Masala CNY

9 02 2011
Tuticorin – Chennai – Dhaka
Monday, 7 February 2011
Dhaka, Bangladesh

My Chinese New Year in Binondo, Manila did not push through. I instead flew to the land of colourful “incredible India ” and Bangladesh .

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India Pilgrimage in Tuticorin

The Basilica of a Lady of Snow built 400 years ago caught my attention for its beauty having a blue and white façade. I have travelled to India in 2005 and this was the first time for me to see a very big Catholic church considering that the country has less than 3% Christian. To my surprise, the church also houses the miraculous statue of our Lady of Snows that arrived in the area since June 9, 1955 passing through Beach Road . To add up to the Indian pilgrimage, Ajay took me then to the temple that accepts non-Hindu.

Indian and Bangladeshi Cuisine

I had a very good Indian cuisine the whole time at Hotel DSF. The fast food called “Big Boy Fried Chicken” known as BFC in Chennai on the other hand brought the western with the Indian taste. Sonargaon buffet breakfast provided vast choices to start your day right. Chicken barbeque and “soup” would be a good experience for you too at Hirajheel Hotel in Dhaka . Make sure you go to this restaurant with a local, just like I did. Thanks to both Ekramul and Itrat who knew what to order for me.

The best vitamin C in Dhaka called Boroi is a good fruit tasting experience giving you a neutral taste for the palate. While the local Igloo ice cream adds up to the chill!

Shopping in Chennai

Chennai has a number of shopping areas. I only had Raahat Plaza from where I was. Looking around, I may say that items depend on one’s taste.

Killing time

Once you are in Chennai airport, kill time at Bica business lounge for news watching.

WHERE TO STAY

There are few well-maintained hotels in Tuticorin. I stayed in Hotel DSF Grand Plaza, a 3-star category with clean facilities and friendly staff that could assist you hundred times for the wifi connection. By the way, don’t be surprised seeing a lot of mothballs around your room. It is their “preventive” control at the same time used for room perfume. (You may opt then to tell the staff one moth ball would be enough).

In Chennai, the environment friendly Green Park Hotel brought me back to nature. And offered quite a number of freebees: welcome fruit platter, free night cap business cocktail that already filled my stomach and polo candy before going to bed.

While in Dhaka, I got pampered by the clean sheets, good breakfast, unlimited internet access, friendly staff of Pan Pacific Sonargaon.

WHEN TO GO

Depending on what your travel program preference is, both Tuticorin and Chennai welcome tourism any time of the year. During my CNY week visit, I was lucky for the weather was cool at 21 degrees Celsius.

HOW TO GO

From Manila, I flew in India on Chennai via Singapore Airlines and took the local flight with King Fisher to Tuticorin. From Chennai to Dhaka, I had one layover in New Delhi with Jet Airways. (You could look for other airlines for this India to Bangladesh leg since both my flights were delayed.)

WHAT TO BRING

Insect repellent would be a handy thing for those with sensitive skin specially in Dhaka Zia International Airport. h

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