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Friday, November 27, 2015

Exploring the Himalayas with Nautica Travel Gear

Last winter, I had successfully tried Nautica’s fashionable travel clothing for my one month backpacking trip across Turkey and earlier this summer, I tried their summer collection during my holiday across Europe and USA. While the Turkey trip was more backpacking style, the Europe and USA trip was comfortable with slightly more luxury. In both instances, I was very happy with the performance of this young lifestyle fashion brand. I felt both comfortable and fashionable in them.

That way is the riverside trekking trail from Chitkul to Sangla

Photo Title: Trekking along the Baspa river from Chitkul to Sangla

This autumn/fall when I went to the Lahaul, Spiti and Kinnaur regions of Himachal Pradesh, I decided to test my Nautica gear in a slightly tougher and more demanding environment. This trip was more rugged with lots of trekking, hiking and had consistent exposure to sub zero temperatures.

Backpacking to Chitkul - a heavenly village in the high Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh

Photo Title: Backpacking to Chitkul, the last village on the Hindustan-Tibet Highway
In addition to my existing summer clothing from Nautica’s spring-summer collection, I picked up a collared pullover and a rugged waterproof watch. So basically, I had a pair of sweat pants, polo shirts, collared pullover and a watch from Nautica.

Basking in the early morning sun of Chitkul, Himachal Pradesh

Photo Title: Soaking in the morning sun at Chitkul
I also carried my usual winter gear that included a pair of hiking boots, a waterproof fleece jacket, raw silk scarves, a woollen hat, active inner wear and a pair of sunglasses. These are from assorted brands. The idea behind my clothing choice was to combat the warm weather during the day, cold winds and sub zero temperatures post sundown, lots of sweating while trekking, lots of walking with a backpack and no access to washing or laundry facilities.

Enjoying my holiday at Dhankar, Spiti Valley

Photo Title: Enjoying Dhankar, my favorite village in the Spiti Valley
Like always, my clothing style was to marry utility with fashion. And boy was I happy or not with my clothing choice! My backpack was light, which my shoulders really appreciated. My Nautica polo shirts did not stink in spite of me wearing them without wash for 3 weeks. The Nautica pullover was just perfect for a moderately nippy day and would breathe even during my strenuous hikes. And the ruggedly stylish Nautica watch helped me keep track of my time even in areas where I could not charge my phone for days together.

Excitement at the high village of Komic

Photo Title: Ecstatic at Komic, the highest village in India at more than 4,500 meters
My other clothes and accessories all solved their purpose and I had a great time trotting the Shimla to Manali loop via Kinnaur, Spiti Valley and Lahaul regions of Himachal Pradesh. Whether I was climbing over rocks or crossing streams from Chitkul to Sangla, playing cricket at 10,000 feet, hiking to high altitude lakes like Dhankar and Chandra Taal, trotting to the highest polling station, highest village or the highest post office in India, I had a blast while staying warm, fresh, comfortable and fashionable.

Having a good time at Dhankar, Spiti Valley

Photo Title: Checking the time in Spiti Valley
This 3 week holiday in the Himalayas was an absolute treat to the eyes with spectacular panoramas almost everywhere (I am sure you will agree with me on that when you look at the photographs in this post). Tourist numbers were on the lower side as it was low season. Apples were in season and the Golden and Royal apples that I tasted during this trip were possibly some of the freshest and most juicy ones that I had ever tasted in my life. The mountain people as always are very cheerful and friendly. And like all mountain treks, I got high on pure mountain air.

Hiking to the beautiful village of Dhankar in Spiti Valley

Photo Title: Trotting the scenic route to Dhankar Monastery and village
My favorite camping site for this trip was Chandra Taal Lake. My favorite village was Dhankar. My favorite monastery was Shashur Gompa at Keylong. My favorite trek was the Baspa river trek from Chitkul to Sangla. The best apples that I tasted were from Tabo. My best accommodation was the homestay at Dhankar.  My favorite tea moment was with the monk at Komic Monastery, Komic village – the highest village in India. My favorite dish was Phemar, the traditional Tsampa cake at Tabo.

Photo pit stop with the surreal Spiti valley in the background

Photo Title: Posing at a view point near Dhemul, another high village in the mountains of Himachal Pradesh

Be it taking selfies at almost every pit stop or at view points, lighting butter lamps at every monastery that I stepped into, digging into local delicacies at every stop or having a laugh with the locals, this trip was about me and connecting with the places even if it meant roughing it out in tough conditions. And I got to do that and more to my heart’s content.

Photo pitstop by the Baspa river while trekking from Chitkul to Sangla

Photo Title: The Baspa river trek is insanely beautiful and a must-do on your next holiday to Kinnaur

Have you explored these stunning high villages of Himachal Pradesh? If not, you should ensure that you plan a holiday there soon. Summer is the best time with better roads. Autumn is great for fall colors, falling tourist numbers and for the famous apples of Himachal. And winter is best if you want the mountains to yourself.

Praying next to a giant prayer wheel at Nako

Photo Title: Offering my prayers at Nako, a picturesque village situated at 12,000 feet

At the end of the trip, I said to myself, “Nautica is not only a upmarket lifestyle brand, it is also a rugged brand that comes in handy even in tough conditions”. All in all, I had an absolutely gorgeous Himalayan holiday! The Himalayas always lives to its mighty status!!

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Voted as Best Indian Travel Blog of 2015

This recognition may not have come from a reputed brand or organization, but nonetheless, it always gives you happiness when someone votes you as India’s Best Travel Blog. Naukri se Pareshan in their top 5 Indian Blogs of 2015 has voted me as the best Indian travel blog of 2015. I share the dias with 4 other brilliant travelers and travel bloggers like Shivya Nath, Siddharth Joshi, Anuradha Goyal and Mariellan Ward. You should definitely check their blogs out.

India's Best Travel Blog for 2015

Thank you for all your support and I hope more accolades keep coming. Cheers!

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Loi Krathong Festival, Thailand: Upcoming Trip

All my bags are packed and I am ready to go…

I am just a few hours away from catching the flight to Thailand, one of my favorite countries. I absolutely dig their food, their culture and of course the magical nature of this amazing South East Asian nation. This time around, I have been invited by the Thailand tourism board to come and experience one of their famous festivals called Loi Krathong, their festival of lights.

Celebrating the festival of lights in Thailand

Do not confuse this festival of lights with our Deepavali festival. Instead, it is similar to Karthik Poornima, a festival that is celebrated with lamps all over the country and especially more so in the South. In Tamil Nadu, where I originate from, the Karthikai month (lunar month after Deepavali) is celebrated with lamps and lots of light all through the festival. Similarly, Loi Krathong is celebrated with lights. In certain parts of Thailand, they celebrate it with the floating lanterns (which you might have experienced at Chiang Mai during New Year’s Eve). While this is more popular in the northern part of Thailand and these floating lanterns are called Khom Loi, the festival is celebrated in a slightly different way in the South, where I am headed. In northern Thailand, this festival is called Yi Peng and in the South, it is referred to as Loi Krathong. ‘Loi Krathong’, loosely translates into ‘to float a basket’.

Market Frenzy - Loi Krathong

Here, people take floating devices and decorate it with plantain leaves, flowers, incense sticks and a small lamp. A small piece of hair from the body is kept in this decorated floating device and is let to float in the river. These small floating beacons of light are believed to wipe away all negative energies or sins. This event happens on the night of full moon, which coincides with India’s Karthik Poornima and is believed to be an offering to the river spirits. And like all festivals of Thailand, Loi Krathong too comes with its glamour and fanfare. There are lots of traditions to see, colourful clothes, tasty food and in overall lots of happiness.

Symbolizing Loi Krathong Festival of Thailand

I celebrated this festival with the people of Bangkok three years back and absolutely loved the delicious food, the fun and frolic and the opportunity to understand and experience the Thai culture at depth. 3 years later, I am again super excited to be a part of this festival. This time to Sampran Riverside, Nakhon Pathom, Amphawa and Bangkok. As always, I can’t wait to treat myself to some delicious festival Thai food, while soaking in this rich festival.

If you wish to know more about this festival, follow my updates on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels where I will be sharing live updates. More on the blog once I return to Bangalore from Thailand, which should be in a week’s time.

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Friday, November 20, 2015

An Exciting New Way For You To Travel Big On A Small Budget

When I was growing up, my family hardly ever went on vacation. We took national trips once every couple of years. But before I left home, I’d never been abroad.

As soon as I started making my own money, I decided that that would change. I went away as often as I could, touring fantastic destinations I had always wanted to visit. And then, as my responsibilities grew, I began to understand why organizing trips was so hard for my parents.

Nonetheless, I have continued to travel, mostly by finding deals on cheap hotel rooms and using budget airlines. It sometimes gets uncomfortable, but I can never ignore the travel bug.

While looking for discounts for my last trip, I found a website called Roomer, whose clever concept is very exciting.

Taking advantage of the industry



Roomer bases its service on a simple premise. Hotel cancellations are inevitable, and they're bad for everyone. They happen so often, that they impact the entire travel industry. As many as 220,000 hotel rooms are cancelled every day - and that’s in the US alone!

This is why most hotels have frustrating “no refund” policies. But even though they don’t give refunds, they still lose out.

A large proportion of a hotel’s revenue comes from the money that patrons spend when they're already there. Food, drinks, entertainment, and service, are all factored into their gross income. When the patrons don’t come, that revenue is lost.

Roomer takes advantage of this fact, to make remarkable deals a reality.

A hotel-marketplace for cancelled rooms



When searching for hotel room deals, I came across Roomer’s hotel-marketplace. They had some crazy discounts there, on rooms of a very high quality. There were price cuts on reservations from 50% to 85%. Some of the highest cuts were on 5 star hotel rooms.

It works on the above premise. Since hotel bookings are non-refundable, people who have to cancel might as well try and offload their bookings, even if they have to take a huge cut. Roomer provides the platform to sell these bookings to bargain-hunters.

They post these reservations on their website, allowing potential buyers to search or browse for their ideal hotel room.

Avoid the logistics nightmare



Roomer is good for the travel industry because hotels want to be filled up. This makes the logistics possible. You may know how difficult it is to change the name on a reservation. With Roomer, that’s not something you have to worry about. They get in touch with the hotel, and organize everything - to the seller’s, buyer’s, and the hotel’s benefit.

If you're worried about sharing your credit card details with a stranger, you can rest easy knowing that all payment is done through Roomer’s secure system. You won’t ever give your details to the seller, or even know who they are.

And, if you ever need to, they're easy to contact. Any problems you may have are dealt with promptly. They're not scared to take on responsibility, and won’t fob it off on you.

Exclusive hotel deals



When you search for hotel rooms on Roomer, you'll find a range of options in almost any locations. This is partially due to Roomer’s mutually beneficial partnership with hotels around the world.

Since hotels want Roomer to succeed, they provide exclusive deals even on hotel rooms that have not yet been reserved. Therefore, you can use Roomer as a super-cheap bookings site if there are no cancellations at your destination.

The great deals, the ease of access, and the great customer service have contributed to Roomer’s rise in popularity. They're growing such a big fan-base that they were named one of USA Today’s top 3 travel websites/apps.

My dream destinations are now readily available
 
It’s a lot easier for me to travel now than it ever was for my parents. I can find great deals all around the world, and the opportunities are endless.

Roomer provides a really exciting way to travel. It’s definitely worth it, and will be over and over again.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Chandra Taal Lake: A Magical Family Camping Destination in the Himalayas

Outdoor camping and holidaying with your family in the Himalayas doesn’t seem to make a connection with most of us Indians. Whenever I indulged in outdoor camping across India and talked about my experiences with friends and family, they would always think of it as an activity for young singles. However, I always begged to differ as I believe that there is no better family bonding experience than in the raw confines of mother nature. You get to relish nature, it is a great learning curve for your kids, you get quality family time without any new age gadget distractions like mobile phone, television, computers, tablets and the likes, you get intoxicated by the pure air and you simply have a fun filled family holiday.

Stunning Chandra Taal Lake

Those of us who have traveled or lived abroad, know that outdoor camping is one of the most popular activities for families. Till the recent past, outdoor camping would interest young people or die hard adventure enthusiasts. These days, there is a new wave of families who seem to have found that interest in outdoor adventure. Well, if you are a part of one such family, you would definitely be interested in camping with your family at the high altitude snow fed Himalayan lake called the Chandra Taal. And it doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie when it comes to outdoor camping or if you have practised it down to a habit. I think you will simply love the magical experience of camping here.

Camping by the Chandra Taal Lake is an adventure in itself

This crescent shaped lake whose name literally translates into ‘Lake of the moon’ is located at an altitude of 4,300 meters (14,100 feet) in the high Himalayas of Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti district. Surrounded by glaciers and mighty Himalayan mountains of the Chandra Bhaga range, this turquoise lake is the starting point of the Chandra river, an important river of Lahaul and Spiti and one that joins the Chenab and the Indus later in Jammu and Kashmir.

Chandra Taal Lake - Paradise in the Himalayas

This spectacularly beautiful location makes for a great getaway due to its proximity to Manali and leads to the gorgeous Spiti valley. Adventure loving people can trek to this lake from Kunzum pass (a high altitude pass in Lahaul and Spiti area) while beginners can drive till about 1 kilometer from the lake via Batal. This flexibility allows all kinds of families to visit this snow fed Himalayan lake. While the lake and its surroundings are insanely beautiful, the real charm of this Himalayan getaway is its camp ground as it allows you to stay longer in this divine land. The camps are located about 2 kilometers from the lake and are totally surrounded by the Himalayas. With double layered wind proof winter tents, these camps offer the perfect solace in the cold nights, its Western toilets offer you the much needed home/hotel luxury and its camp fire, cosy dinners and group activities offer you that great holiday. What else do we need for an awesome outdoor camping Himalayan experience?

Trekking to the Chandra Taal Lake is full of such spectacular views

There are 2 ways in which you can reach the lake from the camp. The easier one is to drive to the top of the lake from where you can walk 1 km to the lakeside. The tougher, but more beautiful option is to do a slightly uphill 75 minute hike to the lake. This hike takes you across a small lake, amidst tall mountains and offers you breath-taking views of glaciers enroute.

Drinking water at its mountain source is quite a thrill

During the days, you can either explore the many small hikes and the beautiful views that it offers or indulge in some games with your family/friends. Evenings are nippier and hence sitting round a warm campfire and sharing stories is a great past time. And then there is the charm of sleeping in a tent surrounded by the mighty Himalayas. Due to its high altitude, nights are generally cold and sometimes in spite of your blanket and sleeping bag, you might feel cold. This is perfectly normal as most of us Indians are tropical creatures by nature  and not used to such low temperatures. But, that doesn’t mean, you can’t sleep warm. And that is where new age innovations like Warmee come in handy. I believe that air activated Warmee is the ultimate body warming solution and one that I always pack on my cold weather treks and camping expeditions. All you have to do is tear open a pack, shake it, put it next to you in your blanket or sleeping bag and drift to a warm sleep. In case you are visiting Chandra Taal during the colder months, you can also use the same Warmee body warmer inside your jacket or sweater. All in all, a perfect camping companion for young and old alike.

Epic mountain roads of Lahaul and Spiti

Here, amidst the Chandra-Bhaga range, you and your family can indulge in some off-roading, outdoor camping, Himalayan trekking/hiking, campfire dancing and so much more. In case you wish for more, you can explore Kunzum pass that is located close by or head to Kaza that is located deep in the Spiti valley and soak in its rich Buddhist culture. In fact, if you and your family are strong cyclists, I would recommend carrying bicycles with you and doing some dirt mountain biking in this gorgeous terrain. For people with a stronger will to explore and those with more time, I would recommend doing the Manali to Shimla loop via Kunzum pass, Losar, Kaza, Ki, Langza, Komic, Dhemul, Lhalung, Dhankar, Pin Valley, Tabo, Nako, Recong Peo, Sangla, Chitkul and Sarahan. This heavenly loop will take you through some of the highest villages of the world, some of the remotest parts of India, the land of India’s best Apples, the last village on the Hindustan-Tibet trail and the heavenly Kinnaur Kailash, the winter abode of Lord Shiva.

Glacier in Chandra Bhaga Range seen during trek to Chandra Taal Lake

If this place tempts you, you might be interested in reading these titbits of information about getting to this place and more.

Nearest Domestic Airport: Kullu

Nearest International Airport: Chandigarh

Closest cities: Manali, Kaza and Keylong

Scenic Chandra Taal Camping site

Closest Train Station:
Don’t even bother. This is mountainous country and the rail network is pretty far away from this location

Easiest Route: Manali –> Rohtang Pass –> Gramphoo –> Batal –> Chandra Taal Lake (Keep at least 7 to 9 hours to cover this 160 km stretch from Manali to Chandra Taal Lake as the mountain roads are in poor condition, have many streams passing over it during the summer months and is prone to slow traffic.) Manali to Batal is a designated highway, which has boulders on it. But, from 18 km track from Batal to the camp is a proper dirt track.

Recommended Commute Options: Self driven car (if you are a good driver), a car/jeep on hire from Manali or the Himachal Pradesh state buses if you are on a low budget and have the comfort of time.

Sunset over snowy Himalayas in the Chandra Bhaga range, Himachal Pradesh

Recommended Place to Stay:
Tenzin Camp. These guys are locals. The sons manage the Tenzin camp, while the parents manage the dhaba at Batal. I stayed with them and liked their company and the place so much that I would not recommend any place else. If I remember right, they charged 800 rupees per person for food (all meals), tea, western toilets, camp fires and confortable boarding with beds and blankets in tents.

Best Season to Visit: April to October

Sunset over the Chandra Taal campsite

Important Things to Carry:
Warm wear, Warmee, Hiking shoes, Sunglasses, First Aid Kit

Is it possible to visit on a long weekend?: Yes

Traveling on Lahaul and Spiti roads of Himachal is in itself an adventure

What other places can I visit during an Extended Holiday?:
Spiti Valley, Kinnaur, Keylong and Tandi, Leh, Zanskar Valley

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Win a Holiday in Tenerife!

Do you have a knack for taking great photographs? These photographs could be portraits, landscapes, animals and more. If you think you have it in you to take beautiful images, you should enrol in this photo competition and win a holiday to West Africa’s Tenerife, an island of paradise.

Cheap Holidays Tenerife has launched a competition to find the pictures that represent the best moment or experience of your holiday in Tenerife. This could be your trip to the majestic Mount Teide national park, a trek to the volcanoes, a gorgeous sunset on the beach, stunning landscapes or much more from the largest island in the Canary Islands. With one of the world’s largest carnivals, pristine beaches, the third largest volcano in the world and the largest number of endemic species in Europe, you are never far away from a lovely photograph in Tenerife.

Mount Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

To participate in this competition, all you have to do is head to their Facebook competition page, submit a photo of your favorite experience on holiday in Tenerife and give yourself a chance to win a 7 night holiday in Tenerife for 2 people. You can alternatively, use the hashtag #mytenerife and submit your photograph through twitter and instagram.

Go on, participate in this competition and give yourself a great opportunity to win a holiday to Tenerife. The prize includes flight vouchers up to the value of GBP 200 and 7 nights accommodation in Tenerife up to the value of GBP 500. I hope Christmas comes early for you!

Photo Courtesy: The photo has been borrowed from wikipedia under then creative commons license.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

A True Symbol of Hospitality!

For an Indian traveler, South East Asia offers so much exotic variety. It doesn’t take much time to fly there and it hardly puts a dent on your bank balance. In my mind, South East Asia is full of rich gems that the traveler can experience. From remote rustic villages to bustling metropolises and from gorgeous landscapes to such awesome culture, South East Asia has all the ingredients to wow the traveler. And one of the highlights of this region is Singapore, an absolute favorite with Indian travelers. Like all Indians, I too like this city country for its architecture, grandeur, food culture and much more.

The case in point is the Marina Bay Sands, one of the crown jewels of the Singaporean tourism industry. This place was something I’d only heard about before, and had to see it to really comprehend and believe its grandeur.

Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

Situated on the banks of the Marina Bay in Singapore, the hotel is one of the few integrated resorts that define the special exceptions in Singapore’s otherwise strictly regulated gambling realm.

One of the most eye-catching things about the place was the fact that it exuded a level of quality about it that is hard to compare even with its closest rivals. Right from the first-timer who seeks an eloquent experience, to even those regulars for whom this is a way of vacationing, each and everyone who comes here has reason to smile, and more importantly, return or stay on.

The hotel stretches right across 3 23-storeyed towers that provide a stunning view of its location. The art installations as well as the functional rooftops make for an unbeatable architectural combo. But I never got lost in the details, instead making sure to visit every part of the place.

My first highlight was the Marina Bay Sands casino, equipped to the brim with over 500 tables and 1600 slot machines. It was the world’s largest casino atrium, making it the envy of even the biggest ones on the Vegas strip.

Marina-Bay-Sands-Casino-Singapore-Pack-and-Jet

A gambler’s delight, to no one’s surprise the property was well equipped with a variety of options regarding accommodation, food and beverages as well as entertainment. I still cannot get the sheer size of the theatre out of my mind, one of the other marvels which the Marina Bay Sands Hotel boasts of.

Marina Bay Sands Skypark Observation Deck

Then came perhaps the trump card of this place; the magnificent Sky Gardens, interlinked atop the towers and home to their famed Infinity pool, a nightclub, gardens and a fitness-cum-spa club. I never thought I’d say this with some of the atrocious rooftop experiences I have had, but this hotel literally keeps you ‘on top of the world!’

Be it the several celebrity restaurants and the gargantuan mall with its numerous luxury outlets, this place is the go-to destination for anyone who wishes to get the extra mile of absolute excellence in hospitality.

Even for those who aren’t quite the extravagant kind, being here can be quite a defining landmark in itself!

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An Arabian Experience

It is that time of the year when the weather is perfect in Dubai, but this often means that prices are higher. So, what should we travelers do to make the best of the fantastic winter weather in Dubai and not make a hole in our pockets? Well, I found an answer to this question on my recent trip to Dubai when I literally struck gold! I actually came across some truly unbeatable Dubai hotel packages at the start of the season. This meant that I was not only able to make the best of sightseeing happen but it also reduced my overall spend.

The good news for travelers in 2016 is that, despite prices imminently going up on account of the Expo 2020, plenty of India-based and Middle East-based hoteliers have hatched some truly inviting offers, to attract a bulk of tourists that are expected to fly in for the Expo. Finding hotels and locking your suite takes some doing especially if you are on a budget, all the same.

But for anyone who has a long list of attractions as well as activities like hitting the Global Village or touring Abu Dhabi in mind, then it is best to follow a set of simple steps for finding accommodation that doesn’t break the bank and yet allows you a truly magnificent stay. Here they are!

1) Research well: Let’s face it; Dubai is a traveller’s paradise. Everything from its malls, entertainment to even the best of attractions is geared toward global visibility and exudes excellence that is tough to ignore even in the most novice traveler. Accordingly, one must surf far and wide to find the one place that can bring you the best of it for cheaper. For instance, Dubai hotels away from the central district are a good bet, since connectivity is brilliant and your premium per night shoots up with increasing proximity to the city’s prominent landmarks. So be prudent and save here to be able to spend elsewhere.

Famous hotels of Dubai

2) Look for value: Dubai’s best hotels will typically be those that offer side-features which make the final price of your room tariff worth it. While these could range from free Wi-Fi to even shuttle services or complimentary breakfast, make sure to utilize these. In the process, not only does one save on other auxiliary expenses like food or transport, but can allocate more for shopping or otherwise.

Luxury holiday in Dubai

3) Be smart: Like any foreign nation, there will be no shortage of possibilities where a local may try ripping you off. Be mindful of the kind of rates you are expected to pay, whether it is a restaurant or even a cab ride. Be wary of silver-tongued people at places like the souk or the airport as they often try to swindle away extra bucks in the pretext of a ready ride or tour.

Dubai is the visual desert storm anyone would love to revisit. So it is time for you to get packing and head out!

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4 Must-Try Activities in Auckland during Winter

Auckland is one of the major cities of New Zealand’s North Island. It is the most heavily populated city in the country that is composed of numerous tourist attractions, which you will definitely enjoy once you get there.

The weather in Auckland is seemingly comfortable all year round. This city experiences all four seasons without extremes of temperature as well. Apparently, the climate during the summer is warm, not humid. On the other hand, the weather during winter is mild and wet. In fact, Auckland is said to be the warmest and sunniest city of New Zealand.

Hence, there is nothing to worry about when you get to this city during winter season in New Zealand, which starts in June until August. There are still a lot of things to do in Auckland when winter comes, such as:

Having fun skiing

The nearest skiing center in Auckland is approximately four-hour drive away. But if you don’t have much time to spend for it, then you may take an alternative. The Snowplanet is New Zealand’s first and only indoor skiing area, which is open throughout the entire year. You will definitely make the most out of your time in this enclosed recreational center with your loved ones, especially it is just 20 minutes away from the city center. Don’t forget to bring all your handy skiing gear.

Getting lost inside the museums
The Auckland Museum is one of the most remarkable attractions in the area. Since its winter season, it is best if you spend a day in a museum. You will get to learn the history, culture, and heritage of Auckland for free once you visit this museum. Additionally, you may go to the Museum of Transport & Technology or the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum to know more about the maritime history of the city.

Taking in the sceneries
Auckland is full of magnificent natural landscapes. If you prefer to stay indoors instead during your winter season stay in the city, then it is best to enjoy your time with the stunning city view. There are numerous places to take advantage of Auckland’s one-of-a-kind and spectacular sceneries, which include the Sky Tower, North Head, Mount Eden, Bastion Point, and One Tree Hill. As a tip, the moment you step into this city, look for a car rental in Auckland airport and have a tour around the area. It would make your vacation convenient.

Enjoying outdoor skating

If you are up for a thrilling outdoor ice skating activity, then never slip the opportunity to visit the Aotea Square Ice Rink in Auckland. This magical winter wonderland area is ideal for a fun activity with your family and friends. Your whole family, especially the kids, will totally enjoy this activity.

On the whole, winter season in Auckland won't be boring. There are various activities which you can do to have a fantastic time in the city. The weather would never spoil the fun you will experience once you take a vacation here, so have the best time of your life and enjoy all things Auckland can offer.

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Friday, November 06, 2015

Such Fans make me beam with Happiness!

‘Be on the road’ has always been synonymous with ‘living the dream’. What started as a crazy moment in 2008 is today my bread and butter. And I am happy that I am still able to live that dream in spite of the various challenges that have kept coming my way.

I am always super happy when this very blog of mine help people to live their dream. When I traveled alone across the country on my motorcycle, people dubbed me as crazy. Today, I see many dreamers go on such journeys and many more who are thinking vigorously about attempting one such crazy ride in their life. Guess, we Indians are no more afraid to live our dream!

Countless number of people have approached me through the blog seeking help, direction, tips, funding and much more. I have tried helping them out in the best way I could. In fact, it was these questions posed by all my readers that instigated me to start the ‘Travel Tips’ section. And I am over the moon when I hear that these tips are helping people get closer to their dream.

Usually, my readers reach out to me only at the beginning of their dream, but it is very rarely that someone sends me an email thanking my website on the completion of their trip. When such an email comes, I pretty much lie back and beam with happiness. Here is one such story from Krishna Pandy, a young rider from Chennai. He rode alone from Delhi to Chennai in 14 days. Read his story below with the belief that you can always live your dream irrespective of its craziness quotient!

Krishna Pandy Road Trip

In Krishna’s own words…

Hi  bro , i am Krishna pandy from Chennai...thank you so much for your interesting blog and tips and i really got inspired from your blog.

my story on travelling...

it all started from delhi..i went to delhi for my internship and i really badly wanna go for road trip because i love driving..i was browsing about road trips and i came with your website....everything got fixed up..finally a road trip from DELHI TO CHENNAI via west coastal roads of india ... i fought with ma family AFTER several fights and conversation they sent my bike from chennai to delhi through a cargo fixed my bike at karol bazzar delhi...blah blahhhh
i started on march 29th of this year from delhi  and reached chennai on april 11th; 3800kms and 14days. delhi, agra ,fatehphur sikiri,jaipur udaipur,ahmedabad,mumbai ,GOA,mangalore, kannur ,sulthanbatherry,ooty ,chennai.. (mh)
i thought of going to the end of india kanyakumari but time and budget didn't help me well , so i stopped at kannur, kerala taken a right choice went to chennai....
all this happened jus because of ur website and ur information
thank you so much bro...

Krishna, Don’t stop here! This is just the beginning! Cheers!

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Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Travel Photo: Off-Beat Langza Village of Spiti

The air is super thin here, but the views are super rich. Located at about 14,300 feet and surrounded by snow capped mountains, the Langza village came to be known after discovery of fossils here. It isn’t just about fossils here. For adventure lovers, this place is paradise. You are in nature that is as pristine as it gets, the world around you is as raw and wild as you can expect and you are in the company of toughened villagers who live amidst lots of history. This village located in the high mountains of the Spiti region of Himachal Pradesh is very much an off-beat trail.

Extremely scenic mountain village of Langza in Spiti, Western Himalayas

The best ways to explore this village is by bicycle and/or foot and the best season according to me is the autumn season when there is a good nip in the air and snow on the mountains. More about this village and other high altitude villages of Spiti in my next posts. Do stay tuned if you are interested in some of these highest villages of the world.

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