You searched for honeymoon - Bruised Passports Offbeat Travel and Fashion Blog Sat, 30 Mar 2024 13:54:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Exploring the surreal Arctic North on Ponant’s L’Austral Sun, 06 Aug 2023 09:49:24 +0000 It is not often travellers get to experience unparalleled luxury in remote panoramas. To us, that unique combination is something...

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It is not often travellers get to experience unparalleled luxury in remote panoramas. To us, that unique combination is something French luxury brand Ponant has mastered over the years. Where else will you find haute cuisine and menus designed by Michelin-starred chefs serves in remote wilderness with sightings of Polar Bears, penguin colonies, or whales, and icebergs.

We’ve been on several voyages on Ponant vessels, including an unforgettable voyage to Antarctica, but today we wanted to talk about another memorable and educational voyage – to the Arctic North. Ponant offers various itineraries in the Arctic North that go to Svalbard Islands, a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean; Greeland; and the Thule region in Canada (more on that below)

Polar Bears in Svalbard


L’Austral itineraries visit Longyearbyen, one of the Northernmost settlements in the world


Packing for an Arctic Voyage

It’s a truly tricky to pack for an Arctic Voyage because you need to pack everything from thermal leggings and tops to black-tie outfits and medicines. Fortunately for you, we have a detailed packing list for winter cruises right here – treat it as a checklist and it will make sure you are absolutely well prepared for your voyage 🙂

Just in case you forget something, there is a small shop onboard with clothing items and accessories. However we would recommend double-checking your packing before departing on your Arctic voyage -, especially medicines, toiletries, and tech equipment.

Packing well is important for this cruise – read our detailed list before you pack!


Ponant’s L’Austral – Rooms, Dining, and layout

Embarking on a cruise aboard Ponant’s ship L’Austral promises an unparalleled experience of luxury, sophistication, and world-class amenities. Think of it as a journey that redefines modern cruising.

Dining options on L’Austral: A Gastronomic Adventure at Sea

Dining is truly the highlight of Ponant voyages and L’Austral takes dining to new heights with its exceptional culinary offerings. The ship boasts multiple dining venues, each promising a unique gastronomic journey. The main restaurant usually has a buffet style setting, with menus that change each day – expect everything from gourmet French delicacies to pizzas and a large salad bar.

Dinner is usually a more intimate and exclusive experience as L’Austral has a specialty restaurant that offers sit-down dinners with carefully curated menus. Expect premium ingredients and exquisite presentation and truly exception wine lists.

But that’s not all. The main lounge offers live entertainment, cocktails, and panoramic views, making it an ideal space to unwind after a day of exploration. The outdoor bar, situated on deck, offers refreshing drinks, allowing guests to savour panoramas while socialising with fellow travellers. My favourite part is the view from the swimming pool, next the bar, on L’Austral. Elegance and sophistication are the two words we would use to sum up the dining opportunities on board!


Expect gourmet meals cooked with the finest ingredients on Ponant’s L’Austral


Outdoor snacks with views to match in Svalbard

Rooms on L’Austral

The staterooms and suites on L’Austral exemplify luxury and comfort – think plush furnishings, neutral colour palettes, bedside lights and luxurious yet refillable Diptyque toiletries, refillable glass water bottles that ensure a restful and responsible holiday. Beds are comfortable and we slept like babies most days at sea. Most cabins are equipped with balconies (a must for this part of the world!). And offer butler service to all guests – room service is free, 24 hours a day. The room service menu has a range of salads and comfort food such as burgers and sandwiches, which can be delivered to your cabin free of charge, anytime of the day.A true luxury at sea!

But if you want even more space, the suites offer additional space by way of a living area and storage. These are ideal if you’re travelling with family or for a special occasion such as a honeymoon.


Stateroom with balcony on Ponant L’Austral


Spa & gym facilities on L’Austral

You can spend all your time staring at panoramas, but you must take out some time to exercise to those views at the gym. And if you’re in no mood to exercise on holiday, then do book yourself a relaxing treatment at the onboard spa on L’Austral. From rejuvenating massages to invigorating Sothys facials to Kerastase hair treatments, the spa’s skilled therapists pamper guests with personalised therapies. Nothing comes close to the unique combination of soothing aromas, and ocean views – the ideal environment for unwinding and recharging.


What to expect from Svalbard and the Arctic North

Ponant offers several itineraries, ranging from 1 week to 3 weeks in the Arctic North. These go to some stunning places such as the Northernmost town in the world, the remote villages of Greenland and Canada’s Arctic North. However if you are short on time, there is one we would highly recommend, it is the one week itinerary to Svalbard that offers all the highlights of the Arctic North in just a week!

As most of these areas are well and truly remote and the weather unpredictable, it is hard to know what exactly to expect on a day. However here are some highlights visitors can expect

  • Polar Bears: Whichever itinerary you pick you are bound to have polar bear sightings in the Arctic North. Let me tell you – there is truly nothing that comes close to observing these amazing creatures in their natural habitat
  • Northern Lights: If you choose a winter voyage, then you will be able to see the incredible Aurora Borealis, not just on the ports but from your ship too. Goosebumps are bound to follow
  • Sailing and kayaking between ice floes and icebergs in remote areas is truly an experience like no other. The fjords are so beautiful that it almost seems like you are in a picture postcard or a film!
  • You will experience what life looks like in some of the northernmost villages in the world
  • From Beluga Whales and Orcas to Seals and Humpback Whales, you can expect some amazing sightings each day – it was this that left us completely awestruck!
  • From puffins to sea gulls to skuas, you will see dozens of gorgeous birds in Svalbard and the Arctic North


I hope this gave you a great idea of what to expect on Ponant’s L’Austral. This voyage was truly one that we won’t forget in a lifetime. If you’re looking for unparalleled luxury in some of the most remote areas of the world, this voyage is the one for you!

Want to book an Arctic Expedition on Ponant? We have a lot of unmissable offers right now – do check them out before booking your trip

Wild birds on ice sculptures in Svalbard

Imagine seeing the Northern Lights from Ponant’s L’Austral during winter time


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5 Unbeatable Reasons to Plan a Road Trip in Karnataka, India Tue, 25 Jul 2023 13:17:19 +0000 There’s something magical about hitting the open road, and Karnataka, a state in southern India, offers a plethora of stunning...

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There’s something magical about hitting the open road, and Karnataka, a state in southern India, offers a plethora of stunning destinations that make for an unforgettable road trip. From majestic waterfalls and colourful flower fields to luxury retreats and rich historical sites, Karnataka has it all. Here are five unbeatable reasons why planning a road trip in Karnataka should be at the top of your travel bucket list.

If you’ve already made up your mind about a road trip in Karnataka, then read this detailed guide to a road trip in Karnataka. You can also check car rentals and compare prices here 

Karnataka is ideal for a road trip

1. Waterfalls in Karnataka: Natural wonders by the dozen 

Karnataka boasts some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in India, and embarking on a road trip allows you to witness nature’s symphony at its finest. One must-visit destination is Jog Falls, located on the border of Shimoga and Uttara Kannada districts. Cascading from a height of over 800 feet, Jog Falls is the second-highest plunge waterfall in the country. The roar of the water as it plunges into the rocky gorge below is a mesmerising experience that will leave you in awe.

Another gem is the stunning Abbey Falls near Madikeri in Coorg. Surrounded by lush greenery, the water plunges into a picturesque pool, creating a postcard-perfect scene. The drive to reach these falls is an adventure in itself, with scenic routes cutting through coffee plantations and misty hills.

Karnataka has beautiful waterfalls

2. Flower Fields in Gundlupet: A Kaleidoscope of Colors

If you have a penchant for vibrant landscapes, a visit to the flower fields in Gundlupet is an absolute must. Located at the foothills of the Chamundi Hills, Gundlupet is renowned for its vast stretches of colourful flower fields, especially sunflowers and marigolds. These fields paint the entire region in a kaleidoscope of colours during the month of August. The exact date of bloom varies from year to year, but the month of August is a safe option to plan this trip!

The best time to witness this breathtaking sight is during the winter months when the flowers are in full bloom. A road trip through Gundlupet will not only captivate your senses but also provide an opportunity to capture picture-perfect moments amidst the blossoms

Flower fields in Gundlupet, Karnataka

3. Evolve Back Coorg: Luxurious Retreat in Harmony with Nature

No road trip is complete without a bit of indulgence, and Karnataka’s luxury hotels, such as Evolve Back Coorg, offer sustainable opulence amid the tranquil surroundings of Coorg’s coffee estates. Formerly known as Orange County, this lavish resort takes pride in its commitment to ecological conservation, providing guests with an exquisite stay that embraces the beauty of the surrounding wilderness.

Evolve Back Coorg allows you to unwind in private pool villas that blend seamlessly with the natural environment. From rejuvenating Ayurvedic spa treatments to fine dining experiences that showcase local flavors, this sustainable luxury hotel ensures you experience the best of Coorg’s charm and elegance. There are also so many coffee and spice plantations int he area, so make sure you reserve a day for exploring those.

Sunset at a luxury hotel - Evolve Back, Coorg
Sunset at a luxury hotel – Evolve Back, Coorg

4. Ideal for Romantic Honeymoons and Family Holidays

Whether you’re planning a romantic escape with your significant other or a fun-filled family adventure, Karnataka’s road trip destinations cater to all types of travelers. The picturesque landscapes, serene backdrops, and myriad of activities make it an ideal destination for honeymooners seeking intimate moments.

For families, the region’s diverse offerings ensure that everyone has a memorable time. From wildlife safaris in Bandipur National Park to trekking opportunities in the Western Ghats, every member of the family can find something that piques their interest.

Karnataka is the ideal place to plan a romantic getaway or a family holiday

5. Amazing Views and History in Hampi

For history buffs and landscape admirers, a road trip to Hampi is a treasure trove of wonder. Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was once the capital of the historic Vijayanagara Empire. Today, its ruins stand as a testament to the empire’s grandeur and architectural brilliance.

Exploring the vast expanse of Hampi on wheels allows you to witness awe-inspiring views of ancient temples, royal complexes, and rock-cut monuments. The iconic stone-chariot of the Vittala Temple and the Virupaksha Temple’s towering gopuram are among the must-see historical marvels.

As you drive through the surreal landscapes of Hampi, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time, surrounded by the remnants of a glorious past

Karnataka has history and views for days


To sum it up, a road trip in Karnataka is an adventure like no other. From witnessing natural sites like waterfalls and flower fields to indulging in luxurious retreats and immersing yourself in history, Karnataka’s diverse offerings promise an unforgettable journey. So, fuel up your vehicle, pack your bags, and hit the road to discover the true essence of this captivating Indian state. Whether you seek romance, family fun, or a rendezvous with history, Karnataka welcomes you with open arms and boundless beauty.

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Wine country : Plan a relaxing holiday or honeymoon in Tuscany, Italy Sat, 15 Jul 2023 12:52:03 +0000 Tuscany, with its rolling hills, picturesque landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, is a region in central Italy that has a...

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Tuscany, with its rolling hills, picturesque landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, is a region in central Italy that has a firm fan club in pop culture – you’ve probably seen it in countless TV shows and movies. But let me tell you – it deserves all the hype – and more!  A holiday to Tuscany offers an excuse to experience Italian life beyond popular cities like Florence and Rome.

Tuscany offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a truly Italian way of life – La Dolce Vita. The best way to experience the region’s charm and authenticity, in our opinion, is through rustic stays and exploration of offbeat villages. In this article, we will delve into that perfect road trip in Tuscany and the concept of agritourismo. We will also highlight some offbeat villages that unveil the hidden treasures of Tuscany. Let’s go….

Views for days – Tuscany makes for the perfect road trip in Italy 🙂


Renting a car in Tuscany

If you’re keen to explore authentic Italian life in Tuscany, we highly recommend renting a car from the airport you land at. You can compare prices and book a car here


Hotels and Agro Stays in Tuscany

Agro stays, also known as agriturismo, provide a distinctive opportunity to experience Tuscany’s rural life firsthand. These accommodations are often charming farmhouses or country estates, where visitors can stay and embrace the region’s agricultural traditions. Agro stays offer comfortable lodging, traditional Tuscan cuisine, and a chance to participate in farming activities like grape harvesting, olive picking, or cheese making. Do not underestimate the luxuries offered by these stays – a lot of hotels in the area walk the fine balance between maintaining their rustic charm while offering bespoke luxury really well.

The most popular region for agro stays is the Chianti region, famous for its vineyards and wineries. Staying at a Chianti agriturismo allows guests to witness the winemaking process, taste exquisite wines, and enjoy breathtaking views of the vine-covered hills. An amazing option here is Villa Sassolini. But since Chianti is one of the most popular options, it can often be quite expensive during peak season! This is why we would recommend visiting Chianti on a day trip and staying elsewhere, especially if you are visiting Tuscany during peak season.

A couple of such options include Conti di San Bonifacio Wine Resort or Borgo San Vincezo in Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its picturesque landscapes. Agriturismos and hotels in this area provide a serene escape amidst rolling hills, cypress-lined roads, and vibrant sunflower fields. Guests can relax, enjoy farm-fresh meals, and explore nearby villages, making it an idyllic retreat. We stayed in the hamlet of Castelnuovo Barardenga and would highly recommend a cute villa in this part.

If you are on your honeymoon or budget is not a constraint, we highly recommend a stay at Castello Di Velona – a truly special hotel that captures the essence of Tuscany! It is the kind of place you wouldn’t want to leave – and truth be told, you needn’t leave it. The views, the experience, and the food will leave you spellbound!

Agrotourismo hotels in Tuscany are perfect if you enjoy rustic luxury


Iconic sunsets in offbeat villages – this is Agriturismo Baccaleno

Offbeat Villages in Tuscany

While larger Italian cities like Florence and Milan often steal the limelight, Tuscany’s offbeat villages offer a glimpse into a quieter, more authentic side of the region. These hidden gems are brimming with history, local traditions, and charming architecture. We highly recommend exploring a few of these during your time in Tuscany

  1. Pitigliano, also known as the village with ancient caves. Visit the Orsini Fortress, explore the Jewish Quarter, and indulge in local delicacies at the village’s quaint eateries.
  2. Montepulciano, a medieval hilltop town known for stunning views. Stroll through its narrow streets, visit the beautiful Piazza Grande, and explore the ancient wine cellars that produce its famous Vino Nobile wine.
  3. Volterra, a testimony to the rich history of Tuscany. Visit the Roman Theater, the Etruscan Arch, and the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum. This will give you an opportunity to witness traditional alabaster craftsmanship, a specialty of the region.
  4. Anghiari, a charming village famous for its medieval character. Wander through its stone-paved streets, admire the 13th-century walls, and visit the Museo della Battaglia. It is so peaceful here, you’re bound to fall in love
  5. San Gimignano: Known as the “Town of Towers,” San Gimignano is famous for its medieval skyline adorned with 14 remaining towers. Explore the UNESCO-listed historic center, sample the local Vernaccia and drink in the Italian air!


Things to See and Do in Tuscany

Tuscany is a region of extraordinary beauty, where every corner seems like a postcard-worthy scene. From rolling hills and vineyards to medieval villages and breathtaking coastlines, Tuscany offers countless photogenic spots. Here are some beautiful and photogenic locations in Tuscany:

  1. Val d’Orcia: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a photographer’s dream. The gentle, undulating hills, cypress-lined roads, and charming farmhouses offer a quintessential Tuscan landscape that you will definitely want to photograph.
  2. Pienza: Known as the “Ideal City of the Renaissance,” Pienza offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The Piazza Pio II, with its well-preserved architecture and panoramic vistas, is a must-visit spot for photographers.
  3. San Gimignano: Famous for its medieval towers, San Gimignano’s skyline is an enchanting sight. Explore the narrow streets, capture the ancient architecture, and enjoy the breathtaking views from the top of the town.
  4. Cinque Terre: Although technically not in Tuscany, the colourful villages of Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast are a short distance away and you can combine a visit to Cinque Terre with your trip to Tuscany. The vibrant houses perched on cliffs, overlooking the azure sea, provide endless opportunities for stunning photographs.
  5. Florence: Chances are you will land at Florence airport in order to reach Tuscany. So do spend a day at the beginning or end of your trip exploring the birthplace of Renaissance. Florence offers iconic landmarks like the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, and Piazzale Michelangelo. The city’s architecture, art, and picturesque streets make it a treasure trove for photographers.
  6. Montepulciano: This medieval hilltop town is not only famous for its wine but also for its photogenic qualities. The Piazza Grande and the surrounding streets provide captivating backdrops for capturing the essence of Tuscany.
  7. Lucca: Encircled by medieval walls, Lucca is a charming city with narrow streets, picturesque squares, and well-preserved architecture. The city’s unique atmosphere and stunning views from the Guinigi Tower make it a photographer’s paradise.
  8. The Leaning Tower of Pisa: Located in Pisa, this iconic monument is a must-visit spot for photography enthusiasts. It is also easy to combine a visit to Pisa with a relaxed vacation in Tuscany. Play with perspectives and capture creative shots with this famous leaning tower.
  9. Abbey of San Galgano: The roofless abbey, with its Gothic architecture and a legendary sword in the stone, provides a dramatic and mystical setting for capturing ethereal images.
  10. Saturnia Thermal Baths: The hot springs in Saturnia offer not only relaxation but also a stunning natural backdrop. Capture the cascading waterfalls and steam rising from the thermal pools for a unique photography experience.
  11. Everywhere you go you will find olive oil, wines, cheeses, and pastas sources from local vineyards and groves. Make sure you take your time to relish all the local food as it is truly the highlight of any stay in Tuscany.


Tuscany boasts of so much history


One thing is for sure – you will fall in love with the slow life in Tuscany and not want to leave


And that’s it. Everything you need to plan an amazing trip to Tuscany. Tuscany is a visual feast, offering countless photogenic spots at every turn. Whether it’s the landscapes, historical sites, or cultural gems, Tuscany’s beauty will leave you so inspired. One thing is for sure – you will definitely not feel like coming back!

Have a few extra days? You can combine this trip to Tuscany with the most scenic roadtrip in the Dolomites, Italy


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11 Must Dos in Dolomites, Italy – plan the perfect road trip in Dolomites Tue, 11 Apr 2023 03:30:06 +0000 Top things to do in Dolomites region of North Italy - hikes, beautiful landscapes, viewpoints, and a road trip - covering Val Di Funes, Santa Maddalena viewpoint, Lago Braies and many other

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Most people think of cities like Venice, Rome and Milan or countryside getaways in Tuscany whenever holidays in Italy come up. But the Dolomites are one of THE most beautiful corners of Italy. In fact this is a UNESCO Heritage Site by virtue of being an area of outstanding natural beauty. We highly recommend visiting this corner of Italy  – here is everything you need to know about planning this beautiful road trip in Dolomites

Hut in the Dolomites region of italy
The panoramas that await you 🙂

Nearest Airport for Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites are a 3-4.5 hour drive from most major hubs like Venice, Milan, and Florence. You can fly into an airport that is most convenient for you and rent a car from that airport. We flew into Florence and rented a car from the airport itself. if you’re flying from Europe, then there are plenty of flights to all these cities. If you’re flying from India, the best option might be to fly to Milan.

Renting a car for Dolomites, Italy

It is easy to rent a car from most major airports in Italy. We compare prices here and then go with the most feasible and reasonable option. Tip – Make sure you examine the car for any scratches and inform the car rental before you start driving as inspections can be quite strict in Europe when you drop the car off.

road trip in Dolomites Italy
HIGHLY recommend renting a car to enjoy these beautiful drives

Best Time to Visit Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites are gorgeous all year round but they are especially beautiful during peak summer. This means late May-August is the best time to plan a road trip in Dolomites


Where to Stay In Dolomites, Italy

There are endless options for stays in Dolomites. However, no matter what hotel you choose, make sure it has a good view. For that will elevate your stay in Dolomites manifold. Here are a few options

  • Forestis Dolomites is one of the most luxurious and scenic hotels in the world – perfect for a honeymoon or special ocassion
  • Rosapetra Spa Resort is a luxurious boutique hotel with great views
  • If you’re on a budget, try to look for a scenic apartment such as Töniglerhof Apt Abendrot or Casa Nobili .These are amazing options if you’re planning to spend most of your time driving around or hiking!
girl at a plateau in Dolomites Italy
Sigh! – This is Passo Delle Erbe from where you can begin the the Sass De Putia hike (see below)

11 Must dos In Dolomites

It is easy to spend weeks hiking and driving in Dolomites. Literally every corner is breathtaking and gorgeous. However here are a few things you absolutely MUST DO on your road trip in Dolomites, Italy. You can select the ones that suit you best from this list below:

1. Lago di Braie

This famous lake is truly as gorgeous as you’ve heard! However it tends to get really crowded as the day goes by, so make sure you arrive early. It has a beautiful mist cover early morning which lends it a magical touch

2. Three Peaks Viewpoint

It is hard to pick favourites because the views on any road trip of Dolomites are so stunning, but if I could, this is the one I would pick. The Three Peaks viewpoint is absolutely gorgeous and it is easy to reach if you’re driving. Drive to Auronzo Hut and you will see this amazing view

3. Lake Misurina

The turquoise blue waters of the largest Alpine lake in Dolomites will leave you spellbound! Period!

4. Cadini Di Misurina & Tre Cime Hikes

If you enjoy hiking, then this is one hike you must undertake!  You can get to the Cadini viewpoint in approximately 40 minutes from the Rifugio Auronzo parking. Another day long hike that starts at Rifugio Auronzo is the Tre Cime Circuit Hike – this is a moderate hike and it’s quite popular, so you’ll definitely have company along the way. Expect incredible views – this place is a photographer’s haven.

5. Val Di Funes

Whether you enjoy hiking or ogling at incredible views, Val Di Funes will have you wrapped around its little finger. This valley is home to some of the most instagrammable panoramas in the world. Make sure you drive to San Giovanni Church in Ranui and Santa Maddalena Church and village for some of the best views of the Italian Alps.

For the hikers, there are some great trails including the iconic Adolf Munkel hike – this trail goes along the  Geiser/Odle mountain range in Val Di Funes and you can expect breathtaking views along the way. Two more hiking trails in this area provide a peek into rural Italian countryside -Panoramaweg and Sunnseitenweg. These trails are much quieter than the ones around Three Peaks, so make sure you carry snacks, water, and first-aid supplies with you at all times.

6. Sass Di Putia

What can I say? The views in the Dolomites keep topping each other! Sass Di Putia is another one of the those stunning places that seem almost unreal. You can drive up to a view point (Passo Delle Erbe) and in case you’re in the mood for a hike, the Sass Di Putia Circuit Trail can be completed easily in a day

7. Passo Giau/ Giau Pass

This curvy road should definitely be on the list for all you road trip enthusiasts

8. Paso Gardena/Gardena Pass

Speaking of love for road trips, Gardena Pass at 2121m above sea level, is one of the most beautiful stretches of road in Italy. Make sure you drive through it on your road trip in Dolomites

9. Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi

The largest Alpine Plateau in Italy, the views here will remind you of Switzerland. If you’re not driving, you can also take the bus to this spot. This is a major hub for hikes in the summer time and skiing during winter time.

10 Torri Del Vajolet/Vajolet Towers

One of the most recognizable spots of the Dolomites, Torri Del Vajolet in South Tyrol is not as crowded as the Tre Cime Circuit Hike. But that doesn’t make it any less spectacular. This is a must visit for photography and nature lovers!

11. Sass Pordoi

Perfect lunar landscapes in Val Garden, Sass Pordoi is a plateau-like formation. You can take the cable-car from Passo Pordoi Ridge. If you’re after snowy views, even in summer, this is a good place to find them.

sunrise at Lago Di Braies in Dolomites Italy
Lago Di Braies – all sorts of wonderful (but gets crowded as the day goes on so go EARLY)
hiking viewpoint of 3 peaks at Santa Maddalena village in Dolomites
The viewpoint at Santa Maddalena – FAVOURITE!
small church of Ranui in Dolomites surrounded by clouds
San Giovanni Church in Ranui
Hope this inspired you to visit one of the prettiest areas of Italy and plan a road trip in Dolomites, Italy. IF you have any questions, leave them below, and we will definitely answer them soon 🙂

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A guide to planning a short beach holiday to Krabi, Thailand Wed, 29 Mar 2023 10:53:45 +0000 Krabi in Southern Thailand makes for the perfect beach holiday – it is scenic, bursting with culture, and really affordable....

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Krabi in Southern Thailand makes for the perfect beach holiday – it is scenic, bursting with culture, and really affordable. It is perfect for everything from honeymoons to fun vacations with friends and family. Indians are also eligible for a visa on arrival to Thailand at Krabi international airport – this VOA is valid for 15 days and you must show all confirmed accommodation bookings and pay a cash fees of THB 2000 (make sure you’re carrying local currency or USD/GBP/EUR/other major currency to convert to THB). Here are some things you need to plan a memorable trip to Krabi if you have just 4 days (to a week) to spend in Krabi.

Gorgeous Krabi
  • Fly into Krabi and book an apartment or hotel at Ao Nang Beach. This is the centre of all the action and you’ll find plenty of restaurants, spas, night clubs, and day-tour options here! Some good hotels are below – you can compare rates and pick something that suits you
  1. Centara Ao Nang Beach Resort & Villas is a scenic and luxurious hotel
  2. If you’re on a honeymoon then definitely look up Rayavadee and Phulay Bay for unparalleled luxury
  3. Holiday Inn Krabi is a nice option if you’re with family and friends
  4. Nemo 2 Resort is a good option if you’re on a budget


  • There is an endless range of things to see and do in Krabi. But let’s start with sunset at Ao Nang beach – it is one of the most stunning sunsets in the world and the beachfront also turns into an open-air party each evening – with live music, jugglers etc. Spend an evening at the Ao Nang beachfront during your holiday in Krabi. Noppharat Thara Beach is also worth visiting in the area!
The most stunning sunsets from the beaches of Krabi
  • Taxis are easily available in the area. But we would recommend renting a scooter for the length of your stay in Krabi. You can easily rent a scooter for less than $10/day and drive to temples, beaches, and restaurants yourself. This will make it easy for you to commute in Krabi. It’s common practice for the rental agency to keep your passport till you return the scooter. Scooter rental price (as of 2022) is around THB 200 / day.


  • One of the best parts about Krabi is that there are several scenic day trips in the area. It is extremely affordable to rent a private boat at Ao Nang beachfront. There are so many gorgeous islands you can visit on day trips but there are two you definitely must visit – Railay Peninsula, Koh Poda, and Koh Thap (especially during low tide as you can walk between two small islands on a sand bank). You can also arrange a trip to the famous Phi Phi islands (but please check with the locals if the boats are going there as when we visited they weren’t)Make sure you go early as they tend to get really crowded as the day progresses. Just head to the counter at the beginning of Ao Nang beach from where you can either get on a long-tail boat with other customers or you can also negotiate a price with the boatsman for a private journey. We did a mix of both 🙂
Railay peninsula
  • If you’re fond of cultural activities, then definitely visit Wat Kaew Korawaram. It is one of the largest Buddhist Temple in the area and definitely worth a visit during your holiday in Krabi, Thailand.
Beautiful architecture in Krabi
  • There is an endless array of spas, restaurants, and nightclubs in Krabi. You shouldn’t leave without getting a relaxing massage, partying it up, or devouring local specialities such as mango sticky rice or grilled sea-food at the local food-markets that pop up each evening.


  • You will probably fly into Bangkok before flying to Krabi, read our guide to Bangkok here. Bangkok is the perfect shopping and dining hub in Thailand, so make sure you spend 2-3 days there before or after your holiday in Krabi.


We hope this gives you lots of ideas on planning that perfect holiday in Krabi. If you have any more questions, leave them down below and we will definitely get back to you 🙂



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How to plan a trip to Antarctica – EVERYTHING you need to know Sun, 08 Jan 2023 02:54:34 +0000 Want to book a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica? You’ll find the best prices and offers here  🙂 ******** Truly once-in-a-lifetime!...

The post How to plan a trip to Antarctica – EVERYTHING you need to know appeared first on Bruised Passports.

Want to book a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica? You’ll find the best prices and offers here  🙂


Truly once-in-a-lifetime! They say you should only see Antarctica after you’ve seen everything else because nothing else will ever compare – that’s truly how beautiful it is!

The sights that await

But let me start by saying Antarctica is not just a trip that you plan like a honeymoon in Paris or even a road trip in Iceland. Firstly, visiting Antarctica is very expensive, which is why most people (including us!) plan this trip for years before finally taking the plunge and actually undertaking it. Secondly, you can expect extreme temperatures and the turbulent Drake Passage, which boasts of some of the choppiest waters in the world.

It takes approximately 2 days to cross Drake Passage and the turbulence can make even the most well-travelled people sea-sick or worse! So 4 days of this entire journey is spent in that state crossing Drake Passage from South America to Antarctica and back! These factors make Antarctica a location where a visit needs to be “earned” both literally and metaphorically.

Having said that, its remote location and incredible panoramas makes it a very SPECIAL place, unlike any other. Here we will tell you everything you need to know for planning a trip to Antarctica – The White Continent

Brace yourself for such dramatic visuals throughout the journey

Visa for Antarctica

You do not need a visa for Antarctica. However it is best to combine this visit with 1-2 countries in South America such as Chile or Argentina, for which you might need visas.

Currently Argentina issues evisas for Indian Passports holders with a valid US or Schengen visa (The eVisa costs $200 at the time of writing and is much more expensive than applying at the consulate, but definitely comes with a LOT of convenience) and Chile doesn’t need a visa if you have a valid US visa. However these rules keep changing, so it’s best to check for updates before booking anything.

Flights for Antarctica

Most polar expeditions and cruises for Antarctica start in Ushuaia, Argentina. For this, it is best to fly from your home town into Santiago (Chile) or Buenos Aires (Argentina). And then onto Ushuaia, Argentina

If you are flying from US or UK or Europe, you can opt for direct flights to Santiago (Chile). If you are flying from one of the bigger cities in India, the shortest option is to take a flight with a short stop over in Europe. We took an Air France flight (Delhi-Paris-Santiago) for our trip. It involved a long stopover in Paris but this was the most convenient connection for us.

If you’re flying from anywhere in Asia or Australia, we suggest keeping a few days to explore Santiago, before flying onto Ushuaia, Argentina. This will help you work off the jet lag and regulate your sleep cycle before you board your polar expedition. Because you don’t want to be constantly tired on your once-in-a-lifetime trip to Antarctica 🙂

Looking forward 🙂

Budgeting for your trip to Antarctica & tips on choosing the right expedition for you

It is easy to estimate an approximate budget for your trip to Antarctica as everything from accommodation to all meals are usually included in the cost of polar expeditions. This is one of the most expensive trips in the world as flights alone cost $3000 or more and most polar expeditions start at $10000+ per person.

However instead of going in for a cheaper expedition, I would personally suggest waiting a few years and saving for a better polar cruise. Not just us, but most people we met on this trip (ages ranging from 25-75) had opted for this option due to 2 reasons.

Firstly, larger ships might be slightly cheaper but they are more polluting and also unable to go to some of the most scenic places in Antarctica due to their size and make (more on this below). Secondly, when the temperatures are extreme outside, you will appreciate luxuries on board a more expensive polar expedition such as heated rooms, gyms, hot showers, relaxing spas, and plenty of fresh healthy food. For these reasons, we booked our Antarctica Odyssey on Ponant’s Le Commandent Charcot. Another great option is also Ponant’s L’Austral which ticks a lot of these boxes and tends to be more affordable than Le Commandent Charcot

But no matter how your book your trip, make sure you have a clear list of ALL inclusions before you pay for your polar expedition. Try to get a package that includes everything from meals and accommodation to expeditions and even airport transfers as costs can really add up while paying separately.

Our home for 2 weeks – Le Commandant Charcot

Responsible travel in Antarctica

The cost factor and remoteness make Antarctica hard to get to. But that can be a good thing for its fragile ecosystem. Before we go onto the details of our trip, I wanted to share the sheer importance of responsible travel in Antarctica. Of course, travelling responsibly is important everywhere in the world, but it is especially important in remote Polar regions.

We had the fortune of being on a Polar Odyssey that had a lot of scientists, naturalists, and researchers amongst the passengers and crew. They told us that while tourism is the continent is often dismissed, the profits help fund a lot of important research work and preservation efforts in Antarctica.

And the right kind of travellers, focussed on responsible tourism & conservation management can truly make a difference. IAATO regulations are very strict in Antarctica and rightly so. They make sure wildlife is preserved and allow travellers to enjoy responsibly. This means only small groups of visitors can see penguin colonies etc at a time now. Make sure you follow these protocols when you are informed about them. Due to this & many other reasons many recent studies, including reports of Lynch and LaRue, found the global population of Adelie penguins has actually increased in the past few years.

So without further ado, here are a few things to keep in mind whenever you plan a trip to Antarctica, straight from the experts we spoke to

  • Never keep anything (clothes, shoes, bags) on the ground when you’re outside in Antarctica. Leave nothing, take nothing
  • Carry reusable water bottles when you go ashore for expeditions
  • Boots have to be disinfected every time you leave and come back on board so you don’t carry traces to or from the continent
  • Always check the carbon emissions of the vessel you choose before booking – there are many green options available these days. In fact the reason we had so many scientists and researchers on board is because we were on Le Commandent Charcot which is a hybrid electric vessel, the first of its kind in the world, which has been designed to minimise the environmental impact of travel to the furthest latitudes. It is also an ice-class vessel, meaning it has the capability to visit many remote polar regions, where most cannot go, making it important for researchers
  • Make sure all your clothes are bio-decontaminated before going ashore for expeditions. Most packages these days have this facility but you should check ahead
  • As all of you know, we’ve organised various anti-littering drives as I really hate tourists littering beautiful places. But be extra careful about stray masks, shoe laces, sanitizer bottles etc and never leave any waste behind on land in Antarctica
  • Always listen to what the Naturalist guides have to say and don’t go near wildlife or disturb them in any way. This is their home & we are just visitors
  • Every expert we spoke to mentioned how every traveller to Antarctica becomes more conscious in their daily life after witnessing its fragile beauty firsthand. And now that we’ve seen it for ourselves, we can see why they say that. Make sure you carry the lessons you learn in Antarctica back to your home country too 🙂
Observe from a distance
Leave it as you found it!!

Our Polar Odyssey – inclusions, facilities, expeditions, and details

Now I wanted to touch upon all the details of the facilities and inclusions on our Polar Expedition so you have a clear idea of what to expect and what to check for before booking

Le Commandent Charcot is an extremely modern but intimate vessel. Every passenger is given personalised attention and I cannot say enough good things about the staff. Everyone from the housekeeping staff to the sommelier to the expedition guides to the Naturalists went above and beyond for every single guest on board.

Staterooms represent the understated French luxury Ponant is famous for! They are designed in neutral tones with comfortable beds and plush bathrooms, equipped with Diptyque toiletries as well as a Nespresso machine. But most of all they are truly well-equipped for a polar expedition – well heated, with large wardrobes, lots of strorage space for bulky woollens, and non-slip drawers for those choppy days at sea. Every stateroom has a private spacious balcony to enjoy the gorgeous vistas (believe us, you’ll be spending quite a lot of time here :)).

In terms of dining options, there are two restaurants on board with menus designed by the iconic Michelin Starred Chef Alain Ducasse. There is one casual buffet-style restaurant and one restaurant for sit-down dinners. There is also:

  • An open air stall with international food options
  • 1 detox bar with a huge selection of smoothies and cold pressed juices
  • An observatory lounge with all-day drinks and snacks at tea time
  • Bar with light nibbles and music for sundowners
  • Complimentary 24 hour in-room dining

This diverse range of dining options ensures you will not be hungry at all, no matter what time of the day it is. Food is so fresh and cooked so well, that we truly enjoyed every meal – be it a simple pan-fried fish or a more elaborate truffle ravioli, the quality of the food will leave you impressed. There are lots of vegetarian and vegan options at every meal. And since this is a French ship, the desserts, breads, and cheeses truly steal the limelight.

Passing time indoors is easy. There is a scenic gym and a gorgeous spa which pampers guests with iconic Biologique Recharge facials and massages. There is an indoor pool and outdoor pool, which is heated using recycled energy from the ship. There are board games on board, live music, and also lots of lectures by naturalists, researchers, and scientists educating everyone about Antarctica and its wildlife. Upon reaching Antarctica, there are exciting expeditions each day, so time indoors is often limited to meals and entertainment.

Comfortable and luxurious staterooms
Views from balcony 🙂
Look at those views – who wouldn’t feel like exercising 😉
Dinner setting at the buffet restaurant
Nuna – the sit-down restaurant with amazing food and views
A spa session after a long polar hike – YES please 🙂
Plenty of beautiful lounging spaces throughout the ship
One place we visited every morning for our share of scrumptious detox smoothies 🙂
Ahem! you guys can only imagine how happy Vid was on seeing this every evening in the buffet restaurant 😉

Polar Expeditions & Excursions in Antarctica – what to expect

Antarctica is an unpredictable destination. This is why landings vary from day to day. The reason we had so many researchers and wildlife photographers on board with us is because Le Commandant Charcot is an ice-class vessel, meaning it can go to places most others can’t. This ensured we saw things we couldn’t even dream of, such as penguin colonies with more than 10,000 Emperor penguins, all under the supervision of experts of course.

Landings in Antarctica depend on the weather conditions and wind conditions, so it is hard to write down exactly what you will see on your trip to Antarctica here. But here are some things you can definitely expect:

  • Witnessing glaciers, ice sculptures, and floating ice bergs
  • Polar Hikes
  • Kayaking
  • Adélie, Chinstrap, and Emperor penguins in their natural habitat. The exact number of course will depend from day to day, but November and December are the best months to spot them
  • Seals in their natural habitat
  • Polar Birds in their natural habitat
  • Killer Whales in their natural habitat

Needless to say, each of these sights left us spellbound. All passengers get a super warm Parka and snug snow boots for excursions.

A polar hike on an overcast day where we…
…met the chinstrap penguins for the first time
Emperor Penguins – truly majestic
We were so fortunate to have witnessed a colony of more than 10,000 Emperor penguins
Mothers feeding their chicks. Adorable!!
Kayaking with a backdrop of majestic mountains – thrilling!
For most excursions we go out on these inflatable zodiacs – an experience in itself
We also saw a colony of Adelie Penguins
Unbelievable sights
Beautiful views while hiking
And you’ll witness the MOST amazing twilight scenes

Packing for your trip to Antarctica

Packing for a polar expeditions to Antarctica or any extreme winter destination can be daunting. If you are planning a polar expedition, make sure you read this packing guide for Antarctica & extreme winter holidays so you go well-prepared for your Polar Odyssey. It has everything you will need – from winter wear and tech gear to medicines and toileteries – that you will need to pack for Antarctica.

And that’s it – everything you need to plan a trip to Antarctica, with tips on budgeting, visas, flights, and actual excursions. We hope you come away from this polar expedition, having learnt many lessons that you can implement in your daily lives – we definitely did! As mentioned above, stay responsible, follow the experts’ guidance and enjoy yourself as much as you can.

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Planning The Perfect Safari Holiday to Maasai Mara, Kenya & visiting the no 1 hotel in the world Sun, 02 Oct 2022 18:15:03 +0000 Planning The Perfect Safari Holiday In Kenya is harder than it sounds because there are so many options! But we’re...

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Planning The Perfect Safari Holiday In Kenya is harder than it sounds because there are so many options! But we’re here to share everything we learnt!

Both of us love researching lots before we plan a holiday – cue weeks of reading about hotels, flights, comparing ticket prices, and the destination itself. However our route to Planning The Perfect Safari Holiday In Kenya was a little twisted. This is because we planned this trip thrice (yes thrice!) and it got cancelled due to some reason or the other – once due to unexpected work and twice due to the pandemic! So this year, we promised ourselves to make it to Kenya on a special occasion – Vid’s birthday was ideal because he loves celebrating it in remote places each year.

Here is everything we learnt and some tips for planning The Perfect Safari Holiday In Kenya!


Visas & Vaccinations for Kenya

Passport holders of most countries need an e-visa for entering Kenya. Make sure you get it before you fly to your safari holiday in Kenya. It took 3 working days for our visa to arrive – however we would suggest applying at least a week in advance. You can apply here (the total fees is USD 51)

Of course, you will need to carry a print out of your Covid Vaccination certificates with you in order to be granted entry into Kenya. We heard mixed reports about the need for yellow fever vaccinations, so we did take our certificates along. However if you are flying from India, you do not need to show yellow fever vaccination certificates anywhere – to enter or leave the country.


Who is this holiday ideal for?

A safari holiday in Kenya is ideal for most age groups, except infants and toddlers. However it is especially suited if you’re on your honeymoon or craving a romantic getaway for a special occasion like an anniversary.

It is also extremely ideal for families travelling with senior citizens – after getting to the destination, all you have to do is enjoy the fine dining and experience the sight of different animals without getting out of jeeps. No walking is required, which makes this ideal for older people.

elephant in front of camp in Maasai Mara
You’ll come back with unforgettable memories

Packing for a Safari Holiday

We would definitely suggest packing the following items for your safari holiday in Kenya. I’ve tried to link the exact items we took for your convenience below:

  1. This clothes steamer –  if you haven’t bought a travel steamer till now do it. It’s game changing and we carry it on all our trips, no matter where we are going
  2. A good power bank as your phone battery is bound to get drained during long safari drives
  3. A good quality gimbal for your phone helps in getting better photos & videos. This is the one we use right now – would definitely recommend it
  4. A full-frame camera with a good zoom lens is a must if you want high quality photos on safari. I used a Sony A7c with a 200-600mm lens
  5. Good sunscreen that offers SPF 50 protection. Here is the link to the one both of us used on this trip
  6. Your favourite heavy-duty lotion or cream as skin tends to get dry – I’ve been using this one for years 
  7. A high-quality lip balm as lips tend to get very dry and a comfortable lip tint that goes with every outfit – Revlon’s Sultry is an old favourite of mine. It’s perfect for most Indian skin-tones
  8. First-aid kit with band-aids, insect repellent, sanitising wipes, blister plasters etc
  9. Warm Jacket as evenings and early mornings can get very cold. We carried light down jackets
  10. Neutral coloured clothes for safari rides – avoid bright colours and also blacks as they attract flies. This is not a strict guideline – however it is preferable to carry clothes that cover your arms and legs well in order to avoid sunburn and mosquito bits. Make sure you carry comfortable clothes as you will be wearing them for long days on safari
  11. You can also pack regular-coloured clothes during meals, at the camp, and when you visit Maasai villages if you wish to
  12. A hat to protect your face from the sun
  13. Boots and sneakers that cover your feet and protect them from mosquitoes and ants
  14. Protective sunglasses as the sun is brutal
  15. A scarf to protect your hair and for chilly evenings


Tips for planning the Perfect Safari holiday in Kenya

  • Spend at least a day or two in Nairobi

Nairobi is often considered the jumping point for boarding flights to Maasai Mara. But it is a thriving city with lots to do. You should definitely spend a day or two exploring its marketplaces, taking a cooking class, or just walking along the streets absorbing the air of a new country.

If you are keen to see flamingoes, then you can also plan a day trip to Lake Nakuru National Park. The number of flamingoes varies drastically depending on migratory patterns from year to year, so check with the tour operator before going. This day trip costs approximately $150 per person for a private tour. You also have to pay an additional `$70 for entrance to the park (if you go during high season). If you are transiting through Nairobi and do not have time to fly to Maasai Mara for a safari, Nakuru National Park is also the perfect place to see White Rhinos, Zebras, Giraffes, and the elusive tree-climbing lions, that can be found only in Kenya and Tanzania. You could book with Viator etc. or could also just head to Nairobi and book with a local operator – there are plenty of them.

Flamingoes at Lake Nakuru National Park
The rare tree-climbing lion
  • Pack perfectly for your safari holiday

You are allowed to take only 15 kilos of luggage in a soft duffel bag on flights to Maasai Mara, so pack your luggage accordingly. If you are travelling with bigger, hard-shell suitcases, just carry soft duffel bags in your bigger suitcases, so you can put all your luggage for your safari holiday in those.

As for your big suitcases, Air Kenya and Safari Link offer free storage facilities at Wilson airport to their passengers. You can deposit them before your flight to Maasai Mara and collect them on getting back to Nairobi. We flew with Air Kenya and had to pay around $800 for 2 people for a return flight between Nairobi Wilson and Olare Orok airstrip (it is actually just a strip of dirt track in the middle of the wilderness – was quite an experience flying in these planes and landing in the middle of nowhere with wild animals ambling along in the distance).

Our aircraft at the “airport” 😉


  • Budgeting for your Safari holiday in Kenya

There are some destinations in the world where you can’t experience the best the destinations have to offer on a very tight budget. For example – whenever someone asks us about a budget holiday in Maldives, I suggest picking another destination – not because it is impossible to do Maldives on a budget but because other options like Mauritius can offer SO much more to the same traveller in their budget.

This is also the case with other countries like Switzerland – instead of worrying about every meal in an expensive country like Switzerland, we always recommend visiting a more affordable country like Slovenia which has similar scenery but is a lot more affordable 🙂

For this exact reason, I would recommend planning a safari holiday in Maasai Mara when you’re not on a very tight budget. This will help you experience the best the destination has to offer. It is nice to have creature comforts and luxuries when you are in remote areas in complete wilderness. Moreover, every little expense – such as domestic flights within Kenya which cost between $800 and $1000 for 2 people – can add up quickly. That’s why Kenya is ideal if you’re celebrating a special occasion like a honeymoon, birthday, or anniversary.

Of course the exact budget will depend on the airline you choose, the hotel you pick, and where you are flying from. But as a rule of thumb, you can add up the following 6 expenses in order to estimate the total cost of your trip to Kenya

  1. International flights from your home country to Kenya
  2. Domestic transfers from Nairobi to Airstrip of your hotel which cost approximately USD 800-1000
  3. E-visa costs which are approximately $51 per person (as of Oct 22)
  4. Hotel in Nairobi – this will depend on the hotel you stay at! We stayed at the Crowne Plaza (close to the international airport) and then Hilton Double Tree (close to the domestic Wilson Airport) and both hotels were great options. We chose them due to their proximity to the airports but staff was very welcoming and rooms spacious.
  5. Meals & taxis in Nairobi – there are lots of restaurants, no matter where you are and Ubers are easy to find.
  6. Hotel in Maasai Mara – make sure the cost of your hotel includes transfers from airstrip to hotel, all safaris and all meals in addition to accommodation. This will ensure you have an exact idea of the expenditure when you book your stay.


  • Choose your hotel in Maasai Mara carefully

There are many lodges and camps in Kenya. However we heard from some of our friends who visited Maasai Mara last year that they couldn’t see as much wildlife as they thought they would. Upon research we found out that in many parts of the Maasai Mara, guides cannot go off-roading, which decreases the possibility of sightings. This is something to keep in mind when picking your hotel in Maasai Mara.

As for us, we chose Mahali Mzuri, which is Richard Branson’s private camp and it was so truly special. It has been accorded the status of the Number 1 Hotel in the world and I can see why! Large spacious tents are equipped with all creature comforts such as fast wifi, running hot water, large beds, showers, large patios, and bath tubs overlooking the Mara. Luxuries such as daily turndown service, an extensive mini bar, binoculars for animal sightings, twice-daily game drives, and 3 course meals are all included to make guests feel thoroughly pampered. The menu changes everyday and there are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. There’s also an option of having a picnic breakfast in the wilderness (after/during a game drive) and not to forget the stunning setting for the sundowner – sipping on your favourite cocktail as you watch Zebras and Giraffes walking into the most dramatic sunset. But the chef is so flexible in case you want something that is not even on the menu. Here I must give a shoutout to the staff – the kindest, nicest people who make everyone feel so welcome. Every guest we met at the lodge just could not stop praising the staff.

Mahali Mzuri Maasai Mara Kenya
Our tent in the middle of the expansive Mara
Large tents with huge patios to maximise chances of sightings
Cozy dinner settings
Loved the sundowners 🙂
Our amazing guide Gideon and Raymond – amazing staff all around
We also met these little munchkins in a Maasai village nearby

The best part? Mahali Mzuri is located in Olare Motorongi Conservancy, a special part of the Mara that offers truly unparalleled wildlife viewing experiences. And so it was. The wildlife we saw here blew our socks off – dozens of giraffes, playful zebras, leopards, cheetahs and their cubs, lions preying in their natural habitat – you name it and we saw it! These photographs will tell you more about the sightings

Loved the twice-daily drives – so much wildlife
Spotted a leopard right below our tent – scary and exhilarating at the same time 🙂
Awww! Mother cheetah with her adorable cub
The most gorgeous sunsets
leopard on the tree in Maasai Mara
My favourite photo of all time <3

I hope this provides all the information you need to apply for visas and plan a safari holiday to Maasai Mara Kenya.

There you have it – everything we learnt from our incredible safari holiday in Kenya. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip, so make sure you reserve it for a special occasion. We fell in love with Kenya and hope you do too.

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1 Week Itinerary for France : Culinary Paradise in Paris & Burgundy Tue, 28 Jun 2022 12:55:50 +0000 Very often, we get questions like ‘Savi & Vid we have one week and we don’t want to do anything...

The post 1 Week Itinerary for France : Culinary Paradise in Paris & Burgundy appeared first on Bruised Passports.

Very often, we get questions like ‘Savi & Vid we have one week and we don’t want to do anything hectic. We just want to plan an itinerary for a relaxed vacation full of good food, good wine, and wonderful sites. Any ideas?’ on this website.

This itinerary of a week in France is dedicated to those of you who want a relaxing experience-filled vacation. We can promise it will leave you completely rejuvenated. Here’s a day-by-day itinerary for your convenience

Days 1 & 2 : Fly to Paris & explore Paris

We love Paris and there is never a dearth of things to do in this iconic city. If you have just 2-3 days in Paris we suggest doing the following

  • Staying in a centrally-located hotel like Le Mathurin Hotel & Spa, which has many sites such as Louvre Museum and the Opera House at walking distance. The hotel also has a beautifully appointed Nuxe Spa if you have some spare time.
  • If you’re celebrating a special occasion or you’re on your honeymoon, then you could also consider staying at Shangri La Paris, which offers great views of the Eiffel Tower.
  • Spend a day walking by the Seine, visiting The Louvre, taking photographs of the Eiffel Towel from Trocadero and Av New York (don’t forget to go down the stairs right by the river). If you are travelling with kids then definitely check out the newly-opened Museum of Illusions (there is a similar one in Lyon, France as well :)) for a fun afternoon.
  • The Eiffel Tower truly comes alive at night once it lights up and twinkles at the hour between 10 pm & 1 am. Make sure you opt for a meal in the area – you could also go for a meal to the first floor of the Eiffel Tower at Madame Brasserie. Choose a corner table and enjoy chef Thierry Marx’s food as you relish the view of Paris stretched out in front of your eyes at sunset.
  • If you are staying in Paris for longer than 2 days, here are some excellent suggestions for 10 Offbeat Things To Do In Paris
Eiffel tower couple at Trocadero
Early morning outings at Trocadero
dining at Madame BRasserie Eiffel Tower
Dinner with a view <3
Museum of Illusions trick photography Paris
A LOT of fun was had at the Museum of Illusions
Le Mathurin Paris – great location and nice hotel rooms

Day 3 Take the train to Dijon, Burgundy

We love our road trips. However a lot of cities in Burgundy are completely pedestrianised and there are a lot of wine tastings on offer – since drinking and driving isn’t exactly a match made in heaven, it is best to opt for public transport. There is a direct train from Paris to Dijon – it takes 1.5 hours and is extremely convenient. You can book tickets here

Upon reaching Dijon, you can easily walk to your hotel if you don’t have heavy luggage. We suggest choosing Grand Hotel La Cloche – it is right in the city centre, a mere 10 minute walk from the train station. The hotel is luxurious. Rooms are spacious and well-appointed and offer beautiful views of the city centre. If you’re tired after the journey, have a leisurely meal at their lively restaurant Les Jardins – we would definitely recommend sampling their salmon tartare and desserts. If you have some spare time, you must check out their exclusive spa that is located inside a cave and offers a range of relaxing treatments. They also use unique skincare fashioned from Burgundy grapes – I’m talking Pinot Noir and Chardonnay scrubs and serums!

Once you’ve checked into the hotel and rested, you can spend the evening walking around the city centre. Make sure you book a tour at the Tourism Office to go up the Phillipe Le Bon Tower for €5. It is almost 300 steps to the top but the tower offers stunning views of the city of Dijon. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can go to a nice restaurant in Dijon. Here are 5 of our favourite restaurants in Dijon with detailed descriptions about the kind of food on offer.

Train travel in Europe is a vibe 🙂
Grand Hotel La Cloche, Dijon – beautiful rooms
You MUST try the spa at the hotel
Salmon Tartare at Les Jardins by La Cloche
Aah! The cobbled streets of Dijon
View of Dijon from top of Philippe le Bon tower
Both of us at the top of Philippe le Bon Tower

Day 4 Explore Dijon & surrounding vineyards

Dijon is the home of Dijon Mustard. You can book a shot mustard-making workshop at the Tourism Office and also visit some of the huge mustard stores in the city centre.

In the afternoon, take a short tram ride from the centre. Just 10 minutes later you will find yourself at walking distance from some of the most iconic vineyards of France. Here you can rent bikes with La Valo Vie to ride along Route Des Grands Crus starts in Dijon and goes through some of the most beautiful & famous vineyards in France. The route also goes through some beautiful picture-postcard villages and provides a special glimpse into rural France.

Don’t forget to wrap up your trip to Dijon with a truly memorable meal at Cibo. You will find all details about the spectacular restaurant in our article on 5 best restaurants in Dijon. We highly recommend putting this on your itinerary.

You can’t come to Dijon and NOT learn how to make mustard 🙂
Bicycle tour through vineyards of Burgundy in Dijon and Beaune
Such an AMAZING experience in Dijon – highly recommended
Le Cibo michellin star restaurant Dijon France
Would happily go back for a meal at Cibo <3

Day 5 Take the train to Beaune

After spending a few days in Dijon, the food capital of Burgundy, it is time to take a short train ride to Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy. Beaune is only a 15 minute train ride away, so it is possible to explore it on a day trip. But we recommend spending at least 1-2 nights in Beaune to truly experience the charming town and everything it has to offer.

Beaune is a very small town with only 20,000 inhabitants and it is extremely popular for wine tourism, so make sure you book your hotel and transfers well in advance. Try to stay at Hotel Le Cep – a unique hotel in a historic building that dates back to the sixteenth century. Rooms are spacious and luxurious with comfortable beds, indulgent baths, and ornate furnishings. Despite the modern amenities, the owner here has retained the historic character of the building with many sculptures and walls dating back to medieval times (LOVED the breakfast area). Staying here is like walking into a picture postcard where time stands still.

Once you have rested, take a relaxed walk around the historical centre of Beaune. Make sure you stop by the Hospices de Beaune to introduce yourself to the history of the area and check out the bright-yellow tiled roofs that are representative of Burgundy.

Beautiful courtyard of Hotel Le Cep – Wish we could stay longer 🙂
The breakfast area – how gorgeous
Hospice De Beaune – History at every corner
How pretty 🙂

Day 6 Explore Beaune

It would be sacrilegious to come to this part of Burgundy and not go on a wine tasting tour. Some of the most expensive wines in the world are produced here in Burgundy and there are a number of tours on offer. We went for a group tour with Chemins De Bourgogne which took us to some beautiful wine cellars and vineyards in the area. You can sample some amazing wines here or pick a few bottles for friends and family back home.

If you’re looking for a nice restaurant for lunch or dinner in Beaune, Caves Madeleine is a beautiful eatery that offers a typical French experience with a 3 course menu that changes frequently. If you’re looking for a more laid-back meal or perhaps craving a pizza or a burger, then Le Monge is a relaxed restaurant that is very popular with locals and has a variety of options on the menu.

Wine tasting in this gorgeous countryside? YES please 🙂
What a beautiful lunch setting and an even better meal – Caves Madeleine

Day 7 Shopping In Paris

It is time to take the train back to Paris and shop your heart out. You can spend the day walking along The Avenue des Champs-Élysées for a mix of high-street and designer shopping. If you enjoy luxury shopping, then do check out the signature stores of luxury brands along Avenue Montaigne, Paris.

For discounted luxury shopping, you could also check out La Vallée Village near Paris. The open-air mall has a variety of luxury outlets ranging from Gucci and Fendi to CK and Lacoste. Try to go early as it gets crowded as the day goes on and make sure you carry your passport as you would need it to claim tax refunds. If carrying huge bags from shop to shop isn’t your idea of fun, you can also book the luxury package at La Vallée which includes transfers from Paris, hands-free shopping, and also additional discounts. Please also carry your passport and ask the boutiques to provide you with the tax refund forms (if your shopping is over EUR 100) which you can then show at the airport at the time of departure and receive a refund of around 12% of the cost of the product.

shopping at La Vallée Village Paris
Enjoyed a day of shopping on our last day


Day 8 Fly back home

It’s time to leave France after a week packed with sightseeing, exceptional food, amazing wine, and  shopping – this itinerary of France promises a truly relaxing holiday that will leave you feeling completely rejuvenated.

We hope you visit Burgundy and experience it for yourself soon – if you have any questions leave them down below. Happy Travelling 🙂

The post 1 Week Itinerary for France : Culinary Paradise in Paris & Burgundy appeared first on Bruised Passports.

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Visiting Maldives post pandemic in 2021 : Heritance Aarah in Maldives Sat, 30 Oct 2021 14:11:08 +0000 Maldives truly makes for the ultimate relaxing getaway. We recently spent a week in Maldives to celebrate Vid’s birthday and...

The post Visiting Maldives post pandemic in 2021 : Heritance Aarah in Maldives appeared first on Bruised Passports.

Maldives truly makes for the ultimate relaxing getaway. We recently spent a week in Maldives to celebrate Vid’s birthday and got more questions about it than any other destination we have ever visited. Everyone wanted to know what it is like to travel to Maldives in 2021 right now. Perhaps this is because of the fact most of us were holed up in our houses during the pandemic and we are all craving an escape. And what better than a beach getaway to make those lockdown blues disappear am I right? Besides, Maldives is one of the safest places to travel to right now because of low infection numbers and the small population sizes on individual islands.

So we thought we would share all the information we could possibly share, so you can plan a fun and seamless getaway to Maldives right now.

Over water villas at HeritanceAarah
Aah! Paradise awaits 🙂

The New Normal : Entering the Maldives

First things first, let’s talk about all the safety precautions. In order to enter the Maldives, you do not need any proof of vaccination. You only need negative RT-PCR reports. The test should be taken 96 hours or less before you flight and they often check the authenticity of the report, so make sure you get it from a reputed lab in your area. Before flying to Maldives, you should fill the form here.

Upon landing in Maldives, you are asked for test reports at immigration, after which you can exit the airport. The process is seamless. One things to note is that currently (September 2021) tourists can only travel to uninhabited islands i.e. private resorts on small islands. Staying on bigger islands such as Male is prohibited for tourists from most countries.

Our hotel, Heritance Aarah followed safety precautions to the tee. Staff was wearing masks, sanitisers were provided at entrance of every restaurant, and most of the residents were vaccinated. This made it possible for guests to do away with their masks upon arrival at the hotel, which was so liberating.

Finally, 72 hours before leaving Maldives, you need to get another RT-PCR test done (depending on your destination – for those returning to India, this RT PCR test needs to be done within 72 hours of the flight and results uploaded to Air Suvidha website). This test is available at the hotel itself, even though most hotels charge a premium for it. Expect to pay anywhere between USD 45-100 per person for the test, depending on where you are staying. That’s it – 1 test for entry and another one for exit (depending on the rules set out by the country you’re flying back to) is all you need to travel to Maldives in 2021.

RT PCR testing at Maldives Resort
The new normal 🙂

Getting to the hotel from Male

If your hotel is a boat ride away from Male, we suggest staying for 3-4 nights. However if you have to take a connecting sea-plane ride or a domestic flight to get to the hotel, then we suggest staying for at least 4-5 nights as the first day goes in getting to the hotel.

This time we stayed at Heritance Aarah, which is a 40 minute sea-plane ride away from Male Airport. If you haven’t been on a sea plane before, then we promise this will be an experience in itself as it will give you a birds eye view of Maldives’ green and turquoise waters and its gorgeous islands. Truly stunning!

Flights are included in the hotel stay prices depending on the accommodation you choose and the duration for your stay.

sea plane transfer from Male airport to Heritance Aarah
Our ride 🙂

Choosing a room for yourself

Heritance Aarah, like most hotels in Maldives, has a variety of rooms. Choosing one can get confusing. Rooms are spacious, well-equipped, and come with complimentary mini bars that are replenished every day. Bathrooms are gorgeous with stunning views of the blue waters and come equipped with luxurious toiletries.

We suggest splitting your stay between 2 kinds of rooms that suit your budget to experience 2 different stays. Here are the room categories you can choose from, with pros and cons

1. Over-water villa : these are iconic Ocean villas & provide the perfect Maldivian experience, unless you are with young children or elders. You can technically stay there even with kids but there are no railings etc so you’ll have to be extra careful. For this reason, most hotels make guests with kids sign a consent form for over-water villas

2. Beach-facing villas : These are ideal if you are with kids as you get the gorgeous scenery of Maldives right on your doorstep. These are also good for those of you on a budget as they tend to be the most affordable of the 4 categories

3. 2 bedroom villas : If you’re travelling in a group with your family or friends and want to stay together, then 2 bedroom villas are ideal for you. However these are fewer in number, so they get sold out first. So make sure you book in advance if you are keen on a two-bedroom villa for your family.

4. Ocean Suites – these are over-water-villas with a private infinity pool. They come with their own living area, bedroom, and bathroom with expansive ocean views. These are the best rooms and ideal if you are celebrating a special occasion or you’re there on your honeymoon.

Sunrise from the Over Water villa in Maldives
Gorgeous sunrise from our over water villa
Bathtub overlooking the ocean in Maldives Resort
The bathtub situation in the Ocean Suite 😉


Going all-inclusive in Maldives

Due to the nature of hotels in Maldives, all the dining and sports opportunities of most islands are within the hotel itself. If you eat meals or rent sports equipment individually, the costs add up very quickly. So it makes sense to opt for an all-inclusive package. Typically the all-inclusive package at Heritance Aarah includes

  • Accommodation and all amenities
  • All meals at most of the restaurants on the island
  • Unlimited alcohol
  • Unlimited mini-bar
  • Non motorised water activities such as kayaking, canoeing etc
  • Equipment rental such as snorkelling gear
  • Bicycle rental
  • Butler service in the villa

These are the things included in your standard all-inclusive package. However a top tip is to look for packages which include a few extras such as floating breakfast or a special beach dinner when you book your holiday (go for Rosso Amore – a beautiful setup by the ocean). This depends on who you are booking with – we suggest comparing costs between an online portal such as MakeMyTrip, your local travel agent, and the hotel’s own website to see which is offering the best deal at the moment. Make sure you read the fine print and have a clear idea of what is included and what is excluded before you book. Educated customers are happy customers 🙂

Sundowner at Ralu (followed by dinner :))
Rent bicycles and explore the island 🙂
Romantic dinner setup by the beach in Maldives
The Rosso Amore dinner setup – LOVED it

Packing for Maldives

Now that you have booked the holiday and the excitement is building up, it’s time to think of the fun stuff such as packing. It’s not straightforward to pack for a holiday in Maldives, simply because you need more than just your beach clothes. After all, you won’t spend all your time in the water. There are many lounging, fine dining, and wine tasting opportunities too. So you need a combination of swimwear, resort wear for lunches and lounging, and dressier smart casuals for dinner.

Here’s a handy packing list for both men and women

Packing list for men

  • 2 pairs of swim shorts
  • A few t-shirts or bright beach-friendly shirts
  • 1 denim shorts
  • 1 pair of casual linen trousers
  • 2 formal shorts or trousers for evenings
  • 3-4 crisp shirts for dinners
  • 1 pair of casual slippers or sliders
  • 1-2 pairs of formal shoes
  • Undergarments
  • Protective sunglasses

Packing list for women

  • 3-4 swimsuits
  • 2-3 casual dresses or kaftans
  • 2 beach cover-ups – kimonos and shrugs work best
  • 1-2 pair of shorts
  • 2-3 casual tshirts or crop tops
  • 3 dressy evening outfits
  • A large beach bag
  • A small clutch bag for evenings
  • Lingerie & night-suits
  • Statement accessories like headscarves and earrings. Gold jewellery looks beautiful against tan skin
  • Protective sunglasses
  • Makeup: I would suggest something light such as BB creams and lip tints for the day. Make sure you carry your favourite highlighters and lipsticks for evenings as they pop on golden beachy skin

As always, don’t forget to pack lots of sunscreen and have a good time ?

Choose comfortable clothes 🙂
what to wear in Maldives couple
And carry lots of colour

Must Do Experiences at Heritance Aarah

If you see our photos and videos and book yourself a holiday at Heritance Aarah, make sure you try the following experiences out for yourself

  1. Hammocks in the Indian Ocean – it’s hard to get into these hammocks next to Ginifati restaurant but once you do, lay there for a while. When else will you get a chance to read a book in the middle of the ocean?
  2. 8 course tasting menu at Ambula – there are 12 bars and restaurants at the hotel, so it is hard to try everything. But if there is one thing you need to try, it is the 8 course tasting menu at Ambula. It offers a curated selection of Sri Lankan and Maldivian flavours that is impossible to resist. The default menu is heavy on seafood, so do inform the restaurant a day in advance in case you want a vegetarian menu.
  3. We have been to many hotels in Maldives over the years and each has its pros and cons. But the dining at Heritance Araah is one of its definite pros. We really enjoyed our meals. While the view from each restaurant is special, make sure you reserve an ocean-facing table at Ralu for dinner one night. Try the salmon ceviche and get there before sunset for some incredible views
  4. Try a glass-bottomed canoe or go snorkelling from you over-water villa. If you are not comfortable swimming, you can also go on a boat ride to spot dolphins. In fact, we also spotted dolphins while having coffee in our balcony, so keep a lookout for them
  5. Try to catch movie night or a concert at Bandhi Bar
  6. Make sure you catch sunset over sundowners at the Sky Bar. It can get quite crowded, so go early to nab the best seats
  7. Enjoy a floating breakfast or a sunset swim at the hotel’s Infinity pool
hammocks in the ocean at Heritance Aarah MAldives
We didn’t want to leave these hammocks 🙂
Dinner at Ambula restaurant HEritance Aarah
One of the most exquisite meals we have ever had – at Ambula restaurant
Infinity pool at Heritance Aarah Maldives
The views from the infinity pool are amazing
A massage with this view – yes please 🙂
drone shot of couple lying on the beach in MAldives
Bliss! Love Maldives and can’t wait to go back


There you have it – everything you need to know to book a holiday to Maldives in 2021. Everything from the travel documents needed, package inclusions to room types and packing tips. Hope you found it useful

             Want a beach holiday but on a budget? Check out 10 Things To Do In Mauritius here

Read all our articles on Maldives here


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That perfect luxury getaway from Delhi: Alila Fort Bishangarh, Rajasthan Sun, 02 Feb 2020 11:11:28 +0000 It isn’t everyday that you get to sleep in a 230 year old warrior fort in ultimate luxury. Alila Fort...

The post That perfect luxury getaway from Delhi: Alila Fort Bishangarh, Rajasthan appeared first on Bruised Passports.

It isn’t everyday that you get to sleep in a 230 year old warrior fort in ultimate luxury. Alila Fort Bishangarh promises its guests many such firsts.

We’ve stayed in our fair share of gorgeous Rajasthani hotels – in fact the Indian state has some of the most beautiful hotels in the world. But Alila Fort Bishangarh is different. Here you’ll see none of the over-the-top opulence or busy interiors that seem to be a cornerstone of most luxury hotels in the area. In fact, the raw character of the fortress has been preserved and it is this organic nature that sets this hotel apart.

Despite its history as a warrior fort, the interiors of the hotel are bedecked in calming shades of white and ecru. The minimalistic interior of the hotel does justice to its rich history while simultaneously paying homage to current trends in interior design. The result? An unparalleled luxury experience that is so much more than just a hotel stay!

Alila fort bishangarh hotel drone view
This place screams gorgeousness


Getting to Alila Fort Bishangarh

We would highly recommend a 2-3 night stay at Alila Fort Bishangarh if you’re looking for a short weekend getaway from Delhi or Jaipur. The closest airports are in Jaipur and Delhi. Alila Fort Bishangarh is a comfortable 3 hour drive from Delhi and a 40 minute drive from Jaipur.


Choosing a room at Alila Fort Bishangarh

Rooms at Alila Fort Bishangarh are spacious and come equipped with elegant furnishings and sleek cabinets that discreetly house amenities like a mini-bar and television. The hotel offers a selection of rooms – choose one based on your preference.

  • Heritage Rooms are smaller than others but boast of intricately-carved windows, luxurious bathrooms, and comfortable beds
  • Suites are extremely spacious, luxurious, and ideal if you’re celebrating your honeymoon or a special occasion
  • If you’re a keen photographer or love waking up to incredible views, then try to choose a room in the tower. These have huge windows and reading corners overlooking the surrounding village of Bishangarh and the Aravalli Hills
Luxurious rooms and suites at Alila Fort Bishangarh
Opt for a room in one of the towers


Dining at Alila Fort Bishangarh

Dining at Alila Fort Bishangarh can only be described as experiential dining. Here meals aren’t just meals – they’re something more. That’s why we recommend setting aside a couple of hours for each meal instead of rushing through them.

Alila Fort Bishangarh has 3 restaurants but Nazaara would have to be our favourite – the open-air restaurant is especially gorgeous at dinner. Expect live Rajasthani music, piping hot food cooked in claypots, and cocktails with an inextricably Indian edge – I would definitely suggest their sampling platters accompanied by achaari Mojitos – so good! We sampled everything from local Rajasthani curries to Mediterranean flatbreads and salads at the hotel, but the one thing that stood out every single time was the quality of the produce. Perhaps that is because most of the fruits and vegetables served at the hotel are grown in-house at the hotel’s organic garden. And does anything taste better than locally-sourced seasonal produce?

If you’re a fan of al-fresco meals and fresh produce, then you could even request a meal in the organic garden. A table is laid out and a typical Rajasthani meal is cooked in front of your eyes as you devour the meal in the shadow of the fort – priceless!

Perfect setting for an evening soiree at Nazara
romantic lunch setting at Alila Fort Bishangarh in their organic garden
Lunch in the organic garden overlooking the majestic fort


Leisure at Alila Fort Bishangarh

All that eating and exploring is bound to leave you exhausted. Perhaps that’s why we were saving the best parts of the hotel for this section – the spa and pool at Alila Fort Bishangarh are the stuff of dreams. The pool is located in a little building at the foot of the fortress, which ensures stunning views of the hotel from the pool. We would highly recommend packing a book and spending a chunk of your weekend getaway at the poolside.

For another spell of rejuvenation, book yourself an indulgent spa treatment. You can even book massages for your little ones in case you’re travelling as a family. If you’re at the hotel for a romantic getaway, then we would recommend considering a treatment at their couples spa room. The room boasts of an exquisite open-air bath tub offering a 180 degree view of the surrounding Aravalli Hills. Choose a sunset slot and watch the sun go down with your partner, as you relax with glasses of champagne after a massage. What more could you possibly want?

Private bath tub overlooking the Aravallia at Alila Fort Bishangarh
Can’t get over this gorgeous spa setting
A hot tub with view
Swimming pool overlooking Alila Fort
Our favourite reading corner at the property 🙂


Packing for Alila Fort Bishangarh

When it comes to packing for the hotel, we would suggest opting for colourful resort wear. Loose cotton trousers and maxi dresses are ideal for the day. Smart casuals are perfect for dinner, so make sure you pack crisp shirts and linen trousers for men and elegant dresses for women. If you’re going during winter months, then you must pack a warm jacket or a selection of jumpers as evenings tend to get quite chilly in the countryside.

Don’t forget to pack your swimsuits for a dip in the glorious pool. Make sure you pack comfortable shoes and a large scarf for visits to the surrounding villages or local temples. We would suggest giving high heels a miss because you will be walking a fair bit on cobbled pathways in and around the hotel.

Things to do in Bishangarh and beyond

The hotel offers a variety of excursions for guest. You could go for a sunset safari in the desert, take a walk in the neighbouring village, book a cooking class for yourself, or drool over endless fields of yellow mustard flowers that surround the hotel (they bloom during November). Combine this with languorous meals and afternoons spent by the pool, and you’re ensured days full of adventures, even for the most restless of souls.

Enjoy the rustic cooking class 🙂
Sunset safari in jeep near Alila Fort
Go for a sunset safari to the nearby desert and enjoy some hot tea

If you’re looking for additional things to do in the area, then the pink city of Jaipur is just a short drive away. If you do choose to venture to Jaipur for a day out, don’t forget to read our list of things to do in Jaipur.

It’s always a great idea to check and compare prices before booking.

Love travelling in India? Read all our articles on India before you plan your travels

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