#wontEatWillTravel – Rocky Mountain National Park

Venue: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Duration: 1 or 2 days
Best time to visit: Pretty much all around the year.
Accommodation: Estes Park or cabins around the national park. Denver or cities nearby could be a good option as well.

It was a last-minute trip. We did not have a list of things to do for the long weekend and had decided to go with the flow. The itinerary is as below. You have to make reservations to enter the national park and can only enter during those hours. The link to make reservations is here -> https://www.recreation.gov/timed-entry/10086910.

Day 1:
A few must-visit places –
Estes Park: This place is slightly outside the national park. It is a busier area with beautiful lakes, breathtaking views, and loads of restaurants and shopping areas.
Moraine Park: This spot is on your way to the Bear lake corridor. Moraine Park offers abundant wildlife and breathtaking views of the snow-clad mountains.
Bear Lake: This one is a short 0.8 miles walk in the park. The lakes were still frozen and added to the beauty.
Dream Lake & Emerald Lake: The trail starts from the Bear Lake trail. It can get trickier due to the snow.
Trail Ridge Road: This drive offers gorgeous views of the mountains. The views from the overlook spots are stunning. The Forest Canyon overlook has panoramic views of Hayden Gorge, Gorge lakes, Longs Peak, and Stones Peak.
Alpine visitor center: It is the highest visitor center in the US. The alpine ridge trail is an easy, 0.6-mile hike that takes us to the panoramic views of the entire national park.
Alberta Falls: This is one of the popular waterfalls in the park. This 1.7 miles trip takes around 1-1.5 hours. It could take longer due to snow.

Day 2:
The second day was reserved for the Royal Gorge Route Railway trip, Garden of Gods, and Pike’s Peak. You can book the rides here –> https://www.royalgorgeroute.com/. This spectacular 2-hour train ride takes through the Colorado Rockies and tracks the river along the way. The open coaches guarantee you a ‘Chhaiyya Chhaiyya’ feel. We could not do Garden of the Gods and Pike’s peak due to hailstorms but they are must-visit spots. We ended up celebrating our friends’ engagement instead.

More things to do in Colorado:
Colorado has varied landscapes. You could ski, snow-shoe in Aspen, hike in the Rockies, do kayaking and river-rafting in Canon city, or enjoy a hot-air balloon flight in Lafayette. If you feel adventurous you could do ziplining, via Ferrata, take an aerial gondola, or ride the world’s scariest sky coaster. Visit this website for more –> https://www.colorado.com/. A few pictures from the trip –

#wontEatWillTravel Arizona Road Trip – Thanksgiving week

Picture courtesy: Ninad Paranjape/Me.

This was the first trip N and I took as a couple. The states neighboring Arizona are closed for business so we decided to go local. Owing to the pandemic, we researched and made a list of 34 lesser-visited destination in Arizona. We mapped a few destinations out and left the next morning.

Lake Pleasant Regional Park, Morristown, AZ: It is one/one and a half hour away from Chandler. We reached around noon. The drive to the park was amazing – loved it! I recommend you to check the working hours and routes before you travel. The last leg to the lake was shut so we viewed the lake from the Pleasant Harbor Marina. You can rent boats and kayaks here. The lake is as blue as it can be.

Watson Lake, Prescott, AZ: Watson lake is one and a half-hour away from Lake Pleasant. The route from Lake Pleasant to Watson Lake is amazing. Arizona suddenly turns into scenic Montana and ends as Colorado with all the granite at Watson Lake. This charming lake is surrounded by granite rocks.
You can hike the Watson lake loop trail. We chose to maintain distance and climbed down to the lake by taking the rocky path to the left. It’s nothing that you cannot do in slippers (though I recommend you wear shoes). We did not see anyone kayaking/boating here.

Sycamore falls, Williams, AZ: This was going to be our sunset point. The last 10-15 miles of the road to the Sycamore falls is a dirt road lined with private properties. We re-checked the map several times en route to this one. The road ends at a place with a signboard and restroom. There were no markings for the trail. After guesswork, we decided to take the route that started from behind the signboard. We climbed down for 30 seconds (no markings. only logs.) and took a right. Unexpectedly, the falls were frozen. Yes, you read it right. It was not snowing but the falls were frozen. There was no sign of life (at all!). Pretty spooky.

On our way back we saw the best sunset ever.

Sunset in Arizona

Williams, AZ: We were not sure if we could visit Sycamore on Day 1. So, we had booked a room for the night at Williams. Good life choice. We stayed at the Holiday Inn – a comfortable stay. Grand Canyon Brewing + Distillery is right next door. It has great ambiance (Christmas lights made it look even better), and good food. The portions are substantial. You will enjoy the adult beverages here.

Bearizona, Williams AZ: LOVED this place! If you are accompanied by kids, this place is a must-visit. As adults, we could have spent a few more hours for sure. This is a drive-thru zoo attached to a walk-thru zoo! It is recommended that you shut down all doors and windows while driving. A few pictures below to get you excited!

Sedona, AZ: The route from Williams to Sedona is beautiful. You can still see fall colors! The red rocks are mesmerizing. The next destination was the Devil’s bridge. We did not find a parking spot and looking at the crowd we decided to pass. We walked the lonely Two Fence Trail for a little bit instead. It has good views and is not a tough walk at all. Later, we went to Tlaquepaque for lunch and shopping. It is very picturesque. I recommend that you visit The Chai Spot here. A few pictures from Sedona.

Chapel of the Holy Cross, Sedona, AZ: We stopped at the Chapel of the Holy Cross after lunch. The views from here are fantastic! It was on the way to our next destination. It was very crowded though. FYI, public restrooms are not available.

We were going to end the trip at Montezuma Castle National Monument but we could not get there in time. It shuts down at 4:45 PM and we reached at 4:55 PM.

Since we could not find a spot for sunset, we stopped at a random place to see the magic. Photos from the valley. We left for home soon after.

Of sunsets and frozen rivers

Arizona is enthralling. Overall, it was a very good road trip. Hopefully, we will take more trips in the future. Keep reading this space for more. Stay Safe.

#wontEatWillTravel Malaysia (Overview)

It’s been forever since I’ve had the mindset to put pen to paper. My recent solo trip to Malaysia changed things. This post is an overview of my trip to Kuala Lampur/Malaysia. Details to follow.

Airport – KLCC
Airline – Malindo Air (Not recommended. Please choose another airline. Poor customer service. On my way over all I was offered was water. The flight was delayed by 2.5 hours. You have to pay extra for food when you book your ticket (was unaware of this concept). The food wasn’t good either.
Visa – Easiest Online Visa ever (one of the reasons why I chose to visit Malaysia). Beware of fake Visa sites. Your visa expenses should not exceed $60-$70. Make sure you apply for your visa only via an official Malaysian website ending with .my.
Hotel – Furama @ Bukit Bintang. It is a good hotel except for the construction going on all around. That makes the commute very difficult. I would recommend staying at KL ‘downtown’ (area near the Petronas twin towers) instead.
Transportation – Mostly Grab. Not all the tourist destinations are connected by public transport (surprisingly). You will need to alternate between Grab and the train.
GRAB – Impressive application. The drivers are pro-actively responsive. Loved how easy to use it was. I could not sync my credit card for payments so had to rely on cash.
I struggled with time management on my last day in Malaysia. I asked a Grab driver if he would wait for me at one of the attractions and drop me at the hotel later. I’d pay him accordingly. He agreed!! That made my life so convenient!
Trains – Trains have a good frequency. The tickets cost around 1-3 RM. Tickets can be bought at the kiosks apart from the ticket counter. The kiosks do not accept folded currency.
Funny but true, the trains to and from the airport cost you 55 RM!! Grabs cost you 65 RM. Weird!
Regular Taxis – They charge you at least double of what Grab would. Also, they have no tracking system so definitely not a safe option for solo travelers. Feel free to test your bargaining skills.
Buses – Debatable frequency. The construction going all around must be one of the issues. Also, some of the bus stations are located at shady places where you may not feel safe as a solo female traveler.
Demographics – Malay + Chinese + Tamilians; most of them are 2nd or 3rd generation Malaysians. Inter-caste marriages have led to cross-cultures as well.
Culture – I’d go with conservative. Most women adorn a headscarf. You can see a good mix of Malay-Tamil-Chinese culture with all the sects protecting their own cultures well.
Don’t be surprised if you hear ads of ‘Folic acid’ and ‘Stay in your own lane’ on the radio channels.
Languages – Malay, Tamil, Mandarin and English. Also, Manglish. Add ‘La’ at the end of every sentence to sound like a local. Can definitely help you bargain better.
Weather – September through January is monsoon. If you travel during this period (like I did) be ready to forgo a few attractions. The rains dampened Melaka city tour and all of my evenings.
Attire – Multiple forums advise you to go conservative. You can differentiate between locals and tourists based on the way they dress. I’d suggest go all cotton and conservative (I went from Denims to Uniqlo 3/4th in the middle of Perdana botanical gardens to Save My Soul). Temples require you to be dressed appropriately (read: no legs showing) in order to enter. Mosques provide you with the traditional Islamic attire at the entrances that you have to wear if you wish to enter. I recommend carrying a scarf in your bag and a bathtub of sunscreen.
Safety – As a solo female traveler, I tried to be aware of my surroundings at all times. Malaysia is notorious for bag snatching and robbery (ALL Grab drivers warned me against it). I don’t know the statistics for crime against women/sexual assaults though (red: prefer not to google either). All the tourists seemed to be guarding their purses more than their lives.
I chose group tours instead of private ones. Grabs felt pretty safe/Normal cabs did not. Trains are safe. I waited at a shady bus-stop, all decked up, for half an hour in complete darkness and received some unwelcome attention. I’d avoid doing that in the future. Along the same lines, Chinatown becomes shady after dark.
PS: You can keep your passport in the hotel locker. I was not asked for any ID ever. Please do not carry it if not required.
Currency/Money – Ringgits/Dollars/Rupees everything seemed to work there. I was the happiest since Chase Sapphire Reserve worked at most places (it doesn’t work everywhere in India).

Itinerary Overview

Day 1:

  • KLCC Aquarium
  • KLCC Park
  • Batu Caves
  • Sri Mahamariamman Temple
  • Reggae Bar
  • Chinatown
  • Petaling Street

Day 2:

  • Melaka – Day tour
  • Bukit Bintang
  • No Black Tie – Jazz concert
  • Pisco – Peruvian bar

Day 3:

  • Suria Mall
  • Bukit Bintang
  • Perdana Botanical Garden – Bird Park, Butterfly Park, Deer Park, Tun Abdul Razzak Memorial, Unique trees park (or something to that effect)
  • Petronas Towers
  • Heli Lounge

Day 4:

  • National Mosque of Malaysia
  • National Museum of Malaysia
  • Central Market + Kasturi Street
  • National Textile Museum
  • Thean Hou Temple

Attractions I could not cover/would want to cover the next time I am in Malaysia –

  • Hibiscus & Orchid garden – Closed for renovation
  • Jalan Alor AKA Khau galli of KL – I am sad to have missed this. The rain dampened my spirits every evening.
  • KLCC Eco Park – Rainforest in the middle of a hustling city. I chose not to visit.
  • KL Tower – Fell short of time. Also, having lived in the city of Space needle I did not feel the need to go to another needle kinda space.
  • Genting Highlands – I heard rave reviews about this place during my Melaka day-tour. Sadly, I did not have enough days to cover it. The pictures look amazing though.
  • Penang – The pictures were to die for. But Penang is farther away from KL and not a day-trip material. I’d suggest a road trip for this destination.
  • Little India – Fell short of time. Also, coming from India I opted out.
  • Glittering Fireflies & Kuala Selangor Night tour – Not enough time, guts and energy. Also, probably not a good life choice during monsoons.

Pro tips –

  • Wear cotton as much as possible.
  • Beware of purse snatchers.
  • Carry a portable charger. In hindsight, life would have been simpler with it.
  • Do not fold your Riggits. The kiosks won’t accept them.
  • Map your destinations beforehand so that you don’t lose time searching for them and don’t miss out on the fun.
  • Mind the timings for temples and mosques. They are not open throughout the day.
  • Grabs are difficult to find during prime time. I waited for an hour on Day 2 and ended up taking a cab.
  • In hindsight, taking trains would have been much more economical and would have caused lesser frustration. Trains are traffic-proof.
  • Hydrate.
  • I’d rather stay in a hotel near the Petronas towers and Changat Bukit Bintang than farther away. Though my hotel was in close proximity, the construction and rains made it impossible to commute to the more happening places.
  • Alcohol is expensive – or at least it was wherever I went.
  • It is okay to carry a backpack everywhere. Most tourist attractions have stalls to take care of your bags.
  • You are in good hands with T-mobile. God bless T-mobile.
  • If you decide to click a picture with parrots at the Bird park please mind their toe-nails!
  • Carry a camera instead of relying on your phones for pictures. You need your phone battery for Grab.
  • Carry an umbrella/rain jacket if you decide to visit during monsoons. Most resorts/ few tourist attractions are closed during monsoons.
  • Always carry enough cash (you probably know that).

Keep watching this space for details and pictures.

#wontEatWillTravel Crystal Mountain, WA

08/18/2018: Day trip to Crystal Mountain.

Crystal mountain, Pierce County, is a ski area. Nevertheless, it is a good place for a short day-trip during summers as well. It is a beautiful 2-hour drive from Seattle. The view is ecstatic.

The view!!

The most amazing time-lapse I’ve ever captured. I swear my head spun after watching this the first time.

Someone was actually getting married there. I thought it was brilliant!! Pretty #Sherpa I must say.


Plandids/Candids – 


I grew a year older and wiser this month. Here’s a list of things I’ve learned in the last year –

  1. I am fully capable of living on my own… in the heart of downtown… alone… \m/
  2. One can sleep after watching a horror movie because… (see the next point)
  3. Sleep is the most important thing ever.
  4. Earplugs work just fine for the early morning trash trucks.
  5. Some things are just not meant to work out.
  6. People change.
  7. People leave.
  8. Some people leave for a reason. The reason stays even after they’ve left.
  9. Work is life but life is not work – however you want to put it.
  10. Mental illness is real.
  11. Medical bills are huge. Be fit. Stay fit.
  12. ‘Me’ time is a real thing. You need ‘Me’ time.
  13. French fries are an acceptable lunch option.
  14. It is absolutely fine to fall asleep while at movies.
  15. It is okay not to party on a Friday. You can be a homebody if you want to.
  16. It is not okay to be indecisive. Decisions are important.
  17. Let go and move on.
  18. Forgive and forget. Don’t get back in touch though.
  19. If you think you have “problems” in life may be read a newspaper or watch the news for 5 mins. Follow the theory of relativity. Your problems are the uber first world problems most people would die to have. There would be at least a million people on the face of this earth who would be more than happy to live your life.
  20. Family is the real deal.
  21. Travel makes you wiser. Travel as much as possible. #wontEatWillTravel
  22. Milky way is beautiful. Try star-gazing as much as possible.
  23. Netflix is chocolate cake and amazon prime video is the icing on it.
  24. Live life with no regrets.
  25. Past is in the past for a reason. Never turn back. You are not going there.
  26. Some people do not understand the concept of ‘olive branch’ and it is not your responsibility to you to teach them.
  27. Your mood should never be dependent on the people around you. Stay calm. Stay foolish.

#wontEatWillTravel New Orleans 2017

I have been a big fan of ‘The Originals’. #Netflix rocks. This trip to New Orleans was totally dedicated to The Originals. I secretly hoped to spot Niklaus somewhere. A few pictures from the attempt.

I had conveniently forgotten my phone charger. So I googled the nearest retailer to buy a new one. The street signs looked really pretty so I decided to click pictures on my way around New Orleans. Fortunately, my shoes matched the street signs.

‘The Originals’ has quite a few shots from the cemeteries. We decided to take a tour of St. Louise’s cemetery. Didn’t know cemeteries could be so crowded and cool.

‘The Bayou’ is where all werewolves reside according to the ‘The Originals’. So we decided to take a tour of the bayou. It was raining heavily and we were all wet by the time the tour started. The bayou was beautiful. Also, the alligators ate marshmallows. IKR! And…we got to hold them! It was a scary experience and took a couple takes to get a good shot.

Random things and places in New Orleans. This city does have a weird and wonderful vibe and the most delicious beignets!

A few selfies and pictures of all of us!

Date: August 2017

#wontEatWillTravel San Francisco

A few pictures from my first trip to the bay area. Many more to come –

Always wanted a picture of my reflection
One for the yellow kurta
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
The world-famous golden gate bridge
A click from the front-seat of the car while waiting at the red light.
Another picture from the front seat.
The restaurant we had lunch at.
The beautiful ceiling of palace of fine arts …
How i wish i was smart enough to study here!
Little lake by Mountain View, maybe?
Selfie with my fav people – The Kulkarnis

Date: January 2017

Happy Father’s Day!

8:00 PM: I found my (annoyingly) middle seat on the flight and fastened my seat belt. I was ready to sleep my way home. I had spent an entire day at the hottest place in the country. My skin had broken into heat rashes and I had fallen apart. However, the middle-aged man at the window seat was in a mood to be chatty. I decided to oblige.

He was Ronaldo, about my father’s age. He was on his way to Alaska from Mexico for the salmon season. Salmon season was good money. The summer job helped him support his family. For the rest of the year, he toggled his time between working as a chef and a nurse. He had 3 children – 2 sons and a daughter. His eyes lit up when he told me about how a simple Happy Father’s Day text from his daughter had made him happy. However, his sons did not wish to be on talking terms with him. His sons defaulted school and were not serious about their grades. Him being a stricter parent did not bode well for the sons. All the bitterness drove them apart.

Flashback: I remember my parents being strict about education and grades. I had 100% attendance at school for a few years. I do not remember how much I agreed with life then. After I grew up and stepped out of my bubble I realized the reason behind my parents stressing on good grades and education. My father wished to imbibe certain values in us; he could see the bigger picture. Obviously, we were too little to even make sense of the picture that we were drawing for ourselves. I am sure Ronaldo’s sons could not see it either. Parenting problems exist across all continents and cultures I thought. I shared my experiences with Ronaldo and assured him that his sons would come around as soon as they realized his good intentions. One day, they will see what an amazing Father he has been! I wished him Happy Father’s Day. He said I had earned a friend for life.

As I fell asleep I wondered when Ronaldo’s sons would realize all the struggle he had been through for them. I am sure it is not easy to be a father. Ronaldo struggled immensely to make his ends meet. I believe all fathers have their own struggle. I took a moment to think about the struggles I have seen my father go through – sacrifices, despair and everything else.

1:30 AM: I felt like a zombie courtesy the long flight. I requested an Uber Pool and patiently waited for it. I wish to publicly accept that Uber and Lyft have instilled the quality of patience in me. After we dropped my co-passenger, I initiated a conversation with the driver. P.S: My Uber rating as a customer has gone down the drain and hence I make a point to talk to Uber and Lyft drivers while riding the cab. (I don’t really think my strategy is working though. Never mind. Bigger fish to fry)

My Uber driver was Davinder, probably my father’s age. It was well past 1 AM and I knew there had to be a strong reason for him to be working this late. I asked him if he always worked unearthly hours (Good conversation starter when you take a cab at odd hours). And he told me the story. His daughter follows her passion for Optometry in California. There was no way their family could afford her education and support her. They had suggested her to make a career out of something lesser expensive but she could not let go her dreams. So, the family now has a debt of 300K and Davinder and they work insane hours to provide their daughter with her living expenses so that she could concentrate on her studies and live a better life.

I took a moment to think about my family. Premium schools do cost big bucks. But that did not stop our parents from supporting us. My father always felt strongly about receiving education from good school. I felt blessed. I can never thank my family enough for everything. They could have easily denied us the privileged life we wanted. But they did not. They stood tall and have supported us through thick and thin. Davinder could have crushed his daughter’s dreams. But he did not. He decided to support her come what may.

Davinder said he saw his daughter in me. I wished him Happy Father’s Day before I got off the car.

I realized the universal struggle all fathers go through – my father, Ronaldo or Davinder. We should take a moment to think about what how amazing our parents have been and thank them for all the sacrifices and struggles they have been through to see us succeed. We live an amazing and privileged life because of our parents and we should be very thankful for that. As kids, we took everything for granted. But now is the time to give back and say thank you. It’s our chance to give them the support, love, and comfort they deserve. Tathastu!