A Solo Backpacker’s Guide to the Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand, India

A backpacker’s paradise and a photographer’s delight, the Valley of Flowers is a place you must visit before you die. If you are looking for a place where you can experience nature in its most pristine form and stay away from the so called “civilization”, the Valley of Flowers National Park offers an excellent option. A part of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the valley comes into life for a brief period of four months from June to September every year when the entire valley gets covered with flowers of varied colours and shapes. However, it is not easily accessible and needs a bit of prior planning. However, it is a must see destination in the Indian Himalayas for true nature lovers as well as photographers. Based on personal experience of the author, a few quick tips are being provided below for future travellers.

How many days does it take?

– 6-7 days from and to New Delhi to Valley of Flowers but it must be planned well.

What is the best time to visit?

– June-August

What are the modes of transport?

– From Delhi trains and buses are available to Haridwar. After that buses or rented cars are the only option. They move very slowly due to the difficult terrain and it takes time to cover small distances. But the good thing is that they are not costly at all. The usual route is, Haridwar-Rishikesh-Rudraprayag-Chamoli-Joshimath-Govindghat. At Govindghat the real trek starts. One can hire mules or horses up to Ghangaria if the trekking becomes too difficult. Ghangaria is the last place offering accommodation and food en route. After that one must trust their feet to reach the Valley of Flowers. Camping at the Valley is now allowed and the visitors must come back to Ghangaria by the evening.

What kind of Food is available?

– It is mostly vegetarian considering there are a lot of pilgrims in this route. After Govindghat, a plate of Maggi noodles is the best option at any point of time.

Budget?

– The entire route to Valley of Flowers is a backpacker’s delight. The costliest thing will be the mule ride from Govindghat to Ghagaria with costs INR 500. A single person should wrap up the entire trip to and from Delhi within INR 5000-7000.

What about accommodation?

– Budget accommodation is available till Ghangaria and it should not be a problem for anyone. But if you are looking for luxury resorts, you might be disappointed.

Should I hire a guide?

– Basically there is only one road and a normal traveller cannot possibly get lost and hence a guide is avoidable as well. Still if you are feeling insecure you can hire one at Joshimath.

Travel Guide for Backpackers

Thailand is one of the world’s famous holiday destinations. Thousands of tourists go on holidays in Thailand every year. This is one place people keep coming back to. Whether it is for the breathtaking beaches, food, photo-walks, or shopping, there is always something new you can look forward to.

Thailand is a large island, which stretches more than 2,000 kilometers from South to North. It is famous for its rich marine life, unique culture, modern urban adventures, and incredible diversity. With its rich history, it still managed to keep its distinct and unique tradition.

Why spend your holidays in Thailand?

It’s not that difficult to find a vacation spot in Thailand. Each of its main regions offers a great experience for every traveller in search of discovery. Tall and misty mountains located in the north shelter rich valleys and exotic hills. In the central region, you will experience unique traditional customs and crafts that have been well preserved over centuries. This is one of the reasons people spend their holidays in Thailand.

Along the breath-taking coastlines of the east and south lie some of the world’s greatest beaches and off-shore islands. You will also see historical monuments in the north-eastern region of Thailand. These sacred Khamer monuments existed from the time of Angkor Wat.

Where to spend your holidays

Bangkok

You cannot miss out Bangkok in your itinerary. Your holidays are not complete without seeing this modern “mecca” of east meets west. Its popular destinations include the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Aroon Temples, Thailand National Museum, and Jim Thompson’s House. While you are in the city, make sure you’ll get some Thai recipe like the famous Pad Thai and native Tom Yam Goong. If shopping is your hobby, you can check out Chatuchak Weekend Market. This large strip covers 40 acres and contains over 6,000 stalls. This popular market receives over 300,000 visitors every week.

Phuket

Phuket holidays are your best choice if you love spending your time on a beach. This humble town features stunning natural wonders, pristine white sand beaches, and lush tropical green forests. If you like water sports and other water activities, you’ll find it all here. Experience the adventure of your life paragliding, wind surfing, boating, and jet skiing. Divers and underwater enthusiasts will have a field day exploring the depths while discovering thousands of marine life that thrive in Phuket’s crystal clear waters.

You will also find ancient villages in Phuket. Discover the wonders of their rich culture and tradition. Have a taste of their delicious and exotic dishes like snake blood. You can also have a good time with your kids at the Phuket Aquarium and Orchid Farm. These are just some of the places you can go, once you’ve had your feel of the beach.

Spending holidays in Thailand is truly a remarkable experience. The country characterises authentic Asian culture with its people, arts, and cuisine. Make it your next destination.

Cambridge Travel Guide for Backpackers

Whether you’re on a budget or not, if you are thinking of travelling through Cambridge, England anytime soon, you might want to read this Cambridge travel guide before you go.

I’m living in Cambridge, UK as I type this and I’ve been here for over a year now; I leave in one in half months for my first ever solo travel. This is why I thought I’d make this my first post.

What better place to start then the very beautiful city you currently live in?!

This guide is more intended for the backpacker than the holiday goer but Cambridge isn’t cheap, if you know where to look and go though, you can have a great time visiting the museums, botanical gardens, Universities and Colleges and much more!

How to get to Cambridge

Getting to Cambridge all depends on where you are coming from, and your budget.

Stansted Airport

If you are flying, Stansted Airport is the closest airport to Cambridge. There is a direct train which is very easy to find that departs for Cambridge regularly. Trains take between 30 – 40 minutes and the price ranges from £9.50 to £12.50 depending on the time of day you go. There is also a bus option which I will explain in the next section.

Bus and Coach

There are buses that run to Cambridge from Birmingham, London, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Stansted Airport. You need to decide what is the best form of transport for you, but using buses will be your cheapest option.

All of the buses arrive and depart at the coach stop on Drummer Street and Emmanuel Street which are right next to each other and are in the very centre of the city. To check all prices and times the best place to go is the National Express website, which you can find here.

Train

Cambridge has a very good train service and is easy to find. With a lot of connections to London, Stansted Airport and East Anglia, using trains is easily the quickest option if you are in a hurry There are three main Rail Lines;

Cross Country – This is a direct link between Stansted Airport and Birmingham, this is the quickest line for anyone travelling from Birmingham or Stansted or anywhere in between.

National Express East Anglia – This train runs to London Liverpool Street. They also have trains running in the Ely / Norwich direction.

First Capital Express – Trains to London Kings Cross (Can also be spelt London Kings X), also trains to Ely and Kings Lynn. To be honest, I’ve never paid much attention to the railway line I was using and I’ve used trains a lot in Cambridge! I tend to use the National Rail website to check live times and prices before I leave.

Local Transport

If you need to use a bus to get around Cambridge then Stage Coach is your best option. You can get a day pass for £3.30 which is valid all day and can be used as many times as you need on all Cambridge Stagecoach Buses. Buses run every 10 – 20 mins.

Accommodation

Staying in Cambridge can be expensive, the cheapest place I know about is the YHA, it’s a hostel and it has very good reviews. Prices are about £20 a night. If you want a hotel they can be at the very least £75 a night up to the £400 mark, yikes! This is why if you are a budget backpacker, staying at the YHA Cambridge Hostel is by far your best bet.It’s only a 5 minute walk from the train station and a 15 minute walk from the city centre.

Food and Drink

There are many places in Cambridge to get breakfast, lunch and dinner, with plenty of places to buy snacks, but it isn’t cheap, except to pay at least £5 for a good meal. Check out this website for a great guide on the cheapest places to eat in Cambridge, England.

Things To Do / See

This section could get pretty long as there are many things to do, from visiting museums, gallery’s, universities and colleges to partying in some of the clubs. I have to admit, the nightlife in Cambridge isn’t the best but most people visit Cambridge for the attractions rather than to party.

Museums

The Fitzwilliam Museum – Free

If art and antiquities is your thing then the Fitz Museum is for you.

Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences – Free

This is the Cambridge University museum of Geology.

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – Free

Self-Explanatory!

Whipple Museum – Free

The History of Science

County Folk Museum – Free

For the Folk lovers

Museum of Classical Archaeology – Free

Another Museum from the CU.

Scott Polar Museum – Free

History of the science in the Antarctic exploration

Museum of Zoology – Closed until 2016

Galleries

Kettles Yard – Free

One of the best art galleries in Cambridge

New Hall Art Collection – Free

Close to the Fitz Museum

Pubs and Clubs

There are many beautiful pubs and a few clubs in Cambridge if you fancy a bit of night life.

Fez Club

Probably the most popular club for students, normally £3 to £5 entry.

The Fountain

This is a day time pub and turns into a club at night, it’s one of the more popular places in Cambridge, and depending on what you like, this could be the best place for. I’d have to say it’s my favourite place to go when there is a decent night happening.

The King Street Run

My favourite pub, not for everyone, but has a great atmosphere!

The Regal This is the cheapest place in Cambridge to get a drink, always free entry and located on Regent street.

For more information on the best pubs and clubs in Cambridge have a look at the VisitCambridge website.

Punting

Most punting places charge from around £14.00 for adults and £7 for kids. Here are some of the most popular places to go punting in Cambridge.

The Cambridge Punting Company – guided punt tours along the backs of the historical Cambridge University. Cambridge Chauffeur Punts – See the famous bridges and colleges along the River Cam.

Let’s Go Punting – private and shared Chauffeured River Tours of Cambridge.

Scudamores Punting – College backs punting.

Botanic Gardens

The botanic gardens in Cambridge, opened in 1846 and hosts plants from all over the world inside 40-acres of gardens and glasshouses! It cost £4.50 for admission.

Historical walks

If you are interested in the history of Cambridge and its walks I would recommend this website, it has detailed maps and lots of information!