Best-kept Travel Secrets from Kashmir to New Zealand

by wandering girl Mayuri Singh

With a fascination for offbeat destinations and a passion for unique experiences, travel enthusiast Mayuri Singh has enjoyed some truly extraordinary experiences. She shared the best ones with us.

Best-kept travel secrets

The most breathtaking sight you’ve ever seen

Simultaneous views of the North and South Islands of New Zealand while free falling from a 16,500ft skydive is definitely one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen. The thrill of jumping off the helicopter, free-falling for over a minute, and then the parachute ride of around 5-10 minutes over the turquoise ocean and lush green Abel Tasman National Park is etched in my memory for a lifetime.

A dramatic moment from your travels

Best-kept travel secrets

I rented a motorbike to explore in and around Dalat, Vietnam. While returning from one of the waterfalls (which was around 45 km away from the city), instead of taking the longer well-connected highway, I took a shorter route that turned out to be almost deserted. In the middle of nowhere, suddenly my bike stopped; the self-start of the bike had given up. Thankfully, I knew how to kick-start it and after a couple of trials, it worked. And off I went, literally flying on the bike to cross that inside deserted lane asap. I was most vulnerable during that time.

Best-kept travel secrets

Kalaroos Caves in North Kashmir is one of my best-kept travel secrets indeed.

Anyone who likes to explore the offbeat will love them.  

Locals believe that this network of ancient caves starts from Kalaroos in Lolab Valley, North Kashmir and reaches right up to Russia (Roos). In the olden days, traders and people used to travel between Russia and Kashmir through these caves. Although no scientific evidence has been found to support this, no one will ever know now as most of these caves have been blocked due to the sensitivity of the area.

The one memory that stands out for me is not really about Kalaroos Caves, but the Kashmiri hospitality I experienced there. Apart from the visit to the caves, I spent time with my local guide, Gulzar, and his family. They welcomed me with open arms, stuffed my hungry stomach with delicious hot Kashmiri food, and fed me freshly picked strawberries from their backyard.

One of my best-kept travel secrets: As the exploration involves a lot of walking and climbing, wear comfortable clothes, and sturdy shoes and carry water. This hidden gem in North Kashmir will surely leave you spellbound!

Best-kept travel secrets

One travel mistake I’ll never make again

While travelling alone, never take a shortcut that is empty; better to take a route which is busy or crowded even if it is longer. I have not made that mistake ever since.

The greatest life lesson my travels have taught me

The world is not as scary as it seems. There is more good than bad. People may seem different at first owing to different backgrounds, cultures, upbringing, and countries, but they are the same at the core. Travel has made me more compassionate and sensitive towards people and nature.

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