Airports, transits and visas

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

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 […]

Project 365: Day 316 – In a newborn country

Paris, france, sacre coeur, travel, photography
3rd March 2015 – Paris, France Its the city of love. And I find love in old friends. Who magically turn up out of nowhere. The world is actually a village. Minuscule at best. And finding old friends in the world, is my best flair. I had a pounding feeling in my heart when I landed in Paris CDG. Again, I was panicking. Here I was, with an Indian passport and no job, entering Europe for the next 3 months. If that is not the recipe for an immigration fiasco, I don’t know what is. Wonder of wonders, the immigration officer quickly scanned my […]

Project 365: Day 245 – Sacred hearts in the city of love

Ankara, turkey, travel, photography, food
23rd January 2015 – Ankara, Turkey Vincit qui, se vincit. Your fights are only against yourself. Or if you are an Indian traveller, against your passport. On a day when a solitary embassy in the middle of nowhere, had me bent over and served, Raki was my only resort. One of my principal deterrents, when it comes to travelling, is my passport. The Indian government is not keen on working diplomatic angles with other countries or promoting reciprocity, to make our passports more travel-worthy. And it is my opinion that the reason lies within the fear of forex imbalances, which are expected […]

Project 365: Day 206 – Screwed by Georgia. Saved by Raki.

cathedral, kolkata, india, travel, photography
10th December 2014 – Kolkata, India Today I found, that my story was unique, and my passport  was a possible and likely foe in this tale written from the crypt. But then, my passport is only a part of my identity, the pages on it define me more. So, sometimes, its only me who can write my own script. I was finally called for a Visa interview today, at the French Consulate in Kolkata. Pretty unusual, since most applicants never had to go for an interview. But hey, my case was unique. Or that is how the interviewer felt. We had […]

Project 365: Day 162 – The European Test

kolkata, india, travel, photography, travel photography
8th December 2014 – Kolkata, India The money is beginning to flow now. Well it always does, When there is a new visa to be applied, or a bike to be serviced. Diligent hard work, is the call for the day, but at the end of it all, There are things to be thought of, and the future is reflected. It has been more than a week now in Kolkata, making this my longest pitstop in this trip. And I will be here for at least another week. And there are 3 reasons for this lengthy stay in the ‘city […]

Project 365: Day 160 – Reflecting on the trip so far

Everybody is crossing the horizon today. - Lumbini, Nepal
2nd November 2014 – Lumbini, Nepal The potholes continued, but the views kept getting more inspiring. There were stretches of green paddy fields, after the futile attempts to extort. While the sun took a bow, and retreated into a well-deserved oblivion, I realise that I’ve crossed an international border, and did not even flash my passport. I continued the dogged ride from Ghazipur today early morning. There was still 250 KMs to cover to the border, and never did I imagine that it would take me 10 hours to do that. The road deteriorated as I continued, and soon I was kicking up […]

Project 365: Day 124 – Crossing a border. Piece of cake!

This post is about countries where Indians can get an E visa (Electronic visa or e-visa). For a list of countries where Indian passport-holders do not have to prepare any advance visas, click here. As an Indian, one of the biggest challenges for me while travelling, is of course the Visa requirements. India currently ranks 76th in the world for travel freedom, and many decades of missing out on opportunities of full reciprocity and diplomatic relationships, mean that there are only 52 countries or territories where we have visa-free or visa-on-arrival facilities. To be fair, this is not surprising. India has one […]

10 countries with E-Visa for Indian citizens

The opulence of it all. - Mumbai, India
19th August 2014 – Mumbai, India In the desert, they built concrete oases and glittering fountains. And the oil barons created gold from anything they could take. Minarets and neon lights were both calling me lusciously. but today I chose the opulence of a dream, over the sheikh. I landed in Sharjah today morning and then took a bus to Dubai. The Emirates has literally left no stone unturned to impress me, with wealth showing its ugly head at every nook and corner. And I also clicked copious amount of pictures. But the picture of the day, is from the Mumbai […]

Project 365: Day 49 – India’s largest museum

Actually, I hate to go. - Changi airport, Singapore 2
4th August 2014 – Singapore Goodbyes are the worst sob stories. Oh, the pain! Especially to friends, who saw you in both the low and prime. But with all this travel, I find that I now smile more often at airports. Because, thankfully, goodbyes don’t last a wretched lifetime.   When I started this journey from Singapore, it was heartbreaking. To let go of all the friends here. To start again, on ground zero. I was consumed with depression on the first day of my journey, in Sydney. And rightfully, i decided to make a short pitstop here, on the way from […]

Project 365: Day 34 – Leaving on a Jetplane

No emergencies. And no exits. - Melbourne, Australia
31st July 2014 – Melbourne, Australia In airports and terminals, I found a new game. Of hide-and-seek, with an edge of chaos and mayhem Time is playing a good referee, and keeps reminding me. The exits are always there. But I have no plans of taking them. They say time flies. Mine must have taken a concorde, because the realisation is a kickback when you are already typing out the 30th day post. The last one month was spent in 5 different countries, and that is a fairly good start. Click here to check out pictures from Vanuautu, one of my favourite countries the […]

Project 365: Day 30 – Going full circle

Taipei 101 4
If there ever was a country which lured me with its food, it was Taiwan. Living in Singapore, I had many friends from Taiwan. And every time we met over a beer or a kopi o peng, they kept describing how they missed Taipei, because it was the undisputed food capital of Asia. So, as it normally goes, I succumbed to the sins of gluttony that ruled my travel plans, and booked a flight to Taipei. Visa for Indians to Taiwan The Taiwan Taoyuan International airport, also called the Chiang Kai Shek airport, was modernistic and developed, but it was […]

A rainy night in Taipei : Taiwan

East timor backpackers
One of the last south-east Asian countries, Timor Leste is nowhere on the banana pancake trail. In fact, many people dont even know of this country, which became completely independent only in 2002, and still receives less than 10000 tourists annually. I made my plans to visit it when 2 friends in the couchsurfing community had informed me that this was one of the best countries they visited. Click here to check out images from the Timorese capital of Dili. Travelling to Dili, the capital of Timor Leste, can be quite interesting in itself. If you are low on budget, […]

A short landing indeed : Dili, Timor Leste