Friday, May 12, 2017

INCREDIBLE INDIA DAY 2 - AGRA, HOME TO THE MAJESTIC TAJ MAHAL

Hello, it's me, Aja!

This is the continuation from my previous post. So, if you haven't read my previous post about my first day arriving in India, please check it out by clicking here.

First, let me give a little bit introduction about Agra (which you can actually google but i know you're too lazy too google it).

Agra is one of the city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is located around 206 kilometers south to the national capital New Delhi. Agra is one of the most popular city in India because of its many splendid Mughal-era buildings such as Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, all three of which are UNESCO World Heritage site. Agra is included on the Golden Triangle of India along with Delhi and Jaipur. Why Golden Triangle? Because the location of those three famous cities is like a triangle shape.

Golden Triangle

Inside the train.


So here's the story after we reached Agra...still on the second day.

From Agra Cantt railway station, we go to our hostel at Tajganj by an auto-rickshaw or commonly called as tuktuk. The driver name is Bobby and he’s a nice guy (in the beginning). He showed us a book of people from all over the world writing reviews about his service. Later when we reached the hostel, Bobby tried to persuade us to take a tour package from him, but we rejected. He even followed us inside the hostel. That’s make me hate him, I don’t like people keep on bugging me, telling me to buy something. If I said no, it’s a no, period. Few minutes later, he left because we ignore him.



Bobby.
On our ride to the hostel.

Bobby's auto-rickshaw charge.


We stayed in a female dorm at Bedweiser Backpackers Hostel. I kid you not, that’s the best hostel during our trip in India! I would recommend the hostel to anyone coming to Agra. Okay….back to the topic….. 


The main entrance of the hostel. And that's the security guard.


4 bed female dorm in Bedweiser Backpackers Hostel.


Living room.

After finish check-in, we went out for an evening walk. The map showed that the road next to our hostel is Taj East Gate Road, so we thought it is very near to Taj Mahal, but it’s not. It’s around half an hour walking distance from our hostel to Taj East Gate. But we didn’t go to Taj Mahal since it probably closed when we reach there. So, we walked into a nearby village but nothing seems interesting there and we’re actually quite scared of the dogs so we decided to turned back and walk towards Taj Mahal direction and then back to the hotel.



Television shops at the village.


Motorcycle workshop.

Cow walking in city street? Well, it's India.


Around 8.00pm, we went out again for dinner at Mumtaz Rooftop Café before we found out that it was closed for renovation. So, we changed plan! Since the next day is Holi Festival, a big colour festival celebrated across India, we saw that they have made a set-up like bonfire at certain place. We plan to go to one of the bonfire to see their ritual prayers but we were scared to walk by ourselves because we’re both girls and drunk man are everywhere on that night. We waited for a family passing by and we asked if we could follow them to go to the bonfire. However, they told us that the bonfire will be light up around 9pm, so we have to wait for another one hour by ourselves because they will pray there and then going back home. Feeling upset, we walked back to our hostel and still considering the consequences of going to the bonfire by ourselves.




Me, feeling unsafe, at Taj East Gate Road.

Most of the tuktuk driver told us to stay inside our hotel during the night because it is a bit unsafe. They said most people will get drunk on that night. That’s why we’re scared and don’t want to walk by ourselves. When we arrive at the hostel, we heard Bollywood songs played loudly from the back lane of our hostel. There could be another bonfire setup near to our hostel. Without much hesitation, we both agreed to go there! As soon as we saw the bonfire setup, we ran there, doesn’t feel scared anymore, hahaha. They’re already dance to the music and the bonfire will be light up in a bit.



This is what i mean by "bonfire setup". I don't know what do they call it.

They begin their ritual prayer as soon as the bonfire is light up.

Few moments later, we found out that we were already dancing with them. Most of them are kids from the neighbourhood and other travellers that were dancing together with me and Farah.



Me and Farah with some kids from the neighbourhood.



There were other travelers from Taiwan too!




We went back to our hostel around 10pm. We don’t want to stay out until midnight, it will be unsafe for us. We had our dinner, instant noodles (maggi) at the rooftop of the hostel. There’s a café and common room at the rooftop. We slept early on that night so that we can wake up earlier to catch sunrise at Taj Mahal on the next day.


That's all! I will continue on my next post. So, stay tuned!


Till then,
Aja.


Don't forget to go beyond~


p/s: my next post might be written in Malay.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

INCREDIBLE INDIA DAY 1 – ARRIVING AT NEW DELHI FOR THE FIRST TIME

Hello, it's me, Aja!


I am not good in words, but here's the first part of my travel diary to India on March 2017.


Travelling to India is not in my plan until one day, on March 8, 2016, Farah tweeted "India" to me. So I replied "what's up with India?". She actually invite me to go to India with her since India is her dream place. Without further argue, I agreed, even though I haven't met Farah since 2008 or 2009, damn awkwarddddddddd. But yeah, that's when it all started.......



Then, a year later, on March 10, 2017


After 5 hours and half flight from Kuala Lumpur, we finally arrived at Indira Gandhi International Airport, New Delhi around 10.30pm (local time). 


Situation at Indira Gandhi International Airport.


After passing the security, we want to take the Airport Metro Express to go to Paharganj, New Delhi. However, when we arrived at the station, it was the last train to New Delhi and sadly, we missed it. So, we decided to take the airport cab. After a lot of bargaining, one of the cab driver agreed to give us 300INR to go to Paharganj. We met an Indian man named Kishok at the airport, and he told us that price is OK. He let me use his wifi for a while to check for our hotel address. That’s made him our first local friend!




Kishok (middle), our first local friend.



So, we took the cab that we agreed earlier and there were two Indian guys inside. HERE'S THE SCAM STORY!!!! One of them is the driver, and the other one is his friend, who actually cheat us few moments later. I can’t remember his name but he told us that most of the road including the road to our hotel is closed due to election, protest and festival so he brought us to a travel agency and a guy named Jan Muhammad welcomed us. We’re being told that we have to go to another hotel at different area, Karol Bagh instead of going to our booked hotel at Main Bazaar Road, Paharganj. Jan Muhammad added that Paharganj is unsafe for girls, there are lots of party and the area is noisy and all the bullshits that we’re already aware. We said that we want to use his phone to call our hotel. He dialled a phone number that we believe is not the hotel because the guy on the line said that they can’t receive any guest until the next two days. That’s bullshit, we know we’re being scammed! It’s midnight, nearly 1.00am, we’re both girls, first time in New Delhi without internet connection, so we agreed to go the hotel that they suggested. There’s nothing much we can do at that moment since walking in the dark night to find our hotel can be a lot scarier. No point arguing since we’re both tired and helpless. The cab driver sent us to Hotel Sehej Continental at Karol Bagh.




March 11, 2017

The next morning, after having our breakfast, we checked out and a cab is already there waiting to brought us back to the same travel agency to pay for the hotel. We paid 1400INR for one night at that hotel. Jan Muhammad tried to persuade us to take a travel package with him but we rejected the offer. We know it was too damn expensive.

The street in front of the hotel.

View from rooftop of Hotel Sehej Continental.


Our first breakfast in India! (ofcourse la kena bergambar dulu)

We walked out of the travel agency office and took an auto-rickshaw to go to the hotel that we’ve booked earlier, Hotel Gush International at Chowk Bawli, Main Bazaar Road, Paharganj. The rickshaw driver, Ansar helped us to buy a sim card for 200INR before sending us to our hotel.




Buying sim card. Look at how small the cyber cafe is!


Busy and crowded street around Paharganj, New Delhi.

After check in, we decided to take a tour around New Delhi and Ansar agreed to bring us around with a charge of 250INR which is cheap. However, when we told him that we want to buy our train ticket, he brought us to a so-called-government-tourist-agency, HindiTrip and suggested us to make our train booking there so that we don’t have to queue for too long at the New Delhi Railway Station. After some arguments here and there, we finally agreed to book all the train ticket, bus ticket for Shimla-Manali-Delhi and camel safari package in Jaisalmer from HindiTrip. We know it could be cheaper if we do it by ourselves but I don’t know, we just agreed. Too bad that the simcard is not yet activated so I can’t google anything to check the price.

After that, Ansar brought us to India Gate and Parliament House. India gate is the war memorial for the soldier who died during the First World War. Nothing much to do there, only sightseeing and taking a lot of pictures. There’s so many local people picnic at a park near the India Gate and we had the chance to see a family playing games at the park. It’s like a board game but I think it’s only played in India because we never seen it in Malaysia.

Then, we decided to visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib or Sikh Temple which is situated not far from Connaught Place. It is one of the most prominent Sikh house of worship. It was originally a bungalow belong to Raja Jai Singh, an Indian ruler in the seventeenth century. We had the chance to see the "pooja" ritual inside the temple.


India Gate, war memorial to the Indian Army.


A family playing board game at the park.
Me, in front of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib.

Later during the night, we tried the best kebab in town at Nizam’s Khati Kabab, Connaught Place, New Delhi. Then, we strolled around Connaught Place by ourselves, just looking around trying to find any souvenirs. Connaught Place is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centre in New Delhi.

We took the metro to go back to our hotel, from Rajiv Chowk Station to New Delhi station. Unfortunately when we arrived at New Delhi station, we still have to take a rickshaw to go back to our hotel. Walking might be the last choice at that moment because it was already dark and we don’t actually know the path to our hotel. So we shared a cab with two other girls from Taiwan that were also heading to Paharganj. The cab was booked through Uber by a kind local guy.


March 12, 2017

After check out, we walk toward the main bazaar road to buy “rang” for Holi Festival on the next day.


Check out from Hotel Gush International, and leaving to Agra.
"Rang" for holi fest. Rang means colour in Hindi.

Then, we took a cab to go to Sarai Rohilla railway station to depart to Agra. Always remember to arrive at the railway station at least one hour before departure time. That was our first train ride in #incredibleindia. Few minutes after the train moves, we can see a lot of people are there, sitting, standing and chatting along the railway. They even have houses and shops next to the railway and rubbish were everywhere. It was pretty much like garbage dumping site at some places and it was an eyesore!!! The government should do something about this matter.

It took 3 hours 45 minutes to reach Agra from Delhi. We reached Agra around 4pm.


Sarai Rohilla Railway Station.
Small shop in the middle of platform at the railway station.
First train ride in India. So, photo is a must!

That’s all for our first time in the capital city of India. The story about my trip will continue on my next post, hopefully. Hehe. Stay tuned and don't forget to subscribe! Thanks for reading :)


You can get the itinerary for my #incredibleindia 1.0 trip by clicking here.



Till then,
Aja.


Don't forget to go beyond~




Friday, April 7, 2017

RE-BRANDING: Comeback is real!

I'm done re-branding myself. I am back. This time, i will stay longer. Well, maybe forever. Because there are so much to say this time. WOW! Look at how much i've grown...

This is my second blog. I closed the first one because the content is very immature. In my previous blog, i often wrote about my dissatisfaction, complaints, angers, and bad things. Too much negativity! 

This time, i would like to write about positivism. I want us to be kind, to help others, to contribute and to spread love. And i'm making this blog to share my passion and hobbies. Including some random rant. So, lets start this one with lots of positive vibes! +++++++++++ (is this help spreading the positivity?)

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO LIVE NORMALLY. HENCE, LIVE IT EXTRAORDINARILY!!!

Me and Taj Mahal, both are majestic. Hehehe.


Till then,
Aja.

Don't forget to go beyond~