All posts filed under: Travel Lists

Sri Lanka pictures, Sri Lanka photos, Sri Lanka hill country

Offbeat Sri Lanka Waiting to be Discovered.

Beyond Kandy and Galle, my collection of offbeat Sri Lanka experiences to truly discover the island nation and its hidden treasures. I remember my first trip to Sri Lanka with some clarity. We landed at Colombo International Airport on a nearly empty flight from Kochi, harboring no expectations. Until a few years ago, little was written online about this small island nation. I walked along the quiet shores of Negombo, my first stop near Colombo airport. Cycled along tree-lined by-lanes, waved hello to young kids who had seen few travellers, gratefully accepted the warm hospitality of my host couple and treated my taste buds to incredible locals flavors. I was, quite unexpectedly, already falling in love! Many years and many trips later, Sri Lanka hasn’t stopped delighting me with its many treasures. Here are a handful of them: Experience rustic, sustainable, off-the-grid living at Galkadawala If going off the beaten path into a small countryside village is your thing, like it is mine, Galkadawala is your place. It took a great deal of Google research …

Quirky Ways to Discover Frankfurt.

On a warm summer day, with the cool breeze rustling my hair and a sense of fascination in my eyes, I cycled under a canopy of trees along the River Maine, crossing skaters, runners and stand-up paddle boarders. The cycling track gradually led us through Frankfurt’s old town, past hip skateboarding parks and fancy new skyscrapers, to giant sequoia trees and charming old bridges. Before I landed in Frankfurt for the first time in 2013, I expected to yawn myself to sleep in this well-known financial hub. But five short trips later, I’ve discovered that Frankfurt is like a hipster wearing a business suit. Take my list of fun and offbeat things to do, and let Frankfurt show you its cooler side too! Take a ride on a ‘Velotaxi’ It is one thing to ride a bicycle or get somewhere by taxi, but quite another to get on an electric bicycle that has been refitted like a trishaw (cycle rickshaw) – aka a Velotaxi! A testimony to both, Frankfurt’s growing alternative scene and its commitment to being eco-friendly, Velotaxis whizz along the …

Culturally Intriguing Ways to Experience Europe.

Even before my first trip to Europe over four years ago, I imagined whiling away time in charming medieval villages, people-watching in quaint little cafes and soaking up gorgeous landscapes on long summer days. I was lucky enough to live that dream again and again, from falling irrevocably in love with Gargnano on Lake Garda (Italy) to a surreal alpine encounter in Chamonix (France). But it wasn’t until I was invited by iAmbassador and Visit Europe to experience Europe differently, that I started to see beyond the obvious charm of the continent, into its very heart. Meet the “Cultural Routes” – 24 themed trails across Europe, where along with the lure of country life, you can travel through time and learn about the continent’s fascinating history in unconventional ways. I’ve traversed only one cultural route so far, and shortlisted the others for future trips: Hiking: Camino de Santiago I’ve heard of the adventures of three women who’ve walked the Camino – alone – and while part of me wants to do it, part of me is not sure I’d survive! This 800km pilgrim trail, …

things to do in durban, hayani, playhouse theatre durban

Offbeat Durban: The Hipster Soul of South Africa.

Looking for things to do in Durban? Pop-up restaurants, a traditional outdoor church, local theatre and more offbeat Durban adventures! If Cape Town is the pretty face of South Africa, Durban is its hipster soul.  The infectious spirit of the locals, the alternative curry culinary experiences and the artistic bent of the city blew me away. I fell in love the moment I saw its long white coastline, caressed by the deep blue Indian Ocean. It’s Zulu name eThekwini encapsulates this perfect confluence of water and earth. Here are some quirky ways to experience offbeat Durban: Delve into the local art scene My friend Andrea Rees (who runs The Heart of a Woman project near Cape Town) stumbled on a tweet about Hayani while we were in Durban. We landed at the local Playhouse Theatre that night, the only outsiders to catch a phenomenal two-man play. It traced the stories of two young boys and how their lives have changed over the last two decades in South Africa. Even though part of it was in the native Xhosa language, the …

Secret Ways to Experience Singapore.

There are plenty of “top 10 things to do in Singapore” out there. Well, this one is a bit different – a collection of unusual, cool, sometimes weird but always fun things to do in Singapore. If you’re on a budget and looking for free things to do in Singapore, look here. 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 …

Statue of liberty nyc, staten island ferry nyc, free things nyc

10 Awesome Free Things To Do in NYC.

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: 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.

6 Offbeat Experiences Near Hampi.

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: 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.

7 Reasons Why Bohol is My Favorite Island in The Philippines.

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 …

Toronto: 7 Best Free Things to do.

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 flight home, I pledged to come back and experience more of the city’s awesomeness, a lot of which is indeed free! 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.