By Sudha Mathew
I was recently featured in LocalGuiding, a US based website that promotes local experiences across the world. This was for an article on the top things to do in Bangalore for a tourist. The interview is reproduced below. I hope this helps both residents and visitors discover Bangalore tourist attractions with a new perspective.
Who are you, where do you live and what unique experiences do you offer?
My name is Sudha Mathew and I run http://www.goseekandhide.com a website that offers tailor-made holidays at unusual hotels in India. We combine our specialist knowledge with attention to detail and passion for travel to craft unforgettable holidays for our guests.
What does your city offer that you can’t find in other places?
Bangalore has great weather through most of the year unlike most Indian cities. Known as the Silicon Valley of India, it is a laid-back yet cosmopolitan and vibrant city so it serves as a good entry to ease into the chaos of India.
What is the best season to travel to Bangalore?
October to February
What to do if it rains once in Bangalore?
You could visit an art gallery, see a Bollywood movie, have a great cup of coffee at a coffee shop, eat hot crispy pakodas with masala chai at a roadside eatery. If you have a free weekend, you could be relaxing deep within a coffee estate with a freshly brewed cup in your hand within a few hours from Bangalore .
Where in Bangalore can you relax best?
Bangalore’s moniker is Garden City because of the numerous neighborhood parks. The city’s largest ones, Cubbon Park and Lalbagh are nice places to walk or read a book. It is also known as Pub city as it was the first Indian city with a pub culture. Try old favorites like Windsor Pub, Guzzlers, Tavern or the new microbreweries like Biere Club, Toit and Windmills.
Where to eat really well in Bangalore?
Eating is something that Bangaloreans love and you can eat well at any budget in my city.
Brahmins, MTR, Koshys, Mangalore Pearl, Shivaji Military Hotel and VV Road (Food street) if you are adventurous
Too many to list but my favorites are Kudla for seafood, Rajdhani for an elaborate vegetarian multi course spread, Toscano for Italian
Caperberry for molecular gastronomy, Edo for authentic Japanese, Grasshopper for a romantic meal seven course meal in a garden
Use http://www.zomato.com/bangalore for detailed listings.
In which subject are you a local expert?
My area of expertise is discovering small, intimate and charming holiday accommodation that are not a part of the regular tourist circuit, which enrich both the visitor and host with every vacation. I personally visit and review each property before adding it on my site.
How did you become a travel expert?
I quit my banking job to start the travel business because I wanted to do what I was really passionate about – the cultural heritage and architecture of my country.
What do you enjoy most about your travel job?
I enjoy connecting people to local communities, sharing stories and seeing them discover a world outside five star resorts and hotels.
What do you do apart from showing people your country?
I read a lot, write a bit and try out new cuisines.
What does local travel mean to you?
It means meaningful and respectful interactions with the local community through hotels run by or in close effort with the local community, buying from local craftspeople at a fair price, being respectful about local customs and not leaving any litter behind.
What is a typical custom of your culture?
Atitithi Devo Bhava – The guest is like God. We usually try and feed you till you burst, so beware.
Is there a cliché about your city? And is it true?
Bangalore is a laid-back city and that cliché is true. The earliest opening time for most shops is 10.30 am.
What do you recommend to travellers to put in their bag when they make a trip to your country?
A sense of humor, lots of patience and sunscreen.
Which place do you want to travel to the most?
Havana and Myanmar are two places that I am currently dreaming about.
Tell us your personal recipe for a perfect day in your city.
- Early morning walk to Ulsoor lake and Cubbon Park.
- Alternatively, take a guided walk around Victorian Bangalore or Traditional Bangalore and learn about the history of my city. Try Bangalore Walks.
- Typical South Indian breakfast at Vidyarthi Bhavan or Brahmins in South Bangalore
- Wander through Gandhi Bazaar and experience one of the city’s oldest market areas. Buy trinkets at dirt-cheap rates if you like.
- Walk to Bull Temple, a 16th century Hindu temple and pay your respects to the majestic monolithic Nandi (holy bull) statue.
- Have an elaborate thali lunch at MTR, Lalbagh or if you prefer beer and biryani then try Samarkand on Infantry Road.
- You need a nap after that kind of lunch
- Chill out and do people-watching at a cafe.
- Shop for silks, antiques or souvenirs at MG Road or Commercial Street. Or browse through a vast collection of used books at Blossom Book House on Church Street.
- Catch a live performance over drinks and dinner at B-Flat or Chowdiah Hall or a play at Ranga Shankara. Use Indianstage.in for listings.
You can not leave Bangalore without - having a plate of piping hot idli-vada and filter coffee or buying a Mysore silk sari.
This was originally published in LocalGuiding.
What do you think of this article about Bangalore’s attractions? Did I leave something out? Please feel free to add your recommendations in the comments below.