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7 easy tips for Photography

By far the most common question I get asked is ‘what camera do you use?’ Here are some super simple tips to make an image a little bit more gram worthy.

 

First Pick Your Photography Goals

The first thing you will need to do is decide what your goals are with your travel photography. Do you just want to get some snaps to look back at now and then and maybe upload them to social media? Are you going to try and document as much of your trip as possible? Keen on video? Thinking about getting serious and taking your photography to the next level?

It’s totally up to you. But one thing i will say is that once you start capturing some great photos and learning about the basics of travel photography, it gets very addictive. Trust me it’s addictive. . .

Remember, if you think that perhaps one day you will really get into photography it can sometimes be better to get a camera that is better so you can grow into it. Rather than buying a new camera every trip, save money in the long run by spending a bit more of your budget upfront.

Resolution easily could be the top factor in your buying decision. After all, it’s the quality of the photos that matters most. But before you shop, ask yourself how you plan on using your travel photos. If the majority will be online, any camera on the list will do just fine. If you plan on enlarging or printing your photographs or using them more seriously, the size of the image sensor, megapixel count, and your lens choices all play an important role in the quality of the photos. Some of my best photos have been taken with Iphone, but these are factors to consider.

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or professional, or even if you know nothing at all, I’ll help you make the right choice.

A top-of-the-range DSLR or mirrorless camera is capable of taking great photos, but if you don’t know how to use it, you’ll probably get better results from a smartphone.

 

On the other hand, there’s no point buying the best camera for travel photography if you’re never going to use it to its full potential. Only you will know whether it is something you are going to want to pursue later down the track.

Most of the images on this post were taken on either a point and shoot or mobile, no need to use a DSLR always to start photographing a little differently.

 1.Use foreground objects to complete the image

One of easiest ways to make a photo more engaging and to add extra levels to your images is to add a foreground aspect to the frame. Play around with different objects that are closer to you to add more depth.

2.Make the most of the reflections

#PuddleGram might have caught on, but making the most of flat waters or recent rainfall is the best way to give your photos a unique perspective. The object may still be the same, but the weather and water will change.

Try experimenting with different angles, pointing the lens slightly further up or down to create a focus on one part, it doesn’t need to be a perfectly balanced reflection as cropping can draw the eye more towards where you think is most interesting.

3.Frame the main focus with some action

Movement can really make a photo come alive, especially in an Urban environment. If you have a DSLR and a tripod then long exposures can be a great way to nail images.

If you are reliant on the phone in your pocket then finding action in your surroundings is just as good. Whether its fountains, fairgrounds, birds, trains or anything else which moves – adding the extra texture and animation to the shot can be an ideal frame to an otherwise seen before photo.

4.Nail the rule of thirds

It’s one of the basics of photography and although I’m a firm believer many photos lend them selves to a center framing, this simple technique can easily transport a bland photo to one which is far more eye catching. Most cameras now already have the grid visible so just line up key parts of the frame with the crossed lines on the grid and you will instantly see a difference.

5.Use people to tell the story

More and more with travel photography, those looking at the image want to feel a sense of place and like they are there. Adding a human element to any photos in the right way will usually make the story and setting of the photo much stronger. So, instead of waiting forever for people to get out of your photo next time, try to include them within the story of the shot instead.

6.Experiment with different angles and levels

Look up in any city and you will likely discover hundreds of new photo opportunities you are missing.

Some architecture lends its self to looking directly at the sky, sometimes it’s a good idea to get higher so you can have a straight on image. Double decker buses might not be your thing but the extra height can act as a great new way to see and photograph a city. My rule is to go up anything I can as the new perspective is not just great for photography, but also gives you a better understanding of any destination.

7.Learn how to use light to make a photo more interesting

One of the key components of photography is lighting and natural light gives us so many beautiful hues to play with. An average road or setting can be completely transformed during the golden hour which is why so many people love photographing during sunrise or sunset.

Make the most of the hours before and after though and you’ll find simple settings transformed by dramatic shadows and new details that you just won’t see with the mid-day sun. Try to mix in larger objects such as trees and buildings which can create more dramatic shadows with smaller, more detailed focus areas to make a simple photo seem like it has much more going on.

 

An inland oasis city in UAE- Al Ain

Interestingly, Al Ain is also very aptly referred to as the ‘Garden City’ because of being abundantly decked by beautiful natural springs scattered across oases.

If you were one of those very few students who were not sleeping through the history classes in school, you will remember being fascinated by tombs and graves, ancient cities and lost civilisations.

The mountain is also traversed by a stunning cave system, comprising of stalagmites (the upward-growing mound of mineral on the floor of the cave) and stalactites (the icicle type formations on the ceiling), of which only a few have been explored, but only to a depth of 150m or less. The limestone range is also fed with layers upon layers of rock, laden with fossils of planktons.

 

The city has picturesque forts, beautiful gardens, traditional souks and adventure hotspots. It truly is a coming together of the ancient and modern worlds and shows how a city can retain its cultural roots while still evolving into a modern and developed entity.

 

Getting There

By Bus: The best way to reach Al Ain is via a bus or a minibus. Etihad Airways also offers a complimentary coach service to Al Ain from Abu Dhabi airport. Buses depart hourly from the Abu Dhabi bus station and it takes about 2 hours to reach. Buses also run every 45 minutes from Al-Ghubaiba bus station in Dubai, from where it takes around 1 hour 45 minutes.

By Flight: You can take a flight from Delhi to Al Ain. Carriers like Etihad Airways and Jet Airways operate between Delhi to Al Ain, with a stopover at Abu Dhabi.

The Dubai International Airport and the Abu Dhabi International Airport, are the nearest options to arrive via air at Al Ain. Another alternative to reach Al Ain is by bus or minibus from Abu Dhabi (140km) and Dubai (100km).

Exhaustive guide to Jebel afee

Jebel Ḥafeeṫ, translating to ’empty mountain’ in Arabic, is located primarily in the garden city of Al Ain, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, the UAE. While the summit is situated completely within the United Arab Emirates, part of the mountain straddles the border with Oman.

Jabel Hafeet is a beautiful mountain in United Arab Emirates on the outskirts of Al Ain, Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

It’s a must not miss attraction, where you can experience the view of whole Al- Ain, standing at top of the hill. There are several parking lots along the way which provide ample viewing opportunities and beautiful backdrops for photo shoots.

To reach here you experience one of the most spectacular ride, for this you can take various options be it Hiking, Bike ride or SUV ride. Each of them is going to give you its own adrenaline rush, the mountains which rises 1,249 metres (4,098 ft) offers a great view over the city, well known for sunset and sunrise location, where you take about 60 turns and three lanes to reach.

A little something for the nature hippies

For photographers and curious travellers out there, imagine clear blue skies, endless stretches of barren land and in the midst of it all, a cheery yellow tropical flower blooming away in abandon.

Al Ain Zoo – Zoo District – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates

 Drop in at the Al Ain Zoo, to say hello to the Arabian antelope and oryx, the African gazelles and giraffes, to name a few of the plethora of animals that can be found lounging casually in the compound.

Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Al Ain Hotel – Jebel Hafeet – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates

The Mercure Grand Jebel Ḥafeeṫ is a unique mountain oasis resort perched on top of Jebel Ḥafeeṫ at a lofty height of 3,000ft. The hotel houses 124 rooms and suites, each offering spectacular views and a calm like no other. To whet your appetite just a wee bit more, the hotel has an outdoor heated swimming pool, a swanky fitness centre, golf gardens, squash courts and snooker tables.

 

Wadi Adventure – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates

Wadi Adventure is the Middle East’s first man made surfing, rafting and kayaking facility. It has the world’s largest artificial surfing wave, three levels of white water rafting rapids and a long kayaking channel. It hosted the world’s first ever rafting championship in 2016 where 27 countries participated. Other than water-based activities, Wadi Adventure also has an ‘airpark’. The airpark has a 200m long zip line, suspended balance beams and a 13m high climbing wall. It also has a giant swing, which can hold up to three people at one time and gives a great adrenaline rush. Wadi Adventure is the perfect place to spend all day having fun and enjoying yourself.

Hili Fun City – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates

 Hili Fun City is one of the largest theme parks in UAE. It has more than 30 attractions ranging from thrilling rides and adventures to gentle rides for children of all ages, including a roller coaster and an elevated sky-flyer. And located right next to it is the Al Ain Ice Rink, an Olympic- sized ice skating rink where you can chill out while the sun beats hot outside. Wednesdays are reserved for ladies only and the park is closed on Sundays.

Al Ain Palace Museum – Al Mutawaa – Al Ain – United Arab Emirates

 Al Ain Palace Museum is the former residence of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan, the first ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The palace has been restored to its former glory and has beautiful interiors. The information inside is mostly in Arabic but the decor is worth admiring. The palace is divided into private, guest and official quarters by courtyards and landscaped with cacti, magnolia trees and palms. You can see the Sheikh’s meeting room, take a tour of the huge kitchen and also see the master bedroom of the Sheikh and his wife.

Trip to Italian town in India- LAVASA

Lavasa is a perfect blend of beauty and infrastructure. Lavasa is the first planned Hill city of India. The city is a beautiful project, stylistically based on the Italian town Portofino. Spreading across 7 hills, covering an area of 25000 acres. Lavasa is surrounded by rolling hills, clouds and seasonal waterfalls and full of green nature beauty.

As it was just an hour drive from Pune. And Lavasa was also close by. So we can stay in Lavasa without experiencing the hustle bustle. However, Hotels are pretty expensive. It was a beautiful experience. We spent the 2 days in Lavasa enjoying the cold days.

Weather: Maximum 32°- Minimum 13 °, Pleasant and sunny during the day

Approx. Cost for two: Rs 8000 to Rs 12,000

As you enter the city main gate, the first thing you will notice is how green and well maintained the surroundings are and that there are a lot of new construction happening. It is also known as the Lake city as most development has happened around the lake.

Lake side has open restaurants, flea markets, boat rides, street singers they have it all. Street singers are common in Lavasa during evening time and perfect way to enjoy your pleasant evening.

Till now lavasa city is reachable only by road, no air connectivity is planned till now. To enter into the city you need a driving license. Road’s inside the lavasa hill town are really really curvy.

Not a lot of options to visit Lavasa from Pune.

  • You need your private vehicle, 2) Government buses from Pune to Lavasa on particular timings, 3) Cabs Ola, Uber, etc.
  • Hired a Bike for a Day ( Rs.600/- charges for 1 day & Rs.4000/- refundable deposit )
  • 2 hr to 3 hr one way journey depends on your speed and experience riding bikes. Roads are in very good condition.. Cold, Rains, Fogg… (There is an entry fee to enter Lavasa city Rs.200/- for bike & Rs.500/- for Car)

Tips

Ask for discounts while booking hotels on the spot.

‘Bakarwadi’ & ‘Misal Pav’ are famous snacks in Pune.

Leave early morning while travelling to Lavasa.

Best season to visit Lavasa is Rainy season.

Carry a raincoat if travelling on bike.

Location and weather of Lavasa First Hill Green City is simply awesome, its located on the bank of river baji pasalkar just behind the varasgaon Dam. Lavasa has won several awards for its plans and designs.

Waterfall Safari

The best time to enjoy the Waterfall Safari at Lavasa is during the monsoon season. This is a 4-hour drive through Mugaon, Dhamanhole and Dasve with stopovers at main waterfalls of the area. During the drive, treat your eyes to the lush green surroundings. You also get a picnic basket with a mineral water bottle and munchies.

 

Watersports

If you love water sports, you are going to love it here. When in Lavasa, you can partake in a number of water sports activities including cruise boats, Jet Ski, kayaking, bumper boats, pedal boats, ride in an inflatable and more.

 

Nature Trails

Lavasa proves to be the best place for you if you are a nature enthusiast. You can indulge in nature walks here, explore the beautiful scenery, the enchanting locations, enjoy the cool, pollution-free breeze etc.

 

Adventure Sports and Games Arcade

Lavasa is set against a green backdrop and has an undulating rugged terrain of the Sahyadris hills, offering ample opportunities to adventure enthusiasts.  You can take part in a number of activities such as trekking, rappelling, rock climbing, camping, mountaineering, valley crossing, paintball, treasure hunting, backpacking campaign and so on. Enjoy every minute of your visit. Robin-self balancing joyride is the major attraction at the Games Arcade.

 

Parks, Gardens & Nursery Crèches

Searching for serenity, Lavasa it is. You can enjoy a leisure walk. Your kids enjoy themselves in the Kid’s park. Enjoy a picnic with your entire loved ones in the beautiful and well-manicured gardens. If you love plants, you can visit the plant nursery crèche to get a tip or two from the experts. You can also have a look at their apartments and villas.

Temghar Dam

One of the best sights in Lavasa is the Temghar dam. This is also the most visited attraction and the main source of water supply to the Pune city. When on the dam site, enjoy some extremely beautiful views of the green ambiance and the free-flowing water.

 

Mercure Lavasa

Offering a peaceful getaway. Mercure Lavasa is located in a scenic valley at Warasgaon Lake & surrounded by mountains. Easily accessible & positioned 2km from the Lavasa International Convention Centre, Enjoy free WI FI facility as well.

The Fortune Select is the most expensive with tariff between INR 5000-8000. It is large and affluent.

One Day Itinerary

You can simply go out to explore this city and enjoy the scenic views on your way. There is a lot that is planned for the city and will take some time to be executed.

Restaurants and Local Food in Lavasa

Why take a Solo Trip!

Going on a solo trip today will be a well-captured memory tomorrow. Trust me, you will have a great story to tell people, and you will cherish it forever. Many people live life, a normal one. But what makes a difference is taking time for yourself to make some wonderful memories so that you can share them with your grandchildren. Haha!!

In many places I traveled, it wasn’t common to see a woman traveling alone. As a result, I often had people looking out for me, whether it was catching the right bus or finding my hotel.

Trust me, Traveling by yourself is no longer taboo, or even scary for that matter.

Kindness of this little strange world!!

In Srilanka, I met an older gentleman on a bus who offered to take me sightseeing around Srilanka, because he love to show people around.

Travel companions are cool. You get to have a lot of interesting conversation along. But there are more things that will hold you back from doing what you want to do when you travel with companions. And you end up making a lot of compromises with your trip. So, you know who the best travel companion is? It is YOU. Sooner or later, it is good to know that most of the time in your life, you are going to be alone.

While people have been more than willing to help me out even when I have a travel partner, I like knowing that as a solo traveler, I’m bound to have interesting and unexpected adventures and meet some really great people — as a result of being alone. And it’s because of this that I’ll probably travel alone again and why I think that everyone should travel solo at some point, if only for a little while.

A solo traveller learns so much, not only about the world but themselves. They never feel the need to agree for ease or to keep the peace. They’ll have explored corners of the globe others haven’t even dreamed of and spent time in communities mind-blowingly different. Learning to adapt to new cultures becomes second nature and respecting other humans and their differences is a given.

You’ll have opinions about global issues, as you’ll have been there and experienced it, and not just read a second hand opinion.

You’ll be branded as a ‘know-it-all’ but your experience will mean you don’t care as you know the truth and you’re not afraid of sharing it. Expect a backlash!

You meet wonderful people on your way to the solo trip. And making new friends from different places and ethnicity will broaden your knowledge. You will know how big the life is and wealth of learning in the universe. You will get to know about your interpersonal skills. How good your communication skills are, and it will let you know if you lack something, and how you can improve it. It helps in your professional life too. Meet new people, eat different food, see diverse cultures, trekking, and all other adventures are real blessings for solo travelers.

You need to take the first step and think positive. It is not easy for the first time but quitting is not an option. So, you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and this is the way to learn life. Hence the English proverb, when going gets tough; the tough gets going.

Solo trip is something that reminds all your senses that you are the leader of your journey. Live the present moment. It teaches you things that you wouldn’t have learned if traveled in a group or with a friend. Also, solo travel fits anyone, whether you’re single, in a relationship, extroverted, or introverted, and here are five excellent reasons why you should take it.

Taking the full responsibility of your life

Taking care of yourself in the distress times is crucial, and you can improve it by taking your first solo trip. Since it is going to be you on the way of your journey, all your senses get alerted. And you assume full responsibility for your life. It helps you understand and celebrate life in many ways. You will become more responsible for the decisions and choices you make in your life. And this lets you realize that whatever happens to you in life is because of your decisions and choices. So you need to choose them carefully. Self-awareness is important in life.

Solo travel is rarely lonely but you will learn to love being alone. That space to think and contemplate all those thoughts that may have flitted into your brain when you lived a ‘normal life’. That precious time spent in coffee shops in places you couldn’t communicate, just people-watching and grinning at the people who came to interact. Oh and the endless magical flight or bus journeys, which equalled un-guilty thinking, reading and learning time.

 More than that, solo travel gives you ultimate freedom. You wake up and it’s just you — what you want, where you want, when you want. In that freedom and infinite space of possibility, you meet yourself. You hit the limits of what you like and don’t like. There’s no one to pull you in any one direction or override your reasons. Want sushi? Get sushi. Want to leave? Leave. Want to try bungee jumping? Go for it.

Why take a Solo Trip?

IT MAKES TRIP PLANNING EASIER

YOUR EXPERIENCES WILL BE MORE MEANINGFUL

YOU’LL MAKE NEW FRIENDS (IF YOU WANT)

YOU wiLL GET TO ENJOY “ME TIME”

YOU CAN STAY WITHIN YOUR BUDGET.

IT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER TRAVELER

IT MAKES YOU FEARLESS

IT WILL BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE

CUSTOMISED TRAVELING

IT GIVES YOU F-R-E-E-D-O-M

YOU’LL FIND THE ANSWER TO AN IMPORTANT QUESTION

YOU’RE THE MASTER OF YOUR ITINERARY

YOU’LL FEEL MORE SATISFIED IN THE END

From young professionals to retirees and everyone in between, it seems folks from all walks of life want to captain their very own adventure-ship without circumnavigating around someone else’s.

Here are a few tips to keep you safe.

Act like you are invincible.

Swallow your pride.

But don’t be cocky.

Research the local scams.

Don’t get too drunk.

“Some journeys in life can only be traveled alone.”
                                                                                                                          ―Ken Poirot

French town of India- Pondicherry

My experience in Pondicherry!!

Pondicherry a union territory of India, with its exotic cocktail of sun kissed white sands, emerald green seas and bright sunshine is an irresistible attraction for tourists from all across the world. The salubrious Pondicherry weather undoubtedly augments the tourism potential of the union territory.

Nearby, in Kuruchikuppam, is Aurodhan (Website), where you can discover local art and watch free performances by artists from across the globe while staying in rooms decorated with art and sculpture.

Down the road, TASMAI (Website) conducts regular weekend workshops for those who want to weave some art into their holiday. And outside Pondy, the late thespian Veenapani Chawla’s Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts & Research (Website) has a sunlit stage amid acres of green.

Pondicherry is no Andamans, but the dive masters at Temple Adventures (Website) will take you under and show what the seas have to offer. And parasailing is Pondy’s newest extreme sport, courtesy Roads and Journeys (Website), which conducts overland experiences that provide the best bird’s-eye views of the region.

The main beach of Pondicherry consists of rocks where one can enjoy the smooth melody of sea waves. Crabs are easily discoverable here. The best time to settle at sea shore is at the dusk when brisky air waves hugs your soul.

If you are looking for pure fun, you can avail the Yanam river cruise in Pondicherry. Yanam River Cruise in Pondicherry mostly covers the coastal areas of the Andhra Pradesh state. This coastal area is well known for its endless natural treasures. The evergreen mangrove forest of the coastal Andhra Pradesh can be best explored in Yanam River Cruise in Pondicherry. As the boat proceeds through the waterways the hidden treasures of this coastal paradise come on your way. The ideal time for Yanam River Cruise in Pondicherry is the afternoon hours.

You can compare it to Goa but its cleaner and sophisticated. Where else would you find cobbled-stoned walkways to the beach?

Chunnambar

Chunnambar is situated 8 kms from Puducherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. This tropical paradise is flanked by a quiet-flowing creek on one side. You can sail downstream to the sands and pitch up a cosy seaside tent for yourself. Overnighting within the tree-houses on the backwater provides a relishing experience of the great outdoors.

Chunnambar Beach and Backwater Resort, a PTDC enterprise, has boating, backwater boat tours, trekking and picnics on Paradise Beach for visitors and their friends and families. The resort offers various kinds of rental boats (speed, motor, sail, rowed, paddled and pedalled) in addition to beach volleyball and other beach sports.

Best Time to Visit:

The monsoon and winter months are great to explore this coastal town. Winters, especially, are ideal for sightseeing, enjoying beach activities and water sports.

Best way to get around:

It is in its streets that the city truly reveals its soul.

Best way to get around this small town is on hired bikes. There are plenty of shops on Mission Street hiring bikes and kinetics for a low cost. Get hold of the tourist voucher with a map on it and explore the lanes. The French Colony is worth driving around. The other reason why rent vehicles is that they work out cheaper than the auto rickshaws.

Things to Do:

Take a bike and head out for East Coast Road, the one that connects Pondicherry to Chennai. It’s a beautiful road, with many virgin and isolated beaches. Beaches with almost no curious locals, which is important for any woman traveler whether she is married or unmarried. There can be a few local fishermen around but they do not bother you. It’s a safe place with no gawking eyes or eve teasing.

Paradise Beach

I Spent lot of my time in Paradise beach. Pondicherry is blessed with some of the most spectacular beaches of the Coromandel coast. If you are looking for total seclusion far away from the hustle and bustle of urban life, Pondicherry is the ideal place for you to head for. Its miles of silky soft beaches will take you to a world of tranquility. The turquoise water of the Bay of Bengal is ideal to take a relaxing dip. A ten minute drive from the northern part of the Pondicherry town will take you to Pondicherry’s gleaming white coastal area. Paradise Beach is Pondi most pristine beach, accessed by a boat that powers through the backwaters of the Chunnambar river. You can peacefully build sand castles, play ball or read a book, however, Paradise beach is the only beach that needs you to pay an entrance fee in and around Pondicherry. Boat house beach, Paradise beach, Chunnambar beach all refer to the same place.

Auroville

Auroville is 15kms from Pondicherry. Google map came to our rescue and it took 30 minutes to reach Auroville. This place is famous for its Matri Mandir. To visit the Matri Mandir a 2 day prior reservation is needed. The place is very quiet. We did not have the reservation so we could have only the view from outside. It looks like a round shape golden ball.

Ashram and Auroville (You need prior permission for Auroville especially for visiting the Matri Mandir) craftsmen make fine marbled silk and hand-dyed fabrics, perfumes, incense sticks, handmade paper, handloom rugs, bedspreads, pottery and various other products which may be bought at the Boutique d’ Auroville, Harmonie Boutique, Ashram Exhibition Centre, Aurocreation, AuroTibetan handicrafts etc.

Matrimandir

You can roam around in the Matrimandir campus and shop only if you have deep pockets! Auroville products are supposedly handmade and organic and hence cost a bomb.

Surfing

For more active adventures, Serenity beach or Bodhi beach is the place to be. Sign up for a surfing session, Go Scuba Diving and see what the seas have to offer. Parasailing is Pondi newest extreme sport to get the best bird’s-eye views of the region.

Be a beach bum

If you are a sun and sand junkie, then head to any of the four popular beaches around Pondicherry: the Promenade, Serenity Beach, Auroville Beach and Paradise Beach. Walk on the main historical promenade along Goubert Avenue, lined by charming colonial buildings, with locals eating ice creams and balloon sellers in a mesmerizing melee. This stretch has the Mahatma Gandhi statue alongside a statue of Marquis Dupleix and the War Memorial to honor the fallen French soldiers of World War I as well as a whitewashed 19th century lighthouse.

Treat Your Taste Buds:

Good news first. Liquor rates are without taxes !!!

Beer costs lesser than a bottle of cold drink. Just kidding!!! But it’s certainly a lot cheaper that any metropolitan city. You can find wine shops on almost all the roads and multiple number of them on the same road. Most of the shops are open till 10:30-11 PM.

You’ll find a thriving café and bar culture come alive as the sun sets. French food is everywhere, but its authenticity is questionable. So you’ll find French food being served alongside a mix of Italian, Indian and Chinese cuisines at most places with some good steaks and sandwiches too.

Shopping Places in Pondicherry:

Pondi Sunday Market: Pondi Sunday market is a unique place that sells almost anything and everything under the sun. Both young and old come here to purchase cheap apparels, metal plates, cups, scarves, pots, shoes and lots more. The shops here are colorful and so are the items found here. On weekends and holiday occasions, the market is packed with eager buyers. Carry an umbrella in case you are stepping out or visiting this place in summer.

Mission Street: You can browse for non-leather footwear, hand-painted silk clothing, perfumed candles, incense, oils, ceramics, jewelry, and handmade paper items to the accompaniment of artsy, esoteric music. There are also many cafes and restaurants in the area. Apart from shopping, Mission Street is a good place to walk around and admire old French architecture in the city.

To the Beautiful Skyline city- Dubai

Dubai is a beautiful city. It has so much to do. It is modern, it is stylish but on the same side it respect its culture.

 

Dubai is a cosmopolitan city with a widely diverse population of people from many different backgrounds. There is much to do here: the city has a vibrant night life, a plethora of restaurants that feature cuisines from different parts of the world, art exhibits from aspiring local artists as well as reputable international artists as well as many entertainment options including concerts and fashion shows. For the avid explorer, there are many places to see; some are popular tourist destinations while others are hidden jewels that are less well known.

 

Dubai is the city of dreams. It is a potent cocktail of heritage and futuristic endeavour and achievement. It grows with every passing minute and its diversity is profound. There is a little something for everyone, right from food lovers to shopaholics, art connoisseurs to hardcore travellers. Dubai has all the potential to morph into the happiest city in the world and once you’re there, you will never want to leave.

Apart from famous The Burj Khalifa or Gold souk, there are many other adventurous things present, which will make your trip a-never-forget-memorable-trip.

1. HOT AIR BALLOONING

 

 2. SKY-DIVING

 

3. BUNGEE JUMPING

 

4. DESERT SAFARI

 

Getting Around in Dubai

Getting around the mighty city of Dubai is difficult if in case you love walking. It is therefore imperative for you to take some form of public transport in order to look around and Dubai definitely has a plethora of options. There are metered taxis and then there is the metro, the monorail, public buses, water buses and even traditional wooden boats (Abras) for that matter. You must purchase a rechargeable Nol Card so that you can use the public transport.

1. Yet another exciting feature of a Dubai itinerary, the Dubai Museum is the oldest structure of the city and beautifully documents the history of the emirate. For those interested in architecture and archaeology, this place is a must visit.

2. One of the most popular things to do in Dubai, the Dubai Desert Safari is an adrenaline pumping excursion. You are made to sandboard through the sand dunes of Dubai in a 4WD, ride a camel and then perhaps even treat yourself to a henna tattoo. This is undoubtedly the drawcard of Dubai tourism.

3. The largest shopping mall in the world, the Dubai Mall is home to an elaborate aquarium, an ice-skating rink, a hundred food stalls and even an indoor theme park. Also popular for its gold souk (marketplace), this giant will invariably find a place in every Dubai itinerary.

4. Rise early to make the most of your Dubai itinerary in the form of the Dubai Hot Air Balloon ride and relish the pleasant views of the desert. This is undoubtedly one of the most memorable things to do in Dubai.

5. The dancing Dubai Fountain is an extremely striking element of a massive lake with the Burj Khalifa in the background and is the most visually stunning of all places to visit in Dubai.

6. With perhaps the most remarkable architecture of all the lavish malls in Dubai, visiting the Ibn Battuta Mall is like stepping into a part of Egypt, ancient Persia or maybe even Tunisia. It is easily one of the most beautiful places to visit in Dubai.

7. Visit the extraordinary artificial island of Palm Jumeirah and see one of the most iconic hotels in the world, the Atlantis. This megaproject is audacious and downright outlandish but totally worth witnessing and is now a shining gem of Dubai tourism.

8. Spend time at the iconic Jumeirah Beach and feast your eyes on the third tallest hotel in the world, the luxurious Burj Al Arab. This is perhaps one of the most essential things to do in Dubai.

I found Dubai’s city planning rather meticulous. Most of the multinational companies are grouped together by field in a business district. And for the sake of uniformity, all of the houses and apartments are built using an Arabian-style of architecture, making the residential sector of the city look like a modern take on Aladdin’s hometown. A good illustration of this architecture for me is the Madinat Souk. On the outside it looks like a traditional Arabian desert home, but on the inside it’s actually air-conditioned and decorated very well! It’s a mix of old and new that works so beautifully!

Burj Khalifa

Miracale garden

Jebel Hafeet

Jebel Hafeet or ‘Mountain’ Hafeet is a ‘must-not-miss’ attraction in Al Ain. Located south of the Al Ain city border shared with Oman, a high way has been constructed in 1986 to reach this place. It is around 1250m high and the drive up the majestic rocky mountain on its winding roads is certainly worth a trip.  There are several parking lots along the way which provide ample viewing opportunities and beautiful backdrops for photo shoots. Right at the top are viewing platforms where you can spend time gazing down at Oasis city and also a café where you can have some quick refreshments. The beauty of Al Ain city is enjoyed best from the top. At around 915m height is Mercure Grand Jebel Hafeet Hotel, well known for their views and recreation facilities.

Per official sources, Jebel Hafeet is also a source of fossil finds which provide proof of ancient life-forms. The discovery of calcified corals establishes that the region was once covered by the sea.  Jebel Hafit is the home of several species plants, animals and birds, such as Arabian Tahr.

It could get cooler at the top, so it might be a good idea to take your jacket along. During the winter months, afternoons are a better time to visit, when it is neither too cold nor hot, and you can bet on a clearer view than otherwise. During summer, evening will probably be a better choice.

Jebel Hafeet also offers stunning visuals at night, from the city. With the lights switched on along the twisting roads, the mountain comes alive and alight and looks like a shimmering lamp in the distance.

 

 

Hatta Mountain (Day Trip)

Located atop the Hajar Mountains in the emirate of Dubai, the rugged beauty of the Hatta Mountains is perfect for those who love adventure. Its freshwater pools belong to a different planet altogether. The quaint heritage village of Hatta Wadi is also worth visiting and will only embellish all of your delightful memories of Dubai. A two hour ride from the city of Dubai, you must ideally book a Hatta Mountain safari tour with a reputed travel agency. You will be provided a 4X4 vehicle, all transfers will be arranged and the entire trip should last around six hours. Make sure you carry your passport with you and also some food if possible. Get ready to be enthralled by the desert scenery and magnificent meandering trails of Hatta.

Amazing Things to Do in Hatta Mountain

Get a taste of adventure by embarking on the amazing Hatta Mountain Safari. It is a surreal experience and Dubai tourism rightly takes a lot of pride in the same.

Khasab, Musandam (Day Trip)

The Musandam Peninsula is the northernmost bit of the Oman Sultanate and Khasab is its proud capital. The Norway of Arabia, Khasab is home to the most stunning fjord-esque craggy inlets. Cruising the vast sea will help you experience its charm and grandeur and the memories will certainly be indelible. A good three hours away from Dubai, taking an organised Dhow tour is probably your best bet in order to reach Khasab. All transfers will be provided and you should ideally go to a reliable travel agency for the same.

Amazing Things to Do in Khasab, Musandam

Explore the impossibly beautiful fjords of Khasab, a part of the Musandam peninsula on a dhow (a traditional Omani boat). This is the most relaxing feature of your Dubai itinerary and the experience is a lot like actually being in Norway.

One last time-Bangkok

Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi International Airport add to trip!

Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok is easily one of the coolest transport hubs in the world, it really looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie. In fact Bangkok’s international airport has such a unique design that in 2012 it became the most photographed place in the world on Instagram. Everyone wants a picture of Suvarnabhumi airport, with its long tubular corridors made from glass and steel.

 

 

Airport comes with several different lounges, some operated by airlines and other operated by independent operators.The airport is beautiful. It is large and spread out, but in a neat H-shaped layout so there is only one terminal with seven concourses. It does take a lot of walking , to go from one concourse to another, but at least there are no trains or shuttles to be taken.

Nevertheless, the architectural masterpiece, designed by a Chicago-based company, is quite impressive, especially viewed from above. It comprises a glass and steel, sail-shaped canopy, with various concourses shooting off on both sides.

The Bangkok International Airport is, unsurprisingly, the main hub for Thai Airways.

 

TRANSFER BETWEEN SUVARNABHUMI AIRPORT (BKK) AND DON MUEANG (DMK) AIRPORT

If you need to transfer between Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, you can take a free shuttle bus which takes about 50-60 minutes to get from airport to airport, and runs between 5.00am and midnight, or for a quicker transfer time of 30-40 minutes take a metered taxi.

 

Taxi

The most convenient door-to-door transfer is by taxi, although thanks to the plethora of taxi touts hounding tourists as they set foot outside, this can be a rather disconcerting option. Head to the first floor of the Arrivals Hall instead, and buy a one-way taxi fare from the Public Taxi counter. A ride should costs anywhere from ฿250 ($7.75) to ฿400 ($12) depending on your destination. The counter staff will be in charge of locating a taxi driver for you. Keep your half of the ticket and read it carefully; it contains info on what to do should anything go wrong.

 

Food & Refreshments

There are over 50 dining options at the Bangkok International Airport, with a great majority being fast-food outlets and snack bars. At the departure lounge you’ll find a Japanese noodle house, Chinese buffet and Italian pizza. The usual array of fast-food places, like Burger King and Dairy Queen, also have branches at the airport.

 

Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heart warming! Adios Thailand 

Pearl of the Andaman Sea- Phuket

Phuket is a paradise for beach bums with its clear blue waters of the Andaman seas and pristine beaches to kickass nightlife and amazing local markers, with food from all parts of the world to suit your palate. Another advantage to phuket is its proximity to phi phi island and James Bond island. Do make sure you hit the bars at Bangla road for a night out.

Recommended trip is to phi phi island this one covers phi phi Leh, phi phi don, Maya Bay and monkey island every day trip comes with meals and water included, they cook awesome fresh meals that are good to savour Indian taste buds. Walk straight through the pier at phi phi don and explore the beautiful beaches on the other side and the Clear blue bliss. Do try the local cold stone ice cream made right in front of your eyes in markets along phuket .

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island. The island is mountainous for most of its part with inundated plains at places and is truly gifted with clean cheesy white palm lined sandy beaches on the western shores of Andaman seas and numerous exotic and hidden islands strewn across the Pacific ocean. Azure blue warm tropical sea diffuse with jade green limestone islands creates a spectacular scenery with the mellow rays of departed sun procreate a magical aura and will definitely leaves you enchanted.

During our brief stay of three nights at Phuket, we hopped around some of its spectacular islands, relaxed on its sun soaked beaches and enjoyed the Thai food and nightlife.


 

 

What to do in Phuket: There are many things to do in Phuket if you stay for at least a week. Relax on its sun-kissed beaches and do some island hopping, cruising along the beautiful bays, white water rafting, snorkeling and scuba diving along the coral reefs, golfing at blue canyon and many more.

 

 

Islands of Phuket: There are many tropical islands dotted the Andaman seas and gulf of Thailand in the east, easily accessible within an hour or two by boat and each one of them offer unique and exclusive sight.

 

 

 

 

 

Beaches of Phuket: North of Phuket boast on many of its pristine and secluded beaches and laguna bays to spend an idle afternoons with family, or watch the beautiful crimson sun setting. Karon and Kata are two lovely beaches on the southern part of Phuket, lined with palm trees are quiet and peaceful retreat.

 

 

Where to stay in Phuket: If you are on a short trip (2 or 3 day stay) to Phuket then stay at Patong beach, easily accessible and the most happening place in Phuket, heavily concentrated with tour agents, shops, markets, pubs, night clubs, shopping malls, best sea foods and restaurants.

 

Where to eat in Phuket: Patong has some of the best dining destinations in the Phuket . A batter fried calamari rings  and day’s freshest catch from many of the eatery shacks along the beach road, all fresh and good food to satisfy your taste buds.

Transport cost: From Phuket airport to Patong beach costs us 600 thb and we booked the cab from the AOT limousine counter near the exit of the airport. Speed boat tour of Phi-Phi  cost us 1500 after negotiation. During the high season from February to April, most of the hotels and resorts gives good deals.

 

 

What we missed: Phuket FantaSea show on Kamala beach. Dubbed as greatest cultural theme park promises an ultimate night-time entertainment blending with magical illusions, pyrotechnics etc and encompass a carnival village – shopper’s paradise and a grand buffet.

In short, our three day vacation in Phuket was truly enchanting experience and Phuket is truly the pearl of the pacific.

It was the day booked for exploring Phuket on motorbike. We took bike on rent from our hotel @ just 200 bhat. Followed Google maps and the highway sign boards to reach places. There were many Buddha relics as well.

 

Phi Phi Island, Phuket 

Phi Phi Island, Thailand’s island-superstar can be reached either by a ferry or a speedboat from Phuket. I opted for a ferry as the top deck of the ferry doubles as a sundeck, great for a beach tan. The experience of being right under the sun, in middle of the crystal clear aqua blue sea, the ocean wind brushing your hair and Priceless!

 

 

The lower decks feature air-conditioned rooms and drinks and snacks are available on board. Phi Phi’s beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress, sheer cliffs tower overhead giving way to the beach-fronted jungle. It’s love at first sight. The ferry ride is the best part of the Phi Phi Island trip, as this 90 minute ride takes you through the most stunning and picturesque world of aqua blue waters, colorful tropical marine life and limestone cliffs.

 

The second part of the why-I-love-this-place story is Attitude: few places on the planet are this laid-back.  There’s no schedule, no hustle-bustle, no reason to be in a hurry just relax by the beach and live in its beauty.

A perfect example of a day at the beach restores one’s mind and soul.

Trip to world’s richest country- Qatar

“Collect moments, not things.”

Just over a decade ago, we labelled Qatar one of the most boring places on Earth. Now it’s fast becoming one of the most exciting. Doha is a world-class city in the making, with the peerless Museum of Islamic Art, perhaps the finest traditional souq in the Gulf region, and burgeoning arts and culinary scenes. Qatar is the kind of place where you can learn about the ancient pursuit of falconry or watch camels ridden by remote-controlled robot jockeys race across the desert, admire traditional dhows bobbing on the water alongside one of the world’s most spectacular modern skylines, or sample Doha’s portfolio of sophisticated restaurants and then watch the sun set over sand dunes that seem to spring from an Arabian fairy tale. Put simply, Qatar is racing headlong into the future without losing sight of its past – and it’s one pretty exciting ride.

 

 

I walked around the maze-like alleys of the souq. The construction is very modern while still trying to replicate the style of old souqs. They sell everything there, from clothes to sweets to toys to falcons to cats to jewelry. It’s very easy to get lost in there, and it’s best to just relax and allow yourself to get lost instead of worrying about it. The outer part is lined with restaurants and sheesha bars. It seemed like the place to be for locals at night, as many restaurants were packed. The men wear white long shirts and loose pants, with a head cover called gutra, tied with a black rope called agal.

Just when you thought that you’ve shopped everywhere and know every mall—the Mall of Qatar has opened its doors in 2016. It is said to become the biggest shopping and entertainment complex in Qatar. A glass-domed space equal to the size of three football fields, appropriately called the Oasis, has been designed to bring natural light and greenery to the indoor retail centre. Make sure the Mall of Qatar features on your to-do list.

Qatar is not only the richest country in the world, it is also the only country whose name starts with a ‘Q’. Its enormous wealth has allowed it to play big in the world of politics, the world of sports and the world of culture and education. This is the country of Al Jazeera, the host of FIFA World Cup 2022, and the country that many were not familiar with fifteen years ago.

How about taking in the impressive ever-changing skyline of Doha at night by strolling along the corniche? And while you are there you can visit the renowned Museum of Islamic Art. Or head out of Doha to see what else the country has to offer: to the fort of Al-Zubara in the North, or the beautiful inland sea of Khor Al Adaid in the South — a blue mirage surrounded by impressive desert dunes.

 

 


There is a public bus system for getting around, which also connects other parts of the country. However, to see some of the natural attractions you will either need to rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle or take a tour.

Qatar is less conservative than Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, but more traditional than Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Like a lot of the little sheikhdoms around the Gulf, Qatar was a British Protectorate back in the day and, as such, English is widely spoken. Arabic however is the main language, and knowing a few words is always appreciated.

I found Doha to be very pleasant.

Land of ceylon- Srilanka

Your best travel journeys will always be last minute plans, ideas came up with on a night with close friends.  Trip to Sri Lanka was the sum of one such discussion. It was going to be an extended long weekend, thanks to the public holiday and the weekend combined, said to myself let’s see a place i have never seen before. Always a good choice.

Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, despite its small size, offers a perfect tourist brochure for anyone who decides to take a break and fly right into this beautiful beach side destination. A city with an overdose of gems ranging from expensive stones to rubies and sapphires to garnets, shinning in various colors is a sight not worth missing. Walk into any one of the million stores located at every street and you will come across well crafted gems in various sizes and cuts.

From gems to the next most famous product of Sri Lanka, their tea. Sri Lankan tea, famous that it is, is available in number of flavors leaving me surprised and astonished to find that certain flavors even exist. Strawberry, blueberry, cardamom, cinnamon and of course loved by all the very own green tea are just a few flavors that I picked up while shopping in Colombo. And of course how can anyone miss their ultimate Ceylon tea, after all Sri Lanka was at one time a British crown colony known as Ceylon. With prominent hotels like Taj Samudra, Cinnamon Grand and The Kingsbury splashed all over the city, one can check in and indulge in the best that these grand hotels offer.

Reach Colombo and spend a daytime buying local teas and watching the parliamentary buildings. Cinnamon Red hotel offers a landscape view from its top floor open cafe (non-members cannot order till 5 pm). It very cheap and sunset from the infinity pool should not be missed. Marina and Bellagio casinos are good for late night entertainment. You can also choose to visit Negombo beach and buy local wooden antiques. Alternatively, there is a wide range of beach cafes and restaurants to spend a good evening.

Hikkaduwa Beach

 The natural beauty is absolutely mesmerizing. Villas are available at cheap prices. Unawattuna beach has a great night life. Hikkadua beach near Unawattuna will fill up your appetite for sun bathing with a crimson sunset in the dessert.

Mirissa Beach

Travel to Mirissa for Marine Safari. It starts at 7 am and can last untill 1 pm. You may view the magnificent blue whale if you are lucky. Safari can cause sea sickness and hence take necessary precautions.

Galle fort

Visit Galle fort and get a fantastic view of the Indian Ocean.

Galle International Cricket Stadium

 The International cricket ground. You can divide the day between Bentota and Galle.

Nuwara Eliya

Travel to Nuwara Eliya. Tea-estates are very scenic and the place comes alive during monsoon. However, there is not much to see other than tea factories, lakes and waterfalls.

Sri Dalada Maligawa

Travel to Kandy and spend a day visiting the Tooth Relic Temple and peace pagoda. Enjoy the elephant safari, red shell coconut water and local Tiger beer.

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