Schengen Visa For Indians

Europe is one of the coolest destinations of the world & visiting this place is dream of every person who is not from Europe. Indian citizen requires tourist visa to visit the much beautiful European countries . This post is for all those people who are willing to travel to Europe & want to know about Schengen visa. Here is the guide to Schengen Visa For Indians.

Like China, Europe also required a stamped visa before entering the place. For tourism purposed one is required to apply for tourist visa, the validity of tourist visa can be maximum of 90 days. To get stamped few steps must be followed.

List of Requirements:

Schengen visa needs to be applied for the place where one is going to spend most number of nights. In my case, it was Netherland as I planned to stay for 5 nights in Netherland.

Flight Tickets:

It is mandatory for a tourist to submit return flight tickets at the time of submission of documents. The best place to find the cheapest flight is through skyscanner.com. I have always used this website to find the cheapest flights. In my case, my inbound flight in Europe was to Amsterdam & outbound flight was from Barcelona & the cost of the flights was as good as a to & fro flight from same destination or may be marginally higher. I preferred to keep my inbound & outbound flight from different destination so that I can explore as much as I can.

 

Stay:

A confirmed booking in your name for each night till the time you are in EU is must. I know it is difficult to predict exact duration at a place. However, there are many sites which allow you to make a confirmed booking with minimum or no cancellation fees for the certain duration. This is best when the itinerary is not fixed.  The best way to make booking is through booking.com. I prefer booking.com than the other portals as I feel, this is the most transparent portal at the present moment. Their interface is simple & easy to eyes. I rely on booking.com for booking hostels. I mainly chose the hostels which are cheap.

Travel Insurance:

Travel insurance is mandatory documents that need to be submitted during the submission of application. You can either buy travel insurance online or through some agents. Note that travel insurance shall be of 30,000 Euros which will cost around Rs 1,300 or Rs 1,400.

Bank Account:

Each country in EU has specific guidelines for the minimum amount required for a day in Europe. Usually, it varies from 20 Euros to 50 or 60 Euros per day depending on the country you are visiting. Following documents can be used for proving sufficient amount.

Bank account statement having a balance of at least 2 to 3 times the minimum amount required for the whole trip.

Credit card statement.

Letter from employer (Leave approval on a letter head duly signed by the administration).

Proof of prepaid booking of youth hostels or hotels.

Proof of prepaid transport if any, like any inter-city flights or train tickets or bus tickets. Euro rail is a good option to book trains between the cities, I used flexi bus for booking bus tickets. Flexi bus uses online payment hence it is advisable to book the flexi bus prior.

Cover Letter:

Submit a signed cover letter addressed to royal embassy of the place mentioning the reason of travel along with the dates of traveling.

Itinerary:

A tentative itinerary about travel plans. The best way to make an itinerary is by bifurcating it into three sections, morning, afternoon & evenings. Try to start with activities like breakfast some sight seeing & then again same thing with lunch & evening snacks. Please note that this is required by the consulate to figure out how are you going to spend your time in the cities. A detailed version of your itinerary can help the cause of getting visa. If there is something unrelatable it is very likely that the consultate will call you for an interview.

 

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Visa Application Form:

A duly filled visa application form. There is checklist which must be followed. Tick mark points which are valid & arrange documents in the order of mentioned in checklist.

Sample Visa Form Mark My Adventure

 

I took the copy of all the above mentioned things while submitting the documents, after submission of documents, there is a round of bio metric in which I submitted my finger prints & a photo. Once, all these steps are complete,the file is sent to respective consulate for final review & approval or disapproval of the application.

For Indians, VFS Global is single stop solution for applying Schengen Visa. Their offices are in major cities & all the documents needs to be submitted here only. I submitted my document in VFS Global Netherlands Mumbai office. All the visa related fees needs to be paid at the VFS Global office only that too in cash. Tourist visa fees is approx. Rs 6,000. Further, there are additional services like courier, sms tracking which can be availed for an extra cash.

It usually takes 1 to 2 weeks to get visa. But, there is one more aspect which needs to be considered. The INTERVIEW CALL. For the first timer this is pretty usual, the person is called for an interview at the consulate to enquire about trip details. The interview is not difficult, they ask about the plan. I went to Delhi for the interview, the person asked me everything from hotel bookings to transport I will take & places I will visit. My advise would be just be calm & composed & answer everything in confidence. I felt it was just a formality to check is there any thing wrong or not with the person.

I was among the unlucky who was called for an interview. However, there are my friends who got the visa without any interview.

But, all the efforts is little compared to the happiness that we experience during the trip. The vastness of the place & mesmerizing views help to forget every effort taken to get the visa.

For more information on Schengen visa for global citizens here is the link

Schengen Visa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bungee Jumping From The Highest Point In Spain

Bugee jumping is one of the many adventure sports. It is dangerous, thrilling, exciting & also scary. Jumping from a certain height freely is challenging to some people & I am one of them. Traveling to Spain on holidays, I wanted to try Sky diving & Bungee jumping. However, the time allowed only one of these activities & I chose Bungee Jumping in Barcelona. I booked my activity through Adrenaline Hunter, they are the aggregators of adventurous activities around the world. It is always thrilling to try something new & exciting & jumping from a height of 70 Mt was the experience I was looking for.

I took a bus from Barcelona Nord to Lloret De Mer, it was very nervous feeling while boarding the bus, the imagination is unleashed & different types of thoughts arise & dip in mind.  My food intake was limited to cornflex & milk. I am afraid of heights & jumping from even 5 Mt never came into my mind & in this case it was 70 Mt. While batteling mind battles I reached the destination. I saw a huge truss standing tall in the middle of the ground,a safety pouch near the massive tower & A FEAR TO CONQUER.

Bungee Jumping Spain

 

 

The Experience

The instructors were very help. They tried to understand my situation & tried to help me whenever they could.

I stepped into the elevator & slowly it took me to the e top. The height was a scary one for me at least for me it was. Everything seemed so small. I could see the whole view from the top. But, the only thing I was not able to do was to stare down. I tried once but it just blew my mind. I told myself not to look down again.  I tried to remain calm, kept on telling my self that things will be fine DON’T WORRY.

Me: “Isn’t it scary to jump from 70 Mts?”

Instructor: “That is why you just jump & don’t think much about the height”

It’s a showtime

Instructor said: “Keep your both feets on the edge, straighten your hands & fall. Once you in mid air expand your hands like a wing”.

My mind started churping again: “This is first time what if I didn’t complete it. Heart is pounding at a brisk rate. Will I make a jump or won’t I. It’s difficult”.

I stepped to the edge, raised my hand at chest level. I started to align my self forward. The fellow instructor pushed me a little & here I am falling freely. Everything seemed to be so fast. It all happened in the nano seconds. Just few seconds back I thought I will never make a jump & here I was swinging mid air rather falling at decent rate.

The guy pulled the rope upward & dropped it again. He did it 3 times & oh my god what an experience it was. The thudding heart & the feeling to die by falling all came into my mind in those few seconds. Everything was just so quick, falling freely & all you can think was head banging on to the ground.

The Effects:

The moment I stepped down I was donning a broad smile for my achievement. A jump from 70 Mts will be among my great achievements list this year. It was not an adventure; It was a jump to conquer fear. I know people will say it is only 70 Mts bro. But, it means alot to a person who is afraid of heights.

It was a throw up like nervous ness while stepping into that elevator. It was very easy to give up on that point of time. However, with little courage the fortune changed. I did the same & when I was on the ground I was a relived person having a sense of accomplishment.

Thanks to Adrenaline Hunter that I could make that jump. After this very scary yet fulfilling experience I would try to do it again by some day.

My video was not captured due to some technical difficulty. However, below is the actual jump done by some random guy.

The best camera for shooting a video is GoPro.(Buy it from here).

“The moments which make you skip your heartbeats, are the moments you truly lived”

 

Sekumpul Watefalls: A Prestine Place To Visit In Bali

I am in Bali for a holiday & enjoyed every bit of it till now. Looking to do something new today. I enquired about waterfalls in Bali & which one not to be missed. A name suggested to me was “Sekumpul Waterfall“.  

Sekumpul Waterfall is THE MOST FAMOUS waterfall in Bali. Ever imagined a place where water is falling cutting through the jungle. Sekumpul is that location. I am on my motorbike riding through the roads of Bali. Bali roads are equipped with the surrounding landscapes. The greenery & the unending roads makes it perfect for a bike ride.

I put the destination to Sekumpul on google maps & started my ride bit nervous because of the distance & unknown paths. I crossed city area & entered the suburbs. Riding through lush green landscapes is beautiful in itself. Clouds started to aggregrate & it started raining & I don’t have any protection.

I am drenched in rain water, still cloudy & already 3.30pm. Time is flying fast. I am also low on petrol. But, it is raining like hell difficult to see more than 50 Mts. I waited for half an hour for rain to stop. Finally decided to drive the bike. I crossed a village & filled the petrol from on a local shop (Wonderful thing, that you can rely on local vendor for petrols) & asked the owner about the way. He points toward the direction.

There is a small cut which I took & suddenly it is only me driving on unknown roads. Fogs started to take over the roads, the ride is getting beautiful but scary. No one is on the roads & still some distance to go. The jungle on the either side making it difficult to drive but also making it beautiful. After riding for about 45 mints I finally reached the village. The guy who was taking entry fees was a fan of Bollywood. I said I am from India he said he love Shah Ruk Khan & I was amused with that fact. He offered me a coffee because of my Indian origin. I had black coffee a much needed refreshment after getting drenched in rain.

I reached parking place & from here it is I am walking towards the dense jungle. The distant sound of waterfall is making me excited. There is one shop where a small boy is playing some instrument, I asked him about the way. It is still raining & I need to cross a small stream of water.It is hard to predict if the surface beneath is hard or not. I trusted my guts & went ahead. After walking for 5 mints, I reach the famous waterfall I am in the awe with the scene. A water cutting through the trees is the view to dream for standing beneath the waterfall was the best I could do to enjoy the moment.

I stayed there for 15 min.  I waved at the small boy; He said there is one more waterfall on the other side. I asked how far is it. He said 10 min.

Looking at the time I decided to visit that part as well. I started walking & there is a fast stream of water that I need to cross. Water is upto knee length & it is hard to grip & maintain balance, but slowly slowly I crossed the stream. A trail is visible. Not knowing the path I chose to walk on this. I am walking in the jungle alone. After walking for 5 min I saw two guys & finally took a sigh of relief. Once I crossed the stream & step ahead I could see one mighty waterfall. Now walking on a brisk pace I reached near the waterfall.

The moment I stepped closer to the waterfall to my surprise there were three waterfalls. Three mighty ones. From far only one was visible but there were three. It was a fantastic view three parallel waterfall & lush green background. The view will last forever in my mind.

You travel for such moments only. Out of the nowhere you see some things which are beautiful & rare. I took a natural shower & after spending half an hour at that place I started my journey back to the hostel.

After reaching the shop I sat there to catch a breath. The boy was playing an intrusment & was playing perfectly. I shot him play through my go pro. His father offered my few bananas & wished me all the best for my journey way back.

 

It is already dark while driving back but the memories of waterfall keep back flashing up in my mind.

“Make Moments To Share, Not Things To Show”

Barcelona City Card

Europe is one of the costliest places in the world. Keeping expenses down is not an easy task to perform. I am traveling to three countries & already a bit confused about how to keep cost low. I was searching for tips & hacks & found an article on city cards. Most of the major cities in Europe offers city cards. These have various benefits like free transport & free entry to museums. I have bought Barcelona City Card for Barcelona trip through Barcelona.de.

The benefits of city card are immense. From getting free local transport to free entries to certain attraction. It is best for a budget traveler. The cost involved in the same is also minimum. For 5 days, city card one needs to pay somewhere around 60 euros. Further, there are also options for 2, 3 & 4 days. So depending upon the requirement you can buy a city card.

I chose Barcelona city card through Barcelona.de as they were offering best services. The number of museums covered in their card is good enough for 4 to 5 days. Also, free transport service is an added bonus while traveling outside. They are in business from 1997 thus shows how trusted they are in this market.

Benefits of having a Barcelona city card is as follows:

Free admissions to 25 unique sites

Discounts for over further 85 museums, cultural institutions, leisure activities, shops, pubs and restaurants.

Free use of public transport, i.e. metro and urban buses, trams, trains and Montjuïc Funicular and FGC in zone 1 (total urban area).

Free train ride and free use of bus 46 from the airport into the city center and back.

Booklet with a city map, metro plan and brief descriptions of the institutions where you get discounts.

The Barcelona Card is available for 3, 4 or 5 consecutive days (72, 96 and 120 hours from the first use). For 2 days (48 hours) you can book the Barcelona Card Express.

Further, the booking process is very simple one is just need to apply online & receive the mail of the confirmation. Also, the cancellation procedure is also there so in case there is some last minute changes in the plan, one can cancel the card with no extra charge. The validity of card is for full year. Thus, it can be returned at any point of time during that whole year.

There are two modes to get the card one is by picking it up from their offices & other is through shipping. However, there is shipping charges involved. So, until & unless you are no short period or any emergency it is better to pick up the card from the authorized centers.

Barcelon.de not only offers city cards but also offers small tours for those who are interested in guided tours. There are many offerings like walking tour, barcelona pastry tours, guided tour to picasso etc. This website is extremly valuable for the people traveling to Barcelona for the first time.

I booked my city card through this website only. The complete information about the place helped me to plan my tour in a better way.

Here is the link to the website

Barcelona

 

New Zealand: A Place To Experience Finest Adventures

New Zealand is always one destination which is looked by world to provide some mind blowing experiences. It is dream destination for some. Here is the detail of write up provided by New Zealand tourism board. The below content is provided by them. I am posting this as a guest post after the confirmation from the board.

For the third time in a row, New Zealand has won the award for the Best International Destination for Adventure at the Lonely Planet Magazine India Travel Awards 2017. It is the fifth time that the country has been presented with the prestigious award, making it a constant favorite among magazine readers. The event was held in Mumbai on 25th May and the award was received by Ms. Neha Bhola, Country Manager India on behalf of the India team.

Speaking about the award, Steven Dixon, Regional ManagerSouth and South East Asia, Tourism New Zealand, said, “To continue to receive such positive endorsements from the Lonely Planet audience confirms that Indian travellers have a strong preference for the variety of adventure experiences New Zealand offers”.

He added, “Latest international arrival figures show a total of 53,792 Indian travellers visited New Zealand for the year ending April 2017. With a 14.6% increase over the last year, India is an extremely important market for New Zealand and a key contributor to our tourism sector.”

New Zealand Best Adventure Destination

 

New Zealand is a popular choice due to the extensive range of nature-based and thrill-seeking activities throughout the country. The activities include skydiving, bungy jumping, scenic flights, hiking, canoeing, scuba diving, surfing, glacier walking and jet-boating.

Additional Information

Tourism New Zealand markets New Zealand to the world as a visitor destination. In the year ending April 2017, 3.6 million international visitors arrived in New Zealand: an increase of 9.9% on the previous year. International tourism is New Zealand’s largest earner of foreign exchange, pumping over $14.5 billion into the economy and directly employing over 188,000 people. www.tourismnewzealand.com

Visa procedure: One may forward their application to the TT office in Mumbai or Delhi, which will then be directed to Immigration New Zealand. A visitor visa for New Zealand is processed within 15 working days. www.immigration.govt.nz

Airline connections: Connecting flights to New Zealand are available on Singapore Airlines/Air New Zealand, Thai Airways, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines with stop-overs in their respective hubs.  New Zealand’s international gateways are Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Domestic services: You can fly between all New Zealand cities and most major towns using domestic air services. Air New Zealand and Jetstar are the main providers. Their services are complemented by regional airlines, charter companies and scenic flight operators.

For more information, kindly check:

 

Minimum Amount For Bali

Bali is a prime island of Indonesia. Traveling to this island is must for anyone who loves adventure and nature. Traveling to a place, the big question arises in everyone’s mind which is “Expenses“. Working in a corporate world, saving enough & traveling abroad to spend holidays can take a toll on a budget. If you are like me who wants to explore the world without breaking the bank then this post is for you. I traveled to Bali on a shoestring budget. Here is my take on Bali packages. The minimum amount required to spend one week at this majestic place.

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The expenses involved in a place depends broadly upon few factors like food, accommodation, site seeing & commutation. All the expenses fall into these categories. I will suggest the minimum amount as per my experience.

Accommodation:

Bali is divided majorly into three regions, South Bali, Capital area & northern part. South Bali is by far the most modernized & developed one among the three. South Kuta & Seminyak are known for luxury & parties; thus cost of staying there are very high compared to rest of the place. Capital part is more of a marketplace where it is easy to find budget accommodation, I stayed at Hostel Morotai, the reason being it offered me a place at IDR 60,000 per day. It was the cheapest with a great rating. I got rented motorbike from the hostel only. The north of Bali is way cheaper than South & central part. But, there is not enough development compared to rest of the Bali. Here is the list of staying options in Bali.

Food:

Bali has decent food outlets, it is easy to find McD, Pizza hut & fast food shops. The cost is same as it is around the world. The best way I found out to keep the cost of food low is through buying grocery from the supermarket & eating on streets. The average cost of a plate of veg noodles is IDR 18,000.  There are lots of option to eat on street. There is no dramatic change in the taste of food.

Site Seeing:

Bali has several sites & each site has something new to offer. There are entry fees which are minimal & affordable. Entries to most of the beaches are free. The places where entry fees are valid are waterfalls, temples, zoos & rice fields. Depending upon the interests decide upon the activities you wish to take. It is not absolutely necessary to visit each & every site. Choose site as per your liking.

Commutation:

An option of Uber is available in Bali. However, the prices are very high. I would suggest to rent a motorbike & roam around the place. The places are well connected & GPS works quite well here. I did the same I rented a motorbike which costs around IDR 60,000 per day excluding petrol. The price of petrol is also low & the best thing is benzol (Petrol) is available at the local stores as well. Thus, there is no scarcity of petrol while on the roads.

Thus, the cost for a day’s living in Bali will add up to IDR 4,50,000 considering the facts mentioned in above points.

Please note that the price I have mentioned is excluding activities like scuba diving & snorkeling or any other activities. There are few guided tours like Mount Bromo & Ubud whose costs are not included in my assumption. I went to Bali in 2016. Thus, there might be some fluctuation in the costs.

Minimum amount required for a week stay in Bali works out to be IDR IDR 30,00,000 to IDR 45,00,000 for general activities.

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“There are thousands of reasons why you should not do it, but you only need one to do it”

 

 

Things To Do In Bali

Bali is the most famous island in Indonesia. It is best for a reason. This pocket size islands beholds the most beautiful landscapes & adventures on the planet earth. Traveling solo, I went to Bali for 8 days. There is so much to do & so much to see in this paradise that 8 days seemed to be too short. However, I tried to cover whatever I can. Here is my guide to things to do in Bali.

Things to do in Bali:

Bali is culturally very rich & can be witnessed or experienced at every corner. Let’s explore Bali.

Ubud:

Ubud is the main touristic attraction in Bali. Blessed with supreme architecture & culture vibes. This place is a must visit. This place will take you one step closer to Bali’s vibrant culture. Balinese dance & yoga shall be an experience to look for. A place to spend a perfect afternoon by enjoying the local flavor is an ideal way here. If looking for some change visit Monkey Temple to enjoy the chirpy noises of monkey’s.

Monkey Temple Mark My Adventure

 

Waterfalls:

I am a nature lover (I get goosebumps if I see something amazing & breathtaking). I have seen few waterfalls till date, but Sekumpul waterfall was nothing I ever came across. Imagine a jungle & water falling from a decent height it is a view to die for. The peace experienced here is unmatched. I loved the place & recommend it to everyone. Other than Sekumpul there are few more waterfalls. It is difficult to cover each & every waterfall until & unless time & money is not a constraint. However, try covering what ever is feasible.

Water Fall In Bali

 

Sekumpul Things to do in Bali

 

 

Beach Hopping:

Bali has a perfect coastline. Move around the beaches & enjoy the horizon in a new dimension. South Kuta is very much crowded but other than that all other beaches are relatively quiet & peaceful. Each beach has something new to offer.

 

Random Beach Bali

Adventure Activities:

From the outset, Bali looks like a place for honeymoon couple. However, shattering this stereotype. The place is covered majorly by forests. Jungles, waterfalls, mountain. There are activities pertaining to these which can be carried out.

Mount Bromo trekking is a must. Experience breathtaking sunrise here. Sekumpul waterfall is by far the best waterfall in Bali.

Mount Bromo

 

Surfing is an activity common here. Most of the beaches support surfing & it is easy to find surfing board on rent. Hundreds of westerners visit this place only for surfing.

Scuba diving & snorkeling: Scuba diving & snorkeling sites are among the best. Padi provides scuba diving certification course here.  The certification is easy to get. US wreck ship is a perfect diving site. It is hard to distinguish which is more beautiful; landscapes or water world. There is a high chance of swimming with huge size turtles if you are lucky enough. A shot a video of snorkeling through my GoPro hero 4 black edition.

Temples:

Temples are among other attraction in Bali. The facade is beautiful as it will ever get. Tanah lot is worth a visit, it is a delight to watch. Located on the sea shore this temple is beautiful, a background of never ending sea is picturesque as you will ever find. A perfect blend of temple & water is good for a half day trip. There are lots of Hindu temples in the vicinity.

Nusa Trilogy:

The group of three islands is located in the west of Bali. If tired of vibrant vibes of Bali. This place is a nice alternative. Nusa Pendia is the biggest among the three & also the most beautiful one. The place has some untouched points which are worth visiting. Motorbike is a favorable mode of transportation. Some of the points worth visiting in NusaPenida are Pasih uug (Crystal Bay) & broken island. Both these points are awesome & beautiful. Spend a peaceful evening here. Snorkeling & scuba diving are the prime activities here.

Crsytal Bay Mark My Adventure

Gilli Islands:

Gilli islands are a group of three small islands. The most famous one is Gilli T, it is a backpackers place & hub for parties. The only motto of this place is party party & party. Backed with young & backpackers, this place is continuously on its dancing feets. This is perfect for few days.

 

Gilli Mark My Adventure

Another island worth visiting is Gilli Air. It is calmer one among the three, perfect for a honeymoon couple. Book a place in front of sea & enjoy the view of mighty mountains right in front of you. Gilli Air is not a place to party. However, the peaceful evenings are what people relish here. Scuba diving & snorkeling are the major activities performed on this island. It is easy to cover the whole island on foot. Crystal clear blue water & white sand is hard to be ignored.

Parties:

Bali is also home to best party clubs, places like Kuta, Seminyak which are home to parties animals. Don your party shoes & thrive on the music. Bali beach parties can surprise everyone with its flavor.

Rides:

Get a rented vehicle & start the journey. The roads are well connected & blessed with best landscapes.Ride forever here & enjoy some of the best moments.

Rice Fields:

Rice fields are nearly everywhere. Cross them & enjoy. There is nothing new, however, it is worth a visit, the rice fields has kept its glory intact. The picture perfect site is hard to miss.

Rice Fields Bali

These are the list of major activities. Bali has something or other to offer. Depending upon what sort of experience you are looking for, you can bifurcate your activities in similar ways. Any number of days are appropriate here considering so many options are there to explore.

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“Destination Only Tells You When To Stop”

 

 

Bali Solo Trip

Solo trip is always tricky. From boarding flight to experiencing a new adventure, everything needs to be managed alone. Traveling alone to a place the most basic question that pops up in the head is; Is Bali Safe for a Solo Trip? Here is the solo travel guide to Bali.

I am traveling solo outside India since 2015 & the first thing I search on the internet is the safety of the place. Touchwood, I have not experienced anything alarming till date while traveling solo.

Bali is among the best cities in the world. Saying so it is also one of most beautiful one. I went on a 8 days trip to Bali alone & thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Solo Traveler Guide To Bali

Bali is, in general, a very safe place to be in. However, being cautious is one aspect that should be kept in the mind while traveling to any new city. The best places in Bali are Ubud, Seminyak, South Kuta. Most of the activities happen at these places only.

Things to be kept in mind

 

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Commuting: I rented a bike & traveled by that. There is an option for booking a cab as well. But, it is recommended to check for prices. There have been some incidents where cab drivers asked for a higher amount than the billed amount. So, clarify rates before boarding the cab. Google maps work here so finding a route is simple.

 

Bike GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Driving License: In case, of renting a bike. It is mandatory to have an international driving license. Traffic police can stop & ask you for the papers. It is recommended to carry papers with you. I was among the lucky ones. During my stay of 8 days, I was never stopped at any point of time. But, it is better to be prepared for any contingencies.

Site Seeing: An entry fee is charged at the entry of every destination. Hence, no need to pay anything extra. There is an option to hire a guide as well.

Clubs & Pubs: Clubs & pubs are very famous in South Kuta. However, extra caution must be maintained while entering such places. There are several cases of people getting duped in drugs. There are certain people who mix your drinks with drugs & charge for that. The charges for such drinks are insanely high. This is very common at few places, it is advisable to check the pubs & clubs authenticity before entering.

 

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Other than this there is nothing alarming about the place. It is probably among the safest cities in the world.

Keep worries aside & visit this beautiful place. It will engrave some lifetime memories in your mind.

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“Fill your life with adventures & things, have stories to tell not stuff to show”

PS: For lonely planet guide: Lonely Planet Bali & Lombok

 

 

First Impression Of Bali

Bali is a small island in Indonesia. A pocket size island equipped with everything;  literary everything. From mountains to beaches, from jungles to waterfalls; this place is a heaven on the earth.Here is my first impression of Bali.

I am on a plane to Jakarta (capital of Indonesia). Feeling little nervous, this is my first trip of 12 days overseas, much longer than any of my previous trips. I am waiting in a queue to get my passport stamped. It is pretty boring to wait for long hours at Jakarta. Jakarta airport doesn’t have lots of shops so there are limited options to kill the time. Feeling bored I started talking to a fellow traveler about the Bali. Asked all about the place. Like where to go, how to go, what all to do etc etc, the conversation only escalated my excitement.

I boarded a flight to Bali & in another 2.5 Hours I was flying above the sea looking at an airport strip in the middle of the sea (which turns out to be Bali Airport). It is 8 pm & already dark outside. My phone is having some issue & I didn’t know where & how to reach my hostel.I enquired about the bus but the service which is not at all a good option. The only option left was booking a private cab which I did.  It took me nearly one hour to reach my destination.

Landscapes Bali

Human Interaction:

Bali has a decent Hindu population. People are very helpful, even though not many speaks English, but it is manageable with even a little bit of English. It is not a perfect example of Human interaction, but few instances which put a smile on my face. So, I was traveling back from Nusa Penida, I still had 3 more days to explore Bali. Left with a handful sum of amount, I was sure of going back to Bali & spend few quite days over there. However, once I landed at the dockyard. A guy came to me & asked

Do you want to go to Gilli islands?

I wanted to but hadn’t had any huge sum to back that up. I said nervously “Yeah”.

He said, ” I can give you the BEST DEAL EVER.

I said, ” How?”

He said,”I can give you discounts on speedboat ticket”

I said, “How much?”

He said,”For a to & fro ticket from Gilli Islands a price of IDR 450,000″

I said,”It’s too high I don’t have this amount with me, also I need to find a place to stay as I haven’t booked anything”

He said,”Oohh! common, you come here for the first time enjoy some nature.

I said,”Give me the best offer”

He said,”Where are you from?”

I said,”India”

He said,”Oh wow great, I know India. There is a god name Ganesha. My name is also forodo. I follow Ganesha.

I was surprised to see his knowledge about Indian culture & Bollywood stars like Shah Ruk Khan & Mr. Amitabh Bachan.

He continued,”Just because you are Indian, I will give you best offer please don’t reject this. A to & fro ticket at IDR 400,000″

I said,”Sure good enough.

On average the price costs IDR 600,000 per person. However, I managed to get it under IDR 400,000. So, talk to people you may get surprised 😉

Infrastructure:

Bali is a touristic destination so it is constantly crowded with travelers. Roads are fantastic to drive on. Very well constructed & maintained by local people. The only issue is the internet. The best way to use internet is through sim card; buy a sim card & access the internet without any hassle the prices are the minimum. The architect is unique & different. Most of the buildings have dark outer surface. It is easy on eyes & also looks aesthetically beautiful. A unique gate in entries is worth gate crashing ;).

 

Road Bali

 

 

The architect is unique & different. Most of the buildings have a dark facade. It is easy on eyes & is aesthetically beautiful. A unique gate in entries is worth gate crashing ;). The vintage look of buildings provides an ancient experience. A place to enjoy your holidays.

Culture:

Bali has a decent Hindu population. So, from temples to rituals there are some similarities with Hindus. Balinese people are very helpful & tourist friendly. I didn’t encounter any issue while roaming solo in the city, even in the suburbs it was pretty safe. Ubud is one of the main places to enjoy Balinese culture. The place is very charming & beautiful. There are numbers of temples, dance shows, numerous heritage site to explore. Temples are among the major attractions in Bali. So, just explore ;).

Activities:

Bali is mix & match of various things. It is easy to experience water sports, adventure sports, sightseeing, trekking, jungle trails, temples, mountains etc all on the small island to Bali.

Ride Forever Bali

Some of the things not to be missed is scuba diving, snorkeling, mountain trekking are some of the activities that should not be missed while holidaying in Bali. Bali is also famous for its rice fields which are a big hit among the western travelers. It is unique & good for a one time visit. The rice fields are beautiful to watch. If you are not interested in any of the activities. South Kuta & Seminyak has some of the best places to party till late night in Bali.

Rice Fields Bali

Here is an account of my first impression of Bali. As they say “First time is always special”.

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Rishikesh: The Place That’ll Trigger Your Wanderlust and Make You Take That First Solo Trip!

It has almost been a year since I began travelling solo. I have backpacked across Parvati Valley in Himachal Pradesh, Rishikesh, Udaipur and Pushkar. On these trips, I have tried conventional travelling, budget travelling as well as volunteering.

Being only about 250 km from Delhi (where I currently put up), Rishikesh is very approachable for me. I have been there five times until now- twice with friends, once with family and twice solo. For an entire month, I have volunteered there in a youth hostel. I love the place and have many memories attached to it. It almost feels like home there now!

Way To Rishikesh

So, for all the women out there who’re planning to take their first Solo Trip, I have made a list of 8 Reasons that make Rishikesh an ideal destination!

1) SAFETY

The main question that pops up in a woman’s mind when she thinks about solo travelling is if it would be safe. Let me answer. No. Nothing in this world is safe. People have died while eating, sleeping and sitting. Well, did that make us quit any of those activities? No, right? Then, why not travel alone when you want to? I know it can be extremely intimidating, the thought of being alone and no one to depend upon except for yourself but, trust me, take the leap of faith! You’ll emerge stronger and realize that you’re capable of much more than you think!

Now, coming to Rishikesh. Being popular with backpackers, this place attracts many solo travellers from different parts of India and the World. Also, the majority of travellers in Rishikesh are the ones that arrive seeking peace and a health retreat. So, no unruly party crowd to hamper the peace! Moreover, the local economy mostly depends on tourism there so, the locals are very helpful and eager to help the tourists out.

 

Rishikesh

2) MONEY

Now that you know Rishikesh is “safer” than most destinations, you check your account balance and realize that all you have is 10k and you still have to pay your flat rent of 5k, electricity bill, internet bill and other bills. You sit down, make calculations and realize that all you have left for this trip is 3k. Then, you shut your laptop, silently rest your head on the pillow and fall asleep smirking at your plans of travelling solo. “You need money to travel and you have none”, says your inner fear that secretly never wanted you to travel and venture outside your comfort zone.

Well, I’ll be your inner confidence here and tell you that with that leftover 3k, you can easily make a five-day trip to Rishikesh! Because where there’s will, there’s way and in Rishikesh where there’s a budget traveller, there’s a youth hostel! Yes! Now, get up and start looking on the internet. You can find dorm beds for as low as 250 rupees a night! And, I’ll let you in on a secret. There are Ashrams in Rishikesh that provide FREE accommodation in exchange for your attendance in a few lectures and classes. As for the food, you can find decent and tasty home made food for as low as 40 rupees a meal at Gita Bhawan!

3) YOGA

I know you work hard 5-6 days a week and are tired of the routine life. Well, you’re headed to Rishikesh, the place people consider to be the World Capital of Yoga! Go for a week long Yoga retreat or try various daily drop in classes. For the budget travellers, there are many Yoga classes on donation basis where you can pay according to your experience in that class. Yoga is one of the best ways to treat your body, bring down the stress hormones, relax your mind and get in tune with the surroundings!

 

Yoga

4) TREKS

Rishikesh has beautiful treks around it! The Neelkanth Mahadev Trek and the Kunjapuri Temple Trek are some short single day treks that have beautiful trails with jaw dropping views! For those who love nature, these treks are highly recommended. So, grab those trekking shoes and the backpack!

Valleys Near Rishikesh

 

5) FOOD

There are numerous Cafes and Home-food Joints in Rishikesh! Continental food, Israeli Cuisine, Ayurvedic food, Vegan food, Yogi Food and Gluten free food are easily available at the cafes. Other than these, one can find numerous small food joints that sell home made Indian food. The price of food in Rishikesh is much lower as compared to the other backpacking destinations! No matter where you come from, you will not get homesick for food here, nor will the food bill dent your pocket.

 

Food Joint

6) PEOPLE

You will meet some very different people in Rishikesh only to realize that they are no different, they just perceive life differently. On my first solo trip to Rishikesh, I met a Baba and had a nice conversation with him that changed the way I look at life now. I met Anjuna, a beautiful person whom I always find smiling despite her situation and hardships. I cannot express in words how much meeting those people has changed my life! So, go ahead and experience this place. You will carry a lot from it in your yourself and leave a lot of yourself behind.

 

Baba

7) CULTURE

Rishikesh is a very cultural place. The Aartis, the temples, the ceremonies and the serene atmosphere…. Immerse yourself in the culture and let it paint your soul! Take classes or self study meditation and tantra.

 

Aarti

8) THE VIEW

Rishikesh is located on the banks of River Ganga and is surrounded by hills and mountain ranges. I spent hours on the banks just absorbing the beauty of nature and observing the life around. The roads, the daily life, the simplicity and the smell of incense in the pure air- Oh! I could live my life there.

River

 

Nature

There are hundred other reasons that I’ll leave it up to you to create your own story. Go and give yourself the perfect gift- A solo travel to this beautiful land!
Writing this post has made me really nostalgic. I hope you have the courage and the confidence to take your first solo trip and have a magical experience!
Don’t forget to comment and let me know your views on the post. To read more about my adventures as a Solo Traveller, you can visit my Travel Blog- Bachelor For Roaming