Travel Advice On India

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 20, 2008 1:16 PM GMT
    Hi,

    I would really appreciate any advice you guys can share from your travel to India. (Places to visit, stay, average cost of living there, etc)

    This will be my first visit there. I am excited about going, which should be somewhere mid November.

    Real experiences is way better than what i can google up, so please do share your experiences.

    Thanks in advance.

    Cheers
    Anch.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 12, 2010 8:33 PM GMT
    hi dear u dont worry, please buzz me when u come India
  • noviceprime

    Posts: 136

    Aug 12, 2010 11:21 PM GMT
    Def dont drink the water..or eat the curry...youll come back 30 pounds slimmer.
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    Aug 12, 2010 11:55 PM GMT
    Hey there. Here are some things to consider:

    1. What want to do and see?

    First I would recommend taking a look at a travel book at Barnes and Noble and figuring out what you're looking for. India is a huge country and there's no way you can properly see all or most of it in one trip (unless you're planning on going for several months). Are you more interested in seeing palaces, historic cities and the like, or natural parks, wildlife preserves, temples and spiritual sites? While you can get all of those things in all parts of India, you'll find that different regions are somewhat more rich in certain attractions.

    Northern and North-Western India (especially the often-visited state of Rajasthan) has a greater concentration of old cities, fortresses and palaces than other states and you can get an interesting look into the kingdoms of the Rajputs, Mughals, etc. Far north you can visit the Himalayas in Kashmir (especially stunning is the region of Ladakh) and other states while as you move slightly east you can trace the origins of Buddhism. Northern and Northeastern India have a lot of scenic areas with mountains, rainforests, tea-growing regions etc. South India is a great place to go if you want to see ancient temples and experience an ayurvedic retreat. You can find natural parks all over India but some of the better places for seeing tigers and other rare wildlife are in South (Nagarhole National Park is quite famous) and Northeast India as these are more untouched. The coasts are also packed with all sorts of interesting places like Goa and Pondicherry where you can still find aspects of colonial life alive today. It's tough to decide where to go because there's so much to see!

    2. How much do you want to spend?

    India has every type of accommodation. You can spend as much as $400 a night or more at places like Taj, Oberoi and Leela hotels or as little as $20 a night at small local places. Each state has a tourism office where you can find great deals on different types of lodging. I recommend checking out some of their websites and asking for information. Many national parks also have hotels within them which are much cheaper than nearby private hotels and offer great all-inclusive packages (such as the Kabini River Lodge in Kabini National Park). One example of a state website is ktdc.com, for the state of Kerala.

    3. How much time do you have?

    Depending on how much time you have you'll need to decide how many places you'll be able to visit and what you'll be able to do in each. As I said, it's a big country and there's a lot to see. If you only have a few weeks, limit yourself to one or two states at most.

    If you want more info, send me a message. Good luck planning your travels!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 14, 2010 3:34 PM GMT
    Don't go! It's the armpit of the world. Too much disparity between classes, too crowded, and just nasty over-all. Even Mumbai has such a major disparity amongst "classes". Worst 6 months of my working career.
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    Aug 14, 2010 3:38 PM GMT
    mplsmike saidDon't go! It's the armpit of the world. Too much disparity between classes, too crowded, and just nasty over-all. Even Mumbai has such a major disparity amongst "classes". Worst 6 months of my working career.



    Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. Did you get to travel outside Mumbai?
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    Aug 14, 2010 4:19 PM GMT
    Yes, I did travel through most of the country. I have a hard time with such class disparity, so that ruined it for me.
  • mke_bt

    Posts: 707

    Aug 14, 2010 4:51 PM GMT

    Even though you are looking for first hand experiences, I would still check out the travel guide from Lonely Planet.
    Avoid the urban areas like the plague.
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    Aug 14, 2010 4:52 PM GMT
    mplsmike said Yes, I did travel through most of the country. I have a hard time with such class disparity, so that ruined it for me.


    Unfortunately that class disparity can be found in South America and Africa too though....

    Me Im not particularly a fan of north India.... yes its beautiful, but its just doesnt feel too pleasant there.... I liked Nepal and Ive been told South India is very nice, more pleasant.... and more beautiful, the more impresive architecture, music, dance, culture, foods and all that are generally said o be south india, not north india... not to mention they say the class disparity is not as bad in the south as it is in the north
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    Aug 14, 2010 4:54 PM GMT
    Expect to be shocked. The India you see on discovery channel or in news is populated by poor indians (unlike the posh metro cities with extravagant (from an indian's point of view) restaurants, bars, and clubs). So if you are going to one of those places, you will definitely feel shocked and out of place.

    Will you be travelling all over the country or just some parts of it?

    The cost of temporary accommodation will vary based on where you are and can range anything between 10$-100$ a night.

    Do not drink anything other than bottled water. If you are super sensitive, then avoid the tap water completely. Use bottled water for brushing too.

    Do not indulge in street foods or spicy foods too soon after you arrive. It's too tough for your body to cope with the overall change so quickly (water, food, climate, time zones, air quality). Let it acclimatise slowly.

    Dress appropriately.

    Talk to local people, they love to talk. You will get most out of it this way.
  • ATLANTIS7

    Posts: 1213

    Aug 14, 2010 4:55 PM GMT
    Don't eat Meat but vegetable curries are fine! Salads well stay away and only eat fruit you can peel!
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    Aug 14, 2010 5:03 PM GMT
    BodrumBoy saidDon't eat Meat but vegetable curries are fine! Salads well stay away and only eat fruit you can peel!


    Yes, dont eat salads or any other raw vegetables! Fruits are ok as long as they are not already cut.
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    Aug 14, 2010 5:31 PM GMT
    Try to avoid the usual tourist spots, I personally find them too dirty and manipulated. My fav places to visit will be:

    1) Leh (Ladakh) - Beautiful place high above in the mountains. You will need tickets and accommodation well in advance.
    http://www.travelservicesindia.com/leh-ladakh-travel-package.html

    2) Kerala - Wonderful places to visit, great House Boats and hotels on rivers.
    http://www.keralaholidays.com/?gclid=CMGMtOu-uaMCFQ1HnQoddxo2Yw

    3) Andaman and Nicobar Islands - Simply beautiful
    http://tourism.andaman.nic.in

    4) Gangotari and Yamanotri glaciers - amazing in summers.


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    Aug 14, 2010 7:00 PM GMT
    Take a cruise down the Yamuna River.
    It's epic.

    http://www.hulu.com/watch/146809/vanguard-worlds-toilet-crisis
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    Aug 14, 2010 7:20 PM GMT
    Take all the food precautions described above, but don't be afraid to try new dishes, especially the vegetarian options. I traveled for 3 weeks there and had a different veggie meal everyday. I didn't realize that there were so many ways to prepare vegetarian meals until I visited India!

    Build extra time into your day. Public transport (long distance trains and buses) can sometimes run hours behind the posted schedule. You can avoid that by hiring a car and driver, but remember to tip for good service and withhold tips for poor service (you'll see the difference the next day). Haggling and negotiation can often eat into your time, so be prepared to spend from 10-45 minutes per conversation either chatting away or seriously negotiating for many services and items.

    Carry lots of small bills for baksheesh (tipping). Baksheesh will be expected and is sometimes demanded by people who give directions, watch your bags, drive taxis, etc. Even when you don't think it's deserved, be prepared to be asked for it. If you decide not to tip or undertip, be prepared for a scene. It's rare, but can happen.

    India can be hot and dusty in certain areas, so treat yourself to a shave and a haircut at least once. The service is excellent and it's very inexpensive.

    Don't try to pack too much into a day. You will feel a little run down from the time change, different food, dealing with the cultural differences, and haggling.

    As for places to visit that haven't already been mentioned, definitely see the Ellora and Ajanta caves in the state of Maharastra.
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    Aug 14, 2010 7:24 PM GMT
    Don't try to see the whole country in one trip. Concentrate on the north or south. India is a magical place. I spend two months visiting all the northern cities and returned with incredible memories.
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    Aug 14, 2010 8:01 PM GMT
    India is an amazing place...granted it has its pitfalls, but so does any place you're likely to visit. I lived in India a few years ago in a small village outside of Pondicherry, about an hour south of Chennai. As far as recommendations of places to visit:

    1) Andaman & Nicobar Islands - had some of the best scuba diving I've ever experienced (heaven on earth)

    2) Pondicherry - a really cool coastal city and make sure to check out the Sri Aurobindo Ashram

    3) Mahabalipuram - had some really cool Hindu shrines from the 9th century, not to mention there's a restaurant where you can actually order beef

    4) Goa - it's where all the rich Russians go for spring break (I'm not joking). Be prepared to see old guys in Speedos and ladies with their bubs out. It's also packed with historic Portuguese churches

    5) Mangalore - another really cool coastal city with an awesome fish market and ice cream shops.

    Unfortunately, I've only traveled around southern India and that's the only place I can offer advice on.

    Best of Luck...and don't eat the salad (which is a vegetable platter) or drink the tap water. Oh...and if you like peanut butter, you'd better bring some with you because Indians aren't too fond of the stuff and it's really hard to find.
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    Aug 14, 2010 8:12 PM GMT
    India has that English tradition of fine fabrics and great tailoring.PLan on buying some fabric and having a shitload of gorgeous clothes made. In fact, bring along a few of your favorite clothes and have them reproduced in different colors. Or bring some pictures from mens magazines and have the clothes copied.

    And don't forget the buttons. You can buy fantastic buttons that will make your clothes look even more fun.
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    Aug 15, 2010 1:34 PM GMT
    I've been visiting, working, and loving India for many years. The country, the people, the beauty, and the majesty never cease to amaze me.

    As far as all of the food precautions are concerned, they're valid but you should not let them prevent you from enjoying the cuisine. The problem has to do with microbes in water that are alien to your system. Therefore, raw veggies and stuff washed in water can be a problem. In all my trips I've only ever had one illness, and it was taken care of immediately with Indian medications that are calibrated for those exact bugs.

    By mid November the weather will be on its way to good, depending on where you go.

    Of the big cities Mumbai can be very expensive. Delhi and Kolkata are both more approachable. Delhi is full of fascinating things to see and do, but it remains a big city.

    If you go to Agra the make sure to see Fathpur Sikri while you are there. It is an absolutely amazing site.

    I am very partial to Rajasthan and have spent lots of time in Jodhpur. It is a wonderful city to visit, and not at all destroyed by development, etc. From there you can take trips up to Nagaur province to see some of the greatest monuments on the silk road. The Rajput people are wonderful (and Rajput men are utterly majestic).

    You can also go down through the Aravali hills towards Udaipur, which is a very beautiful trip. If you like architecture the Jain temples at Ranakpur are breathtaking.

    Someone mentioned Goa. I happen to love old Goa and have a friend who owns a hotel in Calangute. Southern Goa has been turned into a tourist trap but the Northern areas still have their hippy vibe. There are some amazing places to eat in Goa including the restaurant "La Plage".

    If your worried about class issues, as some people here seem to be, then I would suggest doing something about class disparity at home. Don't go to India expecting over a billion people to conform to a Midwestern middle-class worldview.

    It is said of Mother India that people who come to her will either love or hate the country. I have found this to be true. If you go with an open mind then you will have a great time I am sure.

    Oh, do remember that you need a visa. This is a small hassle, but you can get it through your travel agent. Make sure that you get that settled well in advance. Don't leave it to the last minute or you won't be able to travel.
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    Aug 15, 2010 1:45 PM GMT
    Whatever you do, don't miss Udaipur! My favorite spot in the country and one of my favorite spots in the world!