Information is changing every day, which can make it hard to keep up with the facts that are most relevant to you.
We’re continually keeping this page up-to-date regarding the current outbreak of Coronavirus disease, also known as COVID-19. This page was last updated on 19 May 2020. To our knowledge, the information on this page was correct at the time of publication. Given the nature of the crisis, information will vary by location and change at short notice and over time. So whether you need it now, or in the near future, this page could be worth a bookmark.
We strongly recommend reading the Coronavirus travel advice from your local authorities and government bodies, such as the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, as well as the guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO), a reliable and trusted source of global news and information.
The Government of India has extended the ban on all domestic and international flights until 31 May 2020. If you are an Indian national currently abroad, according to the government Coronavirus travel advisory, you will not be able to enter India.
The Bureau of Immigration has announced that all existing visas shall remain suspended till the prohibition on international travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India.
The validity of OCI card of foreigners presently in India shall remain (as per the latest available data). The visa-free travel facility granted to OCI card holders, has been kept in abeyance till prohibition on international travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India. Any foreign national (including OCI cardholder) who intends to travel to India for compelling reasons may contact the nearest Indian Mission for fresh visa.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation advised all airlines, domestic and international, on 18 April 2020, not to take any bookings until there is an official decision to resume operations.
Given the current circumstances, all airlines in India are grounded as the Government of India has placed a blanket ban on all domestic and international flights. We suggest that you refer to reliable sources, such as the guidelines on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation website or the official website of the airline you booked on for details to queries related to refunds and future re-bookings.
Know more about your rights and claiming compensation if you’ve had a flight delayed or cancelled.
In this time of crisis, we know that travel is impossible for many of you. We are in the middle of a planet-defining moment. COVID-19 has, in a short space of time, changed our lives. I expect the coming weeks will be even tougher, but I believe there is a case for hope and optimism about what’s on the other side. We’re seeing an unprecedented level of support from individuals and companies that gives me tremendous hope that the humans on this planet will be there to support, love and pull each other through this. We are here for you, fellow travellers. We will explore the world again. And when we do, we will treasure the memories and shared experiences it creates more than ever. Until then, we’ll do everything we can to bring you the information that matters.Bryan Dove, CEO Skyscanner
While this is a fast-developing situation, here are four Coronavirus travel need-to-knows:
There’s lots of practical steps you can take. Regularly wash your hands (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand gel), avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and stay at least a metre away from someone who is coughing or sneezing. Read more
First of all, call the airline, hotel or online travel agent you booked with. Not sure which company you used? You’ll see their name on your bank or credit card statement as well as the email you received from them to confirm the booking.
You’ll find more details, including contact information, on our help page.
Call the airline or online travel agent. With so many travel plans changed, it may take longer than usual to speak to someone who can help but keep trying. If the airline or online travel agent tells you that a refund isn’t available or they’ve stopped trading, it might be worth getting in touch with your credit card company if that’s how you booked. If you have travel insurance, get in touch with your provider as well.
It all depends on your policy. Check their website or give them a call to find out more.
For more answers to commonly asked questions on Coronavirus (COVID-19), click here. We have also responded to the top questions from our traveller community in a Q&A which is available here.]]>
Dzukou Valley is a high-altitude, natural oasis, sitting amongst the clouds at 2,452 metres above sea level. It’s a great all-year destination, but a visit in the summer means you can catch the famous Dzukou lily in bloom. If you’re planning a winter adventure, be prepared for a colder climate – and maybe some snow! Whatever the weather, you’ll be sure to enjoy taking in the great outdoors on one of the many treks the Dzukou Valley has on offer.
There’s no shortage of great beaches in India, but if you’re looking for tranquility on a budget, Gokarna is a great option. It might be best known for its ancient temples, but the beaches here deliver stunning coastal views and a quieter, more laid-back alternative to the crowds and partygoers of Goa.
Read more: The top 5 beaches in Karnataka
Manali is a high-altitude town packed with activities perfect for adrenaline junkies, and one of the top places to visit in north India. Enjoy white water rafting, hiking, climbing and skiing (in the colder months). Although it can get busy here during peak seasons, there are plenty of trails to explore – so it won’t be hard to find a slice of calm if you need to recuperate after an activity-packed day in the hills.
Read more: Where to go paragliding in India
If you’re planning a trip to Delhi, you’ll want to prepare to live on the wild side, taking in the vibrant chaos the city is known for. You can also expect many historic sites, such as the Red Fort, Qutab Minar, India Gate and Humayun’s tomb. Be sure to grab a guidebook, or read up ahead of time, to gain an appreciation for the stories behind the city and these famous, must-see sites.
If you’re looking for a spiritual retreat in a stunning setting, you’ll want to consider a visit to Hampi. Here you’ll find beautiful temples, the historic site of Sule Bazaar and an expanse of ruins to explore. The area also hosts several festivals, including the Hampi Festival (usually in January) and the Virupaksha Car Festival (March/April) – and makes a great spot to celebrate Holi.
Read more: The must-visit hill stations in Karnataka
If you’re looking to enjoy street food favourites, a trip to the temple towns of Tamil Nadu should be at the top of your list – including Mamallapuram, Gangaikonda Cholapuram, Madurai, Avudaiyarkoil, Puducherry and Chettinad. The popular South Indian dishes of masala dosa and idli originate from Tamil Nadu. Eat your way through the veggie thalis at the street stall cafes, enjoy some spicy meatballs in Chettinad and be sure to get a taste of French-style cuisine with fusion food available in Puducherry while you’re here.
Read more: 11 unique foods from India
With UNESCO-listed churches, golden beaches and plenty of activities to keep you busy (bungee jumping, anyone?), there might be more to Goa than its party-scene – but it’s definitely a draw. The eclectic music scene, beach parties that run into the night and variety of pubs and clubs has made Goa a partygoers’ paradise. Top picks for first time visitors include Club Cubana, LPK Waterfront and Thalassa.
Read more: The best clubs in Goa to match your party type
If you’re looking to hit the slopes and enjoy an alpine escape, a trip to Gulmarg will tick all the boxes. With ski runs to suit both first-time and advanced skiers, as well as treks and scenic fishing spots, there are activities for every type of visitor. You can also enjoy visits to the famous religious sites nearby, or tee up on the 18-hole golf course – which is among the highest in India!
Read more: The 5 Best Places To See Snow In India
This popular honeymoon destination is the perfect spot to enjoy with your special someone – whether you’ve popped the question or not. This string of islands is known for white-sand beaches with jungle back-drops, and you could easily spend days simply relaxing on any one of the stunning beaches. If you’re more of an active traveller though, there’s plenty to keep you occupied across the islands; from historical tours covering the islands’ colonial history, to snorkelling, kayaking and jungle trekking.
Situated along the India-Nepal border and offering views across the Himalayas, you will find some of India’s best trekking in Singalila National Park. One of the most popular treks, the Sandakphu trek, takes two to five days – depending largely on the route and weather. If you want to see the views but aren’t up for a multi-day hike, you can also arrange a ride to take you some of the way. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled – and your camera at the ready – as this area has plenty of wildlife. You’ll be rewarded with views of Lhotse, Makalu and Everest along the hike.
Dubbed the ‘Scotland of India’, this hill station is great for a camping trip when you’re looking to get away from it all. While the entire area is great for camping, Madikeri, Virajpet and Gonikoppal are top spots to pitch a tent. As well as adventure activities – such as trekking and hiking – you can also enjoy a taste of the local wine and coffee while you’re here. If you don’t want to bring your own tent, or want a more luxurious experience, ‘glamping’ can also be arranged at several sites.
Read more: 8 lesser-known hill stations to visit
The Tulip Festival is held at the beginning of spring in Srinagar, between March and May, when the tulip buds are ready to bloom. This festival lasts for fifteen days or a month as different flowers continue to bloom creating a rainbow of colours. The weather dictates when the Tulip Festival begins each year. So, if you’ve missed it last year, you could plan for this year.
While we know there will be better times to plan a trip to Srinagar, a walk through the Tulip Garden should be on your list when you do. We at Skyscanner thought of listing a few interesting facts about the tulip garden for you.
Once called the Model Floriculture Center, the Tulip Garden was first opened in 2007 by the former Chief Minister Gulam Nabi Azad. The Dal Lake, Nishat Bagh, and Chashma Shahi Garden surround this gorgeous garden on three sides.
This flower field was the first largest landscaping project undertaken by the government after the Mughals built pleasure spots in Kashmir in the 16th century.
Spread over 30 acres, this terraced garden is built on a mountain slope. There are seven terraces each with a different variety of flowers, especially tulips. With more than 46 varieties and 15 lakh tulips, new flowers are added each year. The tulip is a novelty; however, the climatic conditions of Kashmir are most suited for it.
Open Hours: 9am to 7pm Mon-Sun.
Entry Fee: INR50 for adults and INR25 for children
The garden is only 9km away from Srinagar; you can reach it using local transport or private cars from the airport. The garden proudly displays infinite rows of breathtaking tulip flowers. Apart from the regular yellow, red and orange tulips, you will be able to view some unique hybrid flowers too.
The tulip garden at Srinagar is truly a treat to the senses – the bright colours will impress your sight while the mesmerising smell of the blooms will refresh your mind.
Gazing upon this nature’s wonder from afar, you feel like the rainbow decided to descend on the earth and offer you a celestial view of what the paradise would look like.
The best time to visit the Tulip Garden is between March-end and early April. If you fancy visiting the annual Tulip festival, then make it a point to reach Srinagar during the 1st two weeks of April. The weather is cool, pleasant throughout the year in Srinagar. April to October is the best time to visit if you love seeing colourful blossoms all over the city.
Srinagar is reachable through direct flights from around the world. You can also take a bus or train to reach Srinagar and then use local transport to visit other places in and around the state. The Tulip garden is quite well known and easy to reach once you’re in the city.]]>
Booking flight tickets is a breeze, but only if you know how. Getting your hands on the best – read cheapest – tickets may be a task, given the huge number of options you have for ticketing. Everyone from travel agents to online websites and airlines want in on the game, leaving you completely muddled. It’s Skyscanner to the rescue! Skyscanner is a flight ticket aggregator – a website that gets multiple agents and websites on to one platform and sorts the tickets they offer according to your preference – all for your booking convenience. Try it out!
Pack right, and light. After you are done figuring out what all you may need at your destination – weather wise – it would do well to check how much weight your airline allows you to carry without charging extra. All airlines have different rules for domestic and international routes, so check your ticket for the maximum allowance and stay within it. Check the airline website for articles not allowed on a flight. There is a list of things that can be packed in your check-in baggage but not in your hand baggage – make sure to follow that list.
Read more: Your ‘Super Checklist’ for travel
Know your way around? Good for you. Rule of thumb – reach the airport 1 hour in advance for a domestic flight and 3 hours earlier in case of an international flight. Thinking of cabbing it to the airport? Make sure you ask for the cab a little ahead of time – no point risking it with traffic jams or a car breakdown. Check on your ticket which terminal your flight is scheduled to depart from, and inform the driver accordingly. Very often, a confusion at this stage can end up being the difference between catching your flight and missing it. In any case, reach ahead of time and explore the airport – airports today are interesting places, with multiple shopping and browsing opportunities. Many offer lounges where you can relax and tank up before your flight.
Airports can be confusing, especially for a first timer. Larger airports – in big cities – can actually be a maze if you don’t know what to do. Here is a step wise guide to finding your way around the airport, checking in, and heading to your terminal.
• Keep your ticket handy – will help you get to your terminal.
• Put your luggage onto a trolley. Trolleys are stacked near the departures entrance.
• Keep your I-card along with your ticket, you will need it at the entrance to get in.
• Once inside, head to your airline section with your ticket and identification.
• Get your check-in baggage scanned, hold on to whatever you may need for the flight and on landing.
• You can now go to your airline’s check-in counter and collect your boarding pass. You can also get your boarding pass at an electronic kiosk nearby.
• If you haven’t already e-checked in and grabbed the seat of your choice, try your luck at the counter at this stage.
• Weigh your checked-in baggage at the counter, get it tagged and sent off to the airplane. Get your hand baggage weighed and proceed to the terminal mentioned on your boarding pass.
• To get to your terminal, you have to cross security. To cross security, you will have to place everything except your boarding pass in the X-ray tray and pass through a metal detector.
• Once you are through, collect your items from the tray and off you go! You could spend your extra time, if you have any, browsing the retail section or grabbing a bite.
• Head to your departure gate and keep an ear out for announcements related to your flight. If you are at a silent airport, announcements will be messaged to your phone or email – or you could just keep an eye out for the display board.
Read more: Cabin luggage: Guide to hand baggage restrictions for Indians
After you board, head to the seat number allotted to you and place your hand baggage in the overhead bin close to your seat. Place your hand bag under the seat in front of you. Settle in, put on your seat belt, switch off your cell phone, listen carefully to the instructions given by the flight attendant, and enjoy the flight.
Read more: First trip abroad? Here’s what not to do
You’ve reached your destination! Unless you enjoy bumbling about in a new city, there is a host of apps that you can download which will make your life easier. From currency conversion to foreign language translations and directions around the city, it can all show up on your smartphone. You will know which clothes to get off the plane in – shorts and a t-shirt may prove grossly inadequate if you show up on a freezing winter night in a new land!
Read more: 18 great travel apps to have on your phone
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Thanjavur Brihadeshwara Temple, symbolises heritage and culture of the Tamilnadu state. Locally known as the Thanjavur Periya Kovil, this temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is one of the largest temples in India. King Raja Raja Cholan had this temple built between 984 A.D. and 1010 A.D. The temple shows the creative skills and affluence of the Chola kingdom
Arulmozhivarman, the emperor, popularly known as Rajaraja Chola I, was a Lord Shiva devotee and laid the foundations of the Tanjore temple after he dreamt about it in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). This temple was the center of most festivals celebrated in the Chola kingdom and it served as the center of economic and religious activities. Villages from the country provided human resources and material to maintain the temple.
Called the Big Temple, it lies is in the Thanjavur district of Tamilnadu. Built on the banks of the river Cauvery, where the water was diverted to the moat, this temple is made entirely of granite, and it stands tall amidst fortified walls. The closest airports are Tiruchirappalli and Madurai and closest seaport is the Karaikal port.
The Tanjore temple is on the top Archaeologist List of top picks for its unsolved mysteries and engineering feats in the 11th -century.
1. Airavateshwara Temple: It is one of the greatest living Chola temples in Darasuram, Tanjavur. The legends say Lord Shiva’s white elephant Airawat worshipped the Lord to clear the curse Sage Durvasa gave him. A visit to this temple is a must.
2. Thanjavur Royal Palace: Located inside the Vijayanagara fort complex, the royal palace was once the residence of the Nayak Kings. The Nayak Hall, Saraswati Mahal library and the durbar hall are worth a visit.
3. Gangaikonda Temple: The architectural brilliance of Thanjavur does not end with the Tanjore temple. The 1000-year old Gangaikonda temple is an instance of the beautiful temple carvings, engineering virtuoso and historic significance of the Chola reign. It is a part of the UNESCO’s Living Chola temples World Heritage sites.
4. Vijayanagar Fort: Just 2-km away from the Brahadeeswara temple lies the celebrated Vijayanagar Fort. This stately fort was built partly by the Nayak and the Maratha monarchs in early 1550 AD. The Shiva Ganga Gardens are also a part of the complex. Though the fort is mostly in ruins today, it still resonates the métier and opulence it must have once had.
Read More : Things to Do in Thanjavur
The temple is easily accessible with direct flights to Tiruchirappalli or Madurai or the nearest railway station Thanjavur or Trichy. You can even use the bus or local taxi to reach Thanjavur.
You can now keep an eye out for low-priced airfare deals, with the Skyscanner Price Alert. Buying 6 months before you plan to travel will help you buy low-priced tickets.
Plan your holiday as airfares tend to rise. Check for different destinations if you know the departure airport and the dates using Skyscanner’s unique everywhere search option. If you are flexible about the dates for travel, then check the handy monthly view
With the Skyscanner app, save time and look for the best hotel deals, car hire deals or know more about the city you plan to visit.]]>
When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?
Like most natural phenomena, the Northern Lights don’t follow a time table – making it hard to pin point the best time to view them. To narrow it down, the Lights are ‘on’ through the year, but it is difficult to spot them from about April till August because of the summer sun. September to March is usually the ‘best time’ to see the Northern Lights. Autumn months, with bearable weather, are a good time to visit these Arctic lands. But if you can stand the cold, dark nights from January to March, then you will get what could easily be front row seats for this illuminated spectacle.
Where can you see the Northern Lights?
As is the case with its time table, the location for every light show is also difficult to predict. But there are some standard Northern Lights viewing spots, where your chances of spotting the Aurora are greater and arrangements for your comfort are in place. You can also follow the latest news on the Aurora forecast.
Did our description of the Northern Lights inspire you to check them out? If you are wondering whether to book now or later – worry not – Skyscanner has a tool that alerts you whenever there is a change in flight prices. This amazing tool scans prices of all airlines and online travel agents. You will receive one single notification when there is a price change. Please read how to sign up for our ‘Price Alert’ tool.
The higher the latitude of a location, the better it serves as a Northern Lights view point – and Svalbard is as up north as one can get. Sitting pretty and frozen between the 74th and the 81st parallel, this island – deep into the Arctic Circle, is a favourite Norway location. Svalbard gets a lot of tourist traffic in the months between November and February. Another natural phenomenon – the Polar Night – is also a huge draw for visitors. Works well for sky gazers since Svalbard is without daylight from mid November till the end of January; increasing your chances of spotting the beautiful Aurora Borealis.
Photo credit: Martyn Smith
How to get to Svalbard: Fly into Oslo, proceed to Longyearbyen – which is Svalbard’s main settlement – so the perfect base for a visit. Another alternative is to get to Tromso instead.
Gaze at the Northern Lights in style – from inside a glass roofed igloo, and then duck into a traditional log cabin jazzed up with a sauna and open fire. This and much more at the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Finnish Lapland. If the Lights stand you up, there is other stuff to keep you occupied – start with a reindeer safari or ski around the Urho National Park. You will also be about two hours by road from the Russian border so drive across or get all traditional on a dog sled and visit Santa at Koryatunturi.
Photo credit: Kelvin Lim
How to get to Kakslauttanen: Fly into Helsinki and make your way up north.
The remote village of Jukkasjärvi in Kiruna is famous as the location for Sweden’s first ice hotel. Staying at an ice hotel may be a little pricey for some, but worry not – the place is dotted with other reasonable accommodation. Taking Aurora viewing to new heights – literally – are the night flight tours that originate in Jukkasjärvi. In case the Northern Lights don’t show up, there is the Esrange Space Center that you can visit for a memorable view of Sweden’s star speckled skies. You could also hire a snow mobile for a tour of the area.
Photo credit: bjaglin
How to get to Jukkasjärvi: Fly into Stockholm from where you can get a flight to Kiruna.
The capital of Iceland is possibly the most accessible and therefore extremely popular location for Aurora viewing. And it is not just the Northern Lights that are a tourist draw here; there is plenty more to explore in Iceland – it is, after all, a land dotted with geysers, volcanoes and blue ice. The famous Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is on the way to Reykjavik from the airport. There are also the many Game of Thrones locations that you can visit while in the country.
How to get to Reykjavik: Fly into Keflavik International Airport which is about 50 kilometres from Reykjavik.
With the ‘Aurora Oval’ covering a large part of the country, Canada has a huge number of Aurora viewing options. The Oval covers the provinces of Yukon, Northern Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and British Columbia. With all these options, it would be a good idea to consult Canadian Geographic map of aurora locations online and Dark Sky Finder for viewing spots that suit your itinerary. Considering the long haul flight, once Aurora viewing is done, you can make the most of your Canada trip by visiting ski resorts, some of the country’s major cities or go waterfall spotting and whale watching!
How to get to Canada: Book a flight to one of the many international airports across the country on Skyscanner.
The joy of Aurora spotting in Scotland is that you don’t have to travel far to get an eyeful of the Aurora doing what it is best at – lighting up the sky. There are many places in the northerly latitudes of the country where finding a dark sky is commonplace and Aurora chasing is extremely fruitful. Take a look at the spectacular video below.
Scotland beyond the Northern Lights is quite a joy as well – Visit Aviemore and the Cairngorms National Park or go up to Glenshee for snow cover. Activities that involve a good dose of nature range from mountain climbing to hiring a bicycle and riding around beautiful nature reserves.
How to get to Scotland: Fly into Edinburgh or Glasgow and proceed to Inverness for the northern locations.
If you are wondering which of these countries to visit for your Aurora Borealis adventure, here is a handy tool from Skyscanner that may help you decide. Our country search tool takes you through all the options and lets you search by country to find the very cheapest airports to fly into or fly out from. Please read how to use our Country Search tool.
When you think international holidays, do you immediately start wondering how much you’ll have to save to get there? Fret no more, dear traveller. The good news is that there are plenty of cheap international destinations you can visit without paying through your nose. Get the cheapest flight deals for your international holidays with us. Here are Skyscanner‘s top picks for cheap international holiday destinations from India.
Generally, we see that flight prices tend to increase drastically 2 months before the departure date, so make sure you book early to get the cheapest deals! Search Skyscanner now to find the best dates (and costs!) to suit your next trip.
|Destination||Best Time to Visit|
|Krabi, Thailand||Nov to Mar|
|Kathmandu, Nepal||Oct to Nov|
|Singapore||Jan to Dec|
|Malacca, Malaysia||Apr, May and Oct|
|Colombo, Sri Lanka||Nov to Mar|
|Dubai, United Arab Emirates||Nov to Apr|
|Bangkok, Thailand||Nov to Mar|
|Bali, Indonesia||Apr to Oct|
|Male, Maldives||Nov to Apr|
|Phuket, Thailand||Nov to Mar|
Krabi is one of those cheap international holiday destinations about which you can safely say – “Ah, the pictures weren’t photoshopped!” The white beaches, blue waters and coral reefs are actually that lovely. Scuba diving enthusiasts can have a whale of a time here, while there’s plenty of exotic flora and fauna in the tropical forests if you’re up for some exploring. Of course, for the beach bums, this is paradise – lounge as you sip your minty cocktails!
Very often, we forget about our immediate neighbours and tend to focus on far away, cheap abroad trips. Just across the border and a very cheap flight away from New Delhi sits Kathmandu – with promises of mountains and spirituality. Apart from being a gateway to the Himalayas for mountaineering enthusiasts, a trip to Kathmandu is a nice blend of the old and the new, the modern and the traditional. Durbar Square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has several palaces and temples within the complex waiting to be explored. The Thamel area has tons of shops selling everything from mountaineering gear to souvenirs. The Pashupatinath Temple is the city’s oldest Hindu temple, while the Bodhnath Stupa is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the world.
Yet another ideal destination when you have limited time and a tight budget is Singapore. The glitzy city has much more than the fashion labels at Orchard Street. Soak in the culture at Chinatown Heritage Centre, or take a cruise on the Singapore River. Visit the Singapore Zoo, which is one of the best in Asia. Spend an evening at the Marina Bay area. Explore the many dining options by the River at Clarke Quay. Plan your trip early for cheap flight tickets and book your hotel in advance too, and put Singapore on the top of your list for cheap international holiday destinations from India.
Read more: The Little India Singapore experience: 10 places you must visit
We’ve all heard of Kuala Lumpur, but how many of us have really given thought to Malacca? With its Portuguese influence clearly visible in the buildings and streets, Malacca is truly one of the top cheap international holiday destinations from India, and a city that is brimming with history. Jonker Street is a great place to stumble upon antiques and other collectibles. With its myriad colours, Malacca is a photographer’s delight too. Get here by road after a cheap flight to the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur; it’ll just take you about an hour and a half.
Most people briefly stop in Colombo before heading to the gorgeous beaches on the western coast of Sri Lanka. But if all you have is a few days off, and you want to get out of the country, head to Colombo and give it a chance. Visit the Gangaramaya Temple and other nearby Buddhist temples for a spiritual experience. Walk around in the Colombo Fort area where every building has a rich history, and so many tales to tell. Bargain to your heart’s content at Pettah Market, Colombo’s huge open market where you will find everything from fruits to jewellery. Savour delicious Sri Lankan food, especially if you like seafood. But vegetarians, don’t worry, there’s plenty for you too in one of the best cheap international holiday destinations from India!
Read more: A long weekend in Sri Lanka
Surprised that it made our list of the best cheap international holidays from India? Guess what? It takes a while for an outsider to look beyond the layers of glamour that Dubai seems to have become synonymous with. But when you do, you’ll notice that there is so much you can do in this incredible city. A long walk around the old Bastakiya district is a must do for history buffs. Whether or not you want to make a purchase, you must definitely visit the Deira Gold Souk just for the experience. Get away from the traffic and crowds and take a desert safari and do some dune bashing. Or just be a tourist and visit the Burj Khalifa and other notable skyscrapers, if only for the splendid views.
How many of you have asked friends to purchase electronic goods or branded accessories from Bangkok? Why not head there and buy them for yourself, because if you plan reasonably well in advance, tickets to Bangkok are pretty cheap from Mumbai, New Delhi or any other major Indian city. And Bangkok is not just a retail therapy haven, but it is also full of beautiful Buddhist temples, lip smackingly delicious street food and lovely floating markets.
Rice plantations so green that you wonder if nature has some kind of photoshop. Intricately sculpted temples, blue-green seas and sandy beaches – these are just a few things from the mixed goody bag that is Bali. Experience a little of everything when you’re on this beautiful foreign trip. Laze on the glorious beaches of Seminyak and Nusa Dua. Visit the crafts villages in Ubud and the surrounding villages. Water sports enthusiasts have tons of options to go surfing or diving. If you’re feeling more adventurous, trek up Mount Batur, one of Bali’s active volcanoes. After your trek, treat those sore muscles to a relaxing Balinese massage.
Read more: Best beaches close to India
The Maldives, with its turquoise waters, colourful sea life and exotic spas, has in recent years been wooing the Indian traveller like never before. Male, the capital of the Maldives, is located in the North Male Atoll, and is connected by air to major Indian cities. The underwater life in the sea lends a whole new meaning to the term colourful, and scuba diving enthusiasts are set to have a highly memorable experience. After a few days in the capital, head out to explore another inhabited island to get a true taste of the culture in this beautiful country. And yes, despite its majestic and otherworldly feel, it’s amazingly one of the cheap international holidays from India.
Read more: 10 most romantic hotels in Southeast Asia
Yes, Thailand features again in our list of cheap international holidays from India. That’s how budget friendly it is. The world first noticed Phuket after the 1974 James Bond flick The Man with the Golden Gun was shot there. And it continues to attract travellers with its sandy beaches, clear waters and vibrant nightlife. Whether you are looking to have a quiet time by the beach or party hard, Phuket is a great option.
Read more: The best massage therapies in Asia
Read more: Visa-friendly South East Asian countries for Indian travellers, Visa on arrival travel for Indians]]>
We’ve chosen the top five places to see snow in India.
One of the standout destinations of Jammu and Kashmir, Gulmarg is a popular one with tourists who want to see staggering views of snow-carpeted hills around. It lies about 9,000 feet above the sea level, making it a definite choice for winter travel and skiing. A large number of local and international tourists visit here to learn or hit the slopes with skis.
Srinagar is the closest air junction from Gulmarg. From here, cabs are available to reach the base, Tangmarg. The road wends up along the hillsides, till you hit a vast plateau. The journey is incomplete until you take the gondola up to Aparwath and Kungdoor.
The top things to do in Gulmarg comprise winter sports, gondola ride and see the highest golf course in the world. There is also a small shrine at the edge of the main arrival point, which is immortalised by the Bollywood song, ‘Jai Jai shiv Shankar’.
While Gulmarg is an all-year round destination, it is spectacular in the winters. This can be attributed to the snow-clad vast mountain range in front that is best sighted from the gondola. Gulmarg is the most popular skiing destination of India, which plugs it high on the travel map of India.
Thronging with visitors in the summer, Manali does not lose its sheen in the winters as well. In fact, it is one of the most feted towns to see snow in India. Not only is the main town covered in a carpet of snow, the higher passes close by, especially Rohtang, becomes the central draw for snow themed recreational sports.
The closest airport to Manali is situated about 50km away in Bhuntar. Ample cabs are available to cart you to Manali from here. Most people like to take the overnight buses from Delhi that take over 12 hours to reach, but are convenient.
There are a number of things that one can do in Manali. A day trip to Rohtang Pass is one of them. You can roam the streets of Old Manali, visit the Naggar Castle 24km away or even sit by the edge of River Beas close to town. The river is famous for rafting, but winters are a bad time to choose to be in water.
Perennially pleasant to travel to, Manali holds a special draw in the winters. The streets are covered in snow, and even if it fails to be snowed in for a long time, short drives to the higher reaches lands you amidst snow-covered hills. The summers are good as Manali stays cool and offers respite from the blazing heat of the plains.Find flights to Manali
Leh, single handedly headlines as the leading tourist destination of Jammu and Kashmir. It is accessible in the winters only by air, as the town lies 13000 feet above sea level. As one can imagine, winters are surreal. There are far lesser visitors and one gets to see a new dimension of Leh at close quarters.
Though the 3-day Manali-Leh drive is popular with travellers from across the world, accessibility in winters is only by the air. The Leh airport is well connected to Delhi.
Leh is the base town to travel to many thrilling places in the Ladakh region, but in winters the travel radius needs to be trimmed. A wonderful heritage walk in the old town apart, one can climb up to the Shanti Stupa and also visit the Leh Palace. These are the top things to do in Leh in winters.
While summers are easy to access and offer relief from the summer heat, it’s the winters that stand apart and offer something new for the eyes.
Staggering views of the Himalayas from any point in Auli and an opportunity to learn how to ski make this one of the best places to see snow in India. Come winter, and oak and Deodar trees get covered in a sheet of white, making the whole topography surreal.
Dehradun is the closest air-head to Auli. But the drive from here takes a good 7 hours, even though the distance doesn’t seem so much. If you’re connecting via rail, then Haridwar is a good base point.
From learning how to ski from qualified instructors, hiking to sprawling meadows and even peeping down a man-made lake called Gorson, Auli has ample to do for a few days of vacationing. Just sitting and gazing at the Himalayan Range of mountains, especially Nanda Devi, itself keeps you tethered to view points.
Auli is one of the world-class destinations for skiing, ensuring that it gets steady footfall in the winters. It’s equally charming in the summers to beat the heat.
Looming over the Dehradun valley, Mussoorie is one of the most charming hill stations and best places to see snow in north India. Located in the foot of the Himalayas, it gets snow only in the deep winter, but it’s worth your while to travel there for a glimpse.
The closest airport to Mussoorie lies in Dehradun, and it is also well connected by train to major cities in India. North Indian towns have bus services to the hill-station as well. Else, Dehradun is a veritable base that offers regular car and bus service to Mussoorie.
Home to legendary authors and thinkers Mussoorie resonates the easygoing vibe. The only buzz is felt on the main Mall road from where one can visit a high plateau called Gun Hill. A famous waterfall, Kempty Falls, is a massive draw in the summers. The Jawalaji Temple, Nag Tibba and Sursingdhar are other places of interest close by.
Mussoorie is one of finest family destinations in India. It is a well-known hill-station for the summer, but the winters are equally beautiful to be in the company of snow.]]>
If you’ve run through all the latest Netflix shows and movies during lockdown already and you’re looking for something new to watch, consider any (or all!) of these 10 travel movies to help you pass the time. You can live vicariously through the elite Singaporeans in Crazy Rich Asians, go on an adventure with Walter in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or travel back in time to Hollywood in the 60s in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. These travel-themed movies will transport you from your sofa to a new destination in no time at all.
Read more: 10 inspiring travel movies
Museums around the world may be closed right now, but they’re still welcoming virtual visitors to enjoy their collections online. Imagine yourself in New York City, exploring The Metropolitan Museum of Art, or pretend you’re wandering the exhibitions at the British Museum. Wherever you’re dreaming of, you can find a museum to explore online and bring the arts and culture to you.
Read more: Take these virtual museum tours
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in a new destination is to learn the local language. Use your time during quarantine to prepare for your bucket list trip to Tokyo by learning popular Japanese phrases, or practise your ‘merci beaucoup’ in anticipation of your future holiday to France. Start your journey to bilingualism with these apps to learn a new language. You’ll be speaking like the locals before you know it.
Read more: Learn a new language with mobile apps
Get lost in a good book all about travel, with this round-up of inspiring stories from all over the world. Hike the Pacific Coast Trail alongside Cheryl Strayed in Wild, cycle the winding Silk Road in Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road or explore the happiest countries on earth in The Geography of Bliss. Being homebound doesn’t mean you can’t travel – a good book can transport you anywhere.
Read more: Lose yourself in one of these top travel books
Technology allows us to explore a new city without stepping out of our front door. Whether you’ve been before or plan to visit in the future, we’ve put together a series of virtual city tours so you can have a holiday from home during quarantine, all in a single day.
Grab your popcorn and take a comfortable seat. We’ll bring the show to you with this round-up of some of the world’s greatest performances you can experience from home. Whether you’re looking for a night ‘at’ the opera or an evening swaying to the sounds of The Berlin Philharmonic, throw on your ‘nice’ loungewear and treat yourself to a night of extraordinary theatre and performance.
Read more: Experience these virtual performances from your sofa
If the view from your window is getting old, grant yourself a change of scenery with these nature videos and wildlife camera streams of the great outdoors. Pop one on and find yourself transported to mountain tops and deep blue straits, or observing gorillas, giraffes, hippos and elephants in their natural habitats in Africa. With so many options, you can easily bring the outside, in.
Read more: Discover the great outdoors, indoors
While many of us are stuck at home, thanks to the internet and some incredible videos and photography, we can still embark on virtual tours of some of the world’s most famous landmarks. Be wowed by the ancient pyramids of Giza (minus the desert heat) or enjoy the views from the top of the Eiffel Tower without the crowds. You can even visit all Seven Wonders of the World virtually in a single day – jet lag need not apply.
These 10 travel podcasts are sure to help you escape the monotony of Coronavirus lockdown. Plug in your headphones and settle in to hear compelling stories about Alaska’s backcountry from the perspective of an Olympic gold medalist in Armchair Explorer, or learn more about the Australian indigenous community in Awaye! Whether you want to be taken on an audible adventure, or want to learn more about destinations that pique your interest, there’s a podcast begging for a listen.
Read more: Tune into these top travel podcasts
Put your travel knowledge to the test with fun travel games and quizzes, perfect for lockdown quiz nights with friends or family. Study up on sustainable destinations, amazing architecture around the world and try to tell the difference between lookalike cities – it’s tougher than you’d think!
Read more: Play travel games on Geoguessr
You can experience the vibrant scenes of a destination straight through your headphones. These curated Spotify travel playlists will transport you to the winding country roads of Southern America, on a techno journey on a crowded Berlin dance floor, or to the balmy beaches of Rio de Janeiro with Brazilian soul and bossa nova music. Whether you’re dreaming of riding the K-pop wave in Korea or want to mellow out to the sounds of sonic landscapes, there’s a destination playlist to tune into that will inspire your virtual journey – or even a future trip. Choose your playlist to take you away:
Best language app for: learning the basics in a conversational manner.
If you’re looking for a thorough, curriculum-based way to learn a new language outside of the classroom, Babbel is a great option. Offering a selection of 14 languages – including Italian, Danish and Norwegian – every course is expertly-curated, and there’s something for every skill level. You can even choose to study solely on your phone if you’d like. The app’s speech recognition software gives you feedback in real-time to help you quickly improve pronunciation, and its timely recognition methods allow for easy reviewing of what you’ve already learned so you can better retain what you’ve covered in previous lessons.
Our favourite thing about this app is that it puts a significant focus on practical conversations and phrases. That means that you’ll be equipped with the essential language basics for your next trip – like how to order lunch or ask a local for directions.
Best language app for: simple and interactive language learning.
The popular Duolingo platform turns language learning into a game. You’ll “study” by matching words, speaking to the app’s voice recognition software, building sentences and racing the clock. You’ll earn points for getting correct answers and even “level up” your knowledge of your chosen language. It’s a great app if you’re looking for fun, bite-sized lessons to listen to throughout your day.
You can use Duolingo directly from your smartphone, or you can choose to study via desktop. The app is free, but if you’d prefer to study without ads, opt for Duolingo Plus for a nominal subscription fee. You’ll get all of the fantastic features included in the regular programme, plus offline courses and a few modifications to make the learning process just a little bit smoother.
Best language app for: learning a new language at your own pace.
Memrise utilises video lessons featuring native speakers to help you quickly learn the words, pronunciations and local dialects of any one of the 22 languages it offers. The passionate instructors keep it fun yet challenging by using gamified flashcards and proven memory techniques to ensure you stay motivated, learn quickly and improve your accuracy.
Whether you’re interested in French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Korean, Italian or otherwise, Memrise has a great selection of options for beginners through near-experts, and it does a great job of keeping things interesting. The course format is also one of the most flexible of all of the apps, as it really allows you to practise at your own pace, on your terms – giving you full control over how you learn. The basic app is free, but you’ll need to pay for a “pro” subscription for full access to all of its features.
Best language app for: users wanting to practise with native speakers.
HelloTalk is a little bit like a messenger service for learning a new language – one that benefits both the student and the teacher. The app matches users who want to learn one another’s language so they can practise together in real-time. For example, if you’re a native English speaker and you want to learn Korean, you’ll be paired with someone who speaks fluent Korean and wants to learn English. Everyone wins!
Beyond having over 150 languages to choose from, the interface is full of innovative tools to make practising a language fun and straightforward. You can chat using text, voice recordings or video, and you can choose to chat with just one individual or as part of a group.
Available on your smartphone or via HelloTalkWeb on desktop, if you consider yourself a people person who learns best by example, this might just be the app for you. The app is free, but there are extra features you can unlock for a small fee.
Apps are an excellent way to quickly pick up a new language. But if you’re looking for an even more well-rounded learning experience, here are a few ways to further immerse yourself in your new language, right from home!
Foreign language films are a fantastic way to increase your exposure to the language you are trying to learn. Enhancing your progress is as easy as turning on your favourite streaming service, finding a foreign title that sounds interesting and pressing play. By tuning in, you’ll pick up key phrases and expressions to help you boost your pronunciation skills and better understand the nuances of having a conversation in that language.
While most foreign films will help improve your language knowledge, it’s useful to go for something more dialogue-driven, like a drama over an action movie. If you’re a beginner, cartoons can often be a great way to start because of the simple linguistics that cater to a younger audience. For example, try watching something like “The Magic School Bus” in French instead of English. Not only is it practical, but it’s also quite fun to feel like a kid again!
Can’t decide on a movie? Search for one of these travel films in your new language.
No one’s pressuring you to pick up the Italian version of Tolstoy’s War and Peace one week into your learning journey. It’s important to start small. Even if it feels a bit silly, starting with children’s picture books is an excellent route to take. It’s particularly helpful to focus on those you’re familiar with or to keep a version in your native language handy. That way, if you’re feeling stuck, you can cross-check by parallel reading. Parallel reading has proven very useful when it comes to advancing to more challenging texts. For example, if you’re trying to learn German and you love the Harry Potter series, get both an English and German translation and read them page by page, together.
If you’re an audio learner, podcasts are an ideal resource for picking up a new language. Whether you’re on a walk, jog or commute of any kind, all you have to do is pop in your earbuds and listen – because the more you hear, the quicker you’ll learn. The best part? There are a seemingly endless number of language-learning podcasts for you to choose from.
For example, the “101 Series” covers the basics of several different languages, from Hebrew and Hindi to Danish and Portuguese. The initial sign up is free, but they do offer a few paid options if you’d like more in-depth content.
A few more great options include “One Minute Danish,” “French Your Way” and “Coffee Break Spanish.” Whatever language you’re looking to become fluent in, there is a podcast out there that can help speed things up.
All in all, the best method for learning a new language and making it stick is to immerse yourself in it as much as possible. A flexible, directive course via one of the apps mentioned above is a key place to start. And once you’ve gotten a bit of a base, supplementing your studies with things like movies, books and podcasts will only increase your progress and enhance your knowledge. ¡Buena suerte!
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