Travel India

J_Moore

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Does anyone have any tips/tricks about travelling in India?

I'm looking at heading over there with my girlfriend in October/November. Probably spend a couple of days in Delhi with her family (I know Delhi is meant to be s**t outside a couple of sights), and then head around some northern parts of the country. So looking more at Rajastan/Kashmir/etc than Kerala/Goa.

At the moment, my only plan is buying fake wedding rings.
 

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Qsaint

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Highlights for me were in your general proposed area(sp?)
udiapur (great place to ride around, plenty to see
shimla take blue train from Delhi to the old hill station then to up to
Manali if your lucky the Dali Lama may be in town,depending on time of year go up through the Pass
Jasilmer/Jaipur forts palaces and sand

Yes Delhi is a s**t hole, Agra is a Taj only location, Varanasi is probably worth a visit
 

Mint Condition

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I went there for a month a few years ago. If you think you'll like India you'll love it. If you don't think you'll like it, you'll hate it. It's a very colourful, full on, kind of crazy place. But for an Australian it's a real genuine travel experience because it's so different (relative to going to say Europe or North America).

My advice is to eat vegetarian while you're there. In the south, where there's a lot of meat eating christians you can get decent meat dishes...but in the north any 'non veg' options are very average at best. At least that was my experience. The locals are pretty much all vegetarians and the vegetarian food is excellent.

Jaipur is definitely worth a visit. Don't miss the Monkey Temple! I also liked Jaisalmer and did a 1 night camel trek/sleeping under the stars in the desert thing which was cool.

Oh yeah...sleeper trains. Pay for the Air conditioned carriages! If you're on a tight budget go for AC 3. I did 2 long trips on the non-AC 'Sleeper class' (which comes after AC 1, AC 2 and AC 3) and it's really only worth doing once and only if you want a more 'authentic' local experience (don't expect to get much sleep...it'll be hot and dirty, no bedding and there will be beggars, endless blokes with (admittedly excellent) chai and all sorts of people coming through making a fuss the entire trip). But I'd recommend the AC carriages...and if you want a crazier experience hop on a regular city train in Mumbai at peak hour!!
 

I bleed Blue

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Hi mate. I back packed through India a few years ago with my (ex)missez. It was amazing. I didn't think I would like it before I went, but it is hands down my most favourite place I have ever back packed through.

Here is a short list of my favourite places I visited, and ones I would really, really recomond you visit if you have the time.

Amritsar- Home of the Golden Temple. This place is very full on, and the golden temple was amazing. I also went to see the Inida/Pakistan border ceremony whilst we were there. That was a really cool thing to see.

Varanasi- The holy river ganges. You simply can't go to India without visiting varanasi. It is a real eye opener.

Hampi- This is towards the middle of the county and not really close to any other cities or attractions but it is well worth the journy. Some great ancient temples set amongst the most picturesque landscape you can possibly imagine. HIGHLY RECOMEND.

Khajuraho- World heritage listed Kama Sutra temples. These temples are unreal, they are the second best temples I have seen (Behind Angkor wat). The place itself is very laid back and the people are lovely. A quite rural place which is a warm welcome from the hecticness in the main cities.

Ajanta Caves- These are man made caves, carved into a rockface. Hard to explain but if you google it you will see. The adventure of trying to get there on the local buses is just as fun.

As Mint Condition said, the sleeper trains are a cool experiance. Sleeping in AC3 will give you a good authentic experiance.


One recomdendation I would give is try to find a good travel agent in Delhi who can help you book trains and buses to get around.

Also you are going to be out of your comfort zone ( I assume). I had endless amounts of people request a "quick snap" (photo) with me, just because I was a white aussie guy. The best thing I can suggest is to throw yourself into it. The people are simply lovely, very helpful, and great to talk with. Not every one is trying to scam you, some people just genuinly want to help you or talk to you. One of the best experiacnes I had was making friends with a local guy who worked at a guest house I was staying at. He invited me back to his village to have dinner with his family. Half the town rocked up to see me arrive at his house. Later he told me my girlfreind and I were the first foriengers to ever visit his village.

India is crazy, hectic, full on and busy. I never imagined I would even like it, but I loved it.

Would love to hear how it went when you get back.

Good luck and enjoy yourself.
 

Dagless

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Just went over the break - Was glorious... Definitely go to Varanasi.

Everyone hates Delhi, but I found it relatively enjoyable when you learn how to deal with the touts. Just say you've been to India before, etc etc. You'll get dragged to all and sundry (Overcharging tour agents) otherwise, but you need to work up some decent haggling skills.

That being said, it was the longest break we had after jumping from place to place in Nepal and then into India relatively quickly (Crossing the border is great fun).

Book your trains well ahead of time. Especially at that time of the year, you'll be struggling to get across Rhajastan especially otherwise. AC3 is all you'll need 'middle class' Indians mainly so you shouldn't have to worry too much about your fellow clientèle. Sleeper is a little dodgier, but it's hardly as bad as you think. The best people we met were on trains, as slow as they are.

Screw Jaipur, Jaisalmer is a stand out.

Goa is overrated.

Agra you can do in a day - Get the train from Delhi the night before, stay the night, spend the day (Taj as early as possible), then get out.

Some of the best people I've ever met were from India. They have a different culture in regards to trying to make money, etc (ie they'll willingly let you give them too much even if you've built up a decent rapport with them), but you have to roll with the punches. And don't let getting sick get you too down.

Finally though - GO TO HAMPI. It's just magical in every way possible. I didn't stay in the inner town area, just outside and rode a bicycle in for the few days I was there. It's just chilled and awesome. Plenty of hippies and you have to get a terrrrrrrible overnight bus there, but it's definitely worth it. Worst bus ride ever though...
 

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J_Moore

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Everyone hates Delhi, but I found it relatively enjoyable when you learn how to deal with the touts. Just say you've been to India before, etc etc. You'll get dragged to all and sundry (Overcharging tour agents) otherwise, but you need to work up some decent haggling skills.
Delhi we'll be likely staying with my partner's grandparents, so I imagine her family can hook us up with a decent driver/someone to help out with the craziness. Probably will only get in a days worth of sightseeing in between meeting relos, etc. Everyone's pretty much just recommended checking out the forts and the market. Any other highlights? I see precious little mentioned about the things you'd usually see recommended in cities - music, theatre, etc, which I wouldn't mind experiencing the Indian version of.

Have read up about Hampi, and it looks amazing, but we've only got a few weeks, so are unlikely to make the journey that far south. Will have to save it for another time.

We're planning to be there for Diwali, so Varansi is pretty high on the list if we can manage to get there.

To be honest, I'd probably rather be there for IPL season than Diwali, though.
 

Dagless

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Delhi we'll be likely staying with my partner's grandparents, so I imagine her family can hook us up with a decent driver/someone to help out with the craziness. Probably will only get in a days worth of sightseeing in between meeting relos, etc. Everyone's pretty much just recommended checking out the forts and the market. Any other highlights? I see precious little mentioned about the things you'd usually see recommended in cities - music, theatre, etc, which I wouldn't mind experiencing the Indian version of.

Have read up about Hampi, and it looks amazing, but we've only got a few weeks, so are unlikely to make the journey that far south. Will have to save it for another time.

We're planning to be there for Diwali, so Varansi is pretty high on the list if we can manage to get there.

To be honest, I'd probably rather be there for IPL season than Diwali, though.
In Delhi - Lotus Temple, the Mosque, Hanuman's tomb, Rajghat, same old places. Haus Khaz is some stupid, trendy bohemian type neighbourhood. Use the metro system, cheap and easy. We mostly just wandered though without rushing. We stayed in the dodgy hotel areas everywhere which is fun. But I'm a poor uni student, so... The other parks around Rajghat are actually nice and chilled, but Rajghat always has students around.

We walked everywhere though which added time and a bit of style other than using the metro. Walking through Old Delhi is majestic, often for all the wrong reasons.

Try the food in the dodgy places opposite the train station. Always fresh due to the volume of people there.

Please please please try the street food... So many fellow tourists we met over there avoided them like the plague, but they were amazing. Chai every morning for 5 cents...

And plan for late trains every time... Especially going into Delhi at that time of the year with fog a common occurrence.
 

J_Moore

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Got back the other day. I can put in a hearty recommendation for Shimla as a circuit-breaker from the general insanity of north india. An actual pedestrian city, which is very nice for a few days. I imagine other hill stations would be similar, though perhaps less convenient by train.
 

getthefooty

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India is a truly amazing country... I reckon I could spend 6 months there and still not scratch the surface. The variety is incredible. Yes there will be times when it will be dirty, a bit dangerous and overly hectic. The haggling is taxing after a while and there are a lot of people willing to take your money off you. But surrender yourself to the country and you will have the time of your life.

Everyone - go to India.
 

Hawk Dork

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Ive spent a few days in Mumbai and over a month in Goa and loved it.
Takes a while to stop feeling like you need to wash your hands every few minutes.
Its the kind of place that when your there you want to leave but when you leave you want to go back
I never got the trots I actually put on weight,good food and not much exercise because I hired a scooter
Goa has some very good restaurants and it was cheap even when they were ripping you off .
I went to a few local ones to and they were like 50cents for a meal as compared to $8 for the touristy ones ...it was a while ago though

I would go back if I could convince my wife
 

Bomberboyokay

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Ive spent a few days in Mumbai and over a month in Goa and loved it.
Takes a while to stop feeling like you need to wash your hands every few minutes.
Its the kind of place that when your there you want to leave but when you leave you want to go back
I never got the trots I actually put on weight,good food and not much exercise because I hired a scooter
Goa has some very good restaurants and it was cheap even when they were ripping you off .
I went to a few local ones to and they were like 50cents for a meal as compared to $8 for the touristy ones ...it was a while ago though

I would go back if I could convince my wife
See any cricket?
 

Total Power

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We have an office in Delhi, so i am there 3 times a year, the butter chicken at Moti Mahal (butter chicken was invented there), is out of this world. I visit that place quite often and if you are into curries, India is a food paradise with diverse range of curries and other dishes differing from state to state. The coconut flavoured curries in Kerala beats anything i have ever eaten hands down.
 

ohhhBigMalcho

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was there a month ago for 6 days and did the golden triangle, highlight was definitely the Taj Mahal and Agra fort In jaipur, and the food was unreal, otherwise is was 45 degrees everyday and packed full of people

went to Sri Lanka for 2 weeks after that and loved that twice as much, so recommend that if possible, plus its 80$ US just to get a visa into the country vs Sri Lanka 35$

Got a lot out of my india experience and put things in perspective of how lucky we are to be australian
 

Total Power

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Has anyone been to North East of India? if you go to the cities and major tourist spots of course it will be crowded. If it wasn't for the business, i will never be in an Indian city. Try going to Sikkim, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya etc, it's a different world out there. I felt like i was elsewhere and not in India. I have no idea why tourists don't go there and all end up in Jaipur and Delhi somehow. The backwaters of Kerala still remained the highlight of the trip for me. Get a boat and slowly sail through the backwaters all afternoon!

On the north, try Ladakh and Leh, absolutely stunning!
 

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