All posts tagged: Adventure Travel

Mountain Biking In Margaret River

After a few weeks of quest for some of the world’s most gorgeous beaches in Australia, my love for Australian beaches and the beckoning Indian ocean was far from over. I mean in a country where finding a beautiful beach is an everyday story, the excitement to explore a few more of them, dies pretty quickly. And so was the case with me. So as I moved down south of Perth, during my three week backpacking trip in Western Australia, and hit Margaret river — another town popular in Western Australia for its white sand beaches perfectly beautified by sloping grassy banks and huge Norfolk pines in the background — I was a little unsure. Margaret River As A Town Margaret River, as a town, is a beautiful concoction of a good life and entertainment, with a number of craft breweries and boutique wineries available at every junction. The many world-class beaches, surfing points and a lively marketplace moreover add to its charm. However, one thing that differentiates Margaret River from many other nearby tourist towns, in Western Australia, is a labyrinth …

My First Bungy Jumping Experience: A Few Seconds Of Insane Courage

I don’t think I can do this. What if I collapsed amidst air — a nervous breakdown, a heart attack, or something worse. My mind was constantly pleading me to reconsider. Fear had almost overpowered me. All excitement had momentarily turned into an undeniable panic. Things became even uglier when someone else jumped before me and screamed their guts out. I was going to be next! I remember my instructor constantly asking me to stop shaking my legs as he performed the safety checks and tied a harness above my ankles. His motivation counselling felt of no use either. “just don’t look down. Look up. Look up,” he repeated at least half a dozen times. “And how are you supposed to look up while you’re falling upside down,” I asked myself. But that was all I had. It felt like the best advice and sounded like an assurance. JUST DON’T LOOK DOWN! And then the moment came. With both legs bound together, I started walking like a helpless penguin. As I stood on the edge the instructor asked if everything …

My First Snowboarding Experience

Confidently balancing on my board, gliding down the slope with all the grace of a gazelle, I slid for a few metres before finally landing on my chest. The last night’s fresh snow absorbed the hit every time I crashed, as I tried polishing my left and right turns on a snowboard! A few weeks ago the lovely folks at NorthlandAdventures, in Manali, invited me to try a few days of skiing or snowboarding with them, at their ski hotel, Sethan Heights, in the town of Sethan, in Himachal Pradesh. As they mentioned it, my (first) reaction was ‘oh, bum … I can’t ski!’. Then I realised, this would mean learning something new, and I spat a Big Yes! For the next few weeks, crashing, getting uncontrolled, and other hazards made me wince every time I thought about my decision. But To hell with it… I’d already said yes, and there was no chance I was going to say No later! Located at 2770 metres above sea level, more than 700 metres higher than Manali, the village of Sethan, in Himachal …

Sethan Village In Himachal: A Place To Relax, Unwind And Just Be!

After a few nights in Charanag in Hallan Valley, a small town tucked away from the crowd of Manali, in Himachal Pradesh, it was time to relax, and lose myself in oblivion, yet once again. And Sethan sounded like a perfect name. Located approximately an hour’s drive from Manali, Sethan was definitely a place for slow travellers – at least during winters, when the snow still claimed the ground and any movement beyond this tiny Buddhist town, was pretty much impossible – unless you’re conquering glaciers. I sure wasn’t! In the month of March, and with mercury still falling beyond zero for most of the hours in a day, the valley here was draped in white. Little flakes of happiness were everywhere! From Sethan, one can see the towering Dhauladhar ranges surrounding the village, and the river Beas flowing right next to it – perhaps a few thousand feet down. The inhabitants here were originally migrated from Tibet, and represent a Buddhist community who share their roots being horse herders in their past. They were …

Scuba Diving Myths: Debunked!

What’s keeping you out of the ocean? Is it the fear of drowning or getting stung by a lionfish? Some of you might also be thinking that diving is expensive. Before doing my first, I had my own doubts too. But my biggest fear was running out of air while I was still underwater. “Has any of the trainees has ever run out of air, in their cylinder, while diving with you,” I remember asking my instructor, Jason, moments before our first dive. Though we were cautiously trained about how to share air and avoiding other diving hazards, I was unsure of rescuing anyone (or even myself) if anything went wrong. And I think these doubts are only natural. The day I dived and posted a few pictures on my Facebook page, a lot of people asked me about my experience followed by their personal query – something that seemed to be putting them off from trying it. So now that I’ve done a few dives and have moreover qualified as an Over Water Diver, …

My First Scuba Diving Experience

Life Underwater – a serene, slow-motion world, almost tranquil and unreal. The sun started dissolving slowly, as I deflated my buoyancy control jacket. The blue, hazy sea in front of me, slowly darkened. I remember the first time I started sinking I was half scared. The idea of leaving the world I’d always known, and entering into something far mysterious and eerie – was undoubtedly scary; and the fact that every cry, every yell, will only going to be left unheard, was moreover alarmingly daunting. For the first 5 minutes I did not take my eyes off my instructor and the two fellow divers. They seemed like my only hope. But as I slowly sank down, listening to a louder ‘pop’ in my left ear, I began to take shape and coming into focus. Nearly 12 metres down in the depths of the Arabian Sea, the life I saw, existing and moving was totally magical. And I remember I stopped breathing. It was not through fear anymore, but from sheer awe and wonder. The world …

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 journeys were concluded solo. I like the idea of taking long solo strolls, under the magnifying beauty of Himalayan cliffs. There is some adventure in that. This time, I was off to Panchachuli Base Camp, located at the end of eastern Kumaon region, near Munsiyari, in Uttarakhand. Panchachuli, literally means ‘five pointed oven’. According to the locals, it was Panchachuli peaks where the Pandavas cooked their last meal on the five peaks of Panch Chuli before leaving for heaven. And that’s its religious significance. The trek to Panchachuli Base Camp turned out to be a pretty easy deal. Where most of the blogs, on internet, suggested that it takes a good 4-5 days of strenuous walk to complete the trek, I found that 2 days might just be enough. Darma Valley is being connected with a fine (as per the Himalayan standard) motorable road. Starting from Sobla, the road has already …

My Journey Into Darma Valley

It was 1 in the afternoon, as I grabbed myself somewhere in the middle of Darma valley, riding under the rocky cliffs that mark the road till Nangling. The terrain looked quite walkable but the comfort of a motorcar was far more appealing, even if you’re to sitting on the roof. The peaks of Panchachuli glacier were still, at least, two days away from me. But I could already feel its presence. The sun was unusually bright. This was definitely higher up. At about 13,000 feet above sea level, the jeep wound up quite a bit. After a couple hours of ride, we hit a rickety local shop for some food. I was ready to order another vegetarian meal – for I was in Uttarakhand, and well aware of its vegetarian culture – when all of a sudden, my eyes caught hold of a sheep who was already butchered. A man was busy taking off her coat. Few people surrounding him on the scene. The lady serving at the shop asked if I fancy some mutton and rice. …

Sandakphu Trek — All You Need To Know

Singalila Ridge Trek (or Sandakphu trek, as is often called) is one of the best treks around Sikkim and West Bengal. You literally walk through a beautiful land, covered with green grass and wild rhododendrons, for a few days, as sometimes – flying clouds interrupt your walk, and sometimes – periodic lakes. As you reach Sandakphu you enter into a zone whose entry signs reads “Pollution free zone”. And I wonder, how many of those are still left in this world. Sandakphu trek offers fantastic views of the Himalaya. The valley beautifies itself, with clear panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, as you journey towards Sandakphu. You start the trek from the town of Mane Bhanjhang, and as you walk towards Sandakphu, you enter/exit into India, and likewise into Nepal, at least a few dozen times. How? Because the Sandakphu trek is more or less a borderline between India and Nepal. And the towns that come on the way, including Tumling and Sandakphu are owned by both countries. Sandakphu, as a town, is popular because it …

 7 Ideal Locations To Camp And Not Pay A Penny, On The Road To Spiti Valley

Bike expedition in Spiti Valley, itself, is adventurous. And the idea of camping through it, rather than opting for the safety and comfort of a guest house, is an adventure of a next level. Unlike other parts of Himalayas, here you can’t think of camping out in the wild, away from any civilization. Gusty winds and an unfriendly terrain makes it just too hard. When I initially left for the solo bike expedition to Spiti Valley, I had no intention to sleep all the way through it – in my own tent; though I brought it with me to spend a night or two in Chandratal, which falls almost on the way. I ended-up camping for the first night (in a town called Arphu), because I was struck with the idea of sleeping somewhere quieter than the likes of Shimla and Rampur. I needed a place which was not bustling with tourists or, in fact, had no tourists at all. Arphu fit the description, but since it had no guest houses, camping seemed the only possible way. But …