That time I was silent for 10 days

Hard to believe eh? Emma Lovell! The woman who runs a business called Lovelly Communications. The constant social butterfly. Was silent … for 10 whole days! And it was one of the most profound and enriching experiences of my life.

Vipassana is the practice of silent meditation. Totally cut off from the world with no phone, in a remote location and with no words being passed between you and the others taking part in the course. I chose to do mine in Jodhpur while traveling through my favourite country, India, in 2012. It was a massive turning point and I’m forever thankful for that experience.

Vipassana class photo

Vipassana Class of April 2012

It sounds hard – it is. But actually the easiest part is not talking. To many people’s surprise, I spend a lot of time not speaking. Because of how much time I talk to people for work, I actually really enjoy quiet time alone without using my voice.

What is hard, what’s really challenging and can almost break you, is the deafening roar of the wave of thoughts that pass through your mind. Every day we block out these thoughts with work, music, tv, talking over them and basically anything to not let them surface. Without any outside stimulations, your thoughts have free reign over your mind.

But it’s not all bad! The thoughts that come, don’t have to hurt us. They can arrive to be acknowledged and be let go. That’s what Vipassana teaches you. To observe, to be patient, to address all of the things in our mind, but not to obsess or anguish over it. We are constantly moving and changing. Things will come and go. Change is the only constant.

vipassana view

My place to sit in the afternoon and just take in nature

At some point, I would like to go back through the day to day of this 10 day experience. I have notes that I furiously wrote once I was out of the course, and I actually still vividly remember a lot of it. But right now, I want to share the top 10 things I learn from Vipassana and still reflect on regularly, five and a half years on.

  • Don’t react immediately
    Take a moment before reacting – so many fights would never happen if we all took a moment
  • Breathe 
    Yes – I do forget to do this from time to time
  • Don’t let your goals get in the way of your humanity
    I was so determined to be good at meditation and be silent, that I was actively ignoring any form of human contact. You can pursue your goals and still be human.

    vipassana 5

    My room – I freaked out when I arrived to it. In the end I loved it.

  • Eat until you are 70% full 
    You can’t meditate on a full stomach
  • Thoughts will come and go
    Good or “bad”, they will continue to come and at some point they’ll leave. Letting them wash over you like a wave is truly freeing.
  • Emotions and thoughts can cause physical pain
    Holding on to your feelings, pushing emotions down can actually create pain. And letting it go can feel like freedom. So don’t hold onto your hurt.
  • You don’t need to talk, to form a bond
    This goes for cross cultural barriers to! We can say so much without saying anything and it can be so beautiful.

    vipassana friends

    I’ll never forget this little boy and his family

  • Not talking is easy
    Talk less. You’ll be amazed at what you hear, see and feel.
  • Compassion
    We never know what another is experiencing. I felt so much anger and annoyance towards an older woman who was snoring and snorting and falling asleep in the meditations. I thought “Just go home! This isn’t for you!” But the course taught me to think differently. By the end I thought “how brave, how resilient of her to continue despite clearly being uncomfortable and in pain”. I hugged her on the last day, it was one of my favourite moments.
  • Do your best
    You may not be the best in the world, but show up. I had to work at the meditation. I had to try hard. But I did it. Everyday. Show up and give it a go. That’s all you can do.

I’m grateful to Vipassana for all that I’ve learnt and I’m excited to say that yesterday I enrolled for my first refresher. Almost six years on, and I’m going to experience it again. I’m open and interested to see what I learn.

If you’re interested in doing a Vipassana course, visit the Dhamma website and find a centre near you. Or, use it as an excuse to go to India (I would!)

A day in Delhi and the road to Agra

These blogs from my India and Singapore trip at the start of 2017 are so far behind. As I’m now on my way back to South Asia, I thought it might be time to get them up! They’re written and ready to go – so here you are! I’ll also be posting everyday from Nepal – so it’s going to be a whole lot of South Asia on the blog right now.

After spending a lush night in the Holiday Inn, Delhi Aerospace, we had a half day of hectic Delhi sightseeing planned. We were meant to head straight off from Agra in the morning but the drive is just 3-4 hours. As Matt would only have this one night in Delhi, I thought it was important to see the capital of India. So, our half day tour began.


Red Fort, Delhi.

Oh, a note. Holiday Inn knows how to do breakfast! This is just the pastry bar. Wonderful service and amazing chefs ready to make you eggs any style or your favourite Indian breakfast dish. They also had cold coffee on tap – heaven!

Our first stop with our helpful guide, Sanjeev, was one of the oldest and best kept monuments in all of Delhi, possibly India, Qutb Minar. I had been on my first ever trip and on another of my stays in Delhi. I just love the structure of this minuet and also the grounds surrounding it. It’s a magnificent sight to see and once you hear the history of the area, it’s even more impressive.


This monument signifies the triumph of the Mughal empire over the Rajputs, the hindu kings of India. It was a new era and the Mughal kings wanted to make sure this was forever remembered. Construction started in 1192 and didn’t end until (date), three different dynasts added on the different parts. My partner Matt was blown away by the shape and the history of this area. I knew this was important for him to see.


We strolled around asking questions for some time and really enjoyed our time. We got there before the real crowds came. All students of Delhi at age 15 come to these important monuments as part of their schooling and history classes. All paid for by the government. I will write a blog on this area- it’s too fascinating not to. We were also quite fixated here on the wildlife. Fern squirrels (so cute!) green parrots, eagles and black kites all roaming the grounds


Next stop was Jama Masjid, the largest Mosque in India. I don’t think I’ve actually been to this site before. It was very interesting and beautiful inside the main archways. Our guide didn’t come in with us so we just roamed around looking at the architecture and enjoying walking on the stones and marble with no shoes on. We got quite a few interested looks here. The mother of this little girl asked me for a photo and I was happy to oblige. So lovely!

The mosque is situated next to Old Delhi. This is one of the largest markets in Asia for electronics. Largest Spice Market in Asia. It’s got some modern parts, but a lot of it has the older buildings and markets are still structured in old alleyways as they would have 100’s of years ago. You can buy pretty much anything here, though there are sections for particular goods. We caught a battery powered rickshaw (trying to reduce the impact on the environment) and got a quick taste of the area.


We hopped down at the Spice Market. You instantly can spell the wide array of spices on offer. Weaving through passageways past so many shops offering all the spices, nuts and sweets you could imagine. Whole stores dedicated to chilli. Another dedicated to turmeric. It overpowers the senses and definitely was an experience I hadn’t had.


We went to one store where they could explain to us the different spices and they actually had pre-packaged spice mixes. They are made by the Master Blender A. Kumar who has been visited by World famous chefs including George Kalamatis from Australia. We couldn’t resist and decided our Indian cooking adventures start now! Aloo Gobi, Butter Chicken Masala, Dal Makhani and some Mango Tea.

Our hectic tour ended at the Red Fort. We weren’t going to go in as it’s reasonably similar to the Agra Fort which we would see tomorrow. It was also difficult to access due to Indian Republic Day the following day, January 26th. We got o see some concerts going on at the fort and some of the setup for the parades near the India Gate earlier too. Here we parted with our guide and started our journey to Agra.


The road has been rebuilt since I last travelled to Agra and what was a seven hour journey can now take just 3-4 hours from Delhi. We caught the train the first time as it as much faster than car at the time and very possible to do a  day trip. WE did unfortunately pass an accident on the way which certainly had killed people. Many people stopped their cars and ran over to see – I couldn’t look even in the direction. The unfortunate result of a fast and straight road.

Highway masala - highway spice

We arrived to Agra by early evening, still in the daylight which was good. Our hotel, only built in the past two years, was the Four Points Sheraton. It was lovely and we were welcomed by our local tour operator and the manager of the hotel. Take Me To India really know how to care for their guests. Again a lovely room and a sweet welcome.


For dinner we went to Pinch of Salt, as recommended by our driver. It was certainly catering to the tourists as it was packed at 7.30pm (Westerners eat early, locals eat late.) The service was a bit odd, they seemed either distant and disengaged or there was the manager who kept creepily peering over customers shoulders to see if they were enjoying. The food was delicious, though there was A LOT of it. We enjoyed some meat which we had been abstaining from in rural parts. Very good.

Shattered again by night, we enjoyed the luxury of watching TV in the hotel room bed. I never do this at home, I’ll never allow a TV in my bedroom. Keep it as a treat when away.


Tomorrow…. TAJ MAHAL!!!!!!

If you would like to check out our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

Written on Day 10 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.


Leaving Cherrapunjee and onto the next stop, Delhi!

We have loved our time in Cherapunjee so much. Exploring the state of Meghalaya and all its beauty has been an experience of a lifetime. The travel however, not so pleasant. Be prepared in this area for long drives, winding roads and a lot of down time in the car.


We started our journey early from the hotel as it was at least a six-hour trip by car to the airport in Guwuhati. We did it in exactly six hours on the way. Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is on our route and it can sometimes take more than one hour alone to get from one side of the city to the other. Our flight wasn’t until 5pm but it’s not worth risking it.

I had planned to spend the car ride diary writing and blogging. The scenery and my sleepy head wouldn’t allow me that. I just happily stared out the window and observed the daily life of the people in this region. It was so nice to just let my mind wander. It’s something I miss about commuting by public transport at home, the time spent gazing out the window pondering the world at large.

As always with me, a toilet stop was required. Fortunately, it also offered an excellent view and was an activity point we had passed many times but never stopped. Click the photo and back in the car.


Random cows were spotted out the windows – spot the cow is a fun and fruitful game to play when driving along the roads of India.


We made good time and were able to stop for lunch much closer to Guwuhati, giving us more time for the airport if we needed it. We went to a traditional restaurant filled with Bamboo scaffolding, furniture and even table mats seemed to follow the natural theme.

When ordering, I’m trying to mix up the dishes so Matt gets to try a wide variety of cuisines. We decided in the more rural parts to go veg only and stuck with that theme. Veg Pulao (a  rice dish), malai kofta (dumplings of sorts in a crème sauce – my friends absolute favourite so I ordered in honour of her) and aloo ghobi (potato and cauliflower curry). I over ordered, or perhaps they were too generous in their servings. Either way, all was delicious and the service, as so often it is in India, was wonderful! We also got to try Thumbs Up (I love the sugary indian version of coke) and water…. Fosters water!


We reached the airport well ahead of our 5pm scheduled flight. We farewelled our lovely driver Bablu and began the hustle bustle of the Indian airport experience.

Our flight on Jet Airways was wonderful. I’ve flown them so many times over the years and I think they have to be my Indian airline of choice. Lovely service, delightful food that comes around very quickly, and comfortable seats. It doesn’t look that great – but it tastes good!


We reached Delhi and it was nice to see the familiar arrivals hall. I haven’t been to Delhi for quite some time but used to spend a large majority of my trips here staying with friends in their homes. I got to see the day to day life of Delhites. We only have one quick night here but I’ve arranged to do a half day city tour which our tour company Take Me to India kindly obliged. I think it’s nice for Matt to experience the history of the capital of India.

Our lovely tour operator Pankaj from Take me to India met with us. I cannot recommend them more highly and will continue to mention their wonderful service throughout my blog. If you would like to see a sample of my AMAZING itinerary, please do email me via the contact page. It was nice to meet face to face after so many emails and calls.


We were put up in the Holiday Inn near the airport for convenience. It happened to also be a 5-star hotel. I am not complaining! We enjoyed a bit of luxury after our humbler, yet wonderfully serviced, hotel in Cherrapunjee. We dolled ourselves up and enjoyed a few cocktails and snacks at the hotel bar for an exorbitant fee. Go on, splurge a little! We collapsed into bed, ready for the Northern part of our adventure to begin!

(Yes, the pillows even said FIRM and SOFT! Luxury!)


If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

Written on Day 10 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.

Caves and waterfalls in and around Cherrapunjee

Sleep in!! After a few early mornings and busy itineraries, we were given a luxurious departure time of 9.30am. Though we struggled to sleep past 8am, the rest was welcomed. We didn’t really know what today had in store – generic sightseeing of waterfalls, caves and viewpoints was the description from our tour guide before he departed, so we’ll see!

We’ve been going to bed so early here, it’s been awesome catching up on the sleep. But when you wake, you’re famished and eagerly awaiting the breakfast buffet at Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort!

Off in the car again. Poor Matt. He’s been such a trooper with all this driving around for someone who gets really quite motion sick. Today would be shorter stints in the car so that should help. I did ask the driver to stop on the way past this beautiful little town. It was actually the place we started our walk to the Living Bridges but from high above on the cliffs it looks like a little toy town and it makes me smile.



First stop was the Mawsmai Cave. As often happens in India, we went to look at a tourist attraction and became one. I knew people would LOVE Matt’s hair and they sincerely do. He always gets asked for photos first and as I stand back and giggle they say “Maam, Maam you please” and I’m also included in the picture.

We managed to get a break from the big group and had the narrow caves to explore all to ourselves. Unfortunately, this cave was really rather… well… dead! It has been touched, poked and walked on so much that it’s no longer living and growing. It still looked interesting but Matt explained it should be a lovely white colour and that, it certainly was not. It was wonderful having a science buff with me to explain a lot of what was going on.

We did find one other small cave which still had living parts and was a lot whiter and more vibrant. It’s nice to share these sights with people but it’s hard to ensure they are adequately respected and cared for.


Our next stop was the Eco Park. The name baffled Matt as strewn all around the place, including down waterfalls, was rubbish. It’s a big problem all over India and although the messaging from communities and local Governments is “Care for the environment”, it’s not really practiced or enforced.


Sohra, near to Cherapunjee and where many of the sights we were visiting, is one of the wettest places on earth. We just happened to be there in Winter aka the dry season. We were also informed that due to environmental changes they are not receiving anywhere near the amount of water they used to and hence some of the sights look quite different to what is advertised.


One such site was Seven Sister Falls. This is all that there is of the waterfall at this time. We weren’t too disappointed as we had been forewarned not to expect much. It’s definitely inspired me to come one time in September, soon after the monsoon to see it in its true glory.

We walked all around the park. There were some amazing views of the valley and we could see where the waterfalls and rivers would usually flow. It was kinda cool walking across what would usually be a gushing waterfall and is currently a trickling stream. There were lots of locals nearby washing their clothes in the river. Always a fascinating sight to me.

We continued on to the next attraction, another cave. Arwah Cave. Each attraction had a bit of a walk which was good to stretch the legs (though we are still in so much pain from our epic trek to the living bridges). It was a beautiful winding walk around the valley under a thick canopy of jungle greenery. We spotted another waterfall as we walked and some lovely water features along the way.

It was definitely the big cave. We climbed down into this cave which was lit in parts along the way. Matt said this cave was definitely still alive and active. There was water running through the bottom and some of the features were clearly growing. We climbed up stairs and crawled along passages. We walked quite deep into the cave and at one point I did feel a little short of breath, we were inside the hill after all. Although bigger, I liked the intricacies and shapes of the Mawsmai caves better. But interesting to visit all the same.

Our final stop for sightseeing on this day was the Nohkalikai falls. I’ll share another blog on the interesting history of the naming of these falls and some more about this area. In short, Noh Ka Likai means “Leap of Likai” after the woman by the name of Likai leapt off the falls. Grim but interesting tale. We wandered around the grounds and I did actually LOL when I saw this sign. The irony!!!



This was probably the most active of all the falls we had seen and we could only imagine how impressive it would be in the height of monsoon season. A beautiful turquoise pool of water formed at the bottom that was ever so enticing – apart from the epic hike down to the bottom. We found a small lookout which offered a better view of the falls. It also had some stairs, which we assumed led to another and better viewing platform. So we walked. And walked and walked. Instantly regretting our decision on this never-ending quest for better views.


Matt was in pain from the trek and his muscles ached so he decided running down like a lunatic would help that pain… ok.



We gave up after a while and settled for q pretty incredible view. Not too shabby. Then we walked up, and up, and up… again!!


Our sightseeing day ended at the famous Orange Roots restaurant. It’s the partner restaurant to our lovely hotel, Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort. They appear to be the most esteemed tourist venues in this area. We opted for a thali as you get a little bit of everything and we were rewarded with a tasty meal and excellent service.

They even have a bell so you can tell them just how good you thought it was. “Ring if you liked it”. So I rang it!


That brought a close to our lovely day of sightseeing. I think in all honesty we could have crammed the one extra day into the others and had two days of travel and two days of sightseeing. However, it’s also nice sometimes to have down time – something my itineraries often don’t allow.

One last sunset. One last delicious buffet meal with our gorgeous Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort staff. I just had to have a photo with these gorgeous women. Again, Athiti Devo Bava.



If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

Written on Day 9 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.

A day trip to Lake Dawki and the border of Bangladesh

Our wonderful India trip has been organised by Take me to India, a tour agency in India. While preparing for this trip, I’ve been checking out the Facebook Page of Take me to India regularly. I spotted the below post and noticed it was also in the Meghalaya region where we were travelling. I sent it to our contact, he kindly added it in and arranged all of our plans so we could add this incredible lake to our itinerary.



I got onto Take me to India after chatting to my friend who also loves India and partners with the company. I showed her the “brief” itinerary I was thinking of, she put me in touch with the local company. In one day I had back the most beautifully laid out itinerary with everything I wished for and some added bonuses. I booked it in right away!

The day started with a three-hour drive. It was a necessary evil to enjoy the beauty of the lake. Poor Matt struggles in the car so he tried to rest most the way. I took in all the incredible vistas and views the curving mountain path had to offer.


We made a stop at an incredible valley viewpoint. The way the land here ebbs and flows is spectacular. It’s so nice to simply stand and admire all that is around us.



As you approach Lake Dawki, the traffic builds. It’s clear this is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. We soon saw the stunning blue of the water and the sun shimmering across it. We then noticed the 100’s, or possibly 1000’s, of people are splashing at the edges of the lake and walking across the sand banks. There are wooden boats paddling along with happy passengers and people selling their goods on the border of India and Bangladesh.

We hopped out at the Dawki Boating area and walked down to the water’s edge. We were instantly surrounded by boat paddlers wanting us to choose them as our oarsmen. Our driver was there to assist us and guided us in the right direction, before we knew it we were in a boat and heading out across the lake. It’s a beautiful spot filled with laughter as people splash in the water. The odd holler from the armed guards at the border alerts someone to the fact that they’ve crossed over into Bangladesh without an entry permit – woops!


The waters are crystal clear. Deep aquamarine hews float across the surface but as you look down below the boat, you can see clearly to the bottom. The water fades from aqua, to green, to a loyal turquoise blue. It’s reasonably quiet out on the water and you can enjoy the peace as you float through high walled cliffs covers in lush green jungle at the top.

The boat floats towards a pebbled beach like area and the driver offers us a chance to walk around or go to one of the little pop up cafes. We take the opportunity to put our feet in the welcoming water, it looked so refreshing and cool. But no. It was bloody freezing. Icy, blood stopping, cold! Fresh is definitely one word. We soon left the water and decided to enjoy a juice in the little bungalow of a café. Not before being stopped by passing Indian tourists who wanted a picture with sir and madam.

The café owner was a hoot! I said one word in Kashi to him and he spent the rest of our time telling me about the area in Kashi language. He eventually clicked on that I wasn’t really keeping up so switched to broken English. He pointed to two little camping tents propped up on the pebble areas. “Home stay. One night. 2000 rupees. Small one. 1200 rupees.” Ohhh we said trying to seem excited and not shocked at the extortionate price to sleep on pebbles. He was very lovely and insisted we come back and tell our friends. He then wanted us to have a photo with him, but not on his camera, on ours. Matt sensed it was a marketing ploy and that we were meant to go out and share the photos of his business to the world. So, here they are! Call Nowell’s next time you’re in Dawki and stay by the lake.

We blissfully floated back with the sun on our faces and the calm waters around us. The hustle bustle grew as we approached the shores and it was back to the busy reality of India. We had a quick look at the offerings of the market – some sort of fermented cherries and Indian snacks, we passed.

Our driver then took us briefly to the border of Bangladesh and India. It was heavily guarded and I wasn’t quite sure what we were meant to do there or if we were allowed to take photos. I held my phone up and the guards didn’t seem to do much so we posed for a few pictures, looked over at Bangladesh and off we went again.

A little stop on the way home at a small home-style restaurant. We watched the cricket and some hilarious television show which would equate to “Indian Kids Got Talent” – super cute. So many restaurants here serve a mix of Indian and Chinese food. Today we mixed it up with fried rice and mushroom chow Mein. We’ve opted to stick to vegetarian only while in these more rural parts. The food has been super delicious and there’s so much variety, we barely noticed the lack of meat.


Long drive home and I was surprised how much the day had taken out of us. We arrived just after sunset and we collapsed onto the bed. We’ve enjoyed our afternoons of rest and catching up on reading without the distraction of internet and TV. Another successful day of exploring beautiful Meghalaya.


If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.


Written on Day 8 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.

You must add the living bridges of Meghalaya to your bucket list!

The day we had long been waiting for had finally arrived! We would trek to see the living bridges of Meghalaya. While watching BBC’s Human Planet, River People episode, Matt saw this place and turned to me, “We’re going to India!”. I had always wanted to take him and he said one day, but this was the push he needed and now, we are here!


We had been well warned it was a big day ahead. More than 2000 steps down into the valley and approximately a seven-hour round trip. We didn’t mind, we just wanted to see these amazing natural creations. A hearty breakfast was needed and then we set off!

From Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort it was a short drive to the beginning of the walk. It was beautiful seeing the area in the early morning light. The sky was a perfect blue and the greens o the mountain and the yellow hues of the rock really stood out. People were starting their day in the nearby village and I felt peaceful and at ease.


Off we went. Down, down and a bit more down. The stairs started as platforms and quickly became narrow steps spiralling down the hills. I noticed after about 20 minutes of walking that my legs were shaky. I thought surely I can’t be this unfit. But when I mentioned it out loud, both Matt and our guide (who has done this many times) said they felt the same. I think it’s to do with the amount of stairs and also a slight case of vertigo, eek!


We arrived to the first village which was surrounded by leafy ferns, tall skinny palms and lush tropical plants. You can see that the copious amounts of rain this area receives pays off in a beautiful thick jungle. Dogs rushed over to me as I was carrying a bagful of snacks, woops. We then were met and greeted by small children who requested we join them for soccer but we had to keep on trekking.

Down, down and down again. Matt turned to me and said “You do realise that the further down we go, the more uphill climb we have at the end?” I replied “remember whose idea this was!” Case closed. It was so worth every step to be in this incredible jewel of life. We spotted big spiders and beautiful butterflies as we continues.


We came across the first of many bridges. This one however was a suspension bridge. I’ve crossed many of these when trekking in Nepal. This one however, was a little in need of repair. Six main large cables provided the base, with three large cables to either side which led back to the cement platform at either end. A number of medium sized cables as well as small pieces of wire provided the structure. We then walked over a river and very very large rocks. I’m pretty brave, but this tested me. Especially as a large group of teens were on it just before us bouncing and jumping around – yeah, nah!

There was another suspension bridge, so much clear blue water flowing in the rivers and streams, and countless steps before we reached the first of the living bridges. We literally stumbled across it. As it’s a bridge made of roots of a tree, you could miss it if you’re not looking. It can look like any other tree with winding roots. But as you walk closer you see that the path is actually made up of the tree. Over hundreds of years the people in surrounding villages have trained the roots to climb across the river to form bridges. This is the only way in which they can cross the raging rivers in monsoon season. I certainly wouldn’t trust a suspension bridge at that time! These bridges continue to grow and strengthen over the years.

It was exciting to see the first one but the true treasure of this region is the double decker living bridge. It’s the only one of its kind in the world and it’s what attracts 1000’s of tourists every year and International documentary film makers. You must walk through a little village before reaching it. They actually have homestays here and I said if we ever come back I would 100% spend the night here – what an amazing experience!


And then… it was there!


Magnificent. Enchanting. Breathtaking.



I love this place and I’ve only just arrived. It’s amazing to see how man can live in and amongst nature harmoniously. These people love and care for these trees and in return, these trees give them access to their beautiful jungle home.

We walked on, over and around the tree bridges just marvelling at the natural construction. We walked under and through to the other side which offered another incredible view. We sat by the pool of water that’s formed from the running waterfalls and just took it all in. The sun beating down on our head and backs, the cool water at our feet and the beauty of nature in front of us. I rested my head on Matt’s shoulder and I have no idea how long we were there. I could’ve stayed there all day.


Our lovely guide came to meet us and we enjoyed some snacks by the water together. He had gathered from some locals that there was another bridge about 15 minutes walk or so away. We decided to chill a little longer and then take a look at the other bridge.

The walk was pleasant again and revealed more of the beauty of this forest with tropical flowers and plants dotting the side of the path. Unfortunately, another dodgy suspension bridge needed to be crossed in order to get to the last of the tree bridges. Over large boulders and piercing blue water, we dangled on the most treacherous of all the bridges. It was great to see another of the living bridges and actually this was a very young one and seemed to be still in growth stages.

Matt wanted to keep exploring but we politely reminded him that however far we went, we had to go back the equal distance – all those stairs. We went back across the bridges and once again marvelled at the double decker living bridge. I could spend all day just walking across it and sitting by the waterfall. It’s such a natural wonderland. If only it wasn’t so cold, it would have been amazing to bathe in the waterfalls and pools.



We stopped for lunch at the first living bridge and enjoyed a simple but tasty meal of rotis and subji (vegetable curry). We were in need of energy for the long trek uphill but we also wanted to keep it light.


Again we crossed the suspension bridges and admired the sparkling turquoise waters below. Tempted to swim but also remembering the ice cold temperatures when we had dipped our hands in early. We slowly trekked up through the lush jungle. I’m not going to bore you with all the puffing and panting, but man that was a heavy walk! We made it, exhausted, but happy.

Arriving back to the hotel at 3pm, we were pleasantly informed that the rest of the day was at our leisure. Meaning naps and reading and a whole lot of not much. I got my local lady on and hand washed our under garments – felt rather chuffed with myself. But mostly it was a necessity as the hotel will not wash “under garments”.


Walking back past the villages and up the many many stairs.

Dinner was delicious again, though we were hanging out for the 7.30pm Buffet meal time. We ate quickly, thanked our hosts and were passed out by 8.15pm. What a day!

If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.


Written on Day 7 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.

My first adventure to the North East of India

One of the hardest things about travel is the broken routine and ungodly hours for trains, planes and buses. We had a 4.30am wake up to call to get to Mumbai airport and take our flight to Guwuhati. There would then be a six-hour car ride ahead of us before we would finally arrive at Cherrapunjee, home to the living bridges.


Our Uber again had trouble finding us. Each day has been a battle with Uber. I’m not sure if it’s my app or the internet on my phone, or If the drivers just truly can’t work out where we are located. I realised quickly it’s best to call the driver … then the game of miming and broken Hinglish (Hindi and English) begins. Luckily we allowed plenty of time and the drive was quick with no traffic at stupid o’clock.


Mumbai airport has improved dramatically over the time I’ve been coming to India and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I no longer needed my print out of my ticket to enter the airport – just our e-tickets on the phone. Check in was all fine and security relatively swift. We enjoyed a way over priced coffee from Café Coffee Day and awaited our departure.


Flying Indigo airlines was great. A low cost carrier with a cheeky sense of humour. Their inflight magazine is called “Hello 6e”. Get it! I slept for half the flight and the three hours passed quickly.

Arriving to Guwuhati, I was in foreign territory. This was my first time to the North East of India and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Hindi is the national language, of which I can speak a little. English tends to be more scarce in regional parts, though tour guides and drivers are generally fairly fluent. We were met by a lovely porter who ushered us out with our bags quickly to meet our driver, Bablu, and Tour Guide, Bhuban, arranged by our tour company Take Me To India.

As we drove, we learnt from Bhuban about the area and that in fact we were in the capital city of the state of Assam. The people speak Assamese here. We would then drive into Meghalaya, of which Shillong is the capital. Ohhhhhhhhhhh. I have worked on a campaign about India for four months of 2016 and all along I thought Meghalaya was a place and Shillong a separate place. All along I’ve been saying “We’re going to Meghalaya to see the living bridges.” Not realise I was talking about the state as opposed to the place! We are actually staying in Cherrapunjee, which is the home of the living bridges. Look, geography isn’t my strong point.


I mentioned to Bhuban that it was Matt’s desire to pat a cow in India. Half joking, I said “Can you arrange that during our time?”. Next thing I know, we’ve stopped the car to meet a woman with two calves and Matt is patting them.


Our drive was filled with sleeping, snacks, chatting about the local areas and about travel in India. We stopped for a wonderful meal at Jiva Veg along the way. Beautiful restaurant with such sweet décor and a lovely view of the surrounding hills. We enjoyed two dahl dishes and naan – So so tasty. Matt has been most impressed with all my food choices so far.


Quick stop at Luke Umiam, also known as Borapaani- basically meaning Big Water. It was stunning and such a pleasant break from the drive. There are so many natural gems around India.


The views around Guwuhati reminded me of other rural parts of India I had seen before. As we climbed towards Shillong, it changed dramatically and the geography was like nothing I’d seen before. Hilltop villages, tea plantations and towering terrace houses.


We drove on and it completely flattened out to dry arid land on the top. Then it opened up completely into gaping valleys. Completely flat on the top with steep ridges then diving down into deep valleys. It looked a bit like the side of a table with able cloths flowing down the way the hills rolled and creased. It was breathtaking.


The drive was a tad sketchy as we rolled around these hilly roads. As we got closer to Cherrapunjee, we saw more betel nut trees and palms popping up, it was changing into rainforest like foliage. So lush and green. Sadly there would be few waterfalls as we are quite a way out of monsoon season now, but the weather in the Winter/ dry season is great for travelling around.

We reached the Cherrapunjee Holiday Resort, resting on top of a hill with valleys dipping down all around, it was just perfect. Modest interior with sweet décor in our rooms. The staff were lovely and welcoming and before we knew it we had tea and biscuits as we watched the sun go down.

There isn’t much to do in this area except appreciate the nature. It was just the getaway we needed! We got there just in time for sunset and it was absolute perfection.


At night, we were treated to a musical program put on by the local Kashi people. They sang adaptions of English songs as well as local Kashi folk songs. They also had a dancer who was popping and locking all over the place. Quite the show. And as always with India, we all had to get up and dance in the end. Our cheeks were hurting from smiling.

We started chatting to the other two ladies who were staying, and of course, one was Aussie! No matter where you go in the world, you’ll find an Aussie. Even the remote hilltop resorts of Cherrapunjee. We enjoyed sharing stories about India over a lovely buffet meal. By 8.30pm, we were full and tired and it was time to snuggle up on this cool winter evening and catch some z’s.


If you would like to follow our journey on Instagram, please check out @Lovellyem and search the #tag #EmmaMattyIndiaSing2017.

Written on Day 6 of our 24 Day trip in India with stopover in Singapore.