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Top 5 Things to Do in Shangri-La (Zhongdian), China

10 Dec

Shangri-La, a small town high up in the Himalayas that for some is the beginning of a journey into Tibet, for many the end of a foray into Yunnan and for others just a taste of Tibet (if they don’t plan on going on any further). For me personally it was a mix of end of Yunnan and a taste of Tibet, coz as Indians we need additional permissions to enter mainland Tibet. And my own first impressions of the town itself were quite disappointing as all I initially saw were numerous commercial buildings and a very sleepy touristy town. However I soon realized that the way to explore Shangri-La is to keep it as a base and explore the beautiful landscape all around it.

Mountains near Shangri-La,   Tibet, China

Mountains near Shangri-La, Tibet, China

And based on our own experiences and learnings, please find below the top 5 things that you should do in Shangri-La –

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Planning Guide – for a trip to Kanha National Park

10 Aug

A friend once told to me that “jungles are an addiction” and I thought to myself, “that is just impossible”. Many material things can be an addiction, but jungles – no way. Little did I know then that one trip to Kanha would prove me completely wrong. And if you also think like I did, then its time you plan a trip to this amazing jungle. Below is a quick planning guide to help you find your way –

Introduction to Kanha National Park –

Kanha  is one of the biggest national parks and a tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh, India. By definition, a national park is a  reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns and uses for conservation purposes. Although each country has their own ways of classifying parks as national parks, the common idea always is – conservation of wild nature for posterity and as a symbol of national pride. Per wikipedia, we have a total of 166 authorised national parks in India and there are quite a few more national parks that have been proposed by the state governments and awaiting approval.

Drive through trees

Drive through trees

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Flights, Connections and what to do if you miss them…..

22 Jun

Air travels, especially long distance flights, are stressful, but they can be even more so if there are incidents such as unforeseen delays, cancellations, interruptions etc. I experienced one such delay during my recent trip and my blog post on it received numerous comments, suggestions, ideas which were not only useful but also something all of us should know and be aware of. I have compiled all these ideas, suggestions, feedback below to help you all plan for your next trip and be prepared in case you find yourself in a similar situation. Feel free to customize your plans basis your own requirement and comforts.

Terminal 2, Mumbai Airport

Based on my own experiences, comments received and feedback, I will keep on updating this post.

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A Start.. – an apology from British Airways

5 Jun

Dear All,

I want to personally thank everyone who took the time to read and spread the word on my post “Indians comfort and loss of time is of no value to British Airways“.  I appreciate and I am glad that everyone shared their own experiences also. When I first decided to write this post, it was meant to be a letter to the CEO of British Airways highlighting my experience while flying BA. But your overwhelming support helped this feedback reach them and to get a response. I am glad to update you that BA has sent across their views on this case and an apology for their staff’s behavior at the Heathrow Airport. I am pasting this response for all of you below.

On my post I had also received numerous comments – some “good” some “bad” and some “ugly” but, in all, I think we received some good solutions, answers and suggestions from travelers across the world. This post was a feedback to BA, that they are in a service industry and their customer service should be equivalent for every passenger. They have assured us that they will take this matter seriously and I sincerely hope that they do. I have titled this post “A start..” as I hope that BA and all the other airlines (where people have had similar experiences) don’t wait for someone to complain, but proactively work on their customer service and improve.

Thanks and regards


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Indians comfort and loss of time is of no value to British Airways

1 Jun

Update as on June 3, 2014 – IST 8.00 pm – Thanks everyone for reading and sharing this post. I received a call from a BA representative on my complaint and he acknowledged receipt of my email to their CEO, Mr. Williams. He apologized for the inconvenience we experienced with BA. He accepted that since we missed a registered connection we are entitled to duty of care and compensation under the EU regulations. He accepted that the behavior meted out to us was unacceptable and also explained our rights in case we miss such connections (for future reference). They shall also work on improving their customer care to avoid such future incidents. I have requested them for a written apology and shall share it on the blog once I get it. Additionally, Rick’s feedback and some of the comments on my post have been very constructive in spreading awareness on our rights and possible next steps, should we find ourselves in a similar situation again. I shall write a detailed post on this and share.

Update as on June 2, 2014 – IST 5.30pm – Thanks everyone for helping me spread the word on this. I have just received a standard email from British Airways Customer Care apologising for the inconvenience and confirming that they will look into this matter. I will keep you all updated on the progress.

This post is my letter to the CEO of British Airways recounting my recent experiences while flying British Airways from New York to Mumbai. Thanks to many of you who found the concerned email id for me and I have now sent this as an email out to him. I am also posting this as a blog post and hope that this makes a difference in the way British Airways treats its Indian customers.

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At times you need to Disconnect to really Connect

24 Jan


Once in a while all of us need a holiday from the everyday mundane that surrounds us, be it work, home, city, etc. But of late I have started feeling that we also need a break from technology :). If you sit back and think you will realize that a major part of our everyday lives is now spent addicted to technology i.e. TV, 24*7 emails (work and personal), Twitter, Facebook, What’sapp, phone calls, etc etc. And this technology addiction follows us on our holidays too, where instead of enjoying the beautiful locale that we are in we continue to live our everyday online existence (of checking various accounts and taking calls). But on the flipside the issue that people like me (with a full time job in these tough markets) grapple with is that we don’t want to be so out of touch that supervisors think that if things can be managed in our short absences then maybe we are not required at all 😉

I recently found this cartoon clip on Phd Comics that perfectly portrays this situation.

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My Reflections on 2013 and Expectations from 2014

3 Jan

As I sit down to write this post today, I can’t help feeling that 2013 has just flown by. It seems like one minute I was penning down my travel targets and resolutions for 2013 (you can read more on it at 2012, the year that went by and 2013, the year to come) and suddenly it’s time to plan for 2014. But a year has definitely gone by and a lot has been achieved, many lessons learnt and many stories collected. When I had set my targets my 2013, I was so focused on travel that I set all my targets and energies just around it, but in the real journey I actually ended up learning so much more and meeting so many amazing people that I feel I have grown as a traveler and a person.

Chinese Fishing Nets of Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala

Chinese Fishing Nets of Fort Kochi, Kochi, Kerala

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A Quick Travel Guide for planning a trip to Kaas, Satara

3 Nov

Kaas is Western’s Ghat’s smaller and cheat’s answer to visit and experience a Valley of Flowers. There are no arduous treks or long journeys involved and all you need to do is just undertake a long drive.  While I haven’t seen the actual Valley of Flowers in Uttaranchal, I got a chance to visit Kaas in September this year and loved every thing about this beautiful plateau.  Kaas comes alive during monsoons with numerous flowers flowering in a riot of colors, such that it gives an impression of being amidst multi colored bands. There are all kinds of flowers here, including some endemic, some rare and some insectivorous too. Along with flowers, there are other smaller life forms that are found around here such as birds, bees, beetles, etc. Overall a must visit for every nature lover.

Colors of Kaas

Colors of Kaas

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Photo Essay: My trip to Satara

7 Oct

For my recent visit to Kaas, our base was the city of Satara. Though I have lived in Maharashtra nearly all my life, this was my first visit here. Satara is a city located in Southern Maharashtra and is part of the Maratha heartland. There are seven hills surrounding this city and hence the name – Satara (Saat meaning seven and Tara meaning hills). This is a historic city as it was the capital of Maratha Empire in 17th century and still has a lot of remnants of the erstwhile era. Though today is it majorly a pensioners city it’s quite scenic too.

City of Satara

City of Satara

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5 Easy Ways to Save Money on a Vacation

3 Jun

Since I have been bitten by the travel bug and have started travelling quite a bit, everyone keeps asking me on how I manage the financing. No, I don’t ask my parents and neither do I earn a lot, but I have come to realise that gone are the days where taking a long international holiday or that dream vacation, meant an empty bank account.  Nowadays with just a few hours spent on the internet, planning well and availing discounts available on the internet, you can actually take a vacation and also end up saving significant expenses.

Views worth traveling for :)

Views worth traveling for 🙂

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