Blue mountains in katoomba
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 Australia. It didn’t hurt, nor was there a flavor of fallen grace. It didn’t feel like the rain, nor bursts of thunder. It was a rather banal affair, very commonplace When I finally lost my virginity, down under.   The winter hesitated, then shoved its deep claws Into me, […]

A sonnet to Australia


monk kid angkor wat 2
Note: The Angkor archaeological park is a giant area, and it is impossible at this age for me to remember all the details (yeah, I am blaming the 30’s for everything nowadays). Hence, this post is not very descriptive, rather more of a photo-story. The sunrise was upon us. And the Tuk Tuk driver couldn’t have found a better place to drop us off. Right in front of the magnificient Angkor Wat temple complex!   We had spent the last night getting knackered in the party streets of Siem Reap’s Club Street, and walked in tripping, into our hostel. The […]

In Photos: A day at the Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia


kyiv boryspil airport arrival 8
Note: My visit to Ukraine was in August 2017, just shortly after the Visa on Arrival was introduced for Indians. So, understandably, it was a little chaotic and disorganised. As of writing, I can see that the information on the website is much better reflected now, and the chaos should be relieved too. In other words, this is NOT A RANT. Just describing my experience. “Don’t visit countries that are at war!”, said conventional wisdom. Well, when have I ever listed to it?   I have wanted to visit Ukraine from the time that I did a few months of travel […]

Visa on Arrival for Indians in Ukraine: My experience



hong kong skyline
Funny story. It was Jeju that took me to Hong Kong, even if it was for half a day. When I planned for my long-awaited trip to Jeju in South Korea, I had to consider the fact that I could not travel to Jeju via Seoul. I could, but that would mean that I have to apply for a Korean visa. But, given the amount of delay involved in that, I decided to skip Seoul, and get into Jeju from some other countries. Definitely not Singapore, since there were no direct flights from Singapore to Jeju. Read: I often scout […]

Exploring Hong Kong in 12 hours   Recently updated !


punting cambridge
This is the second part of a 2-part roadtrip from London through South and Midwestern England. Click here for part 1. Day 3 – The canals of Birmingham Before this day, I had associated the word ‘canal’ with Venice or Amsterdam. But little did I know, that the massive canal network in Birmingham was bigger than the one in Venice or Amsterdam! But to enjoy them properly, we first had to deal with the day. What was a peaceful 2 days without rain, had completely turned the tables on us. Birmingham was pouring! The news mentioned that the storm had abated, […]

A Roadtrip from London – Birmingham, Ely and Cambridge (Part 2)


Panda pavilion macau
“Oh!! You have to see the Pandas! They are the cutest!!” Atleast 3 of my friends had said this line to me when I told them that I was visiting Macau.  And I have never seen one in my life too; except in those animated flicks where the Panda kicks some serious ass. So, before I had even left for Macau, I had scribbled down somewhere in my notebook: “Visit the Giant Panda zoo in Macau” Contrary to what most people believe, Macau is not a single island. It is actually made up of 2 different islands which are connected […]

No Giant Pandas. But enough Egg Tarts : in Coloane village, Macau



university church oxford
This is the first part of a 2-part road-trip from London through South and Midwestern England. Click here for part 2, or follow me on Facebook for updates. The weather signs weren’t right when I landed in London Heathrow airport. And at that point, if anyone told me that I was going to drive through London – Stonehenge – Woodstock – Oxford – Birmingham – Ely – Cambridge – London over just 4 days, I would have laughed at them. It was early February, and the England weather was cold – as was expected. A chill wind welcomed me as I […]

A Road trip from London – during Storm Imogen (Part 1)


amaro italy digestif
As an Indian boy from a village in Northern Kerala who grew up on fish-curry and paratha (technically, porotta in Kerala), my notion of Italian food was late and simple. ‘Late’ because I had my first pasta only at the age of 23 or something. And ‘simple’ because I thought Italian food was only about Pasta and Pizza. Read: Lengthy drive-in beaches and communist symbols. Read more about the beaches of Northern Kerala. During my travels, I have discovered that Italian cuisine was much more than that. I didn’t need to travel to Italy to dine at Italian restaurants in […]

The Italian dining experience you probably NEVER heard of: An Osteria in Rome


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
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
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   Recently updated !


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   Recently updated !


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
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   Recently updated !


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   Recently updated !


2
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