The evening rain splattering on the tarpaulin above and through the leafy canopy on the tables set outside had its own music.
By the side of the piano, purple lights reflecting on the dried grass mound reminded me of the film Avatar. As the minutes passed, scores of the bugs we call Ui Poka in Bengali — a flying insect of the termite family — flew to the lights under the tarpaulin and outside. In ten minutes, there were hundreds of them at both the places. Continue reading If you’re in Ubud, Bali, go to 9 Angels
The two of us had hired a scooter and were headed to Michi Retreat Village situated a few kilometres from Ubud, by far my favourite among the places I have been to in Bali.
Esther, a Dutch solo traveller I’d met on the road, was riding pillion and checking directions on the phone and telling me which way to go. Between her not-too-confident English and my non-existent Dutch skills, communication was often a problem, but we managed somehow. Finally, after one or two wrong turns, we found a sign saying “Michi” with an arrow pointing to an alley to the left of the road. Continue reading Michi resort near Ubud in Bali is a weird place
Of all Indians who have been outside the country for travel — not work but travel — a very large percentage has been to Thailand.
The reasons for this are not hard to understand. Bangkok is only a few hours away — almost always a direct flight — and the country is not that costly and this works well for India’s middle class looking to travel abroad.
I believe there’s a second Bangkok waiting for Indians to explore, and that, for better or for worse, is Bali. Continue reading Bali is set to become the next Bangkok for Indians
The original plan was to go to the UK.
I have never been to the UK and I have a few friends there I was looking forward to meet. Unfortunately, between the time I applied for my leave at work and got it, the plane ticket I was eyeing had gone up by INR15000.
A couple of cheaper options were available but they took more time. Also two of the friends I was supposed to meet told me they would not be available when I’d be visiting. I decided these were the universe’s way of telling me not to go to the UK just yet. Continue reading Bali: I’m going on my first unplanned trip!
Opinions have always been divided on child-free zones on commercial flights and the issue has come to the fore with India-based budget airline IndiGo announcing quiet zones on all its flights.
IndiGo is not the first to implement this. In 2013, Singapore-based budget carrier Scoot had introduced quiet zones at the front of their aircraft.
“Scoot in peace and quiet when you reserve seats in our ScootinSilence zone located upfront. Besides the exclusivity that you’ll enjoy (the under 12 will be someplace else), you’ll also get additional comfort…,” says the airline’s website. Continue reading ‘I hate snorers but that doesn’t mean they should be banned from certain parts of the aircraft’
WHY I WENT
I was flying into Leh and staying in the region for six days (I had a wedding to attend). So, I didn’t have much time for acclimatisation. I had two day to spare before the wedding and the choice was between Pangong lake and Nubra valley (where Hunder desert is situated). The latter made sense because it was at a lower altitude than Leh and it decreased the chances of me getting ill with altitude sickness.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO
First, Hunder has the coolest out-of-the-world landscapes. It’s this cold desert of white sand surrounded by the incredible Karakoram mountains. Second, this is the only place in India where you get to see (and ride) the double-humped Bactrian camels.
WHY I WENT
I’d met a guy from Maastricht at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport the previous year who’d said I could stay at his place if I went
WHY YOU SHOULD GO
It has the largest number of pubs per square kilometre in the Netherlands. At least that’s what my host said. It certainly looked that way to me.
WHY I WENT
Acclimatizing. It was my first trip to Europe and I had an Indian friend staying there on the day of my arrival. I decided to spend the first day there with my friend to get a hang of all the newness around me.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO
To take a ride on the Schwebebahn, the hanging tram.
If you have seen the Borra Caves situated near Araku Valley and come to Belum Caves expecting something similar, you will be in for a surprise.
The longest cave in the Indian Subcontinent is different and will impress you with its unique and incredible geological formations.
A great place to visit for the geologically inclined, the cave has been formed by the constant flow of water and you will see beautiful water lines on the cave walls and the sedimentary rocks. The caves are known for the stalactite and stalagmite formations and spacious chambers. Continue reading ITINERARY: Weekend trip to Belum Caves (Andhra Pradesh, India)
But the part about the trip you’d rather not dwell on is that you could not spend more than an hour at the Louvre because you still had to see Eiffel Tower, the Montmartre and five other places by the end of the day. You also tend to skip the part about visiting St. Peter’s Basilica but not finding enough time to go to the Vatican Museum to see Sistine Chapel.
In fact, you realise later that you spent more time travelling from one place to another than taking in a particular place, especially if you were doing the trip with a tour company that promised you the “highlights” of Europe. Continue reading Give slow travel a chance
Whether or not to do a northern lights tour was one of the major questions I had in mind ahead of my visit to Tromsø, an university town in northern Norway situated some 2,200km from the North Pole. From what I gathered, a trip was worth it.
So, on an early March evening, I got into a little bus with a group of around fifteen people, most of them with fancy cameras, to try and see the Aurora Borealis. My camera wasn’t so fancy but then, I was no professional photographer. I was just going to check the northern lights off my bucket list.
Trine, the friendly guide from Tromsø Friluftsenter, the northern lights tour company we were travelling with, drove us south of the city to find a place with clear skies and no artificial lights so that we could have the best views. We drove quite some distance until we found a clearing by the road. Continue reading Why you should do an Aurora tour in Tromsø
Someone I know keeps a lot of birds as pets at home. He was recently jesting about how many animal-lovers complain about people keeping birds in cages.
“But you do realise it restricts the movement and freedom of the birds, don’t you?” I said.
“But it’s a huge cage,” he argued.
“Certainly not as big as the open skies,” I said.
This conversation got me thinking. Continue reading You are fortunate if you are able to travel