17 September 2018

Three Reasons to Consider Bintan, Indonesia for your Next Vacation

Bintan Island in Indonesia may be overshadowed by it's larger, more popular cousin Bali when it comes to tourism. But what Bintan lacks in terms of popularity, it makes up for with it's pristine beaches and laid back island life. Not to mention planning a Bintan getaway is a lot more easier as you can completely skip visa hassles, and you club a visit to Bintan with another larger destination such as Singapore. 

I recently visited Bintan Island roughly three months ago on a whim, clubbing it with our Singapore vacation, not knowing what to expect. Bintan blew me over with it's serenity and beauty, not to mention how easy it was for us to plan this quick Indonesian sojourn. Read on for why I think you too should consider a trip to Bintan, Indonesia for your next holiday -



1. No Visa Required For Indian Passports -
As of March 2016, Indonesia permits special Short-Stay Visa-Free facilities to residents of 169 nationalities including India for upto a  month's stay in Bintan. What this means is that you do not have to procure a visa beforehand to visit Bintan as a tourist, nor do you have to pay any sort of visa fee on arrival at any of the ferry terminals in Bintan. What this also means is that you'll be in a long queue at immigration on arrival with a host of other tourists from countries all across the globe. The lines can vary anywhere between 15-30 minutes depending on the tourist season, followed by one quick stamp from the immigration authorities and you're good to go. In my opinion, this is a short price to pay for traveling without the stress of obtaining a visa beforehand, nor do you have to shell out any hefty visa fee. This is what enabled is to plan a quick getaway to Bintan during our Singapore holiday.

13 August 2018

My First Impressions of Armenia

'Why Armenia?', 'What do you get there?, 'What are you going to see?' Most people echoed these words when I told them I was leaving for a quick getaway to this Eurasian country. Honestly, I had zero expectations myself, and had this not been a work trip, I'd never have voluntarily picked an offbeat destination such as Armenia to travel to. The only knowledge I had about this country that papa Kardashian hailed from here, and I remember seeing some pictures on Kim's Instagram page. #KeepingUp
I guess sometimes travelling with a  clean slate of mind helps. It helped me discover this beautiful country with no predisposed notions about what was in store for me. And ohh, I was in for a beautiful surprise!



21 May 2018

Brunch Diaries: The Clearing House

A visit to The Clearing House (TCH) - a swanky dining space in Ballard Estate - had eluded me all this while, until recently. I finally decided to make good use of that one precious Sunday and trekked all the way to 'town' for TCH's special weekend brunch. TCH does brunch a bit differently - for starters their brunch menu is ala carte and brought right to your table. Which in my opinion is a welcome change from the boring ol' buffets where the food turns cold and insipid after lying out for so long. Their brunch menu is available on both Saturday and Sunday - because why should the joy of brunch be restricted to just one day in the week?


TCH opens into a cheerful and bright section that allows plenty of sunlight to be streamed through because of the glass panels on one side. If you're brunching, you need to be seated here - the chess board flooring and comfy blue seats radiate a cheery vibe. The inside section is comparatively darker and glamorous, and would appeal to diners during the evening.

4 May 2018

A Canopy of Comfort - Shamiana, Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Shamiana at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai is synonymous with all day dining, being one of the first to launch this concept in the city way back in 1973. Ask any uncle or aunty and they'll all have a story to share about this iconic eatery. They revamped, refurbished and relaunched the entire space in August last year after a small break and I've been meaning to go dine at Shamiana ever since. 

The entire space exudes 'Tajness' and welcomes you like an old friend with open arms. The white canopies on the ceiling above your table pays homage to the restaurant's name, with the entire space done up in a minimal chic style. The outdoor section with it's intricate jaali work can get stifling hot during the day, but is perfect for a balmy winter evening. (Wish Mumbai had more of those. Sigh!)

The menu covers all day dining options, a 'Bombay' section featuring the city's best, a nostalgic Shamiana section featuring old school dishes and comfort mains. What deserves a mention is their Taj Autograph Collection featuring signature dishes curated by Taj chefs across the globe. 



18 March 2018

Bye Bye Bhookh with Saffola Active Soups

I recently took to Instagram lamenting about my unhealthy post-work snacking schedule. Thankfully, Saffola Active came up with a solution.


Extremely long working hours and erratic lunch timings had led me to resort to snacking on junk food at the end of a working day. These unhealthy habits were really taking a toll on my body; I would end up feeling bloated and guilty, not to mention my dinner schedule would go for a toss as well. How much of street side samosas and vada paos can one have? I was fed up! And then Saffola reached out to me like a knight in shining armor and attempted to provide a solution to a problem that we all face day in and day out – to find a snack option that is filling, inexpensive and healthy all at the same time.

That very same evening my doorbell rang, just as I was about to reach for a packet of chips, and there stood Mumbai's pride – our very own dabbawalas  with a glistening red dabba from Saffola. The dabba contained three Saffola Active soup packets, a funky yellow mug and a leaflet introducing the soups. I put the packet of chips aside, quickly heated up some water and made myself a steaming hot cup of Saffola Active soup to help curb those hunger pangs a couple of hours before dinner time. Here are my thoughts about this latest entrant into the Saffola family: