My travel dreams - Mission 2020

Goa is one of the favorite destinations for travelers & tourists, and many of the smart travelers chose to visit Goa during Monsoons. Do you wonder why? Let's check out this Photo Journey and know 5 main reasons for this.Best Deals - One of the main reasons for choosing Monsoons to visit Goa is TravellingCamera's favorite reason - 'Off Season'. Off Season means a lot of things but the main one is best deals - Cheap flights, great deals in best hotels and lot more. In Monsoons, you can afford 4-5 star property for as much you would pay to a normal hotel during peak season. On top of that, there are plenty of discounts for various things like car/bike hire, restaurants, discotheques etc. Cost for flights just gets down to 1/3rd or even less, Hotels in South Goa are even cheaper & here I am talking about all best properties of Goa - like Zuri White Reort, Radisson, Taj etc.Less crowded - I know different folks interpret it in different ways. I know folks who love to be in Goa when it's crowded. And also seen the same set of folks cribbing about the type of crowd. Without saying much, I would say that it's probably the best time for folks who like to be at peace when they travel. Of course, you get very good access to beaches and the sea.  Good weather - What comes to your mind, when we say Monsoons in Goa? Don't spend your energies in imagining Goa in monsoons :). It's beautiful with soothing breeze folioing you all around. Fields and beaches are lush green, which makes the place more beautiful. Cleaner beaches - Goan beaches are much cleaner than usual, because of some obvious reasons. This makes your exploration 10 times better. After all, you visit Goa for these beautiful beaches and what can better if you see them like what you expect.Goan Monsoons - Goan Monsoons are very special and offers some brilliant experiences. The rains are very light and you feel like getting drenched in Goan drizzles. These rains encourage you to drive in hills around Goa which look beautiful and if you are lucky, you may come across some beautiful waterfalls which are usually missed by folks visiting Goa in peak season. All such experiences make Goan Monsoons special for you.
If you have missed planning Goa trip during this monsoon, don't miss it next year and have fun with your loved ones !!!


Few days back, we started talking about places we want to explore during the next 5-6 years and especially those places that are outside India. There were definitely lots of thoughts in our minds, and it wasn't an easy task to decide which options are feasible :). So we had to balance the list in such a way that it fits our pocket. If you have any suggestions for us, please do share through comments on this post. 

The very first place is France that we definitely want to visit. French is one language we are familiar with and we want to see and experience the culture where this beautiful language was born. The rich heritage of the country is just the icing on the cake. While in France we want to be at places from where the Eiffel tower and famous beaches around Paris are accessible. 

Rivers breaking out from where you would least expect, water falls that are calmer than the rivers themselves. Hills that sit desolate, treeless yet green as if waiting with baited breath for some monster to surface from the depths of the seemingly calm lake that lies on their feet. This is what Snowdonia National Park is the best at. Each step you take here has the power to surprise you, and at each turn you make a new discovery. Gnarled oaks and birches bend down to touch the ground or may be to reach out to the running water below, to feel that sense of eternity that a river usually fills your heart with. Because this is what this entire landscape is, eternal. A sense of forever fills your heart as you roam around these lonely hills. You know that centuries and even eras will come and go, but this landscape will still be here, the same, unaffected, unmoved by any of our day to day sufferings. Moving through Snowdonia in a bus is tougher because you want to stop an take a walk every few minutes. Staying trapped inside is torturous, especially considering the wild, untamed landcape outside. Your spirit wants to be set free, to soar above these hills, amongst which stands hidden the massive mountain called Snowdon.The water reflects the world in its untarnished, sparkling beauty. And you suddenly discover the true meaning of being one with nature. It is nature whose spirit keeps your body alive. You know that once you shed your city mask, you, yourself, are nature. When you turn away from this landscape and move back to your day-to-day madness, you know it isn't really Goodbye. These mountains, once you have known them, will stay with you forever. Someday, when you sit real quiet, you will may be hear the sound of the wind rustling through the grass and water and a haunting cry calling you back to where you were one with nature, one with yourself.

Scotland is another place we want to visit. Vibha has been there and she wants us to go there again, together, and hence it's there on our list. Having a natural affinity to mountains, the Scottish Highlands have managed to capture my imagination and I can't wait to walk among the heather that grows on the desolate bog. And also want to capture Scottish architecture in my TravellingCamera.

The first post about the coach trip to Llandudno and the North of Wales had one unexpected element - a stopover at the city of Chester, Cheshire. Chester isn't a part of Wales, it is in England. The town was anyways a much-required break during the long coach travel. We only had a couple of hours to explore the town so we set out as soon as we got off the coach. We started with a brief walk on most complete city walls in the UK. These walls pass along some of the most popular tourist attractions in Chester and offers some nice views. This was another view from the wall. However we couldn't walk on the walls for too long because we had to have lunch and also explore as much of town as possible during the couple of hours allotted to us. We knew we wouldn't be able to cover much, but just wanted to get a feel of the place. Chester is famous for its Tudor-style, Timber-framed, black-and-white buildings. We got a good look at these. I find this architecture very fascinating. Of course, the term tudor-style means much more than these buildings, but these are the most striking according to my naive opinion. We had lunch at one of the pubs housed in one such building. It was a completely different experience. And then it was time to head back to Newcastle. We weren't able to see the famous Chester Zoo, but one needs one complete day for that. And soon after boarding the bus, we were passing through rolling hills in different shades of green. I have skipped through several towns we covered during this trip. Will be talking about them soon. So watch out.


New Zealand is another destination that has been there on our list for a long time now. Many times a thought comes to my mind that I should spend an year or so in New Zealand to explore its exceptional beauty. Various Photo Journeys from New Zealand by Bharat have been very inspiring for us.

After wonderful Photo Journeys like 'Breathtaking helicopter flights exposing the magnificent views of the pristine alpine environment in the AorakiMount Cook World Heritage Park - By BHARAT SHARMA' and 'Bay Of Islands', here is another one from Mount Taranaki, which is again one of the main places in New Zealand to visit. Let's check out this lastest Photo Journey from Bharat's Travelling Camera...Mount Taranaki or Mount Egmont is an active but quiescent strato volcano in the Taranaki region of west coast of New Zealand's North Island. Although the mountain is more commonly referred to as Taranaki it has two names under the alternative names policy of the New Zealand Geographic Board.The 2520 meters high mountain is one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world. There is a secondary cone.... Because of its resemblance to Mount Fuji, Taranaki provided the backdrop for the movie The Last Samurai. (Courtney - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Taranaki)Here is a link which tells very well about the activities one can plan while in Mount Tarnaki - http://www.taranaki.info/visit/content.php/page/taranaki-s-top-50-must-do-experiencesThis mountain is a source of more than 49 rivers and water-streams...It's a botanically unique area containing a wide variety of vegetation from sub-tropical semi-coastal forests in the Kaitake Ranges through to sub-alpine herb fields...Many bird species can also be found in the forests surrounding the mountain...Taranaki issues a challenge that some who are tempted to climb... In summers, a climb to the summit requires a day approximately... and a good level of fitness is something that is required... However, the mountain sits close to the Tasman Sea and is subject to rapid and violent weather changes. Many who attempt the climb are less than adequately equipped. A combination of these factors has meant that Egmont has seen more climbing fatalities than any other mountain in New Zealand. (For more in this regard, check out http://www.summitpost.org/mt-egmont-taranaki/152168A wonderful view of Mount Taranaki through huge sea which looks very small as compared to this Mountain !!!Here is one of the drmamatic photograph of Mount Taranaki, which is clicked from a plane. Whole area is covered by dense clouds and peak of Mount Taranaki is visible with snow cap on it. Check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/timboss81/6352143584/While reading more on internet about Mount Taranaki, we found another cool article describing various places to stay in Taranaki region with some decent options for climbers and botany lovers. Check out http://www.newzealand.com/int/article/national-parks-egmont/ for more details.A shot take on sea side... Stone standing out brilliantly through curved sand...Water movement over this sand has given it a dramatic texture and helped in overall composition of this photograph...There are three roads leading part-way up the mountain. The highest is to East Egmont plateau, with a viewing platform and parking facilities for the ski-field. It lies at the transition between sub-alpine scrub and alpine herb fields.Here ends the journey to Mount Taranaki by Bharat Sharma

New Zealand is one of the best destinations for travelers, explorers, and adventure lovers. Spectacular beauty that peeks out of all photographs from the magical country of New Zealand tempts me to no limit.

Taking a cruise on Mandovi river and experiencing the dynamic city Panajim by water is considered as one of the must do thing in Goa. Although options available during Monsoons are comparatively lesser. But still we thought of taking a cruise on Santa Monica, which is managed by Goa Tourism Department. This Photo Journey shares some moments from this cruise experience and more details on various options available in and around Goa.The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) runs a variety of river cruises on the Mandovi river during daytime, sunset and moonlight. There are two types of day cruises which start from the Panaji jetty, down the Mandovi into the Zuari bay and up the Mandovi to Aldona and a mineral water spring. There are few private firms who also offer a variety of imaginative cruises or boat tours for sunset views as well as for crocodile or dolphin spotting. but we found is hard to identify these options during monsoons. Many of the folks gave us the reason that it's risky during monsoons to go deep into the sea, while we noticed many of the fishermen boats at a distance. Most probably, it's related to business reasons & low tourist inflow during monsoons.We opted for evening cruise from Goa Tourism office which is near to Mandovi river bridge which connects North Goa to it's southern part & Panjim. Santa Monica is considered as a pride of Goa Tourism Development. This is used for daily evening cruises on river Mandovi with 'live' cultural programs performed by the best cultural troupes of Goa. Usually one cruise duration is 1 to 1.5 hrs and it takes multiple rounds in evening. Ticket was 200 Rs per person which quite cheap. Santa Monica has huge capacity so Goa Tourist makes enough money. And don't miss the video of a gentleman dancing at the cruise :) . It's placed in the bottom of this postAt any point of time Santa Monica can accommodate approximately 200 guests. Inside the cruise, there is usually a bar counter which also serves very basic snacks, but not very exciting affair. very badly managed and crowd makes it worse. So we didn't even try to go near it. And fortunately it was just one hour. Santa Monica is also available for special parties on hourly basis and it seems, many folks book it for weddings as well. The Santa Monica cruise is the most attractive entertainment with live Goan Cultural Show and music on board. We loved this the most. There were some Goan performances by very sweet performers on the cruise. These performances keep you busy most of the time and you need to put efforts in taking out your attention & view other things around the river.As ride starts, it moves across the riverside with beautiful views of Panjim town. Then it moves towards the other and goes deep into the river. Various ships and steamers come on the way and many of the ships are used for local transportation. Many folks use these ships to cross river with their vehicles.There are different types of cruises available in Goa. Sunset Cruise one of the famous one which departs at 6.00 pm for one hour. The other one which starts at 7:15pm is known as Sundown Cruise. There is a special cruise called as Full Moon Cruise, which starts at 8:30pm & it's for 2 hours.  'Dolphin Fantasy Cruise' sounds very interesting :) . This cruise is only available on Mondays, during mornings. I guess, for 2 hours. Idea is to watch the dark graceful water beauties in a playful mood and the rhythmic dance of love - yes we are talking about Dolphins in Goa. This cruise helps in sighting closely the head lands jutting out into the sea, the Raj Bhavan, Aguada Fort & Reis Magos. There is another cruise offered by Goa Tourism - 'Pearl of the Orient'. I loved these names :) ... This is an interesting cruise with walking experience which helps in exploring natural & cultural heritage by visiting World Heritage Monuments at old Goa. We were not aware of this option when we visited Goa, otherwise this would have been our first option. This happens only during Saturdays and timings are from 9:30am to 1pm.If you want to experience Backwater Thrills cruise, plan your visit between Tuesday & Friday. Weekenders would miss this. This starts at 9:30am and ends at 4pm. It's about cruising along the riverine tip of Islands of Chorao, Divar, Old Goa. This cruise is very interesting for endless sights and sounds of Mandovi’s thick mangroves. Cruise offers the experience of typical Goan cuisine served in earthen pots and banana leaf. It seems that Goa tourism also arranges special cruises for longer periods of time. Panaji jetty ticket counter is best place to find out more details about cruise options in Goa.Cruising around Goa is a fun activity and Goa Tourism department really does a very good job in managing these cruises very well with great flavor of goan culture and music. It's real fun to enjoy goan music on cruise with awesome performers. Most of the times, they also play music for guests, if they want to dance in the middle of the river :). If you plan for the cruise in Goa, be prepared for the long waiting queues and I am sure that wait would be more during the season. But it's all worthwhile.

Pristine beaches of Bali invite me to leave my footprints on their sands. I know those footprints will get washed away in time, but no one will be able to take that moment away from me.


Photo Credits - Nitin Gupta Pictures

Goa is one of the favorite destinations for travelers & tourists, and many of the smart travelers chose to visit Goa during Monsoons. Do you wonder why? Let's check out this Photo Journey and know 5 main reasons for this.Best Deals - One of the main reasons for choosing Monsoons to visit Goa is TravellingCamera's favorite reason - 'Off Season'. Off Season means a lot of things but the main one is best deals - Cheap flights, great deals in best hotels and lot more. In Monsoons, you can afford 4-5 star property for as much you would pay to a normal hotel during peak season. On top of that, there are plenty of discounts for various things like car/bike hire, restaurants, discotheques etc. Cost for flights just gets down to 1/3rd or even less, Hotels in South Goa are even cheaper & here I am talking about all best properties of Goa - like Zuri White Reort, Radisson, Taj etc.Less crowded - I know different folks interpret it in different ways. I know folks who love to be in Goa when it's crowded. And also seen the same set of folks cribbing about the type of crowd. Without saying much, I would say that it's probably the best time for folks who like to be at peace when they travel. Of course, you get very good access to beaches and the sea.  Good weather - What comes to your mind, when we say Monsoons in Goa? Don't spend your energies in imagining Goa in monsoons :). It's beautiful with soothing breeze folioing you all around. Fields and beaches are lush green, which makes the place more beautiful. Cleaner beaches - Goan beaches are much cleaner than usual, because of some obvious reasons. This makes your exploration 10 times better. After all, you visit Goa for these beautiful beaches and what can better if you see them like what you expect.Goan Monsoons - Goan Monsoons are very special and offers some brilliant experiences. The rains are very light and you feel like getting drenched in Goan drizzles. These rains encourage you to drive in hills around Goa which look beautiful and if you are lucky, you may come across some beautiful waterfalls which are usually missed by folks visiting Goa in peak season. All such experiences make Goan Monsoons special for you.
If you have missed planning Goa trip during this monsoon, don't miss it next year and have fun with your loved ones !!!

Having already seen a tiger in the wild, my next target is to see a pride of lions, a migrating heard of wildebeest, and zebras. The thought of being amongst nature at its wildest is very inspiring. 


We have started planning for our Mission 2020 and the very first step was to start working on an itinerary to be followed. And then the places we would want to stay. As always, looking for places that offer value for money or offer something exceptional, and those that fit into our pocket as well. The first steps towards that is to create a wishlist on airbnb and we encourage fellow travelers to make the best use of these portals, which are extremely helpful in planning your trips. You may want to use this airbnb link to get started and earn Airbnb credit worth INR 1,544 ($25).  Feel free to drop us your messages if you want to know more.

Wish us the luck for better planning and hope we execute these plans in best possible ways.

Photograph credits - Vibha Malhotra and Bharat Sharma

2 comments:

wanderingjatin said...

Sounds like a great list. All the very best :)

VJ Sharma said...

Thanks Jatin :)

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