1. United Kingdom: As I place a quick writing on the seven countries which I have visited in my life, this one basically counts as two nations, as we did visit both England and Scotland. We remember the same from those cricket matches itself. It was also the biggest journey we had, not just with the amount spent for flight as well as the time spent on transit, but also with the world which we had there to witness. From the monuments to writers to those huge church buildings, there were a lot to be witnessed, and the traces of history out there was indeed splendid. You know that there is Canterbury Cathedral, Lake District, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and more, being part of a very long list.
2. Sri Lanka: The Sri Lankan trip happened in the same year as the journey to UK. Both of these trips were actually the result of the inability to go for that Israel-Palestine-Jordan-Egypt trip which was supposed to be the official Holy Land trip. So, we ended up in Ceylon, the world of serenity with tea and Buddhism, even though we were there more for a Ramayana tour rather than anything else. The most beautiful place out there was Nuwara Eliya, a hill station which was indeed the Little England. It was a world which felt closer to Kerala in many ways, especially the nature and the climate prevailing out there. We were very close to going back there again.
3. Thailand: Well, we all know that everyone wishes to go to Pattaya. The Malayalam movie, Amar Akbar Anthony had made it clear already, and there were indeed more Keralites around than people from anywhere else outside that nation. Pattaya is indeed a charming place, a perfect beach-based destination, while Bangkok is the city with the charm. Bangkok Metro also became the third metro I had traveled outside India after London, Singapore and Malaysia, a metro which I traveled in, even before traveling in the Kochi Metro which was already running. The Buddhist temples of the place has the charm too, even though we got to visit only two of them.
4. Indonesia: The trip which followed exactly one year after the journey to Thailand was to Indonesia, or the beautiful island of Bali, to be exact. Visiting the one place in Indonesia which was so popular with its natural beauty, beaches and Hindu temples became the next on the list. It is also that nation where you become a millionaire due to the exchange rate even though the cost doesn’t go down in comparison to India. You have those differently designed temples, the rice terraces, volcanoes and a divergent culture out there. There are places for some nice shopping too, even though we do need a direct flight to Bali rather than being forced to travel through Kuala Lumpur.
5. Singapore: This is a journey which happened much earlier in comparison to those other foreign trips. The trip to Singapore was also our first journey outside India, and it is also the result of a failed plan to travel to the United States which had become very strict with its visa policies after the World Trade Centre attacks. Well, you have Singapore, which has been the cleanest place you could be, as far as Asia is concerned. Being in a place outside the nation, it was a rewarding experience, and it would take another five years to go on a journey like this one, and another eight years for another foreign journey. Well, some years are indeed special in more than one way.
6. Malaysia: While Singapore had its Sentosa Island, Genting Highland make the highlight for Malaysia which was known for its Petronas Towers. We could go to the top of the tower though, as we were restricted to a few levels then. One has to say that Genting is a place of beauty like no other, not just related to nature, but also associated with the attractions which were provided in that particular theme park. We do have the journey on the ropeway, and Kuala Lumpur is a nice city to roam around too. It is to be noted that my first visit to a shopping mall was not in India, but at Singapore and then in Malaysia. We visited Kuala Lumpur airport again during our journey to Indonesia and back.
7. UAE: Almost everyone from Kerala has been to UAE, or rather Dubai in particular. Our visit to Dubai was rather a short stay during the journey to the United Kingdom. Emirates flight made a happy journey, and Dubai indeed has one of the best airports around, even though my personal preference is still the Cochin International Airport. We had to spend a lot of time at the airport, and therefore I could explore the place very well. I can go to Dubai at any moment as there are so many people I know right there, but even so, we are indeed getting delayed. Easiest places to visit are often the most difficult places to reach, just like it has been a while since we wanted to visit our relatives in Bangalore. A detailed note on the place will come soon enough.
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***The images used in blog post were taken by me during these trips between 2005 and 2019.