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I’m curious to discover places that seldom catch the attention of the media. Do not only visit but also look behind the scenes! My blog: www.voiceofguides.com

TRAVEL. ASIA

When you travel to India, expect the unexpected

Image by Mikhail Mamontov from Pixabay

Traveling to any place can involve plenty of unpleasant surprises. But when you visit a third-world country, the number of possible hardships multiply. It is not something that should keep you away, but you need more flexibility, understanding, and an arsenal of problem-solving skills. I encourage everyone to leave the comfort of their countries to experience life in other corners of the world.

After arriving in India, I found myself amid a rebellion where highways were blocked, and any other means of transport was impossible. What made it worse was that I was with a whole tourist group with full…


Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.

Trailer screenshot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Chaplin, with his famous cane in hand, watches over the passers-by at the promenade. Enormous graffiti of his movies cover building facades, while the “Modern Times Hotel,” named after one of his favorite movies, welcomes visitors.

All these are reminders that Charlie Chaplin spent the last 25 years of his life in Vevey, a lovely small town at the Geneva lake, close to Montreux.

Chaplin’s World museum in Vevey

Chaplin’s house had been converted into a museum called Chaplin’s World a few years ago. Since I was working in this museum, I got a good insight into the Chaplin story.

In the family mansion, you…


A visit to Comuna 13, the former nest of paramilitaries, guerillas, and criminal gangs in Medellín, Colombia.

Photo by Agnes Simigh_Graffiti in Comuna 13, Medellín

“I grew up here; I will tell you everything. You will have a good tour, I promise! And I even let you have a glimpse into my private life. But if you do not behave respectfully with the locals, I swear I will not say anything.” — started the tour Stevin, a young guy at the beginning of his twenties, who guided us through the district “Comuna 13” of Medellin.

Some years ago, Comuna 13 was known as the most dangerous district of the city with the highest homicide rate globally: Medellín in Colombia.

I quickly understood that he was…


Fasting during Ramadan is a must for Muslims.

A boy is praying outdoor in front of a mosque
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Today, on the 13th of May, Muslims end the one-month fasting with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr and get back to regular life.

Ramadan is one of the five principles of Islam that governs the life of a devout Muslim. Fasting, with a few exceptions, is the duty of every believer.

What is Ramadan?

The ninth month of the lunar calendar, Ramadan is the holiest month of the year. Ramadan comes from the word “scorching heat.” …


When it comes to weddings, Indians are not checking their wallet.

Source: Canva

The Hindu wedding ceremony is the most beautiful in the world. Hundreds or even thousands of guests get an invitation. Relatives come from far away, and many fly back home from abroad. Even penniless families lavish on the ceremony and hospitality for which they often keep on saving for their entire lives.

So it comes as no surprise that the largest wedding ever was held in India with a crowd of 150.000 people. The chief minister of Tamil Nadu spent 23,000 USD on his son’s wedding ceremony, 466.000$ for the venue, and 621,000$ for dinner.

One of the wealthiest Indians…


The smart tactics of the longest-serving democratically elected prime minister of Southeast Asia

Source: Wikimediacommons_Tasnim News Agency

Mahathir Mohamad was Malaysia’s fourth prime minister from 1981 to 2003. Once more, he was re-elected in 2018 at the age of 93 to fix the corrupted Malaysian political life. The country’s unparalleled growth during the last decades is mostly the merit of Mahathir Mohamad, “the Father of Modernization”.

His achievements in the country’s history are undisputed, however, he got many critics for his autocratic style of exercising power. He imprisoned his political opponents, manipulated the different ethnicities, and silenced the media.

He retreated as prime minister at the end of 2003 but remained a vital player in politics from…


Culture.Travel. Human story.

A glimpse into the culture in Ladakh, India

Photo by Rish Agarwal on Unsplash_Ladakh

No matter how much you read, you will learn the most from locals. The people I encounter and their stories are the most lasting memories of my trips.

I met Passang in Ladakh, Northern India. As an exemption, people practice Tibetan Buddhism in this region in a majority Hindu country. Passang has worked as a local tour guide for 20 years, with both trekking and cultural tours. When the touristic season ends, he returns to Zanskar valley to raise animals and grow crops like everybody else.

Life is hard in Ladakh and especially in Zanskar valley. The brief summer from…


Travel

Mistral, Cicada, pétanque, pastis and wine

Source: Canva

Provence is the countryside with charming villages, fields of lavender, and a unique landscape where the abundance of the sun creates ideal conditions for olive and almond trees, cypresses, vines, and a range of fruits. For example, every year in May, the sweet melons of Cavaillon are delivered to Paris. There are plenty of tourist attractions in Provence, including ruins from Roman times, and charming cities like Avignon and Orange. Still, it is more the people, the landscape, the atmosphere, the smells, the flavors, and the noises that make Provence irresistible.

The people of Provence refute all the stereotypes of…


People of Iran

How the media spreads a wrong perception — the real face of Persia based on personal experience

Source: Canva_ Isfahan main square

Less than five months after the attacks on the World Trade Center, Former U.S. President George W. Bush declared in his State of the Union on January 29, 2002, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the “Axis of evil.” There was no doubt. The bitter proof was the attacks of 9/11 a few months before. The media had covered it all.

The media labeled, among other countries, Iran as a dark corner of the world, not without reason. Iran is criticized for lack of democracy and press freedom, human rights abuses, restrictions of daily life, executions for being homosexual, adultery…


TRAVEL ABROAD

The truth behind being an international tour leader

Edited Photo by Mohamed Nashah on Unsplash

Are you one of those who think being an international tour leader is one of the best jobs on earth because they get paid for their overseas vacation? Or do you think you could also easily do that? It is more complex than that. The truth is that it is hard work, and you genuinely have to love it to do it.

Staying in stunning hotels and resorts, going to the beach, enjoy some nightlife, desert safari, dancing shows, having a good meal sometimes in top places is also part of my life. But as I’m specialized in cultural tours…

Agnes Simigh

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