Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Bangkok - Siem Reap - Phnom Penh - Bangkok - Overland Simplified

After a lot of research online, reading numerous blogs, travel forums I concluded that making the overland trip would be, to quote an unknown source, 'a journey to be undertaken only if you are a masochist'. Numerous reports of touts, cartels of taxi & bus drivers, corrupts officers at checkpoints more so on the Cambodian side, made me expect the worst. At some point I was even confused whether I would make it all, whether I should just book an expensive direct flight to Siem Reap.

I'm listing down my experience to help future travellers understand how easy it is & not believe the outdated reports on many travel forums.

Bangkok to Siem Reap via Aranyaprathet (Thai border town) & Poi Pet (Khmer border town)

Bangkok - Aranyaprathet
There were multiple ways to reach Aranyprathet from Bangkok, cheapest being a direct train for THB 48 that takes 8 hours leaves twice a day once in morning and then again in afternoon. Accounts of multiple travellers I met at border confirmed it was comfortable & not prone to delays. Morning train is advisable as immigration offices close at 8:00 pm and you might have to spend the night in a hotel at Aranyaprathet.

Another option was a bus to Aranyaprathet which is what I took. They start leaving from Mo Chit Bus Terminal every 30 minutes from 3:30 am at cost about THB 209. Duration of journey is 5 hours.

Joint - Combine - Multiple Country Visas

As someone who cherishes solo travelling, I keep looking for information that can be helpful for my future travel plans. One of the most daunting task for any traveler is getting the Visa. If you have planned a multi-country trip on your own, you would have spent hours reading about all the requirements/documents for obtaining the Visa for various countries in the itinerary. It is a major hassle.

But there are these joint or combined Visas that can really reduce this headache. Knowing about them and utilizing them can save a lot of time and help you have the peace of mind while travelling. I googled multiple times to get an exhaustive list of such joint offerings but couldn't find one. So I decided to create one myself. Do send me any information that you've come across in your own research.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Totems of Indian Youth in 2015

Cashback Toh Banta Hai

It’s no more an ingenious marketing campaign for an upcoming brand to accelerate adoption. Cashbacks have become the new normal. From cabs to self-drive cars, groceries to gadgets Indian Youth today expects deals every time they take a buck out of their wallets.
Pampered by startups that have splurged their Venture Capital for customer acquisition, Indian Youth’s thirst for cashbacks and deals has even affected established brands. They do not want to compromise on quality as well. This new all demanding customer segment knows a bit too many price comparison sites for a marketers liking. The segment has an attention span of a goldfish. They’ll download your app to get that lucrative cashback deal, but don’t expect them to ever use it again unless you delivered Customer Delight in that one tiny interaction.
­­This new customer segment is taking competition to another level, wafer thin margins, absolutely cutting edge service levels and flawless customer service are just hygiene factors, companies will have to innovate fast to survive and delight the Indian Youth every time to succeed.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Looking beyond stereotypes and generalizations!

I was onboard Aeroflot flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg. Had dozed off and woke up with a start as the plane landed. As it taxied through the runway, instead of standing up and reaching out for their baggages as they do in India, to my surprise passenger on the flight started clapping. I was clueless as to what just happened.

Had it been just few weeks earlier, I'd have formed some opinion about this event and moved on. But today I'm an enlightened man. After attending the Cross-Cultural Management course, I know its important to know, why does it happen? Peculiarities of each country, their eccentricities, whims and fancies! It all happens for a reason.

Why are Indian always late? Why do Saudis treat women.. erm so badly? Why are Danes known for innovation?

All these and more can be explained. Cultural dimensions. It is possible to analyse each and every country's DNA using these dimensions and understand the nuances of their cultures.