India is something for everyone
India is made up of 28 states and 8 union territories and is the second-most populous country in the world. With so many, religions, ethnic factions, and languages India changes culture every few hundred miles and it’s like visiting multiple countries at once and is diverse as its landscapes. This diversity means there’s an adventure waiting for you whatever your interests, whether your passion is in architecture and history, natural beauty, experiencing diverse cultures, or you’re looking for the perfect beach holiday, India has what you’re looking for. India is home to 38 world heritage sites predominantly cultural and natural sites. No matter how long you stay or how many times you visit there’s always something new to explore.
How do you get there and move internally in India?
The best way to travel to India is by plane arriving at your nearest airport. Many large and popular cities have airports the most popular being Delhi airport, Mumbai airport, and Chennai airport. It is also possible to arrive by sea or crossing land borders, dependent on where you are traveling from.
Local TravelHow to travel when India depends on many things such as how far are you going to travel, where in the country you are and how adventurous and brave you are. If you’re planning your vacation around a central city location like Dubai or Mumbai then you are full of options from the infamous rickshaw, taxis, and buses, just be careful as tourists are often overcharged.
Renting is also possible whether it be a car, motorbike or bicycle. You can rent your own car, although many would choose to hire a chauffeur-driven car as it’s cheap and avoids stress. You can also rent a motorbike, or bicycle to give you the freedom of exploration. The heavy and chaotic traffic can be difficult if you are not confident or familiar with driving in these conditions and in a car can often add a lot of travel time but renting a motorbike or bicycle can be a great way to experience the local culture as get away from the crowded tourist spots.
Cross Country Travel
If you’re planning to see as much as the country as possible you’ve got a couple of options the most comfortable would be to fly by plane, take the train or bus to location hop although be warned these are often delayed but are at least relatively inexpensive. Transport has a range of classes so if you value comfort make sure to book an air-conditioned higher class. It is best to prepare and book your transport in advance, this can be difficult as there are long procedures of registering yourself and local requirements such as an Indian telephone number but your travel agent or even hotel can assist with this.
If you’re the adventurous type why not explore on local transport or make your own way by renting a motorbike and planning your own route. This can be a great opportunity to see the country in its entirety but make sure you are prepared with some basic mechanics knowledge and are prepared for long and dirty journeys on often challenging uncomfortable roads. You must have all the correct travel permits for certain areas such as Ladakh where vehicles not rented in Leh are allowed but many companies will help you get around this red tape. Make sure your rental company gives you all of the bike’s papers including registration card, insurance, ect. Ensure you plan extra time for travel on your trip. Be aware there are rules but they are not always followed or enforced.
There are many well-known and popular tourist attractions throughout India. Here are some of my favorites:
The Taj Mahal
Conceivably the most iconic buildings in India and one of the 7 wonders of the world. This destination is incredibly popular so it’s worth getting up early when it can be less crowded. Dawn and dusk are also popular as the atmosphere changes with the light. It’s also worth trying to catch a view of the Taj Mahal’s reflection from the bank of the Yamuna River for a great selfie op.
The Red Fort
The red fort New Delhi is another world heritage site and was one of the main residences for Mughal emperors. It is a series of impressive structures built from red sandstone. It remains one of the top tourist attractions. Historic forts are numerous in India why not also check out Agra fort, less than 2km from Taj Mahal or Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, one of the oldest in India.
Mumbai is a diverse culture of old and new that hosts many colorful festivals and is the home to the Gateway of India, one of India’s most famous structures.
Beaches of Goa
Filled with idealistic golden sand, coconut palms and dreamy sunrises, and sunsets. It is the perfect beach getaway with local seafood and sports such as parasailing, windsurfing, and water skiing. The area is also home to spectacular waterfalls and more historic forts and architecture.
The Ellora Caves
The Ellora Caves, Aurangabad is a world heritage site of 34 monasteries and temples that cover more than 2km. It is a wonderful example of the co-existence of different religions and the rich shared history of India.
Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary
Periyar National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary, Madurai is based in the south of the country and is home to tigers, elephants among a host of other exquisite creatures. Why not take a boat ride in the parks northern region at Lake Periyar for another point of view.
There are many less well-known temples and beautiful architecture in many less well-known towns where you can still explore the beautiful architecture without the effects of over-occupied tourist areas. If you’re the daring kind, willing to find your own way through India then there are hidden beauties, both natural and man-made tucked away everywhere and you will always be surprised.
There is accommodation to suit every form of traveller and budget, from hotels to hostels If your looking for a luxury hotel why not try one of the converted former royal palaces like the 5 star Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur, that floats in the waters of Lake Pichola. If this is too much for you there are hotels of every rating and price range from as little as $8 a night. There is also a range of hostels throughout India for as little as $4. These cheaper options are fantastic for backpacking and motorbike touring across the country. If this is the vacation for you, you should also consider arranging a nights stay at a temple which is often free and a real experience.
Tips and Tricks
- Be aware of security and watch out for pickpockets and scams
- Make sure you are aware of local customs, such as your personal space limits are not what you think they are and many temples have some requirements such as removing your shoes. Another mistake westerners often make is showing affection publicly, holding hands, kissing or hugging is considered inappropriate in many Indian cultures.
- It’s a great idea to carry a little travel pack including things like basic illness relief medication, hand sanitiser and toilet paper
How to avoid Delli Belly?
You’re just not used to the local bacteria in some of the food and water so this is quite common. If you really want to decrease the risk be selective of where and what you eat. This can be very restrictive so another idea is to carry common medication for the likes of headaches and diarrhoea either take some with you or visit the local pharmacy.
How do I not get ripped off?
For transportation, know what the going rate is, your local accommodation can help with this. Make sure you know what your agreed price is before you set off. For all forms of purchase haggling is a must, haggle hard but remember to be fair. it is easy to become overloaded with all the buying choices, think about if you really want it or if its just pressure from a seller and don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right.