Hey peeps, how have you all been? I have just returned from my much-awaited Lankan trip. This was one hell of an experience and ask me and how? It was memorable, remarkable, fun filled , amazing…. In one word – “A Celebration”.
The first property where I stayed was an awe-inspiring yet unconventional – A heritage hotel situated in the Galle Fort – “The Sunset Fort Hotel”.
This hotel is located in the city of Galle, 119 km from the capital city of Colombo. The road transportations like buses, trains, etc. are available in abundance, to Galle from almost all parts of the country.
Our First day in the hotel began with a warm gesture along with the refreshing welcome drink which was much craved for, in a tropical Lankan climate.
The sunset at the Galle Fort, which is a world heritage site – was a sight to behold.
An evening walk in the Dutch streets of Galle, cheers to the picturesque location of the hotel, was inexplicable.
A delightful candle-light dinner along side the garden full of greenery with the continental menu and beverages to end the day with, was relishing.
The Day 2 commenced with a healthy English breakfast followed by a visit to Unawatuna Beach – which is one of the most happening beaches of Sri Lanka.
The Lunch was a rural Lankan cuisine served with full of warmth.
A visit to the famous Jungle beach of Unawatuna during sundown, the beautiful Japanese Peace Pagoda and other mesmerizing Sri Lankan experiences offered by the hotel, was like a cherry on the top of the cake.
On our third day, we embarked on an early morning jungle safari in Udawalawe National park– which is touted as the most visited tourist destination in the country.
After returning, the afternoon was followed by a lip-smacking Ceylon lunch at the green backyard and basking in the heritage backdrop of the Sunset Fort hotel during the evening. The Day 3 ended with the equally delirious Sri Lankan dinner and desserts.
On the final day of check-out, we were offered a Ceylon breakfast, post which we snapped some beautiful images in and around the property.
We then headed on to our next destination carrying along the wonderful memories and an experience of a lifetime.
Hey Peeps! I know, it has been quite some time away for me and I am in fact writing after a gap of over two months! How have you been? The past few months have been hectic for me work wise and I had been looking for a quick getaway for a few days. I got invited to TGI Star Holiday Resort, Yercaud and boy, was I happy to get a breather for a couple of days. Yercaud is a cosy hill station oh the hills around Salem, at about 220 Kms from Bangalore and 4 hrs drive away. It is probably the closest hill station to Bangalore with such amazing weather.
TGI Star Holiday Resort – Day 1
We reached our hotel at 11 a.m. as we set off from Bangalore at 7 a.m. It was a comfortable bus ride till Salem and were ferried from there by a hotel car. Being close to noon, we rested for a few minutes and freshened up for lunch.
Their menu is simple but wholesome and the service was snappy. They served hot food within 20 minutes of the order being placed. We had a simple meal of rice, masala fried fish and Meen Chetti Kozambu. I kid not, it was one of the simplest yet lip-smacking preparation I’ve ever had.
Post lunch, we decided to walk around the idyllic little place and soak in the goodness of natural, unpolluted environs. The Yercaud Lake is about 500 meters away from the resort. Hence, we really did not need a ride till there. I and my husband took a short walk and enjoyed the pleasant weather.
Also, there is a park next to the lake which is again 500-700 meters away. If you are not used to walking in hilly areas then you may bring along your vehicle.
Spa at TGI Star Holiday Resort
The town is pretty compact and winds up by 8 p.m. Anyways, our idea was to have a relaxed weekend. I availed the spa at TGI Star Holiday and enjoyed an hour-long spa. They have masseurs from Kerala and she definitely knew how to use her hands to give you a rejuvenating experience.
Each muscle in my body was relaxed after the spa and all I wanted after that was a good night’s sleep.
It was drizzling after dark, so, we had to skip the idea of a bonfire and opted to spend a lazy evening in the sit out area of our cottage.
The 2nd day of TGI Resort in Yercaud
Early the next morning, we had a walk again, exploring the property. I really miss breathing in fresh air during my walks in Bangalore as it’s highly polluted right now, abetted by the metro construction work. Post-shower, we had a really romantic poolside breakfast. Luckily, we could enjoy the pleasant warmth of the Sun that day.
Post a sumptuous lunch, we undertook our sightseeing excursion with the help of TGI Star Holiday’s car and driver. The driver was very friendly and spoke decent English, so there was no language barrier. He explained to us the history of Yercaud and all historical facts about the sights we explored.
The next day was our wedding anniversary but since we were scheduled to travel that day, we planned to celebrate the pre-anniversary evening at the resort itself.
The hotel management was kind enough to help us with cake and other decoration in our room. That night we decided to have dinner in our living room itself instead of visiting the restaurant.
Next day morning we had breakfast and then packed our luggage to our way back home.
Overall experience with TGI Star Holiday Resort
The property is set among the lush green Shevaroy hills and would be an ideal getaway for tired city bones. The cottages are well designed with bed, living and sit-out areas giving you ample privacy and space to relax.
The staff is very friendly and co-operative.
The spa facility is available for boarders as well as visitors. Just in case you are not staying there and still looking for a rejuvenating spa in Yercaud, you can definitely drop in there.
Hygiene and cleanliness were maintained properly.
Hot water is available 24/7.
The food though simple has an honest down to earth goodness to it.
To sum it up, we stayed in the resort for barely 48 hours. however, we went back relaxed and refreshed. If you are looking for a quick, weekend hill station getaway from Bangalore and are looking for options beyond Ooty, I would strongly suggest Yercaud. You’d be happy to come across inexpensive yet pleasant stay options as TGI Star Holiday Resort to recharge your batteries!
2018 has been a year of notches on the mobile phone screens. Well, Essential Phones by Andy Rubin, the founder of Android started this notch trend in mid-2017. Definitely, it was made popular as a must-have feature to copy by the legendary iPhone X. Oppo F9 Pro takes this trend up a notch and delivers the most unobtrusive and pleasant looking waterdrop notch on a gorgeous display.
What do I need from a smartphone?
Frankly speaking, I do not care much for the latest SOC (system on chip) or loads of RAM. Neither am I an avid gamer to look for blazing gameplay at high resolution. My needs are pretty simple.
It should look good
It shouldn’t be too bulky to manage
Top-notch cameras – both primary and secondary
Loads of storage
All day battery
Oppo F9 Pro is definitely a looker with gradient patterned back, gorgeous display and may I call, a cute waterdrop shaped, barely there notch. Dare I say that this notch looks way better than iPhone X’s rather tab like indent.
You get to choose between rather scintillating colours as well. The first option known as the Sunrise Red is a red to purple gradient design with a diamond pattern at the back. The second option known as the Twilight Blue does with a dark blue to an azure gradient in the same pattern.
Like most phones these days, it’s a fingerprint magnet. Luckily Oppo includes a well made clear TPU case in the box. Oppo has also stuck a scratch protector onto the front of the F9 Pro as aftermarket solutions might interfere with the ambient light sensor.
Oppo has also used an LTPS (low-temperature polysilicon) LCD panel, which is frugal on power but is expensive to manufacture. The panel measures 6.3 inches and has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio with a resolution of 1080×2340. The colours are vivid and text pretty crisp to read.
Does it have a headphone jack?
Yes, thankfully it does have a slowly fading into oblivion headphone jack. The audio output though a bit timid through the speaker grill, is above average through earphones. Did I mention Oppo F9 Pro includes in the box a decent set of in-ear phones, well inspired by iPhone earphones?
The battery and how it charges
Oppo F9 Pro packs in a substantial 3500 mah battery which aided by LTPS LCD display last all day long pretty comfortably. Should you fall short of charge, Oppo’s proprietary VOOC flash charge technology charges your phone for two hours of talk time in five minutes of charge. Yes, it works!
My only gripe here is the use of micro USB port for charging, which firstly is on it’s way out and secondly is pretty annoying to plug right by your bedside in dark.
The Camera with Google Lens
The Oppo F9 Pro has a dual camera system with a 16 MP primary sensor with a f/1.8 aperture along with a 2 MP depth sensor and a f/2.4 aperture. For the front, you get a 25 MP front facing camera along with a f/2.0 aperture. The cameras are above average and the selfie camera particularly is stunning. So if you have a thing for selfies, Oppo F9 Pro is the right smartphone for you.
Besides the front camera can be used for face unlock as well. Yes, I was surprised to see Oppo include Google Lens in the F9 Pro. When you click a picture and then use google lens option, Google runs an image search on it to display relevant information regarding your subject. That was cooooool!
Would it store all my pics?
I have a tendency to use up the phone storage pretty fast, I mean in days. The standard storage capacity is 64 Gb. However, you get a dedicated card expansion slot along with two nano sim slots. You would never have to choose between adding an additional sim and stretching your storage capacity.
Is it powerful/fast enough?
I had mentioned earlier that I’m not a power user and latest or the greatest don’t matter to me. However, it might matter to you and I would be plain honest.
Oppo F9 Pro uses MediaTek Helio P60 for the CPU and Mali-G72 MP3 for its GPU. To put things into perspective, Realme 1, a phone retailing at Rs 13,990 ( for the 6 Gb RAM) uses the same set of hardware! Come on Oppo, you could do definitely better than this.
Should I buy it?
All said it is a good looking phone with decent performance, above average camera and impressive battery specifications. If your priorities are same as mine, just go ahead. You wouldn’t be disappointed.
However, if you are a gamer or a power user who prefers raw performance over aesthetics, go for the Poco F1 smartphone.