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Ten things which stops people from planning a trip

1 – Always waiting for the right company to plan your Trip

I know this because I used to look for company for planning my Trips…I remember that meme very well…”I am that person who always Plan Leh trip but ends up Liking other Pictures”

If you will wait to find a big group to plan a trip then it will never going to happen. Plan a Trip if you have no-one , Go Solo, trust me it will be one of a lifetime experiences of your life

2 – Waiting for your Bank Account to give you a Green Signal

Me: I want to Travel

My Bank Account : Bitch where??? hehehehe

Trust me you will never save enough money to Travel, so make some instant plans, just go, just live the life

3 – Planning too much

You Travel to relax, to explore the explored, then why to Google so much that you end up with a messed up Itinerary, just go with the flow, do look for some travel tips but when you reach your destination trust your instincts as well, get in touch with local people if required, go to places which are not even there on any social website and then you will be back with some amazing stories to share with everyone

4 – Packing too much

Being a gal I know how confused I get when I open by wardrobe before packing and ends up with packing almost every available option [thinking this is the second option hehe]

Pack less and travel light and that ways you get a chance to Shop even 😉 😉 [tip from a shopaholic ]

5 – Carrying the wrong kind of Baggage

I did Backpacking when I visited Spain it was so cool, my point is choose the right kind of baggage for traveling, at the end of the day you can’t get people to help you with your luggage everywhere [specially if you traveling Solo], Carry anything like compact stroller or a backpack but carrying Big Suitcases and big bags is a BIG NO

6 – Going in the wrong Season

Planning in the wrong season can cost you, do some research, if required ask your friends / Bloggers / ask in Forums / your agents and then plan

7 – Pack essentials smartly – keep your toiletries like a face wash, toilet roll, mouth wash and must have cosmetics handy specially sunscreen, deodorant, lip balm  / necessary medcines[atleast these are must have’s for me when I travel]

8 – Carrying right kind of Shoes is must – when you finally get a break from the maddening life of Metro’s, just relax, carry the most comfortable pair of shoes or a flip flops when you travel [depending upon your destination], this way you can travel freely without getting tired

9 – Carrying a good camera – investing in a good camera will help you save your memories for life

10 – Enjoy your Trip – Just leave all your worries at home, forget your office [atleast try to ] just be in that moment. Keep an open mind, click loads of photographs, enjoy every moment of your trip.

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DUBAI – Shimmering Mirage in the Arabian Desert

Amidst all the hullabulla of demonetization, one good thing which happened to me was my Dubai Trip and I started my 2017 with a bang.

Night before the flight I was anxious and excited like a little kid [P.S I was traveling after a long time], packed as if I was never going to come back. I was traveling to the land of Arabs, land of Sheesha, UAE’s biggest city which remains architecturally and geographically unparalleled.

Dubai has a little bit of everything for everyone and its heritage attracts travelers from all around the world. World class shopping experience and lifestyle is one of the many things which wants us to visit again and again. From high end fashion stores to traditional Souks, from smart street shopping to biggest swankiest malls in the world. Dubai Shopping festival which takes place from Jan – Feb lures many travelers every year.

The most exciting part of our trip was the place where we are staying ‘Downtown’ it was the Home away from Home, the most elite street and accessible to all the tourist attractions, everything was at a walking distance….Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa, famous Dubai fountain, all the amazing café’s, sheesha places etc.

Let’s talk about few of the most fascinating touristic places in Dubai and plan a trip soon  –

Burj khalifa – Trust me nothing is more symbolic of the rise of Dubai than the mammoth 828m Burj Khalifa. Yes we witnessed the world’s tallest Tower , the view was spectacular, to die for. Burj is world’s tallest tower, world’s tallest and fastest elevator, world’s tallest observation desk, world’s tallest man made structure with more than 160 levels and we can go on and on. You really can’t help it but only admire this beauty.

Dubai Aquarium and underwater Zoo -Even if you are not a professional Scuba driver you can still explore the hidden sea depths, all you have to do is to head for the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo at Dubai Mall to get up close and personal with exotic sea creatures. And you can even swim with sharks.

Atlantis Palm – The Palm is a majestic 5 star luxury hotel in Dubai, and is located on The Palm, a man-made island that has captured the world’s imagination with its magnificent scale and ingenuity.Unfortunately you can admire this world class creation only from outside, you can’t enter the hotel unless you are a guest.But next to Palm, there is a shopping arcade, some restaurants and cafés and also a magnificent aquarium, where you can spend hours and enjoy the hospitality, architecture.

Boardwalk at Palm Jumeriah – One thing we enjoyed the most was the Boardwalk at Palm Jumeriah which was recently opened to Public. You can totally enjoy your leisure time while walking on this boardwalk, which offers stunning views of Arabian Gulf, Dubai, Marine and also several food trucks are there, they have seating areas & offers wide variety of cuisine. Enjoy the sightseeing, breeze, sound of waves, and of course the food.

A Walk at JBR –City’s first outdoor shopping and dining promenade which offers world class restaurants, cafés, sheesha café’s near the beach side, and of course our favorite board walk, what more you can expect. I have to admit that the night life of Dubai is one of the most amazing thing to experience. Thousands of people come to stroll down the 1.7km stretch and there is everything for everyone. Thursdays and Fridays are the busiest, traffic almost slows to crawl, but good thing you can get a good look at all those shiny Ferrari’s, Maserati’s, and you just name the car, you will find it there. It opens till wee hrs [till 3.30am on weekends and til 11.00pm on weekdays]

Dessert Safari – UAE may be one of the most urbanized countries in the world but Arab’s are extremely proud of their heritage and people retain a strong affinity for the desert.When you visit Dubai, experiencing Desert Safari in a 4WD Vehicle is must. Where else in the world can you experience Sand-boarding, Sand skiing, Camel ride, beautiful sunset, handling nature’s one of the most dreaded predators : falcons, camping amidst sand dunes, enjoy their local cuisine , folk dances specially belly dancing…yes you are right its possible only in Dubai.There are many designated destinations to enjoy desert safari, it is advisable to book your desert safari prior your travel dates, there are many travel agencies which offer best deals for Safari, drivers are friendly, make you feel at ease and enjoy every bit of this adventure, also provide pick and drop facility from the place where you staying.

Some taste of Street Shopping – Whenever I travel to any new city or country, I try to explore the local streets to get the taste of local shopping. If you want to escape the huge shopping malls and enjoy the vibrancy of the real market since there is its own charm in exploring the local streets, Abra / Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai are must visit. The long congested stretch of road crammed with shops on either side will remind of a good old fashioned Indian Bazaar [especially Abra I would call it better version of our own Janpath].And your Dubai visit is incomplete without taking an Abra ride. The Abras crossing the Dubai Creek are definitely a trip worthy. For only 1 Dirham you go on a short boat ride that offers excellent view down the Creek.

Miracle Garden and Butterfly Garden –  Nature lover’s Paradise i.e Miracle Garden …its one of its kind in Dubai infact in the whole world, it is the largest Floral Sculpture in the world, we couldn’t help it but just strolling around and were admiring each and every floral arrangement. It has all the facilities, café’s VIP Parking, First Aid etc. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy with family ,Who knew that one could make flowers look beautiful and elegant, at the same time architectural, that too in the mid of the desert. Worth for an entry fee of AED45 pp.

Then there is Butterfly Garden, its beautiful and ambiance is spectacular, it’s a large indoor area with butterflies everywhere.Its just next to Miracle Garden. It offers a nice experience for the whole family specially the kids. But I feel AED50 is too much, and I expected it to be much bigger.

Abu Dhabi is the capital of UAE and second most populated city of UAE, offers spectacular Skyline, Abu Dhabi Eye, Ferrari World, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and many other tourist attractions.

Ferrari World – Worlds first Ferrari Branded theme Park with wining mix of Ferrari inspired rides, roller coasters, electric go-karts, first-hand experience on formula rossa [with a top speed of 250kmph in 4.9secs], live shows, biggest Ferrari store, wide range of dining options so there’s everything for everyone from a family.Advisable would be to book the tickets online to save time, check the booking slots for Go carting, it gets filled in the morning itself, start your day early, also try booking a combo ticket for Ferrari world and YAS water-park which is one of the best water-parks with ride choices for everyone. There are around 45 rides, slides and other attractions, remember outside food is not allowed.

Sheikh Zayed Mosque – it’s a must visit place, true piece of art, it’s a blend of cultural diversity of Islamic world with historical and modern elements of architecture and art, built by late president of UAE Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan. It’s a Key place of worship for Friday gatherings and EID Prayers. It can accommodate around 40,000 worshipers and it has the world’s largest carpet, second largest chandelier in the world.Advisable is to wear something conservative else you will have to wear Abaya to cover your skin, there is no entry fee, Mosque looks spectacular in the evening.

If you can spare some time, pay a visit to Capital gate which is the iconic leaning skyscraper , just adjacent to Abu Dhabi national exhibition center. This 160m high building has been officially recognized as the furthest leaning man made tower, leaning at an angle of 18 degrees which is four times more than the Tower of Pisa.

Kite Beach – one of the most popular beaches in Dubai, super clean , super windy beach, where you can find everything Water, Good food, Kite-surfing, beach volleyball etc. there is also a running or walking track along the beach where you can just stroll and enjoy a beautiful view.

Global Village – is claimed to be the world’s largest tourism, leisure and entertainment project. It is the region’s first cultural, entertainment, family and shopping destination.If you have some time, its worth a visit.

Dubai grows on you, you will definitely would want to come back and explore the places.Besides the popular destinations there are beautiful malls like Dubai Mall, Dubai Fountain, Mall of the Emirates, Waafi Mall, Dragon Mart, Karama market, Ibn battuta  Mall, Wild wadi water park, Ski Dubai, Jumeirah Beach, Spice Souk’s, Perfume Souk’s, Gold Souk’s etc.

After spending ten days in Dubai, I am already planning my next visit…what about you guys 🙂

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Spectacular view from the Tallest tower in the world, Burj Khalifa
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Dubai Aquarium and underwater Zoo
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Palm Atlantis
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Stunning Boardwalk near Atlantis which offers stunning views
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Miracle garden – a paradise for nature lovers
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Dubai Creek – Abra
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Sheikh Zayed Mosque – a masterpiece
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Abu Dhabi Skyline
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Abu Dhabi ‘Eye’
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Kite Beach – Dubai
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Traditional Gold Souk’s of Dubai
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A click from our Desert Safari in Dubai
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Burj Khalifa – the tallest tower in the world

 

A day trip to the Man Island in Bavarian Sea ‘Chiemsee Island’

I got a call from my sister, she sounded excited about her impromptu plan to visit Chiemsee Island…two women traveling to the Man island, sounds exciting haan.

When you are in Munich there are several destinations which can be planned and visited in one day and Chiemsee is one such destination .Chiemsee lake is around 110km from Munich, There are three main islands on the lake one is Herreninsel  which is known as [Gentlemen’s island] or a Man’s island, second one is Fraueninsel [ladies island], third one is the abandoned island i.e Krautinsel also known as cabbage island.

The place is stunning, open all year round, offers breathtaking views, several activities during the summer, and you still get to visit one of the three castles built by Ludwig II. For those who don’t know, the same king that built the so famous Neuschwanstein

.Getting to Chiemsee from Munich can either be done by Flight, Car, Or by train from Munich to Priem am Chiemsee. Both take around 1 hour to get there. You can buy your boat tickets at the port in Priem am Chiemsee or onboard the boats.

From the port to the castle takes around 20 minutes by foot.. The walk between the tall trees is stunning, and the castle, well, breathtaking.

You can first visit Herrenchiemsee castle, you are not allowed to take picture from inside but still you can click some stunning pictures of this beauty from outside, this castle is copy of Versailles in France, and it was one of the most expensive constructions of Bavaria’s history

Tips :

Island is famous for their smoked fish and craft beer, do spare some time to try that

Spring season is more packed so  try to book your tickets in advance

Try to take the boat rides which will take you to  Herreninsel , then Fraueninsel, then back to mainland

When you buy your ticket for castle visit, remember that it allows you to visit Augustinian Monastery as well, so don’t miss that

Enjoy the cozy restaurants, visit churches, castles, and you can even rent a place to stay there

Havelock Island : a trip to a hidden paradise

When people ask me about Andamans I urge them to stay in Havelock for the maximum length of their stay. Havelock Islands, which is known to be a Backpacker’s paradise, welcoming white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise water, b

each resorts, picturesque villages, beautiful coconut and palm trees. One of the most beautiful islands I have ever visited, one of the very few islands where administration of Andamans has promoted Tourism and focusing on eco-tourism.

Best Season to Visit :

You will visit different shades of Havelock throughout the year still the best time to visit is anytime

March – May : Good time to enjoy water sports, temp ranges between 28 – 30degrees

June – Sept : Monsoons since not too many people visit during this time, you can grab some real good deals

Oct – Feb : mild and pleasant winters

How to reach Havelock :

Flight to Port Blair – return journey for around 16,000/- [it around 4 hrs flight] we flew in an air charter and trust me it was exciting hehe

Tips : Try planning your trip minimum two months in advance so that you can save on some cost

If you are a Travelholic just like me…try picking up the Credit card, on which you can avail points or Miles, which will get you huge discounts on your flight bookings

From Port Blair to Havelock – Though government runs Ferry twice a day [one at 09:00am and second one at 04:30pm] but I would recommend take Makruzz  which also runs twice a day [one at 10:15am and second at 04:00pm , ticket is around 950/-  – 1600/- depending on the class you choose.

Trust me you have see the Sea through the Windows when the vessel is crushing the waves,  when we boarded the cruise we spotted Dolphins and I got excited like a little kid, but I couldn’t capture it.

Tips:  Cruises are season specific check before planning your itinerary there are options which runs through the year

Where to Stay :

Always pick a Beach facing resort, we stayed in Havelock Beach Resort, with beautiful resorts and pleasant stay, You can also try Sea Shells Resort, Symphony Palms beach resort etc

What to do :

Water Sports : Snorkeling , Sea walks, Scuba Diving, Fishing Trips and even Kayaking are those activities that you can try in Havelock, trained instructors will be there to help you and even you can get yourself some beautiful under water pictures which will be memories for lifetime. [you can get in touch with your Hotel people they will arrange the activities for you, per activity the charges will be around 3200/- – 3500/-]

Beaches : Radhanagar [one of the best beach in Asia and truly it is], Kaalapathar beach, Elephant beaches & Neil Island are the recommended ones.

You want more, common guys you are on a break, grab a bottle of beer, order some nice Sea Food, enjoy the beautiful sunset, relax and or you can even rent a bicycle and just stroll around the beaches.

Tips : I would strongly suggest you not to go by a fixed itinerary , just explore the place. Stay for atleast 3 – 4 days to enjoy the beauty of this most visited island.

 

Two Perfect days in Spain’s dreamy coastal city San Sebastian

the-concha-bay-109344_640After a long tiring but exciting trip of 9 days and covering three Cities  – Madrid -> Valencia  -> Barcelona  our final destination was Spain’s dreamy coastal city San Sebastian and we spent our two perfect days there.

Did I mention that the most exciting thing about our Spain Trip was driving around the cities, we rented a car when we landed at Madrid Airport [ Renting a car in Spain is absolutely hassle free, rent it and ride it]. The drive was so scenic, that we never wanted to get off the roads.

Day 1  – we reached at around noon time, we checked in into our Hotel, got fresh and went out to explore the city, had a nice dinner.

Day 2  – we decided to explore the city and trust me Walking around is the best way to explore , we went to Zurriola Beach  which is one the most -lively and bustling beaches in the city and is the best place to spend some quality time in outdoors. I have read somewhere that it’s the most difficult place for the foreign travelers, but trust me we did not face any such situation, still when you are travelling, don’t be afraid to ask questions, interact with people. Frankly speaking there is not much to do in San Sebastian, just Laze around on its beaches, stroll aimlessly on its cobblestone streets, witness its stunning architecture, natural beauty. But I would definitely suggest you to take a 40 mins Boat ride which will show you the entire city with a different angle.

On a bright beautiful and a sunny day we  took a 15 mins island ferry ride [of around 4euro’s with regular frequency of 30 mins] to the Harbour and Santa Clara Island. This island had some kind of magic, with defined paths, gives an accesses to explore this wild island. We even saw few people doing kayaking. There is even Hop on & Hop off sightseeing tour in San Sebastian, but we did not try it.

 

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Ambarsariya kachiya kaliya na tod ….’Amritsar ‘ have you been there yet

I always wanted to visit Harminder Sahib Ji, the great Golden Temple, it was in my bucket list, there have been times when I even got angry with my friends when they made a plan but dint tag me along. So when I got a chance I just couldn’t afford to miss it.

I can’t even express it in words, how I felt when I visited the Golden Temple, I felt so much of peace within myself and of course I was on Cloud nine when I visited my dream destination [yes you read it right DREAM J].

When you look at the thousands of followers coming everyday and paying their respect to the Holiest Gurudawara gilded in the heart of Amrtisar [also know as Ambarsar – did something strike your mind yeah ‘ambarsariya kachchiya kalliyan na tod”], it’s a humbling sight  ^_^ . Surrounded by Sacred Amrit Sarovar lake, where pilgrims bathe, pilgrims sitting around the Gurudwara listening to Gurbani, entire atmosphere is just so serene, you can’t forget the whole spiritual experience.

How to reach Ambarsar:

Train : Anytime comfortable for travel…many trains are available…journey takes around 6 – 9 hrs….

Try Swarna Shatabdi it takes around 6.25hrs…runs on all the weekdays except Thursday’s, return journey will cost you somewhere around 800 – 1,700/- depending on the class you reserve

Flight : Frequency of flights is pretty decent and return journey will cost you around 3,000 – 5,000/- round the year, still advisable to book in advance

Road : I always prefer a road trip, Amritsar is around 450Kms and you can easily reach within 8 – 9 hours with relaxed driving

What to Eat:

As we all know Punjabiyan di shaan wakhri and they believe in khao piyo aish karo mitro….our Ambarsar is the heaven for foodies , few restaurants to name, which are must must must try :

Kesar da dhaba to begin with then Giani Tea stall ki Chai, Basant Avenue k Chole Kulche, Chungi ka aaloo Kulcha, Kanha ki poori ,Beera ka chicken, Makhan ki fish, Sharma k Gulab Jamun, Novelty chowk k paneer pakore….. I mean the list just goes on and on and on. Each restaurant has its own specialty, you will find so many small small shops which will offer you the food, you can’t even imagine

Stay:  Many Hotel  / Guest Houses options are available, per night on twin sharing basis can cost you anywhere around 1,500/- – 5,000/-

Guys don’t just sit back and plan…just go and make a visit to one of most Holiest places of India.

Keep Traveling and Enjoy the ride J

 

Barcelona

Also known as Barca, a beautiful city in the kingdom of Spain has lot to offer to its visitors. One of my favorite destinations which I covered during my Spain Trip and will not mind going there again.

  • No harm in learning few Spanish words which will help you during your visit, you will find many locals who speak English and are very warm and helping. Also many Pakistani’s & Bangladeshi’s are there, who are your saving grace if you don’t know Spanish et all [its always sone pe suhaga when you find desi’s J]
  • Since Barca is blessed with Mild Mediterranean climate, so this Catalonian capital has become a travel destination for throughout the year. Still Spring and summer’s are the finest weather for traveling to Spain.
  • Plan your Trip in advance, save on Air Fare, grab a good deal for your stay.
  • Better to buy low cost calling cards which you will find at the Airport. Would advice spend on Internet rather than calling options.
  • How to Travel in Barca – You have many city travel options like Metro / Tram / buses each has its on benefits & an inexpensive way to explore the city. You can even buy passes [like T10 – 10 SINGLE TRIPS] for multi-trips, that are easily available on all the metro stations, can be used by multiple persons even [ isn’t great J]
  • You can even buy The Barcelona card which entitles you to unlimited transport on the metro underground, buses and trams in Barcelona city centre. You also receive discounts on entry tickets to many of Barcelona’s main attractions. Avoid the queues to purchase transport tickets and the stress of trying to speak in Spanish
  • What to visit – Camp nou [even if you not a soccer fan], La Rambla street which is Barca’s most famous street is a tourist magnet [its my favorite too], I strongly recommend to do Barcelona Hop on & Hop off tour which has three different Tour routes and will cover most of the sights and landmarks of the city
  • Barca has got some of the prettiest shorelines in Europe and most popular beaches among the travelers include Barceloneta, Nova Icaria, Mar bella & Bogatell. You can even find few Private beaches. Best part about people there they know how to enjoy life, evening you find people enjoying beach volleyball, people relaxing with their kids or friends in the evening, they take time out for themselves other then office and they know the meaning of BREAK J
  • The city that naps in afternoon and then parties till sunrise, has got some amazing party places, to name a few – Otto Zutz Club, Razzmatazz, Mojito Club, Sala Apolo, La Terrrazza etc
  • When in Spain you have to try their wines, sangria, champagne, Paella [perfect blend of spices and trust me you will not get that taste anywhere else], Tortialla’s, Spanish omlette’s, their coffee’s…list can go on and on and on but I would like to stop here hehe.

Please whenever you are traveling to Spain include Barcelona in your Itneriary and you will never ever regret it. Collect loads of fridge magnets [thats what I do wherever I go], click loads of pictures and make your trip memorable.

Incredible Bhutan

bhutan-mountains1 – Land of Buddhism, monasteries, rich cultural heritage, Bhutan is no ordinary place, they believe in High value – low volume tourism, they love their king and their national motto is Gross National Happiness. Not only because of their beautiful locale’s / well preserved culture, but because of their rich values, Bhutan should be on top of every Traveler’s bucket list.

2 – One of the most interesting fact about Bhutan is it is Carbon negative, is the world’s only carbon sink, that is; it absorbs more CO2 than it gives out. [That is really commendable]

3  – Only place where chilli is not used as a seasoning but as a vegetable [interesting] their national dish is Ema Datshi [made with cheese and chillies]

4 – Bhutan has many breathtaking destinations, one which tops the list is Tiger Nest [TAKTSANG], which is a beautiful monastery located in the cliff-side of the upper Paro valley.

5 – Their goal is to preserve environment and their eco-system and so almost 60% of the land is forested.

6 – They have among the fastest growing GDPs in the world

7 – Smoking is banned in Bhutan and if someone wants to smoke in designated areas , they have to procure a license for the same [seriously ……….]

8 – It’s a mac Donald free country  [say whaaaattttttt]

9 – Entering Bhutan is really simple for Indians, all you need is a copy of your passport, Voter ID card or any Government issued Identity Card along with a passport sized photo for your permit.

Quick Travel Tips to keep in mind while traveling to Bhutan:

– Avoid Drinking Tap Water in Bhutan [in most of the places its not treated]
– Though Indian currency is accepted in Bhutan, there is a ban on High Value notes like 100 / 500 / 1000
– ATM’s are rarely found in Bhutan so carry local currency handy
– Credit cards are accepted only at Major Handicraft stores
– If you want to stay for long in Bhutan, take special permit at Immigration office in Thimpu
– You can easily plan a Road trip to Bhutan from India, but make sure your Car is in Good shape and ready to take on hilly terrain
– Most of the Hotels offer Free Laundry service
– Bars are closed on Tuesday’s
– You can easily procure local sim against a copy of your passport and use it for local and International calling
– Medical services in Bhutan are very Basic so try carrying your basic First aid kit along with you
– There are very few public toilets so make full use of Hotel’s / Restaurants etc