India Today - - CONTENTS - VIKRAM AHUJA Founder, Byond Travel


Nov­el­ist Pico Iyer fa­mously said, “the best trav­els, like the best love af­fairs, never re­ally end.” You bring back a bag full of memories, ad­ven­tures, a new bucket list. The ul­ti­mate bucket list for travel must in­clude those ex­pe­ri­ences that have the po­ten­tial to linger on, spurring memories which trans­late into sto­ries of places, peo­ple, and things to do, see and feel. Draw­ing up this list wasn’t easy, so I fo­cused on pos­si­bil­ity and im­me­di­acy. Here are my top 10 picks that I would like to do some­day and soon. 1 GO TO BURN­ING MAN A kalei­do­scope of art cars, out­landish cos­tumes and sur­real ex­hibits of mu­sic and self-ex­pres­sion, Burn­ing Man brings to­gether artists, thinkers and even celebrities (Mark Zucker­berg, Larry Page and Katy Perry) for a week in the mid­dle of the Ne­vada desert ev­ery year. From ex­plor­ing the max­i­mum of hu­man cre­ativ­ity in arts and fash­ion, to fos­ter­ing a cash­less, barter-based econ­omy, Burn­ing Man is the ul­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence for any­one cu­ri­ous about how a utopian so­ci­ety would func­tion. 2 CRUISE ALONG THE GALA­PA­GOS IS­LANDS Charles Dar­win’s fa­mous the­ory of evo­lu­tion was in­spired by his visit to this re­mote ar­chi­pel­ago of mul­ti­ple is­lands and their en­demic species, where one can en­counter

gi­ant tur­tles, swim­ming sea lions and pen­guins, not to men­tion 27 va­ri­eties of birds only to be seen here. Nowhere else in the world will you come face-to-face with more unique species at one place. 3 THE PALACE ON WHEELS In­dia’s most well-known lux­ury train trans­ports you to the by­gone era of Nawabs and Ma­hara­jas for seven days of pure in­dul­gence while dis­cov­er­ing some of In­dia’s most fa­mous sights along the way, like the Ran­tham­bore Na­tional Park and the Golden Tri­an­gle. This is a com­pletely a new way of see­ing In­dia by land, the way the roy­als would have in­tended us to. 4 NORTH­ERN LIGHTS Imag­ine the soli­tude of the Fin­nish La­p­land and the com­fort of watch­ing one of na­ture’s finest spec­ta­cles, the North­ern Lights, while tucked un­der a blan­ket with a cup of hot choco­late (and per­haps some­one spe­cial), look­ing out into the -30 de­gree win­ter won­der­land from your glass igloo. Wel­come to Kak­slaut­ta­nen, Fin­land. Also on of­fer, rein­deer and husky rides, tra­di­tional Fin­nish sauna baths and even a visit to Santa Claus’s home. 5 AMALFI COAST VINTAGE CAR ROAD-TRIP Italy’s South­ern Coast, from Posi­tano to Amalfi, boasts of some of the most pic­turesque costal high­ways in the world dot­ted with lit­tle towns, olive farms and even winer­ies on cliffs over­look­ing the Gulf of Salerno. Top this with a vintage car, such as a red 1973 Al­pha Romeo Spi­der and join the ranks of po­ets, artists and Hol­ly­wood stars who have brought this stretch to life in count­less books and films. 6 THE TRANS SIBERIAN RAIL­WAY Criss-cross­ing the vast and di­verse land-

scape of Rus­sia, cut­ting through the Gobi Desert in Mon­go­lia and fi­nally end­ing up in China, via Manchuria, the world’s long­est rail route is also one of the great­est travel ad­ven­tures of our time. The mélange of cul­tures, food, drink, his­tory and peo­ple, all com­pressed into a seven-day jour­ney, promises to be in­tense and over­whelm­ing. 7 ANTARC­TIC CRUISE Long con­sid­ered the fi­nal fron­tier for die-hard ex­plor­ers, Antarc­tica, is today, within reach, with mul­ti­ple cruise lin­ers op­er­at­ing through­out the year. You will do this only once in your life­time but rest as­sured your sto­ries of sur­vival and ac­com­plish­ment, pep­pered with gi­ant ice­bergs, pen­guins, seals and whales, and per­haps a plunge in sub-zero waters, will be leg­endary. 8 STEP INTO THE A TIME MA­CHINE IN CUBA The beauty of Cuba lies some­where be­tween its time­less cul­ture, the clas­sic cars from the 50s cruis­ing through streets filled with the sounds of Salsa mu­sic and its com­pli­cated and colour­ful po­lit­i­cal sto­ry­line. And if that isn’t enough, there are gor­geous nat­u­ral land­scapes, the world’s best rum and ci­gars and the most hos­pitable peo­ple you will ever come across. 9 MOUN­TAIN GO­RIL­LAS, RWANDA The image of King Kong fight­ing air­lines and caus­ing havoc makes the prospect of com­ing face-to-face with a moun­tain go­rilla, a slightly daunt­ing one. The most in­ti­mate and gen­tle wildlife ex­pe­ri­ence you can have in­volves trekking vol­cano peaks of Uganda to track and ob­serve go­rilla fam­i­lies as they go about their nat­u­ral rou­tines. With only 700 go­ril­las left in the wild, you have an op­por­tu­nity to con­trib­ute di­rectly to the con­ser­va­tion ef­forts as well. 10 WIN­TERS IN BANFF, CANADA Snowy moun­tains, art and mu­sic fes­ti­vals, lux­ury chateaus with gi­gan­tic fire­places and mugs of hot choco­late or mulled wine—ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Canada’s best na­tional park, draws you to a par­al­lel uni­verse. Go, if you must, with your clos­est friends and fam­ily and sur­ren­der your­self to the vast and un­for­get­table out­doors.

Banff, in canada, is a win­ter won­der­land with ski­ing, chateaus and plenty of ad­ven­tures

arTs, mu­sIc, cul­Ture and a uToPIan so­cI­eTy comes To­geTher aT burn­Ing man

The Palace on Wheels cel­e­braTes In­dIa’s fInesT royal legacy

The norTh­ern lIghTs vIeWed Through a glass Igloo In fIn­land

face To face WITh a 500 lb moun­TaIn go­rIlla In rWanda

The amalfI coasT has some of The mosT scenIc drIves In The World

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