Seoul – Explore the Paradise of South Korea

The Blue House… the Presidents Abode

The Blue House of Seoul not just offers historically enriching facts but also gives you verdant gardens for your eyes to savor upon. The blue tile on the ceiling of the building is where it gets its name from. The architecture is typically Korean in style. If visited on Saturday morning, you may have the opportunity to enjoy the military band performance outside the Blue House premises. This Blue beauty is set with the background of the mighty Mount Bugaksan which simply enhances its splendor.

Hongdae… and its Nightlife Buzz

The Hongdae district encompassing Seoul’s Hongik University is best known for its happening nightlife. This is the major reason why tourists frequent this area. Come, and rediscover the youth in yourself with the dance and jazz of the streets adorned with its night charm. It scores well as one of the must-visit Seoul attractions. The streets are packed with exciting pubs and nightclubs. The music raging out of the Karaoke hubs will keep you engaged all night without realizing that the dawn has knocked. Yes! It is that engaging.

Mt Bukhan… Hike your Heart Out

Overlooking the Seoul city, Mt Bhukhan which is commonly known as Bukhansan is a prominent mountain landmark. It is also associated with the Bukhansan National Park. For all the nature enthusiasts out there, this spot is famous for rock climbers as well as bird watchers. So, hire a car to the foothill and start off with your happy trek on Saturdays and Sundays. The base is packed with aromatic food counters enticing your appetite. So after a tiring hike, you can simply indulge in some gastronomical affair!

Namdaemun Market… A Shoppers Paradise

This famous market dates back to the 1960’s. When in Seoul, you cannot really miss shopping goodies from the Namdaemun Market. By the way it is also the best place to try out the lip smacking variations of local street food. You can buy souvenirs for loved ones back home. It specializes in Korean handicrafts gifts. Unlike the pricey markets this place offers stuff within your budget.

Trickeye Museum… Home to Optical illusion

Right at the heart of the Hongdae nightlife you will find this museum that is true to its name as it plays various tricks with the eyes. This museum uses the techniques whereby you will be transported to the world of 3D while glancing at a 2D image. Have you ever imagined the concept of interactive art? This museum guarantees not to disappoint you with its innovations. It’s a place to visit especially if you are a photographer in search of novel subjects. Visit to Trickeye Museum is definitely amongst the top fun things to do in Seoul.

Andong day trip… Essence of Village amidst technology

Mingle with the aesthetic and cultural heritage that is associated with South Korea here at. Andong, which gives you that rustic feel. The village is rich in its art and traditions. This daytime tour to the nooks and corners of Hahoe village is a delight when accompanied by comfy transportation and lunch facilities. The guide is a local and thus, helps tourists to blend in with Andong culture. The package includes free pickups from you hotel and also drop-offs.

Seoraksan Mountains… Excursions to the mighty peaks

Too much of hustle-bustle of city life becomes overbearing and that is when we crave for that relaxing holiday trip. So, don’t forget the nerve calming option around Seoul that is called Seoraksan Mountains. The rugged granite features of its impressive peaks are definitely a sight to behold. The cable cars that you can board while on this day trip, give you a breathtaking view of the deep valleys. The local professional guide offers an enriching knowledge packed experience in explaining the Buddhist heritage here. The Korean cuisine is also another indulgence to dive in during this trip.

Street Food Walk… like never before

Seoul being the ultimate destination foodies, it justifies its status with the large variety of local street food. The ancient streets and lanes act as the food paradise that can tantalize your taste buds with the varied and distinct flavors of authentic Korean snacks. The personalized street food tour also comes with a guide that can take you through the favorite among all Korean delicacies. On the way, experience a rush of romance with aphrodisiac food as well as some interesting local history.

One can enjoy and move around easily on bikes in Seoul. Come out of the crowded car-congested streets of Seoul and explore the city from a different perspective. You can add this in the list of things to do in Seoul alone. This can be successfully achieved with the romantic bike rides along the specially paved streets. It is basically a great way to soak up some of the local culture and life.

How to Reach Seoul

By Air: Seoul has two International airports. The Incheon International Airport is the main airport, with international flights from all major countries. The Gimpo international airport serves as a domestic airport but has international flights from select countries like Japan, Taiwan, and China.

By Road: Seoul is well connected by highways and expressways. You can either hire a car or take a bus as the city has 5 Bus Stations.

By Waterways: South Korean ferry service connects with Chinese ports, Vladivostok in Russia and Sakaiminato in Japan.


Mumbai – Where Dreams Come True

‘Certain cities have an aura that can’t be specifically described or pinpointed. Bombay is one of them. The city can make or mar you but mercifully it often makes you. Unless you’re an idiot of the highest order, Bombay will transform your life for the better.’

-Namdeo Dhasaal, Famous Marathi Dalit poet who wrote an award-winning book ‘Golpeetha’; translated from Marathi by the writer

So very true. People from far-flung places come to Bombay to try their luck (qismat aazmaane). It’s not just the lure of tinsel town that sweeps wannabe actors off their feet and they get drawn to the metropolis like moths to a flame, people from all walks of life come to Bombay (sorry, Mumbai!) in search of livelihood and the city also accepts and embraces them whole-heartedly. The famous poet-lyricist Sampooran Singh Gulzar once said, There’s something very special about Bombay/ When this city extends its hand, it seems as if it’s mother’s hand.

Some people may call Mumbai a heartless city but then the same can be said about all very big cities. Go to any big city for the first time and if you don’t know any person out there, you’re bound to feel alienated or will think for a while that you don’t belong to this (new) place. You feel all at sea. This is but natural. But one quickly gets over this temporary feeling of alienation in Mumbai because of its high level of acceptance.

You instantaneously become a part (and parcel) of the Financial Capital of India. There’re so many avenues for earning bread and butter that once you come, you don’t go back. In other words, Mumbai doesn’t let you leave.

The city grows on you. Strugglers make their lives and prove their mettle and metier in this city of dreams that provides ample opportunities to realise your cherished aspirations.

The generosity of Mumbai is proverbial. Feel it for yourself during natural calamities. People help each other without any reservations unlike Delhi, where a young man is stabbed on a busy road in broad daylight and the indifferent bystanders take selfies nonchalantly.

Mumbai is the melting-pot or a cauldron of different communities and cultures. It’s a salad-bowl of communities and a melange of diversities. Yet, the people of Mumbai live without any fuss.

One sociologist, Dr Meera Kosambi, observed that because of Mumbai’s very hectic life and the huge expanse of the city, most of its denizens have no time for indulging in useless and unnecessary pursuits and that’s a positive aspect. It makes Mumbai a hassle-free place, provided you get a foothold here. And you get it sooner or later.

Mumbai also has a cultural background. Famous Asiatic Society is here and India’s best art galleries (Jehangir Art Gallery, for example) are in Mumbai. J J School of Arts is here. The city has everything that one needs to survive and also creatively thrive. From the slime to sublime, Mumbai offers interesting slices of life and is a mosaic of diversities.

One must visit Mumbai at least once to experience life in all its avatars and shades.

Lastly, Pin Code 400001 is Mumbai’s postal code and is quite fascinating.

PIN means Postal Index Number. It represents a specific geographical region. It is used to send letter for delivery at the right address. Many resources for Mumbai Pin Code are available online where you can find Statewise area Code list as well.


Las Vegas: A Real Place for Punters & Bachelors to Visit in Winter

Las Vegas. The first thing that comes in your mind is about gambling, fun, chilling out hook ups, etc. Thanks to the Hollywood movies and some of the popular television web series that revolves around the drug mafias of Vegas these days, portraying the picture of Vegas as a crime city where people running often after money, smuggled ‘coke’, hook-ups, etc. fantasies.

Well, some of these are exaggeration of course, which are shown for entertainment. But, one thing is a proven fact about Vegas. Those who really believe in becoming a ‘Richie rich’ in one night believing their fate, for them this is a place where every punters and bachelors love to visit in winter season.

There is myth that Las Vegas is the only place on earth where people turns either millionaire or a beggar in one night. It might seem unbelievable to know that Las Vegas is a place in USA where an economy is majorly dependent upon the tourists those who spend a major portion of their whole year’s revenue into gambling in some of the reputed casinos of this place. Those lucrative investments are the ‘turnkey’ factors for feeding the retail and the hospitality industry of this place.

Let’s take a better look into some of the reasons for which Vegas is a gambler’s paradise.

Exotic experience of Freemont Street
Freemont Street is one of those places of Vegas where there are a number of casinos. Most of them are located in the downtown area. Back in the 1989, most of the resort development in Las Vegas were outside the city. This affected the tourism industry a lot. That is why later most of the tourist engaging projects were started in downtown area for encouraging the tourists in this place.

Downtown casinos
Casinos are one of the major attractions of Vegas. Whether it poker, roulette or blackjack, a punter has ample of choices to fulfil every quench of thirst for gambling.

Unlike other casinos, in downtown most of the casinos are set up for attracting the tourists in every possible way it can.

In most of the casinos, there are huge passages for attracting the tourists. Once you put a step inside any one of those, there is a huge possibility of the world to go upside down when you see such huge jackpot machines installed in front of you.

Apart from them, if it is poker that attracts you, all you have to do is collect some of the convertible coins in exchange of the dollars and put them for trade.

Select any number inserted in the rolling machine in front of you and throw it by murmuring the name of your ‘lucky charm’, who knows it might be your lucky throw.

Las Vegas strip
Most of the casinos remain overcrowded in this place, with the tourists those who love to visit strip dances in the winter months. As the nights get more interesting with the gamblers bidding with a wish to make a fortune, the strippers set the entire casino on fire with some of their killer moves and hip movements.

During the festive seasons most of the casinos provide liquors for free till a certain amount. But if you need to fill your thirst a bit more you can purchase them easily.

Usually bachelors those who look out for sudden ‘hook ups’, ‘blind dates’, ‘relationship only for fun’, without any commitment, they take interests in the strip clubs.

Nothing can be much amazing than Vegas if you are either a punter or a bachelor and looking for living up the last days of a dying year.


Ambaji Temple – One of the Shakti Peeth

This is the principal shrine of the goddess who has been worshipped since pre-Vedic period. Situated near Gujarat-Rajasthan border at Banaskantha, this Shakti-Peeth draws devotees like moths to a flame.

It was originally built by Nagar Brahmins of Gujarat. The significance of this temple is that there’s no idol or image of Arasuri Ambaji. Some anthropologists like Ghurye (father of Indian Sociology), Kosambi and Sanyal are of the view that this underscores the long-standing fact that the Vedic or even Pri-Vedic Hinduism was purely monotheistic and didn’t believe in idol-worship because Shakti or Adi Shakti cannot be enshrined in a temple. It’s sarvavyapi (Omnipresent).

This temple is one of the 51 Shakti-Peethas of Hindus. Archaeological Survey of India, 1934, mentioned Ambaji Temple on the list and described it as ‘A powerful energy source for Hindus’ (Derek Neil’s erroneous understanding; Reference: The Statesman, Calcutta, 1967). Shaki Peeth is not mere energy. It’s the palpable presence of Divine aura in the form of a (Shakti) Peeth.

The same error was made by Pakistan Tourist Board’s manual when it described Maruteerth Hinglaaj (one of the Shakti Peethas of Hindus that’s now in Pakistan) as ‘Centre of Energy for Hindus’. This is a very misleading interpretation of Shakti-peeth and smacks of perfunctoriness.

This Shakti is Divine feminine universal aura. To some exegetes of Hinduism, a Shakti Peeth is gender neutral as Shakti cannot be pigeonholed into male/female, though it’s a feminine word in Sanskrit/Hindi.

Ambaji Temple is the pristine, primordial manifestation of Hindu consciousness and the advanced understanding of divine energy that pervades the whole universe.

The place is very accessible. Buses and trains from Ahmedabad, Mount Abu (Rajasthan) are frequently available. The nearest airport is Ahmedabad International Airport.

The experiences and reviews of this great shrine are unique in the sense that whoever visited this place, didn’t feel the spreading tentacles of commercialization at this place. In other words, it’s still untouched by the commercial requirements and paraphernalia of all shrines in India. Ambaji temple timings are 7 am to 9 pm.

Years ago, the writer read a devotee’s personal experiences of this shrine. He and his wife separately felt an indescribable feeling of divine aura engulfing their entities. There’s a belief that until Ambaji calls you to visit, you cannot visit. There must be a divine edict/decree on you to visit Ambaji otherwise, many people from Gujarat and nearby Rajasthan could never visit this shrine despite their earnest willingness to visit.

They say in Hindi, ‘Bulawa aaya nahin, jaana hua nahin’ (No invitation came, so no visit took place). So when you get Ambaji’s call (divine call), don’t ignore that. Only the lucky ones receive that!


Five Austin, Texas Tours That Get You Out Of The City

At first, the idea of Austin, Texas tours sound primarily like a very “touristy” thing to do that would not at all apply to residents of Austin, Texas. After all, if you make your life in the capital city of Texas, you figure you see what’s necessary for your life. You know where to get groceries, where you work, and a few places where you cut loose. You’re a part of the famed Texas Hill Country, and an afternoon drive will get you to some of the coolest little cities Texas has to offer.

If you happen to have a family, you also are well-acquainted with certain schools and places such as park & museums. There is certainly nothing that a tour of the city you live in could teach you about said city, right?

Wrong! Stop living in a bubble, and realize that there is a lot more to Austin, Texas than you could have ever thought. Moreover, don’t just break free from the bubble of the city. There is so much to see outside the city limits, and the last the thing you want to do is have a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) because you got comfortable. The reason Austin has adopted the mantra “Keep Austin Weird” is because there is a ridiculously large amount of culture, history, and diversity in the city. From the cool to the eclectic and everything in between, you certainly can learn a lot about this central Texas city and beyond.

If you’re looking for Austin, Texas tours that are so Austin and give you a glimpse at the world just outside of the city, you have to check these tours out:

BBQ in Lockhart – Austin tends to be spoiled with Franklin, a trip to Lockhart is a right of passage for barbecue lovers. Do things right by hitting up Smitty’s, Kruez, and Black’s in the same day.

San Antonio and Texas History – “Remember the Alamo!” Though it can be jarring to see the site of The Alamo right in the bustling metropolitan of San Antonio, it still serves as one of the essential parts of the state’s path to independence.

Swimming Holes – It gets hot in Texas, and that means checking out some old-fashioned swimming holes. You can go fancy & try Schlitterbahn, or keep it natural and awe-inspiring by going out to Krause Springs & Hamilton Pool.

Check Out the Arts in Wimberley – Austin is artsy, but it’s also a little crowded. A short drive to Wimberley will let the art lover in you really get a sense of a burgeoning arts scene that is still tranquil.

Distillery and Brewery Tours in Dripping Springs – With as many claims to fame as Dripping Springs has, they are now making a mark on the beer, wine, and spirits market, taking pride in the small batch process of crafting their fine offerings.

Sure, the idea of an Austin resident embarking on any number of Austin Texas, tours may feel a little odd & surreal, but you might be pleasantly surprised at how much you may actually learn. Moreover, it may be just the right kick in the pants to get you to explore of what they city has to offer & what other gems you may discover just outside the city limits.