Posted by paris on Jan 13, 2013 in Travel
Upon arriving in Melbourne some local friends decided to give me a run down on local bars which turned into an awesome day. I thought I would share the list!
Roof Top Bar
We started off at Madame Brussels it feels like going back to the fifties with a full blown cigar room and apparently bowl’s on the grass inside! They have their famous poached chicken, chive and mayo toasted sandwiches served with lemon wedges and tabasco which goes down nicely with a jug of ingredients such as cucumber, lemon, strawberries mint , soda and Gin!
Next stop Section 8 a small outside bar mainly built and structured with shipping containers. The artwork around the surrounding building’s brickwork is very ‘Banksy’ and hip! The bar is simply but very fast at serving leaving you to admire the art, outside DJ and company!
We then went onto the Roof Top Bar/Cinema this place spots an open DJ during the day with amazing views over Melborune , then at night get’s kitted out with deck chairs for an open top cinema. The five minute preparation for the Bloody Mary did not go unnoticed and was a show in itself!
Next stop was just downstairs in the same building called Cookie , an amazing place for cocktails , and an endless list of spirits on display from all around the world. The shots where poured into stylish green glasses that I’ve heard usually make good souvenirs! The Thai food smelt really good as well!
The Croft Institute
Onto something a bit more upmarket we went to The Red Hummingbird which was actually hosting a wedding reception during the day when we went. The place has multiple floors however we made use of the roof top bar again as it was such a nice day!
Our last stop was the Croft Institute which was previously a really life mental institution! After navigating winding alleyways the place looks nothing on the outside. As you go inside the decor has been left inside of the institute with beds and pans in the bathroom as well as your cocktail being served with a syringe!
View Recommended Bar’s In Melbourne in a larger map
Posted by paris on Jan 8, 2012 in Travel
So over NYE and Christmas I headed over to India with some traveling friends for the famous Sunburn festival.
Accommodation for Sunburn Festival
We stayed here : http://www.prazeresresorts.com/Home_Pr.html , the room rate was 4000 Ruppees a night which is quite expensive for India. The resort does have a pool, and moved us into a appartment for 4 people with a balcony overlooking the pool which was good. It was also a 10 minute walk to the beach and festival! After Suburn, in true Indian style , we battered them down to 3000 Ruppees a night over New Years Eve which wasn’t bad at all over the peakest season in Goa!
There looked like lots of places around Candolim for accommodation , however best to organize first during peak times!
I purchased my tickets online after the first pre sale via the offical ticket reseller bookmyshow.com on 17/10/2011. Another friend purchased her ticket on November. We found when we arrived in Goa the tickets where still on sale right up to the day and during the festival but the website was falling over daily! You could buy day tickets to each of the other days. One thing to note, you need to collect your tickets on the first day with ID, ( a credit card proving your name on the booking). They don’t check if it’s the credit card you booked with online, so it can be any and make sure you have it on your first day otherwise you won’t be allowed in!
On the first day, the festival was supposed to start at 4pm. We arrived at 5pm and the festival was pretty dead. There was no beer or spirits available , caused by the trucks waiting outside and the correct people in the police to be bribed! We left for the beach and had dinner in a nearby beach bar with music. The festival really didn’t start until 8pm which is a shame considering it finishes at 10pm!
The next two days the festival was scheduled to start at 4pm/12pm again respectively , and it was much busier than the day before.
Unfortunely due to licensing laws, the festival only goes on till 10pm everyday. After this the whole of Candolim gets flooded with traffic and the time to travel anywhere north or south of the coast doubles as well as the price
A few after parties we checked out :
Costs : 1500 Rupees for a couple or 1000 Rupees per person. It cost 3 of us 700 Rupees in a taxi from the Suburn Exit
They call this the Night club in the Sky as it’s right on the top of a hill in Arpora. The club is mainly outside and boasts a swimming pool, lots of outdoor seating and a bar. The only inside bit is the dance floor which plays a range of club hits. The entry does include free drinks throughout the night
Cost : Free for Suburn Festival VIP wrist band , otherwise 2000 Rupees
Suburn have their offical “After Dark” parties which tool place in this club from 10.30 pm until 5 am. The benefit of this, is it’s about a 20 minute walk from the Sunburn exit
One night we ventured to Baga beach after a tip off from some locals , cost of this was 600 Rupees in a Taxi and took 20 minutes
Tito’s in Goa charged 1500 Rupees per person. The whole islands surrounded is flyered with bill boards for a place!
We found this place with was also adjoined with Cafe Mambo , costs for this was 800 Rupees per person
We then found a place with free entry called : Cape Town Cafe. It was more of a bar then a club however there was a good dance floor inside and outside was really busy
After staying here on Christmas Day and boxing day, we knew most of the bars on this stretch. However this was still a popular spot to go after the festival
There was UV bar which was hosting a 5 day non stop party throughout Sunburn. The music in this bar was pretty intense and entry was 500 Rupees!
The rest of the bars on the Anjuna beach front where free and had different price drinks. These weren’t policed though, so you could take your drink from any of the bars, a few favorites where http://www.cafelilliput.com and a bar called Hippies. There is also a famous bar called Curlies , however I did not have time to visit!
During the second day of Sunburn due to the 4pm start , we rented scooters and headed to Arambol beech, This took about an hour to get there from Candolim , but was a really good ride with amazing views. I would of really liked to stay here , the beach , people and general vipe seemed a nice relaxing place to stay.
Posted by paris on May 11, 2011 in Travel
- Take a cheap unlocked phone and buy a pay as you go sim card forthe journey – This will set you back around 300 ruppees for a month , but most hostels will have free pickup from station airport and this is the only way to get in touch with the driver
- Take Passport Photos -You cannot get a simcard above without a passport photo!
- Book trains in advance – Trains get very busy in India , it seems to be on of the best ways to travel so book at least 3 days in advance or as early as possible – You can use this site : http://www.cleartrip.com/
- Don’t get ripped off by taxi’s / rickshaws - When you get off a bus / train / plane in India there are always taxi’s/rickshaws lurking for tourists. The best way it to ignore these as you get off the bus and start walking in a direction away from them , when you get a few minutes away , pull over a tuk tuk / taxi and get a proper rate! If possible ( but I only found I could in Mumbai ) get them to go on the meter! Also when getting in make sure they know where you are going , there was many a time when I got into one and the guy had no idea where it was and proceeded to drive around on the meter asking everyone where the place was, if you have the contact details of your place you are staying , call them up and pass the phone to the drive
- Find active accommodation - Hostelworld.com has not let me down yet , search for the city and view by ratings , you can read the reviews. This means you can arrive in a hostel and find people doing the same route or pass invaluable advice on!
- Carry change or small notes- This seemed to be a classic trick for street vendors , spending time bartering for something for you to produce a 100 ruppee note and they don’t have any change. They then try to sell you more to get the full 50 or taxi’s ask for the whole thing. Any established place you visit like restaurants or fast food chains , change up the 500/1000 notes there!
- Local Guides at the sites – When you go to any of the famous sites such as the Taj you will be approached by various local guides, they will only take payment after the tour has finished , but most of these sites do already have English translations around so I recommend this only if you are very keen and a good listener as the Indian accent is hard to hear over a crowd
- Visa – Getting the Indian visa was probably the hard visa I’ve ever had to get. I used the post method through their website in.vfsglobal.co.uk . I filled out all the forms signed them and sent my passport off special delivery with a return envelope. I get my passport back a week later asking not for 1 photo but 2 and they are not the standard passport size they are 2 inch x 2 inchs. Turns out no where does these , the only place I could find locally was a professional photograher and he would do 4 for £35! As I’d already lost £10 getting the forms sent back in, I thought I would head into london to a visa center to make sure everything was fine and also get the 2inch photos in their photo booth in Victoria. This was a 2 hour wait to drop off , then another 45 minutes to collect
- No Visa Runs ! – Usually most countries you can pop out then pop back in the next day to get an extended visa. On the Indian visa it clearly states then if you exit you have to wait 60 days before you can re-enter. I met alot of people hoping to pop to Nepal and back but this will be a one way journey!
- Food – Some dishes I would highly recommend trying -
- Tali , its like India Tapas , you get a whole dish of different curries , breads and sauces
- Pav Bhaji – Popular in Mumbai is a potato based curry with bread
- lassi – Yogurt based refreshing drink
- Chai Tea – Masala based tea , the workings that go into making this is incredible, I was amazed it was a milk based tea!
- A Paneer Dish ( There are many! ) – Panneer is white cheese , but its cooked into a dish like tofu
- Bombay Mix – We walked past a shop just selling bombay mix , what started out as watching it being made , turned into trying 20 different types of deep fried snacks sweet/sour/hot/spicy !
Any other questions fire away , but http://www.indiamike.com/india/ was really helpful for my trip planning!
Posted by paris on May 10, 2011 in Travel
Water Palace Jaipur
Recently I went to India for a trip and I thought I would share the story for anyone wishing to complete the same !
Delhi - I stayed in Nirvana Hostel after some research on the internet which was a great decision! They offered a free airport pickup , or you can get a prepaid taxi from Delhi Airport for about 270 Ruppees which Sunny ( The owner) will reimbursh you for upon request. The hostel is run by a guy called Sunny who has an amazing life story. He also has hostels in Agra and Jaipur run by his father and mother respectfully and they made the gold triange route hassle free and great fun, offering Free wifi , breakfast , dinner train/airport pickup and air conditioned rooms.
Sunny gave me a cheat sheet of Delhi with all the places to visit and how to get to them from the hostel. Most of these where by the Metro, which is supper convenient and cheap for about 22 Rupees for a single. After a whole day of sightseeing, I came back to the hostel to meet a load of people from all different nationalities doing the same “Golden Triangle” route Delhi – Agra – and Jaipur that I was , always the great travelling way. We where due for a party to start this trup off however due to it being a Sunday all the off licenses in Delhi where closed, the hostel owner Sunny changed our luck around , but driving to the next state and collecting party supplies!
The next hassy day we organised our trip to Agra , there was a train for 600 Ruppees or Sunny would arrange a private air conditioned car for the day which included a return trip from Delhi for 800 Ruppees each in a 7 seater. We choose this as we would visit 4 temples in this day and the taxi would also drop us off in our hostel in Agra.
Agra is a small city so you only really need a day there to look at all the sites ( main one being the Taj Mahal at 750 Ruppees for Tourists or 20 Ruppees for Locals!). When we got to the hostel run by Sunny’s father , he booked a bus from Agra to Jaipur for 325 Ruppees each which left the next morning which took about 5 hours. When on the bus, we upgraded our seats to beds for an extra 125 Ruppees each and slept for most of the way inbetween people jumping on the bus to sell Bombay mix , preach religion and promote tiger balm!
Jaipur – Suny’s mother who we nicknamed Mummy! arranged for Sameer to collect us from the bus station, unfortunately after being told we where at the right stop twice we go off at the wrong stop however Sameer found us! I highly recommend this driver , he showed us all Jaipur in 2 days including all the temples ( Amber etc) and also the wholesale factory’s for Jewelery, Textiles ( Camel Hair Carpets) and Blue pottery the things that Jaipur are famous for. His number for anyone interested is 0091 9799866374 Email : [email protected] he has 2 x seaters , 2 x Normal Cars and 2 x Tuk Tuk which he manages.
Udapuir ( White and Black City) the Venice of India some people call it. I had been recommended the Lake Shore Hotel which is right on the river front and run by a guy called Sameer. He arranged for us to be picked up from the train station and for a double room right by the lake it will cost 500 Ruppees for the room. The location is perfect , on the river , has a terrace desk where he cooks fresh food for you , and it’s 10 minute walk to any of the main sites in Updapuir ( Temple or the Lake Palace). Jamil is the driver for this hotel and we had a drive round the city on his Tuk Tuk for 100 ruppees and he even let us all take a turn drivings! His number is : 00919928637227
View from Lake Shore Hotel
Mumbai – I stayed in the Anjali Inn which was 1000 Ruppees for a double room. The room has Air Con, TV and Shower , only thing it really missed was a common room! I took a ferry to Elephanta Island to see the Elephanta Caves which I recommend. It will take you the whole day to organize as you need to take a 30 minute ferry and they run every other 30 minutes!
I will get out to South India at some stage as I’ve been told by people traveling from the south , Goa , Hampi , Kerala are a must see!
View Road Trip in a larger map
Posted by paris on Dec 13, 2009 in Travel
After completing this great adventure with a friend , I keep getting requests of how we did it for other people to copy so I thought I would document the trip!
Out starting point was from the UK, so we booked a Single Flight to New York and a Return Flight from LA with British Airways
As we didn’t want to clock up huge phone bills we ordered 2 Pay As You go TMobile Sims ( From their US Website
) and got them ordered to our friends in NY. We activated these on an unlocked UK phone , however one of our phones was not unlocked , so we paid 40$ for a Nokia 2610 from the T-Mobile Shop
After landing we arrived at JFK airport and got a taxi to a friends who we where staying with. Unlike London where Taxi drivers have The Knowledge
, New York cabbies have a much larger area to cover without GPS, so our journey had loads of pit stops while the driver asked around for directions ! On arrival we quickly got rushed off into the city to check out Times Square , Trump Towers , Salty Pretzels and a few Mojito’s. We then made our way to the NYC Meatpacking District to start a night on the town! A casual awakening the next morning still buzzing from the night before , we headed to Canal Street
to pick up a load of sunglasses, shirts and food for the road trip!
We had organised our car to be picked up from Newark Airport due to high tax’s charged by renting a car inside of New York. We wanted to do the road trip in a convertible. After searching high and low for hire companies we came across Care Hire 3000
which resold and packaged Dollar Car Hire
for people in the UK. Our chosen chariot was a Blue Chrysler Sebring. The total cost of this for 16 Days was £420. As we where both under the Age of 25 , there is an extra surcharge in each American country of $25 per driver called a “young drivers surcharge”. This bumped the cost up by £200 but was necessary and the good news was the car had no excess! I had organised each of the main stops on Google maps, and had TomTom mobile installed on my Nokia E51 with the North American Maps loaded for directions. GPS was also available from the hire company for $10 a Day.
- 5 Hours – 230 Miles
After picking up the car we set off to our next destination Boston. Travel tip No.1 Don’t stroll into Boston after a Red Sox
game expecting to find a hotel room the same night! After a 3 Hour search we finally found one that had a spare room luckily! Due to the time spent finding a hotel we had no time out in bars in Boston so … until next time! Due to our issues spending the whole night finding a hotel , we changed our plan to blagging a hotel room the same night to book a night ahead each day!
310 Miles – 6 Hours
Hotel : Auberge de Paris ( Hostel ) 46.00 CAD for 2 People in a 12 Person Mixed Room
Arriving in Montreal was eye opening , we arrived around 11pm but driving through the city we saw this city wasn’t shutting up any time soon! After dumping our stuff in the Hostel , we walked into the city centre and after a few drinks in a few bars practising our Franglais , we ended up in the Queue for Club Seven. Due to the strict dress code we where bounced due to my friend having trainers on! However we found plenty of other bars, and had a late night session with the bar owner and his friends!
Things to try :
- Poutine ( Gravy , Cheese and Chips! )
6 Hours – 340 Miles
After driving from Montreal to Toronto we saw such a different side to Canada! Unfortuneately we had arrived in town on a Bank Holiday , so quite a few of the bars where closed. We spent the night chatting to locals in the Hotel Bar and eventually ended up at the Therapy Ultra Lounge
The night was topped off by finding a Foot long Lobster Subway for $15.50!
Hotel : Toronto Holiday Inn
( Cost $100 for a double romm )
Places to Visit
Chicago – 11 Hours
Hotel : Chinatown Hotel Sro Ltd ( Cost $60 for a double room , 10 Minute Taxi into the Center )
Omaha – Nebraska-
6 Hours – 334 Miles
We rolled into Omaha at Midnight and it turns out most of the bars/clubs close around this sort of time. The lady at reception offered to call up a Casino to drive us across the state line for free to IOWA to there casino which would close at 2am. The drive would take us half an hour so it wasn’t really worth it , so we took advantage and got our first early sober night since Boston!
Hotel : Days Inn Omaha
11 Hours 776 Miles
So the orginal plan was to go the Colorado Springs as I had heard a few good things about the city, however due to our dissapointing night before I was determined to have a fun filled night the next day. After a simple Google search we found out which city was the true winner!
Salt Lake City – 9 Hours
We arrived at Salt Lake City at 11pm. We where pretty sceptical about the night like here after being told how Mormon the town is, however after 10 minutes of walking the streets we found a Buzzing Mexican bar! After Dos Jose Cuervo and Dos Corono’s we where partaking in friendly salsa dancing until the early hours!
San Francisco – 11 Hours
After driving over the famous Golden Gate Bridge , we arrived in San Fran to meet 2 more of our friends. We booked into the Albergo Verona which was in the heart of China Town. We asked a taxi driver to recommend a place , and we ended up at the Holy Cow Bar
. The next day we went to tuck into a Clam Chowder Bread Bowl and watch the Crazy Busy Man terroise the local tourists!. We wanted to get over to Alcatraz , but unfortunately you have to book this up in advance. So we ended up in the Hard Rock Cafe where after purchasing a Hard Rock Cafe Glass you could get 3$ Refills of Cocktails!
Hotel : Albergo Verona
$99 for a Quad Room
Places to Visit
- Crazy Bush Man
- Golden Gate Bridge
- Habour Warf
- Clam chowder bread bowl
- Lombard Street
It took the whole day to drive from San Franciso to Los Angeles , luckily we got into the city just before rush hour , and arrived at a friend who lives in Orange Country. After meeting up with another friend we spent the night at The Saddle Ranch
, boy did those bar staff deserve their tip that night!
Things to do :
After a 5 Hour Drive through the desert we arrived at Sin City.After performing the Twenty Dollar Trick
we got to our rooms overlooking the vegas strip. Our first night was out to a club called TAO
in the Venetian Hotel. Due to a crowd of four blokes who wearn’t going to drop thousands on a table to get VIP we thought the only way to garantee entry was to book a table with bottle service. There was a minimum bottle count of 2 and they cost around $400 each plus 20% Gratuity and 7.25% Sales Tax. Randomoly Jay-Z was there the same night so TAO beech
was a good laugh!
The second night after spending the day drinking flasks of cocktails in the MGM pool all day , and ended up in at the Tabu After Party
( 3am – 7am ) with complementary drinks courteous of some MGM Promoters we met in the lobby! Vegas never sleeps , and it is surreal grabbing some food straight out of the club at the MGM buffet with people who have just checked in for the day!
Hotel : MGM Grand
Posted by paris on Apr 11, 2009 in Travel
To recieve your standard vodafone voicemail messages overseas you need to dial your own mobile number , and press 9 when you hear your personlised greeting message. This can be done at home by also dialing 121 however when roaming sometimes this number is not forwarded. This is charged at an international rate as you are calling home and charges can mount up. Vodafone provides a free service where you can sign up to a voicemail mailbox via www.vodafone.net
. I would advise you set this up with Internet Explorer as it has some issues with Firefox
After setting this up with your mobile number , voicemail messages will be sent in WAV format to this email account ( [email protected]
). This can be picked up at any computer( With Speakers ) , by logging back into vodafone.net with your details. To access this with the same ease as your existing voicemail service , all you have to do it set this email account on your phone via Blackberry Internet Services or any other phone that can supprt IMAP Emails using your username and password and Incoming mail server : imap.vodafone.net and outgoing server : smtp.vodafone.net.
Recieving emails while roaming will still mount up expensive overseas data charges , £6 a Megabyte ! However you can recieve voicemail for free if you connect to a free WiFi hotspot!
Posted by paris on Mar 11, 2009 in Travel
Receiving calls abroad when roaming on your mobile can get expensive for both parties involved! For example receiving a call on Vodafone abroad can cost you up to 75p a Minute! However I have found a significant cheaper way around. This is advisable for people staying in the country for more than 1 Week as it involves buying a local simcard.
1 ) Sign up for a
2 ) Click here to get your unique SkypeIn number
– This gives you a local number to forward your mobile calls too for free ( With Inclusive Anytime Minutes ) or a small per minute fee with pay as you go!
To setup call forwarding on your mobile enter the following on your mobile *21*[phone number you want to forward to]# and press the call button. To remove this forward , enter #21# and press the call button again
3) Next depending which country you are going to, you can sign up to the international monthly
tariff and pay £7 a month for unlimited free calls to Singapore, Canada, USA, China, Hong Kong Mobiles or pretty much any other countries land-line , or buy some Skype pay as you go Credit and and pay 0.014p/minute for the forwarding costs
4) Purchase a local pay as you go simcard from any local telcom shop or purchase a GO-Sim before you go ( Use Code am3p5wj
to get 10% off )
4) Enable Skype Call Forwarding , By opening Skype and going to Tools
> Call Forwarding
and entering you