Portugal china friendship statue at senado square
Macao was turning into a revelation. And that was even before I saw the ruins! After a day spent exploring Portuguese architecture, Eiffel tower, and Venetian canals, I was determined to see more things in the historic center of Macau. (Also spelt Macao, and I think I keep alternating between the two!) In 2005, UNESCO declared the historic centre of Macau as the 31st designated historic site of China. And with good reason too. Because it represented a unique marriage between the Chinese and Portuguese cultures. The historic center of Macau itself refers to nearly 20 sites spread around the […]

The Ruins and Crypts: St. Paul in Macao


main lobby venetian macau 2
After 4 hours of taking off from Changi airport in Singapore, I had landed in Macau International Airport. Not that I remember much of it, because I had slept throughout the flight. Thank god for clear skies! But I do remember not updating the time on my watch when I landed. Because after all, Macau and Singapore were on the same timezone. Effort minimized!   But I couldn’t remember why I had not visited Macau till now. I had been to Hongkong, which was just 40 miles from Macau. Twice. I could have visited Macau easily, at least on a […]

Going Portuguese, Parisian and Venetian: Of casinos in Macau


fokker 100 KLM cityhopper
Its not a unusual sight to see airplanes in an airport because, duh, that’s what airports are for, right? However, true to its unique style, Amsterdam definitely decided to give you some surprises in that department too. And on a Panorama terrace, no less. I had ensured that my trip to Amsterdam coincided with the annual Canal gay pride festival in the month of August. And in my hurry to see the colorful pride, I had not taken much time to explore the Schiphol airport. I finished the pride, a road trip through Western Europe, and on my return, I […]

A Fokker on a panorama terrace: Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam



vip class shanghai maglev train
China is massive in every context. This probably explains the Chinese term for mainland: Dàlù. It literally means ‘the continent’. Mainland refers to the area which is directly under the jurisdiction of the People’s Republic of China. So, this excludes HongKong and Macau, which are Special Administrative Regions. And about Taiwan, well, let’s not go there because it is an entirely different political discussion. I’ve visited Hong Kong, Macau and even Taiwan. But I have never visited Mainland China until last month. To be fair, the only reason was the visa. While Hong Kong and Macau had visa-on-arrival for Indians […]

An 8 minute VIP on a Maglev Train: Shanghai, China


chamarel waterfalls view 1
This is the second part of a 2-part series about a roadtrip through Mauritius island, mostly through the Black River Gorges National Park. Click here for part 1! The lake of Ganga. Wait, in Mauritius? The Ganga Talao (or grand bassin) in the Savanne District of Mauritius, was a complete crater lake. This is Mauritius’s version of the Ganga river in India; quite obvious once you translate ‘Ganga Talao’; which is ‘lake of Ganga’. And unquestionably, one of the holiest sites in entire nation. The relationship between Mauritius and Indian culture became visible as we drove on the Grand Bassin Road leading […]

Black River Gorges National Park: Roadtrip through Mauritius island (Part 2)


Flacq mauritius island 1
This is the first part of a 2-part series about a roadtrip through Mauritius island. Click here for Part 2! First thought in Mauritius Island: I am faster than my luggage! My first impression of Mauritius was a trite Rabelaisian, if you can call it so. If France and India were 2 actual people who hooked up on a drunken night, and ended up having an unsolicited love-child after a tumultuous relationship; that abandoned child would be Mauritius. (Funny coincidence: Francois Rabelais was indeed French) Born with the colour, taste buds and swashbuckling lifestyle of the average Indian, yet speaking melodic […]

From the beaches to the crater: Roadtrip through Mauritius Island (Part 1)



Waterfight songkran chiangmai 2
This was not my first Songkran. I had previously been to the Songkran of Khaosan Road, in Bangkok. 4 years ago, which also had me witness a full-blown protest. And the 3 days spent there were the craziest 3 days of my life. Street parties are a very rambunctious and boisterous affair, but a street party with water involved; it almost feels like the whole atmosphere is jacked up on steroids. Read: Churning of the milk ocean, in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport Songkran is Thai New Year. And if you are wondering why the name seems so familiar, it is because it’s […]

A 3-step guide to enjoying the Songkran festival in ChiangMai


This is part of a series called ‘A sonnet to the world’, which I have been working on. You can read about the project here. The idea is to write a 14-line Shakespearean Sonnet for every country I visit (and hopefully and eventually, the whole world). And this one is for Brazil. Much before I was to court a forlorn Brigitte Bardot, in Buzios. I had to dilly-dally through Rio and its wanton and lascivious carnival. Those sacoles were wicked; the alcohol was in wicked ratios. And the camisinhas were a cue or a nudge to everything canonical. Like the […]

A sonnet to Brazil


port louis mauritius
This is part of a series called ‘A sonnet to the world’, which I have been working on. You can read about the project here. The idea is to write a 14-line Shakespearean Sonnet for every country I visit (and hopefully and eventually, the whole world). And this one is for Mauritius.   We are the waylaid children of a waylaid civilisation. As the patterned streets birth the reclusive inner bard, As the colours turn to thoughts, thoughts to realisation, We mull and mourn the many moments. Yet we move forward. Through Port Louis’ crowded wet market, Like Sardines we move. […]

A sonnet to Mauritius



Just a short ferry ride away from Singapore, lies an oft-visited weekend destination named Bintan. And in a less-explored trikora beach, lies a lesser known hideway called – tantalizingly – ‘Shady Shack’. Enough of suspense-filled opening narratives. Let’s get on with the blogpost, shall we? Riau Archipelago, Indonesia For some of you who live in Singapore, I wouldn’t be surprised if you believed that the Riau islands – which include Bintan – was a part of Singapore. And to some extent, there is some historical credibility to this misinformation too. Bintan is a part of  the Riau archipelago which – along […]

A Shady Shack on Trikora Beach: Bintan, Indonesia


seychelles beaches 1
This is part of a series called ‘A sonnet to the world’, which I have been working on. You can read about the project here. The idea is to write a 14-line Shakespearean Sonnet for every country I visit (and hopefully and eventually, the whole world). And this one is for Seychelles. Hanging around the horde of happily hand-holding honeymooners And the rich and the elite. And the richest of the elite. The lost backpacker just hums through his 90’s list of crooners In a lonesome beach. Think of it, that’s quite a feat.   From Anse Royale to Beau […]

A Sonnet to Seychelles


port louis mauritius
I did it before in 2013, posting my favorite photos of the year. And again in 2014. And despite travelling through Europe for almost the whole part of 2015, I only missed it out because I had taken a short sabbatical from blogging, and was settling into a corporate job. But 2016, there were no excuses. And no reasons not to. I started the year travelling, and continue to travel as I end it. And no better way to document it, than the photos I have taken through each of the months in the year. The only difference is, I decided to […]

2016: My year in Travelling Instagram Photos



3
I don’t want to make this sound like a rant against Airasia. So, I’ll try to make this educational about how a badly set-up customer service process can lead to losing a long-time customer. Naah, I have a feeling that I might end up ranting anyway. I’ve been based in Singapore for over 5 years, and has also been bit by the travel bug since roughly then. Singapore is a great hub, and KL – just 5 hours away by road – is an even greater hub for low-cost budget travels through East and South Asia. There are atleast 4 major […]

9 ways that AirAsia screwed up my customer service experience


vakil mosque shiraz iran
My days of being a full-time wanderer, are behind me for now. Now that I am back in a corporate job, I try to find exciting vacations, while saving up for my next long travel. And one important factor when taking these vacations, is time. I do want to travel cheap, but I also want to maximise the time in any new place. So logically, the best option is to take a direct flight. Thus minimizing any transit time, and maximising your vacation period. Wondering where to go with an Indian passport? Click here to check out my list of […]

10 Direct flights from India, that you may not have known about!


Ginza street tokyo
Japan’s capital city of Tokyo, is divided into 23 ‘special wards’. Yep, that is the exact name given to the 23 municipalities that made the original Tokyo City. After 1943, Tokyo City was abolished, and instead was officially named Tokyo Metropolis. And one of the special wards, was Chuo. Although Chuo – which literally means ‘Central ward’ in Japanese – is the second smallest ward in Tokyo, it has historically been Tokyo’s commercial center, challenged only by Shinjuku in Japan’s recent history. It is further divided into 3 zones: Tsukishima, Nihonbashi and Kyobashi. Tsukishima is an island. Nihonbashi is home to […]

Searching for Nair’s Restaurant in Ginza: Tokyo, Japan



icebergs swim club bondi beach sydney
I had flown to Sydney, with the standard tourist ideas in mind: visit the opera house, the royal botanic gardens, and take a train to see the 3 sisters of Katoomba. But as luck would have it, I met with an old schoolmate who regaled me with ideas of what to do in Sydney, especially off-the-beaten track. And one of those was the Bondi to Coogee walk. Not so off-the-beaten track for the locals, but a definite must-do for a tourist. If I could set apart 2 to 3 hours of my time, that is. Sydney is much more than the […]

Sydney’s favourite walk: From Bondi beach to Coogee beach


lamp bear qatar doha airport 1
It has been an annual tradition for me to take atleast one or 2 trips to Europe every year. And from Singapore, the cheapest way to do that, is through the many middle-eastern airlines that make cheap connections possible with transit in their respective countries. Qatar Airways, Saudia airlines, Oman Air and Turkish airlines compete among each other to offer the cheapest fares from Asia to Europe. The price is usually very cheap, but the only problem with these airlines, is the long transit time. And one is often forced to spend a few hours (some unfortunate transit situations could go […]

8 Totally FREE things to do during a transit at Qatar’s Hamad International Airport


seychelles islands 4
This is a list of countries that do not require a visa, or offer a visa on arrival for Indians. If you are looking for countries that offer electronic visas (E-visas), click this list. There are plenty of countries which do not require an advance visa for Indian citizens. And if you are an Indian – or if you have interacted with an Indian – the chances are likely that you will believe/hear the most commonly stated reason why Indians dont travel much. “I need a visa for every fricking country that I want to go to!” Click here for […]

Top 10 countries where Indians can travel without an advance visa!



tough mudder bali indonesia
I was no stranger to Bali. But I knew this trip was going to be different. It was for the Toughmudder in Bali. Oh yeah. Waaaayyyy different! As I sat on the window seat of the Airasia flight, on a turbulent Friday night, it slowly dawned on me that the turbulence was more inside me, than outside. This was probably the 4th time that I was visiting Bali. I have rode a motorbike through the entire island in the past, and even stopped here on the way to my epic trip in East Timor. I had seen pretty much every […]

Getting muddy in the Island of Gods: Toughmudder in Bali


Koror palau 2
After the exciting island-hopping saga across the pacific ocean, reaching Koror at 11PM, I was eager and excited to check out the night-scene. I had slept mostly throughout my 4 different flights to get here. I could have been jetlagged, but I wasn’t. After all, Palau was just 1 hour ahead of Singapore, where I had started from. And the night was still young. All I had to do was get to my budget motel, check-in, and then go out for a few drinks. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong! Again! My taxi-drive from the airport to my motel lasted about 15 […]

I went to Palau. And didn’t touch the water!


Yap airport micronesia 2
Manila It was an uneventful flight to Manila. I was no stranger to the Philippines. I lived here for 4 years. And even after I moved my base from the Philippines to the urbanscape that people called Singapore, I had visited Manila a couple of times. So, nothing exciting awaited me in Manila, save a couple of planned meetups with old friends. If you are looking for something interesting to do in Manila, go offbeat and check out the Ermita region for some amazing street photography opportunities. Owing to some confusion in my seat booking, Jetstar gave me a free upgrade to […]

Island-hopping on an airplane: Singapore to Palau



Project365 ends today! 22
1st July 2015 – Mamallapuram, India The memories will remain etched for ever Of a year that went by in poetry and pics. But its not the places that will spring to mind. Its only – and always – the people who will stick. I thought this day would never come, but it’s day 365 today!   Its been 35 countries (and Kosovo), spread across 3 different continents. With 21 international flights, 23 international border crossings by land and couchsurfing in 20 countries. Riding a motorbike through 12000 km of the indian subcontinent, including the cold Himalayan roads of Nepal and […]

Project 365: Day 365 – That’s all, ladies and gentlemen!


Rock temples in Mamallapuram, India
30th June 2015 – Mamallapuram, India The quest is close, and one day remains Don’t judge me when I say I did nothing today. I’ve had a hell of a year, and survived it. I deserve rest in my own serene and calming way.   Maybe it was a good thing that my family visited me here.   I find myself relaxed, without any timelines to chase or to get back. So, I decided to stay one more day in Mamallapuram, and explore it a little bit with my folks. And it wasn’t so bad as I thought.   I may have […]

Project 365: Day 364 – The big day is tomorrow!


Mamallapuram, India 2
29th June 2015 – Mamallapuram, India The bullet finally saw some action. And a familiar town woke me up with a surfing beach. Familiarity and family have a similar ring, My ears are ready, for whatever it is they preach. The unthinkable does happen. Sometimes. I should have left from Mamallapuram to Chidambaram today. But a surprise call last evening from my parents, informing me that they might head here, put me off balance. I still wasn’t sure of it though.   I woke up in the morning and took the bullet outside for a short ride, looking for tea stalls to have […]

Project 365: Day 363 – Smiles abound in Mamallapuram