Friday, 27 February 2015


TianZiFang , Shanghai

Tian Zi Fang is a really beautiful arts and crafts enclave tucked away in the old French Concession area of Shanghai. Tian Zi Fang consists of a series of 3 alleyways lined with little cafes, art studios, bars, restaurants and boutiques. It’s a really nice place to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon strolling through the narrow alleyways and hunting for trinkets in the road side shops. There are a lot of antique stores and boutique’s which have been set up by local designers which offer some unique products. Shopping is generally expensive but much cheaper when compared to the high end stores in Xintiandi.
Streets of TianZiFang Shanghai
Narrow Streets of Tian Zi Fang
I went to Tian Zi Fang on a rainy Saturday afternoon by metro got down at Dapuqiao station. The entrance to Tian Zi Fang is little tricky to find, just follow the crowd and you should not have a problem. Once you step in into Tian Zi Fang you see an endless array of shops and if you look up the old shikumen style architecture is clearly visible.
tianzifang Shanghai
One of the many colourful boutiques 
After spending 3 weeks in Shanghai I was craving for some Indian food. While scouting around Tian Zi Fang, I found a nice Indian restaurant called Lotus Land. It was a little expensive but the food was awesome.
Shikumen style buildings
TIAN ZI FANG Travel Blog
Vintage styled restobar 
Famous wall of Mailbox art TianZifang Shanghai
Famous wall of Mailbox art 

tianzifang, shaghai
Sidewalk Cafe 
tianzifang shanghai
Boheme bar tian zi fang
Beer Window at Boheme Bar
There are quiet a few interesting restaurants and bars inside the Tian Zi Fang maze. My watering hole for the day was Rambler Bar . The place was very lively and the drinks were reasonable. I tried a  few local beers and a potent Long Island  Ice Tea. The barman at rambler was a friendly guy and I would highly recommend the place.

Long Island and Tsingtao Beer
Fred the Barman

Sign Boards at TianZiFang
Candy Pills 

Street behind TianZiFang
Trinkets from TianZiFang

The metal knight I got from one of the street vendors, she was asking for 300 RNB but I was able to bargain and get it for 150 RNB. 

Places close by :
  • Jing’an Temple Line; take the orange line and get down at the station by the same name .Jingan temple is a beautiful Buddhist temple in the centre of the urban Shanghai
  • Xintiandi is a popular tourist spot and high end shopping area close to Tian Zi Fang

I recommend going to Tian Zi Fang in the evening and it would take you about 2 hours to explore most of the lanes and shops. Stick on till sunset when the small restaurants are lit up giving the place a cozy romantic ambience .From the well-preserved Shikumen style building to the quirky little shops and watering holes; Tian Zi Fang was one of the most interesting places I visited in Shanghai and it is a must see destination.

Sunday, 22 February 2015


Coconut Lagoon is a beautiful eco-resort set in the backwater channels of Alleppey. The resort is built on the banks of the largest lake in Kerala, the Vembanad Lake. Beautiful sunsets, cruising house boats and approaching monsoon clouds are some of the amazing sights you get to see from the banks of Coconut Lagoon.

Coconut Lagoon Resort Kerala
Canals and Bridges
The grounds of the resort are criss-crossed with canals and footbridges and dotted with white bungalows and two-story mansions build in authentic Kerala style architecture. Most of the woodwork found in the resort were taken from old houses that were being broken down and then resorted back by master craftsmen at the resort .

Coconut lagoon Travel Blog
View from the main reception 

The bigger villas have their own private plunge pools, and the open-air restaurant is reassembled from parts of an approximately 300-year-old Kerala home.

The two storied cottage we stayed in 

CGH Earth Resorts
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The resort is accessible only by boat, from one of two pick-up points along an adjoining river. The above photo is the view from the main reception area

Things to Do
  • Cruise around the backwater channels of Alleppy and see how people live their daily lives in houses along the water
  •  Try the local Kerala cuisine, if you love sea food you will be in food heaven .Pearl Spot (Karimeen ) is the fish to try 
  • Coconut Toddy is the local drink and its a must try.Sweet and flavourful toddy is tapped from the coconut tree and is collected in a mud pot. Juice collected turns into toddy after 4 hours of fermentation 
  • Ayurveda massage and treatment are a speciality of Kerala
Kerala Travel Blog

Kerala Travel Backwaters

Kerala House Boat

Coconut Lagoon is perfect for a quiet relaxing holiday with the family. We had a relaxing with good good, a cruise on a house boat, plenty of time at the pool and watching a Kathakali show arranged by the resort 

The true beauty of Kerala is unveiled during the monsoon season when the landscape turns lush and green and its also the best time to visit Kerala.

Vembanad Lake

More than anything else in Coconut Lagoon the thing that makes this resort stand out from the rest is the hospitality; polite and friendly staff always trying their best to make your stay as comfortable as possible with a smile.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Manapad - The Hidden Treasure

Back in 2011 I spent 2 months in the small port town of Tuticorin for work . On the weekends I used to go exploring the villages and beaches close to Tuticorin with my camera. I visited Ettappan Palace, the famous Tiruchendur temple, Kanyakumari, Rameshwaram and Manapad during my stay. Out of all these places I visited Manapad stood out for its History, Gothic styled churches, virgin untouched beaches and the beautiful Portuguese villas.There are 3 iconic churches in Manapad as shown in the image below 
Manapad Church

History of Manapad

In the year 1540 a Portuguese trading ship travelling around the Cape of Good Hope , on its way to the East got caught in a terrible storm .The hind mast of the ship was damaged and the sales were torn ; fearing for the lives of his crew the captain of the ship made a vow that he would construct a cross from the broken mast and plant it on the shores of where ever they landed .After drifting for several days the ship washed up on the shores of Manapad.
Holy Cross Church Manapad
Holy Cross Church built on top of a Cliff

St.Francis Xavier

St. Francis visited Manapad in 1542 and he took abode in a cave .He had trained 2 youngsters (Anthony and Augustine) to assist him in performing Holy Mass. One day Augustine found Anthony lying on the beach motionless frothing from the mount and a cobra slithering away from his body .Feeling no pulse he called out to St.Francis who came and bless Anthony’s lifeless body and asked him to get up .Much to the amazement to all who had gathered Anthony got up and went to assist St.Francis as if nothing had happened.

Tamil Nadu Travel Blog
Altar of the Holy Ghost Church
Holy Cross Church Manapad
The Holy Cross Church with the Lighthouse in the background
Manapad Lighthouse
Holy Spirit Church and the Manapad Lighthouse 

Surfing In Manapad

Manapad has an unique coastline that is formed by multiple layers of lava accumulated over hundreds of years. This gives Manapad the rare distinction of witnessing the best wave formation throughout the year.So, Manapad is one of the best surfing sites in India.

Bay of Manapad
Bay Of Manapad
Fisherman Mending His Net
Chapel By The Sea
Excited to get their picture taken 
The Town Centre and Little Samson 
 When I visited Manapad in 2011 other than the beautiful churches and beaches there was nothing else in Manapad . But now I hear that surfing has really picked up and there is a nice B&B for travellers to stay (Villa de Joseph). If you are travelling to popular destinations in South India like Chennai, Madurai , Kanya Kumari etc come down to Manapad; you wont be disappointed !

Places of interest around Tuticorin