Precious experiences

Actor Richa Chadda talks about her visits to exotic locations

70-Richa-Chadda Richa Chadda

When I am travelling, I indulge in everything that is local—the cuisines, markets, fascinating streets and everything else. There are stray experiences at big events. Like, going for a yacht party after the Cannes Film Festival, or attending big fundraising galas. But that is not my thing as a traveller. I enjoy nature more.

Through the years, the more I have travelled, the more I have realised that people all over the world are the same.

I love going to Los Angeles, the city of Hollywood. It is a place where nature can be explored. I go for treks to the Hollywood sign and back. Going to the beach at Santa Monica is another thing I like. I love going to Switzerland because it is a place where you get to see elements from different cultures—French, German and Swiss.

Bhutan is another favourite. Recently, while I was in Bhutan, I went for the local archery competition and to the farmer’s market. But the highlight was the stunning picnic on one of the riverbeds.

I love interacting with local people, taking local transport and finding out what the daily life of a city is like. In 2013, when I was in Malmo, Sweden, I came across mannequins in a shop. I was surprised to find that there were Chinese, brown, Caucasian and black mannequins. I was so impressed with their detailing and their insistence for inclusivity. I was so moved and understood what would it mean to people to have the representation of diversity.

Such experiences are what drives me to travel. Through the years, the more I have travelled, the more I have realised that people all over the world are the same. I went to Astana (recently renamed as Nur-Sultan) in Kazakhstan, in May. I was so touched by the nice behaviour of the people. I did not have change to pay the cab driver. He drove me for a kilometre without charging extra so that I could visit an ATM and pay him.

Running into interesting people and the interactions that follow are something that I really cherish. Once I was at dinner in Los Angeles and Lionel Richie was in the same restaurant. We went up and spoke to him, and he was so comfortable and down to earth.

I love shopping when I am abroad, mostly because I am not recognised, which is not the case in India. I shop to my heart’s content. Also, to some extent, I try and enjoy local street festivals and markets. When we were in Georgia, there was a small fest setup on the streets. It piqued my interest because they were selling stuff inspired by the works of artist Frieda Kahlo.

I also loved my time in Morocco this year. I went to a really old restaurant in Tangier, called Hamadi. They have live music—Moroccan and Syrian. I also liked hanging out at Café Hafa and Cinema Rif in Tangier in Morocco, because that is where people would come and discuss French cinema. That is my kind of travel.

As told to Priyanka Bhadani

Panellists pick

* Maldives: Maldives offers a connect with nature in its entirety. The destination provides outstanding gourmet experiences; don’t forget to sample authentic Maldivian cuisine. A perfect place for digital detox.

* Monte Carlo: From high street shopping, playing a hand at the famous Casino de Monte Carlo, to attending the Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo offers an incomparable luxury experience.

* Rajasthan: A land famous for its opulence and decadence, Rajasthan offers the best of culturally-inspired luxury experiences and the engaging beauty of dance, festivals and food.

* Rishikesh: Rishikesh, embraced by the mystical Himalayas and the mighty Ganges, is a great place to unwind and find inner peace.

* Bali: Bali is a great destination for holistic wellness. Its resort-spas are world-class, exactly what one needs to calm and nurture the soul.