HONG KONG IN PICTURES

Though my recent trip to Hong Kong was a brief one, it pretty much gave me a glimpse of the noodle town which is a unique blend of Chinese and British tastes. In case you didn’t know, Hong Kong was a British Colony till 1997. I wish I could stay a little longer and soak in the old-world charm of this arguably futuristic city with frenetic energy. Yes, beyond its soaring skyscrapers, high-end transportation modes, innumerable shopping malls and vibrant nightlife, lies a different world altogether. Go on a walking trail through its remote, rural bylanes and you’ll know what exactly I am talking about. What I just couldn’t get enough of was the variety of food here. From melt-in-mouth dimsums and iced jelly teas to egg tarts, noodle soup and green-tea ice-cream, the stunning array of delicacies available here will leave you in a state of bewilderment. I could extend my stay here and solely go on food tours for an entire week or two. Eat, eat and eat all the local treats till my tummy is about to explode!

For now, here’s my photostory of the city with heavenly food – Hong Kong

IMG_20150828_184441_HDR (2)The dazzling Hong Kong skyline from Harbour City – a mall located in the heart of Hong Kong alongside the beautiful Victoria Harbour

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PADHARO MHAARE DES…

that translates to ‘Welcome to our city’ exemplifies the spirit of Jodhpur which isn’t simply an architectural marvel but a canvas of Rajasthani culture, colours, music and more

Ever thought the colour locals painted their homes with only to ward off insects would become synonymous with the city? Earlier, Jodhpur used to suffer from a major termite problem and thus, the people there began adding copper sulphate to their whitewashes, which lent the city its pristine blue-indigo hue. Traditionally, blue signified the home of a Brahmin, but gradually non-Brahmins too fell in love with the tint and got in on the act. Yes, the Blue City is really blue! It has been chronicled in many a photographic anecdotes, written tales and beautiful canvases; but to see it come alive in front your very eyes is altogether a different experience.

Modern Jodhpur stretches well beyond the city walls, but it is the buzz of the old city and the larger-than-life fort that capture your imaginations. At the base of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort is a jumble of blue cubes that stretch out to the 10 km-long, 16th-century city wall. Inside are vibrant, entangled and bustling medieval streets – all of which look-alike and never seem to lead where you want them to – and shops selling everything from vintage home decor and temple decorations to skirts, saris, jootis and traditional embroidered jholas. With many of the alleyways now obstructed with unwanted scrap, forget exploring the city on foot, especially during muggy monsoons. The attractive-looking rickshaws here are made super slim to be able to squeeze through the narrow streets and make for a great travel option. Their sight makes you want to hop into them straight away!

RAJPUTANA SPLENDOUR

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8 ABSOLUTE MUST-DOS IN MACAU

While Macau is only famous for its casinos, it has many hidden treasures that are waiting to be explored. From lip-smacking Portuguese food prepared by Michelin-star chefs and adrenaline-pumping adventure to larger-than-life live shows and quaint architecture, Macau has something in store for everyone

IMG_20150826_154900_HDR (2)1. Hang around at Senado Square
They say: If you haven’t been to Senado Square, you haven’t been to Macau! It’s named after the Leal Senado Building and has been Macau’s urban centre for centuries. It is a lovely place to simply relax, may be, have cup of coffee or an ice-cream and take photographs. It is also a shopping and eating hub with numerous bylanes selling different things like souvenirs, clothes, cosmetics and local food items. The square is paved with beautiful Portuguese cobblestones and surrounded by pastel-coloured neo-classical buildings, creating a very European feel. All in all, this place is a splendid blend of Chinese and Portuguese cultural traits. Senado Square is at a walking distance from Ruins of St Pauls.

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PLAN AN ALL-GIRLS GETAWAY TO KRABI

My escape to Krabi with my girlfreinds had everything needed to make an “all girls” vacation awesome – exotic white-sand beaches, charming locals, interesting markets, intoxicating nightlife, adventure galore and not to forget ‘safety’

Who says family vacations aren’t great? But a time away with your best friends is an emotional necessity. You got to go for it to know it. If you haven’t yet, add it to your bucket list now! This way, you not only get to know them better but also get a chance to create loads of memories – these shared stories will be things that you and your friends will reminisce and laugh about forever. In June last year, I decided to take off to Krabi (in Thailand) with my gal pals and it was one of the best travel experiences I’ve ever had. Since we were a trio – each with competely different and craziest travel sensibilities – we did have disagreements on things like where to eat and what mode of travel to opt for. Being an undisputed nomad, I would want to explore most places on foot, sample the wierdest of street foods and dive into all kinds of adventure while my best friend, a complusive shopaholic by passion and a desi (jain) vegeterian out of choice, wouldn’t refrain (in spite of all my attempts to demotivate her) from hunting for an Indian restaurant that serves her the tastiest paratha and biryani in town! And trust me, she succeeded every single time! You’re definitely heaving a sigh of relief if you’re another ghaas phus person (as we non-vegeterians call them), but if you’re not one, you can imagine my plight! Thankfully, the third one among us was pretty much okay with anything, as long as we let her put on her ‘selfie-clicking’ mode. Yes, she has this uncanny ability of clicking some amazing mirror selfies even in the loo, pouting with the pot in the background! Nonethless, it was a joy ride as Krabi somehow manages to seduce every kind of globetrotter.

EXPLORING AAO NANG ON FOOT

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We started the trip on a lighter note by relaxing a little post the five-hour flight and then exploring the area around our hotel at Aao Nang (40 minutes from Krabi airport) – one of the most happening and attractive spots in Krabi. Compact, easy to navigate and comparatively cleaner than Krabi town, Aao Nang has plenty to offer. Apart from offering midrange and luxurious stay options and tons of restaurants, massage parlours (if you know the art of bargaining here, you know it all!) and local stores for a fun shopping experience, it’s the central spot from where all the adventure tours like snorkelling and island tours are organised. For a dose of relaxation, we straightway hit a decent-looking, no-frills massage joint that had more than 20 beds in a row and a host of over-friendly masseurs; it pretty much did the trick for us! Whether it’s a foot massage with shea butter cream, just a plain head massage or a full body coffee scrub, the menu will make it tough for you to zero in on one treatment. We spent the remaining evening strolling around, picking up some souviners and sampling some local dishes. If shopping or therapy isn’t what you are looking for, think spending a laid-back evening on the beach under the stars. The area is known for its fairytale limestone crags and beautiful beaches with turquoise blue sea, tied together by narrow strips of golden sand. Read more

LIVING A LIFE OF “TRAVEL”

Perpetual journeyer Kyle Johnson craved freedom and adventure over material possessions and left the ordinary life to explore the world…

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A lot of us are bitten by wanderlust and often daydream of quitting the rat race and opting for a life of full-time travel. But it isn’t easy after all. It does take a lot of courage to leave your home and set out to explore the world without a planned itinerary for life. Known as a global nomad, Kyle Johnson, fondly known as Gu Yue, is one person who has travelled from the fjords of Patagonia to the streets of the Mediterranean. Having left his job at General Electric to pursue a career as a professional backpacker, Kyle has documented his experiences in two bestselling books along with a couple of well-received television programmes. One of his most popular projects is a series called To Berlin By Thumb that talks about Kyle’s 100-day hitchhiking journey from Beijing to Berlin, only to visit his girlfriend.

Excerpts from our chat: (PS: Hope it inspires you to chase your dream!)

Q: Tell us something about yourself and your unrelenting passion for travelling the world.
I was born in Beijing and moved to the U.S. at the age of 11. Since childhood, I’ve always had a sense for adventure and exploration. After university, I worked for two years at GE Capital pursuing finance. But very soon, I realised that was not the kind of life I wanted to live. For the past twelve years, I have been spending majority of my time travelling around the world, living a lifestyle that emphasizes on personal freedom and growth than stability and material wealth. I think traveling is a great way to understand this world and ourselves. Read more

FOUND THE RIGHT TRAVEL PARTNER YET?

With travel becoming a lot more meaningful and goal-oriented, you’re always on the hunt for that perfect holiday companion who augments the whole experience. Here’s how to choose a buddy who not only has similar travel sensibilities but also shares mutual humor and, above all, the expense

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You may have often heard your loved ones saying “Chalo, do din kahin ghoom aate hain…”
Travelling is no more what it used to be – packing your bags and setting out with your entire family only to take a break from the boredom and monotony of everyday life. It’s no more about putting up at a luxurious hotel and sightseeing with a tourist guide all day. Today, holidaying is more about “travelling with a purpose”. More and more people have started believing in meaningful travel. Travel has become a very serious aspect of their lives and a lot of thought goes into planning vacations. While some people travel for self-discovery and personal growth, others travel to get over a heartbreak and make new friends. While some travel for health and wellness purposes by opting for yoga and meditation packages, many look at volunteer travel as an opportunity to contribute to the society.
As a modern traveler, you wish to fulfill your travel purpose and squeeze in as many amazing memories as you can without being constrained by any boundaries. For the same, most people either prefer to travel solo or with a like-minded traveler, doesn’t mind if she or she is just an acquaintance or a stranger. The idea of travelling with someone only because you are close to them is passe. Read more