How to Reach Great Wall of China – Mutianyu Section and Tips for stay in Beijing

Visiting the Great Wall of China was high on our bucket list, but we never got a chance to be there.  Last December, we got that chance. We had planned our new year in Japan and managed to squeeze in a couple of extra days to do a stopover at Beijing just to see the Great Wall of China.  The best part was, the journey was almost free. The stopover route Mumbai – Beijing – Tokyo – Mumbai, turned out to be cheaper than Mumbai – Tokyo – Mumbai!  And so we jumped on this opportunity.  I will be writing a separate blog post to cover this hack. Also if you qualify for the China 72 hour transit visa, it’s a great advantage.

Great Wall of China Stevan Noronha Blog

So on Christmas day, we took a flight for the first leg of our tour, from Mumbai to Beijing . Beijing was brutally cold on arrival. Not the best time to visit this city. There was heavy smog and hardly anyone was outdoors. We stayed at this fantastic 5 star property (ranked 10th best in Beijing)  New World hotel Beijing at Chongwenmen district. Check my review here. They even upgraded us to a suite. The location was just perfect. Easily accessible to all the major sightseeing locations in Beijing including Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and the Summer Palace.

Image of our Suite at New World Beijing Hotel


Despite the harsh climate, we were focussed on our trip, to the Great Wall of China next morning and we hoped that the weather would be better

Since we had just a day to visit the Great Wall of China, we had done extensive research, and carried notes to ensure we don’t lose much time and lose our way. And this blog intends to share all that information, so that it makes your journey hassle free and more enjoyable.

I would like to mention that the details presented in this blog, are for the trip we undertook in December 2015, so there could be a possibility of changes when you travel. Do check for latest updates on other websites too.

Now there are three main areas to access the Great Wall of China

Travel: Top 10 things do to in Srilanka over 3 days (Colombo, Kandy, and Nuwara Eliya)

(This post was written in October 2015)

We celebrate our anniversary in September, and it was time to take that much needed mini vacation.  Due to hectic schedules, we could not plan anything in advance. We were toying on the dates when we received a great a great promotional offer for Colombo tickets we plunged into it.   We have a history of planning trips last moment, and this time was no different. We decided to do a quick, 3 day trip to Srilanka. We had hardly a week to plan everything, so it was pretty hectic but exciting nonetheless.Srilanka

Thanks again to Trip advisor and the numerous blogs about Srilanka which helped us plan our itinerary.

Since we had limited time, and based on the feedback we could gather, we decided to spend minimum time in Colombo, and head straight to Kandy, the cultural capital of Srilanka. Besides Kandy, we included Nuwara Eliya (little England) for our trip. It was action packed trip with lot things to do. Ideally should be done over a 5 day period. However, since we are used to packing in so many things in so little time, we went ahead with it anyways.

Hopefully you would find the itinerary and the tips  useful for planning your own vacation to this beautiful country

 The details

To maximize the time we had for this holiday, we took early morning flight. This one landed in Colombo at 5 am and then we then headed to a hotel closeby and for a short nap and woke up around 8.30 am. Headed straight to Kandy.

Travel : Top 10 tips for first time Tokyo ( Japan) Trip

After celebrating previous New Years Eve in London and New York, this time around we were looking for a different experience. Japan was not really in our consideration set, when we began planning. However as we did more research, (during the same time we watched the movie, Lost in Translation), our interest in Japan grew stronger, the possibility of experiencing a different culture was exciting.

Top 10 tips for first time Tokyo ( Japan) Trip

After having spent 2 weeks in the awesome country, I am convinced that Japan should among the top 5 countries to visit around the world. However the reason it’s not there currently is simply because Japan does not promote itself aggressively. It’s not their culture to promote, but I have to admit once you are there, they will give you the experience of a lifetime.

Japan is not an easy country to travel, language is a barrier, travel is bit tough,  roads don’t really have names, food is different and the big cities are terribly crowded and have a complex travel system. So you need to plan well if you are to really take advantage of what Japan has to offer.

We did a lot of research ( we had only two weeks since we planned this last moment), and based on our travel experience, we thought about putting together a primer on the Top 10 tips for travel to Tokyo, Japan. We start with Tokyo since we spent most time in this city and we shall soon share tips for other cities we visited.

Three Learning’s to help deal with Tough Situations:

(This post was written over a two months period so there may be continuity errors. I will keep updating on the progress and correct the errors. For now just uploaded the rough draft)

Last two month were pretty tough – both physically and mentally. Two of my family members were in and out of the hospital, a relative was injured. Professionally, we had  three key people resign from our company. We also  lost some big orders which we were pitching for.  And if that was not enough, I ended up injuring my wrist during exercise -put me out for eight weeks. That’s more than the typical share of bad news you expect for a eight week period!

Stevan Noronha : Dealing with Tough Situations

Isn’t it always the case, that when one bad thing happen, many follow in quick intervals. And this just makes the whole scenario look so bleak. And I wonder why it happens, and what can we really do about this.

Of course we have no control over what happens. But our approach to these events, make a lot of difference in how we are able to overcome such a situation. Over the last few years, I have become stronger in handling such events and therefore through this post would like to share key learnings which helps me get over such a period. And I’m sure you too may have experienced such situations.

Here are three important things you should be aware of, which can help you tide over such situations

Why Not to Judge at First Sight?

We are all aware about the concept of Love at First Sight. And most of us would have actually experienced it as well. For me, it was love at first sight with my now wife, when I first met her  outside the office building. I knew she was the one.

However, love at first sight is rare, it may happen once in a lifetime or it may not happen at all. But there is another variation which we all experience, day in and day out. And that is something very important to understand and appreciate, as it is an essential building block for relationships of any kind – be it personal or profession. I’m referring here to the concept of ‘To Judge at first Sight’. And we all do it all the time.

Being Judgmental

Being judgmental is human, this post does not mean to preach about not being judgmental because it’s simply not possible, not to do judge people. However through my experiences, I have realized that it’s definitely wrong, to judge people at first sight. I have most often, proven wrong on this.