Survival Guide 101 for a Fun and Memorable Girls’ Trip

by Kathleen Pokrud
Girl's Trip
Suchitra Durai
SUCHITRA DURAI
Ambassador of India to Thailand
April 5, 2019

FOREWORD
I am very happy to learn that Expat Life in Thailand is publishing a survival guide for a “girls’ trip”. I have gone through the tips and I would like to congratulate the author for the compilation of a very useful set of tips which, I am sure would be helpful to every traveller particularly women or girls who may be travelling as a group.

I am delighted that a short travelogue of the group’s visit to India is also being published. India is a country of great diversity and a vast array of attractions which would please every traveller irrespective of age, gender or race. From the Himalayan states in the north with their breathtaking landscape and possibility for adventure tourism to the beautiful beach resorts along the 7000kms of India’s coastline.

From the magnificent palaces and forts of Rajasthan in western India to towering temple towns in the south. The various wellness destinations in Kerala to the heritage railways in the hill stations of eastern India. The wildlife sanctuaries and the shopping possibilities all over the country, India offers many things of interest. I am sure that after reading about your recent trip, readers of your magazine will be motivated to undertake a journey to India.



As students, we have all experienced compulsory school fields trips. All the excitement to be away from home and playing independence always make a sleepless night before the departure. It gets even more fun when we sneak alcohol in our bags in senior high school trips. Now, as mothers, what makes us to embark on a girls’ trip, leaving husbands and kids behind, the main reason is probably, “Girls just want to have fun….”, echo by the song of Cyndi Lauper. In February this year, a group of 10 ladies set off from Bangkok to explore the “Incredible India” with emphasis on the Kashmir region.

India trip

Although we didn’t know each other at the beginning, we had a memorable time together. Here, we would like to share some thoughts on how to make a girls’ trip fun and meaningful. At times, when people travel together in an enclosed space and designated time frame, emotions can run high when everyone is tired. There are survival tips to learn to avoid dramatic situations. In February this year, a group of 10 ladies set off from Bangkok to explore the “Incredible India” with emphasis on the Kashmir region. Although we didn’t know each other at the beginning, we had a memorable time together. Here, we would like to share some thoughts on how to make a girls’ trip fun and meaningful. At times, when people travel together in an enclosed space and designated time frame, emotions can run high when everyone is tired. There are survival tips to learn to avoid dramatic situations.

Lady

Survival tips for a memorable girls’ trip

Handling the sign-ups list When the idea of a new trip sprouts, a deadline needs to be proposed for the sign-ups. Without time frame, talk is just talk.

A working chat group Thanks to the advanced technology, we can easily set up a group chat in Line or What’s App. Questions and information can share immediately among the group. Another advantage is members can get to know each other, even before the trip online.

Leader appointed In the case of any group dynamic, a de facto leader needs to be appointed, to move motion forward. In this sense, like having a “mother goose” to keep everyone in line.

Rooms sharing One important aspect of a good trip is who you will spend twin-sharing hotel rooms. Take consideration of cultural differences or physical habits. It will be a disaster coming when one is prone to heavy sweating, to share room with another one who prefers warmer room temperature. Conversely, a late sleeper should never share room with an early riser.

Bring enough cash More so, when women shop together, we tend to overspend due to peer pressure. There is no husband or partner who give us “the staring look”, implying “Honey, you are overspending again… buying souvenirs which end up as junks at home…”.  Hence, bring more cash than your normal family trip unless you have high self-discipline. When we travel to different countries, it is not easy to pay by credit card or convert our currencies. It is not fun to have to keep record if you borrow tiny sums from friends, just to pay for a coffee or sandwich.

Villege

Leave your ego at home In a group situation, often incidents happen and everyone try to offer their advice.  Often, ideas and solutions go opposite ways.  It is important to remember to brainstorm and compromise, rather than let egos at play to sweating the small stuffs.

Teamwork Everyone has different skills.  We should all play on each other’s strengths and volunteer to take on tasks to ensure a smooth ride.

Don’t gossip As women, we have the tendency to gossip.  Unfortunately, with a closed trip, misquotes and misunderstanding can happen, which may escalate the situation.

Golden Temple

10 Days of Incredible India with emphasis on Kashmir Region

Day One
Day One we took the morning flight from Bangkok to Delhi, arriving in the afternoon. Pollution was bad with the heavy smog. Same as Bangkok, we experienced the same horrendous traffic.  We all doned on the bright red scraves to identify our group.

Day Two
The Second Day we spent the day to visit India Gate,  Government House and the famous Delhi Qutab Minar, which is a soaring, 73 m-high tower of victory, built in 1193 by Qutab-ud-din Aibak immediately after the defeat of Delhi’s last Hindu kingdom. It is a minaret that forms part of the Qutab complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day Three
Day Three we took one hour domestic flight from Delhi to Amritsar where millions of overseas and domestic Indians go to pray respect at the Golden Temple.
Upon arrival to Amritsar, we managed to reach the border of India-Pakistan and witnessed the Flag Lowering Ceremony. It is another tourist attraction worth visiting.

Day Four
Early afternoon domestic flight from Amritsar took us to Srinagar. Staying on a houseboat in Srinagar is a unique, must-do experience, and exactly what we did for one evening on the lake. Evening the vendors brought all sorts of goodies to sell us. Kashima shawls, leather jackets and bags, hand-made jewelry and semi-precious stones.  Although we took the shikara ride in freezing weather, it was an enjoying experience.

Day Five
Half-way through our trip on the 5th day, we arrived Gulmarg by car to be the highlight of our trip, to experience snow.  We had to change into mountain van which are equipped with chains on wheels to go up the snowy slopes.

View

Day Six
At the mountain resort, we saw many groups of skiers.  Although the facilities in Gulmarg are not the Western standards, the beautiful snowy landscape desserves the WOW factor from all tourists.  The gondola ride on the first level reached up to 11,000 feet.  Riding on sledges like a champion and playing snow fights like children with friends were experience that we would treasure.

Day Seven
We had been blessed with adequate weather throughout the trip.  There were no frozen lake or snowy storms that jeopardized our stay.  The only time we were struck was only  two hours down the mountain. From Gulmarg, we drove Palalgam – the Valley of the Shepherds, to visit Saffron field and Avantipur ruins, Betaab Valley and Lidder river. 

Day Eight
On our second last day, we left Srinagar to move back to Delhi. 

Day Nine
Local markets in Delhi are vibrant and we took some time to shop for Indian bangles and local spices at “Lajpat Nagar”. A complete different high-end shopping experience  was at Ambience Hall, where we found the international chains were cheaper than the prices locally in Bangkok due to the foreign currency exchange advantage.

Day Ten
At the last day of the tour, everyone was eager to go home, missing our favourite Thai dishes …… That concluded our 10-days tour of “Incredible India”.

sun in snow


Special note:
Week prior to our departure to Kashmir, there were news about paramilitary police killed in a bomb attack by militants on their convoy in Indian-administered Kashmir.  Negative news report on the tension between the Indian-Pakistan border.  Although our route was diverted once from Gulmarg to Palalgam, we felt safe throughout in Kashmir the entire period.
Some thoughts-sharing from the ladies in our “Fun Group”
We are a multi-national group with the majority being expatriates resided in Bangkok for years. 

Susan Chan (from Singapore) “Action speaks louder than words.”
Aileen Chu (from Singapore) “Give and take. Friendship is two-ways.”
Minh Hoang (from Vietnam) “Leave your ego at home and bring your common sense with you on the trip. Be kind, be real and be polite to everyone in the group and everyone around you.”
Manjit Kaur (from Singapore) “Go to the trip with an open mindset n understanding that it’s a collective effort for FUN.”
Namrata Kewalramani (from Thailand) “ Having up front, and candid conversations about trip expectations beforehand is a smart way to ensure a fun trip. If everyone is on the same page beforehand about trip activities, and the schedule of events, this ensures that there are no last minute mishaps or upsets.” 
Li Hsiao Yueh (from Taiwan) “Bring enough cash so we do need to borrow from your friends.”
Suwanna Pipatpitayakul (from Thailand) To get along with others and try to compromise. We come from different backgrounds, so we have to accept others.
Kathleen Pokrud (from Hong Kong) “I want to conclude that it has been a real pleasureable trip for me, making new friends and bonding with old friends.  This was the main reason why I embarked on this journery.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank my dear friend, Manjt Walia who initiated this amazing voyage!”
Ronelle Stossel (from South Africa) “Try your best to be INTERESTED in and INTERESTING to your fellow travellers. If you do not have something uplifting to say, best not to say it at all. Gossiping about and bossing fellow travellers around should be a BIG no no …”
Manjit Walia (from Indonesia) “Be positive. If there is some feedback you wish to make, make it gently.”

Paradise Holidays India Pvt. Ltd.
Special thanks to Paradise Holidays who was our local travel company in India.  All the co-ordination started three months prior to our departure. Hotel arrangement and three domestic flights were satisfactory.  An appreciation dinner at houseboat in Gulmarg and the cocktail reception hosted by Mr K.K. Gupta, Managing Director upon our return to New Dehli were excellent.  We felt the warm hospitality of the service staff throughout the entire journey.

You may also like