“BUDGET TRIP TO SWITZERLAND” ISN’T A DREAM

Yes, you can enjoy million-dollar Swiss views without burning a hole in your pocket!

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Switzerland conjures up many images. The best cheese in the world, magnificent snow-covered peaks, melt-in-mouth, smooth and creamy chocolates and rolling green hills dotted with grazing cows and wooden chalets. If there is one thing Switzerland isn’t synonymous with, it’s the word “budget”. The Alpine country is frequently featured in the list of “world’s most expensive countries” and a poorly-planned Swiss trip can certainly cost a fortune. However, a bit of research, smart timing, and a knack for cost cutting can make your trip a lot less pricey than you think.

Quick tips for saving big bucks in Switzerland

1. Swiss travel pass. To buy or not to buy?

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PASTORAL CHARMS OF PHALTAN, MAHARASHTRA

Tucked away in the Satara district of Maharashtra, Phaltan is a hidden gem where you can get into the rural rhythm and gorge on authentic local cuisine

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The glamour of twinkling cities and skyscrapers never fails to entice us, however, the heart of India lies in her villages. As city dwellers, we often yearn to run away from the chaos that’s somehow become a part of our day-to-day lives. We are always on the lookout for places that offer serenity and opportunities to connect with our roots. And why not?

The rural setting exposes us to so many marvellous things – pristine nature, fresh air, the simple ways of small-town life, the chance to pick fruits and vegetables straight from the farms and the invigorating vast open spaces. Indeed, there’s nothing quite like the Indian countryside!

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If you’re looking at an unconventional break this monsoon season, look no furthur than Phaltan, a little town in the the land of Marathas. Located in Satara district of southwest Maharashtra, Phaltan and the surrounding region is packed with ample natural beauty, historical sights, temples and more. Famous for its tall sugarcane fields and pomegranate orchards, this little-explored town is a fresh slice of bucolic bliss. Read more

ROAD TO HEAVEN – ROADTRIPPING NORTHERN IRELAND

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Loaded with myths, legends and folklore, Nothern Ireland is hauntingly beautiful. We go roadtripping on the Causeway Coastal Route and leave enamoured of the region’s unrivalled history and natural beauty

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They say, it’s supposed to be about the journey, not the destination, and when I take a roadtrip with my friend on the spectacular Causeway Coastal Route, I can exactly see why.

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48 HOURS IN DUBLIN

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“In Dublin‘s fair city
Where the girls are so pretty
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow
Through the streets broad and narrow
Crying “cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh…”

If you’re planning a trip to Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, you must already start humming the above lines. The unofficial anthem of Dublin city, it is sure to set the mood for what’s coming. Yes, the Irish love their songs. Many an Irish town, street, landscape have been immortalised in melody. While Dublin may not appear in the list of prettiest cities in the world, it certainly packs a good deal of variety for every kind of traveller.

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Think cobblestone streets, the handsome towers of Trinity College, ample green spaces, the Georgian-period buildings, quiet squares, artsy cafes and more.

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ISRAEL – A PARADISE FOR VEGETARIANS

When planning a trip to Israel, you’re likely to pack your suitcases thinking about exploring the country’s history, ruins and UNESCO world heritage sights while satiating your curiosity about its culture, religious significance and political background. While all these definitely create a lasting impact on your mind, what truly blows you away is Israel’s flourishing culinary scene that boasts of food that is begging to be photographed.
Hummus and falafel

The food there is fresh, flavorful, innovative and downright delicious! And the best part? All that food can be vegetarian and high on health quotient! That means, if you eat in moderation (which is rather tough), you may not come back with uncomfortably tight jeans or a bulging tummy! While most dishes consist of fresh, juicy veggies, meat lovers have their own share of finger-licking specialities like shawarma, kofta b’siniyah (meatballs) and plenty of delicious fish and seafood. While shellfish is a more common sight on menus, lobsters, oysters, octopus and scallops are other popular favourites. However, with vegetarian options galore, even a committed non-vegetarian is happy to tuck into all the ghaas phoos. After all, Israel is listed as one of the top vegetarian-friendly destinations in the world!

A fusion like no other 

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Israeli cuisine exemplifies the true melting pot that is Israel. At the end of the 19th century, jews from over 80 countries returned to their ancient land, bringing with them the food cultures from far and wide. Yes, geography has a large influence on the country’s cuisine which is a delectable blend of recipes from North Africa (Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria), its Middle Eastern neighbours (Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq), as well as the Mediterranean countries, along with Eastern Europe and Russia. Among other things that have shaped the cuisine are Jewish dietary laws and festivals as well as the native ingredients of the land. No wonder chickpea specialities like hummus, pickled olives, Arabic coffee and freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice are some of the items that make an appearance throughout the country! Also lunch, rather than dinner, is the focal meal of the day in Israel!

On the menu

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TRAVERSING THE AMAZON RAINFOREST IN PERU

Fly over the Peruvian Amazon in a plane and what you can see is an endless array of mist-covered broccoli florets only interrupted by the mighty river barging in fiercely, drawing a snake-like pattern.

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The spectacle leaves you with a million emotions; that of excitement, curiosity, wonder, thrill – all at the same time. All you want to do is get off the plane and set foot in the jungles to find out what the little-visited wildlife haven would be like.

 The Amazon Rainforest is a life spring of the planet. It produces more than 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen and 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water. More than half of the world’s estimated 10 million species of plants, animals and insects live in these tropical rainforests.

Given names like “The Jewel of the Earth”, “World’s Largest Pharmacy”, “The Lungs of the Earth”, the dense tropical rainforest and the jungle region of Peru makes for the 60 per cent of the country’s territory and shares its borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. If you have around four to five days on hand, it is a good idea to explore the northen selva which is accessible from Iquitos; a flight of an hour and a half from the capital city Lima. Sitting at the mouth of the Amazon, the jungle-locked Iquitos can be reached by boat or plane and is the only gateway to the remote and extraordinary Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Read more

ROMANCING THE DECCAN ON WHEELS!

Rediscover the old-world charm of travel by unravelling the architectural marvels of India from the comfort of an award-winning luxury train

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Many love trains but never end up taking them as they’re always in a hurry to reach where they can start their vacation. But, why just get somewhere when you can make the journey as glorious as the destination? In this age of all things instant, trains give us that perfect opportunity to experience the simple pleasures of going slow. Not just that. They often evoke a sense of nostalgia and bring memories and stories of faraway sojourns. Though we may like the idea of reaching a destination in hours rather than days, there’s nothing that can quite match the thrill of rail travel. The rhythm of the wheels, the guard’s piercing whistle, the sound of horn as the train approaches and departs a station, watching the ever-changing landscape from the window seat, chatting with fellow passengers; these little things come together to create a certain magic on board a train. Besides, train journeys reveal a country as flights can never do.

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