Bangkok : Blues, Bohemia and Boat-life

Bangkok has its media-fed familiarity: Backpackers staggering down the Khoa San Road, seedy ‘Patpong’ floor shows and sizzling street vendors’ serving everything from fresh papaya to fried scorpion.

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But today’s Bangkok smacks of sophistication, boasting some of the world’s best blues bars, hidden bohemian corners and a beguiling boat community.

From the banks of the river Bangkok’s visitors can watch the world go by as countless brightly coloured river taxis and floating markets tear across town; or opt to use this frantic, fast paced service to take you from one end of the city to another – still for as little as 3pence per person!

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Despite its sophistication, the mix of no-money and new-money is rife, as luxury hotels and sparkling Starbucks’ share area codes with shanti slums; however from high society to grass roots, how you choose to explore Bangkok is entirely up to you…

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Creative culture vultures and coffee connoisseurs may wish to start their day with a coffee (Indian Chai and traditional Sri Lankan Tea also available) at the infamous Erawan Tea Room, overlooking the Erawan Shrine and a favourite haunt of Jackie Kennedy.

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Caffein fuelled and ready to explore, travellers can take a spacious tuktuk (or a rip roaring river boat) to visit Wat Arun, dubbed ‘Temple of the Dawn’ because of the way sunlight dances off its porcelain surface.

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For a taste of contemporary art and design, visit the publicly funded BACC. Reminiscent to The Guggenheim, here art lovers can peruse locally produced handicrafts alongside internationally acclaimed artwork.

For us it was about chasing old Bangkok Bohemia, and the best of the Blues Bars, so our adventure started on Rambuttri Street – just a stones throw from the Khoa San Road.

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Despite its proximity to backpacker hell, Soi Ram Buttri’s ratio of GoGo Bars and Sexpats to vintage boutiques and tree-lined coffee shops is lower than you’d imagine, with THE perfect breakfast, pit-stop or dinner spot in the form of Madame Munsur.

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A laid-back, low-slung labour of love, created by the gorgeous and ambitious, Chaing Mai native, Nong (known as ‘Patch’ to her friends); Madame Munsur, with its bamboo swings, brightly cushioned day beds and intertwined floral and fairy light interior, is a homely all-day dining spot, with a delicious menu taking special care and inspiration from Patch’s proud northern heritage.

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While we all know and love Pad Thai or a good Green Curry; sway away from these dishes and into the history behind Thailand’s northern cuisine; well worth exploring – and all of which can be done without the 12 hour trek to Chaing Mai – and at Madame Munsur’s in fact.

Heavily influenced by the best of Burmese cuisine, Northern Thai food incorporates spices and herbs traditionally selected by ‘Sala Mongs’ (Guru Healers) and are used as much in their cooking as they are in their medicines.

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If visiting Bangkok and in need of authentic flavours beyond the call of the high-street hawkers, visit Madam Munsur and tuck in to a hearty Kaeng Hang Le, a fragrant stewed pork curry with tamarind juice, ginger, peanuts, garlic and a unique blend of healing Hang Le Powder. Or dine true northern Thai family style and share the Larb Moo, tapas style dishes using local organic vegetables and spicy Thai salami.

Steeped in tradition it may be, with black and white photography of the King and Queen of Thailand prominently placed on the wall; these photos sit alongside psychedelic modern art, just like the food sits alongside sharp Martinis and expertly blended Mojitos.

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And if you don’t slip into Thailand’s bohemian hippy roots as you swing in your chair and sip on your Singha; just ‘ask for Patch’ and get swept up in her tales of all things 70s…

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Of course the heart of Bangkok’s Bohemia lies within leafy Soi Ari, where you’ll find WTF Gallery & Cafe, an independent shophouse where “in the know creatives” gather for poetry readings, pop-up menus and exhibitions from local artists.

If like me, you were born with the blues, ain’t nothin but the best of the blues than at Bangkok’s speak easy, Bamboo Bar; an elegant and authentic jazz and blues hotspot, where daily, live musicians play under chandeliers as award winning cocktails are served.

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Housed in the Mandarin Oriental hotel, to mark its 140th anniversary, this week The Bamboo Bar’s award winning Mixologist, Khun Ball, has launched an exclusive series of signature cocktails inspired by the invigorating and refreshing essences of Thai flowers, fruits, herbs and spices.

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Hardened travellers rest assured. Although Bangkok’s sophistication levels are on the up, with artists, musicians and creative architecture gentrifying areas of the city; meandering through local markets or navigating riverside alleys, perhaps not even batting an eyelid at the buckets of live snakes, eels and scorpions on every corner, is all still possible.

 

 

Checkmate Chaing Mai : Thai High Tea

Our time in Chaing Mai was merely a six hour whistle-stop: We arrived at 8:30am fresh off the Bangkok Express Night Train and departed at 2:30pm on a local ‘Green Bus’ for the long journey further north to Chaing Kong, the boarder town to Laos. image

I’d heard that Chaing Mai was peaceful little town, like stepping back in time to a calming colonial Thailand; which is exactly what it was for us via a generous invitation from the elegant boutique hotel, Ping Nakara to enjoy their signature, traditional Thai Afternoon High Tea from the serenity of their poolside Veranda. image A really special way for us to pass our time, sitting in the morning sun. Tucked along a quiet and graceful curve of the Ping River, yet within easy walking distance of the downtown attractions; the Ping Nakara hotel, and its team of warm, hospitable staff, is really somewhere special, going beyond the top-tier service expected of a 5* hotel. image

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The moment you are greeted at Ping Nakara’s gates you will step back in time. To a calmer and quieter time; immersing yourself in the tranquility of the hotel’s relaxed, refined atmosphere which savours the traditional heritage of Chaing Mai that I had been longing to soak up. image

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In chic, understated luxury, guarded with a retro cycle-shaw and team of slickly lined up cream Mercedes, you’ll enter Ping Nakara; an intimate colonial style building of graceful gingerbread architecture, sat under canopies of palm trees with smatterings of fragrant jasmine flowers and beautiful orchids.

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Providing a welcoming retreat for travellers, Ping Nakara offers quiet corners such as the library to curl up in, leading out to an indoor/outdoor veranda, where expertly mismatched furniture sit alongside antique chests filled with colonial crafts and handmade games. The most eye-catching being a beautifully handcrafted chess set, where wooden Buddas replace the King, Elephants take place of the Bishop, and Monkeys are your Pawns.

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From the veranda you can slink back and listen to the rippling of the hotel’s aqua blue infinity pool, shaded with rich and tropical fauna…all with an expertly blended cocktail in hand.

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It’s also from here that you can take your traditional Thai afternoon tea, as well as in the glossy bar or poolside restaurant.

Ping Nakara‘s afternoon tea elegantly blends the best of British with traditional Thai, as a steaming pot of refreshing lemongrass tea, although there is also the option of Earl Grey and Camomile, is served.

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To eat, beautifully presented on a three tier tea stand, are delicately homemade prawn spring rolls, rich sesame toast and thickness dumplings, as well as the likes of vegetable-filled short crust pastry tarts; all accompanied with homemade coconut chutney and sweet chilli sauce.

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The top tier of treats includes mouthwatering matcha green tea sponge bites, delicious banana scones with cream and jam for spreading, and local sugary string hoppers.

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Seeing as one man’s tea time is another woman’s cocktail hour; I sealed the deal on our exquisite afternoon tea with a tall chilled Ginatra cocktail: A tasteful blend of gin and strawberry liqueur, served in a champagne flute and beautifully garnished with a slice of lime and a Chaing Mai grown strawberry.

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Heaven on earth.

As leisurely an afternoon tea it was, and as beautifully languid the setting; afternoon tea takes not even the slowest of diners six hours to enjoy, so Ping Nakara also played home to my first ever game of Chess.

A cunning game of skill that I have been longing to learn, let alone master, for years; thanks to the patience of my boyfriend (and my ability to lose gracefully), the remainder of our luxurious lunch time at Ping Naknara was spent with me embarking on my journey as one of life’s chess players…

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Ping Nakara, thank you very much for having us.

Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel and Spa 135/9 Charonenprath Rd., Chaing Mai 50100 Thailand

Tel: +66 (0) 5325 2999 / info@pingnakara.com

Sri Lanka: So Much ‘Kottu’ So Little Time…

The King of Sri Lankan street food, Kottu, is a mouthwatering mish mash of shredded rotti, vegetables, egg (plus meat or fish for the non vegetarians), available at any street-side food joint, open late into the night; and introduced to our crew of Sri Lanka holidayers and backpackers by the one and only Papa Shen.

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Kottu’s deserved popularity has pushed its way from eating as the locals do to five star hotel menus and beach front restaurants; the former guaranteeing authenticity and deliciousness at a fraction of the price, the latter, guaranteeing bland flavouring at a fraction of the satisfaction.

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When the Kottu being made, diners and street-food-window-shoppers will certainly know about it thanks to the Kottu-station chefs’ incessant clanking, almost a loud percussion performance, during which the roti is rhythmically shredded and hammered with twin blades against a metallic hot plate and blended with the rest of it’s spicy ingredients.

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Not faint enough a sound to be passed off as atmospheric or ambiance, this Kottu clang has even gone so far as being a source of local music inspiration, and is as familiar a sound to Sri Lanka as the wake up call of a Budhist temple.

Swerving the tourist trails, or veering slightly out of town increases the chances of enjoying the best Kottu; as opposed to selecting from the ‘Sri Lankan’ section of the menu in a backpacker bar – so make the effort to do just that.

THE BEST KOTTU IN SRI LANKA

Udawalawe – Safari Spice
Those visiting Udawalawe for its famed Safari Park will do well to step out of the comfort of their hotel (or discomfort of their hostels) for a dirt cheap, delicious dinner in Udawalawe’s small local town.

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Here, next to the towns prominent digital clock tower, either Sheahan Hotel (not a hotel at all but a very local restaurant) or next door’s nameless joint, both with a Kottu stations outside the front, serve morish, mountainous portions of Sri Lanka’s speciality.

Ella – Tea-Time in Sri Lanka  
Those visiting Ella to tour the tea plantations, climb Adam’s Peak or reach the summit of Ella’s Rock should take on the winding mountainous road to the less than picturesque town of Bandarawella to enjoy a hearty plate of Kottu from Trip Advisor’s #2 ranked restaurant (out of 45) in the town, Lanka.

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If the treacherous mountain schlep, and the 2,400 Sri Lankan rps (£12) round trip isn’t worth it to you, then Chill Bar on Ella’s main backpacker strip is by far the best place on the street to eat, drink and…chill.

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With fairy-light adorned wooden seating booths, low-key lighting, fairly decent music (with the exception of an X Files theme tune chill out mix), Ella’s Chill Out Bar offers truly exceptional service, top-notch cocktails served in upcycled jam jars; and if the western food that we are here is anything to go by, then their Kottu will be nothing short of nailed!..as tempting as it might be to go with fish&chips, a burger or a pizza after the summit success of Adam’s Peak.

Colombo – CosmoKottu
Stop-gapping or city-breaking, the capital of Colombo is home to endless secret side-street Kottu options. With a range of luxury eateries including Japanese lounge Yumi and Colombo’s Dutch Fort House, it’s worth spending a couple of nights in this British, Dutch and Portugese influenced city to soak up the most cosmopolitan of Kottus.

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Here you’ll find Nuga Gama nestled in the garden of The Cinnamon Grand Colombo Hotel, as though a separate little village of its own, created especially for rural cooking; or Raja Bojun for Sri Lanka’s spiciest signature seafood Kottu done well and served buffet style.

Kandy – Sweet Trip to the Kottu Shop
The entrance to many temples, including the ‘Temple of the Tooth’, lead by a procession of carved elephants, lions, horses and bulls – the four animals symbolising the four stages of life*; Kandy is also home to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and Udawatta Kele, the only forest in the middle of the city with more than 150 species of plants.

*The bull symbolises growth, the horse symbolises energy, the lion symbolises power and the elephant symbolises forbearance.

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And when it comes to Kandy’s Kottu, satisfy your sweet tooth at The Empire Cafe, a cosy little restaurant in the heart of the city serving southern-style Kottu and sweet tea.

Negombo – Colourful Kottu
Characterised by its Dutch and Portugese ancestry, with forts, churches and waterways running the town; Negombo offers travellers colourful and relatively undiscovered beaches, (abstract) Art Galleries and The Tewatta Basillica for all Catholics on the island.image

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When it comes to Kottu, try the colourful Lords Restaurant on the beach road, fusing seafood and Spanish influence in a casual atmosphere.

Skipping The South – Pas de Kottu

When it comes to the ‘surfers paradise’ southern tip of Hikaduwa, Weligama and Mirissa, expect to be disappointed when it comes to dining all round.

Although the clear aqua blue Indian Ocean lining the beaches is breathtaking, the perfectly formed barrel waves are as mesmerising to watch as they are to ride and nothing says holiday more that hot white sand between your toes; nothing also says naff resort more than tiny portions of over-priced, day-old seafood, and luke warm beers, alongside the company of a bunch of angry, Russian…kottus…

Spending a Day in Bangalore…

How to Spend a Day in Bangalore:

‘Surviving’ our first 12-hour Indian night bus, which albeit arriving 90 minutes late while we sat in the standard state of roadside confusion*, was so much easier and more comfortable than I could have ever imagined.

*And in any standard state of Indian roadside confusion there is always roadside chai. Lots and lots of sweet, milky, perfectly made chai. And chai makes every little thing alright.

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Groggy-eyed and Valium-tailed, we arrived in Bangalore; India’s third largest, yet greenest city, which as well as being the sub continent’s technology capital, plays proud owner to well-kept botanical gardens and public green spaces.

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Ironic then, that it was during our 13 hours in Bangalore that neither Jamie or I could find or connect to a single internet network (including Starbuck’s network – culture vultures), or that for a city that must have more cows per capita than people, these holy creatures opt to dominate the dusty roads over the ample garden space offered to them.

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Nonetheless, Bangalore offers a fairly cosmopolitan charm with a helpful community and individually characteristic districts definitely worth checking out, making the city more than just a stop-gap on route to somewhere else.

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Where to Start:

Ditching your Backpack and Desperately Seeking Sushi (/Breakfast):

Some quick and dirty research, with zero note taking, and a little word of mouth told me that Banaglore plays host to some deliciously healthy vegan restaurants and swish sushi bars* which I was seriously salivating for before even boarding the previous night’s bus.
Sadly, without restaurant names and addresses noted down – and due to the technology capital’s total lack of Internet, none of these places were even slightly stumbled upon during our day there.

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*From reading up however, I can advise ‘Carrots‘  for amazing vegan cuisine serving the likes of Peanut Vegan Shakes and Tahini Pizzas with Tofu; or ‘Harima‘ for authentic Japanese style low-slung dining and brilliant sushi. – Gutted I missed out on these.

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Instead we started our day by heading to Bangalore’s bustling national rail station to sort out our train tickets for that night’s trip to Hampi and to leave our backpacks in the Left Luggage, unburdening our backs for a day of exploring.

Banglore’s city train station is fairly easy to navigate.

Worth noting: If buying your train tickets on the day of travel then you can only buy general class (and pray and pay for an upgrade on the train), otherwise there are separate “queues” for general and AC Sleeper classes.

It’s not in the slightest bit obvious as to which line is for which ticket type so expect to line up, push, shove, re-line up somewhere else and be on the receiving end of several hundred ambiguous head wobbles. However for us, be that it was pre-7am and fairly quiet in the station when we bought our tickets, the whole operation including leaving our luggage* for safe keeping, took about half an hour.

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*left luggage is about £2 a day and you have to have a lock on your backpack (which can be bought at the station) in order for them to stow your sack.

Famished, clueless and due to India’s reputation for fail-safe chai, we decided to go local for breakfast and pick a hectic looking hotspot right next to the station while we “got our bearings” (still under the delusion at this point that Internet and a quinoa salad were imminent).

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Breakfast however, was out of this world delicious and consisted of 4 rounds of steaming, sweet chai, onion bahjis and (my ultimate favourite local delicacy) deep fried banana bread balls, with a spicy coconut paste for dunking the lot in.

With more than enough time on our hands and no idea how to pass it, after breakfast we whipped out a pack of cards in the hope of a few harmless rounds of sh1t head, over a couple more rounds of chai. – This is a big NO-NO.

After being frowned upon by most other diners, trying to reassure everyone that we weren’t gambling, and being asked to stop playing (and told to leave) by the local authorities*; we realised that our welcome in chai-side heaven had been outstayed and it was time to explore the city.

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*A helpful local explained afterwards that custom in India is to eat and leave – not sit around doing jack sh1t, playing cards and necking their mini glasses of chai quicker than they can brew it. Noted

Post-Breakfast Places to Wander
A small saving-grace to our lack of Bangalore planning was the a screen grab of the city map on my iphone, so we had a vague idea as to how to orientate our way round the city and how much we should pay a rickshaw to get from A to B.

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Rickshaws in Bangalore are dirt cheap! We quickly realised just how much we’d been getting ripped off in Varkala for the past 2 months! £3 (300IRS) for the 15k ride from bus station to train station so expect any inner city trips to cost £1 (100IRS) at most. I can only imagine it’s cheaper further north…

As mentioned, Bangalore takes an element of pride in its green credentials, and unlike anywhere else we’d visited, seems to have some kind of rubbish removing (and recycling!) system in place.
Predominantly, this rubbish removal seems to take thanks from the largest cows that I have ever seen in my life, who roam the streets as though they own them, devouring piles of another man’s waste; but the cows are as adorable as they are adored, and it does make for a cleaner city, closer to nature.

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After a 12 hour night bus and with a 12 hour night train ahead of us, we kept the morning chilled out with a long walk through Bangalore’s botanical gardens. Like a lot of what you will see in India, the botanical gardens are very beautiful and very strange. Strangely beautiful.

Through ornate, wrought iron gates, tourists will pay an entrance fee of £1 (plus an additional 50p) if carrying a camera. Somehow India’s technology capital neglected to remember that since the invention of Smart Phones, we all carry a camera around, but my beloved Canon is more than worth the 50p entrance fee.

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So through painted white gates, like a tropical emerald city within a city, Sunday strollers will quickly reach the garden’s proudest feature; a clock tower surrounded by slightly incorrectly designed and vey weather-worn statues of random Disney characters. Quite something.

Besides the badly designed 7 dwarfs and off-point Bambi, the botanical gardens are a beautiful shaded space with tropical flower filled greenhouses, picturesque pathways, picnic spots and a large lake to sit and gaze at. Families, friends, and still only a handful of tourists seem to visit this beauty spot and it’s definitely worth the serene solitude you will find – as though not smack bang in a thriving city.

Serene solitude broken only by a local drunk who seems to have designated himself the role of leading ad-hoc daily performances with the garden’s resident chimps. During which he’d fill his empty whisky bottles with water and had taught the chimps how to open these miniatures and guzzle the contents to ‘please’ the crowd. Then he would stumble around asking for money. I’d recommend swerving this “attraction” – or having the monkeys rescued…

 

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Anyone who knows me well enough will be fully aware that I made my absolute contempt for this animal abusing piss-head as clear to him as to any tourist stupid enough to be sucked in.

Looking for Lunch:
Ideally we’d have lunched at ‘Carrots,’ and wondered the green city fuelled by equally green sustenance; however, having been told that the Brigade Road was a good place to have lunch, we headed in that direction.

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What I’d imagined as quiet, quirky and pedestrianised place for a slightly stylish lunch, was actually as close to Leicester Square as Bangalore probably gets.

Nike shop. Adidas shop. United Colours of Bennetton. Hugo Boss. Dunken Doughnuts. Pizza Hut. Starbuck’s. NAFF!

I think my envisaged, cute artsy neighbourhoods do exist, so check before visiting; otherwise the Weatherspoons-esque diner, ‘Le Rock’ serves a decent burger, huge piles of good hummus with crudités….and ice cold Corona. Definitely a winner.

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Trippling our daily budget on sacred Coronas – the only beer we’d drunk so far in India that wasn’t a 3-month out of date Kingfisher, we sank a few Coronas at Le Rock and killed some more time.

Loitering permitted. Wifi non existent.

If (unfortunately) like us, you find yourself on the Brigade Road and are feeling slightly more classy than us, you might want to try a steak at The Grill House. Or if you’re up for downgrading even further, then The Guzzler’s Inn Pub says it all really…

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Having had a fun day, but still slightly disillusioned and in the dark about how to pass our time; we made our way back to the station for more chai and to curl up in our blankets on the platform to wait for our train to Hampi.

For some reason we had been told by many travellers on similar trips to ensure to arrive 2 hours early for a train that was, inevitably, 1:30 hours late – but killing time on a platform with your gorgeous man (and ultimate travel buddy) strumming the guitar, eating more deep fried banana balls and drinking bottomless sugary chai is no bad way to pass FOUR HOURS…

 

The Jungle Book: Monkeying Around at Greenex Farms, Kerala

“Thou art of the Jungle and not of the Jungle,” wrote Rudyard Kipling, author of The Jungle Book; as though setting the scene for north Kerala’s densely green Wayanard Region, where those in the know will find Greenex Farms, a unique eco-retreat tucked among almost impenetrable jungles, set against the backdrop of the state’s second highest mountain, Chembra Peak

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A far cry from the well-trodden backpacker path, Jamie and I took the decision to take on the 3 hour death-defying (local) bus ride through winding mountainous roads to the tiny town of Chundale; followed by endless bouncing through vast tea and coffee plantations in a 4×4 to the secluded Greenex Farms, where so much more than just the bear necessities of life were waiting for us.

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On the tip of the Nilgiri hills, south India, towering 2,600ft above sea level and smiling down over ‘Gods own country,’ is where you’ll find Greenex Farms. At one with its natural habitat and under a sky-high canopy of palm trees; this is a true nature-lovers’s retreat where you won’t come closer to playing Swiss Family Robinson, while genuinely rejuvenating your soul.

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Sharing your surroundings with every exotic bird imaginable, cheeky monkeys, friendly frogs, traditonal tea-pickers, brightly coloured coffee beans, peppercorn trees – and the occasional huntsman spider – at Greenex Farms you can expect 360 degree jaw dropping jungle views played out to the cacophony of natures private coversation; be it from a stay in the tree-house for the brave, the sunflower cottage for the romancers, or the plush orchid house for those splashing out (as Jamie, Ben, Lauren and I did!)

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While the Wayanard Region serves as the jumping off point to conquer Chembra Peak mountain (check ✅) the Meenmutty waterfalls and Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary; Greenex Farms itself has more than enough to keep you occupied with its three nature trails (Tortoise, Monkey and Rabbit), bird watching spots, bamboo rafts, badminton court and natural spring pool.

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imageLike a modern day Tarzan and Jane (one of us had binoculars, magnifying glass and “expedition attire” packed), a leisurely day was spend wandering the exotic fauna of our emerald surroundings.

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Languidly we moved from successful completion of the Monkey Trail to working up a sweat on the badminton court, swinging in hammocks, dipping in the spring water pool (sharing our swimming space with only the frogs), bamboo rafting and finally curling up in our queensize bed as one of Kerala’s tropical monsoon unleashed itself on us as the sun started setting. – A perfect way to spend a day.

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For those looking to stay a few nights here exploring everything that the Wayanard region has to offer, the incredibly helpful and attentive team at Greenex Farms will do all they can to help plan your day and arrange your transport – always a ferocious 4X4 to bound through PG-tip topped hills and take on the rugged routes of south India’s mountains.

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Also arranged around your schedule are delicious, organic – and of course homegrown – meals. Breakfast can be arranged from 6:30am for early birds with Indiana-action-packed days, and as late as 10:30am for those sleeping late in their fluffy queen size beds and spending the day on site.

Dinner can be arranged to be served the moment you return to Greenex, after a hard day’s trek. A soul-warming Vegetable Birinani and a Potato-Stuffed Paratha quicker than you can say “The Jungle Book;” yes please!

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Breakfast and lunch are served in the “Arivia” restaurant, while dinner is served either in Arivia, the jungle fire-pit (monsoon dependant) or in your room with a small service charge of £1 /100IRS.

The menu offers two options for all three meals: buffet (£4 for breakfast and £7 for both lunch and dinner) and a-la-carte.

As a couple on an Indian backpacker budget, the thought of spending £42 a day on food was a little too hard to stomach. However, in reality (and to everyone reading this in Europe), this is a fair price for generous quantities of delicious, vegetarian and ethically sourced meals – each accompanied by warm Ayeuverdic mineral water.

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Swerving the buffet in favour of a la carte gives guests the option of paying standard rate prices for very good food; spicy Masala Omlettes come in at £1.20, as does a stack of Coconut Sugar Pancakes, and dinner will work out at about £6 for a couple.

Hoping not to deter any backpackers looking for a walk on the wild side, Greenex Farms offers an eco tent and dorm room accommodation at £16 a night, scaling itself up to tree houses and cottages, with the most lavish option being its four Orchid apartments at around £50 a night.

A gem of a tip for anyone travelling India is to book accommodation via ClearTrip on a Thursday as on this day of the week, discounts of up to 70% are offered! – Thanks to Lauren and Ben for that bit of advice.

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The only downside a backpacker might find with a stay at Greenex farms is that the hotel doesn’t provide Internet, and the nearest town with small wifi cafe is a 40 minute walk or £2.50, pre-arranged 4×4 journey away; meaning that arranging the next leg of your journey can’t be pre-booked with ease.

It’s a very minor downside though, and I know we were happier to live a slice of life in the jungle without Facebook at our fingertips – making going blind to our next destination that little bit more adventurous. – and I’ll always have Indiana Lance by my side every step of the way…

Thank you again to Greenex Farms for a truly wonderful stay. A magical and remote home-away-from-home. We would recommend a stay here to everyone.