Bunglow Ki Kandi – Work From Hidden Heaven
What started as a short trip to Mussoorie (I have googled the spelling around 200 times) became a one and half month vacation across the country covering Dehradun, Bunglaw Ki Kandi, Mussoorie, Landour, Kempty, Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Kevadia, and Goa. Now that I have boasted about workation, this article is about Bunglow Ki Kandi and places nearby.
We booked Zostel, Mussoorie for 5 nights in February second week and little did we know we would fall in love with this place. Infact, most of the fellow travelers we met there had visited for a few days and kept extending their stay for weeks and months. First and foremost, we got to know while booking our cab from Dehradun that Zostel is not in Mussoorie, it is ahead of Mussoorie in a village right before Kempty Falls, Bunglow Ki Kandi. It takes a couple of hours from Dehradun to reach there and the cab will charge anywhere from INR 1200 (Ola Outstation) -1800 (Local private).
WHERE IS THIS ZOSTEL
Step 1– Land in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India, Asia, Earth, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy (Just in case aliens are reading this) Easily accessible through train, bus, flights (and spaceships) from all major cities
Step 2– Realise that Dehradun airport is not in Dehradun
Step 3– Get a cab to reach Dehradun through a beautiful road with forest on both sides.
Step 4 – Realise it’s not as bad as Bangalore and Hyderabad (but equally far from city)
Step 5 – Eat Katlambey for lunch
(Please do not read ahead if you have decided not to eat Katlambey. This is not a drill. Katlambey Forever)
Step 6 – Book an Ola Outstation for Zostel. A lot of times there are other travelers and/or some vendor coming to Zostel so you should check with Ishan (Zostel manager) once and he will help you coordinate to save money. There is an option of state and private bus as well easily available. It will take you approximately 3 hours (including the nausea and katlambey vomit if you don’t give it time to digest)
Step 7 – Reach the Zostel and explore the property. It’s breathtaking. From tree house to the bunk beds to the cottage with private waterfall stream to the hobbit house, there is a lot in your immediate vicinity the moment you reach. We had booked bunk beds in mixed dorm which cost us INR 849 per night (gets half if you move in for 7+ days). Your first friend will be Satinder.
WATER WHICH FALLS
While Zostel has a dedicated activity manager and they plan on daily basis, you can have your own schedule as well.
Ask Ishan for the trail to Kempty and Hidden Waterfall. Carry a pair of clothes as you can enter those waterfalls to take a shower. As far as I recall, there were atleast 20+ waterfalls and the farthest one was hardly 30 minutes walking distance away. This will take 3-4 hours depending on how much time you invest in sitting and getting lost in the trance.
Take a call between wearing shoes and sneakers (they will get wet), do not wear heels or slippers for these trails. Get back before sunset as it gets really dark and there are no lights on the trail. If you reach the mighty Kempty Falls and get tired by then, you can always take a shared cab back to Zostel. They charge INR 100 per head. (Easiest would be to call Zostel and they will arrange it for you). Once you return, relax around the cafe and wait for the night activities. There is a bonefire every second night and with 40+ travelers you will get some amazing music, stories, conversations, and more.
QUEEN OF HILLS (whatever)
Hire a two-wheeler from Zostel (INR 800 plus petrol) or share a cab or make some friends who will take you along and go to Mussoorie. Bunk bedrooms are the best place for the same. Mussoorie is very different from other hill stations. It has momos, maggi points, points to look at hills, mall road, shopping areas, cultural appropriation photo stations with pahaadi dresses, and honeymooning couples. Very different from other hill stations. That being said, you can enjoy chhole kulchey, some nice rooftop cafes for drinks, cable car ride to Gun hill point, and spend the day enjoying little delights. While returning to Zostel, you should visit Santura Devi Temple. It’s a century old architectural beauty located on a small hill where you can hike in 15 min and will give you a 360 degree view of surrounding mountains. Once you are back to Zostel, you can enjoy the indoor sports in the common area and order food from dhabas/cafes outside as well. We ordered from Radhika dhaba and the guy would get us food in 5 degree at 10pm while charging INR 50 for a heavy paratha or momos.
THE OVERHYPED BORING INSTAGRAM PHOTO TOWN LANDOUR
People and blogs will force you to visit Landour, you will go there anyway under peer pressure so let’s get done with it. Take your activa (bike would be better as the roads are steep) and fly towards that town. It is a beautiful ride with picturesque views going through the streets of Mussoorie. Most people will pasture you 400 times about chaar dukaan. A hyped up place with 4 cafes offering same pancakes and 400 monkeys around. Go enjoy. That being said, there are some nice cute cafes and bakeries around- Cafe Ivy (for hot chocolate and Hummus), Lotte’s Bakery, and Landour Bakehouse. You can also walk on the roads for some good pictures for your social media feed. Please stay wary of monkeys and newly wed couples. On the way back, you should do Ropeway across the hill (INR 300).
Ask Zostel for arranging a trip to Dalai Hills and/or Pine Forest and/or Buddhist Monastery. You can share a cab (INR 2000) for the same. These places have beautiful sunset points amidst scenic beauty and calmness all around.
Sit and enjoy the calmness of the Zostel for a few hours. On our last day a JCB got stuck on the bridge outside Zostel so we saw that beauty for a few hours as villagers gathered around it. We got a person from cafe to drop us till Mussoorie. This guy had a modified racing car and was a professional rally driver. Yes, our ride back was scary yet fun. From Mussoorie, you get shared cabs charging INR 200 per head for Dehradun. You can also book a cab from Zostel to Dehradun. Try Patisha at 5 Star Janta (thank me later)
We were there for workation so mostly went to places either after work or arranged meetings as per travel. The place does have a hi-speed internet, heaters, and peaceful corners to sit and work. If you plan to stay for a month, it will cost you around INR 25,000 overall. Our 5 day trip from Dehradun and return cost us INR 10,000 per head.
The Zostel Mussoorie/Kempty property owner, Desna, has designed the space like a home and there are so many intricacies with interior pieces you will discover each day. Try not to fall in love with Ishan, manager, because their hospitality is so warm you will end up staying there for a month. Their cafe has great food and Ankur (manager) will tell you some amazing stories as well.
PS- Zostel properties are not kid friendly so do not, I REPEAT, do not take your kid there otherwise there is a chance of overhearing dead baby jokes the next day.
You can follow Zostel Mussorie on Instagram.