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> Southern India Starter Kit, Everything you want to know about Southern India
sharon1306
post Jun 16 2007, 06:26 AM
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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
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lauraexplorer
post Oct 4 2007, 04:11 AM
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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.

I went to Bangalore, Mysore and other more remote villages which I am appaled to say I can't remember their names!

It is an amazing experience, just don't stay in a tourist complex, you need to see the REAL India. However, if your senses are rather delicate then I guess you may have too!!!


Any information needed on my visit to India then look at my blog!
Laura
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roseyben
post Oct 13 2007, 09:38 PM
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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!!

I studied Indian Politics in my final year at uni which is when I vowed that one day I would check it out. I was so fascinated with the pictures and stories my tutor told me about after he spent a year on sabbatical out there and I just knew it would be just as amazing for me. My partner knew nothing about India and was awestruck for the first few days but once he got used to the craziness he loved it too.

The thing with India is you have to take it for what it is and it can be any number of things, from a progressive 21 century country to a backward third world country which is still struggling on many levels and can be hard to appreciate at times. 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.

The challenge is character building and i would recommend anyone to give it a go. If you have travel Thailand, Cambodia etc and loved it then India must surely be your next stop. I have so many stories to tell, most noteably being the bus journey from hell - on the worst journey forum - a long with a million other happy memories.

So where do you start?
I would honestly start with some research so you donít get the shock of your life when you arrive. I would love to be able to suggest a good guide book but alas I canít. We bought the Lonely Planet and the most frequent thing it was used for was toilet paper. Believe me when I say that after just reading the first few pages you will be half scared to death at the thought of being in India; it seriously is not for the faint hearted acording to them. The hotels, B&Bs and guest houses which are recommended in The Lonely Planet will have probably doubled in price by the time you arrive as they live of the reputation. So we often went to ones close to them. Though it does recommend some great off the beaten track places which made our adventures truly amazing. Once you are in India you will meet other travelers who will recommend places to go. There are 3 levels of price in India; local price, Asian price and tourist price. Please don't think i am being racist. You will get ripped off in some places there is no doubt its up to you to barter to the death especially with rickshaw drivers!!

Plan a basic route. Seriously no matter how long you decide you want to spend in India you need to have some idea as to which parts you wanna see, a rough idea of how long you are gonna stay in one place and what there is to do there. You will find that you love some places more than others and thatís the beauty of having a basic route; you can then decide to spend a few more days in the places that you like and quickly escape the ones you donít like. Booking buses and trains can be a nightmare in some places so you always need to think ahead.

The obvious place to start is of course Delhi simply because every airline flys in and out. I would recommend you start in Delhi because if you canít hack the pace of life and sights in Delhi then you will not hack the rest of India. And when I say sights Iím not just talking about the lush temples which were once owned by rich Rajahís and the many historic tourist attractions. Iím talking about the dirty sweet smelling streets full of rubbish, with big black rats running around, which have urinals just there on the corner with no privacy, the man you walk past stood whistling while he is taking a leek against a tree. The disfigured creatures that walk the streets expecting you to hand over your rupees with out battering an eye lid. The kids that play bare foot in the streets dressed in rags playing in front of their tent shaped tarpaulin houses. Its heart rendering at times and depressing too and the only thing you will do if you give your rupees is feed a culture that needs to be starved. I cried many times especially in Mysore i think maybe by then it had all kinda got to me. Its is hard to say no to the lady sat on the side of a road with a baby in her arms begging me to 'take child to England to give a good life' or the man with no arms sat cross legged hoping I will pop some notes in his shirt pocket. Or the man that sends his young boy to follow us the full length of the street begging all the way for 'just a few rupees so i don't get beat.'

You will feel every emotion possible and nothing will prepare you. Just remeber to keep your whits about you as you would in any country, if you don't feel safe move on. There is good and bad where ever you travel. Take the good with you and leave the bad behind.

So if i haven't put you off (hey i'm just being honest) go travel, enjoy and savour every memory. There are 30 entries on our blog - roseyben - and an ode to India about our time there. Hampi (over night bus ride from Goa) is the place to be make sure you have time to go especailly for the colour festival.

If any one is deciding to travel the triangle - Delhi, Jaipour, Agra, etc i can give you the email address for the driver we used to see if you can book him as we still keep in touch. We had a blast, paid a fair price and even saw the tiger in Ranthambore which is a rare site when you realise how many people visit.

Stay safe & Happy travels x x x

Rosey & Ben
www.travelpod.com/members/roseyben


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Stay safe and happy traveling

Roseyben xxx
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Posts in this topic
sharon1306   Southern India Starter Kit   Jun 16 2007, 06:26 AM
whereshegoes   Great to meet you Sharon! Thank you for volunt...   Jun 22 2007, 08:43 PM
sharon1306   I can understand why you would feel a little nervo...   Jun 23 2007, 07:12 AM
whereshegoes   Hi Sharon THank you so much for the quick respons...   Jun 26 2007, 12:08 AM
wakingdream   Whoa. It better be a damn good spa! :P I ch...   Jul 1 2007, 08:21 AM
sharon1306   Whoa. It better be a damn good spa! :P ...   Jul 2 2007, 06:20 AM
sharon1306   Hi Carmella, Sorry for the delay in response, I w...   Jul 2 2007, 06:15 AM
whereshegoes   Hi Sharon Thankyou! You know, just talking to...   Jul 2 2007, 07:36 AM
sharon1306   Hi Sharon Thankyou! You know, just talking t...   Jul 6 2007, 06:37 AM
whereshegoes   Hi Sharon, At the moment I am practicing Bikram (...   Jul 13 2007, 05:50 AM
sharon1306   Hi Sharon, At the moment I am practicing Bikram ...   Jul 18 2007, 08:01 AM
fourloves   Hi Sharon, Looks like you're the proud helper...   Sep 14 2007, 08:08 PM
sharon1306   Hi Mack, Just saw your post:) Been recovering fro...   Sep 19 2007, 07:49 AM
lighthouse   :hyper: Greetings Sharon: I've been ask to com...   Oct 13 2007, 07:26 PM
lauraexplorer   [quote name='lauraexplorer' post='34375' date='Oc...   Oct 14 2007, 05:16 AM
effie123   Hi, My name is Becki, Iím 25 and from London. Ií...   Jan 10 2008, 03:18 PM
sharon1306   Hi, My name is Becki, Iím 25 and from London. I...   Jan 17 2008, 06:45 AM
effie123   Money. Depends on how much on a budget you are, I ...   Jan 17 2008, 07:55 AM
sharon1306   Hi, How much is your budget for accommodation per...   Jan 17 2008, 07:58 AM
effie123   Hi, How much is your budget for accommodation pe...   Feb 6 2008, 07:09 AM
cindib   I am hoping you'll give me some elementary ti...   Jan 13 2008, 04:34 PM
effie123   I am hoping you'll give me some elementary t...   Jan 16 2008, 04:54 PM
sharon1306   Hi Cindi, Great to hear you are headed to India. ...   Jan 17 2008, 06:59 AM
starlagurl   What do the other people in your group say?   Jan 14 2008, 10:57 AM
bloomer   Goa is a great place to get acclimated to India, i...   Jan 14 2008, 04:46 PM
bloomer   You can definitely find lodging in Delhi for 3 pou...   Feb 7 2008, 08:00 AM
tiag   Hello Sharon, I will be studying and the Universi...   Mar 21 2009, 12:37 PM
c.i.222   :sorcerer: Sharon Dias says: Just want to quick...   Feb 17 2010, 01:39 PM


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