As Bhutan is our neighbor I was not too worried about the dress code for women before I went! Looking at the temperatures in July I knew I would need to wrap up. So I packed accordingly. Now that it has been some time since my visit I try to construct the dress code for women in Bhutan through pictures.

Girl in a Shop, Thimpu, Bhutan

Girl in a Shop, Thimpu, Bhutan #lumia1020

I saw a lot of women (men as well) in Bhutan wearing their traditional dress. It looked pretty, demure and classy! While walking through the souvenir shops of Thimphu, I asked this lady if I could click her picture. She agreed quite easily. The Bhutanese national dress for women is called Kira. I am not sure if this is Kira or a variation of it, but it looks so pretty.

Traditional and Modern, Women in Paro, Bhutan

Traditional and Modern, Women in Paro, Bhutan #Lumia1020

It is quite common to see women in modern attire as well. Jeans and capris were quite common, some would wear shorts too. But in the same picture, in the left hand corner you can see women in their traditional attire as well!

Girls at National Memorial Chorten, Thimphu, Bhutan

Girls at National Memorial Chorten, Thimphu, Bhutan #Canon550D

The younger generation usually dresses in a trendy way, like anywhere else in the world! I met the girls at the Buddha Point at Thimphu as well. They were shooting for a tourism catalog. The weather is such that it is sensible to have a warp, you never know when you would find it cold.

Mom and Child at the Phunaka Dzong, Bhutan

Mom and Child at the Phunaka Dzong, Bhutan #Lumia1020

The was a dress code at the religious places. At the Phunaka Dzong you are not allowed to wear a sleeveless top. I was wearing one, but as I was carrying a full sleeves jacket, I just wore it over my top. What the lady in the picture is wearing is fine, even a short sleeve will do at the Dzongs. But carrying a warp or a full sleeve jacket is such a wonderful idea, it keeps the cold away and it can come in handy to meet any such dress code requirements!

Thimphu Market, Bhutan

Thimphu Market, Bhutan #Lumia1020

Here is a full picture of the traditional Bhutanese dress, Kira. For a while I was tempted to buy one for myself but I knew I would hardly ever wear it, and shopping in Bhutan is not cheap at all.

A Family in Thimphu, Bhutan

A Family in Thimphu, Bhutan #Lumia1020

In conclusion, to me western dresses looked fine, women commonly wore jeans and shirt. Sleeveless was fine as long as you were not visiting a religious place! I also feel that women do cover up a bit more than what may be the norm in the western world. I did not see too many low necks or short skirts or skimpy shorts.

PS. I was invited to visit Bhutan by Makemytrip.com. 

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

{ 18 comments }

When we got down at the Hua Hin Railway Station our guide Joey told us, “you have 15 minutes to spend here. I replied, “you give me an hour at a place where I wish to spend 15 minutes and now you are giving me 15 minutes where I would wish to spend an hour!” He said, “OK let us bargain, you can have 25 minutes!” Such is life! Here I was at a quaint and beautiful place and yet I had only 25 minutes to spend there! Hua Hin Railway Station is a major tourist attraction. It has the feel of the small stations we have on Kalka Shimla Railway Line.

 Hua Hin Railway Station, Thailand

The Charming Hua Hin Railway Station, Thailand #canon550D

The railway line to Hua Hin was built in 1920s. Around the same time King Rama VI built his summer palace in Hua Hin. It was named Klai Kang Won which means ‘far from worries’. Hua Hin is a functional railway station, you can easily catch a train to Bangkok. Or if you fancy going the other way, the trains would take you to Sungai Kolok on Thailand-Malaysia border. Unfortunately, I could catch no trains from this beautiful station. The structure on the left hand side is the Royal Waiting Room. I am not sure if the royals visit it anymore but it looks royal indeed.

Train, Hua Hin Railway Station

The Bangkok Bound Train, Hua Hin Railway Station #canon550D

Even tough I could not catch a train, I saw a train arriving on the station which I was told was Bangkok bound. Trains used to hold such a fascination in our childhood. My elder nephew wanted to be an engine driver when he was young, it is another matter that he became an engineer when he grew up! Maybe it was a small part of that childhood fascination that made me run to the front of the train so that I could click the entire train!

Hua Hin Train Station, Thailand

Kids in the Train! #lumia1020

I liked the train all the more because it was not packed, it actually looked inviting with so many empty seats, but then I had 25 minutes in all to spend at the station! I would have loved to hop in and get down at the next station, at least!

The Waiting Area, Hua Hin Railway Station

The Waiting Area, Hua Hin Railway Station #lumia1020

The waiting area was clean and once again quite empty after the train left. It exactly looked like a place where I would love to sit down with a novel and wait for the next train! I remember seeing a cafe at the station as well, but once again that 25 minute deadline was still there and I was already on its last minutes.

The Bell at the Hua Hin Station, Thailand

The Bell at the Hua Hin Station, Thailand #Canon550D

I was quite fascinated with the station bell as there was a picture of it in my hotel room. The picture in my room was quite beautiful. So I had to click it myself. Now of course my picture is no where as beautiful as the one that was there in the hotel room but still I kind of like it.

By the time I was clicking this picture I could see Joey hanging in the far horizon. I thought it to be prudent to make a move so that he would not have to come to the near horizon to drag me away from the scene!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

{ 28 comments }

There is something about Paro that makes me calm. Maybe it is the size, it didn’t feel big. Maybe it is the number of houses which didn’t seem excessive. Maybe it is the mountains, maybe the small and charming market. But as soon as we started getting out of the airport I said to no one in particular, “now this is exactly what a doctor would order for the frayed city nerves.” After spending 3 nights at Paro, I have still not revised my opinion. It feels as if no one can strike a discordant note in Paro, Bhutan.

The Naksel Resort, Paro, Bhutan

The Naksel Resort, Paro, Bhutan #Lumia1020

We stayed at the Naksel Resort which is away from the city. But then in Paro, even the city does not feel like city. My room at Naksel was huge and it had a balcony. The nights were so silent that I would leave a small light on in my room, even though I don’t get easily scared! The only hitch in the paradise? The rooms were at a sharp incline and it was a task to walk back after dinner! But it was good in a way, that way we could digest some of the awesome dinner we would gobble everyday!

The Tiger's Nest, Paro, Bhutan

The Tiger’s Nest, Paro, Bhutan #Canon550D

The highlight of my trip was the climb to the Tiger’s Nest in Paro. If you are even mildly fit you have to attempt it. The walk is steeply uphill but the location of the monastery is amazing. It is perched on the top of a cliff almost floating up there in the clouds! I will surely like to walk this path again with my daughter one day.

The Traditional Dance at Paro, Bhutan

The Traditional Dance at Paro, Bhutan #Canon550D

The Naksel Resort organized an evening of traditional dances from Bhutan. But let me digress for a moment. At college, a colleague asked me to join the ‘Cultural Club’ as a mentor to which I asked her, “Ma’am do I look cultured to you in any way?” That is the truth about me. I miss out on all the finer aspects of dances and such. And yet it is always a pleasure to watch the traditional dances of a country even if I can understand and appreciate so little.

The Market at Paro, Bhutan

The Market at Paro, Bhutan #Canon550D

They called it a market! For me it was a small place to wander! There is more to the market than I could capture in one frame but it was a small, cozy place. But shopping in Bhutan is expensive. As it has a restriction of USD 250 per person per night on tourists from many countries (but not India), the shopping reflects this. But then who wants to shop when one can roam around and click beautiful pictures! The shops had ornately beautiful windows too!

Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan

Rinpung Dzong, Paro, Bhutan #Canon550D

As we were staying away from the city, I could never walk next to the Paro River. It is on my agenda. I also could see the Rinpung Monastery from a distance. But then I have to simply find a way to go back to Bhutan! I am completely smitten by it. I am sure if tranquility had an address it would be Paro!

PS. I was invited by Makemytrip to visit Bhutan and I so thankful that I could easily take leaves and go!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

{ 38 comments }

This was a first, Chhavi and I stayed for a night at Ibis Delhi Airport, a newly opened hotel in my own city! We went on the Saturday and came back on Sunday. Now that I have done it, it actually made for a relaxing weekend!

Ibis Aerocity is a newly open hotel in the close proximity to the international and domestic airports in Delhi. When I presented myself at the hotel, there was a big queue for check-out at the reception. Looks like their Pay What You Want campaign is working for them. The campaign ends on September 21. Ibis is an economy hotel from the Accor Group. They have free shuttle service to both the airports.

The Room at Ibis Aerocity, Delhi

The Room at Ibis Airport, Delhi

The Room: We had a cozy, clean room with a tea and coffee maker. The room also had a large flat screen TV. The bathroom is designed to economize on space. It was clean and functional. I liked the hair and shower gel as it had a pleasing mild fragrance. As my daughter would use the milk sachets to make milk for her, we asked for more from the housekeeping staff and they always gave it to her! All over the hotel they have posted messages asking guests to help them save the environment.  They put two complimentary half liter water bottles in the room. There is a safe in the room.

Good Foos at Ibis, Aerocity, New Delhi

Good Foos at Ibis Airport, New Delhi

The Food: I was pleasantly surprised by the buffet, both for lunch and dinner at Ibis. I have actually stayed in quite a few Accor hotels- Novotel in Pune and Pullman in Putrajaya, Malaysia. I have visited Sofitel in Bangkok. I have always found their food quite good. The food at Ibis, Aerocity  was almost comparable to Novotal in Pune. I found the tomato khus khus and the curd rice quite well done. I liked immensely that they had baklava (among many other things) for dessert both at lunch and dinner. I have tried to cut down on sweet but at dinner I went ahead and had two baklava! For the breakfast I went with upma and idli and both were done well. I asked for milk for Chhavi and they gave it. I saw a mother asking for plain rice and daal for her daughter at dinner and she got it too.

At lunch Chhavi was not eating much and I was worried that she would bother me later for food. The e-commerce manager had joined us for lunch and I mentioned this. He said, “Ma’am there is a whole room service menu at your disposal! Order anything you like!” I wonder why did it never occur to me even in spite of having stayed in many hotels. They have a tea coffee dispenser at the buffet which in my opinion is a really nice touch.

The Swimming Pool at Ibis Aerocity, New Delhi

The Swimming Pool at Ibis Airport, New Delhi

The Gorgeous Swimming Pool: Ibis Aerocity has a gorgeous swimming pool. It was our major playground and it was popular with other guests too. On Saturday we spent close to two hours in the pool. I had to finally drag the kid out as she was shivering by the end. But what a gala time we had. I learnt swimming when I was in 4th standard. All through my school and college I had access to a pool. It is only now that I don’t have it, so whenever I get to use one, I go all out.

The kid is learning to swim, she is so hyper that she won’t keep her head in the water for more than a second! We started swimming together at Hong Kong and we continued at Ibis. Ibis has a separate kid’s pool but she wanted to come to the big pool where she could not even stand as the depth is 4 feet. I would take her around and gradually she got the hang of floating. In a way it was good that she could not stand, that way she was forced to do something. I would always remember Ibis fondly as this is where the kiddo started taking baby steps towards swimming!

All Wrapped Up After Swimming!

All Wrapped Up After Swimming!

After coming to the room after the two hour session, I ordered a pizza. She ate three slices, I put on a cartoon on TV and within 10 minutes she was fast asleep. Ibis makes nice thin crust pizzas. With the kid asleep at 6.00 pm I had a lot of free time at hand. I put songs on Sony Mix and read a PG Wodehouse. Oh the bliss of spending a peaceful evening at a hotel in my own city.  I woke up Chhavi at about 9.00 pm for dinner. She ate a little bit and fell asleep again in less than hour. I had more free time!

We went swimming again in the morning before breakfast. The swimming pool was the biggest highlight of our stay. After breakfast, which ends at 10.00 am, it was almost time to head back home. My daughter told me as we were walking out, “let us come back again!”

PS. I was invited to the hotel by Ibis. My daughter and I truly enjoyed our stay there.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

{ 16 comments }

I am not a big fan of rainy weather. I absolutely detest it if I have to commute through rains. If you live in Gurgaon you know what it means generally. Before traveling to Gulmarg, I checked out the weather forecast and I was not thrilled at all. It predicted rain and then some more for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Mist at Gulmarg, Kashmir

Mist at Gulmarg, Kashmir

True to the form when I reached Gulmarg, it was raining. I was staying at The Khyber (on invitation) and the property can be a destination in itself. I didn’t mind the rains on Friday as I was anyway tired. I have stayed there in March 2013 as well. I knew if the mist cleared up, there were tall mountains hiding behind it. But the mist just refused to budge!

More Mist at Gulmarg, Kashmir

More Mist at Gulmarg, Kashmir

Day two brought more of the same. It kept raining throughout. Gondola rides were canceled. We eventually went out in the rain around Gulmarg. I have trekked in rains but this was different. When you trek, you have to reach the other place, and only then you get to rest. However, in Gulmarg we had two vehicles at our disposal and we were just a short distance away from the resort. I could get out of the rain whenever I wanted.

I have to say there is something about the rains if you have to take it in short doses. Since I have usually faced it on a trek, I never became a fan. This time when I just started enjoying the rains a little bit, I almost got caught in the Kashmir FloodsI had seen a lot of flood pictures but I never saw it with my eyes. What I saw this time has left me shaken. Nothing comes close to the fury of nature.

PS. This post is part of Skywatch Friday. Do check it out.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

{ 15 comments }

It seems to be the flavor of the decade to quit the job to travel! It may work for some and it may not work for some. I belong to the second category. I do think of quitting but it is not to follow my passion. I am able to travel right now. So why quit my job? I work as a Professor at a private college in Gurgaon. And here are 5 reasons why I did not quit my job to travel.

5. That Damn Ph.D: I did my Ph.D. a long time back. I did it from IIT Kanpur. I worked a lot for it. I published, went to conferences and generally enjoyed slogging for it. I know there is something wrong with my head! Now whenever I get the bug to quit, and I will freely admit that I do get it, a bulb goes off in my head which says, “What and leave all that hard work behind?” I have not been able to quell that nagging voice in my head that tells me to hang on, though it is getting weaker with every passing year.

4. My Kid is Small: I have a daughter who studies in primary school. I already travel a lot. But there are times when I have to say no to some sponsors as I can not suit the dates. So far the numbers, thankfully have been small. If I quit, I suspect, I will travel even more, which would mean that my daughter and I will see even less of each-other. I am not willing for this trade off. Or let me say I do not wish to add to it, as I anyway travel a lot. Which takes me exactly to the next point.

I travel a lot

Thailand Happiness Street Festival, Bangkok

3. I Anyway Travel a Lot: I have already done 17 trips this year. I was lucky that two major trips came when it was easier for me to take leaves. I was invited to Finland when it was the Holi break and to Jordan when the exams had started so there were no classes to take. It is easier for me to travel on long trips when there is a summer vacation in the college. But the vacations are over now, I have to be content with extended weekend trips, till it is time for winter break!

2. My Risk Appetite: Everyone has a certain type of risk appetite. I am quite risk averse. I do not see what I gain by chucking my perfectly reasonable job! That is how my head is wired. And it is no good arguing with it.

1. Money: There is not a pressure on me to work as we are a double income family, but an extra income never hurts. Also, my husband threatens more than me, to quit his job! So in the end both of us decided to hang on till the kid goes to college. I know, such excuses we give!

In fact, my salary funds the  family trips to Hong Kong and Maldives. It lets me go trekking in Nepal, which I love to do. I would love to make more money from blogging/travel writing. But as of now I do not see a good revenue model for me. Coupled with 4 and 5 I am in no hurry to quit my job. I want to quit my job eventually because I get extremely tried of commuting, I wish to quit so that I could watch more sunsets.  But I do not really need to quit to travel more, I already travel a lot!

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

{ 21 comments }

« Previous Entries