All posts filed under: Asia

A Photo Blog from Shanghai

Shanghai was the last leg of my China trip and I was keen to take it bit slow, unwind and reflect after three weeks of hectic travel. One would think that Shanghai is a likely misfit with that objective, and it’s true as well. Shanghai is dazzling and fast and all sorts of electrifying. But I still managed to do my own thing – ate some amazing food, chilled in my AirBnb, visited parks, walked on streets. A more relaxed pace and (mostly) away from the bustle, and I still had a great time. Sharing a photo blog of my days from Shanghai- One of the busiest streets not only in Shanghai but apparently in the world, Nanjing Road is right in the city centre and bustling with shops, food and tourists.  A local hideout, Wei Xiang Zhai was recommended to me by a friend as one of her favorite places to get a bowl of noodles. The lady at the counter seemed surprised on seeing us, I presume not many tourists frequent the place. …

A Foodie’s Love Affair with China

Exploring local food is a part of travelling that I really look forward to, and I always feel intrigued on how food plays such a crucial role in many cultures worldwide. Seemingly mundane matters of what people eat, how they eat it and who they eat it with can shed a lot of insight into history, weather, local produce, traditions and habits. For a foodie, China is definitely out there in terms of quality, complexity, variation and flavor. There are some Chinese dishes that have found popularity globally but that is still a tiny tiny speck of what the cuisine has to offer. Many countries where Chinese food has become popular have adapted the cuisine to suit local palate, to the extent that there is nothing Chinese about it anymore 😉 . In India for example, Chili Chicken is a dish of mass appeal, had as a starter mostly, but ask a Chinese about it and they will draw a complete blank. The food in China is more than fantastic, and I am surprised to …

What to Know Before You Go to China!

It’s a massive understatement to say that I want to go back to China. I am actually DYINGGG to go back to China! I spent three weeks last year and felt that I could barely scratch the surface of this massive, intense and complex country.  Having visited a few other non-English speaking countries was by no means any preparation for the language barrier I experienced in China. I was also fresh off a month of a vegan diet before my trip and was keen to reduce my meat intake but China was definitely not the right country for that resolve. Plus, a lack of access to social media and google proved frustrating on many occasions. BUT, it was still an incredible experience and one that I would jump to do again. I met some amazing people, ate ginormous amounts of food, which was totally unlike the “Chinese food” that I was used to, saw some wonderful towns and cities and experienced the fantastic infrastructure which I would have never believed  possible in a country that …

So long Guangzhou!

I met S outside her apartment building in Guangzhou, where she was waiting to handover the keys to us. I was surprised when she greeted me with the excitement of a long lost friend. We had never met in person, but had had a fleeting interaction on Skype, if I can even call it that. The Mr. had stayed in S’s apartment a few times on previous work trips, and she had expressed an interest in knowing about me. At dinner one evening with S and her husband, she insisted that I be Skyped that very moment. It was a brief call, in between a noisy dinner table full of food at a Cantonese restaurant. I could hardly hear anything, but her enthusiasm was evident even then. She took us to her apartment and showed us around the artistic house, her pride obvious. The cozy two bedroom in a modern sky rise building overlooked the Pearl River and had an airy and comfortable feel. It was probably the most well-kept Airbnb I had ever stayed …

Life lessons from Cambodia

Travel is a great teacher. And I feel that every experience has opened my eyes to some important life lessons, which no classroom education or job could ever teach me. And while one may not necessarily need to travel to realize these life truths, at least for me, the true acceptance of these has happened only through my time on the road. Cambodia is a country that had a profound impact on me for many reasons – its history, people, beauty affected me in good and bad ways both, and below I share some of the lessons I learnt during my time there. Never Generalize I had read a lot about crime in Cambodia and the lack of safety before I visited it, and while I will admit to having certain not so great experiences, I cannot deny that I had many more wonderful ones. Like the Tuk Tuk driver who stopped his dinner midway to drop us to our hotel late into the night. Or the owner of a hotel on Otres beach, who went …

The paradise that is Koh Rong!

There is a certain beauty in wilderness, it is all-consuming, brazen and unapologetic. And for me, no place embodies this spirit better than Koh Rong – a beautiful Cambodian island in the Gulf of Thailand, this place overwhelmed me in more ways than one. When I was planning my itinerary for Cambodia, this island particularly stood out – it seemed so far off, so secluded, so beautiful in pictures and still fairly undiscovered, I just knew that I couldn’t go back without a stop here. The fact that just getting to this place would be fairly time consuming on a 10 day trip wasn’t a deterrent. So I landed in Sihanoukville and an hour’s ferry ride later, I was in Koh Rong. And in spite of all my online research, I just wasn’t prepared for what I saw 🙂 . Clear crystal waters in various shades of blue, an open expanse of a limitless sunny sky, powdery white sands, and that feeling of discovering something that not many have access to. We got off at Tui …

Why I wouldn’t go back to Phnom Penh

The bus ride from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh was fairly uneventful, the so called highway was nothing more than a never ending dusty stretch of land, and by the end of it, we were pretty glad that we hadn’t attempted to drive around on our own. A short Tuk Tuk ride from the bus stand took us to our hotel, The Plantation. I had read rave reviews about this hotel, as one of the best places to stay in this city and I wasn’t disappointed. The hotel is really artistic, the staff is very friendly and helpful, the buffet breakfast is fantastic, and the spa, totally relaxing (we were offered a discount which I obviously availed 😛). But the absolute best part is the huge pool with cabanas along it’s length, where you can relax endlessly with your drinks and books, and when the sun gets too much, just walk down few steps and jump right into the pool! I had two days in Phnom Penh which I spent mostly at the pool and spa in our …

The best eats in Cambodia that you just cannot miss!

Cambodia is a food lover’s paradise, and no matter what part of the country you are in, there is always that café around the corner, that stall on the street and the cool bar in the city center that you are tempted to check out! The variety is immense, the flavors are explosive and the prices, fantastic. Below are my top picks of the most drool worthy dishes, drinks and restaurants that you should definitely try out while you are there – 1. Khmer Fish Amok  This is undoubtedly THE most popular Khmer dish, and you will find it on the menu of every restaurant serving local food. A thick fish curry, steamed in banana leaves, with strongly flavors of coconut and galangal, this dish is to die for. I observed some variations in how this is cooked and served in different places. Though the traditional way is to serve this as a really thick, mouse like fish curry in banana leaves, some places also serve a more runny version in a green coconut shell, accompanied …

Siem Reap Beyond the Angkor Temples – My Top 5 Things To Do !

I was met with confused stares every time I mentioned visiting Cambodia to friends/family/colleagues, most didn’t really know enough about the country but almost everyone mentioned the Angkor Temples in Siem Reap, the prime tourist attraction in Cambodia. And if you are not particularly fond of architecture and monuments (like me), you will be a tad bit concerned with this feedback, wondering if there is anything more to this city than its world renowned sites. I did make it to Siem Reap and am totally glad that I did ! It is a busy, bustling city, full of travelers who throng to see the temples but it does have more to offer than that – an easy, friendly vibe and a mind blowing variety of food, both of which made my experience incredible. Below are my top 5 things to do in Siem Reap – 1. Ride in the Tuk Tuk The tuk tuk is basically a bike to which a carriage/wagon is attached and you will finds loads of these throughout the streets of Siem Reap. These are convenient, airy …