Hello all! Happy new year!
I’m planning a little trip around south Asia next spring (2012) and would really appreciate a little help and advice with my route. I’ve been to India before but only for a month (Just isn’t enough time for such a wonderful country!) and only in the South – Tamil Nadu.
My plan this far is to fly into Delhi at the beginning of April, explore the city and surrounding area for a week, then take the train through the hills north to Simla and back to Dehli again.
I would then ideally like to travel through Nepal and take the bus from Pokhara to Kathmandu. Am I right in thinking the easiest crossing point in Nepal would be Sunauli-Bhairawa (Nr. Varanasi) and then out of Nepal at Raxaul-Birganj, south of Kathmandu, on my way to Kolkata?
Would a week in Kolkata be reasonable? I really want enough time to explore the city’s history and life. From there I am planning to take the Maitree Express to Dhaka. I’d really appreciate some tips for Dhaka I don’t really know much about what there is to see and do there, only that it’s one of the busiest and packed cities around, and that given where I’ll be it would be the perfect chance to see Bangladesh for a week.
A quick flight would see me in Mumbai, which I was planning to use as a base for a week/ten days, before I take the recommended Mandovi Express along the coast into Goa. Again, I’m not quite sure where the best places are to stay/go in Goa.
After this I want to travel inland to the school I spent a month at a few years ago near Vriddhachalam, Tamil Nadu, using the trains and hopefully via Bangalore. 12 days should be reasonable.
I’d like to end my little adventure in Sri Lanka. So, is it possible to take a ferry from anywhere along India’s south-east coast? I haven’t been able to find anything online thus far. Otherwise, I know you can fly into Colombo from Trivandrum - which would also give me a chance to visit Ernakulam and Kanyakumari (I gather there is a great train journey from Triv to Kanya and vice-versa) – if getting there is feasible?
I know this is a pretty skeleton plan as it stands, but I want to get a solid, realistic framework in my head. I would like to use the trains as much as possible, but getting from Dhaka to Mumbai seemed completely bonkers Ideally, I would like to have plenty of time to explore the history, food, cricket (What’s the easiest way to see an IPL game?) and city life of the country. My rough time estimates work out at about 3 months. Is this realistic for covering India north to south via Nepal and Dhaka? And what sort of budget should I be looking at? I will be backpacking, using hostels, eating cheaply etc.
Thanks a lot for your help guys! If anyone has done a similar trip, have past itineraries, or any advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated!
I noticed you want to re-enter India from Nepal and Bangladesh. When i was there in march you had to wait 2 months before re-entering India. I dont think it has changed since then but check it out. It might change you plans a bit. Otherwise good luck with the planning and have fun!
From what I've read on the Indian visa website you're correct - there is normally a 2 month waiting period before re-entering India. However, I'm fairly sure you can apply for a multiple entry visa that allows you to re-enter India without the waiting time, providing you send documents outlining your plans. Is two re-entries pushing it though? I don't know how difficult it is to get a multiple entry visa in the first place?!
Where did you go in India, Mike?
John, for the visa I'd check on IndiaMike they have the most up to date word. Keep in mind its India and even when its the law, doesnt always make it so, and vise-versa. Ive heard of people that had multiple entry visa's and not allowed back in and then returned the next day to another officer who did let them in. Its very difficult to get a straight answer on anything Indian!
How long are you giving yourself in the Shimla area before returning to Delhi? To me all that area of Himachal Pradesh is amazing, although April is very early and you'll likely have snow on all the passes, making them..um un-passable.
Also if you are wanting to head to Nepal you might do better to go straight from Himashal rather than come all the way back to Delhi.
Easiest crossing point? they all have good days and bad! (see first paragraph) The good thing is when you get ripped off, they can't do much damage and its maybe $5-10 at the most.
A week in Kolkatta would be ample. Citys are hard work in India and Kolkatta is one of the hardest.
I met the cutest girl from Dhaka in Nepal. She was traveling alone too! A year later I ran into her again in Manali!!, this time married to a really nice guy also from Dhaka. She gave me her email address, but unfortunately I can't find it now. not much help huh, but gives you hope that there are some really nice people in Dhaka!
In your North India trip, do try to go all the way up till Leh and Ladakh. The landscape is very different from what you would see in Simla and generally elsewhere on the Himalayas.
Don't miss Kerala! Specially the house boat tour of the backwaters. Its on top 10 things you do before you die list of Lonely Planet :D
In Goa, you can stay at any of the hotels near the famous beaches of Calangute or Anjuna etc. The night life is very happening (at least in the winters) and you can enjoy a brinner (breakfast/dinner) like I did 4 in the morning on a beach shack. You can find cheaper hotels in or near Panjim (Capital of Goa).
Hiya, in terms of the visa's, you'll have to contact the relevant consulates. India has so much to see, just depends on what your into... as for a week in Bangla, one option is to take a 2 day trip on the 'rocket' steamer boat either from Dhaka to Khula or vice versa (they usually do the run 4 times per week). I think from the border crossing at Benapole, you could take a bus to Khulna, buy your boat ticket (1st class approx. $30), check out Bagerhat, then jump onto the 'rocket'. Then in Dhaka, see Sadarghat, where the 'rocket' docks either in the morning or late afternoon, wander through old Dhaka, take a few rides on rickshaw's & CNG's, get stuck in traffic, visit the War Liberation Museum, eat a biryani, experience a torrential downpour, be asked for baksheesh... stay in old or central Dhaka to check out the sites around the old town, then move to Gulshan when you plan to fly out as the traffic is terrible... obviously there is much more to see & do, but you only have a week!