Motorcycle Diaries: Offbeat Vietnam

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!

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Rustic Kalaw, Myanmar

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.

Lotus weavers of Inle Lake, Myanmar

The most exceptional thing about the Intha people is the magic they weave with lotus fibers – Lotus textiles! A Buddhist symbol for purity the lotus flower is sacred in Buddhism and the textiles were first made for a Buddhist monk’s robe.

Magical Myanmar – Instagrammed

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 Monastery: The most Holy temple of Kinnaur

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.

Arunachal Pradesh: Land of the dawn-lit mountains

Two memorable weeks in the most remote parts of Arunachal Pradesh – Land of the Dawn-lit Mountains in North East India. Turquoise Lohit river flowing in all its glory, to the misty blue mountains of Walong in the Eastern Himalayas, wild jungles of Namdapha, tea gardens of Wakro, lush green rice fields of Miao, handmade bamboo houses on stilts, hanging bridges, cheerful happy people with a taste in music and the brilliant way locals sustain themselves on nature, liters of beer, bonfires and lots of memories…

Wild Ladakh

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!

Ladakh Blues – Enchanting Lakes of Ladakh

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!

Hidden treasure of Ladakh

Ladakh is famous for it’s stunning landscapes, peaceful & heartwarming people, dangerous mountain passes, extreme weather conditions, pristine high-altitude mountain lakes, unique wildlife and gorgeous ancient monasteries, but in this remote land there lies another hidden treasure thousands of years old…the prehistoric Rock Art paintings – some of the earliest expressions of our species, our artistic and cultural beginnings!

Delightful Charang

Kinnaur is the most beautiful and least explored part of the Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, India. Surrounded by harsh mountains, Charang Khas, a pretty little village at an altitude of 3500 meters in Morang, Kinnaur, is accessible only by foot, a trek through Thangi and Lambar.

Eternal Varanasi

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.

Smiling faces of Ladakh

Mountains, monasteries, monks, memories…the magic of Ladakh! It’s difficult to take a bad photograph in a place like Ladakh. The light is so ethereal like in some dreams, and it’s not just the landscapes that are so hauntingly beautiful, but also the people of Ladakh who are always smiling 🙂 The smiles that tell the…

Happy New Year! :)

May you have good health, happiness, peace and prosperity throughout the New Year! Wishing you a joyful holiday season and great travels ahead! Cheers! 🙂

Ladakh – Ride of a lifetime!

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! 🙂

Kinner Kailash Parikrama Trek

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…

Go-Aaah! : Sunsets and Conversations

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,…

Baan Rim Pa – Phuket’s finest in Royal Thai Cuisine

Dining by the sea is one of my favorites. The sound of waves and the rustling leaves from the trees make soothing music and the moist air is so refreshing. All of this with delicious Thai food is almost sinful! Thailand has some amazing restaurants with delicious food and stunning views. The people are warm,…

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways

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…

Coorg: Nature trails and a home-stay experience

Coorg or Kodagu in Karnataka, is a hill station nestled in the Western Ghats of Karnataka, South India. A lush plantation wonderland infused with the intoxicating fragrance of coffee and spices, it’s a perfect get away from city life into the lap of nature. Much of Coorg is used for agriculture with coffee and pepper as the…

Heavenly Chitkul: The road ends here…

Chitkul is the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibet border in Baspa valley of Kinnaur, Himachal. The Indian road ends here. At an altitude of 3450 meters on the banks of Baspa River in the Himalayas, about 24 kms from Sangla is the remote and heavenly village of Chitkul. Heavenly not just for the breath-taking…

Untouched Kinnaur: Rusklang village, Ropa valley, Himachal

Kinnaur in northeast Himachal, surrounded by Tibet in the east, is the least explored and the second least populous district, after Lahaul & Spiti, in Himachal Pradesh, India. The old Hindustan-Tibet road, the ancient Silk Route, passes through Kinnaur along the banks of Sutlej River. Kinnaur Kailash is a peak (6500 meters) in Kinnaur, considered the…

Kunzum La: A vantage point

Kunzum pass or Kunzum La, in Tibetan, at an altitude of 15,000 ft is one of India’s highest motor able mountain passes, in Himachal Pradesh. A mountain pass is a path connecting two mountains. It connects Lahaul to Spiti valley and has a 360-degree spectacular view of the Bara-Sigri glacier (the second longest glacier in…

Lahaul & Spiti : A sublime beauty

I’ve been mesmerised by the sublime beauty of the Himalayas since my first trip more than a decade ago! The sheer size of the gigantic mountains, the snake-like winding roads (sometimes just dirt-tracks) and the adventure of living in one of the most sparsely populated regions on earth is thrilling! Perspective gets skewed, as there…

Mt. Bromo : A volcanic vacation

One of the most awesome sunrises I saw was over the surreal, moon-like landscape of an active volcano – Mt. Bromo in East Java, near Surabaya, Indonesia. The name Bromo is from Javanese pronunciation of Brahma, the Hindu God of Creation. It belongs to the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park named after the two mountains, Mount…

Weekly photo challenge: The golden hour

The most positive & reflective moments that I’ve spent with myself have been watching the beautiful hues of the sky as the sun sets or the early morning light – the golden hour. Some of the pictures from this hour of the day, when the light is most dramatic & moody, for the Weekly photo challenge:…