travel diary: Switzerland

travel diary: Switzerland

I got the chance to visit Switzerland earlier this year in February. I visited and stayed in Zurich during my three days’ trip.

I had a Swiss Airline flight to Zurich, and it turned out to be the best airline I have ever traveled in. The economy class seats were very comfortable, legroom was spacious, and the food they served was decent enough.

The flight landed at the Zurich airport during early morning. After having a breakfast of pancakes and coffee at the airport, we bought 1-2 zones day passes for 8.80 CHF each from the adjoining train station. Then, we took a train from the airport to go to the central station, Zürich Hauptbahnhof, from where our hotel was a tram ride away. I had booked a double occupancy room at Crowne Plaza Zurich for 140 USD per night (with breakfast). Fortunately, the hotel allowed an early check in after asking us to fill a membership form.
The hotel has a large building, with a restaurant, gymnasium, swimming pool, conference hall, etc. My room was small in size, but was clean and well equipped, and had a modern style bathroom. The view from my room overlooked a road and opposite buildings opposite.

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buffer breakfast (without meat)

We had plans of going on a city tour on the first day, but because of bad weather, we only managed to visit lake Zurich and Bahnhofstrasse. We used our day passes to go around by public transport, which is excellent and well connected. I absolutely loved watching the streets of Zurich from the trams.

The next day, we bought a 9 O’ clock pass from the hotel for 26CHF per person. With this day pass, we could travel anywhere in the canton of Zurich via public transport (including boats, trains, buses, and trams), from 9am (on weekdays) till midnight. We used this pass to go to Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall by train, which is very close to Rhine falls. The Rhine Falls is the largest plain waterfall in Europe. We walked around the falls for quite some time; it was so peaceful and the views were mesmerizing.

On our final day in Zurich, we bought a 4-zone pass for 17.60 CHF, and went to Uetliberg and Felsenegg.

We first went to Uetliberg  by train, and saw some beautiful views of the landscapes of Switzerland on the train ride. It is the highest point of Zurich and offers a panoramic view of the entire city of Zurich. There was freshly fallen snow when we reached there. Many people had come there for skiing as well. We walked around for some time and took in the beauty of that place.

The next stop was Felsenegg. To go there, we first took the train till Adliswil, walked uphill for around 500 meters, and then took the cable car to go up to Felsenegg. It had just begun to snow when we reached the top, so we couldn’t stay outside for long. This place also offered an excellent view of the city.

After Felsenegg, we went back towards the hotel. We stopped at a supermarket on the way, where I purchased some Swiss chocolates. I also bought some strawberries, which is my favorite fruit of all time, and they were amazing.

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My Switzerland journey ended with an early morning train the next morning. 🙂

Weather in February: very cold. The maximum temperature used to be around 5-6° celsius, and minimum -1 to 1° celsius.
Website I used for booking hotel: makemytrip.com, as it offers discounts on most of the hotels listed. Use my refferal link while signing up to get MMT wallet cash: http://app.makemytrip.com/make80uh5-d2

 

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Next place on this blog: Italy.

 

 

 

A week in Thailand – 3

A week in Thailand – 3

The local markets, street food, and nightlife of Phuket

We visited two local markets in Phuket: Baan Son night market, and Malin Plaza. Both of the markets offered great street food options at cheap prices. Being a vegetarian, I had limited choices, but the place is a food haven for people who want to have authentic and reasonably priced Thai food. Apart from food stalls, the markets also had many small shops selling souvenirs and clothes.

We also went to Jungceylon shopping complex, which was like a regular air conditioned mall with restaurants, cafes, and shopping stores.

Bangla Street

bangla street
image taken from Google

Bangla street is like the heart of Phuket sex industry. The main street is lined with bars and clubs on both sides. Most of the bars had a (at least) few scantily clad Thai girls dancing on the stage or performing pole dance. Many of them also offered “private shows”. While walking on the road, after every few hundred meters, we were approached by Thai men and women to visit their bar for ping pong shows.

We went bar hopping on the street (didn’t watch any of those shows, though) on one night. On another night, we went to a club called Illuzion,  where we paid 1600Baht (46USD) per person for unlimited alcoholic drinks.

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Overall, the street is very lively, and it was great fun just walking there.

Last day in Bangkok

After Phuket, we again went back to Bangkok and spent a night there, since we had a flight back home from there the following evening. I stayed at At Mind Executive Suites hotel, which I had booked online for 1000 Baht (30USD). On our last day in Thailand, we only managed to visit a couple of malls, since we didn’t have a lot of time. I bought a few clothes and souvenirs from MBK Center. For going to the airport, we went by sky train to Mo Chit station, and took the A1 bus from there, which goes straight to Don Mueang airport.

That marked the end of my Thailand Journey. The week long trip cost me around 13,000 Baht (400 USD), including the return airfare from Bangkok to Phuket, and excluding the visa cost and return airfare from home to Bangkok.

 

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A week in Thailand – 2

A week in Thailand – 2

We stayed in Phuket for five days, at D’feel Hostel in Patong. It’s around a km walk  from the hostel to Patong beach. I had booked an individual room for myself, which cost around 700 Baht (20 USD) per night (breakfast not included). I used the website Makemytrip.com for booking the room which generally offer some discount on hotel bookings. The room was air-conditioned, clean, and had all the basic amenities like a mini refrigerator, hair dryer, and general toiletries. There was no daily housekeeping, but they provided fresh towels and drinking water bottles everyday. The hostel was really nice, but if you’re not on a budget, there are several hostels and luxurious hotels closer to the beach.

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D’feel Hostel
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this is what my daily breakfast looked like

The island of Phuket has several clear water and white sand beaches. We rented a bike, and visited many beaches including Kata Noi, Karon, Surin, Kamla, Promthep Cape, and of course, Patong beach. All the beaches are really beautiful.

Patong beach (above) is the most famous beach in Phuket. It is close to many restaurants, cafes and bars, and is a walk away from the island’s major nightlife areas. The beach also offers various watersport activities such as parasailing and jet skiing.

Rest of the beaches (above) I visited were less crowded and more peaceful, as compared to Patong. I especially loved going for a swim on Karon Beach, because the water was extremely clear, and the white sand so soft.

On our last day in Phuket, we went on a day tour of Phi Phi islands. We booked the tour from our hotel at a price of 1300 Baht (38 USD) per person, which included pick and drop from/to the hotel, and lunch and snacks. It was almost a nine hour day trip, and we visited three islands by speedboat, and saw two from a distance. We first went to Khai island, where we were provided equipment for snorkeling (for free!). One could also go for deep sea diving (not free!) on that beach. We stayed on that beach for some time, and then went to the Phi Phi Don island, and had lunch there. The lunch was very basic, as expected. The next and final stop was Maya Bay (the movie The Beach was filmed there). This was by far the most beautiful beach we saw that day.

In between these stops, our boat stopped at a few other sightseeing spots, which we saw from a distance, as were not allowed to get down there. At one of those spots, those who wanted to swim or snorkel could jump from the boat and do so in deep waters.

This marked the end of our beach escapade in Phuket. I’ll talk about Phuket nightlife, and the street food I liked, in my next post.

I’d love to hear from you, do leave in your comments! 😀

A week in Thailand – 1

A week in Thailand – 1

I visited Thailand, a Southeast Asian country last year, and spent a week there. Here I’ll be sharing pictures from the trip, list of places I visited, places where I stayed, how I traveled, the websites I used for making the reservations, and other miscellaneous things.

Day I 

We landed at the Don Muang Airport (DMK) in Bangkok at 6am, which is one of the two international airports in the city, the other one being Suvarnabhumi Airport. The former is the smaller one, with mostly low budget airlines flying into and from there. Since we already had a visa, the immigration process did not take much time (Thailand offers Visa on arrival for many countries).

We made use of the restrooms at the airport to get ready for the day since we had to catch a flight in the evening, and wanted to use the day to explore the city. The airport also had a (paid) storage option where we left our luggage.

After buying a prepaid sim from the airport, we took the A1 bus to go to Mo Chit bus terminal in the city, from where we took a taxi to go to Wat Pho Temple. Since the temple seemed pretty crowded, we didn’t go inside and decided to roam around on the nearby streets. We walked around for around two hours, had some street food, and talked to a few locals about the city.

We wanted to visit the floating market nearby, but since it was very hot and we were tired from walking in the Sun, we forwent that plan. From there, we called an Uber to go to Siam Paragon mall. Took more than 50 minutes to cover a distance of 6km, because of heavy traffic. We had lunch in the mall, and did some window shopping. The mall is huge and has outlets of all high end brands, and also some affordable brands like H&M and Forever 21. After that, we walked to the MBK Center mall. This one had cheap shopping options for buying clothes, electronics, accessories, footwear, furniture, etc. I bought a local power bank for 500baht (14USD) there, and had a really good iced coffee at one of the coffee shops. By then, it was time to leave the city to go to the next city (Phuket).

We had a Thai Lion Air flight to Phuket, and landed there around 11pm. The pre-booked taxi from our hotel was waiting for us, and we managed to reach our place around 12:30am. For dinner, I bought bread and nutella from the supermarket (I am a vegetarian and all the snacks there had meat!), as it was pretty late and wasn’t sure if any restaurants nearby would be open at that time. 🙂

I’ll be writing about the island of Phuket in the next post.

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