The Travel Speak’s Featured Traveler : Benifer Gandhi
Benifer shares her story with us in our series of insightful traveler stories. She is a makeup artist and hairstylist with great love for travel.
You can follow her on her Instagram profile. You can also checkout her interesting youtube channel.
Here she is sharing a travelogue from one of her recent trips to the culturally rich city of Hyderabad, India.
Introducing Benifer Gandhi (unedited)
This is Benifer Gandhi – A Makeup Artist and Hairstylist by profession and A travel Enthusiast.
From a time when i was a spinster and travelled with friends to traveling as a couple with my husband and now traveling with my family of two kids. The ways of planning a trip, the process of making choices and selecting destinations, types of hotels, etc. all have changed. The only constant has been our love for traveling and exploring new places as often as we can. The passion for travel is not just limited to me and my husband but has also percolated down to our kids. We all love our family travels and vacations. We try to constantly keep planning trips and holidays whenever and wherever we can.
Benifer‘s Travel Speak – Travelogue (unedited)
Our most recent visit has been to the city of Hyderabad. Most tourism here is business tourism. The city’s boundaries have been extending far beyond the original city – now called the Old City – to include Secunderabad and new developments in adjacent municipalities. The city has its fair share of history and culture which now seems to be overtaken by the metro image with the sprawling cafes, malls and corporate buildings. Hyderabad also provides for a great gastronomical experience for Biryani and spicy food lovers.
We were there from 23/12/2017 to 28/12/2017. We stayed at Hotel Radissonblu. It was a nice and comfortable stay. We had booked a Business class room but were upgraded to a junior suite as the previous two rooms allotted to us were either not done or had stains on the carpet. The junior suit was on a smoking floor but fortunately there was no smell in the room and there was very little smell in the corridor leading from the lift to the room. The room was of a good size with a separate living area and a bedroom. If required additional pillows, dental kit and newspaper were provided. The bathroom was large enough with two washbasins, a bath and a separate shower cubicle. There was a jetspray in the washroom which the other five stars in the vicinity don’t have. Water was lukewarm even at the highest temperature. Air conditioning was fine. Breakfast was the highlight of the whole stay. There were many live counters like dosas, parathas, puris, waffles, pancakes and eggs to order. They also had North Indian snd South Indian dishes on the spread with some Chinese variety as well. There were many donuts and cupcakes with a variety of fresh fruit juices and cold coffee along with a separate tea/coffee counter where they served masala tea and filter coffee. This hotel is not on the main road and you need a vehicle to commute from the main road to this property as it is s good 20mins walk. The hotel does provide a free shuttle to the GVK1 Mall on the main road but you need to inform the hotel prior and keep waiting fir the car to arrive as all their cars are mostly busy. Upon check in they give you vouchers of 20% off on spa facilities, but when you enquire at the spa they say it is only valid on full body massages and not on foot or head massage. Most of their staff is trainees and it shows in their level of service provided. The staff keeps expecting tips for anything and everything. The checkout was quite slow in spite of the fact that entire payment was charged at the time of check in. Overall a decent place to stay. Though would prefer to stay at a property more on the main road with better service levels, if I ever go back again.
The approach lane is extremely crowded with visitors, vehicles and vendors. Taxis generally avoid entering this lane. But you get some good bargains on purses, pearl ornaments and Hyderabady bangles here. There was a very long queue to enter Charminar so we avoided going in and instead clicked picture from outside only. It has a temple below and a mosque upstairs. Its just more touristy nothing very great to see but if in Hyderabad then must visit once to get the feel of the place. But please be careful it’s extremely crowded.
3rd stop of the day
Nice temple on a hill top, good view from there but extremely crowded. Can’t get Uber/Ola cabs up there and the rickshaw fellows just want to take you to some pearl ornaments shop for commission purpose rather then taking you to your destination.
After all this sightseeing we ended our day 1 with a grand Christmas eve dinner at our hotel’s restaurant – Chill
First stop, Salar Jung Museum
This place was so so crowded. Huge lines for entry tickets and entry. But once inside it was not that bad as the museum is huge too. There are different rooms for different exhibits. I am not a museum lover. But i still liked to view most of the rooms with quick strolls. Nice place to visit with kids and for all museum lovers.
Next Stop, Falaknuma Palace
This Palace is a little away from the main city. We had booked the High tea package at their restaurant Celeste. Had done booking 1.5 months prior to avoid any disappointment. We reached the main gate by 15.30 and were taken to the main palace by a golf cart. They also had horse carriages but were informed those are only for resident guests. The palace and its gardens are beautiful. The view from up there is awesome. The half an hour guided palace tour is nice and informative. I think high tea is the best time to visit the palace as you can see the palace and views by day as well as night. Coming on to the high tea, we were welcomed at Celeste with a non alcoholic Sangria. They served us Indian and Continental snacks on our table along with tea / coffee and choice of juices / milkshake/ smoothie. In case you need a repeat of any of the snacks, you can request for the same and they definitely oblige. There is a separate dessert buffet counter which is also included in this package. The only thing is that I didn’t really appreciate the taste of quite a few snacks and the pastry counters did not have serving spoons and knives to cut the cakes. They had to be called for. This package of high tea with a guided tour of the palace is priced at ₹3540 All Inclusive. Overall this is an expensive but a worth visit when in Hyderabad.
We ended the day with a little bit of shopping at the GVK 1 Mall.
Ramoji Film City
Today was a full day excursion at Ramoji Film City. We had purchased the Bahubali package for ₹2349/- for adults and ₹2149 for kids which included entry, travel by Ac bus with a guide, water bottles, a box of chocolates at premium AC Lounge, buffet lunch, a service of tea/coffee, 200ml juice, redemption coupon worth ₹75/- and limited queue for attractions. Worth the extra money you pay because the facilities are really good and you just don’t have to wait in the long queues for shows. You hardly have to walk. Buffet lunch is very well managed and tastes awesome. Free water bottles even during lunch. Our guide laxmi was very nice too. This place was really crowded but we didn’t have any problem as we had bought this package. Only thing is, I wish they would give some more time to explore the film sets. The bird park there is very nice with some good variety of birds. The butterfly park is just about ok. Some shows are good, some are ok. Its outside main Hyderabad so you need to hire a car for entire day to visit this place as you might get an Uber cab to go but very difficult to get a taxi for returning. We had hired a car from carzonrent for 10 hrs and the car and driver Afroz were both very nice. Overall worth a visit when traveling to Hyderabad with kids.
Reached this fort by 12pm as it takes a commute of 45 mins to an hour to reach here from Banjara Hills area. We hired a guide for Rs. 400/- as he was catering to two families the cost of Rs. 800/- was divided among two. But believe me we would not have enjoyed half as much if we had not hired the guide. He explained to us various things like how the kings used to get what signal, how the walls are made for echoing voices etc. was a nice and informative trip. We climbed the 360 steps to visit the temple and mosque there. The view up there was really nice. Overall a worth visit when in Hyderabad.
Next Stop, Lumbini Park
This is a huge park with lots to do for families and kids. Their playing areas are good. We did boating on Hussain Sagar Lake. The start point for boating is inside this Park. We took the 1/2 hr. dance and music cruise. It was nice but a bit crowded. The dance performances were decent. The ride was smooth. It takes you around the Buddha statue too. To end the evening there was a Laser light and sound show in the park. It was decent nothing exceptional but kids did enjoy. But beware there are separate lines for buying entry tickets, boating tickets and laser show tickets which is very tiring. Though overall we had a good time in the park.
And with this we came to an end of our trip to this beautiful city of Hyderabad.
But a write up on a trip to Hyderabad is absolutely incomplete if I do not mention an eatery that serve you authentic Hyderabady biryani and local cuisine. So below i will make a mention of such a restaurant that we visited during our trip.
A very famous Hyderabady restaurant since ages. When in Hyderabad you have to visit Paradise for their biryanis. I prefer chicken biryani to mutton biryani. Their butter chicken was a bit spicy but in Hyderabad people generally eat spicy food. Chicken 65 is good but a bit spicy again. Chicken sheek kabab and chicken platter is good too. Their khubani ka meetha with vanilla icecream is awesome. My husband loves their double ka meetha and icecreamsodas too. They are a multi level restaurant. We visited their first floor restaurant. Huge sitting mostly full. This place is lively even at 11pm. They have a bakery downstairs which sells good biscuits too especially like their traditional Hyderabady biscuit called Osmania. Taxis easily available. Must visit when in Hyderabad
Hyderabad has a great history, rich cultural heritage and a buzzing cosmopolitan people.
Thank you Benifer for sharing your travel story and the detailed itinerary with us. It will definitely help our readers who wish to travel to Hyderabad.
We wish you all the best. Happy travels.
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