Panoramic views of jagged green Karst Mountains jutting out endlessly till the horizon, winding roads lined with wildflowers passing through small towns & villages surrounded by terraced paddy and cornfields, it was an enchanting world floating in the mist, weathered by monsoons soaked in rain.
Nepal Tourism tagline that says, “Naturally Nepal – Once is not enough” holds absolutely true! From trekking up through a rhododendron forest, to ridge walking above 4000m with jaw-dropping views of the Annapurna Himalayas up close, to enjoying gorgeous sunrise views of the entire mountain range from a village on the foothills, to chilling in a resort on a hill overlooking Phewa Lake & Pokhara city, chasing the one horned Rhino on a jungle safari at Chitwan National Park, experiencing the living heritage city of Patan in a traditional Newari home, to devouring delicious momos, sekwa, Dal Bhat and other traditional food in Kathmandu, it was the most eventful, thrilling & enjoyable two weeks I’ve spent in any country, and I am definitely coming back for more!
I remember the first time I saw Jupiter and its moons through a telescope that could fit in my backpack, I was spellbound! So when I got the opportunity to visit one of the highest astronomical observatories in the world that too in Ladakh, I was ecstatic and I wondered if we could see planets, stars or distant galaxies through the telescope at the observatory!
To reach a place as isolated in the Himalayas on motorbikes requires a heart full of courage and a spirit of adventure, other than a map of course or you could end up in China! Crossing some of the highest mountains passes in the world on broken, sometimes non-existing roads or mere dirt tracks to lead the way, it’s a challenging bone-chilling ride.
As we climbed higher it became cooler passing through breathtaking Himalayan scenery. Pristine white snow-covered mountain roads are a sight to behold but they’re a tough climb. Riding in thin cold air through wet & slushy ice on the road was a challenge and the potholes added to the bumpy ride. Adding to the excitement one of our motorbikes broke down on the slippery road a few meters from Chang La pass!
Before we set out on our road trip through the Central Highlands of Vietnam, I was nervous about riding for the first time in a new country. It took me a while to get comfortable on the motorbike and let my eyes off the road to enjoy the scenic views. But after riding more than 1300 km through half of the country, I am convinced there is no better way to travel in Vietnam than on a motorbike! And the freedom of exploring a place riding on my own adds to the depth of my travel experiences.
I remember being overwhelmed by the exquisite beauty & scale of the Himalayas after my first trip to Ladakh, a Ride of a lifetime! Waking up to stunning views of Pir Panjal mountains on the historic Mughal road and Aharbal with gorgeous landscapes of pine-covered Himalayas, rivers gushing through the mountains, orchards laden with fruit and heart warming people, this was my first time in Kashmir. Already in awe of its beauty I was looking forward to less explored Lolab valley.
If it weren’t for the downpour that evening, we would’ve had a different experience riding through the road probably, maybe a more comfortable one. But I will always cherish our memories of that adventurous night on the historic Mughal road, where we not only got to ride on it we even slept on it for a night! 😉
Starting from bustling Ho Chi Minh City in the South to riding through the Vietnamese countryside with gorgeous landscapes of the Central highlands and paddy fields, rivers and emerald lakes, cruising through the misty cloud covered hills at Hai Van pass to the historic UNESCO cities of Hoi An & Hue in Central Vietnam, with excellent roads & amenities, delicious flavorful food, fresh Ca-Phe (coffee) and friendly Vietnamese people, it was an awesome experience to ride through half of Vietnam and experience the local way of life. The thrill of riding a motorbike and the freedom of going anywhere, was a dream realized… leaving me with yet another reverie, of the higher mountains of North Vietnam!
Surrounded by the misty blue Shan hills, Kalaw is a great place to relax, enjoy the view, other than cycling around exploring the town, to nearby monasteries, pagodas & the market. With beautiful views of the surrounding hills, it’s quite rewarding to spend time at the Buddhist monastery and see the daily life of young Buddhist monks who call it home.
Did you know the Burmese use tea leaves as a food ingredient? Other than brewing a tea, the leaves are fermented to make a special Burmese tea-leaf salad and its yum! Myanmar offered a varied set of experiences from historic temples to nature hikes in the hills and boat rides exploring life on a lake, but it was the delicious Burmese food, readily available salads (and avocado!) and the people who stole my heart!
Charang is a delightful little village near the Indo-Tibet border in Kinnaur – the less explored & non-touristy part of Himachal Pradesh in India. The Kinner Kailash Parikrama is considered incomplete without receiving blessings at the ancient 11th century Charang monastery also called the Rangrik Shungma – the most holy temple of Kinnaur.
Other than mountain goats, sheep, horses and Yak that are commonly seen grazing around the pastures, the trans-Himalayan plateaus of Ladakh are home to several rare and endangered species of mammals and birds. The jaw-dropping scenery of Ladakh is mesmerizing enough and the exotic animals add magic (and perspective), to the scene!
Countless shades of blue change with the falling light, turquoise blue waters merge into cobalt blue cloudless skies, reflecting in the ripples of water with a mosaic of colorful stones shining underneath; the Ladakh Blues!
River Ganges is the soul of Varanasi. The Ganges rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and is the longest river of India as well as the second greatest river in the world by water discharge. In Hinduism, river Ganges is considered sacred and personified as goddess Ganga. A boat ride over river Ganges at sunrise is the best way to experience the ghats.
With a stunning view of the layered silhouetted mountains, fragrance of fresh flowers in the air, birds chirping, morning dew, a cup of chai and dreams still lingering in my mind, I wake up to a beautiful morning! A holiday in the hills is bliss, but a one at Ramgarh Bungalows is just short of…
Ladakh is ‘the land of high passes’, breath-taking landscapes, pristine lakes and gorgeous monasteries in the Himalayas. Travelling through this idyllic beauty of the mountains, peace & tranquility, warm-hearted people and the hair-raising adventure was the most unique, out of this world experience I’ve had – a dream trip to the roof of the world! 🙂
Kinnaur Kailash Parikrama is one of the toughest treks in Himachal, around the holy Mount Kailash, also called Kinner Kailash in Kinnaur. It’s a 60 Km trek, which starts in Thangi through Charang, Lalan Ti, crossing Charang La pass (17,194 ft) and ends in Chitkul village – the last inhabited village accessible by road, near…
GOA is one of the most popular and peaceful states in India. Ranked on top for the best quality of life in India, Goa is renowned for beaches, parties, shopping, water sports, nature, history and food – a perfect travel destination for anyone! For me, it’s a place to relax and chill out with friends,…
A landscape looks great in a ‘landscape’ or Horizontal format but sometimes looks much more interesting in a vertical or ‘portrait’ format. Here are a series of landscapes of River Yamuna shot from the new Naini bridge in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, in horizontal and vertical format for the Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways. And some useful…