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Conor M

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About Conor M

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  1. Welcome to the forums Conor M :)

  2. Conor M

    Travelling To Bangladesh

    Hi there, I just spent 10 days in Bangladesh. It's very straight forward to travel there from Kolkata. First you need to get your visa in Kolkata, it takes two days - you pick up your passport with visa the day after you submit your application. Attach 3 passport photos to the form (which is available at stalls around the Bangladeshi consulate). Note if you are an Irish citizen, you don't need a visa. There are 3 options for getting to Bangladesh from Kolkata: 1 - Take the twice weekly train from Kolkata to Dhaka. 2. Take one of the many buses that leave every morning for Dhaka. 3. From Sealdah station, take local train BB505 at 05.55 to Bangaon Junction, arriving just before 08.00. It's important to take this early train, as leaving it any later will mean you'll probably miss the train on the other side of the border. From Bangaon, take a shared rickshaw (20 Rupees, could be less) to the frontier. Walk across to Bangladesh, then take a cycle rickshaw or cart to Benapole train station (5-10 taka). From here, a service runs daily to Khulna at 11.45, via Jessore. The journey to Khulna costs 30 taka. These are local times - note Bangladesh is 30 minutes ahead of India in summer, and 1 hour 30 minutes ahead in winter (now). Option 3 is very useful if you wish to do the Rocket Boat trip between Dhaka and Khulna without backtracking to Dhaka - it leaves you in Khulna first. Note for option 1, you must designate 'Darshana' as your entry point on your visa application. For options 2 and 3, 'Benapole'. Bangladesh itself is quite similar to India in many ways, but there are also some major differences. It is significantly cheaper than India to travel around, and the transport system is quite easy to negotiate if you're used to India. Obviously the country is extremely flat, but it is still very beautiful - the south-west reminded of the Kerala backwaters, only on a much much larger scale. In the north-east there are tea plantations, and the south-east has beaches, islands and mountains. The most important difference for a tourist/foreign visitor is that Bangladesh really doesn't see many foreigners. Everywhere you go, you get stared at, often large crowds will gather around you just to watch what you're doing. It's all good-natured, the people are extremely, sometimes OTT friendly. Sometimes its difficult to get a moment alone, but its generally fine.
  3. Conor M

    Shout Box

    Hi there folks, I'm back in Ireland now, flew home on New Years Eve from Delhi. Will be here for a couple of weeks, before flying to Hong Kong on the 20th January - gonna spend a few months around east Asia. Anyway, for anyone interested, I've uploaded a collection of my best photos from the last 4 and a half months travel around the Middle East and subcontinent to Flickr, here's the link - [url="http://www.flickr.com/photos/22559643@N02/sets/72157623154607980/"]http://www.flickr.com/photos/22559643@N02/...57623154607980/[/url] Hope you all had a great Xmas and New Year!
  4. Conor M

    I Was Robbed Yesterday....

    I hope it was just luck Priya. But there is something strange about the entire episode - the things that were taken and the stuff they left behind, like the 300 EURO. But anyway, I'm just glad to have my photos and bag back!
  5. Thought you might be interested to hear what happened to me in the last 48 hours. Basically, I was walking along platform 4 at Guwahati Station, going to my carriage for the train to New Jalpaiguri. As I was walking, the back of my neck started to itch, and within a minute, it felt like my whole back was on fire. I ran onto the train, into the bathroom to pour water down my back. That eased it for about a minute. I found my seat, by the time I got there, my back was burning again. I grabbed a clean t-shirt out of my bag, gave the guy opposite me (in the side berths) a quick look to say 'look after that', and ran into the toilet to change t-shirts and pour more water on my back. Of course, when I got back to my seat, my bag was gone, and only then it hit me that somebody had did this to me, putting some kind of itching powder down the back of my neck. The guy opposite said three guys came and took the bag, said he didn't stop them because he thought they might have been with me, and I never asked him to take care of it - fair enough, it was my fault for not saying it, but I really wasn't thinking straight what with my back in bits. Anyway, I reported it to the police. I was left with just the clothes I was wearing, my passport and credit card which I keep in my money belt, and my camera which I luckily had in my pocket. Everything else - 400 EURO cash, 2 ipod's, all my pictures from Turkey, Iran and Nepal, plus my glasses, 6 books and all my clothes - was gone. I traveled to NJP and got a hotel in Siliguri, cancelled my train ticket to Delhi, and booked a flight instead, extremely pissed off with everything and just wanting to go home. Checked my e-mail this morning before going for my flight, and there was a message from a guy I met in Shillong, telling me the police in Guwahati had found my bag in a ditch at a nearby bus station! The Shillong guy had given me his address and phone number, which was in the bag when it was found, and the police rang him. So I cancelled my flight to Delhi, got a flight back to Guwahati, and got my bag from the police - minus 2 ipods, 100 EURO cash, 4 books and my glasses. I reckon the police or whoever found the bag must have taken the 100 EURO, cause it doesn't make sense for thieves to just take 100 and leave 300 sitting beside it. Most importantly, I got the discs with all my photos on them back. The ipods are gopne, but . it they can be replaced. Overall, this worked out pretty good for me. Has to be the weirdest 48 hours of traveling I've ever experienced.
  6. Conor M

    Shout Box

    Hi there tstan, make sure you go to Mostar in Bosnia, one of the nicest places in Europe!
  7. Conor M

    Shout Box

    [quote name='Cyberhippie']Feffela Gardens[/quote] Heh heh, we've been eating here every day in Cairo (which we're loving). Like you, hated Luxor, liked Aswan, except the heat was something else (45 degrees plus). Also made it to Alexandria and Abu Simbel, and a couple of other places on day trips. Now back in Cairo applying for our Indian visas, heading to Dahab on the Red Sea tomorrow.
  8. Conor M

    Shout Box

    Hey there folks, I'm heading off tonight for Cairo, gonna head back to India (finally) overland from there, hope to hit Delhi by the start of December. Cannot wait to get back, it's been well over 3 years, and I've been dreaming of those long train journeys all that time. Hope to spend 3-4 months in India this time, we're planning on heading across the north to Kolkata, and hopefully on to Sikkim, Assam and maybe Bangladesh, before heading to the Andaman's for a few weeks. After that, it looks like south-east Asia for a few more months, maybe Indonesia or the Philippines. Might see one or two of you along the way, if not, peace!!! Conor. P.S. If anyone has any tips for Egypt, don't be shy!!!
  9. Conor M

    Delhi, D'sala, Kumbh, Chennai, Andamans

    Hey there Kullukid, I'm not sure how much help I can be on the Andaman's, it's well over 3 years since I was there, and I've heard things are changing fast, but... If you only have 1 week, spend it on Havelock, because as you'll probably spend 2 days in Port Blair getting to/from Havelock, you'll only be left with 5 days on the island itself. Still worth it though, I've talked to many veteran Asia travelers who've hit all the best beach spots on the continent, and every one of them put the Andaman's right up in the top 3 beach destinations in Asia (the other name that always comes up is Palawan in the Philippines). In Port Blair, stay at the Central Lodge - it's an old ramshackle guest house, dirt cheap and very old school, but with a great atmosphere. Oh, and bring a hammock - while on Havelock, spend at least one night sleeping in the trees at beach #7. You'll wake up to the sound of crabs underneath you, and an elephant strolling past. If you're there in February or March, I might just see you then. We're planning on heading back around that time. Conor.
  10. Anyone heard anything from him lately? His blog has been down for a good few months now, last update was from Guatemala I believe. His profile says he's dropped in here recently enough, but no posts. Any news?
  11. It's an act of vandalism comparable to Bamiyan. Maybe worse, since there's no apparent possibility of salvation for the place - the Chinese government are going to build a new 'Old City' to showcase Uihgur 'culture'. From reports I've heard from other travellers who have visited China, this kind of thing has been replicated across the country.
  12. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/world/as...shgar.html?_r=1
  13. Conor M

    Booking Hostels In Advance

    You'll always find somewhere to stay. In 5 months in India the last time, I never once booked ahead. Busy tourist centers like Leh have loads of guest-houses, it's never a problem getting a cheap place to stay. Not something to worry about.
  14. Conor M

    Your Favourite Hostel?

    Hi! There are members here who have been travelling to India for decades who will have loads of great places to recommend. Still I'll start you off with a few. In Amritsar, you can stay in pilgrim dorms at the Golden Temple for free. It's one of the most atmospheric holy places in India, not to be missed IMO. In Hampi there are a string of very cheap places across the river from the main village with nice gardens, etc. In Diu you can sleep on the roof of an old Portuguese church - there are great BBQ's here every other night. Finally, in the Andaman's (recommended if you're going to India for six months), get a hammock and sleep at the far end of beach #7 - an unmissable experience. That's all from me, like I said, the more experienced members wil be along soon with some great recommendations for you. Enjoy your trip! Conor.
  15. Conor M

    Happy Birthday To You!

    Thanks guys!