Where to stay in North of North Goa

Postcard Moira

The really northern parts of Goa, have a lack of organised accommodation

This is because the lack of clear ownership titles in this part of Goa.

Thus most organised accommodation is in North Goa, about 40-50 Mins away near Anjuna and then further down towards Baga

There you have the W ( good 5 star), Westin (not so good 5 Star) and the evergreen Taj Holiday village and the decidedly aged, and slightly run-down Taj Fort Aguada

To find good places , you have to dig down.

You have some options in the interiors, PostCard Hotel, Moira, being a top pick, 15Kms, 30 mins away

Postcard Moira
Postcard Moira

Pretty, Quant, Rustic, with the just the right touches of luxury, Post card, Moira, is an excellent option if you want to be away from the beach.

The price would be around 15,000/night

(Another similar option is Siolim house. Unfortunately, not great client feedback on this)

Then you have the Balle Villas.  3 / 4 bedroom, TOP of the line villas. Some of the best in Goa

Balle Villa Goa
Balle Villa Goa

They are very expensive, (Think 1 lakh for 4 bedrooms/night) but they are amongst the best villa options in Goa

Then you have a couple of 4 star villa options

Casa Vagator

Both would cost between 13-15K/night. Boutique, but not luxury. IF you are ok, with being closish to the beach and certain compromise on luxury component, these are decent ( but not great) options

The pick of the options, especially if you want ON the beach( or at least very near the beach) is Anahata Retreat on the Ashwem beach very near Morjim

Anahata resort
Anahata resort

It is a superb, undiscovered option, with rustic and “rural” cottages, villas and suites. Close to the beach and close to the nature is what you get and to top it all excellent food.

Price is the same 13-15K bracket



Ozen Madhoo- The most beautiful resort in Maldives

Ozen Madhoo- The most beautiful resort in Maldives

All Inclusive 6* Luxury Resort with Water villa with Pool

Ozen Madhoo- The most beautiful resort in Maldives

Ozen Madhoo is a 6 * Luxury resort in the South Male Atoll. It is an all-inclusive resort which means that the package cost includes all meals, un-limited beverages and select activities.

It is accessible by a 40 min Speedboat ride from Male. The speedboat trip is smooth and beautiful and the boat ride gives you a good tranquil introduction to Maldives

Ozen Madhoo is a luxury resort spread over 3 islands. It has a very long beach stretch and offers stupendous views of the Ocean and the Sunset. Its Sunset view are probably the best in the Maldives. It has a traditional dark and luxurious decor, with a lot of classical colours and depth in its deign. Ozen Madhoo  has 94 beach and water villas, many of them with a pool. The beach villa with pool (called Earth Villas) are especially note worthy

The average room size in Madhoo is at par for its price category with the Beach Villa  with Pool measuring 185 SqM with a 20 SqM pool. The Water Villa with Pool are 112 SqM .

The unique feature of Madhoo room is its Main Pool area which has awesome cabanas, sundowners and incredible views. This is topped up by a Gin bar in the terraces. This gives the entire area a Mediterranean party pool feel and given its an all inclusive resort its  wonderful to have unique cocktail and munch on gourmet snacks, while sitting in a exclusive cabana with your feet dipped in the pool! In fact even by exacting  maldives standards the resort has exceptional views and small touches like water swings and exceptional house reef and snorkelling add to the experience. We even saw sharks not even 10 ft from the shore. The madhoo area has beautiful marine life and the dolphin cruise (part of the all inclusive package) is a highlight

Madhoo alo ha a good kids club which amongst other thing gives kids supervised beach access and has its own kids pool

A key feature of Madhoo is the gourmet Indian restaurant, which serves proper high quality Indian fare. It also has a all inclusive buffet restaurant with exceptional live counters and an Pan Asian restaurant. The food choices are very in-line with the Indian palate

A note on the all inclusive feature of Madhoo.  Madhoo is an all inclusive resort and this means all meals across restaurants, all alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and select activity like fishing expeditions, Dolphin Cruise, sunset cruise etc are included are included as part of the cost of the resort

All in all, Madhoo provides an excellent luxury, all inclusive resort option with an exceptional beach. It ha perhaps the best sunset views in maldives and indian palate favourable dining options   (A 4 Night stay in a water villa with pool will cost approximately 4.5 lakhs including transfers and taxes)

Unique Feature:

    • Beautiful beach and outstanding sunset views
    • Premium all you and eat, all you can drink resort
    • Pool Villas with a classical deign and direct access to great snorkelling
    • Gourmet Indian restaurant and restaurant serving “Chindese” options
    • Outstanding main pool area with a Mediterranean party feel

Please see detailed pricing for Ozen Madhoo


Emerald Maldives – All Inclusive Luxury Resort

Emerald Maldives Water Villas

Emerald Maldives – All Inclusive Luxury Resort

All Inclusive Luxury Resort with Water villa with Pool

Emerald Maldives Water Villas
Emerald Maldives Water Villas

Emerald Maldives – Luxury All inclusive resort

Emerald is a 5 * Luxury resort in the Northern Raa Atoll. It is an all-inclusive resort which means that the package cost includes all meals, un-limited beverages and select activities. It is also a part of the leading hotel of the world portfolio

It is accessible by a 45 min sea-plane ride from Male. This is a shared sea plane transfer and in a single trip will service 2-3 nearby resorts.  While the usual procedure is for the sea-plane to land directly at the resort, in rare events, the sea plane might even drop you to a nearby resort for a very short 5-10 min speedboat ride

Read about sea-planes in Maldives here.

Emerald is a relatively new property which started operations in August 2019 and is designed in modern, light, airy colours. Situated on a medium sized island, Emerald has 120 beach and water villas, many of them with a pool.

The average room size in emerald is above par for its price point ( abut 175-190 SqM) . The pools in the villas are medium sized, about 15 SqM.  The unique feature of emerald room are its massive bathrooms with huge bath-tubs and outdoor and indoor showers, which are nearly 30% of the room size. The toiletries are also high end and and it has mini bar which is temperature controlled ( and whose contents are part of the all inclusive package). Emerald has plenty of true luxury touches, setting it aside from other peer category hotels

It has a upgrade category of villa called the Superior villa which are 310 SqM with a 24 SqM Pool. The facilities are same in the normal Villas

The other defining feature of Emerald is its enormous kids club, which apart from a massive indoor area, comes with a sprinkler pool, kids zip line and very large set of child related outdoor activities.

Emerald has a great house reef and good quality snorkelling is possible at the resort itself. Another unique feature is that Emerald provides high end bikes to all residents staying in a villa as a regular accessory. Every Villa has a bike stand with a bike for every resident. This makes commute within the resort much easier and is a boon for the kids

Emerald has 3 restaurants. The main, buffet restaurant, a South American Grill and a Pan Asian restaurant.  Food is quite good and varied and the un-limited high end beverages mean you get the best wine and champagne with the meals.

A note on the all inclusive feature of emerald. Emerald is an all inclusive resort and this means all meals across restaurants, all alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages and select activity like fishing expeditions, sunset cruise etc are included are included as part of the cost of the resort

All in all, Emerald provide an excellent luxury, all inclusive option at a very reasonable price point.  (A 4 Night stay in a water villa with pool will cost approximately 3.4 lakhs including transfers and taxes)

Current Deal in Emerald

Unique Feature:

    • Sea Plane Transfers
    • Premium all you and eat, all you can drink, resort
    • Large Villas with massive bathrooms, many with an in villa pool
    • Massive kid club with Sprinkler Pool, ZipLine, Adventure Course
    • True Luxury touches in the VillasPlease see detailed pricing for emerald


Top Visa Free destinations for Indians

Raffles Seychelles

Top Visa Free destinations for Indians

Top Visa Free destinations for Indians

Raffles Seychelles

Top visa on arrival destinations for Indian passport holders

Don’t have time for a visa for your summer vacation? Below are 10 fabulous destinations which you can do with Visa on Arrival for Indians

a) Turkey (conditional visa on arrival)

Not strictly a “visa on arrival” destination, however if you have a valid UK or US visa, Indians can get a visa on arrival. A short break in Turkey will include a Istanbul, Cappadocia, and probably a few days in Mediterranean resort.

Turkey is now open to Travel

b) Seychelles

Seychelles is a great beach destination accessible by direct flights from 5hr from Mumbai.

Seychelles is opening up for Indians from April


h) Maldives
Maldives is a great short break option especially as it is fully accessible in the times of Covid

Maldives is now open to Travel

i) Sri-Lanka
With an Electronic pre – arrival Visa, Cheap flights and great hill and beach destinations, Sri-Lanka is perfect for a 5 to 7 day break.

Sri Lanka is now open to Travel

b) Bhutan ( visa on arrival)
An undiscovered gem, India is one of the few countries for which Bhutan doesn’t require a visa. Bhutan can be visited in 4 to 7 days, covering Thimpu, Paro and maybe Wangdu

c) Taiwan ( visa on arrival)
Yes. No Visa required. In fact Taiwan is a tourist surprise and do drop us a mail if you want to discover it

d) Hong Kong ( visa on arrival)
Perfect for a super quick getaway, Hong Kong along with Macau continues to have a no visa on arrival policy for Indians. However if you have an unstamped passport, you will be subject to questioning.

e) Cambodia
Angkor Vat and more. Cambodia is exceptional as a short get away destination. Its cost effective and can be easily fit in a one week travel planhttp://www.tierratravels.com/pack/cambodia-and-vietnam-35.html

f) Thailand ( Still a visa on arrival destination) An evergreen favorite.

g) Philippines
A recent inclusion, Philippines now offers 14 day visa on arrival if you posses a valid UK, US, Shenzhen, Japan, Australia, Canada and even a Singapore Visa. Boracay is arguably the top beach destination in SE Asia and visiting it just go easier

j) Jordan :Jordan and Petra is an undiscovered gem and Indians can take advantage of direct Jordan air flights to reach Amman in under 6 hours.An exciting trip idea is to combine Jordan with Istanbul

k) Mauritius :This Island paradise and perfect get-away fro Indian honeymooners doesn’t require pre-authorisation.

Tierra offers you seamless Visa services as part of our comprehensive services’


Top 5 Travel Tips to Spain for Indian Travellers

Spain Bull Fighting

Top 5 Travel Tips to Spain for Indian Travellers

Top 5 Travel Tips to Spain for Indian Travellers


Traveling to Spain this summer?

Traveling to Spain this summer?

Spain is a wonderfully diverse country with its own special idiosyncrasies.
These are 5 things to watch out for

a) Language
Though its a not a big problem, as you travel further into the South, less and less people speak English. So while you will be ok in Barcelona, Ibiza and probably in Madrid, a phrasebook will probably be handy as you hit Seville and do the day trips from it.

b) Trains
The Trains leave on Time!In fact in the bigger cities the stations resemble aircraft terminals, with “gates”closing a few minutes before departure. Spain is not Italy and in our experience Spanish train network is more efficient than the German network

c) Beaches
Beware of package Tourists ( especially British) thronging the beaches you choose. This is especially true of the Southern beach resorts of Malaga et all. A teeny weeny bit of research will help you navigate this tourist trap

d) Late Nights
Spain especially Madrid is the latest city in the world. Period.Normal office going people hang around its innumerable bars, even on weekdays till way past midnight and to experience Spain, you have to be a willing participant

e) The Party Season
This is for people going to Ibiza. Summers in Europe start late and Ibiza is strictly a June to September phenomenon. Don\’t bother going outside these dates’,’Travelling to Spain? 5 Essential Travel Tips’,


How to save 1,00,000 on your Next Europe Trip


How to save 1,00,000 on your Next Europe Trip

5 ways to save costs when travelling to Europe

Travelling to Europe for 2 weeks? If yes, you will LOVE the below advice

a) Ditch the Eurorail

Its been 15 years since DDLJ and its time we buried the “we have to do Europe with Euro Rail pass”

Myth 1.  Euro Rail pass is a “discount” coupon. It is not a ticket. You have to line up at the train station to buy the ticket. Many times the line for this is longer than the line for regular train tickets!

Myth 2. There is no ticket preference for pass holders. That means if the train is fully booked you can\’t board that train

Myth 3. The discount coupon makes sense only if you do a minimum number of trips over the travel dates

Myth 4. Euro rail pass gives you access to the fastest and most expensive trains. So far so good. However most often the fastest trains are only slightly faster than the regular trains, especially over shorter, well traveled routes within a countryFor instance in Italy, Milan to Venice a Regional train takes only 20 mins more and is 60% less expensiveUnless you are doing a lot of inter-country travelling in Europe, you will nearly always be better off buying train tickets a-la- carte.We saved INR 15,000 on our last Italy trip and INR 10,000 on our last Germany trip using this strategy.Saving: INR 10,000*2 = 20,000

b) Stay in Hostels.

I know your nose cringes automatically at the word, but don’t be scared. These are not your Indian Youth Hostels and their associated dorm rooms. The standard of European hostels are extremely high and in many places you can actually book a separate room, especially if there are 3 or more people travelling together. Ceterus paribus, even if you are a couple, for the same quality of accommodation (including booking separate rooms) , you can save Eur 30-50/ day.Cost saving: INR 20,000

c) Guided Walks

Guided walks and tours are quite expensive, averaging about 40-50 Euros per tour. On a 14 day itinerary, tours itself can set you back INR 15,000 per person.An excellent alternative in many European cities are the free walks (Yes.. ..Free). The quality of most of them are excellent. The only catch is that it’s customary to tip the guide. Even with the tip, you will save a considerable sum of moneySaving : INR 10,000*2 = 20,000

d) Food and Water

A simple thing but much ignored tip is refilling your water bottle instead of buying mineral water throughout the day. In summer the saving per person per day will be Eur 7-8 Euros.For Food, an excellent low cost option is Turkish/ Middle Eastern Food. These days they are present in almost every European city. They are not only cheap; they make an extremely tasty and healthy meal.Cost saving: INR 10,000*2 = 20,000e) Airfare:With the advent of low cost carriers, it is often cheaper to take a flight than a train. You have to book well in advance, but this planning is often worth it. (We travelled on a INR 750 flight from Ibiza to Malaga). Train tickets offer limited if no early bird discounts. Admittedly you can’t do this for every trip, but it should be used intelligently when planning your itineraryCost Saving: INR 7,500*2 = 15,000

f) Mobile.

Say a big No to matrix, unless the purpose of your phone is to receive incoming office calls. It is very easy to buy Local sims and phones and the cost savings as compared to the best Roaming plans will be humongous.(On our last Spain trip, we spent a total of INR 1200, without any significant reduction in our mobile phone usag

Cost Saving: INR 5,000*2 = 10,000
All in all – Total saving: INR 105,000


An Indians Guide to Scandanavia : Norway

Hurtigruten Norway

An Indians Guide to Scandanavia : Norway

Guide to Scandanavia : Norway

Hurtigruten Norway
Hurtigruten Norway


After the cities, we decided to go back to the sea to discover its true soul. We boarded the coastal streamer, the Hurtigruten, to embark on what Lonely Planet called the most beautiful cruise voyage in the world. (Not that I am the biggest fan of lonely planet, but more about that later).


Hurtigruten is a coastal steamer, which apart from servicing the coastal towns of Norway’s West Coast, doubles up as an acceptable cruise ship. You will find no casinos, discotheques or children’s play area here, but if the experience around you more than makes up for it. Given its passage through inlets and frequent ports of call, you are never really at sea, but rather in the midst of an open-air amphitheater where you see Scandinavia pass you by. From small towns, to farms to pretty lighthouses on rocks, you feel a certain oneness with the landscape. Combined with short stops in pretty fishing villages and coastal towns, your exposure to local life is exceptional. Hurtigruten also takes you into the Fjords, which Norway is famous for. Squeezing yourself past towering cliffs you make a dramatic turn inland. (pic). And yes, you get to part of it, lying lazily on a deck chair with your favorite book in hand. (A Bloomquist in my case).

The other spectaculars include the Lofoten islands and before you realize it you have crossed the Artic circle.

Fishing village Lofoten

Your final destination, Tromso is actually a good 350 kilometers inside the circle.


The cruise also allows you to go on short side rips, which include Trips to Glaciers, Seal islands and interaction with local people. In winter it even gets better, with Husky Dog Sledging, Northern Lights excursions and snow mobile trips to the Russian Border.
Perhaps the best phase to describe the trip is that it’s a “live spa”. Cleansed, exfoliated, purified and yes amazed too, you re-appear a few days later. That’s Scandinavia for you.

The Scandinavia of your dreams is available in full customisable form from Tierra. Costs start at 1.2 lakhs per person.


An Indians Guide to Scandanavia : Stockholm and Copenhagen


An Indians Guide to Scandanavia : Stockholm and Copenhagen

Guide to Scandanavia : Stockholm and Copenhagen

The first thing that hits you is the cost

The second thing that hits you is the sea

The third thing that hits you is that everybody speaks English

The fourth thing that hits you is the quality of the offering you get, whether it is a good or a service

The fifth and most enduring thing that you take back with you, is that you are probably amongst the most friendliest people in the world

In this age of the politically correct I guess you are forced to call every nation friendly. (Even the French). But before we get seriously polemical, lets step back.

We did 9 days in all. Flying through Vienna, we landed in Copenhagen before 9am, the entire day at your disposal. How cool was that! Incidentally Central Europe ( Switzerland, Austria, Germany) offers you the best connectivity to Europe.



Tivoli Gardens Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a super cute maritime city, but it sort of stops at that. The highlights are the Nyhavn harbour / canal and the Tivoli Gardens. The walk along the canal, sailboats in the foreground and baroque buildings in the background, is one most pleasant in Europe. A good mix of young buzzy locals and tourists adds to the atmosphere. Tivoli gardens are the original Disneyland. Walt Disney is said to have drawn inspiration from it when setting up the bigger and much more commercial counterpart in Florida. Tivoli Garden is an amusement park from the fairy tales one used to read as child. From the Viking themed merry go rounds to bumper cars to Michelin starred restaurants to open air concerts to really scary adult rides to candy floss and cute shooting games, you relive the story books you used to read as a kid. If you have a 7 year old, he will think that he has gone to heaven. A first rate experience, Tivoli gardens is a must do.  But as a city Copenhagen is a bit limited. A poorer cousin of Stockholm.A day is enough in Copenhagen and next morning we flew to Stockholm.




Flights in Scandanavia are convenient. They are not very expensive, Airport transfers are efficient and there are multiple flight options. Alternatives like the ferry and train don’t make it past the cost benefit analysis.
However if you want to save the cost of one night stay, you can look at the overnight Copenhagen to Stockholm ferry.

Stockholm is Bloomquist country. An intriguing place, it ticks all the boxes of a proper European city. These include Regal architecture, the obligatory old town, a buzzy nightlife and good shopping. What differentiates it from its sister cities on the European mainland are the sea and some really innovative museums.

Made up of 14 islands, Stockholm is part of 22,000 island archipelago network. To see how deeply the sea penetrates the cities consider this fact. One of every 3 people in Stockholm owns a boat. In percentage terms that is more than car ownership in New York, London, Paris, Rome or Tokyo.
A cruise that touches the canals and islands in and around Stockholm is a must.

Apart from a world class art gallery Stockholm is also home to some of the most innovative museums in the world. The highlights are the 18th century Nordic ship salvaged from deep under, the Vasa and the open-air museum, Skansen. Skansen in particular is a visual delight. Consider this. Historical buildings and settlements have been physically lifted from various parts of Sweden and rebuilt in the park. Within the park, settlements from North Sweden are situated in the northern park of the park and vise versa. Combine this with Nordic animal and real life period actors, and you have an incredible smorsgard of Scandinavia and Sweden between the 12th and the 19th century. You will see flourmills, bakeries, farms, windmills, farms, town squares, manor houses, all with real life period actors enacting village life. (all of whom speak perfect English and are very friendly). There is also a zoo which houses Nordic animals. In fact one of the highlights of Scandinavia are these museums and parks.

From the Tivoli in Copenhagen to the Vasa and Maritime museum in Stockholm to the Kon Tike and Polar ship, Fram in Oslo, the museums demonstrate Scandinavia’s obsession for quality and its surprising capacity for innovation.

After Stockholm, we abandoned the cities. Would we find the Scandinavia of our dreams?

Read about Norway and Part 2 here!

The Best Tiger Reserve in India

Tiger in Ranthambore

The Best Tiger Reserve in India

The Complete Guide to the Best Tiger Reserve in India to see a Tiger

Tiger in Ranthambore
Tiger in Ranthambore

The best tiger sighting (or for the matter any animal sighting) you can ever get, is in a Zoo.

And unsurprisingly more “zoo-like”,  a National park is, the better animal sighting you will get. The animals get used to human beings, the cars, the pollution and consequently “allow’ you to watch them.\n\n\n\nThe wilder the park , the less used to human civilization the animals are, the more difficult it is to spot wildlife. For instance the Sunderbans (Its actually dangerous spotting a tiger there).

Technical stuff like tiger density don’t really matter as much. The area accessible to tourists are very limited, (7-10% of total park) and you ultimately end up watching the same animals ( in most parks, it’s between 5 to 15 animals).

If you have seen a tiger in Bandhavgarh and your cousin saw one 3 months back and your ex-wife saw one 6 months back, decent probability that all of you saw the same ‘wild’ animal. (Tigers here actually have names and people go back saying i say Sita, i saw Mohini. Sita btw is supposed to be the most photographed tiger in the world. )

The technical point which does matter is vegetation. The lusher the forests, the worse the sightings will be. (Parks in the South of India, Kaziranga). The sparser the vegetation, the better. ( the.. umm lions of Gir).
The final factor is whether the parks use elephants to track tigers down and present them to tourists (This is not the same as seeing wildlife from a elephant’s back). This is a controversial practice and has been stopped in many parks. But probability of sighting go up dramatically in parks where such “tiger shows “ are used. They of course take away from the wild experience.

Tiger Safari Ranthambore
Tiger Safari Ranthambore

But I want it wild and I want to spot a tiger!!!
Its tough but doable.
As a guide I present a very opinionated tiger poll to choose the “best tiger park”. From a base shortlist you will do best to choose parks where mass tourism is 7-10 years old, where vegetation is not super dense. Do give yourself at least 3 days. Also you should avoid the most popular sections of the known parks and not experiment with the areas which have been recently opened up.

Tiger poll
1st Column ( 0 to 15) – Likelihood of seeing a tiger ( 15 is certain you will see, 1 is almost certainly you will not see, 0 of course there being NO tigers)
2nd Column ( 0 to 10)– Likelihood of the experience being a ‘wild’ experience
3rd Column (0 to 10) – The Forest Experience. Or how pretty is my forest

As you ca see we place 50% more weight to us seeing a tiger vs the two other factors

Out of 10 Seeing a tiger ‘Wild’ experience The Forest Experience Total
Kanha (1) 12 6 8 26
Bandhavagarh (2) 15 3 7 25
Ranthambore (3) 10.5 6 7 23.5
Pench (4) 10.5 6 6 22.5
Corbett (5) 6 7 9 22
Tadoba (5) 9 7 6 22
Nagerohole (7) 4.5 8 7 19.5
Periyar (8) 1.5 8 8 17.5
Kaziranga (9) 1.5 8 7 16.5
Sunderbans (10) 1.5 9 5 15.5

How safe is Russia – 6 Myths about travelling to Russia

Moscow Russia

How safe is Russia – 6 myths about Traveling to Russia

I hate it when people bad-mouth a place. So i decided to check it out myself!


Moscow Russia

It’s Unsafe:

I found Moscow and St Petersburg to be safer than many European cities,( Think Barcelona / Milan).  Russian cities close very late and its safe to walk on the streets, even late in the night.I walked at 2 am from the Red Square, along Tverovsky Street to my hotel.  Lots of single women and couples on the street and you feel perfectly comfortable.
Russian Mafia is a bit like the Mumbai mafia. Unless you have pots of money, you really don’t need to worry.

St Petersburg
St Petersburg

Nobody understand English:

Since the fall of communism, English is taught as a second language in Russian schools. Thus most young Russians know English. The Quality of interaction might vary, but in the big cities you can make do without Russian.

People are unfriendly:

Surprisingly I have heard versions of this sentiment from even the locals.  ( “We take time to open up”). In my experience I have found Russians to be as warm as most foreigners I have interacted with.  Incidents like people stopping on the street to help you were the norm rather than the exception.

Its Expensive:

Yes. Hotels are super expensive in Moscow. But apart from Moscow accommodation, prices are on par with a cheap European city like Berlin. Accommodation in St Petersburg is reasonable.

Nothing much to see:

Lots to see. If you rank the tourist stuff, Russian cities get a 7 out of 10. (Paris being a 10, Mumbai being a 3). Similar marks to what a Munich or a Stockholm would get. The cultural experiences are of course priceless. Our overnight Train compartment from St Petersburg to Moscow, had 2 officers from the Red Army, One of our guide was a physicist who was arrested by Putin for advocating democracy. Another guide had been a school teacher under communism. Post perestroika he lost his job, and now sings paeans of the communist leaders.

Russian Fisherman
Russian Fisherman

Food is boring:

The biggest surprise for us was the how tasty and varied Russian food was. We had gone dreading that we would experience food which was very bland and totally meat based. A worse cousin of Central European cuisine. We were however pleasantly surprised. Russian food has lots of regional influences and apart from the core Russian food, food from the provinces (Georgian, Azerbaijan and Uzbek ) are very interesting. They have a lot of Middle Eastern influences and are very easy on the Indian palate

5 Must See Places in Egypt


Egypt is perhaps best known as the home of the ancient Egyptian civilization, with its temples, hieroglyphs, mummies, and above all its pyramids. Egypt stimulates the imagination of tourists like few other countries. Here is a curated list of some of the must-visit places in Egypt.



Egypt’s sprawling capital, which is set on the Nile River is a must-visit as its closer to the Pyramids. The Pyramids are  beautiful and magnificent and a sight to experience. For the fun aspect, you can even take a camel ride of about 45 minutes across the pyramids showcasing all 6 of them.


The Egyptian Museum located in Cairo is a must-see as it showcases the mummies of the kings.

Experience the ride on the Traditional Egyptian Sailboat often known as Felucca to see the Cairo sights from the water along with the sunset. Enjoy the local delicacies of Dolmas, Koshari, and Falafel also known as Tameya, etc.





Aswan The city, located on the River Nile in southern Egypt is of great strategic importance. But it is equally beautiful with many archaeological sites.





Nubian Village

One of the places to explore is the Nubian Village. Its located on the Nile River near Aswan to explore the life of the villagers. Travel from Aswan by boat to the village and visit the Nubian houses. Pass through the small but pretty lanes roaming around the village. You can even take a camel ride within the village.



One of the overwhelming sightseeing experience is the High Dam. The dam is built to control the Nile River Flooding. So on one side, it’s Lake Nasser, the world’s largest man-made lake, also filled with Crocodiles and on the other, it’s Nile River.




Take the Nile Cruise – Nile Cruise covers a lot of places wherein you will visit Kom Ombo, Edfu Temples, Luxor, and Karnak Temple on the East & Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut, and Colossi of Memnon on the West Banks of Luxor. Children, in particular, enjoy the Crocodile Museum at the Kom Ombo Temples which holds the mummies of the crocodiles as well. One has to take horse carriages to reach the Edfu Temple which is an experience in itself. Abu Simbel Temples are worth a visit but to travel there the tour starts from 4-5 am. Nile Cruise also has onboard entertainments like belly dancing, Tanoura Dance which involves a man with a big jepone dancing in a circular way, etc. Nile Cruise needs to be picked wisely. 5 Star Deluxe Nile Cruise options are available too.



Luxor Temple

Its often called the ‘World’s greatest open-air Museum’. The scale and grandeur of the monuments of this extraordinary place is unbelievable. Luxor lies between the east and the west banks of the mighty River Nile. So taking a cruise is the best way to explore and bask in the beautiful sights of Luxor.



Karnak Temple

Temples of Karnak and Luxor stand within the modern city on the East Bank and Valleys of Kings and valleys of Queens lie on the West bank. Hot Air Balloon Ride is very famous and can be a good adventure experience. Sound and Light Show at Karnak Temples in Luxor which is incredible and the temple looks beautiful when it’s lit.


Alexandriais well known for its promenade and catacombs. One can enjoy sitting in the cafes and admiring the beautiful sunset along the coastline.




Egypt is a beautiful marvel that one has to see to believe it. All the places from Luxor to Alexandria are heavenly and each one has a story of its own

How to Find Best Deal in Maldives in the Winter

Maldives Honeymoon

How to find the best deal in the Maldives in the winter



Here are a few tips to find the best deal in the Maldives:

October to March is the busy season in the Maldives. The normal Discounts and Offers are difficult to find, especially over the critical Christmas and New Year dates

A ) Special rates for the Indian market.

Certain hotels have special rates ONLY for the Indian market, which are distributed through travel agents. These include Paradise island, Kurumba, Holiday Inn Kandooma, Kuramathi, Taj Group Hotels, Club Med, Four Seasons Hotels, Jumeirah Hotels. These special rates are often 25-40% cheaper than “general” online rates.



B) Avoid the “super” peak period.

Different hotels have a different definition for Super peak dates. For some, it starts from 15th of December going up to 31st January, while others have a very short or no super peak dates ( 24th December to 2nd January or only special meal supplements on Christmas and New year)

C) Avoid Resorts with seaplane transfers

Sea Plane transfers are 300-600 USD more expensive per person as compared to hotels with Speed boat transfers (which are in turn closer to the airport)
In case you have to go for a resort which requires seaplane transfers opt instead for a domestic flight plus speed boat combo. This will be USD 200-400 per person cheaper.

D) Scout for early bird offers

Some resorts have Early bird offers for 30/60/90 days pre-booking. These include Club Med, Sheraton, Constance, Kurumba, etc.



E) Scout for hotels which give free nights

Usually, very few hotels give free nights in the winter. The Taj group ( Coral Reef and Exotica) are one of few hotel chains which gives free nights in the winter season (along with other freebies). Tierra has access to the special Offers!

F) Avoid meal plans

Meal plans offer poor value as compared to ordering food a-la-carte, in most properties. In almost all cases, you will end up saving money by ordering on the spot. The other option is the all-inclusive resorts ( Club Med, Lily resort, Aadaran Hudhurunfushi), which bundle alcohol and activities along with meals.

G) Ensure you get the honeymoon/anniversary freebies

Nearly all hotels give extra for honeymooners and anniversaries. Don’t miss out on them!