What follows below is the guest post by my friend Anshu! I have known her and everyone else on this trip since Kindergarten (KG)! After much back and forth we decided to go to Mauritius. The biggest factor in their favor was no visa requirements for Indian nationals! After my Prague visa experience, I wanted an easy destination! But I digress, over to my friend Anshu writing about our Mauritius trip! You will get to read my version soon!
Travelling with school friends is always special. Mridula, Shweta, Sonu and me (Anshu) are friends since kindergarten who meet once a year some place in India but decided to take our summer break in Mauritius this year. We were super excited. It was Shweta and Sonu’s second visit abroad, mine third, and Mridula’s twenty-fifth (yes you read it right – 25th) but her enthusiasm was no less than ours. Understandably so, Mridula being a travel blogger who is quite sought after [It is me Mridula again, see how favorably your school friends view you!]
We spent six days in Mauritius and what memorable six days they were. Time just flew by. Mauritius is blessed with beautiful beaches and lovely cheerful people who greeted us with warmth and made our stay very comfortable and enjoyable.
I experienced para-sailing, snorkeling, and zip lining for the very first time and all of them were great fun. We got to see star fish from close up for the first time.
South Island tour was an amazing experience and anyone visiting Mauritius must not give it a miss. Food was a bit disappointing, especially for vegetarians, but Mridula – the veteran traveler – explained that getting vegetarian food of the kind our pallets are accustomed to is rare when abroad.
Anyway, the best part of the tour was the opportunity to spend time with childhood friends, everything else was just the icing on that cake.
I recently had the opportunity to use ZenFone 3 from ASUS on my visit to Philippines. It is time to share the pictures with you! ZenFone 3 has 16 MP rear camera and 8 MP front camera. Other highlights are World’s First 14nm Snapdragon processor with with 64-Bit Octa-Core CPU @2.0Ghz. For me the camera is the most important feature and that is what I am going to focus in this post. The phone is priced at 22K Indian Rupees.
I loved the Auto Mode
I lug a lot of gear on my trips. Still there are times when I wish to just take a quick picture in the auto mode with a cell phone. Below are some pictures clicked in the auto mode with ZenFone 3, I will leave the judgement to you!
I was in a hurry when I clicked this picture. I was getting late to go for the evening party at TBEX and here was a glorious view waiting to be clicked. That is when having a good cell phone which can click beautiful pictures in auto mode comes in handy.
The boats are known as Paraw and they are popular with tourists for sunset sails! I clickd this picture again in auto mode as our group was about to away from this spot in Boracay, Philippines.
I think I clicked this picture in auto mode because I was simply stunned with the beauty of the Puka Island in Boracay, Philippines. I didn’t think at all, I simply wanted to click!
I was in a hurry to take this picture so that I could get the two kites in the frame. Once again you know what happened, I used the auto mode! I was not thinking.
Boracay is so stunning that I was taking two pictures for every three steps I walked! No wonder I used the auto mode a lot!
Below is a more extensive selection of pictures clicked in Auto Mode on ZenFone 3.
Every hotel that was at the beach front would put out sand art every day! I was quite smitten by this one!
I stayed at Shangri-la Boracay for one night but they offered our group complimentary spa and their Filipino Hilot was divine!
I had a long layover at Changi while coming back to Delhi. I put it to good use by exploring all the terminals! The only editing I did on the ZenFone 3 pictures was increasing brightness or straightening the horizon. Most of the pictures in this post are straight from the camera.
The HDR Mode
My next most preferred mode was the HDR. As I love to click landscapes HDR is an obvious choice.
I feel the HDR pictures come out really well without looking completely unreal! I don’t like those HDR pictures much where everything looks completely overblown. The ZenFone 3 gives good HDR pictures at the click of a button.
Puka Island was a thing of beauty. I clicked this picture a little later on the island, so had the good sense to change the mode and try HDR!
On our last day at Boracay, Typhoon Haima was making a landfall. We were not in its path and yet the weather in Boracay also turned stormy. I used the HDR mode to capture the changing weather.
This was the same day as when the typhoon was making the landfall. Only a few of us were out that morning.
And even in that weather someone was out at the beach to do the art! I think they kept it simple because of the bad weather!
After the HDR it is time to showcase the pictures using the ‘effects’ mode.
The Effect Mode
The camera has an option of sitting to effect mode where we can choose from Hue, vintage, cartoon and many more modes.
This was the walkway at the Lind Hotel which led to the infinity pool! I used the ‘hue’ effect and I quite liked the result!
Once again it is the Lind Hotel, the view from my balcony with the ‘hue effect.’ I quite liked the end result in this case!
I was a fan of Shangri-La because they were not using plastic containers in the bathroom. Using reusable bottles is good for the environment. However, a normal picture looked quite boring. I liked my ‘vintage effect’ for the picture.
The Super Resolution
This is the result of using ‘super resolution’ mode on the ZenFone 3. As I as mostly shooting landscapes I did not get as much opportunity for using this mode. But I love the butterfly picture!
The Depth of Field Mode
Getting the bokeh effect with the depth of field is a lot of fun! That I can get the effect without taking out my DSLR makes it even more fun.
To sum up, I thoroughly enjoyed using the ZenFone 3 camera. I use the cell phone when I am in a hurry and I simply want to put the camera on and click. I loved it that ZenFone 3 takes beautiful pictures in the auto mode. But for someone who needs more features, ZenFone 3 gives you many options right from HDR to Depth of Field and much more in between.
PS. I was given the phone for review on a returnable basis. All the pictures clicked with the phone and the thoughts are mine!
Truth be told I was tired when I arrived at Arugam Bay in eastern Sri Lanka. It took us longer to reach from Digana, where we were staying at the previous night. The route was beautiful. In fact the whole of Sri Lanka, in whichever way I have traveled, is scenic.
Maybe it was because we took so many unscheduled stops for photography that we were late in reaching at Arugm Bay. I remember the spot, because we requested for the bus to stop, so that we could get down and click pictures.
I clicked this one from the moving bus. I wonder what is it with water bodies and Sri Lanka, the country is full of them. It makes the place doubly beautiful. We made another stop near a paddy field where fellow bloggers took out their drones to shoot! We also ate mangoes from a local fruit shop, it was great fun.
After the fruit stop, it was a long drive to Arugam Bay. But I immediately perked up when I saw the first glimpse of the ocean. We stayed at Bay Vista, a hotel right by the sea. Both at Arugam Bay and Batticaloa our hosts, Cinnamon Hotels didn’t have a property.
We were supposed to go to the Kumana National Park after arriving at Arugam Bay. But as we were late in arriving, it was shifted to the next morning. We had a 5.00 am start the next day! I was not in a good mood but only till I walked up to the beach!
Right next to the hotel, the elderly gentleman was mending his net. I asked if I could click his picture, he smiled and raised his head. Then in sign language I asked if he still goes out to the sea, he replied in the affirmative!
Surfing is popular at Arugam Bay. We visited the Whiskey Point to watch the action. There were many surfers out there. I do not know how to surf, I was content watching the surfers.
Close to the surfing point, there is an area full of trees. They look both pretty and spooky. I wonder what they are.
As evening came, fishing boats started coming back home. It also promised to be a great sunset!
True to its promise the sky put on a great show that evening. It took some of my tiredness away.
I walked back leisurely to the hotel while all around the sun was busy painting everything golden! It was a beautiful evening but I wish I were less tired!
PS. I was part of a global group of 60 bloggers who were invited to attend TBC Asia 2016 hosted by Cinnamon Hotels.
The sunset at Cavelossim Beach, Goa was special. It was beautiful because double trouble were on a holiday together. It was also the first family holiday we managed this year! We all love the beach and I am perennially on a look out for a sunsets. I could be on a look out for sunrise too, but for that you have to get up early! I have almost given up on that!
Seshadri had been to South Goa a month before and he wanted to take us to the Cavelossim Beach. We easily found a car park close to the beach. All four of us happily walked down a narrow kaccha road to the beach.
We had timed it just right. As we entered, the light was already good. The kids wanted to go parasailing at Cavelossim Beach too but it was much more expensive that Fatrade Beach. We told them it was a lot of money and they concurred that they would not waste money!
It was low tide and the beach was full of art. Vasu who is the older of two, was quite engrossed with it. Chhavi still just likes to jump around and get her hair matted! I have been telling her these days that the way she keeps her hair, she will soon give competition to Bob Marley!
Looking at the sky, I was expecting a good sunset, but I was not expecting magic! But then it happened. Even Vasu sensed it, she became quieter and started enjoying the nature. I am not sure if Chhavi noticed it in particular. Seshadri made himself comfortable in a corner and kept an eye on the kids. I was left to myself to click pictures!
The kids were jumping around. With Seshadri watching them, I only had an eye for pictures!
While Chhavi refused to come anywhere in the range of the camera, Vasu readily agreed to model for me. And after a while, she too ran away to play with Chhavi.
And while the sun burned the sky, we found a shack on the Cavelossim Beach. The kids wanted noodles and milk shakes while Seshadri and I ordered beer! It was a good way to see the sundown!