Travel Tales


baku azerbaijan 2
Ever so quietly – like it does everything else – even Azerbaijan started offering Electronic visas for Indian passport holders. Further Reading: Azerbaijan is not the only one. There are more than 20 countries in this list, that offer electronic visas to Indian citizens.   I mean, it was expected. Georgia and Armenia, 2 countries bordering Azerbaijan in the Caucasus region, were already providing e-visas to Indians. So it didn’t make sense for Azerbaijan to miss out on the tourist revenues. Especially given the fact that Azerbaijan was really close to the middle-east, where most of the Indians were the […]

Electronic Visa for Indians in Azerbaijan: My Experience


Tibetan monastery tindolong tezu 2
It was the lure of Kibithoo that made me visit Tezu.   Many who do pan-India motorcycle rides in the North-East region of India, end up coming to Tezu. Because it is considered to be the Easternmost motorable point of India. It is not, but before I can write about Kibithoo or Kahoo, I have to write about Tezu first. Further Reading: Why was I riding towards Kibithoo? To start the epic solo K2K2K ride, from Kibithoo to Kanyakumari to Koteshwar. From Northeast, to the Extreme Northeast After my time in Nagaland, enjoying my time camping at the hornbill festival, I made […]

The Tibetans of Tindolong: Riding to Tezu, Arunachal Pradesh


Seychelles backpacking 7
“The most interesting stories are found between the pages of one’s passport”   Well, I am being repetitive, because I said that already. In this previous post about the 5 most interesting visas on my passport.   But in the same post, I had also mentioned that visas are different from entry/exit stamps. A visa is what you need to enter a country, and it may be obtained in advance, upon arrival, or as an Electronic visa. On the other hand, an entry/exit stamp is what the immigration officer gives you, to mark the date that you entered/left the country. […]

5 Interesting Entry and Exit stamps: On my Indian passport



Oriental bay wellington new zealand. 4
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 New Zealand. In Auckland, the cold winds pierced my skin, And the night lights swayed my senses high. And while the city slept with a breezy grin, The forlorn needle pierced the forgotten sky.   In Taupo, the lake stretched out in miles Or maybe it was the decline […]

A Sonnet to New Zealand


Mutrah souq entrance oman
I had grown up in Oman. But had left the country back in 1996. And after 20 years, I often felt the urge to visit it again.   I came everywhere around Oman in the GCC region. First UAE relaxed its visa policy, then Qatar did. And even Bahrain followed suit. But visiting Oman was turning out to be difficult – simply because of the Visa policy. Oman had a policy of issuing ‘Sponsored visas’ for Indians even if they wanted to visit the country for touristy purposes. A ‘Sponsored Visa’ meant that I had to find a local sponsor, […]

Electronic Visa for Indians in Oman: My Experience


I love tunis tunisia 1
I got hooked on to the idea of visiting Tunisia because of a Hungarian girl I met during my time in Budapest.   It was a tinder date in Budapest, and we got talking about each other’s travel interests. I was on a 1-year long backpacking trip and project 365 back then, and she took her 4 scheduled vacations every year diligently. Of course, we both loved travelling. But it was our styles that were different.   While I was backpacking on a shoe-string budget to the corners of Eastern Europe, her vacations were all package tours. She would always […]

Visa on Arrival for Indians in Tunisia: My Experience



Sigatoka broken bridge fiji
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 Fiji. In Lautoka, the soft sand cuddled her toes, And the cool wind kissed her cheek. As the ocean lay bare beyond her, she arose, “Follow me?”. But no answer did she seek.   Tikka overwhelmed my nostrils, and Rafi sang his tone. In Nadi, a little bit of […]

A Sonnet to Fiji


Jordan culture
“The most interesting stories are found between the pages of your passport”   I can’t remember who said that, or where I read it. But I do remember when it got etched into my mind. It was in one of my weekend trips from Singapore to Malaysia. I was travelling with an Italian friend to check out the Putrajaya region of Malaysia. At the immigration, she just showed her passport and walked through – because Italians do not require a visa to enter Malaysia. I showed my passport, with a brightly coloured Malaysian visa. The immigration official checked the visa […]

The Unexpected Benefits of an Indian passport: 5 Interesting Visa Stories


Vanuatu sunset
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 Vanuatu. Through Efate’s open windows, and creaking doors, They stared at me, like a naked leprechaun who fell from the sky. Eyes like uncut diamonds, piercing into my pores, They seemed to ask, “Man blong India, why yu come by?”   At the Kava bar, the blade dangled like a third […]

A Sonnet to Vanuatu



Welcome to moreh manipur 2
If you tend to fall in the category of ‘gastronomically adventurous’, the Northeast region of India may just become your new home. The seven sister states – as they were called before Sikkim joined the party in 1975 and made it ‘eight sister states‘– of the Northeast are not only culturally different from the rest of India, but they also stand out in their culinary habits. And this holds true especially when it comes to what constitutes ‘non-vegetarian’ diet in this region. Back in my home state of Kerala in South India, there is a proverb in Malayalam which I […]

In Search of Sambhar: Riding to Moreh on the India-Myanmar border


Pangsau pass return 3
‘Vinegar Joe’ may have made enemies as far and wide as China and United Kingdom. But he had also left something behind for me to explore in Upper Assam. And the Indian government had made it possible to visit this place only on 3 days of the month. In my case, it was on December 30th 2017. What a way to end the year! The infamous history of the Stilwell Road After kicking off my K2K2K ride from Kibithoo, I tried to stay focused on my route and not make much too much deviations. But that resolution was broken within […]

Riding on the historic Stilwell road. Towards Pangsau Pass in Myanmar.


st. peters square
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 Vatican City. The Bishop of Rome was definitely a draw; But there were more ways that the Vatican could woo. In the centre of Bernini’s piazza, the fountain of Maderno And the solitary statue of St. Pietro were just a few.   Even the hands of Michelangelo had grazed […]

A Sonnet to Vatican City



Call me a late bloomer. But it was only in 2016 that I realised that Instagram could be a powerful platform for absent-minded travellers like me to keep track of their travels.   No, it wasn’t just for the Warholesque 15 minutes of fame that I got from posting each photo. But rather for the fact that I could use my Instagram to make a proper timeline of my daily travels, sights and activities. Something like my project365, but without as much effort. I am not a regular blogger, and don’t always get time to write a blogpost during a […]

2017: A year through my Instagram Travel Photos


San marino sightseeing train
All roads lead to Rome, they said. Well, some roads lead away from Rome too. Like the one I was going to take. From Termini to Rimini. Goodbye Rome. Hello Rimini. I had been staying in Rome for the past few days, filling myself at Communist-style Osterias and hearing the pope speaking in a lilting, swoon-worthy Italian at St. Peter’s Basilica. I wanted to leave Rome and head towards Florence, but that is when something else interesting caught my eye. The Republic of San Marino was not only the 3rd smallest country in Europe (after Vatican and Monaco city), but […]

All roads lead away from Rome: Rimini and San Marino   Recently updated !


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   Recently updated !



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 16
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