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sharon1306
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
whereshegoes
Great to meet you Sharon! Thank you for volunteering to help us out with this very special country. 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.

My new passion is yoga and I know that India is a great place to practice. Can you tell me anything about yoga or meditation retreats?

Thanks in advance!
sharon1306
I can understand why you would feel a little nervous about planning a trip here, but if you do decide to come, I guarantee you an unforgettable experienceÖ

What kind of yoga do you practice? And what part of India would you like to travel to? There are yoga/meditation centers that offer retreats all over the country. Or you could plan a trip with yoga and meditation as the central theme. There are so many possibilities.

Thereís an organization called Ambika Yoga Kutir, which has about 45 centres all over India and they give yoga/meditation instruction free for women. If spaís are more your style, then perhaps you could consider the Ananda Spa, situated in the Himalayas. Iíve heard a lot of good things about this place but havenít been there myself. It overlooks the holy Hindu town of Rishikesh as well as the river Ganga.

If you could give me more information about the type of retreat you're interested in, the length of time you plan on spending and the area where you're most interested in, it would be very helpful.
whereshegoes
Hi Sharon

THank you so much for the quick response. I am really impressed with the amount of options I seem to have. To be honest, I haven't really decided exactly what kind of experience I am after. Perhaps a little bit of everything. I would like to try the basic yoga retreat and then maybe at the end of the trip try some thing a little more spalike. The Ananda sounds amazing!

I would like something that is all inclusive as in food, accomodations ect is all included.

Now why is it free for women?

Look forward to hearing from you again smile.gif Thanks!
wakingdream
QUOTE
Hmmm.... That's a bit outrageous, don't you think?


Whoa. It better be a damn good spa! tongue.gif
I checked out the site. It does look really nice but I wouldn't classify it under 'affordable' that's for sure. The great thing about India is that there's a wealth of choices in every budget. It just requires some research.
sharon1306
Hi Carmella,

Sorry for the delay in response, I was out of townÖ Anyways, yes, there are an amazing amount of options out there. Considering you havenít been to India before, I would suggest sticking to a more-or-less typical north Indian itinerary including Delhi, Agra, cities in Rajasthan (Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur) and maybe Varanasi for the Ganges. Also, if youíre interested in wildlife you might want to add Ranthambore for the tigers. That would be a great introduction to India with the forts, palaces, the Taj Mahal and of course the holy river Ganga. Let me see if I can gather information on yoga retreats in these areas. It would be interesting if you could intersperse some yoga activities with seeing the sights. Towards the end of the stay, you might want to retreat to the hill stations in Himachal Pradesh.

Yes, the Ananda is a high-end property and the prices are really out there, but its one those totally inclusive spas. There are all kinds of properties, catering to various budgets, so it really depends on what youíre looking for. There are a lot of traditional ayurvedic health resorts that incorporate a lot of yoga techniques, which you might consider looking into.

Finally, Iím not quite sure why itís free for women, but from I understand, the knowledge of yoga is supposed to be passed on free of charge, or something like that. Of course, now itís definitely commercialized especially in the West, but there are places here that give free lessons. I joined a free class a few years ago but didnít last very longÖ It was at 5am every morning, and waking up that early just killed meÖ

Sharon
sharon1306
QUOTE(pstocktonsmith @ Jun 30 2007, 02:53 PM) *

Hello Sharon
I came across this forum quite by chance, and briefly as artist as well as a traveller I'm thinking about southern India in Feb next year and wondered if you had any suggestions for an itinerary/route etc. I found your writing very informative. Hope to hear from you.
Peter




QUOTE(sharon1306 @ Jun 16 2007, 06:26 AM) *








Hi Peter,

Welcome to the forum! Feb is a great time to visit India. Have you been to India before? What are your interests like and how many days do you plan on traveling? Southern India is great for a very laid-back, tropical, beach-filled trip. You could start your trip in Bombay, great place to shop, and then head south to Goa (for the beaches and a bit of the Portuguese culture, paddy fields, coconut palm groves) or maybe Cochin in Kerala. Kerala has a lot to offer. Wildlife sanctuaries, the lazy backwaters, tea plantations, etc. You could travel to Kumarakom, Thekaddy, Aleppey, Varkala, Trichur etc down to Kanyakumari (the southernmost tip of India).

If you got more time to spend in the South, you could visit some of the cities in the state of Tamil Nadu famous for some amazing temples in places like Madurai, Tanjore, Trichy, etc and perhaps end your trip in Chennai (Madras) on the east coast. There are so many options out there to give you a good feel for the colours, culture and variety of India.

Sharon
sharon1306
QUOTE(wakingdream @ Jul 1 2007, 08:21 AM) *

QUOTE
Hmmm.... That's a bit outrageous, don't you think?


Whoa. It better be a damn good spa! tongue.gif



It is:)

Sharon
whereshegoes
Hi Sharon

Thankyou! You know, just talking to someone from there makes it a whole lot less...intimidating.

I am pretty sure I need an authentic experience. I am doing yoga here and it is, as you say, quite Westernized. At least, I think. I guess I have no real way of knowing unless I come there and find out. smile.gif Thank you for your help!
sharon1306
Hi Peter,

Do you mean Marrakesh in Morocco? Sounds like a great placeÖ


If you have a month, you can explore southern india at your own pace. Buy a couple of guidebooks (or get some from the library) and see which places appeal to you. Traveling solo is not a problem, as long as you follow general precautions like you would in any country. I prefer to book accomodation in advance instead of just winging it. Especially for Bombay, where the hotel rates are very high and it is difficult to find a place within your budget at the last moment. Goa during peak season is also always booked. If you have a firm itinerary in mind, it makes sense to arrange your accomodation before you leave.

About travel within the country, again it depends on your routes. For certain areas I suggest flying. Eg. Mumbai Ė Goa. There are tons of budget flights available on this route which wouldnít cost much more than a train ticket (which is a 12 hour journey). Southern India is very well connected by train. You can read more about train travel in India here: http://www.seat61.com/India.htm Certain inaccessible areas you might want to explore, you could hire a car and driver (comparatably cheap in India).
sharon1306
QUOTE(whereshegoes @ Jul 2 2007, 07:36 AM) *

Hi Sharon

Thankyou! You know, just talking to someone from there makes it a whole lot less...intimidating.

I am pretty sure I need an authentic experience. I am doing yoga here and it is, as you say, quite Westernized. At least, I think. I guess I have no real way of knowing unless I come there and find out. smile.gif Thank you for your help!



Hi Carmella,

You are welcome anytime. What kind of yoga do you practice? If you're looking for something totally inclusive with accomodation and meals, you could take a look at this holistic spa called Soukya, located just outside of Bangalore city.

Sharon
sharon1306
Hi Peter,

No need to apologise. Venice is lovely, I'm sure you've been having a wonderful time...

There are tons of airlines operating different routes. The best are Kingfisher and Jet Airways, then the so-called budget airlines like Spicejet (I personally like this one), Indigo, Deccan etc with Indian (airlines) at the bottom... They are very easy to book once you're here, or if you have your itinerary in place, you could look into booking them online before you arrive. You generally get better rates if you book in advance as opposed to the very last minute.

Glad you liked the Sorcerer's Apprentice. I haven't read it yet, but I've heard about it. Sounds like a great read.

Take care and let me know if I can be of any help with regards to your travel planning.

Sharon
whereshegoes
Hi Sharon,

At the moment I am practicing Bikram (hot) yoga. Its become a bit of a fad it seems but it really works for me. I am glad to have been lured in by this extreme form of yoga because it has taught me alot about myself. I have bypassed yoga for years because it didn't seem to be challenging enough. But whoa, now I understand.

So as for a trip there, I think I will be looking for something more spiritual as I have the physical stuff under control. For the most part.

Do you do yoga?
sharon1306
QUOTE(whereshegoes @ Jul 13 2007, 05:50 AM) *

Hi Sharon,

At the moment I am practicing Bikram (hot) yoga. Its become a bit of a fad it seems but it really works for me. I am glad to have been lured in by this extreme form of yoga because it has taught me alot about myself. I have bypassed yoga for years because it didn't seem to be challenging enough. But whoa, now I understand.

So as for a trip there, I think I will be looking for something more spiritual as I have the physical stuff under control. For the most part.

Do you do yoga?



Hi Carmella,

Glad Bikram yogaís working for you. It definitely is more challenging than it looksÖ

Yes, I do yoga (Hatha, not hotÖ) Its too hot most of the time here for any Ďhotí yoga:)

Sharon
sharon1306
QUOTE(pstocktonsmith @ Jul 17 2007, 11:39 AM) *

Thanks for all the advice Sharon, I'll get in touch when the plan starts to take shape.
I have a website with my work on it, if you're interested.

www.stockton-smith.co.uk

Thanks
Peter



Hi Peter,

Youíre welcome anytime. I took a look at your website. I now have a better understanding of the kind of work you do. Very interesting.

Sharon
fourloves
Hi Sharon,

Looks like you're the proud helper of a hot topic here - the south Indian destination. If you would, I would like to pose a few more questions...

I am coming to Goa after the monsoon season this year (late Octoberish), to take up learning the tabla and to try my voice at some hindi. I already have an instuctor in mind, and will be learning with him in Canacona.

Where would you recommend I look for apartments/accomodation for 2-4 months, or do you think it is a better option to simply stay in a hostel? Do you find learning the language difficult, and what is the best method of learning for yourself? (Instructed or self-taught?)

Lastly, why do you live in Goa, what keeps you there, and what are your loves/hates about the area?

Thanks for all your help!

Cheers,
MacK
sharon1306
Hi Mack,

Just saw your post:) Been recovering from the flu... Late October is an excellent time to be in Goa. If you already have an instructor who is based in Canacona, I'm assuming you would want to base yourself there as well? Canacona is in South Goa, close to the famous Palolem Beach (most recent claim to fame is that one of the Bourne movies was partially shot there). If you're looking for long term accomodations in that area, I would suggest looking for guest-houses.

About learning hindi... well, it depends on how good you are with languages... If you have a good instructor, I suppose it would be easier to learn the basics rather than trying to learn it yourself. Just curious, why learn Hindi in Goa?

The reason I live in Goa is very simple really. I love living here. I love the peace and quiet, the proximity to the beach, the people. Goa was a Portuguese colony for over 450 years, and you can feel that influence the minute you cross the borders into the state. Its very laid-back. I'm sure you'll have a great time.

Sharon
lauraexplorer
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
lighthouse
hyper.gif Greetings Sharon:
I've been ask to come to Rajahmundry India to share my testimony & speak.
I've never been there. I know nothing. Can you help me out? Thanks
GOD-BLESS
Ray
This is the day that the LORD hath made!

rberto@comcast.net
roseyben
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
lauraexplorer
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
effie123
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.
cindib
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
starlagurl
What do the other people in your group say?
bloomer
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.
effie123
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!
sharon1306
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
sharon1306
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
effie123
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
sharon1306
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
effie123
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.
bloomer
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.
tiag
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
c.i.222
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
Sunnyvale, CA, USA
c.i.222
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.

c.i.222
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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