Mumbai and I usually meet when I have to attend an event in the city. This trip was no different. I was attending OTM and I was staying at Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach. I was hosted as a blogger.
This time I was supposed to stay for two nights but it was not to be. My trip was cut short as I proceeded to Chennai and then Colombo on another blogging trip. I was staying in an sea facing suite right next to the Juhu Beach. I wish I could have stayed both the nights but my one night stand with Mumbai continues!
Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach as the name suggests is right by the beach! From the swimming pool of the hotel you get a view of the ocean. The best bit about the trip was that my school friend Swati visited me at the hotel!
The check-in at the hotel was smooth for me as I arrived late in the evening after my event with Facebook Mumbai.
I loved my suite, the living room corner chair is the one to look out for. It gives you a fabulous view of the beach below and you can entertain yourself by people watching!
The bed was comfortable and the bathroom had a bath tub! I was told that the hotel has plans of refurbishing soon and it would be lovely to have a new look.
The breakfast at the Square had a large spread. Their fruit spread is particularly impressive. There are plenty of options both Indian and Continental options!
Dinner at Sampan
Sampan is the famous Chinese restaurant in the hotel. Being in Juhu I was told it is frequented by Bollywood stars. My dear friend Swati who lives in Mumbai joined me for dinner along with her son and husband.
We all agreed that we had an excellent dinner. The Head Chef Penpa Tsering was a bit disappointed when he realized 3 of us vegetarians but even then he served up a delicious meal for us.
My stay at the hotel was over way too soon. I didn’t even find time to walk by the beach which is such a pity.
But while I was waiting for the cab to arrive for my journey to Colombo, I got about 40 minutes in my room to laze around. It is then that I realized that the living room gets direct sunlight and if I would have stayed I could have seen the sunset right from the room.
I hope I will go back to the hotel after it is refurbished and I will get it to spend more time both at the hotel and in the city!
PS. I was hosted at Novotel Mumbai Juhu Beach as a travel blogger!
Suppose, while you are about to book Puri hotels online, you realize that you do not have much time to travel back and forth from eastern India. Yes, you feel heartbroken as you will have to cancel your plans. However, what if instead of cancelling your trip you could change it? If you are from Maharashtra, a day trip to Borivali would be a perfect thing to do in this case.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park: The Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) was previously known as the Borivali National Park. This park is situated in the metropolitan itself and, thus, the overcrowded city gets to witness the beauty of a rich flora and fauna here. The rich variety of species is not the only thing the Sanjay Gandhi National Park boasts of. This park also guards the age-old Kanheri Caves, a major tourist attraction, in its interior. The park is perfect for a field trip especially for those who have an interest in the field of Biology.
Photo Credit for both the Pictures Victor Jiang/Shutterstock
Kanheri Caves: When you visit a national park, you would expect to experience the breathtaking beauty of nature. However, how would you feel if bang in the middle of the greenery you get to witness one of the best architectural shreds of evidence from the past? Yes, the Kanheri Caves date back to the period of 1st Century BC to 10th Century AD. During this period, 109 caves were carved out from basalt, that is, the black rock in that region. As you step inside the Kanheri Caves, you will be astonished to see the cave paintings and accurate sculptures of the ancient period. No wonder this is a lovely shooting spot!
Gorai Beach: When you feel that the water is beckoning you, the Gorai Beach is the place that you should visit. This beach is less crowded compared to the others. Hence, if you want to enjoy a picnic on a warm afternoon, the Gorai Beach would be ever ready to surprise you with its natural beauty. The Gorai Beach is also popular among the lovebirds who are often spotted walking down the beach holding hands. And, in case you want to visit the beach alone, a sweet coconut would surely give you company while you rest under the shade.
Marine Drive: If you are feeling lonely and you have no place to go to, you can take a cab to Marine Drive and sit there the entire day. The gushing waters of the Arabian Sea overlooking the sturdy banks of the Marine Drive would make you feel at ease. You will get an opportunity to know yourself in a better way and overcome the difficulties after introspection.
Shopping at Fashion Street: If you have visited these places several times and want to go for shopping, the Fashion Street should be able to meet your expectations. If you want to buy something to enhance your dressing sense without burning a hole in your pocket, you can pick up fashionable items at the Fashion Street that is close to Borivali.
Take a Tour on a Local Train: The local trains in Mumbai are quite famous all over the world because of the crowd. If you really want to enjoy the Marathi hustle and bustle, nothing would be better than boarding a local train and travelling a certain distance. Common, one journey won’t kill you!
Thus, you can comprehend that exploring Borivali can be one of the best day trips you have gone through in quite some time. If you can plan out the day well, Borivali can prove to be a charming destination!
On my recent trip to Israel I was flying Mumbai Tel Aviv Mumbai with El Al, the Israeli national carrier. It was my first flight with El Al. If I will remember one thing from the trip, it will be the level of security they deploy. At the outset, let me state very clearly, I understand. I am not complaining, at all. I am just telling the tale, with a smile on my face!
When you wish to board a plane what do you do? You get inside the airport, you queue for check-in and you get the boarding pass, right? Wrong if you are flying El Al. The area for check-in is roped off. You stand outside the rope and staff attends to you individually. They ask you to answer a long list of questions. In my case my visa clearly said ‘invitation by Ministry of Tourism.’ I still had to answer a lot of questions. Some of them were- how many countries you have traveled to? How did you find the PR firm that invited you to Israel? For the first time in my life I said, “it is the other way round, the PR firm found me, my blog is popular!” The lady asking the questions went away with my passport finally to a hefty guy (with ‘don’t mess with me’ itched on his face) who nodded his head. I was then allowed to proceed to the check-in queue. Truth be told I was rattled by the questions simply because no one else does it. I was not expecting it.
The check-in was relatively easy and straightforward. Almost all airlines ask if you packed your bags yourself, so did El Al. However they asked me to report at the gate half an hour early for security check. I was wondering what more security checks were there! I was curious now.
I was flying out from T2 at Mumbai for the first time. The airport looks impressive but their immigration was a pain. It took me hours to clear it. Mumbai Airport Security clearance took less time. Then I proceeded to the boarding gate for El Al.
How do other airlines board passengers? They ask the first and business class passengers to board at their convenience. Many airlines ask people who need assistance and those traveling with kids to board first. And then the general boarding starts. Not with El Al. While I was in the queue I heard people saying they had business class tickets and why were they not allowed to board? Apparently boarding was according to security rating.
This was my first trip to Israel and I was flying economy. I had to undergo another check at the boarding gate. They took out almost everything from my hand baggage (and I carry a lot of electronics) and passed it through a scanner. They did this to every bit of chargers, cords, power banks and what not. Then they asked us to sit. There was water and chips for us. After a while we were asked to board.
Some people found the procedure stressful. Someone said they have traveled to the USA and even they do not do so many checks. I didn’t mind at all. It had a lot of novelty value!
I was given a paper by the Ministry of Tourism to show to the security at the Ben Gurion Airport at Tel Aviv on my return. The security is tight at Ben Gurion too but I thought they were extra conscious at Mumbai. Maybe at Tel Aviv everything is under their control and they feel more confident about the security measures.
Once inside the plane, the flight was like any other flight. In the Mumbai Tel Aviv Mumbai sector you need to download the entertainment app on your phone to watch movies. I did it using my mobile data after boarding the plane. You need your head phone too as the app mutes the voice automatically. The headphones on the plane are quaint. They barely worked with my phone. The plane was old but clean. There was a blanket on the seat and I used it in the flight.
I watched three Israeli moves through the app- Apples from the Desert, The Band’s Visit and Sodom. If you use Netflix you can watch The Band’s Visit, it is a beautiful movie.
The food was OK. On the Mumbai-Tel Aviv flight they gave me vegetarian food. But on the Tel Aviv Mumbai flight I was not booked as a vegetarian and I got almost nothing to eat. I only got an energy bar. I had to ask for the tea and water to be given to me as it was vegetarian anyway.
Other than not getting vegetarian food my flight back was fine too. On board the El Al promotional video says at a point “El Al it is not just an airline, it is Israel!” I think I understand the sentiment!
PS. I was invited to Israel by the Israel Ministry of Tourism