All posts tagged: Asia

INDIA Travel Guide

No, India is not a country, it’s a continent – with a spectacular mix of people, cultures and landscapes. It would not be wrong to say that this confusing and colourful land is a small Europe in itself. From snow-dusted peaks in the north to the sultry sun-washed beaches in far south – there is much to see here and plenty more to experience. Walk the streets of any Indian city and you’ll rub shoulders with people representing different traditions, following different cultures, speaking alien languages – while some turbaned, and other, having cute Mongolian faces. No wonder India is a country to be explored, and the best way to do it is by backpacking across its different states. Many first-time visitors find themselves lost and often intimated by what may seem a ludicrously bewildering place. But despite all the intractable paradoxes, criticism and frustrations they find themselves hopelessly attracted to the idea of travelling this confusing and muddled land again and again. You can love it, or you can hate it – but you …

BHUTAN Travel Guide

Bhutan is a land of surprises. This is where the rice is red in colour, chillies can be a main dish, and the economic index GDP is measured in “Happiness”. From the grassy lands, to the kind and fun loving people – there is always something to adore about this tiny Buddhist country. But what makes Bhutan better than most of its neighboring countries, is the degree of safety you feel while walking on its unfamiliar and unversed streets. Bhutan is much backpacking friendly. The entire country – from the popular towns of Thimpu and Paro, to the much unfamiliar east – is comfortable to travel, hospitable and culturally far diverse. But due to its imposed US$250 daily fee – which also includes your food, stay and travel – many travellers find themselves hopelessly bound to a well-planned and an unavoidable itinerary. Since it does not apply to Indians, Bangladeshis and Maldivians, they are free to backpack across the country without having to worry about a VISA. TOP PLACES TO SEE AND EXPERIENCES TO TRY Getting …

Backpacking Through Bhutan: Is It Possible?

Nestled between India and Tibet, the remote and breath-taking Kingdom of Bhutan, has always been well known, for restricting tourist activity. But if you look at the world now, Bhutan is the only remaining Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom in the entire world, which makes it alluring to tourists. What makes it more alluring is the fact that it has only opened its borders to tourists only in 1974. Perhaps that’s why I’d initially decided to backpack across Bhutan, I knew I was in store for a travel experience unlike any other. But I wanted to travel like a real backpacker. Paying $250-A-Day Royalty Where many want to experience Bhutan’s culture and learn about the unique sentiments attached to it, travelling to this Unknown Shangri-la is no easy job. The country requires you to pay $250-a-day in Royalty, against which you will get a pre-booked accommodation, and a complete end-to-end itinerary — right from the morning tea to late evening snacks. You will moreover be accompanied by a tour guide, during your entire period of stay in …

Nongriat: From Root Bridges To Its Natural & Cultural History

Nongriat is a combination of two words “Nong” meaning village and “Riat” meaning cliffs or ridges. So it literally means “A village surrounded by ridges” – and that’s exactly what you are going to find in Nongriat, in addition to its mesmerizing beauty, natural swimming pools and friendly people It is about 64 Kms from Shillong and to reach there, you’d have to take a shared Jeep or hire a cab from Shillong  to Cherapunji (otherwise known as Sohra) and then to Mawshmok. From Mawshmok you’d walk towards Tyrna which takes approximately 10 minutes. Alternatively, if you want to go a little wild, you can walk all the way from Shillong to Cherapunji which will take around 3 days walking through the plump and comely hills of Meghalaya. From Tyrna you walk on foot to Nongthymmai and then to Nongriat which is around 3500 stairways (and a hell lot of sweat) from Tyrna. Not to forget that they are not really proper stairs, at times they are mere boulders and rocks smeared with moss which makes them …

Nongriat, Meghalaya: In Photos

“This north-east Indian village with root bridges is by far the best place I’ve seen in your country.” I still remember how my friend expressed his excitement, as we clambered over the lofty and vainglorious mountains of Uttarakhand, last year. His voice – a perfect invitation for me to amble – kept reverberating in my head for a long time until when I finally set off to see this place with a few other north-east Indian places that turned out to be no less than a Shangri-la. From being a place where it (almost) rains the most in the world to being a home to one of the amazing tribal community in India – there are many reasons why you should visit Nongriat. But the undisputed highlights are its lush forest, magnificent valleys, countless natural pools, living root bridges and the Bananas with seeds. Here, some unforgettable moments I clicked in and around Nongriat (eastern Khasi Hills): The entire east Khasi Hills in Meghalaya is like a secluded oasis of silence in the vastness of nature. And Nongriat – …

Why I Want To Travel Bhutan Again

Of all the places I’ve been to, Bhutan remains one of my favourites. Not much is known of this country, and even less is heard about. No wonder, Bhutan is a place to be discovered. Many people find it hard to sample its charms due the country’s high daily tariff (about $250 per day per person) and complicated visa requirements – which, fortunately enough, don’t apply to Indian tourists. We can cross the border anytime we want and enjoy its warmth, humility, friendliness and spiritual peace, like a backpacker. But why do I care to visit it again? Well, of all the compelling reasons Bhutan’s ‘Restaurants Cum Bars’ – as they are often named – are something I find myself mostly yearning for. They are a basic Bar like facility where you can enjoy ‘Emma Dhatsi’ – an insanely hot delicacy of boiled chillies and local cheese – and all those local beers and whiskeys. For a start remember that they are in no shortage in any sense. If Bhutan has some 100,000 shops in total, …

In Search Of Happiness

I found Bhutan a rather charming and fascinating place. No matter how worldly and materialistic your approach towards life is, if you travel Bhutan with an open mind, their philosophical and idealistic culture would force you to contemplate, and contemplate twice, on some of the most confusing questions concerning human existence. During my visit to Bhutan, I happened to spend a chilly evening with a couple of friends I met in the capital city Thimpu. They shared with me some crazy ideas about their culture and a unique Bhutanese philosophy that left me spilling my guts out. These young men had no decent excuse to ponder or even believe in such crazy ideologies – and their firm belief left me startled. “There’s a very simple solution to be happy in your life,” said one of them “Just think about death few times every day.” The entire conversation around such a cheesy topic started when – during our philosophical conversation – they happened to ask me about that one thing I want from my life. “To be …