Holi Festival in Vrindavan and Mathura Part I

Holi Festival in Vrindavan and Mathura Part I

Holi Festival in Vrindavan and Mathura While hanging around Big Brother Hostel in Agra, a few of us were sharing our plans for Holi, set to be celebrated on March 24.  My plan at this point was to celebrate it in Jaipur, as that was the next scheduled stop on my list and I had heard that almost any city in North India was a good place to celebrate.  A few people spoke of their experiences heading up to Vrindavan and Mathura, about 60 kilometers north of Agra.  Here, the…

Touring the Taj Mahal

Touring the Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is an obvious must see for anyone who travels to India.  Conversely, I had heard no so great things about the city of Agra, where the Taj is located.  Some people even advised me to not even spend the night there, but arrive in the morning and to leave later that night.  Because I wasn’t super pressed on time, I decided to spend at least one night (which stretched into 2) there, in order to not feel rushed. I arrived in Agra from Varanasi on a 13…

Varanasi, the Holy City

Varanasi, the Holy City

Varanasi I have always been intrigued about Varanasi and I knew that it was a must-see destination while in India. Home of the holy Ganges River, Hindu pilgrims come here to bathe in the holy waters as well as perform morning and evening rituals to honor it. It is also THE place in India where Hindus go to die. Being cremated on the banks of the Ganges River is a huge honor, and elderly people will traverse from all over India just to die in Varanasi so they can be…

My Experiences Volunteering with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity

My Experiences Volunteering with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity

When I was planning my destinations in India, I was recommended by my friend Anne to stop in Kolkata and spend some time volunteering with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, as she spent a couple of months volunteering her time there during a summer in college. While I did not have a lot of time to give as there were a lot of places on my India itinerary, I was able to pencil in 5 days spending my time aiding the sisters in their work helping the less fortunate of…

Kolkata: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Kolkata: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I arrived in Kolkata after a 3 hour flight from Bangkok After a smooth check in with immigration (Indian visas need to be paid and obtained in advance), I caught a prepaid taxi to take me to Sudder Street, an area rife with guesthouses and known as “backpacker central” of Kolkata. I felt like I had been transported back to the British Colonial period, as they still use the old fashioned looking Ambassador taxi cabs, as we drove through the city, the ride taking about an hour. Since I arrived…

Volunteering at Patara Elephant Farm

Volunteering at Patara Elephant Farm

This post is a little overdue (I visited Patara Elephant Farm back in January), but I was waiting on some pictures from that day, and am just getting around to writing about it now.  I knew when I first decided to go to Thailand that I wanted to spend some time with elephants.  Elephants are one of my favorite animals.  I think that they are just fascinating and intelligent creatures.  Thailand has a problem with many elephants being mistreated in the tourism and manufacturing industries.  Elephants are chained up and beaten until…

Thailand Wrap-up by the Numbers:

Thailand Wrap-up by the Numbers:

Thailand Wrap-up by the Numbers: 45 days 4 waterfalls visited 2 Number of elephants I took care of for a day at Patara Elephant Farm 4 friends from home who came to visit! (Alex, Alex, Laura, and Matt) 1 Full Moon Party 30 Meters, the maximum depth I am certified to dive 20 Amazing scuba dives 5 Thai dishes I learned to cook in Chiang Mai 2 injuries suffered by friends (black eye and sprained MCL) 1 Case of food poisoning 20 Amazing scuba dives 1 McDonald’s visit 8 nights at Koh…

Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi Koh Phi Phi is known for being a very popular tourist destination in Thailand. I had consciously chosen to skip Koh Samui and Phuket, massive islands with similar reputations for being overdeveloped and crowded. I decided to still spend a few days on Koh Phi Phi to experience its beauty that it is known for, as well as do some more diving at a few of the many dive sights located nearby. (If you haven’t caught on by the past few posts, I really enjoy scuba diving!)….

Similan Islands Liveaboard Diving Trip

Similan Islands Liveaboard Diving Trip

Similan Islands Liveaboard Diving Trip After having caught the scuba diving bug, I knew that I wanted to do some more diving while I was still in Thailand.  A few of my instructors had mentioned that the Similan Islands, located in the Andaman Sea, had the best diving in all of Thailand.  I did a bit of research on these trips, and I was able to find a trip that fit my price range, with Sea Dragon!  The trip I chose was geared more to the “backpacker”, as it offered…

Off to India

Off to India

Thought I’d write a quick post as I’m sitting in the Bangkok airport waiting for my flight to Kolkata, India.  I have to admit that I’m not 100% sure of what I’m getting into.  Of course I’ve done some background reading on Lonely Planet, browsed through some other travel blogs, as well as talked to a few others who have been there before.  The general consensus that I’ve gathered is that India is unlike any other country or place, and it totally it own unique entity. After having spent 6…