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:
Delving right into My Travel Bucket List for 2013, I lapped up the opportunity to revisit Southeast Asia on an invite from the kind folks at the Singapore Tourism Board. Much has changed since the last 1.5 years that I was here, and I’ll spend the next couple of days exploring the trendy new concept bars and cafes that have cropped up in what were once unassuming neighborhoods in Singapore.
Even though I lived in Southeast Asia for almost 6 years, I never made it to Thailand; failed plans, high flight fares, the lack of time always got in the way. So early next week, I’ll be making my way with a couple of friends to northern Thailand where, away from the popular beaches of the south, the wilderness beckons. The very idea is making me nostalgic of all the time I spent backpacking in the hinterlands of Vietnam and Indonesia.
That’s right! As though spending a month along the gorgeous countryside of southern Spain wasn’t enough, I’m heading back there in mid March, for a glimpse of Madrid and to catch Las Fallas festival in Valencia – a traditional street festival, that Wikipedia describes as:
“During the four days leading up to March 19, each group takes its ninot (Valencian for puppets or dolls) out for a grand parade, and then mounts it, each on its own elaborate firecracker-filled cardboard and paper-mâché artistic monument in a street of the given neighbourhood. This whole assembly is a falla.”
It’s hard to imagine what to expect, really, so you’ll have to wait till I report back with pictures and experiences! This will be a free and easy trip with the Spain Tourism Board, so if you have suggestions of secret / local hangouts and eateries in Madrid or Valencia, I’m all ears.
ARUNACHAL PRADESH / MEGHALAYA
I’ll be ending the month with a much-awaited trip to Northeast India, to where I impulsively booked tickets on one of the recent airline sales! Besides soaking in the charming natural beauty that so many talk about, I hope to source both volunteer travel opportunities for later in the year, as well as build a trail for India Untravelled. Your suggestions again are most welcome, as well as whether I should be pick Arunachal or Meghalaya, since I’ll only have a week.
Where is the road taking you in March?