Our next part of the journey started in Brisbane, we only past through for one night but managed to go to the Botanical Gardens in the day which was really magical and to the Gallery Of Modern Art to see the ‘Yayoi Kusama: Life is the Heart of a Rainbow’ exhibition which we had seen advertised everywhere. It was really captivating and colourful definitely worth the visit!
We stayed at Tryp in Brisbane which is located in Fortitude Valley. The hotel is very cool and modern with lots of graffiti and outside courtyards in your rooms. The rooms are super modern with cool coloured lighting, colourful bathroom sinks and futuristic decor. Super comfy beds and rain showers are also very important! I loved how all the rooms have different graffiti in them so the whole place is very colourful and urban. Also downstairs they have burger chain Churr Burger where we went for dinner. Best burgers ever! I had the veggie burger and added Mac and Cheese and it was incredible. Churr also has graffiti and an amazing outside courtyard area. The whole place was really well thought out decor wise, a great place to stay if visiting Brisbane!
We stayed for one night at the beautiful Rainforest Retreat in Mt Warning. We stopped in the Water Lodge which is open plan with a beautiful Balinese feel. The decor is really something else and you are set amongst trees and nature so it’s so peaceful. The Water Lodge boasts an open plan BBQ area with an outdoor hot tub, fully equipped kitchen and a suspended double bed. All the decor is Balinese with beautiful ornate doors and details everywhere. They also provide fresh bread in the morning which is a really nice touch. This is the perfect place to go to chill out and relax in a beautiful space, it would be amazing for a honeymoon! We found it so hard to pick which one to stay in as all 3 lodges look amazing, they have Water, Air and Earth which are all beautiful in their different ways. I found on our east coast trip the hotels were missing some uniqueness that we found in other countries so this was really special, you actually feel like you’re in Bali in your time at Rainforest Retreat which was really nice!
We had heard lot’s about Nimbin and it’s hippie vibes so we were excited to visit. It’s a colourful small town full of shops and cafes. You can easily pass through here on a day trip to see everything but a definite must see whilst doing the East Coast. Lot’s of photo opportunities here, colourful shops, hippie campers and a cottage full of sunflowers, so pack your camera and your hippie attire!
We stayed at The Two Figs Retreat in Nimbin which was a 2 bedroom cottage with stunning grounds and a lake. The house has very art deco vibes which is really cool and the outside looks super 70s. The place is really well equipped with a full kitchen and washing appliances. Such a nice place to go and chill out, by the lake, having a BBQ in the courtyard or dinner parties with friends. It’s also really close to Nimbin about ten minutes drive so you can go out and explore in the day. The place has two rooms so perfect for families or friends to stay. They also have a compost loo which is very rare and so good for the environment!
Where do I start with Byron Bay. One of my favourite places I have been on the trip and hands down the best place in Australia that we visited. It has the coolest vibe and the most amazing beaches I have seen in Australia. Everyday we would go to the hill by the main beach and watch the live music and sunsets. My favourite beaches were The Pass and also Whites Beach in Broken Heads which is about a 20 minute drive, but worth the walk down the cliff! Also check out Folk coffee shop in the day and Tree House for dinner, both super Instagrammable! What I loved about this place was you can walk around the town by foot which is really nice after travelling to places that are too big to do this.
This was one of the best hostels I have stayed in, such a nice vibe and with clean and good facilities. It’s right on the beach and they have lot’s of activities to do including a surf school at the hostel that does daily lessons. We did one and it was so much fun it definitely give us a taste for surfing, we even managed to get up on the boards in a few hours thanks to the great teachers. Ben who runs the surf school was super helpful so ask for him if you go! The hostel also has a swimming pool and a super cute cafe where you can get breakfast and lunch. It’s also walkable to the shops and restaurants which is great for travellers as you can get around so easily! We had the best few days here!
The next stop was Jagundami Guest Resort near Coffs Harbour. This beautiful retreat was exactly what we needed for a night of luxury and relaxation. It boasts beautiful bohemian decor and an open plan feel. The gardens are beautiful with lot’s of bamboo and gorgeous plants it also boasts an amazing outside hot tub which is perfect for summer evenings. The host Judith is the most wonderful lady who runs the retreat and leaves items in the fridge for you to enjoy such as butter, bread, bacon, eggs, chocolates, wine. So thoughtful! The kitchen is so well equipped with everything you need to cook so we went shopping before, enjoyed dinner and then a glass of wine in the hot tub, heaven! We only stayed one night so didn’t get to explore the area (we have heard it’s beautiful) but when your in such a wonderful place as Jagundami it was nice to just kick back, relax and enjoy our stunning surroundings.
Our first stop in Sydney was at Veriu Broadway situated super central the hotel is modern in style and super sophisticated. The rooms are super spacious with all the mod cons you need! Large kitchen area, huge TVs, balconies. Was such a nice hub to have after a long day exploring the city. The cafe downstairs is also super trendy and a great place to work, plus the coffee is amazing! We had such a good stay here, the perfect place if your travelling with work or visiting the city on holiday.
Set right in the heart of Newtown we are so glad we stayed here at the start of our Sydney journey as we fell in love with Newtown it’s very similar to east London with its cool vintage shops and trendy bars. This place is like an urban jungle inside with the courtyard covered in greenery and with a neon graffiti floor, all the way up to the open ceiling is graffiti and plants it has a really urban feel. The rooms are so well equipped with full kitchens and big TVs. The beds are also super comfy! All the decor, paintings are so on point. You also get a free mini bar if you book online now! Which included beers, wine, soft drinks and snacks which was such a nice touch! It’s such a great place to stay if your coming to visit Sydney as it’s in such a cool place with so many places to eat, shop and drink and so easy to get around the rest of the city from Newtown station!
Our last stop in Sydney was at YHA central hostel which is set in the middle of the city right by central station so super convenient for getting around. The hostel itself had a really great set up with lots of activities and entertainment. On the top floor they have a pool and sauna which has amazing views of the city. On the 5th floor they have a huge kitchen, eating and chilling area along with cinema which is free and has movies on every night. They also have different activities on each night which is great for meeting new people in the city. They also have a cafe on ground floor which has really reasonable and good food and is open all day. This hostel is perfect for experiencing Sydney city easily whilst you can still get to the beach in under an hour aswell. The rooms were spacious and clean as was the whole place, one of the best hostels we have stayed in on our trip!
Our next route along the east coast was from Airlie Beach to Noosa I was really looking forward to this part of the trip as we were doing Whitsundays and Fraser Island trips so we were super busy!
Airlie beach is a small place which is really nice as you can walk around everywhere it has a cute little beach and a free lagoon which was very popular when we went! They also have lots of restaurants and bars with a big party scene if you are after that. We stayed here for one night before heading on our Whitsundays trip would definitely recommend stopping here for a few days. We stayed at the YHA hostel which is situated right in the middle of everything you need and has great facilities.
One of our highlights was the 2 day Whitsundays trip we did. We went with Red Cat ride to paradise and spent a little extra where we actually stayed in a resort rather than on a boat and it was incredible. The place you stay as is a millionaires mansion with a pool, hot tub, free kayaks and paddleboarding and so many chill out areas. I could not recommend this more! You also get a cooked dinner which was amazing! You go out snorkelling one day and the other day you do Whitsundays Beach. Because it’s slightly more expensive you get a crowd aged 25+ we met some amazing people and everyone was up for having a laugh in the evenings and sitting by the fire.
1770 / Agnes Water
After Whitsundays we did the 7 hour drive to 1770. We had crazy storms while we were there but I found there wasn’t a huge amount to do here so only advise staying a day or 2. We did the paperbark forest walk which was really beautiful. Also recommend The Getaway Garden Cafe such a cute vibe!
We stayed here for 2 nights, the staff are really helpful and you also get free toast and coffee in the mornings. You can book lots of trips through the hostel such as kangaroo sanctuary visit, surfing and sunset trips. We had an apartment which was super clean and spacious with good facilities and kitchen area. There isn’t many places to eat in the area we found so advise staying somewhere where you can cook or if you have a car definitely head to The Getaway Garden Cafe.
We then did our trip to Fraser Island which was one night 2 days and we went on the Fraser Dingo tour. This tour is really good as you get to self drive the 4×4 on the beach and for the whole trip which is an incredible experience! You can either camp or stay in a hostel for the night we chose the hostel which was really fun. We did the 2 days one night tour which was a perfect amount of time to see everything. On the first day we got the ferry over to Fraser and then drove the 4×4 off and to start the journey. We then headed to the lagoon which was really fun as you can float all the way down it and relax. The next day we went to Lake Mackenzie which is really beautiful with super clear water and saw the shipwreck on the beach. It was really fun driving around in the pink 4×4, a must do if your doing the east coast!
One my my favourite places along the east coast was Noosa! The most stunning beaches, definitely recommend doing the coastal walk it was beautiful. Go to dolphin point to see if you can spot any dolphins and jump into the fairy pools. There are so many beaches here and they are all stunning, the town is also full of amazing places to eat and drinks. We stayed at Harmony Hill which was really near Eumundi and I absolutely fell in love with the place. They have the famous markets on Saturday mornings which is really hippie and they have lot’s of live music and amazing stalls. The whole town is very picturesque!
We stayed at the beautiful Harmony Hill B&B whilst visiting Noosa which was really beautiful and peaceful. They have gorgeous grounds with amazing views of Noosa. The guest house is an old restored railway cabin which is so cute and it has it’s own kitchen so you can cook and relax. It’s decor and the whole place is really special and the owner Fizzie was the kindest and most helpful lady we have met along our travels. They also have an outside pool if you fancy a dip and outside bbq for hot afternoons. I recommend having a car so you can go out and explore the area in the day, Eumundi is so beautiful and your only 20 minutes from Noosa. This really was one of our favourite areas along the east coast, so much to see and do. A very relaxing place to stay and unwind!
We started our Australia trip by flying into sunny Cairns. We hired a car straight away for the 3 week trip along the east coast which we definitely found the easiest and best way to get around as you can just stop wherever you want and it meant we weren’t carrying our backpacks round as much anymore, bonus! We only stopped here for one day so we didn’t have chance to explore much but they lots of restaurants and things to do. We did the Great Barrier Reef snorkelling tour from Cairns which was a really good trip, definitely advise this!
We stayed at the Abbott Hotel in Cairns which was a very pleasant stay. The rooms are super big large comfy beds, great air con and in a great location so you can walk to most places. The hotel was very quiet and peaceful so we got a great night sleep! They also have a sister hotel down the road where you go to get breakfast in the morning. They had such a big buffet with everything you could ever wish for!
We stayed at the stunning Daintree Eco Lodge for one night which is situated right in the Daintree Rainforest one of the oldest rainforests in the world. The rooms were large and spacious with all the luxuries you need including a big bath tub on your private balcony. We did the guided rainforest walk which was super fun learning about all the plants and animals they have in the rainforest including trekking to the hotels private waterfall. The eco lodge boasts an outdoor pool, restaurant and natural swimming hole. The breakfast was one of the best we had, we both had the waffles which were delicious!
Port Douglas is such a cute beautiful place. As you drive In there’s just rows and rows of palm trees. The place itself is small but easy to get around with really nice parks to chill in and watch sunset. There’s also good lookouts to visit and a really cute Church called St Mary’s By The Sea. A very relaxing place to visit for a couple of days.
We really loved Port Douglas it’s a small place which is easy to get around with lots
of beautiful areas to visit. We stayed at the Pink Flamingo where we had such a fun few days. You have your own villa or studio which is so well kitted out with everything you need. We used the BBQ each night for dinner and spent a lot of time lounging around the gorgeous pool. The whole place is super bright and colourful it has a retro 90s American vibe which I really loved! A great place to come and relax and have everything you need. They also have lots of entertainment, table tennis, bike hire, lots of DVDs and a pool table.
We stayed one night at Tropical Bliss b&b which is a quaint place with gorgeous lush green surroundings and it’s own natural creek to swim in. The owners Peter & Steve made us feel so welcome at all times including making us breakfast before we headed of to Paronella Park. It’s a super quirky place which we really enjoyed.
We had a quick stop over here before heading to Magnetic Island which was very pleasant. It’s a beachfront holiday park which has cabins and villas or caravan and camping spaces if your on a budget. We stayed in a cabin which was really well equipped and had an outdoor pool, BBQ area and a shop. It’s right across the road from the beach which is super convenient. A great place to stop before heading to Magnetic Island and also a great place for family breaks.
We had heard amazing things about Magnetic Island so we were really looking forward to going here. We stayed at YHA Bungalow Bay which was near horseshoe bay. We rented a 4×4 jeep for the 2 days which was a great option for seeing everything and also meant we could get around the island really quick. The hostel is really well equipped and very big. They have activities on every night with a bar and chill out area. We also did the Koala breakfast here which was really fun. You get to hold different Lizards, snakes and koalas. You then get a large buffet breakfast which was really really good there was so much food and variety including pancakes and bacon rolls. Definitely recommend this if your there when it’s on. The little huts are YHA are everything you need plus really comfy beds!
Bali has always had such a special place in my heart so I was really excited to go back and explore more and go to new places. We spent one night in Kuta and then got the boat to Gili Trawangan where we spent 3 days then onto Gili Air for 2 days then to Nusa Lembongan for 3 days, then to Seminyak for 2 days and finally to Ubud for 4 days before flying to Australia. I absolutely loved Nusa Lembongan to beaches were so beautiful and Gili Trawangan was so much fun. We were really unlucky in Ubud we had really bad rain for nearly the whole 4 days which was such a shame as I purposely came back here to explore more never the less we got out on a scooter in the rain and managed to see some beautiful sights.
Gili Air is very quiet and peaceful especially as we had just come from Gili Trawangan. I think the volcano affected tourists coming as the whole of Bali seemed way quieter than last time I came. Gili Air is tiny but has a good choice of restaurants and a lot of places to stay. I wasn’t actually that impressed by the beaches here but we stayed in the most amazing accommodation with a great pool which was so nice to laze around.
This places is like a little haven tucked away behind wooden gates. The grounds are stunning and green full of flowers and a beautiful pool which is perfect to laze around in the sun. The rooms are very natural, beautifully decorated with a bohemian rustic feel and with a day bed on the balcony which is perfect for reading or chilling. You have breakfast on the veranda which is really beautiful and
Also a very nice area to chill or catch up on emails. The staff were super friendly and helpful. The whole place is so peaceful and zen and also moments away from the beach. When we came back from dinner one night they had lit candles all around the grounds which was beautiful and such a nice touch. Would definitely recommend staying here if visiting Gili Air it’s the perfect package.
This island has started becoming more popular with tourists over the last few years and I can see why. The most stunning beaches I have seen in Bali and lots of hidden beaches / caves and areas to discover. It’s also connected to Nusa Cennigan by a big yellow bridge which is really fun when driving by scooter. The secret beach and dream beach were my favourites and devils tear was truly spectacular especially at sunset. A very beautiful island.
We stayed at Palm Grove Villas which is really near Mushroom Beach in a great location near lots of restaurants, shops and atms. We really loved our 2 day stay here the spacious rooms are all individual light washed wooden with outside bathrooms and super comfy beds! The pool was divine set amongst beautiful lush grounds, you could stay here and relax all day. We would go out in the day on our scooter then come back to relax by the pool. The staff were super friendly. Breakfast was really good with lots of choice for everyone.
We decided to do 2 nights in Seminyak to explore the area. It’s full of trendy cafes, hangouts and beach clubs. We went to La Laguna which is a bohemian dream, a bar and restaurant which has gypsy wagons and beautiful decor everywhere. We also visited Nook for brunch which is overlooking the rice fields it was really beautiful and do a great English breakfast! Motel Mexicola was definitely worth a visit very instagrammable and also at night they have a DJ so people dance on the tables in the courtyard worth checking out! We also did a Saturday night at Potato Head Beach Club which was great to go in the afternoon as you can go in pool and have a few drinks, then at night they have a dj and dance area.
Kamar Kamar is a beautiful boutique hotel with a very Balinese feel. Gorgeous decor and a stylish edge. The owner also has 2 gorgeous dogs which we had lots of cuddles with! The rooms are spacious and comfy with a living room / kitchen area, bedroom and rain shower bathroom. The pool is beautiful and perfect for a dip when getting hot and sweaty exploring the area. It’s a bit further out so we hired a motorbike to get us around which was the best way to see the area and they have them to hire at the hotel. Really beautiful hotel with lots of nice touches all around would definitely stay again when visiting seminyak.
One place I was looking forward to staying at most was Bali Bohemia which is super bohemian and quirky. All the rooms have paintings and quotes on the walls and the decor is so perfect with colourful cushions, seats and touches. The restaurant is also AMAZING! Super healthy but filling menu and the breakfast which is included with the room was one of the best I have had since being away. The hotel is also situated right by monkey forest so you can see them running around the grounds of the hotel and on the roofs which is pretty amazing!
After Pai we decided to head south to visit Krabi and go to one of the southern islands Koh Lipe. We flew from Chiang Mai to Krabi for quickness and flying around Asia is pretty cheap otherwise the bus would of took a lot of time up and we only had a few days in each place. We were unlucky in Krabi with the weather we had a lot of rain but when we explored Aonang beach and town which has lots to do and lots of places to eat. We went for curry one night at Tandoori Nights which was incredible and a change from Thai food for the night. The beach is beautiful with the huge rocks in the landscape and lots of bars.
We then headed to Koh Lipe which was quite a long way taking about 8 hours in total but well worth the journey. Some of the whitest sand I have ever seen with gorgeous beaches. I wanted to go to a Thai island I hadn’t been before and different to the main touristy ones. I had been recommended Koh Lipe and I can see why. The walking street is super cute with amazing restaurants and bars and such a nice chilled vibe. We only stayed here for 2 nights which I felt we could of easily done another night or 2 to explore the island more as it’s so beautiful. We got kayaks one day which is a lot harder than I thought, or I’m just terrible at steering us in the right direction! But it was super fun! Definitely recommend Koh Lipe if you want the beauty of the Thai islands but less touristy but still busy and vibrant, the perfect balance.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed 2 nights at The Elements in Krabi which is a beautiful resort set opposite the beach and with lots of facilities. We were unlucky with the weather so we didn’t get to have a dip in the gorgeous pool but I imagine in the sunshine it’s the perfect place to sunbathe. The rooms are both spacious and beautifully decorated with an open bathroom and balcony with a day bed to chill on. The staff were very friendly and helpful. They also offer a free shuttle to and back from Aonang daily. They have a vast menu if you fancy dinner in the hotel which has western and local food. The breakfast was super yummy with lots of variety, great coffee and amazing pancakes! The grounds are really beautiful and tropical with lots of birds and relaxing sounds. The facilities are really good they have a super large pool, a gym, TV room and sauna/ steam room for the rainy days which is all inside in a pretty communal area. We had a look at the other rooms which were all super beautiful some with private pools and jacuzzis if your looking to spoil yourself while your away.
Our first stop in Koh Lipe was at Mali Beach Resort which is located on Pattaya beach which was my favourite with gorgeous white sand and blue sea. The resort is beautiful with amazing grounds and on the beach front. A very relaxed vibe there with individual rooms. Beautifully decorated with a Balinese vibe with hatched high ceilings and a very comfy bed. I loved the outside bathroom, it was huge and had his and hers showers and mirrors and sinks which I thought was a really nice touch. It was so nice showering outside with the palm trees and sun coming through. Breakfast was really good with a good variety and quick service. Staff were super friendly and accommodating organising us a tuk tuk to our next hotel in the morning.
Our second stop on Koh Lipe was Castaway Beach Resort which is located on Sunrise Beach. This resort offers 2 floor luxury beach huts which are beautiful and right on the beach front. They also have smaller and bigger rooms depending on your budget / group. The restaurant is particularly good offering a wide range of food and great breakfast options! Very chilled vibe in the main area with lots of cushion seating on the beach and on the terrace. They have daily yoga, massages and a dive school to hire kayaks and snorkelling gear. The place is very instagrammable with its lush grounds cute little details. The beach huts are very rustic and bohemian with 2 hammocks on the ground and a toilet and rain shower. Then upstairs is the bedroom with an open balcony looking out to the sea. A gorgeous day bed with Aztec colourful spreads and cushions. This place was perfect for chilling on the beach in the evenings with a beer looking at the stars. Really nice vibe here would definitely come back!
Our last stop was Bangkok for a night before flying to Bali. We only ever pass through Bangkok usually when flying to other places but we spent the day exploring this time before our flight. We went to Wat Arun temple which I had seen on Instagram and it was super beautiful with its floral engravings everywhere I hadn’t seen anything like it! Definitely worth a visit.
This place is a secret little yellow haven, Baan Pra Nond is a bed and breakfast but a beautiful boutique style house with a select few rooms all decorated beautifully. The yellow house and beautiful green grounds make you forget your in the city and you feel like your in the country side. The pool is seriously beautiful with vines hanging down and flowers all around. And the printed tiles everywhere are a really nice touch. The rooms are super clean, well decorated and the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. They also have a really cute dog who is very friendly. Staff were very helpful and accommodating with cold towels and drinks on arrival. I would definitely chose to stay here when visiting Bangkok again as it really is a little secret paradise in the city.
I was so excited to go back and visit Thailand. Our first stop was in the north in Chiang Mai and Pai and it didn’t disappoint. we did the elephants which was really fun we travelled around 2 hours away to see them in the wild which was so much nicer and got to feed them and bathe in the lake with them! Definitely recommend we booked through Stay In Chiang Mai Tours. It’s also famous for lots of beautiful temples and really cute coffee shops.
I fell in love with Pai with its super cute cafes and colourful buildings, we had so much fun riding around on our motorbike exploring. In Pai check out these sights: Pai Canyon, The White Buddha, Bamboo Bridge and The Hot Springs. We hired a motorbike from Vespa in Pai and they were really helpful offering lessons and lots of advice if your new to using a bike! Highly recommend getting a bike there it’s so beautiful driving round. Eat at Maya Queen Burger Queen, we went on my birthday best burger I have ever eaten (veggie) and Ben had meat, chips are great! We also visited the city farm which was so cute where you can pet sheep, goats and rabbits and the grounds are adorable. They also have a bunny cafe in the town where you can have a coffee and pet bunnys. Also check out The Container the colourful cafe with swing seats and amazing views, Pai you won my heart!
WHERE TO STAY
A bit further out from Chiang Mai we arrived at the beautiful secluded Sukantara which boasts its own waterfall amongst the hotel and beautiful tropical grounds. We had such a beautiful stay here, our room had a separate lounge and infinity pool overlooking the waterfall. We also had an outside bath tub which is always a luxury when away! The whole place is stunningly beautiful whilst we were sat having breakfast about 5 peacocks just walked past our table. The food was amazing here with a vast menu and something for everyone, the cakes were super yummy and they even organised a candlelit dinner which was very romantic! I had a massage at the spa which was one of the best massages I have ever had, the spa is absolutely beautiful and this finished of my stay perfectly. I highly recommend Sukantara if you want to chill out away from hustle and bustle of life, it’s like being in your own tropical world with nature all around you.
Our next stop was Pai which was a very bendy 3 hour drive from Chiang Mai with over 700 twists and turns! We arrived at the beautiful Pai Cherkaew which is a beautiful boutique house with with stylish decor and a homely vibe. The rooms are beautiful with big comfy beds, quirky decor and great views. The pool is super cute and perfect for chilling out and the breakfast was so yummy, best scrambled eggs I have ever had! We spent 2 days here, the hotel is in a great location right next to the night market and main streets but still quiet and peaceful. There is also a really nice area downstairs if you want to chill or catch up on emails. The hotel was both super comfy and clean and visually beautiful inside and out, would definitely recommend staying here if your visiting Pai!
For my birthday we stayed one night at Pai Village Boutique Resort & Farm and it was just the cutest. The staff are super friendly and helpful and the whole vibe is just super zen. You stay in little wooden huts which have Day beds outside on your balcony. The decor inside is super cute with a great shower! Breakfast was really good which a huge selection of continental and local and they also have complimentary snacks and juice at all times. We spent hours sat on our balcony amongst the lush green grounds. They also own the city farm and offer shuttles there and back for free which was very fun! The whole place is super cute they even decorated our bed saying happy birthday when we were out, perfect stay!
Our next stop is Krabi for a few days before we head to Koh Lipe, some more amazing hotels coming up!
We flew from Cochin airport to Jaipur with a stop in Chennai which was a relatively cheap flight considering the distance. Jaipur was somewhere I was most excited about coming to in India as I had seen so many photos online of the pink hues and grand palaces and it didn’t disappoint. The traffic is CRAZY here but it has a charm, it’s bustling everywhere with so many things to see. I did find it more expensive than I thought it would be, entrances to the palaces can be around 500 rupees each and more if you want guides. We did pay for a driver to take us around for the day which was around 1500 rupees which is expensive but we managed to do all the sights in one day with no hassle. It was an expensive day but again worth seeing everything whilst your there! I wasn’t that impressed with City Palace as for 500 rupees you can only see the outside grounds it costs 2,500 to enter the palace itself. Amber fort lived up to expectations which was very big and beautiful would advise about 3 hours here. We did walk up Nahagrah Fort for sunset which is beautiful, a hard climb but well worth it at the top! We also did Monkey Temple which was such an experience! They are everywhere! This was the only place we opted for a guide as the monkeys can be aggressive and the local guide looks after you and shows you around for 200 rupees. This was such an experience not to be missed!
WHERE TO STAY
Named one of the most romantic hotels in India it really did live up to its reviews. The decor is unreal and each room is themed to different states from across India using artists and pieces from the the states. We stayed in Jaisalmer room which included a breath taking stone carving interior, a swing seat and the comfiest bed. It really did take my breath away and was visually stunning inside the room and outside the room. Every little detail – the staircase, the lobby, the floors, the ceiling the intricate designs brought the beauty of India inside the building it was a really great experience staying there. They also have a great cheap breakfast menu which you can have in your room, we had cheese toasties which were really yummy! They offer free shuttles between the hotels aswell so if your staying there and want to eat and the peacock restaurant they will take you free or charge. It was the perfect haven after driving around jaipur to come back and relax I really could not fault this place!
The sister hotel for Pearl Palace Heritage and down the road it has similar feel decor wise and a great clean room with a TV and really comfy bed. Lots of very tasteful local decor on each floor, beautiful paintings and a nice outside courtyard to chill in a very nice vibe. This is the cheaper option of the 2 and is a popular hit in lonely planet for travellers. It also has a shop inside which has good printed cotton pieces to buy at good prices.
It also boasts the Peacock Rooftop restaurant which was one of our favourite places we have eaten in india. We ate there both nights for dinner and had breakfast there! The menu is huge with both Indian and continental, something for everyone! The paneer curry was really great and has such a nice vibe, I advise booking a table here as it was busy both nights and they had local live music! The decor is also really great a really bohemian feel to the whole place.
Both hotels made our 2 days in Jaipur so special and it was so nice after driving around the crazy city to come back to really special places to stay.
We got a taxi from Jaipur to Pushkar which took around 2 and a half hours. I was really excited to visit Pushkar as a lot of friends had recommended it and it lived up to its expectations. Pushkar is a very holy place, they don’t serve meat or beer here and you should cover your shoulders and legs whilst walking around. The lake is very beautiful we watched sunset there watching people pray. The market is amazing and take up pretty much the whole of the town so If your looking for clothes, jewellery and things to buy this is the place! There is also courier places everywhere if you want to send items home. Pushkar has a really magical feel to it, everyone is super friendly and we met some characters we certainly won’t forget!
Our first stop was Prem Villas which was in a good location only a short walk from the market and the lake. A great budget option for travellers, clean spacious rooms with nice decor inside and out. The outside is really colourful and bright with lots of paintings around and the staff were really friendly. A nice place to stay if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the markets in the evenings.
Our last night before flying to Thailand we headed back to Mumbai and stayed at Abode Mumbai for one night which is in a great location and was absolutely stunning. A very modern, clean feel with quirky touches. We stayed in the superior luxury room which was spacious with high ceilings, beautiful decor and the comfiest bed. All the little touches throughout the hotel were so well thought about it made it such a pleasant stay.
They have a really nice cafe area to sit and chill in with endless amounts of books to read and downstairs is a really cute cafe so you don’t have to go far to eat. They really think about every detail – they have a mobile with a local sim in to use while you are there, a memory stick with new films on and a map with what’s in the area and where to eat. Every detail is really thought about and makes the stay so easy.
The breakfast was also great offering a spread of cereals, toast, fresh juices and eggs just how you like. I would definitely recommend abode if your stopping in Mumbai it’s the perfect hub to escape the crazy city and the bath was the perfect touch to relax too!
Onto our next stop Thailand!
After a 22 hour journey from Goa including a 15 hour overnight train and 5 hour taxi ride up the mountains we made it to our first stop in Kerala, Munnar, which is famous for the beautiful tea plantations. We then headed to Alleppey to experience the backwaters on a houseboat and finally onto Cochin city to visit Fort Cochin. Again we spent a fair bit on taxis here but we did get a bus from Alleppey to Cochin which was super cheap around 75 rupees so the transport options cater to any budget. We did find you could probably do a couple of days in Munnar, couple of days in Alleppey and then a day or 2 is good in Cochin to see everything you need.
WHERE TO STAY
Windermere Estate in Munnar is right at the top of the mountains and a tranquil retreat. With beautiful grounds, an infinity pool overlooking the tea plantations and super comfy rooms, it offers the perfect escape and quietness you need sometimes when travelling. The staff were extremely helpful and the food was great, offering continental breakfast and a set evening Indian menu which offers meat and vegetarian which was both flavoursome and filling. The whole place had a very chilled and relaxed environment. One of my favourite things was afternoon tea outside which has homemade cakes and local tea! On the first day we chilled by the pool and relaxed and on the second day we went on an organised walk around the local area which was extremely beautiful through the jungle and explored the tea plantations. They have a amazing viewpoint which is great for sunrise and sunsets! Munnar is like another world and a definite must see when visiting India a complete opposite to Goa which is what I love about India most.
After a very bumpy taxi ride down the mountains we arrived in a little village by the backwaters and were greeted by a small boat to take us across to a big beautiful white house overlooking the water. The owner Gopal was sat at the front waiting to greet us at the homestay and blessed us at the doorway. He made us feel so welcome with chai and biscuits and he sat and told us about the homestay, his family and the local area. The room was comfy and everything we needed. We chilled the first evening and watched the beautiful sunset over the water. Dinner was traditional Kerala Indian Thali with lots of different home cooked dishes to try both vegetarian and meat. Desert of local rice pudding was also very yummy! Breakfast was local cuisine with again lots of new flavours to pick and try from and the chai was the best I have had! On the second day we got a rickshaw to Alleppey beach, the beach itself wasn’t that great compared to Goa but it was pleasant and there was a really nice restaurant called Harbour restaurant in which we chilled for most of the afternoon. We then headed back for another yummy dinner. Gopal helped us so much organising transport, calling the houseboat for us for the next day and anything we needed he really looked after us. The homestay offered something very different for us on our trip and it was so refreshing to stay with a family, have home cooked cuisine and get a different perspective on Kerala entirely, would definitely recommend.
Everyone recommends getting a houseboat in Kerala so this was an opportunity we had to splash out on. It cost around £85 for the boat which is from 11am-4pm and includes freshly made lunch and snacks in the afternoon. There are cheaper options if you go on group tours or go amongst more friends and you can also stay overnight on a houseboat which I’m sure is a great experience! It was so fun and relaxing sitting on the upper deck watching the other boats go by and seeing the local life in the sun. A definite highlight of our India trip and something which you shouldn’t miss!
Not in our original plan but something I am so happy we did was spend a few days in Cochin. Fort Cochin is famous for its Chinese fishing nets, Kerala traditional kathakali dancing and Jew Town.
Fort Cochin was one of my favourite days in India so far – the area is so beautiful boasting lots of European style cafes and places to eat. We visited the local churches which were really beautiful and a must do is stop at Kashi Art Cafe for cake, we had the biggest bit of cake and great coffee, with a very chilled and relaxing atmosphere. We then went to see sunset by the Chinese fishing nets which is really beautiful. The whole area has lots of things to take photos of, painted walls and cute little details. We then went to the Kerala Kathakali Centre which was a great experience to see the local dancing. The show is from 6-7.30pm and you can watch them do the make up first which is an art in itself! The costumes and dancing was such a good experience and something very different! We then headed for dinner at the Italian down the road called Upstairs, a good photo spot as it has rainbow stairs leading up to it. The Italian menu is great with deliciois pizza and a rooftop style vibe, they also had a guy playing guitar which was very nice! An amazing day and no hassle.
Kerala was such a contrast from beach life in Goa and offered a completely different experience which was very special, we are now heading up to Jaipur for a few days which I am really excited about!
Our first stop in India was beautiful Goa, famous for its beautiful beaches and chilled out vibes compared to the north and it definitely didn’t disappoint. We spent 6 days in sunny Goa and moved around every 2 days which is easy enough by taxi or by local buses. We did find that taxis in Goa were pretty expensive compared to everything else but it’s the most convenient way of getting around and the price of food and drink evened everything out.
WHERE TO STAY
We arrived here straight from our flight and after missing our connecting flight we were so happy when we walked through the grand doors to find a pure heaven. Casa Da Graca means House Of Grace and it should be in the dictionary as the meaning of this. From its beautiful interior to its stunning pool it really did offer everything. The staff also make you feel so welcome and special. We had dinner here both nights and they customised our dinner to our tastes (I’m veggie and Ben’s very fussy!). The first night we had continental and the second night we felt more brave and had an amazing curry which was unreal, the flavours could not be faulted. We hoped the food would be as good for the rest of the trip but we think this is wishful thinking! The rooms are all named Creation, Peace, Compassion & Devotion. We stayed in Compassion which is a poolside room with beautiful bohemian details. Tiled floor, four posted bed, rain shower and lots of little touches that make it such a tranquil haven. The first day at Casa Da Graca we chilled by the pool as it was too nice not to lay and enjoy it and the second day we went out in the morning to see the old Portuguese churches in Old Goa and to Mapusa Friday market which was lively and bustling, the staff made us an itinerary for the day including a lunch stop at Cafe Bodego which was beautiful and arranged our driver. We did not want to leave this place, from watching the sunset over the lake with Freshly made biscuits and Chai tea to our candlelight dinners by the pool we left feeling like we had no cares in the world thanks to Anara and the team at Casa Da Graca for the most perfect few days.
An hours taxi ride from Casa Da Graca was our second stop Vivenda Dos Palhacos which was in an area called Majorda. It’s quite a small place but with long white beaches and a lot of places to eat. We were greeted by the 3 dogs at the entrance who we fell in love with, and the house was so beautiful decorated and grand with only a handful of individual rooms to suit your taste. The beds were super comfy and the air con was a dream after a long day at the beach. The pool always looks very inviting with the grand white structure and palms blowing in the background. The bar area is so nice in the evenings, although we didn’t eat here the menu looked great every night if you don’t fancy wandering out and the staff were always friendly. Breakfast has something for everyone continental and Indian, the coffee is very good! If you get to chat to the owner Simon he is full of wisdom about India if you have any questions.
They have a list of recommendations to eat in the booklet so we chose Martins Corner on the first night which was a multicuisine menu, we walked there which was pretty scary in the dark along the side of the road so would advise a taxi although it was an adventure! We both had curry, the paneer and vegetable fried rice was particularly good! Overall we had a great few days in Majorda, it was nice and chilled and no hassle and could not fault the hotel!
I was so excited to go to Palolem as I had heard about the beautiful beaches and colourful beach huts. Our final place in Goa Bhatki Kutur is a health and nature resort with daily yoga and meditation. It was so beautiful walking through the jungle to your individual wooden hut with al fresco shower and toilet which we really enjoyed after checking for bugs first! The huts are beautiful with a cute porch area which have comfy chairs, hammocks, swinging chairs and everything you need to be totally zen. If you like being at one with nature this is your place as we slept in our mosquito net we saw all the critters around and heard all the sounds at night which was a great experience and one that hopefully might cure my fear of bugs… for now! Everyone staying there seemed super chilled and when we’re leaving they were having a communal dinner, so a great place to meet new people if you’re travelling alone or in pairs! Palolem Beach is incredibly stunning and full of life, we ate at the beach front everyday which has something for everyone and is so nice to enjoy a cold beer watching sunset.
When planning our trip to India I didn’t realise how big India is and how long it takes to get around. I would of loved to have had longer in Goa as we have been recommended Agonda, Arombal and the market at Anjuna so you really have to do your research before you go and know the areas you want to visit and how long it takes to get there. Currently writing this on our 15 hour train journey to Kerala which is our next stop before we head up north to Rajasthan. Goa was everything I expected and more, they say everyone comes to Goa in the south as it’s so chilled and no hassle and it really was that. A perfect start to India with incredible beaches, friendly people and good food. We will definitely be back!