Top 5 Places to eat in Mumbai

India is famous for food and you are literally spoilt for choice here. It’s not like the indian food selection at home, 4 curries and a couple fo veggie dishes, here you have to first choose from qhich region you will eat- then if you’re having dry or sauce, arghhh it’s difficult. Let alone the fusions of chinese and indian food, and the wide variety of continental offerings.

So I have made it easy for you based on my last visit and some of the delicious food I had out. These places also had a good atmosphere or dining experience.

1. Apoorva

This is my favourite restaurant in Mumbai by far! I have been there on 3 seperate visits to Mumbai and never let down. I went with my badipapa (indian grandfather_ in 2006, with my lovely tour guide Sheila in 2009 and with my adopted family in 2010. The crab is incredible, lobster curry, romali roti and delicious desserts. Iced tea will cool down the spicy curries and leave you feeling refreshed. It’s also a great venue, in a lovely area of south Bombay, a small narrow restaurant with a split floor. Sitting upstairs gives you a feeling of exclusivity and it’s quiet away from the street. Oh this is the best!!,+Mumbai,+Maharashtra,+India&cid=1237501599775209450



2. Sai Sagar

South Indian food is here!!! I love Idli/vada/samba/chutney! haha i woke up in the morning and said to my friend, Sai Baba, I need south indian breakfast. Turns out this place is  just around the corner from him. Bargain prices, amazing tasting food and a great real indian vibe. This is a locals restaurant, so you know its good. And at 10am, the place was packed!! We had delicious cold coffee to cool us down. We also had the crispy rova dosa!! aloo masala of course. Ohhhhh now I’m hungry!!,+Maharashtra,+India&cid=2906052382303329392


3. Shiv Sagar

This is the perfect place to eat for a hearty lunch! Pav bhaji is a specialty here!! It’s samall buttery hot buns, and then you are given like a vegetable stew and you fill the little buns and eat them like a sloppy joe, or runny burfer. Yummmmmm. Serves with lime, onlions and also different veg if you prefer. Great value and nice Air con section.



4. Leopolds Cafe

Leopolds really doesn’t need much introduction. This is the most well known cafe in Mumbai to foreigners. Located right in the middle of the tourist district and on the main road colaba causeway. A fantastic vibe is always going off in here. Now made more famous by the devastating terrorist attacks on 26/11 2008. The bullet holes from the shooting are still in the walls as a reminder of the tragedy. There is great continental, chinese, indian and italian food here. this is a must on your sightseeing trip.

5. Mumbai Times Cafe

Mumbai Times Cafe is a funky, cool and chilled out restaurant and bar. With 2 levels and open roof terrace, you can feel a peace away from the bustling shopping streets of Bombay. Great snacks like spicy chinese. Sheeshah for those flavour smoke lovers! And plenty of vodka redbull for all. Downstairs there is a beach like feel with sand all across the floor and a boat in the room. the building itself is like a converted warehouse and has a great rustic feel.

Oh and the menus are newspapers!!! Clever huh


Happy eating!




Rajasthan Tour Guide

VVS! The best tour guide in Rajasthan

I met VIjay in 2009 when travelling in India. He was our tour guide for the day in Jaipur. VVS was extremely knowledgable, friendly and informative. He was patient, provided valuable advice and made the experience very enjoyable.

His guests on tours have been so happy with him that they often send him pictures of their tour like below:


My friend Paul recently went to Rajasthan and met with Vijay and took the tour of Rajsthan with me upon my recommendation. It’s so great to know someone that you can rely on when travelling in a new country.

To Book Vijay, contact him:






He also maintains great communications with his guests:


As I am traveling with some very important group whom I was recmmended by some of my fellow travellers friends.
The tour is through some of the best places and hotels of India. 
The city of Maysore, Ooty , and on the way we pass through the some of the famous Tiger century of South called Bandipur and mundamaly .
Infact we were able to see some elephants family it was so great , I was excited to share with you.
This place Ooty had great past of Maharajas and British Lords and their polo,parties and hunting.
The Hotel we are staying Saway is great.
The Colour women use in sarees and silk is also Great realy liked by western people.
Tomarrow going to 100 years old toy train.and than to Cochin the ancient trading city of trade root to India by sea.


Top 5 Countries I miss the MOST

There is a time for travel, and there is a time to work . The time now is work time.

Don’t get me wrong! I love living in Sydney and being here with friends and family and exploring my city. But there are also some countries that are in my heart that I miss terribly throughout the year and CANNOT WAIT to get back to.


India has not just been a place I have visited. It is  a country that now rests in my heart. I can honestly say I think about it every day and I’m just so excited that I get to go back again in December this year. To taste the curries, to party in Goa and to laugh again with the wonderul, warm and kind people of the country.

Sunset in Goa


Mexico, tu eres en mi corazon. This is very wrong. haha This in literal translation says Mexico you are in my heart, but they don’t say it like that. Mexico is fun, vibrant, interesting, complicated and diverse. It’s rich in culture and extremly proud of it’s heritage. The people are fantastic and I really felt at home when I lived there. Quiero ir a Mexico pronto. I want to visit Mexico soon.


England will always be my second home as my family lives there. I feel a strog sense of self when there and can really relate to the country. I love the history of the country as it is so much older than my baby country Australia. Whenever I hear a pommy accent, my heart instantly melts and I become nostalgic and longing. Ello ello ello!


Ich liebe Deutschland. I visited Germany in 2006 for the first time and subsequently reuturned twice more in the one year. I was lucky to have good friends spread out in many cities in Germany but I really found the people I met there to be so friendly. The food is amazing and I crave it constantly. It’s carb heaven! Prestzels, Knudle, Liebkuchen, Stollen, Magenbrot, Weiss wurst and the best breads you have ever tasted. Oh and of course, BEER!

5. USA

I know this may seem like a funny one to add as some people think that the USA is a lot like Australia, but they couldn’t be more wrong. Our cultures are completely different, as are the histories, the diversity of people and the food. I must admit, I don’t miss the kilos that I piled on there whilst eating the junk food. But I do miss the interesting and surprising places that I visited. USA is HUGE and there is so much more I need to see! Also, one of my favourite people in the world, my Cuz Bill lives there!

So my Top 5. I hope to get back to all of them this year.. but we have to wait and see!

Dreaming of India

You know it’s time to dust off the travelling shoes and start planning the next trip when your favourite destination is popping up in your dreams.

The other night I was dreaming about being in India with my Indian family. In their home, in my Indian sisters room. Laughing together. Enjoying the sites and taking in the sounds. I really felt as if I was there! The best part, My mum was there too! She got to experience the country I love so much.

India is a country that engulfs you. You don’t see things in India, you feel them. You don’t smell the flowers, your senses are awoken. It really is a place that once experienced, never leaves you.

I cannot speak more highly of this incredibly diverse country and I cannot wait to get back there.

Some of my favourite things, that I truly miss right now:

  • Sailing in Bombay in front of the magnificent Taj Mahal
  • Tasting the sweetness of Gulab jamun
  • Laughing with the people
  • Thanking the people for their kindness, Dhan ya vad
  • Cooling off with a Kulfi
  • Sampling the spices of Goa
  • Roaming the grounds of the Taj Mahal
  • Late night Butter Chicken Roti Roll
  • Dancing Bangra style at the Sangeet
  • Smiling, laughing and crying tears of Joy!
  • Wearing a Sari and feeling like a queen
  • Eating amazing Lobster Curry at Apoorva
  • Viewing Jaipur from the Amber Fort
  • Patting an Elephant in the Streets of Agra
  • Watching the Sunset over the Gateway of India, Mumbai

So check it out:

Incredible India

Nature’s Show at Nagarkot

Sunrise on a mountain top with the Himalayas glistening in the morning light behind you. Could anyone ask for a more spectacular view? At Nagarkot mountaintop just outside of Kathmandu you can see this spectacular sight.

The day starts at 4.30am in Kathmandu. Either by private tour guide, tour bus or by your own transportation (Taxi’s are relatively cheap) you can take the journey. It’s a 32Km drive east of Kathmandu, reaching the picturesque district of Bhaktapur.

A slow and steady climb up the mountain path in the darkness is an intriguing journey as you strain your eyes to see what is happening in the quiet, early morning world around you.

Reaching the top of the Mountain at approximately 6am, you have plenty of time to choose the best point for viewing. There are 3 options. The lovely little Tea house to the far left is a small and quaint little place with a stunning view of the sunrise to the east. The other option is to stand on one of the outdoor terraces of the Club Himalaya Nagarkot. The views from this lovely hotel are stunning and if you can’t stand the cold on the winter mornings, go inside for a nice hot breakfast and incredible view.

If you are looking for the complete package, you should head to the Tower view, the highest point at Nagarkot. From here there is a stunning view of the Indrawati river valley to the east. The area has an elevation of 2,195 meters, so you are sure to see all of the amazing surrounds of this valley and the villages that are nestled within the hills. The tower is a simple structure with coloured flags flowing from the tip to the ground, reminding you that you are in the Buddhist following country of Nepal. Apart from the tower, you have an unspoiled 360 degree panoramic view.

I must warn, that it’s not always sunshine and clear views. The morning I went up we unfortuantely were surrounded by a thick fog and the clouds were continuously rolling in and out obstructing our view. Despite the cloudy weather, we had glimpses of the famous Himalayas behind us and were able to sneak a peak at the tip of Everest. As the light begins to cover the area and it seemed as though the sun had risen, we began considering heading back to the restaurant. Then all of a sudden a little ball of red pops out from the clouds and for 5 minutes slowly rises to its heavenly position looking over the earth. Some will get a better view than this and be able to see clearly for miles around, others won’t even get to see the suns glory. On that day though, we were lucky enough to be guests at one of Nature’s most stunning shows.

The fog quickly took over and you realise that thegrand spectacle is over. With freezing fingers and cheeks we shuffled off the mountain top and took the short drive back down to the hotel for a steaming hot buffet breakfast.

A lovely idea is to reach Nagarkot the afternoon before and this way you will get both the Sunset and the sunrise. The Club Himalya Hotel is a little piece of luxury in this natural setting with a pool, spa and spacious rooms decorated in Nepali style. There are also other hotels dotted down the hill but for the full experience, I recommend this one. It’s also possible to walk to the Tower from here.

On your way back down you will see the Nepalese Army training and it’s no wonder the Gurkha army were known as the best in the world. These guys are extremely fit. For example, running up the mountain with a fellow soldier sitting on their shoulders. Look at the picture! You have to see it to believe it.

Nagarkot is a must see when in Nepal and it can be very cheap if you drive up on the same day and come back. You can also make the most of your journey by stopping the Ancient City of Bhaktapur, one of Nepal’s 4 remaining kingdoms.

If you need a guide, contact the wonderful Shadev Panday. We met this delightful gentlemen on top of the mountain. Speaking English, Spanish and Nepali and with a deep knowledge of Nepal, he is the perfect guide.

Mob: 977 9841 348750

Sunrise is generally around 6.30am in the winter months, so make sure you are there nice and early.


Tickled Pink by Jaipur

How one can visit Jaipur in the North of India and not be delighted by the pretty pink city is beyond me. The fort nestled on the rocky mountain range, the elephants meandering down the streets and the palace resting on the lake are splendours which must be experienced when in India.

During my recent visit to India I was told on the afternoon I arrived that the next day a tour had been arranged for Jaipur. Would I like to attend? Well I’m not going to say no! So 7am the next morning 20 of the guests for the wedding we were there to attend headed off to Jaipur.

A mere 7.5 hours later we arrived. It is no easy journey and with a large bus trying to navigate the traffic out of Delhi and onto country roads, it is bound to be a lengthy trip. I would suggest spending at least one night, if not two, if you can afford the time. The best way to do the trip is actually as part of the Golden Triangle of Rajasthan, Delhi, Jaipur and Agra.

We had a lovely buffet lunch at the Trident Hotel located in the more modern part of the city. Apparently arriving this way is like coming through the back entrance and the correct way is to arrive in the old pink city via the lake. We were met here by our Tour guide Vijay (V.V.Singh, details at the bottom) who explained the wonder that is Jaipur.

As I mentioned, it is better to go through the old city first as I was expecting to be dazzled by pink everywhere and was rather let down when the city looked like any other Rajasthan city. The more modern part of the city is actually one of the fastest growing cities in India, and is expected to take over Bangalore in terms of Business within the next few years.

Jaipur is known as the pink city because in 1853, when Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted in Pink color to welcome him. Still, the neat and wide avenues, painted in pink provide a magical charm to the city. I must say, that it is more of a terracotta colour but it still stands out and maintains a lovely them throughout the city, making you feel warm and welcome. The city was founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II, a Kachhwaha Rajput, in 1727. Jaipur is the first planned city of India and the King took great interest while designing this city of victory.

We made a quick stop at the phenomenal palace with a speedy tour through the great archways, painted buildings and intricate and elaborate gateways. I must admit that I was more interested in taking photos of the fabulous buildings at the time with the afternoon sun illuminating their colour. For this reason, I did miss a large part of the tour and have asked Vijay to send me more information about the interesting life that went on here hundreds of years ago. Most palaces in India,especially Rajasthan, have now been turned into museums, hotels and function centres to continue earning wealth for their royal families.

After fighting our way through the crowds of hawkers and sellers, we were back on the bus and driving past the incredible lake palace. Insert gasps and expression of awe here. The palace on the lake is the true Gem of the city that is famous for it’s jewels. Afternoon is also a lovely time to see it as the water is a deep blue and the building lights up with suns golden rays.

Our last stop was at the Amber Fort in Amber 11km from Jaipur which was the original capital of the Raj who founded the city. The fort is made of brilliant white marble and vibrant red sandstone giving it a striking appearance in its high place on the mountain. A jeep or elephant ride up to the top through the narrow lanes and along the rocky path is the only way to get up there. Once there, we again had our guided tour through the Incredible fort which is till in a great condition. There are rooms, museums and many viewpoints from which you can see the entire area which the fort protected. Monkeys are also present at this site so hold on to your bags!

The view from the top through the delicately designed windows and frames is breathtaking as the sun begins to set. The dessert colours are a brilliant contrast to the white and yellow buildings dotted over the hills.

Once we were finished here it was back to the old city to visit some textiles and material outlets. The cloth wasn’t particularly cheap and we had already seen some fantastic shopping in Delhi. With limited time, this was the best we were going to get. We next went to an emporium of Jaipur arts and I was tempted to buy a swinging chair worth $7000 US. The small matter of me not having that much money did not stop me planning how I would get it home, but it did somewhat hinder the purchasing process. Alas, I will have to return to Jaipur for shopping next time.

As we waited for the stragglers of the group to finish shopping we heard the sounds of a marching band. I was familiar with the musical sounds drifting in the evening air and shouted to the others ” A wedding procession is coming”. We ran to the street to find over a hundred of the grooms family dancing, singing and clapping as they walked him to meet his bride. This is traditional of Indian ceremonies as is it tradition to invite anyone they see on the street to join. Next thing I know, I’m thrust in the middle of the circle of women dancing with the many relatives of the groom. I was then asked to pose for photos and introduced to the proud grandfather who hugged me and thanked me for joining in. A typical day in India it seems, but a genuinely unique experience for us foreigners.

It was a long trip home again and we only managed to reach Delhi at 2am in the morning. Again I suggest to stay at least one night in Jaipur to truly take in the magic this city can sprinkle into your trip. Well worth it though and glad to finally have seen Jaipur after hearing so many good things over the past 5 years.

For the best private tours in Rajasthan, contact Vijay:

(V.V. Singh)
+91 98290 64199

For bookings and more information:

Goa- Bus About for the Day

Goa, India is famous for its many beaches, party atmosphere and tropical vibe which set it apart from the rest of the country.

Goa has long been a popular destination for residents of the UK due to the amazing package deals for Hotels in the popular northern beaches. The only problem with picking up a package deal is that you may end up spending your time in only the tourist hot spots or in the lap of luxury of the many 5 star hotels.

Goa is also a popular tourist destination for Indian Tourists and as such a lot of activities, restaurants and tour companies are catering to the budgets of both category of tourist. As I was staying in the more residential area of Vasco City, I took a tour starting from this region and was able to experience the Indian Tourist side of this state. The Tour company did say that they get European tourists coming over from the 5 star hotels of the 5 star beaches as well and of course they welcome that business.

On my tour it was myself, 15 Indian men, driver and tour guide- I prepared myself for an interesting day, which in turn delighted me.

Tour No. 2 was of North Goa and cost 160 Rs. (Approximately A$4.00)


Starting Point: Reliance Tours & Travel Office, VASCO

Vasco: City nearest to the Harbour, Ports and the Airport.
-Commercial Businesses here and local residents. Closer to the water there are some hotels and about 15 minutes drive there are some great little beachside restaurants, namely JOHN SEAGULLS at South Quider.

Panaji City: The capital of Goa. The Old Palace of the Adil Shah is located here and serves as it’s secretary. The River Mandovi runs through and it is the main river crossing point with a Ferry for vehicles and people.

Stop here in the morning to purchase tickets for the Swastik River cruise which departs at 5.45pm, 7pm or 8pm daily. Tickets are 150 Rps. for all guests. The ticket included 3 Indian cultural dances, a Goan regional dance, Country Goan dance and Portuguese. There is also great music with live singing, DJ and the hosts try to include everyone by having dance sessions for kids, couples, men and women. A lot of fun.

Aguada: This area is famous for the Aguada Fort, Aguada Jail by the sea and the Taj Holiday Resort. There are also Dolphin spotting cruises.

(Cruise is a bit of a stretch of the imagination. Picture an 8 seater low riding long boat, rudder and smoke putting away out the back with life-jackets optional.)

The 1 hour boat ride goes into the bay of Aguada with views of the Diamond House (owned by a wealthy businessman), Aguada Fort, Aguada Jail, heavy tanker ships and if you are lucky, dolphins. We were “lucky” to see 5 dolphins. In my view seeing 4 dolphins bobbing up and down occasionally whilst 14 boats herd them around the bay is not exactly lucky. This actually left me feeling a little sad. The tour is 200rps (usually 300 Rps, special price for the tour.) But if given the option I would suggest taking a walk around the bay and the area for an hour rather than dabble with destiny by stepping into one of these boats. It was an experience none the less.

Aguada Fort is a great site, but very hot, so make sure to take lots of water and a hat. Need about 45 minutes to get a good look around here as there are some stunning bay views.

Vagator: Picturesque beach

We stopped near here for lunch at a great restaurant with low prices and lots of traditional Goan dishes (seafood is the best here.) Our guide Santosh informed me that they choose a restaurant such as this as they are catering to Indian Tourists, so they must be mindful of the expense of things. Food was good and it was a peaceful area, no complaints here.

Vagator Beach and Little Vagator. There are two sides to this beach, to the left is for the Indian tourists and to the right is for the European tourists. I would not usually approve of this type of segregation but for the comfort and privacy of both cultures, it works here. I know that I look different (being blonde and blue eyes) so my different looks can attract quite some attention, so it was nice to have a beach dedicated to privacy and solitude. Deep grey sand, bungalow restaurants and bars plotted along the beach, private shoppers with thousands of garments who sit and show you all their wears and cows grazing along the beach. Not your everyday beach but a lovely peaceful spot. I would recommend staying in Vagator.

Anjuna: Popularly known for its hippie vibe and great bars.

We decided to have more time at Calangute Beach, so skipped this one, it is scheduled in though.

Baga Beach: Again we didn’t make it, but very popular for its nightlife. Mambo’s and the Cape Town Café have great vibes and good music.

Calangute: Most popular beach on the Goa Circuit.

Everything you expect from a tourist hot spot you can get here. Cheap shopping, markets, ice creams by the sea, great bars, Jet Skis, Parasailing along the beach and ridiculous beach balls and spades you will never fit in your suitcase. An interesting mix of Indian tourists, locals, European and western tourists, persistent shop keepers and activity sales man. If you don’t like crowds, random chats with Indian shop keepers and loud tourists- don’t go to Calangute. It is definitely worth a visit and there are quieter hotels and resorts only a short distance away to escape the intensity of the streets.

Panaji City: Return to Panaji City for the 5.45pm River Cruise- great views of the rice paddies, coconut palms and village life on the drive back.

VASCO: Arrive back at the office at 8pm.

A very full day, but great value and a lot of fun. Santosh our guide was great and explained everything to me in English as well as answering my many other queries about Goan life. I definitely recommend taking a tour with Reliance Tours & Travel to see another side of Goa.

To book on the tours or receive more information, contact:

Reliance Tours & Travels

Travel Agent & All India Tour Organiser (Approved by Govt. Goa Tourism)

Located: Opposite Railway Station


GAO (403 802)

Tel 2501107, 2501690, 2511666

A wonderful guide is Santosh Amonka, HELBER TRAVELS

 +91 9923240824