Tag Archives: Travel

The Ultimate Checklist for Beach & Mountain Camping

As I promised on the Musandam camping post, here’s a complete checklist for your next camping adventure. If you have any favorites that I missed, please note them under comments, and I’ll merge them back.


  • Barbeque*
  • Skewers*
  • Tongs*
  • Firewood/Coal briquetes*
  • Matchbox/Jet flame*
  • Lighting Fuel
  • Blower/Fan*
  • Meats/Veggies*
  • Greasing brush
  • Plastic plate or metal containers
  • Clamp grill (for smaller items like prawns & veggies)
  • Cleaning brush
The flame torch is a blessing! Fires up the coal in minutes
The flame torch is a blessing! Fires up the coal in minutes

Food & Beverages

  • Drinking water*
  • Spare water*
  • Drinks*
  • Laban/Milk (great to cool down your system)
  • Ketchup/Dips*
  • Garlic bread
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Bottle/can Opener
  • Lemon juice
  • Chips
  • Coffee sachets
Don't forget to include a cheesy garlic bread!
Don’t forget to include a cheesy garlic bread!


  • Tissues
  • Newspapers
  • Swiss/Kitchen Knife
  • Disposable plates/cutlery*
  • Cooler box/Thermal bag
  • Ice cubes
  • Dish washing soap
  • Hot water kettle

Continue reading The Ultimate Checklist for Beach & Mountain Camping

Camping trip from Dubai to Musandam, Oman

Long weekends are hard to find in the UAE. And with the weather getting better for a change, it was just the right time for camping. As amateurs, Balan & I picked up the entire kit from Lulu and packed it in the trunk. Yes, the camping list is planned for another post.

After a lazy start, we set on the road to Khasab via Ras Al Khaimah. We got a bit lost and instead landed on the road to Jabal Jais – the highest mountain in the UAE. It’s a 30 min detour that goes uphill through rocky mountains and serves a view from the not-so-high summit.

View from Jabal Jais
View from Jabal Jais
I love bakeries!
I love bakeries!

We headed back to RAK to join the coastal road and stopped by at a local bakery for a quick bite. The freshly baked pizza & assorted fatayer were just delectable – only to release that the delivery boy had baked them in absence of the chef 😉

Next stop was the border. On the UAE side, we had to park to get exit stamps. This is where they verify that the visa is eligible for visa-on-arrival in Oman. There’s an exit fee of 35Dh per head, only accepted via the e-Dirham card. So if you have one, carry it along. We were given a slip mentioning the number of people & vehicle number which we had to give at the UAE border exit.

Omani Border post
Omani Border post

We stopped again in about 100m at the Omani border to get our visas. Lucky for us, there were no queues. The visa fee of OMR 5  (~50Dh) is not accepted in Riyals, so we paid by card. A 30 day permit was stamped in exchange for the fee and a small form. Back in the car, Omani customs took a quick peep in the boot and let us go. 5 minutes in to Oman and the views were heavenly. We were just in time for sunset.

Sunset at the border
Sunset at the border

We kept driving on the coastal road for the next 40 kms and kept finding camping spots that we’d marked on GPS. We thought Continue reading Camping trip from Dubai to Musandam, Oman

My FlightDiary: 100 flights via Mumbai

Business travel is very boring. But along the way, you need to find ways to keep it exciting. Haynes introduced me to FlightDiary which has helped me keep track of travel and analyze it. Day before, I took my 100th flight via Mumbai from a total of 170. Here is how my flight-diary looks now:

And some stats to go with it:

Total Most flown
170 Flights 66 flights in 2014
42 Airports 100 flights via Mumbai
25 Airlines 44 flights on Singapore Airlines (SQ)
23 Countries 12 times to Singapore
32 Aircraft types 31 flights on Boeing 777

Measure #
Total flown 557,427 km
Average 3279 km, 04:35
Longest BOM↔EWR, 12538 km, 15:30 hrs
Shortest CPH↔SGD, 195 km, 00:45 hrs
Around the world 13.91 times
To the Moon 1.450x
To Mars 0.0100x (need to work on this)

Continue reading My FlightDiary: 100 flights via Mumbai

Turkish CIP Lounge, Istanbul

I started off this post with a picture marking my visit to this lounge at Istanbul. Later I realized it was unfair to reduce the grandness to a single photo, and to leave readers with a teaser. Here are some more pictures from this luxurious, magnanimous, state-of-the-art lounge.

Simit, sesame-coated Turkish pretzels
Simit, sesame-coated Turkish pretzels
Live kebab counter
Live kebab counter

Continue reading Turkish CIP Lounge, Istanbul

A Night in Sønderborg

I’ve been to small towns before. Quite a lot of European cities, and Melbourne, can be explored on foot (maybe, some tram). But last week, I visited the smallest of them all – a town named Sønderborg in East Denmark.

Sonderborg, like many other towns in Europe, is the home of a manufacturing giant, for which it is best known. Corporate presence helps create employment opportunities and develop local infrastructure of these smaller towns that would otherwise be neglected. A local airline, Alsie Express, operates a few flights to Copenhagen everyday with their ATR aircraft in jet-black livery.

Hriday: finally comfortable
Hriday: finally comfortable

Shortly after takeoff the hostess came out of the front door to serve coffee, chocolate or nachos. We initially thought it was the pilot making good use of the auto-pilot, but later realized it was the ATRs cargo hold. The aircraft is an all business class configuration with the kind of leg-space that my friend Hriday needs, but hardly gets. Each seat stretching two window panes speaks for itself.

The approach served us a beautiful view of the area – lush green islands in the sea. The airport was a tiny little building – the size of a petrol pump (or smaller actually). The bags were loaded on a cart and then pushed into a gutter in the building. The 4 table cafeteria was empty, and there was free coffee and WiFi in the 8 seat waiting area.

There was a single, large common washroom. In the time that my friend took a smoke, people had moved out in their cars and the airport door was locked. The few taxis that were there had gone and we kept waiting. A lady realized we were new here Continue reading A Night in Sønderborg