Browsing Category



A Peek Into the Past: What Does Bali’s History Look Like?

Bali, the beautiful island in Indonesia, has a rich history that is laden with stories of natural beauty, volcanoes, invasions, art and hospitality. This island is a vivid tapestry of adopting and adapting. 

This island has modernised and matched pace with the rest of the world while preserving its natural beauty and rich culture. Bali has been inhabited since the palaeolithic era and witnessed several stages of human evolution. 

Relationship With India

India and Bali’s relationship dates to 2000 BC. Around this time, Bali began to attract a large number of settlers from Java, Assam, Yunnan and Tibet. Evidence also suggests that by 700 AD, many Indonesian islands, including Bali, were practising Indian governance systems. 

Hinduism arrived in Bali from Java. It is believed that Hinduism was adopted in Bali from the 7th century onwards. There is also evidence to suggest that Buddhism arrived a century later in the 8th century. 

Today, 83% of Balinese people practice Hinduism, combined with animism (belief in spirits). Balinese art, music, craft, food and architecture, all showcase its strong ties with Hinduism and India. The island is dotted with several majestic and spectacular temples and the country celebrates most of the Indian festivals in their own way. 

Image Source

Invasions – Ancient and Modern

Bali was invaded several times by the rulers of Java. It has also been under Javan rule for several centuries. The most notable regime has been the rule of Gajah Mada who established the Hindu Majapahit control over the island. In the 15th century, the Majapahit dynasty fell to the Demak Sultanate, and Bali became independent. 

In the 16th Century, Bali was discovered by European traders. The first to arrive on the island was a Portuguese expedition. Over the next two centuries, Balinese kings collaborated with Europeans to strengthen their economy and defences against neighbouring islands. In 1846, Bali was attacked by the Dutch military. The locals refused to surrender and fought them bravely.

This battle was followed by a century-long Dutch rule on the island. During this period, the island became popular as an exotic tourist destination, and to this day, it is flocked by tourists from all over the world. 

During World War II, the Japanese invaded and occupied it until the war got over. After the Japanese surrender, Indonesia was declared as an independent nation. Today, Bali is one of the 34 provinces of the Republic of Indonesia. 


Modern Day Bali

Today, Bali is a favourite destination for family holidays. This island, with its rich culture and pristine white beaches, attracts tourists from far and wide. It is where people come to hike up the volcanic mountains, dive in the deep sea, enjoy water sports, visit the spectacular temples and learn yoga in one of its many meditation retreats. Have you visited Bali yet? Make it your next holiday destination! Come alone or come with your family, you are sure to fall in love with Bali. 

Check out these range of Indonesia & Bali holiday packages from SOTC as you plan your next trip! 

To explore holidays & experiences in Indonesia with SOTC visit: https://www.sotc.in/international-tour-packages/indonesia-tour-packages?utm_source=Blogger&utm_medium=Blog&utm_campaign=IndonesiaNTO

South India Travel

Best hotels to stay at in Goa

Goa, the forever party capital of India has retained its charm even after years and years of tourism. The golden sands opening up to the Arabian Sea with multitude shacks offering Goan delicacies, Goa remains a forever favourite beach destination with many.

While Coronavirus may have stopped our Goa plans this year, we can always dream about it! In that spirit, let us talks about some of the best hotels to stay at in Goa.

1) Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Goa

Located on the south coast of Goa on the Benaulim beach, this 140 room resort is spacious to say the least. There are various room types to choose from like the ocean view, suites, family rooms etc. They have 3 speciality restaurants, a beachfront seasonal shack and a 24-hour all-day diner to cater to your needs. They also have 2 spas so that you can just relax here all day long after a morning of fun at the beach.

The rooms also boast of walk-in showers, blackout curtains and soundproof rooms. During these COVID times, Taj Exotica has also taken special care and you can expect well-sanitised linens, floors marked for social distancing, thermal screening for all guests, digital technology for seamless check-ins and doctor available on-call 24×7.

You can see more about hotels in Goa here.

2) ITC Grand, Goa

Also nestled in South Goa amidst lush 45 acres of landscaped gardens, ITC Grand Goa is another wonderful property to stay at. The hotel has direct access to the pristine Arossim beach which will definitely make your holiday a better experience. The style of this resort is beach-style and the architecture draws inspiration from the Indo-Portuguese vintage.

There are many different types of room types like an ocean view, pool view, suites and family rooms. During COVID, you can expect enhanced security and sanitisation of the entire resort. All lines are sanitized in the high-temperature wash, Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas, Regular temperature checks for staff. They have also introduced the WeAssure programme which is their commitment to hygiene and safety.

3) Fairfield by Marriott, Goa Anjuna

Located in North Goa’s iconic Anjuna beach, Fairfield by Marriott offers well-appointed guest rooms, which all feature private balconies. In-room dining is also available from the Kava restaurant from where you can have a wide array of local and international dining options.

There is a 24-hour fitness centre as well which helps you maintain a healthy body. They even have flexible meeting spaces and business centres as well if you want to hold a business meeting. Since the location is so iconic, there are many beaches around the property and even options for a lively night out.

Marriott is providing a safe environment that aligns with expert protocols for working to defeat COVID-19.

4) Caravela Beach Resort, Goa

This 5-star Deluxe Beach Resort comprises of 201 rooms, many which have direct sea views. Located on the lovely hite sands of Varca Beach, South-Goa, this can provide a lovely getaway for those who are craving some quiet time. A 45-minute car ride from Goa’s Dabolim Airport, it is built on a 23-acre estate, with a large golf course and a 275-meter long beach-front. 

When you enter the resort, it welcomes you with an 83-foot high Atrium lobby, making it Goa’s tallest and largest lobby.  Each guest-room has an attached outdoor balcony. For entertainment, the Resort has 4 Restaurants and multiple bars. The ‘Swim-Up Pool Bar’ and the ‘Beach Shack’ (Seasonal) are especially popular with guests. There are suites, ocean-view rooms and non-smoking rooms available.

They have come up with the Caravela Cares Program which is a well-being, hygiene and safety initiative.

5) Alila Diwa, Goa

Located 20 minutes away from the Goa Dabolim International Airport and only 500 meters from the serene white sand Gonsua Beach in Majorda, All Diwa Goa is one of the best 5-star hotels in Goa. All the rooms are spacious and elegantly designed. All the rooms have the Goa Dabolim International Airport and only 500 meters from the serene white sand Gonsua Beach in Majorda. They also have an all-day diner, a poolside bar and lounge. You can look forward to relaxing at Spa Alila which serves as your wellness retreat that provides a range of relaxing and rejuvenating western, ancient and ayurvedic spa treatments.

They even have a Play Alila Kid’s Club and Teen Zone which offers many activities for children.

They offer suites, non-smoking rooms, family rooms and much more. You can look for more hotels in Goa at tripadvisor.com


No matter which season, Goa always remains a favourite with many. You can always have a different experience in Goa by staying at some of the best hotels in Goa. 


Honeymoon in The Philippines

So, have you planned your honeymoon yet? Not a clue yet? Looking for a perfect honeymoon destination with picturesque landscapes and which also pampers your wallets? Don’t let the question keep nagging! We’ve got your back here!

Topping the charts of honeymoon hotspots across the globe is the majestic country of 7000 islands: The Philippines. It is the ultimate destination for the most romantic getaway with your partner. Be it holding hands and taking walks on the white sands, beside the shimmering waters at a moonlit beach, stargazing, spending quality time at a secluded beach, experiencing and enjoying the nightlife, watching the sunsets together and sipping cold beer or renting a studio apartment and forgetting about the rest of the world. The Philippines is your dream destination!

Here is an elaborate list of what you shouldn’t miss, while honeymooning in Philippines:

1. Boracay Island

An idyllic honeymoon on this romantic island is a must for couples. The white sand beaches, clear blue waters and the tropical holiday vibes will astound you. You can go kayaking, scuba diving, cliff jumping, island hopping and jet skiing here. Built on the edge of a cliff is the Spider House Bar that serves drinks and delicacies with a spell-bounding view of the sunsets.

Catering to the needs of your top-most priority: privacy, there are secluded beaches with resorts and hotels at reasonable prices on the Banyugan Beach, White Beach, Punta Bunga Beach and the Lapuz Lapuz Beach. Try out the drool-worthy fresh seafood at D’Talipapa.

2. Coron

The secluded natural landscapes here are a must visit for a private yet adventurous getaway. It is also one of the most economical picks for a getaway. You can easily reach here through a ferry ride or taking a flight from Manila.

The hotspots are lake Barracuda and lake Kayangan. The limestones and vibrant coral reefs will leave you enchanted. You can also opt for a island hopping tour to nearby islands of Sangatisla, Diwaran or Calamian. A lot of water sports and activities are available here to keep you engaged. There are secret and untouched lagoons around here to explore with your muse!

La Natura Resort is one of the best budget stay options. Or you can book a private island resort for less than half the price you’d pay somewhere else like El Nido for example! The most popular activities amongst couples are hiking, scuba diving, snorkelling and simply chasing waterfalls!

3. Donsol

Renowned for registering among the very few places that let you experience a whale shark encounter, Donsol is an adventure like no other. You can swim along whale sharks, click pictures and boast away! The prime season for this particular adventure lasts from November through May. 

Another mesmerising experience is to hop in a firefly cruise and tour. It is a one-hour trip and is hands down, one of the most romantic experiences one can dream of. As the cruise takes you down the river, the skies are illuminated with plenty of fireflies as the stars twinkle beyond the deep blue skies. The water underneath shimmers with bioluminescent planktons. You can just hold hands and take this serene experience all in, one moment at a time!

4. Palawan Island

A pool of romantic destinations such as El Nido, Port Barton and Coron fall in the vicinity of each other is all for you to explore once you arrive here. This paradisal destination is neatly hidden away among the mountains. It is also known as the Last Frontier and is home to the most beautiful coral reefs and diverse aquatic life. It is noteworthy that the Palawan Island has been named the most beautiful island of the world multiple times.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit destination for an unforgettable honeymooning experience. There are fishing villages, dive sites, mountains and jungles here. Puerto Princea Underground River, National Park, limestone cliffs, Cathedral, Night Market for shopping and palatable seafood as well as street-food are worth exploring during your stay.

The entirety of Palawan can be explored within a week. For shorter stays, choose either El Nido or Coron only. Even with a week to spare, you won’t be able to see and do everything as this island is so full of adventures! For that reason, it might be better to book a Palawan tour package from a local agent, as transfers between locations can otherwise consume too much precious time if you try to do everything on your own.

5. Cebu

Featuring a ton of islets and islands under its umbrella, Cebu is a hotspot for romantic destinations that are quick rides away from each other and offer an exotic getaway like none other. Getting here is easiest and most economical if you catch a flight to Cebu directly from anywhere in India. Then you can use cars or ferry rides to explore one island after the other.

An adventurous experience with your partner in crime is to go diving with the majestic thresher sharks in Malapascua island, with whale sharks in Oslob, with wild dolphins in the clear blue waters at Pescador island or with sardines at the Sardine Beach, Moalboal. There is an endless line of beaches here offering warm culinary treats and water-sport activities. The Chocolate hills of Bohol are known for their naturally brown landscapes that resemble your favourite confectionery! Canyoneering near the Kawsan falls is popular amongst the tourists that flock here all year round.

6. Manila

The National Capital of Philippines is where most of the flights from India are scheduled to land. Manila is well within reach of the famous tourist destinations around and present in the heart of the country. Shared modes of conveyance within the city, ferry and bus rides to nearby hotspots, plethora of stay and dining options make it a perfect destination for a budget stay.

There are pubs and bars that will ensure a happening nightlife in the busy streets of the city. Not to mention the exclusive range of culinary treats to pamper your palate varying from warm traditional delicacies to exciting street-food options.

The Taal volcano, museums of natural and cultural heritage, Churches and Cathedrals, remains of old forts, shopping centres and Pagsanjan Falls must be on your checklist.

The nightlife hotspots include Makati, El Chupakabra and Z Hostel for cheap beers, DJ and partying all night long.

Not to mention that the locals here are amicable and will guide you for an amazing tour around the place if you haven’t organised and planned already. We all know the excitement and hurry in which honeymoons are planned! 

So, get on that plane while you still pamper your wallets and head for the most memorable honeymoon one can dream of!

Lifestyle Malaysia Travel

Things To Do In Sabah, Malaysia


Borneo is the largest island in Asia and the third largest in the world. The island is divided between the countries of Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia. The southern part of the island is a part of Indonesia, whereas Brunei takes up a small section in the northern part of the island with the majority belonging to Malaysia. In the Malaysia side of Borneo is a hidden gem of a region, Sabah. There are lots of things to do in Sabah, such as trekking, canoeing, rafting, exploring Rafflesia and more.   Continue Reading

Malaysia Travel

Guide To Sabah, Malaysia


South East Asia is one of the most popular destinations for Indians when they consider International travel. Although countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia are usually on the radar of Indian travellers, not a lot of people know about this hidden gem, Borneo. Borneo is the largest island in Asia and the third largest in the world. It is shared by three countries, Indonesia occupies the southern part of the island, whereas the northern side of the island is occupied by Brunei and Malaysia. Borneo is also known for having the second oldest rainforest in the world and is even older than the Amazon Rainforest.

In the northern part of Borneo lies the tiny nation of Brunei. Although small, but thanks to its extensive petroleum and natural gas fields, it is actually considered a developed country. During its peak, around the mid 1400s, Brunei used to occupy the majority of the island of Borneo. Now, most of the northern part of Borneo, majorly the Sarawak and Sabah region belong to Malaysia


The region of Sabah lies towards the northernmost side of Borneo. The capital city of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu which also houses the major airport in Sabah. Kota Kinabalu, popularly known as KK, is a major tourist destination and also a gateway to explore Sabah and Borneo.

How To Reach Sabah, Malaysia

In order to reach Kota Kinabalu from India, one would have to take two flights. One flight to Kuala Lumpur and then from Kuala Lumpur, another flight to Kota Kinabalu would be required. Indians only require a Malaysia Visa for both Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu. It is fairly easy to obtain a visa as well. There are two types of Visa that tourists can apply – E-Visa and Entri Visa. While the E-Visa can grant multiple entries into Malaysia and takes about 3-4 days to obtain, Entri Visa is much faster granting single entry permit and can be obtained within a few hours.


Currency in Sabah, Malaysia

The currency used in Sabah, Malaysia is Ringgit. The exchange value is around 17-20 Rupees per Malaysia Ringgit. Malay is the official language although English is widely spoken in Kota Kinabalu. Islam is the official state religion but you do see a lot of Christians as well. Most of the places in Sabah will have a Type G port for charging, so it’s always good to carry a converter while travelling to Sabah, Malaysia.


Sabah is home to Mount Kinabalu, which is the highest mountain in Malaysia with a height of approximately 4100 m. It is also one of the youngest mountains in the world and is said to be growing by a few centimetres every year. Popular activities in Sabah include diving and snorkelling in the water facing parts of the island and trekking or mountain biking in the interiors of the region with the picturesque view of Mount Kinabalu in the background. 

Where to Stay

As per accommodation requirements, there are plenty of stay options at Sabah. For those who want to spend their time in the lap of luxury, hotels such as the Shangri La Rasa Ria, offer numerous options for relaxation. The resort has its own golf course, private beach and also provides multiple tour options to its guests.


For those who would like to live like the locals and experience the culture, one can explore homestays. Guests can choose to stay in nearby villages with the locals and experience their rich culture and delicious food. One of the recommended Tour Operators in Sabah is Trek Finder Tours, who offer a variety of popular tours and activities in the area. 


It’s a great time to visit Malaysia and explore it to the fullest. The Malaysian Government is promoting Malaysia as one of the best destinations to travel. It has recently launched its campaign Visit Malaysia 2020 to attract more people to travel to Malaysia. In case you are planning a trip to Malaysia or South East Asia, Sabah should definitely be on your list.


Solo Travelers Guide to Orlando, Florida

Are you planning to travel solo to Orlando? A great idea, after all, Orlando an amazing vacation destination. However, while travelling on your own and alone can fun and exciting, it can be a bit overwhelming too, especially if you carry limited information. Orlando is a fun-filled city with endless attractions for its visitors. It is a great place to meet people and one can get adventurous and spontaneous.

Continue Reading


Famous tourist places in Andhra Pradesh Which You Must Include On Your Bucket-List

Enriched with rivers, temples and natural resources coupled with the cultural heritage of India add a unique vibe to Andhra Pradesh. There are in numerous places here at Andhra Pradesh which are really alluring and tempting. This is the abode of various attractions with historical legacy, spellbinding culture and what not!  Then come here at Andhra Pradesh that offers you wit amicable people and enjoy its worldwide repute. Apart from all these this country has the longest coastline in the country.

So grab the opportunity to soothe your eye in these delightful charms, have an excursion to the few mentioned tourist places and enjoy a memorable trip to India’s most inspiring state.

#1 – Lepakshi, Anantapur.

Lepakshi proves to be a small and a bit old fashioned town. This very small town attracts fascinating archeologists, calling out for the culture and history of loving enthusiasts. This place is known to be the treasure house of rich culture and historic temples.


The best time to visit Lepakshi is from October to February which you can plan at very affordable rates by using IRCTC Ticket Booking options from any place of India. The Vijayanagara architectural style has its own charm, boosting over the rest. So mentioning few attractions at Lepakshi:

  • A huge statue of Monolithic Nandi carved out of a granite stone casting its spell on the passerby.
  • The Veerabhadra temple is also popular for this sculpture and architectural beauty.
  • The Lepakshi Temple has its own added charm.

#2 – Vishakhapatnam.

Want to spend some time with your loved ones in the middle of beaches, landscapes and man-made wonders at the same time. Then stop thinking for other options, stick to Vishakhapatnam, this is the place for you!


Vizag is also targeted by many due to its cultural past and also having the oldest shipyard in India. This “Jewel of East Coast’s” separates it from the other states. The few attractions which you would not like to miss there:

  • The Submarine Museum showcases various pictures, artifacts and other articles revealing our glorious past.
  • Araku Valley is another offbeat destination with immense natural beauty.
  • Kailasa Giri is another fascinating hill station providing you with striking views of the sea.
  • Rishikonda Beach is another must visit in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Situated at a height of about 705 above the sea level, Borra Caves is considered to the largest cave.


Kurnool is the treasure house of various ancient monuments. Walking through the lanes of the historic city reveals you with the bygone era. The fort ruins and the caves are enough to cast a spell on you. It proves to be the appropriate place for the nature lovers to cherish the desired bliss here. Few attractions to mention are:

  • Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary takes you deep into the wild.
  • Belum Caves adorned with intricate patterns of water streams.
  • Don’t miss the Oravakallu Rock Garden which is truly fascinating.
  • Last but not the least Sri Yagantiswamy Temple in Yaganti offers you with an overview of the cultural rich tradition of India.

#4-  Vijayvada, Krishna

This city is well known for the Kanak temple overlooking the city. Hieun Tsang the Chinese pilgrim decided to plan his stay here as he was unable to resist the ethereal allure. Book hotel at affordable rates from budget hotel to 5 star villas in Andhra using Oyo Coupons. Few must visit places of the city are as follows

  • The Undavalli Caves showcases the Indian rock cutting architecture
  • The Kondapalli forts allow you with an overview of the entire valley
  • All above the Bhavani island is a much-awaited destination and relaxing gateways for the weekends.

#5- Tirupati, Chittoor

The Tirumala Venkateswara Swamy Temple, also known as Tirupati is one of the famous temples Of India because of its evoking spiritual feeling among the people. This city is considered as one of the best attracting tourist spots in India,  calling over thousands of people each day.

  • The natural rock amazing garden, the Silathoranam grabs the attention of many people.
  • Akasaganga Teertham, as the name itself, has some immense religious significance.
  • The Chandragiri Fort stands all the above overruling the city.
  • The Swami Pushkarini Lake is considered to be extremely holy owned by Lord Vishnu.

Hope you enjoyed reading about the few mentioned places in Andhra Pradesh that or, the plan makes it different from the other states in India. After knowing about so many interesting places to visit for, it would surely urge one to plan their visit to Andhra Pradesh. So just don’t wait , just make your plan and enjoy your home stay!

Malaysia Travel

The Ultimate Guide To Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur is a city which boasts of tall skyscrapers, smiling locals and lots of natural attractions apart from providing a splendid shopping experience. We stayed in the main part of the city called Bucket Bintang. It’s close to all the main attractions of the city like the Petronas Towers, China Town & even the KL tower. Moreover, malls like KLCC are just walking distance if you stay in an area like Bukit Bintang. If you’re a first timer in Kuala Lumpur, this is the only guide you will need for KL:

Continue Reading


Georgia, The Country That Will Bring You Peace

Do you ever feel like getting out of your dull and boring life and going on a holiday? If you do, then you aren’t the only one. The hectic schedules of the current age are making more and more people opt for frequent holidays. This is actually good as they are able to stress out by visiting new places. Georgia is a beautiful country that you may have heard of. The tremendous scenic beauty forces people to avail for a Georgia visa and go out for a long trip. So, here we will introduce you to the country so that you are the next one to book your tickets.

About Georgia:

Georgia is a country that is situated in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. It falls between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. The capital of this country is Tbilisi which is also the largest city. Georgia took an active part in the world politics and is now in a stable and happy state with more than 3.5 million people residing in it.

The main religion of the country is Christianity of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Georgian is the language that is spoken countrywide. A lot of history is present in the country due to its crucial role with the world. A person visiting the country should definitely look into them.

Places to see in Georgia:

  • Tbilisi:

When you are in Georgia, you cannot miss out on its capital city. You will be amazed to see the beauty of the city along with the hospitality of the people. The city is situated in the banks of the Mtkvari river and enclosed by mountains. You will need to roam through the Old Town to take in all the colours. The city has the contrast of the modern along with the most basic life of people. Do visit the Narikala Fortress to get a panoramic view of the whole of Tbilisi.

  • Mtskheta:

Religion is a very important part of Georgia. They accepted Christianity a long time back and they still follow it dominantly. This city is the religious capital of the country and it holds some of the important churches. You have to visit the Svetitskhoveli, Jari and Samtavro Monastery to know more about the religion. You will also get to know about Saint Nino, a woman who is said to have spread Christianity in the whole of Georgia.

  • Vardzia:

This spectacular place holds a cave monastery which looks extremely beautiful. It is situated in Southern Georgia near Aspindza. The monastery was constructed during the 12th century and several monks lived in it. It acted as a city in its own. You can roam through the places to actually see the brilliance of it. You will do need to pay a little fee to get inside the place.

  • Svaneti:

When you are in a country like Georgia, you should see the native places where people actually stay and make their living. Svaneti is a province lying in Northernwestern Georgia at the heart of the Caucasus Mountains. You have to drive to the place crossing through the rugged terrain by the mountains. The villages are built along the slopes and they look strikingly beautiful. The Alpine landscape will give you the feeling of staying at the place. Ushuguli is a village that you must visit when you are in the province. It is 2200m above the sea level. You will also need to visit Mestia as it is the central village of the province.

So, here are the places that you must visit in Georgia. Make friends when you are in the country because you will fall in love with the people. We hope that you have a great time when you visit Georgia on your next trip.