First trip solo Yay!

Travel Forums Asia First trip solo Yay!

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1. Posted by Alexa15 (Budding Member 8 posts) 29w Star this if you like it!

Hi there!

I`m a 27 years old Romanian, established in UK for a couple of years now, studying, working and enjoying life. I`ve decided to finally go traveling solo this summer as always wanted to but have let life get in the way.

So I`m going for a yoga ashram in Rishikesh for more than a month&half in June, but after I am considering visiting around for another week at least.
Any ideas, advice and recommendations I should keep in mind in terms of activities, locations + accommodation and health (vaccines, insurance etc) and safety? Bare in mind it`s my first trip outside Europe, have been traveling around Europe for a couple of years but not outside.

Have applied for visa and booked ashram but nothing further along, also traveling on a budget so please recommend affordable accommodations & experiences, I`m happy to share in hostels (but for safety reasons women-only shared rooms) and also meet like-minded travelers.
I`m open-minded and friendly, if there are any women like-minded travelers in the area at the time would be great to meet up as well.

Cheers all! :)

Alex

2. Posted by Keep Smiling (Respected Member 26 posts) 28w 2 Star this if you like it!

Alex, you're going to love Rishikesh - yoga capital of the world, Beatles connections, the Ganges...

However, it is a very visitor-oriented place so, to see something nearer the real India, head for Haridwar. It's nearby and one of the holiest cities in the country; hire a guide, see the holy bathing places, meet the sadhus. From Rishikesh, you can also take a taxi north to the source of the Ganges at Devprayag and, if you're brave and the mountain roads are open, venture higher up to Gomukh and the Gangotri glacier.

As you're travelling alone in this very conservative country, there are things that you, as a young Western woman, must be aware of. There's a lot of useful advice in another topic ('Travel Buddy Wanted for India Trip'). Although the title may not be relevant in your case, please do read it and be sure to heed the warnings.

3. Posted by Alexa15 (Budding Member 8 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Keep Smiling much appreciation for your reply! Lots of useful tips.
I will look into the info you have provided and definitely add the experiences on my list whilst in India.
Have a great day :)

4. Posted by kate_vn1263 (Budding Member 14 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

You can consider to visit Vietnam ( or south-east asia ). Vietnam is safe country, I think so
I met many people travel in Vietnam alone. Visa is easy to get. Food is delicious ( you know PHO and BANH MI ???). And you can travel in Viet Nam with low budget. A lot places in Vietnam have luxuru resorts and spas

5. Posted by Alexa15 (Budding Member 8 posts) 28w Star this if you like it!

Thanks for recommendation Kate, will def keep in mind for next Asia trip, but this time I have return flights booked from same location so will be only India, as after I`m off to Europe.

6. Posted by iamkumar179 (Inactive 2 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

Solo trip is my favorite. i had it once in my life but i want to make it again.

7. Posted by Alexa15 (Budding Member 8 posts) 26w Star this if you like it!

Hi all,

If I can get a piece of advice in the following matter would be brilliant! Much appreciated in advance!
@Keep Smiling helpppp please, maybe you can clarify a bit if have knowledge about this certain area :)

I`m researching online for a local Indian sim card, but what I am coming across is quite mixed up information, most posts I found state that there is no internet connectivity available on local mobile networks, only BSNL connectivity for calls/texts in Uttar Pradesh West & Uttarakhand area, others mention about Idea network which might provide plans for these remote areas.

Can someone confirm which local mobile network would provide internet services in UP West & Uttarakhand area please?

Also the Ashram provides Wifi for limited time frame , but not sure about the quality of the connection so I`d also consider a Wifi portable router, any recommendations regarding best ones to consider?

Thank you.

8. Posted by Keep Smiling (Respected Member 26 posts) 26w 1 Star this if you like it!

Hello again Alex.

I probably can't be of mega help in answering your SIM card question, but I'll try.

Firstly, don't believe everything you read on the internet. I've never had any problems and found it very straightforward to buy a SIM shortly after arrival in India. Remember: nearly everyone in India - young, old, rich or poor - has a mobile phone and it's such a huge market that everything's geared up to being as simple and cheap as possible. The network is vast, so phone reception anywhere is nearly always okay. I've been known to receive a call at the top of a mountain many miles from the nearest town!

Providing you have a unlocked phone (i.e. it's not locked into a specific network supplier), just go to one of the many phone shops, tell them what you want, and how long you want it for, and they'll supply a suitable SIM. Whatever you do, don't buy it at the airport - you'll be ripped off! If you're buying it in Rishikesh, they'll be very familiar with foreigners' needs. Tell them that you want to call to and from other States (and to phone home too?), as well as access the internet.

Take your passport when you go (also give them photocopies of relevant pages and visa as they may not have a photocopier and this will save them time), together with something confirming your hotel or hostel booking and the address. It usually takes less than a day for the SIM to be activated.

The shops may be tied into just one network, but all will suggest various bundles of calls/texts/data. You may need to shop around and compare the best deals. Needless to say, as you're not a local, you'll be offered the most expensive bundle, but don't be afraid to haggle with a smile.

I've had a variety of network providers - Vodafone on my last trip (I bought the SIM in Delhi from a guy with just a trestle table on the street in a shopping precinct!) and Airtel on the visit before that. All provided more calls, texts and data than I could use, all at a very cheap rate - and I was able to use it nationally.

Although networks can sometimes be slow by our standards, these days they're not often hopeless. I doubt you'll need a portable WiFi router - almost every restaurant and cafe has free WiFi even if the ashram doesn't. I presume you're not going to be locked into a cell at the ashram all day!

Hope this helps.

9. Posted by Alexa15 (Budding Member 8 posts) 26w Star this if you like it!

Heyy!

Phfeu, thanks for reassurance ! And for taking the time to answer my query.

Surely I`ll look into Airtel, just could not find clear information online, but you`re right, it should be easy to sort out once there. And I`ll trust you on the portable router, if they mention they offer Wifi should be decent.

Indeed if digging the internet for any matter reg travelling especially India, you get a bit put off as people are so reluctant and sharing mostly negative points, I`m sure it`s not only rosies but also could be portrayed in more positive light to not cut off all the enthusiasm.

That is certainly not my case though, I`m super duper so excited even after the SO expensive and painful vaccinations.

BTW I`ve added the places you`ve recommended to my itinerary
So thanks once again and happy travels everyone!

10. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1198 posts) 26w Star this if you like it!

I traveled in Uttrakhand last year in some of its remote areas and the only service provider was BSNL, which is government-owned. BSNL also provides service in other regions where Airtel, Vodafone and others don't have much, if any, presence, including tribal areas in Odisha and Chhattisgarh states; and certain areas in Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. Some border areas with China and Pakistan, for example, also might not have service. Please note that even if service is available it might not work for a variety of reasons, such as lack of power to operate cell towers. Your best bet would be to seek advice after arriving. Also look around to see what cellular service retailers are promoting in the places you visit.