Year: 2018

Pulau Macan Island: A Perfect Day Trip From Jakarta

Sitting at the patio of what they fondly named as the Sunset Beach Hut, of the incredible, sustainably built eco-resort of Pulau Macan Island, that I first realized there’s more to Indonesia than I ever knew. Here, only the distant sound of the ocean’s gentle waves kept me company, blissfully far from the honeymooners and sunbathers who often flock to Indonesia. It had been only a few minutes that I had started reading the book (about life on the Indonesian Islands) and I was already being pulled away from the world, into a sweet oblivion. A soothing Gamelan music coming from a distance from a recorded tape was moreover adding to the charm. “Life here is good,” said a voice inside me, yet, sadly, it won’t be long that I will already be bidding farewell to Pulau Macan, that, with every passing moment, appeared less like a usual island to me and more like an exception —  a place, where heaven meets the earth! I remember the moment I stepped on Pulau Macan island I knew that my first …

Useful Tips For Improving Your Travel Photography

Want to improve your travel photography? These useful travel photography tips will help you get some creative ideas and learn more! For the previous three years, since I quit my job to travel, I’ve been taking pictures around the world, trying different tips and self-teaching myself every day from what works and what doesn’t. And in the process, I’ve learned that photography — particularly travel photography — is a self-learning process. The more you click the more you learn. But what else I’ve learned is that a few good tips from others can help you learn faster. I mean I remember how since I’ve started waking up early (after getting the idea from another travel blog) my pictures have drastically improved in terms of lighting. Morning and evening sunlight, I’ve learned, is best the best time for photography, and photographers around the world would have been taking its advantage. Other than this, I’ve learned is that every destination has its own feel, its own story. Learning how to capture subjects and the feeling of a place helps capture …

Providing A Confirmed Return Flight Ticket For Visa

As an international travel blogger, holding a weak Indian passport in hand, I often deal with providing a confirmed return flight ticket when applying for a visa — or worse, providing a proof of my onward journey while getting a visa-on-arrival or a visa-free entry. I remember the first time it happened to me I was crossing the border into Thailand wanting to continue backpacking into a few other countries in Southeast Asia. Though I was exiting  Thailand in just two weeks (as visa on arrival for Thailand for Indians only allows us to stay in the country for a maximum of 15 days) I didn’t have a flight ticket to my next destination Cambodia. I wanted to travel to Cambodia by land and for that, it was only natural to be entering Thailand and then book a bus/train ticket. However, due to my inexperience with international travel (it was my first ever trip outside of South Asia back in 2016) it never once crossed my mind that this would be a problem. I was asked …

From My Travel Photography Equipment To Photo Editing Software I Use

Because I fund my travels as best I can while working from the road, I carry a big collection of photography equipment — from my camera to hard disks to tripods (yes, I often carry two tripods with me). My electronic travel-blogging and photography gear is, by far, the heaviest part of my setup which often even makes me consider carrying that extra t-shirt. But then again, my travel photography gear is the most important thing for me, particularly when I am away for long. It keeps content on my blog going. Here’s the overview of the photo editing tools and software I use and the hardware I rely on for producing to backing up my images while on the go. Here’s a quick overview of my photo-blogging equipment: Hardware Sony Alpha 6300 with a 50mm 1.4 and a 16-50 kit lens: I have recently (about 6 months ago!) shifted from my Nikon D5200 to a mirrorless sony.  And this happened because of two reasons: one because my previous camera was stolen in Bratislava forcing me …

Essential Holiday Packing Tips

Packing for a holiday divides people into two schools. The first leaves everything to the last minute, throwing in as much as possible; the second packs early and systematically, but often has to unpack again because they need something already stowed away in the suitcase. Well, I happen to be the first case (as most backpackers do) but believe me, if you want to pack for a holiday better, you don’t want to do that. For most of my journeys, I end up leaving something or the other behind and later regretting it. But whichever side of the packing divide you fall on, don’t worry – there is a middle ground. And this middle ground, my friends, will help you back better and more efficiently. Related Read: What I Pack For My Travels Essential Holiday Packing Tip 1: Make A List Without a packing list, you can so easily forget something, especially if it’s not something you use every day, such as suncream, sunglasses, or even a swimming costume. The essentials such as your passport, ticket …

Manali Travel Guide

Where the Beas River chuckles merrily down the gorges, and the snowy peaks of the mountains reach their fingers to meet the sky: that’s what Manali is, in one sentence. Though of course, many would argue that Manali has lost its charm due to no control over tourism inflow (including me) for me, it is still one of the highlights in the Indian Himalayans. Manali is a go-to vacation spot for not only adventure seekers but leisure seekers, honeymooners, as well as budget travelers. It has temples, hot springs, one of world’s highest mountain passes, a rich culture and adventure sports like paragliding, skiing, and river rafting — all under a 50km radius. So if you’re planning a vacation, Manali can — no matter what your travel needs are — be your next holiday destination. Plan your holiday in Manali with this ideal Manali Travel Guide: Weather In Manali Although Manali is packed year-round with tourists, it is wise to get an idea of what to expect from the weather there, because at 2050m above the …

The Excitement Of Revisiting Places

Sitting at nearly 3000m above the sea level, looking at the same landscape I am most familiar with, I wondered if I am, indeed, wasting my time here. I mean for a travel blogger, whose profession makes him money only by visiting new places and talking about them on the internet, isn’t it necessary to keep moving, always? And yet, here I am, back to the same place I have been to, a dozen times before. Yes, I am talking about my second home, Sethan that I first traveled to back in 2016, and since then revisited at least a dozen times. Though of course now that I’ve started a hospitality venture here (my first real offline business ever: an adventure camping place with the name of FootlooseCamps) it has become even crucial for me to revisit the place to manage it — from checking on the staff to paying for bills. But the habit and the excitement of revisiting old places is not something new for me. How Did I Start Footloose Camps Just like …

Visiting Chakradhar Samaroh In Raigarh

I fairly remember how when Chhattisgarh Tourism invited me to attend their annual cultural event of Chakradhar Samaroh I was bursting with excitement. Visiting Chhattisgarh was high in my list. I had heard about the mentions of its undiscovered beauty from a fellow traveller and an avid motorbiker, whom I happened to meet last year during a motorbiking expedition in Jammu. “Don’t leave any opportunity to visit Chhattisgarh,” he would repeatedly insist, supporting the statement with his personal adventures. A little Googling (upon his frequent requests, of course) then introduced me to a new world — the unbounded beauty of many natural caves, waterfalls and a rich culture that Chhattisgarh has to offer. So yea, when Chhattisgarh Tourism contacted me to attend their annual cultural event of Chakradhar Samaroh, I provided a quick yes. What moreover made the invitation better was every thought of visiting the unheard of town of Raigarh. This would mean that after landing in Raipur (for it had the nearest airport to Raigarh) I was in store for a 4-hour train ride passing through …

Hemkund Sahib And The Valley of Flowers Trek: An Ideal Travel Guide

In September, the peak tourist season for visiting the Valley of Flowers and the Hemkund Sahib was already far from over. I was told how the valley would have appeared totally different, draped in a blanket of colourful wildflowers, had I made it a month ago. But in the second week of September, the valley looked pretty much washed-out, just like any other ordinary valley in the Himalayas. At four in the evening, and on day four, I had already begun the last leg of my journey – the trek back to Govindghat. I was constantly praying for some sunshine and azure skies to compensate for the wet weather I had experienced in the previous few days. But as I progressed towards Govindghat and completed about a couple of kilometres, out of the remaining 8 km of the trek, the weather started worsening. Light showers had already begun. With only 3 hours of daylight now left with me, I picked a little more speed! I was disappointed for not being aware of the fact that September can be …

Valley Of Flowers Trek: All You Need To Know

“Unfortunately, you are not doing the trek to the Valley of Flowers the right time of the season. The flowers are generally found in full-bloom sometime between 15th July to 15th August,” provided the tour guide Shobhit, making me feel sorry for myself. On September 5th, the Valley had already started shedding the flowers, and with them, some of the leaves too. The monsoon was far from over too. In about one month from now, winter would hit the Himalayas hard, turning the Valley of Flowers into an ordinary and charmless landscape, with patches of white and (almost) no green. Disheartened, I realized how I had been planning to visit the place for the previous three years, and when I finally made it there, I made at the wrong time of the year – the abscission. It was clear that September is certainly not a good time to visit the Valley of Flowers. Though the valley was still looking gorgeous, with frequent waterfalls and water-crossings keeping me entertained, if I had made it in July or August, I would have …