Category: Travel

It’s raining sales in Bangkok!

Photo by Brooke Cagle
The Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2016 runs from June 15 – Aug 15, 2016 (Photo credit: Brooke Cagle)

Bangkok is the perfect place for trousseau shopping or even for an all-girl getaway. If you plan your trip around the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2016, when every brand offers unbelievable discounts, be prepared to shop till you drop. 

*This piece originally appeared on the blog of Marry Me — The Wedding Planners

If there’s one city we at Marry Me never seem to tire of, it’s Bangkok. It has everything we love, and if you’ve read many of our Thailand blog posts, you’ll know just how much we love a good Thai curry, and, of course, the shopping and foot massages. So when we found ourselves in Bangkok in June 2016, you can only imagine the extent to which we gorged on some amazing Thai food. So much so that it really makes us want to wax eloquent on Bangkok’s amazing food scene all over again. Instead, we’ve decided to share something very exciting that we discovered on this trip, and it’s related to shopping and sales! If you’re planning a trousseau-shopping spree or, perhaps, even a getaway with your group of girlfriends, read on.

We weren’t exactly aiming to do a lot of shopping on this particular trip, but little did we know that we would come away with bags and bags of shopping! Now, we don’t usually go this crazy when we shop, but because the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale was on, how could we resist! A treat for shopaholics, the annual sale — now in its 18th year — offers unbeatable discounts at just about every store in practically every Bangkok mall, from Siam Paragon right up to Em Quartier. The sale that started on June 15 runs through August 15, 2016. Like we said, this is definitely the best time to get all your shopping done.

Greyhoundoriginal1
We love the clean, minimal yet rebellious designs from Greyhound Original’s A/W 2016 collection

Given that you’ll be spoilt for choice with the grand variety of malls and brands, it’s easy to feel confused — especially now that the sales are on. So, how do you make the best of your baht in Bangkok during the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale? We’ve got that all figured out for you. Continue reading “It’s raining sales in Bangkok!”

#BeTheForce: The GOQii Fitness Band reviewed

The GOQii activity and fitness band pushes you to take that extra step thanks to unique features like one-on-one coaching, the ability to contribute to social causes, on-ground fitness events, and web chats with nutrition and health experts.

IMG_9376

I hopped on to the fitness bandwagon (pun intended 😉 ) sometime in December 2015 when I was gifted a FitBit. Prior to that, I had been tracking using apps like Armour, MyFitnessPal and, of course, Apple Health. I have since become that much more obsessed about tracking my steps, heart rate, sleep and what not after I started wearing the band. But I recently put my FitBit away to check out another piece of wearable tech — the GOQii. I imagined that I would get back to the FitBit within a few weeks of testing the GOQii. But here I am, three months down the line, still wearing and enjoying the features of the GOQii. Read on to know more about this fitness band that offers a host of interesting and motivational features.

PowerBlack-01-2.png
GOQii in the Power Black variation

A fitness band like no other

I’m not going to get into a review that compares the GOQii to other fitness trackers. That’s because the GOQii is so much more than just a fitness-tracking device. If you browse through the 2016 list of best fitness trackers, you’ll notice that most of the new devices offer a heart rate monitor, while a select few come with GPS functionality. The GOQii offers neither of these features, and it’s safe to say that you won’t even miss them. After all, it’s easy to get caught up with all that data crunching when you start tracking. But the thing about the GOQii is that it lets you immerse yourself in the world of numbers while gently pushing you to change your lifestyle with exciting initiatives.

But first, a little background on the company and the passionate people behind the GOQii band.

GOQii is headquartered in California and has offices in Mumbai and Shenzhen. The company was formed as a collaboration between some of the world’s leading experts who believe that a healthy, sustainable lifestyle is not too difficult to attain. Indian entrepreneur Vishal Gondal (ex-founder of gaming company Indiagames) is the founder and CEO of GOQii. Vishal, who has for a very long time been obsessed about tracking his health and fitness data, says that he experienced the lack of a ‘human’ touch when it came to other wearable tech products. And, that’s how GOQii was born.

Even the company investors are incredibly passionate about fitness. Madhuri Dixit-Nene is one among the list of investors who remain passionate about utilising technology to achieve a healthy and fit lifestyle. The teams who run the company — from nutrition and fitness experts right up to the tech guys — are just as ardently passionate. But more on this later. Continue reading “#BeTheForce: The GOQii Fitness Band reviewed”

Luxury in the air

I had travelled to Malaysia, particularly to Kota Kinabalu, a few months ago on the invitation of Singapore Airlines and its regional partner SilkAir.  Singapore Airlines has always been among my top favoured airlines to fly with, and that’s because of its unparalleled, and consistent, levels of hospitality and comfort. However, it was my first time flying with its regional partner, SilkAir. I have to say that my SilkAir flight was mighty impressive.

The story was published on the wedding blog by Marry Me — The Wedding Planners, a Mumbai-based wedding planning company that does some intimate and very beautiful weddings in India and abroad. You can give my experience a read on their blog here.

main.jpg

Snapshot Saturdays: A rainy day at Sapi Island

Sapi Island is quite a visual treat

When you think of an island, rarely does a rainy day come to mind. But, as you can see from this series of images, a rainy day on an island can be fun too. I’ve just returned to Mumbai from a short visit to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states on the incredibly lush island of Borneo.

Sapi Island, a 15-minute speedboat ride away from Kota Kinabalu, is the nearest place to get away from the city if you want to enjoy a bit of adventure. Essentially the home of the popular 250-metre island-to-island Coral Flyer Zipline, this island receives visitors by the dozen everyday. The beach is small and perfect to lounge around before or after you go zip lining, snorkelling and scuba diving. So, you can pack in a good bit of fun before you head back on a speedboat to the Jesselton Jetty on the mainland.

The quieter end of Sapi Island, Sabah

The waters around the islands are crystal clear and the panoramic views delight the senses. We took a bit of a walk to reach the quieter end of the beach (above). Continue reading “Snapshot Saturdays: A rainy day at Sapi Island”

Aiming high: Lessons in courage and belief from a young Indian man who overcame all odds

Ashok Munne atop Mera Peak in Nepal (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)
Ashok Munne atop Mera Peak in Nepal (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)

Most of us live by the old adage that nothing is impossible. But is it always possible to believe that the sky is the limit or is it somewhat of a motivational phrase that keeps us going? Do we actually push the boundaries of whatever it is that we might be pursuing? Of course, there have been times when each one of us has aimed for the moon and succeeded at it. Do we truly believe that nothing is impossible each time we set out to achieve something? What if we could make the best of each moment of our lives by believing in our self? What if we could look past our flaws and follies to achieve the impossible, for the better part of our lives? We could try only to fail. Or, we could try and we might succeed. Whatever be the result, it’s important to give it a go.

Every once in a while, there comes a reminder of the infinite power of believing in yourself and your strengths. I recently came across the story of a young Indian man who overcame all odds simply because he believed in himself. This is the story of the 28-year-old Nagpur resident Ashok Munne, who has literally been scaling heights after he lost a leg in a train accident in 2008. This is the story of that elusive go-getter attitude that often gets lost in the recesses of our jaded beings.

Ashok had been a regular practitioner of martial arts, gymnastics and yoga, besides being a good swimmer. You could have called him ambitious, persevering even. Even when he lost his right leg to a train accident in 2008, he continued to dream of scaling heights even though it might have seemed like the unthinkable at the time.

He was fitted with an artificial leg from the Pune-based Command Hospital’s Military Artificial Limb Centre. It was during his recovery period in 2009 that he got word of Krushnaa Patil, the youngest Indian woman to climb Mt Everest. This bit of news inspired him to want to climb Mt Everest. Ashok has since not looked back.

Ashok Munne during his Ladakh trip (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)
Ashok Munne during his Ladakh trip (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)

In 2012, Ashok became the first physically challenged person to climb the 21,247 ft Mera peak, Nepal’s highest permitted trekking point, which is a pre-requisite for anyone who desires to climb Mt Everest. More recently, he rode his bike to Khardung La pass, an extremely high motorable pass in Ladakh, at 18,380 ft.

Ashok during his Ladakh road trip (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)
Ashok during his Ladakh road trip (Image courtesy http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in)

Ashok’s journey is far from over. In fact, as you read this, he is readying himself for yet another challenging journey. Ashok is currently receiving training in paragliding at Nirvana Paragliding in Kamshet. He signed up for the Elementary Pilot + Club Pilot programme with Nirvana after he expressed his desire to first climb Mt Everest and then fly down by paragliding.

It will be a herculean task for Ashok, first to scale Mt Everest and then to paraglide off the world’s highest peak, all the while braving extreme low temperatures, lack of air and the weight of equipment. Don’t you wish you could make the very best of your life by aiming high? It is stories like these that remind me, every now and again, that courage, strength, hope and belief are prerequisites for taking on challenges that life throws at us. As this brave heart’s track record has proved, nothing is impossible. And, as he prepares to take on his heart’s desire, we wish him the very best for his next journey.

Visit Ashok’s blog to follow his inspiring journeys: http://ashokmunne.blogspot.in

Ubud Shopping Guide

Divine handcrafted soaps from the pretty KOU Bali store
Divine handcrafted soaps from the pretty KOU Bali store

The Ubud-Gianyar area of Bali is small enough to be covered by foot. At first, you might find yourself lost on one of its many narrow by-lanes, but by the end of your stay in Ubud, you’ll know your way inside out. It does, however, help if you have a bike. Or, you could hitch a ride with one of the taxi bikes for a reasonable rate to get from one area to another. I think I really enjoyed the fact that I stayed in three different areas during my trip to Ubud — Jalan Bisma, Jalan Hanoman and Jalan Raya Sanggingnan. This post is about the amazing stores in Jalan Hanoman and Jalan Bisma. I didn’t find much at Jalan Raya Sanggingnan except for two nice restaurants and plenty of art galleries and the sprawling Neka Art Museum! Besides, I think that the first two areas are places I’d definitely go back and stay at, whereas I had chosen to stay on Jalan Raya Sanggingnan for a few days only out of convenience, given that most of the venues of the Ubud writers festival were located on that road.

It helps to know that there are a few ‘main’ roads in Ubud—Jalan Raya Ubud and the Monkey Forest Road— both of which are best avoided unless you need to get one from place to the next. I first stayed on Jalan Bisma, a road which is just a few minutes away from the buzzing heart of Ubud and the touristy Monkey Forest road that’s lined with cafes big and small, innumerable Polo factory outlet stores, a Pandora store (!) and even more than one plush Guardian pharmacy! Not my kind of place, for sure. I stayed for a single night at the lovely Honeymoon Guesthouse, which was thankfully on one of the inner lanes, far from the busy traffic-filled road. Continue reading “Ubud Shopping Guide”