Seven Nations of My Travel

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.

This is one massive structure at Liverpool that reminds us of our minuteness.

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.

Nuwara Eliya, my favourite hill station with awesome tea and natural beauty.

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.

The beach at Pattaya about which you know very well from movies!

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.

Everybody loves Bali, and you will love the place too, once you are there!

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.

TeNy

The Indonesian Saga

Being at Indonesia, especially at the island of Bali is a fantastic memory, something which would stay for a very long time. Before visiting the place itself, we knew that the two things which would rise above others were to be the temples and the natural beauty. The beaches were to be there, and the greenery too. It was just a few days before we planned the journey that there was a fire at the Bali airport, and there was a volcanic eruption just the day before we had the tickets booked. It is the same thing which kept us wondering as we couldn’t find the name Bali on the list of flights – well, the place was named Denpasar, and that was were we had to go in Bali. From the moment our flight landed at the beautiful airport with sea around, we know that there would be a lot to see.

We actually had a very good guide to help us there, and the person named Putra from Pacto was a very understanding person. Everyone around there would ask if we were from Delhi whenever we said that we were from India – maybe because all Keralites are going to Thailand focusing on Pattaya, there are not many people from South India who come that way, except for Hyderabad which a few people knew. Being close to nature, this is the first time I am seeing an active volcano, and also the friendliest beach around – there is also the first sight of terrace farming, and we could also deal with money in lakhs and many thousands – considering the fact that one rupee was two hundred rupiyah. It is one way of becoming a millionaire even though you need to spend thousands to buy anything. There are two sides to a few things, but Indonesia remains a cheaper destination for sure, and Bali proves the same.

One of the two active volcanoes of Bali – the lava flow route can be seen in black.

There is something about the sunsets of Bali – they make you feel immortality.

This marks our first encounter with rain when in Indonesia – the highlands with clouds.

Watching sunrise from a hotel at Semanyak with a cup of tea never gets tiring.

You look at the options you have, with beaches as well as these rocky beaches.

Mountains and lakes will have your attention, as you stop at different places.

More than one happy monkey family will wish to say hi to you from the trees.

This certainly looked like a perfect place for a wedding shoot, but its too late.

The rice terraces of Bali are worth your attention, a closer one, will do more good.

The Kuta beach makes sure that you have a lot to walk around and into the sea.

*All these photos were taken using my Samsung Galaxy J4+ that replaced the Asus Zenfone Max which I used for taking photos in Bangkok and Pattaya.

TeNy

Bali: Land of Temples

Our last journey was to Thailand, focusing on Bangkok and Pattaya, the two cities where almost everyone from Kerala goes these days. Pattaya has been the one place where every Malayali wanted to go, as shown in the movie, Amar Akbar Anthony itself. With Thailand done and Singapore and Malaysia already done in the South East, the next option had to be Indonesia in the South East. There were no direct packages to the other interesting South East Asian nations like Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Burma – there were none for the Himalayan nations of Bhutan and Nepal either, which made Indonesia the right choice, and the packages were all for Bali. Still, the journey was to be done with a stop at Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia – Air Asia, Air Asia X and Malindo Air were the options – the last one had free check-in luggage, in-flight entertainment and food, which made it a fine option while returning, as the luggage would be more on the return flight.

Indonesia feels cheaper than Thailand without doubt, and is simpler, less crowded and closer to nature as far as Bali island is concerned. The spiritual side stays very strong too, with the temples like these. Most of the Indian presence here were from the North, and we rarely saw any Keralite presence here unlike in Pattaya which had Keralites on tour at almost every corner. The temple design here is incredibly beautiful, even though rooted in simplicity. There is the same feeling being reflected with the people here too, ever happy and helpful. Have a look at a few shots of temple which I took using my Samsung Galaxy J4+ which replaced the Asus Zenfone Max which I used for taking photos in Bangkok and Pattaya. There are also the pictures of Bali’s natural beauty, agriculture, beaches, mountains, lakes and volcanoes, but that will be another story.

Tanah Lot – With a temple on the rock, going further into the sea.

These gates of heaven are common entrances to Balinese temples.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is also known as the Lake Temple in short.

Tanah Lot is more than just a rock formation and a temple with its view.

Bali has the charm in its Monkey Temple, forest and sanctuary.

Let the gateway to heaven take you to the same in the beautiful island.

There is no shortage of beautiful temples in the Island of Bali.

You always feel the great need to take a walk towards eternity.

The temples of Bali might be smaller, but the level of beauty goes further.

Most temples seem to lie close to water & well-maintained for sure.

*Please read my review on Avengers: Endgame, the biggest movie of the year. Also read my review on Lucifer, the biggest Malayalam movie release of the year.

TeNy