First Timers Guide To Visiting Mumbai

Mumbai has been my home for more than a decade! This is the city I feel I belong but having grown up in a small town, I was at first overwhelmed with a hundred things. There were skyscrapers, ever intersecting flyovers and the uber chic crowd on one end and a sea of middle-class people, busy local trains and dwindling 4 story textiles mill area buildings on the other end of the spectrum.

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Short holiday destinations for the 16 long weekends in 2018

There are 16 LONG WEEKENDS in 2018, yes you read it right! And atleast 4 in the next three months alone. There is the weekend of 13th Feb, 1st March Holi weekend and 28th March is a 4 days off owing to Good Friday and Mahavir Jayanti.

We are gonna be totally sold out, trust me that’s how Mumbai is. I have now started driving out really early on Khandala expressway if its is a long weekend. Like if you start by 11am, you wouldn’t even reach the toll-plaza before 1am, Khandala will only be 4pm or so!

And there is practically nothing left to book if you haven’t really looked-up like 6 weeks in advance! I may be exaggerating a bit here but surely you need to book a minimum 4 weeks in advance.

Here are some of my favorite destinations that I would like to explore this year

# Big Red Tent These are campgrounds on the outskirts of our city and winters are the best time to set foot outdoors and experience the starry nights by the campfire, playing the guitar! This one is sort of a rough-it-out break in a REAL tent, but they have all the hygiene amenities in place!

# Luncheon at Alibaug’s Flamboyante If you are from Mumbai, you may have gone to Alibaug at least a couple of times already! Well this one is a bit different. If I have say just one 8 hour slot free for taking that much needed break, I would take a ferry from the Gateway of India, sail in the Arabian Sea for half hour or so and get off on the other side, which is Alibaug! Head straight to Flamboyante restaurant which is just after the jetty ends, treat my taste buds to a sumptuous luncheon preferably with a view of the sea. Then head back to Mumbai by 4pm so as to be home back just in time to put my kids to bed!

# Della Adventures This one is really my good old choice of I am in for some adventure. Zip lining, zorbing, go-karting are just a few of the 70 odd adventures they promise at this adventure resort. An overnight stay at their luxury tent house or cottage would be an added advantage!

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# Hilton Shillim And when I am in for splurging on the weekend, this would be my #1 choice. No doubts there! The drive to this classy resort is as pretty as the resort itself. The food is yum and there are plenty of activates that the friendly activity coordinator hosts through the day to keep my LOs fully entertained while we enjoy some wine overlooking the infinity pool. A trek up the hills for buffet breakfast laid out by Hilton has long been on my things-to-do list. Hopefully, it will be striked off this year! BTW, you can also cycle up and down the hills inside this sprawling resort without running the hazards of being run down!

#Le Meridian Mahabaleshwar All of the above that’s true for Hilton Shillim holds true here plus there is strawberry picking and visit to the Mapro’s strawberry jam farms that a big hit, especially that I am a strawberry lover. It’s just that Mahabaleshwar is a tab bit far, so I’d rather do this over a 4-day weekend.

There is of course the Kala Ghoda Arts festival that is a must visit, at least once if not more in February.

BTW, if you know of any interesting getaways, around Mumbai or PunIMG_20180118_081421_691e, do drop the name in the comment box below.

 

This article was first posted here

Have You Been Bitten By The Travel Bug Too?

Yes, that’s a terrible bug and it leads to serious health states like “happiness, feeling light, grinning ear-to-ear, feeling stress-free, lack of headache, feeling alive” and a dozen other similar symptoms! Have you been bitten by this bug yet?

 

Here are some symptoms that can tell if you have been bitten by this bug too.

 

#1 Outside of work, your screen time is limited to searching for flight and hotel deals only. And you have been caught in the ACT, searching for these, late at nights, not once but many times.

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Places I’d like to go this Holiday Season

Dear Husband,

I hope you are reading this and it turns out to be my lucky day! For yesterday I was flipping through our family album which took me back in time, deep down the memory lane. That one time, on our first holiday in Europe, when you paid 5 extra euros, way back in circa 2000, to get us a table inside the café vs standing outside by the bar table. I sweet-bitter taste of that authentic Italian cappuccino is still fresh in my memory. And how unbelievably happy I was when you booked us for hot air ballooning. The first time I saw turquoise waters or picture-perfect locales, so many wonderful shots!

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Why Spending on Experiences is Better Than Buying Toys

We all want to raise our kids to the best we can. To be honest, part of that is also linked to how much we can and want to splurge on kids and related stuff. But one thing runs in common across the spectrum, we ALL want to buy the best that our money can for our kids.

 

When I had my first child, I couldn’t resist the urge to buy a new toy, that cute frock or atleast nursery supplies every time I was at the mall. Every single time, I must confess that. We ended up possessing, many many toy that were suitable for her age  group. But did my child really understand or appreciate the difference between wooden block-set, lego blocks and mega blocks? Is there any point in buying so many toys, one after the other? At one point she was more interested in playing with the wrapping box of the toy rather than the toy itself. Probably the wrapping box provided a better visual stimuli than the toy itself, which was a variation of something she had already played with either at home or playschool.

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Why I recommend flying ANA Airlines to Japan.

Home is where you feel you belong and for me that started the minute I set foot on the Tokyo bound flight this summer. My excited bunch of 2 kids aged 4 and 9 have already decided in their head that Emirates is the best airline to fly with. With their name printed meals, an inflight Santa to distribute gifts round the year and mid-night on-spot photo prints, I too do tend to sometimes imagine taking Emirates for New Zealand or South Africa. That is plain crazy of course.

 

My experience with most other airlines has been a mixed bag. Continue reading “Why I recommend flying ANA Airlines to Japan.”

Thailand, Maldives or Malaysia, what’s your pick for New Years?

When I think of a beach holiday, I want turquoise blue waters, powdery sandy beaches and mild sun. I visualize myself on the beach, lying back sipping chilled fresh tropical fruit juice, kids having endless fun building sand castles, the excitement with each wave bouncing us back to the beach, sometimes snorkeling or kayaking, but only sometimes as I am not so much of an adventure junkie. A beach holiday to me is the default setting for winter vacations.

And it’s not so difficult to guess why. With cold chilling winters sweeping through India, I don’t mind a little bit of warmth and sunshine. Indian winters mean all of North and Central India is shut for all practical reasons, atleast for me. And there are only so many times you can do a Goa or a Kerela.

 

So here are my favorite short flight beach destinations for you to compare and click that book button.

 20161227_101604 Continue reading “Thailand, Maldives or Malaysia, what’s your pick for New Years?”

Newly Opened 6300 Sq Ft Kiddie Playarea And Other Options For Small Kids At SMAAASH

There is unbearable heat in my hometown and last couple of years that we have tried spending summers there, both my kids have invariably come down with heat stroke. So the verdict from nana-nani this year is to stay put in Mumbai.

We do head out for 2 weeks for a holiday in the hills, but that apart it’s a Staycation for our family this year. Yes Staycation, that’s a real word and it doesn’t mean stay at home and watch TV all day. Not at all. It means we are going to be staying in our home but participate in MANY leisure activities within driving distances, dining out more frequently, setting up the makeshift swimming pool, getting creative in the kitchen and much more. Basically avoiding routine and creating a feeling of a traditional vacation.

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Why Abu Dhabi And Dubai Makes A Perfect Getaway For Kids And You Alike

Abu Dhabi 2This December we decided to take a short break in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I would like to start with the fact that we were not too impressed with the itinerary. There didn’t seem to be many options, a few theme parks and rest was left to entertainment thrown in at the shopping malls.  What happened once there is a different story altogether. Here is a day-by-day account of the amazing experience we had.

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Wondering If Your Toddler Is Ready For A Holiday Yet?

One thing I and my husband have in common is our passion for travel. We don’t let go of any opportunity to travel. Be it weekends, summer holidays, Diwali in hometown or long drives during monsoon months.

So it’s hard to believe that we did not take a single holiday for the first 3 years after my daughter was born. We were concerned about infections, climate change and most of all feeding. WHAT will I feed her? What if I don’t find the fruits that she likes? How will I warm milk in the hotel room in the middle of the night? I knew she won’t have anything other than milk if she woke up in the middle of the night, part hungry, part sleepy and fully fussy. How will I store the milk? If not totally infeasible, it did seem like a LOT of effort.

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