WEEKEND GETAWAY AT AAMBY VALLEY,MAHARASHTRA

Aamby Valley City is one of India’s best-planned city and has been regarded as a benchmark in urban planning and designing. Well connected with roads, its easily accessible, though in order to enter, one must have a booking at any one of its hotels. It’s a picturesque place with lots of amazing spots and that is why it is one of the most favorite places for grand destination weddings. The city incorporates luxury, business convenience, leisure and entertainment.

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Upon entering this luxurious and ultra clean city, we were awed by its resemblance with any European city. The Shayadri mountain range encircles the whole city making it visually attractive. Grand statue of Bharat Maa greeted everyone right at the entrance.

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The Timber Chalets are Swiss-style cottages which are available on rent and make an ideal weekend getaway from Mumbai or Lonavala. The teak wood finishing adorns the cabins completely and makes them very pleasing to look at.

Lush greenery adorns the whole valley. And beautiful structures in the form of huge pillars, elephants and so on are found everywhere in the valley.

Recreational activities in the form of Ayurvedic massages, Disco, various specialized restaurants of vivid cuisines, horse riding, toy-train ride and water taxi (which is actually a bus) gives people of all ages almost everything to have fun over the weekends.

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AAMBY VALLEY

 

How to have a great trip with a Baby

When we become parents, everything around us changes to such an extent that we forget that we are still the same people. I strongly question the mindset of people who think that they cannot travel once they have a kid. How come when we are eating and sleeping and doing all the things we did earlier (with variations of course), we think travel is not meant for us? We just have to be cautious and plan the travel well to have fun with our babies. Some handy pointers for the same will be :

Choosing the location

This is the most important factor contributing to the success of one’s vacation. The location of the vacation must be selected properly after analyzing various factors like : weather, flight time, safety and infrastructure of the place. Most importantly, the place should be baby-friendly with access to pram to most places.

Choosing the flight

The correct flight will be the one which matches the nap time of your baby. We also have to keep in mind the travel time. In case of long flights, we need a stop-over and in case of short flight timings, we must aim for direct flights to further decrease the traveling time.

Carrying proper food items for the baby

Be it a flight, train or car, we must always carry baby-food. We always have hot water in an insulated container along with baby milk powder and other such things which has a larger shelf life,for example vegetable munchies, chips, puffs. Once we are at our destination, we can make healthy food and buy fresh fruits.

Keeping all baby-care products handy

Besides the food and diaper bag,a proper handbag for baby stuffs like toys, pillows, blankets and other such things which either comforts or distracts the baby (in case he is not in a good mood) is also necessary.

Choosing a Proper Hotel

Its best to choose an apartment or a suite over a hotel room. It is advisable as it gives us the flexibility of making different baby food as well as it tends to be bigger, thereby providing a bigger play area for the baby.

Choosing the Itinerary

Visiting all the important sites and vacation spots at a particular location should be done in a leisurely fashion with proper breathing spaces with the baby. Preferring one place a day has better chances of giving you a better holiday rather than squeezing numerous sites and activities on a single day.

Nap Time

Even on vacations, its best to let your child sleep properly so that they enjoy the whole trip. Many of my friends skip nap-time to utilize the maximum holiday time but this always results in making the child cranky who will not enjoy anything he sees or does.

Let the Child Enjoy

If we stick to our cameras and keep posing with our children, there is no point in going for a vacation. Although we should click pictures but we should not overdo them. Until the child finds himself free, he will not be involved in exploring which is what makes a good traveler.

Though, this list works for me and I had great holidays with my baby but there might be more to it.

Sojourn in Italy of India – Lavasa

On a business trip to Pune, we planned to spend a day in Lavasa. Based on the Italian town Portofino, Lavasa is a privately planned city built near Pune. It can be easily said to be one of the most beautiful man-made place in India.

The artistic corridor parallel to the lake has hotels and cafe on one side and lake on the other side. Its a beautiful sight not only in day-time but also at night. There were plenty of activities for children. We arrived by evening and stayed at Mercure hotel. After having a stroll on the riverside, we called it a night and planned for an early day the next day.

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LAVASA AT NIGHT

We were greeted by sumptuous breakfast at the hotel who were helpful in preparing baby food as well. There were variety of options for kids on the lakeside. We started with toy-car ride and then we went for two-seater bicycling. After that, we went for boating in the lake which was quite refreshing in the sun. There was a place with family games options but our little one was too young to enjoy that.

Out of numerous dining options, we chose to have lunch at the Country club which offered a panoramic view of the lakeside and town. The club provides a plethora of leisure facilities that include a world-class spa, restaurants, a pub, a gymnasium and indoor games. The time was well spent over there too and we had fun. In short, top activities to do in Lavasa with a baby will be :

  • Boating
  • Cycling
  • Ride on toy cars
  • Train rides
  • Game arcade

Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur , India

The marvelous and beautiful palace in the Man Sagar lake in Jaipur is known as Jal Mahal. This lake was basically constructed by the rulers to fight famine and shortage of water in Rajasthan as a dam. However, the palace underwent many renovations and now stands as a famous tourist attraction in Jaipur. Though, the palace is a five storied building but only the top floor is exposed. The road corridor connecting the main tourist attractions of Jaipur basically the Amer fort and the Nahargarh fort runs through this road. Generally tourists are not allowed to visit this palace, but we managed to visit it with our little one.

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JAL MAHAL PALACE,JAIPUR,INDIA

We reached the palace by a traditional wooden boat through the clean lake. Our son enjoyed the boat ride and was fascinated to find the sailor using oar to splash water and move the boat forward. The air was misty and refreshing. As soon as we stepped in the palace, we were amazed by its wonderful architecture. There was a narrow corridor running in the periphery of the palace and it was very airy. The ancient Indian Maharajas were wise to come up with such a clever architectural plan. Since there was no electricity, they kept the palaces well ventilated in the center of the lake to make it cooler.

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JAL MAHAL PALACE,JAIPUR,INDIA

After spending sometime in the palace, we went on its terrace and was awed by the gardening done there. We could really imagine how the Maharajas and their allies must be having good time in the past. It was a beautiful view. The Jal Mahal palace provides a picturesque view of the lake , and the surrounding Nahargarh hills. You can also spot small islands in the lake which act as wintering grounds for migratory birds. Overall, the trip to Jal Mahal went very well.

 

DELICIOUS SINGAPOREAN CUISINE

Someone wisely said – What we eat,reflects the culture of our society.The multicultural ethnicity of Singapore furnishes it with multi-cuisines. Singapore is one of the topmost places when it comes to having options in food. The luscious and mouth-watering Singapore local food is influenced by Chinese, Indian & Western tradition rendering a unique delicacy to all the food menu.

Though we tried almost all famous local food options like Dimsums, Ice Kasang, Biryani, Roti, Chicken rice, and curry puffs; we relished more on the below mentioned items :

  • Kaya toast & soft boiled egg with Tea – It was so yummy and light,just what is required in a tropical climate. It made for most of our breakfasts. The most famous place to have this is ‘Toast Box’.
  • Huanian chicken rice – Served at most of the hawker centers along with presence in food-court of varios malls, it was a spicy and wholesome food. We loved the ones served by ‘ Mini Wok Zhi Char’.
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  • Refreshing coconut ice-cream with berries at Co+Nut+Ink was simply out of the world. I think that it is the first ice-cream to be so healthy.
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  • Nasi Lemak – Though traditionally, Nasi lemak is a Malay fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf; there has been many variations to it. For example, the rice can be crispy or may be made soft (as per your requirement)
  • Ice-cream toast is a must for everyone. As traveling require a lot of walking, an ice-cream toast was what energized us in the daily heat. There were numerous vendors in Orchard road who provided different kinds of ice-cream flavored toast at very reasonable rates.

We must have missed on a lot of other food options available but with a baby, we managed to try quite a few of them.

Singapore Nightlife (with a toddler)

While travelling, are’nt we supposed to succumb to the bed at dusk with a kid? Are’nt we supposed to let the baby sleep properly by putting him on bed early? Well, we thought not to. Challenging the general mindset and course of travelling with a toddler is what sometime suits you. So, we decided to do the same. Wandering around different places the whole day used to make our son tired by evening and he used to take naps in his pram (which was pretty convenient). We used to take him along with ourselves for long strolls as Singapore is a very pram-friendly country.

But when he was awake, we still used to manage our time well. Though, you cannot go clubbing and pub-hopping with a little baby , but this does not mean that you cannot explore the city. Some of my favorites nightlife ideas in Singapore along with my baby are :

Walking across Clarke Quay and watching the river

Clarke Quay is a historic riverside quay in Singapore with lots of attractive art houses,museum and amazing dining options. We used to have dinner around ‘Riverside festival village’ and spend the rest of the time watching the beautiful Singapore river. There is also a G-Max Reverse bungy place in this area which we used to watch (cannot go on such ride,be it with or without kid).

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CLARKE QUAY,SINGAPORE

Leisure walks in Orchard Road

With a bunch of shopping malls and infinite dining options, we used to go for dinner to this place as well. After dinner, we would walk off leisurely to our hotel which was twenty minutes from this place. Though, most of the shops used to close around ten in the night, we never found a decrease in the liveliness of the place. There were numerous rides situated in and around the malls for kids. And our baby used to enjoy in them. There were play areas too situated across ‘Toys R Us’ and other such children-centric shops.

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ORCHARD ROAD,SINGAPORE

Boat Ride

Boat rides in Singapore river can be done from a number of places,primarily – from Marina Bay sands area or the Clarke Quay area. Though we stayed near Clarke Quay, we preferred going on boat rides from the Merlion area.The ride used to take us around the landmarks of the Rafffles’ Landing Site, Asian Civilisations Museum, row of old shophouses along Boat Quay, Fullerton Hotel, Esplanade Singapore, Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands. It was beautiful.

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BOAT RIDE IN SINGAPORE

Watching the Light and Sound show in the Marina Bay Area

Marina Bay event plaza is always full of tourists as well as locals. The crowd sits across the pavement even before the show begins and you can have cold-drinks and other snacks while getting some fresh air. The show is for free and is a great show for kids.

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MARINA BAY PLAZA,SINGAPORE

Singapore Zoo – World’s best Rainforest zoo (Copy 3 )

With dozen of impressive gardens and parks, Singapore has a wide range of places to keep nature-lovers busy. Different categories of parks like historic parks, coastal parks, community parks, marine parks, nature parks and riverine parks to choose from, we prioritize the interest of our child and went to the ‘Singapore Zoo’ and ‘Jurong Bird Park’.

Singapore Zoo is a wonderful place for kids. All animals are kept in their natural environment, making the whole experience to be very refreshing and pure. The tram ride is very convenient to go from one place to another. However, we preferred walking as we did not want to miss any animal. Numerous shows like the ‘Splash safari show’, ‘Animal Friend Show’ and ‘Elephants at work and play Show’ are not only entertaining but they are educational too. With numerous zones and countless animals, the whole zoo experience was tiring as well as rewarding.

I still remember the priceless expression on my child’s face which was full of joy and curiosity throughout the zoo. He observed most of the animals and could make out if they were friendly or not. After attending shows and watching numerous animals like the tiger,lion,panther,zebra,giraffe,kangaroo,polar bear and so on; we were drenched with sweat. With scores of ice-lollies and ice-drinks, we were able to cover most of the zoo’s attraction.

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So we thought to leave but were suddenly reminded of the ‘Rainforest Kidz Area’. We reached there and for the next hour, our little one was busy playing in the ‘Wet Play Area’ with other local kids. There were many dining options in the zoo. Out of which, we chose to eat at KFC which was strategically located near the ‘Wet Ply area for children’. We could eat and watch him play at the same time. Once I changed his clothes, he dozed off on the pram and we headed back (walking again as we did not wanted to wake him up by sitting in the tram).

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Water park at Singapore zoo