Pakistan and India – breaking barriers and coming together to create something beautiful. This is the story of Shayan and Kanika, founders of travel blog Dose Of Life and my guest on Inspiring Travel Bloggers. I have collaborated with their blog recently and have been following their Bangkok diaries through social media channels. Today on this feature of Inspiring Travel Bloggers, we get to know more stories about their amazing journey, life in Bangkok and of course some travel tips.
Tamshuk : Shayan and Kanika, share with us the story behind the inception of Dose of Life. When and how did you get the idea of starting your own Travel and Lifestyle blog?
Shayan & Kanika : We just reached our 1 year anniversary of the blog this month and it has been an exciting year. Dose of Life came about from our growing passion for things around us. Shayan had been reviewing a lot of hotels and restaurants on Tripadvisor and it made us think, why not create our own platform for this?We were also bored of our everyday life – work, workout, eat, and go out with friends. Repeat!! But we wanted more out of life and the blog was a means to do so. It was our way of making sure life doesn’t escape us. The blog lets us do more – explore new places, try new things, and of course document it for ourselves and the world. For example, we’ve seen more of Thailand (and visited more countries) in the last year than in 5 or 10 years. Dose of life is our way of injecting some REAL life into our lives.
Tamshuk : I follow your Instagram stories almost everyday and most often than not, I get pleasantly surprised with the photos from relatively unknown places in and around Bangkok. Tell us about one such unusual/unknown or not so touristy place that you like the most and would suggest to any visitors to Bangkok.
Shayan & Kanika : The thing about Bangkok is that you just need to go off exploring and go in the tiny streets where you’ll come across all sorts of unique things. But if you really want to get off the beaten path, head towards Thonburi side and you’ll experience a different side of Bangkok – the real Bangkok. Also other interesting places to see are: Bang krachao and Pak Kret. If you’re into weird things, see the Siriraj Medical Museum or the Airplane Graveyard.
Tamshuk : Your blog has a “Style and Beauty” section which is mostly managed by Kanika (correct me if I am wrong on this). Was it a conscious effort to have this section on your blog from the beginning? I must say, it does make Dose Of Life stand out among other travel blogs out there.
Shayan & Kanika : That is correct, especially the beauty part but we haven’t been focusing on this much…yet. But yes it was a decision from before because we wanted to write about things we like. And Kanika loves beauty, style and fashion. She studied fashion marketing and she loves to dress up. To be honest, so does Shayan even though he hates to admit it. We’ve seen too many blogs also focus on “we don’t care about how we look. It’s about the experience”. While all true, we also need to be true to ourselves and we like to travel in style.
Tamshuk : I loved reading the posts in the “Eats and Drinks” category as I myself love to explore different cuisines during my travels. As a big fan of Thai cuisine, I know about a lot of wonderful dishes but here I would want to know the best Thai food for each of you and also the one Thai dish you are not that fond of.
Shayan & Kanika : Food is definitely a big part of our travels. We get really excited about trying new cuisine when we do. For Thai food, we are pretty biased since we love it and can’t live without it. Shayan is absolutely crazy for Kapao Gai (basil with chicken) while Kanika loves it. In terms of dishes not fond of, Shayan isn’t fond of Thai desserts. He doesn’t even like mango with sticky rice. Kanika, on the other hand is a lot more adventurous with food but she has a weak stomach so she has to be careful with dairy or food from the streets.
Tamshuk : Your “POW (People of the World)” section just got the first feature which is a collaboration with four travel bloggers about the friendliest locals over the world. Tell us, how important it is for travelers to blend in with the local communities especially when it is a longer journey across a destination?
Shayan & Kanika : Like the section says, it’s the people that make a destination. The places get us there but the people (and food) are what ultimately decides if one should stay in a country. So it is very important for long-term travelers to try and blend with the community. For us, we never blended with the Thai community. Bangkok is such a melting pot; we’ve kind of stuck with our community of Pakistanis and Indians. But we do make the effort to interact with locals as well. Its part of the reason we started this blog.
Tamshuk : India and Pakistan!! The whole world knows the equation between the governments of our two countries. I say governments only because I feel majority of the common population in India and Pakistan do not have animosity towards each other. Tell us how difficult (or easy) was it to overcome this Indo-Pak barrier with your families especially, when you decided to get married.
Shayan & Kanika : Wow, this was a huge challenge. It involved a lot of arguments, convincing and some tears from the family for it to happen. It was especially difficult for Shayan’s mom to cope. But now the families get along so well. Basically we dated for 5 years, took 1 year of convincing, 1 year engagement and now we’ve been married 2 years.
Tamshuk : A fun question. How is it at home during the India vs Pakistan sporting events (cricket, hockey)?
Shayan & Kanika : Kanika is not a fan of cricket and definitely not hockey but we do hang out with friends when the matches happen and it is a very intense atmosphere. It’s more intense for Shayan since he’s the odd one out being the only Pakistani. It’s fun though. A lot of energy.
Tamshuk : Finally, what is the first thing you would suggest any visitor to do do/eat/see in Bangkok?
Shayan & Kanika : That is always a really open-ended question. Whenever anyone asks us this, we go blank because there are just so many things you could do here. It really depends on what you like to do and there is almost something for everyone. But basically, we would suggest doing a bit of research and being ruthless with what you’re looking to do. If you have a short time in Bangkok, it can seem very overwhelming because there’s so much to do. Now of course if it is your first time, the Grand Palace and temples are a must. Other than that, just go explore. You can even opt to do some local tours, which are great because they show you the real Bangkok in a short time. Check out Co Van Kessel, Take me tour and Expique. You can also read our non-touristy things to do in Bangkok post.
Thank you very much Shayan and Kanika for sharing your stories and views with us. Your journey is definitely the one to look forward to and we hope to get more of your amazing tips on travel, lifestyle and food.