“I’m on a trail-blazing journey!” I kept reminding myself. My hands were shaking with nerves and excitement as I boarded a plane in March of 2013 for a 4-month journey through India. India, a country that was completely foreign to me. In fact, I barely even ...
About India Travel
India travel is like the pro league of travel. Most other countries in the world are just the farm team, slowly preparing you to make it to the big leagues. When you land in India, most likely you'll land in one of its enormous cities. Immediately you'll be struck by the culture shock of sensory overload, disorder and chaos. But India is more than just a sprawling, crowded metropolis. This is a place with peaceful empty landscapes, rolling desert dunes, quiet backwaters, soul-revitalizing ashrams and a fascinating and endearing spiritual connection.
As you leave the mayhem of Delhi, Calcutta and Mumbai, you can find yourself watching burial rituals on the Ganges River, riding Camels in the desert near the Pakistan border or sipping chai in an ancient mountaintop castle.
India is a love it and hate it kind of place. Some people love it and it seems that at times, everyone hates it. But the longer you spend in the country, the more the latter fades and you begin to... not understand it (because no one understands India)... but you begin to accept it for all of its beautiful quirks and you start to realize that they aren't flaws, they're just differences.
Indian people are friendly, the cuisine is rivalled by no other on Earth, the history is fascinating and there are more places to visit and things to do in India than you could possibly experience in a single lifetime.
India is without a doubt one of our favourite countries on Earth. When we think of the places that had the largest impact on us, India is always near the top of the list.
Be prepared for an adventure when coming here. Be prepared to let go of what you believe to be "right" or "normal" and just accept India for what it is. Allow the spiritual side of it to guide you through the country, to experience it through the eyes of those who live there and allow it to teach you things about travel and about yourself in general.
I know that this initial introduction to India travel sounds a bit too holistic for a travel blog, but India is a place that you can't really put into words. All you have to do is go there and experience it for yourself, with an open mind.
In this India Travel Guide, we'll walk you through the things you need to know about planning a trip to India including when to visit, where to go, the best things to do and a few tips you should know before visiting.
India Travel Information
India travel isn't always easy, so we have included a lot of information on the posts below to help you make the most of your trip and to avoid as much of the inevitable frustration as possible.
India actually can be an easy place to travel. One recommendation for first-timers to India is to not go with too low of a travel budget. Sometimes the trains and hotel rooms can be unbearably hot, so it's worth it to upgrade to AC. Sometimes the cheaper tours are cheaper for a reason. Sometimes by spending a few more dollars on a camel trip, you'll actually get a camel that is treated and fed well.
By upping your budget a little bit, you can take away many of the most difficult parts of travelling in the country. For us, we noticed when we upgraded to AC2 trains, fewer people stared at Dariece and the train was 10 times cleaner. It's just worth it sometimes in India to splurge a little bit. Believe us. We've travelled India on the tightest budget imaginable, and we've travelled it on a more comfortable one, and we recommend the latter every time (still under $50/day for 2 people). Still quite affordable if you ask me.
Below you'll find some posts that will help you plan an epic trip to India. There's a lot to know about this country, so take your time in the planning process and get ready for an amazing time.
Rajasthan is one of the most interesting and popular states in all of India. From rock-cut forts and dune filled deserts to colourful markets and cities, Rajasthan is a traveller’s dream. We backpacked through India during 2009, 2011 and 2012 and our time spent in this ...
Planning a trip to India for the first time can seem like a daunting task. You’ve probably heard stories of dirty streets, culture shock and absolute chaos. While this can be true, India is probably the single most rewarding and awe-inspiring travel destination on Earth. Most ...
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 Backpacking in India. It’s ...
Ah Indian food. While this is one of the few international cuisines that can actually be done right in western countries, Indian food in India is just better. It's fresher, spicier (if you order it that way), more flavourful and more exciting.
Don't be afraid to order Indian food from the small hole-in-the-wall places either. Despite what they may look like from the outside, these places typically churn out the most food on a daily basis, meaning they have the freshest ingredients.
Simply walk around towns, cities and villages and look for places where there are a lot of Indian people eating. This is generally a good indication that the food will be safe and delicious.
Also, consider eating vegetarian while in India. We've travelled around the country for around 3 months in total and we didn't eat a single piece of meat aside from one tandoori chicken for that entire time. You don't need to! We all know the environmental impact that eating mass-produced beef and pork can have on the world, but if every country had vegetarian menus as vast as India's, nobody would have to eat meat.
Whether you enjoy a good lamb vindaloo or you stick to chana masala, Indian food will amaze you in India. The best part? You can get all-you-can-eat thalis (set menus) for under $2.
Whether you’re a carnivore, pescetarian, vegetarian or vegan, you’ll find the food you’re looking for in the deliciously diverse cuisine of India. I am personally a meat eater, but because the vegan food in India is so delicious, it’s easy to avoid meat completely when travelling there. ...
Our India Travel Blogs
We travelled around India for about 3 months in total and we still felt like we needed more time to explore! This country has so much to offer that you could definitely return time and time again. You could easily travel India for a lifetime and not see it all. The country is a world and a universe in itself.
Below you'll find all of our India travel blog posts. These are our personal experiences in the country. Hopefully by reading them, you'll get a better idea of what India travel might be like for you and it will help you to better plan your trip
Back in 2009, on our first trip, we embarked on one of the most amazing journeys in all of our travels. We based ourselves in the city of Alleppey and from there we went house boating through the stunning Alappuzhan backwaters. Arriving in Alleppey we had ...
“You don’t have to stand on your head to be a good person” – Mattaji Ever since our last trip, and ever since reading Eat, Pray, Love, I have been interested in spending some time in an Ashram and doing yoga in India. We were heading back ...
We flew to Delhi, preparing ourselves for the worst kind of hectic. This would be our third time backpacking India and somehow, on the previous two visits, we had managed to avoid this infamously chaotic city. Even India veterans have told us that Delhi is the ...
We had one more day in Dar Es Salaam before flying out (very convolutedly) to Nepal. Even though we had this flight booked 6 months in advance, we still managed to royally screw it up. We were to fly from Dar Es Salaam to Johannesburg to ...
THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT
When To Travel To India
The Best Time To Visit: November - February
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.
We visited India in May-June the first time and the heat was so unbearable that we had to soak saris with water from the bathrooms on the train and lay them on our heads to prevent us from passing out (another reason why upgrading to AC trains is worth it).
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 (where we were) 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.
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