Content edited by : Priyanka Dodia
"When I was told I was going to Pakistan, I started to think about all the reasons to not go," writes Clara Arrighi, a Spanish woman who recently visited the country. However, what she experienced in Pakistan was truly beautiful and when she had to leave after having spent seven months there, changed her perception about Pakistan and she could not be thankful enough for the trip.
In a Facebook post that has gone viral since it was uploaded on August 23, Clara describes her seven-month long visit to the country whose image is quite different in our eyes. Not a lot of people would like to plan a trip to Pakistan given the public image that has been marred with terrorism, extremism and violence. And this is precisely why this Facebook post by Clara, who had her own share of pre-conceived notions about the country as well, deserves a special mention.
"When you go to Pakistan, you cry two times: when you are sent there and when you have to leave"
"I have climbed stunning mountains, swam in incredible clear lakes amidst the most beautiful hills, visited majestic mosques and drank uncountable types of chai. I tasted lots of different dishes. I did not get myself sick or food poisoned at all, but I definitely got myself a bellyache for not being able to stop eating such delicious food!"
She was so consumed in the beauty, culture and hospitality of the country that she could not stop crying when she had to leave. "When you go to Pakistan, you cry two times: when you are sent there and when you have to leave", Clara says in her post.
Her post describes how the country is much more than what meets our eyes and ears. She also advises others to take a trip to Pakistan at least once to understand and admire what it has to offer."I challenge you to come to Pakistan and don't like it. Because, so far, I haven't met anyone who didn't. I spent seven beautiful months in Pakistan and I encourage everyone to give this amazing country a chance," she said.
What makes clara, a foreigner's trip to pakistan so special is her experience which breaks many stereotypes that come with the name 'Pakistan'. Any traveller rates a place not merely based on it's natural beauty but on several other, small yet essential notions. Notions such as how you felt being in the place, surrounded by local people, the treatment you receive as a foreigner, the love and respect from the locals all counts equally in one's over all experience of the place. And here's how clara felt:
I have never seen so much hospitality anywhere in the world. Incredibly warm people, genuinely kind. I have never felt so welcomed.
View Clara's post on Facebook.
We’ll just start by saying this: These might be hotels, but they’re not your typical business suites or budget vacation rentals. These hotels are over-the-top, insanely well-designed, and located in some of the most beautiful locations in the world.
From floating cabanas in Zanzibar to giraffe-occupied properties in Tanzania, to igloos in Finland with the Northern Lights as the main event, these hotels will take you well beyond the queen suites and continental breakfasts and into a realm of travel excellence that you never thought possible
1. Free Spirit Spheres in Canada
The Free Spirit Spheres in Canada gives guests magnificent views of the forest, along with adorable dome-shaped rooms for two.
2. Floating Hotel in Zanzibar, Tanzania
The Floating Hotel in Zanzibar, Tanzania is exactly what it sounds like, and gives guests some incredible perspectives on sea life.
3. Hotel Attrap Reves, France
Sleep in a bubble with a mesmerizing view at Attrap Reves Hotel, France
4. Kingston Treehouse, South Africa
The Kingston Treehouse in Lion Sands, South Africa is basically a luxury tree house, keeping guests away from wildlife while giving them spectacular views of the jungle.
5. Mirrorcube Treehouse Hotel, Sweden
The Mirrorcube Tree House Hotel in Sweden is like a hideout in the trees: The entire thing is camouflaged behind mirrored walls.
6. Caravan Hotel, Berlin Germany
Caravan Hotel in Berlin, Germany is like camping for people who aren't really into experiencing the elements: It's camping quarters, but it's all indoors.
7. Fairy Chimney Hotel, Turkey
Fairy Chimney Hotel in Turkey is right in the middle of Cappadocia, famous for the tufa rock cones. In fact, portions of the hotel are actually carved from the cones themselves.
8. Giraffe Manor, Kenya
Giraffe Manor in Kenya is one of the only hotels in the entire world where you can feed giraffes from the window -- in fact, feeding them is encouraged.
9. Ascher Cliff, Switzerland
Äscher Cliff in Switzerland sits right on the edge of a steep cliff, a perfect getaway for travelers who like a little bit of riskiness (not to mention hiking) with their overnight stay.
10. Kakslauttanen Hotel, Finland
Hotel Kakslauttanen in Finland gives guest the chance to stay the night in an updated igloo. This hotel is most popular during the Aurora Borealis, where guests get the best seats in the house.
11. Teafield Hotel, Sri Lanka
98Acre Teafield Hotel in Sri Lanka is high up in the mountains, right in the middle of Sri Lanka's vast valleys of tea fields.
12. Udang House, Bali Indonesia
Glass Floor Udang House in Bali, Indonesia boasts incredible floors to the water, plus luxurious furniture for travelers to rest their weary heads.
Content Editor: Priyanka G Dodia
Famous for its white water rafting, and home to the holy river Ganga, Rishikesh is a perfect destination for adventure seekers and laid-back tourists alike. What's more, at just 225 kms from Delhi, Rishikesh is easy to get there as well with a network of state as well as privately owned buses (including plush Volvos). The tickets start from as low as Rs. 200 and go Rs. 1400 for one way. And with the mushrooming of a host of backpackers’ options and ashrams, you can get a room for less than Rs. 150 for a day!
"Branches of Kadamba trees touch the ground, swans play in the waters of Yamuna, bumble bees enjoy their time in Vrindavan, all these make the place beautiful scenery for the nature lovers".
Vrindavan is known as Lord Krishna’s birth place. City offers a treat to those who are on a spiritual journey. This town has lots of temples dedicated to Radha and Krishna, Meera bai and Balarama. Other sacred places are Seva Kunj, Sriji Temple, Jugal Kishore Temple, Kusuma Sarovar, Imli Tal, Kaliya Ghat, Chira Ghat, Varaha Ghat and Samadhi of Swami Haridas. The flowering branches of Kadamba trees touch the ground, swans play in the water of the Yamuna, Bumble bees enjoy their time in Vrindavan, all these make the place beautiful scenery for the nature lovers. Frequent buses from Delhi are easily available and ticket cost is very low. Accommodation cost can be INR 600 per day as this place is dedicated for temples and religious places.
3. TajMahal, Agra
Both the places can be visited in a single day if you are travelling from Delhi or near around areas. Accommodation cost can be around INR 3000 and guided tour of both the world famous monuments will cost you around INR 1500. Still you have INR 499 which can be used for local lunch. Don’t forget to taste the sweet Agra ka petha.
4. McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh
At a distance of 400 Kms from Delhi, this place in Himachal Pradesh is a must visit when it comes to budget friendly tours and travels. It is the home to spiritual guru, Dalai Lama and has many places, one must visit like Bhagsu Falls , Shiva Café etc. Trekking and other adventure activities are there for the adventure lovers. One can find accommodation aslow as INR 300 per day. Government and private buses both are easily available and can cost up to INR 500.
5. Hampi, Bangalore
"A perfect destination for those who are interested in temples, history and ancient architectural beauty of India"
If you are anywhere in and around Bengaluru, Hampi, city of ruins is a must visit. The distance from Bengaluru to Hampi is around 340 Kms. Travel cost is around INR 1000 and stay at a comfortable place can cost you INR 1500. A perfect destination for those who are interested in temples, history and ancient architectural beauty of India. Lying on the two sides of Tungabhadra, city has its own charm; you will not find anywhere else.
Interested in wildlife sanctuary? Why not pay a visit to Binsar, just 400 Kms from Delhi, this city offers a perfect natural beauty for the tourists. In late 90s, this place was declared as important bird region. Transport cost can range up to INR 1500 and staying cost can be INR 2000. Sometimes tourists can spot barking deer or a leopard.
"Famous for it's amazing hill and mountain views, hippie crowd, adventure tracking trails and cool bars"
Though the place is little far from Delhi, but it is definitely a must for the natural lovers. Famous for its amazing hill and mountain views, hippie crowd, adventure tracking trails and cool bars, this place is on list of tourists always. Transport cost from Delhi to Kasol will cost you between INR 800-1000 and accommodation, food everything is very cost effective.
8. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Known as the oldest city in the world, Varanasi is famous for its spiritual quotient. Train fares range between INR 350-700. Hotels and accommodation can be as low as INR 200per day. Food and transport cost are also within travelers budget. Those who are planning a spiritual tour should definitely pay a visit to this place. City offers them a treat from Kasi Vishwanath temple to series of magnificent ghats.
9. Kanyakumari, Kerala
For people in South India, Kanyakumari is a great destination when comes to travel budget. It is situated at a distance of 85 Kms from Trivandrum bus stop, from where the bus ticket is INR 250 and the accommodation cost start from INR 800. Thus, the travellers still haveINR 3000 in hand to spend as per their interest. Food is also cheap and one can enjoy a wide variety. Vivekananda Rock Memorial is the place where tourists still wait with sleepy eyes to catch a glimpse of rising sun.
Darjeeling is very famous among people from West Bengal and near around areas. Very budget friendly in terms of transportation cost, food and accommodation, a heaven for nature lovers. They can enjoy mother nature at its peak. From Kolkata, it is located at a distance of 625 Kms. Don’t miss the toy train which runs between Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling through the steep and beautiful mountains. Tourists can visit Buddhist monasteries, visit the tea plantation, enjoy and understand how tea is processed and reach to our cups as well as enjoy a ride on the chairlift.