• Asia,  Blog,  Laos,  Travelogue

    11 things to do in Luang Prabang

    If there is one destination in Indochina that deserves your time and money, then it must be Luang Prabang. This UNESCO World Heritage site was the ancient royal capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom until the middle of the 16th century. Today, Luang Prabang is considered to be the heart of Laotian culture, beating the capital city Vientiane as the preferred destination. Depending on your itinerary, you can choose to spend just two nights, doing a whirlwind tour of its highlights, or take it easy and stretch your stay for a week (or more) and see it at your own pace. Either way, you will be richly rewarded with sights…

  • Asia,  Blog,  India,  Travelogue

    Oh Calcutta

    A city that elicits various responses. Some swear by it, while others curse the place. I had first visited Kolkata in October of 2011, having just finished a week’s stay in Shillong. The idea was to meet with a friend, have a few drinks, and try see a city I’d wanted to visit for many years. As luck would have it, it was pouring. There were parts of the city that were no-go zones, including where my friend lived. So my time was spent at another friend’s home, close to the airport, on Park Street, which is as close as I got to experiencing the city. Then in November of…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Resources,  Turkey

    Turkey e-visa

    A few months ago, a couple of friends had stopped over in Istanbul, on their way back from one the Schengen states. While their trip was great, what got me curious is why they applied for a physical Turkish visa sticker, when they could have availed of an e-visa. Neither their travel agent, nor the local VFS office was particularly forthcoming with this vital bit of information. Indian passport holders have been able to avail of the e-visa option since the first quarter of 2013, with certain conditions. Whilst there is the usual validity of passport that must be more than six months… the most important condition is that you…

  • Blog,  Resources,  Vietnam

    Vietnam introduces e-visa

    I was in Vietnam in the last week of December, 2018. This was my second trip to the country, having visited, again exactly 11 years earlier, the last week of December, 2007. At that time, as a resident of Dubai, I had applied for my visa at the consulate. Once my Excel sheet itinerary had been scrutinised, and tickets checked, I was issued with a single-entry visa valid for one month. This time though, I opted for an e-visa. For those not in the know, this is something that Vietnam has just introduced for tourists from a list of 46 countries. If you are among the lucky ones, then opt…

  • Asia,  Blog,  Cambodia,  Resources

    Cambodia e-visa or visa on arrival

    In the second week of January, 2019, I made my way to Siem Reap, Cambodia, on the last leg of my Indo-China trip. We were three of us and upon landing from Saigon, at Immigration we headed in different directions. I had opted to avail of a visa on arrival. There were a couple of reasons why I had opted for this, which I shall write about shortly. My two friends who had previously each applied for e-visas went straight to an immigration counter, got stamped and waited for me. e-visa For the e-visa, the process is simple. You need to log on to their registered website and create an…

  • America,  Blog,  Travelogue,  USA

    Of show stoppers and other characters

    For most first-time visitors to New York, their first stop is Times Square. It was no different for me when I landed there for the first time in 2009. Since then it’s stopped being just a place to pass through, to either head uptown or further downtown. It’s a convenient place to hook up with friends, and then progress elsewhere (if you’ll ignore the mass of tourists and locals). In fact, I’ve more reasons to avoid it now, since Toys “R” Us decided to close their flagship store a few years ago, and eventually file for bankruptcy. But that’s another story. One of the things that caught my eyes then,…

  • Asia,  Blog,  India,  Travelogue

    Sailing on the Ganges

    I first visited Varanasi in 1990. I was in college, and it was the holidays. I needed to get out of the city, and explore another place, another country. It was the first time I was doing a solo trip. And while I am not a solo traveller, this was a journey I enjoyed from start to finish, if you discount the various mishaps that transpired along the way. And with a series of mishaps was how I found myself in Varanasi, after having spent a few weeks travelling in Nepal. The border guard at the Nepal-India border had taken the dollars that I was carrying, leaving me with just…