Author: Dev

Looking For Village Experience Near Shimla? Visit Cheog

Want to spend a holiday in a village in Himachal Pradesh and get real local experience? Try village Cheog in Shimla district! For a traveler like me, understanding local culture and getting a feel of the local way of life is just as much a part of the travel experience as visiting new places or meeting new people is. If I didn’t have any local interaction in a journey, the journey feels incomplete. This is perhaps the reason why I prefer homestays over hotels, and that I, every now and then, try volunteering while travelling. If I talk about my previous motorcycle trip, for example, that took me around places in the Kumaon region in Uttarakhand for about 20 days, the most memorable experiences I had was eating in someone’s house in a small village called Naikana, and not when I camped in the wilderness one of the nights, or when I first saw the Panchachuli peaks in Munisyari. Similarly, this time as well, as I motorcycled across the Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh, for …

Why Monsoon Is The Best Time To Visit Shimla

What’s the best time to visit Shimla? I say “Monsoon!” For a long time, I kept myself away from traveling to Shimla, and this was for one reason – Shimla is a popular tourist destination and remains crowded for most of the time of the year. Hill-stations and mountains, for me, are a synonym to peaceful, and if I know that I am going to find a big crowd to wherever I am going, I stay away from it. But then, a part of me also always want to visit the crowded places and see what actually made them so popular in tourist charts in the first place. So this time, as monsoon hit Himachal Pradesh hard, and the news made people stay away from it, I found myself the perfect time to go and explore some of these top tourist destinations in Himachal Pradesh. And Shimla was one of them. Shimla In Peak Season Despite being born in Shimla (and not staying there for long before my family moved out) I never felt an …

Chail Or Shimla: Which Is Better?

Struggling with the idea of whether you should visit Chail or Shimla on your next holiday? Wondering which one is better among the two? Well, this blog is for you! During my recent 1-month monsoon ride across Himachal Pradesh, I happened to visit both Chail and Shimla. And it was my second visit to both the places. Where I loved Shimla for it wasn’t overwhelmingly crowded (for a change) as I never hit anyone’s shoulder despite wandering around on its mall road for about an hour, I adored Chail for an even more peaceful experience. During the months of monsoon, Shimla and Chail felt (almost) equally enjoyable. But, for a different reason! The First Visit The first time I visited Shimla, it was during the peak tourist months of May and June. I had just returned from the UK (after living there for 3 years) and wanted to see what Britishers have left behind in India. It was a solo backpacking trip – the kind that starts with exploring a place in the morning and …

Barog: A Weekend Getaway Destination From Delhi

Off late, I’ve seen myself covering weekend getaways on my blog quite a lot, places that can be reached in or around 6 hours from New Delhi. And this is happening because I’ve recently bought a new motorbike, and with that, started planning more and more road-trips. The only problem is, however, every time I leave home for the next big adventure, I end up staying at a place not too far from New Delhi, on Day 1. My inexperienced rider ‘self’ doesn’t allow me to ride for more than 6 hours, or, say, 300 km in a day. Where this is certainly annoying, for it takes me twice the time to travel (for example it takes me two days to travel from Delhi to Manali on my motorbike, that, otherwise, is a convenient overnight journey) it allows me to explore a place that can otherwise be an ideal short-weekend-drive-away-destination from Delhi. For example, during my previous 20-day road trip across Uttarakhand, I spent my first night at Kalagarh – which, I later realized, can …

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 …

My First Real Experience Flying Business Class

I won’t describe myself as a budget or a luxury traveler. I think, at this moment, I am somewhere in the middle – focusing more on the value of experiences than their price tag. So, when folks at Singapore Airlines offered me an upgrade to business class, I was like “umm… okay!” I mean I don’t really care if I am flying in a business class or economy. As long as the person sitting next to me doesn’t literally possess the sharing arm-rest and burp right on my face because they think it’s okay to do so, I am good with the economy class too. Air travel, in fact, is the least of the things I look forward to enjoying. It is nothing but a mere mode of transportation for me. So yea, when folks at Singapore Airlines offered me an upgrade to business class, I didn’t really care. But as I grabbed my boarding pass and moved towards immigration, I realized that we’re talking about Singapore Airline here, that is, in fact, one of …

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 …