View Full Version : Backpacking and traveling in India

2014-Jul-07, 08:24 PM
Hi there, I am still trying to get some electrician work experience, but hopefully that will be soon as my friend is trying to sort that out for me.
I am confident i will enjoy it and hopefully, i can pursue that line of work in the future.

However, after i have done some work experience, i am planning to go on a two week holiday to Goa. Then after that i plan on travelling around India for a while. I was thinking about heading south, down the Indian coastline. Then north to visit Manas national park on my way to the Taj Mahal. I like the idea of taking train rides around the country and experiencing what that has to offer.

I am not sure how long for, it depends on how it goes. I have enough funds to last 3 months and i think that would be long enough. Part of me wonders if i could keep busy enough for 3 months..

I was wondering if anybody here has any experience in backpacking or traveling around India. If you have any experience in doing it in other places then i would like to hear your thoughts about that too. Would you recommend it, was it fun, is it worth doing, did you enjoy it ect ect..

It is a bold thing to do but i am 33 years old with no ties and i figure life is for living, i feel it is something i need to do. I need to do something radical !

I just thought i would share my plans on here and i would like to hear what your opinions are...

Cheers, Kevin

2014-Jul-07, 08:39 PM
Sounds like you plan to stay off the beaten path. Highly recommend that you are current on inoculations including hepatitis A and B, typhoid and Japanese encephalitis. Check the CDC website for more recommendations.

Amber Robot
2014-Jul-07, 09:49 PM
I highly recommend traveling through Rajasthan: Udaipur, Jodhpur, and Jaipur. Jaisalmer is very nice, but a bit off of the rail path of the others. You will have a better experience through those cities than the short visit you'll have at the Taj Mahal.

However, it does seem that it's out of the way from the direction you're headed, if you're off to Assam. If you like mountains, head up to Sikkim, which is on your way to Manas NP.

2014-Jul-07, 09:50 PM
Thanks, i will definitely check on that website. I was planning on seeing my GP and asking her about inoculations. I will write down what you have wrote and anything else i find and then go and ask my doctor.

2014-Jul-07, 10:19 PM
I'd think having a good supply of water purification tablets or other means of assuring clean drinking/cooking water would be a necessity.

Amber Robot
2014-Jul-07, 11:54 PM
Don't eat anything off the street unless it's fully cooked or boiled. And don't get anything with ice.

Heid the Ba'
2014-Jul-08, 11:10 AM
If you head south from Goa the area round Cochi and Kerala is lovely, it is friendlier than the north.

Trains can be very slow and busses are not for the faint hearted but are safe and cheap. And by safe I mean you won't be robbed or attacked, you may die a horrible fiery death in a head on collision with a lorry. Internal flights aren't that expensive, though some of the domestic airlines are in financial trouble.

The Golden Triangle (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur) is full of people after your money since they (correctly) see you as wealthier than them, you need to either accept you will tip a lot of people or be shouted at, your choice. The further off the beaten track you are the more of a curiosity you will be to the locals. There is a bike tour of Old Delhi run by a Dutch couple that is an eye opener and will take you to places you wouldn't otherwise see, it should be compulsory for any western visitor. Round India Gate in Delhi at sunset is magical, chaotic, or both. If you go to the Taj Mahal don't fall for the "see it at dawn" hype, security is so slow you won't be in in time, go in the evening when the Indians go. I'd echo that Udaipur and Jaipur are lovely, I haven't been to Jodhpur but it is on the list.

Learn some basic Hindi, most people who are not in the tourist/hospitality industries won't speak English (and in the south won't speak Hindi either).

I can't remember what you have to get inoculated/vaccinated against but your GP can arrange it, I think it costs about 40.

You will need a visa, get it from the embassy/consulate don't pay anyone online to do it for you. It basically amounts to proving you aren't, never have been and don't intend to be Pakistani, and I'm guessing from your name you aren't.

Your money will get you so far, but don't forget you are unclean in the religious sense so some hotels will have the diningroom etc. you don't get to know about, it for the Brahmins etc. who don't want to be polluted by you. Caste is still a huge thing in India. Also there will be separate carriages on some trains, ferries etc. for women, busses are usually women at the front, men at the back. If you get it wrong you will get some leeway for being foreign but be polite and respectful.

I never had a problem with street food, maybe being vegetarian helps, but avoid ice and tap water as Amber Root says. Eat the local food, South Indian food is brilliant, idli for breakfast and dosa for dinner.

Oddly if you are British the food can be very disappointing. Too many tourists, and I'm looking at you 'mericans, French and Germans, don't want spicy food but they want to think they are eating spicy food so what you order will be much blander than you are used to if it is anywhere touristy. Anywhere Indian can be off the scale fiery. This is where very basic restaurant Hindi comes in handy. Work on the staff of your local curryhouse before you go, find out if any of them are from anywhere you are going.

Now if you'll excuse me I'm off for a curry for lunch.

TL: DR India is brilliant, you'll love it.

2014-Jul-08, 11:43 AM
Being such a huge country, I've of course only seen a small part of it even though I've been there 3 or 4 times. I wouldn't go there on a holiday. Hugely dangerous traffic, very dirty, everyone is after your money (not only the beggars)...

But as said, that's what I've seen. I've been to Mumbai, Visak, Bubaneshwar, Dhamra, Shennai. Of these, Shennai was the best. Note that I haven't been to the north/mountains and haven't done any typical tourist things. Just one other impression.