It’s the holiday season. But instead of traveling, I am at home planning my travel calendar for the next year and places to visit in 2020. I usually plan more international destinations but this time I decided to focus mostly on India. There is a sense of comfort in revisiting some of our neighbours as well and I have a sudden urge to head to the familiar and old destinations in the Asian subcontinent. There are old favourites like Singapore and Bangkok and in India, I have a wish list that includes beaches, temples, forts, and festivals. Here is my bucket list for 2020
I remember visiting Bangkok for the first time over twenty-five years ago and it was part of a longer trip. However, I had just a couple of days here and we barely had time to explore the city. On my second visit, I spent a little more than a couple of days, but I realized that Bangkok needed more time. There are many facets to Bangkok – from culture, food, shopping to nightlife and I would like to linger here for a while and explore. The islands and beaches of Thailand are also beckoning me. Sharath, my husband who is a certified scuba diver went to Koh Samui and Koh Tao last year and he is planning more diving expeditions in Thailand. And I am hoping to join him as well. I am still planning the finer details of the trip and the duration, but I would love to say hello to Bangkok in 2020
I have been to Singapore over six times and there have been many more visits on transit to Changi, but I simply love the country. I discover something new every time I am here. And Singapore does not disappoint either. It always has something new up its sleeve. However, I am keen to look beyond the tourist attractions and focus mostly on local neighborhoods, the art, and architecture, the melange of different cultures and the stories that echo from the lanes and bylanes of the country. Singapore also has several natural attractions – from reservoirs, rivers, islands, and beaches besides natural reserves and I would love to lose myself in the lap of verdant greenery. And hence this vibrant destination is one of the places to visit in 2020
3.Leh – Ladakh
Leh Ladakh is one of the most special destinations for me. It has been a decade since I went there with my husband and we spent over ten days then. Breathtakingly beautiful, the stark landscape is forever etched in my mind. However, ten days was just about enough to get a glimpse. This year however I would love to go back and see more of Ladakh. I would like to be there during one of the festivals – preferably the Hemis festival and soak in the atmosphere. When I went to Ladakh over a decade ago, I camped on the banks of the Pangong Tso and went to Tso Moriri and Tso Kar. I hope to explore more lakes and do some bird watching too.
My memories of Port Blair are so vivid that I can never forget the first trip to Andaman Islands as a student. We sailed from Chennai (then Madras) to Port Blair on January 1, 1993, and landed there on my birthday on January 4. It was an epic trip and was the best and worst of times. While we had a great time, we were unlucky on the return as there was a strike by the crew, and we were stranded. Ironically there were no flights back then. I did go back to Andaman Islands many years later, but I barely had any time to explore. I spent a couple of nights in Havelock Island and it was time to head back. However, I would love to go back and do some island hopping and get my share of sun and sand. Sharath is also planning his next scuba adventure here and is also hoping to do some bird watching as well. So Andaman Islands are definitely on our list and one of the places to visit in 2020
I went to Pune as a student, when I was studying in Mumbai, but I have no memories of it except of course FTII. However, I did go to Lonavala and Khandala recently and was lost in the Sahyadris. I have been planning a trip to Pune ever since and explore some of the destinations around the city. There are walking tours and food tours in the city, but I would also like to do a few day trips and explore old Maratha forts and temples. There are also a few birding sites that I would like to explore and lose myself in the mountains and lakes.
Strangely I have always been to Kolkata only on transit. And besides the Howrah Bridge over the Hoogly River, I have never really seen or experienced the city. In 2020 I hope to change that. I would like to explore Kolkata with a local and do some walking tours and food tours. I also want to go there just before Durga Puja to see the city getting ready for the festival. There are so many day trips and weekend getaways that I have planned, and West Bengal is on my bucket list for 2020.
Travel plans are the easiest to make and you can just close your eyes and pen down the destinations that beckon you. The only challenge is to choose the specific destinations and places to visit in 2020 as I have a never-ending bucket list. For someone like me, who has an insatiable wanderlust, the perfect travel companion is the Club Vistara SBI Card PRIME. The Club Vistara SBI Card PRIME benefits include free tickets, access to lounges, free cancellation, insurance among other rewards.
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