Inspiring Travellers – Kevin Cook

Inspiring Travellers

I have been writing a lot about my travels. I would like to tell a little more about other travellers in the world who have made entertaining and useful travel content. Here’s my feature of inspiring travellers. Recently I came across the videos of Kevin Cook. He operates a youtube channel called monkey abroad.

His Concept

Every traveller has a unique style of travelling and his is budget travelling. This is not just another budget travelling but an extreme budget of 20 dollars a day for food, accommodation & local travel in the city. In places like India, Thailand, Cambodia this is more than doable. But, what about places like Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore and more? Well, he did it. Sometimes he would have gone a bit overboard his budget and yet times there was some left over money. But he proved it can be done. His love for travel had made him chose a career which would let him travel. Teaching English.

You can find his blog Monkey Abroad here. All in all his local style of travelling, has given us an insight into the little hacks, the places, the foods you can eat for as little as 20$ a day. For those of you who think travelling is expensive, think again. 20$ a day is sometimes a meal in one of the good restaurants or 2-3 drinks on a night out. Save up initially and then find something on the road. Do a workaway, couch surf and live like a true local. Experience the exotic cultures, food and much more in a country that is not home. Here’s a video of him travelling in Shanghai for 20 dollars. Read his blog and his youtube account from the links above. Finally, get inspired and start travelling.

Have other travel bloggers that inspire you to pack your bags? Let me know in the comment section about who they are and how did they inspire you.

Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand

Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand

I love Thailand. It is like a second home to me. I spent ridiculous amount of time travelling this country and I still feel I haven’t covered most of it. If I had to choose my favourite region it would definitely be the northern Thailand. I love the beaches and mad partying the south offers, but my ultimate favourite is the serene north. As a part of my Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand series, I would like to cover my favourite haunts in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai etc. Also, don’t forget to check out Foodie Heaven Bangkok article, to know where the best eats in Bangkok are at

Chiang Mai

My first stop for this blog would be Chiang Mai, Thailand. A location surrounded by beautiful temples on the top of the mountains and filled with friendly people. I absolutely love the architecture, the culture, the temples and the Food. The one-stop eating zone that will fill you up and not lighten your wallet is the nightmarket in Chiang Mai. There are many night markets in Chiang Mai and one of my favourite is the market opposite to Chiang Mai gate. Eat ai ua (Chiang Mai sausage), nam prik ong (chilli tomato pork dip) and kaeng khanun (jackfruit curry) and Khao Soi. As cheap as 30 baht will fill your tummy up.

Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand

From melt in the mouth pork to sushi, from bite sized icecream to quail egg omelette, you get everything. If you have more than two days, be sure to check out Waorat market, Cooking love, Mr.Kai restaurant. Literally, every street is filled with food. It is a pity that Thailand’s government banned street food stalls recently.

Chiang Rai

This is a gem in Thailand. Quaint little town filled with beautiful temples and a perfect stop to explore nearby mountains and the tribes. Chiang Rai market is again the go to choice for food but there are also many restaurants opposite to this market which serve up delicious food. I had a little adventure here, where I drove almost 100 kms to a place called Doi Mae Salong. On route to this place, we stopped at Choi Fong Tea Factory. What a beautiful place, tea served up right next to the gardens is one of the best experience one can have.

Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand

Doi Mae Salong is little tibetan community right on the border. The  beauty of the place has to be experienced.

Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand

Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand

Foodie Heaven Northern Thailand

Apart from the rich local cuisine, there are many more things to explore in Northern Thailand. The hippie community of Pai, The border community of Mae Sot, beautiful local tribes and hot water baths. One cannot spend enough time here.

Foodie Heaven Bangkok, Thailand – 1

Traditional Thai Blue rice and curry, Bangkok Food Thailand

Travelling encompasses of many experiences. Whether I choose an adventure, experience a local tradition or eat my heart out, It is always beautiful. The best way to travel is to eat. One can understand a country and its people a whole lot more with their cuisine and eating habits. I am here to speak about one such “eat like the locals” experience. I am speaking about Foodie Heaven Bangkok, Thailand, in this series of oncoming posts.

Thailand is a true delight for the senses. Their culture is unique and the people amicable and the places breathtaking. The one word I would use to describe are that they are pure-pledged businessmen. Owing it to the vast tourism sector, Bangkok or Thailand in general would have the largest number of street food vendors. Bangkok, The Thai capital is a foodie delight which offers world-class gastronomy and diverse cuisines. I would like to divide this series into Food in Bangkok, Food in northern Thailand, food in Southern Thailand. Later on, I will post about my 10 absolute favourite items to eat, when in Thailand.

Thai Milk Iced Tea

My favourite routine when in Bangkok is to get a chanom in the morning. Chanom or Thai Milk iced tea is a delicious concoction of condensed milk, Thai Tea and ice. One cannot not love this beauty.  Bangkok Cafe at the Suvarnabhumi airport is my absolute favourite but this can be found at the numerous street cart vendors.

Bangkok Food Thailand Bangkok Food Thailand

Another one of their delicacies is the salted fried fish. This yummy melt in your mouth deliciousness from the sea is an easy find. Go to any of the numerous markets, be it Chatuchak market or the patong market or even pratunam, you will street vendors grilling away to glory.

Boat Noodle Alley, Victory Monument

Bangkok Food Thailand, Boat Noodle Alley

Slurp, thats the word for one of Bangkok’s iconic boat noodles. After going to the victory monument, it is right under the sky train station. The boats noodles are as cheap as 8 baht per bowl. Here, you can see locals competing on who will build highest boat noodle cup tower.

Traditional Thai Blue rice and curry, Bangkok Food Thailand

If you haven’t tried thai blue rice with thai curry, you are missing out. Traditionally thai, the food in the above picture will tickle your palate. All in all, here are the things you should definitely not give a miss when in Bangkok. Go to asiatique water front, and try out their food court. From Peking Duck to the most amazing sushi, this place is a Foodie haven. Try out the food courts at the malls in Bangkok. Definitely sip on burned coconut, chrysanthemum tea, eat the amazing pork belly at the chatuchak market on the weekends. Try massaman curry, Som Tam, Pad Thai, Khao Pat and more.

Pad Thai, Bangkok Food Thailand Som Tam, Bangkok Food Thailand

Finally, try out sukhumvit Soi 38 for the night snacks and korean plaza, arabic lane, India lane for diverse cuisines.

Foodie Heaven Bangkok, Thailand

Do you have a favourite place or food to eat in Bangkok? Drop me a comment with what it is and I will definitely try out the next time I am in town.

Songkran Festival Thailand – Where to go!

Thailand has been a traveller’s paradise for over 30 years now. Years of tourism has left its toll on this beautiful country. The beaches, once pristine are riddled with plastic and paper from the tourists. The humongous forests have become thinner by the year. However, this country has the charm to attract over half a million tourists for their annual water festival combined with Thai new year. Yes, I am speaking about Songkran Festival Thailand.

For those who don’t know about Songkran, here is a small excerpt. Songkran is celebrated during the traditional Thai new year. It is important to know where to go during this festival so you can enjoy it to the maximum. Below are some of the places this beloved water festival is celebrated in all its glory.

Chiang Mai

I think Songkran in Chiang Mai is definitely the best and the wettest in Thailand. Tens and thousands of men, women and children flood the streets with their squirt guns. I wish I was here every year as a child. The buckets of ice cold water from them is a welcome respite to the summer heat in April. The never ending flow of water on each and everyone, endless party on the streets, loud blaring music and street dance makes Chiang Mai one of the best places to enjoy this festival.

Phuket

Songkran in Phuket is an ultimate street dance party with tons of ice cold water and what more, the beach is right next to it. Patong beach is already well known for its night life and raucous scene. It doesn’t take a back seat when it comes to one of Thailand’s favourite festivals. Well, If you want to try and have a look at one of the beauty pageants in Thailand, head to patong beach. Experience their miss songkran beauty pageant along with a beautiful water parade and crazy party scenes.

Ayutthaya

Thailand’s previous capital has its own royal style to celebrate this traditional festival. You can experience the traditional alms giving ceremony to 999 monks at the Wihan Phra Mongkhon Bophit to water splashing with none other than the mighty elephants. Finally, Thailand’s culture is truly experienced in this old heritage city.

Koh Samui

If you are heading to the south, other than Phuket you can also visit Koh Samui during the festival. The people here are quite serious about their water fights. With a mix of natives and tourists, this place is all in all fun to be.

Bangkok

Of course, the current Thailand capital is not going to take a backseat when it comes to their national festival. It has street parades to water fights to crazy parties all day and all night long.

Is India safe to travel?

India Safety Travelling Tips

This post might be a bit boring to people who already think traveling anywhere in the world is safe. But for others who have been asking me this question since the past two months here you go.

I have been travelling a little over two months. I have met people from various countries and this is how the typical introduction conversation happens:

Traveler 1: Hi ya, I am — and you are?
Me: Hi, I am Sai and where are you from?
Traveler 1: US/UK/Australia/Europe/Asia/Africa/South America and where are you from?
Me: India
Traveler 1: Oh thats an awesome country but is it safe to travel there? I mean with all these news about people getting assaulted/robbed etc.

India is a great place to experience various cultures, cuisines and people. Here people are friendly and would generally be helpful to other nationalities who are coming to visit. It is a fast developing country where there is no short of cosmopolitan clubs, fine-dining places as well as the authentic street food and local charm. And it is a pity that due to few of my countrymen many people who would love to experience this amazing country is backing down. It is a shame that we were not perceived as a safe country.

India Safety Travelling TipsIndia Safety Travelling Tips

As an Indian, I believe my country is safe as long as you follow the basic safety requirements.

Don’t stay at a place just because it is cheap:
In this era of internet it is possible to find out if a place is safe or not. Read the reviews and figure out  the location and if your intuition is screaming at you to get out of the place then do yourself a favor and get out ASAP!

Some people genuinely wants to help the backpackers and you go to the countryside many will offer you food or tea in their house. Most of them are curious about you and you could always accept or reject them politely depending on how comfortable you are. But if there are people who are offering food on the trains/buses well better be careful.The “taking food from stranger” rule applies in India as well.

Don’t trust strangers and don’t get inebriated to the point where you would black out. There are many more of these basic stuff that you need to take care of while travelling in any country.

I think we Indians have to represent our country and help people understand that India is like any other developing Asian country when it comes to safety. This is a call to all you Indian travel bloggers and enthusiasts out there. Lets tell people what its like to travel in India. Share your experiences and help people understand that it is safe to travel in India as well. To everyone who wants to travel in India you could contact me or any number of Indian travel bloggers regarding your queries.

India Safety Travelling TipsIndia Safety Travelling TipsIndia Safety Travelling TipsIndia Safety Travelling Tips - Rajasthan

 

Note: Indian government has recently introduced the e-Tourist Visa (eTV) for over 76 countries. Citizens of these countries below can obtain an e-visa prior to their date of travel and for 60 USD. For more details visit: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/
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