All posts filed under: Islands

Sri Lanka villages, Sri Lanka ecotourism, Sri Lanka secrets

Galkadawala: Sri Lanka’s Best Kept Secret.

I take off my shoes, slip on a sarong, and carefully tip toe into the luke warm water. The village ladies, all clad in colorful sarongs, extend their hands so I don’t get entangled in the weeds and fall. Maulie, our host in Galkadawala, introduces me as “India”; the ladies giggle and say something friendly in Singhala. I wade into the lake with their help, and when my feet no longer touch the soft bed, I start to swim. Maulie points to a tree in the distance, where she spotted one of the lake’s resident crocodiles a few days ago. A soft chill runs through my spine, as brahminy kites appear in the clear blue sky above. Shivya NathI’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star. In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life. Connect with …

In Photos: Chugging up Sri Lanka’s Hill Country.

Earlier this week, we boarded the blue train from Kandy towards Ella, hoping for some respite from the rain that had enveloped Kandy. Little did I know then that thanks to the rain, we were going to witness one of the most spectacular train journeys I’ve done in all of Asia. We chugged up the hill country of Sri Lanka, winding along tea plantations, forests, waterfalls, streams, rivers, sleepy villages, and mountain tunnels. Shivya NathI’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star. In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life. Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.

Sri Lanka photos

Sri Lanka: First Impressions.

I sit on the terrace of a little budget hotel in Heel Oya, near Ella, penning this. The mountains stretch before me, the surrounding forests are lush green after the light drizzle this afternoon, and the constant chirping of birds has lent a sweet melody to the evening. Three days ago, when we landed on the shores of Sri Lanka, I expected to be swept away by its natural beauty. The cool mountain breeze has done that literally, and as the sun peaks from behind the passing grey clouds, I find myself wondering why I’ve travelled halfway across the globe, but never before visited this pretty little island a stone’s throw away from India. Shivya NathI’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star. In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life. Connect with me on Instagram …

Maligne lake, Spirit Island

The Haunting Beauty of Spirit Island.

The clouds engulf the white coat of the Rocky mountains, as though protecting them from the incessant rain. With only my umbrella to protect me and my boots miserably wet, I walk, somewhat reluctantly, to the bus that would take us to Spirit Island. My original plan was to hole up in a cosy cafe with a hot cup of tea, as befits a rainy day anywhere. But then came news that for the first time in a decade or so, the snow has been cleared off Maligne Lake in the month of May itself. And we’d be the first people to make it there this year. How could I resist? Shivya NathI’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star. In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life. Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures …

Brahmaputra river bridges, Majuli Assam, Majuli photos

In Photos: Majuli Island, Assam.

Possibly the most beautiful place I’ve travelled to in India, Majuli is the largest river island in the Brahmaputra River, and in the world.  Accessible via Jorhat in Assam by a public ferry, it has an almost surreal, magical old world charm; we intended to stay here two days, but ended up staying six, and can’t wait to go back. Why? See for yourself. *** 1. CYCLING ON MAJULI ISLAND along rolling meadows, often interspersed with rice paddies and glimpses of the river. === 2. FINDING VILLAGES IN ASSAM that once lived remotely across a tributary of the Brahmaputra River. Now that the river bed has completely dried up, they have access to the relatively more developed mainland of Majuli Island. They still run on solar power though, with mainstream electricity only a distant promise by the government. === 3. BIRDWATCHING BY THE BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER where flocks of birds live by the river, sunbathe on the green pastures, and chill with the grazing cows and goats. === 4. GETTING LOST IN THE WILDERNESS  of Majuli, …

Koh Mak beaches, Koh Mak island, Thailand hidden beaches

Koh Mak Island: Of Hidden Beaches, Broken Boats and Beer.

There it lay. A mile long beach with pebbly white sand. The sea had receded into low tide, inviting us to wade into the shallow waters. Broken boats lay on patches of the sea bed that would otherwise be submerged in water. In the distance, islands gently rose from the horizon; islands that should technically mark the start of Cambodia. We were on the eastern edge of Koh Mak island, one of Thailand’s better-kept secrets, and giving us company were only three water-loving dogs. We had set out earlier that evening, from our cosy hideout at Bamboo Hideaway, a rustic bamboo lodge run by an Italian couple who made the island their home three years ago. We followed our tiny map to the dot, and I maneuvered our scooter up a hill, on a dirt road, and into the bushes, till it would go no further. As per the map, this route should have led us to a stunning view of the sea, and all the way down to a beach on the other end …

4 Time Zones, 2 Bucket List Items, 1 Month.

What a month March has been. I’ve travelled along the mountains, rivers and rice paddies of Thailand’s north, revisited with much nostalgia the familiar streets of Singapore, revelled in the festivities of Las Fallas in Spain, and finally made that illusive trip to India’s northeast to live with the Mishing tribe of Assam and explore the wilderness of the eastern Himalayas. And in the midst of all these adventures, I’ve been overwhelmed to see my travel story about Turkey’s Black Sea region, published in BBC Travel, a travel publication I’ve always held in such high regard. Shivya NathI’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star. In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life. Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.

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 …

A Vegetarian in Paradise: Mauritius & Rodrigues.

If there was ever a vegetarian’s version of paradise, Mauritius and Rodrigues, sister islands in the Indian Ocean, would probably come the closest. The fine blend of Indian, French and Creole cultures, mixed with the western influences of tourism, have resulted in a spectrum of vegetarian treats in the former. And the dissociation of the latter from the rest of the world has resulted in unexpectedly delicious fusion food. Here are ten not-to-miss eating places for vegetarians: Shivya NathI’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star. In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my possessions, stored some in the boot of a friend’s car and embraced a nomadic life. Connect with me on Instagram to hear more about my adventures and personal journey.

Bahrain photos, Bahrain photo gallery

Life in Bahrain: A Photo Essay.

Ahlan wa sahlan. That was one of the first phrases I learnt in Arabic, almost five years ago. I’ve lost touch with whatever little of this beautiful language I learnt, but that phrase has stuck with me. It is an old Arabic phrase that means, we welcome you. I landed in Bahrain without many expectations; a small city-state that has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, one that not many people travel to outside of business needs. At the airport, I could hear as much Hindi as Arabic, and I didn’t realize then that with the Bahraini stamp on my passport, I was being welcomed as much into the hearts, homes, and lives of the Bahraini people, as I was into the borders of (evidently) the most liberal country in the Gulf region. Shivya NathI’m the founder of this award-winning travel blog about offbeat and sustainable travel, and author of the bestselling travel memoir, The Shooting Star. In 2011, I quit my full-time job, and gradually gave up my home, sold most of my …