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India- what do you suggest?(42 Posts)
DH And I are planning next years holiday- not sure if India counts as long haul but there we go!
Has anyone got any just see places? We don't do resort type holidays and have travelled around quite a bit by booking it ourselves so are happy with interval flights of trains.
We went to Kerala a few years ago for our honeymoon. Travelled around a bit. Went to Trivandrum, Cochin, Allapey - houseboat on river, was beautiful and relaxing; Munnar - tea plantations but was cold and wet! Went to the most Southern tip - the name escapes me right now but there is a meeting of 3 rivers and the sunset/sunrise was amazing.
Would recommend it as a trip. We stayed in reasonably priced places (£40-60 per night) including a few 'homestays' and they were very welcoming and friendly. Have loads of great memories and would love to go back one day. Have never been anywhere like that before, different planet to here!
Thankyou for that @5BlueHydrangea, gives me a lot to look at.
Yes I agree Kerala is beautiful.
Periyar wildlife sanctuary is great.
Hampi is also worth a visit.
Went to Mumbai for a week (its insane but I liked it - though DH won't go back - I found a good job there but decided to keep DH instead) and then train to Goa - and ended up in Palolem (just to chill for a few weeks more) and keep returning - keep meaning to go to Hampi and Kerala. Goa is best November - February though. India can be a bit marmite though!!
What things polarise people do you think @DoraJar ?
The extreme wealth and poverty in Mumbai was too much for DH & DS2 (who gave all his money away). Also is a very sexist society and clearly prone to a lot of corruption. DS1 made quite a few friends in Mumbai - and went on to spend another 7 months travelling the length and breadth of India - but he says he much preferred Nepal in the end. I haven't been to Nepal - but everyone I know who has loves it. There are a lot of Nepalese in Goa - and they are all very chilled!
We honeymooned there....
Mumbai - must see in my opinion.
Fort Cochin/Kochi - gorgeous Portuguese colonial fort, great vibe.
Goa - stay south, Agonga/Paloem/Majorca - all great
Have fun, I LOVED it!
It is a big country and it really depends on what you want to see and how long are you planning to spend..
Some good suggestions here, you could do Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan for a week or 10 days..
Fly to South - Flights to Cochin and travel to Allepey for house boat ( went last August and it was ok...) or go see the temples of South India - Madurai, Tanjore, Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram.. beautiful temples and not touristy at all. You could stay in really good resorts for very little..
I’ve been to Kerala - it’s nice, chilled out etc. but I preferred north India - Delhi, Agra - the Taj Mahal is an absolute must see - amazing - though Agra itself isn’t good. I really liked udaipur and jaisalmer. Jodhpur good too. I didn’t like Varanasi as it felt too voyeuristic. This part of India is so historic - loved all that stuff, the palaces, the food. It’s shoppers paradise too - so many lovely things to buy!
Ah I see @DoraJar When I first went to SE Asia (late 90's) the poverty seemed to be everywhere but the last time I went I was surprised by how on the surface things seemed to have improved. My dad had been to India lots and told me about the poverty there and the descriptions sounded like SE Asia so I assumed India would have improved like that.
She really good suggestions on this thread, we would be going for 2/3 weeks and I love planning holidays. Good idea in the homestays- I've not considered that before
We went to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Shimla. All by train and it took around 2-3 weeks I think. Shimla is up in the mountains and a steep train ride from Delhi. Our train broke down and we ended up, literally, hanging onto a local bus for the rest of the trip (one of many adventures there). I think you can hire a driver to take you there but it's expensive. Shimla is beautiful though, definitely worth the journey.
We have done the Delhi, Agra, Jaipur triangle and it’s a good introduction to India. We have travelled further north to Corbett National Park for tiger sightings and also to Ranthambhore and Bandhavghargh Tiger reserves. The latter is amazing and we went by train from Agra which is some experience. There is nothing like seeing your first wild tiger! Just nothing. Seeing more of Rajestan is also appealing. So many heritage hotels to stay in and some are very reasonably priced.
On another trip we travelled to Cochin, Madurai, Bangalore, Chennai, Ooty and lots of other places in Tamil Nadu. Very few tourists and just fantastic. We saw a lot of temples and the Temple towns are unbelievable.
We felt neither Kerala, and from what friends say, Goa, are India in terms of sights and sounds. The magic of the great temples of Tamil Nadu cannot be found in Goa. The sheer size and unfinished feel of India is very present in the South. People are friendly and hospitable everywhere.
I would get a good guide book such as Lonely Planet and see what you are interested in seeing. Flying around is easy enough but the trains have to be experienced. They are something else!
What time of year might you go? We had a great time on a (self booked) round Rajasthan rail trip which included jodhpur, jaisalmer, bundi... but it was February which is easier heatwise. Pushkar is also great if you can coincide with the camel fair.
I adore Delhi, having spent a lot of time there, but avoid at height of smog (November/ December) or in May/ June before monsoon breaks. It gets a bad press sometimes but is loads to see and do.
Kerala and Goa are lovely. We hired mopeds and travelled around on our own which made it lots of fun. If you want to avoid crowds head to northern Kerala (perhaps even over the border in to coastal Karnataka then inland to Hampi? That would be quite a trip!). In northern Kerala we went to handloom and beedi rolling cooperatives, saw dolphins, went inland to wayanad National Park and saw wildlife & spices/ tea etc being grown. Really special.
If I could go somewhere I haven’t been it would be Pondicherry (southern Tamil Nadu)....
These are such detailed suggestions- thanks everyone!
We did an overnight train in Vietnam- I don't think I would stay married if I suggested doing another one!
Funnily enough, we were talking about hiring mopeds this morning- I've never ridden one before so would want to learn here before unleashing myself on the roads out there
I recommend small group holidays like exodus as india can be difficult to get around - trains and planes get cancelled or turn up hours late. If you want to do it yourselves you can look at the places they visit and draw up your own itinerary. Standards are very different in india and although it is now 28 years since my last visit it doesnt seem to have changed that much from recent documentaries i have watched. It is still my favourite place and I cant wait to go back - we are waiting to retire and go back then. Have a wonderful time.
I'd definitely have a look at where might be best weather-wise when you plan to go. I would love to have seen Rajasthan but I was there when it would have been incredibly hot just before the Monsoon. That year was particularly hot and there was a severe drought so, for me, that was a good decision.
You also might not want to visit the hill stations once the monsoon arrives - though you may enjoy!
Just worth doing a bit of research.
If you head south then it's definitely worth trying to see some of Tamil Nadu as well as Kerala - the temples at Madurai are fab for example.
Or Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan would all be doable by train with maybe a hop to Shimla too. Fatehpur Sikri is near to Agra and worth trying to see as well at the Taj/fort and other Agra tombs.
If you went east from Delhi/Agra you could include Varanasi, Kolkata and then head up to Darjeeling.
Not sure what you could combine with Amritsar but this was probably my favourite place/memory and hasn't been mentioned above. The Golden Temple is amazing!
Hampi is absolutely amazing. Really loved Palolem. The food was so good. We were going to go to Kerala when we went, but didn't make it.
Mumbai is nuts,but definitely worth a visit.
@DoraJar what was the Mumbai/Goa train like? I wanted to do that after watching The Darjeeling Ltd but DP chickened out and booked flights instead!
We went five or six years ago. It was an orgnised tour, but that was how we wanted it. Went to Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi and Khajurahu, with lots of coach-driving, plus a train-trip and two internal flights, on the way.
Definitely recommend the last two. Delhi is polluted, as is Agra. Jaipur colourful, Varanasi hectic and possibly not for the faint-hearted, and Khajurahu just marvellous.
You are better off going to one part of the country rather than trying to see everything.
If you are going with children - try and stick to the usual tourist trail like Delhi,!Agra and Rajasthan - easily can fill 2-3 weeks.
South India is completely different from the North - the distance between them is like the distance between Scotland and Italy!!
It's just us, the DSC aren't coming
which is another thread entirely
I'm not sure I fancy the group tour thing- what if you don't get on with the others?
Flights to goa seem cheap, but I dont just want to be in a tourist resort for 2 weeks, I would go mad! I'm trying to plan a route that takes in a few key cities, we are quite used to travelling around.
We did a group tour to the South and why wouldn’t you get on with others? You do the tours and chat. You don’t marry them! Not all of us who do tours are awful. In fact over years of doing tours we have met few people who we could cheerfully throttle. If you do find someone like this, your fellow travellers will probably agree with you and you will all laugh about it.
It’s a lot easier to do a tour in India and if you won’t go on a train, you have limited yourself before you start.
If you just go to Goa you are not really seeing India. Beautiful it may be but it lacks the great sights and sounds of the temples and palaces and special wildlife.
Having first been to India in 1987, I can assure you it has changed! Hotels are as now as good as anywhere in the world. The heritage hotels are special. They are unique. I would not go to India without sampling a few of them.
If you want a beach then Goa does the job. If you want India, spread your wings and look further afield.
I love South Goa and it can be more than just a beach (though Palolem is a fab beach) - there are some interesting forts - and old Portuguese buildings (one owned by a guy called Ruben also does a great 7 course lunch). I do need to go to Hampi though next time!
We stayed in a resort inland from Goa called the Wildernest - wooden cabins in the middle of a forest with loads of wildlife (monkeys, leopards, loads of birds etc) and a trek to the waterfall in the mornings. Food was basic but really tasty. It was definitely the most memorable part of our trip. Especially when we woke in the night, the door to the cabin had swung open in the wind and something was inside eating our biscuits . Amazing fresh water infinity pool and really lovely staff, who collected us from the airport and took us out for a drive into the local area too. Two nights was enough for us, then we went 5* in Goa, which was a welcome upgrade! But if you’re more hardy than us a few days would be brilliant. Do take a mosquito net though as there were quite a few bugs around.
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