Showing posts from 2019

2019: Whatta year it's been!

This is perhaps the best year I've had in my life! It beats 2018 by a large margin!! While 2018 saw me becoming a married man, 2019 made me a father! Father of a lovely girl!

Every single month of this year was happening! January 2019 brought the sweetest news in my life - that our family is growing bigger! September 2019 saw the new member being born!

On the travel front, this year has been the best! 24900 kilometres of journeys by bus! This is the highest ever! Trains took me around for over 7300 kilometres - the highest in last decade for sure! There were no journeys by air this year.

Just as I wished the last year, all the 365 days of this year were action packed and fun filled! I really hope the next years to come are also the same!

I have days and days to go with the cute Abhi! Thank you dear for coming into our lives!

Turning on to the new pages of the new year! I hope to fill all the 365 pages of the next year with lovely memories!

Wishing all my readers a very happy, pros…

Thrissur to Bengaluru: Suraj Holidays Sleeper

I was traveling on an off-peak day, read a weekday - this was my opportunity to try one of the many sleeper buses  on the route (they could get insanely expensive on weekends). I could also afford to be a little late - most of the sleeper buses get to Bangalore only by 0700hrs, and 'Bangalore' for most of them ends at Madiwala. Its a good 2 hours from there to my place, and I always make it a point only to take a bus that drops at Majestic or at the least, Kalasipalya. I used the same 'filters' this time as well - a drop, at least, at Kalasipalya and preferable arrival before 0700hrs. I had quite a lot of operators whom I wanted to try - all of these operators provided Thrissur town pick-up. I stumbled on Suraj Holidays while browsing for options on Redbus. This was a Volvo Sleeper coach - the new MG StarZ as well! It checked all my boxes - a new operator, a new type of bus, Kalasipalya drop and a 0700hrs arrival. I got the ticket at a cheaper price after applying a c…

Chennai to Thrissur: Raahath 'Celeste' Volvo Sleeper

This was a prefixed booking - I did not really think beyond this operator as I looked for tickets to travel from Chennai to Thrissur. In fact, I did not find the other options very inviting, and opted to keep them for the next time! The rates weren't very high at that time, and I booked the ticket without a second thought. I took a single lower berth, as usual. The boarding point seemed quite away from Koyambedu bus terminus - a link to the location on google map was provided on the ticket.

November 30, 2019:
It began pouring down as evening approached. I had a tough time returning to my hotel room from the university - it was puddles of water all around, and I had to dodge all of them to get into my room. I thought the rain would subside - but it didn't. It continued raining on and off till late in the evening - it was still drizzling as I checked out of the hotel. I had to have my dinner - but reaching the nearby restaurant wasn't easy! I managed to get into the restaura…

Bengaluru to Chennai: DreamLiner AC Sleeper!

DreamLiner Travels has been on my radar since quite a long time. Every journey of mine to Chennai has been an experiment - I've tried my best to review a new operator on every opportunity, except at times when I required a guaranteed arrival time. This journey to Chennai was also dedicated to try a new operator - DreamLiner is not a 'new' operator, as such, but a new operator for me. This operator has been consistently receiving positive reviews, and they had a bus at a timing that suited me, plus a pick-up point that was convenient to me. I compared on a few OTAs, and finally booked my ticket on redbus - the incumbent leader, and my personal favorite off late.

November 29, 2019:
I had originally planned to take a public transit bus from near my office, and then walk down to my pick-up point. The pick-up point address was a little confusing, and made me think of a different place. But then, google maps helped out with the actual location - it appeared a little longer than …

Chennai Quickie: Back to Bengaluru on TAT 'Celeste'!

I had searched for my return ticket the previous evening itself. I wanted a sleeper bus, and looked at almost all options for that, departing from Chennai after 1230hrs - on the hope I would complete my work in Chennai by that time. Curiously, almost all the buses were filling up quite soon. I wasn't sure I'd finish my work by noon - and not wanting to take chances, I decided to book on the first departure that evening. As it should happen, the buses I was targeting were sold out or had berths I wouldn't fancy traveling in. After looking at almost all the options, I finally booked a single lower berth in the Thirumal Alaghu Travels Volvo B11R 'Celeste' Sleeper coach.

November 25, 2019:
My work at the university completed earlier than I had anticipated. I looked for options to rebook - even if that meant losing some money as cancellation fee. I wasn't able to find better options - either seats weren't available, or had seats that I wasn't interested in! …

A Chennai Quickie: RKK Volvo B9R!

There was this urgent need to head to Chennai - it was a quick 30 minute job that I had to finish, but I wasn't sure if it would finish in 30 minutes. I wanted a bus that drops me in Porur - so my options were down to RKK and asianXpress. I had booked on asianXpress last time - but the bus was cancelled and rebooked on an earlier departure. I didn't wan't a re-run this time, and opted to try RKK instead. RKK had this departure at 0445hrs from Madiwala, which would drop me in Porur a little before 1000hrs. The timings were perfect for my purpose. I booked a seat without much thoughts - the bus was quite empty when I booked. My experience with RKK last time was really good, and I didn't have much doubts about the operator when I made this booking.

November 25, 2019:
The bus was to depart at 0445hrs - the pickup point was about 30 minutes from where I was put up that day. A lake breached the previous evening, and the entire neighborhood was inundated the previous evening,…

Pune to Bengaluru: Orange Travels Volvo B11R Celeste!

Orange was my first choice as I searched for tickets for our (I and my gang) return from Pune, after the conference. I did look at the alternatives, but found Orange the most convenient. The tickets were booked about two weeks before the trip - we booked lower double berths towards the middle of the bus. The remained empty till about two days before the trip - I was a little tensed seeing the bus remain empty, since I didn't want to get stranded.

November 18, 2019:
It was a lazy day, punctuated with a really heavy lunch, from Raaga. The bus, Orange Travels, is usually parked only a few kilometres away from our hotel accommodation. However, while booking the tickets, I had selected a different point (since our hotel wasn't booked yet, then). I wanted to know if we could change the boarding point - and waited for the message containing the bus details to arrive. The message came, and the GPS tracking showed the bus was quite far - at the Volvo service centre to be accurate. The …

MSRTC 'Shivneri' Scania: Return to Pune, from Mumbai!

November 15, 2019:
We were still on the Volvo from Pune to Mumbai, when we decided to reserve seats for our return journey as well. It was a Friday, and we were to return a little later in the night. I reserved our return tickets through the MSRTC website, on a bus departing from Dadar at 2030hrs - we needed a bus that went via Chinchwad (most other buses go via Aundh) as well. With confirmed tickets in hand already, we had about 3-and-a-half hours at our disposal in Mumbai.

So we get off the 12-coach EMU at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and slowly walk out of the station, slowly walking towards the bus station. We found the place from where buses to the Gateway would depart - purchased tickets and joined the queue for the next bus. We headed to the Gateway first, then to Marine Drive. We remained around until about 1900hrs, before taking a quite ice-cream break, and then to Churchgate, from where we took a local train to Dadar. After a quick pit-stop we rushed towards …

MSRTC 'Shivneri' Volvo B7R: To Gateway of India, from Pune!

November 15, 2019:
After getting off the Karnataka Sampark Kranti Express (read here), we headed straight to the food court. After leaving the luggage there, in custody of my other colleagues, I headed to the ticket counter to get tickets for the connecting train to Chinchwad, where our accommodation was booked. After a little pushing around, and acrobatics, we got into a Lonavla bound Local train - sitting around the window seat, as the train hurried towards Chinchwad, somebody in the group asked the question -"What about heading to the Gateway of India?" (I think it was me, well, could be!) I looked at possible trains - and in fact, this plan actually was born after I spotted a train from Chinchwad to Panvel on a third party train tracking app.

All the members of our contingent approved the plan to head to Mumbai - to see the Gateway of India! We decided to book a ticket on the train - the IRCTC website didn't list the train for some reason. After a bit of searching ar…

Yeshwantpur to Pune: Karnataka Sampark Kranti Express

The Brochure for this conference in Pune came quite some time back. I ignored it back then. As the date for the conference came closer, grew a desire to attend this event - the travel lover in me badly wanted to break free from the regular route of home to office and back. Four more colleagues joined in when I put the plan to head to Pune. So a total of 5 of us were traveling, and taking the train was the first call. I prefer avoiding trains when traveling alone - it gets boring when traveling alone in a train. With a gang of 5, it sure would be fun! We looked at all the options available, and finally decided to book on Karnataka Sampark Kranti Express - primarily for two reasons, confirmed ticket availability and a early drop in Pune. We booked tickets in 3A - thankfully, the tickets were together as well.

November 14, 2019:
The train departs at 1355hrs - meaning I had to leave from office by 1200hrs, at the latest. I had two hours of classes in the morning, which eventually got canc…

Chennai to Bengaluru: UST AC Sleeper

I just came out of the University, and like luck would have it, a bus to Koyambedu turned up soon after I reached the bus stop. And it had plenty of vacant seats too! I grabbed one right behind the driver and started searching for tickets to return to Bengaluru. I had a little work the next morning, and hence looked at buses departing at noon or later. I wanted to try some new operator - so most of the older players were out of the race. I stumbled up on UST Bus as I looked for options on the app - they also had the single lower berth that I was searching for! I quickly grabbed the berth - applied a coupon that was provided, and bagged some cool discounts.

UST Bus, or Uma Shankar Transports, is a new operator on the route. They offer AC sleeper buses on the route - they operate a day service during weekends in addition to their regular overnight services. They operate a pair of AC Sleeper buses - built by Veera Vahana (Model - V7) on Ashok Leyland TF1812 Chassis. They claim to offer …

Bengaluru to Chennai: TranZking AC Sleeper

I was undecided about this journey. I had to reach Chennai on November 1st - I was a little confused if I must reach there the previous night, or take an overnight bus, or take the early morning bus from Bengaluru. The first option was among my foremost choices - for the fact that I could sleep well overnight and appear fresh for the program that I had to attend. I searched over for options for a late afternoon or an early evening departure - a long weekend coming up meant high fares and poor availability in highly rated operators. I stumbled upon a vacant single lower berth on TranZking a day before the journey - a completely by chance finding, and I guess this turned vacant by somebody's cancellation.

October 31, 2019:
After a busy day at work, including an hour of theory lecture and a lot of running around for some administrative work, I walked out of office a little past noon for an early lunch at a restaurant nearby. I booked a cab as I finished my lunch - he took a while to …