Worst of 2018 – Travel and More

When you have spent over a year and a half on the road, making travel as a part of your lifestyle, you end up having a mixed bag of experiences. Being a vagabond, digital nomad, gallivanting soul or whatever internet calls people like me these days gives a lot of memories to remember the past. Only thing is that these memories are not always pleasant. But then that’s how life is and that’s how travel is.

When everyone is talking about their favourite memories from 2018, here are some of my worst.

Ladakh road trip

The Costliest Departure from Kochi

The easiest way to travel between Kochi and Bangalore is by trains. If you not short on money then you can also book a ticket in AC bus that will drop you in Bangalore in about 8 hours.


I visited Kochi during the New Year because I wanted to see the Carnival parade. Some misinformation happened and I booked my return tickets for the day when carnival was scheduled. Confident that I’ll catch my bus with a ticket fare of INR 2200 when rest were only around 900 to 1100 (and all booked), and reach Bangalore to catch the next train to Delhi. Weird plan but that’s how I thought will be the best way to travel.

I ended up missing that bus because long traffic jams during carnival stopped all the autos and Ola. I missed my bus, then had to take another bus to Coimbatore and then another bus till Bangalore. Wow.  Then I missed my train from Bangalore and had to book another ticket in tatkal.

The second time when I went to Kochi, I looked around for flight tickets and realized that it only costs 2100 one way trip. I ended up spending more than 5000 on the same route for nothing.

Couldn’t enter Bhutan


Bhutan has kind of confusing entry permit system. Being a first time traveller, I didn’t know anything about the gates being closed on certain days. During this time, they don’t allow people to enter the Land of Thunder Dragon.

I reach Jaigaon on a Wednesday evening. I had planned that I’ll get my permits on Thursday and reach Paro on time. I realized that the country was celebrating some festival in February and gates will only open on Monday.

Heartbroken, I took a shared jeep from Jaigaon to Darjeeling and spent the next week exploring that region.

Attempts to eat weird in Bangkok got my stomach sick

Bangkok food

Khao San street in Bangkok is a quirky and fun place when you know what you are doing will keep you away from troubles. But not me, on my second day of my Bangkok trip, I took a stroll outside my hostel and saw stalls selling all sorts of scorpions, grasshoppers, cockroaches and everything that would otherwise creep you out. I had some of these and some of those but the worst came after eating a shrimp that tasted like a rubber eraser. Next morning my stomach got sick and I spent the next two days in my dorm’s washroom.

Not planning my Thailand trip enough

When you tell someone that you are going to Thailand ‘alone’ the first thing they do is making an expression that would put VeteranBollywood villain Ranjeet to shame. Then they start talking about everything bad for which this country is known for. And while that is a part of their tourism, it is not necessary that you are there because you have similar intentions.


I didn’t plan my Bangkok trip enough and as a result when I reached there I ended up wondering about what to do. Spending extra bucks on tuktuks, hopping a few temples here and there and then visiting a cultural show that was a snoozefest was how I spent my time in Bangkok and Pattaya. But the worst came when someone suggested me something that was really bad and indecent. I went there, realized what was it all about (no, not ladyboys), and then I made a quick escape.

Worst, I enquired about it at my hostel frontdesk and everyone around me gave this weird look as if I was there representing everything wrong with Indian men.

Dealing with Indian immigration officers

I don’t even want to talk about it. I had to interact with Indian immigration officers twice. My first encounter was an okay one but the guy had so much time that he kept asking the girls standing in front about the reasons they wanted to go to Thailand. Don’t you know what happens there, have you asked your parents, modern girls and all kinds of nonsense he came up with and simply got on my nerves. When my turn came he didn’t ask a single question and said enjoy when I was leaving.

Indian airports

The second time when I was travelling to Thailand and Malaysia with my parents, the immigration officer simply started bullying my parents. He threatened them that he’ll not allow them to cross. This guy was simply rude for no reasons. When we were leaving, he started shouting at another couple.

Going to Universal Studios in Singapore

Why this was bad? Because the queues were longer than Kolkata’s Durga Puja pandals. I wanted to enjoy the first roller coaster of my life and even after standing for 45 minutes, I barely crawled an inch like vehicles do in Bangalore, I figured out that this was a giant waste of time and left.

universal Singapoe_-9

Universal Studios is not a bad place. But if you hate standing in queues then you should avoid it. The place is very entertaining if you are with friends and family because then you’ll find someone to speak with.

Universal Studios also gives VIP passes that helps you get ahead in the line. But they are obviously costlier than the ordinary tickets.

Thankfully I had a great time at SEA museum nearby.

Almost burning myself in Bikaner

I was in Bikaner documenting a sect of tribal community that worships a fire lord (I won’t get into details because I don’t want anyone to track them). They worship their god by running on fire and even eating the chunks of burning wood, spitting on the people present around.


What happens in process is that as their chants and bhajan get into trance, they start running and throwing fire all over. Being the excited one, I went in the front row and a huge chunk of fire fell upon me. I would have almost burned myself but the jeans saved me.

Getting in wrong bus for Imphal

Manipur sports

Getting a ride between Dimapur and Imphal is easy. The problem is when you reach there because if it gets too dark you won’t get a hotel. I reach Dimapur at 10:30 AM, got a ticket in a minibus that took 3 hours to get full. We started at 2 PM, the roads were so bad that it dropped me in Imphal at 12:00 AM. By this time the city was shutdown and I was the only human on the road. It was seriously scary. I looked around for a few hotels and nothing was open. So I went and sat inside a hospital, spent next 5 hours playing ludo on my phone and only took a hotel when the city started moving at 5:30 AM.

Attending Mysore Dasara

Mysore Palace lighting

A popular festival like Mysore Dasara is bound to get crowded. But I was not expecting this level of participation from people coming from here and there. On the day of the parade, I could only see an ocean of heads. The parade didn’t start 3 hours after the actual time it was supposed to begin. I have already ranted about it in the past, you can read it all here.

That night at Dzukou Valley


The beautiful serene Dzukou Valley where greenery is your companion and the mornings are golden has something that no one will tell you about. It gets so cold in night that doesn’t matter how many sleeping bags you have, you’ll always end up freezing. I won’t go in detail because I want everyone else to suffer the way I did. Please stay at Dzukou Valley, it is a magical place.

My misadventures on trains

Any journey in India is incomplete without missing a few trains and misplacing tickets and getting in fights with ticketless travellers. What did you say, this doesn’t happen with you? Well, really sad. My year started with missing a train, it went ahead with a scary travel experience in Bihar where ticketless passengers started bullying the travellers with tickets and made them adjust so that they can sit. After this, I booked wrong tickets and then got in a wrong train.

matheran family

Also, this time I booked a lot of bus tickets and the experience was not really good. Thanks to Redbus, my problems were addressed but the one I booked from Via turned into a sleepless nightmare.

Well, a new year has begun and I am not hoping for anymore misadventures. Let’s see how this year of solo travelling goes by.

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This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. neelstoria

    Well, all of those must have only added to your travel memories of 2018, a little misadventure only adds to the overall experience. And, I’m sure the good memories must be so much more than the not-so-good ones 🙂
    Wish you many more travels in 2019.

  2. Bhavesh

    Too sweet to be called experiences, on the spot/on that time one just looses all senses, its just the flashback that makes one write them so cool-ly, all the best for 2019

  3. Travel and Learn

    You should try to write this as a book, it sounds very interesting, sort of a Bad Luck Chuck! I read it as if it were fiction and I imagined a man going through all of these events and it sounded like an interesting read! I’m sorry you had to go through this, but now you learned! I wish you a better 2019 travelwise!

  4. I am sure that all these experiences were accompanied by the incredible amount of positive emotions and experiences! I’m sorry to hear you didn’t get to Bhutan – that must’ve been really disappointing 🙁 But with Singapore Universal Studios – I’ve been there a few times, and once we had very little lines while other time it was just as you described. You have to be quite careful when you go (and definitely NOT on weekends or public holidays). Good luck for 2019, enjoy your adventures!

  5. This is such a great idea. In a time where people live their “insta perfect” lives its so important to remember the struggles. And you’ve learned so much now! Like not to test your stomach too much :p

  6. bianca8080

    These are sound like cool adventures. Sometimes travel doesn’t go the way we plan or envision. Its a same not many bloggers write about these mishaps, they happen even to the best of us.

    1. ansh997x

      Indeed they are. I just find the idea of writing down best experiences a little too mainstream.

  7. Smita Chandra

    Nice to see a bit of realism here, people always make their travels sound so perfect. Live and learn, I’m sure 2019 will be much less stressful!

    1. ansh997x

      It was a lucky year otherwise. I just find the idea of writing down best experiences a little too mainstream.

  8. Alexander Popkov

    Sorry to hear that there have been so many issues. It is more than I had. For me, the worst experience was deleteing 60gb of travel photos by accident.

    1. ansh997x

      It was a lucky year. I just find the idea of writing down best experiences a little too mainstream.

  9. bye:myself

    Well, there’s no upside without a downside, I guess. I’m glad for you that nothing really bad like an injury or an accident happened. Then, the mishaps are what makes the most exciting travel stories 😉 Keep on travelling – and I enjoy a look back in anger from time to time 😉

  10. Yukti

    Oh you had great troubles in 2018 in your traveling but sometimes it happens. Nothing is perfect and everything has some downfalls. Enjoy the beauty of that place where you are at present, don’t run to attend a event or procession as the crowd in the event or the decor of the stage is itself a worth seeing things apart from singers or performers. Just sing the famous Hindi song – ” Safar mein Dhoop toh hogi ….. joh chal sako toh chalo……

  11. Anjali Chawla

    Those are some great lessons, Ankush! Your experience at Bikaner is scary. I’m glad you are fine.

    Experiences – some good, some not so good, some worst make us what we are. Good experiences give us memories to cherish for a lifetime. Not so good experiences make us more patient, and strong. Worst experiences teach us how to move on. As they say, you can’t have good without bad. Everything happens for a reason. Life will let you know the reason eventually in time or maybe you will never know, whatever is best in your interest.

    Wishing you the best of 2019 🙂

  12. catemdesjardins

    This was such a fun post to read. Everyone else does their highlights but it’s really educational and quite fun to read about the misadventures! I will definitely have to do something similar in the future 🙂 Thanks for a great post!

    1. ansh997x

      Thanks a lot. Glad that you liked it.

  13. Jasmine Buckley

    It’s so horrible getting ill while you’re away and that’s always a worry for me. Glad to hear you didn’t run into any ladyboys, that definitely wouldn’t have helped! Ha!
    Here’s to some great 2019 travels!

    1. ansh997x

      Haha. I think I did. Thanks to my sister who misguided me.

  14. Anjali Wadhwa

    Every memory good or bad comes with experiences and lessens. It’s the same with traveling. The thing I am glad about is you got to visit so many places in 2018. I am sure 2019 will serve you with good journeys and less mishappenings. Just stay more careful.

    1. ansh997x

      I am hoping for the same. Thanks a lot

  15. Joseph

    Wow, looks like you had not so lucky year 🙁 I hope this year is going to be much better and luckier for you.

    1. ansh997x

      It was a lucky year. I just find the idea of writing down best experiences a little too mainstream.