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Top 5 Affordable Travel Destinations where Money will be the Last Thing on your Mind!

Indian currency seems weak when compared to international currencies. Hence, planning a trip to New York or California is not easy

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Japan will have your heart at first sight! Pixabay
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How many times has it happened that you longed for an exotic foreign trip, but gave up on the idea because of upsetting figures in your bank balance? Indian currency seems weak when compared to international currencies. Hence, planning a trip to New York or California is not easy; everybody knows these are expensive places and you will have to think twice before your NYC dreams come true.

But what if we tell you there are countries in the world that you can visit and gather equally thrilling and exotic experiences, at much lesser price?

Yes, there are countries that can be on your travel bucket list, where money will be the last thing you will worry about! These places are not only unique and undoubtedly beautiful, they are relatively cheap and our Indian currency will prove a stronger, higher currency when compared to their own currencies!

So, what are you waiting for? We bring you our top 5 picks for affordable travel destinations and you should get packing!

 1. SRI LANKA

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 2.37 LKR (Sri Lankan Rupee)*

Sri Lanka is the first in our affordable travel destinations list!

affordable travel destinations
Sri Lankan beaches are a sight not to be missed. Pixabay

Despite being extremely small in size, Sri Lanka is a heavenly abode that makes it to the post of top five biodiversity hotspots in the world!

Dive in with the blue whales or watch spinner dolphins play against the setting sun! Go on a wildlife safari and spend days playing with elephants in the water.

affordable travel destinations
Elephant safari in Sri Lanka. Pixabay

Sri Lanka is a haven for back-packers, packed with Dutch architecture from the times of Sri Lanka colonialists, and exotic scenic locales, it is closer to home and yet, everything that any far-off international destination could possibly offer!

 

 2. JAPAN

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 1.70 JPY (Japanese Yen)*

Cute buildings, cute people, cute food, and cute everything else! Second on our list of affordable travel destinations is Japan.

Food is an integral part of Japan, and something that the Japanese wholly embrace as a prime part of life.

Japan’s history is intrinsically linked to the Buddhist, Shinto, and Taoist faiths- the reason why a visit to Japan will be no less than a serene and tranquil experience.

affordable travel destinations
Japan will have your heart at first sight! Pixabay

Japan is categorically blessed with natural beauty with the country boasting of extremely rare and fascinating flora and fauna – experience the magnificence of Mt. Fuji in summer and spring, and visit the streets completely covered with cherry blossoms in March and April- Japan will present you with sights that will simply take your breath away!

 

 3. ICELAND

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 1.66 ISK (Icelandic Króna)*

Iceland convincingly makes it to the third spot on our affordable travel destinations list. Iceland is situated just below the Arctic Circle, which means the country has 24-hour daylight from mid-May to late July. Isn’t that already stimulating?

And who hasn’t heard of Iceland’s famous northern lights? The county is undoubtedly one of the world’s best places to witness the magic of the northern lights or aurora borealis. The best time to witness the magic of these celestial marvels from September to mid-April.

affordable travel destinations
The northern lights, do they even look real? Pixabay

Iceland’s rich water supply is undoubtedly its most valuable natural resource. Why are we telling you about this? Iceland has natural pools that can be found all around the country, calmly seated in natural environment.

affordable travel destinations
Iceland has natural pools that make for magnificent sights! Pixabay

Fun fact : People of Iceland do not have surnames. They follow the traditional Nordic naming system in which a person’s name includes their father’s first name.

 

 4. HUNGARY

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 4.00 HUF (Hungarian Forint)*

From its cosmopolitan cities to the charming countryside, Hungary will provide you with innumerable reasons to make a stop here. Nonetheless, it is going to be a decision you will not regret. From mouth-watering food to traditional folk culture, Hungary offers something for everybody, which is what brings the country on the fourth spot in our affordable travel destinations list.

Hungary’s countryside is filled with naturally magnificent sights- from natural landscapes in the Hortobagy National Park, to extravagant caves of Lillafured, your Hungarian vacation will be both peaceful and beautiful!

affordable travel destinations
Szechenyi Chain Bridge. Pixabay

Hungary will be the best option if you’re looking for an affordable vacation – with affordable food, drink, and many of the country’s attractions being totally free to visit such as the Chain Bridge)

 

5. VIETNAM

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 353.78 VND (Vietnamese Dong)*

The last on the list of affordable travel destinations is Vietnam. With its fascinating history, succulent food, gorgeous beaches, old towns, islands and waters, Vietnam should definitely be on everybody’s bucket list.

affordable travel destinations
Sunrise at Vietnam is to die for! Pixabay

Street food is a trademark of Vietnam and you will find countless food stalls on street sides throughout your trip that you can gorge on! Vietnam will also not disappoint mountaineers, or adventure seekers- you can either rent a motorbike and drive to the scenic mountains in the north or along the length of the country from north to south – but beware, this thrilling ride is not for the faint-hearted.

Don’t forget to share with us if you do plan a trip to any of these places!

* Conversion rates are subject to change. 

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The Japanese Bombings And American Falsification

In a war, there are no true victors, as the axiom goes, but as far as the story of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are in focus, it is safe to quote the Gnostic author Elaine Pagels. She had famously said “It is the victors who write history. Their way”.

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hiroshima-nagasaki
It is time to address the myths one by one.
Ms Tania Bhattacharya
Ms Tania Bhattacharya

By Tania Bhattacharya

On the 6th and 9th of August 2018, the Allied bombings of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki completed seventy three years. It is urban legend that humanity’s most famous atomic attacks, were a necessity, which had subsequently brought an intransigent, warmongering Japan to its knees, leading to its surrender and the cessation of the Second World War.

While Japan’s aggression along with its Axis co-conspirators is in no doubt, the American justification for its action of bombing Japan, and indeed the collective Allied decision to carpet-bomb the German municipality of Dresden, implementing Operation Meetinghouse on Tokyo, along with the ethnic cleansing of the Sudeten Germans in the former Czechoslovakia, and the mysterious ‘suicide’ of Nazi prisoner-of-war Rudolf Hess in 1994, are receiving the attention of whistle-blowers and conscientious historians, alike.

This piece focuses on exposing the convenient narrative over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as it has been fed to people within and without the United States for more than seventy years.

If the American account of the events is to be believed, Japan was unwilling to surrender even after six years of internecine conflict that had subsumed most of the globe. The bombs were dropped over two Japanese cities as a last, desperate action to stunt the country’s advance and force it to stop. The United States had never comprehended that it would have to resort to a measure as tragic as what happened. The whole thing had been a ‘necessary evil’, that had the full backing of the American people.

ATOMIC ATTACK
A pall of smoke lingers over this scene of destruction in Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 7, 1945, a day after the explosion of the atomic bomb. (AP Photo)

In 1965, this version of the events was taken to the cleaners, by the investigative journalist Gar Alperovitz. Alperovitz’ path-breaking research over the Pacific war is collated in the compendium ‘Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima And Potsdam’, a treatise that has stood the test of time, unlike Tsuyoshi Hasegawa’s apologist tome ‘Racing The Enemy: Stalin, Truman, And The Surrender Of Japan’.

It is time to address the myths one by one.

A) ‘Japan Was Forced Into A Surrender’.

In reality, Japan had surrendered a few weeks prior to the cessation of hostilities. It had considered an unconditional capitulation to the Allied Forces, something that American intelligence documents that were only declassified in 1976, have revealed. Here is an excerpt from the document titled ‘Estimate of the Enemy Situation’ that was presented at the Potsdam Conference to the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the United States. The event took place on the sixth of July in 1945, a month before the bombings. “We believe that a considerable portion of the Japanese population now consider absolute military defeat to be inevitable. The increasing effects of sea blockade and cumulative devastation wrought by strategic bombing, which has already rendered millions homeless and has destroyed from 25% to 50% of the built-up area of Japan’s most important cities, should make this realization increasingly general. Although individual Japanese willingly sacrifice themselves in the service of the nation, we doubt that the nation as a whole is predisposed toward national suicide.”

The aforementioned document is significant, in that it goes on to emphasize Japan’s willingness to accept U.S. terms of the former’s laying down of arms. “A conditional surrender by the Japanese government might be offered by them at any time now until the time of the complete destruction of all Japanese power of resistance.”

Furthermore, the report goes on to state, that “Japanese ruling groups are aware of the desperate military situation and are increasingly desirous of a compromise peace.” A month before Nagasaki and Hiroshima faced their fate, American military leadership was well aware of Japan’s anxiety in seeking a surrender.

B) ‘The bombings were a last-ditch effort at reining in the enemy’.

Hardly. As Gar Alperovitz writes in Atomic Diplomacy, in the late April of 1945, American secretary of war, Stimson, wrote a note to President Truman, stating,

“Dear Mr. President,

I think it is very important that I should have a talk with you as soon as possible on a highly secret matter. I mentioned it to you shortly after you took office, but have not urged it since on account of the pressure you have been under. It, however, has such a bearing on our present foreign relations and has such an important effect upon all my thinking in this field that I think you ought to know about it without much further delay.” ~ Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson to President Harry S. Truman, on the 24th of April 1945.

 

President Harry S. Truman
President Harry S. Truman

The secret matter was regarding the Lend-Lease agreement that the United States had been a partner to, along with the erstwhile Soviet Union. Russia – a name that has been used interchangeably with ‘Soviet Union’ – with its contribution to the war effort since the late June of 1941, had suffered considerable losses in manpower and materials. Its devastation cannot be overstated. It had been the wish of the Russian top echelon, that the Americans would forward an indemnity to them in the shape of a loan. The loan that the Russians were looking forward to, amounted to billions of dollars. By the standards of the 1940s, it would have been a gigantic sum of money.

While the Americans were willing to help Russia in her post-war rebuilding efforts, they were increasingly intimidated by her expansionism. The Soviet sphere of influence now engulfed all of Eastern Europe including the strategically crucial location of Poland. Despite being allies during the Second World War, Russia could no longer see eye to eye with her western comrades-in-arms around the time the cessation of hostilities was occurring. After their brief camaraderie while fighting the Axis Powers, the free-economy supporting West split with the Communist Soviet Union, with each going their own way in protecting their interests.

A man charred from the resulting radiation of the bombings.
A man charred from the resulting radiation of the bombings.

When time arrived for the Potsdam Conference, Churchill was pushing President Truman in exacting his pound of flesh from the Soviets, who were clearly no longer perceived as allies of the West, but were seen as an ideological behemoth that was best done away with.

Was there a way in which Russia could be arrested in her advance over the globe especially in Eastern Europe? Perhaps under duress, she could be forced to back down? This duress had to be caused by something magnificent. An astonishing show of technological strength, that would make the Soviets rethink their obstinacy over political matters. Something, that was good enough to warn them, that America – as team captain for the West as a whole – was far superior and thus, not to be messed with.

The absence of moral courage is notable in the demeanour of the leading Americans of the time. Very few, like Roosevelt, actually displayed any. In 1941, when Roosevelt was sticking his neck out in favour of the Lend-Lease agreement – to the tune of six billion dollars – with the Soviets, Senator Truman was shooting down the initiative with these words “If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible……”

The Following Generations Felt an Immediate effect of the radiations. Many chilldren were born deformed.
The Following Generations Felt an Immediate effect of the radiations. Many chilldren were born deformed.

An immediate showdown was how the point men of the United States, planned to rein in the Communist Soviet Union. This is demonstrated with finality by the following paragraph culled from the personal diary of President Truman, in Gar Alperovitz’s Atomic Diplomacy:

“(Secretary of State) Byrnes had already told me…..that in his belief the bomb might well put us in a position to dictate our own terms at the end of the war.” ~ President Harry S. Truman on a conversation with James F. Byrnes in April 1945.

The post-war credit of six billion dollars due to be received by a Russia devastated by war was ultimately withdrawn by the American leadership and two days before he left for the British capital, we have a diary entry by the American Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, that recorded a conversation that had recently transpired between him, and Truman. Byrnes’ opposition to Stalin and his influence over the decision-making ability of President Harry Truman, was well known to McCloy.

Men were incinerated due to the radiation of the bombings.
Men were incinerated due to the radiation of the bombings.

“Jim Byrnes had not yet gone abroad and I had a very good talk with him afterwards sitting in the White House Hall…..I took up the question which I had been working at up in St. Hubert’s, namely how to handle Russia with the big bomb. I found that Byrnes was very much against any attempt to cooperate with Russia. His mind is full of problems with the coming meeting of foreign ministers and he looks to having the presence of the bomb in his pocket, so to speak, as a great weapon to get through the thing……”

It is notable, that striking a teetering Japan with an atomic holocaust, quite unnecessarily, to end a war that was all but over with Japan seeking surrender on American terms, was never on American minds.