20 Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

20 Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Who doesn’t need a little inspiration from time to time? I know I do.

I have been traveling for many years but it wasn’t until last year that I quit my job to travel the world. While traveling, many people were surprised when I told them I was from India because they said they had hardly ever met women from India who travel so much. It did annoy me at first but later I realized that even I hardly ever met women travelers from India. Yes, there are some but not enough if you compare the size of our country’s population to many other countries, haha!

Anyway, today being International Women’s day, I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate Indian female travelers. Last year I published an article about some amazing Indian women who travel solo and this year I was to  share some of my favorite Instagram accounts that I love following for my daily dose of wanderlust. If you love to travel and like seeing interesting pictures, then be sure to follow these accounts that have been handpicked by me, purely based on the content and not the number of followers.

Why Instagram and why not Facebook? Well, firstly sharing a link of someone’s personal FB profile is a little intrusive to sharing someone’s “public” Instagram profile where they share travel photos. And secondly, Instagram is way more awesome than Facebook. We all know how big Facebook is, but c’mon, it stopped being cool when literally everyone on earth joined the social network. Yes, from your primary school teacher to your neighborhood dukaan waala created their FB accounts and started sending you friend requests.

Ok fellas, enough of random chat and below is the reason why you opened this post in the first place. Let me share a list of my favorite Indian female travelers on Instagram.

List of 20 Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Click on each image to follow on Instagram

01 | Shivya (@Shivya)

Shivya Nath on Instagram

Click to follow Shivya Nath on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Shivya Nath is a vegan nomad without a home, who has been traveling non-stop since a few years. She also runs a successful travel blog called The Shooting Star and has been featured on BBC travel and NDTV. I love her night photography and those are some of my favorite shots on her Instagram.

A post shared by Shivya Nath (@shivya) on

 

02 | Overrated Outcast (@overrated_outcast)

Overrated Outcast (Trishita) on Instagram

Click to follow Overrated Outcast (Trishita) on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Trishita Bhattacharya a.k.a., Overrated Outcast is a 20-year-old girl from Mumbai, who is a pharmacy student and a very talented photographer. Almost all of her shots are captured differently and have a story to tell. She’s also a brand ambassador for GoPro from India (yes, I’m jealous) and she definitely knows how to get the best out of it. You will find pictures of Indonesia, Goa, Mumbai, Nasik, etc on her profile.

03 | Drifter Planet (@DrifterPlanet)

Sonal of Drifter Planet on Instagram

Click to follow Sonal DrifterPlanet on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Wait, the name sounds familiar! Of course it does because it’s my account. Just because I’m writing this post doesn’t mean I’ll skip my own account. I love experimenting with my camera and have been told that I create good phtos. My account has been featured on the several global platforms such as HuffPost Lifestyle, Girls Love Travel, Femme Travel, etc. In fact, I even received a 360-degree camera from Insta360 as a gift because they love our photos. In 2016, I instagrammed 10 countries and 5 music festivals. Why don’t you take a look?

Read: 11 Indian Girls That Are Totally Rocking Solo Travel

04 | Jeny Goes Places (@jenygoesplaces)

Jeny Goes Places on Instagram

Click to follow Jeny Goes Places on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Jeny Rajkumari, also known as Juju is usually on the move and posts really cute pictures from all over India and a few neighboring countries. She’s a nature lover and it’s evident because most of her pictures are green! I love all her photos so much that I have even featured her twice on my account.

05 | Mridula (@mridulablog)

Mridula on Instagram

Click to follow Mridula on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Mridula is an IIT-ian and ex professor but is now a travel blogger. Don’t get me wrong, she is not a new blogger but has been travel blogging since a while. Her blog – Travel Tales from India is very popular and one of the most respected travel blogs from India. She is an excellent photographer and all her pictures are stunning. She rarely ever posts her own pictures but I wish she’d change that because I love seeing the person behind the camera, don’t you?

A post shared by Mridula Dwivedi (@mridulablog) on

06 | Gerbz the Nomad (@gerbz_the_nomad)

Gerbz the nomad on Instagram

Click to follow Gerbz the nomad on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Gauri Adettiwar or “Gerbz” says she’s “Just another Boulder babe flitting her way around the world”. If you see her instagram account, you will instantly know that she loves adventure and you can go on a joyride by just watching her pictures.

Read: 10 Beautiful Spots in Bali that are Instagram Worthy

07 | Wander With Jo (@wanderwithjo)

Wander with Jo on Instagram

Click to follow Wander with Jo on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Jyotsana of Wander with Jo is a girl from Delhi who is a globetrotter and a thrill seeker. She also runs a travel blog called WanderWithJo. She loves posting pictures of waterfalls, viewpoints and street art.

08 | Lavina (@continent.hop)

Continent Hop on Instagram

Click to follow Continent Hop on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Lavina is a girl from Goa who loves clicking colorful destination. Her newsfeed has a lot of pictures from Europe and some of them look like they are right out of a storybook.

09 | Sam Wanderlust (@sam_wanderlust)

Sam Wanderlust on Instagram

Click to follow Sam Wanderlust on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Samita is an engineer from India who lives in the UK. You will find pictures of many European destinations such as Switzerland, Iceland, Austria, etc, on her profile. Her pictures are simply stunning!

A post shared by Samita (@sam_wanderlust) on

10 | Soumya Travel Books Food (@soumna_travelbooksfood)

Travel books food on Instagram

Click to follow Travel books food on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Another engineer on this list, Soumna’s pictures will take you on a trip with her to Europe as she explores Spain, Portugal and France.

11 | Wandering Dreamcatcher (@wandering_dreamcatcher)

Wandering Dreamcatcher on Instagram

Click to follow Wandering Dreamcatcher on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Whether it’s dancing in the middle of a trek or pictures of her furry friends from the road, Ann Mathias of Wandering Dreamcatcher’s pictures are sure to make you smile.

12 | Travel See Write (@travelseewrite)

Travel, See, Write on Instagram

Click to follow Travel, See, Write on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Archana loves traveling, seeing and writing about offbeat places and experiences. The fact that she’s living in the beautiful Philippines definitely helps. You will find pictures of Japan, North East India, many places South East Asian countries on her Instagram profile.

A post shared by Archana (@travelseewrite) on

13 | Lakshmi Sharath (@LakshmiSharath)

Lakshmi Sharath on Instagram

Click to follow Lakshmi Sharath on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Lakshmi is a traveler who has been blogging about her journey since the last 12 years. She is a good photographer and clicks pictures of faces, architecture and nature. On her profile, you will find pictures of literally every place in India.

Read: 7 Colorful Flea Markets of Goa

14 | Medhavi (@ravenouslegs)

Medhavi, Ravenous Legs on Instagram

Click to follow Medhavi, Ravenous Legs on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Medhavi is a girl from India who is a solo traveler and loves adventure. She is an ex techie who is living in the Himalayas at the moment. She loves scuba diving and high altitude trekking amongst other things.

A post shared by Medhavi Davda (@ravenouslegs) on

15 | Rutavi (@rutaagayire)

Rutavi on Instagram

Click to follow Rutavi on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Rutavi Mehta is a travel blogger from India who has traveled to many destinations all over the world. At the moment she is in New Zealand and is instagramming some amazing pictures from her journey.

16 | Monkey Inc (@monkey.inc)

Monkey Inc on Instagram

Click to follow Monkey Inc on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Ankita Kumar calls herself a “hyper travel monkey” and has a blog called Monkey Inc. She is in love with bright colors and strange food, which you will figure out from her Instagram profile.

A post shared by Ankita Kumar (@monkey.inc) on

17 | Raksha – the Roving Heart (@therovingheart)

The Roving Heart on Instagram

Click to follow The Roving Heart on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

From mountains to beaches and everything in between, Raksha is on a mission to explore the world. You will find pictures of many destinations within India on her Instagram page.

Read: 11 Hippie Destinations in the Himalayas

18 | Avii – apocalypstickk (@apocalypstickk)

Apocalypstickk on Instagram

Click to follow Apocalypstickk on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Avii from Delhi loves mountains, campfires, sky gazing, long winding roads and golden trees. Her pictures will take you on a journey to the Himalayas and around.

A post shared by Avii (@apocalypstickk) on

19 | Tanishka – Tani Travel Tales (@TaniTravelTales)

Tani Travel Tales on Instagram

Click to follow Tani Travel Tales on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

The girl in red jacket, Tanishka is an adventurer, traveler, crafter and storyteller. Her pictures will take you to some offbeat locations in North East India.

20 | S Divya (@s.divya22)

Divya on Instagram

Click to follow Divya on Instagram – Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram

Divya is a founder of the famous girl travel group of India called Globetrotting Girls India. She’s a globetrotter herself and her pictures will take you on a journey to many places in America and Asia.

Read: 25 Instagram Accounts to Spark your Wanderlust

So, what do you think of this list? Do you know of in the comments if you know more Indian female travelers to follow on Instagram that I may have missed in this post? Oh and if you like this list, do share it. We definitely need to see more female travelers from India in this world, so let’s do everything to encourage and celebrate the International woman’s day!

20 Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram
20 Amazing Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram
20 Awesome Indian Female Travelers to Follow on Instagram
A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sonal Kwatra Paladini

Wondering what we’re doing in Goa?

Wondering what we’re doing in Goa?

If you’re following us on Facebook, you must have noticed that we’re in Goa. No, we are not here for a week or two but are here for a few months. We’re not “holiday”ing here but are volunteering in Goa. This is our way of slow travel because we want to make our way to Sri Lanka by January 2017.

So what exactly are we doing in Goa?

A little work in the hostel..

I’m volunteering in Goa ‘s Red Door Hostel in Anjuna. The same hostel also has a restaurant where San is working in the bar and kitchen. We get two meals a day here and get to sleep for free. I don’t get paid because I’m a volunteer but San get a little money because he’s a professionally trained chef. Both of us work for half a day and get a day off per week. Our work is very relaxed and a lot of fun.

A little travel blogging..

2016 was a very crazy year. I traveled to 10 countries and didn’t even get a chance to write about them all. I had to take a forced break from blogging while I was attending back-to-back music festivals and later preparing for my German examination. Sitting behind the hostel help desk for half a day has given me a little stability that I needed. I’m finally getting some writing done.

And a little party..

Goa is the birthplace of Psychedelic Trance genre and a typical old school Goa party has no match. This is where I got my first taste of Psychedelic trance music back in 2004 and I was hooked. So yes, we are partying a LOT here. Again.

Why did we choose Goa?

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, I’m sure you know by now how much I love Goa. A lot of people hate it because it’s getting touristy, but which place isn’t? Honestly, Goa is massive and there are many empty areas. It’s mostly the beach belt that gets crowded and we have our own secret spots. We’re in North Goa, which is busier than South Goa.

The cost of living in Goa is definitely lower than most of the places we know of, so it is easy to survive here with little money. The fact that we’re sleeping and eating for free has made it possible for us to live off the earnings of our travel blog. Goa is a good place for digital nomads.

I visited Goa for the first time in 2004 and have always wanted to live here. After finally finding courage to quit my full time job, I can finally make my dream come true. Better late than never, don’t you think?

Want to meet us?

A lot of my friends and blog readers are in Goa at the moment because it is a popular spot to celebrate New Year’s Eve. If you’re planning on visiting, do check out my post about Goa travel tips and my detailed guide about North Goa Beaches. It has some amazing hotel and hostel reccomendations too. Oh, and send us a message on Facebook or Instagram if you want to meet us in Goa.

 

 

A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sonal Kwatra Paladini

Did Yogyakarta in Indonesia change me as a traveler?

Did Yogyakarta in Indonesia change me as a traveler?

This is one of my rare “travel diary” kind of posts which is a result of my introspection and where I express my deepest thoughts.

Can visiting a place for just a few days change me for life?

I thought to myself as I reflected back on the time I spent in Yogyakarta.

I arrived here as a backpacker with a typical “herd mentality”. Over the last few years, without realizing I was usually following the typical backpacker trail. Yes, from time to time, I did make an effort to interact with the locals and to learn about their culture. However, the majority of my time was spent with the other backpackers who I had met while traveling and spending many hours partying. But hey, I thought I was different.

Now here I am, thinking of my fondest memories of my travel in Indonesia, and what’s the first thing that comes to my mind? Spending many hours with the locals, learning more about their culture, learning their language and creating new things every day with my own hands in Yogyakarta after watching how the locals did it.

Now don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with being a backpacker. It is a lot of fun being one and I will be a backpacker for a long time. Not everyone has the same travel style and it is absolutely okay as long you’re happy without harming anyone or anything else in the process. This post is not about that – it is just an expression of my thoughts after hours of introspection.

I can’t forget the time I said “no” for a party in Indonesia because, by that time, I was absolutely in love with Indonesian culture and wanted to wake up early to see more. I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t got my taste of experiencing local culture in Yogyakarta. My mind has found a new snack and it is always hungry for more. I am hopelessly in love, and this time it is with Indonesian culture.

If you ask me to describe Yogyakarta in short, I would just utter three words – Art, culture, & heritage. Mind you, it is not one of those pretentious places where you spend a bomb to experience the local way of life by being a part of a carefully orchestrated charade. It is a place where things get real, whether it is making pottery with the villagers or carving faces on clay puppets.

Before visiting Yogyakarta, a lot of people mentioned that it is a very touristy destination in Indonesia. But upon visiting, I wondered where the tourists were. I didn’t see any while I was exploring some very interesting areas in Yogyakarta. I got my answer when I visited the famous Borobudur temple. Yes, many people visit Yogyakarta to see this largest Buddhist temple that has a fascinating history. But only a few stay on for a longer time to explore the villages and the old town areas.

What is it about Yogyakarta that had this effect on me? Perhaps the fact I was making things with my hands made a difference. Or maybe it was because I was away from my smartphone while making those things that I finally allowed my brain to think and introspect.

Today I promise myself to take out time away from my gadgets as often as I can. I will use this time to create something with my own hands. I will give more time to Art.

Art is magic and it makes us forget a lot of things while making us realize who we are.

Did Yogyakarta transform me into a cultural traveler?

I don’t know the answer to that yet, but I hope to find out soon. What do you think? Have you ever felt this way about a destination? How has travel changed you?

PS: watch out, an epic Yogyakarta post is coming up next where I will shed more light on the things I did.

PPS: to get a glimpse, you can stalk me a little on Instagram 😉

Photo Credit: Bressiona Chastity (Indonesia) and Najii (Japan)

 

Yogyakarta changed me
A Detailed Guide to eVisa for India

A Detailed Guide to eVisa for India

EVisa for India – Avoid India Tourist Visa Surprises. Make sure to check your visa requirements before you book your trip to beautiful India. – by Sandro Paladini

As a European, it is really easy for me to travel around the world. The euro goes far and I only have to worry about visas to a few countries. But here is the thing, India not only requires a visa for German citizens but US citizens also need a visa to India. So I am now writing this article hoping that you have a better experience than I did when trying to get my India eTourist visa.

India eTourist visa application explained

India eTourist visa application explained

Here’s the story about my eVisa application experience for India (Indian e-Tourist Visa)

A few months ago I decided to try the new India eTourist Visa. My employment visa for India had expired and I needed a new visa to fly back to India with Sonal. I decided give eVisa a try instead of going through the lengthy embassy visa application process (which I also explain in the latter part of this post). For those of you that don’t know yet, India has launched a new eTourist visa scheme, so most travelers can get an Indian visa online.

This system supersedes the existing tourist visa on arrival where certain travelers were able to pay a fee upon arrival at immigrations. Travelers now have to apply before arrival to India for a tourist visa. They get a PDF that the airline desk clerk will check before boarding the flight. Then once in India, there is a special immigration queue for eVisas and voila, you are set!

This eVisa is actually a great implementation as it not only boosts the tourism industry for Indian locals but it also eliminates costs and is a great benefit to all us travelers. As I said, the tourist visa is now issued online and you will simply receive it in PDF format via email. Your Indian visa will be linked electronically to your passport so you will no longer receive a visa sticker.

Enough about the benefits of the program. I started the process at 8PM and finished 12 hours later, in a nightmare night in the Philippines. The Government website (https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/index.html) is tortuous. I had innumerable problems uploading my ID photo, my passport information page and worse of all, paying. The user experience was even more frustrating than getting a traditional visa. Instead of sleeping before my snorkeling trip in Palawan, I ended up wasting my entire night on this website.

So when a blogger friend talked about iVisa.com, I instantly thought this was an interesting option for my readers. iVisa is a US based company whose motto is “zero frustration policy when it comes to visa processing”. For an additional fee, they’ve made an impressively easy interface that makes the visa application a pleasant one (or as pleasant as it can be). After researching them in depth, they provide a few great service options that are very interesting: travelers can save an application and complete it at any time, iVisa system takes any type of image and they make it compliant to the visa application format (versus the Government website which only accepts a few formats and in ridiculously small sizes), they take any form of payment (including Amex and paypal), and best of all, unlike the Government website, they accept visa applications far in advance from the trip.

It’s crucial to understand that there have been applications rejected by the government in the past so waiting until the last minute to process the visas is not a great idea. The government service will only accept applications 33 days before your actual travel date, which made me a bit anxious, since this seemed to be too close to my actual trip.

How does the Indian eTourist Visa look like?

Indian etourist visa

Indian etourist visa

India eTourist Visa validity

One thing to remember is that the validity of your Indian visa will only begin on the day of your arrival and you can not apply more than 33 days before your arrival to India. It’s a single entry visa and if you wish to spend more than one month in India then you will have to contact the Indian embassy as the India eTourist Visa is valid for 30 days alone and it seems like you can only apply for 2 eVisas in one calendar year.

Visa restrictions

If you want to apply for an Indian eTourist visa, make sure you are arriving to India via plane and through one of these airports: Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Gaya, Goa, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Tiruchirapalli, Trivandrum & Varanasi. You can exit India by any means of transportation and from any point of exit.

If this is not the case, you will need a paper visa (see below how to get it in the US)

What will you need for your online visa to India application?

You will need a valid passport (valid at least 6 months after your arrival date) and a scan of your passport photo page along with a recent digital photograph of yourself.

After you make the payment online, you’ll receive an email with your visa after a few days, which you can print and take to the airport with you. It’s that easy. Show the printed copy to the immigration officer and a visa will be attached to your passport on the spot.

Again, I recommend that you use iVisa to avoid any frustration with the process. Remember you can apply online at any time with them, and the visa will be processed exactly 33 days prior to departure (so they apply on the first available date, ensuring that the traveler doesn’t have to worry about the visa at all).

The traditional embassy Indian visa

For the unlucky ones that can’t get an eVisa, I thought it would be good to explain the traditional bureaucracy involved in getting a paper visa. I wish you luck 🙂

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post

Step 1 – Visit the India Visa Center for Cox and King website, fill in your details and click on “Proceed”. Make sure to check your info though as you CAN NOT change this later.

Click on “Proceed” again and then on “Click Here” which takes you to the application website and a redirect button will pop up.

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post

Step 2 – Be sure to check that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your arrival date in India. Fill in details.

Step 3 – Start the online application. It says “Regular Visa Application”. Click that link.

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post - Online application

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from USA via post – Online application

Another page will pop up which is the actual application with an orange banner across the top.
At the end of your application it will ask if it’s all correct. Once you say YES, you cannot change your details so verify that you entered everything correctly before continuing.

Step 4 – While filling out this application, note that the format for entering dates are as follows: DAY/MONTH/YEAR which is not the typical way we write dates in the U.S (month/day).

Step 5 – Fill out all the pages. I used this EXAMPLE Application Form whenever I had doubts filling in my details.

Step 6 – Once you completed your form, you then have to click on “APPOINTMENT AND PAYMENT” to go back to the CKGS website to complete the rest of your application.

Step 7 – You will now sign and complete extra supplementary forms.
Step 8 – Select your mode of submission. I used Shipping. Simply print out your label at the end which will automatically be created.

Pssst – sounds like too much pain in the butt? (It was for me too) iVisa charges a fee but takes care of EVERYTHING else: click here for iVisa and not bother with any of this!

DO’s

  • You have to go to a FedEx office to send your documents, no pickups allowed. At FedEx, only use the free envelope (see picture below) to send with the shipping label provided by CKGS. If you use the wrong envelope then your entire application will be cancelled or kept on hold.
    E tourist visa - how to apply for an eVisa for India

    E tourist visa – how to apply for an eVisa for India

  • Send ONLY 1 (one) application per envelope. You can not send 2 applications in one. That goes for the payment as well.

DONT’s

  • DO NOT request a pickup by FedEx, your application will be put on hold/cancelled. I called CKGS to verify this so I would advise against it!
  • Again, DO NOT send more than 1 application in the envelope.

Step 9 – You can pay by using a Credit or Debit Card/Money Order/Cashier’s Check/Bankers Check (Name of ‘Cox & Kings Global Services USA LLC.) I confirmed this various times by calling their call center and your payment HAS to be made separately for each applicant. You cannot create a payment for multiple applicants.

Step 10 – Once you completed the online process, you will submit your physical application via shipping.

You should arrange your documents in the same order as mentioned in the document checklist.

Tick off the boxes on both the checklists, and add 1 copy of the document checklist in your envelope.

Finally, I got an email from CKGS after they received my actual application package. It simply said ‘Received, but Not Verified’.

After that I received another email with the outcome of the my visa. I know this is a long process but if all your documents are in order then the entire process is actually very stress-free.

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from Germany via post

Step 1 – Complete your application form online by clicking here. Click on Regular Visa Application.

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from Germany via post

How to Apply for Indian Tourist Visa from Germany via post

Step 2 – Complete your details online. Remember that you will have to upload a recent digital passport-sized photo as well as a physical one in your application. Make sure to verify that all your details are correct as you will not be able to edit it later.

Step 3 – you will need to send your physical application to the following address:

Residents of Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Sachsen, Sachsen–Anhalt, Thueringen, should submit their applications to: International Visa Services Europe GmbH, Fritschestraße 61, 10627 Berlin

Residents of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria should submit their applications to:International Visa Services Europe GmbH, Schellingstr. 35, 80799 Munich

You will need to add the following documents with your application:

  1. Copy of your online application form.
  2. 2 recent photographs (50x50 mm, colour & identical with a light background).
  3. Passport (should be valid for more than 6 months).
  4. If you are applying for something different than a tourist visa, check that you have everything that’s listed in the Check List.
  5. Proof of Payment
  6. Self addressed and stamped envelope (including € 3.95 stamps for up to 2 passports) to return passport
  7. Visa Order Form for Postal application for Munich.
    Visa Order Form for Postal application for Berlin.

Notes. Minimum processing time is 2 weeks. Ensure that your envelope is properly sealed.

Incomplete applications and incorrect fees will delay the processing of your application.

The passports will be returned only through registered mail (‘Einschreiben Uebergabe’) or through DHL.

Do you have any friends that are visiting India soon? If so, do share this post with them.

 

El Nido or Coron? A Comparison of Palawan’s top destinations

El Nido or Coron? A Comparison of Palawan’s top destinations

El Nido or Coron? Or both? If you’re thinking of heading to Palawan for a quick trip and are not sure where to go or what to miss, this post will help you make some decisions. Moreover, this post will also act as an excellent guide if you’re visiting both these destinations in Palawan and are looking for information about how to reach, places to stay, eating options, costs, beaches, attractions, party and more!

Where and what is Palawan all about?

Palawan in the Philippines has been declared as the Most Beautiful Island in the World by Condé Nast Traveler for many years in the row. It’s not a single island but is a group of many islands of different shapes and sizes.

If you follow us on Instagram, you must be knowing that San and I spent a few weeks in the Philippines and a majority of our time in Palawan. We visited both El Nido and Coron but spent only one day in Puerto Princesa.

However, before we visited Palawan, we were trying to figure out if we should only visit one of these two destinations – El Nido or Coron. We didn’t find adequate comparison online on several factors, so here’s something I wrote to help you pick El Nido or Coron, depending on what you want out of your Palawan experience.

 

01 | Ease of Reaching

How to reach Coron

You can reach Coron by a direct flight to Busuanga airport which is only 30-45 minutes away from Coron town. Philippine Airlines runs daily flights from Manila and Cebu to Busuanga. Alternatively, you can also reach Coron from El Nido by a ferry that takes roughly 7 hours. This ferry that runs between Coron and El Nido is a little shaky and reminded me of Thailand’s Lomprayah.

If you want to save money, you can also travel to Coron from Manila by 2Go Travel, a “mega ferry”. This boat is less like a ferry and more like a cruise vessel with sleeping berths in an air conditioned area, lobby, restaurant, bar and deck.

How to reach El Nido

There were no direct flights to El Nido until recently. As of 2016, AirSwift runs direct flights from Manila and Cebu to El Nido. However, these flights are expensive. Alternatively, you can also fly to Puerto Princesa, which is serviced by budget carriers such as Air Asia. From Puerto Princesa, El Nido is 5-6 hours away by a van and will cost you around 1000 – 700 pesos per person.

We paid ₱ 700 because we were 7 people that met at the airport and decided to book a van together but we had heard of people that paid ₱ 1000 pesos per person too. You can also take a bus between Puerto Princesa and El Nido but these buses take more than 7 hours because they stop often.

Winner: Coron Both (Coron had this edge over El Nido till early 2016)

02 | Cost Comparison

02.1 | Places to stay

Places to stay in Coron

Upon reaching Coron, we found many places with affordable rooms starting from ‎₱ 500 pesos per night for a double room with fan and internet. We stayed at Coron Guapos which was just a three-month old property in Coron town at the time of our visit and was well managed. This place is right next to the more popular Marley’s guest house. We also booked our tour from our hotel and had the experience to remember. You can also try Coron Backpacker Guesthouse, which is a little older than Coron Guapos.

Places to stay in El Nido

It was difficult finding budget rooms in El Nido, so we decided to book two hostel beds instead. The most affordable place was Our Melting Pot Hostel which cost us ‎₱ 450 pesos per bed and was full but we were lucky to get two bunk beds. You can click here to read the latest reviews of this hostel on TripAdvisor. We highly recommend this hostel and their tours. Even though this hostel is a typical party hostel, their dormitory area was always quiet and our sleep was never disturbed.

Another hostel option in El Nido is Spin Designer Hostel, which is a boutique hostel(‎₱ 800 pesos per bed). I did not stay here but I have heard very good things about this hostel. I highly recommend you read the reviews on TripAdvisor for Spin Designer hostel before booking.

02.2 | Eating options

Eating in Coron vs El Nido

After spending a few days in Bohol’s Panglao island, we found the food in El Nido to be expensive, even the street food! We smiled with relief upon reaching Coron town because we found a variety of affordable eating options. The food in Coron was much cheaper as compared to that in El Nido, even the street food. We recommend Levine’s restaurant for their all day breakfast.

02.3 | Cost of Tours

Our Tour in El Nido, Palawan

Our Tour in El Nido, Palawan

The tours in Coron started from as low as ‎₱ 650 pesos per person but were for ‎₱ 1200 pesos per person in El Nido. While in El Nido, we did tour A and tour C where the cost to use a kayak during our tours was ‎₱ 100 pesos per person for 30 minutes. Coron also has a tour called “the ultimate Coron tour” with an unlimited use of Kayak. This is the most expensive tour in Coron and costs ‎₱ 1400 pesos per person. But we were able to negotiate a price of ₱ 1000 per person by making our own custom tour which was like “the ultimate Coron tour” but minus one attraction.

Overall costs

The cost of moving around on a tricycle was lower in Coron. Even scooter rental prices were lower in Coron than El Nido. This could be because the demand was higher in El Nido due to more visitors.

Winner: Coron

03 | Viewpoints

Viewpoints in Coron

Coron Viewpoint – One of the most photographed part of Palawan

Coron Viewpoint on the way to Kayangan lake – One of the most photographed part of Palawan

If you’re a sucker for viewpoints and don’t shy away from making an effort to climb for hours just for a bird’s eye view, you’re going to love Coron. Coron has three main viewpoints. The first is Mt. Tapyas in the main Coron town which you will see from a distance. The second is the spot as shown in the above picture on the way to Kayangan Lake as you climb on top of the rocks that surround the lake. The second one is the one that’s usually featured in every travel article and webpage about Coron. The third as shown in the below picture one can be seen on the road to Busuanga town from Coron town and there’s no need to climb anything to view it. I don’t have a picture of the first because we climbed Mt. Tapyas in the middle of the night after getting a kick of energy from Tanduay rum.

Viewpoint on Coron - Busuanga road

Viewpoint on Coron – Busuanga road

Viewpoints in El Nido

San at Matinloc Shrine Viewpoint on Matinloc Shrine Island, El Nido, Palawan

San at Matinloc Shrine Viewpoint on Matinloc Shrine Island, El Nido, Palawan

The only viewpoint we found in El Nido was on Matinloc Shrine island. The climb is of little effort but is on pointed rocks. The view is spectacular.

Winner: Coron

04 | Beaches

Beaches in Coron

Banana island, Coron, Palawan – Pic by Juvelle Pua

Banana island, Coron, Palawan – Pic by Juvelle Pua

When in Coron, the beaches can’t be accessed by just walking. The nearest beach is there is Cabo beach which is 30 minutes away from Coron town. Unlike other beaches of Coron, there’s no need to take a boat to reach Cabo beach. Other noteworthy beaches are Banol beach and the beaches on Banana island. We visited Banol beach just by chance while we were snorkeling around the skeleton wreck which is right next to it.

Beaches in El Nido

Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan

Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan

El Nido has more beaches than Coron. Just like Coron, the best beaches only be accessed by a boat or a long scooter ride. But El Nido wins points over Coron here because the main beach is just walking distance away from the main town area. This beach kind of reminded me of Railay’s beaches with limestone formations but was five times more crowded! Our recommendation – seven commandos beach, Talisay island beach, hidden beach and Matinloc Shrine beach. Oh and El Nido fans will hate me for saying this but I found Bohol‘s beaches to be much better than El Nido’s.

Winner: El Nido

05 | Underwater Life, Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Snorkeling and Diving in Coron

Colorful Corals and Clams in Siete Pecados marine park, Coron, Palawan
Shipwreck Diving and Snorkeling - Skeleton Wreck in Coron, Palawan
Nemo - a clownfish family in Siete Pecados marine park in Coron, Palawan

Snorkeling in Coron was perhaps the best snorkeling experience of my life. I saw the most colorful corals in Coral Garden – it was like an underwater rainbow! I had tears of happiness in my eyes while snorkeling in Siete Pecados marine park because I had never seen such beauty. We saw some of the most colorful fishes or many sizes here and also a Clownfish (Nemo) family. Our friend who was snorkeling with us saw a sea turtle here. Moreover, Coron has eleven Japanese shipwrecks that you can explore if you love diving. We weren’t able to dive because we ran out of money, but we snorkeled around the skeleton ship wreck. The water around was clear and the visibility was unbelievable.

Snorkeling and Diving in El Nido

The underwater life in El Nido pales in comparison as compared to Coron. No doubt we saw a lot of marine life but it was definitely not as colorful as Coron, especially the corals. Plus, El Nido doesn’t have any shipwrecks around unlike Coron.

Winner: Coron

06 | Lakes and Waterfalls

Waterfalls and Lakes of Coron

Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan - Asia's Cleanest Lake

They say it’s the cleanest Lake of Asia – Kayangan Lake, Coron, Palawan

Coron boasts of 11 lakes out of which Barracuda Lake and Kayangan Lake are the most famous ones. They say Kayangan Lake is the cleanest lake in Asia but I don’t know if that’s true. However, I do know that I have never seen water as clear as this where I could see the bottom of the lake. The water in this lake is 70% fresh and 30% salty. Swimming in this lake is an experience I will not forget in my lifetime.

Concepcion Falls, Busuanga, Palawan

Concepcion Falls, Busuanga, Palawan

On one of the days in Coron, we rented a scooter and drove to Busuanga town and visited Concepcion Falls. We spent a relaxed day swimming and chilling in a natural pool around this waterfall. This pool also had a school of doctor fish, which is the same fish they use in a foot spa. But don’t be afraid, they don’t bite you anywhere except a little peck on the toes. Moreover, Coron also has Maquinit Hot Spring with a natural hot water pool but we didn’t go there because it was too hot.

Waterfalls and Lakes of El Nido

El Nido doesn’t have lakes but we got to hear of Nagkalit-kalit Waterfall, the only one waterfall here. It is on the way to Nacpan beach. Again, with 11 lakes in Coron, El Nido can’t win on this point.

Winner: Coron

07 | Lagoons

Lagoons of Coron

Twin Lagoons of Coron, Palawan

Twin Lagoons of Coron, Palawan

The twin lagoons in Coron are perhaps the most famous ones. The water here is 70% salty and 30% fresh and these two lagoons are separated by a rock. The best part? Swimming through a hole in the rock to reach the inner lagoon here. The water clarity in the outer lagoon was much better than any of the lagoons in El Nido. There are more lagoons such as the green lagoon, sunset lagoon, and hidden lagoon.

Lagoons of El Nido

Secret Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan

Secret Lagoon in El Nido, Palawan

El Nido boasts of many different lagoons out of which a few are open for public. We visited the small lagoon, the big lagoon, the hidden lagoon, the secret lagoon – all were beautiful. Some of the lagoons also had a little beach attached. Seriously, El Nido wins hands down if you compare the lagoons.

Winner: El Nido

08 | Town Area

Coron Town is technically on Busuanga island, not Coron island. Confusing, no? The town area is bigger and more spread out as compared to El Nido with more budget friendly eating and staying options in comparison. El Nido town is a smaller and cramped if you compare it to Coron town. There is now a new ATM as well here but it was not working while I was there.

Winner: Coron

09 | Which one is more crowded?

Crowded main beach of El Nido, Palawan

Crowded main beach of El Nido, Palawan

With an easier access due to a cheaper direct flight, you’d think that Coron would be more crowded? Wrong! El Nido was definitely more crowded as compared to Coron. It was sad to see El Nido’s main beach which must have been beautiful a few years back but was completely destroyed due to an unbelievable amount of people and boats. We met many people in El Nido who were not even considering heading to Coron but everyone we met in Coron had been to El Nido or was heading there next. Even all the main attractions were crowded due to too many tours.

Loser: El Nido

10 | Places to Drink and Party in Coron and El Nido

Obra Natural Rasta Cafe in Coron, Palawan

Obra Natural Rasta Cafe in Coron, Palawan

Although our main motive to visit Palawan was not to party but we couldn’t help ourselves from enjoying a few nice evenings. After all, we had made a few friends on the road! For a low-key party evening, I recommend Coron’s offbeat Rasta bar – Obra Natural Art & Coffee. This place is next to Coron School of Fisheries. It’s not your “typical” party place with loud music but is a small café with a seating space for barely 15 people. We loved it so much that we ended up visiting it every evening. We couldn’t get enough of listening to live didgeridoo (didjeridu) and djembe music. If you end up going there, say our hello to the owner – Rodney. Alternatively, you can also check out No Name Bar which is in the main Coron town for a louder party. While in El Nido, you can visit many beach bars on the main beach for a fun evening. Our Melting Pot hostel in El Nido was a party hostel where we ended up playing beer pong for a few hours.

Winner: Tie between Coron and El Nido

11 | The atmosphere and vibes

Call us hippies but vibes are important for us. We found the atmosphere in Coron to be more relaxed and laid back as compared to El Nido. Maybe it was because El Nido was a little too crowded for our liking. Arriving in Coron from El Nido was a refreshing change because it felt that everyone was there to scam us in El Nido and charge extra for every small thing. Moreover, I had read warnings on the internet to be careful about food in El Nido because a lot of people reported suffering from food poisoning. Keeping this in mind, we were careful about what we ate but shockingly San suffered from an upset stomach. Strangely, every friend that we made in El Nido had a bad case of diarrhea and food poisoning and one of them even spent an entire night in the hospital. Upon reaching Coron, everyone in our hotel told us that they suffered from an upset stomach while they were in El Nido. Luckily I was the only one who did not. Maybe it’s because of my Indian stomach or the fact I wore a hat in the sun but I’ll never know the truth.

El Nido or Coron – Our choice?

We spent more time in El Nido than Coron, but we rate Coron much higher than El Nido.

Where should you go in Palawan? El Nido or Coron?

If you have enough time then we highly recommend you visit both. However if you’re heading to Palawan for a quick trip and can visit only one destination, I will try to make things easy for you. If you like having an easy access to the beaches and don’t mind crowds, then El Nido is where you should go. However, if you want to scuba dive or just snorkel around to see underwater beauty, then Coron is your place.

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Entering Hidden Beach, El Nido, Palawan
Twin Lagoons, Coron, Palawan
A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sonal Kwatra Paladini

9 Things Travel Addicts Are Sick of Hearing (And Why)

9 Things Travel Addicts Are Sick of Hearing (And Why)

9 Things Travel Addicts Are Sick of Hearing – rants of a travel addict!

Being a travel addict, I often find myself in conversations related to travel. Most of them are lovely but once in a while I come across situations where people say the strangest things about my lifestyle. At those times, I try my best to keep a straight face but I don’t always succeed. Why? Because my facial expressions are too honest to lie! If you’re a travel addict too, I know you go through the same too. Below are the things that I and many other travel addicts are sick of hearing and why:

 

01 | “What? You’re traveling AGAIN?”

“Yes, I’m traveling again. Sorry about that! Please don’t look so mad about it. I travel often. Please live with it.”

Often cute when said with a genuine smile, this statement changes to annoying when it’s combined with an accusatory tone. I absolutely love it when a friend says it out of genuine interest but loathe it when someone says it with a critical look in their eyes.

02 | You have way too much money!

 “Oh yes! I have been winning jackpots every month!”

Not only this statement assumes that it is only rich who travel, but it completely overlooks budget travel possibilities. No I don’t have too much money, but I know how to save. Travel does not have to be expensive if you are ready to sacrifice on a few comforts. Did I ever tell you about a friend who is traveling the world on his bicycle to save money on travel costs? We don’t travel on bicycles but we often camp to save money.

San and I camping to save money

San and I camping to save money

03 | I can’t afford to travel as much as you do.

“Oh, that’s too bad! BTW, I love your new car and your black designer dress that matches with it.”

It’s funny when this statement comes from people who carry expensive phones, wear designer clothes and eat out more than once a week. I have no problem if you like collecting things but don’t whine about not being able to afford traveling.

04 | You need to settle down / have a baby / buy a house.

“Of course! It makes total sense if I live according to what you think is right”

9 Things Travel Addicts Are Sick of Hearing

Aargh!! – 9 Things Travel Addicts Are Sick of Hearing

Out of all the statements, this is perhaps the worst one. It bothers me because it assumes that there is a particular way of life that everyone needs to follow. Yes, it’s amazing when people settle down, have babies and buy houses, but it’s not everyone’s dream.

05 | Will you get a perfume / iPad (or any other expensive product) for me? I’ll pay you when you come back!

“Sure! I carry a lot of extra cash when I travel to buy things for people. In fact, I have also paid for extra baggage allowance for my flight JUST for this.”

Traveling on a budget means sometimes not having extra cash to buy an expensive product for a friend and taking money upon returning. It also means occasionally trying to fit everything in carry-on bags to avoid baggage fee for budget airlines. Moreover, even if I’m paid in advance, I do not like the responsibility of carrying around expensive products because I may lose or break them.

06 | Can you change your dates a little? I will come with you!

“Why not. Anything for you. If you want, I will cancel my trip.”

This statement scares me! I often end the conversation here because I do not want to get pushed to travel with people that I don’t want to. It’s important for me to pick the right travel buddy, else I prefer to travel solo. Moreover, changing dates usually means incurring additional costs, applying for new leaves and turning the schedule around.

07 | What about your job? You need to work hard and make money.

“Absolutely! I was born to work hard and be a model employee”

Picture this – when you’re on your deathbed and are thinking about your life, would you be happier remembering how hard you worked OR how much you got to experience by traveling? For me, it’s the latter. Which one did you pick? Bronnie Ware, a nurse who counseled patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives, wrote a book called “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” where #1 is not having the courage to live a life true to them and not the life others expected. I live my life the way I want to and I hope you do the same.

08 | Will you organize a trip for me and help me book hotels, flights and connections?

“Oh yes, I have a lot of spare time between my job and my frequent travels specifically for this.”

Things Travel Addicts Are Sick of Hearing

Grrrr – Things Travel Addicts Are Sick of Hearing

As much as I love sharing my actual itineraries, I absolutely hate organizing trips for others. Why? Because it’s a lot of work and I know I can screw up. I have done it a few times but it’s stressful because if they hate it, it’s my fault for ruining their vacation. Sorry, but a travel addict is not necessarily a travel agent or a tour guide.

09 | Why are you running away from your life?

“You guessed it. I have the most boring life and running away is the only way to make it exciting.”

There are many different ways to run away from life – drinking, avoiding difficult conversations and more.  Traveling is not running away from life, its facing it head on. It teaches you things about life which you can’t learn in the comfort of your bedroom or your office cubicle. I travel to experience life, not to escape it.

Are you also a travel addict and couldn’t help nodding to these points? Share it on Facebook and let your friends know!

Do you know of a few more things that travel addicts are sick of hearing? Let me know in the comment section.

You might also like:

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9 Things Travel Addicts are sick of hearing

9 Things Travel Addicts are sick of hearing

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A hippie travel writer with flowers in her hair, Sonal Kwatra Paladini should have been born in the 1960s! Bitten by the infamous travel bug, she has an itch to explore resort-free destinations, offbeat islands and small villages. Join her and her husband (Sandro) on their journey as they hop from one music festival to another and explore the beautiful world that they are in love with! Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Sonal Kwatra Paladini

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