Travelling to Kashmir has always been on my bucket list and this time I finally made it!
I’d always heard Kashmir was a land of magic that exhibits diverse beauty in different seasons. So I planned to start with winter, the season of of white bed of snow, chilling breeze and multiple-layered cloths and traditional Kangri hidden under Pheran (a traditional knee-length cloak).
After I reached India’s northernmost state, the first flavour of Kashmir I took in was with the sip of Kehwa, traditional Kashmiri green tea in my hotel located in an alley close to Dal Lake. I spent the day sailing around the lake.
Unlike other seasons, Dal lake during winter is not so colourful, but still it is mesmerising and equally absorbing. A blanket of mist covers the lake and from it emerges colourful Shikaras captained by the local people, whose lives are very much dependent on this beautiful lake. Sailing the Dal lake it a must-do when you’re in the area. Sailing through Dal lake in winter is like removing layers of fog one after the other and going closer to a refreshing beauty of its floating vegetable market and wood crafted houseboats. Continue reading Why you should visit Kashmir in winter
A lot of people go to Germany for war tourism. I go because I love the food and the people there. But this time, I went to research my first novel. The historical fiction novel is called ON THE ROAD TO TARASCON.
The Internet had different and sometimes conflicting versions of the bit of history I was interested in. So, I decided to go to Magdeburg — a town one hour and 40 minutes by train from Berlin — and find out for myself the circumstances in which a Vincent Van Gogh masterpiece had gone missing on April 30, 1945.
If you have an idea about the World War 2 history of Magdeburg, you would know it was completely flattened by the British Royal Air Force bombings in 1945. As I got down from the intercity express and walked into the city to find a tram to take me to my hotel, I kept imagining how the place would have looked in the early months of 1945. Continue reading What really happened to this Van Gogh masterpiece?
You’re out drinking with friends and discussing the wonderful time you had in Bali during your recent trip when one of them asks, “Did you go to Ubud?”
“No,” you say. “But I really liked my time at Sanur and Lovina.”
“What! Those are the boring parts of Bali,” he laughs. “Didn’t you party?”
“I did. I was in Kuta for three nights. It was so much fun. I especially liked Skygarden,” you say. That had been a great night. Continue reading Let no one tell you how to travel
Today (August 15, 2017) is India’s 70th Independence Day — a national holiday — and I am now in Bangalore, the IT city in South India’s Karnataka state.
I had been meaning to visit this city for a long time. Bangalore, per se, doesn’t have destinations which tourists come from far and wide to visit. What it has is a large number of beautiful places around it and this is what attracts visitors.
My agenda, however, has been a little different. I am in the city just to meet up with people.
I have several friends in Bangalore, many of whom have been asking me to visit for a long time and for some reason or another, it hadn’t just worked out till now. Earlier this month, I realised I could squeeze out a five-day leave, booked my tickets (with credit card points of course!) and here I was. Continue reading What makes a place memorable is its people
Most people who go to Koh Phangan — an island in the Gulf of Thailand — for the (in)famous Full Moon Party.
I have no shame in admitting that the two times I have been there, I went for the party [Also read: Dos and don’ts at the Full Moon Party] — the first time solo, and the second time with an old friend.
But while at Koh Phangan, I have tried exploring the island beyond the Full Moon Party.
I had heard about Bottle beach on my first time on the island. Sandra, a friend I made there, had been to the beach which could only be accessed by water and had a lot of good things to say about it. Continue reading Koh Phangan beyond Full Moon Party: Bottle beach
In 2011 — the last time I had made the journey from Bangkok to Surat Thani — I had travelled by bus. The bus wasn’t uncomfortable, but this time — in 2017 — my friend and I chose to travel by train.
We made our reservations beforehand and got into our Second class AC (air-conditioned) coach on a wet June evening.
The problem with reserving seats on Thai trains is that their system is a little complicated and you can’t just go on their site and book a ticket. You need to email them beforehand and then on the day of your journey, collect the physical ticket from the station for a fee. And apparently, there have been instances when the railways have been really late in replying to emails. Continue reading My best overnight train ride was in Thailand
It’s not that I had never been to China. But, then you don’t really consider transit through somewhere as actually “going” there!
I have changed planes (and once, an airport) in China during two separate trips. But this time, I was actually intending to get into the country.
My quest for a Chinese tourist visa began at this website. Continue reading How to secure a China tourist visa
Travelling solo and on a budget, I found that the best way to reach the village of Pemuteran in west Bali from Ubud was to take a shuttle bus to Lovina in the north and take a local bus from there to Pemuteran. (If you are 3-4 people, taking a taxi makes the most sense.)
Easy enough I thought, as I sat on the 11.30 bus from Ubud. There were some earlier buses but I was sticking to this one company because I had traveled with them before and they gave discounts to returning customers. As a budget traveler, I’m always happy to save a little cash here and there.
The journey took three-and-a-half hours through hills and active volcanoes in the heart of Bali. It was the rainy season and the all the green around was hauntingly beautiful. Continue reading How I evaded touts and saved IDR100,000 in Bali
It’s possible to travel the world for as little as USD200 a month.
I’m not saying it. Alex says it and he has been doing it for more than a year now.
Lampros Alexis from Greece is on a mission to travel around the world on his solar-powered bicycle, which can also be pedalled when it isn’t powered enough.
TravelAndy caught up with the adventurer when he was passing through Kolkata recently. Excerpts. Continue reading ‘You can travel indefinitely for USD200 a month’
Since Donald Trump took charge as US President, I found a lot of people around me speculating whether getting a US visa was going to become more difficult. I had been wanting to visit the United States for some time now and last month, I decided to go there in 2017. So, I went ahead and got myself a ten-year B1/B2 visa, which is for visits related to tourism and business in the United States.
The process was long and I would say a little complicated. But I took on one thing at a time and things worked out pretty smoothly in the end.
Read on to find out how to score a ten-year US tourist visa with an Indian passport. Continue reading How to score a ten-year US tourist visa
There were two local guides in the water helping visitors cross a narrow and waist-deep part of the river. It had been raining and the current was very strong — practically impossible for anyone to cross the stretch without help, especially when you have bags with you. The four of us stood there and wished we had hired a guide at the entrance.
“I went there this morning with people from my hostel and it was great fun. Because of the rain over the past few days. parts of it were deep waist-deep and we had to swim through. It was so exciting,” she had said. Continue reading Hidden Canyon: Quite an adventure near Ubud, Bali
I’ve written about it earlier, but the Indian passport is more powerful than you think. You will realise this fact again while planning a trip to the incredibly beautiful Indonesia.
Yes, Indians do not need to a visa to enter Indonesia.
It took three hours for my AirAsia flight to get to Bali from Kuala Lumpur. Continue reading Indonesia (Bali) visa for Indians