Unique New Zealand destinations to travel in 2021

New Zealand is a dream destination for many travellers. The island nation is known for its spectacular beaches, exceptional biodiversity, and dazzling natural beauty. Apart from planning a visit to the popular tourist destinations like Mount Cook, Milford Sound, Auckland, and Rotorua, check out the below list of unique New Zealand destinations to add to your next travel itinerary.

Waitaki Whitestone Geopark
The Waitaki Whitestone Geopark is an ancient geological wonder. Stretching from the alps to the ocean, visitors can explore a 7,200 sq km geopark rich in fossils. The park is crisscrossed with easy walks, uphill hikes, and cycle routes. The park has 42 geological sites including the famous towering limestone Elephant Rocks, the striking Moeraki Boulders, the pure limestone cliffs and boulders known as the Waipata Earthquakes, and the famous Takiroa Māori rock drawings. The park has applied for a UNESCO Global Geopark status and is rich in wildlife. The Shag Point Scientific Reserve offers a special spot to glimpse rare yellow-eyed penguins, sooty shearwaters, seals, and shags. 
For more details and bookings visit: https://www.whitestonegeopark.nz/

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Te Urewera Treks, Central North Island
At three-weeks-old, Hine McManus was carted off into the bush in her mother’s raincoat and since then has left only to attend work and school. That bush – Te Urewera – is one of New Zealand’s most isolated and pristine rainforests. Home to the Tūhoe people, Te Urewera is the world’s first natural resource to be granted the same rights as a legal person. McManus now acts as a Tūhoe guide through the 2,12,000 hectare rainforest, taking guests on treks lasting from three hours to four days where they can ride horses, fish, mountain bike or visit Māori communities where fluent te reo Māori is spoken. Visitors can plant native indigenous trees, earning them status as Kaitiaki Tautoko, or honorary guardian of the forest. 
For more details and bookings visit: https://www.teureweratreks.co.nz/

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The Chef’s Table at Blue Duck Station, Retaruke
With a passion for local and foraged ingredients, famed British chef Jack Cashmore swapped Michelin-starred restaurants in England and Europe for a vast and rugged New Zealand farm. Affectionately dubbed ‘the top of the world’, it is located between the Whanganui and Tongariro national parks in the heart of the North Island. The remote diners are helicoptered in before dinner is served. The Chef’s Table at Blue Duck station is also a farm and conservation project, home to the critically endangered Whio, or native blue duck.The experience begins with a two-hour ATV bush safari before guests settle under the stars to feast on a 10-course degustation using organic ingredients sourced from the farm and foraged from the surrounding native rainforest.
For more details and bookings visit: https://thechefstable.co.nz/

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Owhaoko Luxury Cabin, Taupō
There are no roads, no people, no internet, and no cell phone coverage at Owhaoko, making it the perfect place for a digital detox in a luxury cabin. It offers spectacular views from the bedroom made of glass. Nestled between the Kaimanawa and Kaweka forests in the central North Island is the ancestral land of Owhaoko, covering more than 16,000 private acres of pristine native bush, and can only be reached by helicopter.The luxury cabin’s Māori name, Te Whare Ruruhau (a place of shelter, refuge and protection), has two double bedrooms with glass walls and ceiling where guests can enjoy everything from a bubble bath under the stars with champagne to gourmet meals cooked using traditional Māori methods.
For more details and bookings visit: https://owhaoko.com/

Te Whare Ruruhau (a place of shelter, refuge and protection) is a luxury cabin with two double rooms. Credits- Owhaoko

Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat, Glenorchy
When Seattle philanthropists Paul and Debbi Brainerd first visited the Central Otago town of Glenorchy more than 20 years ago, they fell so deeply in love with the stunning natural landscape that they decided to move there. Recently, the couple decided to give back to their adopted hometown and bought a dilapidated campsite, rebuilding it as an ultra-green facility constructed mostly from recycled materials, powered with solar energy, and works from local artists incorporated throughout the site. Guests are encouraged to take part in yoga classes, sustainability tours, and local food and wine tasting.
For more details and bookings visit: https://www.campglenorchy.co.nz/

Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat. Credits- Camp Glenorchy

Making Trax Inclusive Tourism, Nelson
Jezza Williams was a guide leading a canyoning tour in the Swiss Alps in 2010 when he slipped and fell, breaking his neck and losing the use of his limbs. By 2012, he had started his own business, Makingtrax, which he describes as promoting ‘inclusive tourism’, helping adventure tourism operators make their activities accessible to all. Using a network of disability-friendly local operators in the Nelson Tasman region, people with disabilities can take part in everything from a canyon swing, skydiving and white water rafting to traditional waka (Māori canoe) along the Abel Tasman coastline and helicopter trips to the famous Franz and Fox glaciers.
For more details and bookings visit: https://www.makingtrax.co.nz/

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Footprint Waipoua Tours, Northland
Deep in the North Island’s ancient Waipoua Forest stand some of New Zealand’s oldest and most sacred living legends – the kauri trees that Māori believe to be protectors of the forest.At twilight, local Māori guides perform a traditional powhiri (greeting) and sing waiata (songs) before taking tours to meet two of their ancestors – the mighty Te Matua Ngahere (The Father of the Forest), a tree estimated to be between 2,500 and 3,000 years old, and the impressive Tāne Mahuta (Lord of the Forest), which at 150 ft, is New Zealand’s tallest kauri. Tree hugging is optional but encouraged.
For more details and bookings visit: https://footprintswaipoua.co.nz/

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Forest bathing at Orokonui Ecosanctuary, Dunedin
There are no phones or watches allowed on guide Hagino Baker’s forest bathing tour at Orokonui Ecosanctuary. “I am here to slow you down,” she says while leading guests deep into a 307-hectare nature and wildlife reserve north of Dunedin. Two-and-a-half hours of listening, looking, touching and breathing are everything Orokonui’s ancient trees offer. Hagino gives the traditional Japanese practise a uniquely Kiwi touch; teaching forest bathers the Māori names for the native plants and animals found in Orokonui, and encouraging tasting of edible leaves and finishing with steaming cups of tea made from the native kanuka bush
For more details and bookings visit: https://orokonui.nz/

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This post is presented by Tourism New Zealand

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Lufthansa announces further cost-saving measures

German flag carrier Lufthansa has announced further cost-saving measures owing to severe COVID-19 impact.

In a statement on Monday, the airline said it would implement a ‘permanent capacity reduction’ of 150 aircraft by the middle of this decade.

After six Airbus A380s, the world’s largest passenger plane, were taken out of service earlier this year, Lufthansa announced the transfer of the remaining eight A380s as well as 10 A340-600s to long-term storage.

They will only be reactivated ‘in the event of an unexpectedly rapid market recovery’, the release said.

This would result in an impairment of 1.1 billion euros ($1.29 billion) in the third quarter, according to Lufthansa.

Although the German airline did not specify how much additional staff would be cut as a consequence of the measures, the staff surplus of 22,000 full-time positions that was already announced would increase.

Lufthansa only expects 20 to 30% of flight capacity compared to pre-crisis levels if the current trend continues.

The airline had originally planned that an average capacity of 50% of the previous year’s level would be reached in the fourth quarter.

“The outlook for international air traffic has significantly worsened in recent weeks. With the summer travel season coming to an end, passenger and booking figures are declining again, after slight signs of recovery were still evident in July and August,” Lufthansa noted.

Following shareholders’ approval of a 9-billion-euro governmental rescue package at the end of June, Lufthansa’s financing was ‘currently secure’, it added.

Monsoon Magic: Pune – A Photo Essay

Punekars consider themselves lucky in myriad ways. One of them is the proximity to the beautiful countryside. 

Green Pune after monsoon

If you are in Pune, a one hour drive in any direction will transport you away from the maddening crowd and commotion to a world of tranquillity. 

Come monsoon, Punekars head to some favourite spots or are in search of some lesser-known destinations. 

Unfortunately, 2020 ruined the annual ‘getting drenched under the waterfall and hogging on kanda bhaji plans’ as we find ourselves stuck at home, avoiding unnecessary travel at all costs.

Though the Maharashtra government has lifted restrictions on inter-district travel, many citizens have decided to stay home. 

So we decided to bring some famous and some offbeat places on your screen to cure your monsoon wanderlust.

Road in Kamshet, Pune

Clicked in the interiors of Kamshet, the roads are as beautiful as ever, just empty this year.

Backwaters in Pune

Virtual Picnic Tip (cos this is our life now): Grab some kanda bhaji or your favourite monsoon snack, stare at the photo, turn the fan on high, spray some water on yourself, and voila you are on a lakeside picnic!

Sahyadri during monsoon

How magical are mountains?

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Raise your hand if you want a house here just to get up to this view and foggy mornings.

Pune during monsoon

Can you imagine waking up to this view everyday? I could totally get used to it.

Kamshet waterfall

Well, if it wasn’t for the COVID-19 pandemic, you would’ve seen less of the waterfall and more of people cramming in.

The sound of the water flowing is music to my ears!

Sahyadri mountain range, kamshet

Staring at this dreamy landscape while sipping on hot cutting chai.

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Panshet backwaters

Rice fields, Panshet backwaters and Sahyadri.

Offbeat places in Pune

Where around Pune is this you ask? Well, you need to taken the road unknown.

Khadakwasla Dam, Pune

Pune does not have a beach but we have Khadakwasla and it is peak pride.

Though this pandemic brought us together as a race, I hope us and our future generations do not have to face the a calamity of any level ever again. The need and desperation to travel is greater than ever. Though I urge everyone to travel to help support the local economy, specially the vendors and hawkers at tourist spots, I also request you to be sensitive towards the ecological impact of mass tourism and overcrowding.

Stay Safe. Stay Home. (really!)

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Pictures clicked by @sanjay17jadhav and @nupurpradhan

Humayun’s Tomb, the inspiration to Taj Mahal

Across India, many monuments are said to be an inspiration for the Taj Mahal. The Ibrahim Rouza in Bijapur is one such glaring example. The local guide in Bijapur narrated stories about how the Taj was inspired by Rouza’s architecture.

But the only validated inspiration for the Taj Mahal is the tomb of Mughal emperor, Humayun, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Humayun's Tomb
The majestic facade of Mughal Emperor Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun was born as Nasir-ud-Din Muḥammad in 1508 to Zahīr ud-Dīn Muhammad, known as Babur, the founder and the first emperor of the Mughal dynasty in the Indian subcontinent. Humayun ruled from 1530–1540 and again from 1555–1556.  

Located in Nizamuddin, Delhi, the construction of Humayun’s Tomb was commissioned in 1565 by his wife Hamida Banu Begam in the emperor’s memory and was completed in the year 1572. The construction of Taj Mahal by commissioned in 1632 by Shah Jahan, Jahangir’s son and the fifth Mughal emperor. 

Persian architect Mirak Mirza Ghiyas designed the magnanimous tomb of Humayun and hence has a strong Persian influence. The charbagh garden, divided into four parts, resembles the paradise garden described in the Quran. The tomb displays the finest of Mughal architecture and set precedence to further Islamic architecture in the period. It is the first garden-tomb in the Indian subcontinent.

Humayun's Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb stands over 150 ft tall and is considered an architectural masterpiece

The grand structure, incidentally, also has Star of David, a Zionist symbol adorning its walls. The six-pointed star was used as a decorative cosmic symbol by the Mughals. According to a Wikipedia article, the star became a symbol of Judaism much later around the 19th century.

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The six-pointed star on the walls of Humayun’s Tomb

Apart from Humayun’s Tomb, the complex also holds the tombs of Humayun’s relatives and several other Mughal soldiers. His wife and Dara Shikoh, Emperor Shah Jahan’s son, are also buried here. 

The Union Ministry of Culture recently formed a committee to locate Dara Shikoh’s grave in the complex. It also is home to Isa Khan’s tomb, Bu Halima’s tomb and Barber’s tomb among other historic monuments. 

Isa Khan’s Tomb
Isa Khan was a noble in Sher Shah Suri’s court who fought the Mughal dynasty. His tomb was built almost 20 years before Humayun’s tomb.

Isa Khan's Tomb
Entrance to Isa Khan tomb

The tomb reflects the architectural style used for royal tombs during the Sayyid and Lodi dynasties. It also has one of the earliest known/surviving sunken gardens. The sunken gardens also served an inspiration to the Taj Mahal Further ahead of the tomb lies Isa Khan’s mosque.

Isa Khan's Tomb
Isa Khan’s Tomb at Humayun Tomb complex in Dehli

Humayun Tomb’s visit timing
Humayun’s Tomb is open for visitors from sunrise to 9 pm every day.

Buying tickets at Humayun’s Tomb
There are multiple ways to buy a ticket. A ticket window is available at the monument but it generally has a queue. One can also book tickets online on https://asi.payumoney.com website. There is also a barcode displayed at the entrance to scan and pay through UPI but for some reason, the barcode was not getting scanned. So to skip the queue, we booked tickets online on the spot.

Humayun Tomb’s ticket price
The ticket price at Humayun’s Tomb is Rs. 35/- for Indian, SAARC and BIMSTEC nationals. For all other foreign nationals, the ticket price is Rs. 550/-

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Why You Should Visit Amphawa Floating Market in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, has many floating markets situated around it. A must-do tourist attraction, floating markets are local markets situated on the banks of the river or canal, as waterways were the primary source of transportation in the earlier days in those regions.

Damnoen Saduak is the most popular floating market due to its size as well as its  proximity to Bangkok. But it also can get crowded for the same reasons. A good alternative is the Amphawa Floating Market, at a distance of approximately 50 km from Bangkok.

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The market comes alive in the evening. It is recommended to reach early in the afternoon to enjoy a stroll sans the crowd.

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Shopping in Amphawa Floating Market

Numerous shops and stalls line up the narrow alleyways of the market. Catering mainly to the locals, the market also has a plethora of options for the visiting tourists to shop for.

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There is absolutely no dearth of shopping. Jewellery, handbags, souvenirs, the market has everything.

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I really wished I could have bought all these chocolates!

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So we ended up buying this cute little elephant night lamp made locally from coconut shells.

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Eating in Amphawa Floating Market

Fresh seafood is the highlight of the market.  Prawns, squids, mussels and many other types of seafood (which are new to me) are available. The boats travel around the canal selling their stock. So go occupy a bench and grab a bite!

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If you don’t want to experiment with the seafood or are a vegetarian, thankfully, some restaurants and cafes serve western food too. We found a restaurant suitable for my vegetarian husband and me. As I scooped a spoonful of seafood and pork pineapple rice, my husband gorged on a plate full of french fries 😉

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Just ask around for boat ride operators if you want to explore the entire market from the canal. It is usually an hour-long ride and is pretty inexpensive. Later in the evenings, there are firefly tours too which take passengers into the river to see stunning fireflies.

Have you been to Amphawa Floating Market or any other floating market? Share your experience!

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Auto Review: Datsun GO and GO+ Launch Fits The Bill

The second quarter of the financial year 2019-20 has seen a lot of upheaval in the automotive sector in India. The car sales across segments have dwindled and the market analysts are filling magazine and newspaper columns with articles on the slow-down in the auto sector. However, the well-documented analysis has failed to dampen the spirits among the auto lovers in India.

Japanese carmaker Datsun has gone ahead with their ambitious plan for the Indian customer, with auto-transmission upgrades to their GO and GO+ models, which were launched in 2018.

The new Datsun GO and GO+ models continue to be powered by a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. However, instead of churning out 67bhp and 104Nm of peak torque, there’s a hike in power of 9bhp. Apart from the five-speed manual gearbox as standard, the new T and T(O) variants will be available in an optional CVT transmission.

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New features have been introduced to the Datsun GO and GO+ models adding to the stylish makeover the cars received in October 2018. Significantly, the Datsun GO and GO+ will now be the first cars in their respective segments to offer a CVT gearbox.

Also Read: Auto Review: Renault Triber – Space for your tribe!

GO and GO+ interior
The cabin and the feature list remain unchanged from the previous versions of the GO and GO+. But while the GO+ gets a mix of beige and black interiors, the GO gets an all-black cabin. The 7-inch infotainment system too comes with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, and there are cubby holes all around. The cabin is spacious and yes, all those sceptical of the plastic quality used, well, this is a big improvement over the pre-facelift version.

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The volume control and voice commands with the infotainment system make it convenient to operate when we are on the go. We do, however, feel Datsun could have used this opportunity to add a few more basic features, like a rear defogger and a front passenger grab handle.

Handling
The Datsun GO CVT is powerful enough as a whole for an all-rounder that dwells mostly in the city. The steering, handling, braking and the suspension are all tuned for composed and comfortable driving, making this car well suited for office commuters, elders and anyone living in an urban jungle looking to settle long term with small car. Especially, because the car is already equipped with almost all the contemporary features and a style that wouldn’t quickly go out of fashion.

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The CVT effect
In a segment that has seen a big rise in the sales of automatic cars, the Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT) is the dominant transmission used in the entry-level hatchback. Datsun India too wanted to cash in on this very trend and that’s why for the first time in this segment, you’ll see the introduction of a CVT.

Yes, both the GO and GO+ will come with a CVT and there’ll be a premium attached to the price too because it will only be available in the top two variants — T and T (O).

The gearshifts are silent and seamless even and it’s great fun to drive in and around the city. But when you’re overtaking and you want more power at your disposal it doesn’t give you that punch of enthusiasm to push it any further than you already have. Datsun gets a Sports mode too and at the push of the button you expect it to change the way it drives but it’s just that the lag gets minimised, and the engine revs right up to 5000 rpm.

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Our verdict
The Datsun GO+ was always a good car. With new features and a slight increase in asking price, it’s making an even more appealing case for itself in the segment. Light and nimble in the city, peppy and efficient engine, new safety features make it more compelling with great ride quality.

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This auto review is a guest post by sports and auto journalist Omkar Paranjape. You can contact him on Twitter @Omkar_Paranjape. 

Must Eat Street Food in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Headed out to the blue city of Jodhpur? The city with palaces and royalty, the street food in Jodhpur is vibrant and delectable.

Plan a visit to these famous spots for an authentic street food experience of the Rajasthani cuisine on your trip to Jodhpur.

Also Read: What to see and do in Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Mirchi Bada and Kachoris at Janta Sweet Home

janta-sweets

A famous sweet and namkeen shop in Jodhpur among locals and tourists, visit Janta Sweet Home for their amazing mirchi bada and different types of kachoris along with a wide range of sweets. It was my first time eating a mirchi bada and though a little spicy for my palate, the bada was impressively tasty. The onion and mawa kachoris here are renowned and a must have!
Location: Nai Sadak, near Ghanta Ghar, Jodhpur

Hotel Priya

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Raj Kachori

Just opposite Janta Sweet Home is Hotel Priya which is famous for its thali’s. Not in a condition to eat an entire thali, we decided to dig into their chaat. First on our table was Raj Kachori, a kachori stuffed with chana, potato, sprouts and topped with curd, green chutney, tamarind chutney and sev and served in a plate with lots of curd. Mouthwatering and to die for! Their chaat section is not very long but is delicious.
Location: Nai Sadak, opposite Janta Sweet Home 

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Sev Puri

Also Read: Mehrangarh Fort and Palace: A Photo Essay

Makhaniya Lassi at Shri Mishrilal Hotel

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If you have a sweet tooth, then gorging on the makhaniya lassi should be on your list. A speciality of Shri Mishrilal Hotel, the makhaniya lassi is a unique method of preparing lassi with special ingredients and a dollop of makhan or white butter. The hotel also serves sweets like rabdis, pedhes and a variety of namkeens.
Location: Sardar Market, Ghanta Ghar 

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Makhaniya Lassi


Shahi Samosa

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The name says it all. This is definitely the best samosa I’ve ever had. Why? Because you don’t need chutney to eat it with. Yes! The samosa is not dry like the usual ones we eat and the owner claims you don’t need chutney when we asked for some. The first bite and we knew why. The samosa was perfectly crisp and the filling had chutney mixed with it making it well, not dry. Shahi Samosa is a famous street food in Jodhpur and an absolute must eat.
Location: Nai Sadak, just outside Ghanta Ghar.

Rajasthani Thali at Gypsy Restaurant

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Not street food but the thali at Gypsy Restaurant is a must have when in Jodhpur. They have 31 items in their thali menu. Yes, 31! If you want an introduction to vegetarian Rajasthani cuisine, this is the place to be. The thali menu includes everything from sweets, namkeens, gatte ki subzi, dal baati, khichadi and pooris. And of course, the thali is unlimited.
Location: 689, First Floor, 9th C Road, Sardarpura

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Wanderers: Nishant Jadhav

Photography happened to our wanderer Nishant Jadhav rather late in life, just about after 35 when he bought his first DSLR. Nishant has always been a travel freak, inspired by travel shows and movies. After a long life of being a corporate slave, Nishant finally decided to unleash the wanderer inside him.

A travel photographer-blogger and recently turned vlogger, he is a self-proclaimed travel freak and food lover and follows his nose for food and instinct for his journeys.

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What got you hooked to travelling?
My love for photography was a definite catalyst in getting me to travel. The most important aspect, however, was to broaden my horizon.

Which is your favourite travel destination? Why?
Hampi has to be my favourite destination. I haven’t seen a more vibrant city in terms of its grandeur and heritage. Every corner of Hampi has a hidden surprise. The streets, the hills, the river, it is simply enchanting for a history lover like me.

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Which is your least favourite destination? Why?
None, travel teaches you a lot. Every journey gets etched in the mind.

Tell us one travel experience that changed your outlook about life
Once while travelling in Rajasthan, I came across a group of children aged 5 or 6 heading to school in the morning light. Cool winds were blowing from the night before and the roads were covered with sand. Seeing that sight made me stop and watch. I missed the chance of talking to them, but hope to go back there someday.

Which is your favourite travel photo? Why?
I have two favourite travel photos – one from Hampi. It was a moment when I felt time stood still.

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(I always wanted to click this)
The second photo is from a wildlife tour in Ranthambore National Park.

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Tell us your must-have packing items
DSLR and Lenses, Glares, Notepad & phone camera (where DSLRs are not allowed)

Which is your dream travel destination?
New Zealand / Masai Mara

Any upcoming travel plans?
A Road Trip for sure!

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You can find Nishant here
Travel Blog: www.travelwithnj.com
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxZF2ObsuKM
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/njphotografy/

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*Wanna get featured? Write to me at tuggingmyluggage@gmail.com or tweet to @tuggingdluggage

 

 

Six Most Restricted Countries You Might Be Travelling To

According to the think-tank Freedom House, internet freedom is declining all around the world. Censorship is being ramped up on everything from social media, e-commerce websites to search engines.

Interestingly, many of the countries with the strictest rules and highest censorship are also popular tourist destinations.

NordVPN gives advice on travelling to the tourist hotspots with high internet restrictions

“It’s wise to check if your next travel destination has any internet restrictions. Especially if you are planning to do some work there,” says Daniel Markuson, digital privacy expert at NordVPN.

“One of the most powerful tools to avoid such internet censorship is a virtual private network. Both travellers and locals use VPNs to access the internet with no limitations,” he says.

However, though most countries around the world allow VPN use, some consider VPN services undesirable or even illegal. Digital privacy expert Daniel Markuson suggests to stay attentive and check the rules before the trip.

Tourist destinations with most restrictions

CHINA

China

Planning to see the Great Wall of China or visit Chengdu to giant Pandas? China is the world leader in internet censorship with its “Great Firewall.” All VPNs used in China must be approved and comply with government regulations. However, it’s quite difficult to understand China’s VPN laws and the legal status of VPNs, as there is a lot of grey area. In any case, there’s no public information on foreigners experiencing serious issues when using VPNs in this country.

TURKEY

Turkey

The half in Asia and half in Europe country is a paradise for tourists. From the vibrant Istanbul to the dreamy Cappadocia. Turkey also boasts of 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.

Turkey has recently taken a sharp turn towards authoritarianism. Within a couple of years, many websites or apps have been banned and independent journalists jailed. Even giants such as Wikipedia, Twitter and Facebook are having issues. Predictably, people turned to VPNs to evade the censorship, which resulted in a VPN ban.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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The United Arab Emirates, with all its glitziness,  poses an interesting case. On one hand, VPNs are not illegal – unless they’re used for illegal actions. On the other hand, the country censors many sites and has banned services like Skype in the past. So here comes the question: does visiting a site or using a service blocked by the government constitute a crime? And if the government accuses you of using a VPN for criminal purposes, how can you prove that you’re innocent if there’s no trace of your online activity? All in all, the UAE laws make it easy to apply harsh punishments and create a strong disincentive to use a VPN.

IRAN

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Iran is slowly gaining popularity as a travel destination in recent years after a decline due to various economic and political factors affecting the region. However, this country manipulates its citizens by abusing free internet access regularly. For example, it censors many popular global websites. During elections or political unrest, Iran throttles the internet nationwide to make communication and organisation more difficult. It is no surprise that only government-approved VPNs, which provide the authorities with censorship and surveillance capabilities are legal to use.

EGYPT

Giza

The world knows the Pyramids of Giza but did you know Egypt is known to block its citizens from visiting a range of various websites. This trend has accelerated over the last few years, with numerous international and even local news sources being blocked. VPNs make the internet free and accessible, so if the national government doesn’t want that to be the case, it will want to block VPNs.

VIETNAM

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Shocked to see Vietnam in the list? The country is known as one of the friendliest countries in the world and is very popular with backpackers, budget as well as luxury tourists. However, Vietnam’s censorship of certain websites can be severe. Governmental institutions spy on almost all internet users, with tourists often coming under the radar.

So next time you take a trip to the above countries, be careful of the sites you visit and content you watch.

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*Views expressed in this article are by NordVPN and Tugging My Luggage is not responsible for the content.

 

Auto Review: Renault Triber – Space for your tribe!

The latest offering from the French is already making waves in the market and we were pepped up to drive the much-awaited Renault Triber. The sub-4 metre seven-seater Hatchback / compact SUV / MUV – you classify it and it fits the bill – is made in and for the Indian market with a focus on large families on a budget.

Sub-4 metre and seven-seater? Yes, you read it right. Don’t be alarmed, the Triber is surprisingly roomy for its size.

Renault Triber

For an early morning drive, six adults got inside with ease in the Electric Blue Triber and we zoomed past the south Goa countryside.

Look and Feel
The exterior of the vehicle is strikingly edgy and made heads turn. The up-to-date front grille with the Renault logo, taking pride of place at the centre, prepares you for an intriguing design language ahead. A pair of elegant projector headlamps and indicators set-up flank both sides of the grille. The LED DRLs below the headlight cluster and the faux skid plates lower down the bumper complete the front look….SUV yet?

Triber

The Triber has Kwid-like cladding on front wheel arches with integrated turn side indicators. The roof rails, full length side-cladding and faux skid plates give it an SUV look and feel. The rear end is your typical MPV but with a twist in the tail light design. The ‘eagle beak’ split headlight is a visual treat and assists in lighting up the straight-forward rear end that also houses the rear wash-wipe, large Renault logo, number plate onto the hatch door, the Triber badging on the side and faux skid plates on the bumper below. The loading height is low and assists in easy access.

On the inside, the dashboard comes across as a plain jane budget offering with premium touches to liven-up the interiors with a dual-tone theme. Most noticeable feature is the 8” multimedia touch screen system that duals up as the rear parking camera screen and comes equipped with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and video playback via USB. For the environment conscious, the multimedia screen also has an Eco function which judges and rates the driver on the basis on how eco-friendly the driver is driving. Renault has provided the Triber with a hands-free card and a start stop button. The fully digital instrument cluster completes the sophisticated look Renault was trying to achieve in a budget car.

Triber

Triber’s console

The base variant comes with a driver and passenger airbag and the top variant has four with an addition of two front side airbags. Also, all three rows get an AC vent!

The Triber takes its tagline – Space for Everything — very seriously. Compared to other cars in its segment, the second and the third row offers comfortable seating space thanks to its large wheelbase of 2636 mm. But the seats will be comfortable for short drives only, given the lack of proper bolstering in order to provide maximum interior space. It also has a massive 625L boot space with the third row folded. If all the seats are occupied, the boot space reduces drastically.

Triber

On the road, the narrow Goan lanes made for an interesting track to test the car’s handling. The seat does not come with height adjustment but even for a short person like us, the little elevated seat position and wide screen do a good job.

Triber

The Triber with 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine generating 72Ps with 96Nm torque under its hood and six adults seated comfortably, maneuvered easily and cleared all doubts of the car possibly being a tad bit underpowered. The response too was instantaneous.

On the highway, we are expecting the car will perform the same way even with a packed car considering it is comes from the Renault stable. Strongly recommend taking a highway test drive first.

Easyfix Seats
All that talk about space is because Renault has scored a brownie point among those looking for flexibility. The Triber comes with industry-first Easyfix seats that will turn your car into a five-seater, six-seater or seven-seater. The Easyfix seats make up the third row and are completely and easily removable in a few quick steps. They also come with their bag in which they can be packed up to be used for a later time.

Renault Triber

Completely removable third row of the Triber

The five-seater configuration provides a 625 litres boot space to stock your possessions. The seven-seater configuration though offers a much lesser space of 84 litres of boot space.

Renault has pinned their hopes on Triber to be a game-changer in this currently sluggish market and has price positioned the car in a very attractive bracket. This spacious seven-seater is available from a starting price of Rs 4.95L (ex-showroom all India) to 6.49L (ex-showroom all India).

Verdict
The Triber is a no-nonsense family car that will fulfil all your basic needs and do more without the show-off.

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Nupur