Budget Backpackers Guide To India Panorama

Budget Guide To Backpacking India

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Backpacking India is the ultimate experience. The flavours, the culture, the people, the colours, the history, the sites, the beaches, the wonder and the chaos all combine and explode in the face of visitors to the sub-continent. There is just something about India. It’s so wonderfully different that you will have all of your travel and adventure dreams answered in just one visit. Every time you turn a corner in the streets, you will see something new. There is no better definition of “culture shock” than landing in Delhi and stepping into the mayhem of India’s capital city. This is India ladies and gentlemen. Put on your seatbelt, throw your worries aside and get ready… you’re in for one hell of a ride!

Make sure to have a look at our How To Prepare For Travel in India article for help before setting off!

Also, check out our Guide to Transportation in India for all you need to know about the crazy bus and train system.

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How Much Will The India Cost?

backpacking india

Budget For India

$30/day for 2 people. 

This is a pretty minimal amount for India but travelling cheap is really what India is all about. Sure you can travel first class and fly to all your favorite destinations but you will miss a huge part of what makes this place so special: the people and the experiences you have on the road.  2 people spending $15 each / day will get you delicious local meals, sleeper class train and bus transport, comfortable double rooms and entrances to sites.

With all you can eat meals starting at $1, you can really eat like a king! If you want nicer rooms and an upgrade to AC2 trains, add about $5 each to this daily total. If you’re travelling around the southern and eastern coasts, add another $5. Still, $15 / day each! India is probably the cheapest places you’ll ever travel.

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Budget Accommodation: ($5-$15/night)

The accommodation in India can vary greatly, from cockroach infested hotel beds to 5 star resorts. You never need to stay in dank, dark, depressing room.

If one doesn’t suit your needs, go and find another, there are plenty of options. We always hear horror stories of people with disgusting rooms in India but then we ask “well, why did you sleep there?”.

There will always be a decent room and likely one that is very nice and still in your budget range. If you’re in the major cities you may need to splurge and spend about $25 to get a nice clean room but other than that you will be spending less than $15/night.

Check out Hostel World to find cheap hostels and guesthouses around India. This is the backpacker’s “go-to” booking site. Click here and have a look 🙂

Eating: ($0.70-$3/meal)

Welcome to India! This is without a doubt the most flavorful, colourful and diverse food in the world. There are delicious street meals of rice, 2 different curries, puffed bread and a soup for as little as 70 cents! All you can eat meals from $1! If you get up to $3 for a meal, that probably means you’re in a fancier restaurant with nice, white table cloths and a suited waiter.

backpacking india

A Delicious Thali In Trichy, India

Entrance Fees: (Average $5/person)

backpacking india

Well if you’re an Indian, this would be down around 50 cents/person. The tourist pricing is alive and well in India but all the great sights are still of good value for us foreigners.

The Taj Mahal will run you about $14, the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur will cost under $5, Akshardham in New Delhi is free, The Golden Temple of Amritsar is technically free, but a donation of at least 50 rupees ($1) is expected. All-in-all you can easily visit the great sights of India on a backpacker’s budget.

Alcohol: ($2 Beer, $4 Cocktails)

backpacking india

Unless you’re in Mumbai or Goa, you’re probably not going to drink very much during your stay in India. It’s okay to have a beer brought to you by the bellhop at your hotel room but almost all bars in the country are dark, depressing holes with alcoholic men guzzling the cheapest brandy they can buy. These places are really not meant for foreigners and once you see one you probably won’t go back.

Tipping:

backpacking india

Tipping

In India you tip for everything. If a hotel bell boy brings up your pillows, if you have a nice meal, if you receive good service in any part of the country you are expected to give a little “baksheesh”.

These charitable donations usually only amount to a few rupees, but it’s a good idea to factor them into your budget.

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Highlights & Must-Do’s:

backpacking india

Highlights & Must Do’s

There are far too many things to list here as “must-do’s” in India. We’ve spent 5 months here on 3 different visits and we still haven’t even scratched the surface.

Pilgrims travel thousands of miles and spend a lifetime making their way from one holy sight to another, and they still will not see all of the temples in India.

This place is jam-packed with great travel highlights, many of which you will find on your own, with no help of the guidebook.

The Kerala Backwaters:

Sailing the backwaters of Kerala still remains as one of the highlights of all of our travels. Head to Alleppey and rent yourself a houseboat to cruise this idyllic network of canals and rivers. For as little as $75 / day, you can have a huge, rice barge houseboat all to yourself!

What’s really crazy is that this boat will have A/C in your room, a shower, TV, 3 men to run the boat and serve you, and ALL MEALS AND DRINKS (Non-alcoholic) INCLUDED! The villages you pass by are absolutely stunning and when the sun sets over these glass calm waters, you’ll forget all about the hectic clatter of the city.

**GOAT NOTE** – Kerala, Alleppey and the houseboats are definite highlights of independent travel**

backpacking india

House Boating In Alleppey, India

Rajasthan:

This is an entire state in India and yes, it’s all a highlight! If you’ve come to India for rich culture, turbaned men, old architecture and desert dunes then look no further than Rajasthan.

This place is unbelievable. Massive forts have been built so resilient and secure that they managed to fend off the British in their prime. Snake charmers still make a living, humming their hypnotizing melodies on the dusty streets.

Rajasthan could be a country on its own and with so many sites here, you won’t want to leave.

backpacking india

The Floating Palace Of Jaipur

Varanasi:

Varanasi is the holy land for Indians. This is where their loved ones come to be cremated, following a meticulous ritual as old as Hinduism itself.

Even for a non-religious person, the energy here is palpable and you will be in awe of the love and devotion that goes into their prayers. Every night there is an Aarti ceremony and if you’ve just stumbled across it, you’ll think you came just in time for some massive annual festival.

But this ritual is nightly, and as the glow from the floating candles fade in the currents by the horizon, you will feel refreshed and relaxed. You’ve now been to India.

***GOAT NOTE*** Highly recommended!

backpacking india

Prayer On The Shores Of The Ganges River

The Taj Mahal:

Of course this great wonder is a must see highlight. If you think you’ve seen it enough in pictures and it doesn’t look that amazing, you’re wrong. Go to the dusty, unattractive town of Agra and witness one of the true wonders of our world in all of its glory. The symmetry and intricacy of the Taj Mahal will blow you away.

**GOAT NOTE: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!**

backpacking india the taj mahal

The Taj Mahal

Go On A Desert Safari:

This is a definite must, especially if you are visiting Rajasthan. From Jaisalmer, you can embark on one of the most memorable experiences you will ever have: a camel safari to the  Pakistani border.

You can chose from a number of different itineraries from 1 day to 14 nights in the desert and we would recommend at least 4 nights. The silence of the desert, the stories your guide will tell you, the bond you form with your camel and the blinding desert night stars all combine for an unforgettable experience.

If you’ve ever wanted to wander the desert on a camel, do it in India.

**GOAT NOTE** A Definite Highlight Of Backpacking! **

Click Here to see a video of our camel safari

backpacking safari Camel Safari - Jailsamer, India

Camel Safari – Jaisalmer, India

Goa:

For a break from all the crazy chaos that comes along with India, a trip to Goa will surely soothe your senses.

Relax on powdery sands, indulge in some decent western cuisine and delicious local specialties, hit up a club and party until the wee hours of the morning, check out the colonial architecture of the Goan capital of Panaji. You can do so much in Goa and it’s so relaxing you’ll think you’ve left India all together.

goa, india for budget backpackers

Enjoying The Sun In Goa

Leh:

As you head North in India, you will see the features of the people’s faces change as much as the features of the land. This is a whole different kind of India and with the stunning backdrop of the Himalaya mountain range, you’ll start to catch the trekking bug as soon as you arrive. Luckily there are plenty of trails and excursions you can do to quench your hiker’s thirst.

People Watching:

Everyday you should set aside an hour or so just to order a chai (Indian tea), sit on the side of the road and watch India go by.

The minute you stop to take it all in, India will come rushing at you. We’ve seen cows give birth on the streets, dogs fighting over human body parts, children start up games of cricket, shop owners shoe away monkeys, camels hauling bamboo, open casket funeral processions and elephants sitting in the street stopping traffic.

India is a place to witness, a place to gawk at and a place to be amazed by. Slow down your day and watch the life of these amazing people pass you by.

budget backpacking india

People Watching In Jaipur

Learn To Wag Your Head:

This strange form of silent agreement is universal throughout India. At first you will be unsure if it is a nod “yes” or a shake “no”. When Indians wag their head from side to side it is either answering “yes” to your question, or a calm gesture of politeness.

If you sit down on a train and the man or woman across from you wags their head at you, it generally means “hello, I am a nice, harmless person and I am happy to have you sit with me.” If you wag your head back you will likely start a wave of excited head wags from other cabin mates, excited to know that you’ve learned this welcoming custom.

Eat With Your Hands:

backpacking india eating with your hands

Eating With Your Hands

The phrase, when in Rome comes to mind. Rome is so much like home (when compared to India) that it hardly merits its cliché status. It should be “when in India”.

There are a lot of things you will do in India that you thought you never would, but eating with your hands here is the way it’s done and the way you should do it too.

There’s something intimate about touching your food with your bare hands and once you start, it will be the only way you eat Indian food. When the locals see you do it, you’ll likely get a big smile and a head wag in return.

Stay In An Ashram:

This is a quintessential Indian experience and one that you should take time to have. Try to give an ashram at least 2 weeks, the longer you stay the more the effects of the process will take hold.

You need time to rid your body of toxins, calm your mind and open your soul. Many of the ashrams around Rishikesh will be open minded and non-preachy.

The goal is to simply calm the mind, clense the body and open your heart. This is bound to be one of the most enriching experiences you ever have, so just try it!

You will spend your days eating delicious food, meditating, chanting, doing yoga and singing on the banks of the Ganges river and you will leave a new person.

budget backpacking india ashram

Pujya Swamiji At Parmarth Niketan Ashram

Off The Beaten Path In India:

Off The Beaten Path Budget Backpackers

Off The Beaten Path

If you’ve made your way to India, then you are already quite far off the beaten path. Even though India receives a lot of foreign visitors, in the ocean of 1.3+ billion Indian faces, you will hardly see another Gora (white person).

But if you’re a true backpacker, you’ll still want to discover something for yourself. It’s very easy to get off the beaten path in India and if you listen to the locals when the talk to you on trains, planes and buses, then you will get some amazing ideas of new places to see.

We did just that in our travels here and this list includes some of these aforementioned places.

Mahabalipuram:

About a 50 kilometres south of Chennai, Mahabalipuram is an amazing place. There is a nice beach here and old temple set out on the rocks, but the real treasure to be found here can be heard “tip-tapping” in the streets.

Marble carvers create some of the most intricate carvings you will ever see made by hand here and if you ask one of them to show you how its done, you’ll likely spend a day creating your own souvenir and learning about the life of these incredibly gifted men and women.

budget backpacking Marble Carver In Mahabalipuram

Marble Carver In Mahabalipuram

Gokarna:

If the beaches of Goa are a little crowded, head south to Gokarna, where the sands are just as soft but not as busy. There are some nice beach huts here and a laid back atmosphere.

backpacking india Gokarna Beach, India

Gokarna Beach, India

Pros Of Backpacking In India:

Pros of budget backpacking india

The Pros

India is full of backpacking pros! There are way to many to list here so we will just have to narrow it down to the ones that stand out the most.

Most people who visit India once, come back again and again so that should tell you something about travelling here. The people are friendly and will always welcome you into their conversations and sometimes even their homes.

This is a place you will love and you need to give it time… but you’ll be back.

The Food:

From Masala Dosas (thin pancake stuffed with stuffed potatoes), to chicken rolls and idlis (fermented steamed rice dumplings) you’ll be amazed at the diversity of the Indian cuisine.

Delicious Indian Food Backpacking India

Delicious Indian Food

The Culture Shock:

Okay so this is also a con, but if you love to be surprised while travelling, then India is the place for you. Sometimes, while backpacking around the world, a nomad can become “desensitized” to all the amazing things we see.

But in India, your senses will always be in for a shock, no matter how long you’ve been travelling. This place is what adventure is all about. Finding something new, learning about yourself and about other cultures and diving into it head first. Be ready to be amazed in India.

Indian culture shock for backpackers

Boy Selling Vegetables On The Street In Delhi

The Costs:

India is the least expensive place we’ve ever travelled, and yet we lived like kings while we were there. Every time we go back we are amazed at just how great of value it is. The best things here however, are free. Like people watching, visiting Sikh temples, walking the streets and exploring old forts.

The Historical Sites:

Sure there’s the Taj Mahal, but pretty much everywhere you go in India there are amazing historical sights dating back through the millenia.

Mysore Palace

Mysore Palace

Cons Of Backpacking In India:

cons to budget backpacking egypt

Cons Of Backpacking India

Okay so we have to be honest. India isn’t all great food, clean rooms, happy people and glorious experiences. Almost all visitors to the sub-continent will agree that they enjoy a love-hate relationship with this place.

Of course the pros far outweigh the cons, otherwise we wouldn’t keep returning, but there are a few cons to travelling here.

Some days you will travel around India and you will want to pull your hair out. At times it just gets to be too much and those are the times when you need to take a break, perhaps stay in your room for a day and just relax.

Aggressive Local Men:

It’s sad to say this, but Indian men tend to be over aggressive with foreign women. To them, women showing shoulders is considered quite forward, so the cleavage, legs and shoulders often shown by unsuspecting foreign women can often prove to be too much to handle for them.

There are groups of men who will travel from miles away to reach a beach town so that they can stroll the sand in jeans, snapping photos of bathing suit clad women.

Travelling alone as a woman can be trying in India and you may frequently be approached and courted by Indian men. Luckily, most of this is only overzealous flirting and won’t lead to any physical contact.

Just be respectful and cover up. Even at the beach, if you don’t want the onlookers then throw a sarong over yourself when you’re not in the water.

Tourist Pricing:

Given the wage difference between foreign visitors and locals, there is no surprise that tourist pricing will occur. When you enter a sight and you pay 10 times the local rate, just be happy that it’s an official rate that has been instated by government policies.

When you enter a tuk-tuk or taxi and he quotes you 10 times the actual rate, bargain him down or find a driver who will use the meter. You’re going to be ripped off while you’re in India. If you are a smart traveller you can minimize this by bargaining and asking around.

Tourist Pricing In India towards budget backpackers

Tourist Pricing In India

Sanitation:

The sanitation standards are very low in India. Open sewers and cows freely wandering the streets can lead to some pretty gnarly conditions.

Keep in mind that you are in a third world country, things aren’t like home here. When you eat at a restaurant, do your part and wash your hands, carry around hand sanitizer and try to avoid unneccessary contact with anything and everything. This will reduce the risk of bacterial and viral contamination.

Sanitation In India

Sanitation In India

The Noise:

This is bound to effect you at some point or another during your stay in India. Likely it will be the moment you step off the plane.

The noise in India can be deafening and even if you think you’ve gotten used to it, it just takes one 18 hour travel day with 4 different buses and 3 taxis and 2 trains only to arrive in a city of 10 million people all honking horns… you will snap again.

Just remember the Indian travel modo: “India wins again”.

The People:

The people you encounter while backpacking through a country can have a profound impact on the way you view a destination. Not only the local people, but the types of other travellers as well.

Types Of Other Travellers:

Budget Backpacker

Types Of Travellers

There are a lot of really cool backpackers in India. You will meet some amazing people doing some incredible trips and if you run into an India veteran, learn a bit from them.

They often know things that you just don’t know unless you’ve been in the country for an extended period of time. There are a lot of Israelis in India, many of whom buy motorbikes and tour the country on epic road trips.

The Hashish draws a lot of pot lovers to India, many of whom stay for a year or more, getting ritualistically high with the local population in holy places like Pushkar.

There is no majority nationality that comes here, basically anyone in search of something new will make their way to India. Of course many people are on soul-searching journeys and you may meet them in some transitional stage. You can learn a lot from travellers in India, and get inspired for future trips.

The Locals:

The People Of India

The People Of India

Indians are very friendly and welcoming. They have smiles that will drive right through you and they all love each other. There is a deep-rooted communalistic culture here where everyone is everyone’s friend.

You will see complete strangers strike up long, deep conversations with one another and because English is so well spoken here, they will probably ask for your opinion on the matter.

Over a billion people from any other nationality could probably never survive living in such close quarters, but the Indians manage to do it because of their sense of sharing, understanding and acceptance of each other.

Just remember that they are different, try to accept them as they accept you and you will have a great time with the people of India.

Communication In India:

Communication

Talking

When the British traders and soldiers first started teaching English to the Indians, they were amazed at how quickly they picked it up and today, you will see that they have held on to it just as well.

English is like a first language here for the most part. Of course the most widely spoken language is the national language: Hindi, but English is definitely the runner-up.

You will hardly ever encounter a time when you can’t find someone who can speak English and even when they speak Hindi, they interlace it with words or sentences in English. The languages of east and west have mixed well in India and it makes for an easier travel experience.

Visa Regulations For India:

Visa Budget Backpackers

Visa Regulations

As of January, 1 / 2010, a special Visa On Arrival can be granted to visitors to citizens of  Finland, Japan, New Zealand, Luxemburg, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and The Philippines at the airports in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata for a stay of up to 30 days.

Other nationalities will have to get a $60 visa from an embassy abroad before arrival to India.Visas are priced in the local currency; Brits pay UK£30, Americans pay US$60, Austra­lians pay A$75 (an extra A$15 service fee applies at consulates) and Japanese citizens pay just ¥1200.

This visa will be valid for 3 – 6 months however, if you plan on visiting another country and then returning to India you will need wait 2 months before re-entering India. This time will be factored in to your visa time meaning that if you have a 90 day visa and you leave and come back, you will only really have 30 days of possible travel time inside of India.

This new rule can be negotiated at your nearest Indian Mission/Post. All of this is set to change so keep check updates on the Indian consulate website.

Update: As of April, 2014, citizens of the Republic of Korea can obtain a Visa-on-Arrival with a maximum validity of 30 days with single entry facility will be offered at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports at a fee of US$ 60 or equivalent amount in Indian Rupees.

Entry Requirements To India:

Budget backpacker entry requirement

Entry Requirements

You will need to have at least one blank page in your passport which must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.

In recent years, entry into India has become more of a hassle. The new visa regulations have added some frustration with visitors and the tourist numbers have dropped.

The Indian Ministry Of Foreign Affairs have announced that they will be easing the regulations soon, but for now, make sure you have an onward ticket and a visa before you land.

Health In India:

Budget backpacking health

Health In India

The biggest health risk in India is definitely food poisoning. The sanitation standards are low here and there are many places where you can ingest bacteria and other contaminants.

There is also some risk of Dengue Fever, measles, cholera, polio and bird flu. With fecal matter on the streets and in the open sewers, there is a higher risk of Hepatitis-A, worms, parasitic infections and e- coli. There are also some high risk malaria zones in India.

Many people take anti-malarial medication while they travel in India, but before exposing yourself to the side effects of dangerous drugs, keep in mind that 95% of all malaria cases are contracted in Africa and although there is a risk in India, for the most part it’s not worth the side-effects of the pills. Always discuss your options with your healthcare provider.

 

Be Safe! Don't leave home without travel insurance.
It is always a good idea to have travel insurance before going anywhere. World Nomads is a great option for backpackers on-the-go and it only costs a few bucks a day.

 

Phone & Internet In India:

phone and internet budget backpackers

Phone & Internet

Internet is everywhere in India. Most hotels and guesthouses will have wi-fi in the lobby or a computer you can use to check your emails and access the web.

Although it is often slow, the internet is very cheap in India with hourly access starting at about 20 cents.

Phones are also cheap in India and handy to have. If you have an unlocked cell phone, you can pick up a SIM card for a few bucks and airtime is also very cheap. Stick to text messages and you’ll save yourself some money.

When Is The Best Time To Visit India?

When To Go budget backpacker

Weather In India

The best time to visit India is generally during the cooler months from November to around Mid-February.

During the summer months from June to August, the temperatures can be unpleasantly hot making it impossible to do anything mid-day. The weather in India varies a lot so if your planning a trip here you should keep the climate in mind.

Many of the Northern cities like Leh and Ledach can only be visited around June – August when the roads are clear and there is no snow. In the summer months, the southern ends of the country are extremely hot and the thermometer can reach 43 degrees celsius while the humidity is around 100%.

Luckily there are always hill stations where you can escape the summer heat.

Overall Rating:

9 Stars

Outstanding food, genuinely happy people, stunning sights, age-old history and traditions, sublime beaches and a very rich culture, India is a place that backpackers dream of. If it wasn’t for the cons that make up our love-hate relationship with India it would probably be a 10/10, but the cons are actually part of what make it so incredible!

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The Ultimate Guide To Backpacking India

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115 thoughts on “Budget Guide To Backpacking India

  1. Ahmed

    Very informative and detail post about India. I think you should sometime come to Pakistan as well, you will be amazed what this country have to offer you and the other thing is that the situation is not as much bad as its shown about Pakistan

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Thanks Ahmed! We’ve wanted to visit Pakistan for a long time. We never believe all of what they say in the news so Pakistan was never fully off of our travel wish list. Hopefully we’ll be there in the next couple of years!

      Reply
    2. shamzyp

      holy shit…did you just rate an entire country? this is the most idiotic review of a country, let alone one as massive and diverse as india. whatever, this isn’t about india. its about your pathetic attempts to boil down something like travel to a few key highlights and do’s and don’ts…you’re not making this more accessible to anyone. i don’t know what you’re attempting, but what you’re doing is an insult to the people of india. actually, just people in general.

      Reply
      1. Sauradeep Dey

        @shamzyp: What’s wrong to rate a travel to a particular country? Stop being an ass!

        99% of what is written is accurate. As an Indian, welcome you to travel more….and know more about this Incredible India!

        Reply
  2. Dee

    My boyfriend and I are heading off to India for 2 months from the end of November…..and we can’t wait!

    We have a loose outline of what we’d like to do for the 2 months so we can change plans easily if we get tips from other travellers etc. In terms of booking accommodation though – how far in advance did ye do this? Is it best to book somewhere in each area a few days before you visit there or do ye just try to find somewhere once your in the area?

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Awesome! We absolutely love India.

      It really depends on which city you are in/which season it is. Since you guys are going from November to January, that’s the high season, so things may book up. Keep in mind that the major Indian holiday of Diwali is from November 3rd to 7th this year, plus the western holidays of Christmas and New Year. So make sure to book trains and things like that in advance if you can.

      We booked ahead of time when we were travelling around Christmas. A week in advance around those times would be ideal.

      Try using Hostelworld
      http://www.hostelworld.com/index.php?affiliate=goatsontheroad

      or Booking.com
      http://www.booking.com/index.html?aid=353338

      If you let us know where you plan to go, we can maybe guide you a bit better! I hope this helps out somewhat.

      Cheers and enjoy India!

      Reply
  3. Kristin W.

    Hi Goats! I’m so glad I came across your website the other day. My husband and I have been traveling 22 months and have another 8 to go! We leave for India the first week of October. This blog was really helpful. It sounds like you had a great experience with tigers in India – could you please recommend a park and/or safari company you went with? We’d love to see tigers but from what I’m reading you could spend lots of time and money searching for them and not find any. Thanks for your helpful posts and happy travels! 🙂 http://www.happytobehomeless.com

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Kristin!
      Wow, you guys have been on the road for a long time, that’s awesome! I checked out your website and it looks like you’ve been having a great trip 🙂

      We went to Periyar Nature Reserve in Kerala State. It was nice, but we didn’t see any tigers (who knows if there are even any there?!) and to be honest, India isn’t exactly the best place to go for nature and wildlife. The animals we’ve seen in zoo situations or “nature reserves” aren’t treated all that well. Also, the other local people who we were hiking through the reserve with weren’t being environmentally friendly at all – littering, pouring water on different small animals we saw, relieving themselves during the hike, etc.

      What I would suggest though is going on a houseboat and sailing through the Keralan Backwaters! That was a great outdoor experience in India.

      Enjoy your trip in India, we absolutely love it there. Let me know if you have anymore questions.

      Cheers!

      Reply
      1. Kristin W.

        Thanks, Goats! Sounds like the tiger safari might not be worth. I thought I read somewhere on your site that you had been chased by a tiger, was that not in India? Btw, how did you come across all those nice, cheap places to stay there? Happy travels!

        Reply
        1. Goats On The Road Post author

          Hey Kristin….you’re right, we did mention that we had been stalked by a tiger! To be honest, I completely forgot..thanks for bringing back that memory.

          We were at the Periyar Reserve and all of the sudden there was a rustle in the bushes and our guide freaked out and made us all hide behind a tree, he said it was a tiger, but we never saw one! It did make my heart beat pretty fast at the time though. Tigers or no tigers, if you really want to try to see one, then the surroundings at Periyar were a nice place to walk through and who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky!?

          When we were in India, we found guesthouses by word of mouth from other travellers, from the Lonely Planet and we also often booked on Booking.com: http://www.booking.com/index.html?aid=353338 or on Hostel World: http://www.hostelworld.com/index.php?affiliate=goatsontheroad

          The best thing that happened was when we were travelling around Rajasthan State. We stayed at one guesthouse in Udaipur and it just so happened that all around the rest of the state, they had family who owned a G.H. in each of the cities that we wanted to go to. All of the rooms were cheap and really nice 🙂

          If you are going to some popular tourist cities, then you can always just look around at a few places and take your pick (unless it’s holiday time, then book in advance).

          Another tip is to check out TripAdvisor to see what others have said about a place you are thinking of staying at.

          I hope this helps!
          Enjoy 🙂

          Reply
      2. Monique

        Hey GOTR!

        I had a question about visa applications for india? we are just embarking on our year long trip around asia and currently in japan about to head to china! we have our chinese multiple entry visa we were able to get in australia but left everything else to the hopes that we could abroad! I have read some difficulties about indian visas? we want to travel down india, bounce to sri-lanka for 10-14 days and fly back and travel back up india? but on entry visas are only a month and its a single entry? we will be in nepal before india and was hoping it would be easy enough to get some form of multiple entry visa for india or atleast a three month visa? we want to spend at least 2 months in india! but cannot find much information out there about it! especially with the inclusion of sri-lanka on our itinerary.. thank you in advance! – mon

        Reply
  4. Lindsey

    Wow! So detailed and inspiring, thank you. Dariece, did you wear a scarf on your head mostly? Looks like you were blonde at the time you went along which I imagine would be appealing! We’re going in Winter this year so covering up won’t be a problem, but I think I’ll probably get some scarves once we arrive in Delhi. Your thoughts on this would be great. 🙂

    Reply
  5. Goats On The Road Post author

    Hi Lindsey!
    I was a brunette one time we went and blonde the next time 🙂 It’s easier as a brunette I would say, but the thing that the Indian men seemed to like I think were my blue eyes…the only way to cover that up was to wear sunglasses! haha, but it was ok.

    I always wore a scarf/shawl around my neck and shoulders. It covers up your bust, can be used to cover your nose if something smells and you can put it over your head if you are feeling like you’re being stared at.

    We’ve heard mixed reviews from different travellers in India. For me, I only felt hassled in the South of India. When we were in the northern areas (Rajasthan, Rishikesh, Varanasi, Delhi, Agra, Kolcutta etc.) I felt totally fine.

    Just make sure to wear appropriate clothing, cover up your legs and arms and you’ll be fine.

    Have a great time!

    Reply
  6. Laura McLoughlin

    Hey!

    Thanks for this awesome plethora of information! I cannot wait to head over there next year! However, I am currently living in South Korea and have no double pages left in my passport :(. The difference in price between applying for a new one here and during my visit home is over $100. I looked on a few websites and saw that I will need 2 visa pages, but you said one would be ok? Do you think it’s better to be on the safe side with 2?
    Thanks for your help!
    Laura

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hey Laura,
      Glad to hear this info helped you out. India is an awesome country to travel to 🙂

      First of all, I would suggest calling the Indian Embassy in Korea and asking them. That’s probably the best plan. Even if everywhere you read said 2 pages, and we said 1 page, it’s up to the embassy!
      http://www.indembassy.or.kr/

      Another option rather than getting a new passport, is to have more pages added. I’m not sure which country you are from but I imagine there is an embassy of your home country in Korea? That may be an option for you.

      I hope this helps!
      Cheers and Happy Travels.

      Reply
  7. Laura McLoughlin

    Hey,

    Thanks this is really useful! I did consider adding extra pages to my passport but from my research it seems the UK doesn’t offer that as an option.

    I’ll contact the embassy to be sure.

    Best wishes

    Laura

    Reply
  8. Lulu

    Hello Beautiful Goats!

    Thank you for all these tips, I have already written so much in my dairy! I am heading to India with a swedish friend in January and we will travel for about 1 month and a half.
    What I was interested in, was the Ashram, Parmarth Niketan. How was your experience there? Have you been involved in prayer and meditation before?
    I have done some meditation before and I would really love to visit this place, but not sure if it is ok to go there as a beginner?

    To able to stay, you make a donation at the end of your stay is that right?

    Thank you and sending love from Australia <3

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hey Lulu! Glad we could help you out in the planning process. If there’s anything you think we missed in this guide, feel free to let us know!

      As for Parmarth, definitely no problem being a beginner! You won’t find a more welcoming Ashram. Even SwamiJi will sit down with you and answer questions.

      Also, the prayer wasn’t too religious, it was very open to all religions (even us unreligious people) and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The meditation is awesome too and sooo relaxing.

      At the end of your stay, you’ll be asked to pay a donation but there is an amount that is almost manditory. We spent $15 each per day with all food and accommodation but that was a lot more than it usually costs because we were part of a special meditation and yoga course.

      You can check out their website for more info and give’m a all if you want, they’re quite helpful.

      http://www.parmarth.com/

      We also have a post that is more in depth about our experiences there. Check it out if you want: http://goatsontheroad.com/rishikesh-yoga-on-the-banks-of-the-ganges-river-dariece/

      Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.

      Cheers and safe travels.

      Reply
      1. Lulu

        Thanks guys, so very helpful.

        I will check out that post. We will head there in January/February 🙂

        Good luck on your future journeys <3

        Reply
  9. CanadianIndian

    Very nice blog. Al tough I was born in India I never saw many of the places. I would like to back-pack through India sometime.Its always tempting when winter approach Canada.
    ps: The banana leaf meal is mouth-watering. I grew up in Trichy.

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      I couldn’t agree more! The winters in Canada are awful. We too love the banana leaf meals in Southern India, they’re the best!

      Hopefully you can backpack your country one day, it’s amazing 🙂

      Cheers!

      Reply
  10. Will

    Guys,

    First thing to do is say thank you for such a detailed and candid synopsis, very much appreciated.

    However I should say that I only have 6 weeks in India and you have made it feel wholly inadequate…I only booked my flights this morning and can already see myself extending this section of the trip!

    I would love to do some time in an Ashram, mostly because it is totally different to the sort of things I have focused on in my life so far and I am in serious need of a refocus (hence a 6 month trip and 6 weeks in India).

    I guess what I’m asking is how much could I realistically see in 4 weeks/6 weeks(if I didn’t do the Ashram)? I think I have a totally unrealistic view of dropping down to Goa from Mumbai then up and across the Kolkata (stopping on the way) then across to Delhi and the north East then flying out of Mumbai again. All on perfectly timed sleeper trains that will drop me off in a new town as the sun comes up!

    Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Agra, Palolem, Hampi, Ellora, Madurai, Jaisalmer, Varisani the list goes on and on…

    Apologies, first-time backpacker dealing with the blind-panic induced by the reality of having actually booked my ticket 🙂

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hey Will,

      On our first trip to India we moved every 2 days and looking back on it, we wish we travelled slower (we always say this to first-time backpackers). Travelling slow is the way to go. If you’re there for 6 weeks, consider a few days in Parmarth Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh. If you don’t do an ashram, maybe stick to mostly one area for the six weeks so you’re not always sitting around on buses and trains.

      If you really wanna travel around a lot, then maybe check out Kerala from mumbai (house boating in Allepey a must), then take the train over to jaipur and spend a couple of weeks in the main cities of Rajastan (some of the best places in india are there. From there you can head to Agra and Verenassi and by then you’ll really be travelling a lot to see any more. I would say cut out Kolkutta if you’re landing in Mumbai and only have 6 weeks. The train from Mumba to Kolkatta is like 46 hours, we’ve taken it before. Stick to west and central India and you’ll probably have a better time. Try to calculate in at least 3 nights in the major places and remember that even if you take overnight trains, it takes time to get to the station, wait and then get to your hotel on the other end. The trains can also be late.

      I would try NOT to have a crazy plan. Land in India and see how you feel. If you feel full of energy then you can travel fast and see a lot. If you want to relax then relax. The best way to do india is without a plan because nothing goes to plan there anyway.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

      Nick

      Reply
      1. Dee

        Hey,
        Interesting website …. glad to see people like this country…as a local would just add a couple of points;
        1. Travel by air is also feasible with the plethora of cheap airlines…one of the best being Indigo. Good connectivity as well. Air Asia has also started domestic services connecting Bangalore -Goa.
        2. Women need to be careful especially in metros…. far too many cases of violence against women so need for some sensible defensive measures like not moving around alone but in groups etc.

        Cheers &Enjoy your trip

        Reply
  11. sefer sefer

    thanks goats as i really enjoyed sharing your experiences and look forward to many more to come.i,m going to india at the end of january 2014 ,,probably start north and head down south although i want to just go with it

    Reply
  12. Gopal

    Dear Goats,
    I am leaving to Trichy on 12th jan. 2014 from Malaysia. Planned to stay in Trichy from 13th to 18th Jan. to see the harvest festival and Thaipusam. From there planned to start my backpacking and move to Kerala > Coimbatore > Banglaore > Goa > Pune > Mumbai > Ahmedabad > Jaipur > New Delhi > Lucknow > Kathmandu (Nepal). These are the places i have planned, based on your experience, how long will it require to cover all these places? How will it cost (Roughly). I am a concerned about lodging – i heard homestay will be a better choice? Looking forward for your advice. Thank you.

    Reply
  13. Adam

    Great site thanks. Just booked flights for a two week stay in India, can’t wait to get out there and see/taste everthing 🙂

    Reply
  14. Daniel Plummer and Amelia Chin

    Hey guys,

    Bit random, you may not remember us, but we seem to remember we shared a taxi to Inle Lake in Burma in February 2012 after a monstrous 16 hour bus trip from Hsipaw? And then we had an enjoyable dinner together one evening, at Inle Lake.

    We were the British couple teaching English in Korea at the time, awesome to see you made it to China. We are also there now, in Nanjing.

    I just stumbled across your (truly awesome, spectacular) blog whilst researching information on India. I then read a little bit more, and thought, hold on a minute, I remember them, I think we know them. Amelia then concurred with me, after checking out your pictures and “Who are the goats?” page. My word, it’s a small world, the joys of the internet hey?!

    Anyway, we’re leaving China at the end of June and are currently planning a trip for a few months before we head back to the UK – thanks for all the info you’ve put up – it makes for a great read, and great for ideas!

    We hope you don’t mind us popping you a message, but we figured there’s no harm in saying hello!

    Happy and safe travels,

    All the best,

    Dan and Amelia

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hey Guys!

      Wow, talk about small world indeed. To be completely honest, it took us a few minutes to remember how we knew you, which isn’t an insult because I have a hard time remembering what I did yesterday 😉

      But, it’s all come back to us now! I can’t believe that was almost 2 years ago…crazy. How are you enjoying Nanjing? Which school are you teaching at? We loved living and teaching english in Yangzhou, had such a great year.

      We’re currently in Canada but are on our way to Mexico on the 18th of January, can’t wait to see some sun and explore that culture!

      So great (and random!) to hear from you guys. We checked out your site as well and it’s awesome. Great photos on there 🙂

      All the best!
      Cheers.

      Reply
  15. Dave and Brett

    Hey Goats,
    Wow, what and unbelievable blog. Well done, you saved me an awful lot of bother.

    Ok, so I have a few questions…
    I will be arriving in India mid March this year. Brett and myself are relatively experienced in the backpacking sector having both spent 4 months in SE Asia and then a year in aus.
    From our experience, we have decided to get our boots on the ground in Delhi and take it from there…. yeah/nay??

    So we have allocated about two months to get around the west coast and come back up the east coast to Calcutta. We will then be going to Nepal and then Burma (maybe).

    Just wondering what are your thoughts on this??

    Also, I get a reaction from the Malaria tablets, will I be ok to give them a miss??

    Thanks again guys

    Dave
    x

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hey Dave,
      thanks for the compliments on the blog, much appreciated 🙂

      Arriving in Delhi may be a huge culture shock, but it’s an awesome place. We’ve met people who absolutely hate the city, but we’ve met people who like it, ourselves included. There’s lots to see and do in the city for sure, but the main part is just wandering around and soaking up all the action!

      To be honest, I think that 2 months is a little short to get all the way around to Kolcutta. It’s doable, but you’ll be moving a lot if you want to see the major cities and sights.

      I suggest getting to India first and then deciding how far you can get…just take it one day at a time. Travel days can be exhausting in India!

      As for malaria, we have never taken the tablets when travelling to SE Asia or India. There’s more of a concern for Dengue Fever (in my opinion anyways). We’re not doctors so we can’t advise you one way or another, but we didn’t take them and were fine.

      Have a wonderful time! Definitely try to get to Nepal and Myanmar if you can – 2 awesome countries 🙂

      Let us know if you have more questions.
      Cheers.

      Reply
  16. soroush

    Hello dear Goats!
    My wife and I are going to travel to India for18 days in end of March ,our flight is to Delhi and return flight from Goa .
    We also want to visit Agra,Jaipur,Mumbai and Kerala(because of your recommend) so we need your advise to manage how many days should we allocate for each city? and we are wondering if you can introduce us a safe,clean and inexpensive hotel there.
    thank you very much in advance
    Have a nice day

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hello Soroush!

      That sounds like a great trip. You’ve chosen some awesome places in India. You have 18 days and have chosen 6 cities, so that means 3 days/city. However, you will only need (or want) one day in Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Other than that, it’s just a big city – in our opinion. You will have to move around fairly fast in order to see everywhere that you’ve chosen. If you take overnight trains, that can help to give you some more time in each place.

      As for places to sleep, check out Hostel World:
      http://www.hostelworld.com/index.php?affiliate=goatsontheroad

      or

      Booking.com for places to stay. You can also have a look at your guidebook for suggestions on accommodation in each city. Also, once you’ve chosen a place to stay, it’s a good idea to have a look on TripAdvisor.com to see what other people are saying about the hotel/guesthouse you’ve chosen.

      Another option is to just walk around and look for something you like, but since you’re short on time, it might be nicer to have your accommodation waiting for you when you arrive at your destinations.

      You can book everything in advance from home if you want, but I wouldn’t suggest it. I’d have a room booked in Delhi and maybe your next stop, but that’s it. Plans can change, dates can change and you may find you want to travel slower and not see as much…India can be crazy on travel days 🙂

      Check out this article we just wrote called How To Prepare For Travel In India:
      http://goatsontheroad.com/prepare-travel-india/

      I hope this information helps! Enjoy your trip, it’s such an amazing country 🙂
      Cheers.

      Reply
  17. Dave

    Hey guys,

    As most have already said, great post and you have saved me quite a lot of hassle so thanks :).

    Me and my partner are heading to India for about a month in July/August time. I know its probably not the best time to go but were students and summer is too long an opportunity to miss to travel. As a first, but im sure not last, time traveller to India and with only about a month to use what would you recommend for travel from place to place? we are very used to long bus rides but are trains worth it and reliable? Also my partner is as blonde as they come with blue eyes and very fair skin. Should we expect a fair bit of attention from local males etc? Any help would be much appreciated guys.

    Thanks a lot

    Dave

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hey Dave,

      July and August is the monsoon season in India…except for the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. This is a region that we have yet to visit but are dying to! Ladakh and Leh are high on our list and the months you’ve chosen would be perfect for travel there.

      Of course, you can travel to other parts of India during the monsoon season. Rains may come down hard, but only for a couple of hours or so. Check out this article for info on weather in India:
      http://goindia.about.com/od/planningyourtrip/a/indiaweather.htm

      Being a fair skinned woman with blonde hair and blue eyes will surely attract attention. I would suggest she (and women with any colour of hair and eyes) wear long pants, long shirts that cover her butt, with long arms. Also, having a pashmina/scarf is a good idea – she can put it over her head, use it to cover her nose when there are bad smells and drape it over her bust area to hide it a bit!

      Taking trains is a popular way to travel in India. It’s fast, comfortable, cheap and safer than buses – as far as accidents go. We love train travel in India. Taking night trains is a great way to save a days worth of travelling too.

      Check out this article we just wrote: How To Prepare For Travel In India:
      http://goatsontheroad.com/prepare-travel-india/

      I hope this helped! Happy travels 🙂

      Reply
  18. Goats On The Road Post author

    Hey Scott,

    We haven’t heard of men having any issues or being harassed at all while in India…unfortunately, it’s usually just women who have to deal with this kind of treatment.

    Reply
  19. Muizza

    Extremely Inspiring and full of color and adventure. Having traveled extensively through many of this places, I greatly appreciate the details you both provide in this very informative blog post. I will definitely be following you guys, as you conquer the world and live your dream!

    Reply
  20. Sérgio

    Hello Goats! Thanks for the pleasant reading, you blog is great! I’ve just booked a 5 month trip to India, beginning in Delhi in September! I can’t wait, i’m going nuts. Me and my friend will be heading to Pahar Ganj short after our arrival so the culture shock will be just what i need. I’ve done a ton of research about India through the years but i still have some questions and i think that you guys could help me 🙂 Those are practical questions about budgets and some other things.

    I’m traveling on a 300 euros a month budget, i’m a dreadlock neo-hippie with no intents of luxury at all besides cleanliness and perhaps a tv, and with a taste for free, simple, unspoiled and off the track stuff to see and experience, so do you guys think that i will be able to save up some of that money to buy some stuff to send back home and all that, or that budget will be a “strict” budget, that will serve me well, but not for my sudden urges to buy extremely beautiful decorations for my room? 😀 I can be very stoic and disciplined if i want, actually i’m used to that since our economy is in the toilet since forever (I’m Portuguese) :p Also you’ve said that it is not normal to drink while traveling in India… Do you mean that grabbing a beer somewhere and go around sipping and seeing things is not correct or advisable or you were just referring to “heavy drinking” in bars and that sort of places?

    I have my 3 first days in Pahar Ganj planned, with a place to stay and all, but that’s it. There’s no use nor freedom in real plans in India, that’s for sure. But at the same time i want to establish some kind of route, otherwise i will spend unnecessary time going back and forward (i’m a slow but methodic traveller) Also, there’s Nepal nearby, and i have a double entry thing in my Visa just for that. So upon arrival in Delhi do you advise me to take advantage of it and do a little Varanasi-Nepal spiritual kind of trip, in September-October weather (maybe a little ashram time aswell), or will it be nicer to go to Rajastan and spend some time in the desert, or can i begin to go south and start my shore adventure?

    I don’t know, i’m just happy that i can finally go there. I know it will be incredible in many ways. I hope that you can help me and that you’re happy with your current travels.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hello Sergio!

      It sounds like you are very excited for your trip to India…and you should be! India is such a fascinating place.

      1. Drinking – When you’re in India, you’ll notice that it’s not common to see people drinking. The women especially don’t, while the men can be seen drinking brandy sometimes. There are hardly any bars (apart from Goa where it’s more westernized), and for us, we just preferred to do as the locals do and enjoy some chai tea or a lassi.

      2. 300 Eur for a month would be fine, if you’re ok with lower class trains, travel slowly, eat local/street food and sleep in budget accommodation. Definitely doable. You’ll have to see how it goes regarding buying souvenirs though. Mind you, they are quite inexpensive in India.

      3. If you’re interested in Ashrams, I would suggest doing the Delhi, Varanasi, Agra loop to Rishikesh, then down to Rajasthan State. Many ashrams are found in Rishikesh, it’s a beautiful city on the Ganges River. Sept to Nov is a good time to be in Rajasthan. In the north – Rishikesh/Delhi, it can get pretty cool in December. But still nice during the day. We were in Nepal in Nov/Dec and it was quite chilly, but we still had a great time.

      4. I definitely wouldn’t plan too much (like you said), but it’s a good idea to have a route planned out. Nepal is a great country too, so you’ll have to make some decisions as to where you want to go! No matter what time of year, there is somewhere in the country of India that will have ideal weather.

      Enjoy!

      Reply
  21. Becci Kyle

    Gosh I love your site! This is such a great resource and also gets the butterflies going in my tummy too. Aaaah so exciting!
    Thank you so much for some awesome reading material.

    Reply
  22. Crystal

    I’ve always wanted to see India but I didn’t know if it was safe for women to travel there alone. What’s your tale on solo female travel in India? Btw your blog is great!

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hey Crystal,

      Travel in India as a solo women is more challenging than being a couple or a solo male traveller, unfortunately! Having said that, many women do it each year!! These days, you do have to be a bit more cautious of where you choose to go in India as a solo woman…as a plus, you will have many, many opportunities to meet up with other travellers when in the country and will have lots of great experiences with the local women if you’re a solo female traveller 🙂

      I would say go for it! Just make sure to take the usual precautions…and then some.

      Cheers.

      Reply
  23. Bianca

    Hi guys!

    Hope you are enjoying your travels. We love your blog, very informative and inspiring.

    My husband and I are planning our travels to India. Although we have no time restrictions we would love to spend a month exploring Rajasthan, it looks absolutely AMAZING!

    One thing that we really would like to experience is a desert safari. How many days/nights did you do and can you possibly recommend a travel company? Also what kind of price range are we talking?

    Hope I’m not interrupting Happy hour!

    Thanks 🙂

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Bianca! haha, nope, you’re not interrupting happy hour!

      India is a fascinating country and Rajasthan is such a cool State! We did a 3 night/4 day camel safari out of Jaisalmer. We booked it through our guest house at the time and had such a great experience 🙂 If possible, ask to meet your guide beforehand to see if you like him and how his english is. I honestly can’t remember what we paid for the trip, it was in 2009, but I do remember it being very, very inexpensive – something like $40 total each day, maybe even less.

      Ask around for a reputable guide/tour and bargain for the price!

      Cheers.

      Reply
  24. Binti

    I’m at work and I’ve literally spent all morning just going though one blog-post after another…love your site! I’m a Kenyan, currently living in Nairobi, and was born in India (though I left pretty young and have absolutely no recollection of my time there. Only stories and pictures). Lately I’ve been having this itch to travel and I just can’t seem to shake it (which is how I ended up here). I’m considering giving in to my wanderlust and taking the last six months of next year to go to India, China and heaven knows where else. I have no travel partner as yet and being a black female, I have about a million and one things to worry about…or shouldn’t I? Do you know of any experiences of black female backpackers in India? Hope this doesn’t offend anyone, it’s just a genuine concern.
    PS: If you’re ever in Kenya, be sure to reach out!
    Amani na baraka.

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hello!

      That’s great that you want to take off for 6 months 🙂 To be honest, I think the same issues/cautions would apply in India as a female, no matter your race. Dressing conservatively (long, loose pants and tops), not going anywhere by yourself with a local man, not walking solo at night, etc. are all ways in which you can stay safe. To be honest, I get a lot of attention from the men when in India becuase my hair is light and my eyes are blue (they love that for some reason), so since you have dark hair and eyes, you’ll probably get much less attention – which is a very good thing 🙂

      China is very safe and you’ll have no issue. they love foreigners and will think you’re very interesting because you’re black! There was one black guy in the city we lived in in China and he got stared at more than the white people – which was a lot too! haha.

      have a great time!

      Reply
  25. Ashwin

    Thanks for the near perfect review of my country, I saw your site a few hours back and since then am reading about your amazing experiences making me a bit jealous and a lot inspired. Just one objection, I have seen the whole of Agra since am born and brought up there and even though its dusty, it isn’t unattractive or a just small town with one great spot. It’s a complete city and with art and music schools, two more UNESCO world heritage sites, the street food, temples and mosques it has a culture significantly different from the surrounding cities. One just has to look in too deep which is rarely possible for a non-resident and hence I obviously not expect you to give a review of the entire city.
    P.s. the best thing I liked about your site is that you reply to almost all of the comments.

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Ashwin!

      I’m sooo sorry for the delayed reply to your comment (especially after you said I reply to them all!) I don’t know how this one was missed?

      Thank you for the kind words about our site and for sharing your views of Agra. I’m sure you’re correct in say that there is more there than just the Taj Mahal. Most tourist just go to visit the famous monument and then take off. Maybe next time we’ll have to stick around to see what Agra really has to offer 🙂

      Cheers.

      Reply
  26. Nadeem

    Lovely article, catches the very essence of India! A lot of Indians, who have not traveled much, don’t realize many of these things themselves.

    However, I think you missed the north-eastern part of India – Sikkim, Meghalaya etc. North-east is totally a different experience and differs a lot in terms of culture, food, terrain with rest of the India. I would strongly suggest visiting this part to further amaze at diversity of this country.

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hello Nadeem!

      Thank you for sharing your views about the NE of India. We have actually heard really great things about this area and would love to visit one day 🙂

      Thank you for commenting.

      Reply
    2. Varsha Soni

      Hey. Even i wanted to say the same thing. North-East is very very beautiful and they should definitely travel there.

      Reply
  27. Zahra

    Woah Goats. Awesome awesome post.
    I have a fully planned out backpacking route around india and do so much research on it, read up other peoples blogs etc and it makes me more and more adamant to go.
    I am actually a British born Indian and visited India three times (literally just arrive in Mumbai and straight into a car to Bharuch, Gujarat!..Hey, have you ever visited Gujarat? ) anyhow, My family dont see the point of going to do anything else around India other than visit family so I just have to hope that one day my dream to backpack around India becomes possible and that my route plan is actually worth more than just a ‘plan’. Great posts goats Thanks for sharing the excitement!

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Thanks Zahra! I too hope you can get out and explore more of your beautiful home country! India has so much to offer, both locals and foreigners.

      Cheers and thank you for the comment 🙂

      Reply
  28. Glenn

    This blog is awsome! Thank you for this informative site about India. I’m planning to go there, just for a week though. Can you help me with my itenerary? I’ll be arriving and departing to and from New Delhi. At first, i just want to see The Taj Mahal, but after reading your blog, i don’t know which is the best or worth seeing on that 1 week time. Hope you could help! Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Glenn,

      I think you’ll find that once you’re in India, travel/transportation days can be long and sometimes very frustrating. In one week, I would suggest exploring Delhi (there are lots of sights), the Taj Mahal (the city of Agra isn’t all that nice though) and Varanasi – great city on the Ganges River.

      Enjoy!

      Reply
  29. Glenn

    Hey! Nice to hear from you. I made some changes on my plans, I’ll be backpacking in India for 2 weeks, landing in Kolkata. My plan is Kolkata-Varanasi-Agra-Jaipur-New Delhi-then back to Kolkata to fly back home. (Or i could just skip Varanasi just go straight from Kolkata to Agra). My problem is, i’m having problem booking trains online. I don’t know how to start. I’m thinking of doing domestic flights instead from city to city but that would be costly right? Can you provide info on how a foreign tourist cn booked a train? Do you think i can get train tickets once already there? Will be there from march 20 until april 6. Thanks!

    Reply
  30. Glenn

    Hi, just read your article regarding the transportation in India. I can’t register to IRCTC because I don’t have an Indian phone number. So I emailed them and they told me to send a scanned copy of my passport and they’ll send me the registration code. Yup, they only accept Visa. Tried ClearTrip but you must also need to register first to IRCTC to book a train using Visa or Master. Do you think it’s hard to get the quota ticket for foreigners?

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Glenn,

      We have always had no problem booking trains when in India, on the ground. If you know your dates, you can arrive and book all of your trains at one time. You may need to use Taktal, you may not, depending on which class you’re booking and how many tickets are available.

      Just get your tickets when you get there and you’ll be fine!

      Enjoy 🙂

      Reply
  31. Oscar

    Hi guys, really enjoyed this guide. I am travelling to India in September for 5 weeks. I just have a few questions:

    1. I’m landing in Kolkata and I’m wondering how much I should be trying to do in 5 weeks. Do you think Kolkata-Varanasi-Dehli-Agra-Jaipur-somewhere else in Rajahstan-Kolkata would be an okay itinerary?
    2. After flights I reckon I’ll be going to India with about $1700-$2000 AUD (about 50 rupees to $1). Will that be sufficient funds for 5 weeks of travel?
    3. My flight into Kolkata unfortunately arrives at 12:10am which is the only one I could get. I’ve heard it can be a bit dangerous arriving late at night but I presume if I book a place in advance to stay and possibly even try and get an airport pick-up I should be alright?

    Thanks guys!

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hey Oscar,

      Everything you’ve said sounds great. The itinerary is perfect, not too fast, but not too slow. There’s so much to see in Rajasthan that you may want to add another place to the itinerary. Agra only needs one day in our opinion. You’ll have more than enough money as we lived off of that much for two people in one month.

      Just book a room in advance online (check out TripAdvisor for reviews) and maybe they can pick you up. The Kolkatta airport is quite small if I recall. If you take a taxi, make sure to agree on a price upfront – they’ll also try to charge you for your bags, don’t let them!

      Enjoy!

      Reply
  32. Varsha Soni

    Hi, i am an Indian and i was looking for blogs about India to gain insight as to how non-Indians travel here. This is by far the best post about the Indian culture and the people in general. Very heartwarming to read stuff like this. Next time you visit you should definitely travel the North-eastern part of India. i realise you haven’t been there. A very good experience for those who are interested in scenic beauty as well as heritage.

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Thank you for your feedback Varsha 🙂 We really appreciate hearing that. We love India and would really like to visit the NE as well as the far northern reaches of Kashmir.

      Cheers.

      Reply
  33. Anirban

    Being an Indian , its really great to see people of different countries are so involved and enthusiastic to be in India. Best of luck to all the travellers, have a great journey and experience.

    Reply
  34. zuber khan

    hi very nice piece of information on india . i want to promote my hotel with inventory of 80 room we are located in the heart of mumbai city very close to Victoria terminus and near to crawford market. along with premium room we also have dormitory and budget room with common bath, any backpackers looking for best locations and at cheap rates kindly contact 8652657530. we also have 100 rooms property in goa at calangute beach I assure you of the best services and rates.

    Reply
  35. Patrick Tanis

    Greetings!

    I will be traveling to India from mid-June to mid-July. I am flying in to Mumbai, and (most likely) flying out of New Delhi – but that is still flexible for the next few days or so. I am in the process of trip planning, and I’m wondering if you have any recommendations on how I should spend my month in India. Thank you so much for your help!

    Cheers,
    Patrick

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Patrick,

      With India, it’s important to keep the weather in mind. The temperatures there can reach into the 50’s (celcius!) For June and July, I would suggest heading north (although the state of Rajasthan can be comfortable in July). We are dying to see the Kashmir region, which can only be done in June/July.

      Have a look online to see which parts of the country are best during those months 🙂

      Enjoy India, it’s amazing.

      Reply
  36. Shelly-May Campbell-Gillies

    Hi, really helpful blog. We will be there for a month in November, we are starting to plot our trip- its the beginning of 10months of travels. We wanted to do a tour in the North- Golden Triangle, do you have any travel companies you know of or can recommend. Any help or advice would be amazing.

    Thanks

    Shelly

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Shelly, I apologize for the delayed reply! That sounds like a great trip 🙂 Unfortunately, I don’t know of any tour companies. You could probably have a look at the Lonely Planet for suggestions and recommendations though.

      Cheers!

      Reply
  37. Georgina

    Hey you guys!
    Loved reading your blog- so informative!
    I’m an 18 year old girl and I am thinking of heading to India in December this year with my other female friend of the same age. We would spend 2 months there. Any tips you have in terms of safety for us? As well as a rough outline of where we should go??
    Thanks heaps 🙂

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      that’s exciting Georgina! As a woman in India you definitely need to be more cautious than a man would need to be. Cover up, don’t speak with men, don’t go on any tours where you’ll be alone with a male guide, don’t get into a tuk-tuk just by yourself if you can help it, etc. There are many blogs online that have info for solo women in India – Hippie in Heels, Global Gallivanting are two I can think of.

      But most importantly, follow your intuition.

      Having said all of that, we’ve spent almost 6 months there total and had nothing but great experiences. The men did stare at me a lot though in the South, but not really in the north. India is huge, so it depends on where you want to go? We really enjoyed the whole state of Rajasthan, the city of Varanasi, Rishikesh, Mumbai, the state of Kerela, etc. etc.! It’s all so incredible and diverse. Safe and happy travels to you 🙂

      Reply
  38. Matthew

    Hey guys,

    Really enjoyed reading this blog and comments today – extremely helpful! I am planning a 3 month trip this winter November – February, and just have a couple of questions questions:

    India is a massive country, so I don’t want to be spending half my time on the road, but also may not have another chance to come back for this length of time. Would you recommend sticking to one half of the country? I know I will probably be flying to Chennai, and definitely want to spend some time in Goa. So the south half seems to make more sense.

    My question is – do you think the more northern parts that you visited such as Rajasthan and Varanasi are too good to miss? Because I could always bite the bullet and get a couple of plane tickets to fit in those other areas in my travels.

    (To give you an idea of what I’m looking for I am 22 and do enjoy socialising with a few drinks, but am more interested in the spiritual aspects of India and I plan to stay at an Ashram, possibly partake in a Vippasana and do a couple of hikes.)

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Matthew,

      Sounds like a great trip you have planned! As you said, India is massive, and also very diverse.

      In our personal opinion, the north isn’t to be missed. For me, it felt like the “real” India. As a woman, I didn’t feel comfortable on the beaches in the south and I preferred the architecture and the overall vibe of the northern areas. However, most people go to Goa and you should see that area as well – Kerela is gorgeous too!

      We loved Rajasthan State (Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Jaipur, Udaipur, Pushkar), Varanasi is a must. For ashrams, we stayed in one in Rishikesh and really had an eye opening experience.

      The train system around India is excellent, you wouldn’t need to fly!

      I hope this helps somewhat. No matter where you go in India, you’ll be blown away 🙂

      Reply
  39. Paul C

    Warm Greetings Goats!

    I’m a student taking up medicine and one who’s had this huge fascination of India ever since I was a kid!
    I’ve always dreamed of experiencing this amazing country but due to differences in travel preferences with my folks and the rest of my family, it never really materialized
    This coming February 2016, hopefully, with my passport in hand and a backpack, I’ll get a taste of what India has to offer.
    Sadly though, this trip can only range from 5-10 days as I only have a short opening to actually leave before I find myself reporting in the hospital once again.
    I know for myself that this could be a first of many more comebacks in India

    I just want to know what you could recommend for me?
    I’d probably land in Delhi, and find my way from there.
    Having lived in a 3rd world country all my life, I can probably rough it out when I get there 🙂
    Any recommendations for dirt cheap places to stay? Good places to sample local cuisine would be much appreciated too!
    I have traveled quite a few times alone on a backpack but I feel that this would be one of the most interesting and probably challenging yet, with sticking in a budget as my main concern

    I’d appreciate any additional tips you can give me!
    Reading this blog only rekindled my desire to see India even more!

    Thank you!
    I wish you much more happiness on the road during your amazing travels!

    And hey! Should your feet take you back to Philippines, my country, feel free to give me a shoutout!
    I can probably share some more hole-in-the-wall secrets worth trying 😀

    All the best 🙂

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hi Paul!

      I’m sorry for the delayed reply.

      India is an amazing country for sure! I bet after your 5-10 day trip, you’ll want more 🙂

      Delhi is an amazingly crazy city. I’d suggest going to Varanasi from there and seeing the Taj Mahal in Agra as well (don’t need to spend the night there though). The train system is really good in India, so you could travel overnight. Travel days can be busy and hectic though so you don’t want to try to do too much!

      Rajasthan State is our favourite – if you have a chance, head that way.

      Happy travels!!

      Reply
    2. Indranil

      Hey paul. Greetings from India. Firstly if you plan to travel by train I suggest you book your ticket well in advance if you want the comfortable air-conditioned seats. Here is the official link https://www.irctc.co.in/eticketing/loginHome.jsf
      Secondly, congratulations on picking the best time to come here. About your locations though, it really depends on what you want to see. Temples? Varanasi. Beaches? Goa. Mountains? Rishikesh. City? Delhi. There are endless number of places you can go to really. I highly recommend you to use app based cab services like Uber or Ola ( indian company). Trust me, they will save you a lot of money and sweat!
      And lastly, do not miss out on the street food. It is delicious. Far better than any restaurant can offer.(tip: delhi is the mecca of indian street food). Use the app ” Zomato” for the best recommendations.
      Good luck on your travels!

      Reply
  40. Indranil

    Lovely article. It is always amazing to see what people think of my country. I agree with the fact that people have a love-hate relationship with India. You have to get past the noise and the crowds to experience the real India. I would like to add one con though. “People stare” boy do they stare at anything and everything. 99% of the time it is harmless, but it can be very uncomfortable.
    And I’m happy to tell you that the cab services have been a lot better due to companies like Uber and Ola taxi.No more bargaining. I highly recommend them.
    Good luck on your future travels!

    Reply
  41. Yok

    Hey Goats! I am researching an upcoming quick trip to India and came across your blog. “Goats”! lol I love it. If/when you head to Thailand, let me know. I’d be happy to introduce you to the best Thai food you’ve ever had!

    Reply
  42. Alexander

    Hello,

    My friend and I will be backpacking throughout India within the next few months and are really interested in the Rajasthan Camel Safari. Are there a lot of people/companies who do that trek? If so, do you recommend any one in particular or do you recommend that we just go to Rajasthan and bargain with someone who does the trek? I really enjoyed this article and thank you both for putting this together.

    Reply
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  44. sakina murtaza

    Hi
    Amazing blog btw.
    I am planning to go backpacking around India for about 2 months in the June – August period next year because with school that is when my longest holiday period is. I want to travel and see a huge variety of the north and south of India, however, as I am only now properly starting my research and reading your blog the weather during these months are unbearable in the south. what is your advice on what I should do?

    Reply
    1. Goats On The Road Post author

      Hello,

      The best part of India to see during those months is the north, especially the Kashmir area. Rajasthan is also OK during July / August. Enjoy your trip – weather is so unpredictable these days.

      Reply

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