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> Southern India Starter Kit, Everything you want to know about Southern India
lauraexplorer
post Oct 14 2007, 05:16 AM
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QUOTE(roseyben @ Oct 13 2007, 09:38 PM) *

QUOTE(lauraexplorer @ Oct 4 2007, 04:11 AM) *

QUOTE(whereshegoes @ Jun 22 2007, 08:43 PM) *

I have heard so many things about travelling India. One thing that seems very common is that it is very difficult. It is one place that I haven't been to yet and to be honest, I am a little nervous. I do however see it in my cards so I figured I should get some advice.


I didn't want to pick just this quote out, but many people say that India is 'difficult' or an attack on senses. I don't understand?!?! maybe I'm just really adaptable but I didn't go to tourist complexes or hotels, I stayed with the locals being only 17years old I thought it was amazing.



India is a place you will either love or hate; there is no in between! I loved it and plan to go back one day!!

We are so used to living extravagant lives even though you may not be rich you take for granted the TV in the living room, your washing machine, fridge freezer and designer trainers/clothes. You will still have lived a far more comfortable life than around 95% of those living in India and if you are anything like me this will make you appreciate your life more. If it doesnít you donít deserve the opportunity to travel across such an amazing diverse place.



What do you mean by you don't deserve the opportunity?!?!

I was just expressing my feelings of confusion about people not liking the country. You can't NOT like a country?!? maybe I'm set in my ways but I would say I had a very 'rough' experience over there.
I was in hospital on the drip I was malestered whilst sleeping in hospital I had orphans scratching me and I'm now under investigation for tropical diseases. So i wouldn't say I had the best of luck over there, but it was bloody brilliant. I loved every minute of it and I did it all for the children in the orphanage particualry Girasha.

So I am confused as to why people who go to the tourist areas which are 10x 'nicer' than other areas are finding themselves in shock?!?

I really don't know where this is going, but each to thier own

I'd have to say if your going to go out there and feel sorry for the kids the least you can do is help them by visiting an orphanage or a BOSCO centre there are loads especially in the cities. And a day with the children will cost you nothing but for them it is priceless love which you are showing them.

That's it for the confused me!!
Check out my (unfinished) blog on India sometime soon

Laura
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effie123
post Jan 10 2008, 03:18 PM
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Hi,

My name is Becki, Iím 25 and from London. Iím going to India at the end of this year for 3 months. I went to Goa November 07 and on a train Journey to Hampi, I fell in love with the place and people and Iím dying to get back!

i have got lots of questions so sorry to bother you with all this but you seem to have such a vast knowledge after reading your advise to other people.

I donít really have a plan as such. Because Iím travelling on my own I was going to arrive in Delhi and start with a shoestring trip. Its 21 days and covers the main points in North Goa.

From there I want to work my way down the west coast through Mumbai, Goa and Kerala.
My questions are what are the best ways to travel? Is there a good route to take? Or any places not to miss? And how much money will I need with me. Iím told the internal flights in India are really cheap too and was wondering if its worth it or if it better getting a train.

I plan to be pretty basic and live on a fairly low budget. Some people have said £10 a day is about middle range.
Also can you recommend a website to find hotels and hostels across India?

The other thing is I would like to find people now who will be out there at the same time as me. Its pretty scary (more exciting) going alone but it would be good to know some other people who will be ion the same boat.

There are probably loads of other things I will need to ask before I go but I think the is more than enough to start with.

Hope I havenít overloaded you with questions!

Kind regards,

Becks.
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cindib
post Jan 13 2008, 04:34 PM
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I am hoping you'll give me some elementary tips on the best type of clothing to take. We are coming in December for 10 days. We'll go to Kodai, Agra, Varnassi and possibly Goa. We'll be traveling mostly by train and will stay in local hotels with our small group. Everyone else in our group is a seasoned India traveler so I need help! ha. For a ten day trip, what would you recommend to take? I made a note of your tips so far.

I look forward to continuing to read your tips that you post...you should do a book.

Cindi
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starlagurl
post Jan 14 2008, 10:57 AM
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What do the other people in your group say?


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bloomer
post Jan 14 2008, 04:46 PM
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Goa is a great place to get acclimated to India, it's pretty tourist-friendly and easy to negotiate--sort of like India "lite." Most people speak English, and if you want to impress them, learn a couple of words of Konkanee, the native language. I found that most there don't really speak much Hindi, but in the north almost everyone understands. Some Tamil and Kannada will be helpful as well for tamil nadu and Karnataka, respectively. Once you get out into the villages, almost no-one has any English except "What your name," and "what your country." It's really fun to fire the same questions back at them in their own language, they really love it!
As far as the south, no trip there would be complete without seeing some things inland--Hampi is magnificent, and there are cool towns in the ghats, Munnar, Conoor, Ooty and others. Kerala is just great, lots of ashrams there for meditation and yoga that cost more like 10 dollars a night instead of 300. Also the southern ghats have a few wildlife preserves you can drive through and see elephants, spotted deer, and all kinds of other creatures. There are many tea plantations tucked away on the Tamil Nadu/Kerala border area as well.
Varkalla is breathtaking, a cluster of cool little restaurants and guesthouses clinging to the top of the cliffs, and a hundred stairs later, a beach at the bottom. Watch out for the riptide though.
Kaniyakumari has the distinction of being a place where in one day, you can see the sun rise and set over water from the same place.
Chennai is one of the cooler cities I visited there, lots of palm trees on the streets, and a beach that's about a mile wide, filled with little stalls you can buy all manner of things in.
Two of the most delicious dishes are also southern India specialties: Dosa and Puri Baji. Puri Baji is a great breakfast!
The south is a little less "uptight" than the rest of India, but it would serve you well to keep your shoulders covered (unless you're in Goa), wear light long trousers, and if you're a woman, stay away from large gatherings of men. They get a little fresh, as their impression of western women (thanks to hollywood) is that they're a little "loose." Unfortunately, this sexism makes it tough for women to travel solo, it's best to go with a group, or at least a pair (once again, it is much safer solo in Goa and Kerala).
I went to south India for 18 days, it turned into 5 months and 10 days of riding a motorcycle solo from Kerala to high in Himachal Pradesh. I don't recommend that though, unless you were born on a motorcycle like me. It is extremely challenging and dangerous in the backcountry on two wheels!
I would say, keep your plan VERY loose. India is the country where everything is possible, but just not right now. Let it flow, and you will love it. Expect things to be timely, or even extant, and you will just be frustrated. The way will open itself to you if you open yourself to the way. Take off your Western lenses, and you will see!
India will pull you in, and once Mother India touches your heart, you will be in love forever. I write this as I'm booking my ticket for another two month's time, leaving in two weeks.


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QUOTE(findingnine @ Feb 21 2007, 05:08 PM) *

Hair of the dog. Make it a lifestyle! :puppeh:
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effie123
post Jan 16 2008, 04:54 PM
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QUOTE(cindib @ Jan 13 2008, 04:34 PM) *

I am hoping you'll give me some elementary tips on the best type of clothing to take. We are coming in December for 10 days. We'll go to Kodai, Agra, Varnassi and possibly Goa. We'll be traveling mostly by train and will stay in local hotels with our small group. Everyone else in our group is a seasoned India traveler so I need help! ha. For a ten day trip, what would you recommend to take? I made a note of your tips so far.

I look forward to continuing to read your tips that you post...you should do a book.

Cindi


Dont know if it helps but i was in Goa in Nov/Dec and I took a couple of light cotton loose tops and linen trousers, it was great for travelling and exploring in. I brought some really cheap cotton tops in Goa too and they were great and at £3 a top i didnt mind if they got dirty or damaged.
Take as little as possible is my advise, i took way too much, i pretty much lived in cotton tops (one to wear, one to wash, and one spare) and a 3 pairs of linen trousers, and shorts.
Goa is pretty laid back but its still respectful to cover up a bit if travelling around or when using trains/buses.

Ohh and also go bright! everyone is in such vibrant colours, and im told the mozzies are attracted to dark colours so be bold! I stuck to bright colours and only got one small bite.

Hope it helps and have a fantastic time!
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sharon1306
post Jan 17 2008, 06:45 AM
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QUOTE(effie123 @ Jan 10 2008, 03:18 PM) *

Hi,

My name is Becki, Iím 25 and from London. Iím going to India at the end of this year for 3 months. I went to Goa November 07 and on a train Journey to Hampi, I fell in love with the place and people and Iím dying to get back!

i have got lots of questions so sorry to bother you with all this but you seem to have such a vast knowledge after reading your advise to other people.

I donít really have a plan as such. Because Iím travelling on my own I was going to arrive in Delhi and start with a shoestring trip. Its 21 days and covers the main points in North Goa.

From there I want to work my way down the west coast through Mumbai, Goa and Kerala.
My questions are what are the best ways to travel? Is there a good route to take? Or any places not to miss? And how much money will I need with me. Iím told the internal flights in India are really cheap too and was wondering if its worth it or if it better getting a train.

I plan to be pretty basic and live on a fairly low budget. Some people have said £10 a day is about middle range.
Also can you recommend a website to find hotels and hostels across India?

The other thing is I would like to find people now who will be out there at the same time as me. Its pretty scary (more exciting) going alone but it would be good to know some other people who will be ion the same boat.

There are probably loads of other things I will need to ask before I go but I think the is more than enough to start with.

Hope I havenít overloaded you with questions!

Kind regards,

Becks.


Hi Becks,

I'm a little behind on the posts here...

HmmmÖ ok. Sounds like you have a good plan, starting north and working your way down to Kerala. You have three months to explore, which is fantastic. Get a couple of guidebooks and read up on the areas you plan on visiting. I personally like the LP guide for India. Then youíd have a better idea on how much time to spend in each place. Now for your questions:

Best way to travel on a shoestring budget would definitely be the train. India is very well connected by railway. For longer distances, I would recommend flying. There are tons of budget airlines and more routes popping up by the minute. If you buy your tickets sufficiently in advance, you can get really good deals.

Money. Depends on how much on a budget you are, I guess. The great thing about India is you can eat/stay really cheap. I guess you could get by with £10 but I think youíd be more comfortable with a budget of maybe £20. Iím not very experienced with budget lodging, but I could look into it for you.

If youíre looking for likeminded travelers to India, you should check out the forums at indiamike and LPís thorntree.

I would suggest looking through guidebooks, seeing the places that appeal, plotting a rough draft and route. I would also suggest booking your accommodation in certain popular places in advance, as Nov/Dec is peak season in most of the country.

Sharon
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sharon1306
post Jan 17 2008, 06:59 AM
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Hi Cindi,

Great to hear you are headed to India.

QUOTE(cindib @ Jan 13 2008, 04:34 PM) *

I am hoping you'll give me some elementary tips on the best type of clothing to take. We are coming in December for 10 days. We'll go to Kodai, Agra, Varnassi and possibly Goa. We'll be traveling mostly by train and will stay in local hotels with our small group. Everyone else in our group is a seasoned India traveler so I need help! ha. For a ten day trip, what would you recommend to take? I made a note of your tips so far.

I look forward to continuing to read your tips that you post...you should do a book.

Cindi


Hi Cindi,

Great to hear you are headed to India. The places you are visiting are far apart. Have you worked out the logistics of getting from one place to another? 10 days seems a little short to me, you have to remember that India is a large country. Is it 10 days on the ground? Like to get to Agra, even if you decide to fly, youíll have to go to Delhi first.

Clothing. You would need warm clothes for the evenings and early mornings, especially in the north. Sometimes frosts occur overnight, so its good to be prepared. During the day, you will get by fine with just a t shirt maybe, but you could carry a light jacket/sweatshirt if needed. The south doesnít really cold. Check weatherbase.com for detailed information on the weather. I hope that helps.

Sharon
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effie123
post Jan 17 2008, 07:55 AM
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Money. Depends on how much on a budget you are, I guess. The great thing about India is you can eat/stay really cheap. I guess you could get by with £10 but I think youíd be more comfortable with a budget of maybe £20. Iím not very experienced with budget lodging, but I could look into it for you.

If youíre looking for likeminded travelers to India, you should check out the forums at indiamike and LPís thorntree.


Sharon
[/quote]

Thanks Sharon,

I will check out those forums. If you do find out anything about budget lodging that would be great.
Also thanks for the warning about the money, may have to save a little more than i though, but it will all be worth it!

Thanks again flowers.png
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sharon1306
post Jan 17 2008, 07:58 AM
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Hi,

How much is your budget for accommodation per night? That would give me a better idea as to the kind of places you could stay.

Sharon
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effie123
post Feb 6 2008, 07:09 AM
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QUOTE(sharon1306 @ Jan 17 2008, 07:58 AM) *

Hi,

How much is your budget for accommodation per night? That would give me a better idea as to the kind of places you could stay.

Sharon


Probably between £6-£10 i dont mind paying a bit more if necessary.
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bloomer
post Feb 7 2008, 08:00 AM
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You can definitely find lodging in Delhi for 3 pounds or even less--most places should be from 200 to 400 rupees throughout the country, and even cheaper if you look around and don't get taken for a ride.
I once had a room in Munnar (southern ghats) for 45 rupees!

Just now I'm in Delhi at the Hare Rama guest house in the main baazar, Paharganj. It is cleaner than most, rooftop cafe, attached bath. 250 rupees--about 8 dollars or 4 pounds. Pretty typical price.
Season can figure in as well in the price, but generally, if you drive a bargain you should be fine, especially if you pay in advance for a number of nights.


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My travels. Well, some of them anyway.

Josh 13 on myspace

The Solo Me

Alter Ego Oliver Towne

Joshbloomer.com

QUOTE(findingnine @ Feb 21 2007, 05:08 PM) *

Hair of the dog. Make it a lifestyle! :puppeh:
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tiag
post Mar 21 2009, 12:37 PM
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Hello Sharon,

I will be studying and the University of Pondicherry from July 2009 untill december. Some people have told me that this is to long of a stay for my first visit because India is "so intense". Do you agree with this??

I think it will be a great experience but I don't want to get in over my head. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks smile.gif

-Tia
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c.i.222
post Feb 17 2010, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE(sharon1306 @ Jun 16 2007, 06:26 AM) *

sorcerer.png Sharon Dias says:

Just want to quickly introduce myself to the forumÖ I live in Goa, India and I would be happy to answer any questions with regards to travel in India, especially the southern region. Please let me know if I can be of any help smile.gif

Below are some tips for a first time traveler to India:

Iím going to try to keep it as brief as I can, but let me start by saying India is a difficult country to travel in, more so if you are coming to visit for the first time. No matter how much you prepare, India is an assault on the senses. The sights, smells and sounds are overwhelming. Having said that, I am also fairly certain this will be one of your most memorable trips, one that will stay with you always. I guess tips, as such, would vary depending to the region, because India is extremely diverse in many ways. It is a country that has so many different kinds of people, religions, languages, cultures and even landscapes. But generally. I guess I would say:

1.Come with an open mind. You will find dirt, filth and probably more poverty than youíre used to. You have to deal with that and not let it get to you. The touts are sometimes aggressive and so are the beggars. It is best to ignore them. Lots of traffic, lots of people, lots of noise. But that is also what makes India fascinating. It will take you a few days before you learn to cope. In one day your experiences can range from extremely frustrating to extremely magicalÖ

2.The benefits of travel in India definitely outweigh the negatives. You will find India chaotic at the surface, but it really is organized chaos and it takes a while to get used to it. Getting the simplest things done might take more time and effort than youíre used to, but itís definitely worth it in the end. Be careful about what you eat or drink. Drink only bottled water, eat hot foods, avoid ice, desserts and salads and wash your hands. Its good to carry a hand sanitizer for when you don't have access to soap and water, insect repellent, water purification tablets and toilet paper.

3.Just go with the flow. Thereís a lot of craziness around but thatís what makes the country special. Make an effort to strike up conversations with people. Most people are very friendly and open and will be willing to help you in any way they can.

4.Be respectful of the culture and customs. Lots of religions are practiced in the country so some areas might be more sensitive than others. Take lots of picturesÖ It hard to take a bad picture in India, with all the faces, colours, scenes.

5.Donít think about it, just go. India is a very culturally rich country, which engages you with its fascinating art, history and the sheer numbers of everything. There arenít any Ďdangersí as such you should be aware of, just petty annoyances.

This is one trip you will find hard to put behind you, because when you experience India, it seeps into your pores and itís very difficult to just forget about it once you get back home. India is a challenging country to travel in, and you will be taxed mentally and probably physically, but it will also be one of your more memorable trips, if nothing moreÖ

Sharon


Hi Sharon,
I have traveled extensively, and have traveled Northern India some years ago. I travel solo most times, because my wife hates to see so much poverty (that's about 90% of this planet), and she got her first taste of it when we honeymooned in Mexico in 1963.

I'm (will be 75 in December) Japanese-American, but consider myself a citizen of the world.

I have visited North India some decades ago, and really enjoyed my journey to your country. I was able to appreciate the contrasts, but more importantly to see the treasures in your country. Of coarse, the Taj Mahal was the primary reason for my first visit to your country, but the other "tourist" attractions were also very rewarding. I will be visiting South India in November, and will be in Goa for several days beginning on December 10. It would be wonderful if we can meet to have a meal and/or drinks. I'm still not sure which hotel we'll be staying at, but can let you know as soon as we learn about all of our accommodations for this trip.

We're starting in Chennai, and ending in Mumbai; a 24-day trip. I'm looking forward to this journey, and look forward to the many rewards awaiting us.

Tak
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c.i.222
post Mar 2 2010, 02:10 PM
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QUOTE(charles82 @ Mar 2 2010, 01:38 AM) *

Hi All,

I may be a freelancer to all of you... 'Coz i waz travelling thru south India... unforgettably KERALA... two months ago... i loved the place... may be derz some do's and dont'z in evry circumstances.. but itz ur way how u explore things... i believe booking holiday package wud be a crap... Book tickets only dat provide transportation... n'd ur not abide by the rules of do's and dont's... but making a thorough research wud ba a sensible thing before leaving home for it....


Cheerz!!!...
Charles



In my younger days, I was open to independent travel, and have done so, but at my age I need to have all my transportation, accommodations, and visiting the main sites provided by an organized tour. Fortunately, the company I travel with most often has a maximum participant rule of 16 (more on cruises), but the average has been closer to ten. I hate large group tours, and have not done one of those in several decades.

However, thanks for the thoughts about exploration; that's what travel is all about, and when we have free time, I like to walk and see how the people live and eat, and try to strike up a conversation when opportunities are available.

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c.i.222
post Apr 14 2010, 01:04 AM
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James, I have been to India before to visit the Taj Mahal, and most of the sites in North India. That was some years ago, and remember the "richness" of the many things we saw in India. That's the reason I'm returning to see more of the country. This will be my third trip to India, and will be spending 24-days seeing most of the major sites in South India.

QUOTE(james.snv @ Apr 13 2010, 11:59 PM) *

Hi,
I think India is really a culturally rich country,and there are a lot of cultures ,religions ,languages out there.I must say that its really hard to forget your experience in India.
Beijing Travel Agency

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