Sunday, December 31, 2017

India, Agra: Taj Mahal + Agra Fort


Taj Mahal is one of the 7 wonders of the world. So it had to be in our itinerary. I searched online & browsed through various websites, searching for recommendations on 

"How to get to Taj Mahal".

Many website suggested to hire a private driver, or to join a tour group. Personally, i would highly recommend getting a private driver. The driver will pick you up from your hotel, drive 3hrs from New Delhi to Jaipur, take you around Agra &, back to your hotel. 

Cost of private driver: 7700INR (SGD160)
Name of Driver: Manoj Kasana
Driver's contact: +91 9015182014
Tripadvisor review: Private driver

We requested the driver to pick us from our apartment at 3.30am. Our intention was to reach Taj Mahal by 6am as we wanted to witness the sunrise. But most importantly, to explore the area with no/less crowd! It is best to visit such places early in the morning to avoid crowd. Especially for photo taking!

What NOT to bring into Taj Mahal:

1.Tripod stand
2. Wires

All of these will be confiscated. They do not allow tripod stands either. But selfie sticks are alright. There will be a metal detector that everyone has to go through, separated by male & female. They will then pat you down to ensure you have absolutely nothing on you. Once you go through a metal detector & pat down, it's another security check- Bag check.

They are very thorough with their security. Even at the large shopping malls & every other touristy areas. There are also a ton of locals that would swarm you asking if you need a tour guide. R & i avoided em at all cost because we could just read up about Taj Mahal. But if you'd like to go in depth about the place, then perhaps getting a guide would be a good idea. Each guide should not cost more than 200INR. My friend got a guide for that price.

Entry/person into Taj Mahal: 1000INR (SGD20)

*KEEP YOUR ENTRY TICKET/RECEIPT FROM TAJ MAHAL. It comes in really handy if you intend to visit Red fort as you will get a discount.*

Our driver stopped at a street store selling Chai Tea. As the weather was pretty chilly in the morning, we had 2 cups of hot Chai tea! It was sooo good!
A tuktuk driver drove us to a gated entrance towards Taj Mahal because the drivers cannot enter the narrow alleys. It only cost roughly 200INR (SGD2). From the gated entrance, we walked in.


The ticket includes these shoe covers. Upon entering Taj Mahal, theres a long walkway before entering the place, there will be guards guarding the building & will not allow you in without these shoe covers. 


Entry/person: 550INR (SGD11.40)
*With the Taj mahal ticket, the entry fee is 500INR*

There isn't much to see in Agra. Our driver recommended Baby Taj but we decided to skip it although he did drive us to a river where we could see Baby Taj from across the river. & Since we alrd visited the actual Taj Mahal, we didnt see a need to visit Baby Taj. 

I did wanted to visit Fatehpuri Sikri, which apparently is 40km outside of Agra. Unless you are doing the golden triangle tour, which covers Jaipur, Agra & New delhi, you will pass by Fatehpuri Sikri. 

Mine was a private driver & a one day thing. So i didn't visit Fatehpuri as it would have been an additional charge of 1200INR (SGD25). 

The golden triangle tour is also available under the private driver company i hired for my trip. You just need to WhatsApp Manoj for any enquiries. He was prompt in his replies, & very understanding. He got back to my every doubt & questions which i really appreciated. I got 3 quotes from 3 different private driving companies, & they were all relatively close in pricing. But the reason why i chose Manoj in the end was because of his hospitality through our email exchange & Whatsapp messages. And he proved his sincerity when we reached.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Things to do in Bali

Ubud Art Market

Opening hours: 6am-6pmAddressJalan Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571, Indonesia

There are manyyy stores in the art market. It looked small from the outside but the moment you walk in & squeeze through the crowd, it's like you've entered into another world. Lolll. It's really huge when you walk in further. Girls who are crazy over the currently so trendy basket bags, would go absolutely crazy at this market!

Also, don't forget to bargain! (:

Ubud Bali Swing

Opening Hours: 8am-5pm
AddressAbiansemal, Jl. Dewi Saraswati No.7, Bongkasa Pertiwi, Abiansemal, Badung Regency, Bali 80352, Indonesia

Price/person: SGD 2.50 (to enter)
SGD 28 (to sit all the swings)

There are 2 swings in Ubud area. One of em is the address which i have provided above. The other is located within a resort. The resort used to open it to the public, but they no longer do so. When my friend & i tried going in we were denied entry. The resort staff informed us that the swing is only available for guest staying there.

So we could only go to the Ubud Bali Swing. They provide a free flow of drinks & Kueh Dadar.

Tegenungan Waterfall

AddressJalan Ir. Sutami, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80581, Indonesia
Opening hours: 8am-7pm

I felt it was a waste of time to visit this waterfall. There was an entrance fee of (i think) SGD5? Anw, basically the waterfall area was small. There were wayyy to many people too. We spent a mere 10mins at the waterfall taking photos before moving off to another place. Plus the flight of stairs we had to climb up & down is crazy. 

Tegalalang Rice Field

AddressJalan Tegallalang, Tegallalang, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80561, Indonesia
Opening Hours: 8am-7pm