We were glad we opted for train, it was a neat and clean, fully A. C train and moreover it provided for snacks and breakfast(making early morning breakfast can be pretty challenging when traveling with babies).
We reached Kathgodam at around 11:30,much before the anticipated time. Just outside the station, taxis and autos were fully accessible. The taxis charge you from 500 to 700 for Bhowali whereas the local buses charge around 55rs per person. The local bus stand is hardly half a kilometer from the station. (take a left from station exit and come to main road).
We reached Bhowali at around 1(35 kms, approx 1.5 hrs). Dumped our belongings in our rest house and after taking a small nap, left for Nainital
. Nainital is just 11kms from Bhowali (Rs 300 Taxi or Rs19 per person by bus or Rs20 pp in shared Jeep).
Bhowali Bus stand is the best place to find any mode of travel to any of the nearby places. Almora
, Joges hwar,Ranikhe, Nainital all places can be reached via local buses. (don't count on local buses if you are sensitive to crowds and cleanliness , specially on weekends).
We reached Nainital around 2:30 and headed straight to an eateri for having our lunch. We chose Chandni Chowk restaurant on Mall Road. The food was yummy, specially Paneer sabzi. But one thing worth special mention is their pickle, it was truly amazing (it was pickle of Bottle guard) .
After having food, we decided to try boating (Rs 150 for half round, Rs 210 for full round). We opted for half round as were not sure if this would be safe for our kid, but soon realized that our baby was enjoying it and it was safe too.
Our next stop was Gurdwara sahib (1 km walk or cycle rickshaw for Rs10). A small and peaceful place of WORSHIP . By the time we came out, it was already 5:30, we thought of wrapping up for the day( Boating and Cycle rickshaw is not accessible after 6, local buses also not accessible after 6:30,taxis refuse after 8:30).
By 7 we were back in our rest house with our dinner. We had opted for KMVN Tourist Rest house. A small and decent place for travelers (avoid it if you are looking for hi end luxury or are planning to spend most of the time in hotel).
We started our next day at around 10 and again went to Nainital (Almora or Ranikhet
are good but the to and fro travelling time would have eaten up most of our time). We opted for Nainital instead. Just 20 mins travel and a zoo to keep my baby involved in the fun.
The zoo is accessible via local jeeps/shuttle service at Rs 30(to and fro included) from Mall road,NNainital. I am glad we decided on zoo. It is not any other zoo, but a high altitude zoo. After getting down from the shuttle service, it is like a walk in the mountains. (may not be a good option for elderly people). It was like going up and down in the mountains and taking a look down at the beautiful city of lakes. Moreover watching the beautiful birds was like a bonus.
We came back to Mall road at around 2pm. If you are someone keen on covering all of Nainital then local taxis are aavailable on mall road (Rs 300 for covering 7 points of nainital). We did not want to rush here n there with a baby, so just kept enjoying it at our own pace.
Our next stop was Machaan restaurant, a small place with many people already waiting. But the wait was totally worth it. We enjoyed some of the bestest food here and everyone around seemed to be full of nothing but praises. It's a must stop if you want to try to some good Chinese.
After food, we enjoyed some time around the lake. No boating, no sitting, just plain running around with our baby . By this time our baby was super excited, we next went to Naina Devi temple.
Beautiful, calm and a magnetic place. The temple has a big ground, our baby enjoyed running here in open . We came out and explored few shops around the temple . Shopping was not on our agenda but if you are keen on it, you can find some good bargains on ladies purses, warm clothes, designer umbrella' s and wooden crafts.
We came back to bhowali and on the way back to our TRH, bought some of their famous Bal Mithai.
Wrapped up our yet another day.
Next day we got up to the sound of rains falling on our rest house's roof top. It was raining beautifully and made the place greener than before. But this also meant delay in our plans to start the day. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the rest house and left the place at around 11 after the rains stopped (we checked out with our belongings). We came down to Bhimtal (11 kms_20mins travel time - Rs 20 by bus, Rs 20 shared jeep, Rs 300 taxi) .
Shared taxis are easily available from bhimtal to naukuchiatal (5 kms Rs 20). Bhimtal also provides for boating. However as per local people here, naukuchiatal is a better option than Bhimtal. If you are an adventure lover then Naukuchiatal is a better option.
Since we were delayed due to rains, so we decided against Naukuchiatal, enjoyed the beauty of Bhimtal and started for Kathgodam (25 kms_ Rs 35 local bus, Rs 500 taxi).
Our Train was waiting for us at Kathgodam :-)