One of the things that I haven’t yet done and is certainly on my travel bucket list is to cruise! Set sail across the sea and enjoy wilderness into the oblivion like never before. Of course sailing alone would be on the top of that list, however, to begin with a cruise would be the most imperious way to spend a time of my life letting my hair down and relaxing all the way for a week without the hassle of the world. Leaving behind all the worries I’d love to enjoy something that would help me feel rejuvenated again.
So I decided to check out what are some of the best Asia cruises and this is what I’d recommend to be on top of your list.
One of the best things about Asia is that on the Far East cruise you’ll get to see Asia in all its shades. Just last week Cherry Blossom in Japan happened and that is something you shouldn’t miss especially during April. This cruise offers just that. Far East, cherry blossom, buzzing markets in my hometown Mumbai, raving sunsets across beaches in Thailand.
Asia is best known for a wide variety of it’s beauty. The best thing about Asia is that it has diversity to the best of anyone’s reach. There are places that you can’t even imagine and you’d get to cruise among these beautiful views across the sea and cover various landscapes at it’s ports.
If you have trouble deciding where to begin then let size be your guide. Covering an area of more than nine million square kilometres, China has to be a splendid pick as part of their collection of Far East cruise holidays. Certainly beautiful from a cultural stand point too. The country has a history that dates back to more than 4,000 years, making the 15th-century Forbidden City in Beijing an infant as far as the timeline is concerned.
Next in the size line is India, a country of chalk and cheese sights. Anyone with stars in their eyes should head to Film City in Mumbai to perform in a Bollywood movie. Foodies can try a real-deal curry in Madras. Sunseekers, meanwhile, can loose track of time on the beaches of Goa.
Thailand is a smaller country as far as the list of Far East cruise stops. However on the beaches of Koh Samui, the sand is truly white and the water is crystal clear. Then you’ve got Bangkok, a city where twelve-lane motorways and skyscrapers go hand in hand with old ancient temples.
Moving on, you’ll find Japan. This country has a beautiful mixture of past and the future, ancient and cultural as well as modern and technological. Villagers plant rice in the paddy fields in various perfectures at the same time as cartoon-like Harashuku girls try to out-vogue each other in the cosmopolitan cafes of Tokyo.
Once you’ve ticked off the biggest countries in the Far East cruise collection, you can move onto the more pint sized places. Sip jasmine tea in the teahouses of Ho Chi Minh City and worry the bank manager during a spree at the world’s largest department store in Busan, South Korea. Alternatively, spread yourself like butter over the beaches of Penang in Malaysia.
Something worth doing especially if you are in love with Asia! What say?
My first time on an international flight… Sitting in the plane looking outside the window… Yes, I always knew this day was going to happen, sometime or later… But NOW, it’s happening NOW!! And I can feel it as I type these words sitting in a still plane, gazing across the window…
Having enjoyed wonderful journeys across Incredible India, this experience will probably be one of my most enchanting ones as I look forward to a destination unknown, unexplored and yet so close to a lot of aspects of our Indian culture and yet so different and I mean flabergastingly different and a lot lot more advanced than the way we share our lives with each other.
Funnily, never expected some mosquitoes to join me as well… Ahh what the heck Let them also enjoy their ride to Singapore…
The feeling as I type this on my iPad is surreal. Surreal as I bid goodbye to the city of dreams to move onto unchartered enchanting territories and fly beyond horizons that will bring a different level of maturity, shades of some exploration that I have yet to carve out as a travel blogger.
This feeling of the journey of life, being truly begun is sinking in… Hope the city of another dreams also has a lot in store for me. For some reason, with the soothing and serene music that’s playing in the background is kind of giving me an inkling… An inkling of something great in store for me, even as I am yet to begin the journey.. Like an alternate, similar universe waiting out there for me…
So, let us see where this heads… For now, signing off… Oh and yeah, also the Mosquitoes on the plane say Hi to you all…
Will blog about my escapades once my trip’s over…
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Answer by Srinivas Kulkarni:
Yes! Yes and Yes!
Before I begin the answer from a travel enthusiast perspective, just some insights to share about Asia and India in general, might give you some perspective pertaining to the question you have asked.
Travel Facts – Asia & India
Some interesting facts about the travel Industry in India & Asia in general.
Over the next few years, Asia — mostly China and India — and Latin America will drive world economic growth, contributing up to 75% of global GDP from 2010 to 2012.
The 2012 outlook for Asian outbound travel is positive. 6 to 8% increase in this year’s expected 14% growth.
In particular India appears to be set for strong growth with 43% planning more outbound travel next year. IPK’s travel confidence of India is at a high 113 points.
Incredible India – Travel Galore
I began exploring India truly about five years ago and I’d say despite traveling to a lot of parts, I hae hardly touched 1/4th of the country so far. An endeavor that makes me want to go on and on till I have set foot across each and every state at least. One of the reasons why I enjoy doing so is cause of it’s geographical and cultural diversity with of course significant historic and mythical relevance to various places. Adds to it’s mystery in its own way. To such an extent that every different place that you travel to within India is a completely different landscape and a cultural expose of sorts. There is a great sense of encompassing travel experience that yuo get when you explore various parts of India. From the beautiful mountains in the Himalayas to the amazing temples and the beaches down south. From the most diverse religious and cultural places across the four corners of the country to the much modern and very well built cities in various metropolis. From the multiple Indian languages spoken in different parts to the very familiar tour guides or audio guidebooks that you’ll get at various heritage sites to help understanding places in the country much better for yourself. India has it all. If you are the type who loves adventure and mountain climbing then you can explore various destinations across the Himalayas which span across the Indo-Nepal-Tibet and Pakistan border you’d love every bit of it. There are practically every kind of geographically diverse landscapes in Leh and Ladakh. If you are interested in culture and meeting new people of ethnic and traditional origin then a trip to Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and some remote villages in Harayana, Punjab and some parts of South India would do the trick. Archaeology fans might really enjoy The Ruins of Hampi, various parts of Gujarat and some across India-Pakistan border where Indus valley civilization ruins exist and of course Madhya Pradesh for it’s beautiful terrain and charismatic caves depicting ancient lore of Kama Sutra and love in Khajurao. Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore are the metropolis you might want to go to, best serve as connectivity to various different parts and mostly flights to any place in the world or other part of the country are available here. South India give s you a lot of insight on the Hindu cwith it’s various temples and also a great escapade towards nature in God’s own country Kerala will enchant you with it’s beauty. The North East has it’s own charm with various landscapic mountains, monasteries, Buddhist culture and an eye awakening spirituality towards nature and this planet. Then there are the beautiful islands of Lakshwadeep and Andaman and Nicobar which are a place in itself. Secluded from most parts of India they lie within the terrains of water a world within their own these places must not be missed. And last but not least, there’s no place like Goa! If you come to India, Goa is a must visit for….
Of course there are pitfalls when it comes to hygiene, beggars, lots of crowd, the problem of communication at times in certain parts. The potential risk of being duped by locals or overpriced at various destinations are certainly there… But if you are aware and well educated about your destination with some planning and research, yo can get along well with any of those situations. Plus that in itself is an experience for you so to speak. Overall, India tourism is trying to create infrastructure and overall awareness for its tourists and travelers. You’ll find a lot of information on this website and also if you carry the India Travel Guide book, which most tourists and travelers from the world carry with themselves you should be good to go. In most places local authorities, police are quite helpful, sometimes you may have issues with the bureaucratic ways of the cops and local authorities, but if all your paper work is good then mostly there are no worries.
So overall I’d say, India is certainly a good travel destination. One thing I’d recommend to watch before you start your journey to India is an interesting six part documentary series by BBC and Micheal Wood called ‘The Story of India.’
Lastly here are some of the places that I’ve visited and shortlisting them for you to show you what I really mean when I wrote this answer. For the detailed answer refer to this: What are the must-see travel destinations in India? (qr.ae) Would give you quite an answer to your question and my explanation to why India is a good travel destination
P.S If nothing else, there’s the Taj Mahal to come to India for!
What are the Places to travel to?
Trek towards Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Saheb (Glacier may not be always there…)
Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand HImalayas
Paragliding in the Solang Valley
Spiritual Quest at the Dalai Lama Temple in Dharamsala/McLeodganj
Shey Palace in Ladakh
Shanti Stupa in Ladakh
Leh Palace in Leh, Ladakh
Nubra Valley in Ladakh
Disket Temple in Nubra Valley in Ladakh
Ride a Bullet to Khardung La in Ladakh *Highest Motorable road 18380 ft
Alchi Gompa – Oldest Monastery in Leh, Ladakh
Indus River Valley in Ladakh
Pangong Tso Lake across Ladakh and China Border
The serene Om beach in Gokarna
Rameshwaram Temple and it’s 1000 Pillars
Chinese Fishing Nets in Fort. Kochi
Boat to Allepy from Kottayam in Kerala
Buland Darwaaza of Fatehpur Sikri
Hawa Mahal in Jaipur
Jain temples of Jaisalmer
The Vintage car museum in Udaipur
Matri Mandir in Auroville
Pondicherry & Auoroville Beach
The Garden City – Bangalore
Visit the Ruins of Hampi – A must visit if you are a fan of archaeology and historic ancient culture.
Stone Chariot in the Vittala Temple
Hazara Rama Temple – Carvings from 10th-13th century of Rama
Lakshmi Narsimha statue
Lotus Mahal in Zennana Enclosure… Ancient air conditioned palace
Monolithic Bull, carved out of one Stone
Mythical Lions called Yalli inside Krishna Temple
View the Marina Beach Sunrise in Chennai
Conquer the Mahuli fort during rains in Maharashtra – The Sahayadaris
Charminar in Hyderabad
The Buddha Statue in Lumbini Park in Hyderabad on the Husain Sagar lake
Be part of the Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai
Lenayadri Hills in Maharashtra – One of the Ashtavinayaka Temples
Ajanta Ellora Caves in Aurangabad
Badrinath Temple in Uttarakhand
Mana Village and Vasudhara Waterfalls – The last indian Village on Indo Tibet Border
Haridwar for it’s cultural and spiritual expose.
Lakshman Jhoola and the Parmarth Temple in Rishikesh
Well, what can I say about this amazing journey that began with an amazing start… Something like the Amazing Race! I was slated to go on a Friday to Haridwar, via Dehradun express on a train with all my friends. Little did I know that my destiny had something else in mind… As much as I could avoid the whole slurry of a detour, it was something I just couldn’t.
I was all packed for my journey as you read in my previous post. The backpack was ready and I had already taken a rickshaw to go to the railway station and that is when this twist happened…
It all started with a phone call…
“Srinivas, we have been trying to reach you through out the day….”
“Yes? Who’s this?”
“I’m calling from Reliance BIG entertainment… You had auditioned for Fox Travelller’s show right?”
“Oh yeah… I did… ‘This Journey is fun’ I know…
“Well you have been shortlisted in the finals, you need to come tomorrow for an audition…”
Now what do I do? Here I was at the crossroads for between ‘My First Himalayan Expedition’ & ‘A life changing opportunity.’ My train was in an hour from LTT to go to Haridwar. I had already booked my tickets, they were confirmed… for crying out loud…
“Can this happen some other time? Any chance I can come back and give this audtion?”
“Dude, this is a national audition… There’s no way it can happen any other time…” said Afreen, who was handling the production for this show.
That was about it… I had to make a split second decision and tell her what I was going to do. I bought some time and told her to message me the address in any case… I needed some time to make the decision.
What were my options??
1. Go, board the train and set off for my First Himalayan Adventure (Valley of Flowers Trek)
2. Go for the auditions and once it’s done, take a flight to Delhi and catch the same train on Sunday morning to regroup with my friends…
Interestingly option no. 2 gave me enough time to actually catch the same train in Delhi, on the morning… Quite an adrenaline pumping situation and what do you think I decided to do??
Option 2 it was…. I called Afreen back and told her that I’ll make it for the auditions….
But, that was just the beginning of my detour… A story that I’ll remember for life…
Once I finished the auditions, I decided to call up my agent and get me a flight booked to Delhi that night or early in the morning so that I reach Nizamuddin Railway Station by 5.30 AM and catch the same train…. Or so it seemed
That was just not going to happen… I guess… Most of you know Mr. Murphy from the infamous ‘Murphy’s Law’. He was stalking me like crazy… I had just missed one flight by the time I finished my auditions and the one that was available now reached in the morning by 6 am… So there was no way I was going to make it to catch the same train…
Well, that was it then… I finally did board the flight, and thought I’d take a bus from Delhi-Haridwar (Uttarakhand Parivahan)
But wait… there was something I had forgotten…. My other friends @irohan & @vishal_g were still in Delhi and they were going to go to Haridwar via a bus!!! I quickly called em up and rushed in an auto towards Kashmiri Gate and caught up with them at the last minute as their bus was leaving… Finally I managed to get some company at least, before I could reach Haridwar and catch up with all the friends… Rest is history of course.
Quite an exciting start to a journey that was going to be filled with a lot more adventure! What do you think?