A Travellerspoint blog

China- October 23rd - 26th

rain 15 °C
View World Trip on nickyireland's travel map.

October 23, 24th- Goa- Mumbai- Delhi- Shanghai-Beijing
Today I fly to Beijing, the cheap way...with four flights! At least I don't need to pay for food today. It took 26 hours to get to Beijing, but I arrived only an hour later than expected. The first few internal indian flights were pretty short and not so tiring. The flight from Delhi to Shanghai was five hours and the plane was empty so we got a few seats each. I even got a complimentary China Eastern blanket which i may use to lay on when i'm on the beach in Thailand rather than buying a towel...i'm getting used to this poor traveller thing! The next flight was another domestic flight from Shanghai to Beijing which was pretty quick. Taking domestic internal flights in India and China was interesting as some people on these flights had never seen a white European before, let alone a female with blonde hair. Lots of the locals stared and took pictures, although the picture taking is worse in smaller villages.
Once i had arrived Toni was already at Beijing airport waiting for me. We then got a taxi to the hotel our tour started in. In the evening we went to a local chinese restaurant with our tour group, who knew Chinese food was so spicy.

October 25th - Beijing
Our tour started today with a trip to the great wall! We took a bus to a less crowded area of the wall and climbed to the highest point. Climbing to the top took a good few hours and wasn't easy!! Some of the steps reached to above my knee. However the climb was well worth it, the view was out of this world! There is no words to really explain how amazing the great wall is, even the pictures don't do it justice, it was incredible! We climbed all the way up, came down and walked to another area of the wall where we got toboggans down to the bottom. Taking toboggans was a bit random, but very fun! Before climbing the wall our tour guide told us a famous saying in China 'No man can achieve greatness without having climbed the great wall'. You can easily see why the wall is one of the wonders of the world. The wall is one of the highlights of my trip so far. Pictures don't do it justice, its breath taking.
After the wall we went to a local chinese bazaar, there were traditional chinese lanterns lighting the streets. The markets sold a variety of things including skewered scorpions, seahorses, caterpillars, beetles and spiders! They also sold duck heart, whole cooked baby birds, snake and things (not sure what they were!). Toni and me tucked in... to a caramelised apple skewer, nothing else seemed to appeal to us. After the local market we went and saw a Kung Fo show, which was interesting. We got a local bus (they have TVs in!) and the subway to a restaurant. Chinese food is very different from home, but also still very oily. Today was a great day, i'm so glad i managed to get to the top of the wall..it was definitely a challenge!

October 26- Beijing
We went to the forbidden city, Tinerman square and the Temple of Heaven this morning. Tinerman square is the biggest city square in China, every night thousands of people go there to watch the flag being raised. The forbidden city and the temple of heaven were enjoyable, but didn't touch on the Indian temples.
On the way back from dinner we saw some local chinese people with glow sticks and dancing in sync to pop music outside of a church. At first we weren't sure why lots of old people had gathered randomly to dance. We realised that it was a dance group setup to help the locals exercise. We decided it would be fun to give it a go, so we joined in. They thought it was quite funny, gave us glow sticks and tried to teach us the dance moves. We had so much fun dancing with the locals! Very strange, China is a world away from home.

Posted by nickyireland 08:24 Archived in China Comments (1)

India October 7th - 22nd

sunny 40 °C

October 7- Pushka
Today was a little more relaxed we got a bus to Pushka and went for a dip in the hotel pool. We then went on a walking tour of Pushka's temples and browsed the local bazaars. We ended the day with dinner by Pushka's lake, which was beautiful.

October 8- Pushka
We got up at 5:30 this morning and hiked to the top of a mountain to watch the sun rise over Pushka. The hike was a little harder at this hour, but really worth it as the sunrise was breath taking. Once at the top we looked around the temple and spent some time enjoying the view. Later in the day while wondering the bazaars i bought a garnet ring and necklace for a lot less than they would cost in the UK. In the evening we went on a sunset camel ride, it was SO much fun. It turns out that i'm a natural at camel riding. After the camel riding we had a local dinner and watched some indian gypsy dancing. Tonight was the most fun i have had yet!

October 9- Pushka
Today we had a five and a half hour local train ride, what an experience! First we had to fight for our prepaid seats, then some of our group had to stand for a few hours anyway. The train was packed, there were three people in one seat, people standing everywhere and even a man sleeping in the luggage holder above the seats. The locals also crossed the platforms by climbing onto the tracks! The whole experience way mayhem! It was great to see how the locals travel! Things like this are great to see as you feel like your experiencing real indian culture.

October 10- Udiapur
Our time in Udiapur started with an orientation walk of the local area. We went to Udiapur City Palace sight seeing then got a cable car to the highest point in Udiapur to watch the sunset. This is the best sunset i have seen yet, although there are a lot more to see! We then went to a local talhi restaurant, indian food is so rich! Talhi is around seven small dishes and some nan bread etc. The waiters refill the dish as soon as you have finished it. Its sort of like indian fast food and so filling!

October 11- Udiapur
Today we got a boat to the island in the middle of Udiapur lake. I have lots of pictures, you can stay there as its also a hotel. We then went to an Indian cooking lesson, which was great fun. We learnt how to cook a few dishes and made ourselves dinner, it was actually one of my favourite meals. I've kept the recipes for when i get home!

October 12- Ranakpur
We had a two hour jeep ride to Ranakpur today. Ranakpur is a rural village, we were slowed down a little on the way to our hotel because there were several sheppard's with hundreds of sheep on the road. Our hotel was situated deep in the mountains, we had log cabins and there was no internet/phone signal and only electricity for a few hours a day. However the pool was beautiful, it was surrounded by mountains and nothing else. Once settled we went to Chaumukha Mandir, a four faced temple dedicated to Adinath and built in 1439. The temple was amazing, far better than the Taj Mahal!! There are 1444 pillars all hand carved from marble (as the rest of the temple). We also ate some local talhi which cost about 5p and was all you can eat. Every time you finish a mouthful someone is offering you more food!

October 13- Ranakpur
This morning we went for a hike and visited some locals houses. By houses i mean huts with one room that is used to sleep, eat, wash, prepare food etc in. In this one room a whole family would live. The locals showed us how to make flour and butter. When then walked to the nearest water supply, which is a well with cups chained together (bit hard to explain, hopefully i have been able to upload the picture). We then went to a local school and gave out pens, sweets etc. The children were almost fighting to get a pen, its very strange how much one pen was worth to them, as most of us have loads just laying around the house. Later in the day we took an overnight sleeper train to Mumbai. This was my first over night sleeper train! There are six (bunk) beds in each section (no doors). They provide sheets and a pillow. The mattresses are only a couple of inches thick and rock hard, so as you can imagine it was impossible to sleep!

October 14- Mumbai
Our overnight train arrived in Mumbai this morning. When in our taxi to the hotel we drove through the slums of Mumbai, and all i can say is that I've never seen anything like it! There were mounds of rubbish bigger than buildings and people just living in tents/shacks next to them. There were people sleeping on pavements, in doorways, walkways, in parks etc, homeless people everywhere. In the slums there was dirt, poo, fires, fumes, sick, rubbish etc everywhere. The smell was horrendous and there was far too many people living there. I even saw a European man living in the slums alongside the Indian people, it made me wonder how he could have ended up there...surely nobody would choose to live that way?
Once we had checked into our hotel we had some free time to wonder Mumbai and see the city. We went for a short walk with our tour guide, then got lost and had to ask for directions in an information office. Two sons of the information guide showed us where the nearest coffee shop was (necessity obviously) then asked us out on a date! Turns out indian men love white skinned girls! We had to decline...obviously, but it was pretty funny. We visited the famous Victoria station, it was mayhem. While looking for a beauty salon we asked a local college girl for directions, she offered to show us the way. First she took us into a very poor run down area to a local woman's house and said that it was a beauty salon. I think she could tell from the look on Toni and my faces that this wasn't what we had in mind. The 'salon'/house didn't even have any furniture and was filthy but seemed to be popular with the locals. Instead our new 'tour guide' took us five minuets walk away to another salon which was gated and had security guards and only french imported treatments. It was amazing to see the difference of culture within a five minuet walk. It was a perfect example of classes in India, there are the very rich and the poor, no middle class. We then watched the sunset on the beach, which sounds better than it was! There were huge sky scrapers in the distance and you could literally see the pollution in the sky. You can look out to sea and see where the pollution stops. It was very shocking to be able to look up and see pollution around you. I got some great photos of this.

October 15- Mumbai
This morning we went to the indian post office in Mumbai. Before sending parcels home we had to get a local man to wrap them in cloth and stitch them up. Luckily posting from India is very cheap.
Today we flew from Mumbai to Goa, it took approx 1 hour. Once checked into our hotel in Goa we went into Baga for dinner. I had fresh
Tuna with Vindaloo sauce. Vindaloo is a Goan dish and was very tasty!

October 16- South Goa
We spent most of today relaxing on the beach because our tour had come to an end. As it is just before peak season there are very few tourists in Goa. Therefore all the women selling things on the beach wouldn't leave us alone, very annoying. We decided to splash out and go parasailing, which cost £4. It was so much fun, although we were only up in the air for about 10 mins. Later in the evening we had a farewell dinner and some very nice sea food.

October 17- North Goa
Today was a little more relaxed, I had my first lay in since leaving England! Toni, Emma (from our tour) and me got a taxi to Anjuna in north Goa today. Anjuna is far more relaxed and friendly in comparison to Calagaute and Baga, which are a bit like Blackpool. We relaxed around the pool, wondered the Bazaars and watched the sunset in a local beach bar...bliss. In the evening we walked along the beach to find a restaurant, the stars were out and all we could hear were the waves crashing. We found a restaurant on the beach which sold seafood caught that day and Mango cocktails (that were made with fresh mangos). I ate Goan shark, which was out of this world. I really like Goa everything is so relaxed and peaceful. Walking along the beach at night was perfect! Exactly what we all needed after such a busy and exhausting tour.

October 18 - 21st- North Goa
Over the last few days I have been relaxing and enjoying Goa, the food and beaches. Toni is in Bangkok getting her Chinese visa and i'm sharing a room with Leena (a german girl i met in Goa). Today i left everyone and spent the day alone on the beach, it was great. I decided that i really enjoy my own company. It could be because your never alone on the tours, you are constantly surrounded by people day and night. Its almost impossible to get time to yourself or time to do things like update you blog :) the only way to find time to do these things while on tour is to not go somewhere or do something. Which is why i have only just updated this blog.
Goa is very different to the rest of India its very western influenced due to the high number of tourists. Luckily this means we don't have to cover up here, which is amazing because its 40C and the humidity has been unbearable. Goa is definitely the hottest part of India. Goa is designed for the tourists, there are many different beach towns to see.

October 22nd- North Goa
We visited a Spice plantation today, it wasn't what i expected. We walked around the plantation where all the different plants, trees etc grew while a guide talked about ten of them. Then there was free lunch (made with their spices/vegetables etc). They also gave us some Feni which is local Goan spirit, it was horrible! The spice plantation was very scenic with a huge lake, rope bridge and tropical looking huts. However I think I expected more from the prices they charged. From the plantation we went onto Arambol beach which has a salt water lake that runs near the sea. Once we got there we decided not to go in the lake as a local indian boy was throwing up in it, because he had drank too much. For indian people Goa has a massive party atmosphere, they don't seem to notice how beautiful it is which is a shame. Arambol beach is nicer than Anjuna Beach where i'm staying, but Anjuna is more for relaxing than partying.

Posted by nickyireland 08:21 Archived in India Comments (0)

Latest update

Cambodia

Hi Everyone,

Sorry I havent had chance to update the blog recently. I will add a back dated update in a few days. Currently in Cambodia on a tour around Thailand, Laos, Vietnam etc.

Really enjoying travelling, having great fun!

Love to all

Nicky
xx

Posted by nickyireland 07:46 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

October 6th- Jaipur

Today we went to Amber fort which was beautiful as it is located in the mountains. It is a incredible building. We also saw a snake charmer, we sat with him and watched the snake being charmed. I found this especially funny as Toni was very scared, but warmed up to the idea in the end. We then went onto Jaipurs markets and made some purchases. I got some indian fabric and shalls, which are very very beautiful. We then went to a local vegetarian restaurant, which wasn't very good as we just picked anything off the menu...maybe not a good idea. To end the day we went to a local cinema and saw a bollywood movie- Bodyguard. I really enjoyed this even though it was in Indian, it was very cheesy!
x

Posted by nickyireland 01:56 Comments (4)

October 5th- Agra to Jaipur

Today we had a 6 hour bus journey from Agra, it wasn't as bad as it sounds because we could catch up on some sleep. You don't get a lot of sleep on these tours! Also we got to see a lot of India including some more rural parts. Toni and me then had two hours free and decided to get an indian massage, it was bliss! Then we went on a orientation walk through old Arga with our tour guide, which was interesting. Also a little dramatic as a german tourist got hit by a tut tut and our guide had to help out and get an ambulance etc. On our walk we saw lots of indian shops selling spices, fruit/veg, jewellery and other things. Our guide also took us to a famous street vendor selling traditional indian lassie, which is a yogurt drink that they make in their shop/hole in the wall. We then walked around a little more and went to a Thali restaurant where there is a set menu. You got a few different curry dishes and a paratha, which was amazing! The food in India is very good, but very filling...we are struggling to eat it all!!
I am really starting to enjoy India and my tour as i'm over the initial culture shock. India is exactly how you would expect...dirty, poor, overcrowded, noisy, smelly but also fascinating. India has made me realise that even the homeless people in England are not poor. Some of the people in India have nothing...no shelters, no bedding, no money, no toilets, no food, no shoes etc. They literally have the two items of clothing they are wearing. Homeless people in England can beg for money but there are so many homeless people in India it isn't as easy for them, its definitely an eye opener. I also have never seen so many people with missing limbs or deformities. On the more positive side everyone is friendly and wants to take photos of us as they think we have beautiful white skin. Some people have never seen white people before and are intrigued by us. The food is delicious and very cheap, everything is very cheap! The sights like the Taj Mahal etc are like nothing you have ever seen before.
x

Posted by nickyireland 01:55 Comments (1)

October 4th - Delhi to Agra

Today we got the train from Delhi to Agra, dropped our bags and headed straight for the Taj Mahal. The Taj Malah was incredible, it is very obvious why it is one of the wonders of the world! The white mable was stunning and all the rooms inside we equally as beautiful. We then visited Agra fort which is a palace made of red stone, this is the palace that Acba the great lived in. The palace was amazing we paid extra to sneak into a secret room by the caretaker. This room is the room that Acbas wife bathed in, the walls and ceiling are fitted with little mirrors. The guide then lit some candles and the light reflected throughout the entire room. The walls were fitted with drums so that servants could bang on certain parts and play music for Acbas wife. The secret room was closed off to the public as people kept stealing the little bits in mirrors. It was worth paying the extra money to be sneaked in!! We then went onto baby Taj, which is the building that inspired the emperor to build the Taj Mahal. After this our tut tut driver took us to a local spot where we could watch the sunset and the light reflect on the Taj Mahal, which was a perfect way to end our sight seeing for the day. On the way back to the hotel we got stuck in traffic, which was horrendous...you haven't seen a traffic jam until you have been in one in India!! There are no lanes, two directional traffic, motorbikes, tut tuts, bicycles, people and animals. People were getting out there vehicles and shouting and pushing tut tuts and bikes out the way, other locals were leaving there cars. It was mayhem! The fumes are bad in London, but nothing like this. To end the day we then went for curry with out group on a roof top restaurant for some more local curry.
x

Posted by nickyireland 01:54 Comments (0)

October 3rd- Delhi

Today we got the metro into old delhi which was crazy! I found i interesting that there are separate carriages for women and children. First we went to Chandni Chawk then onto Chowri Bazar, these are both shopping areas. Old delhi is very different to New Delhi, as New Delhi is much more western. Old Delhi is more for locals, its louder, the smells are stronger, the colours are brighter, the beggars are out on mass and there are far too many people. We also looked at the outside of Red Fort, we couldn't go in as it was a Monday (Monday is India's Sunday). In India we have to cover up out of respect, which is horrific as its 38 degrees here! In the evening our tour group went out for dinner at a local restaurant, i had the best curry i've ever eaten! The curry is different here than to England, not all of it is spicy and not much is really called the same names. Tomorrow we visit the Taj Mahal!
x

Posted by nickyireland 01:42 Archived in India Comments (0)

Arrived in Delhi

Hi All,

I arrived in Delhi yesterday morning and went to meet Toni. She has become very accustom to India and all its scams! I went on my first tut tut, bit scary but an experience! We also rode the metro into Canaught Place, some of the carriages are women only. We walked around a few markets and watched the sun set in a local park. The locals were staring and taking photos of us, which Toni has told me happens everywhere. Delhi is very western and built up, the driving is awful but it isn't as unsafe as I had imagined! We also went for dinner at a local restaurant last night and had dosa, which was interesting. There are lots of monkeys and wild dogs that roam the streets, very funny!

Our tour from Delhi to Goa starts tonight so I will have more updates in the next few days...

Love

Nicky
x

Posted by nickyireland 22:26 Archived in India Comments (2)

Travelling Blog

Hi All,

I leave on October 1st (3 days...very excited) and will be updating my blog from then. For now I have added my route on the map at the top of this page. I haven’t added all the locations I plan to visit in Thailand, Oz, NZ and Fiji because I’m going to wing it, but you can see roughly where I will be. Hopefully I will get time to add dates in before I go, if not I have it all written down separately so email me and ask for them... nicky_ireland@hotmail.co.uk.

Nicky
x

Posted by nickyireland 03:41 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (7)

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