All posts filed under: Weekend Getaways

Thailand beaches

Monday Blues Are Better on a Beach in Thailand.

I’m wrapped up in layers amid cold winds from the Arctic and dancing snowflakes, on the streets of New York. A faint sun curiously peeks out from a gloomy sky, transporting me back to winter last year – a foggy Delhi I found myself stuck in when a sponsored international trip bailed on me days before the new year. I remember sitting on a terrace under the hazy Delhi sky, desperately looking online for flights that could take me far, far away. As luck would have it, I found a flight to Thailand for only INR 8000 ($120) – when most domestic flights were upwards of INR 30,000 – and impulsively decided to book it. One hour before New Year midnight, I arrived at Bangkok airport and hurriedly got a visa-on-arrival stamped on my passport, checked into a nice yet inexpensive hotel, and went out to a local restaurant to fire up my taste buds with a vegetarian yellow curry. Just as I was finishing, a group of young Thai boys and girls invited me to join them for a new year street dance! That is Thailand – …

Travel Contest: Win a Trip for Two to Singapore!

Three years after I moved out of Singapore, there is something about this little island state  that still lingers in my mind. Most of us travel to find solitude in nature or to relive parts of ancient history. But Singapore, with its manmade beaches, solar-powered gardens and city lights glittering almost more magically than stars, is a glimpse of what travel might become in the future. When the world has culturally assimilated and technology surpasses even the wonders of nature, won’t we travel to witness progress? 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.

Hidden Treasures on a Road Trip in Maharashtra.

I had no idea what a road trip near Mumbai might reveal. Turns out, pristine lakes, virgin beaches and stunning villages await on a road trip in Maharashtra. I am transiting through Singapore on my way to South Australia as I pen this. Amid the excitement of visiting the land down under, I find myself looking back fondly at the last week, which we spent road tripping through rural Maharashtra. Just 2.5 hours away, this road trip near Mumbai revealed many hidden surprises! We drove along pristine lakes, stayed at a work-in-progress art village just off Panchgani, and lazed in the warm afternoon sun on virgin beaches along the Konkan coast. Here’s my visual ode to the state – and some ideas for your own road trip in Maharashtra: READING MURAKAMI BY PAWNA LAKE near Lonavala, finishing this picture of tranquility. A GORGEOUS SELF-CATERING ABODE IN PAWNA NAGAR  on a hill, overlooking Pawna Lake – making for a perfect stop on a road trip in Maharashtra. A PRISTINE OUTDOOR OFFICE by the mango trees, quaint …

kerala backwaters, North Kerala, India Untravelled

God’s Own “Island” by the Kasaragod Backwaters!

We slowly row away from the shore, leaving behind the dim lights on our palm-fringed island in Kerala. The current in the backwaters sways our tiny kayak. After a brief show of resistance, we surrender and let it guide us. Small fish occasionally jump out of the water, creating ripples. A thousand stars shimmer in the sky above. These are the virgin Kasaragod backwaters. Silent, untouched and without a houseboat in sight (Also read: What India (and the World) Can Learn From Sustainable Tourism in Kerala). I first visited Oyster Opera – this pristine island in Kerala two years ago, while charting out The Best Kept Secrets of Kerala trail for India Untravelled. When we impulsively decided to fly from Singapore to Kochi a few days back, I found myself craving the tranquillity of this little paradise. It is neither a resort nor a homestay, but just a place that perfectly encapsulates the languid way of life in these Kasaragod backwaters. Also read: Offbeat Kerala: 11 Travel Experiences to Inspire the Artist in You On …

Call of The Wild: Tadoba Tiger Reserve!

As a recently converted wildlife enthusiast, I landed up at Tadoba Tiger Reserve (Tadoba National Park) to be awed by its beauty, wildlife and eco lodges! Between my recent trips to sunny Seychelles and festive Germany, I was drawn by the call of the wild to Svasara Jungle Lodge at the Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. My jungle adventures in Madhya Pradesh earlier this year made me a wildlife tourism enthusiast, but Tadoba National Park left me intoxicated. I can’t stop dreaming of forests brimming with unravelled mysteries. Or the sheer beauty and intricacy of their ecosystems. This is a visual journey through Tadoba Tiger Reserve, a world beyond ours: SVASARA, THE HOME OF A WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER  converted into a jungle lodge that is both luxurious and environmentally responsible. His family and their team of wildlife enthusiasts and naturalists have transformed the once barren farm land surrounding Svasara into a natural wilderness. The soil has been revived with organic farming techniques and a waterhole attracts wildlife right to its backyard! Also read: Wildlife Tourism: Are We Saving …

Khajuraho temple, Khajuraho temple photos, Khajuraho India

Khajuraho: Love in The Time of Chandelas.

The faint outline of a waning moon appears in the sky, as the sun slowly descends beyond the magnificent temples, and times, of the moon-worshipping Chandela dynasty. In the distance, a guide solemnly explains to an Indian family the sculpture of a foursome on the wall – this aasan (pose) depicts a man “satisfying” three women, the pose helps improve blood circulation in the entire body, he says. I gape in awe, first at the intricacy of the stone carvings, then at the nonchalant reaction of the family. Chances are, the same adults will condemn their daughters from dating men of their choice, label sexual references as taboo in another (non-holy) setting, and scorn at pre-marital sex, all in the name of Indian culture. Erotic sculptures are all over the walls, but Khajuraho isn’t just about erotica; it’s about the depiction of life in an era when sex was considered as normal as men going to work, women doing household chores, kings preparing for war and such. An era when men and women were as …

aurus juhu, aurus bombay

How to Pamper Yourself for Just One Day in Mumbai.

Got just one day in Mumbai? All the fancy indulgences – food, cocktails, bars and seaside spots – that await you over 24 hours in Mumbai. Back when I was a Delhi-dweller, I always felt a tad bit jealous of the way people in Bombay talked about the city. The je ne sais quoi, the laid back attitude, the cosmopolitan food. Every time an opportunity took me to Bombay, I indulged in the city. I talked to street vendors peddling their wares, baristas in coffee shops, the cabbies I rode with, and every time, the chalta hai way of life in the “city of dreams” shone through. One day in Mumbai might be too short to experience that spirit of Bombay, but it can certainly give you a flavor of the city, literally and figuratively. These luxury travel recommendations are compiled from my various trips, and focus on the western suburbs of the city: WHERE TO STAY JW Marriott, Juhu Facing the waters of the Arabian Sea, JW Marriott is pure indulgence. Unlike most luxury hotels …

In Photos: Life in Hampi, Karnataka.

Nothing could have prepared me for the boulder-strewn landscapes, majestic ruins, pristine lakes, and lush greenery that surrounds Hampi. Staying in a community-run retreat in the village of Anegundi, on the other side of the Tungabhadra River, we rode in coracle boats, swum in village lakes, and drove amid the remains of the 14th century Vijaynagar empire. Luckily for us, we beat the crowds, witnessed the monsoons, and captured a glimpse of real village life in and around Hampi: 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.