Weekend destinations from Seattle -4 (Olympic National Post)

Olympic National Park is on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in Pacific NorthWest. This is a place where you can plan a day trip, a weekend trip or several days trip. You will not get bored. You can go to this wilderness park to stroll the rain forest with its massive trees, lush vegetation and Roosevelt elk or hike the mountains amid marmots or head to ocean to see tidepools, this place is one destination for all your needs.

To start this journey its better to visit the visitor center first where you can get below copy of map. Also you can buy yearly passes for all the National parks in US.

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Start early so that you can cover maximum places in a day if that’s your motive. Also if you start late there could be trouble in finding parking place. After taking this map and below one we covered mostly destinations in increasing order or miles:

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Elwha River :

We went to Elwha river to visit Madison creek falls which is famous destinations if you search for best places to visit in Port Angeles. This is a very small and beautiful waterfall hidden in the woods. We kind of expected it to be little more but nevertheless this was not that bad. Check out below picture

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Madison Creek Falls
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Elwha River

Hurricane Ridge:

After visiting Madison Creek Falls we went to Hurricane Ridge which is the No 1 destination for tourists visiting Olympic National Park. This is very beautiful place and you will feel like you are walking on the clouds after reaching there. This place has spectacular views, the ones like which is seen in Bollywood movies where anybody can fell in love. Check out the pic below:

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Hurricane Ridge
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Hurricane Ridge

Lake Crescent:

Our Next stop was Lake Crescent. By time we reached , Lake Crescent it was lunch time ,so we had lunch at Lake Crescent resort which was OK experience partially because wait time is lot as we had to wait to almost 2 hours before having lunch. It was overcrowded because of only restaurant there and prices were little on higher side. But we enjoyed the food. If we talk about Lake Crescent , it was beautiful experience. Water was very clear and one can sit there and enjoy the nature . Very famous Marymere falls which is start of the rain forest is is very close by i.e. around 1.5 miles. Checkout the pics:

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Lake Crescent
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Marymere Falls

There are other places to visit in Olympic National park which one could visit of going over weekend like Hoh Rain Forest or Dungeon Spit in Sequin. But we had visited only these places in one day. It was a worth every penny trip.

Weekend destinations from Seattle -3

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Washington State Park- Anarcotas

This is a great park to visit and for family picnics. There is a picnic area near beach where one can bring snacks/lunch and have picnic with the family and also the loop which is 2 mile stretch to walk and enjoy the nature around. You can cover the loop in your vehicle or by walk to cherish the nature.

Beach area in the park:

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Park does not have any entry fee or parking fee. It is some 1.5 hours travel by road from Seattle. Below is the directions:

It has a large boat launch and very nice campground there are many trails in the deep forest and along a few miles of waterfront.You can look for sign boards to find campsite and loop road.

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Weekend destinations from Seattle -1

Washington is surrounded by ocean views, mountains, hiking and natural scenery. To make your weekend stress free and have great driving experience , below are some places which can be visited from a Seattle over a weekend or even a day trip:

BainBridge Island — > 35 minutes by Ferry from Seattle

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Bainbridge island is full of nature where one can visit museums full of art, walk around Bloadel reserve and wine tasting. This place gives you the feel of rural life. If we take ferry from Seattle , it just costs you $8.50 per person both side and around $19 for carrying your vehicle in the vessel, which seems pretty reasonable for the awesome day out. While visiting Bainbridge island , check out below places:

Bloadel reserve: To visit bloadel reserve from the ferry terminal , there is a bus which goes every 1 hour and drops visitors to bloadel reserve or we can take private taxi which costs around $20 each side.  Take coupon code from the information kiosk for this place which gives you $2 discount on $17 entry fee for per person for two people. Above picture is the best scenic location in this reserve. This place is highlight of the BainBridge island. There are very less sign boards at the place so people generally tend to loss a way but they give you map for the place at ticket counter.

Bainbridge Island Museum of Art : This place is very near to ferry terminal and at a walk able distance. Entry to this place is free but this is must visit place if you are an art admirer. Below is the sample of bird feather art from the museum :

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II Snowqualmie Falls>>>>>

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Travel Tips and tricks which can be useful…Have a look!

Going for a leisure trip or for work out of country, below tips may help you plan your trip well in advance.

  1. Check for the appropriate travel Insurance: Countries like US where medical expenses are too much , you need to be sure to plan your travel insurance appropriately before travelling short term or if going for longer period than a week or visiting family members there. But having said that it is an additional expense and can be considered burden at first thought but it is must. Though one can look for cheap options online for same. Travel Insurance protects your plans, property and health, so you have the peace of mind to focus on making memories.
  2.  Do laundry before travelling: Always carry clean laundry with you because it is not easy to find laundromat in foreign countries sometimes. Keep extra pair of undies just in case of emergency. Or you can use hotel soap for cleaning your clothes.
  3. Always carry first aid kit: You should carry some medications with you for emergency like pain killer or ibuprofen, decongestant, NyQuil, bandages, hydrocortizone cream. You never know when these things come in handy.
  4. Taking clean water with you: If you are going on road trip, you can keep bundle of clean water in your car as at some places you may find it tough to get water. Or even if going by plain you can carry small water bottle with you and save some pennies.
  5. Try to carry the bags with the wheels : Keep yourself light while travelling. Try to bring the bags which have wheels so that you can slide them. Try to keep your hands free as much as possible.
  6. Tip housekeeping staff at hotel: It is always good practice to tip housekeeping staff. This increases their morale and sometimes they can help you with extra tips and facilities as a good faith. Good rule is giving them tip daily after housekeeping job done like say $2 a day, you can keep it in the room with note.
  7. Take care of your money: Carrying little extra cash while travelling is good idea but don’t keep all the cash at one place. If you loose your wallet keep some money in different bags so that in case of theft extra you are not completely broke.
  8. Make a list of stuff you want to pack: It is a good practice to write down all the things you want to pack with you for trip. While packing do tally the stuff with the list to avoid last minute rush or mistakes.
  9. Make sure your credit card works outside your country: You can call your credit card company before travelling and make your credit card works where you are going. Additionally put travel alert on your credit card to avoid any mishaps. Also take down the international customer care number of your bank.
  10. Make photocopies of your passport: Either keep scan copy of your passport with you in email and keep copies in your bags. It can be also very useful to give one copy to friends and family at your place before going. This should be done to avoid any major problems in case you lose your passport in travel.

These are must points to take care  on my travel list which  I have learnt over the years. If you guys may have more..share with all of us in the comment box.

Going for visa interview in Chennai– Visit these places in your spare time

chennai-heroshot-image-659700Chennai previously known as Madras, is a 369 year old city and a capital of Tamil Nadu state in India. Chennai is famous for many things like Kollywood (Rajnikant) , IT hub, Visa Office, beaches, Cultural and heritage sites, Bharatanatyam etc. We visited Chennai during our visa stamping and had some time to roam around the city. While in Chennai we observed that this city really reflects and sticks to its culture but also having a very mixed population. Chennai is generally very humid place so summers can be really harsh there.

If you like Idli/Dosa, your taste buds will be really satisfied having great food there, although its little different than Karnataka version of Sambhar. Because we were there for just short time and had 1 day to spend, we visited below places while in Chennai:

Marina Beach

This beach is must place to visit if you are visiting Chennai specially in summers. You can go there in evening and enjoy your family time there. The beach is not very clean although but in hot temperature like Chennai’s it really gives you good time in evening. There are plenty of local vendors for food and some rides horse also. So on the whole you should visit there for the long walk on beach and enjoy the view as this may not be very good beach if you are going for swimming purpose.

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Mahabali Puram

Mahabali Puram is very close to Chennai , I guess it took us half an hour to 45 minutes to Mahabali puram. It is known for its incredible architectural inventions. You will find old heritage temples and shrines in this city which are really an amazing specimen of Indian architecture. You can see the sites there like Shankaracharya Seer, Mahishasurmardini Caves, Shore Temple, Krishna Mandapam, Arjun’s Penance and Panch Rathas. You can find private tours/guided tours from tripadvisor etc sites but those are generally a day trip so we booked Ola to visit the place as due to limited time and he charged us some Rs. 500 approximately. All in all this is must visit below , check out the pics below:

Shore temple

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Rock art at Mahabali Puram

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Bangalore..Garden City Or Silicon Valley of India..What to expect while travelling?

Bangalore..Garden City Or Silicon Valley of India..What to expect while travelling?

Bangalore

Once upon a time Bengaluru aka Bangalore, capital of Karnataka was a called a Garden city because it had so many trees around and weather was always pleasant but Is it same today?? Although temperature trends are changed in Bangalore due to development and trees being cut, still it is more greener than so many other states in India

Bangalore is developed a lot in last 10-20 years in terms of employment, IT and business. Media has given the name “Silicon Valley” to Bangalore in around 2000 looking after the growth prospects of the city. It is now a biggest IT hub in India. It is a cosmopolitan full of people from different states/cultures in India along with big shopping malls and world’s best cuisines.

So what should a person expect when travelling to Bangalore:

Travelling inside the city is really a pain at times as Bangalore’s traffic earns quite lot negative impression. So plan your travel..try to travel between 11:00 AM to 4:00PM , which are  comparatively less traffic timings. Avoid certain routes if yu can like Silk Board, Tin Factory etc.

Places to Visit:

Wonderla Amusing Park : Wonderla is a place which is fun and thrill. There are numerous rides and all are good. They have a very good water park and worth spending time there. Wonder Splash is very good ride which you must try.

ISKON Temple: If you want to admire the building and Krishna’s gold idols then this place is good and really a worth visiting place. I am not sure I find this place more commercial than a place where I will go to find peace. You cant even go close to the Ironic but true that Radhe Krishna idol for praying if you dont pay. There are different perspective’s though. One thing I surely like about ISKON is there Akshay Patra program.

UB City: If you want to spend money on High end brands than this is the place for you. This is good for window shopping also :p Apart from that they have nice terrace and view is good. Worth visiting even if you don’t want to spend big bucks.

LalBagh: If coming to Garden city, you must visit LalBagh . This garden is always green and clean. They organize flower shows during Independence day and Republic day which is must visit.

Cubbon Park: This park have lots of trees and lot of Bamboos, huge park. People generally go there for post and pre wedding shoots because of the very good natural views. You can cycle around the garden and feel the fresh air.

comm Street

Commercial Street: It’s worth to visit here, there are many thing to see, to buy, to try, to experience.You can find everything here from high end luxury items to cheap fashion jewelry. You can easily spend a day in Comm Street. If you want to do shopping for occasions or Indian weddings than this is the place..

I have lived in Bangalore for around 7 years and I totally loved this place…. Share your thoughts on this place….

Moving to USA from India…U should read this…..

The reason for craze in most of the Indians to move to US is because no doubt USA is one of the most powerful countries in the world and dollar remains the strongest and most influential currency from decades. It is believed that working in US will advance our career as US is almost more than 10 years ahead of India. So what points should be taken care before moving to US.

Set your priorities right before moving to US

It totally depends on your goals that why do you want to move to another country leaving his/her own country. If your priorities are earning good salary or visiting lot of new exciting places then this is place for you. But the lifestyle here is lot different than back in India. So if you are a kind of person who always want to be surrounded by family and friends then don’t come here alone it can be really lonely place for you.

Here are few differences you may find after moving to US

Cultural differences: I found Americans are very friendly people whereas you may find it difficult to get mingled with Indians staying in US :p. There are few cultural differences in US than in India as People here really mind their own business and don’t interfere or show interest in others life which is sad but true about Indians. Mostly all successful people here have worked as drivers/baristas/word as delivery boys or something similar at one point of time in there life so your work does not attach a status taboo to you in US. Indians are mostly family oriented people but Americans are generally individual oriented society.

Job Opportunities: If you are not moving through your employer to US and coming on dependent visa say L2 EAD , then it might be tough for you to get the job in US. First preference for jobs given are to the citizens or green card holder which is obvious, second is given to H1 B holder and last preference is given to L2 EAD. Also it largely depends on which place are you in US. E.g. I had experience in a technology which is totally obsolete in a place where I live. So either you should be ready to study and upgrade your knowledge or stay at different locations where you find a job.

Food: You will find all type of food in US from Chinese to Thai to Indian as this is land of mixed cultures. In meat , generally people prefer having beef or pork here. If you are vegetarian you might have hard time finding good food as there is nothing called vegetarian here. Either your are vegan which is nothing related to animals or meat eater. But yes the good part of outside food here is you can customize it as per your need, so I being vegetarian generally orders with comments like “Without meat”.

Cost Of Living: If you don’t convert dollars to Rupees before spending on anything which is general tendency for new comers then inflation is pretty much in check here as compared to India. Rest it also depends on which state/area you are living in US as we are living in Seattle downtown and paying rent for 1BHK (in 2017) $1600 whereas my friend staying in Ohio is paying $2000 for 2BHK.

Above article is my thoughts only …share your experiences/thoughts….