Imagine a place where you are standing still.

All that’s around you is greenery.

There are calm winds creating a soothing sound.

You do nothing but get immersed in this moment.

This moment is of nothingness.

Sometimes doing nothing is good.

 

Arwa farms is one such place which has all of the above. This is the brainchild of ace photographer Fawzan Husain, a photographer who has been in the corporate industry for almost 2 decades capturing moments commercially and also in Bollywood. He now has created a place that’s organic, nature friendly and perfect for those who like to unwind with a calm environment away from the city.

Capturing a moment of the man who himself is awaiting to click that perfect shot

 

The meaning of Arwa is “Pure”. As the name suggests, Arwa Farms is as pure of an environment you’re bound to feel in or around Mumbai. You can find this farm 15-20 minutes away from Dahanu Rd station. For Mumbaikars, this should not be more than a 2-3 hour drive away. On the first look, you can witness the house being made using the bare minimum of non nature friendly materials. Using bricks, wood and every other nature friendly material, this place has been created.

 

There are many rooms which can accommodate a group of 4-5 in a single room and also a separate room for couples. They have an open space on the ground floor and also on the first floor. Both the open spaces are amazing, windy and perfect for playing games, huddling up and sharing stories and also having a drink and enjoying your dinner.

Fawzan explaining how the manure is made!

The area of this farm totals to 7 acres. Yes, 7 long acres of greenery, plantation of lemongrass, dragon fruits and pineapple, different leaves which are good for your health and many more. The manure is created here on the farm and utilized for growing everything. Most of the food you get to try has been grown on the farm itself. Having unpolished food, salt, sugar etc was something I only experienced back in Mangalore. It was nostalgic for me to be here and remember my home town.

When someone will ask me, what’s the hot topic about this place that makes me visit it instantly; I would say “There is nothing here”. Only those who are like minded would not only understand but also rejoice to visit such a place. There is no air conditioning and television. The network connection fluctuates all the time. If you like to connect with nature minus technology and leisure, this is the place you ought to visit. My stay here was nothing less than exceptional. Fawzan was an amazing host. In the farm daily, you can find him with the workers helping around with the farming. His creation is a way of giving back to the nature and that’s what I adore. It takes a lot of passion and will to take so much effort.

To make a booking for stay;

Address – Arwa Farms, Chari Village Ashagad,
Near Hardik Farm, Dahanu Road, 401602
Contact – +91-9820298876 / +91-98202 70423
Cost – INR 1800/- person per day with complimentary breakfast (free for kids below 6 – check for availability while booking) 
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The mystery of the Shared Bathroom:

It was the 9th of March 2018 when my parents and I decided to go for a well deserved vacation. This would be the first vacation we’ve had in this decade which would cross 5 days! Yes, we did miss my younger brother Cleon who’s studying in Hobart. We chose to visit 2 cities in Thailand I.e. Bangkok and Pattaya. The vacation would be for 6 days.

Firstly, my parents are not those who like traveling. But they know I love the world and I know they love me. Hence, they chose to get out of their comfort zone and join me for a new exploration. Bangkok and Pattaya was a revelation of sorts for us. A new country always brings in discoveries that we uncover with each moment. There were few such moments that I’d like to share with you guys today.

People in Thailand will work hard. They will do a task which might look easy or boring to you but they will do it with the utmost sincerity and wouldn’t care of what people think. I saw very very few beggars and every other person was doing something. They either sold daily household items, fruits, coconut water, fish items and some would buy stuff from a wholesale market and get a small area on the road nearby to sell those items. For me, that’s a lot of good intent to earn.

If you’ve been to Thailand and you’ve gone shopping (for sure you did!), then you also must have noticed that everyone, whether it’s the owner of the stall/shop or the people nearby; they are always eating! Yes, they always do. We were surprised to discover this. It’s possible that since the stall is open all day hence they don’t get to move around much.

Also, the people there are very open minded. Few hotels there have the concept of a shared bathroom. A shared bathroom is where for every room on a floor, there is one dedicated bathroom. At one time its possible for 4-5 people to use it. My parents did not react much but during their visit were more accepting of this. It was because of the people and their clear behavior.

Finally, Please do not be surprised to find a woman entering and cleaning the men’s restroom. That was a culture shock for us and we took some time accepting it until being told that this was normal for them. Be it a hotel or a mall, mostly women are the ones who are assigned to cleaning the toilets for both men and women. My first experience of the shared bathroom was that when I was peeing, there was a woman who entered. We both shared a glance and post that she started with mopping the floor. Well for a moment there I was like a blank page. I laugh when I think of that moment.

This post has been written as part of a #BloggerContest via Lufthansa Airlines new initiative called #SayYesToTheWorld

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For the last part of the series I have listed down an itinerary that can help you plan your stay in Bangkok/Pattaya. Since I went on spontaneously, some aspects fell in place but some places needed planning. I did lose out on time and hence would want others to get the most out of their trip. Here’s the itinerary that can help;

Day 1 – Tuesday (Arrival at Bangkok Airport)

My first suggestion to you is to go to Pattaya and then come back to Bangkok so you get more time to shop and also it would take you less time to get to the airport.

Considering that you arrive early morning, I would suggest you to take the Airport link metro. The 7th stop from that metro is called Ratchaprarop. You can get off from there and take a Tuk-Tuk/Metered Cab/Uber which should not cost you more than 100-150 THB. This would take you to Ekamai Bus station. There are buses plying to Pattaya every 30 minutes. The bus is semi sleeper fully air conditioned and very comfortable. The cost of a ticket would be 108 THB per person. The journey would take 2-2.5 hrs.

Probably you would be in Pattaya by say 3-4pm. At the bus station, there are sharing tuk-tuks that charge anything between 50-70 THB per person depending upon how far your hotel is. Reach your hotel and get some rest.

Around 6pm, one of you can go off to get tickets for the Alcazar/Tiffany’s cabaret shows. The shows last for 1.30 hrs and cost anything between 600-1500 THB per person. Go for one or both and have dinner anywhere on the beach road. There are lot of food stalls outside and also McDonald’s/Pizza Hut/Burger King and many Indian restaurants. Walk around the beach for a while and check for packages if possible. There are many shops that provide different packages for major attractions in Pattaya. Check if the costs are better than you going directly by yourself. You can decide your next 2 days and what all you can see.

Day 2 – Wednesday (Roam around Pattaya)

Try to begin early like 9 am.

Visit the Pattaya Floating market. As per the package you’ve taken you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the market. Roam around and witness a new style of a market.

Post that while the car will take you back, ask them to drop you off at the Underwater World where there’s an underwater aquarium. The tickets when bought directly are 500 THB onward. If you go via a package, you can get it for less and also that would include travel to your hotel. Basically, on your first day itself it would be wiser to choose all your packages so you can save money and time.

Next you can move towards the Art in Paradise. Tickets for that are 400 THB per person. You’ll surely be in here for 3 hours as there are over 100 3-D portraits and you can pose for all of them funnily and capture many memories.

Post all these 3 activities, take some time at the beach and catch the sunset view at the beach. Go for a swim or just laze around. Decide on your package for the Coral Island tour for the next day. This would take more than half your day (9am to 4pm). I have mentioned more about this on my previous post (CLICK HERE)

Day 3 – Thursday (Coral Island Tour)

The tour will take up more than half of your day. Once you’re back from it at 4pm, rest.

You can roam around the rest of the day and if you still want to check out some place, then try “Ripley’s Believe it or not” OR “Sanctuary of Truth”. Roam around the beach area and try exploring the place and the food.

Day 4 – Friday (Head to Bangkok)

There are buses that go from Pattaya bus station to Ekamai in Bangkok. If you leave early morning like 8am then you should be in Pratunam before 10am. Settle at your hotel and explore the MBK mall. You can also go to the Grand Palace where the royal family used to reside. The ticket price for that is 500 THB per person. But the place is worth it. There will be a lot of tourists but it’s manageable.

Rest in the afternoon. At 6pm, head over to Neon market which is on from 6pm-12am. There’s also a lot of stalls ahead of the Platinum mall which is a 2 minute walk away from Neon market. You can shop there too. If you want to check for more options then head towards Indra Square. These 3 places will have a lot of shopping options for you.

Day 5 – Saturday (Bangkok Shopping)

You can begin your weekend by heading to the Chatuchak market which is only at the weekend. There are 15000 stalls here and you are bound to find whatever you need. The place is really huge so take your own sweet time and roam around.

Once you’re done there, come back and rest for a while. In the evening you can again go to the usual shopping places and get a massage. At midnight, head to Chinatown (mostly for females) as there is a midnight market where there are handbags and earrings sold at really cheap prices.

Day 6 – Sunday (Last day in Bangkok) 

You can begin your day by packing up and keeping your bags ready. At the most if there is any shopping pending, then heading over to MBK mall, Indra Square mall and even Chatuchak market is cool. Check out times usually is around 12-1pm. So shop and come back by that time. Head over to some good food stall to have the local thai food for one last time before you move to the airport. As usual, you can head over to Ratchaprarop metro station and reach the airport within 30 minutes for 40 THB per person. It is better to reach the airport 3 hours prior to your flight time as the immigration line is usually long. It takes a lot of time.

Conclusion:

The itinerary here is a time to time based one. You don’t need to do these in order nor do you have to do all the activities mentioned. I’ve made this so you can benefit and plan as per this. Not wasting time will always be a plus point. Hope this helps.

For checking our my previous posts from this series;

1) Bangkok Diaries – Part 1 (Transport)

2) Bangkok Diaries – Part 2 (Living in Pratunam)

3) Bangkok Dairies – Part 3 (Living in Pattaya)

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