Changing colours of autumn… to be!

In India we miss colours of fall (autumn) as they are in many other parts of the world. Only place in India to come close to the beautiful golden colours of fall is Kashmir. Kashmir is indeed spectacular during fall. Fall colours are always amazing and to me they are as beautiful as colours of spring.

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So, while on my solo biking trip to Ladakh this month I was looking everywhere for the changing colours as I was fully aware that autumn was just round the corner. And the difference in colours was very stark from Delhi to Leh. See for yourself:

These are the lush green fields of our Haryana, no signs of autumn-

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The scene was quite unlikely to change until this side os the Rohtang Pass. But after crossing Gramphoo and moving towards Spiti, some wild flowers brought the joy-

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But then, shortly after Gramphoo till Chandratal, the terrain is almost barren.

(You can read my post on Chandratal by clicking here)

It was life on hills to see, only when we reach back towards Lahaul and move towards Tandi and further to Keylong. Keylong, though still had some touch of green and colour. But with snow falling on surrounding hilltops, autumn might not be too far-

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But the green was gone, once I entered deep into Lahaul valley. Just after the Gata loops, I could see this touch of golden yellow on bushes-

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But it is quite different once you enter the Ladakh region. Even in Ladakh, the areas adjacent to Indus or Shoyok rivers are quite different from the ones away from them. But roads near Leh, started to give a glimpse of autumn, like this…

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…and this-

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This is a view from Thiksey monastery of surroundings-

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Even this image from top of a hill of the tents pitched for the Naropa 2016, near Hemis monastery gives a shot of some golden bushes in green surroundings. Its changing, isn’t it!

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Once you cross Khardungla and move towards the Nubra valley, you are in store for some more surprises. Texture gets further different from here. Its a long valley sandwiched between two mountain ranges-

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Karakoram sanctuary near Diskit and Hunder has another round of flowers-

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But its the sunset at Hunder which gives the hue of autumn-

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In almost two weeks, the signs of autumn are surely making there mark in the Lahaul valley. The hills around Tandi and Keylong too have started to covert to golden hues. I actually missed some better shots than the one below to my folly and anxiety to escape imminent rains-

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Back to the normal lands in hills overlooking Una, life was still green and a bit to early to call autumn here. Leaves would have turned yellow in Kashmir… to welcome the Harud.

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Making tourism accessible for all on this Wold Tourism Day

banner_unwto_home_wtd_en_0-jpg-crop_display_0Tourism for all: people with disabilities, senior citizens and families travelling with small children, and sooner or later all citizens will appreciate the advantages of universal accessibility. This is why UNWTO has chosen to celebrate World Tourism Day 2016 on the theme of accessible tourism. Official celebrations are taking place today at Bangkok, Thailand. The World Tourism Day event started with an amazing performance at the Siam Kempinski Hotel. The opening included a touching rendition of blind people performing and singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” 

For the last quarter–century World Tourism Day, held annually on 27 September, has aimed to foster awareness of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic impact. This year’s theme is ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’. Reaching universal accessibility in tourism is a shared responsibility of everybody involved in the tourism value chain, as well as a business opportunity for companies and destinations.

siamniramit_krathong“Everyone has the right to access leisure and tourism services on an equal basis. Yet 1 billion people around the world living with disability, along with young children, seniors and persons with other access requirements, still face obstacles in accessing fundamentals of travel such as clear and reliable information, efficient transportation and public services, and a physical environment that is easy to navigate.  Even with modern technologies, those with visual, hearing, mobility or cognitive impairments are being left behind in many tourism destinations.” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in his official message.

Nehantic Trail - Rhododentron Sanctuary Trail entrance sign.
Nehantic Trail – Rhododentron Sanctuary Trail entrance sign.

“All of the world’s citizens have the right to experience the incredible diversity this planet has to offer. Therefore, it is highly important that all countries and destinations, as well as the industry, promote accessibility for all in the physical environment, in transport systems, in public facilities and services and in information and communications channels”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world’s population (1 billion people) is estimated to live with some form of disability. UNWTO is convinced that accessibility for all to tourist facilities, products, and services should be a central part of any responsible and sustainable tourist policy.

man-in-a-wheelchair-cross-001“This year’s theme, ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’, is a challenge for Thailand and the world to recognize the necessity of accessibility in tourism and to accommodate everyone anywhere they may travel to (…) We have to understand the theory of Universal Design (…) As the world of travel and tourism is an expanding industry and the number of travelers increases every year, we have to ensure that travelling the world has to is as safe and seamless as possible,” explained Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, Minister of Tourism and Sports of Thailand.

foto5488e359c065dDuring the official event, experts on accessibility and tourism are exchanging views and best practices, addressing the need to work in cooperation to advance in the ‘Tourism for All’ agenda. Creating an adequate policy framework for specific business development strategies, the need to increase awareness and capacity building targeting both decision makers and tourism professionals are some of the topics being addressed during the conference.

accessible-tourism-benefits-of-travelThe conference will also address innovative strategies in the development of accessible tourism infrastructure, products and services which add value to destinations and enhance their competitiveness on the global tourism market. A number of best practices will be featured with the aim of emphasizing the value of investing in accessibility.

Mesmerising & captivating Chandratal Lake

It has been a long gap from the blog, for almost twenty days owing to a dream trip on my loving bike to some dream destinations of Lahaul & Spiti. Whatever one may say, it is one trip that for most of the travellers will rank quite high above any other in terms of sheer thrill and adventure. And so was it for me. So, basic motive of the trip was to  attend the Naropa 2016 but than it was always just a pretext. Biking to Leh was the implicit story. And, first highlight of the journey was indeed the Chandratal Lake. It was a dream fulfilled. Just the image below can tell it why. Isn’t it.

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Located in Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 4270 metres, this is one of the most popular and visited high altitude lake in India. Its captivating beauty has made Chandratal a popular destination for trekkers and campers. This natural lake is about one km in length, half km in breadth at its widest part and has a circumference of 2.5 km. The total area of the wetland is about 49 ha. The lake owes its name either to the fact that it is the source of the river Chandra, or by virtue of its crescent moon like shape. It is surrounded by the mountain ranges of Moulkila and Chandrabhaga. You can images of few of the peaks of Moulkila range below.

The clean water of the lake with small marshy patches around attracts many migratory birds. Important species among them are Snow cock, Chukar, Black winged stilt, Brahmni duck, Golden eagle and Chugh, Hoopoe, Yellow Headed Wagtail, Jungle crow, Blue rock pigeon, Common rose finch, Black Redstart, Short toed Eagle, Common Sandpiper, Teal, Magpie Robin etc. The important wild life species found in the region are Marmota Bobak, Snow leopard, Red fox, Snow wolf, Capra ibex, Blue sheep and Lynx etc. Migratory birds were yet to arrive when I visited the lake and to spot the other wildlife, one has to be extremely lucky.

I paid my first visit to Chandratal, immediately after reaching the camp in the afternoon. Lake is said to look quite differently during different times of day. These are few images from the afternoon-

But then, the real charm of the lake is in the early morning when water is more still and light is just perfect for water to reflect the surroundings. The reflections of peaks and mountains around the lake in the crystal clear water of Chandratal is simply magical.  You can see for yourself.

The first set of images are just before the sunlight touches the lake-

And then, see just how the view transforms, as soon as the sunlight is all over there on the lake-

You can just be there for hours or even more… lost in the fascinating atmosphere. But as soon as the day rises and wind starts blowing, the stillness of the water is disturbed and reflections start getting blurred. That is why, you don’t get any reflections post afternoon.

Staying: A lot has changed in the past few years around the Chandratal region. Adventurers now have plenty of staying options and all of them are camps. Until a few years back, there used to be just a few tents at the camping site. But now there are more than 150 tents in all run by different camping operators. Tents are good, clean and cosy and with various size options. Operators also provide meals and breakfasts. Most of the prices of the tents included meals (preferably breakfast and dinner).

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Weather: At this altitude, it has to be cold- whatever time of year you go there. In the peak season time, it could be warm in the day when the sun is out, but things change rather quickly as soon as sun sets or even when there is a cloud cover. It can be chilly when the wind blows. At this altitude, there can be a snowfall at anytime of the year. So, never drop your guards… never. See, even in September I had a lot of frost deposited on my bike the next morning and stored water on the campsites had a layer of ice over them.

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Chandratal is one of the wetlands in country which have been included in Ramsar Convention, hence there is no activity allowed around the lake. Camping sites are good three kilometres away from the lake. Then there is a parking lot around one and a half kilometre before the lake. From there, one has to trek to lake. Alternatively, one can also trek directly from the camping site to the lake. And probably that’s all for good. We need to save the ecology of the place.

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How to reach: Reaching Chandratal is only possible when Rohatng-La or Kunjam-La is open for traffic. Adventurers going to Lahaul or Spiti valley try their best to be at Chandratal, as it is something not to be missed. While going from the Manali side, 16 kilometres from Rohtang Top is Gramphoo. Here roads divide for Lahaul and Spiti valleys. Around 48 kilometres from Gramphoo is Batal. Around two kilometres from Batal after crossing river Chandra, there is another diversion. One of the road takes to the Spiti Valley via Kunzum Pass, which is 14 kilometres from this junction. Another road on the left takes to Chandratal which is 12 kilometres from this junction. Alternatively, one can reach Spiti via Shimla and Kaza and then reach Chandratal after crossing Kunzum pass. Road from Gramphoo to Chandratal via Batal on Manali side and then  from Losar to Chandratal via Kunzum pass on the Kaza side are bad and be prepared for some dirt tracks, boulders. It can be quite challenging drive on this route, specially when there are lots of water crossings to negotiate. If you are early in the season, then quite a fair amount of snow will also be there. So be prepared according to the weather and timing of the visit.

Trekking: One can trek to Chandratal from Kunzum pass directly. It is roughly a eight kilometre trek. Then there is also all-famous three day trek from Surajtal (from where river Bhaga originates) to Chandratal (from where river Chandra originates).

When to go: As I said, approaching Chandratal depends completely on the opening of two passes – Rohtang and Kunzum.  That happens in early June and lasts till end of October.  Actually, closing of roads depends on snowfall. Roads can get closed earlier, if there is an early snowfall. September is probably the best time to go. During August-September you can find the meadows around the lake and camping sites, carpeted with various types of wildflowers.

(You can write to me if you need any further details.)

Vagabond in Spiti : Kee Gompa

Kee (Key, Kye or Ki) monastery or gompa commands one of the most iconic views associated with Spiti valley.  It is considered to be the biggest monastery in Spiti valley. It is one of the highlights for anybody and must-visit place for any adventurer or tourist coming to Kaza. Kee gompa is one of the top monasteries in the region which include Tabo, Nako, Dhankar and Kungri (in the Pin valley) to name a few.

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Kee monastery is ahead of Kaza. Once you move pass the Kaza town along the spiti river, after couple of kilometres or so comes a diversion. There is a bridge across the river that takes to Loser and Kunjom pass. Loser is 56 kms from this point and Kunjom top is 78 kms.Kee Gompa2

One has to move ahead on the right side of the river towards Kibber and Kee. The view is spectacular and the road slowly drifts away from the river and climbs towards the mountains.

Once you reach the Kee (Kye) village than you get the first view of the monastery overlooking the village, perched on a small cliff.

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Moving ahead, there is another diversion, one on the left leads to Kibber village and on the right is Kee gompa. The view keeps on getting amazing- of the gompa as well as the Spiti valley below. The road to Kee from Kaza is generally good in condition, may be because of the high tourist value of the monastery.

 

The monastery of Tibetan Buddhism is located at an altitude of 4166 metres above the sea level. The monastery is more than thousand years old founded in 11th century. Despite being in such a tough terrain, this monastery along with other monasteries of the region has a history of attacks by the invaders and clashes among the different buddhist sects. Walls of the monastery are covered with paintings and murals developed in Chinese influence. It also houses a wide collections of ancient murals, manuscripts, and images. Monastery now belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Buddhism.

This monastery celebrated its millennium in 2000 when a new prayer hall was inaugurated by the Dalai Lama.  Besides this new prayer hall, there are four old prayer halls in the monastery. The monastery is so big that it can house around 450 lamas. Normally close to 150 lamas will always stay in the monastery. Even nuns stay here. The main monastery has three floors. Then there are different complexes for monks to stay, study and other activities.  It is a big teaching centre for lamas. There is also a cafeteria for the tourists.

Vehicles can be parked right at the entrance of the monastery. One has to keep sufficient time to move around, view the complex and enjoy the mesmerising landscape. Monastery holds its yearly festival normally in July every year. The monastery has already found its way into bollywood movies (Highway).

Kee Gompa also has facility for travellers to stay in lama quarters at a very nominal charge (around 200 Rs along with meals). That’s thoroughly enjoying and engaging. Gives a first-hand experience of the lives of the monks here. Worth it, but then you need to have some time in hand.

Four great apes on verge of extinction

Its not a good news for al nature lovers.  We are constantly pushing more and more species towards extinction- animals as well as plants. The Eastern Gorilla – the largest living primate – has been listed as Critically Endangered due to illegal hunting, according to the latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species released on Sunday at the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaiʻi.  Eastern Gorilla is considered to be one of our closest cousins.  Actually four out of six great ape species are now Critically Endangered – only one step away from going extinct – with the remaining two also under considerable threat of extinction. IUCN Red List update makes us realize just how quickly the global extinction crisis is escalating. Conservation action does work and we have increasing evidence of it.

Eastern Gorilla.  Critically Endangered. Photo: Intu Boedhihartono
Eastern Gorilla. Critically Endangered. Photo: Intu Boedhihartono

IUCN Red List update also reports the decline of the Plains Zebra due to illegal hunting, and the growing extinction threat to Hawaiian plants posed by invasive species. Thirty eight of the 415 endemic Hawaiian plant species assessed for this update are listed as Extinct and four other species have been listed as Extinct in the Wild, meaning they only occur in cultivation. The IUCN Red List now includes 82,954 species of which 23,928 are threatened with extinction.

Sumatran Orangutan. Photo: worldwildlife.org
Sumatran Orangutan. Photo: worldwildlife.org

Mammals threatened by illegal hunting
The Eastern Gorilla (Gorilla beringei) – which is made up of two subspecies – has moved from Endangered to Critically Endangered due to a devastating population decline of more than 70% in 20 years. Its population is now estimated to be fewer than 5,000. Grauer’s Gorilla (G. b. graueri), one subspecies of Eastern Gorilla – has lost 77% of its population since 1994, declining from 16,900 individuals to just 3,800 in 2015. Killing or capture of great apes is illegal; yet hunting represents the greatest threat to Grauer’s Gorillas. The second subspecies of Eastern Gorilla – the Mountain Gorilla (G. b. beringei) –is faring better and has increased in number to around 880 individuals. Four of the six great apes – Eastern Gorilla, Western Gorilla, Bornean Orangutan and Sumatran Orangutan – are now listed as Critically Endangered, whilst the Chimpanzee and Bonobo are listed as Endangered.

Plains Zebra is Near Threatened. Photo: Jean-Christophe Vié
Plains Zebra is Near Threatened. Photo: Jean-Christophe Vié

The once widespread and abundant Plains Zebra (Equus quagga) has moved from Least Concern to Near Threatened. The population has reduced by 24% in the past 14 years from around 660,000 to a current estimate of just over 500,000 animals. In many countries Plains Zebra are only found in protected areas, yet population reductions have been recorded in 10 out of the 17 range states since 1992. The Plains Zebra is threatened by hunting for bushmeat and skins, especially when they move out of protected areas.

Bay Duiker is Near Threatened. Photo: Brent Huffman
Bay Duiker is Near Threatened. Photo: Brent Huffman

Three species of antelope found in Africa – Bay Duiker (Cephalophus dorsalis), White-bellied Duiker (Cephalophus leucogaster) and Yellow-backed Duiker (Cephalophus silvicultor) – have moved from Least Concern to Near Threatened. Whilst the populations of these species within protected areas are relatively stable, those found in other areas are decreasing due to continued illegal hunting and habitat loss.

Good news for Giant Panda and Tibetan Antelope
This update of The IUCN Red List also brings some good news and shows that conservation action is delivering positive results.

Giant Panda has improved to Vulnerable. Photo: Martha de Jong-Lantink
Giant Panda has improved to Vulnerable. Photo: Martha de Jong-Lantink

Previously listed as Endangered, The Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is now listed as Vulnerable, as its population has grown due to effective forest protection and reforestation. The improved status confirms that the Chinese government’s efforts to conserve this species are effective. However, climate change is predicted to eliminate more than 35% of the Panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years and thus Panda population is projected to decline, reversing the gains made during the last two decades. To protect this iconic species, it is critical that the effective forest protection measures are continued and that emerging threats are addressed. The Chinese government’s plan to expand existing conservation policy for the species is a positive step and must be strongly supported to ensure its effective implementation.

Tibetan Antelope also improved to Near Threatened. Photo: Ahsup
Tibetan Antelope also improved to Near Threatened. Photo: Ahsup

Due to successful conservation actions, the Tibetan Antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii) has moved from Endangered to Near Threatened. The population underwent a severe decline from around one million to an estimated 65,000-72,500 in the 1980s and early 1990s. This was the result of commercial poaching for the valuable underfur – shahtoosh – which is used to make shawls. It takes 3-5 hides to make a single shawl, and as the wool cannot be sheared or combed, the animals are killed. Rigorous protection has been enforced since then, and the population is currently likely to be between 100,000 and 150,000.

Greater Stick-nest Rat is Near Threatened. Photo: Hj Aslin
Greater Stick-nest Rat is Near Threatened. Photo: Hj Aslin

Other conservation successes include the Greater Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus conditor), endemic to Australia, which has improved status, moving from Vulnerable to Near Threatened. This is due to a successful species recovery plan, which has involved reintroductions and introductions to predator-free areas. This unique nest-building rodent is the last of its kind, with its smaller relative the Lesser Stick-nest Rat (Leporillus apicalis) having died out in the Twentieth Century. The resin created by the rats to build their nests is so strong that they can last for thousands of years if they are not exposed to water.

(Source: IUCN)

Thailand makes Visa on Arrival costlier

Thailand Visa

Indians love Thailand and one of the reason has been Visa on Arrival facility. Hence they can just buy the tickets, pick their passport and head to airport for one of their favourite destinations. Its still the same, but it is going to hurt more to your pocket now as Thailand has just doubled the Visa on Arrival fees. The new fees gets effective from 27 September 2016. So, all those who had planned to visit Thailand during this autumn break or puja holidays, will have to shell out some extra money.

Ministry of Interior of Thailand vide a order No. 30 B.E. 2559 (2016) dated 1 July B.E. 2559 (2016), has said that it is going to increase its VoA fee from 1,000 to 2,000 THB. The new fees is just about 3850 Indian Rupees (as on today’s exchange rate). Tourists from Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan are entitled to apply for VoA at 42 designated immigration checkpoints, which will allow tourists to stay in the country up to 15 days.

42 designated immigration checkpoints in Thailand to apply for the VoA are as follows:

1. Suvarnabhumi Airport, Samut Prakarn

2. Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok

3. Chiangmai International Airport, Chiangmai

4. Phuket International Airport, Phuket

5. Hatyai International Airport, Songkhla

6. U Tapao Airport, Rayong

7. Mae Sai Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

8. Chiang Saen Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

9. Chiang Khong Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

10. Betong Immigration Checkpoint, Yala

11. Sadao Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla

12. Samui Airport, Surat Thani

13. Sukhothai International Airport, Tak Immigration Checkpoint

14. Bangkok Harbour Immigration Checkpoint, Bangkok

15. Sri Racha Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi

16. Mabtaput Immigration Checkpoint, Rayong

17. Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai

18. Samui Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani

19. Phuket Immigration Checkpoint, Phuket

20. Satun Immigration Checkpoint, Satun

21. Krabi Immigration Checkpoint, Krabi

22. Songkhla Harbour Immigraion Checkpoint, Songkhla

23. Chiangrai Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Chiangrai

24. Surat Thani Airport Immigration Checkpoint, Surat Thani

25. Sattahip Harbour Immigration Checkpoint, Chonburi

26. Khlong Yai Immigration Checkpoint, Trat

27. Pong Nam Ron Immigration Checkpoint, Chanthaburi

28. Aranyaprathet Immigration Checkpoint, Sakaeo

29. Mukdahan Immigration Checkpoint, Mukdahan

30. Tak Immigration Checkpoint, Tak

31. Padang Besar Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla

32. Su-ngai Kolok Immigration Checkpoint, Narathiwat

33. Nong Khai Immigration Checkpoint, Nong Khai

34. Bueng Kan Immigration Checkpoint, Bueng Kan

35. Phibun Mangsahan Immigration Checkpoint, Ubon Ratchathani

36. Tha Li Immigration Checkpoint, Loei

37. Nakhon Phanom Immigration Checkpoint, Nakhon Phanom

38. Nan Immigration Checkpoint, Nan

39. Ban Prakob Immigration Checkpoint, Songkhla

40. Khuan Don Immigration Checkpoint, Satun

41. Tak Bai Immigration Checkpoint, Narathiwat

42. Bukit Tal Immigration Checkpoint, Narathiwat

 

 

Vagabond at a cruise : Super Star Virgo

Cruises are always fascinating. Its a different world. Indians love cruise and every year a large number of Indian tourists go to different cruise hubs in Asia like Singapore and Dubai exclusively for cruise experience. Indians have often missed a home cruise, despite a few attempts. Now Costa cruise has announced a cruise from Mumbai in the coming season and lets hope it changes things to come.

Singapore has been one of the topmost cruise destination in Asia, until Dubai came up with the biggest cruise terminal of all. Star Cruises has been one of the favourite Asian cruise lines for Indians, which had tailor-made itineraries and amenities suited to them. But there are many strong competitors and number of cruise operators. Every year scores of Indian tourists will be flying to Singapore, take a cruise for 3-4 days and fly back. Singapore has a big cruise terminal and it looks almost like an airport terminal and actually functions like that with similar operations

Singapore Cruise Terminal
Singapore Cruise Terminal

Cruise is a journey and a destination. Its indeed a journey in luxury with huge modern cruise ships being a floating town in themselves, with everything on offer. Only thing is feeling of being on ocean for a longer period of time. If you are comfortable with it, cruise can be thoroughly enjoying and relaxing. Also because they give you a lot of options to spend your time in your own way. Similar experience for me on board Super Star Virgo from Singapore for a three night cruise in Strait of Malacca, touching three countries on the way.

So here is the first look of Super Star Virgo and above the ship you can see the Singapore Cable Car which runs from Harbour Front Tower 2 to Sentosa.

Once on the board, that is how the crew welcomes you with a poolside dance, its entertaining.

Safety first, so immediately after coming to ship there is a necessary security drill to tell all the passengers about safety tips and about emergency evacuation procedures.

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Best places to relax on a cruise are of course poolside. The ship has pool and a kids pool. It also has a water slide, part of which pops out of the ship onto the sea (minor thrill). There are many restaurants (as per cuisine), shopping plaza, playing area, bars, discotheques and much more.

Being from media, we also had a chance to interact with the Captain and his first officers at the ship’s command room itself. Learnt a lot about running of the ship from the master himself.

Cruise ships have many categories of rooms on different decks to suit different budgets and taste, some interior rooms, some with ocean view windows and even bigger suites on the upper decks with balconies towards sea. How deep is your pocket!

Cruise have a variety of entertainment programmes for the evenings- shows, musical programmes, fashion shows and even Las Vegas style cabarets (where you are not allowed to take any form of recording or shooting gadgets). In leisure time people in groups enjoy themselves.

Besides, there are also off-shore excursions. Ship will be cruising in night and during day it might anchor to a port for people to go on land and enjoy some sight seeing in another city for few hours. They plan some excursion itineraries too. But these excursions are optional and chargeable. Otherwise, one may choose to stay put on the ship and relax. Or one can manage the land excursion by oneself as well.

Enjoying views from the top deck itself is a fun- day or night. Being on a vastness of sea is a different feeling altogether. You have options to sunbath, read, relax, sleep and socialise.

Finally back to the home port, Singapore after a delightful trip.

I haven’t put any statistics here as they all are available online on respective websites.

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