Category Archives: Road Trip

A Day On The Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Like many others, I began 2020 with grand ideas and plans. One of those plans included visiting Switzerland to ski in Zermatt for my first wedding anniversary.

Then the Coronavirus came through and turned everything upside down.

On the morning of our anniversary, it was a crisp spring day in North Carolina. One of those days where the sun rises but that warmth doesn’t quite touch your skin.

Thankfully the sky was a clear baby blue with puffy white clouds scattered to the horizon.

Instead of waking up with a view of the Matterhorn and skiing for the day, we set out for the Blue Ridge Parkway with a picnic basket full of food and a full tank of gas. We started out just over the Virginia line in Galax and headed south.

Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the most beautiful drives in the USA

Rolling fields – used as farmland for years – lined the Parkway until we got into a more wooded area where walls of rhododendrons grow tall. In the summer these really put on a show with their dark pink flowers against the forest green leaves.

With nowhere to be, we pulled off at each overlook and read the signs that the National Park Service have installed.

You can learn all kinds of cool things like how the National Park Service purchased farmland surrounding the Parkway so they could preserve the look for future generations or areas that are best for viewing birds of prey.

Top 7 Spots on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Linville Falls

A series of waterfalls, the upper and lower, are located a short distance off of the Parkway. It’s an easy hike that’s perfect for kids and families, but be sure to watch your kids near the water.

There are some more strenuous routes if you hike to the lower falls and if you explore more of the Linville Gorge Wilderness there are camping options and hikes for all skill levels.

Doughton Park

With abundant interconnecting trails, Doughton Park is a hidden gem when it comes to hiking or backpacking. The park is skipped over by many for Stone Mountain State Park that is located right next door.

Bluff Mountain Trail

Don’t underestimate the options here. And obviously it is the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic.

The further south we went, the more dramatic the overlook views became with the mountains slowly growing taller around us. Just south of Doughton Park (MP 241.1) we stopped at the Alligator Back Overlook and parking area.

Alligator Back Overlook

The view from the overlook was amazing but the real gem is found when you head up the Bluff Mountain Trail. The sign said a 20-minute walk to Bluff Overlook so we grabbed our backpack with food and water and started off.

It wasn’t long until we were out of breath (or maybe that was just me) because of the steep trail and don’t get me started on the stairs. However, the reward was well worth it. After walking through a heavily wooded area, it was like a movie scene where the characters see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Suddenly we stepped out into that light and were greeted with an incredible view of the beautiful mountain tops sprawling into the distance. You could count the peaks for miles.

This provided a magnificent view but the ground was completely made of stone so not the best picnicking spot. We continued on for about 10 minutes until we made it to a shelter with another fantastic view and the perfect spot to sit for lunch.

View from the picnic spot

The sun was shining down making it much warmer than when we began our journey that morning. My ham & cheese sandwich in hand, I drank in every last drop of Vitamin D and relished the view over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

That heart-pounding hike was more than worth the effort.

As we made our way back down, bellies full, and laughing all the way, it wasn’t hard to realize how lucky we were. Lucky that the Blue Ridge is our backyard playground.

Turns out you don’t have to be in another country to have a proper celebration. You can find adventure right outside your back door.

Rough Ridge

In the shadow of Grandfather Mountain, Rough Ridge can be reached by the Tanwha Trail in a parking area directly off of the Parkway.

Once you reach the top there is a beautiful view of the mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct.

Linn Cove Viaduct

The Linn Cove Viaduct is a long, concrete segmental bridge which snakes around Grandfather Mountain. It was one of the last major construction projects on the Blue Ridge Parkway which runs 469 miles (755 km) linking Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Craggy Gardens

If you love flowers, specifically rhododendrons, then visit here in early June. These beautiful pink blossoms line the hiking trail like you’re in the middle of a romance movie.

Plus it’s an easy one that takes you to breathtaking views. My favorite kind of hike.

Waterrock Knob

At the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway right before you get to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you’ll find the Waterrock Knob hike. These beautiful views are best enjoyed at sunrise or sunset.

View from Plott Balsams Overlook

Travel Tips for Blue Ridge Parkway

Morning fog

Best Time to Visit

The Parkway can be enjoyed during any season. Spring and summer are best for flowers and great hiking weather.

Fall brings beautiful colors that cloak the trees in red, orange, and yellow as far as you can see.

Fall colors view from the Blue Ridge Parkway

In winter the views are even better if that’s possible. Be sure to check the National Park Service Website for road closures as it is commonly closed due to ice, snow, or other safety hazards like landslides and fallen trees.

Where to Stay

Sunset view in Blue Ridge Mountains

There aren’t many hotels close to the Parkway unless you stay in Cherokee or Asheville on the North Carolina section. You will find many adorable cottages and Bed & Breakfasts though.

Airbnb is a great place to find these or you can check out the Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages, Fire Mountain Inn & Cabins, or the Pisgah Inn.

Where to Eat

You’ll have to make a tiny detour into small towns to pick up food for the most part as there aren’t many restaurants directly on the Parkway but Western North Carolina offers some incredible cuisine.

Many of the Inns also have restaurants like Fire Mountain and Pisgah Inn mentioned above. You can also try interesting places like the Gamekeeper which serves items like bison steak and ostrich sausage or Louise’s Rockhouse which sits on the literal corner of three counties.

Speed Limit

In most areas the speed limit is 45mph. In crowded places, it will go down to 35mph and through pedestrian areas, it will be 25mph.


The Blue Ridge Parkway website is incredibly helpful to map out your route and find things to do. The National Park Service also provides great technical information about what is open and the Visitor’s Centers.

Author Bio

Anna is a travel blogger based in North Carolina who helps busy women take advantage of every moment given off work. She loves packing as much as she can into a short itinerary and making the most of any vacation. You can find more of her work at her blog, Stuck On The Go, and follow her journey on Instagram.

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7 of the Most Unique Places to Visit in Australia

Australia is full of exciting things! It’s true, there is nowhere else quite like Australia, the only country that has a whole continent to itself. This amazing country has it all, vibrant cosmopolitan cities, stunning scenery, the crazy outback and more.

But what if you’ve done the traditional stuff and you’re looking for something a little off the wall?

Well, Australia has plenty of that too. Check out one or more of these awesome, unusual, and unique destinations for something
a little different and adventurous! After all, you are in Oz, the Down Under!

1. Coober Pedy

If it’s weird you’re looking for the town of Coober Pedy; don’t worry, it is right up your street. This remote town is located roughly 6-8 hours drive from Port Augusta with almost nothing in between. making it one of the most remote towns in Australia.

Coober Pedy was originally built as a settlement for miners working in the local opal mine. But today it is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations. Blisteringly hot during the day, most of the houses are built underground to shelter from the intense heat.

This gives the town an almost futuristic feel as though you’ve just been transported onto the set of the latest Star Wars movie.

If that’s not enough, there is also a golf course, although it’s not like any golf course you’ve seen before. There is no grass and it can only be played at night when it’s cool enough.

Fun Fact: There are other weird things to see here too. As you enter the town you’ll pass a soul tree made from scrap metal, there’s a house in town decorated in women’s underwear and the world’s only underground gaming room is also located here.

The land surrounding the settlement is also pretty unique.

An hour’s drive away is the dystopian landscape of Moon Plains which was used in the films Mad Max 3 and Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

2. Devils Marbles

The Devils Marbles are certainly one of the strangest things to see in the Northern Territories. Essentially they are just a pile of rocks stacked on top of each other in the desert. But they are not man-made, they were formed by millions of years of wind erosion to form a unique piece of natural sculpture.

The Devils Marbles are conveniently located close to Darwin, making them the perfect stopping off point if you are heading from Alice Springs to Darwin or Adelaide to Darwin.

The best time to visit is sunset when you’ll capture some truly breathtaking photos as the stones change color in the setting sun.

3. Great Ocean Road

Well, not really a hidden gem (since it’s popular all over the world) but is it unique? Definitely so.

The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s great scenic drives. Not just that, it’s a major coastal highway in the South West Coast region of Victoria, Australia.

Note that none of the other states of Australia do not have their coastal roads as well situated as this one – with either the views, the access, or the length and variety of environments.

To travel from Melbourne along this route is an experience that has a lasting impact on most travelers.

4. Squeaky Beach

Located in Victoria, Wilson’s Promontory National Park is home to Squeaky Beach. As its name would suggest, is a sandy beach which squeaks underfoot. Think about that! Or better yet, close your eyes and imagine!

The unique sound is created by rounded grains of quartz in the sand which makes a squeaking sound when they rub together. Walking on the beach is a truly unique experience and one you won’t be able to recreate anywhere else.

Squeaky Beach is located in Victoria around 3 hrs drive from Melbourne.

It is best to visit by car because there are no direct train or bus services. However, you could take the train from Melbourne to Morwell and then grab a taxi to Squeaky Beach. The journey should take no more than 3.5 hrs.

5. Uluru and Kata Tjuta

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a park in the southern portion of the Northern Territory of Australia, part of the so-called Red Centre of the continent. The National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage area. It is best known for Uluru, a single massive rock formation, and also for Kata Tjuta (“the Olgas”), a range of rock domes.

Note: Visitors should note that the National Park contains both the Uluru Rock and Kata Tjuta. The park closes at night has few services and no accommodation or camping. Yulara is the resort town that contains all the services for the area.

Uluru and Kata Tjuta are considered sacred places by the Aboriginies. The land is owned by the Anangu, leased by the government, and jointly managed by the Anangu tribe and the Australian parks and management services.

Visitors will notice efforts throughout the area to include and encourage respect for the Anangu perspective on the land.

Much of Kata Tjuta is off-limits, for example, and climbing Uluru is strongly discouraged by sign-posts. Also, please note that climbing Uluru will be no longer allowed from October 2019.

6. Hahndorf

Hahndorf is a little piece of Germany in the Adelaide Hills. Founded by German immigrants in 1839 the town looks and feels like a traditional German settlement transplanted from Bavaria.

There are German cafes serving traditional German food, the main street is lined with German-themed shops and you can even sample some locally produced Riesling.

Hahndorf is pretty unique and not all that well known, so you will surely have some stories to tell when you get back home. The town is located just a short distance from Adelaide along the Metro 864 bus route.

The local light rail system also passes through the town so unlike the other attractions on this list, it’s pretty easy to get to.

7. The Pinnacles

Located in the Nambung National Park; the Pinnacles were virtually unknown until 1967 but are one of Western Australia’s most visited attractions today. Formed by the fragments of seashells millions of years ago, there is still some debate about how these natural rock creations came to be located here.

Getting to the Pinnacles is pretty easy, they are located approximately 2.5 hrs drive from Perth along the beautiful Indian Ocean Drive. The nearest town is Cervantes which is famous for its delicious lobster and seafood dishes making it the perfect place to stop for lunch.

The best time to visit is between July and October when you’ll get to enjoy the local landscape filled with the blooms of spring.


So if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, these can be few of the unique places to visit (other than the Sydney region and the Great Barrier Reef), which everyone goes to (and you should too).

What we are trying to say is Australia has no shortage of unique and other-worldly spots. But a quick word of warning, venturing into the bush is not for the fainthearted, so it is wise to ensure you have an adequate travel insurance policy in place before you set off.

A good travel insurance will not only provide cover if one of your party becomes sick or injured but it will also cover your rental vehicle excess. When traveling internationally, having travel insurance will allow you to enjoy your holiday without having to worry about any unforeseen bills.

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6 Most Impressive Roadways in Europe

Driving, windows down, music playing, nothing but the open road ahead; what else will you feel besides freedom? Traveling by car can be a wonderful and insightful experience.

Whether is it high rises or a natural vista, this method of transportation allows you to savor the scenery. People from all over the world take to the roads in search of a unique and liberating experience.

Read Next: 250 Greatest Travel Quotes to Inspire Your Wanderlust

Impressive Roadways in Europe

Today, we will discuss the 6 most impressive roadways in entire Europe. Each one of them makes for an epic road trip!


This roadway begins in Oberes Nassfeld and ends in Kaiser Franz Josefs Hohe. There is nothing you will miss while on this road trip. You will go from dark tunnels to sunny meadows. Plus, the winding road will take you through the mighty mountainside. Finally, you will reach the winter landscape.

The Grossglockner, the namesake of this route, is the highest peak in the Austrian Alps. The name befits the roadway since this trip will have you weaving in and out of the looming mountains. Furthermore, there are lovely stops along the way.

You can visit the Nature’s museum. This museum specializes in all substances of modern ecology. Lastly, the breathtaking view of Pasterze Glacier at the end of your trip will be magnificent.

Related: Roadtrips Safety Tips That Could Save Your Life


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This road route connects two municipalities, Eide and Averoy. The roadway is eight kilometers long and passes through an archipelago including several small islands. The road has eight bridges that connect the islands.

The primary feature that attracts ‘roadies’ is the highest bridge, Storseisundet. When the wind is wild, you will love driving across this bridge. The turns in the bridge are breathtaking and exhilarating.

Furthermore, the stunning view of the mountains emerging from the sea will leave you in awe. In addition, the Atlantic road is toll-free!


Image Credit

This was one of the earliest roads built by road enthusiasts. Just as the car was starting to rise in prominence, this road was being built. The Touring Club at the time decided to make a route that would connect all the Alpine passes.

Consequently, you will find sixteen passes while you drive along this road. Along the way, you can stop and visit Ecrins, Queyras, Mercantour, and Vanoise national parks. The scenic beauty of Geneva Lake is worth the detour.

Also, you can satisfy your hunger with delicious food found while on the road.


Dracula’s country attracts all kinds of tourists. The mystery and myths surrounding Romania make it an ideal location for a road trip. Discovering the legends of Romania will be an exotic journey.

The trip will lead you to Poienari Fortress. The intimidating fortress is the inspiration behind many myths. Specifically, many Vampire legends originated in this area.

Furthermore, the Transfagarasan tears its way through the Fagaras Mountains, which are the highest mountain in the country and the Carpathian Mountain Range. The Carpathian scenery has a raw beauty. Plus, adventure lovers can ride mountain bikes throughout the range.


Image Credit

This 200-kilometer long route has all you could ever want. It will take you on a ride along the Iveragh Peninsula. Consequently, you will see the deep valleys and high mountains along the coastline.

The slopes give in to sharp cliffs that look over the coastlines, which. Plus, you can stop at the white sand beaches along the way to relax.

Sneem is a small village near the roadway. Cute renovated thatch-roofed houses characterize this charming village. Plus, this village would be a great place to stop and rest on your journey. In addition, there are many other attractive spots along the roadway.

For example, Blue Pool Nature Reserve, Rossbeigh Beach, and Torc Waterfall are natural beauties you cannot miss. Lastly, Ross Castle and the Stone Circles are architectural wonders to behold.


The Romantic Road is named so because it is an embodiment of romance. The roadway was built around 1950, since then it has inspired many young couples in love. If you are traveling with your partner, this trip is perfect for you.

The trip will take you through medieval villages and across magnificent fairy-tail castles. Plus, the road will lead you to Schwerin Castle, which resides on an island.

The Romantic Road will surely bring out the romantic in you. Rustic landscape and baroque castles make for an incredible journey.

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The 6 Day Road Trip Through New South Wales, Australia

There are limitless things to do in New South Wales, Australia but there’s just nothing quite like a good old road trip.

It’s my favorite way to explore literally anywhere, and of course I couldn’t do it without my supremely comfortable seat covers.

Road Trip Through New South Wales

When figuring out my next road trip, I stumbled across the Grand Pacific Ride, which is a bunch of connecting highways and roads along the NSW coast.

While the entire drive is only 140 kilometers, it’s the perfect gateway to NSW with plenty of optional detours and stops.

I somehow ended up using six days for this short but sweet drive, and wouldn’t have it any other way. Read on to find out exactly why this road trip along the coast is one you’ll never forget.

Days 1-2

The start of the Grand Pacific Drive is less than an hour from Sydney, which made it incredibly easy to start the road trip (you could easily land in Sydney and rent a car to get your own road trip started).

Right away, you’re hit face-first with the beauty of the Royal National Park, which is where the Grand Pacific Drive starts. This park (the second oldest national park in the world) is well worth a leisurely stop, either to check out some of the insanely beautiful, untamed beaches like Wattamola Beach or the surfing paradise Garie Beach.

I made time for a quick hike along the coastal track from Bundeena to Otford, and was rewarded for my efforts with incredible views of migrating whales that were cruising along the Humpback highway.

If you’re feeling more ambitious, you could take on the Curra Moors Loop Track, which several hikers told me about while raving about the coastal views and Curracurrong Waterfall, but this 5-hour hike is not for the faint of heart.

I took a night to camp here, because I just couldn’t quite bring myself to leave. I kicked it old-school with a canvas tent in the Bonnie Vale campground, but you could also opt for a more luxurious cottage.

Days 3-4

After the Royal National Park, you immediately segway into stunning coastal views. Make sure you hit up the lookout point Bald Hill for south-facing views of beaches while eating an ice cream cone!

After that break, you’re going to want to leisurely drive for the next hour and take in some pretty incredible views and charming little villages where an overnight stay is simply delightful.

I personally recommend renting an apartment for a day or two to really soak up the vibe of the villages like Thirroul. Make sure you see the famous Sea Cliff Bridge, because it’s absolutely all it’s cracked up to be.

Days 4-6

Your next big stop is the city of Wollongong, famous for its beautiful beaches and lighthouse. Wollongong is huge and full of fun things to do, so I stopped here for two nights and took full advantage.

I hit up the Jamberoo theme park, the Symbio wildlife park for some exotic animals, and took surfing lessons (while failing miserably, I might add).

After Wollongong, there’s two different detour options that you can choose from; Mount Keira Lookout is stunning, but visiting the buddhist Nan Tien Temple was otherworldly for me and well worth the extra few hours.

After another hour or two of driving, you’ll come across the volcanic Cathedral Rocks which are a fascinating and mesmerizing formation of rocks worth stopping for a few pictures.

Kiama was my last stop and overnight stay, and it was both a lively and relaxed town that’s exactly what you picture when you think of coastal towns. Make sure you stop at the Blowhole (don’t worry, it’s completely family friendly) and the seaside markets for some souvenirs.

After Kiama, it’s smooth cruising through picturesque beach towns and Shoalhaven Heads to the drive’s bittersweet end at the town of Nowra. But don’t worry, you can luckily console yourself with the wine from delicious local wineries—trust me, it helps.

Author Bio

Eva is a musician and traveler, who’s highly enthusiast of anything withwheels. She has a passion about cars and writing, which sprung from her ability to create music. A bit of a stretch, yes, but it plays out for her as mycustomcar Content Editor. Follow her on twitter.

6 Road Trip Safety Tips That Could Save Your Life

Going on a road trip solo or with friends and family is always exciting. The thought of reaching your destination, spending time during a road trip with your favorite people, driving fast on not-so-busy highways while listening and singing along to your favorite songs are some of the things that make road trip unforgettable.

The journey is always fun if you are well prepared for it. But, oftentimes, in the excitement of the trip, there are some basic things we tend to forget.

In this blog, we want to cover a few basics which will double your joy and hopefully might even save your or someone’s life someday!

Road Trip Safety Tips

Well, we’re not talking about your iPhone charger (can you really forget that?) or earphones but something much more important. While cars and roads are safer now than before, you can’t afford to take chances on yourself and your loved one’s lives.

Too often, simple precautions get forgotten in the midst of all the excitement and delight of hitting the road. Below are the six tips on how to make your road trip safer and more fun having the extra peace of mind that comes with being totally prepared for anything.

Carry a Fully Stocked Emergency Kit


It’s always good to hope for the best, but it’s even better to prepare for the worse just in case. The first thing that should go in your car should be an emergency kit that stocked with items that can be helpful in case of an emergency. It should include:

  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Water bottles
  • Mobile Charger
  • Clean blanket
  • Emergency contact names & numbers – this is critical

You should also include car-specific items in case your car develops issues on the trip like triangle reflectors, some coolant, jumper cables, and an adjustable wrench.

We advise keeping all the emergency items in one place, preferably a tote bag or box, so that you can quickly get everything you need during an emergency.

Read Next: Beach Safety Tips, Ocean and Swimming Safety Tips

Learn Basic Car Maintenance Skills

If you are heading to a place you’ve never visited before, it is best if you can be fully self-sufficient with everything, from road navigation to vehicle maintenance.

You don’t want to start looking for a mechanic in the middle of the woods when your car busts a tire. As such, a week before leaving familiarize yourself with DIY car maintenance procedures like removing and changing tires, checking and adding pressure and changing antifreeze and coolant.

Learning to do these things with boost your confidence, eliminate worries and let you enjoy your trip.

Related: 9 Tips to Prepare for a Long Motorcycle Roadtrip

Keep the Music Low


You may find putting your favorite Drake song on full blast as you drive home from a long day at work quite therapeutic. There would be little to no impact on your driving. But that’s probably because your mind and body are used to taking the same road home every day.

On a new road, however, you need to be as keen and focused as possible on what’s happening in the front, sideways and at your back.

You might not be able to swerve fast enough to avoid an oncoming truck if you’re too busy having your own version of Carpool Karaoke.

Map & Load Your Route Beforehand


Get acquainted with the routes to your destination a few days before the trip, even if you’re not the driver. Additionally, check the weather and traffic forecasts on all roads you plan on using and plan accordingly.

Share your route information with a close family member who will be left behind and keep them updated on your progress. In case you suddenly go off-grid, they’ll know where to look.

Service Your Car Before You Go

The last thing you want to do is go on a trip hundreds of miles away from home with a faulty vehicle. Apart from subsequent repairs being expensive as hell, a defective car on a long journey is an accident waiting to happen.

Do a full checkup and service before you get on with your journey, replacing everything likely to break down within a month’s time. It is also good to carry spare parts like wheels and windscreens.

A Good Night’s Sleep Goes a Long Way

As mentioned several times above, going on a trip on unfamiliar roads requires loads of concentration and alertness to avoid accidents and nasty road experiences altogether.

Thus, the driver (and the co-driver) need to sleep for at least 8 hours before departure to ensure that they are on high alert and fresh during the trip.

Apart from sleep, resting also does wonders to one’s concentration and instinctual reactions. You might want to skip leg day if it falls a day before you’re set to be the designated driver.

Also, do we really need to stress the importance of being entirely sober before and during a trip?


Traveling is fun, exhilarating and eye-opening, more so when it’s with a bunch of friends or family. Nonetheless, a little caution goes a long way to making sure you all come back in one piece.

We hope that you’ve learned something about Road Trip Safety from this article and that you have a safe and fun road trip to wherever you’re planning to visit.

Feel free to also share your personal tips with our readers, congratulate us on a good job or just drop some words of wisdom in the comments below. Cheers!

Author Bio

Scott Pine is a team-building coach in the social marketing sphere, expert in a life insurance company, traveler and car lover. Scott also works on several own projects, including AutoExpertGuides. Follow him on Twitter.

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Dalhousie to Amritsar Roadtrip via Chamba

The distance between Amritsar and Dalhousie is almost 180 km. The best way to travel between Amritsar and Dalhousie is to take a train from Amritsar to Pathankot (both cities are in Punjab), and then take a bus or rent a taxi.

In our case, we drove the entire way. Road condition is usually good except for a few patches at times and overall it was a great experience.

Related: Delhi to Amritsar Road Trip 

Dalhousie to Amritsar Roadtrip

The drive is very scenic. Here are few photos from the Chamba region (in Himachal Pradesh). The main goal however for us was to reach Amritsar before noon.

Pic credit: SuyanRamesh

Pic credit: Vjdchauhan

Arriving In Amritsar

We had our lunch at a proper Dhaba in Amritsar, and finally I tried the much hyped lassi. And bammm! It was on my face! I loved it. And the summer heat made it feel like ambrosia. We made it straight towards the famous Golden Temple.

Jallianwala Bagh

You can visit both places on the same day as Jallianwala Bagh and Golden temple are both side by side.

Mass Murder at Jaliianwala

Jaliianwala is a place where many Sikhs had gathered to protest against the British during the British Raj. And then happened the merciless incident, when the silent protesters were fired on by the British troops.

All the gates of the garden were blocked. So the people had nowhere to go. Many tried climbing the walls, and many jumped straight into the well. Terrible!

Jallianwala Bagh is a place which lights patriotism in any Indian, and mercy in any human. Walking inside the Bagh, I saw the walls, where the bullets had hit.

The holes on the wall tell a story of how ruthlessly the forces tried to overpower the peaceful protesters.

Inside the park, the Martyrs well is a place where 120 bodies were found. You can look below and feel the helplessness of the people who jumped into the well to escape from the gunshots.

The panicked protesters couldn’t do anything than run away. There is also a museum nearby which gives you the history of the Indian freedom struggle.

Golden Temple

Just a few steps away from the Jaliianwala Bagh is the Golden temple. You can see the Golden temple shining in the sun from afar. We all walked into the temple. And as soon as you enter you will have to submit your shoes at a counter. It is a holy place, and a temple, so opening the shoes is an important part of the tradition.

Once you submit your shoes you will have to walk on the marble floor in the heat. But the Sikhs are so caring and full of concern, they know the trouble you face.

Hence you can see carpets laid out on the floor. And they are not the normal carpets, they are the wet carpets. They pour water over the carpets, so that it does not hurt the feet.

I had never encountered this level of mindfulness and it made me grateful.

We made our way throughout the temple, and I stood near the pond, where you could wash your hands and feet. It is supposed to be holy.

The water seemed tempting, so I went into the water. But a man soon came by and warned away all the devotees who were in the water because there were fishes swimming on the edges.

I stayed there long enough to wash off my hands and feet, and say a prayer. It was already time for lunch and the sweating made me hungrier.

Ravi who had been to the temple more than once led us to the place where the langar is served. But before that let me tell you what a langar is.

Golden Temple has one of India’s mega kitchen, it serves thousands of people food everyday as a form of charity. Many people volunteer to help, and help with cooking, serving and cleaning.

My father – who is always concerned I go around traveling was the one who recommended we surely have the langar. So, Papa’s word taken, we sat in the lines of hundreds. 

In Langar, they served us Roti made of corn, curry made from gram seeds, a form of sherbet, and kheer as a desert. I shoved the food down my throat like an animal (do not judge me as I was very hungry.)

I must say  the best lunch ever. Kindness and generosity do fill your stomach.

Wagah Border

Tummies full, and soul sated. We were bound to Attari- Wagah Border. It is the most controversial place you can be in India other than Kashmir. It is the border between India and Pakistan, and that is the closest I have been to Pakistan.

We reached there at 3 in the afternoon , the sun did not take it easy and kept blazing over our heads. We were led by a soldier to the entrance, he was graceful enough to help us out.

And then we had to stand in line for the security process. Ravi knew all the places like the back of his hand, so he advised us not to take any purses with us, just our phones.

After the security process, we lost each other. We sat in different groups all around the place. But it did not matter because the enormity of the moment outweighed it all.

I was about to witness the full on India VS Pakistan live. The program here lasts for exactly an hour and starts 4:30 in winters and 5 in summers.

Exactly at five, we met our host. He had a charismatic personality and did not need a knife. His expression were enough to make the audience cheer. The ceremony has a specific order as it is a face off between two arch enemies.

Dance was the first one, we were to dance and cheer long enough to beat the Pakistanis out on the other side of the border. It was a friendly rivalry but I couldn’t feel any less patriotic.

After all the cheering and dancing, it was time to get back to business. Woman soldiers led our troops to the gate, and when the gate between India and Pakistan was finally open everybody was up, no single one sat.

Then, the two sides started showing off their strength by parade. It was the kind you can’t put to words, you have to be there to experience it. As the face off continued, the flags of both countries were slowly taken down.

It was the crowning glory of the ceremony. Personally I could not take my eyes of the soldiers of BSF in all their sturdy uniform, I had huge women crushes that day with the female ones.

Visiting Wagah border made me realize how tough these humans actually are, standing day and night in the sun, guarding the borders, going to war. A huge salute to all the soldiers!

The return journey to Delhi filled me with a bitter-sweet feeling, I didn’t want to stop traveling but I had to be home for my parent’s anniversary.

As the Punjabi songs played in the background of the car, I couldn’t help but smile. These songs will always remind of the places I went to, so I downloaded all of them.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation in Dalhousie

Dalhousie – a little Britain inside India. That was my first impression of it. I have never been to the UK, so my impression was based on the books, movies, and stories about England and the English culture.

But whatever it may be, I fell in love with Dalhousie instantly. This place is somewhere I would like to come again and again, or maybe settle down. You can see plant pots on both sides of the road, and they give me the hanging garden feels.

Summer Vacation in Dalhousie

I know I have been raving about my hotel rooms throughout this long summer road trip, but Dalhousie tops them all.

Lucky me, I got the view, the room, the staff and the food – all the boxes ticked. I got a place to rest, where I could finally feel like home.

Khajjiar, Himachal Pradesh

On our first day, I gave every detail to my appearance. I thought we will just be doing some local sightseeing so I dressed well. But damn my luck!

We came across a point where we could do paragliding. And I wasn’t dressed for this adventure as I had my bellies on not sports shoes. I had paragliding on the bucket list for so long, and when I got the chance I jumped at the opportunity, damn the shoes.

Well and let me say that nobody in my group was up for it, so I had to go for it alone. Lucky me! That is what it thought until I had to raid the mountain range and its caveman ways to get to the peak of the mountain.

I have zero experience whatsoever in hiking, so when I had to do it I felt so out of breath, and my blocked nose and cold-stricken lungs didn’t help either.

Half the way through I thought I was going to die, I could feel the blood in my throat from all the coughing I was doing. I don’t want to go philosophical on it or anything, but that moment I realized I either go up or keep sitting here because no one is going to pick me up.

I scaled to the tip and finally got there. Water up there is gold, and you will definitely need a bottle after the strenuous hike.

As I had no experience of paragliding so I got myself a cool pilot. He buckled all the necessary straps, pulled some ropes, and let the parachute open. I had to run from the peak and jump off the cliff, and pray that I don’t fall.

Khajjiar Lake, Himachal Pradesh

I had never been so excited in my life. All my previous complaints and bodily ailments vanished. And even though I have acrophobia, I wasn’t feeling it. I ran as if I was running for my life and jumped straight off.

And whoa! It was exhilarating. I could see the trees below, the river, the tiny dots called houses and the field where my gang was waiting for me to be done flying and come to them.

It was all good till my pilot adjusted the sails (in sailor’s tongue) and we were gliding. I wasn’t just going forward, I was twisting and turning along with the wind. That is the thrill of paragliding. And this too, I would definitely want to do again.

We flew for about ten minutes and made it towards the land. Just when we were about to land my pilot commanded “Legs up!”, and in that way, I landed like a pro. I hadn’t expected that I thought I would get stuck somewhere in the bushes, and tear my pants.


The strenuous hike and the aerial changes made my body feel sick, I got a serious headache. And did not want to do anything but sleep. So I thought I could skip the zoo/sanctuary while my friends go and visit.

I have been to my fair share of zoos and seen many species, so it did not interest me. While I took the power nap in the car I thought maybe I will miss out on the exotic species they are going to see, but as it seems this sanctuary had very few animals.

It is just a stretch of a jungle on the mountains where you see bears if you travel at night.

Credit: Pushyamitra Navare

St. Francis Church

Getting back to my hotel room was all the comfort I needed. And my power nap turned into a powerful sleep. I woke up reinvigorated and wanted to check out the St. Francis Church which was near my hotel.

I dressed up for the cold and visited St. Francis church. It has got a lovely entrance, there was various station along the stone paved way to the church depicting the crucifixion of Jesus.

I adored all the sculptures here. There is a myth that you can ask three wishes the first time you visit a church. I don’t believe in it, but there is no problem in giving it a try.

Once I returned to my room, I just sat in the balcony and had a drink looking over the sight of sleeping Dalhousie.

Early in the morning, we started loading our car with the luggage. We were done with the mountains now, and it was time to head out into the summer sun. I really wanted to stay back and enjoy Dalhousie some more, but that did not happen.

Driving up the mountains was good because many of us slept through it, but descending made it difficult.

Image Credit:  Piyush Tripathi

Two of my friends got sick, and one of my friend being a true gentleman, picked up mangoes from a tree on our way and asked everyone to take bites of the mango.

We continued our journey to Amritsar via Chamba (the hilly mountainous terrain) and Pathankot. Continue reading my travel diary in the next chapter “Dalhousie to Amritsar Roadtrip via Chamba.”

Cover Photo Credit:  Piyush Tripathi

How I Spent My Summer Vacation in Dharamsala

After a well satisfying day at Manali, we now headed to Dharamsala via Kullu.

Visiting Hill stations? Then you got to keep in mind to bring a lot of clothes, and make no point to washing it because they don’t dry. That day I made a stupid mistake which I would like you guys to learn from.


We took a stop in Kullu, named the Himachal Pradesh tourism and rafting point.. And We jumped at the chance we got at rafting here. We were in a group, and the best thing you can do in a gang is rafting.

I had never done it before. We were told by our guide to get rid of our sweaters, and he even said to remove my glasses. But I said I am practically blind without it so, he understood my trouble. The instructors made sure we wore the life jackets properly. We agreed to do a 14 Km long rafting.

Once we were in the boat we floated. My excitement knew no bounds. But the fact that I lack one of the important life skills- swimming, made me afraid too. I sat right in the front. And the ones in the edges took the paddles. We were taught when to do the front and back paddle, and when to get down. I sat on the front like a wall, that is what I thought.

The stretch of water started, and it was quiet for a while. But then we starting singing like a bunch of loonies, we were stoked. The swell of the waves started getting bigger and we paddled, forward backward, anything that took us ahead, we came to a point just under a bridge. Right at that moment a row of army trucks went over, and they waves at us. I just died right then.

After some time we started seeing other rafting crews coming from other directions, we waved them high, and bumped into them in a friendly way. There came the highest point of wave when the river Padmini and Beas met. We just sat and waited for our instructor’s command, he told me to get down on the front of the boat. And I just did that. Then came the moment of crowning glory,  when we bumped hard into the waves. And I got drenched. The waves carried away our laughter. We even got into the water, it was 50 ft deep, I didn’t know and it was freezing.

We had it all recorded in Gopro, so we were excited to have the videos with us. But sadly and by the bad stroke of luck, the card got corrupted and we lost our file. Videos or no videos, we at least had the experience of a lifetime. I will never forget how my buddy Kartik used his paddle to throw water at me, and I did something spontaneous- I spit the water right on his face. It was juvenile, but so much fun! I am definitely doing the rafting thingy again, I don’t care that I don’t know swimming, gonna try it anyway.

Changing out of the wet clothes is a tricky thing to do. My finger hurt just doing that. And yes, protect your hair,  depending on the minerals in water so make sure you put your hair inside the hat they provide. Not like stupid me, letting it down.

The rest of the day we did nothing than travel, and it did not feel like I had come to a hill station because wow, it was hot. It took us around 6 hours to reach Dharamsala. And it was a relief to see a cloudy weather.

I can’t put into words how these quaint towns affected me. Just driving through them gave me a feeling that I was Alice in Wonderland. Palampur was the best town I saw on my way. It defines the word Sustainable development to a T.


Like Manali, our hotel in Dharamsala was also located in a scenic place, just on the foothills of mountain. We agreed that after we freshen up we will go exploring. So, we set out just to  stroll around the locality.

The town was quiet, and the locals looked at us like we had two heads. We were wearing jackets, when they weren’t, that must look weird.

Coming from a place where we do not get to eat authentic chineese food, we wanted to taste chowmein, and Viola we spotted a local shop which prepared it. We sat there watching the IPL, it was a CSK match, so yay!

We had to wait an hour to get the stuff our dreams, and when they served us up we wolfed down the plates. It was a homey li’l shack cum shop. So we relaxed there. And my friend Kartik had a crush on the waitress, that made us stay longer than wanted.

Our way back seemed to have perfect timing. Just when we had reached the look-alike of Big Ben, it was 9. And the clock chimed , I couldn’t have been happier. We heard the bell going on, and strolled back to our hotel. The road was empty and that was when I felt best.

The scorching hot weather did nothing more to lessen the humidity. We checked out of our hotel and planned on doing a roadtrip to Dalhousie. But first we would visit few places around Dharamsala.

Things to do in Dharamsala


We headed out to visit the HPCA Cricket stadium in Dharamsala. It it here where many of the IPL Matches were held, that made it all the more exciting. We paid the entrance fees and made our way inside the stadium. And I will say I have never seen grass as green as I saw inside the stadium. It had the view of the mountain from anywhere in the stadium, so that is a plus point. We also watched a few kids who practised cricket there, and there wasn’t anything much to do so we headed back to our car.


No, this is not the Dal lake you see in pictures, this is not the one in Srinagar. But this is the Naddi AKA the Dal lake. It is just like a park where you can stroll and sit. We found a bunch of guys playing cards there. But my attraction there was a group of kids, there were so adorable to look at. I even tried talking to one but most of them did not understand Hindi and were speaking in their local language.


Another Big No- No to this as well. You won’t believe the rush which seems to fill the streets of Dharamsala near the Ban Jhakri waterfalls. We walked and walked to beat the traffic still we could not see the waterfall in sight, we even visited the shiv temple on the way but still no sign of it.

But we did see a pool like thing where you can dip yourself and be cool. In the summer heat it was so tempting. Once we were halfway we got the sight of the waterfalls and another temple near it, and that waterfall was not a waterfall, but in the summers was reduced to a thread of water. Our Ban Jhakhri rendezvous ended up being a shopping delight as we shopped in the thrift stores. We bought some really good bohemia jewellery and jackets.


By this time I was so disappointed in Dharamsala because it was so loud and noisy, and of course we travelers are to blame. It was Sunday and we really wanted to go to the church. And no matter what a Neo-Gothic church never disappoints. I had read a lot about St John’s in Wilderness because its name intrigued me. We walked into it and I was so glad to know that it was also a CNI church, a church wing of which I am also a part of. I even met someone local from my hometown there. The world indeed is a small place.

St John’s in Wilderness is a very old church, built during the time of British Raj. You can learn the truth of its antiquity by the gravestones and epitaph which line the cemetery of the church. I loved dating back the graves and the oldest was from 1822, about two centuries back! Can you believe it. I just did not want to get away from there, but I had a breakfast to catch. Just in front of the church we found a stall serving mini-burger, how were they?  yummy let me tell you.


Our last stop before we made our way to Dalhousie was the Monastery. Due to the traffic we had to walk a long way to the Monastery, but it was worth it. If like me, you are fascinated by Buddhism, you need to see this place. On the entrance you will find two boards depicting the story of the youngest political refugee. Make a point of reading it, because it is interesting.

And before you enter the temple, do not miss the museum. It has got all you need to know about the chinese invasion of Tibet. The heart breaking story is portrayed along with the real pictures of the events. The Namgyal Monastery is a place where lot of the devotees sit and chant, you can sit if you want to. But the amount of tourists bustling made me think that we were intruding their privacy and I really did not want to do that. They were serving food, which if you wanted you could have.

And on we sat inside our cars and made our way through the rocky terrain, it was so hot, and the sun shone right on our faces, and at that altitude it is scary. I commend Ravi, our designated driver who braved all the odds to drive us home safely.

The road to Dalhousie is the prettiest one I have seen, there is no place near the road where you wouldn’t find wildflowers, and there is no way the sunshine can penetrate through the thick canopy. Dalhousie was far cooler, and we had to wear our sweaters again to keep ourselves warm.

How I spent My Summer Vacation In Manali

Summers in India can be grueling. That is what pushes me every year to visit a hill station – to cool off. This year, I chose not to go alone but in a group. I didn’t know any of my crew initially, but once we decided on the trip, everyone was in.

As we were doing a group tour, we thought it would be better to have a long train journey in order to get to know each other. And so it began the mega journey of 2018.


Amidst all the shouts and bustle of the train, we managed to bring life to the train. Innumerable rounds of antakshari (it is a game where you can sing songs ), and playing Buff as well as UNO, we finally reached New Delhi.

We had to ride from the Nizamuddin station to Manali overnight, which is about 500 km.


We all were tired beyond belief, and it took us more than 3 hours just to get out of Delhi region. Once we made it close enough to Chandigarh we liked to stop at Dhabas which is a specialty of this region.

The Pahalwan Dhaba is famous, but foolish me and my sister we made it to Baskin and Robbins to have some ice-cream rather than having the typical Haryanvi lassi.

Later we just stopped at another Dhaba where we had some tea, and as you can see clicked some shitty pictures. I love driving out into the night, but it was a risky thing we were doing because the road from Chandigarh to Manali is hilly and the terrain is difficult.

That too we had only one designated driver who had been driving for hours. My main goal was not to let him doze off. So off went into the night.


I have been to hilly areas but is not any area have I seen such fast driving, because people value their lives there. Yet on my road to Manali, I thought it is gonna be my last night the way Ravi- our chauffeur was driving. We even had to wait at many stops just to take a break and free ourselves from the muscle cramps.

My best moment was when we just waited at a place for coffee at around 3 in the morning, we were already up in the hills. It was cold and I had to light a cigarette and share it with my friends so we get to keep ourselves warm.

Just sitting there in the night with the cold mountain wind blowing and burning off the cigarette was a moment I am unlikely to forget anytime soon.

I did not sleep a wink throughout the ride, I used to bump Ravi’s shoulder to let him know that he was sleeping. But finally watching the first rays of sunlight filtering through the mountains gave me a giddy excitement which I hadn’t gotten in a long time.

Two days of long journey, and a sleepless night, and I was at Hanogi. This shaky bridge would give anyone a heart attack. The wind was loud above the Beas River, and my one step there make it shake. Goosebumps!


It took another two and a half hours to reach Manali. My first glance at it and I could not believe it. My eyes went straight to the mountains. And that is the closest I had yet been to a snow-laden mountain. I could not thank my hotel staff enough because the view was gorgeous. I could spend days sitting there and staring outta the window.

But whatever it may be we needed a power nap and refreshment before we explored. After a yummy lunch of  Egg Fried rice (Pahari food is love)  at a local joint, we headed off to see the thrills Manali had to offer. We decided on visiting places that would not demand much of our energy, tired to the bones? Yeah.



You can walk anywhere in Manali, it is better that way. Around the summers it is one of the most visited places. There was honking of cars everywhere which I don’t like one bit. So we walked our way to Hadimba Devi temple. I had looked at this marvel in pictures.


But up close it was surreal. I hate crowds. So when I tried to enter the temple and saw the line of devotees. I scratched the idea of going in. But I spend my time in Van Vihar. Which is close to the temple and a quiet place to sit and relax.



One of my best experiences of the first day in Manali was in the club house. The club house is a place for sports- from indoor to outdoor. The first thing I did there was water zorbing.

I am out of shape so it is no wonder I  took breathing breaks while being on my all fours and trying to get the big ball rolling in the water. It was exciting and draining as well, I effing loved it.

The Pool Thing

After getting out of breath by zorbing, we headed off indoors to play some pool. To be honest, I got no idea how to handle a stick. But those amongst us knew, taught me how to do it. And I clearly learned how to hit it.

Our time in the Club House didn’t just end there we spent an insane amount of money on per chance games like shooting, archery and yes a silly one was “Drop all the glasses with a wall”. We wanted to head to Vashist Springs, which is a holy place with hot water springs. But it was already too late, so we decided against it.

The Hotel we stayed in had served us delicious dinner. If you travel up here and do not taste Rajma Chawal then your traveling here  is futile. So make sure that you taste a plate of it, and once you have done it you will wanna do it again and again.


From the day I planned on coming to Manali, Rohtang had been up on my list. It is one of the most dangerous roads in the world and it takes you up into the Antarctic like beauty of the mountains. But sadly just few days before we arrived there was snowfall. And roads to Rohtang were close.

So we settled for a place in lower altitude, the road to it was nearly as tricky as Rohtang – we went to Marhi. At an altitude of 11,000 ft, it still had snow left in the summer. The temperature was below the freezing point. And just when I had started playing with snow it started raining.

I can’t tell you enough how much I loved this place. It had an army camp just above the mountain and on the way you encounter lot of army trucks going. It is really commendable how these brave-heart soldiers survive here.


It took half of our day to come back from Marhi, and we made a point of getting out of our snow suits in public which was the goofiest thing I have ever done.

Then we headed to Solang Valley also known as the snow point( though there is no snow here during the summer). It is famous for skiing during winter. I so want to travel here during winter, to just catch the snow in time.

There wasn’t much to do here during summer because it just looked like a barren piece of land. Something caught my eye here, and it was paragliding.

Our whole gang wanted to do Paragliding but as soon as the instructors saw us, they hiked up their prices, demanding 3000 Rupees from all of us. And that paragliding did not even have a proper height to it. We chucked the idea away, disappointed.


When something outsmarts your budget, what do you do? You do something far more exciting at a meager cost. That is what happened to us. We saw an old man with a bunch of horses, near the Shiv temple just outside the Skiing center.

It was my sister’s idea to go talk to him, and boom! We landed a deal. He decided to take us all to the shiv temple on horseback for 12 km. And he charged much less than we had expected. So yay!

In no time we hopped on. But, damn my luck, I got the naughtiest of them all. His name was Sheru (meaning Lion in Hindi). He reared his head and galloped here and there, once I was on his back. Thank God! He did not throw me off.

The first few minutes of the ride, I feared for my life, but soon enough, I drank in my surroundings. We were walking straight into the foothills of the mountain where the Beas River originates.

Imagine, being on a horseback, hopping through the rugged terrain with the glaciers winding across your path, this experience was my favorite as of yet. Our guide who led us towards the temple, was an old Himachali man, he told us about himself. How now people prefer riding the hotshot snow motorbikes rather than taking a horse, and how we were his first ride of the entire day.

While he talked I talked to Sheru, calming him down. When we went uphill I had to lean backward, and when we went down I had to lean forward. “ Easy there Sheru Boy!” was all I had to say. Once we reached our location, it was so cold there. We had to sip a cuppa coffee.

Taking rest for a while, we started our journey back, and now I had trouble getting up on Sheru, because I am a shorty. Our guide was old so he wasn’t able to push me up even though he tried. And after my several attempts, there came a local who lifted me up easily so I straddled. Everyone around the coffee stall laughed out loud, and I turned tomato red, yet I looked around and waved at him, shouting a huge thank you.

The journey back was victorious, how you might ask. Let me tell you. When we were on our horseback perched up high, that too walking in an imposing line, everybody down riding the motorbikes looked up at us. And my inner goddess just did a twirl!

Going local and sustaining the local business is the best possible way to travel. That point got proven that day.

5 Destinations Not To Miss On Your Utah Road Trip

It’s the beginning of summer, which means it’s time to start planning a fun road trip. If you’re in Utahyou’re in luck! The Mighty Five National Parks (Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef) are within a half-day’s drive of Salt Lake City.

If you feel like a long road trip, you can visit Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, or Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Must Vist Destinations On Your Utah Road Trip

I first moved to Utah two years ago, and have visited all of the national parks here. Here’s what I’ve learned from my road trips that are a must-see if you’re driving through Utah this summer. 

If you’re leaving from Salt Lake City, expect to arrive at any of these spots within about 5 hours.

Related: 7 Best Places Not Enough People Visit In America

Zion National Park

Zion is Utah’s first ever National Park, and has over 4 million visitors every year. By far Utah’s most popular national park, this place is a must-see destination. It gets crowded, so make sure to plan ahead and arrive early. My favorite adventure was a hike through the Narrows!

If you are looking for a more challenging and hike with beautiful views you will not go wrong with Angels Landing. You can spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days in Zion.

Just remember: you must use shuttles to get through the park, it’s best to arrive early, and bring plenty of water.

Pro tip: The city of Hurricane is only 30 minutes from the entrance to Zion National Park, and is a much more cost-effective option than staying in or near the park.

Related: US National Parks

Bryce Canyon National Park

This is truly one of Utah’s most underrated parks with some of the most unique rock formations in the world. Bryce Canyon National Park has over 2 million visitors per year. There are shuttles available or you can drive your own car through the park.

Pro tip: There isn’t a whole lot of trails in Bryce Canyon National Park. Much of the park can be seen by parking and a viewpoint.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

This National Monument is the size of Delaware, and features many unique rock formations throughout.  It’s also one of the most remote and infrequently visited travel destinations in Utah. You can even find some of Utah’s famous slot canyons here.

Image Credit

Pro tip: Find the Visitor’s Center and talk to a ranger. Plan out your visit because this park is huge, remote, and fairly empty. Make sure you know where you’re going before entering the park.

Arches National Park

Last, but not least – Arches National Park. This is arguably Utah’s most famous national park. Delicate Arch is one of Utah’s most famous rock formations, and is featured on across tourism campaigns everywhere. It’s worth the hike to see this amazing rock.

Pro tip: Be sure to leave early in the day, as it gets hot and crowded pretty quickly. Wear good shoes, bring a hat, and bring more water than you’ll think you need.

I really can’t stress how much there is to see in Utah. Salt Lake City itself is full of great hikes, nightlife, and fun events. If you have time, be sure to check out a list of hikes and sights to see in downtown Salt Lake and Park City.

Utah boasts some of the United State’s best and most unique National Parks, and they’re all accessible by car. If you’re planning a trip to Utah, be sure get in your car and explore the state’s unique rocks and deserts.

Related: 9 Tips on How to Have a Great Holiday in America

Author Bio

Victoria Schmid is a freelance writer with a background in television and digital journalism. She enjoys writing articles about smart technology that will educate and inspire readers. She has a passion for news, writing, and reading. In her free time, she loves hiking, traveling, exploring, and volunteering.

Road Trip to Amritsar and Golden Temple

Recently I had an opportunity to visit Delhi on an assignment with my colleague. Being a travel freak, it has been a long time since I last explored a new place, and Punjab was a new place for me. 

Western Punjab is famous for Golden Temple, Jallianwala Bagh, Punjabi food, and of course shopping. 

My eyes glittered on this news that I will be traveling soon, and seeing the weekend approaching near, my friends and I thought of going on a road trip to Amritsar.

Road Trip to Amritsar

Amritsar, a holy city in Punjab, is the land of Golden Temple and people with golden hearts. It lies 280 miles (450 km) north-west of New Delhi, the capital of India. Being close to India-Pakistan border is just a 45 minutes drive from Wagah Border, with Lahore city on the other side.

Our trip was in the month of January, which is still very cold in Punjab. We heard road trip to Punjab is picturesque view so all of us were excited to experience it.

Connaught Place, Delhi

5:30 AM

We rented a cab and left for Amritsar early morning at 5:30 am from Connaught Place so that we could avoid the heavy traffic during Delhi morning rush.

Photo: Smog in Delhi / CC Sumita Roy Dutta

We crossed the borders of Delhi enjoying the thick layer of fog that we can hardly see anyone outside the window and reached 70-mile Dhabha (situated near Samalkha) which is around 75 km from Connaught Place.

Breakfast at 70 Mile Dhaba

7:30 AM

Paratha with chole, salads, curd, pickles and a Glass of Lassi

The road from Delhi to Punjab (NH-3) is very smooth, thus it took us approximately 2 hours to reach Samalkha Since we left early, all of us were hungry, so we stopped at this Dhabha to have some breakfast and enjoy the fog.

This famous dhaba serves authentic Punjabi style food like Chola Bhature, Lassi, Paratha makhan maarke (Paratha with butter on it). It was worth the early morning drive and satisfied our foodgasm.

After having scrumptious breakfast we relaxed there for some time and continued for Amritsar. We still had 7:30 hours long journey left before we could dive ourselves into the holiest city of the Sikhs.

Read: 5 Free Things to Do When Traveling

Wagah Border

3:30 PM

We didn’t want to miss the Flag Ceremony at Wagah Border so we drove non-stop crossing Panipat, Kurukshetra, Ambala, Ludhiana, and Jalandhar on the way.

Wagah Border is the gate that witnesses partition of India and Pakistan. It serves as an international border checkpoint for India and Pakistan.

Every day the Flag lowering ceremony commences at 4:30 pm in winter and 5:30 pm in summer which is witnessed by thousands of people. During this ceremony, soldiers of both the countries march towards the Wagah gate in a very energetic and passionate way to lower down the flags with full respect.

Photo: Top side is India, the bottom side is Pakistan/ CC Guilhem Vellut

With the sound of the trumpet, the 45 minutes ceremony comes to an end and soldiers march back to their flags. We were lucky enough to grab a clear view of the ceremony. The atmosphere was electrified and patriotism filled the air during the ceremony and we were deeply moved by it.

After the ceremony, we left for Amritsar which is 21 miles away from Wagah border. We reached Golden Temple by 6:30 in the evening.

Photo: As seen from the Indian side/ CC Samir

Photo: as seen from Pakistan side / CC Guilhem Vellut

Golden Temple, Amritsar

6:30 pm

Once we reached Golden Temple, we were starving to our death. Local people suggested to us about Kesar da Dhaba which is located in the market outside Golden Temple. We got our dinner packed and checked in an OYO room nearby the Golden Temple.

Since it was an impromptu trip we did not make any bookings. However, we did not face any difficulties in searching for a night stay. The place has many hotels, OYO rooms for tourists.

After having the delicious authentic Punjabi food, we went to Golden Temple to attend the Hukamnama (prayers).

Pro Tip: If you are short on budget, know that you can spend the whole night in Golden Temple itself.

Photo: People waiting inside the golden temple/ CC Anees Mohammed

The insides of the gurudwara is the epitome of peace with the religious patrons of Sikhism singing Gurbani and meditating inside the Guru’s abode.

Pro Tip: Golden Temple is a very peaceful place. People are advised to keep their cellphones on vibrate/silent mode. In case the call is urgent, then please take the call outside the temple.

People are advised to dress appropriately and cover their heads when entering Gurudwara. You may carry handkerchiefs or dupatta to cover your head. In case you are not carrying one, you need not worry as you will find provisions for head gear inside Golden Temple.

We sat at the side of holy water watching the temple and enjoying the peace. It was almost 1:30 am (late after midnight) that we realized we should take some rest. We went to our OYO room and slept.

Photo: The entrance to Golden Temple / CC Guilhem

Jallianwala Bagh

5:30 AM (Day 2)

We woke up early in the morning, to watch the sunrise over Golden Temple. The majestic view when the rays fall on the walls of the temple is indeed worth it. After having tea, served at Golden Temple we left for Jallianwala Bagh.

Bullet Marks appearing on a wall in Jallianwala Bagh

On our way to Jallianwala Bagh, we had delicious mouth-watering Parathas at Bhai Kulwant Sigh Kulche. We four friends competed on who can finish the arm length glass full of Lassi first. After breakfast, we headed to Jallianwala Bagh.

It is located at a walking distance to Temple. Jallianwala Bagh holds within itself the cries of 1,000s of Sikhs who were trapped and killed on the holy day of Sikhs (13th April 1919) by the British Empire (then ruling India). People can still see the wall with bullet holes in it.

Read: Road Trips: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

Shopping and Return Journey

11:30 AM

Juti Store (Footwears for women)/ CC Shankar

We still had time before we leave for Delhi, so we planned to go on a shopping spree in the local markets of Amritsar. Whats better than giving oneself a typical localite look. We bought Patialas (for Females) and Pathani (for Male) complimented by Juti (footwear).

After giving our stomach a delightful treat of Chole Bhature from a restaurant at Lawrence road, we left for Delhi around 3 pm.

On our way, we halted at Kesar da Dhaba for dinner and to enjoy the last bit of Punjab for dinner. We reached Delhi by 1 am in the night, after several halts due to the traffic and ended our 2-day trip to Amritsar.

Last taste of Punjab. Mooli paratha with butter on top and chutney, salad, achaar on the side./ CC Soniya Goyal

Tips for Delhi-Amritsar Road Trip

  • Start early from Delhi. The traffic is bad and a time waste if you only have a couple of days to travel (let’s say if you are a weekend traveler).
  • One night and two days are enough to cover the highlights mentioned in this blog.
  • Try to avoid summer season (April-July) as the temperate is generally unbearably too high.
  • Do not carry and/or flash cell phones, cameras at the Wagah International Border.
  • If you are traveling off-season, you can plan a serendipitous trip as you will have no problem finding hotels on the go.

Read Next: 5 Tips For First-Time Visitors To India

Author bio

This blog post is written by Vishakha, a finance girl by profession and a traveler by heart. You may also get in touch with her through her personal blog at

Biking Manali Leh Highway: Toughest Terrains in World

This is the story of how a distance of 480 km took us three days on a motorbike on one of the toughest terrains in the world. Yes, you read it right, the ManaliLeh highway in Northern Himalayan region of India is one of the toughest terrains.

Biking Manali Leh Highway

Four of us started with two Royal Enfields. Three of us could ride and we all took turns. The only traffic here is the occasional Indian Army trucks and other soul-searching wanderers who are also willing to test their will.

We started this adventure to ride what is claimed as the highest motorable road in the world. In this remote region, the phone connectivity is unheard of and you have to enter your details at every check post to let them know you’ve survived, to tell the tale. To live another day.

Related: 9 Tips to Prepare for a Long Motorcycle Roadtrip

The Ride: 480 KM in 3 Days

It was around 1 in the noon, when we had to stop riding. The tire was now wobbling beyond control. We couldn’t prolong it anymore. 12 spokes were broken. And we were in the middle of nowhere.

Our friend’s bike had gone ahead. We were wondering what to do next when we saw a bike coming from the opposite direction. Delighted we stopped him, asking him if he had seen our other rider somewhere ahead. He had, but almost an hour earlier.

No way of contacting the other bike, no towns spotted in the vicinity, and with no other riders for as far as we could see. This was not looking good. This was not how I had planned my bike trip to go when we started 3 days ago.

The Challenge

They said it would take us three days to do it. We had rented our bikes in Manali, filled them up with fuel, carried extra fuel in cans and off we went.

We knew the roads could get brutal, the climate could turn any moment without notice from warm sunny mornings to mild showers. At noon time we were enveloped in clouds and in the evenings we were greeted by the chilly winds.

Let’s recollect the journey. Let’s start at the beginning.


With all our gears on we slowly rode out of Manali towards Rohtang pass. Our journey had begun. Rohtang is the first high altitude pass (3987 M) you encounter when you set off towards this Himalayan journey.

We were initially cruising at a decent speed wondering why people take two-three days, as the roads though mountainous were well maintained. Soon we reached the beginning of the pass and it was here we encountered how brutal the mountains can actually get.

As we started ascending the pass, the roads started deteriorating. Pretty soon they became non-existent. All there was, was mud sloshed due to the slight rain which made it almost impossible to ride on, especially with a pillion.

Biking in the Mud

So two of us had to get off and walk down the road while the other two struggled to keep the bikes steady. The adventure had just begun. The muck which was almost 10 cm deep and your feet would go right in till the ankle.

The only people who were actually still cruising at their original speed were the truck drivers. At one point hitchhiked in the truck till a point where the roads got decent again which was after an easy half an hour.

We made it past the pass and down to a nominal altitude by 4 pm. Which was where we realized we had only covered 80 km in 5 hours!

Rest in Keylong

The other 40 KM of the day took us another 4 hours and by the time we reached Keylong it was pitch dark. We could hear the sound of a river flowing right next to us while the only source of light was from our bikes headlight.

One wrong turn could leave us going down the cliff into the icy cold water or right into the rocky mountain on the other side.

Dirty, exhausted we made it to the end of day one. After a quick dinner we went to our beds. Dreaming of how tomorrow would be. 


The next morning we were mentally prepared for what was ahead. We set out after a hot breakfast, cruising through the road for about an hour thinking we had gotten better after the previous day’s experience.

Of course, it wasn’t going to be that easy, we soon stopped at what was a waterfall flowing on the road. Rocks below, water flowing from the top. Even if the pillion got off, we still had to walk across the water and since we were not wearing gumboots the water went through our shoes. And our feet froze.

We rode past many such streams/waterfalls which flowed right through the road, the occasional rocks which fell from a landslide here and there, the muddy slush, the sandy road, and rocky terrain that day.

The Beauty of Pang

After riding through one of the most beautiful landscapes with natural rock formation, clean blue skies, and yellow-brown rocky cliffs, we reached Pang by evening.

Photo  credit: Pang

Pang is just simply mesmerizing. It is a village with no phone connectivity at all.  It did have an army base however which had a landline connection. Pang is a high altitude village located at almost 4200 m above sea level. And at that attitude sleep was hard to come.

The stars you see during the night from this village are mind-blowing. We saw almost one shooting star every ten minutes and the mesmerizing view of our milky way galaxy to make up for the lack of sleep.


DAY 3. PANG-LEH (150 KM)

We started our final stretch riding through another high altitude pass where the lack of oxygen and us being tired due to lack of sleep made it hard for us to continue.

The other bike went further ahead while we were cruising at a slower pace. As we crossed around 40 KM, we came past an amazingly rare straight stretch with well-maintained road our spirit rose.

All was well when suddenly our tire started wobbling. It was here we stopped to find out 12 spokes were broken. And there was no mechanic or civilization there. We then somehow pushed the bike and walked for about a Kilometer when luckily we found a small village with 10 houses.

A Kind Stranger

A small shop owner told us we could stay there while waiting for vehicles which could give us a lift. After an hour of sitting by the road hoping for a vehicle to pass by we finally saw a minivan. The villager stopped the van, spoke to the driver, explained our problem and he finally agreed to haul our bike on the back and take us to Upshi, the next town 30 KM away with a mechanic.

We were saved. While we hopped on the van, the other bike which had gone ahead came back as they heard about us stuck here through another rider. Now all four of us were together and we were finally heading towards Leh.

When we reached the mechanic, he did not have the needed bike spokes and asked us to go look for the spare spokes in Leh and to get it repaired there. (Sigh!)

Upshi to Leh

Now, Leh was another 15 KM away from Upshi. So one bike entered Leh carrying the tire of the other bike, going from one shop to the other for almost 2 hours trying to find the spare parts. By 5 PM in the evening, we finally got them and by 6 PM, we were back to the mechanic who told us to come back the next morning for the bike.

So this was how we finally made it to the city of Leh at 7 PM in the night after 3 full days of the journey.

Conclusion: Himalayan Wisdom

We started off with 2 bikes but reached the city with one! The mighty Himalayas can change all your plans and teach us how insignificant we truly are in the big picture.

If anything, this trip taught us the valuable lesson of humility and how everything is connected in the big picture. Strangers can be nice and helpful. Things can go wrong when you least anticipate them. After all, all things are connected and there is a reason behind it all. We must find our place in this world.

Related: All About Altitude Sickness and How to Deal With It

Read More: 6 Most Dangerous Places to Travel

Author Bio

Neha is an adventurer, biker, and travel blogger. Please read more of her adventurous stories on her blog “Unknown Indian”.

Road Trips: 5 Do’s and Don’ts

Road trips are a great way to have fun, adventure, and enhanced experiences of a life. Just to think that you are going on a road trip gives sensational feelings inside your head because you know you will be exploring amazing cultures, people, and new regions. Road trips can be amazing and at the same time, these trips can be dangerous as well.

Therefore road trips require you to pay attention to those who have experienced them before. There are things you must be doing on a road trip and also there are things which should not be doing at all. These considerations will make sure you are having a safe and enjoyable road trip.

Planning for a Road Trip

You should be planning on going on a road trip. First, decide where you want to go and what things you would like to do there. Additionally, make it sure that you have all the information about that particular area. Gather information on all the roads which are going towards that area. Have information also like terrain of the area, touring points in that area and hotels of the area.

Read: 9 Tips to Prepare for a Long Motorcycle Roadtrip

Don’t make strict plans

The problem of too much planning is that you would miss many great sights which that area offers unexpectedly. Therefore when you are planning a road trip then create a space for these unexpected great things. Additionally, unexpected traffic problems can also lead you to delays.

Stay hydrated

You must keep enough water bottles with you. Dehydration is a serious thing and you don’t want to ruin your trip due to dehydration issues along the way. Fill your bottles or water cooler whenever you get a chance. You can need extra water when planning for hiking is some area.

Image Credit

Don’t drink tap water

Try to drink mineral water as much as possible. Don’t store tap water or water from unhygienic sources. This can cause serious stomach and liver problems which you never want to face on a road trip.


Pack homemade snacks

Packing of home-baked items will keep you filled in unexpected delays etc. These items are also expensive in touring places. If you are traveling with kids then you must have these food items with you.

Don’t eat too much

Touring places often offer delicious foods and if you are a foodie, you can’t resist them straight away. Remember, you don’t want to visit hospital due to excessive eating. Try to have some salads and sauce with your meal. These will help your digestion system. Grilled food items are more preferred during road trips.

Carry physical maps

There can be a signal problem in some touring areas, therefore, buy physical maps of the area. Purchase those maps which are clearly showing the roads and terrain of the area. These maps will also help you navigate more efficiently between the places.

Image Credit

Don’t drive much at night times

Try to avoid driving during night time. You should be resting much at night time as this will also help you come fresh during next morning when you are going to restart journey. Moreover, you can use light bars for extra light. You can read here for further information.

Book hotels in advance

Touring places are found occupied with visitors; therefore, book your favorite hotels in advance to avoid any kind of staying problems. Book those hotels which have good reviews and reputation. TripAdvisor can help you in finding the perfect hotel.

Don’t forget to pack extra clothes

Pack extra clothes because you will need them anyway. For a kid, pack his extra clothes (you know their extra needs as). For hiking or other walk related activities, you must be packing loose trousers and loose shirts. Anyway, you are not going to a business meeting. Loose clothes will not cause pain in your muscles and will keep you active.

Author Bio:

Jeff lives in New York with his wife and 2 kids. He is obsessed with LED light bars ever since they came out and over the last couple of years he has been testing and reviewing LED light bars. He regularly blogs at

9 Tips to Prepare for a Long Motorcycle Roadtrip

Planning and preparing for a long motorcycle road trip isn’t just a day job, as there are no laws regarding the preparation, except a few guides, which will make the long trip easier.

For some people, preparing for a long road trip with a motorcycle is about the essentials you take with you and the nonessentials you leave behind.

The fact that more and more people are starting to ride bikes and go on either short or long road trips, either alone, or with a group of friends, is quite exciting. However, most bikers, while well accustomed with the city riding, often know little or nothing about comfortable and safe riding on a long journey.

On the other hand, the beauty about motorcycle riders is that, when they see a like-minded fellow, they always try to learn as much as possible from that person. Well, if this is your first time on a road trip, here are a few tips from those with experience:

Repair & Prepare Your Motorcycle

Before embarking on any journey, you have to make sure your motorcycle is fully equipped and prepared, so you can have a problem-free motorcycle road trip. A full tune-up of the bike is essential, prior to the trip. You can take it to the mechanic, or make the necessary adjustments yourself, just follow the tips below:

  • Make sure you check and change both the filter and the oil
  • Make sure all the necessary fluids are in their right levels
  • See if both fuel and air filters are okay
  • Make all the necessary adjustments to brake and throttle cables
  • Check if the tread and the tire pressure are still intact
  • Make sure all the lights, gauges, and the horn are working properly.

You can always go to the user’s manual for more information, as regards the motorcycle’s maintenance. However, if the whole bike preparation seems overwhelming to you, it is advisable you take it to a technician, prior to the trip.

Test Your Motorcycle & Keep Tool Kit Intact

After you adjust all the necessary assessments on your motorcycle, take it out for a spin, to test and check new repairs and features. Also, don’t forget to pack your toolkit, in case you need to make some repairs or adjustments during the trip.

Pack Lightly

Motorcycle luggage comes in different variations, from soft textile to metal, and is available in most bike online stores. Saddlebags, which can be placed and strapped in the back seat, as well as tank bags, which magnetically cling to the bike’s tank, also come in different styles and sizes.

When packing, try to take things, which can be easily disposed of. This way, you will easily shed off big weights. When you pack clothes, do not fold it, but roll it instead. It will occupy less space. Remember to bring a first aid kit with essential medicines too.

Map Out Your Route

If you are going on a motorcycle road trip, you should know the way or have a clear idea of the directions.

However, if you don’t, it is recommended to map out your route through a printed map or use a mobile phone screenshot map, not to waste much time on the way. If the road or the route is confusing, ask locals for directions.

Embrace Technology

For some people, going on a long ride with no gadgets to keep the company can be quite boring. Therefore, when planning an extended motorcycle road trip, think about technologies, which you need to take with you, to get yourself entertained on the way.

For example, a motorcycle Bluetooth headset, linked to the phone, will help you receive phone calls, provide you with a radio connection to other riders, and offer voice direction via GPS.

And a motorcycle battery charger will help you power up your smartphone on the route. However, be careful, not to get yourself carried away, especially when listening to music through a Bluetooth headset.

Eat Right & Stay Hydrated

Overeating at any point of a long motorcycle road trip is very wrong because the chances are very high, you might suffer from indigestion. Heavy meals use an enormous amount of energy for digestion and cause drowsiness too.

It is advisable to eat light food for breakfast, while you can have something heavier for lunch. Also, if you are used to eating a lot, pack some snacks with you. You should also keep in mind, that finding toilets on some roads can be quite difficult.

Most people don’t take the concept of hydration seriously. However, staying hydrated during the motorcycle road trip will help you reduce the problem of stress, caused predominantly by dehydration.

Get a bottle of water with a long tube, which can be safely packed in your bag. This way, you won’t have to make a stop or remove your helmet, if you get thirsty.

Every time you make a stop, drink some water, even if you don’t want to. A refillable pack with two liters of water with Glucose-D or an energy drink is usually enough for a twenty-four-hour ride.

Be Prepared for All Weather Conditions

Pack rainwear and some warm clothes, even if the weather promises to be okay. This way, you will be equipped for any discomfort, caused by the adverse weather during your motorcycle road trip.

You should also be ready to change your clothes at any point. When packing for a long motorcycle road trip, you can never be too thoughtful. Prepare for the heat, cold, and rain!

Take Time to Rest

Since it is not a competition, you can relax for a while, to prevent bum burner or saddle sore. But you should not take frequent breaks, only important ones, or else the flow experienced on the bike will go away.

It is also crucial to make random checks of all fluid levels and the level of your hydration, whenever you have a break. This way, you can easily plan the next stop, in case any adjustments or reparations are essential.

Remember to Enjoy the Moments

Most riders tend to forget about photographs. When packing, take your camera, or, if you don’t have or can’t afford one, your smartphone will do the magic. It will help you capture all the memorable moments of your trip.

Pictures, taken during the stops, can serve as documentation and also, be shared with friends and family on social media platforms.


If you follow these tips carefully, your first long motorcycle road trip will be less stressful, and the second will already be a piece of cake. 

Author’s Bio

Ronald Bounds is a founder and editor in chief of Motorcycle Center. They are enthusiastic of speed and travel. The website introduces the best and newest motorcycle accessories for everybody. The website team will help you choose motorcycle accessories, without wasting much time.

Read Next

Darjeeling Travel: Tales From City Of Hills (Part 3)

My eyes were closed, but all I could think of was when was I going to see the sunrise at Tiger Hills. As soon as my Alarm went off at 3:30 am, I got ready to hop in the car and ride to the Tiger Hills, Darjeeling.

I arrived there at around 4:30. It was freezing out there. I have seen winters in my town. But this chilly was out of the world. What can I say, they are closer to the Himalayas! The vegetation here is Alpine as well.


I forgot to wear my gloves, and my fingers became dead. It was a miracle that I was able to click the pictures. Sunrise at the Tiger Hills is all about luck; you see the sun or the clouds will shadow the rise.

The picture you see above, where the sky is orange-red, is taken when the sun is about to rise.

And after the sunrise, you can see the glowing yellow ball of light amidst the clouds. It was surreal to see the sun play hide and seek with the watchers. I have a video made of it; it is funny how the sun showed up when I asked it to *winks*.


Just after watching the sunrise, we headed towards the Batasia Loop. The traffic on the way back was horrible. We reached the loop at around 8. It is an Eco- Garden, where there is the track for the famous Toy Train of Darjeeling.

In the morning you can’t see the Toy Train travel on the tracks. But at least you can see the War Memorial and get dressed up in traditional tea picking dress.

The vendors charge 50 INR for one costume. And if you hand them your camera, they can click your pictures. You don’t need to hire a photographer to click your pic because they will charge 100 INR.

After all the hustle and bustle of the Batasia Loop, we headed straight to our hotel to eat our breakfast. A short break and we were ready to start our Day Trip around Darjeeling.


Driving in the hills is dangerous, but it is also deadly, and I did not know it. My driver was a guy named Naren, who was a kickass driver.

When I got scared of descending 6,000 ft below, he was so thoughtful. He pulled over and clicked some pics of me, then he put on his sunglasses and said “ Don’t Worry!” in that cute, weird North Eastern Accent.

All throughout the drive, my heart was in my throat. I finally reached my destination, the Ganga Maya Park. It was quite unlike any tourist destination, and there were little to no visitors. I roamed around and clicked some beautiful pictures in the Hilly Forests.

At the end of the park was a waterfall, not just a waterfall, there was also a reservoir below it. As I was on a trip of changing myself, I thought to take a risk. To be honest, I don’t know how to swim, I am super- freaked out when I see a lot of water. You can call it hydrophobia, but I call it “fear of drowning.”

But I took the chance and booked a boat and paddled my way around the tank. I didn’t feel a twinge of fear, I was a bit apprehensive in the start, but later I enjoyed the ride. The waterfall from up close was beautiful.


If you ever visit Darjeeling, you will know that Rock Garden is one of the overrated destinations here. I was excited to visit it as I heard it is made of rock.

But once I saw it, I was disappointed. The crowds filled every level of the park. And you hike and hike from one level to the other to see nothing except the made up scenery. I personally did not enjoy my time here. You can see my pic, do I look happy? Duh no!


The other most hyped spots here are the Zoo and the HMI (Himalayan Mountaineering Institute). My next destination was the Zoo. As a kid, I had never been to one. So this was my first time, and my *inner-11 year old* just squealed at the prospect of seeing Leopards and Tigers.

The cages at the Padmaja Naidu Zoological Park are huge. It is designed that way to make the animals feel at home. There were different kinds of Animals here, ranging from snow leopard to yaks. It was a joy to watch them.

Just next to it was the HMI. It is a mecca for the hiking enthusiasts. It not only has all the amenities to train the Mountaineers but it also has a superbly equipped museum. Cameras are a no-no inside the museum. So you cannot click pictures. But inside the museum, you get to see the gears used by famous mountaineers like Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary.


After a long day of sightseeing, my legs were sore, and my back sprained. Still, we had places to go. The tea garden we went to was one of the biggest in Darjeeling. The estate was huge, I just took a few steps around and soaked in the beautiful scenery. Just outside the estate, there is a stall which sells Darjeeling Tea.

They gave me tea; I tasted it. And then I bought four gigantic packets of Darjeeling tea. And as I am writing this, I am drinking tea made from those leaves.

The last stop was the best – the Peace Pagoda. Before my trip, I saw the Peace Pagoda in pictures and I dreamt about seeing the Peace Pagoda in person. When I saw it with my own eyes, the pictures did not do it any justice.

It is like a creamy white cake perched amidst the coniferous trees. If you want you can visit the Japanese temple, which comes before it. But I skipped that part and went straight for the Peace Pagoda.

It has three levels, and the top level has the “Parikrama.” It is on the third level that you see the various phases of Lord Buddha’s Life sculpted around the Golden Dome. It was gorgeous just seeing the sunshine on the sculptures at the highest man-made point in Darjeeling.

Darjeeling Travel: Tales From City of Hills (Part 2)

The Darjeeling hill station story continues in this next chapter of Darjeeling travel diary. The City of Hills is a hidden paradise full of natural beauty and serenity all around.

I could not sleep the first night because I had luggage to look after. But still, I was refreshed and all set to hit the road. Taxis were waiting in the parking lot of the station. You can simply go up to the drivers and ask around for one who is going to your location.


I choose a guy who was decent looking but Ohh Boy! It took him about an hour to fill up the taxi. Then we finally started the long awaited journey. We drove through Military bases and it was unlike any experience I ever had.

  On my way to the Military Base near Darjeeling


After driving through the military base, we started our ascent. I had never seen how a city on the hill looks. But once we started ascending, the sight was just “wow.” In the picture below you can see the road that we used to climb higher and higher into the hills.

Roads cut on Hills”

Just at the middle of the mountain we stopped and had breakfast. This was the first time I got a look at the wooden houses which are popular in Hill stations. The little Dhaba (hotel) where we had our breakfast in is in the picture below. Isn’t it cute?

A Cute Little Dhaba

After breakfast, we ascended again, and reached, 6,700 ft above the ground level. The town of Darjeeling is dolled up for everyone to see, there are flower pots decorated in each and every house. Nothing looks prettier than the wooden houses adorned with varieties of flowers. I had kept my GPS on, so when I reached my hotel, I asked my driver to drop me there.

All the taxis head to the Chowrastha or the Market area. But you can ask the driver to drop you at your hotel if it is on the way. After hours of sitting in a jam-packed car, it was hard for me to carry my luggage and climb to my hotel. That is when I learned the first lesson of Hill Station tourism: you have to climb a lot.

Climbing is like walking here. And those who don’t have strong legs will get toned legs if they live here for a month.


I stayed at a homestay which I booked online. It was only my second online booking, so I had some doubts. But once I took a look at the hotel my hopes sunk. It wasn’t like I was expecting a 5-star, but I thought at least, no harm in looking for a hotel, right?

I was told to wait, as my room wasn’t ready yet. Then walked in the owner, and I was struck by her beauty. Shoyeta introduced herself and asked if I would care for some coffee. My hopes were dashed, but a coffee sounded heavenly.

A Hot Cup of Darjeeling Coffee

As soon as I said yes to the coffee, the receptionist showed me to my room. And Oh-boy! I was totally wrong. My room gave me a spectacular view of the mountain ranges, and it was more than comfy. The tiny coffee mugs, with all the Sikkimese prints, looked beautiful.


Day one in Darjeeling was uneventful by far, except the lucky room I got. In the afternoon though, I couldn’t sit still. I headed to the nearby Monastery – Dali. It was just a 5-minute walk from my hotel. At the time I visited, about 3:30 pm, there were no tourists around to block the views or photo bomb my pictures.

The High Flag of Dali

Dali was empty, except for the massive furry giants moving everywhere. The dogs here may look scary, but they are harmless. I roamed free in the monastery, and also went to the prayer room. There was an old lady there who was adorable; she let me spin the giant cylinders in the room.

On my way back, I sat in the coffee shop at the monastery. The coffee was from a coffee machine- nothing fancy. However, you get to sit in the open and have a stunning view of the Darjeeling town. After my coffee, I headed back from the Monastery.

My next stop was the Chowrastha market. Even though it is summer in India, Darjeeling is unpredictable. One moment it will be all sunny and the next you see clouds rolling in. If you are a tourist, you can get confused on where to go. I followed a girl, who shared a taxi with me. She led me to the old market, where you can get cheap woolens, cheaper outfits, and the cheapest umbrellas.

Quick tip: If you are traveling to this part of India, do buy one of these because, in Darjeeling, you can get very cold at night. Plus, your clothes won’t dry easily in a cold weather, and it rains here frequently.


After a whole lot of buying, haggling, and burning a hole in my pocket, I got back to my Homestay. Once I cozied myself up with an oversized sweater (which I had bought that day for my Paa), I flipped through a book of mine – “Mrs. Funnybones.”

I couldn’t concentrate because I heard someone playing guitar. I tiptoed to the reception desk, and there he was the receptionist Amrit. He asked me to join him, and then when I made myself comfortable on the sofa, we both started hitting notes together.

I felt over-the-top happy because it was the first time in my life where I was in a strange place, with a complete stranger. Still, never in my life had I felt so free. Our jamming session came to an end when his little angel daughter popped in and asked to go to bed. That was when we bade our goodbyes. But we promised to make a video of us jamming the next day.

The Jamming Session with Amrit

I had to sleep early because the next day was going to be interesting. I was going to see the best scenery of Darjeeling, the sunrise at the Tiger Hills! I quickly filled my stomach with chicken and rice and turned off my bed lamp. The next day was going to be epic….wait for it… Dear Dairy!

Read the first installment of my Darjeeling Travel Diary (Day 1 & Day 2). Trip reports and stories from The City of Hills.

Adventure destinations in India

India is a symbol of the diversity of nature. From blistering temperatures to snow laden mountains, India has it all. If you are fed up with the clichéd Taj Mahal or Ooty, head out for some adventure. India has many destinations which will provide you adventure. Gear up for some scary fun with nature. Warning- Only for the daredevils.


Lighting a fire on your own, and warming yourself up inside a cave! It sounds like you have gone back many centuries. But trust us, you will love the feel of it. Meghalaya is sprawled between lush forests. The green landscape is enhanced with gushing waterfalls. You have to pack your bags carefully.

Caving adventures in Meghalaya India by Sharada Prasad CS CC BY 2.0

Nobody knows when you will run out of food or water. Keep in mind to pack sufficiently. Use your resources wisely. When you are at the heart of nature, you will be enchanted by it. The beauty has a wildness to it. Make sure you carry a weapon for safety. You might encounter jungle friends on your way.


All those who fear heights, this is your chance to conquer it. You can feel the wind on blowing your face. And The weightlessness of your body when you freefall. You might be scared to dive from the heights. But once you take the leap you will want to be in the air. The view of Mysore is stunning. With crystal, blue sky overhead and dense valleys below your heart will skip a beat. You might scream out loud when you jump. Then you can drink in the scenery around you. Take the lead of an expert. You will be safe.


This trip is for those who love being on the road. Nothing feels as good as discovering unchartered destinations. Gang up with your friends who share a common passion. Hit the road from Shimla to Leh. You might freeze your bones on the way.

Shimla India Ridge by Betelgeuse CC BY-SA 3.0

Dress warm and carry rum with you. You will desperately need a sip. It is best if you join the rally “The Raid de Himalaya”. The tour will take you through freezing places. But at the end of the day its adventure, remember?


Now you would have warmed up to height a bit. It is the perfect time to let the fear go. Rishikesh has an 83 meters high podium. It might be high. But what fun is bungee jumping without the super height? Jump from heights of ecstasy. You will land in the holy waters of Ganges. Rishikesh has a wide range of adventure sports options you can pursue. River rafting and paragliding are also on the menu if you want a taste of it.


These gorgeous islands are a part of India. But they are not so visited by tourists. Their untouched beauty and tribal culture are popular. You can take a dip into the turquoise waters of Andaman. What you will see before your eyes will amaze you. Under the blanket of blue waters, there are beautiful basalt formations. The natural coral barriers are colorful when the sun shines on them. You can do a lot of Water sports in the islands. The hotels here cater to luxury. You can pamper yourself with the adventurous experience.


The sandy beaches and sea shells call for a lemonade. But you will not have enough time for lounging in Goa if you are into adventure sports. All kind of water sports can be performed here. Are you a speedster? Do you love water? Then what are you waiting for? Flyboard! Tourists from all around the countries travel to Baina beach. Help your girlfriend on the board. It will feel good when someone grabs you tight when you ride on.


Your fear will start now. Even though you did not feel a thing while jumping or diving, you will be scared by trekking here. We are not joking. The scene here is something taken out of a horror movie. The path winds around the Roopkund lake. It is littered with skeletons. Researchers say that the skeletons belong to the ninth century. People died in a hailstorm, and their skeletons still line the glacial lake. You will need to wear warmers. Not because it is Uttaranchal but because it is located at high altitude. Dare to travel beyond. That is what adventure is all about.

6 Most Beautiful Roads in Europe

Road route will take you on a journey to savor. People around the world are taking their time of the weekend to hit the road. It is thrilling to discover the landscape from your car window. Road trips give you a sense of freedom. You drive into the wildness of nature. Some of the impressive road routes of Europe are listed below.


It starts from Oberes Nasfeld ending in Franz Joefs hohe. There is nothing you will miss while on this road trip. You will go from dark tunnels to sunny meadows.The winding road will take you through the mighty mountainside. You will finally reach and see a winter landscape.


This road route connects Eide and Averoy. The route is eight kilometers long. It connects all small islands in this area. The Atlantic road is toll-free. The main thing that attracts roadies is the highest bridge. Storseisundet is one of the eight bridges. When the wind is wild, you will love driving on this highest bridge. The turn in the bridge is beautiful to watch. The stunning view of mountains sticking out of sea will leave you in awe.


One of the earliest roads built by the road enthusiasts. It was built when the car was starting to gain importance. The Touring Club decided to make a route. The route would connect all the Alpine passes. You will find sixteen passes while you drive along this road. You can stop and visit the national parks-Ecrins, Queyras, Mercantour, Vanoise. The scenic beauty of Geneva Lake will lead to the blue Mediterranean sea. You can also feed your hunger with delicious food found while on the road.

Col d´Iseran Val d´Isère F by Philipendula CC BY 2.5


The Dracula’s country attracts many tourists. The mystery and myths surrounding Romania make it more prone to road trips. Finding out the legends of Romania will be exciting. The road tears its way through Fagaras mountain. It is the highest mountain in the country.The trip will lead you to Poienari fortress. The intimidating fortress is the reason behind so many myths. It is the breeding ground of vampire legends. The Carpathian scenery is a raw beauty. Adventure lovers can take a ride on mountain bikes. The frozen hillside in August is impressive.


This 200-kilometer long route has all you could ever ask for. It will take you on a ride along the Iveragh Peninsula. You will witness the deep valleys and high mountains. The slopes will give in to cliff coastlines. The white sand beaches are places you can stop and relax.

Killarney National Park — Ring of Kerry, Ireland by Tony Webster CC BY 2.0

There is a small village Sneem on the route. It has cute renovated Thatch-roofed houses. There are many attractive spots in this road route. The Blue Pool Nature Reserve, Rossbeigh beach, Torc waterfall are natural beauties you cannot miss. The Ross Castle and the Stone circles are architectural wonders to behold.


The Romantic Road is named so after the landscape it provides. It was built around 1950. If you are with your partner, you should prefer this road route. The ride will take you through the medieval villages. The magnificent castles will give a fairy-tale feel. The road will lead you to Schwerin Castle. You will love what you see here.

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The Romantic Road will surely bring out the romantic in you. The rustic landscape and baroque castles make an incredible view.

5 Quirky Spots in the USA

Quirky spots are places you visit to make your trip exciting. You are obviously going to visit New York City and Palms Spring but if you want a cool trip, you need to do something else. Nowadays the unconventional is new cool.

There is probably a long list of destinations that you will visit while in the USA. The below-mentioned places are few quirky stops that we have selected in the USA. It will make your trip memorable.

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It can also be called the American version of Stonehenge. Located in New Hampshire, it is considered the largest stone structure in North America. It is incredible to see a four-thousand-year-old structure still standing. How it was built is still a mystery. But it doesn’t reduce the accuracy of it’s calculating annual solar and lunar events. This unusual place will charm you.

Four Corners, NM, reconstructed monument in 2010 by Rich Torres CC BY-SA 3.0


This is a place which attracts around 2,50,000 tourists annually. An important monument where four states of USA meet. The four states are Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado. A bronze disk is set at this point. It is located near tech nos pos, Arizona. You want to make your friends jealous then take a selfie here and post it on social media. It’s going to be -bam!One of the new and quirky spots in the USA.

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Made at around 1950. It is currently displayed at Leon Myers stamp center at boys town, Nebraska. This large ball is six hundred pounds. It is huge as you can see it having a diameter of around thirty inches. The collection has around 4,655,000 stamps. It was made by boys stamp collecting club. Seeing this is totally different from lounging at a luxury hotel but if you love color or stamps you can’t say no to this cool spot.

Mammoth Cave tour by Daniel Schwen CC BY-SA 4.0


The largest underground lake in America as stated by Guinness book of world records. Sailing around the lost sea will give you a sense of adventure. You can trace the twenty thousand years old jaguar tracks. Take a ride on glass-bottom boat  140 feet below. And witness the wild and ancient caves which have stood here for years. Another perfect quirky spot to cover while you are visiting the USA.


Built-in 1983. This place is made of a concrete buoy. Located at just 90 km from Cuba. Marked as the southernmost point of America this place attracts around one million visitors around a year. It is present in south and whitehead street of key west. What makes it one of the quirky spots is You can bask in the cool ocean air and snap a picture here. It’s going to make your friends red with envy.