The first trip of 2019 was to Ranthambore with Abhyaran Hotels. Chhavi and I took the Janshatabdi from Hazrat Nizaumddin to Sawai Madhopur in the afternoon. We arrived at the hotel in the evening after 7.00 pm.
After going for a quick refresh in our spacious room we headed to the pool for bonfire and much needed tea. Every evening a group of local singers perform by the fire under the starry sky. The first day of the trip was almost gone in reaching the destination and recovering from the fatigue.
Tired as we were, there was dinner to look forward to. We joined the buffet dinner at 8.00 pm. The hot roits are served at the table. The buffet offers both and vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The food had a homely feel. Later I realized they grow some of the produce in their own farms.
After dinner we retired to our room. It was a blessing not to have TV there. Kids are so glued to screens these days. However, my endeavors were only partially successful. There was WiFi at the resort so Chhavi could watch something on the mobile. But we both crashed quickly. And we had a lazy day ahed.
Waking up without an alarm is such a simple pleasure of life, more so when you went early to bed the previous night! We woke up refreshed and it was a beautiful sunny day. After a leisurely breakfast we went about exploring the resort.
We had seen the pool the previous night, now it was time to see the farms, cows, rabbits and hen! The garden surrounded by the the Sahtoot (mulberry) trees is a serene place overlooking the mustard fields.
After a round of the hotel, Chhavi and I walked out to the blooming mustard fields! And it was such great fun. We were peering at the fields by the narrow road. Tractors went past us playing local songs at full blast!
After walking for a while, we found a break in a fence. So, went closer to the field. I had to reign in Chhavi or she could have gone wild with the blooms. Still a few flowers ended up in her hands and in her hair band!
While we were walking back to Abhyaran, we met three little girls coming back from their football practice. If we had more time Chhavi would have loved to join them. After tennis, football is her favorite game!
But we hurried to lunch and the evening safari! Our safari was in Zone 10 which is at the other end of the city. It took us quite some time to reach the jungle. The canter was filled with tourists from Italy. They greeted Chhavi warmly. No two adjacent seats were vacant but the driver offered Chhavi the front seat next to his! Her day was made.
We had no luck with the big cats but then we had gone to the jungle and not a zoo! Even Chhavi understands that. It is always a pleasure to go to the jungle.
We went to the bonfire again after the safari. It was followed by a sumptuous dinner. We wish we had one more day but Chhavi had tennis to get back to.
As we waited for our train from the small Sawai Madhopur station at the sunrise we both knew it was a good start to the year!
PS. Chhavi and I were invited by the Abhyaran Hotel on this trip.
Thailand is my most visited country, I have been there 11 times as I write this. On all my previous trips, my point of entry was Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok. And if you enter from Bangkok, that is where you get your visa on arrival for Thailand. However, on the most recent trip my daughter, Chhavi and I traveled via Singapore for a vacation at Koh Samui. Getting a visa on arrival at Koh Samui on Indian Passport was a breeze!
Koh Samui is a beautiful, small airport, much different from the regular ones we encounter. It looks more like an open air tropical resort than an airport. As you climb down the stairs of the plane, carts with open sides carry you to the main building.
As there are only a few flights landing at Koh Samui, the lines at the passport control are much shorter than Suvarnabhumi Bangkok. I think a lot of nationalities do not need visa to enter Thailand, so when Chhavi and I came in to passport control area, there was hardly any queue at visa on arrival counters.
There were exactly two families on the visa on arrival counter- us and one more! The other family was waiting for something, so I had all the counters to myself! As I have been to Thailand many times, I know they accept only Thai Baht for the fee. It is 2000 per person at the moment.
I paid the fee for both of us, got the receipt and proceeded to the passport control. There was a short queue, which was nothing compared to what I see in Bangkok. I was offered the express counter for additional payment of 200 Baht per person, but I did not use it. In Bangkok I almost always use the express queue as the wait time is anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.
We stood in the queue for about 10 minutes, got our passports stamped. We ran to the luggage counter to get our bags! Our holiday has started! It was that easy for us to get the visa on arrival at Koh Samui!
I am Mridula Dwivedi, I love to travel! I started my travel blog in 2005. I have been going places since! For more details do check out my media kit! In another life I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur. I was a professor when I quit my job in 2015.
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