none

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pidurangala Rock: Sigriya Twist with Off Beat Adventure

If you are on the historical trail of North-Central Sri Lanka, I am pretty sure that you will have Sigriya, the multi-million year old rock, in your itinerary. Sigriya, with its gorgeous ancient city, the prehistoric frescoes and amazing water gardens demands that extra attention. After all, it is one of Sri Lanka’s top highlights and definitely one of its most visited historical sites.

A Sigriya sunset view as seen from the top of Pidirangala Rock, Srilanka

But, if you wish to experience Sigriya with a slight twist and have some off-beat adventure thrown in as a bonus, I would recommend that you climb Pidurangala Rock, a massive rock located a few kilometres north of Sigriya. Pidurangala offers an interesting mix of a rugged climb, a Buddhist temple, ruins of Buddha statues, stunning sunrises and sunsets and a view of Sigriya worth dying for.

Admiring Sigriya from Pidurangala Rock, Srilanka

All you need to do is take a tuk tuk from your hotel or from Sigriya, reach the base of the temple and begin the steep climb from here. As the climb is quite steep and rugged, it is advised to wear a good pair of walking shoes and carry some water and biscuits/energy bars for hydration and nutrition. The climb in total is about 30 minutes and you will see nothing except a dense tree cover for about 20 minutes. Do not worry and keep climbing the steps and following the arrows made on the rocks. When you feel a strong gust of wind hitting you on your chest, you are pretty close to the top.

Pidurangala - offers the best views of Sigriya

The top is flat and rocky with a boulder or two and some shrubs. You more or less get a 360 degree view from the top of Pidurangala rock. You see Sigriya straight ahead, the hills in the background and the lakes and the forest cover in the foreground below. Personally, I feel the wind, the view and the entire landscape make it a perfect place to have breakfast or that late evening snack.

Trekking to the top of Sigriya to discover this view of the Sigriya Rock

Go here for sunrise or sunset and watch the golden rays of the sun dance on Sigriya and its surrounding green landscape. It is always recommended to carry a camera as sunrise and sunsets here are usually dramatic. As it is pretty windy on top of the rock, drones are rendered useless. If you wish to catch the first rays of the sunrise or the last rays of sunset, you will pretty much ascend or descend in darkness. A flashlight or headlamp will surely come in handy at such times.  Let me know how your Sigriya Twist Adventure goes from the top of Pidurangala rock.

Continue Reading...

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Jordan Valley Marriott Resort & Spa: Dead Sea Luxury Resort of Jordan

Are you planning a holiday to mother nature’s very own mud spa? Well, if you have decided to experience the Dead Sea, one of the world’s most celebrated natural wonders, I am pretty sure that you don’t mind to splurge and indulge in a bit of luxury. On my holiday to Jordan’s Dead Sea, I stayed at the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort and Spa and the below review is based on this recent experience of mine.



1) Like most luxury properties by the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort and Spa enjoys a private beach on the Dead Sea and this is definitely the highlight if you are visiting for a special Dead Sea experience. They offer towels, foot wear, lifeguard, the famous Dead Sea mud for your own spa treatment and much more that will make your Dead Sea experience that much more richer.

2) The Jordan Valley Marriott Resort and Spa may not be the best option for a romantic getaway, but is perfect for those with kids and those who are traveling with families and friends. It is home to many swimming pools, which is a blessing as you definitely need a place to cool off. The best part about these swimming pools is that each one caters specifically to a different audience (kid-friendly, by the bar for partying adults and a regular Olympic sized swimming pool for those who want that much more.

3) The hotel organizes special events every night that highlight some aspect of the local culture. While I was there, I got to see belly dancers show their signature moves and local musicians play some traditional music.

4) The property is quite big with a lot of rooms. Do be prepared to walk a lot and lose your way from time to time. They do offer buggy service if you wish to give your feet some rest.

5) I was a bit disappointed with the food, but may be, I was unlucky. They definitely seemed to have a mighty big spread.

6) The place has great internet connectivity. If I remember right, I was connected even at the Dead Sea beach, which was awesome.

7) Like most 5 star hotels, the Jordan Valley Marriott Resort and Spa is very customer centric and they try to help in any way possible.

8) They also arrange destination weddings, offer the services of a spa, a fitness center, a meeting hall and lots of options for dining.

If you are looking for a kid and family friendly 5 star hotel by the Dead Sea of Jordan, the Jordan Valley Marriott and Spa would definitely be a good option. It definitely offers good value for money.

Continue Reading...

Friday, October 14, 2016

The King who loved his Camera

People of Thailand, I am mourning with you! I have seen how much you love and respect your king and I can understand your loss. During my travels through Thailand, I have seen his rural projects, his dedication towards his people and the reason why Thailand has had such a different recent past when compared to the rest of the South East Asian nations. And that is precisely why I respect King Bhumibol a lot. It is a tragic loss indeed!

The King at the Bhumirak Dhamachart Project, Nakhon Nayok

I know that he wasn’t keeping well and I was there when the whole country cried and prayed for his recovery during his rare public appearance last year. I still cannot believe that he is no more with us. I guess it will take a while to sink in.

60 Thai Baht Currency Note

I am sure all of you know by now that King Bhumibol, the longest serving monarch in the world, a humble soul and one of the most loved personalities in Thailand, passed away on Oct 13. As a traveler to Thailand, my association with King Bhumibol started with the Thai Baht which has his photograph, then with the photograph of the king in almost every shop in almost every single corner of the country and finally through the opportunity to see his favorite rural projects. I never had the privilege to see the king up live, but I will always know him as the king who loved his camera.

I am not sure if Thailand will be the same without him! The world will miss him. May his soul rest in peace!

Continue Reading...

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Travel Storage Partner: SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick

We are living in the era of selfies, Facebook live, real time sharing of photos and videos on instagram, snapchat, WhatsApp, twitter and facebook, YouTube videos and so much online and offline consumption of content. We seem to be creating, consuming and sharing content at a scary pace.  But, unfortunately our mobile devices (phones, tablets, phablets, etc.) haven’t quite kept up with this increasing need for extra space. Whether our device comes in 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB, we still end up deleting data from time to time. Additionally, there is that huge cost impact to procure mobile devices with extra storage space and there is the issue with responsiveness once the device is loaded with data. There are cloud storage solutions like Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, etc. that come to the rescue, but they need good stable internet connectivity to be easily accessible. Plus, data access further bores a hole in your wallet. So, the question here is how do we address this growing need for storage without spending too much money, sacrificing responsiveness or depending on always staying connected to the cloud. With this food for thought, I scoured the web for solutions and that is when I came across the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick. From the time I started using this device, I have been hooked to it. This article is my personal review of using this wireless storage device on my travels and why I am in love with it.

SanDisk Connect - My Travel Storage Partner

As a frequent traveler, travel blogger and photographer, I definitely am one who guzzles data. I capture tonnes of memories of my travels through my DSLR and phone and these videos and photos consume storage at an alarming rate. Then, there is real time sharing ,working on the move and personal entertainment. In simple words, I have huge storage needs. These days, my travel storage partner is a 200 GB SanDisk connect wireless stick that looks like a USB stick, but it packs quite a punch. Here are some scenarios from my travels where I have found it to be extremely handy.

Helpful Travel Scenarios

1) Storing Travel Memories is always ON 

Earlier, I used to worry about clicking too many photos or capturing long travel videos. After using the SanDisk Wireless Connect, that worry has disappeared and I now save all my travel memories. Editing them is a different issue, but at least I have all the raw data. If I capture these memories on the phone, I wirelessly transfer it to the SanDisk wireless stick and if I use my DSLR, I transfer it to my stick via the USB drive.

2) Lots of Entertainment for Long Layovers

Multiple devices can access same or different content simultaneously using SanDisk Connect

Travel means delays, layovers and different kind of journeys where you need to consume a lot of content to kill time. Personally, I prefer watching series of TV shows and the latest movies. And as we all prefer to watch them in Full HD, they do take up a lot of space. But, with the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick, I can easily access them wirelessly on either my mobile or my tablet. And if I feel like watching it on my laptop, I can use it as a regular USB stick. In case, I am traveling with family or friends, 3 devices can simultaneously access and consume content from the wireless stick. This could be the same movie or different movies. I think this is one of the coolest features of this device. Even when 3 devices simultaneously stream content from the SanDisk wireless stick, there is no buffering at all. However, battery does drain out pretty fast.

3) All my Music Store for long trips and workouts

It doesn’t matter whether it is to kill time, for my workouts, for my city walks, for my wildlife photography or for those late night hostel parties, the traveler in me always needs his music. With 200 GB of space that can be accessed wirelessly and without any hassle, I can listen to my music absolutely anywhere. I could be in the middle of the desert, on a boat cruise or inside a train, my music is never far away from me.

4) Doubles up as a backup Hard Disk

I have 32 GB on my phone, 64 GB on my tablet, 256 GB on my laptop and about 256 GB of memory in CF cards. Even with such space, I always prefer to have with me some additional storage. The SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick provides 200 GB of storage that can be accessed wirelessly and that can easily dove tail into my backup hard disk if I ever need one.

5) Free up Space on my Phone

Easy way to back up photos on the go

With the amount of selfies and pictures that we click every day, I am pretty sure all of us run out of in-built phone storage pretty quickly. Thanks to cloud storage, our photos get backed up and we can safely delete photos and create additional space. However, cloud storage is not accessible always. Especially, if you are out on an adventure trip, on a boat cruise or in an area with poor internet connectivity. In such situations where I find myself often, I find a lot of use for my SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick. It works like a backup medium, but in an offline mode. And once we find connectivity, we can either put them up on the cloud or let it remain on the device. After all, 200 Gigabytes is a decent amount of storage to have.

Super Friendly Features

1) Portable and Compact 

The SanDisk Connect Wireless Connect is a super small sized device that weighs only a few grams and can be stored easily in your daypack, fanny pack or even your jeans pocket. It can be easily charged via the USB slot of your laptop or your battery pack. It takes about 1 to 2 hours to charge completely.

2) Idiot-Proof Use 

Once charged, all you have to do is switch on the power button and depending on your device (Android or iOS), you download the app, open it and you are connected via Wi-Fi. The user interface is super simple with a easy to use explorer and you can seamlessly transfer files from the device to up to 3 simultaneous devices. As the wireless stick is compatible with both Android and iOS, these 3 devices could be a combination of both Android or iOS.

3) Decent Wireless Range

I kept the wireless stick about 100 feet from my mobile and it still transferred files wirelessly without sacrificing speeds.

4) Secure Wi-Fi Feature

By default, the SanDisk connect device comes with an open connection, but in case you are worried about safety, the device allows you to encrypt your connection with a password that only you and your family/friends know. This is a great feature to secure the personal information stored on your phone or tablet.

Potential Improvements

1) Needs Charge Every Night

The battery is one area where I feel improvements can be made. Right now, it provides 4 hours and 30 minutes of continuous video streaming and about 8 to 10 hours of regular use. During my travels, I found that I had to transfer the wireless stick every night if I planned to use it all day long either for backup or for streaming. Luckily for me, I always plug it into my laptop when I am working and it ends up charging fully. As I usually carry a battery pack with me, I am also ready for any contingencies.

2) Battery drops rapidly with multiple devices

3 Simultaneous devices being able to access the data on the wireless stick is a cool feature to have, but I noticed that when I did this, battery did drain out fairly rapidly. Again, not a deal breaker, but it would have been nicer to have more battery backup for such a cool feature.

Verdict

I am absolutely in love with my SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick. With more and more phones and tablets doing away with external storage options, such a wireless storage option makes the life of a traveler super convenient. Easy to back up, store or access your files without having to trust the cloud, the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick is my perfect travel storage partner. Have you tried it as yet?

Continue Reading...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Travelling with children? Essential tips to make it as easy as possible

Travelling with children can be a challenge. Although it may not be easy, exploring the world with your children can be a fantastic experience. You can make wonderful memories as a family and take it as an opportunity to teach your children about other cultures and history. There is a rise of travelling families and world-schooling, parents educating their children on the road rather than keeping them in school. As long as you can prove that your children are being adequately educated, it’s a great option if you want to teach your children more about the world than they would learn in school.

If you’re looking to travel with children for a short holiday, My Voucher Codes have prepared useful tips to consider when travelling with children.

Preparation

Handy Tips to travel with kids

If your children are old enough, involve them in the planning of the trip. By planning your holiday together as a family, it will help your children feel involved and get them excited for new adventures. If it’s your first family holiday with very young children, then look at staying closer to home and taking a car or take short haul flights to minimize disruption.

Before you travel, plan what you want to see, how to get there, and what there is to do, ensuring appropriate tickets are bought before you go, you have planned enough time and you have all the information you need. Also, if you have older children get them to help with research into what you can see and do whilst away.

When booking accommodation, keep in mind you will be wanting central locations in safe and quiet areas close to amenities if you’re staying in big cities. If you need more space, opt for apartments or suites, checking out reviews from visitors before you book. If you’re looking at resorts, make sure you book somewhere which caters for adults and children; many resorts and hotels also offer child minding, babysitting or kids clubs.

Travel


If you’re flying, make sure you book your seats in advance so you can all sit together, you can’t rely on getting seated together when you check in. Bring empty water bottles and fill them up in the airport after clearing security and pack your own snacks. This will not only save you money but if your child gets hungry before the cart comes round, you can stop a tantrum if you have their favourite snacks. You’ll also want to bring headphones that your child is comfortable with so they can watch TV; not all the free ones supplied are suitable for children.

If you’re taking the train, book seats with tables so you can all sit together and have more room to interact and play games. For train and car journeys, portable DVD players or tablets are great for entertainment. Again pack your own drinks and snack to save yourself money and ensure you have something you know your children like. You can make long car journeys more interesting by take plenty of breaks and planning these stops in places of interest to stop along the way.

When travelling with young children, pack their favorite toys, books or games and ensure you have fully charged mobile phones and tablets and you pack the chargers. If you have older children encourage them to keep a travel journal of your adventures. It’s great for family memories to treasure. If they have their own camera you can also get them to make a scrap book when they return of your adventures. Even for younger children it’s a good opportunity to teach them how to take pictures and, don’t worry, you’ll also be taking your own so you will have some to look back on.

Finances


Traveling with kids by car

Right when you book your trip, set a budget and stick to it. Keep some money aside for emergencies and also budget money that can be spent on souvenirs. By researching your destination before you travel, you can anticipate somewhat the cost of food, eating and drinking out and other costs so you can budget for that too.

When looking at places to visit, check for free days at museums and other tourist sites; check online for offers and vouchers for money off deals. You should also try to take public transport as it is cheaper than taxis. If they are available where you are you could opt for apps such as Uber or Lyft for cheaper taxis. In touristy cities use hop-off buses as these will take you to the sightseeing hotspots and can be bought with one day to a week pass for families.

With careful planning a successful and safe trip with all the family can be achieved.

Continue Reading...

Dead Sea: Mother Nature’s Very Own Mud Spa

Oh wow! My skin feels as supple as a baby’s bottom. This was my first reaction after showering post a dead sea mud spa session. My excitement knew no bounds as this was the very first instance in my 34 year old life that I felt my rough, weather beaten skin to be silky smooth. And the credit for all this goes to mother nature’s very own mud spa, the Dead Sea, that exists naturally in Jordan, Palestine (West Bank) and Israel, the 3 countries that shares this landlocked water body.

Floating in the Dead Sea - one of the top things to do in Jordan as a tourist

Dead Sea is definitely a popular geographical highlight the world over. At 429 metres below sea level, it is the lowest point on planet Earth. At 304 metres deep, it is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. And it is approximately 10 times as salty as the ocean, making it one of the world’s saltiest water bodies. Among the travel fraternity, the internet and social media is full of pictures of holidaymakers reading a newspaper or a book while floating on the Dead Sea. It is the heavy density of this super saline water that allows human beings to float effortlessly.

Me - the Dead Sea Mud Model

I got my chance to experience all of this in person on my recent trip to Jordan. I floated effortlessly, my eyes stung, my minor cuts and bruises felt like they were on fire, my taste buds balked at the salinity when I bravely attempted to taste the water of the Dead Sea and last, but not the least, I nicely covered myself in the famous mud of the Dead Sea to give myself a mineral-rich Dead Sea mud spa.

Salt rocks by the Dead Sea from a view point, Jordan

One of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great – 73 BC to 4 BC), the Dead Sea of today is a hotspot when it comes to health research and possible treatments. Whether it is the higher atmospheric pressure, the mineral-rich water, reduced ultraviolet radiation or the low content of pollens or other allergens in the atmosphere, the Dead Sea water, mud and atmosphere offers some serious health effects. From balms that were used for Egyptian mummification processes to the herbal products, bath salts, facial masks  and cosmetics, the world over believes in its healing and restorative abilities.

Dead Sea - the lowest point on planet earth

I certainly do. Not that I personally like my skin to be silky smooth, but I know a lot of people do. And in the process, you get to experience one of nature’s best wonders, a geographical delight and have a thrilling holiday.

The Dead Sea Mud that makes your skin silky smooth

The Dead Sea experience is surreal. Go and experience it soon before it shrinks and disappears in the future, which is pretty likely if one looks at the rate at which it has shrunk in the last four decades!!

Continue Reading...

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Shey Palace: Erstwhile Summer Capital of Ladakh

There is something special about Ladakh that keeps drawing people to it. Is it the snow clad mountains, the rarefied atmosphere, rich Buddhist culture, insanely beautiful nature or all of it? I have been to Ladakh a countless number of times. Some to different parts in different seasons and some to the same places for different occasions. Irrespective of the type of visit, I have always left a piece of my heart there and may be, that is why I have kept returning to this Himalayan kingdom.

Side profile of the Buddha statue inside the temple of Shey Palace, Ladakh, India

Sometimes, even the most visited place in Ladakh like the Shey Palace, can give you such a rich experience. Shey Palace is one of the tourist attractions that is located closest to Leh and one that is insanely popular on the tourist map. Normally, I find places with huge crowds and lots of tourists a huge turn off. But, for some weird reason, Shey monastery and palace, which I have visited many times in the past, made a strong connection during my summer visit this year.

The Holy Buddhist scriptures in front of a monk at Shey Palace, Ladakh

I don’t know if the connection was due to the giant statue of the seated Shakyamuni Buddha, the meditating monk inside the monastery, the smiling locals or the panoramic view from the roof top. I just felt very peaceful here during this summer visit.

The creases on the face of an elderly Ladakhi man at Shey Palace, Ladakh, India

From the moment you begin the climb from the main road to the palace beside the zigzagging lane of prayer wheels through the interiors of the palace, into the quiet divine rooms of the monastery and to the white pagoda on the top, that feeling of peace stays.

A typical Ladakh summer landscape as seen from the top of Shey Palace

Overlooking the fertile Indus river valley, Shey Palace, which used to be a summer retreat for the kings of Ladakh is now mostly in ruins. Both the Shey Palace and the Shey Gompa were built in 1655, but thankfully, the Shey Gompa has stood the test of time and is now a working temple.

View from the top of Shey Palace, Ladakh

This Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the Shey Palace is the second largest such statue in Ladakh. This giant golden Buddha statue’s most appealing attribute is the smiling face of Lord Buddha. It was an absolute pleasure to sit in the tiny area surrounding this giant Buddha and to go around the Buddha statue watching the colorful wall paintings detailing the various stories from Buddhism.

Local Ladakhi man selling incense stick and trinkets at Shey Palace, Ladakh, India

If you feel like feeling a blast of cold air and some sensational views, you can take the narrow trail from the monastery to the top of the hill. From here, you can see the monastery, the stupa, the Indus valley and the snow capped Himalayas, all in one gorgeous view.

Portrait of an elderly Ladakhi man at Shey Palace

What is your special Ladakh experience? Do the mountains keep calling your home or you love to be enveloped by the vast emptiness here? Do share your thoughts through the comments below.

Continue Reading...

Monday, October 03, 2016

Mihintale: Anuradhapura’s Sunset Point and the Cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka

The North Central corridor of Sri Lanka is full of cultural riches. From Kandy to Dambulla and from Anuradhapura to Sigriya, this region of Sri Lanka is full of ancient civilizations, temples, ruins and so much more. One such important place in this culturally rich part of the country that you should visit is Mihintale.

Even the lady monk can't resist to capture the gorgeous Mihinthale sunset shot

There are 2 things that make Mihinthale a special attraction. First, it is believed to be one of the earliest sites of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Second, the Maha Stupa here is possibly the best place in the Anuradhapura region to catch a vibrant sunset.

Mihinthale - a famous sunset location near Anuradhapura, Srilanka

I visited this place on my recent exploration of the Sri Lankan North-Central cultural trail. The plan was to catch sunset here, but as I had a bit of time on my hand, I got to explore nearly all of Mihintale’s highlights that include Maha Stupa, Ambasthala Dagaba and Aradhana Gala. All these places require a bit of climbing, so it is best to go prepared.

The steps that lead to Mihinthale, one of Anuradhapura's highlights

Right from the moment I climbed the staircase lined with gorgeous flowering trees to the fun experience of climbing the rocky outcrop of Aradhana Gala with hundreds of kids, I absolutely enjoyed my Mihinthale experience. Watching the sunset from the Great Stupa while listening to the chants of many Buddhist monks was like the icing on the cake.

Buddhist monks offering a prayer next to the stupa at Mihinthale, Srilanka

One of the most revered Buddhist places in Sri Lanka, one can see a lot of monks, religious fervor and spirituality here. Nature here is also dense and one can see it in its full splendor from the top. For those interested in a bit of history, this was the place where Mahinda, the son of Emperor Asoka from India preached the doctrine of Buddhism to King Devanampiyatissa, the then king of Sri Lanka. Thus began the era of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and hence the name of this place ‘Mihintale’, which in Sinhala means ‘plateau of Mihindu (Mahinda)’.

The famous hill of Mahinda - Mihinthale near Anuradhapura, Srilanka

Go here for an interesting mix of culture, pristine nature and calm! I feel it is definitely one of the top highlights of a Anuradhapura cultural trail tour.

Tips: It is easy to explore Mihinthale in a couple of hours, but it is best to keep half a day to feel the sense of peace and to admire the sunset view from here. A half day trip also helps appreciate the historical connection amidst all these ruins. Carry some water, snacks and sun protection. A tripod will come in handy if you are a photographer. It is quite windy on the top and drones will be a bad idea.

Continue Reading...

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Air Arabia: My Preferred Low Cost Airline for Middle East and North Africa

I love the Middle East and the entire African continent. They might not be as mainstream a tourist destination for Indian travelers as Europe, USA and South East Asia, but nonetheless, I have had rich cultural experiences and seen some of the best landscapes on my many visits there. Be it the mighty pyramids of Egypt, the vast Atlas mountains and the Sahara of Morocco, the rich Persian connection in Iran, the Dead Sea of Jordan, the rolling red sand dunes of Wahiba Sands, Oman or the land of Mesopotamia in today’s Turkey, some of these places are nature’s best wonders and the cradle of many of our mighty civilizations and its ensuing religions.

I am based out of Bangalore, India and I made most of these trips to these exotic Middle Eastern and North African countries through Air Arabia, a leading low cost carrier headquartered in Sharjah, UAE. The first time I availed their service, I did so, because they were the cheapest airline on that route. The second time I flew them because they consistently offered me the best value for money in the Middle Eastern and North African corridor. The fact that they serve great veggie meals and provide ample leg room for tall travelers like me meant I flew them whenever I got the opportunity. The only flip side of flying with them is the simple facilities of the Sharjah airport when compared to the glitterati and modern amenities of the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports.

Air Arabia - low cost carrier for Middle East and North Africa

If you are a budget conscious traveler and wish to explore the Middle East and North Africa on your next holidays, you might be interested in learning more about my Air Arabia flying experiences. And if you plan it well, I am pretty sure that you will end up saving a lot of money while enriching your overall holiday experience. I certainly saved a lot of money even though I flew far and wide with them.

1) Great Prices all Year Around

After flying Air Arabia a couple of times, I subscribed to their online newsletter to get the best deals. The end result was that I flew to as far a destination as Casablanca in Morocco for as cheap as 21,000 Indian Rupees for a return ticket. If you plan well, a 30 minute ferry ride from Casablanca takes you to Portugal. What I am basically trying to say that Europe becomes a great budget option via Air Arabia. They offer flights to Europe too. Personally, I have never flown on those European routes, but if you get a great deal, why not!

2) Connects most Indian cities

I am based out of Bangalore and have always cribbed that flights out of Bangalore are so much more expensive when compared to cities like Mumbai, Delhi or Chennai, which have well established carriers and hence offer great deals. Air Arabia is one such exception. Now, I can avoid all those connecting flights in India and it doesn’t bore an extra hole in my wallet. Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities like Kochi, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Nagpur and Ahmedabad are also well connected to the Middle East and North Africa via Air Arabia.

3) Long Layovers at Sharjah Airport is a Problem

Most Air Arabia flights from India to the Middle East, Northern Africa and Europe flies via Sharjah, its home airport. Unlike Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Sharjah airport is simple and quite basic when it comes to facilities. Be it duty free shopping, connectivity, food or waiting facilities, it leaves a lot to be desired. If the layover is short, this doesn’t matter, but if you have a long layover, you need to think about it and plan accordingly. On my trips, I have spent as long as 24 hours in the Sharjah airport. To kill time, I plan ahead with fully charged devices, a lot of books for reading, a lot of movies and TV shows for entertainment and handy quick bites and snacks for hunger pangs. On one of my recent long layovers at Sharjah airport, I tried out their business lounge, which offers decent internet connectivity, good food, comfortable couches, clean toilets and easy access to charging points. If you have a long layover, getting access to the Air Arabia business lounge is much recommended. It is not too expensive if you are flying economy.

4) Comfortable, Safe and Reliable

I am usually a pretty easy flyer. I sleep peacefully on most of my flights. Hence, I don’t really worry too much about entertainment. All I look for in a flight is safety, ample leg room (as I am 191 cms tall with long legs), simple vegetarian food, on time and someone who doesn’t give me headaches with lost of misplaced baggage. Thankfully, I found all of the above in my many Air Arabia flights and it is one of the main reasons why I keep returning to them.

Do look them up when you get the chance. And if you are a budget traveler interested in Middle Eastern and Northern African countries, then you will definitely find a lot of value in them.

Continue Reading...
Logo Credits : Jobi T Chacko. UI/UX Credits : Murugan S Thirumalai
Copyright © 2009-2017 Sankara Subramanian C (www.beontheroad.com)
Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. All Rights Reserved

Join the Travel Club for FREE!!
and every fortnight get in your inbox...interesting experiential and off-beat travel stories , destination guides, handy tips (travel, photography and visa) based on personal experience, global vegetarian delights with helpful survival guides and gorgeous world travel images and videos as I (the Indian traveler) trot the globe! And a lot of other travel invites and soon to be launched goodies !

* indicates required
Close