Pedalling My Way To Shimla

Prologue

The stares I was getting were priceless. I had ridden into a petrol pump to ask for oil – on my bicycle. After the initial shock, the guy in charge decided it’s better to just sell me the lubricant I wanted than to investigate the issue further.

There were three of us in the hostel common room. I was trying to apply my newly acquired knowledge about bike adjustment. Akash was wearing surgical gloves (which I had lifted from some lab to make balloons) to save himself from grease. Adrita was in charge of the music and providing me with a lap to keep my head on when I needed to work from underneath the bike. I wasn’t leaving because I didn’t like the home I have.

November 3, 2018

I’m not brave enough to take a bath on a winter morning. Especially if I plan to leave by 5. It takes enough determination to just get out of bed. I had taken care of that the night before. A little walk on the roof, however, was enough to get me excited. Loyal to the traditions of my university, I started two hours late.

The weather was perfect. Light grey clouds softened the sun’s rays. I navigated through the narrow streets of North Delhi. Modernity has been thrust upon these streets. At one point, Cars, bikes, men all got tied up in a deadlock because of a Bullock cart up ahead – the bullock seemed to appreciate the importance of leisure and insisted on enjoying his morning walk.

The Delhi traffic proved to be sufficient exercise to get me hungry. I stopped at a dhaba selling puri. They refused to keep an eye on my cycle while I ate inside. A man gleefully informed me that a scooter had been stolen just a few days ago. He looked like a kingpin of some stolen scooter empire. He waved a cheery goodbye to the dhaba owner and sped off on his scooter. The people at the dhaba brought out a chair and table for me to sit outside. They have some soft spot for cyclists I guess. They even gave me a five rupee discount.

I made it past the Ghazipur landfill mountains, and on to the highway. I felt a little rush. A lot of time on my hands, and a lot of road before my wheels. What more could I have asked for…

The Haryana border presented itself. The border, more than being visible, is audible. Haryanvi people replace every N with a R. With a vengeance.

Haryana has golden yellow dust. It was on the road, in the air, everywhere. Sun seeped through the clouds and lit up the dust flying all around. The whole atmosphere was a golden grey.

For lunch, I rode into a drive-through Burger King. The car drivers gave me enthusiastic best wishes. The guy at the counter was pretty nonchalant. He was only concerned with his side of the window and sending burgers out from it.

Eventually, I came to an empty shop. It was a simple tea stall. A storefront, a little bed, a bench made out of a yellow back panel of a truck, with the word stop written on it in red cursive. It was the perfect place to lie down a bit.

Lying down, I could see the sky through gaps in the tin roof. Dust moved on my skin. I watched clouds moving in the sky. I felt like a desert. Free, like dust, like clouds, like time.
I heard a plopping sound behind me. True to my mother’s worldviews, I assumed it to be burglars coming to steal all my belongings. I was pleasantly disappointed to find only a lizard.

The light remained the same all throughout the day. Just my shadow shifted from left to right. A little after sunset, I reached a little tea shop. The man there made sure I drank enough water, washed my face. He also offered to let me sleep in the local Temple, and advised me to get married, in that order. Knowing that I’d continue that day, he gave me some Prasad from the Shiva temple to give me the energy to reach safely and surely.

Panipat arrived, with street lights thrust high into the dark night sky. I needed a place to sleep. Deepika informed me that I won’t be allowed into her home since what I have between my legs is dangerous. I found a gurudwara just as a few raindrops made their way down from the sky.

I got a place to sleep in the basement. The music that came from upstairs washed away my tiredness in waves. The food there was definitely one of the best I’ve had.
A rickshaw puller, a saree trader couple, and a traveller shared the night.

November 4, 2018

I started early. It was dark all around. The skies lit up as I cycled. Over a cup of tea, I watched the sun turn red to gold.

The more I moved North, the more the air got clearer and clearer. The leaves of trees, unlike yesterday, were free from dust. With a deep green love, they greeted the golden sun, they greeted me. The dark black highway lay like a happy child in their arms.

Afternoon came, and with it came tiredness. I found a little room with jars of assorted snacks in the front. I went on to ask for tea. The people inside replied that the dhaba behind could serve me tea, but this was a Desi theka, and I’d be welcome to join them for a few drinks. I accepted. They made me a peg of a local orange wine. It is an energy drink, they claimed. It’ll be good for the next ten kilometres, and I’d just have to pee, to get rid of the alcohol in my system. They also opened a bottle of Royal Stag, to give me a royal welcome. They offered to give me an entire bottle for all the tens of kilometres I wanted to go. That offer, I declined. There are some things you don’t take home to have.

We chatted for quite some time. They grieved that many tourists come here, they give judging looks as they pass by. I was the first to join in. We all knew, in all likelihood, we’d never meet each other again. That didn’t stop any of us becoming friends, for the little time together.

It turned out that their claims were true, and the next ten kilometres passed very fast indeed. Not wanting to be high on a highway, I stopped for food. The dhaba had hammock beds for tired souls. I lay down for a few minutes and started out again.
The sun started to set. It went down, and I rode under soft pink skies. I felt a strange kind of pride. I had watched this day being born. I had watched it end. And I had felt every second of it. I had lived every second of it. This was my day.

Bright neon signs screamed out from Zirakpur. Dust and traffic jam engulfed me. I desperately needed some gloves and cycling pants. My cycle was turning out to literally be a pain in the ass. By the time I had acquired the newly developed necessities, it was a little past nine. According to the distance on the map, it’d take me at least an hour to reach Chandigarh. Yesterday I’d learnt that Gurudwaras close gates at ten, and serve food earlier. Though Mannat was nice enough to help, she couldn’t find any other nice people to let me stay for the night for free. It made no sense to go on. After all, plans are only skeletons.

I decided to sleep at the nearest gurudwara but figured I’d have to eat outside. There was a burger king, and they do fill your stomach without emptying your pocket. I collected my food, but drive-throughs are designed to serve cars, so they just give paper packets – no carry bag to carry the food. I sat in the parking lot, and gulped down my meal in the light of headlamps of cars, and rushed off to the gurudwara I had picked out. It turned out they did not have sleeping facilities.

It was just ten O’clock now. I started off in despair for the next gurudwara. Zirakpur by the highway looks like a first world metropolitan. The further I went inside, the more it became a third world village. All the world’s merging into one another.

I sped frantically through unknown village streets. Finally, I found the gurudwara. There was a man with an orange turban, dressed in white. His long white beard was flowing, and glowing in the grey light of the urban night sky. I’ll never forget the relief I felt in the kindness of his voice when he accepted me inside. With motherly care, he asked me to have food. Surprised, I asked how I’d get food that late. It’s a gurudwara, he said – “we always have food”.

The sleeping facility here was a room, and I was instructed to keep my cycle in the room itself. The dinner was the most comforting ever. I had dust all over me, even my beard had become white with it. The bathroom was a tin shade room just opposite the temple. It had a row of taps for everyone to bathe together. It was twelve thirty. The weather was cold, the water colder. I proceeded to bathing. A sixty-something sardarji joined me. Seeing my efforts and care in washing myself, he kept exclaiming “wah”! It was sufficient encouragement.

I slept well.

November 5, 2018

I woke up and was served the tastiest breakfast and tea. I couldn’t find the underwear I’d hung out to dry last night. On learning of my loss, sardarji offered me a towel, and then a drawer. I was free to choose from army surplus and forgotten belongings of other travellers. I declined. Someone much more in need of such things would come this way I figured. I have enough.

I started out and got the first glance of the mountains. There were little hills in Chandigarh. A little later I was at the same level as their tops. Delhi to Panipat is flat. Panipat to Chandigarh is an elevation you can’t see, but feel. Today I saw the road rising up ahead. A group with a broken down car stopped me. They needed water, their car was overheating. A little earlier I had stopped at a restaurant. I need to use the bathroom and have tea. It was a restaurant made exclusively for the purpose of home deliveries, but they made tea for me. They also gave me a bottle of water to help me on the way. So I had enough water to help others on the way.

The road started winding upwards. The sky kept getting bluer at every turn. Brown red trees appeared against the deep blue sky like dark red lipstick on a pale face. Sometimes I got tired of going up and up. But at each turn, the view of dark green valleys below covered in grey-blue mist, with a river glowing in the sunlight gave me more than enough energy to keep going.

I reached the Himachal border. I couldn’t keep a crazy smile off my face. I didn’t even try to. By the time I got off the highway, and on to the old Kasauli road, it was afternoon.

Old Kasauli road was built by the British. There’s a much more efficient highway now, and that’s the path everyone takes. This road meanders through little villages and mountains. The traffic I encountered was some local man on a bike in five minutes, cars in ten. And that was the peak load.

I stopped at a tea stall. One man dramatically warned me of burglars. Another, not wanting to appear any less of an advisor warned me of tigers with equal enthusiasm. I continued.

Sometimes I stopped to listen to the silence. I had simple conversations with all the wildflowers. The sun started to turn red, the valleys below started to become pink. Framed in sombre smokey blue mountains and a red dust road, slowly the sun went down inside layers of a million shades of red.

Darkness soaked in. All I could see was the little spot of light from my headlamp. The road had practically become a trekking trail by now.

Unknown noises from unknown creatures came from the jungle all around. There were cats like mews, even though there were no villages around. I could hear some stream splashing, far away. Sometimes, if you listen closely, there’s a sound from the forest that sounds like the trees are talking. I also heard the rustle of leaves in the wind. I was tired, but I was happy. I was excited. I was thankful to be alive, amidst all this life. I was elated that I existed. Comprehension sometimes becomes ecstasy.

Long later I saw lights glimmering at the peak. I was dead tired after the long journey. Lights had never looked so beautiful. The warm melody of temple bells welcomed me to the outer edges of Kasauli. Some resorts had been set up for people seeking nature through the religion of tourism. By the time I rolled into Kasauli town, the shops at the border were closing. A man desperately tried to make me some Maggie, but couldn’t. They’d all run out of gas after the day’s work. He said he would’ve invited me to his home and spent the night chatting, but he didn’t have a home of his own. He wanted to have a son for one night, but making a living is getting harder and harder in India.

In the heritage market, a man found me and took me to a cheap hotel, as per my requirements. The hotel, it turned out was one side of a home. The woman in charge said it’d be 500 rupees for the night. I was too tired to bargain. I could’ve stayed for free like the nights before, but a hot bath was worth that much to me tonight. The man in the market had promised me a top floor room. The woman insisted on giving me the entire ground floor so that I could spend the night with my cycle. This was a palace. There was a bathroom attached to a room-ish corridor which led to two connected rooms with king size beds which ended in a balcony overlooking the street below. As I settled down, the man of the house came to have the peg he had started to make before my arrival. He rescued another bottle from the box bed for the rest of his night and hid it inside a cupboard made into the mountain for such purposes.

I went out for food. Learning of my address for the night, the dhaba people gave me wry knowing smiles. I asked if it was a hotel at all. “They call it a guest house”, was the reply. It was a shady establishment indeed, the kind that is built for not checking ID proofs. Shady or not, it gave me a shade that night. I had stumbled upon a heaven meant for couples seeking heaven, I guess.

Hot water over my tired body, a glistening mountain town on my eyes, and the most comfortable of beds under me sent me to a very deep sleep.

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P.C. Shairik Sengupta

November 6, 2018

I woke up late. I was too tired to cycle anymore. Yesterday’s ride had shaken up my cycle quite a bit. Neither ride nor rider was in any shape to go far. I had heard it had snowed in Shimla. I missed snow, so I decided to find some other form of transportation there.

I wooshed down the slopes. In the clear morning, I could see snow capped peaks in the distance, basking in the sun’s glory. At the nearest railway station, I came to know that toy trains are too small to carry cycles. I found a bus to Solan and another bus from Solan to Shimla. Shimla interstate bus terminus is well below the city. Steep slopes lead down there. That’s probably to give rest to long-distance buses – they could amble down the last few kilometres, and buses starting their journey could warm themselves up for the road.

I took my cycle down from the roof and started cycling up. My mother had booked a hostel for me. It was in the city.

I cycled up, and afternoon turned to evening. Long rays of the sun reached lazily through long pine leaves. Darkness crept up from greyish pink foggy valleys below. By the time I reached the supposed to be the location of the hostel, it was dark.

My phone insisted that I had arrived. The environment suggested otherwise. Helpful drunk men sent me up to the ridge. I figured there’s no harm in going up. Coming down, should the necessity arise, is always easy. I walked my cycle up through the streets of Tibet market. Tibet market is a street made up of storefront spaces. Two people would have trouble walking side by side. It’s almost like you either go into the shops, or you go into the valley. I reached a prettied up square, and hotel brokers flocked down on me. They tried to convince me that opting for a dorm for 500 rupees when I could have a whole room with balcony parking for 600 is utter foolishness. Unwavering in my resolution to stay in a mixed dorm hostel, I disgusted them thoroughly. I had to call up at the hostel to find it. A beautiful Himachal girl came to show me the way. The brokers got even more disappointed.

The hostel was gorgeous. It was a little below the busy market. There were some single rooms in one side, a kitchen, a dinner space, a common room, a common balcony, and the dorms. I went out to walk around in Shimla. Between beckoning food stores and an antique bookshop, it took a few hours to get back. In the common room, there were the hostel girl, the hostel man, a biker from Jaipur, a couple from Kerala, and me. They were one of those couples who could embrace each other and still embrace the world. We shared food and stories late into the night.

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P.C. Shairik Sengupta

November 7, 2018

With a cup of tea made in the kitchen and one hand dipped in a bowl of hot water, I watched sunlight pour down the valley. It was time to go.

I took a bus down to Kalka, and then a train to Delhi. A British couple fed me some nice food.

It was Diwali night. The parcel office people (who were nowhere to be seen in the parcel office when I reached there) complained about having to do odd little jobs like releasing my cycle while they had loads of work to do. Maybe a load of work is easier to ignore than singular ones.

The city streets were empty. With crackers bursting all over the sky, yellow sodium lamps flooding the atmosphere, parting sheets of smoke, with an escort of various street dogs I came home.

Epilogue

I finally understand why tea is a girl in Hindi.

I have cycled over 300 kilometres. I travelled across Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal. Kindness was always there. Help was always there when I really needed it.

All the love and care I received from the people I met, would have lied out of reach had I not gone out. What a wastage would that have been…

The answer to all who asked me, “where do you get so much inspiration from”, is simple. Life.

There’s too much beauty to miss out on.

Someday I’ll be in a coffin, I know. Call me insane, but I can’t afford to live inside barriers while I’m alive.

I’ve learnt something on this journey.

In the smiles of people, in the silence of wildflowers, in the empty roads, in the warmth of a conversation in a cold night – I realized that there is so much in our world, that there is no such thing as solo travel.

I’m never alone.

Top 7 places to visit South East Asia

Southeast Asia is a group of countries with diversity. With white sandy beaches, vivid seas, dense rainforest and ancient temples in Southeast Asia are one of the most attractive travel destinations.

1. Malaysia

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Malaysia is a Southeast Asian country full of diverse atmosphere. From the sky-high buildings to the tropical rainforest, lovely beaches, breathtaking views will simply blow anyone’s mind. Variety of dishes are available here.

The Petronas twin tower is one of the tallest towers in the world. Both the towers of 88 stories are connected through a sky bridge at the 41st and 42 and floor.

Langkawi is one of the main islands of Malaysia. It is full of beautiful beaches and also a great place to enjoy crystal clear water and rainforest. Langkawi sky bridge is also a great place to enjoy the stunning beauty and spectacular views.

The Aquaria KLCC is said to be the world’s largest aquarium, holding major attractions like the tiger shark, bright coral fishes, sea snakes, seahorses and many more marine creatures.

Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Bako National Park, Batu Caves, Mount Kinabalu, Turtle Sanctuary Beach are some beautiful places.

Malaysia is the perfect place for Island hopping or to enjoy the scenic beauty of the beaches or the waterfalls all in the same place.

2. Philippines

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The Philippines is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire close to the equator. It consists of more than 7000 islands which makes it ideal for Island hopping. The scenic beauty of the islands with mountain and tropical rainforest are breathtaking.

Palawan should be at the top of the list for its spectacular beaches and islands. Underwater and overwater views will make anyone astonished. Bohol is an all-in-one travel destination containing beaches, natural landscape and heritage sites. Apart from beaches, there is Cordilleras, which is a mix of landscapes, waterfalls and mountain summits. If you want to enrich your photo gallery with some perfect beach holiday selfies Bicol is the place for you. Nature may seem to be photoshopped here.

Surigao is the best place for surfing for any off-beat traveller. There are a lot of waterfalls named Limunsudan falls, Tinago falls, Maria Cristina falls, Aliwagwag falls and many more. Cebu is a worthy place to visit for hiking.

There is a plenty of mouthwatering dishes to enjoy such as chicken adobo, Sinigang, Balut, Halo-halo, Leche flan every foodie must try. Exotic hotels are available easily and are available for online booking.

3. Singapore

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Singapore is an island city-state with a tropical climate. Visitors can travel Singapore all around the year because of its climate.

Marina Bay is the most famous place in the city to have spectacular views. Mariana Bay Sands complex is the focal point where around 8 pm spectacular light show can be seen. The light illuminates the water and various iconic symbols. There are many great things to do and see in the area around the epic building, such as the Casino, Science Museum, dining or to enjoy the nightlife.

Universal Studios is another main attraction of Singapore which contains more than 20 attractions including Ancient Egypt, New York, Lost World, Hollywood, Sci-Fi City, Madagascar, Far Far Away. Shows, Retail outlets and F&B outlets are also there. Gardens by the Bay is a huge beautiful garden situated by the bay area. The famous Supertree structures offer a skywalk to enjoy the view. A variety of plants and trees makes the destination enjoyable for both kids and adults.

Chinatown is a great place for shopping and dining. There are hundreds of restaurants and hawker vendors to choose from. Clarke Quay, the delightful riverside, is full of bars and restaurants, nightclubs and many more. Orchard Road, similar to London’s Oxford Street is the excellent location to spend all the day. Local and international departmental stores, spas and beauty salons, hotels, offices, restaurants, cafes, boutiques are there.

The Singapore Flyer is the world’s largest observation wheel having 150 meters in diameter, 165 meters high. Singapore Night Safari is a leading conservation and research centre attracting visitors.

4. Thailand

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Thailand has been a popular tourist destination for many years with endless places to visit. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand has an incredible vibe, fantastic foods and is busy all the day. Parties, Nightlife and amazing street foods are remarkable.

Khao Yai National Park is filled with wild animals including Asian Elephants, Pythons, Bears, Gibbons etc. There are numerous waterfalls to relax. Beaches of Khao Lak are stunning. You can just chill out on the beach or enjoy scuba diving. Koh Samui island has spectacular white beaches and warm blue seas. Speedboat, jetski, scuba diving are great activities to enjoy.

5. Cambodia

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The main reason to visit Cambodia is definitely the spectacular Angkor Wat. It is one of the largest ancient temple complexes in Asia anyone would love to visit. It may take several days to explore it completely. Angkor Wat archaeological park is also a nice place to visit.

Another attraction of Cambodia is its wild islands, which are still undeveloped compared to its nearby countries. Those rugged beaches are relatively less crowded.
There is Bousra waterfalls, best for camping or hang out. Bokor National park is also great for some cool mountain air or a bike ride. Bikes can be hired at a rental cost.

6. Indonesia

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Indonesia is definitely a prior destination for surfing, trecking, diving or enjoying wildlife. The island of Bali is great for spending a week. There are a lot of ancient Hindu temples, volcanoes and of course beaches which make it worthy.

Mount Bromo, full of volcanoes is another worthy place to enjoy the sunrise. A jeep or a horse can be hired to get to the top.

Lake Toba, one of the most visited lakes in Indonesia, is great for relaxing, swimming or to enjoy the food. The cool breeze of Baliem Valley is quite soothing. One can enjoy the spectacular views or trekking.

7. Vietnam

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Vietnam is a wonderful mix of natural highlights and cultural diversity. The rural areas, big cities and spectacular beaches are simply awesome. Halong Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site is famous for its scenery seen by boat and the caves that can be entered.

Ho Chi Minh City is another big attraction including HCMC Museum, Jade Emperor Pagoda, History Museum, Independence palace etc. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam has the charm to offer. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and Vietnam Fine Art Museum are amazing.

The deep valleys and most beautiful rural areas of Sapa Countryside, the temple city My Son, Nha Trang beach, Ba Be National Park are other attractions.

 

This article is written by Anwesha Karmakar. Please write comments to modify, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.

10 famous cities to visit in South America

Surrounded by the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, South America is among the continents holding a reputation for their biodiverse culture. If you skip a heartbeat at the thought of adventure, or you are dazed at the thought of vivid colourful cities and dazzling beauty of sky-reaching buildings, or just want a walk through a land of cram full tradition and culture; South America has starling places to visit for each one of you. The hospitality and the warm-hearted welcome offered by the indigenous people here is overwhelming and worth relishing.
So if you are planning to visit this land of superlatives, with greatness flooding in every aspect, these cities are worth adding to your trip-

 10. Lima, Peru

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The capital of Peru, Lima owns its reputation as World’s Heritage Site. This city traces back to the colonial period reflecting the copious history this city possesses. This city is no less than idyll for art lovers: museums, archaeological sites, Plaza de Armas and the 16th-century cathedral are enough to leave you jeopardized. The city is embellished with placid beaches, valleys, happening nightlife with a shot of adventure. The cuisine here is no behind when it comes to offering a good time to the visitors.

9. Buenos Aires, Argentina

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The “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires is an exotic city for people having a taste for wine. This sophisticated and seductive city with rows of colourful houses hosts the most exuberant dance party, with feet matching the music doing the tango. You won’t miss out on astounding views and culture either. Head on to Cerro San Cristobal for exquisite views

Also Read, Top 10 places in Africa still need to be unmasked

8. Santiago, Chile

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For the people in love with food, Santiago has plenty of restaurants that are ever experimenting with their cuisine. Cosmopolitan yet never missing out on culture, Santiago is a city of contrast. This beautiful and vivid city is an eye candy for the visitors. Enjoy shopping in the local art markets, pedestrian malls and the famous Central Market. The neighbourhoods of the city are perfect to wander with secluded hills and tranquil beauty.

7. Quito, Ecuador

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The capital of Ecuador, Quito, is a beautiful ancient city situated at an altitude of 2850m. This city was founded back in the 16th century from the ruins of Inca city. The indigenous culture and history of the city is well preserved and is reflected successively by the stunning churches in the city.

Also Read, 7 Myths about Travelling

6. Cusco, Peru

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Situated along the edge of the Urubamba valley, Cusco is a doorway that opens into one of the seven wonders of the world Machu Picchu. The old remains of once what have been huge plazas is astonishing. Other important sites include the Archbishop’s palace, built centuries ago. The narrow tortuous city lanes and perfect for paddle walking while enjoying the delicious food the city offers.

5. Cartagena, Colombia

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Along the coast of Colombia is this city embellished with tall palm trees and white sand beaches renowned for its coral reefs. As you walk through the city or hop in a horse-drawn carriage, you explore centuries-old stone walls giving you a glimpse of the colonial period. You can soak yourself in the art and theatre in evening after the daylong sightseeing.

Also Read, Top 10 best weather places in the World

4. Rio de Janerio, Brazil 

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The magnificent 38-meter tall statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the seven wonders of the world, stands atop Mount Corcovado, in the exquisite city of Rio de Janerio. The city is also gifted with twin beaches Copacabana and Ipanema, whose tranquillity will leave you enchanted. The city is replete with colours as this city hosts the world’s greatest street party; the carnival where a city is flooded with dancers; the vibrant costumes and the sublime music leaves the onlookers spellbound. So this city has ample to offer you ranging from sightseeing to partying; and peace to shopping, making it a holiday paradise.

3. La Paz, Bolivia

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This vibrant city has breathtaking adventures in store for you, making it a perfect holiday stop for enthusiasts. Apart from architectural wonders and old churches, the colourful markets and the museums will keep you engaged. Enjoy the aerial cable car system to peer upon the city’s dramatic setting; the brightly colours houses packed neatly alongside one another. Here the bars and restaurants are a perfect place to land into after your day-long adventures.

Also Read, Top 7 places to visit in the Middle East countries

2. Asunción, Paraguay

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The way they experiment with your favourite food here adding their own touch to the traditional recipes is appreciable. Pizzas while originating from Italy mustn’t have thought they would land into Asuncion and meet the traditional Asado toppings. While the National Cathedral and Municipal Museum are 2 eye candies; the local markets are a good deal to explore. This city is also the centre of poetry, art and music that will set your feet in motion. The grassy Gran Chacho region sways your mind away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and has a fortunate stroke of serendipity.

1. Medellin, Colombia- “City of Eternal Spring”

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If spring is your season, Medellin is the right destination for you. The yearlong modest climate complimented by the jaded mountains make offers you your piece of quietness. As you walk along the plantations of the city, you’ll be mesmerised by the smell of fresh flowers and coffee reaching your nose. The downside of the city is adorned with sculptures by Fernando Botero. The Colombian artworks can be seen in the Museo de Antioquia.

Also Read, Top 7 Beautiful Islands in the World

This article is written by Shivani Gothwal. Please write comments to modify, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.

Importance of Planning before you travel

Being a traveller you would definitely like to plan for your vacation and about your dream destination beforehand. Whether you are travelling alone or in a group, planning in advance is the best way to save time and make the experience unforgettable. Some say travel planning is time-consuming because it includes a lot of factors such as where to go, how to go, what to see and many more. From packing your bags to get visas, innumerable things are there. If you are wondering about all these, relax… we have prepared a list below, only for you.

1. Choose the destination

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You must consider all the factors, i.e., who are you travelling with, how much time do you have, what are your preferences, when to go and what season do you prefer. All the above factors will help you fix your destination for your next vacation. You must choose the destination that allows you to gather a sweet memory.

2. Choose the mode of transport and book the tickets

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After deciding on the destination, you have to choose the mode of transportation and book the tickets in advance. Flights or trains or car whatever you prefer, just do your research and book it according to your budget. If you have a narrow time span for your vacation, it’s better to book a flight paying a little bit extra.

3. Book cozy accommodation

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Accommodation is one of the major expenses to consider. The place where you spend your night is really important. You can find the cheapest accommodation by getting the best value for money. Several hotels, apartments, guesthouses and luxury resorts are easily available. Most of the accommodations provide free cancellation.

Also readTop 10 Travel Books You Must Read

4. Checking of Passport

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For an overseas trip, you’ll need a passport. If you don’t have it apply 2 months before the trip and if you already have it checked for the expiry date. Most of the countries require six months of validity.

5. Visa Requirements

 

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Knowing the visa entry requirements is another great step. Every country requires a different criterion. It may take some time for the visa, so it’s good to think of it in advance.

6. What to see

 

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You’ll never try to miss the must-visit attractions. The best way is to google or to read the blogs or you can ask someone who had been there. You can make a list of things to do or to see. A planned trip will help you to save time.

Also readTop 7 Beautiful Islands in the World

7. What to eat and drink

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Food is another main attraction to travel. If you’re a foodie you’ll never dare to miss the research about local dishes. Exploring foods in Cafes, Restaurants, Bars, Pubs and especially the street foods will please you.

Also readTop 10 Food Cultures in the World

8. Health and Fitness

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Health is really important while travelling. You may talk to your doctor for necessary vaccinations for a particular region. Visiting your doctor before 2 months of departure is fine.

Also read10 Best Camping Sites in India

9. Internet access

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While travelling, access to the internet becomes really important. You’d like to share your updates with friends or family. So, you can carry a mobile data device. Otherwise, you’ll need to buy a local data plan or access the free wifi of Cafes or hotels.

10. Accessing money

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Money is an important factor. The more money you keep, the more you can spend. International transaction fees are comparatively high and it takes a lot to perform bank transfer. You can use a credit card, debit card and cash of course.

If you consider all the above points it will be easier to pack your bags. So, enjoy your vacation and stay fit.

Also readTop 7 places to visit in the Middle East countries

This article is written by Anwesha Karmakar. Please write comments to modify, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.

Top 10 places in Africa still need to be unmasked

Africa a place that is generally seen as a poor and underdeveloped continent, but it has rich potential for resources, beautiful and breathtaking landscapes that still needs to be unmasked in front of the common public. So here is a rundown of the best antiquities, spectacular towns and stunning natural features from all around this continent.

1. Serengeti National Park

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Located in Tanzania, Serengeti national park is the place for all animal lovers. Here you can spot lions, giraffe, buffalo, rhinos and gazelle across woodlands, savannah, and plains. Every year many antelope, zebra, and wildebeest stop here while heading towards the green pasture in the Maasi Mara in Kenya. This place is one of the most remarkable sites of the natural world.

2. Gondar

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Often known as Camelot of Ethiopia, Gondar is known for its massive historical remains. Built in 17th century by the emperor Fasilides and his successors, this place was used as a picturesque royal enclosure. Filled with palaces, libraries, banquet halls and castles for the Ethiopian aristocracy, this place was constructed under the influence and guidance of European Baroque Who was brought here by Portuguese missionaries.

Also readTop 10 best weather places in the World

3. Rwenzori Mountains

Found in Western Uganda and some in the Democratic Republic of Congo, This natural beauty is generally overlooked. This place creates a climate that mixes alpine with the tropical. Here you will spot some rare plant species like Lobelias, and some mountain peaks covered in snow and filled with a glacier, waterfall, and lakes. The third largest mountain in the African continent, Mount Stanley comes in the Rwenzori range and is the permanent source for the river Nile. The first European to laid his eyes on the mountains was Henry Morton Stanley in 1889.

4. Sahara Dunes

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Stretching from Egypt in the east, all the way across North Africa to Morocco in the west, this is one of the most spectacular and romantic places in Morocco near to the border with Algeria. The ideal base to explore the sands is at the village of Merzouga from where groups head out on the backs of camels to seel the desert sands.

Also readTop 7 Beautiful Islands in the World

5. Victoria falls

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On the Zambezi River and on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, this Victoria falls provides a breathtaking view that can surely make anyone’s day. Named by David Livingstone for Queen Victoria and commonly know as Mosi-oa-Tunya in the native language that literally means the smoke that thunders, is a reference to the immense spray and rumbling that the fall generates. With a width of 1700 m and a depth of 108 m twice the height of Niagra falls, with a surrounding of savannah, full of Rhinos, hippos and linos this gives us such a beautiful view that is worth your time.

6. Sidi Bou Said

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One of the prettiest and gloriest village in Tunisia on the Mediterranean coast that has given us many great painters and writers for over a century. Once a local religious site looking at the high and low tides of the sea, just before the French artist Baron Rodolphe D’Eralanger introduced a scheme of whitewash and light blue color that now practically covers the whole village. The buildings of this village are famous for its crescent pattern and studded doors. This is a place to visit if one ever visits Africa.

Also readTop 10 Travel Books You Must Read

7. Pyramids of Giza

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This UNESCO world heritage site and also one of the seven wonders of the world, this is the result of immense dedication and labor of thousands of workers. The Giza Complex just outside of Cairo on the edges of the Libyan Desert sublime and very strange in nature as this place was created to keep the royal dead pharaohs and all the items they need to rule the afterlife.

8. Table mountain

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Looming over Cape town at the southern tip of Cape of Good hope, Along with the peaks of Signal Hill, devil’s peak and lion’s heart this place was a huge amphitheater where the Dutch settlers of the 17th century established what would later on known Tio the world as cape town. With a flat top over 1000 m above sea level, table mountain is often interrupted by the clouds from the ground level. But there is a cable car available to take you up there and witness a breathtaking view.

Also readTop 7 Beautiful Islands in the World

9. Zanzibar Archipelago

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The Zanzibar Archipelago is a tropical paradise on the off coast of Tanzania in the Indian ocean. What makes this place beautiful is its Golden beaches, Cerulean waters and swaying palm trees. There are 4 main islands Unguja, Pemba, Mafia and Latham islands which are mostly inhabited with many small islands surrounding them. On Unguja Island you will be able to find Zanzibar city which is quite famous for its Historic stone tower and its connection with the slave trade and spices.

10. Sossusvlei

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You may have not heard about this place but I am damn sure that you have seen this place a lot in the movies. Lies in the southern deserts of Nambia, this place is a collection of the dry lake, claypan and orange and red sand dunes. Combining two words one Afrikaans word ‘vlei’ meaning ‘marsh’ and the local Nama word meaning ‘of-no-return’. While having a remarkably clean beauty, spare, full of dead acai trees, the deep blue sky over your head and the shifting burnished ran sand make a perfect stunning vision that soothes your eyes.

Also readTop 10 Food Cultures in the World

This article is written by Chirag Jain. Please write comments to modify, or you want to share more information about the topic discussed above.