up that morning. Not even for the breakfast, since it was not included and, even though there was no other plan to do nothing, it was a special day. Bundi is a small city that is about four hours drive from Jaipur and barely appears on the routes through Rajasthan. We put it on the map thanks to a good friend, who recommended it to us as a quiet and authentic place to rest for a few days.

Each day, when the first rays of sunlight illuminated our window, the macaques that live on top of the fort descended in disarray towards the town of Bundi to look for food. The problem was that they went down so uncontrollably, that one ended up slamming against our window with a loud bang while I took my morning shower. From some room the bollywood songs played on TV adds to the noise.

At the top is the Bundi Palace, and above it, the Bundi fort. We did not really want to visit this fort, but since we were there, we decided to go up to see it after breakfast. We left the hotel after breakfast toast, butter, jams and juices, almost constant breakfast in all the hotels.

The city is divided into two parts. In the upper part are the palace and fort, with hotels and tourist shops at its feet, decorated with paintings. In the lower part, the market and the daily life of the city are located. Bundi also stands out for having houses painted blue, like Jodhpur. Although being smaller the blue spot that is distinguished in the distance is more diminutive.

As soon as we left, we found ourselves with a kind of procession of a multitude of colorful women that followed a man and a boy riding a horse. It, in turn, followed a small van with loudspeakers and bollywood music at full volume.

Keeping the distances, we went along the march until in a park we met some men who told us they were going to the temple for the ceremony of a five-year-old. From what I could understand when babies are born their hair is cut and when they are 3 or 5 years old they are cut again in a temple ceremony. When they told us it was a ceremony in the temple, I was quite reluctant to go. Or maybe it was because the temple was a kilometer away and my feet did not want to take another step.

The only way to access it is on foot. No rickshaw took pity on us and did not want to take us to the top. Maybe the hill is too steep for the modest power of the engines of these vehicles to climb. So, as we could do well, we climbed the hellish slope.

When we finally reached the top, we found the ticket office at the gates of the palace. We only paid for one of the cameras. The Bundi Palace until recently could not be visited. I guess when the old royal family, who is the owner, saw that the city was beginning to be a bit visible on the tourist map of Rajasthan, she thought it would be a good idea to give the management to a private company to raise a few rupees.

In fact, the palace has a lot of charm, although they still have a lot of reconstruction work ahead of them. The palace is accessed through the elephant gate and inside we can see Krishna paintings and some very beautiful murals. Without a doubt, the best thing of all is to be able to contemplate some great views of the city. At the foot of the palace, there is a sea of ​​blue and ocher houses.

Upon leaving the palace, we decided to continue the ascent towards the fort. While we were heading to the exit of the palace, one of the guards approached us and offered to sell us a wooden stick for 10 rupees to be able to scare away the more than a thousand monkeys that roamed the area in case they decided to attack us.

If nevertheless, we said no, that we were not worried about the issue. But then he counterattacked, explaining exactly the same story but increasing the number of monkeys to more than 10,000. We did not bother and we told him not to worry and that if we saw some monkey with bad intentions, he would take a memorial stone.

Then we turned around and continued on our way while the man continued with the same song, perhaps increasing even more the number of macaques that awaited us. A few meters above, is the palace of women . It is very beautiful and the exterior has very well-kept gardens. Too bad you can not visit inside. There we sat for a while to rest, since it was very hot.

I had not mentioned it to you, but the last few days, during the midday heat, the weather pressed and reached high temperatures to be in January, although at night it was still cold. After recovering a bit, we continued our expensive climb to visit the fort. There was still a good stretch to the fort, when a guard warned us that we had to pay 100 rupees for the entrance and another 50 rupees for the camera.

Bundi - A Day in the Fort, Palace and Bollywood Cinema

Seeing the long stretch of ascent that we had left and the heat, we decided turn around and go find a cool Coke. By the way, during the whole ascent and its subsequent descent we did not find any monkeys. One of the most difficult things to endure was the lack of hygiene. I am very careful with what I eat, with what I touch before eating and with the hygiene that surrounds everything that comes in contact with my food.

For example, having a Coca-Cola, which seems to be something quite simple, ends up becoming an odyssey when the glass they bring us is filthy. The straw has a luster five years ago and the mouthpiece of the bottle is so scabby that we cannot clean them with five wet wipes. Solution? Finish by filling the empty water bottle with Coca-Cola. Paranoid? Yes, but we did not suffer the famous Delhi Belly throughout the trip.

About 2:30 pm we go to a restaurant with air conditioning where we ate well, calm and fresh. With the recovered forces, we decided to go down to the market and take a walk around there. The Bundi market is very lively and has many traveling stops of bracelets, bindis, fruits and vegetables. It also has many fabric stores where we stop to buy several things.

In these stores there is no bargaining, but in a sign it is already indicates that the prices are fixed. We also went into a small grocery store to buy incense. So we ended up crossing the counter of the small store and ended up spending almost 200 rupees in incense. Surely we were the big clients of the day. After the compulsive shopping, we went to visit the Rajasthan tourist information office, which is near the bus station.

The office occupies a new building and the truth is that the person who works there is very efficient. He explained everything we could visit in Bundi besides the palace. He gave us a map and indicated a small lake located about 15 minutes by rickshaw. As we did not have anything better to do, we stopped a rickshaw and agreed to pay 80 rupees to go to the lake.

The driver had a cocky look that reminded me of the Chuck Norris of the seventies movies. The lake itself was beautiful, the adjoining mountain reflected in the water and created a very photogenic effect. However, all this was marred by the amount of dirt in the water. We were walking around a bit and our driver, who wanted to make sure we were back with us, was explaining things about the place.

Finally, we told him to take us to the hotel to rest a little before going to the cinema. Yes, we went to the cinema. It's something I like to do when I'm on vacation. Like in Jakarta I saw Eat pray love. We did not want to miss the opportunity to go to the movies and watch a Bollywood movie.

I had been seeing posters and trailers of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, and they were just showing it in the Bundi cinema hall. The theatre is right next to the tourist office and has three types of arrangement. There is one where you sit on the floor for 20 rupees, one to sit in a seat worth 45 and one for the boxes with "a little more" privacy for 60 rupees. We sat in the box, but we did not go unnoticed at all.

While we waited to enter, there were many young guys in small groups, and a couple of girlfriends. They stood by keeping the distance, while we waited to enter the cinema, and the girls sat next to me all dressed up for the date. Out of the corner of our eyes we looked at each other with curiosity, trying not to be seen by each other. One was wearing her best sari, all full of bracelets and a few jewels borrowed and with henna tattoos on her feet.

The plot of the film was not very complicated to follow. There is a very cute guy and a girl who go on a trek to Manali, fall in love, and sing a ballad in the hills. Then comes the return and separation of the lovebirds due to the aspirations of the guy to travel the world while the girl prefers a more homely life.

The movie, like almost all of Bollywood, was quite long. Although perhaps the ridiculous thing was the people who turned to take pictures with their phones and flash in the darkness of the room. When we left, a group of girls approached us, really surprised that we were from outside but had gone to see a film.

Bundi - the Blue City in Rajasthan

Actually, everyone there is very curious and has no qualms about asking anything. It usually does not bother me, but sometimes it gets a little heavy. The worst thing was that when we told them we would return to the hotel in tuk-tuk (more to get rid of them than to not walk). So, for a few minutes, we went like a can of sardines until we left them at home. And we pay, of course.

Despite having slept and having a relaxed day, I was still extremely tired. One of the things that most impressed me here is the fantastic colors, very vivid and striking with which men and women dress, regardless of age. That and the smell of spices. It is common to see artisans working in the street, where they expose their objects to sell them.

In one small shop that we enter, they offer us that wonderful tea, the Masala Chai, which is prepared with milk and lots of sugar. At that point, I decided to have an Ayurvedic massage. The city has a considerable number of establishments that offer massages for tourists. In the end, we agreed to do an Ayurvedic massage and we agreed to go to the clinic a few hours later.

To spend time, we went to visit the lake that is in the city. It is next to a park and we saw that it was full of crap, which took away all the charm. Even so, we took advantage of the warmth and sit on a bench to sunbathe. Then we went to the clinic. We sit at the table with the doctor talk about life and its banalities. Sometimes, it's like when you meet someone in the elevator and you do not know what to talk about.

After the talk, we went to the room, where there were two stretchers and two women ready. The doctor told us that they would give us the massage and he left, which I understood when they told us to take off 90% of the clothes and lie on the stretchers. About the Ayurvedic massage, I think it was better than Bali since at least it did not hurt. The masseuses rubbed their hands with a lot of oil and massaged our bodies with light pressure on the muscles. It would have been ideal if it were not for the intense cold in the room and that made it almost impossible to relax.

In a kind of pub next to the Bundi hotel and in which there is air conditioning and a karaoke, we had a cool beer and we rested a bit listening to several best Bollywood songs of the 80s and 90s. The beer is, of course, the famous Kingfisher Strong variety, very good in flavor and a "tad" strong although we are already accustomed to Belgian beers, most also high graduation.

When we finished, we paid and then went to find a good restaurant to dine. While we were walking, we looked at the hotel restaurant that we had in front of ours. It was small, very cute and the tables even had tablecloths, so we decided to have dinner there.

The menu was mushroom soup to warm up and Chana Aloo Masala, a stew of potato and chickpea that itched much more than what the waiter had told us. Like the day, the evening was calm and relaxed.

We return to the hotel and after a good, well deserved and relaxing shower we go to sleep. It's 10:30 pm. We've been up since 8:00 and we have not stopped all day. Tomorrow we will continue the visit to Jaipur. We still have the continuous noise in our ears and it is difficult for us to sleep, but in the end we can get tired and fall asleep, as the air conditioning is all or nothing, and there is no way to regulate it.

Travel in the Cedar Fragrance of Kashmir

The exodus to the north began. Our plan to flee to the mountains is taking shape after our trip through Calcutta and Delhi. Our first stop will be in Kashmir. This region has 2 capitals, one for winter (Jammu) and another for summer (Srinagar). The objective is clear, to enter the Himalayas and enjoy, even for a while, its low temperatures.

We had 2 options to go by plane or by land (train to Jammu and then start going on mountain roads, if they were open). As a consequence of our way of traveling, trying to cover as many places as possible, we chose the second option, taking charge of how unviable it could be. Some of the discomforts of traveling by land at some point seduces us. We did not doubt it much and we took a train ticket to Jammu, our first stop in this exodus to the north.

Day 1 - Train to Jammu

The train to Jammu left early in the morning, at about 5 hours. We wanted to give the train a second chance since the first one had not been very pleasant. We left from a station much smaller than Delhi. The chaos was not so much. It did not sound so bad, but (There is always a but in all the stories). We arrived and the train was not announced. I was late. I ended up arriving at the station two hours later.

It took us a while to find the corresponding platform, and once we did, we discovered that we did not have assigned seats. We looked at each other, and chose random seats, assuming they would get us out of there at any time. Without knowing it, we ended up choosing not just a few seats of a train. We do not know well what we chose, but those seats resignified, in a certain way, our encounter.

Finally, we escaped the heat of Rajasthan, and I say "finally" although I liked Rajasthan very much. After several days enduring as much as 42-degree temperature, the body asked for respite. Amritsar is already behind, and the heat pushes us to the mountains.

A young boy sat before us. He smiles at us but the first part of the journey is treated with a cordial and distant dialogue. Within two hours of starting, and after having made numerous stops, the train stops. They announce that it will be there for at least one hour, under the midday sun. The young man tells us to get off and take a taxi. We did not know where we are. So again we dedicate ourselves to wait.

We wait. At the time the train starts. At the next station a marriage group board the train. They look at us and tell us something in Punjabi. I smile at them as a sign of having no idea what he is saying. The lady insists and points to the free seats. We tried to start a dialogue. The young man who had gone down earlier arrives at the minute.

From that moment the young man became the translator. Above all, she was very interested in us. She asked questions, which came to us translated. We answered and the answer was translated again. Despite the difficulty of the communication the lady did not stop looking at us and smiling.

We do not know very well how in those seats that did not correspond to us, a kind of everyday life was formed to which we were not accustomed. They asked us things, but they also told us other things. The young boy showed us pictures of his family and his work. They asked that we show them our photos. It's time to introduce ourselves. Our names were as difficult as we were for theirs, except for the lady.

The lady who looked at us and smiled at us, and with whom, in a certain way, we understood ourselves beyond the language. She told us that we were nice, and hugged us. She asked us if we were married. We laughed, we did not know what to say. Of course, we are not married but here the marriage has another value. The conversation continued.

After a while, before arriving at the destination she takes out her wallet. She also tells us that she will dedicate her morning prayers for our safety.

We arrived in Jammu. We said goodbye with a hug knowing that we would never see each other again, but at least we would not forget them so easily. We want to continue in the direction of Srinagar, but the sun is already leaning on the horizon. On a car, we make it out of Jammu and are just before sunset on the highway to Udhampur, on the way to Srinagar.

In Udhampur we find accommodation with some difficulty. All hotels and guesthouses are fully booked. Only in a dark, run-down part of Udhampur, we find a hotel room.

The next morning we are again at the roadside and it does not take long. Our driver makes sure that there is not a minute of silence inside the car. It's only 230 kilometers from Udhampur to Srinagar, but we'll need a whopping 15 hours to complete the route. After just a few minutes of driving together, we are stuck in the first traffic jam. We do not move two inches from the spot for two hours.

We fall into a trance just like our driver's never-ending monologues. But at some point, all that is over. We leave the mountains and drive into Kashmir. Srinagar and the sprawling Dal Lake are in front of us.

Kashmir travel images wallpaper

Day 2 - Arrival in Srinagar

We arrived in Srinagar tired and are eager to start seeing a little more in the places we visited. So many kilometers and so many means of transport in a few days exhaust enough. The first thing that catches our attention is the prevailing security. Although it does not bother me as nothing seems to suggest that the situation is currently unstable.

We get off the bus and start walking looking for a group that brings us closer to the city. We get on with some in the car without knowing where we are going. The first thing that caught our attention was the lake. The landscape that appeared before us did not correspond to what we were seeing and knowing about India. Dal lake is accompanied by mountains and snowy peaks.

We stopped at Dal Lake and climbed to a shikara, a typical boat like the Venetian gondola, which is used for transport, both of goods and people. A boat that circulates around the lake takes us from the mainland to the houseboats. In the period between the 1960s and 70s, the houseboats of Srinagar experienced a moment of great fame when George Harrison (one of the Beatles) met Ravi Shankar to play the sitar.

We arrive at one that is quite good and the bargaining begins. Finally, after the uncertainty and haggling, we book for 3 nights with lunch, dinner, and excursions. It was the last days of Ramadan and the mosque next door would compulsively sound the prayers at a disproportionate volume for one hour each night, from 3 to 4 in the morning. The houseboat has several rooms. There is a large double room at one end.

There are other spacious rooms along with a corridor and a dining room and a living room at the other end. It goes to the terrace of the boat that overlooks the lake. Here I had a cup of tea in the Kashmiri style (terribly addictive) with almonds and cardamom and some bread.

From Srinagar, there is a kind of boulevard with shops on one side and a lakeside walk on the other side from where the shikaras are taken to go to the houseboats. From our houseboat, we take a ride in the shikara. During the boat ride, we see its old canals, the houses of the people. An imposing fortress, the Hari Parbat, completely dominates the city from the top of a nearby hill.

Srinagar lends itself to be walked, and we did it, knowing in passing the attractions of the place. The cold felt good, for the first time we had used a diver, and also a jacket! Srinagar is a city full of mosques like Jama Masjid with posters in Urdu. We walk through the old city to the green mosque, which is under construction because it was burned down two years ago.

Among all the mosques, Hazratbal stands out not for its charm but for its importance, as there is a relic of the hair of the beard of the prophet Muhammad. My visit was merely anecdotal: the classic "I was here and I took my picture", to continue with what I really like. It is to get lost in the city and converse with its inhabitants who, by the way, are of a hospitality that disarms.

We no longer saw temples or Sikhs walking down the street. The women and the different types of veils do not stop calling our attention. There are some who are all covered in the burka, where we cannot see their eyes. There are others whose eyes can be seen. There are still others who just cover their mouth and some more daring just cover their hair. Another new culture presented itself to us.

We approach the tomb of Jesus Christ. Yes, the tomb of Christ or his "alternative" grave, to be totally accurate. I had read several times about this legend of Rozabal. Not only did I find it locked with a padlock every time I went, but they also did not let me take any photographs of the building. At least I can say that the windows are open. They are large enough to see perfectly inside, where the coffin is located and where the body of Christ supposedly rests.

From there we go to Nageen Lake, which is spectacular. Water lilies are hunted by the winter. Their flowers completely bloomed are withering. The stems and the lotus leaves, stylized as in an Art Nouveau decoration, emerge from the mist, with tendrils laden with pink flowers like the sunset. Another thin shikara with canopy appears in the distance, then disappears and reappears like a ghost.

It passes beside us silently, occupied by a figure lying wearily on a sofa. This watery paradise evokes the Victorian romanticism. The haze thins out, revealing a sumptuous backdrop of mountains. There is the Pir Panjal. The guide takes us to a demonstration of making carpets even though I asked him not to do it. The gentleman tells me that if I do not want carpets, maybe I want pashmina shawl, sweaters or handkerchiefs.

Watching the lake from the houseboat, at night, is a marvel. Through the wide open windows, we can admire Dal Lake, and the full moon over the mountains that frame the wonderful view of the water, beyond which lies the region of Ladakh. The only noise that is heard comes from the splashing of the shikaras that cross the river. Srinagar was also the first place where we could sleep well, without so much heat.

Kashmir travel images wallpaper

Day 3 - Srinagar - Pahalgam

Although it was not the chaos of Delhi and for the first time we woke up listening to birds and not horns, it is still the capital of a region. A question that pushed us to continue with our exodus to the north that has a purpose to enter the imposing Himalayas.

The man with whom I had made the trip the day before was waiting for me at the door at five o'clock. At that time the sun was barely beginning to peek out from behind the mountains. There was no sound but that of the birds. It seemed that in the city no one is alive more than those animals, me and the Kashmiri who accompanied me.

Also, it was cold. Luckily the boatman was ready for everything and soon he offered me a thick blanket in which I wrapped like a silkworm. While to myself I thought it was better that the floating market was not one of those tourist shows where souvenirs are displayed. I confess to being a person of slow and difficult awakenings.

As the sikhara began to travel the empty channels, my attitude changed completely. It was due to the silence, the solitude, the magic of that scenario. That was a luxury, and I soon admitted that I did not care where they took me. If I did not like it, I would not repeat it but the mere fact of having enjoyed the sunrise in Srinagar in that way had been worth the lost hours of sleep.

Finally, we arrived at the famous floating market. At the junction between two channels, six or seven men, no more, chatted as they drank tea and smoked in their wooden boats. The total absence of women led me to think that we had arrived too early, which was partly true.

As the minutes passed, more and more men arrived, each on board their own sikhara. They talk loudly, negotiate and exchange fruits for vegetables, vegetables for fruits, or sacks of mysterious content. But there was no woman among them, except some tourist accompanied by her husband who, like me, watched the scene from his sikhara.

I do not know how long we stayed there, but I estimate that it was not less than an hour and a half. It was fascinating and embarrassing at the same time. Embarrassing because, in order not to lose anything, my boatman did not hesitate to break through the vendors. He stood in the very center of the swarm, and the feeling of being a tourist did not leave me. Despite this, the experience was authentic and genuine. I was so happy that I found myself unable to erase the stupid smile on my face until we left.

We returned following those same merchants who, with their duty, returned home to breakfast with their families. The channels, once empty, began to be populated by boats with women on the way to the market. We take a shikara to be at 10 on land and go to Pahalgam. We arrived at about 12. It is a mountain station with extraordinary landscapes.

We decided to climb in a pony, and thank goodness, because the climb is rigorous and the road is treacherous in some sections. We are accompanied by two kids, one for each horse. As the upper lake cannot be accessed and we do not want to spend five hours on horseback, we take the short route. There are very nice places and we end up in a fantastic meadow full of tourists. On the way, we find people who take photos with bunnies, sheep, etc.

We trek through the surrounding mountains, among gypsies and Kashmiri shepherds. We also visit a small hamlet of farmers, in the house where our guide lived with his family. They gave us a room, where we sit in a large carpet that covered the floor. We spend the afternoon with the children of the family, teaching them card games and learning their own. We tasted the tasty cuisine prepared by the lady of the house.

We then go on our way back to Srinagar on the banks of the Jhelum. We take a little walk around there and we go to look at small shops before retiring with the shikara to the houseboat. Above the shore of the lake, the sun goes down and we enjoy Kahwa from a colonial-looking porcelain cup. Our feet dangle over the water and with them our deeply relaxed souls. It was another great night with magnificent views and the beers provided by the landlord, upon request.

Kashmir travel images wallpaper

Day 4 - Srinagar - Gulmarg

Today we start at 9:30 with the driver to go to the ski resort of Gulmarg. The shikara makes the journey in 5-10 minutes. The road to Gulmarg is meandering. We catch the tail of a warm weather and snowstorm when we arrived in Gulmarg. Soaked to the skin by the rain and, as a result of which our car could not continue, we trek the last 100 meters uphill. At the entrance to the resort, it is mandatory to take a guide. We decide on moving on a gondola. And after going up, of course to the top of Apharwat Peak, it was worth it. The landscapes looked like the Alps.

After about an hour of breathless walking, with lungs and legs burning, we arrived at a broad, intact and north-face that allowed us to carve, cut and crawl through 20-30cm of fresh snow. From there we ski through extensive open powder snowfields, agricultural villages and with perfectly spaced tree tracks, to the dirt track that leads to one of the several military bases that disperse the area.

The breathtaking landscape, without words, reminded me at certain moments to the alpine landscape of Switzerland, but at the same time, everything is very different. After arriving at the top of everything, at an altitude of 4,300 meters, we could hardly breathe. There was little to walk and the only thing was to see those breathtaking views of the mountains. After descending again by the cable car, and having a coffee, it was almost three thirty in the afternoon.

We return to take ponies. The road is very beautiful with rivers, and meadows. Once up it starts to rain and it's cold so we take a few soups and take the opportunity to eat lamb, finally! When it stops raining, we start the descent, faster, in which yes the guide accompanies us. The trip back to Srinagar is 1 hour and when we arrive we visit the Mughal gardens.

I visited the Cheshmashahi, Nishat and Shalimar, each with its own history and even esoteric meaning. Nishat Bagh, is very beautiful, with several terraces of gardens facing the lake. It leads me to think that if Kashmir has earned the title of "Paradise on Earth" it is largely because of them. However, Sishara, is small and simple. It was not worth much.

In the evening we go shopping in the city. At night while returning back the light went off, and I cannot tell how I felt at that moment. When the light went off they lit torches in all the street stalls. It gives a sensation of being in the middle ages, with the insecurity of the territory where we were. To me, however, I loved the feeling.

We arrived at the houseboat that had prepared a typical Kashmiri dinner with fish curry and saffron pilaf rice that was delicious. We went to sleep after chatting a bit in the living room. We turned on the heaters and the electric blankets on the beds so that we were warm.

Kashmir travel images wallpaper

Day 5 - Sonamarg

On the fourth day, we started the retreat. Our next goal was Leh, and the road by land would take us two lucky days. The distance was not much, about 500 km, but the road was winding. We decided to do it step by step.

Our first stop was in Sonamarg, about 100 km away. It is a small town between mountains that is characterized by having a glacier and lots of snow with postcard landscapes. We went there, walked to the glacier and slipped in the snow. Sonamarg is not just snow or fun. We were struck by the large military base that counts (it was neither the first nor the last we saw).

Kashmir travel images wallpaper

Day 6 - Kargil

The next day we left for Kargil. It is the second and last stop on our way to Leh. We waited all morning for a bus that never arrived. We ended up sharing a taxi with other people. The trip should have last about 5 hours, but it ends up being much more. After we left Sonamarg, a landslide stopped us. It forced us to stand while the machines are working. People took advantage to take pictures in the middle of so much snow landscape. The military ordered the wait. After an hour, and already tired of waiting, we continue our trip.

A few kilometers later we encountered another problem. A large amount of snow had collapsed on the road blocking the way. Our feeling was of concern, for having to keep waiting. But the feeling of the others was different. They got off happily from the cars to go to take pictures of the snow. There we realized how different our conceptions are. We were in a hurry to get to the side while others, in the same situation, saw the glass as half full.

Something that surprised us was the number of local tourists. Yes, many but many who spent their summer holidays here. There are women with saree with their snow boots. We wait for the machines, together with the game of snow and photos. The trip to Kargil continued normally. The only thing is we arrived late. We got a place to sleep. We ate something and went to bed thinking that the next day, at 4:30 am, we continue our trip to Leh.

I think back to Kashmir as a dream from which we would not want to wake up. It will perhaps be for the enchanted atmosphere of the lakes of Srinagar, in which the clear blue profiles of the snow-capped mountains are reflected. Staying in a houseboat in the Dal Lake, which in spring is covered with floating mats of water lily, was a unique experience. In my memory, it is still linked to fresh, resinous scent of wood cedar of the Himalayas, the essence of where these romantic floating houses are made.

Journey through Dras - Second Coldest Place in the World

Finally, we finally decided to hit the road again. This is the life of the traveler. There comes a day when one have to leave to go further. Saying goodbye is not always easy but I think we keep the best of each place and each person met. The memories are engraved.

We learn a lot, and then further there will be something else to learn or to live. Travel is the school of life. It's getting to the point. I can say that I have a good life. I gave myself the means to live my dreams. I had the motivation to get out of a system that consists in losing my life to want to win. I prefer to live all simply.

The Enfield is well loaded, almost a bit too much, but I have a good driver. It is a four hours drive through the imposing mountains, and yellow, mauve, red, big pebbles, and sand dunes. A colorful desert punctuated oasis of life where each river passes. How beautiful! We never tire of these sumptuous landscapes offered by Ladakh!

In each village, we are greeted with a smile. The children hit us. The road workers shout Jullay to greet us. We would almost feel like heroes. Lamayuru is at the heart of breathtaking lunar landscapes. One would think to dream as so much it is magnificent and unreal! We rolled on the moon.

Journey through Dras - Second Coldest Place in the World

Day 1 - Dras

When we wake up, after a night in Lamayuru, it's raining hard. The rainfall in Ladakh is equal to the Sahara, but with climate change, it rains more and more in recent years. It represents a real danger for homes that are not built to support as much rain.

We took the opportunity to visit the monastery and fill ourselves with good energies. With other travelers we shared good times to discuss, to drink chai, to eat, to play chess and to drink chai again.

With the bike loaded, we decided to take the road to Kargil but the rain decided to follow us and the gusts of wind. We are encouraged by the signs along the way on the BRO boards that say when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.

After arriving at Kargil, it's like a little shock. Here we are back in the everyday India. This India is different from the one we had taken a vacation in Ladakh where everything is so quiet and peaceful. Here again begins the life full of thrills! At every corner a surprise arises. There are the colors, the smells, the noise, the horns sometimes unbearable, and the swarming crowd.

We continue the road after Kargil, in the rain and the wind. We move towards Dras in a setting that is more and more away from Ladakh. The further we go, the more we feel that Ladakh is already far behind us. Dras is the coldest habitable place in the world after Oymyakon in Siberia.

At night our neighbors on the top floor were so noisy that it was hard to sleep. Indeed, a bunch of rats partied upstairs doing funny noises all night long. It seemed that there was a big move over our head. In short in India, you should always expect everything and especially to be sometimes disturbed by more or less friendly critters.

Journey through Dras - Second Coldest Place in the World

Day 2 - Srinagar

We quickly understood why Dras is the second coldest inhabited place in the world after taking the road towards the Zojila pass (3529 meters) which separates Ladakh from Kashmir. It was a terrible weather and the road was difficult, certainly more difficult than the Manali to Leh road.

It was a great feat of driving our bike on such roads in such weather! We will remember that for sure! That's the adventure! We remember better the most difficult and painful moments, certainly because they reinforce us even more.

At the foot of the Zoji La, under the gusts of wind and rain, ice cold to the bones, we meet shepherds with their flocks of goats and sheep on the road. They make us sign that we are crazy! I'm almost scared. What is waiting for us? How is the road? I hope that behind this mountain there is a wonderful sun that will warm us up.

I regularly move my icy fingers as I pick up the wind in the face. How do we drive between mud and pebbles? Driving such a loaded bike is not easy. It is not always easy to enjoy the landscape. We must follow the movement of the bike, cling in the difficult parts and in the hairpin bends. But I'm less afraid than in a local bus and traveling by motorbike is a fantastic experience!

Arriving at the top of the pass, we have in front of us Kashmir. There is a brilliant green landscape, imposing mountains topped with clouds, and a blue sky which can be seen in the distance. A descent on a narrow, muddy path, with needle turns along the cliff is waiting for us. We understand better why the shepherds have treated us crazy now. This road promises to be terrible!

At the top, we are greeted by soldiers with bullet-proof vests and carrying their submachine guns. We see lots of soldiers stationed there in this cold and clueless place. They are preparing a chai out there by the side of the road and they are happy to have a little company. Salamalekum Kashmir! It is a rather surprising welcome to our arrival in Kashmir we will not forget soon.

After a descent through Zoji La, we are finally on the best asphalt roads. We pass through landscapes of brilliant green, beautiful blue rivers, fields of wheat and rice surrounded by snow-capped peaks. How beautiful! It looks like the Swiss Alps, but more imposing, greener, more idyllic, and more perfect.

We stop at Sonamarg, a small tourist town planted in a superb mountain scenery. We meet a houseboat owner who offers to follow him to Srinagar. There, we discover a real little paradise, a nice family, and a houseboat on Dal Lake. Dal Lake is often compared to Venice, with its floating gardens, lotus flowers and water lilies.

We are in a more luxurious boat and our boat is more rudimentary but cosy and charming. On the more luxurious houseboat, there is what we dreamed during the whole trip by motorcycle! Comfortably lying in my hammock on the small deck of the shikara, I let myself daydream in front of the idyllic view. I imagine a lake reflecting like a mirror, an old wooden boat floating on the water, surrounded by water lilies, reeds, a few ducks, and fishes jumping.

The sound of cicadas and the song of the mosque that rang around me five times a day gives the place an even more special atmosphere. Sitting on a wooden pontoon I try to fish with a lot of patience but unfortunately there will be no fish for tonight on the menu.

As we walk in the moonlight on the lake, I become almost a good shikara man. I now manage to paddle on one side without the boat turn on itself. My job is to draw the water that comes into this old boat all rotten! We wander the night on the lake in an old boat in a romantic atmosphere!

Journey through Dras - Second Coldest Place in the World

Day 3 - Jammu

The alarm clock rings in the morning. The locals get up at 4am! It's Ramadan, so they fast from 7am to 7pm! They pray 5 times a day. It's a strange concert to hear the sound of the mosques that sounded all around us, it gives an even more special atmosphere to the place. At the floating market, early in the morning at 5am, we ride in a boat in a traffic jam of boats filled with vegetables and fruits.

We move today to a charming and rather small houseboat on the Nageen lake, a small lake next to the famous Dal Lake. In a decor dating from the British era, we admire the spectacle of eagles flying over the lake, ducks, shikara, and colorful boats. Some merchants desperately try to sell us handicrafts but they soon realized that we were not good shopping tourists.

We buy walnut and green chilis. Then we spent hours drinking the Kava. Today we decided to take the motorcycle route back to Jammu and Amritsar. Unfortunately, as every time we want to hit the road, the rain starts to fall as if to tell us to stay a little longer. The journey continues towards Amritsar.

Travel to Lakme Fashion Week in India

When traveling to India, you will not only be able to see monuments, beautiful palaces, and ancient temples. You will also have the possibility of acquiring footwear, clothing and jewelry of excellent quality. Up to four big weeks of fashion are held in India. There is the India Fashion Week, Delhi Fashion Week, Lakme Fashion week. These are some of the fashion events that you will be able to witness on your trip to India.

The fashion weeks take place in the main capitals of the world with the objective that the designers, consecrated or nobelle, show their next collections to the public. The first one took place in New York back in 1943, in the middle of the World War II. It was after the great attention that French fashion attracted among the Americans. And because of the impediment of traveling to Paris to know the latest trends.

Currently the most important events of this kind take place precisely in those known as Fashion Capitals, being New York, London, Paris, and Milan. These names have been joined in recent years by many other cities around the world, as is the case of India. India debuted in the Fashion Week at the beginning of this century with India Fashion Week (2000). It was held in New Delhi and in the following year followed the Mumbai Fashion Week.

Today, the most reputable is located in Bombay. It is known as Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW), due to the recent sponsorship of the cosmetic firm Lakmé. It is an event that takes place twice a year. So designers can show their spring-summer collections first, then autumn-winter collections. This event was created by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI). It was attended by international designers and models such as Louis Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli and Naomi Campbell, among others. In addition there are reputed Indian designers such as Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani or Ritu Beri.

Another great appointment with the Indian fashion sector is in New Delhi. It is now known as Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW). It is held biannually and organized by the FDCI, although in this case sponsored by the firm Wills Lifestyle. Some of the designers who have marched through its catwalk are Anupama Dayal, Asmita Marwa, Sabyasachi Mukherjee or Govind Kumar Singh. They demonstrate year after year that tradition and modernity can be combined.

It result in spectacular creations for both women and men. Other of the ineludible appointments of the country as far as fashion is concerned are, on the one hand, the Shree Raj Mahal Jewelers India Couture Week or Haute Couture Week (New Delhi/Bombay). Here prestigious names like Monisha Jaising, Gaurav Gupta or Varun Bahl meet.

On the other hand, India Bridal Fashion Week (New Delhi/Bombay) is sponsored by BMW. This last appointment perfectly shows the relevance of the bridal sector in the country. It is a tradition that has become an authentic declaration of an opulent and luxurious lifestyle for India's wealthier classes, as well as one of the sectors with the highest income.

In continuous evolution, fashion increasingly acquires greater weight among the population and as an industry. Hence, since the year 2000 began to emerge in the country such events. It is usually held biannually (February, September). There is a large presence of national celebrities from the world of cinema, both on the catwalk and in the front row.

For some years India has been emerging in the world of design, clothing. And in general throughout the world of fashion, as every country. Its creators gradually formed groups to organize with great success various fashion events. Here leading designers show their creations to potential merchants. They thus establish relationships that benefit both the creators of India and the vendors who display garments made with high quality fabric and with a lot of creativity.

Due to the success of these events that bring together buyers, designers and retailers around the world the fashion week for some years have gained fame and reputation. Among the recent fashion events we have the Bangalore Fashion Week. Bangalore Fashion Week (BFW) has been conceived and created with the vision of serving as a showcase to the Indian fashion industry for the world. The Bangalore Fashion Week includes Kingfisher After Parties and press releases.

The tradition of Indian fashion goes back centuries. Traditional clothes such as saris, dhotis or ghagra cholis were the norm. The fashion explosion that Bollywood films took in the 60s caused women to start experiment with a more risky type of fashion. At that time, the streets of Delhi, Calcutta or Jaipur were populated with purple saris with large embroideries. Women wore kurtas and churidars and pieces of high Indian jewelry that appeared in famous films and then moved to the mass public.

In the 80s there was a big change within the Indian fashion industry. With a powerful innovative mindset, came the first generation of Indian designers. They initiated a new vision of Indian fashion. Ritu Kumar, Rohit Khosla or Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla, managed to start all kinds of projects that made them famous worldwide. They introduced the costumes of Mongolian courtesans in footwear fashion. They reinvented popular dance costumes. They even created great trends that have come to our time as the "ethnic chic".

In the early 90's, the government of India created the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi. It played a decisive role as a pool of new designers in the following years. In addition, the economic liberation of the country after achieving its independence resulted in a shift from the most austere fashion to sequins, gold threads and ornate embroidery. Applying all of this in skirts, dresses and trousers allowed Indian fashion to capture the whole tradition of its culture in garments considered modern and very Western . They also highlighted incorporations of corsetry and satin and lace blouses. It began to replace the traditional choli and sari. Thus began an evolution that would not stop until today.

With the arrival of 2000, Bollywood took center stage again. It is thanks to the multiple collaborations of famous designers with actresses and Bollywood actors. They wore in their films reinventions of Indian fashion as the cocktail sari or the kurti. Currently, the Indian fashion industry exports creations of great designers such as the famous Manish Arora. He was the first Indian designer in the Paris Fashion Week. He also shows Indian fashion regularly in the New York Fashion Week or Milan Fashion Week.

Everyone in the fashion world agrees that India has been positioning itself as a great power in the world of fashion. In this the great Bollywood film productions have collaborated a lot. Since in the most films the costumes are an important part. The films strive to show in each production not only the best in terms of songs and dances but also the dress. There are the colorful saris, and accessories for women. There are also beautiful and well-made garments to dress the modern man who wants to look fashionable.

With constant change and evolution, Indian fashion has managed to gain a foothold in the textile world at the highest level. It is thanks to its capacity for modernization while maintaining a very distinctive and recognizable style of its own. Discover everything that makes Indian fashion a reference in the XXI century.

2 days in Tokyo in Japan to Discover the Spiritual Capital

Here begins our trip. After our wedding, our honeymoon day has arrived. We go to the airport to catch our flight to Osaka and take off punctually! Before taking off we could already tell that the trip was going to be long. People take off their shoes, take out the cervical pillows, the tablets, for many hours of flight ahead.

After reviewing the screen, see a couple of movies, dine, doze at times, we arrived at 8:45 am at the Osaka airport with a perfect landing. The suitcases leave quickly and we arrive at a mini immigration control with a very nice guard. I pass first, and he asks us, in a super English from Osaka, what we want to do here, and I with my profident smile tell him we are on honeymoon.

At the airport station we got the tickets to take the JR to Kyoto. It is easier than we thought. We got on the train and in about 40 minutes we arrived at the Kyoto Station in an impressive building. It is all black glass on the outside and inside with two shopping centers, a huge central gallery with mechanical stairs to the upper floors.

After a walk around the station to we enter the subway, to our apartment hotel, at the Gojo station. We bought the tickets and after two stops we arrived at our station in Gojo. Although it had an elevator, it was in the opposite intersection to the entrance of the hotel, and we had a backpack. We see where we can take the elevator, and then comes our first moment of Japanese kindness.

A man approaches us and half in English, half in Japanese, shows us the way of the elevator. Best of all, the man accompanies us ​​and we ride with him in the elevator. The good thing is when leaving the elevator, I already see the hotel and we have to cross only two crossings. The man says goodbye and goes in the opposite direction, towards another of the subway exits.

That is to say, he accompanied us expressly and he was not on his way. So we say that that myth of the Japanese that helps and accompanies, even if one does not go in our direction, is valid. We arrived at the zebra crossing and there sound little birds. It is the sign that you can go. We crossed the two steps and arrived at the hotel hall.

We arrived a couple of hours from check-in. It's 11 o'clock. We're hungry and need some rest as we have been awake for more than 24 hours. We leave the suitcases and the reception tells us that in an hour we will have the room. We got a couple of maps of Kyoto in the Hall and a map of restaurants in the area and we leave.

We're in Japan! Everything is in Japanese! My partner freak out with the kanji! Well, not even passing 30 meters, we see a restaurant with a letter on the door and it looks cheap and without thinking, we go inside. It is not full but there are enough people at 12 noon. They give us the menu.

We ordered katsudon and noodles and I ordered a beer. Then we discovered that in Japan food supplements are more expensive than food. So beer, in proportion is more expensive than the food itself. We eat in less than an hour and see the environment. We pay and we have to buy breakfast for a couple of days! We get juice and a kind of sweet bun, shaped like a small bimbo bread!

We did not know what awaited us in the shopping centers or in the food and supermarkets. Back at the hotel we check in and one of the receptionists carry the suitcases to the room. It has a large window overlooking the Gojo Dori, next to the double bed. The area between the entrance and the bedroom has wardrobes, a kitchen, a lounge area with sofa, table and chairs.

There is the sink in the same room and behind a door is the famous Japanese toilet. We leave the important thing in the safe. It is 2 o'clock and is too late to go to certain temples. We go to Sanjusangendo by bus, destination to Shichi-jo Dori to enter the temple. We make the first videos.

We enter the longest wooden temple in Japan and we see the figure of the Sahasrabhuja-arya-avalokitesvara, known as the thousand arms Kannon, or simply Kannon. It is a national treasure of Japan, and both sides of the statue are in 10 rows and 50 columns 1000 statues of smaller size than the Kannon of the thousand arms.

The statues are made of Japanese cypress wood and are the best-known image of the temple. At the foot of these statues we can see another 28 statues of guardian deities, of which the most important are those of Raijin and Fujin, which are respectively at the beginning and end of the building, and which are also national treasures of Japan.

We leave the temple and turn around. Then, we go to two temples near our hotel, Nishi Hongan-ji and Higashi-Hiongan-ji, north of Kyoto station. We arrived at 4. So we only have one hour to see them. Both have a large hall of the founder (Goei-do) and a smaller one, the Buddha's hall (Amida-do). In addition, there are several rooms, some visitable and others not.

We leave the Higashi and see the great gate of the Goei-do, one of the typical images when arriving and leaving Kyoto. Once seen the temples and tired by the jet-lag, we head to the combini and we look for our restaurant. Today we have sushi, and it was not bad at all along with the great Japanese culinary delights. Tomorrow we have to get up early.

2 days in Tokyo in Japan

Day 2

With the jet-lag we got up at 4.30 in the morning. Taking advantage of the change of time, we connect with Skype with our families. We groom ourselves, take maps and guides and take the bus direction to Kyoto Station. From there we go to the Kiyomizudera. It's 7:00 in the morning. We pay the entrance and enter.

We take photos and videos with Kyoto awakening and we go through the temple and the huge railing, supported by hundreds of wooden pillars. We arrived at the area of ​​the Jishu Shrine (Jishu-jinja), dedicated to Okuninushino-Mikoto, a god of love, where are the famous love stones, located 6 meters from each other.

We do the tour with our eyes closed, all recorded! And we are almost alone, a couple and little else. We see the stalls and the rest of the sanctuary. We follow the tour of the temple through the forest area until we reach the Otowa-no-taki waterfall, where three water channels fall into a pond. We take photos!

We left the temple and Japanese school groups begin to arrive. We continue towards the Ninenzaka slope and we see the typical buildings of the area. Locals start to open the stores but we leave the shopping for another quieter moment. And we take a picture with two Japanese schoolchildren.

We climbed a fair slope and arrived at Ryozen Kannon, war memorial commemorating the Japanese who died during the World War. The most interesting thing about the temple is the 24 meter statue. This monument has a tomb of the unknown soldier of the World War II.

Under the statue there is an image of the Bodhisattva Ekadasamukha and images of the god of the wind and the god of thunder and commemorative tablets of 2 million Japanese who died in World War II. As there was no one, we were attended by a Buddhist monk. Although the temple on the outside was not a big deal, on the inside it gave us the possibility to see, even from afar, a part of one of the prayers that they make each day in memory of the dead.

We continue our route, cross the parking lot of the Ryozen Kannon and arrive at the Kodaiji. Officially it is called Kodaiji-jushozenji Temple. The temple is beautiful. It is formed by the Kaisando (founder's hall), Otama (Shrine), Kasatei (tea house), Shiguretei (tea house) and the Omotetmon (door of the Sanctuary). The temple gardens are beautiful, following the guidelines of Japanese landscaping and include a Zen garden.

We continue our route, and we go back through alleys looking for the Padoga Yasaka. We continue towards the Yasaka Shrine. It is a Shinto shrine, which we could call the Sanctuary of the Gion neighborhood. We continue towards the Heian sanctuary, but before we visit the Chion-in Temple. The temple is Buddhist and it is enormous, but what more it deserves in the enormous main door or Sanmon.

Near Heian we enter the Shoren-in Temple, one of the five Monzeki temples of the Tendai sect in Kyoto. The temple is super quiet, beautiful gardens, overlooking Kyoto. The heat tightens and we decided to go eat. We do not see restaurants in the area. We stopped at one with tables outside and accompanied by some Japanese schoolchildren we ate some Takoyaki. For dessert, we have ice cream and go to Heian.

We walk and we arrive at the great Torii that gives the entrance to the Heian Temple. I had already read that it was very beautiful and we entered. It has a lake with beautiful views, we take cool pictures there. We take this visit very calmly. When we left, we looked for the bus stop to go to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple to see the sunset.

To get to it, we have to go up Chawan-zaka street (Teatre Street). It is a street full of souvenir shops and a lot of people. This temple is typical to see at sunset. The temple itself is not a big deal but just for the views of the city and the sunset it is worth the visit.

First we enter what they call the womb of Daizuigu Bosatsu, the mother of Buddha. It is a completely dark stone corridor through which we have to cross, guided only by the wall. The truth is that it is an interesting experience to enter that intense darkness only interrupted by a stone illuminated in the middle of the road. Like all the famous temples in Kyoto, it was full of people.

The stores were already closing but we were able to buy some magnets. As this temple is very close to Gion, we went for a last walk around there, to see if we finally ran into some geisha, but nothing at all, just some inside a taxi. We took bus to go to the hotel and we were to go to do our last dinner in Kyoto!

This time we went in the other direction of the hotel to change a bit. We found a very lively area of ​​restaurants, and one had a blackboard announcing Okonomiyaki. I had not tried it on the whole trip. I told my companion what she thought and we went in. We were the only customers but we did not care. They took good care of us.

Here played Japanese rock music and we asked for the name of the group. And what a good time we had at that dinner. It would be because we knew it was the last. Later, more customers enter. We go to the hotel and we had to pack. We went back to the shabby bar to have a super sake and then come back to pack everything!