All posts filed under: Places Travelled

Jewel Changi Airport: A Fine Example Of Singapore’s Creative Indoors

And here’s an astonishing truth: In March 2019 Singapore’s Changi airport won the best airport in the world title (as per WorldAirportAwards) for the seventh year in a row. That was before Changi had its architectural marvel ‘The Jewel’. Now, after its opening, I wonder how any other airport in the world is going to get that title, at least, in the foreseeable future. Every country is good with something, they all have their unique strong point. Some are good in arts, some with technology, while others, in preserving a rich cultural or traditional heritage. For example, when I think of Japan, the first thing that comes to my mind is how they have maintained a perfect harmony between the old and the new-age culture. When I think of Germany, I think of fast cars and perfection. Similarly, Paris is fashion. Switzerland is nature and luxury-living. Peru is beautiful landscapes. India is an amalgamation of cultures and traditions. And Singapore, yes… the country of the topic is creating ‘inspiring indoors’. Every time I visit Singapore …

Why I Loved Luang Prabang

The French colonial buildings, ancient wats, and the fishing boats in the Mekong make Luang Prabang an unforgettably beautiful and a seemingly offbeat destination in Southeast Asia. Beyond the frequented, my 2019 has taken me to two offbeat Southeast Asian destinations (speaking as per Indian standards!) so far: one, the island of Borneo that I happened to visit during a media-trip to Sabah, in Malaysia last month; and second, the landlocked, the unfrequented, the unheard-of (again, by most Indians!) country of Laos. To be honest, I had never considered visiting Laos myself and I think the biggest reason for it was the lack of information available online about where and how to go to Laos. I mean before my visit to Luang Prabang, I had no idea that Laos, in fact, has four international airports across the country. Though it is true that those airports still have no direct flights from most of the countries in the world, the fact that you can actually fly to pretty much any corner in Laos is quite a …

Luang Prabang’s Morning Alms Giving Ceremony: Tak Bat, In Pictures

A group of nearly 2 dozen monks hurried towards me as I caught hold of this unfamiliar religious act in Luang Prabang called Tak Bat for the first time. They were all barefoot, looking and walking straight in one line. The first few in the queue, as I guessed, were in their late teens, followed by some as young as 7 or 8 years old. This is how every morning in Luang Prabang is rewarded – with the colorful sight of hundreds of saffron-robed Buddhist monks and novices walking in a peaceful procession through the sleepy streets of the city, accepting alms from locals. This daily ritual of Tak Bat in which kneeling locals give rice and fruits and snacks (or what can otherwise be offered and called as alms) to the monks, is a timeless tradition that dates back its existence to the 14th century. Every day, hundreds of monks (from 30+ monasteries across the town) would walk barefoot, and in meditative silence, through the streets of Luang Prabang to collect food offerings from …

4-Days In Luang Prabang: Travel Itinerary

Visiting Luang Prabang and not sure what all see and do there? This 4 days Luang Prabang travel Itinerary will help you explore Luang Prabang from inside out and make the most of your time. Before I visited Luang Prabang, and from what little I knew about Laos, I thought Luang Prabang will be quite rural in its appearance – with the majority of local people living around and relying on Mekong river for livelihood. I thought, other than the capital town of Vientiane, other places in Laos (including Luang Prabang) will look pretty shabby, with no gravel but only dirt roads to be found. But I was wrong! As I landed in Luang Prabang, I was left flabbergasted with what all it had to offer. Of course, the place looked quiet and simple, but it didn’t look underprivileged in any way. The roads were clean, people seemed affable, and the cars… well, they were quite a few in number, and just enough to not honk at each other. Everything about Luang Prabang was pleasant …

A One Week Road Trip Itinerary For Uttarakhand: Delhi To Munsiyari

This one-week road trip itinerary from Delhi to Munsiyari will take you across many highlights in Uttarakhand! Since I have bought a motorbike in April this year, I have been planning road-trips across the Himalayas. Where these road-trips surely fall under the category of a ‘road-trip’ the fact that I travel very slow (for example, taking a month for the usual one-week Delhi-Ladakh trip) is what differentiates them other similar road-trips or the road trip itineraries you find online. These itineraries (that I will be sharing with you in the coming weeks/months) will take you across a place in a much detailed and orderly manner. So, following the same ‘slow-travel’ approach, last month, in June of 2019, I did a 20-day road trip from New Delhi to Munsiyari – yes, the same route that can otherwise be done over a weekend. During those 20 days, I stayed at 11 different locations and drove nearly 2000km. I rented guest houses, stayed in backpacker hostels and even camped on the way. Sometimes, I stayed on the main …

Camping, Hiking & River-Rafting In Kiulu, Sabah: The Offbeat Malaysia

Visiting Sabah, in Malaysia? How about doing the offbeat and trying some camping, hiking and white river-rafting in Kiulu River. “Who goes camping in a new country anyway? Don’t you think jungles look the same everywhere?” I remember how my friends initially reacted as I told them about my upcoming trip to Malaysia. And I understand their disapproval. For most people (and this particularly applies to Indians) visiting a new country, streets and cities remain the biggest fascination. I mean if you are visiting, let’s say, Japan for an instance, would you rather go for hiking, or carefully spend your time planning pretty selfies at the famous Shibuya Station intersection in Tokyo or watching sumo wrestlers choking each other with their majestic butt. Similarly, for Malaysia, exploring Malaysian food, Malaysian streets, or something else that’s more Malaysian in appearance should be high in your bucket list, over hiking a ubiquitous jungle. So yea, when I shared my 5-day travel itinerary with my friends, over a few drinks in New Delhi, I didn’t get a very …

My First Impression of Sabah, Malaysia

Visiting Sabah, in Malaysia? Read how I liked Sabah, the Malaysian Borneo, during my first visit! As I gestured to politely ask for her permission to click a picture, she hesitated. But I knew, the hesitance wasn’t out of reluctance but pure shyness. There was nothing unwelcoming about it. I moved a few inches closer, and before I even realized it, my camera was peeking right into her face. She blushed harder. The laugh lines around her eyes dug deeper into her face. Suddenly, the camera felt like an uninvited friend, an obstruction that was no longer needed. The warmth, the friendliness in her eyes was something to be taken home in heart and not just in the mere click of a camera shutter. Later, as I thanked her, I knew, I was in love again, with her, her people, and the place she was a native of! I remember when the email to visit Sabah on a blog trip with 50 other travel bloggers from India first landed in my inbox, I wasn’t very …

Getting Local Village Experience In Kumaon Region In Uttarakhand

Want to experience local Kumao culture and explore village life in Uttarakhand? Visit Naikana village, near Jageshwar Dham… because I have found you a place! Not very high in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand, I happened to hike through dreamy villages, deodar forest, and secret rhododendron trails, where locals would wake up at 4 am to chop wood across daunting terrain, climbing up and down a steep mountain face while I carefully place one foot in front of the other. My two-day stay in this sleepy village called Naikana, that, in fact, was located only 20 minutes away from a well-trodden road, was, in fact, lost deep inside a forest. It remained the most beautiful highlight of the many journeys that I have previously had across in Uttarakhand, for it took me to a world where iPhones, drones, and Instagram still held no value. While planning for my 20-day road trip across Uttarakhand (and on Delhi-Munsiyari trail to be particular) I decided that for one night, at least, I was to going to have some real …

Top Travel Tips For Almora In Uttarakhand

Planning to visit Almora? Read these top travel tips and make your experience better! At first glance, Almora appeared as one of those bustling towns in the mountains that are becoming a concrete jungle. There were hotels and shopping complexes being arranged on the narrow ridge. Neighborhoods were quickly getting buried under plastic waste. Local people seemed too busy in their lives to answer any requests. Honestly speaking, my first impression of Almora wasn’t a pleasing one. It had been only 10 minutes that I had arrived there and every part of me already wanted to escape its madness. I knew my hotel was located some 5km outside of the main town – thankfully far enough from Almora’s maddening Lala Bazaar – yet I needed a stronger reason to console my heart. To make it even worse, Google navigated me to a dead-end, forcing me to now ask for directions. “The Himalayan Woods” I enquired a few random faces, but no one had a clue. Then a sudden realization and I recalled that my hotel …

Kalagarh: A perfect Weekend Getaway From Delhi

Looking for a quick weekend getaway from New Delhi? Visit Kalagarh, near Jim Corbett! As I left New Delhi, and with that, the imposing concrete buildings behind me, I could already smell fresh air. The beautiful countryside of Uttar Pradesh with periodic glimpses of green pastures and lush foliage were enough to keep me going even on a hot summer day. It had been less than 4 hours since I left home and a part of me already wanted to go astray, ride aimlessly on quaint walkways, spotting friendly locals and some rare wildlife. This was certainly one of the most picturesque (though equally confusing) drives I’ve ever experienced near New Delhi – the kind that makes you introspect at each turn, as you listen to the tunes of rusting winds, connecting trees, and distant chirping birds! I remember when I was planning my 20-day motorbiking trip across Uttarakhand (towards Munisyari) I wanted to keep my first day’s ride as easy and unchallenging as possible. I mean during a summer day, of 40-degree Celsius temperature, …