Have a day to spend in Bangkok but don’t want to spend too much? No problem at all, even if you throw in a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant!
Earlier this year, I flew into Bangkok at 6 in the morning and had the entire day in the city before taking an overnight train (I travelled first class. SO GOOD. Video coming soon on the TravelAndy YouTube channel) out around 7.30 in the evening.
So, here’s how I went about it. Continue reading How to spend 12 hours in Bangkok
On June 10, 2008, I got a message from a 28-year-old American man named Chris.
I did not know Chris. He said he was traveling around the world and asked if I would be available to meet up during his visit to Kolkata the following week. He also asked if I could possibly host him for a day or two during his visit.
That would have been unusual coming from a stranger. But this message had come on the “hospitality-exchange network” called Couchsurfing, one of the pioneers of the sharing economy in the tourism sector. [ALSO READ: Why you should be on Couchsurfing] Continue reading There was never a better time to travel for the budget traveller
Japan is a different world and if you are thinking of going somewhere but haven’t decided where, consider Japan.
I’ve talked about Japan so much [Check out my Japan guide by clicking here] that my parents decided to go there next. My dad is 65, and mom, 57, and they prefer to travel by themselves together rather than going with a tour operator.
Earlier, this year they went to Bali for three weeks and had a great time and now they are looking forward to Japan. Indonesia is visa-free for Indians but Japan isn’t. So, I took care of their Japan visa application. Continue reading Japan visa for Indians: The importance of a detailed itinerary
I had my first experience with pad Thai at a shack on the way to a beach on a Thai island.
They served a plate that looked much like noodles from back home, but not quite. Apart from the sticky noodles, there were copious amounts of mung bean sprouts, peanuts sprinkled all over and half a lemon. I didn’t quite know what taste to expect. This was a territory unknown to me. I squeezed the lemon over the plate, wrapped some of the noodles and sprouts around my fork and put it in my mouth.
The sprouts crunched, the sweetness in the noodles complimented perfectly the sourness of the lemon and the nuts cracked between my teeth. Continue reading Anthony Bourdain: The man who inspired me to move
Have you come across this news where a Reddit user realised she had forgotten her passport at a Kyoto hotel when she was in Tokyo and had to take a flight out of the city only a few hours later?
The woman posted on Reddit and asked if anyone could help her. A random stranger did.
The man, who was in Osaka, took a train to Kyoto, collected the passport, and got on the next Shinkanshen (bullet train) to Tokyo. Continue reading There are a lot of good people around
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