My restless soul has a strange relationship with the little red dot on the world map. In the six years I studied and worked in Singapore, I spent my days planning adventures and craving excitement in the far reaches of Southeast Asia. But when I moved away in 2011, I was filled with nostalgia and a curious desire to rediscover Singapore itself – especially given that it’s just a short hop and an e-visa away from India. I’ve discovered hidden beaches, password-protected bars, mangroves to kayak through and pristine forests over my last few trips to the country; it’s time to spill the secrets: Leave your footprints on a hidden beach You’ve reveled in the underwater world and manmade beaches of Sentosa. Now ditch the crowds to find solitude at Lazarus Island – an undiscovered, undeveloped stretch of coastline where soft white sands are caressed by gentle azure waters. To ensure that yours are among the few footsteps in the sands, there’s no direct way of getting there: take a boat from the Marina South …
It’s easy to spend big money in the big apple. But if you’re like me, you probably want to indulge in some unusual cuisines and be on your way to Central America; I leave in 24 hours for Guatemala! In my three weeks in NYC, I’ve had my fair share of fun with tons of free things to do, free events and free activities to choose from. Take my list and go, and be kind to that wallet of yours:
After my soulful sojourns in the North-eastern and Garhwal Himalayas, I descended to Mumbai for some personal work. Three weeks of sweltering heat has left me craving the rains, and made me nostalgic of my monsoon adventures last year, when I chased the rains from Rajasthan to Hampi. Over two trips to Hampi, I’ve discovered experiences that go beyond the majestic ruins of the ancient Vijaynagara kingdom. Take my list, stay with the locals, meet the dwindling gypsy community, cycle amid dramatic landscapes, and indulge a little:
Years after my brief tryst with the Philippines, I revisited the country in March, hoping to discover its pristine islands. I sampled city life in Manila, rowed into an underground river in Palawan, walked on the edge of Cebu’s tallest building, and went deep sea diving in Negros. But it was with the island of Bohol that I fell in love. This is why: 1) There is a pool table and hammock in every village house! I’ve witnessed laid-back island life in many places, but Bohol’s refreshingly relaxed vibe is different. You don’t need to go to a beach here to see people lazying on the sand with beers and music. Most houses on the island, whether by the farms, along the river, or in the hills, have pool tables and hammocks in their backyards. Driving along the island’s lush interiors, I saw locals swinging on hammocks outside their houses, and entire families (often the mothers leading the troupe) bantering over friendly games of pool. C’est la vie! 2) The Chocolate Hills are as fascinating as their name. Witnessing the Chocolate Hills of Bohol …
My last memory of Canada is strolling along a charming neighborhood in the residential suburbs of Toronto with my blogger friend Mariellen. I had spent the morning at CN Tower, playing Titanic over the edge of the city, and caught a free lunchtime concert outside the subway. On my Toronto flights home with Emirates, I pledged to come back and experience more of the city’s awesomeness, a lot of which is indeed free!
On a mustard farm deep in the interiors of Rajasthan’s Pali district, Pannibai pulls out weeds in the hot afternoon sun. A few meters away, next to a makeshift hut of wood and twigs, her husband and son cook lunch on a small fire. The family has been here almost 6 months, and come March, when the harvest is done, they’ll take their share of the crop and move. To another village, and another makeshift house. It’s the only way of life I know, she tells me; the real nomad, of the Rabari (gypsy) community of Rajasthan. The villages of Rajasthan are home to hundreds of years of fascinating traditions, many of which will get wiped away with the older generation. Partake of these awe-inspiring travel experiences while you still can:
Forget Goa’s beaches. Ditch the crowds. Come with me. Discover the other side of Goa.
Over a month ago, I gave up my apartment in Delhi, sold most of my belongings, and hit the road (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely). It’s been a roller coaster ride, one that has left me craving a weekend of pampering. The last two days at JW Marriott in Bombay have given me exactly that. Presenting to you, 6 ways to indulge yourself and your taste buds at JW Marriott, Mumbai: Breakfast at BBC A charming bakery with books, teas, home-baked breads, and pastries, the Bombay Baking Company has the perfect recipe for a lazy day of indulgence. Their artisan sandwiches are a must try, and if you believe that it’s never too early for wine, they have an extensive list to choose from. The Royal Lotus Suite The first thing that struck me about the Royal Lotus Suite was the view from its glass panels, of the swimming pool below and a stretch of Juhu Beach beyond. The living area and the bedroom are spacious yet cosy, with wooden floors, a glass-walled bath …
As a flashpacker, I’m always on the lookout for pocket friendly countries to travel in (Read: Confession: I’m Not a Backpacker). So as I watched the rupee fall over the last few weeks, I went into panic mode; countries like Bahrain and Canada, which I visited earlier this year, are now almost twenty times more expensive to travel in! I desperately turned to my best friend Google to determine if this was the end of my dream to travel the world on a meager income (Read: How I Afford my Travels and How You Can Too). Turns out, the rupee can still take us far enough on roads less travelled!
I’ve often thought that a nomad like me is just not cut out to enjoy a city. Time and again, my two years in Delhi reinforced that belief. But when I decided to pack my bags and make the road my home (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely), something unexpected happened; I fell in love with Bangalore. Even on a summer afternoon, Bangalore was a breath of fresh air. People hung out on the streets, quaint cafes lurked around every corner, breweries served up handcrafted beers, and the cool weather was perfect for pleasant strolls. Here’s my ode to the city, and a lowdown for your next trip to Bangalore: