Travel Tales

168 posts

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

seychelles islands

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

penang malaysia

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 […]

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 […]

Essaoira, Morocco

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!

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 […]

Mother Teresa

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!

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 […]

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 […]

Scroll down for the answers. Click here for previous quizzes. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Qn: What historic incident happened on 17th February 2008, when this monument was unveiled? Answer: The newborn monument was unveiled on the day when Kosovo declared its independence. Click here to check it out. Cracked only by Ritwik Ghosh, who now leads the hall of fame of scores! 

confluence of 2 rivers

Scroll down for the answers. Click here for previous quizzes. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Qn: This is the confluence of 2 small rivers in a prominent capital city in Asia. The confluence has led to the naming of the capital city itself, which has a name that translates to ‘muddy confluence’. Which city? Answer: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). At the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. Cracked by nobody. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Click here: to check out the Batu caves of Kuala Lumpur.

Indonesian city

Scroll down for the answer. Click here for previous quizzes. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Qn: Sir Stamford Raffles had a position as a Lieutenant Governor in this city on the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. In honour of him and his position, a famous street in Singapore has been named after this Indonesian city. Which street? Answer: Bengkulu, or Bencoolen. Bencoolen street in Bugis, Singapore, is named after this. Cracked only by Nicholas Lim. Click here for the hall of fame of scores! Click here: to check out the Sultan Mosque of Bugis.

Newborn monument in Pristina, Kosovo.

13th May 2015 – Pristina, Kosovo In a newborn country, I find myself today. So new, that youth oozes from its every pore. And a monument to herald it, stands proud. Carrying with it a story. The stuff of lore. I left Belgrade today morning for a new destination. I was about to type country, but then I am unsure about representing it. (Note: Calling Kosovo a country is only to make documentation easier on my blog. I am not endorsing the right of Kosovo as an independent nation, and neither am I against it. I do not take any sides. I […]

Kelani river

Scroll down for the answers. Click here for previous quizzes. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Qn: The Kelani river, is the fourth largest river in its country. The only claim-to-fame of this river is a city that lies on its shores. The city was originally called ‘kolon  Thota’ (Port on the river kelani), but the Portuguese renamed it to what we now know it as. Which capital city? Answer: Colombo Cracked by Ritwik and Stephanie! Click here for the hall of fame of scores! Click here: To check out my episode in Colombo.

Philippines wartime flag

Scroll down for the answer. Click here for previous quizzes. Click here for the hall of fame of scores. Qn: Look carefully at the military flag of the Philippines, and tell me why is it unique? Answer: The wartime flag of the Philippines is their national flag, only inverted. This is unique among world flags. Cracked by nobody, this one! Click here for the hall of fame of scores! Click here : to check out my Philippines episodes.