Niagara Falls Trip

Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in America, established in 1885 at the Niagara Reservation. Over 8 million visitors explore Niagara Falls State Park annually.”

We all once in a while wish to see The majestic Niagara Falls which is a group of three waterfalls – Horseshoe falls, American Falls and Bridal Veil falls. It spans between Canada and USA and it is said it looks much more beautiful from the Canadian side.
I and my husband decided to see Niagara from the USA side. We planned a two day trip in the first week of October 2019. We booked hotel two weeks in advance and also bought Discover Pass online which includes six activities:

  1. Cave of winds
  2. Maid of the Mist
  3. Adventure Theater
  4. Aquarium of Niagara
  5. Trolley ride
  6. Discovery Center & Hiking Trails

On October the fourth of 2019 we drove to Niagara from Baltimore, Maryland which nearly took us seven hours. We reached in the evening, checked-in in our hotel room and after having dinner decided to take some rest.
Day 1 – The next day we started early in the morning at 7 A.M. and our first stop was Walmart where we picked some fruits and bread for our breakfast as the breakfast option was not available in our hotel. After that we went to Niagara Falls State park and our first destination was Maid of the Mist. The tourists are given ponchos to wear and they ride the Hornblower cruise which gets a closer view to all the three falls. Though the boat was crowded and we could not see anything except for mist and rainbows but truly it was an amazing experience. On our way to exit we stopped at the Observation Deck to get a bigger and closer look at the falls and the Canada side streets. We skipped Adventure Theater as we intended to cover it on our second day.
Next we went to Cave of the Winds. For this activity all the tourists are given ponchos and keto slippers which we are supposed to wear. We took an elevator which is built inside huge rocks and followed wooden walkways and stairways to reach to the base of the Bridal Falls. You can go near the falls, touch the rocks, water and take a quick bath like me 😉 . This was the best part of the Niagara Falls for me. It was good that we left our hotel early in the morning and ditched the long queues for activities.
Once we came out of Cave of the Winds it was already noon and we decided to have our lunch from a nearby restaurant. There are a lot of restaurants and eateries available at walkable distances. It was our first day in Niagara and I also wanted do some shopping so we went to the streets and started exploring the available options where we came across a museum where we had to pay 10$ each for tickets. We paid for the tickets and went inside. It was a museum where all historical information and things related to Niagara falls was showcased. We also bought a refrigerator magnet as a sovereign.
We had planned on seeing the lights of Niagara Falls in the evening so next we again went inside the State park near the Horseshoe falls. It was already 6 P.M. and we spent next four hours inside the park mesmerised by the beauty of the falls. Both U.S.A. and Canada turn hundreds of different coloured lights on at Niagara Falls creating a spectacular look. After seeing fireworks at night we picked our dinner from a nearby restaurant and left for our hotel.

Day 2 – The next day again we started early and after picking my breakfast we went to Adventure Theatre and covered the movies related to the history of the falls. After that we took the trolley ride and started visiting all the stops in the Goat Island and also visited Three Sisters island. We skipped our lunch as we were running out of time and wanted to cover Discovery Center and Hiking Trails and Aquarium of Niagara. We were able to visit the Discovery Center but it was already 4:30 P.M. and the aquarium had been closed. So we had our brunch from a nearby restaurant and decided to go hiking in the evening. We again waited till late inside the park to see the night lights and at 10 P.M. left for our hotel. With this our two day trip came to an end. It was exciting, adventurous and tiring. The next day morning we left for our home.

TRAVEL GUIDE:

  • Location: Niagara Falls lies in New York state, U.S.A.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: Dollars $
  • Best time to visit: June – August
  • Packing: If travelling in winters take at least two to three layers of jackets and if summers one jacket is sufficient. Never forget to carry woollen clothes as it’s always cold
  • Food: A lot of restaurants are inside and around the State Park with good options
  • Commute: Take the trolley ride
  • Whom to travel with: Solo, family or friends. If you have kids or old parents don’t worry as the trolley (bus) runs everyday and is very convenient and affordable
  • How to travel cheap: Book your hotels well in advance and buy Discovery Passes online to skip the queue

When do you plan to visit The Niagara Falls? Or if you have visited already share your experience through comments.

Christmas in New York

For Christmas I decided to visit New York as the city’s charm never fails to amaze travellers. I planned a two day trip with my husband, Tarak and booked hotel in New Jersey outside New York as car parking in New York is always very expensive. We decided to drive to New Jersey instead of taking public transportation. For travelling in New York city I also booked BigBus as you can always enjoy the city’s spectacular skyscrapers through the first floor of Big Bus.

It was one week before Christmas, we started early in the morning and took a shuttle to Times Square. The temperature was too cold for me (-3 degree Celsius) hence I bought a pair of gloves, socks and scarf from Forever 21 in Times Square.

After my brief shopping we took BigBus and explored uptown, midtown and downtown. On our way we got down to see 9/11 memorial, Trinity Church, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Wall Street and Brooklyn Bridge. There are a lot of street food options available which we decided to go for to save time.

In the evening we decided to take on the Night Tour BigBus to view the city’s decorations for Christmas. During Christmas a lot of winter markets and ice-rinks are set and in some there is no entry fee (only you need to carry your own ice-skates). We explored the winter markets, went to St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Times Square at night and left the city at around 9 P.M.

The next day when we left for the city we had planned on taking BigBus to Manhattan, Brooklyn and Harlem. After covering all the places we had our brunch from Joe’s Pizza where Peter Parker from Spider-Man worked 😁. In the evening though I wanted to take the free cruise ride but was too tired and instead decided to check in the stores in Times Square and go for some shopping. As I had visited Statue of Liberty earlier hence it was not included in my itinerary. With all this my two day trip to New York came to an end. We came back to our hotel at regular 10 P.M. and left in the morning next day for our place.

  • Language: English
  • Currency: Dollars $
  • Best time to visit: There’s no best time to visit New York
  • Hotel bookings: Book a hotel in NJ (outside the city) if you have a car otherwise in the city
  • Packing: Always pack woollen clothes even in summers. For winters pack three-four jackets as it’s very cold
  • Food: Don’t hesitate to try street foods in the city. They have a lot of options available
  • Commute: Prefer taking local buses and subways. They are much cheaper and faster

What was your experience when you visited New York City? Share your experience through comments.

Top places to visit in Andaman Islands

DO YOU KNOW – The 20 rupee note depicts a scene from Andaman and Nicobar islands.

source https://www.thebetterindia.com/63528/mysterious-facts-andaman-nicobar-islands/

Andaman islands is a part of India but very few of us know about it or least think on going there for vacationing. There reason being it is not connected to rest of the country through land.

This place is very different from rest of the country in so many ways. I will explain how.

  • The beaches are clean and has aqua coloured water.
  • They have the best beaches for diving and witnessing diversity in marine-life.
  • It is the only place to see the only active volcano of India i.e. the mud volcano and only the tribal population i.e. The Jarawa tribe.
  • Being the east most part of the country, the sunrises are just amazing.
  • All the beaches have bathrooms to change and attend nature’s calls making the beaches tourist friendly.
  • The local people are very friendly and this place has absolutely no crime rate making it very safe for tourists.

A year ago I along with my husband (Tarak) went to the islands on a seven day honeymoon trip. We decided and booked everything in advance right from the hotel rooms and Makruzz i.e. the ship tickets to travel from one island to another and obviously flight tickets. The flight tickets are comparatively cheaper if you’re travelling from Kolkata because of the distance. I am sharing my itinerary to get a sense of what to see and how many days to spend on the islands.

We landed in Port Blair in afternoon and checked into our hotel room. After resting for two-three hours we asked at our hotel reception to arrange for an auto-rickshaw. We went to Cellular Jail, saw the evening show and felt sad as well as proud for our freedom fighters. After that we roamed in the nearby areas and had local food and took an auto-rickshaw and asked the driver to take us to a bus booking centre for booking Baratang tickets. After that we headed to our hotel room. The bus tickets costed us Rs1900 per head including the auto-driver’s Rs100 as commission which he took from bus company. This tour included a two way bus ride, trip to Baratang which is a four-five hour hour bus journey where you can see Jarawa tribe people (but you are not allowed to talk to them or take photos), breakfast, lunch, mud-volcano trip, limestone caves sight and boat rides through mangroves. Alternatively, you can also book your own cab but then the costs will double-up and you will have to do booking of your boat tickets separately which is obviously a heck. So, after our day 1 we spent our next day we spent exploring Baratang which was amazing.

  • Havelock Island
    DAY 3
    a. Elephant beach
    b. Radhanagar beach
    DAY 4
    c. Kalapathar beach
    d. Vijaynagar beach

On our third day we took Makruzz to Havelock island. After checking in we called our diving company which we had booked online. They sent their cab and we reached their office. They hurried us to Elephant beach which closes by 3 P.M. Yes, every island on Andaman has a closing time! We did Snorkelling which was amazing as all you will see is blue and yellow coloured fishes around you. Then we did Sea Walk which was amazing too but unfortunately after that we skipped Scuba diving (for which we had already paid) as I started feeling unwell from high pressure under-water. But it was an amazing experience and Havelock island is the best if you’re looking for water activities. In the evening we walked outside our hotel which was beach facing and found a bike rental and rented a scooty to save some time booking autos. Then we left for Radhanagar beach to see sunset. On our fourth day we started at seven in the morning and after having breakfast left for Kalapathar beach which is a white sand beach and the water is aqua. We spent next four hours there, enjoyed the fresh coconut water and on our way back to hotel we went to Vijaynagar beach which is full of birds.

  • Neill Island
    Day 5
    a. Natural coral bridge
    b. Bharatpur beach
    c. Sitapur beach

On our fifth day we took Makruzz to Neill Island and reached there in afternoon. After checking in the hotel we rented a scooty and went to see Natural coral bridge where we saw two natural bridges and coral reefs. Remember to wear good footwear as the beaches here are full of rocks. In the evening we went to Bharatpur beach to see sunset which was walkable from our hotel. We skipped Sitapur beach which is kniwn as the sunrise point because of lack of time.

  • Port Blair
    DAY 6
    a. Viper Island
    b. Corbyn cove beach
    c. North bay island
    d. Ross island
    DAY 7
    Rest

On our sixth day we came back to Port Blair and on the way from Jetty we asked our auto driver about the tour to North Bay island. The guy gave us his number and the very next morning he picked us from our hotel at eight in the morning, took us to jetty and did our tickets. The ticket included a tour to all the above listed islands for which he took a meagre amount of Rs150 per head. It was very reasonable amount the only problem we faced later was our ship driver didn’t take us to Ross island stating high water tides and not able to dock the ship. We totally agreed to whatever he said and though some people were angry on him but we felt it better to not risk our life. North Bay island is the one which in our Rs20 currency notes. Though there were water activities going on in North Bay island but we personally felt water was not as clean as in Havelock island.

So with this our trip came to an end. On our last day we thought of resting and spending time with each other, relaxing, watching sunrise and sunsets, sipping tea on the beach. The islands have literally no network except for BSNL and Airtel. In my opinion it was good but also bad as our relatives kept on worrying for our safety when the call did not go through. If you have someone waiting to hear from you everyday tell them in advance about the network connectivity issues in these islands and stop them from worrying.

TRAVEL GUIDE:

  • Location: Andaman island, India
  • Language: Hindi, Bengali, English
  • Currency: I.N.R. (Rupees)
  • Best time to visit: November-May
  • Packing: Take dresses that dries up quickly, at least two pairs of swimming costumes (avoid two piece bikinis), sunglasses, sunscreen lotions, hair-detanglers (like hair serums, conditioners), flip-flops and hats
  • Food: There are lesser street food options available. So don’t hesitate to take a walk or ride and explore nearby streets for restaurants
  • Commute: Though local autos are extremely inexpensive and they charge like Rs500 if you book for the whole day but don’t forget to try two-wheeler rentals which would cost around Rs300-500 per day excluding fuel and will give you more freedom to travel on own
  • Whom to travel with: Mostly on our trip we saw honeymooners but you can also travel with family and friends
  • How to travel cheap: Book hotels and Mackruzz tickets in advance to avoid last day troubles. Book for water activities at the beaches directly from the vendors
  • Network providers: Buy an Airtel/ BSNL sim card in advance
  • Word of advice: Don’t hesitate to talk to local people who are very friendly and helpful

Are you planning to visit the Andaman? Or have you already visited? Comment below.

From the diaries of two trippers

Happy New Year 2020!

Greetings my friend !
Hope your new year started with a blast like me. This is my first blog and I am writing to start a chain of stories and connecting with people around through unique stories. We all have stories to tell but don’t have people to share with. Yes, I know it’s a busy world and we all are running around for tangible things ignoring the fact that we have non-tangible needs as well. The need to meet people, make friends, learn from their experiences.
Without further wasting your time I am starting my first story.

I live in Baltimore County with my husband, Tarak. Its 31st evening around 6 and we are yet undecided where to head on for our new year eve. I like to go to musical concerts with happy people around singing ad dancing. Tarak comes up with the place Hershey Chocolate Factory in Pennsylvania where there’s a music concert going on and needs no booking.
We reach this place at 9:55 PM and it’s freezing cold, the temperature is -1 degree Celsius. There are thousands of people around us – people married, unmarried, with kids, with pets, with teen friends. There’s already a band performing songs from 1970s, 1980s, 1990s. There are small stalls selling hot chocolates, coffee, cotton candies, fries and party hats, party sticks etc. I buy a cup of hot chocolate to keep myself warm. Its 11:55 P.M. when the band stops playing music and the symbolic Hershey’s kisses chocolate replica is raised in the sky and the countdown begins. 60,59,58,57….. It’s starts snowing and the kids get all happy. There’s this little girl aged 5-8 whom I find sticking her tongue out to get a taste of snowflakes. And this little thing makes me happy as I still have thoughts similar to this little one. And then it’s 3,2,1 the countdown stops and there are happy people hugging and kissing around us while the fireworks begins. It’s 12 A.M. now, the new year arrives. We wait for another 10 minutes then leave the place to reach our homes. Overall it was a memorable event for us.

Would love to hear about your New Year experiences.