Photo Essays


Walking along the Kapurpurawan coastline
Philippines may be home to 7107 islands. But one island beats them all in size. Luzon is the largest and the most populous island of the Pinas – as Philippines is often called. And unlike what you may think, it was much, much more than just Manila.   And to understand that, I had to go north of Manila. Past Zambales, Baguio, the cordilleras and even La Union. All the way to the Northern tip of Luzon.   To Ilocos Norte.       Ilocos – From the South to the north When the Spanish started consolidating their control over […]

Towards the Northern tip of Luzon: Ilocos Norte, Philippines   Recently updated !


breast mound
Katai Kamminga sat opposite to me while sipping her bluish iced tea, which tasted delicious. When I asked her what the tea was made from, she mischievously retorted with a wink. “From my flower. Now you know what it tastes like”.   It was one of the many witty puns that I would hear from the brilliantly sharp mind of Katai Kamminga over the next hour. Turns out the tea was made from a non-orchid pea flower quite common in Thailand, named the Butterfly pea.   And it’s scientific name was ‘Clitoria Ternatae’. The erotic garden and teahouse of Mae […]

The Erotic Garden of Katai Kamminga: Chiang Mai, Thailand (NSFW)   Recently updated !


people loy krathong chiang mai
It was a bittersweet culmination of a dream I had harboured for many years. To see the Loy Krathong festival. Or, as hippie instagrammers often called it, the lantern festival.   Bittersweet, because it was everything I had expected. And much more. But we will come to the ‘much more’, later in this post. Thanking the Lannas   It had been a long road from Phuket to Bangkok. Thanks to some seasonal floods that were happening in central Thailand, my long, arduous 21 hour bus ride from Phuket to Chiang Mai, had become a long, arduous 27 hour bus ride […]

Mixed emotions at the Loy Krathong Lantern festival: Chiang Mai, Thailand



lake pinatubo philippines
“It’s a magical world, Hobbes, ol’ buddy… Let’s go exploring!” — Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes   As always, Calvin knew best. So did I, apparently. And that was when I decided to finally explore the Pinatubo crater lake after years of putting it off.   I had lived in Manila for nearly 5 years. But not once during those 5 years had I tried to step beyond the comforts of the city, and venture towards Pinatubo. Venture I did – and plenty of times – to the famous beaches of Zambales, the colourful festivals of Masskara and Panagbenga, former […]

To the moon and back: Trekking Pinatubo in Philippines


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


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



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



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


Project365 ends today! 9
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


Mash restaurant in Chennai, India 1
28th June 2015 – Chennai, India I took the fight to the rain gods, and Came out winning, flashing a proud grin. They tried to keep me subdued, But today, I am not letting myself be pinned. Finally, I left Chennai today. But not too far, I only managed a mere 40 KMs before rain forced me to settle at Mamallapuram for the day.   But before all that happened, I stepped out for an early morning sunday breakfast at one of my favourite restaurants in Chennai. MASH is so awesome, that till date, it is one of only 3 restaurant reviews […]

Project 365: Day 362 – Till we meet again, Chennai


Rains in Chennai, India
27th June 2015 – Chennai, India There is one more adventure left for me. And I should head out soon to get into it. But the rain feels incessantly malicious today, I am going to bide my time, and just sit. I should be leaving Chennai already. The last part of my trip involved riding home to Kerala, from Chennai with my bike. But through the Southern coastal route, passing by Chidambaram, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, and Trivandrum. The only problem: I can’t get out of Chennai.   I should have left yesterday evening towards Mahabalipuram, but a freak rain had me grounded in the […]

Project 365: Day 361 – A rainy and lazy day in Chennai



Karl Schmiddt memorial at Elliot's beach, Chennai
26th June 2015 – Chennai, India Sunrises are totally my thing nowadays. And I go from beach to beach, looking for the best. Being back again in a beach where I found myself. Feels beyond good. Feels like I’ve earned my rest.   After hanging around the Marina beach area for 2 days in the morning recently, I needed to get back to one of my more favourite beaches.   Elliots beach in Besant Nagar, has to be the place where I have spent most of my early mornings in Chennai. In fact, there was a time during my employment days in […]

Project 365: Day 360 – To the memory of a Dutchman


Kollywood at Marina beach, Chennai
25th June 2015 – Chennai, India There was no glare of the soft box or reflectors Only the distant sight of a port city, and the rising sun. I have only watched the exaggeration on screen, But I find now that the background score is also fun.   With nothing else to do again, I stepped out Marina beach again today morning. The second time in 3 days. But I had an unexpected surprise in store today. A kollywood movie shooting.   Unlike what most of my non-Indian friends believe, India is not just Bollywood. Bollywood refers to the Hindi-language movie industry of […]

Project 365: Day 359 – Kollywood. Not Bollywood.


Santhome church in Chennai, India 5
24th June 2015 – Chennai, India Familiarity did breed contempt, thats for sure. Else how did I never check out such beautiful things? Like a forgotten teardrop on the chennai map, I finally heard the distant church bells ring. There is something very different about living in a country, and visiting there. When you live there, you are caught up in the pace of the city, and tend to ignore the beautiful things around you. But when you visit there, you are relaxed. You soak in more of the sights, you hear all the noises of the place, and you smell and feel every […]

Project 365: Day 358 – Catching up with St. Thomas



Marina beach at sunrise. Chennai, India.
23rd June 2015 – Chennai, India Home is near, I can almost smell the fish flavour And hear the sound of my mother, crying marriage. Fortunately, there are still a few sights along the way Until the destination, and the start of a new page.   I reached Chennai last evening, and went straight to bed. I wanted to count sheep, but instead counted all the countries in the last 12 months. After 3 continents, and 35 countries, I was back home.   Well, technically, not yet. Home is still 1400 KM away, tucked in the northern regions of Kerala. And it […]

Project 365: Day 357 – Mornings at Marina


Hula hoops in Unawatuna
22nd June 2015 – Unawatuna, Sri Lanka Midnight hula hoops stretched to early morning hours, And I passed out, on a familiar beige couch. Only to wake up and say goodbye to the world. It was short and sweet, but now I head to my homely pouch.     After all the surfing and the yoga shoots yesterday, the evening continued with a barbecue, as it always happens at hostel Unawatuna. Barbecues are a pretty regular thing here. All the people in the hostel pool up some money, go out and buy some meat, charcoal and booze. And then we barbecue it up. The last […]

Project 365: Day 356 – The world is not enough


Surfing at Unawatuna, Srilanka
21st June 2015 – Unawatuna, Sri Lanka The last ten days, have come knocking. “Who’s there?“. “A little bit of sanity“, it said. Because insanity drives us to do things And to see the world on our own head.   There is something crazy about Unawatuna. I can’t simply seem to get enough of it! Yesterday, after checking in, I met with my old friends, and also made some new friends in the hostel. There were a couple of guys from England, 2 girls from Ireland, and then 3 backpackers from Perth, Australia. (Sorry about all those Perth jokes, girls). We did […]

Project 365: Day 355 – Surfing or Yoga? Both!



fort station, colombo srilanka
20th June 2015 – Colombo, Sri Lanka A familiar fort called me back today. I loved the call, but hated the timing. At 4 am when Srilanka was snoring loud, I was eating fish buns and other snacks and things. Last night, I had taken an air-conditioned bus towards Colombo, from where I was to catch a morning train towards Unawatuna. The plan had a few holes. One, the air-conditioning kind of made me nauseous, to the point that i had to open the window to get some fresh air. And secondly, it was a bumpy road. Somehow, I managed to finally […]

Project 365: Day 354 – Ungodly hours at the fort


Ampara srilanka
19th June 2015 – Ampara, Sri Lanka Extreme sports are totally my thing. No wait. Take out the R there. I meant spots. And after a gruelling ride towards the east, I finally met a hammock. And the woes turned to naught.   I had previously visited the southernmost point of Srilanka, in Tangalle. And today, I had a chance to visit the Easternmost.   We rented a motorbike from the guesthouse we were staying in, and left towards Ampara. Sangaman kanda in Ampara district, just past Komari, is the easternmost point of the country. And it was just 20 KM […]

Project 365: Day 353 – Easternmost tip of Sri Lanka


Sunsets at Arugam bay, Sri Lanka
18th June 2015 – Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka Fatigue is like a surf break on the beach, You wait for it for hours, in the scorching sun. And when it finally hits you in all its glory, What follows is a  whole night of sleep, and a day of fun. After the lengthy journey yesterday, fatigue had hit us like a train wreck. And I slept almost till noon today.   At noon, me and Nicci stepped out of our resort to check out the local beach. Arugam bay is a popular surfing destination, and one of the reasons I had chosen to come […]

Project 365: Day 352 – Serenity and sunsets at Arugam bay