Month: March 2013

Naumi Liora Singapore, Asia Rooms Singapore, boutique hotels Singapore

Boutique Hotels in Singapore Under US$ 150.

Based on your feedback to some of my recent blog posts, I am now trying to intersperse my travel stories with reviews of places I’ve stayed and eaten at – practical information that can help you plan your own trips. I’m starting with reviews of two boutique hotels I recently stayed at in Singapore – Naumi Liora and Parc Sovereign – both moderate budget hotels under US$ 150.

Ask Me Anything: March 2013

In this second post of the “Ask Me Anything” series, I answer your questions about how to earn money while travelling, how to pack for long trips, how to pitch travel stories to publications, and destination-related questions about Bahrain, Singapore and Thailand. 1. HOW TO EARN MONEY WHILE TRAVELLING? Ishan: I run into money problems sometimes while backpacking; can you recommend a good way to earn money while on your travels? India doesn’t currently hold a working holiday agreement with any country in the world, so the best way to earn money while travelling with an Indian passport is to work online. The options are aplenty: writing, copy editing, research, web designing, coding, teaching languages, social media marketing – really anything that you don’t have to be physically present in an office for. Becoming a freelancer and diversifying your income sources (like I try to do) ensures that you stay motivated and are not too reliant on a single piece of work.

DSC05345

7 International Destinations For Solo Travellers.

After my first solo trip in India, many people asked me what it was like to travel alone. Liberating, was my first thought. To travel alone is to realize that the “big bad world” has a bigger heart, that there is nothing quite as empowering as the confidence to experience an unknown place by yourself, and that you don’t need a man to figure out directions! Here’s a list of friendly destinations for solo travel getaways, around the world and in India: 1) Singapore This small island nation in Southeast Asia can seem almost too good to be true as a single woman: it is as safe as it is cosmopolitan. With glittering shopping malls and massive year-round sales, well-preserved cultural districts, tranquil seaside escapes, and a happening nightlife, there is enough to keep you on your toes. Its vicinity to Malaysia and Indonesia makes it a perfect base to explore the rest of Southeast Asia. If you’ve been there before, there are always new reasons to visit – after spending six years studying and working …

DSC03393

What a Fisherman Taught Me About “Paradise”.

On my first day in Mauritius, I couldn’t help but envy the lifestyle of the laidback locals lounging around in their Hawaiian shirts. I assumed that living here was paradisiacal indeed, what with constantly being surrounded by the azure waters and not having to deal with the worries of city life. Meeting a fisherman on the island would make me realize otherwise. I checked in at Le Meridien Ile Maurice, with a plan to indulge in everything that Mauritius is famous for; sunbathing on my private beach with a cocktail, swimming with the ocean in sight, riding a glass bottom boat into the sea, and whiling away time in my balcony overlooking the turquoise waters. Then one day, as I watched the sunset paint the sky red from the resort’s jetty, which protruded into the vast ocean, a young man waded ashore from the shallow waters, wearing a worn-out sweater and carrying a bucket of seashells. A small-boned man of Indian origin, Ravi was a fisherman by profession and an occasional peddler of seashells at …

DSC05083

Singapore: 10 Best Free Things To Do.

Let’s face it. Compared to its neighbors, Singapore can be a tad expensive! If you’re on a budget trip, take my list of free stuff, free activities, free places to visit, and free things to do in Singapore, and keep your pockets happy.  As I packed my bags for Singapore in the end of February, I was swamped with shopping lists, mostly from my mom. “What else can you do in Singapore?” she asked. As someone who can’t bear to spend more than a few minutes in a store, I felt perplexed. I suddenly wondered what I did over weekends in Singapore, while I studied and worked there for almost half a dozen years, because I certainly didn’t shop (and didn’t have the money to, either). If you ask me, some of the best experiences on the island nation are in fact, free:

Rajasthan salt lake, Rajasthan offbeat, Rajasthan village

Why I’m Not Celebrating International Women’s Day.

If I had a dime for each time someone asked me what it was like to travel alone, as a woman, or called me brave for travelling far and wide, as a woman, I’d be a millionaire. The one thing definitely more challenging about travelling solo as a woman, is that people look at you with concern, pity even, for being without a man to carry your things, or find your way around. Having circled the edges of being a feminist, I’ve now strongly started to feel that this relentless victimization, more than anything else, is the root cause of so many challenges faced by women. We put women on a separate pedestal whenever possible. Separate queues for women, separate compartments for women, and absurdly, even separate banks for women! These pedestals clearly imply that women are neither as strong nor as safe as men, and gradually become self-fulfilling prophecies – because as women, we unquestioningly accept that we are the victims, and it leads men to subconsciously assume either a protectionist or a predatory stance. When …

rural Rajasthan, Rajasthan life, Rajasthan farms

A Flavor of Rural Rajasthan.

Swarms of people greet me as I alight at the Jaipur railway station, some arriving in the pink city with royal expectations, some transiting through it to seek the desert culture of Rajasthan, and many slyly trying to identify first-timers to the city so they can put their touting hat on. I incessantly nod no to the constant soliciting of Madam auto, Madam taxi and Madam hotel, until I reach the exit of the station and someone’s Madam auto soliciting succeeds. I can see his bewilderment when I ask to go to Surya Vatika Road on the highway towards Chomu, and the fare negotiation is skewed in my favour for once, because he has no idea where we are going. We drive past the bustling city, past the resorts that line its outskirts, and turn off the main highway into a by-lane that winds along vast patches of dry land, barren even at the onset of spring. We occasionally see signs of the organic farm I’m heading to, and a few wrong turns & some …

DSC05067

Travel Plans in March!

I’m penning this post from the cosy courtyard of one of my favorite cafes in Singapore, on whose sunny shores I landed two days ago. It was here, in this tiny island nation that my tryst with travel started, and I used it as a base to explore Southeast Asia while studying and then working. It feels surreal walking its familiar streets and revisiting my favorite hangouts, as I connect the many dots that led to the path I’m now on, but I digress. While dealing with withdrawal symptoms from my recent trip to Bahrain, many exciting opportunities and plans cropped up. Here are all the places that I’m heading to this month: