Month: October 2016

Experiencing A Different Side Of Auli

After a failed attempt to complete Satopanth Lake trek, on my own, I was literally not ready for another follow-the-unknown-trail challenge. It was time to find a place which offered me a comfortable camping site, and some rest. A good flat space and easy food options – was all I was thinking. And then the wind said “Auli”. I loved Auli. Not because it offered sights that were unimaginably beautiful. Neither was I excited about a riveting ski experience. Some people suggest that Auli has India’s best ski resorts, and the convenience and excitement of long cable rides makes it even more popular. But I was excited about neither of them. I visited Auli for another reason, to explore another side of it – much beautiful and less known for its praises. And I happened to explore it as I reached the town in the month of May.  The sun was shining, and snow was far gone. Each gaze beheld a sight of nothing more than dead and glorious mountains – a few patches of grass, …

A Photojourney To Sangla Valley And Chitkul

During my solo bike trip to Spiti Valley, I ended up in a town called Chitkul. It was more than 40 kilometres off the route, on either side of the journey, yet I could not stop myself from bifurcating. After all, it was “The Must See Camping Place, in the Himalayas” as many people, whom I met on the road, recommended. “Don’t forget to go to Chitkul man, Sangla Valley is so beautiful that you won’t believe your eyes,” said a guy from Bangalore, as he threw another mug of water on his over-pampered Bullet 350 “Classic”, as he always pointed out, with a pause. Situated around 40 km from Karcham, Chitkul comes under Sangla Valley, which is spread over a tiny land of 20 km. And when it comes to the Himalayas, 20 km seem even tinier. But if you speak about its beauty, each sight is a magnificent sight to behold. Snow clad mountains surround you and welcome you with a spectacular view of The Kinner Kailash. No wonder, Chitkul is any photography lover’s …

Journey To Panchachuli Base Camp

I’ve done quite a few treks in Uttarakhand. But this time, I was doing Panchachuli Base Camp Trek, located in Darma Valley, at the end of eastern Kumaon region, in Uttarakhand. Darma Valley turned out to be my personal favourite in the entire Uttarakhand. I liked its setting. Small towns were periodically placed every few kilometres. The valley was continuously green and occasionally colourful. The many waterfalls that came my way, were also no less appealing either. Here a 3-minute ode to my journey in Darma Valley and towards Panchachuli Base Camp. Have You Tried Panchachuli Basecamp Trek? 

Thailand Visa On Arrival: Not A Great Thing Anymore

Earlier this year I decided to travel Thailand on Visa on Arrival as it appeared like a good deal – cheaper and quicker. You land in the country whenever you wanted, avoiding the long embassy applications. Just pay 1000 Baht (INR 2000) at the airport (as the Visa fee) and be done with it. You’re free to wander across the country for 15 happy days. Well, it’s not as good and convenient as it seems! And I realised that as soon as I landed at the airport in Bangkok. After having a terrible 3 hours layover in Chennai, in India, starting 1 in the night, I reached Suvarnabhumi Airport around 7 in the morning. I was already pretty much cracked up, due to lack of sleep, and I realised that the application process, at Suvarnabhumi, might take another few good hours, before I can take any rest. Long Queues For Thai Visa On Arrival Before I travelled to Thailand, the internet said that Visa on Arrival (VOA) counters can have long queues, but odd morning/evening can be different. My experience – …

Solo Female Travel Tips – Getting Started

This is a guest post by Neetole Mitra of Living Unplanned, who quit her job 4 months ago and has been travelling ever since, alone. Encouraging more females to follow the league, this is what she has to say… It’s surprising that so many of us love to travel yet so few actually do it. It almost makes one wonder if travel is ultimately as coveted as everyone would have you believe. I mean, if people really want to travel, why don’t they? Travel has become a benchmark of sorts for ‘freedom’. It’s what we say/think every day. I wish I could be free. Just get the hell out of here. Go where I want to. But we are free. As long as there’s no physical chain holding us back, we are all free. Yet, most of us create alibis for ourselves. I can’t travel because there’s no money. I can’t travel because I have to take care of the family. Because it’s not safe. All of them completely sound barriers that hold us back from …

Cambodia Tourist Visa: Why I Say Visa On Arrival?

If you think there’s a list of countries that fall under the category of Countries-With-Supereasy-Visa-Policies, Cambodia has a place in it. I landed at Siem Reap international airport in Cambodia at 2 in the afternoon and by 2:15 I was through. This was when I’d to apply for Visa on Arrival. Thailand Visa on Arrival, for its long queues, had me discouraged, but god bless Cambodia and its people who made it up to me. In 15 minutes, after my AirAsia flight landed, I was on the other side of the airport, with a fresh 30-day visa on arrival in my hand. Getting a visa stamp for Cambodia is super easy, and quick. I remember I did not wait more than 3 minutes at the visa on arrival desk and I get my beautifully-stamped passport back. I totally loved how the airport officials swiftly dealt with my application, in addition to some 30 other applications that landed together with me. Though that’s a different question that they’re, at their part, a little careless, I was still happy …

How I Deal With Language Barrier While Travelling

I remember when I was leaving for my first solo trip I was more doubtful than ever. I was scared and I feared that I won’t be able to survive for long. Would it be safe? Would the journey be interesting? How would I make friends on the road? I had a million questions going through my mind. But out of all the doubt, one thing that bothered me the most was dealing with the language barrier!  Last week, a reader asked me on Facebook if the local languages can make his solo travelling in North of India tough. He belonged from the South. In his words “Is language a barrier to travelling? I was planning to travel the north of India next month but I don’t know Hindi. Can it be a problem? PS: I am travelling solo!” “PS I am travelling solo” — his message ended with the most important part! A solo traveller is always scared of a new language, not until he has experienced a few journeys. I remember I tried so hard …

4 Women Who Conquered Common Beliefs To Travel The World

A few months ago, while backpacking through Southern India, I met a group of college students who were on a holiday. They found it interesting that I’m a full-time traveller, and that I’d quit my job to travel. During our short conversation, one of the 3 girls in the group asked if I ever found solo travelling risky. A few assuring points, from my side, and the girl whispered, sounding unconvinced, “Yeah, but women travel in a different world than men do”. I think I couldn’t understand her at that time. I think I can’t understand her now. When it comes to solo travelling and women, things become a lot more complicated. Women have to deal with a completely different set of anxieties. Some fear for safety, some for public opinion. “You get a lot of unwanted attention,” someone once wrote me in comments. And I couldn’t agree more. Also Read: Safest Indian Cities For Women Travellers Travelling as a woman can be tough. No one can deny this fact. But I’ve met an uncountable number of …

50 Travel Quotes For Travel Inspiration

GET MOTIVATED WITH THESE TRAVEL QUOTES! I am not a quote collector. But when it comes to travelling, having a few good ones, memorized, always help. They allow us to see the world clearly. Great travel quotes remind us that the emotions we often feel, during our journeys, have been felt by many others, including the great travellers of all times.  1. “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin 2. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux 3. “If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey most of us would never start out at all.” – Dan Rather 4. The use of travelling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” – Samuel Johnson READ MORE : WHY I TRAVEL SOLO 5. “Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop 6. “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed 7. …

Panchachuli Base Camp Trek: From Itinerary to Costing

I’ve done quite a few treks in Uttarakhand. Gomukh-Tapovan, Dodhital, Valley of flowers, Stopanth Lake, Gaurikund Kedarnath – the list is long. And often the journey was concluded solo. I like the idea of long solo walks, under the magnifying beauty of the Himalayan cliffs and an open nothingness. There is some adventure in that. And this time, I was off to Panchachuli Base Camp, located at the end of eastern Kumaon region, near Munsiyari, in Uttarakhand. Panchachuli literally means the ‘five-pointed oven’. According to the locals, it was the Panchachuli peaks where the Pandavas (one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India) cooked their last meal on the five peaks of Panch Chuli (five peaks) before leaving for heaven. And that’s its religious significance. The trek to Panchachuli Base Camp turned out to be a pretty easy deal for me. Where most of the blogs, on the internet, suggested that it takes a good 4-5 days for a strenuous walk to complete the trek, I found that 2 days were just enough. Darma Valley …