Posts Published by Priyanka Gupta

I am from a small town in North India. About a decade ago, I graduated with a B.Tech. in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IITD). In 2016, five years into an evolving investment banking career, I decided that I had had enough of the corporate world. So, I quit my job. Writing and living a meaningful life was on my mind. I spent the next year traveling around South America and Southeast Asia, solo. Launched in 2017, On My Canvas is a place where I talk about my travel journeys, mostly long and solo, and articulate personal growth ideas. These growth articles are an amalgamation of making my own path, breaking the boundaries in a conventional India, and are backed by tonnes of personal development books that I read. If you want to see the world or want to bring a change in your life, On My Canvas is a good place to hang out and read some stuff. But let me warn you that I write long articles. I won't sell a place if I don't like it. As a dear friend said, I think of life as a story. And so is this blog, a story, full of stories. Welcome!

9 Creative Writing Tactics to Enrich Your Travel Writing

My Top Travel Writing Secrets That I Probably Shouldn’t Share.

I have been writing about travel for close to two years now. When I started this blog, I wrote on personal growth and life inspiration. But because I travel a lot and enjoy writing about nature, people, and experiences, I began writing travel articles on On My Canvas.

When I first ventured into travel writing, I was horrified about putting down a sad solo travel story of Thailand or a photo essay because I didn’t know how to write about travel. I didn’t have the right tools. I remember telling my partner that I would need a lot of time to write good, relatable travel pieces that readers will enjoy.

As a beginner travel writer, I wrote subjective pieces like why I travel and my thoughts on the Cambodian dictatorship. I was always inclined towards penning down personal essays based on my travel experiences, such as this Panchapalli Dam memoir, rather than writing about the five things to do.

Some of my travel writings turned out to be good and some were bad, as expected. So while this piece on my love and hate relationship with India won me many accolades, I am still ashamed of this Vietnam Photo Essay.

As I wrote and published frequently on my past trips such as Southeast Asia, and my nine-month South America trip, I started getting a hang of travel writing.

Now instead of fumbling with how to start a piece of travel writing, I was engaging with heartwarming comments and emails from my readers.

A traveler and beginner travel blogger messaged, “I was going through your blog in detail for some inspiration to build my blog. Probably it is the most useful blog I have come across. Most of your posts are stories and experiences rather than what you see in usual blogs. It helps the readers connect.” 

I pitched guest posts to big travel blogs and all of them accepted my writing pitches as soon as they read my travel stories. I got the Best Travel Writer tag on Medium(which has expired as I don’t publish travel articles there anymore). Editors and freelance clients reached out to me after reading my blog. I pitched some editors, who checked out On My Canvas, and said, to quote, “No doubt you’re an excellent storyteller.”

I would be lying if I say I hadn’t practiced writing before starting a travel blog. I began my writing career as a fiction writer, someone who does creative writing. The first-ever rules I learned about writing were creative writing tactics. So to say, I was born in this travel writing world with a creative writing spoon in my mouth. 

Now I am not Stephen King or Ruskin Bond, but I do short story writing, I write personal essays(like this one), and poetry, too. Some of my work is published.

Within a few months of writing about traveling, I realized that I was not really doing travel blog writing.

To quote a reader from the comments on one of my articles, “Beautiful written, your prose is lyrical that reads less like a blog and more like a novel.” Later that reader told me she has a Ph.D. in literature.

I was not doing travel blogging, but I was writing short travel stories and memoirs using the creative writing skills that I had learned. 

And those are the same indispensable creative writing tips that I will share with you today. 

Please note: Recently in a storytelling workshop, the six attendants gave me the feedback that I need to add more exercises to the class. I took the advice to the heart. So with every writing tip here, you will find a writing exercise. You can do these practices while reading these tips on travel writing or you can bookmark the article and do them later. But do the tasks as they will help you practice the points. 

Feel free to leave a comment on the blog with your attempt on the exercise. I reply to all comments 🙂

Travel writers, put your seatbelts on, for I am going to take you on a ride. 

 

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1. Tell a story 

Stories hold the text together. 

Have you ever wondered why we don’t look forward to reading academic texts or instructional blogs? Why do you think that Sapiens or A Short History of Nearly Everything aren’t the dull non-fiction reads they could have been but are entertaining and inspiring?

The former don’t have a story and the latter have.

Readers need to hold onto something in a piece of writing. Without giving your reader a story, you are taking away from their reading experience.

Travel blogging needs more storytelling. Blogging doesn’t mean that we only give the information and don’t make the writing a fun read. Jim Carrey or Zakir Khan won’t come to entertain our readers, we will have to. 

The usual story arc is — a scene or an event introducing the story and the characters(exposition), a buildup on the scene using the characters and their background(the rising action), a high-tension point(climax), then arriving at the end while resolving those tensions or providing(and refusing) what the characters desire(the falling action).

This video by Chungdahm Learning explains the story arc well.

To give you an example,

In this piece on hiking the Volcano Villarrica in Chile, I start the travelogue with these lines — “The alarm rang at 3:30 at night. I peeked out of my blanket into the dark dorm room and wondered why I had decided to hike the 2,800-meter-high active volcano.” 

I set a perfect thriller opening making the readers want to know what happened next. 

Then I wrote about why I was climbing the volcano and that the hike was so challenging — I laid out the background, the exposition.

Bringing the memoir to a middle point I say, “A thought that I might not be able to complete the hike knocked my head.” I make the characters clash, too, “So after a few hours when I was climbing up the volcano and wanted to give up, but Alejandro and Alison told me that I had gone very far and I had to continue, I didn’t relate with their relentlessness. Why couldn’t I watch the summit from a lower altitude and enjoy the majestic vista bordered by icy volcanoes?” — Though the character clashes here are more subtle, this much tension is usually enough to drive a travel story.

I take the travelogue further by talking about how the guide and my friend cheered me — the falling actions. The story ends with me making it to the summit.

Every story is about something bigger than ourselves, Neil Gaiman says, and I concur. The main point of the story was not hiking the volcano. It was about conquering my greatest fears and then pushing myself to climb despite them. Remember your purpose while writing the story.

One of the loveliest comments I received on the travelogue is, “You have such a way with words. I really enjoyed reading your story. It made me want to hike the volcano but it also made me slightly terrified of it.” — Purpose achieved for I wanted to share the hiking experience without sounding like a superwoman, for I am not, but I still wanted to inspire people to do the hike for it is an incredible experience.

Write about travel experiences like you are telling a story. Either you are penning down the five things to do in Coorg or a day in Tokyo — you can narrate these articles like stories or a collection of many small anecdotes. Or, for logistical pieces such as how to get a visa to Malaysia, you can tell a story in the beginning, and then continue with the information. 

Writing Exercise — Look at your drafts. Or a piece you published. Or pick up a new story about a day or a place you want to talk about. Now rewrite or write these ideas as if you were telling the story to your best friend.

 

 

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How cool would be to tell this story! The Sleeping Gypsy and The Lion, by Henri Rousseau / Public domain

 

2. Show, Don’t Tell

 

Show, don’t tell was one of the first advice Bhumika, my writing instructor at Bangalore Writing Workshop, gave me. 

What does show, not tell mean?

When you tell, not show, you tell the reader the information, rather than letting her deduce it. 

In the travel blog on Manikaran, Himachal, I could have written — The Gurudwara is white. The Parvati river flows by its side.

But I wrote — The milky gurudwara complements the white froth of the unstoppable Parvati bellowing by its side.

Some other examples of telling and showing. 

Telling — I sat down on the chair because I was really sad.

Showing — I threw myself on the bed and pushed my face into the pillow.

Telling — Manikaran is a cheap place to travel and live.

Showing — In Manikaran, you can walk through the town and drink as many chais and eat as many samosas without lightening your pocket much. Rooms are also just 300 rupees per day. 

Telling — The salt flats of Bolivia cover a large area.

Showing — When you stand upright in the salt flats of Bolivia, you see a salt desert billowing into the infinity and beyond.

Telling — It was going to rain. I was scared.

Showing — Thick clouds threatened us from above.

Humans are visual animals. We like to imagine.

You have to show the people, how they are feeling, and the place. You have to paint a picture of the scene. So that the reader sees the picture, feels that she is there in the story, with you, makes her own deductions. Thus you let her feel a part of the journey rather than throwing all the information at her and having to create her own story.

When we tell, the story feels less like a story but more like a boring monologue that we spill out on the page — It was going to rain. I was scared. I didn’t have the raincoat. The power went off. Etc. etc. 

Showing also means that we are being visual. When we write visually, we use our senses — sight, smell, sound, touch, taste — to describe a scene rather than just stating how we feel or how a thing is. 

Telling — I boarded the van at 3 am. I was hungry.

Showing — The next day at 3 am, I boarded the pickup van with a growling stomach.

Telling — The pillow was dirty.

Showing — The pillow reeked of cat and spoiled milk.

Telling — The sunflowers were beautiful.

Showing — I couldn’t take my eyes off the golden sunflowers.

Evoke the senses.

Reduce the work of the reader else she would trump you for another writer who paints a story. And you can’t blame the reader for even while focusing on your story her mind is processing a hundred thousand thoughts about how the cat has not purred for twenty-one and a half days and her husband has. 

Writing Exercise —  Pick up some of your existing work, maybe the piece from the first bullet. Or write about what you are seeing now. Don’t tell, show. You cannot use the words sad, angry, hungry et cetera. Use your senses.

 

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Describe not just the people but also the mountains and the lakes. The Lone Lake by Franklin Carmichael / Public domain

 

3. Be Descriptive – One of my most important rules while writing a travelogue

This point is in continuation of what I said about showing, not telling. 

To create a story, we need to describe the setting, the scene, and the action.

In the travel blog on Manikaran, Himachal I could have written — Tourists were getting photographed. It was a beautiful place with narrow streets. Shops lined the roadsides. People were shopping. Sikhs were visiting the Gurudwara. Mothers were taking their children to the hot water springs to bath them.

But I write — Young girls dressed up in traditional bright Kullu dresses and Himachali topis waited to be clicked. Streets were lined with kitschy souvenir shops that flaunted neon plastic toys, rudraksha malas, and brass bracelets.

Devoted Sikhs with their Kirpans hanging around their waist walked swiftly towards the Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara. Hindu families strode to the Shiva and Ram temple to bathe their young ones who trailed behind eyeing the hot jalebis and crispy samosas that were on display at the roadside sweetmeats’ shop.

I am showing the Manikaran bazaar descriptively. I have added colors. You can see the dresses of the girls. The shops are not empty but filled with souvenirs. Sikhs are shown with their kirpans. Children are drooling after sweatmeats and not just walking behind their mother. 

For that is how Manikaran was on that rainy afternoon. 

Even when you just want to talk about one place, like the Louvre museum or the Vitthala temple in Hampi or the Manikaran gurudwara, you have to describe the surroundings to give the reader a sense of the place.  Neither the Louvre nor the Vitthala temple stands in a void, right?

Zoom in. Use the five senses to show the reader what is happening. 

Writing Exercise — Pick the story or the paragraphs that you wrote in the above exercise. Edit the piece while filling in the details. You might have a rough outline, but now you want to draw more fine lines, more leaves, more grass, and then pour in some color.

 

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Such was travel about some 160 years ago. The Travelling Companions by Augustus Egg / Public domain

 

 

4. Be specific. 

 

Ditch common nouns and use proper nouns. 

She kept her copy of The Color Purple (not a book) down on the table. 

Celebrations were spent huddled around the barbecue with terremotos (not a drink) in hand. 

When I got tired, I walked back to the homestay and listened to Anoushka Shankar (not just any music) fill the treehouse. 

There was a white ambassador with a broken headlight (not a car) on the road.

 

Common nouns are only good for children’s books. Use proper nouns as much as you can.

Writing Exercise — Continue with the piece that you have from above. Wherever you can, replace all the common nouns with proper nouns.

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To help the reader relate, talk about your fears and apprehensions often. Franklin Carmichael / Public domain

 

5. Tell what you care about, but make your writing relatable for the reader.

Most of the creative writing teachers emphasize the importance of writing what we know and care about – so that the best stories come out.

I only write about the places I have been to and the things I care about. But I make sure that all my travel pieces are relatable for others.

I could have just talked about myself in Manikaran — I arrived in Manikaran at noon. I wanted to take a long hot bath in the thermal pools so I walked to the temple. But as families and their children had already crowded the bath, I got out early. After the bath, I was hungry so I ate a samosa. The rudraksha males were beautiful so I went to one shop to buy.

A lot of travel blogs read like above. 

Why would anyone be interested in what I was doing? People would rather binge-watch Netflix.

People only read when they learn something while getting entertained (I will talk about entertainment in another point). And they would only learn if they can relate to the writing – if they can imagine themselves in your shoes. No one can easily relate to the struggles of an astronomer, but most of us can understand how it is to be a hungry backpacker.

Also, if your writing is relatable, it will be enjoyable, too. The reader would laugh along and would be embarrassed when you fall flat on your face on the crowded Andheri railway station. 

To make the writing relatable, we still talk from our point of view, show what is happening with us, but we won’t skip the world. The floodlight would be on us, while lightning the people and the places we are interacting with. Else the travelogue would read like a boring monologue by an egotist.

I would rewrite the above lines like this

When I arrived in Manikaran at noon, the town was bustling with activity. Without wasting time, I headed to the temple to take a hot bath in the natural springs there. Some twenty children were playing in and around the temple pool while their mothers howled at the children asking them to get out of the water quickly.

Postponing my desire to take a long bath until tomorrow, I was out of the water in a few minutes. As soon as I was on the street, the thick fragrance of the freshly fried samosas pulled me towards the sweetmeat shop. Few children in the queue, but I got my samosa. Right opposite the shop, an old man sold some beautiful rudraksha malas. The sunlight seemed perfect to click the ruddy necklaces, so I walked in his direction. Who knows, I might buy one mala this time. 

It is not about you, it is about your readers.

Writing Exercise — Read what you have written. Do you hear I, me, I, me or does the story care about others, too? Make a friend read the draft. Asks her what she thinks.

 

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Quiet a landscape, eh? Karl Paul Themistokles von Eckenbrecher / Public domain

 

6. Weave the facts in the story 

Like a fiction writer never gives all the facts and data in the first paragraph of the story, make sure you never stuff all the logistics and information at once. Or you will risk your travel blog becoming a read-before-sleep rather than a read-for-you-can’t-stop concoction.

The museum was opened in 1871. With the ticket, we got an audio tour of the museum. The museum had four walls, all painted white, and four galleries. The first gallery is of the realism paintings. Then comes the second gallery with oil paintings. The third gallery is of natural paintings. By the fourth gallery, the writer d..o..z…e..s.s. off… The reader d.o.z…z…e.s off…… 

Now consider this. 

The ticket to the museum said that it was opened for public in 1871. Out of the four museum galleries, I first walked towards the realism paintings’ gallery.

…Journey in the realism paintings gallery…

After half an hour, I exited the realism to enter into the world of oil paintings, the second gallery. The audio tour is so full of information that I haven’t had to look up anything on Google, yet. Et cetera. Et cetera.

As travel writers, we have to share information and facts about a place. But we can’t burden the reader with all the information in one go. Unfurl the truths of the place slowly. Weave the dates and the data in your narrative. Else the reader will not only get bored but will curse you for writing. 

Writing Exercise — Check the piece you have been working on for facts. Weave them subtly in the article.

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All good travelogues are like those dry flowers that we find in our books. They tell a beautiful story of a moment lived in the past.

7. Show more than you are comfortable with – Writing travel articles would need you to open up.

Personal essays and travel stories read real when we share how we feel. Of course, it is not always easy to open up on a public platform, and neither it is always good to have others know about our personal lives.

But to become a writer, you have to compromise on privacy. You have to let people inside your head. Else you will not be writing books but would only be protecting your identity. 

Here is something personal I wrote in a piece on my first solo travel in ThailandOn one morning in Chiang Mai, I was walking in the middle of a street, starving, clutching my bag close to my chest, and trying to read menus written in Thai. Just then, on a phone call back home, my mother said that she would never forgive me as I was not going back to India even after traveling for a week. Then she hung up.

I wasn’t entirely comfortable sharing my conversation with my mother, but to get the narrative going and give context to my subsequent feelings and actions, I shared a lesser dramatic version of the phone call.

If we are not writing a travelogue from a personal point of view, then the piece would just read like a report on the destination. 

Don’t be shy. Share how you feel so that people can relate. After all, you are not the only one struggling with angry mothers and Thai menu cards. 

 

Christen_Dalsgaard_-_A_young_girl_frem_Salling_reading.jpgReaders want you to get them hooked. Christen Dalsgaard / Public domain

 

8. Don’t bore the reader. Make her laugh, make her cry, but never bore her.

We read to entertain ourselves. 

Recently in a storytelling workshop, I asked the six attendants that why do they read. Their reasons ringed in close harmony with entertainment though they never used the word.

There is nothing wrong with reading for fun. Even though we might be learning alongside, growing as a person, getting out of the mundane, and venturing into different worlds, experiencing something we wish we could do, we wouldn’t read unless we are getting entertained. 

By enjoying a book or a story or an article, I do not mean to say that the reader would always be rolling on the floor laughing. She might cry. Her heart might get broken. She may miss her family. She might regret something she did ten years ago. 

As writers, our job is to make her feel all those emotions — that is the entertainment. 

How would you make sure your writing isn’t boring? 

Read your work out loud. Cut out any syllable or word or line that seems redundant or dull. Be more frugal than the Michelin star chefs.

Laugh upon yourself if you have to. Talk about your fat nose. Tell us about how you were blown away by the wind. Open up about that embarrassing morning when the hostel bathroom was occupied and you had eaten too much salsa picante

Use metaphors. They will be a hit and miss in the beginning but you will soon make sense. 

In an essay on changing my career to become a writer, I wrote — Parents didn’t allow their children, especially girls, to go out and play with friends, and Voldemort wasn’t the reason. Men ogled women on the streets freely, and I was grabbed a few times even in crowded places as soon as I hit puberty.

I talked about why children weren’t allowed to go out by sharing a dark reality but putting in a little punch of Voldemort laughter there. 

Now imagine if I had written this: Parents didn’t allow their children, especially girls, to go out and play with friends, because the city wasn’t safe. Men ogled women on the streets freely, and I was grabbed a few times even in crowded places as soon as I hit puberty.

I am essentially saying the same thing here but in the same old boring way. It is almost as if I didn’t want to write this line.

Another example from an essay that I wrote on being clueless in Chile when people spoke in Spanish and then learning the language there,

Suddenly, I was the toothpaste cover girl: silent and vacuously smiling. Like the referee in a tennis match, I turned my head from one speaker to another to understand the expressions. I was the excluded newcomer of the class; rarely asked for advice or answer unless directly involved. Avoiding conversations was a new skill that I was assimilating. The quick cat who used to jump at everyone (literally with words) was out of breath and was watching silently from under the bed — I am making fun of myself while using metaphors to help people picture the scenario.

Unless my piece entertains me, I keep editing it. When you can’t enjoy your writing how would anyone else? 

 

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The scene could be soft and slow. But you have to write it in a way that people don’t get bored. On the Desert by Jean-Léon Gérôme / Public domain

 

9. Read as a Writer

As I am writing more, I am reading more, too. I have talked about the importance of reading in my 27 tips for beginner writers, too.

But I am not only talking about reading, I am emphasizing that reading as a writer is one of the most important practices for any writer.

When I started reading travel blogs, I was overwhelmed by their sheer number. But I realized I could finish only some of those blogs end to end. The rest were either boring or too short or long or just talking about how the writer enjoyed the place and was unrelatable or didn’t give enough information, and I can go on(no offense to anyone for I am only giving my honest feedback).

No surprises there that I picked up the dos and the don’ts of a good travel piece from my own experience as a reader.

Don’t just read. Make sure you notice what made you laugh or which part of the travelogue made you stop reading. Was there an awkward word? Would you read other pieces from this writer, and why? How was the information weaved into the story? 

Learn from others. 

Writing Exercise — Pick up any story. Maybe take one from my blog  (could be this BR Hills piece)or any other blog that you love. Print it out, if you can. Now keeping the travel writing tips discussed here in mind, read the story. Underline the descriptive words. Circle the boring parts. Mark the sentences that are telling instead of showing. Understand where you got bored or what kept you going. Now do it with one of your pieces. Rewrite the things that don’t feel right.

 

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Every place has its unique story. It is up to you to find it.

I hope these tips on writing a travel article help you write better. Word by word, my friend, word by word.

 

 

Are you writing about travel experiences, too?  To which one of these tips for travel writing did you relate to the most? Let me know in the comments.

 

Like this post? Please pin it so that others can find it on Pinterest. Thank you. 

My 9 best Creative Writing tactics that I use to enrich Travel Writing. Writing about travel | Travel writing tips | Travel Writers | Traveler | Travel blog | Travel Blogging | Writing a travel article | Writing a travelogue | Travel bloggers | Tips for travel writing | Become a travel writer | Travel stories | Writers Community | Write better | Tell Stories #travel #writing #travelwriter #writingtips #travelblogger #travelblog

 

Sunrise and Shan Noodles at Mandalay’s U Bein Bridge, Myanmar

A Travelogue of the U Bein Bridge, Myanmar.

 

U Bein Bridge is in a township of Mandalay called Amarapura, which was once the royal capital of Myanmar. 

Amarapura, literally the city of immortality in Pali(अमरपुर in Hindi), was the capital from 1783 until 1857, for almost 75 years. In 1857, when entire India was about to burst in its first revolt against the British East India Company, Burma’s King Mindon was building Mandalay as his new capital.

In the construction of the capital, the King wanted to use the old material from Amarapura as the second Anglo-Burmese war, (in which many Indian soldiers fought as one can see the graves of the sepoys in a Yangon cemetery), hadn’t left the royal treasure in blooming conditions. Elephants obeyed their king’s wish by hauling the building material over the 11-kilometer distance between Amarapura and Mandalay. 

 

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U Bein bridge, a 1.2 kilometer-long teak bridge, spanning Taungthaman Lake, was built during this move by the then-mayor U Bein. He put the 1000 or so Burma teak columns from the royal palace to good use as one can see in the picture above and below.

 

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We are not talking about Mumbai’s sea link or the US’s Golden Gate bridge, but this footbridge is the oldest teak bridge in the world. (And contrary to popular belief, perhaps not the longest wooden bridge as Guinness World Record says Horai Japanese bridge holds this title.). Taking the name from the mayor, the U Bein bridge has already stood sturdy for about 170 years with only some of its wooden logs replaced by concrete. 

U (in the mayor’s name) here serves as a respectful prefix, something like Sir, or maybe Lord. I request the Burmese readers to please let me know the real implications of U in the comments.

 

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I was at the U Bein Bridge on a cold December morning. As it was the dry season of Burma, the water level of the lake was low. I have heard that in monsoon(June-September), the water from the lake almost kisses the bridge. 

I often say, when in Burma, do as the Burmese, and rise before the sun kisses the sky yellow. As my friend and I had decided to spend that December dawn at the popular Burma bridge, we brushed and plonked our sleepy selves in a kind tuk-tuk. 

When we arrived at the West end of the bridge in Amarapura, tourists and locals had already starting to flock. Swarms of crows were flying out and about. The faintly blue sky was studded with light clouds that the rising sun filled up with an orangish hue. 

It was almost as if someone had dropped a dollop of orange on an otherwise white pool.

 

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Related Read: Exploring Inle Lake, Burma

 

I couldn’t miss the hoards of tourists who had stationed themselves on the lake’s west bank to click the pictures of a fisherman. The entertainer was putting on a show by casting the fishing net in the lake. The travelers, mostly Chinese, captured his every move, and one could sync the click-click of the camera shutter with the fisherman’s muscle movement.

On that note let me tell you that more than 220,000 Chinese travelers had visited Mandalay city through January to April 2019: an increase that irritated locals in a way that it was published in the Myanmar Times

 

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Well, we can’t blame the tourists here as all credits for the showmanship go to the Burmese fish guy. Once, I was taught how to throw the fishing net by a Malaysian man on the banks of the Kinabatangan river. And as you can expect, I failed, horribly. My teacher, though, caught small fishes in his first throw just minutes after my embarrassing display of clumsy body movements.

 

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If you see wooden boats on the West end of the bridge, you can request the boatman to take you on a ride on the lake. I don’t know how much the ride costs, but well, you are in Myanmar.

 

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I didn’t hop on a boat. As I moved my attention from the drama, I saw that the sun was coming up the horizon. After taking a few photographs of the sunrise behind the bridge from different angles, I climbed up. 

 

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Soon I was surrounded by the many locals, tourists, vendors, and monks, who were all starting their day, along with me, at the Mandalay bridge. Some were exercising, some were photographing, some paced up to the other end, and the others were just hanging out.

I saw many photoshoots in that hour or two when I was at the top. Couples were getting clicked together. Some dressed in Elvis Presley-ish clothes were photographing each other in turns. And a few, like me, wanted to capture others’ lives on their camera roll. 

 

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Though all the articles on the internet suggest seeing a U Bein bridge sunset, I found the sunrise there quite calming, and, of course, gorgeous. As a result of the internet advice, the number of people at dawn was definitely lesser than the number of people who would head to the bridge in the evening.

 

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For us, travelers, the bridge was all about sightseeing. But the locals have been using the bridge to go from one end of the lake to the other for more than a hundred years now. Children go to school by walking across the bridge. Monks go asking for alms via the bridge. Men and women get to their work, some of them carrying bamboo baskets over their heads, through the bridge. Some locals were even on bicycles giving the photographers a perfect silhouetted shot while the bridge lay spanned across the lake. 

 

teak bridge mandalay u bein.jpg

 

myanmar teak bridge u bein amarapura.jpg

 

The reflection of the sun and the bridge in the lake water caught my eye. So after we had clicked and rested and relaxed in all lengths of the bridge, we got down to walk around the lake.

 

reflection in the lake near mandalay bridge u bein.jpg

 

sunrise at myanmar bridge u bein in mandalay.jpg

 

farmers in mandalay.jpg

 

sunrise at mandalay u bein bridge.jpg

 

While we strolled under the bridge, we found small restaurants and snack shops run by locals. One such restaurant not only served as a quick tea joint but saved two homeless travelers by giving the keys to their bathroom which we used to full advantage. 

 

foodshop near u bein bridge.jpg

 

The girls from the restaurant helped us wash our hands by pouring water, and I was suddenly sent back to my parent’s home. 

In my small hometown, we lived traditionally and wouldn’t even touch the tap with our potty hands(excuse me for the childish language but I believe I never grew up for that is how I still refer to this business.). And when I say potty hands, I am being literal for we used traditional Indian style, or squat, toilets. Neither did we know about toilet papers nor did we have hand showers that most of us can’t live without. 

In the absence of a better tool, we cleaned ourselves by throwing water from a mug, and if need be, used our hands, too. I would spare you further details as Wikihow has explained this process generously. When one family member would exit the bathroom, the other would come with the precious jugful of water. The culprit would lather her hands with soap, and the helper would pour the holy water.

No one judged because soon it would be the turn of the other person. 

And that happily forgotten childhood scene was repeating now. The only difference being that I had wiped myself with toilet paper, my hands were clean, and instead of my family, two young, benevolent, but giggly, Burmese girls were washing my hand while their mother, also giggly, instructed them from the background. 

 

shop under u bein bridge mandalay.jpg

 

Friends, always carry toilet paper in Burma.

After this long toilet saga, I would not feel bad if you leave this travelogue right now. But what are travel stories without a bit of truth? Haven’t you ever been stuck abroad in a toilet without any toilet paper or a hand shower and no one to call? What did you do? And let us not blame Asia. My Airbnb host in Kelsterbach, Germany forgot to keep the toilet paper in the bathroom, and what followed on that period day is a story that I will tell in another lifetime. 

Life was slow in that family-run food shop. And I can’t even imagine how it would be to run a restaurant under a bridge. But with the lake and the stunning nature shows and lost travelers looking for the toilet, it wouldn’t be that bad?

 

sunrise at the lake in mandalay u bein.jpg

 

Now feeling fresh, we walked to the Amarapura market near the bridge hoping to eat. 

 

food shop in amarapura mandalay near u bien bridge.jpg

 

My friend had been hypnotized by the Shan noodles. So when we asked about them at a family-run food shop, and a little boy nodded, we ran inside. 

I would tell you more about Shan noodles in upcoming Burma stories, but for now, I thank Burma for introducing me to the great Shan noodles. I even bought a few packets of the noodles from the San Bogyoke Market in Yangon and now I make them back home in India. Just fry some garlic in oil, add chunky tomatoes, some spices, and add this to boiled Shan noodles. Voila.

 

shan noodle soup amarapura mandalay photos.jpg 

We ate Shan soup, snacked on the tea leaf salad, and sipped herbal tea. Soon the restaurant filled with families and some more giggling and smiling ensued.

 

food in amarapura mandalay.jpg

 

What a morning it was! And as if the sunrise and the shan noodles weren’t enough, I caught sight of a Burmese longyi shop that seemed to carry simple designs and none of that floral overhyped.

 

longyis in amarapura market.jpg

 

Not this one. That one. Not brown. Colorful. Not printed. Plain. Not silk. Cotton, please. And a few more this and that later, I found myself wrapped in the perfect, striped, multicolored longyi that would come home with me. And by chance, I am wearing the same longyi while writing this piece.

Some souvenirs and sunrises are to keep I guess. 

 

sun rising up horizon near mandalay myanmar.jpg

 

teak bridge myanmar mandalay.jpg

Where to stay in Mandalay, Burma?

We stayed at the tall Gold Leaf Hotel in the main Mandalay area. Even though it is a big hotel with the standard, dull check-in and check-out process, not something I prefer as I am a homestay and a small guesthouse person, I liked the place for its view and vibrancy. 

The other, practical reason to stay at Gold Leaf was that in that New Year’s week not many hotels were available. Damn these world travelers. Gold Leaf has a large breakfast buffet with unlimited soup. There, I sold it. 

Click here to see the prices and book the hotel. If you want to avoid the corporate-ness of Gold Leaf, go here to see other hotels in Mandalay. 

u bein bridge amarapura mandalay.jpg

What is the best time to visit Mandalay city and the Mandalay bridge?

Winter is a good time to visit Myanmar, but summers are not. Avoid the months of May to July. 

August would bring a lot of rainfall, so humidity, but lower temperatures.

December was perfect weatherwise. Mornings were a bit cold and breezy but afternoons would be warmer and not hot at all.

 

monks near burma bridge u bein.jpg

Would you love to see the sunrise at the U Bein Bridge, Mandalay? Do let me know if you buy a longyi.

 

Like this post? Please pin it so that others can find it on Pinterest. Thank you. 

Sunrise and Shan Noodles at Mandalay’s U Bein Bridge Myanmar u bein bridge photography | u bein bridge sunsets | u bein bridge sunrise | Mandalay city | Amarapura Myanmar | Myanmar Travel | Southeast Asia travel | Photo Essay | Travel stories from Myanmar | Southeast Asia Travel | Burma Backpacking | Most beautiful sunrises photography | Countries to visit in Southeast Asia | places to visit in Burma #myanmar #burma #travel #budgettravel #offthebeatenpath #Asia #southeastasia

Creative Routine and Rituals – How to Dream and Create Consistently

A creative routine is a topic that could expand to be as large and to shrink to be as small as you like, a bit like being able to sleep. While some people can’t focus until they have meandered around for hours and finally give in to guilt, others sit and get amazing work done by just holding the pen right: having a daily creative schedule could be complicated or could be simple and natural. 

What does a creative schedule even mean? A schedule that inspires creativity and helps the creators (writers, painters, entrepreneurs, designers, artists, and other creative professionals) forge their imaginations most desirably.

Also, creativity is subjective. A coder is creative when she can write a 100 line code in 10. A marketeer is creative when he can sell a toothpaste such as Pepsodent to the entire human race. 

Anyone with original ideas (in or out of their work sphere) is creative. 

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Hampi Photography – A Walk Through History

Hampi Photos: Stories in Stones.

I visited Hampi twice, once in 2014, and then again in 2019. Though I have been to Hampi two times and have spent about ten-eleven days in the area, I am still nothing less than dazed by not just the ruins and temples of Hampi, but by the green Hampi villages, the crispy dosas that have a different flavor in that part of Karnataka, the variety of animal life that is running around Hampi fearlessly, but now more so in national parks such as Daroji, and how it all just dovetail so perfectly together.

My Bangalore to Hampi road journey was no less than an adventure. In the linked guide you can read all about that Bangalore-Hampi road trip studded with aesthetic windmills. This 7,000 words guide is also almost a Wiki for exploring Hampi monuments, its surrounding villages, experiencing its local life and food, and understanding Hampi’s history.

As I have already written about the logistics of traveling and the history of Hampi in the aforementioned travel guide, allow me to jump right into Hampi pictures. I clicked most of these photos with my Nikon DSLR and Google Pixel. Other photos (mostly old Hampi photos) have been taken from around the internet to contrast between the past and new Hampi. I have also added some ancient photos just to give more context to a temple or a carving or a view in case I didn’t have enough relevant pictures.

I hope you enjoy these Hampi images for I had a lot of fun putting this Hampi photography essay together. Machu Picchu could be one of the world’s wonder, Bali is on everyone’s bucket list, Himachal Spiti’s Valley is a craze amongst travelers, but Hampi stands right there in the line.

Let’s go.

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Serendipitously Spotting Sloth Bear and Leopard in BR Hills, Karnataka

From Bangalore to BR Hills – Venturing Into the Hearts of Karnataka Jungles.

Biligiri Rangana Betta hills or popularly known as BR hills lie about 180 km south of Bengaluru. 

Just a 4–5 hours drive away from Bangalore, it is no surprise that the hills make for a perfect weekend getaway. Having been stuck in the city for two months straight for personal reasons, I was in desperate-need-of-greenery-and-fresh-air and quickly finalized upon Biligiri Hills as my weekend destination. The trip was with my husband so it had to be short to accommodate his full-time job. But even a 2–3 days road trip soaked us in so much nature that we savored it through the next few months of the dry pandemic era in which even stepping out of our tiny abode for groceries felt like a luxury.

I hadn’t expected to see much wildlife in BR hills, as my ventures into the hearts of the Karnataka jungles (such as the Dandeli Sanctuary) before hadn’t borne me much fruit, or, to say, I never saw the big cats or even the tail of an errant elephant. But little did I know that my desire to see Karnataka wildlife would finally come to color in the Biligiri Rangana Hills, officially known as the BR Hills Wildlife Sanctuary which was formed in 1974. 

At an altitude of 3500 feet above sea level, BR hills stand where the Western Ghats meets the Eastern Ghats, and make for an ecological hotspot. In addition to the location exoticism, the BRT wildlife sanctuary is quite large, 540 km² in the area to be precise, and is also an official tiger reserve.

 

Nilgiris_Biosphere_Reserve karnataka tamil Nadu India.jpg

Map of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve(part of Western Ghats). Source: http://www.cepf.net/ / CC BY-SA

 

Not only did we see two sloth bears, at different times, sprinting across in front of our jeep, but we also spotted a leopard hidden behind the thickets, wild bisons appearing all macho, mama and baby chital(spotted deers), an Indian grey mongoose tottering around, a tortoise couple resting on a log in a pond, vultures and owls perched on high and dry tree branches, lone sambhar deers, barking deers melting us with their innocent eyes, Malabar squirrels nibbling through nuts perpetually, colorful birds of various kinds, langurs, wild monkeys, and wild boar. Phew. 

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77 Deep Questions About Life – And Their Answers

Important Life Questions to Ask Yourself

 

I remember a quote that once said, ask the right questions. Over the years I have realized that questions are much more important than answers as without asking the right queries we can never hope for the right knowledge.

But it took me a while to even understand what questions I should ask of myself. Some of those doubts were always there in the background, hovering, emphasizing that I didn’t understand life. I had a vague feeling that I was dismaying over things that didn’t matter while ignoring the universal realities that would pull me out of my little problem bubbles. But I wasn’t sure. And I never took out time to pin those deep questions about life, and, hence, could never answer them.

The process of questioning deepened when I started writing and reading full-time. As I had redesigned my life from a corporate cycle of drudgery, I was too eager to question everything and to be better at the things I had failed at before. It was like I had found vigor again. The more I read, the more I understood, the more life questions I had, and the more incomprehensible it seems now.

As Franz Kafka once said, “Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate… but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.”

The effort continues.

I am putting down some thought-provoking questions that have hitherto found me here. I have followed a natural course and have clubbed thematic questions together.

I have answered all the questions to keep an account of my thoughts on the matter. As you will see, I have some answers, but some of the questions to life still dodge me. You can completely ignore my responses and find your own.

Along with the important questions about life and their answers, I am also putting down the books that have helped me understand the matter.

I plan to update these self reflection questions and answers year-on-year or whenever my understanding changes.

Till then, I present to you the questionnaire of life from my lens.

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30 Practical Tips for Working From Home

Handy Working From Home Tips

 

Even though I have already written an article on how to work from home successfully, I am putting another list of handy tips for working from home. In between then and now, I have gained two more years of work from home experience, and, hence, this piece. 

Also, the first article on working from home productively was more about the importance of maintaining a routine and keystone habits. Having a great routine helps in running our lives irrespective of what we are doing, but there are innumerable small (keystone and other)things that we can do to be more efficient, have more fun, and not burn out while we are at home. This article is a collection of quick ideas that we can follow to cruise through a work-from-home life smoothly. 

Now let me get straight into this list of practical work from home tips and tricks.

Trigger Warning: Humor ahead.

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Quick Chile Travel Tips– A 10-Minute Read From a Chile Expert

Chile is a long country sandwiched between the Pacific ocean and the Andes mountains. I have written twelve other articles on Chile that go from covering the Chile culture to fun things to do in Chile to a comprehensive Chile travel guide — so this one is going to be a point to point informative Chile tips guide.

This travel tips for Chile list is a quick handbook to acquaint travelers visiting Chile with the country’s most important travel information.

Let’s get started.

Practical Chile travel tips to prepare yourself for a Chile trip. 

 

Fast Facts. General tips for traveling to chile.

  1. Chile’s international code is +56. Landline works.
  2. Wifi works well in most of Chile. But if you are in a truly wild place, let us say the center of Patagonia or the top of the Volcano Villarrica, don’t expect the wifi.
  3. You do not need to carry your passport when you walk out. Like in all the other countries.
  4. Chileans drive on the right side of the road.
  5. You would need an international driver’s license to rent a car in Chile.
  6. Chile is divided into sixteen main administrative regions.
  7. The two major networks of Chile are Entel and Movistar. Purchase a SIM card at any grocery or departmental store, at any kiosk, at bus stands, and at the airports.
  8. You should definitely bring a pair of jeans to Chile.
  9. You can drink tap water in Chile.
  10. If you are still wary of tap water, try LifeStraw, a water bottle with an inbuilt filter, that I have been using for more than a year now.

 

Chilean People and Culture. (I talk about the Chilean cultural conventions in this piece.)

  1. Chileans love tiny gestures: a smile, a hug, a small gift from your country.
  2. Chileans greet by kissing each other on both cheeks. Men to men: a handshake or a hug, men to women or women to women: kiss and kiss.
  3. Minga is a joined activity. Like shifting a whole house.
  4. Chileans love cats and dogs. You would find many fury street dogs. They don’t cause any problems mostly.
  5. Chile has tonnes of documentation. Be ready for a long-form for everything.
  6. The indigenous people in Chile were mostly animists. Now, most of the Chileans are Catholics. Being respectful to their religion would take you a long way (a general tip for any culture).
  7. Most of the Chileans are very helpful. You will have to only ask.
  8. Chile loves music and football. If you immerse yourself, you would be soon invited to personal events.
  9. Christmas is big in Chile.
  10. So is the Chilean independence day or the Fiestas Patrias that is a week-long celebration from the 11/12 of September to the 18th of September.

 

Chilean Food.

  1. Most Chileans love bread. You can buy many kinds of fresh bread from street bakeries.
  2. If one country could be the ambassador of avocado(palta in Spanish), it is Chile. Try it there.
  3. Oh, Chile makes amazing wines. Another affordable product.
  4. Chile is a meat-eating culture. Beef, pork, chicken, seafood — everything is welcome and loved.
  5. Countryside people and islanders might not appreciate you not eating meat. (Only relevant if you are staying with a Chilean family as part of some program, as I was.)
  6. Pisco sour is a must-try drink in Chile.
  7. Kunstmann is a local popular beer in Chile. It is a little more expensive than other beers.
  8. Chilean sushi is a must-try: loaded with avocados and cream cheese.
  9. Empanadas are stuffed savory pastries sold all over the country. Must-try.
  10. Sopaipilla is fried bread. A street favorite.
  11. Don’t expect many spices in the local food.
  12. Chileans don’t eat dinner but have once, an early supper.
  13. Mate is the local herbal tea that Chileans keep drinking through the piped pot. Try it.
  14. Look for the must-have foods and drinks in the food section of my Chile guide.

 

Transport in Chile.

  1. In the South of Chile, collectivos — shared taxis are abundant. They charge a fixed price as per the destination.
  2. Micros or small buses run in the South of Chile, too. You pay when you get out. Keep coins.
  3. Chile doesn’t have trains.
  4. Long-distance, interstate buses run smoothly in Chile with full-bed or half-bed options.
  5. Full-bed in bus=almost complete bend back, half-bed in bus=half bend back.
  6. Bused can be booked online or at the bus station. Pullman, Cruz del Sur are the two popular companies amongst many others.
  7. Chilean interstate buses have toilets but micros don’t.
  8. Uber is not legal in Chile but functions in Santiago.
  9. The most popular airline in Chile is LATAM. Book online but double-check the currency. Most of the websites use a dollar sign for Chilean peso. I lost a bit of money because of this once.
  10. Taxis charge about 300 pesos as a base price and then 1000 pesos per mile.

 

About Chilean Spanish. (Pay special attention to these travel tips Chile)

  1. Chilean people speak fast slang-studded Spanish.
  2. Download the offline Spanish file in Google Translate.
  3. Use the audio version of Google Translate.
  4. Read my list of important Spanish phrases to manage your way through Chile.
  5. Or print the list from here.
  6. Try learning Spanish with these 24 tips on how to learn a language on your own: the practical tips that helped me learn Spanish in a few weeks.
  7. Indians means the indigenous in Chile. If you are an Indian, say soy de la India(I am from India). 
  8. Chileans suffix ito at the end of every person name’s or relation or thing to express love or call it more cutely. So Juan becomes Juanito, pescado(fish) becomes pescito, and linda(cute) becomes lindita.
  9. J is pronounced as H in Spanish. So Javier is haa-vier.
  10. Beer is Cerveza(sir-way-za) in Spanish.
  11. Refer to an elderly man as Señor and a woman as Señora (considered respectful). Señorita is used for a younger woman.
  12. Boyfriend is pololo and husband is noveo.
  13. To make any noun or verb feminine in Chile use “a” at the end of the word.
  14. Pololo becomes polola and novio becomes novia.
  15. Saludos or salu in short is cheers in Chilean Spanish.
  16. Not a lot of people — sometimes even the waiters and cab drivers and hosts don’t speak Spanish.
  17. One thousand Chilean pesos are known as mil or luca in casual language. Say to impress.

 

About Money and Cost of traveling in Chile.

  1. Chile is financially stabler than most of the other countries in South America. It would be costlier to travel in Chile as compared to Peru or Colombia or Ecuador or Bolivia.
  2. You generally tip 5–10 percent in Chile.
  3. ATMs are dependable. Banco Estado is a government bank and has a lower fee than other banks(for my card it was lower).
  4. Ten USD is 8000 Chilean peso approximately.
  5. An entire day’s food would cost about 15,000 Chilean pesos if you try to be economical.
  6. Prices of backpacker hostels depend on the location —Expect to pay between 5,000 Chilean pesos to 15,000, depending on the popularity of the city.
  7. All other kinds of accommodations would cost higher than 5,000 pesos and can go up as per the luxury and facilities. Browse places to stay in Chile here on Booking.

 

About Chilean visa and immigration.

  1. Chile gives a 90-days free visa or a Tourist card to citizens of most countries. India is not one of them. But if you are an Indian with a valid US or UK visa, you can get free entry, too. Check my Chile visa for Indians article for more details.
  2. Chile shares a border with Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia so you can enter via land into these neighboring nations.

 

Weather in Chile.

  1. Chile is in the Southern zone so the weather is opposite to the US or Europe or India. Summer is from October to January. The coldest months are June, July, and August.
  2. The South of Chile receives heavy rainfall for a large part of the year. Bring rain jackets, strong hiking shoes, and warm jackets.
  3. The best time to travel to Chile is different for each part of the country. But you can see most of the best places in Chile if you explore Chile in the summers.

 

Patagonia.

  1. Patagonia is the coldest and most inaccessible part of Chile. So if you head there, make sure you have the right gear.
  2. Go to Patagonia in the summer months.
  3. Chile shares Patagonia with Argentina. You might be crossing borders, too, if you plan to cycle or hike.
  4. In Patagonia, you will not find ATMs in the interior part. Withdraw in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales.
  5. Carretera Austral or the Highway Carretera is the one you have to take if you wish to travel through Patagonia — it runs from Chaiten to the Cape Horn in the South.
  6. Even though W trek is one of the popular treks in the Torres del Paine park, the most popular park in the South, the park has many other treks for all kind of trekkers.
  7. Read the rest about Patagonia here.

 

Some extraordinary things about Chile. (Chile tips for adventurers)

  1. You can climb active volcanoes in Chile.
  2. Chile is one of the best places to stargaze. The Atacama desert is the best place to do it.
  3. Pablo Neruda is Chile’s most popular poet. You can visit any of his three houses.
  4. Chile doesn’t have the Amazonas but has other national parks open for tourists.
  5. Chile has amazing places to surf and hike and ski. So if you love any of these sports, bring your equipment or rent there and have fun.
  6. Chile’s legendary Chiloe island is one of the best places to visit in Chile.
  7. You can see pink flamingoes in the Atacama desert in Chile.
  8. You can see penguin colonies in Patagonia and from the Los Lagos region of Chile.
  9. You can see migrating humpback whales near the Chilean coast.
  10. Chile respects artists. You can get a tattoo there, buy paintings, or immerse in jewelry making.
  11. Read all the places to see and experiences to have in Chile.

 

Travel Logistics/Booking Resources.

  1. I have listed many great GetYourGuide tours in Chile here in my Activities in Chile guide, but you can browse some of the tours here, too.
  2. You don’t need to book everything beforehand in Chile.
  3. You can rent an Airbnb or an apartment or a room or a dorm or tents or camper van or wooden cabins or anything else that comes to your mind. Go adventurous in Chile.
  4. A lot of Chilean accommodations have gas geysers in the bathroom. So when the host explains you, pay attention.
  5. Browse for prices and availability for a hotel here.
  6. See my packing list for Chile that helped me thrive through six months of winter, summer, and rains in Chile.

 

Teach English in Chile.

  1. You can teach as a volunteer in Chile with the English Open Doors program.
  2. You will get food and accommodation with a Chilean family.
  3. You have to pay for the tickets. You get some allowance.
  4. Only native or near-native English speakers can apply for this program.

 

Santiago.

  1. Santiago isn’t safe. Avoid getting out of the airport at night. Don’t wander alone in deserted streets even during the day. Keep your belongings close to you in the Subway and on the bus. (One of my most important Santiago Chile travel tips).
  2. You can read about when I got mugged in Santiago to understand the possibilities.
  3. Santiago has a fully-functional Subway.
  4. If strangers approach you in Santiago about paint on your dress or some other issue, become extra vigilant. Don’t leave your bags on the floor.
  5. A fanny pack is a must in Santiago.

 

Safety in Chile.

  1. Chile suffers from frequent earthquakes because it lies at the triple junction of tectonic plates. If you feel a tremble, please don’t panic as it could be one of the frequent, low-intensity tremors. Ask the locals for help.
  2. After the 219 and 2020 protests, Chile is up for tourism but be careful when you visit. I know a lot of travelers who were in Chile during the protests and their travel opportunities were limited. My Chilean friends told me that they won’t settle until the current Chilean government gives up. Read here about the entire issue.
  3. Check for the current news about the protests when you travel to Chile.
  4. I suggest staying in homestays as much as you can so you have locals’ help.
  5. Apart from Santiago, Chile is mostly safe to travel.
  6. If you follow the general travel guidelines, you should be safe in Chile.

 

All right. As I promised, I kept these travel tips to Chile quite compact. I have linked many Chile guides above. But if you are lost, visit my South America page where all the travel articles for the continent are listed. And if you are planning a South America trip, read my comprehensive backpacking South America guide.

a latam plane in a car window chile travel tips.jpg

a latam plane in a car window chile travel tips

 

Do you have any other travel tips for Chile? Please share in the comments.

Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links to products I love. If you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will earn a little bit at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Travel Inspires Change and One Small Change Can Transform Our Life.

Everything begins with a story.

Let me recite a story from Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habits. This is a true story of a woman named Lisa(as per the records) who was the subject of a scientific study for understanding behavioral change and habits.

Please note: Though the story is the key to appreciate this article, I am summarizing the story for those readers who don’t want to read it. If you want to read the story, go to it here. Else continue reading the summary. 

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Things To Do in Chile – 50 Incredible Experiences

My List of top things to do in Chile.

Table of Content.

  1. Best Things To Do in the North of Chile
  2. Best Things To Do in the Central Valley of Chile
  3. Best Things To Do in the Lake region, known as Los Lagos in Chile
  4. Best Things To Do in the South of Chile, known as Patagonia
  5. Some General Top Things To Do in Chile.

 

I spent six months in Chile that were spread across July 2016 to April 2017.

Here I am sipping coconut water and writing about the best things to do in Chile, but a few years ago, I didn’t know much about Chile. I just decided to travel to Chile and teach English there on an instinct.

After I had been to Chile, an artist in Pushkar told me that Chile is like a long river, flowing on the edge of the American continent. And Pablo Neruda describes Chile as a long, thin ship. Running from the Atacama desert in the North to almost into Antarctica in the West, every corner of Chile has been well-planned by nature to surprises its residents and travelers alike. 

Though you might think that Chile is a long but small country, let me warn you that there are an unprecedented number of things to do and beautiful places in Chile. From watching the penguins ganging up on the glaciers to hiking in fjords, from participating in a community activity minga to eating mussels steamed underground, from exploring a cavernous moony landscape to stargazing at night — you can do something new in all the many places to visit in Chile.  

If you are going to Chile for two to three weeks, you should have a rough or an exact Chile itinerary. Otherwise, you would get confused about choosing between the plethora of the fun things to do in Chile at the last minute. But if you are visiting Chile for longer, you can wing your trip a little bit.

When in Chile, leave all the worries behind. Por tienes que disfrutas – You have to make the best of it!

 

chilling in a hammock infront of a volcano is one of the best things to do in chile.jpg

 

Let me get started now. 

I have described the geography of Chile in detail in the Chile travel guide, and you can read it here. To summarize — Though Chile is divided into sixteen administrative regions, I have divided Chile into four main geographical regions for the narrational ease. These regions are The North, the Central Valley, The Lake region also known as Los Lagos, and the South that is known as Patagonia. 

 

Best Things To Do in the North of Chile

The highlight of the North is the dry Atacama desert that is a perfect setting for any Hollywood or Hindi drama. Nature dons a surreal robe in the Atacama. 

vicunas in chile san pedro de atacama.jpg

1. Start your journey with San Pedro de Atacama village

This tiny adobe town is the gateway to the Atacama desert. Frozen in time, San Pedro is the perfect place to slow down, explore a fairly laid-back Chilean lifestyle, visit adobe houses and adobe church, and see the surrounding desert. 

San Pedro is a bit more expensive than the rest of Chile, so pay attention to your expenditure.

Accommodation: Stay at the eco-friendly La Casa EcoExplor that is 200 meters away from the bus stand and offers budget dorms, private rooms, and a kitchen. 

How to go: Take a bus from Santiago to Arica and then another one to San Pedro. Or fly from Santiago to Arica and then continue by road. 

 

2. Visit the Miscanti and Miñiques lagoon, Piedra Rojas, and Chaxa lake in the Atacama desert

Start your Atacama expedition with these lagoons and the red rocks(Piedra Rojas in Spanish) as they make a comfortable day trip. These out-of-the-world destinations are bound to overwhelm you. 

The blue lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques are surrounded by amber grass and backdropped by copper mountains. The volcanic red rocks lead up to a flamingo-studded emerald lake circumscribed by smooth peaks. The Chaxa lake is the perfect reflection of the purplish volcanoes that rise like gigantic ice-cream cones in the dry desert. If you get dizzy because of the high altitude, flamingoes feeding in the lake could be misconstrued as strolling between the upturned volcanoes. 

How to go: Either take this GetYourGuide tour or rent a car and drive. Download the offline Google maps and have a hard copy of the map in case your phone runs out of battery (which is often not the case now for we all carry power banks). Many travel companies in San Pedro also arrange regular tours to these destinations. 

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Surreal. Ain’t it?

3. Walk in the Moon Valley (Valle de La Luna) in the Atacama

About 13 km from San Pedro, the Moon Valley of the Atacama gets its name from its moon-like surface. Various sand and stone formations have been formed in the valley by the continuous wind and water action. 

The cavernous valley is fringed by volcanoes, and one can get a good view of a sunset over a volcano by sitting on the high rocky hills or the sand dunes. The best time to go is the sunset when the color of the sky changes from pink to purple to finally dark. 

How to go: Either go for an all inclusive tour or drive yourself

 

4. Float in the Natural Salt Lake (the Laguna Sejar)

The natural salt lake Laguna Sejar lies in the Cordillera de el Sal (mountain range of salt). Floating in this lake is one of the most fun activities to do in the Atacama — you float effortlessly under a clear blue sky in the middle of this vast desert while gazing over the volcanoes and mountains in the distance. 

Combine the trip with Ojos del Salar and Tebinquinche lake. If you are on a tour, you would be served pisco sour, a popular Chilean drink, at sunset over Tebinquinche.

How to go: Take this all-inclusive GetYourGuide tour or drive yourself. 

 

5. Stargaze all you want under the clear Atacama sky – One of the best things to do in Chile

Due to less air pollution, dry air, and a lot of cloudless nights, Chile is a perfect place for astronomers. And due to less light pollution, Atacama is the best even in Chile. 

Make sure you keep one extra night or more for stargazing in the desert. Many travel companies arrange stargazing activities. You can also camp on the roof of your hotel to get some sky action. 

How to go: Take a stargazing tour or camp in the desert with a local’s help.

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Tip: Some of my other favorite things to do in the Atacama were visiting the hot Geysers del Tatio and relaxing in natural hot pools. Here is the hot pool to and fro transfer I took. You can get a tour of the geysers or drive there early morning to see steam shooting out of the geysers and into the sky. 

 

6. Take a Uyuni Salt Flats tour from San Pedro

Bolivia’s Uyuni salt flats are one of the world’s most bizarre landscapes. This vast salt desert is close to the border of Chile. 

Most people go for a 3-4 day salt flats tour that could either begin in San Pedro or the Uyuni town of Bolivia and end in either one of these. On the cross-country tour, you would see many natural reserves of Chile, geysers, blue lagoons, flamingo colonies, and the salt flats of Bolivia. If you take a salt desert tour, you can skip the geysers and the other lagoons I mentioned above for you would see similar landscapes on the tour. 

Here is a GetYourGuide tour that starts from San Pedro and goes to Uyuni in Bolivia.

 

7. Gape at the Hand of the Desert – Mano del Desierto 

This giant structure constructed by the artist Mario Irarrazabal who depicts humans’ helplessness and vulnerability in the hand is 70 km away from the Antofagasta city. If you are around, pay a visit. 

 

**What not to miss in the North: My favorite places in the desert were the Chaxa lake and the Moon Valley. Oh, do try quinoa ice cream in San Pedro and the delicious Chilean wines in the village plaza. 

The Atacama is poetry. Won’t you agree?

 

 

Best Things To Do in the Central Valley of Chile

The Central Valley of Chile might not be as surreal as the North but it has its beaches, velvety countryside, vineyards, artists, graffiti, and colorful residential hills to flaunt. 

Central Valley is known for its big cities: Santiago, Valparaiso, Viña del Mar,  Valdivia, and Concepcion. All of these are connected to each other by bus, flight, and road. 

 

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The view of the Andes over Santiago.

8. Keep a few days for Santiago

Although I might have been looted in Santiago once, I would recommend traveling in Santiago for a few days because trying to understand a country without seeing its capital is like drawing a map without the North. 

Chile might be about its deserts, beaches, and glaciers, but it is also about its cosmopolitan capital where you feel unsafe as soon as you step out of the center, and even in the center sometimes. My (and about hundred other Santiago local friends’) best safety tips for Santiago are: find a hotel in a safe neighborhood, stay inside at night, hold your bags and mobiles closer especially in the metro, bus, and crowded or empty places, keep an eye on people around you, and carry limited cash. 

Some of the best things to see in Santiago are: Plaza del Armas (the main square), Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral (the main church), Santa Lucia hill (remains of a 15-million-year-old volcano), National Astronomical Observatory of Chile at Cerro Calán (you might have to contact the observatory in advance), San Cristobal Hill (for good views), Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts(for us art lovers), Museum of Memory and Human Rights(to know more about the Pinochet rule), Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino(another museum), Palacio de La Moneda, and the Bahá’í Temple of South America. 

How to commute: Use metro, bus, and Uber(still illegal but functional). Prebook a pickup from the airport to your hotel if you are arriving in Santiago for the first time. If you are going to stay in Santiago a bit longer, consider this introductory tour to Santiago with a local guide.  

Where to stay in Santiago: I have handpicked the below accommodations from throughout Santiago as per safety, locality, reviews, experiences, prices, and services provided.

Guest House Mery, Barrio Brasil – Run by a Chilean family, in downtown Santiago, close to historical places and metro, amazing reviews, kind staff, beautiful rooms, and patio, and pick up and drop from the airport at reasonable prices. Best for solo or couple travelers.

Book the hotel here on Booking. This place gets sold out well in advance.

Amistar Apartments – In downtown Santiago near Santa Lucia hill, entire apartment for 3/4/5 people, clean accommodation, kind owners, great reviews, and pick up and drop service from the airport. Best for a group of friends or families. Browse the apartments here on Booking.

And now for the hostel lovers.

Hostal Rio Amazonas: In central Santiago near Baquedano Metro Station, boutique hotel, gorgeous interiors and paintings, comfortable rooms with private bathrooms, friendly staff, inhouse bar, and wifi. Best for couples, family, and solo travelers.

Click here to see the availability and book Hostal Rio Amazonas.

 

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Santiago’s main plaza.

9. Soak poetry in Pablo Neruda’s houses – One of the best places to visit in Chile

 

Neruda is one of the most loved poets of Chile who is not only known for his love poems but for his odes to things like socks and vegetables. His three homes: La Chascona in Santiago, La Sebastiana in Valparaíso, and the one in the Isla Negra are all open for public on all days of the week except Monday. 

If you haven’t read Pablo’s poetry, let me first recite a few verses to raise your curiosity,

It pleased me to grow with the morning,

to bathe in the sun, in the great joy

of sun, salt, sea-light, and wave,

and in that unwinding of the foam

my heart began to move,

growing in that essential spasm,

and dying away as it seeped into the sand. 

From October Fullness, The Essential Neruda

 

These words are only a drop in Pablo’s ocean of poetry. The Essential Neruda poetry book I have linked above is a collection of some of his best poems in both their English and Spanish versions. His poetry can only beckon good things, I promise.

La Chascona: Fernando Márquez de la Plata 0192, Barrio Bellavista, Providencia, Santiago, 56-2-2777-8741; fundacionneruda.org. Named after Pablo’s secret lover, this house is at the foot of Cerro San Cristóbal. Pablo bought this house for his secret lover and himself. 

La Sebastiana: Ferrari 692, Valparaíso, 56-32-225-6606; fundacionneruda.org. Sits on a Valparaíso hill overlooking the city. 

Isla Negra: Poeta Neruda s/n, Isla Negra, El Quisco, 56-35-2461284; fundacionneruda.org: This house is on the coastline about an hour away from Valparaíso. Pablo is buried here along with his third wife. On the way to the house, you can visit many vineyards and fine restaurants some of which still serve Pablo’s favorite food. 

If you want to go with a tour, this one goes to the Isla Negra house, explores the beach, and then takes the tourists for wine tasking in Casablanca valley.

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10. Lose yourself in the Central Market of Santiago (Mercado Central)

One of my dear friends introduced me to Mercado Central. Abundant seafood, typical Chilean preparations, fresh fruits and vegetables, pulses and porotos(read beans), everything can be found in this market. I do remember eating in the dingy backside of the market but it has a great food court where you can get fresh seafood preparations. 

Mercado Central is one of the most interesting places in Chile to understand the Chilean culture. Don’t miss it.

How to go: Take this bike tour that also goes to the market amongst other things or visit on your own. The nearest metro station to the market is Puente Cal y Canto. You can also take a bus and get down near the market. Though illegally, Ubers, also work in Santiago.

Must-try dishes: Porotos(red beans), pasta del choclo(corn preparation), seafood, humitas(another corn preparation) along with some Cusquena beer or wine

 

11. Hike in Maipo Valley (Cajon del Maipo)

Cajon del Maipo is a canyon in the Santiago Metropolitan Region of Chile.

Many rivers including the el Maipo River, El Volcan River, Colorado River, and Yeso River merge in this valley. The turquoise rivers circumscribed by the tall Andes make the canyon a perfect hub for adventure.

Cajon del Maipo offers a potpourri of activities ranging from hiking in the canyon, skiing, river rafting, hiking a volcano and visiting hot springs, exploring the national park, and relaxing with beautiful views. The trails in the Maipo Valley are both tough and easy, so choose yours as per your fitness level and comfort. Mostly, travelers head to Cajon del Maipo for a day or a weekend, but you can even book one of the cabins there and stay for long. 

Look for a place to stay here, and I have linked to the tours with the activities above. 

 

12. Gaze over the Pacific from the Wulff Castle, Viña del Mar

About 120 km from Santiago, Viña del Mar is a coastal city that is close to another popular coastal destination called Valparaíso.

Located right opposite the Cerro Castillo (Castillo hill), the Wulff castle was built by the Wulff family, first as their home, and then the home was remodeled into a castle. The castle doesn’t have an entrance fee, has beautiful art exhibitions as now it is a government heritage center, and the view of the Pacific from the castle is stunning. 

Viña del Mar: Browse through Viña’s accommodations here.

 

13. Ride the squeaky funicular elevators of Valparaíso

Only 120 km away from Santiago, Valparaíso (or lovingly known as Valpo amongst the locals) is a colorful city built over steep hills on the shores of the Pacific. Like other port cities, it is a bit random and unstructured, and thus colorful. Valparaíso is the only Chilean city where street art is legal so you can imagine why I call it colorful. 

People reside on the hills of Valparaíso, and these elevators, or cable cars, were built to carry people up and down on the steep hills. Although once there were about 31 elevators, now only about 14 of these are functional. 

 

How to go: The two most popular and easy to access funiculars are the Acensor Reina Victoria (connecting Avenida Cumming with Paseo Dimalow) and the Acensor El Peral (connecting Plaza Sotomayor with Paseo Yugoslavo.) Carry some cash or coins for the ticket price is about 100-200 pesos.

If you are short of time, take a tour from Santiago to Vina del Mar and Valparaíso that goes through the main sites of both the cities.

Tip: While in Valparaíso, you can check out the Botica Salcobrand medical shop on Plaza Aníbal Pinto where the pharmacy is ready to take you for a spin in the past. 

Where to stay: Click here to see and book accommodations in Valparaíso

 

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14. Tour vineyards when in the Central Valley – One of the cool things in Chile

The Central region of Chile has the perfect temperature and most accommodative soil for grapes. Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Santiago, and Casablanca, a white wine city between Santiago and Valparaiso, are stuffed with vineyards that encourage tourists to visit. And travelers go for Chilean wine is one of the best wines in the world.

How to go: Here are some brilliant winery tours you can take: Concha y Toro official winery tour (one of the most popular and the oldest in Latin America), Undurraga vineyard in Maipo, or visit the wineries of Casablanca from Santiago. You can also hire a car and drive around yourself.

 

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15. Immerse in the graffitis of Valparaíso

Valparaiso started becoming an art center when Pablo Neruda, a resident of the city, invited his Mexican friends and painters to the city. Soon the city’s walls, steep staircases, cobbled streets, dainty shops, and open roofs all were covered in graffiti. In no time, locals joined the artists, too.

During the dictatorship in Chile, the wall art of Valparaiso was one of the most effective ways for revolutionaries to communicate and to encourage people to keep fighting for freedom. Now the city has legalized street art, and property owners argue over who would get the best artist to paint their garages and roofs. 

Valparaiso is dense with these wall paintings, and you would find them in the most obscure places. Go up a narrow street or stroll in the back lanes or peek behind a dusty car, if you will, and you are bound to run into some heartening display of color. 

The best places to see the local art are the hills of Carcel, Miraflores, Alegre, Pateon, Concepcíon, and Bellavista. You should also go to the open-air museum that holds the art of more than 70 artists who put their art together after the dictatorship. 

Be careful while roaming in Valparaiso for the place is known for delinquents who love snatching off bags and phones. Walk in the city in daylight, be with a friend or group preferably, keep your belongings close to you, and don’t wander in a deserted street even in daylight. 

Valparaiso is one of the most important places in Chile to understand the country’s artistic growth. So be cautious, but do visit. 

How to go: The safest and most informative way to explore Valpo’s art would be to take a tour with the locals

 

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16. Celebrate the New Year eve in Valparaíso by watching firecrackers put on a colorful show over the Pacific – One of the most unique and best things to see in Chile

For about half an hour, the sky above the Pacific shore near Valparaiso dazzles with colors as hundreds of firecrackers are busted there at midnight. People gather over their rooftops, in balconies, and on the beaches to see the celebration with champagne spilling out of their glasses and empanadas spilling out of their tables. 

Don’t miss this experience if you are in Chile around the new year.

How to go: Book a hotel in Valparaiso and get to the roof or your balcony in time. Don’t forget to bring some of that delicious Chilean wine. 

 

**What’s not to miss in Central Valley: Wine, art, and poetry.

 

 

Valdivia is neither part of the Central Valley nor of the Los Lagos region of the South. So I am putting it here in between the two.

17. Visit the Mercado Fluvial in Valdivia

Valdivia is an old city set at the junction of the Calle-Calle and Cau-Cau rivers and is slightly above the lake region. 

Valdivia’s vibrant local grocery market Mercado Fluvial sells a myriad of fish, mussels, prawns, street food, vegetables, fruits, handicraft, and wooden artifacts. The market is on the shores of the Valdivia River, and sea lions resting on the wooden planks behind the market behold the sight of the visitors rather than the trouts and the avocados. And while the shop keepers get distracted with customers, the seagulls fly off with a few anchovies now and then.

On a sunny afternoon, the market is a great place to eat, buy a handmade souvenir, or you can also start a boat tour through the interconnected network of canals and rivers from the market. 

Where to stay in Valdivia?

Airesbuenos Hostel y Permacultura, Valdivia– I stayed at Airesbuenos (350 m away from the bus terminal) for about 2 nights. Great affordable place for solo or couple travelers. Wifi, breakfast, and a shared kitchen included. Find the availability of Airesbuenos on Booking here.

And if you don’t like this hostel, then feel free to browse through other options in Valdivia.

 

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18. Cruise through the Valdivian rivers visiting old forts

As the fourth settlement founded by the Spanish, Valdivia has many forts and castles that are spread around the city. 

Mercado Fluvial is the starting point of a boat ride through the network of waterways that go through the many Valdivian rivers. Along with a pleasant ride, you will also visit the historical places and forts on the way. Fort Niebla is one of those popular forts and flaunts its own beach(playa) and a local market (feria).

 

19. While in Valdivia, don’t miss the Kunstmann brewery

Chileans love their wine, but they are no less a fan of beer. 

Kunstmann, one of the oldest and popular Chilean beer, has a big brewery in Valdivia. Understanding the brewing process while sipping honey or cinnamon Kunstmann could be a fun thing to do on a windy evening in Valdivia. 

 

Best Things To Do in the Lake region, known as Los Lagos in Chile

 

The lake region marks the beginning of Patagonia, the South of Chile, and from here you enter the zone of some of the world’s most beautiful places. 

Los Lagos is known for its deep blue lakes, azure rivers, active volcanoes, lush national parks, and scattered islands. Some of the main towns of the region are Puerto Varas, Osorno, Puerto Montt, and Pucon. 

 

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20. Chill in the Chiloé island or the Isla Grande – One of Chile’s best places to visit

I stayed in Castro, the capital of Chiloé, for five months and taught English to government school students as part of a volunteer program. So its only natural that I talk about this island far more fondly than the rest of the places to go in Chile.

Rolling countryside hills of the island houses colorful stilt homes(palafitos), wooden heritage churches, and apple fields. The windy beaches of the island aren’t very busy for the water is cold throughout the year. The only known attempt of someone swimming there was of a friend who was dissuaded after his first attempt as he almost froze while dipping in, shouted for help, and was driven home in his swimming trunks by a stranger.

Chiloé and the people of Chiloé, who are lovingly called Chilotes, are known for their signature seafood and folklore. The homes here are covered with bright multi-colored shinglings of various shapes and sizes. 

 

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My host mother Cecilia in the picture. Notice the blue shinglings.

 

Chiloé is a place to slow down in Chile — Wake up in a stilt house or in a wooden cabin, eat bread and cheese or algae soup for breakfast, stroll in the countryside, pluck a peach or two, walk by the beach, eat as much seafood as you like at a cocineria (food court where locals make almost home food), visit a World Heritage wooden church, and then go to another local restaurant for a hearty meal with wine. 

 

Where to stay in Chiloé?

Let me recommend some places in and around Castro for you will start your island trip from there.

I highly recommend these private domes in Castro(on Airbnb) that are owned by a lovely Chilean couple and my best friends. Veronica and Marco are the warmest hosts who don’t let their guests leave without serving them amazing pisco sours and homemade seafood preparations. This could be one of the best places to stay in Chile for location, comfort, and hospitality. Do try. And if you do, tell Vero and Marco that you read my blog. You would definitely get a few extra piscos.

 

But if you are not on Airbnb or don’t like this place, here are some other good stay options.

Palafito WaIwen – Located by the Gamboa river and only about .6 miles from the Castro center, double rooms and dorms with heating, ocean and city views, wifi, kind staff, complimentary breakfast, shared kitchen, and a terrace overlooking the ocean. Best for couples and solo travelers.

Click here to book this stilt house.

 

Casa Chilota B&B – In downtown Castro, a typical Chilote home with wooden flooring, friendly and kind Chilean owners, and clean rooms with a complimentary breakfast spread. Best for families, couples and solo travelers.

Look at the pictures and see Casa Chilota on Booking.

Cabañas Lomas de Ten Ten– Located in Ten Ten, a small countryside area about 4-5 km away from Castro downtown, beautiful wooden cottage, kitchen included, and ocean view from the cabin. Ideal for families or a group of friends. Book these cabins on Booking here.

Apart from these, do look for cabins and wooden cottages out in the countryside. Chiloé has some beautiful and secluded scenic accommodations and you should get one for yourself. Find some here.

 

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Castro’s purple and yellow church. Very high amongst the traveler’s places of interest in Chile.

Here are some of the specific things to do in Chiloé.

21. Spend a day or two in Castro, the capital of Chiloé (One of the most famous places in Chile but for the right reasons)

Walk around the main plaza, admire the purple and yellow San Francisco Church there, eat at the seafood restaurants, buy fresh fish or eat ceviches in the Mercado Municipal near the harbor, look for some souvenirs in the market, drink wine at the cozy bars(43 was my favorite), and participate in a minga or get invited to a party and see the locals’ way of celebration. 

Oh, stroll around the viewpoint Gamboa, walk along the harbor in the direction of ten-ten, and eat in one of the palafitos there while looking over the ocean. 

 

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Palafitos (stilt houses) of Castro.

22. Visit the Cocineria of Dalcahue (food court where locals make home food)

The quiet Dalcahue serves as a boarding point for the ferry of Achao(another island I would suggest you visit), but Dalcahue can be visited for just its cocineria. 

The several restaurants of the food court run by eight local families sit in a small wooden house that overlooks the ocean and serves homemade preparations of Chilote’s best-known dishes. 

Find seafood preparations here, casuellas(soups), algae and potato preparations, porotos granados(red beans), and the famous colorful Chilote potatoes. 

Carry cash as cards wouldn’t be accepted.

Insider tip: Another great place to visit in Dalcahue is the artisan fair that happens twice every week where artisans from all over Chiloé come to Dalcahue to showcase and sell their products. 

 

23. See the heritage wooden churches of Chiloé – One of the unique things about Chile

When the missionary Jesuits arrived in Chile in the 17th century, the building techniques of Spain were merged with the local Chilote wooden boat construction techniques. One thing led to another and nailless churches emerged. 

Chiloé had 51 of these larch and cypress wood churches out of which only 15 remain now. But, less is more couldn’t be more true than in the case of these heritage churches as they stand timeless, some even earthquake safe, and keeping the people inside them warm (such is the wooden insulation) from the fierce cold in Chiloé. 

Achao has the largest wooden church on the Chiloé archipelago, Curaco de Velez has the oldest, Tenaúm’s church is gorgeous, and Castro’s is colorful. And there are more. 

 

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Nercón Church.

PC: Srikanth_Jandy, under CC BY 2.0

 

24. Buy Chilote artisanal souvenirs and wooden artifacts 

I wish I could share the picture of that handwritten wooden chai mug that I bought for my father from the Mercado Municipal in Castro, but he has the mug. But not just mugs, you can buy handpainted or handwritten wooden pocket mirrors, pen, hairpins, spatulas, cutting boards, and other paraphernalia, too.

As Chiloé is cold and wet for a large part of the year, locals knit and sell woolen sweaters, hats, socksponchos, and other cute warm clothing. Oh, there is copper handmade jewelry, too, of which I have a few pieces. 

Walk around the artisanal markets in the many towns and villages of Chiloé for the sake of friends back home. 

 

25. Eat typical Chilote food

I lived with a Chilean family for five months and that implies I mostly ate at home. I wish I had tried more restaurants, but the home food was great, and eating with a bunch of crazy Chileans, British, and Americans(volunteers who also taught English) won over outside food every time. 

I was soon introduced to the greasy milcao — potato patty stuffed with pork and deep-fried(this was store-bought), colorful red, purple, and black potatoes that are local to the island, empanadas — pastries stuffed with potato or chicken or beef or seafood, and curanto — mussels and seashells steamed with potato and/or pork underground over coal. These are all unique to the island(except empanadas) so do try.

Chiloé is especially known for its seafood preparations such as casuella(soups)- they even have algae casuella, grilled fish, ceviche, etc. And oh, the portions increase in Chiloé without warning.

 

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Chicken casuella(soup) made at home. I can’t have this delicacy now. No more chicken for me.

 

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You do see a long purple Chilote potato on this plate of curanto: clams, pork, and potatoes cooked underground. I don’t eat pork or other meat now (I am a pescatarian) but I did want to show you how curanto looks and that is why this picture that I find slightly disturbing now.

26. Go island-hopping on Chiloé archipelago

From Chiloé, take a ferry to the many nearby islands of the archipelago such as Lemuy, Caucahué, Quinchao, and explore the churches and the countryside of these places. 

How to go: Getting to another island is as easy as taking a bus that directly goes to the island or walking to the ferry point and taking the ferry to the other island. Have coins or smaller notes to pay. 

Where to stay: Either stay in the Castro area and make a day trip to other islands. Or look for some cool accommodation on the destination island. Booking is my friend for this task.

 

27. Kayak around the Chiloé archipelago

Kayaking in the rivers and in the inland water around the Chiloé archipelago could be a lot of fun on a bright day. Ask your hotel or homestay for more information. 

 

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Photo by jeffreywarren (CC BY 2.0)

 

28. Visit the regional museum (Museo regional) in Ancud, Chiloé

Though Ancud, the former capital of Chiloé, is now a mundane town with regular buildings and docks, Museo Regional de Ancud (Ancud’s Regional Museum) is a good place to know more about the Chilote culture and mythology. 

 

29. Take a ferry to the Penguineria Islands near Ancud (Monumento Natural Islotes de Puñihuil)

From Ancud, a ferry goes to a collection of islands that penguins have unabashedly colonized. The best time to see the friendly creatures is December. 

How to go: My plan to visit these penguin colonies failed three times due to unexpected earthquakes, strikes, and so on. But finding that bus stand in Ancud from where a bus goes to the ferry point wasn’t easy. You would have to ask the locals or confirm at your hotel. You need to take a bus from Ancud to a ferry point and then you board a ferry or a small boat that takes you to the colonies. If you don’t want to arrange the trip by yourself, here is a GetYourGuide tour that first explores parts of Chiloé and then goes to the Caulin and Puñihuil Penguins Colony.

 

30. Go to the Dock of Souls, known as Muelle de Las Almas in Spanish.

Muelle de Las Almas is a popular wooden pier in the Chiloé National Park near the village of Cucao. 

The popularity of the dock is attributed to the local legend where a boatman Tempilkahue used to carry souls over the river into eternal rest. These souls would wail for the boatman to take them but Tempilkahue didn’t carry them all. If they couldn’t pay him, the souls would linger on in the surrounding cliffs. 

When the Chilean wood sculptor and art professor from Santiago designed a long wooden bridge, a pier, at the cliff, the place was named as the Muelle de la Almas. 

Stories say that the wails of the dead can still be heard at the pier. This quirky pier is one of the best places to go in Chile for the gorgeous viewpoint and the adventurous hike to the bridge. Don’t let a few ghosts scare you off.

How to get there:

Rent a car to drive or get a local bus, known as micro(pronounced as mee-crow), to Cucao. After about a 1.5 hour drive, the bus will drop you outside a restaurant called Terrasa de Cucao, and then from there another bus drop at the beginning point of the hike, or you can say the parking lot, in about 30 minutes. The last bus to the hike leaves from the restaurant at 3 pm. 

After the bus ride, hike for about 45 minutes to one hour through the undulating hills and pastures of the national park to get to the dock. Get there in the morning to get bright views over the ocean and to make the most of the day. 

Remember that the last bus from the pickup point (to the restaurant) leaves at 5:30 pm. In case you miss this one, like we did because someone forgot her phone at the top of a hill, walk for an hour or hitchhike to get back to the restaurant for the next bus.

muelles de las almas cucao chiloe.jpg

Photo by f3nc0r3. (CC BY 2.0)

 

31. Visit the Pablo Fierro Museum in Puerto Varas, Chile

Pablo Fierro museum would be a great stop before Chiloé to understand how the Germans, who entered the island in 1850, influenced the Chilote culture.

How to go: The Museum is free to enter and is a short stroll along the waterfront from the Plaza de Armas of Puerto Varas on the 225 Road heading towards Ensenada.

 

32. Take a ferry to Hornophiren – One of the best places in Chile for nature lovers

Hornophiren is a beautiful town in the lake region. Most backpackers and travelers miss this beauty on their Chile trip for it is not on a typical travel route. 

But as if it is out of a fairy tale, Horniphiren has misty volcanoes, deep blue lakes, huge national parks, hot thermal pools, solitary mountains, white rivers, open pastures studded with birds and horses, amongst other things that can lure any adventurer. 

Hornopirén’s national park is easily accessible, and we biked up the Andes in the park and then came down flying, all safe. The rivers have good viewpoints, too. There are volcanoes to be hiked, but you would need good weather to climb. 

Oh, don’t forget to try the yerba mate and cheese empanadas at the local artisanal joint near the square.

How to go: Get a bus or drive there but remember you would have to get up on ferries a few times.

Where to stay: Have a look at the wooden cabins of Hornopirén here

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A typical day in Hornophiren.

 

33. Hike active Volcano Villarica, Pucon

Climbing up hiking Villarrica is the goal of many travelers when they travel to Pucon, the adventure hub of Los Lagos. 

Originally known as Rucapillán or House of the Pillan — home of a powerful disastrous spirit, the volcano hasn’t erupted for many years now. For a hiker, climbing up Volcan Villarica would be one of the top 10 things to do in Chile. Plan your trip to have a few days in Pucon so that at least one of them has favorable weather for the hike. 

My Villarica hiking experience can be read here.

How to go: Take a guided tour to go up the volcano as you can’t do this on your won. The hike would take your entire day. 

Where to stay in Pucon? I stayed at the Chilli kiwi hostel which was comfortable and had ample double rooms and dorms. You can also book any of the adventure activities, hikes, or tours from Chilli Kiwi. Click here to find the availability in the hostel and to book it.

Insider Tip: In the winter, you can ski in the Centro de Ski Pucon (ski center of Pucon). 

 

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Villarrica, with its ever famous smoke whirling into the blue sky.

34. Chill at the Caburga lake beach in Pucon

Relaxing at the Caburgua lake beach after climbing the volcano would be a smart thing to do. 

35. Kayak in the quiet Villarrica lake and find remote beaches

Borrow or rent Kayaks from the hotel and explore the lake. You are bound to find some empty beaches. Make sure you aren’t intruding in anyone’s private property and jump in. 

 

36. Hitchhike to the deserted Salto del Claro waterfalls near Pucon.

This waterfall is mostly deserted, and you might want to start early from Pucon as it takes about 4-5 hours of walking to reach there.

The waterfall is about six kilometers out of Pucon, so you can either hike all way or bike or take a taxi and walk or hitchhike. 

Make sure that you carry enough water, snacks, a towel, and keep your phones charged as there are no shops or restaurants near the waterfall. If you are lucky, you would be able to hitchhike back to the town. 

 

**What not to miss in the Lake Region: People, food, beautiful landscapes, adventure activities, and the unique culture.

 

Best Things To Do in the South of Chile, known as Patagonia

In the South of Chile, Andes rise on the mainland to form Patagonia. This no man’s land is nothing but icy peaks with glaciers suspended atop, deep blue and turquoise rivers, labyrinthine fjords, gorgeous lakes, and natural caves. Patagonia is mostly uninhabited because of the crazy climatic conditions. 

The Carretera Austral or the Southern highway runs along this nomad’s land from Chaiten till the Tierra del Fuego or the land of fire which culminates in Cape Horn, the last stop before Antarctic Peninsula — Patagonia leads our way into the end of the world. 

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Woah!

37. Hike in Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most sought-after parts of Patagonia. Even though thousands of people trek in this park every year, such is the park’s wilderness, that most of them never run into each other.

Though Torres’s terrain is difficult, it has all levels of hiking trails: easy, moderate, and high difficulty level for enthusiasts and hikers to choose from. From 4-9 multi-day circuits to a day-long hike, one can find them all. One of the longer hikes known as the W trek is one of the most beautiful trails of the park and extends over 8-9 days. Sleeping in pre-booked camps and eating packed meals throughout the trek makes the hike challenging but thrilling. You can also book the W trek and get all the arrangements done. 

Or take a full-day tour from the city of Puerto Natales to see the park’s main viewpoints and walk a little and then decide what would you like to do there.

How to go: Frequent flights are available from the major Chilean airports to the two main cities Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas of Patagonia.

Where to stay in Puerto Natales: Browse through hotels and check the prices here.

Where to stay in Punta Arenas: Find a comfortable accommodation in Punta Arenas here.

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Hiking in Torres del Paine is one of the top ones on the Chile things to do for adventurers and nature lovers.

38. Take a boat trip to Glacier Grey 

Part of the Torres del Paine National Park, Glacier Grey is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field –one of the largest ice stretches on the planet. 

The boat takes up to a point near the glacier from where you can admire the 40-meter high river of ice.

 

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39. Visit the Mylodon Cave located outside Torres del Paine National Park

The Milodon Caves are said to be formed at the end of the ice age from the erosion of a glacier. Excavations have found animal bones, old tools, and even hints of humans. 

A boat ride to the cave definitely adds to the fun. 

 

40. Sail through the Magellan Strait

Ferdinand Magellan discovered this strait when he sailed from Europe to America while making his way around South America through the rough Pacific waters. 

How to go: Boat tours for the Magellan Strait leave from Puntas Arenas, one of the two major inhabited towns of Patagonia. Here is one tour that sails through the Strait of Magellan to go to the Magdalena and Marta Islands to observe Magellanic penguins, Patagonian sea lions, and other marine life.

Watching the penguins play around on a remote Southern island could be one of the most interesting things in Chile, or in the world. Go. 

chile-south-america-patagonia magdalena strait

41. Go for white river rating in the Futaleufú river

 

42. Visit the Marble Caves

Cuevas de Marmol or the Marble caves are carved into the Patagonian Andes by 6000 years of wave washing up against the calcium carbonate. Marble caves are located in the General Carrera lake, which spans the border between Chile and Argentina. 

The smooth, swirling blues that you see in photos on the cave are reflections of the lake’s azure water on the marble. To get the best colors, visit during September and February when the water is turquoise. Early mornings are the best for the perfect lighting. 

How to go: Take a ferry from Puerto Río Tranquilo village. In spite of the remoteness, Marble caves is one of the most tourists places in Chile so you should not have a hard time making a trip to them.

 

marble caves patagonia.jpg
One of the most unique amongst Chile places to visit.

Photo by jvieras  (CC BY 2.0)

 

43. Robinson Crusoe Island — Juan Fernández archipelago, Chile (400 miles west of South America in the South Pacific Ocean)

Named after the DeFoe novel Robinson Crusoe inspired by a sailor stranded on this same island for four years with a musket, gunpowder, a knife, a Bible, and carpenter’s tools, the island is an endemic hub of rare plants and extreme beauty. 

The island is inhabited by only about 500-600 people most of whom make a simple living by selling lobsters.  

Robinson Crusoe island houses beautiful coral reefs, white-sand beaches, blue lagoon, palm trees, traditional thatched huts, tropical fruits, and abundant seafood. Activities such as hiking, horseback riding, birdwatching, snorkeling, sport fishing, and scuba diving are available on the island.

How to go: During the prime season, small planes of up to ten passengers leave Los Cerrillos and Tobalaba airports in Santiago daily. After a two and a half hour flight, a boat ride from La Punta would take you to the island. Carry cash as there are no ATMs on the island.

Where to stay: I can’t seem to find any Robinson Crusoe hotels on Booking. I would update this post when I find more credible information.

 

**What not to miss in Patagonia: The feeling that you are almost at the end of the world.

 

 

Now some general fun things to do in Chile.

 

44. When in Chile, ski

Valle Nevado resort is one of the best ski resorts in Chile. Located on the foothills of the Andes Mountains, this is just one ski option but the country is full of ski resorts and icy slopes. 

Or consider this tour that goes skiing in the Andes.

 

45. Fly off to the Easter island, known as Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua

While the Easter island is one of the most remote places in Chile, thousands of travelers and Chileans visit Easter island every year for its clear natural beauty. 

When on the island, see more than the moai statues. The Ana Kai Tangata (Cannibal Cave) is also a visit. This half-day archaeology tour is a good option to understand the history of the island from locals.

How to go: You can fly to the Easter island from Santiago.

Where to stay: Check out these properties in Hanga Roa, the capital of the Isla de Pascua.

 

chile-easter-island-moai-rapa-nui.jpg 

46. When in Chile, drink Pisco Sour

Specific to Chile and Peru, Pisco is a liquor made of grapes. Both countries fight on Pisco’s origin and make it with egg white, lime juice, and sugar syrup. Pisco is one delicious drink and goes well with Chilean food. 

Don’t miss it.

 

pisco sour in making in chile
Drinking Pisco. Just one of the regular things to do Chile.

47. Take a Chilean cooking class

Even though Chilean cuisine isn’t the most respected or loved around the world, its empanadas, casuellas, choclo con queso, and other seafood preparations are special. If you think you would want to make any of these back home, get into a cooking class and learn a few of these while sipping up some pisco.

Your best bet would be to take a course in a small city or island such as Chiloé for an authentic and personalized class. 

This food tour in Santiago might interest you if you are a foodie. 

 

48. Learn Spanish in Chile

Chileans speak superfast slang-studded Spanish so Chile isn’t the best place to learn Spanish. But if you start understanding Chilean Spanish, you can converse in any kind of Spanish. So give it a chance. 

If I can do it, you can, too. And here are my best language guides to help you:

 

49. Teach English in Chile

If you are looking for a paid volunteer program to teach English while traveling, the English Open Doors program in Chile is the answer.

I taught English to government-school students on Chiloé island for five months. The experience was challenging but well worth the efforts. The program provides food and accommodation and a basic stipend for the entire duration. Read all about the application process and the program here

 

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50. Last but not the least, hang out with the sweet Chileans

Chileans are the nicest people I have met who are ready to help out at any cost. Do accept when Chileans invite you to their homes, which they would. Oh, but do remember that Chileans are as punctual as Italian trains. I talk more about the Chilean people and Chile’s culture here

 

marina a chilean lady in cauquenes

 

Phew! Now go have fun.

 

Would you love to see Chile? Which of these top places to visit in Chile intrigued you the most? Tell me in the comments.

Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links to products I love. If you choose to click through and make a purchase, I will earn a little bit at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Powerful Quotes On Everything in Life

Powerful Quotes on Life

 

Like many others, I read about the lives and work of many great artists, writers, physicists, musicians, innovators, thinkers. But rather than quoting them, I prefer to share my interpretation of their ideas, generally. I feel that I haven’t assimilated their words well if I share them plain rather than doughing them with my thoughts.

But it is not always about the source or amalgamation of motivation. Ideas and inspiration need to keep floating in the universe irrespective of where they come from. After all, we are only the means to an end, and we all need a guiding light.

In this piece, I am sharing some of the most profound quotes about life that I have come across. The hope is to read these avant-garde quotes, to come back to them whenever we need them, or sift through them even when we don’t feel we require them to keep ourselves soaked in inspiration and to not let it deplete.

Let the journey of inspiration and belief begin.

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Note: Titles recur and follow a random order of inspiration.

On Contemplation.

There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality — Seneca.

(Read Open Letter to My Mind to see what all do we worry about.)

 

On Choosing.

“No” is a complete sentence — Annie Lamott.

Any justification dilutes the intent.

 

On Human Condition. 

Pity is a paralyzing mental luxury ― Will Durant.

But man is not made for defeat. A man can be destroyed but not defeated — Ernest Hemingway.

To be tough is to be fragile; to be tender is to be truly fierce — Farhana Qazi.

Don’t make adjustments an excuse — Yours Truly.

We hide behind the circumstances and never explore who we can be.

 

On Understanding Life.

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry – W.B. Yeats.

We should never be shy about questioning ourselves.

 

On Love. 

Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore? Don’t they know it’s the end of the world, ’Cause you don’t love me anymore? — From The End Of The World by Arthur Kent and Sylvia Dee.

These lines don’t form a quote but they show how deep love can flow.

 

On Thinking Right.

Change your thoughts and you change your world — Norman Vincent Peale.

What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality — Plutarch.

But your questions, which are unanswerable without exception, all spring from the same erroneous thinking — Herman Hesse.

 

On Dreams.

All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them — Walt Disney.

 

On What is Important.

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

a child with butterflies at sunset used in enouraging life quotes article.jpg

 

On Determination.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward — Amelia Earhart, an author, and the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

(Read why we need to continue even if we are bleeding.)

 

On Honesty.

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom — Thomas Jefferson.

 

On Getting Started.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started — Mark Twain.

Never wait for the perfect moment. If you do not start right away, then it means you never wanted to do it.

All glory comes from daring to begin―Ruskin Bond.

 

On Success. 

However difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at — Stephen Hawking.

Be the best sweeper you can be, and the doors of life will open in ways unknown.

(Read how to find something you can love.)

 

On Learning.

Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own — Bruce Lee

 

On Belief.

Believe you can and you are halfway there — Theodore Roosevelt

The rest is logistics.

 

On Life. 

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving — Albert Einstein

Things work out on their own when you move.

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced — Soren Kierkegaard, an existential philosopher.

 

On Kindness.

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted — Aesop

One morning, I told my cleaning lady to wait until I finished my shower so that I could make tea for her. But I couldn’t get out of the bathroom because the door was jammed. I shouted a few times so that she could hear me, and she did and pushed the door open. We can’t always see kindness flowing freely, but it always does.

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud — Maya Angelou

People rejoice when they receive an unexpected smile or a gentle hug. Their eyes speak. They feel that everything is okay. When I get out of my plastic bubble of sadness and smile, people smile, and we all fly high.

 

On the Matters of Heart. 

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched — they must be felt with the heart — Helen Keller

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On What is Important.

Having no limitation as limitation — Bruce Lee

Limitations are imaginary constructions of the human mind.

One those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go — T.S. Eliot

 

On Innovation.

I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate — Jeff Bezos

Don’t expect others to understand or appreciate your vision.

 

On Happiness. 

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking — Marcus Aurelius

You always have what you need.

 

On Eccentricity.

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric — Bertrand Russell

Do what you think is right. The rest follows.

Every society honors its live conformists and dead troublemakers — Mignon McLaughlin.

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it —  W.H.Murray.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
― Rob Siltanen

(Read my journey from coding to writing: Breaking the barriers)

 

On the Troubles of Life. 

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky — Rabindranath Tagore.

If we detest problems, we would always think of life as troubles and solutions. But life isn’t binary. It is an infinite equation.

On Relationships. 

Hold this to be the highest task for a bond between two people: that each protects the solitude of the other — Rainer Maria Rilke.

We can only be with someone if they can be with our solitude.

(Read the importance of relationships and how to create them.)

 

On Pragmatism. 

History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets — Yuval Noah Harari, as he wrote in his book Sapiens.

A few plan, communicate, and lead. And the rest allow them.

 

On Doing. 

The shortest answer is doing the thing — Ernest Hemingway.

If we do, we get more answers than we would get by pondering.

 

On Fear. 

Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them — Rabindranath Tagore.

I always tried to please or patronize people because I didn’t want them to be upset with me or fight with me. Over time, I realized that people will think what they want to think. Instead of trying to be in their good books always, I should be least bothered about what someone would say. I can stand up for myself if the other threatens my integrity or peace.

 

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On Art.

No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger — Rainer Maria Rilke

 

On The Most Important.

If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature’s way — Aristotle. [Marcus Aurelius writes this in his diary Meditations as well]

What is natural can never be wrong.

(Read why we should let like takes its course, inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet.)

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

I don’t want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death — Anne Frank, as she noted down in her diary.

(Read along: what is the purpose of our lives.)

 

On Belief.

My mother was the greatest mother in the world. She thought I was the greatest thing on two feet. I’d come home with a little composition I had written at school, and she’d look at it and say, ‘It’s wonderful! You’re another Shakespeare!’ I always assumed I could do anything. It really is amazing how much that has to do with your attitude — Stan Lee.

First, believe.

 

On Everything in Life.

When asked, ‘How do you write?’ I invariably answer, ‘one word at a time.’ — Stephen King.

You can apply this to anything in life.

(Read everything I have learned so far: in 4,500 words.)

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

Everything comes to us that belongs to us if we create the capacity to receive it — Rabindranath Tagore.

 

On Truth.

Opinions are nothing, better than all is the self-contained calm of true realization. What does it matter which argument is true and which is false — what has been gained within is the real thing — Rabindranath Tagore writes in his book Gora.

 

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On Love.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage — Lao Tzu.

(Read why we need a life partner and how to find one.)

 

On Loneliness.

The time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself — Douglas Coupland.

 

On What is Important.

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop — Rumi

You are complete in yourself.

 

On Life. 

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not — Henry David Thoreau.

Every journey to the outside begins from the inside.

 

On Human Condition.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves — Henry David Thoreau

 

On Dreams and the Cosmos.

Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

Dream and work; the universe puts the rest of the pieces together.

 

On What is Important.

Never stop smiling not even when you’re sad, someone might fall in love with your smile — Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

On Being Larger Than Life.

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly — R. Buckminster Fuller

Only you know what you are capable of.

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On Learning.

Instead of a grand pool of knowledge, a teacher should have a kind heart to facilitate an environment of learning — Yours Truly.

 

On Life.

There are no separate systems. The world is a continuum. Where to draw a boundary around a system depends on the purpose of the discussion― Donella H. Meadows.

 

On Truth.

Look, further on ahead, there, between truth and falsehood, a little empty space — Amrita Preetam.

 

On Becoming Better.

If you believe you can change and start changing your habits, the change becomes real― Charles Duhigg.

(Read why are habits so important.)

On Truth.

Live only with reason— Marcus Aurelius.

 

On Human Condition.

My grandfather was a wild-raspberry patch on the side of a mountain, and my grandmother was a flower garden in a concrete city — From The Stump Ranch Fish by Quinn Grover.

Do you believe that you don’t belong? We all have a place in the world; sometimes, it is the whole world.

 

On Art. 

The business of art is to reveal the relation between man and his environment — D. H. Lawrence.

 

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On Travel and Life.

It is not down in any map; true places never are — Herman Melville.

It is never about following the directions, it is about exploring.

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware — Martin Buber.

(Read what I have learned from traveling the world.)

 

On Writing.

Stories are our souls. Write and edit and tell yours with your whole selves. Tell them as if they are all that matters. It matters that you do it as if that is all there is — Jacqui Banaszynski

(Read my collection of articles on writing.)

 

On Time.

There’s never one sunrise the same or one sunset the same — Carlos Santana.

 

On Fear and Life.

Life is ours to be spent, not to be saved — D.H.Lawrence

Embrace fears. Overpower insecurities. Spend it for it was meant to be lived.

 

On Human Condition. 

The human soul needs actual beauty more than bread —  D. H. Lawrence

(Read and go back to the basics of life with The Little Prince.)

 

On Being Yourself.

Be yourself, everyone else is taken — Oscar Wilde

On Being Larger Than Life.

Another voice in his heart was telling him that he must not fall under the sway of the past and that one can do anything with oneself — Leo Tolstoy (as he wrote in Anna Karenina).

It is about overcoming the voices inside.

On Learning.

Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward ” — Søren Kierkegaard

We don’t know what will tomorrow bring but we can learn from the past.

(Read the 30 life lessons I learned in my twenties: Moving forward with pride.)

 

On Happiness.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony — Mahatma Gandhi

I rarely quote Gandhi, but this quote emphasizes the way of nature and the way of nature is always right.

 

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On Success.

Those who achieve the extraordinary are usually the most ordinary because they have nothing to prove to anybody. Be Humble — Aaron Lauritsen, as he wrote in his book 100 Days Drive.

We do the most amazing things when we mind our own business while rendering prestige useless.

 

On Life.

“Dig deep into your soul” — A Star is Born.

Don’t scratch the surface all your life. Fight. Strive. Bleed. Sweat. Cry. Run. Dig deep.

Once you lose that sense of wonder at being alive, you’re pretty much on the way out — David Bowie.

Don’t get so overshadowed by the problems, that you can’t see what is it all about. Live.

 

On Love and Work.

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it —  Buddha

Devote yourself to your purpose.

(Read why work shouldn’t be boring and how to find and do what you love.)

 

On Travel.

यस्तु सञ्चरते देशान् सेवते यस्तु पण्डितान् !
तस्य विस्तारिता बुद्धिस्तैलबिन्दुरिवाम्भसि !! (A Sanskrit shloka that I can seem to find the source of. Please let me know if you know.)

The wisdom of the one who travels to many countries and serves the learned there increases as an oil drop spreads on water.

(Read why I travel the world.)

trekking+in+dharamshala+kangra+valley+waterfall+dharamkot+hike+himachal+pradesh.jpg

 

On Creativity.

All of my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience. My work is always stronger when I get very selfish about it — David Bowie.

Prestige or fame shouldn’t be your drive. Your only drive could be your own ghosts.

What I like my music to do is awaken the ghosts inside me. Not the demons you understand, but the ghosts — David Bowie.

 

On Success.

The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity — Joshua Waitzkin, as he wrote in his book The Art of Learning.

Nothing special is going to come to save you.

(Read how to nurture the art of learning, inspired by Josh Waitzkin.)

 

On Truth.

Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth —  Albert Camus.

To infinity and beyond.

 

On the Power of time and Persistence. 

If you want to direct your life on a continual positive change, then you need to tap into the most powerful force for change in the universe. Fortunately for you, that force is always with you. That force is time  — Jeff Olsen (as he wrote in his book The Slight Edge).

Time is what keeps everything from happening at once —  Ray Cummings.

If time frightens us, this is because it works out the problem and the solution comes afterward —  Albert Camus.

But how else would it be?

(Read the importance of the process of learning versus the result.)

 

On Happiness. 

Happiness isn’t the result of getting all the other stuff right, but something you can do right now, and that then leads to getting the other stuff right. Be happy and the reason will appear — Jeff Olsen (as he wrote in his book The Slight Edge).

 

On Human Mind. 

Once in a great while, a few times in history, a human mind produces an observation so acute and unexpected that people can’t quite decide which is the more amazing — the fact or the thinking of it — Bill Bryson, as said in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything.

 

On Human Condition and Art. 

A human being is the only animal that thinks about future — Daniel Gilbert, as he wrote in his book Stumbling Upon Happiness.

I began to experience the fullness of winter in Kashmir, and finally understood what artist Cezanne meant when, as he painted, he attempted to capture the multiple reflections of a scene. “The landscape thinks itself in me…I am its consciousness,” he once said — Farhana Qazi, quoting the French Painter Cezanne in her book Secrets of the Kashmir Valley.

(Read the 15 things we overthink about)

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On Suffering. 

Is it not a relief from suffering to be permitted to express it? —Paul Cézanne.

On the Past and Doing Better.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better — Maya Angelou.

Don’t rue over the past. We couldn’t have done any better when we didn’t know any better. To live is to learn.

On Hope. 

Hope is the magic carpet that transports us from the present moment into the realm of infinite possibilities —  H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

On Truth.

Say not, ‘I have found the truth,’ but rather, ‘I have found a truth.’ — Khalil Gibran.

 

On Human Condition.

Don’t underestimate the power of a human being. If needed, human consciousness can reach farther than the depths of the ocean—Yours truly.

उध्दरेदात्मनात्मानम् — udhdaredātmanātmānam —  Save yourself by yourself —  Swami Vivekananda

No one hurts you as much as you hurt yourself.

(Read how to manipulate consciousness to change reality.)

 

On the Small Things of Life.

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life — William Morris.

Without the details, the bigger picture won’t matter.

 

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On Worrying. 

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it ― Daniel Kahneman, as he wrote in his book Thinking Fast and Slow.

 

On Power. 

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any —  Alice Walker.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent — Eleanor Roosevelt.

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth is still going round the sun — George Orwell.

 

On Happiness and Experience.

The way an experience ends is more important to us than the total amount of pleasure we receive — until we think about it — Daniel Gilbert, as he said in his book Stumbling Upon Happiness.

The ending might seem to matter the most until you think about the experience. So think.

 

On Happiness and Human Condition. 

We treat our future selves as though they were our children, spending most of the hours of our days constructing tomorrows that we hope will make them happy — Daniel Gilbert, as he explained in his book Stumbling Upon Happiness.

To be a human being means to possess a feeling of inferiority which constantly presses towards its own conquest. The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge for conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation ― Alfred Adler.

It is up to us to stop it.

(Read how to choose between ambition and happiness, lessons inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche.)

 

On the Redundancy of Abundance. 

So much is available, almost nothing can be found — Pico Iyer.

 

On Human Condition.

And dimly she realized one of the great laws of the human soul: that when the emotional soul receives a wounding shock, which does not kill the body, the soul seems to recover as the body recovers. But this is only appearance. It is really only the mechanism of the re-assumed habit. Slowly, slowly the wound to the soul begins to make itself felt, like a bruise, which only slowly deepens its terrible ache, till it fills all the psyche. And when we think we have recovered and forgotten, it is then that the terrible after-effects have to be encountered at their worst — David Herbert Lawrence, as he wrote in his book Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Time only seems to cover up a wound while the experience seeps into the deepest crevices of our consciousness.

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

One who daily puts the finishing touches to his life is never in want of time —  Seneca, as he noted in Letters From A Stoic.

Live as if no one is watching.

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On Doing Less. 

Most people think that big success is time-consuming and complicated. As a result, their calendars and to-do lists become overloaded and overwhelming. Success starts to feel out of reach so they settle for less. Unaware that big success comes when we do a few things well, they get lost trying to do too much and in the end accomplish too little. Over time they lower their expectations, abandon their dreams, and allow their life to get small. This is the wrong thing to make small.

Going small is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It is recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. When you go as small as possible, you will be staring at one thing. And that’s the point — Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, as they explained in their book The One Thing.

 

On Forgiveness.

I thought that I needed your apology to move on. I really needed to forgive myself first —  Najwa Zebian.

When someone wrongs us, we need to forgive ourselves for trusting that person. Only then her side of the story comes in.

 

On Consciousness.

We don’t just treasure our memories. We are our memories — Daniel Gilbert, as he illustrated in his book Stumbling on Happiness.

On Truth.

Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation — Friedrich Nietzsche

We need much less than we think we do.

On Truth and Life.

The truth is, we know so little about life, we don’t really know what the good news is and what the bad news is —  Kurt Vonnegut.

 

On Human Condition.

Caught in the deluge, we were torn — wanting to run for shelter but tempted, also, to sing in the rain — Joyce Maynard, as she wrote in An 18-Year-Old Looks Back on Life.

(Read about mindfulness and how to practice it, lessons inspired by Buddha as interpreted by Osho.)

 

 

On Being Larger Than Life.

To use your head you have to go out of your mind— Timothy Leary.

Psychedelics or no psychedelics, this is true.

 

One moment is dark,

and the next moment there is light,

you don’t have the slightest hint

of what is going to come next,

then why do you knit your brows,

smile for the now,

smile for the blue sky under which you sleep,

smile for the bright moon that gives strength,

smile for the bread you have just had,

smile for that you still breathe,

because you don’t know what would happen the next moment,

but don’t be scared,

for you cannot change anything,

all you can do is face the today fearlessly,

and that might just do it.

By Yours Truly.

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On Love and About Everything in Life.

To live in this world

you must be able

to do three things

to love what is mortal;

to hold it

against your bones knowing

your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.

By Mary Oliver, as said in the poem “In Blackwater Woods”.

To the Great Ocean,

Of the sunken arm that throws up a drop of water nothing remains but a kiss of salt.

Of the bodies of mankind along your shores a misty scent of wet flowers is all that lasts.

Your energy seems to slip away without ever being exhausted,

it seems to circle back into your calm.

By Pablo Neruda, from his poetry book, The Essentials of Neruda.

 

On Pausing. 

With every click of the shutter,
you’re trying to press pause on your life.
If only so you can feel a little more comfortable moving on
living in a world stuck on play — 
Morii, From Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

 

On Strength.

So few grains of happiness
measured against all the dark
and still the scales balance.

The world asks of us
only the strength we have and we give it.
Then it asks more, and we give it.
by Jane Hirshfield.

 

Let’s inspire ourselves when we are down, but not before accepting our feelings, letting them linger for a while, looking at them objectively, and when we know better, we can move on to deal with more.

In a moment, a moment is gone. And all we have is this moment. Let’s spend it with reason.

 

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Inspiration Quotes about Life - Find Your Inspiration | Deep Powerful Quotes on Life | Quotes of Motivation | inspiring quotes about life | best quotes about life | life learnings | self help | positivity | life hacks | motivational quotes | inspirational quotes Life Inspiration | Happiness | How To Be Happy | how to feel better | Self Development Tips | Living Better | Life Coaching Tools | Life inspiration Quotes #lifeinspiration #happiness #positivity #life #inspirational #quotes #lifequotes

Which one of these encouraging life quotes did you relate to the most? Tell me in the comments.

 

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