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Tips for Existential Travel: Exploring India Jan-May 2014

Travel Forums Asia Tips for Existential Travel: Exploring India Jan-May 2014

1. Posted by Kenzinator (Budding Member, 2 posts) 1 Dec '13 18:56

Kenzinator has indicated that this thread is about India

I am ecstatic for my upcoming trip throughout Incredible India this coming January - May 2014.

Advice from all forms of experience and hearsay knowledge about the country - its culture, atmosphere, history, traveling adaptations and challenges has enriched my enthusiasm (and anxiety!) about my upcoming adventure throughout Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerela, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. As I prepare by reading, practicing and listening to spoken Hindi, meeting travellers and natives to India I grow more confident in my position as an utterly curious, passionate and open minded gal.

Anyone, anywhere who would share some advice for meeting friends in India, finding local experiences, (trying to) avoid getting ripped off, bargaining, grounding myself when growing stressed/overwhelmed, practicing patience, adventuring into and cautioning from certain foods, locating musical instruments (I'd love a guitar, sitar or other authentic Indian piece!)... anything ! Geographical advice if you've been to these states... I'd be ever so grateful !!

Cheers fellow friends,

Xx Mack

2. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru, 1734 posts) 2 Dec '13 04:01

I have travelled extensively around India, but quite a number of years ago. A Rail Pass is a good idea. Second Class is OK if you want to meet the people. If you have a newspaper (even English), people will borrow it off of you. I preferred first.

Rickshaws and taxis will rip you off. People selling you something will often try and overcharge you. If not too much, let them have it as often they need the money more than you do. Many Indians are superstitious and worry about the first sale of the day. If it goes OK, they think their day will go OK, so you stand a better chance of getting a bargain then.

You will certainly have some chances to practise your patience there, but if you can be patient, things do run smoother.

Do have necessary injections, take malaria pills, etc. A can of insect spray is a good investment. Spray around in the evening after you shut windows.

A Lonely Planet guide to India is invaluable. I stepped off the plane on my first trip there 30 years ago with nothing planned and just an LP guide.

Hot food is normally OK as it should have killed any bacteria, but remember the old traveller's cure. A small spoonful of salt washed down by a sugary drink is very good against diarrhoea and worse. It cured me of food poisoning in Jakarta many years ago.

Pick up a knife, fork and spoon ASAP when there. Some places down south they still eat with their hands and wash them afterwards. Midday meal in some eating places when many use them can be just (unknown) curried meat and rice rather than their usual selection.

There are still some hippies about in the popular beach places and such. All sorts of things are sold in India, often locally made, and picking up a musical instrument should be no problem.

I don't know if they still fuss about the money? It used to be that they did not mind if a note had a large hole in it (from staples put through bundles) but if it had the slightest tear to an edge, they would not take it.

3. Posted by sachin251287 (Budding Member, 18 posts) 2 Dec '13 10:09

Hi Mack..
I am Sachin.
I am an Indian.
There are a lot of questions in your mind. Which is very obvious.. May be more than what all you had asked above.
But its ok. If you want answers.. You can seek me out.. Just drop in a mail.. And i will respond each and every query of yours..
I was actually looking for travel buddies to share experiences across India and saw this forum then.
I am an avid traveller. But still I have not been able to complete India.. I am a native of New Delhi. And have stayed in Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai for over 1 year.. So every 10km you travel in India you will find altogether different experiences.. Which you would definitly love/like/may wont like. But it is always advisable to have someone known when it comes to find out cheap ways of visiting a place and about what to eat n all.. Tour guides/agencies dont know entire things.. Or things which u would really like to see or visit.. They just remain confined with their checklist.. Anyways.. I wish you good luck.. I would love to answer ur queries and to tell u more.. Drop me an email.. -snip-.. Or www.facebook.com/sachin251287

[ Edit: Sorry, no personal details please. ]

4. Posted by CheersT (Travel Guru, 1534 posts) 2 Dec '13 10:58

An invaluable resource.

Have fun.

Cheers,
Terry

5. Posted by PetriciaH (Budding Member, 22 posts) 3 Dec '13 11:41

Hey....

Look forward to India, it is one amazing country, from North to South, I spend over 12 months there, and still haven't had enough. I liked Rajasthan the most. Where are you starting from?
I went volunteering in Rajasthan, I don't know if you are up for this, but if so I can send you a link,?it is a nice way to get closer to the culture, and I would recommend it to everyone.

I hope you have a great time. :)

6. Posted by sachin251287 (Budding Member, 18 posts) 3 Dec '13 18:13

Hi petrica.
What do you volunteer for?
If you can share me the link..
:)
-snip-..

[ Edit: Sorry, no personal details please. Please use private messages. ]

7. Posted by Kenzinator (Budding Member, 2 posts) 19 Dec '13 22:09

Ah all of you have been so kind in your thoughtful responses, here.

I would adore to volunteer somewhere to really become familiar with a particular city. I'll be throughout Rajasthan in March and April - and I may have an opportunity available in Varanasi, where I'll briefly stop then, too.

I just really don't want to get sick :( biggest fear unfortunately is a superficial one as that! Avoid certain foods and eateries, drink bottled water only... Time will tell! I leave in two weeks and cannot Wait for all it will bring.

Cheers, friends.

8. Posted by PetriciaH (Budding Member, 22 posts) 1 Jan '14 07:29

Quoting Kenzinator

Ah all of you have been so kind in your thoughtful responses, here.

I would adore to volunteer somewhere to really become familiar with a particular city. I'll be throughout Rajasthan in March and April - and I may have an opportunity available in Varanasi, where I'll briefly stop then, too.

I just really don't want to get sick :( biggest fear unfortunately is a superficial one as that! Avoid certain foods and eateries, drink bottled water only... Time will tell! I leave in two weeks and cannot Wait for all it will bring.

Cheers, friends.

You are very lucky to be there in those months, since it is also season for Holi. I experienced this with the volunteer organization in Rajasthan. If you wanna have a look into it the site is: www.stepvolunteer.com, they make sure you learn a lot about the indian ways of living, and get to learn bit hindi and cooking lessons.

Don't worry too much about getting sick, it happens to everyone, and all the hotels are very helpful getting you the medicine you need. Go easy, and don't eat street food from first day, then you will be fine! Have a nice trip.

Exploring India, 2014

32 stops on this trip

  1. Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
    03 Jan-03 Jan
  2. Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
    03 Jan-03 Jan
  3. Puducherry, Pondicherry, India
    04 Jan-06 Jan
  4. Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu, India
    07 Jan-09 Jan
  5. Kochi, Kerala, India
    10 Jan-11 Jan
  6. Kundapur, Tamil Nadu, India
    12 Jan-15 Jan
  7. Madikeri, Karnataka, India
    16 Jan-20 Jan
  8. Mysore, Karnataka, India
    21 Jan-08 Feb
  9. Bandipur National Park, Mysore, Karnataka 571121, India
    09 Feb-09 Feb
  10. Mysore, Karnataka, India
    10 Feb-20 Feb
  11. Bangalore, Karnataka, India
    21 Feb-21 Feb
  12. Hampi, Karnataka 583239, India
    21 Feb-24 Feb
  13. Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
    24 Feb-27 Feb
  14. Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
    28 Feb-02 Mar
  15. Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh, India
    03 Mar-05 Mar
  16. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
    06 Mar-22 Mar
  17. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India
    23 Mar-24 Mar
  18. Khuri, Rajasthan, India
    24 Mar-25 Mar
  19. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India
    25 Mar-26 Mar
  20. Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India
    26 Mar-26 Mar
  21. Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
    27 Mar-29 Mar
  22. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
    30 Mar-04 Apr
  23. Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
    05 Apr-06 Apr
  24. Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India
    07 Apr-07 Apr
  25. Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
    08 Apr-18 Apr
  26. New Delhi, Delhi, India
    18 Apr-18 Apr
  27. Kalka, Haryana, India
    18 Apr-18 Apr
  28. Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
    18 Apr-23 Apr
  29. Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, India
    23 Apr-24 Apr
  30. Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh, India
    25 Apr-02 May
  31. Amritsar, Punjab, India
    02 May-03 May
  32. New Delhi, Delhi, India
    03 May-05 May