A lot of our family and friends knew we were supposed to head to Nepal after Hong Kong. The Shuklas and Manish and his mother were supposed to visit Mt. Kailash and Lake Mansarovar in Tibet region. For those who don’t know, the Mountain and Lake are very significant to the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. We had booked a 13 days onland journey from Kathmandu.
We are almost packed and ready to set on our journey, despite the recent devastating earthquake but about 2 to 3 weeks before our departure, our tour agency informed us that there are some issues. Apparently the Chinese Govt had restrictions providing permits to the region, especially to Indians passport holders. We assume these restrictions were likely to be due to the chaos caused by the recent earthquake.
The tour agency informed us of alternate Helicopter routes for Aussies (Manish and his mother) but those would cost more and the dates interfered with our India tour plans. We decided to postpone the trip for next year, though it is certain that Manish and I wouldn’t be able to visit as we are likely to be in the other part of the world.
The next big question was – what do we do for those 13 days now! The family discussed various options such as:
Visit Nepal nevertheless
Our flight tickets were booked so we could still visit Nepal. We did some research and while there were still places to see, the monsoon is at it’s peak in August so we decided to skip Nepal.
Visit Indonesia (Bali / Lombok)
As I am an Indian Passport holder, we had to look at places that provide Visa On Arrival for Indians or no visas required at all. Though some of the options looked appealing, Manish and I decided to skip Indonesia as Bali is relatively close to Australia and we could visit it anytime later too.
Visit Ladakh in India
When we were planning India and places to visit, we decided to skip Ladakh. As we were supposed to travel to Mt. Kailash, we assumed the mountains and landscape would be similar. Additionally, getting to Ladakh from Delhi isn’t too tough so we could visit it in future with friends. But now as Nepal wasn’t happening, we had the option to go to the mountains in India. We looked at getting to Ladakh and quickly realised that the onland journey would be tough because the northern region has monsoons as well. The roads will be wet and there is always a possibilty of landslide. We then looked at option to fly to highest point we could but that isn’t advised as we could easily get altitude sickness. So, this option was out too!
My brother, Suyash, suggested scuba diving instead. This was a great opportunity for Manish and Suyash to get their Open Water Diving License. And, as I already hold Advance Open Water Diving License, I got excited very quickly. We started looking at places we could go for diving in August and Indonesia and eastern Sri Lanka were the best options. After doing some initial research, we collectively agreed to head to Sri Lanka.
So, this post comes to you from Nelavali Beach in east Sri Lanka. The boys are out in the sea, doing their confinded water exercise and I relax under cool shade of low coconut tree on this clear skies day, enjoying the breeze and watching and hearing the waves. Life is good, I must say :)
Btw, we have to applied to our insurance company, Southern Cross, to claim the costs of our flight tickets to and from Kathmandu. We are hoping they settle the bill. We will keep you posted of the outcome.