Yes! It’s my first time travelling solo at least before I landed to New Delhi runway. As a Filipino citizen it’s a requisite to have a pre-arranged Visa which nearly cost $45 together with 2 pcs of passport size picture, photocopy of my Id – front and back as well as my passport. Sunday morning when I asked my friend to drop me to India Embassy which took us half an hour to get there. To my surprise there was no crowd at all so I walked straight to the counter to give my documents. The officer in charged asked me to re print the form till the last page ( with the payment details ) , in short I have to go back and drive again 30 minutes cause the area is utterly secluded and not like any place where everything is available nearby. Can’t get hold of trying to finish before the clock ticks at 12 since I’ve got limited time to have it done. While waiting for a taxi a guy approached me and introduced himself then jump right to the question if I need help with the Visa. Hearing it was kind of relief like a fish bone stuck in my throat was pulled out. Playful thoughts lingering in my head that he’s a fixer who collects money and sort of leave me with empty pockets yet thinking the process and tight schedule lead me to rather take the risk and wish that maybe I was meant to see the mystical land of “Incredible India”. Throwing interrogating questions was probably the best thing I did with a little trust on him though seriously drives me nutty as fruitcake. He gave me his mobile no. and Residence Id in exchange of my passport and payment of $90. After 3 working days I received a call from a registered mobile number saying that my Visa was approved. A rang from the doorbell disturbed the silence and seeing him standing outside the gate holding my passport was the best feeling ever that moment , OMGGG!!! A little faith will really lead you to right places. So yes, all was set .My ticket and hotel (6 Nights /7 Days) bookings are done, just simply waiting for my departure and I’m good.
19 Sep (1st Day) . Jet Airways flight is now accepting passengers bound to DELHI ( distance : 1596 miles from DOH-DEL) Leaving early morning at 2 am a sudden feeling of excitement and nervy lying the fact that we’re only 4 girls onboard including the 2 crew members (all Indians) though it’s cool like I was an alien trying to invade their country. The guy sitting next to me handed his phone and started asking to take some pictures of him to show his family and so I did. When the flight took off I put my headset on and watched a movie while enjoying every munch of ferero. Without my knowledge 3 hours had passed maybe fell asleep in between.
Sun rays started slipping through the lifted shades of the window, clouds were getting clearer, the aerial view was just so stupefying as it gets closer to the lush of greenery landscape of widely rice paddies and houses. Touch Down! Everyone was in a hurry to disembark the aircraft while me enjoying watching the people moving in a fast pace. Compare to other Arrival terminals this has less crowd the lanes weren’t long or maybe my timing was perfect cause I arrived in the morning. After I filled out the arrival card the Immigration officer didn’t asked anything and just stamped my passport and smiled. Welcome to New Delhi😎
My bf picked me up via UBER Transfer from Airport to Hotel ( FabHotel Connaught Mews,Delhi ). It’s a 3 star property fair enough for 1 night stay especially for backpackers and a pocket friendly traveler. The location was accessible to Metro and railway Station,Park and if you’re a food enthusiast restaurants were on every side depending on your taste buds. Rare to find fast food chains where you can have a typical combo burger meal with crispy fries and soda. As the sun completed it’s tour for the day, we decided to knock off our feet to close by Area and did shopping in the night market that won’t indeed break the bank .There were plenty of house scarves shops with reasonable prices good quality and designs if you’re a scarf lover. Later that night, we stood passing by the street lights, retail establishments, and finally found this restaurant to have our dinner. We came inside and sat on their wooden bench waited for our turn to be called. For a moment I was like a rubbernecker wrapping my notions in the neighboring tables watching each and every person tuck in their traditional sumptuous assorted viands. A guy wearing a run of mill uniform approached us and handed the menu. Same with other couples we’re like two peas in a pod except when he’s making me nuts for being too fussy on what to eat. He’s an Indian-Muslim and only eats HALAL meat which made me go bananas cause I was crazy hungry. We then go for fish with a sauce and the usual basmati rice! Ohhh! This mouthwatering dessert called “Rasmalai” which I’ve tasted back in Qatar unfortunately not available so I had quick bites of Rasgulla while waiting for the queue. A syrupy kind of delight made of ball shaped, looks plainly simple yet rich of sweetness for a sugar junky like me. After some time the waiter came and gave our order and went back to hotel riding in a rickshaw that took us 15 minutes or so.
20 Sep (2nd Day) .Morning when we checked out and headed to New Delhi Domestic Airport going to ‘Chandigarh”. First hitch kicked off with our bird’s-eye survey started rolling. 45 minutes duration before the arrival to our destination. The weather was perfect though month of September is Monsoon season.FLIGHT LANDED🛬
I could say the airport is pleasant well organized, spacious and signage were nicely set up. Probably the cons would be the limited options of taxi’s or cars to take you to your further trip. Book prior to arriving could help a lot though you’ve got options too since there are few waiting outside the arrival Area. Day went and took us roughly 7-9 hours drive to arrived in the Hotel (Citrus Manali Resorts) not to mention the zigzag road series of blind corners short straight stretches with villages all over that made me felt dying before we reached the hotel because of my motion sickness but definitely worth it to see this amazing place. Scary to test our luck on this highways to hell which made the trip even more beautiful and unforgettable experience. I highly recommend this property .Location wise, very neat rooms with river view and balcony, staffs were accommodating and well groomed. Upon arriving in the lobby area they served us a welcome drink with a warm smile on their faces. I just loved the spirit ,energy and all.
21 Sep (3rd Day) . We had a buffet breakfast (Indian style). Tea is the common hot drink in the morning but I had coffee available as per request and yes bread with butter and honey too. The rest of the menus has a touched of herbs and could really smell it in the dining area. Lunch time when our guide came for our full day Manali tour. We visited temples of Hidimba Devi in Cedar Forest (locals offer to take photos of us wearing traditional dress for $5 , Vashishtha and Jamula Temples. We watched live dance shows and magic tricks too from one of their Cultural Center and that’s for free. You’ve got nothing to worry about entrance fees we didn’t pay anything except for the full day car disposal. Almost 5 pm when we reached the hotel and get prepared for dinner. Their food is basically Indian style ,I enjoyed the roasted chicken cooked in Tandoor with the local signature of spices ,chapatti bread, basmati rice haven’t tried the soup but looks appetizing and fruits for dessert. Cakes or Pastries is not something you can always find in their fridge as what I’ve noticed.
22 Sep (4th Day) . Shimla! Yes, we’re heading to one of he eminent tourist spot in Himachal Pradesh state. Landscape is closed to Manali with both high altitude and temperature are relatively the same. Great scenic beauty of pine forest and lofty mountains, lights of the houses in the evening was just so perfect to stare at night and feel restored. We stayed in a 3* hotel (Silverine) located in the prime location but on a steep slope and old I guess from how it was maintained but staffs were great and friendly. Not too bad considering the budget and more over their set of menus.
23 Sep (5th Day) . Itinerary of the day was none. That’s my favorite part put my shoes on continue walking stumble in between and collect stones of memories. First break was Kufri in the outskirts of Shimla. Horse riding is available in the ridge and take you to Kufri Mountain approximately with 3-4 km distance and make a pit stop in Mahasu Peak the highest point in Kufri. The breathtaking view of Himalaya at the top of the hill was just so immensely magnificent. We paid some bucks when we arrived in what they call the “Telescope ViewPoint” to see mountain peaks and a bit of history .For those who are extremely adventurous and wants to burn some calories they offer trekking with a guide as well. After being refreshed our driver brought us to Amusement Them Park of Kufri Fun World. Entrance fee was $9-10 per person and you can enjoy bungee jumping, crossing Burma bridge, Zipline Valley, Go-Kart and free access to other attractions. The sun has already set when we came back to the hotel for dinner and prepared our stuffs going back to Delhi the following day.
24 Sep (6th Day) . Passed 8am when we woke up. Pick up time was at 1030am heading to Kalka Shimla Railway Station (32.7 km) and had our brunch along the driveway with the usual dish chicken and soup . The entire stay was absolutely wonderful because of our driver . This guy is so cool and professional well familiarized about the places and not even a little that I felt he’s greedy or a huge sucker of money. I would highly recommend him. Our train departed at 4pm
and reached New Delhi in the evening. We stayed in the same hotel (FabHotel Connaught Mews) for the last night wandering the street to find restaurants and shops to buy souvenirs.
We ended up with beers instead, a good toast isn’t bad at all.😁🍻
25 Sep (7th Day) . As the sun woke up I was already out of my bed for Departure.
“Every place has a black corner and colored ones on the sides”