Travel Tales


walk to port de plaisance
“I am on a trip around the world studying different types of coffee”, The backpacker I met in my bijou hostel in Saint Pierre explained, as he measured out the grams of coffee beans he was going to make his coffee from. He had all the apparatus required for it, and apparently all the patience to boot.   “I started in Brazil, went through different parts of South America. Then I came to Africa. First to Ethiopia, then Kenya. And then I decided to try some European coffee made in African soil of the Indian Ocean”, and he gave the […]

A little bit of France in Africa: Saint Pierre, Reunion Island


palau islands
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 Palau. I hopped across the ocean, from one island to another. Found out what hidden legs were, on my way to a hidden shore. In search of a mysterious land, of which what I now remember Is an unseen jellyfish lake and tropical rains galore.   Who goes all […]

A Sonnet to Palau


Welcome to india marcelo
It was not just the weird-looking contraption that caught my fleeting attention. It was also what was written on it. “Ja Houve de Balao, Aviao, Barco, Carro, Moto e Bicicleta … Maz de skate e a 1 vez!!!” I knew a little Portuguese, thanks to 2 weeks in Brazil, and I kind of figured out the translation. It went something like, “There has been balloon, plane, boat, car, motorcycle and bicycle. But first time on a skateboard”   I sat in the arrivals section of the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, sipping a lukewarm sugary drink that […]

Meet the Brazilian skating around the world – Marcelo Silva



kariyathan para kakkayam kozhikode 4
My back was beginning to ache.   I had expected the 70 KM ride from Mahe to Vayalada to be relatively easy, given that I am used to much longer rides. And it was indeed easy, up until Balussery in Kozhikode district. But nobody warned me about the uphill and rocky climb to reach Vayalada. From Balussery, the road gradually kept winding upwards. A few kilometres before the Vayalada point, the paved roads gave way to potholed roads. As I got even closer to Vayalada, the potholed roads gave away to rocky strips. With rocks not for the faint hearted. […]

Places to visit in Kerala that you’ve never heard of: Vayalada and Kakkayam Dam


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


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



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


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


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


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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!


lamp bear qatar doha airport
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 2
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


Yap airport micronesia
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


penang malaysia 3
2 minutes into this blog post, and you may begin to question whether I am a travel blogger or a financial management blogger. I wouldn’t blame you if you did. But I would subtly remind you that I am the worst person to be taking financial management lessons from, since my ideas mostly work only for myself. Yet they can be modified and used for your own travel plan. And I would even remind you – even more subtly – that continued and sustainable travel is only possible when there is strong financial management skills to back it up. Why do I even […]

How to get that bang for your travel buck!



Somewhere near Ruse, Bulgaria
9th June 2015 – Bucharest, Romania The coach hissed on the tracks, surprisingly reminiscent of India. And the open windows, took the eye to the distant edge of the world. Past a lengthy immigration stop, and a barrage of questions, The visions of yet another country – silently yet surely – was unfurled. It was a good run, Bucharest. But I am afraid we must finally part ways. I left the hostel in the morning, and headed to the train station. There was only one train everyday from Bucharest to Sofia, and that was at 12.50 PM. I had already bought the tickets […]

Project 365: Day 343 – The Bulgarian train odyssey


Essaoira, Morocco 2
Scroll down for the answer. Click here for previous quizzes. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Qn: What connects these ‘locations’? Answer: Shooting locations for Game of thrones. Essaoira, morocco – Meereen Svinafellsjokull glacier, Iceland – The wall and beyond Meteora, Greece – Vale of Arryn Ballintoy harbour, Northern ireland – The iron islands Dubrovnik, Croatia – Kings landing Dark Hedges, ireland – Kingsroad Doune castle, Scotland – Winterfell Cracked by nobody. And I thought this was a sitter! Click here for the hall of fame of scores!

Been there, Learnt that! Quiz #25


Keleti train station in Budapest, Hungary
2nd June 2015 – Budapest, Hungary The most eastern end of the Budapest railway, shone bright In the early sun rays, like a morning-eyed kitten. Thanks to old friends and new benefactors, The wanderlust still rages. I am ever so smitten. I should have have been on a flight to Dubai today, as per my original plan and budget when I first landed in Europe 3 months ago. But then, I had a masterstroke to try crowdfunding. To see if any of my friends hated me enough to keep me travelling longer and delay seeing my ugly face for a little longer. So, I created […]

Project 365: Day 336 – By rail through Romania



Mother Teresa 2
Submit your answer in the comments below. Click here for previous quizzes. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Qn: When it comes to travelling, what connects these famous peeps? Answer: All have airports named after them. Nikola Tesla: Belgrade Ian Fleming: Jamaica Indira Gandhi: New Delhi Alexander the great: Skopje Abraham Lincoln: Springfield, Illinois Mother Teresa: Tirana   Answered only by Ritwik Ghosh. Click here for the hall of fame!

Been there, Learnt that! Quiz #24


Scroll down for the answer. Click here for previous quizzes. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Qn: The Marten has given its name to at least 2 important items. The Finnish company Nokia gets its name from the river Nokianvirta, a type of Marten locally known as ‘Nokia’. The other famous etymology is that of an international currency. The skin of the Marten was once highly-valued, and was used for collecting taxes in a particular country. In memory of this culture, the currency of the country is the local word for Marten. Which currency, which is at danger of being […]

Been there, Learnt that! Quiz #23


Lake bled in Slovenia
28th May 2015 – Bled, Slovenia Life is not spontaneity or coincidence, I’ve always been told. Its a matter of meticulous planning, and hard work. Maybe true, but not always, as I found out today. That fateful coincidence laughed at me again, and did his smirk. I am a huge fan of couchsurfing, and I have wrote about it multiple times before. But my faith in couchsurfing as a platform that connects humans, was restored once again today, because of 3 wonderful anecdotes with 3 beautiful people. One was a story of humanity, another of spontaneity and another of sheer coincidence. 1) Kashif Last night, me […]

Project 365: Day 331 – 3 stories of couchsurfing. And lake bled.