Travel in India

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1. Posted by barrythurston (Budding Member 14 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Hi all

We are planning a trip for around 12 months starting this coming May. We are spending a couple of months in Italy before moving onto Croatia, Macedonia and Greece. We are driving up to this point but then leaving the car in Athens, island hopping across to Turkey and heading up to Istanbul for a flight to Nepal or India. We are planning on spending a few weeks working with some friends in Nepal before travelling through India and down to Sri Lanka.

We are aware of the size of the country so we were looking for ideas as to how to see the best of it? I have been looking at some of the rail journeys for example which look interesting. But still debating whether to fly directly into Kathmandu and then head into India after or fly into somewhere else and travel up to Nepal. As I said we are interested in a rail journey as that seems a good way to see the country but happy to listen to others experience? We don't really have a list of places we went to go to specifically - Goa is on our list and Mumbai of course but where else - Jaipur maybe or Sikkim?

I've already had some great advice from Berner256 but looking to continue the conversation on this thread. Any ideas, tips and advice are very welcome


2. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1777 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Utilising the sleeping options on the trains might be worthwhile; sleeping as you're moving will maximise your time and could save a little on accommodation costs. We used sleepers a few years ago: Gorakhpur to Varanasi, Varanasi to Agra, Agra to Amritsar, Amritsar to Agra, Jodhpur to Mumbai, Mumbai to Goa, Goa to Chennai.

From Kathmandu, we crosed the border overland into Gorakhpur to visit Varanasi for the Ganges and the ghats; Agra for the Taj Mahal; Amritsar for the Golden Temple, the Wagah border ceremony and a gateway into Pakistan; (We missed the Ranthambor NP tigers due to a strike); Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur in Rajahstan; Mumbai; Palolem Beach in Goa for a bit of r'n'r and then we flew out from Chennai.

We did all this in about six weeks but, with more time, you might be able to cover more places and you certainly won't be quite as rushed as we were.

Enjoy your planning and enjoy India! :):):)

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1566 posts) 3y 1 Star this if you like it!

In Mumbai suggest you visit the Sassoon Docks.

In New Delhi, suggest walking the streets of Old Delhi. Try a meal at Karim's, 168/2. Hzt, Nizamuddin West, ND-13. Also buy some Sohan Halwa at Chaina Ram, also in Old Delhi. Note that air pollution can be bad in New Delhi, so bring a Buff or something similar to cover your nose and mouth.

Most people have the Taj Mahal on their bucket list. It's not like it was in 1974, when I first visited (oil lamps, candles, attendants in dhotis and two jasmine blossoms placed in your hand as you entered).

Know that weather is a factor in traveling in the subcontinent. National parks can be closed during the monsoon season; and reopen after. In fact, consider weather in planning your 'round the world itinerary. There are a number of Web sites that can give you an idea of what Mother Nature has in store in the places you want to visit. There are no guarantees. In Uttarakhand in northern India this fall some of the fruit trees that normally flower in spring were flowering in advance of winter. Go figure.

If you want to see massive temple complexes, suggest visiting southern India before making your way to Sri Lanka. In southern India don't miss a Kathakali performance.

One year isn't much time for a 'round-the-world trip. So consider a few flights to cover great distances. Long train trips can be tiring; and you might not enjoy the comfort level, particularly if you choose not to travel either in 1AC or 2AC.

It's important to wash your hands frequently while traveling; and if soap and water aren't readily available, to use hand sanitizer. The W/C (either squat or western) on some trains lack water and TP. So carry some of the latter in your pocket.

While sanitation is important, don't forget to watch what you eat. Many upset stomachs aren't caused by germs but by oily food. I avoid oily food. As a result, I seldom get TD. If I do, my doctor recommends rifaximin, which I carry in my medicine kit on every trip. You will be bitten by insects. So bring something to calm the inflammation.

There are many things to consider in planning your trip; and since you're leaving in May there isn't too much time to get ready.

[ Edit: Edited on 02-Jan-2019, at 18:29 by berner256 ]

4. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1566 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Barry, you're being helped by Borisborough, who is participating in this forum shortly after arriving in Djibouti from Somaliland. I'm leaving Monday to visit family in Hawaii.

5. Posted by barrythurston (Budding Member 14 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Thanks both - really helpful. I’ll start to do an outline of some of this and add to my planner.

Also i will start to build my packing list - not much time Berner256 but my planner says I’ve got 120 days before we make the first move! Our plan is to do something every year for a few months and eventually retire and drink rum in the Caribbean!

Have a great trip Berner256!


[ Edit: Edited on 02-Jan-2019, at 22:22 by barrythurston ]

6. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

The only thing I'd add is that travelling in India is very season dependent.
Both where and how.
Wet/cold season can cause big problems, but varies a bit time-wise (and in other ways) across the country as it's a large country.
So plan your travel in relationship to the weather you expect to get at the time you're travelling.

I'm a big fan of Kerala (beautiful and great people) but prone to serious flooding during wet season...
Last time I was there I spend some time sitting in the open doorway of a train watching the world as we rolled gently by. It was fascinating (even though I ended the journey covered in dust and diesel fumes) which made the 3 hour delay bearable. But it would have been a lot less fun if it was all flooded and delayed 20 hours...

[ Edit: Edited on 03-Jan-2019, at 05:11 by Andrew Mack ]

7. Posted by barrythurston (Budding Member 14 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

We are in Nepal and India from the beginning of September through to the middle of October I think. So from a weather perspective we are probably better off North until towards the end of the month and then travelling south?


8. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1566 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

These Web sites can help in your planning:

I usually travel in India and Nepal from October onwards.

In India, the wildlife parks and tiger reserves usually reopen in October.

Since you plan to volunteer for three or four weeks in Kathmandu at a school run by a friend, you should check with that friend to see if spending time there first is a good option before traveling elsewhere.

If there's no option but to travel during the monsoon season, by all means go. While weather is an important consideration, it should not be a deterrent if you have a sense of adventure.

9. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 3y Star this if you like it!

Quoting berner256

While weather is an important consideration, it should not be a deterrent if you have a sense of adventure.

Absolutely agree.
You just need to adjust for it.

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