Wanderer Neha

"i haven't been everywhere but it's on my list."

When You Get Bored Of Mumbai, Head To Pune

I'm in a love/hate relationship with my own city. Loved by many, Mumbai, however, has not much to offer for travelers. The food, nightlife is good but apart from that, there is not much to explore in the city due to overcrowding and traffic.

Although Mumbai is a great place to have a base for international travelers as it is situated right in the center. So you can easily explore both northern and southern regions. It is well connected with flights, buses, and trains to major attractions all over the country.

As for the people residing in the city, it is not unusual to head out for weekend getaways closer to the city. There are just so many places to choose from - Beaches, temples, treks, you'll be spoilt for choice.

Since for the past few months, my excursions had been in the countryside, I decided to visit a city for a change.

Pune - Mumbai's coolest neighbor, quite literally

Known for being the cultural capital of the state of Maharashtra, Pune offers a mix of traditional and urban feel. Since it's an educational and IT hub, you'll notice young crowd all around. The biggest plus for me? The weather! Cooler and less humid than Bombay. The city is also not very crowded and it is comparatively easier to move from place to place. I decided to spend a couple of days during Diwali exploring Pune (lazily). 

Backpacker Panda

It had been a while since I last stayed at a hostel and I wanted to experience it again during my solo trip. I was happy to find Backpacker Panda located in one of the coolest areas - Koregaon Park! There were interesting cafes surrounding the hostel which I wanted to try out and everything just set in the plan perfectly.

backpacker panda pune

It's a cute property tucked in a quiet neighborhood and neatly maintained. I was expecting fewer guests since it was Diwali but to my surprise, I met quite a few travelers. 

I have always stayed away from hostels thinking that it's just not my type and valuing my solitude more than anything. I was wrong. Hostels offer so much more than to succumb to my irrational fear of socializing. And this trip made me change my mind. It's true that while you stay here you need have your guard down but the experiences you receive in return will truly enrich you. I've met some of the coolest travelers and have made friends from all over the globe. We have had fun and serious conversations till 2 a.m. in the night, played endless rounds of UNO and taboo, and walked in a herd of 15 searching for a cheap bar at midnight. What's not to like?

cafe one o eight pune

Also, read: First Hostel Experience - Zostel Gokarna

Food & Nightlife

Pune is popular for its food and nightlife. You have options ranging from traditional Maharashtrians dishes to continental delicacies. A quick browse on Zomato and you'll be able to find something that suits your taste.

cafe one o eight pune 

I wanted to try vegan restaurants around and really loved One O Eight Cafe and Sante Spa Cuisine in Koregaon Park. I had my first vegan coffee (with almond milk) and was absolutely delighted! For breakfast and a great dessert spread, head to the German Bakery. Try their blueberry muffin and mango cheesecake which are simply delicious.

german bakery pune

For a night of drinks with your pals, you can head to Apache in Viman Nagar or the Bar Stock Exchange. There are so many options but these are just a few that I've tried and would love to go back.

If you are feeling fancy, head to the swankiest club called Mi-a-Mi in JW Marriott and you can dance all night to your heart's content. If you are lucky, you could score a free entry on some nights.

Also, read: My Sri Lankan Trail

Pune might have a bad reputation of being slow-paced but it always surprises me with new things to do every time I visit. Got a weekend to spare? Why not head to Pune?

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