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Travelling to India: Critique + questions.

Hello People,

after some lifechanging event I have decided to do a lifechanging adventure.

I just booked a flight for almost 8 weeks travel to India. I had a few questions I hope you could answer.

(Though one of my parents was an Indian I do not know much about India, so I apologize before hand.)

I had travelled to india almost two decades ago, so my plan couldnt be perfect. So, please critique my rough-itinerary.

8th Feb: Landing at Delhi Airport.

8,9 Relax at Lodhi Hotel.

10,11,12 Delhi City + TajMahal(Agra).

13 – 18 Kanpur (visiting my prof. friend an institute in K’Pur + The Great Varanassi !!! ).

18 – 25 Kolkata + Gaya + Flight to Mumbai.

25 – 4 Mahrasshtra + Goa

5 – 14 Humpi + Mysore + Bengalore (K’Taka)

15 – 21 Kerala ( + mum’s native city – cochin)

22 – 25 to Chennai + Flight back home.

Can you critique my plan?

Few questions:

1. I am a solo male traveller, would Is there something I should be aware of? – There is a stigma against solo male travellers, I have heard.

2. is $5000 sufficient for a wholesome stay?

3. I know its the election year out there, am I supposed to be aware of any possible mishaps during the time?

4. There was a flood in south India a few months ago, how is the infrastructure now?

5. Is some broken Hindi sufficient for getting around?

6. This questions is kinda touchy, I am not sure if I could ask it here. Anyways. I sound American but I look like a south Indian. In my past experience I have faced more rascism in North India (north indians are fair) than in the US (taxiwallahs grin and welcomed my white friends and told me that they thought I was a tourguide – Three occasions atleast).

7. In hyderabad, during my last visit, a guy told me “I looked like a madrasi but doesnt sound like one, so where am I REALLY from?”

8. Are drones allowed in public?

Thats it for now, I guess, any other general advices are also welcome.

Thanks.

PS: I have read the travel wiki of r/india subreddit, the questions above were not solved by the wiki.

PPS: First time solotravelling.



View Reddit by throwawayandwalkaway

11 Comments

11 Comments

  • nelsonko

    I’m going to India for 5-8 weeks in February. I decided to skip New Delhi. The **air pollution** is crazy right now it might change but it is not worth the risk for me. I removed Kolkata from my plan after talking to friends. If I was you I would do some research about it and consider Rajasthan.

    We actually might meet in Goa. I’m planning to travel all over Rajasthan to Mumbai. But I always only plan first days of my travel so all I know I will skip Delhi and Kolkata. I don’t have budget for my trips but I expect it to cost me about 250 USD per week tops (including local transfers in India). It depends on your type of travel you can easily spend 5k in 8 weeks if you stay in *boring* expensive hotels.

  • Lady_S

    I am Indian and my boyfriend is Irish and we recently traveled around India. I personally feel like you have really loaded your itinerary with cities, which in my opinion are the worst parts of India. Kanpur, Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore – all of these are absolutely packed and I wouldn’t recommend them.

    The parts that are beautiful – Sikkim, Leh/Ladakh, Kerala, Hampi, architectural wonders of Rajasthan, Rann of Kutch, Forests in different parts like Bandipur, Jim Corbett etc. My recommendation to anyone traveling in India would be to skip the cities entirely.

    On a different note, the best time to visit Taj is right after sun-rise but before 10 am. No lines at all. Empty. Quite surreal. It was a fantastic experience. If you haven’t booked a hotel at Agra, we stayed at ITC Mughal, less than $100 and the most luxurious hotel we have ever stayed at.

    To answer your actual questions.

    1. Boyfriend and I weren’t solo but we got absolutely no trouble from anyone, even using public transport
    2. Depends entirely on how you spend money. Nicer restaurants and bars in India can be insanely expensive.
    3. No, this is pretty much media hype. I have lived in India most of my life and never seen any violence, riots etc. in person
    4. The flood was specific to the area. It’s like visiting the US right after Katrina.
    5. Yes, most people in the North speak Hindi but in the South, speaking English slowly and using small words can be enough
    6. North Indians are racist against South Indians. There are different standards of what constitutes as racism there. They will still be super happy to help, even if they think you’re the tour guide.
    7. Indians don’t like Indian-looking people claiming that they are not Indian. Just tell them you’re American and it’s their problem if they like that answer or not.
    8. As far as I know, yes. Not over the Taj Mahal.

  • fever_swamp

    1. No, as a solo man you’ll have an easier time than a solo woman. You’ll get harassed but less so. You look Indian so you won’t cop it nearly as much as white skinned people. There’s no stigma against older guys in India like there is in SEA (assuming you’re older, as you said you’ve been to India 20 years ago).

    2. $5000 is heaps – $20/day is quite easy to achieve if you’re doing it backpacker style. Obviously if you want hotel rooms, flights instead of trains, private drivers, etc, that’ll cost you.

    3. Don’t think so. Was just there a few weeks ago, it was fine. A few political demonstrations that blocked the streets but nothing dangerous or out of control.

    5. Heaps, although Hindi is not as spoken in the south. Just english was enough for me.

    Don’t know the rest of them.

    As far as your itinerary goes, you’ve listed a far bit of time in Kolkata/Gaya. Gaya you can knock out in a day (not including transit to/from), so I feel 5-6 days in Kolkata is way too much. Chennai is also a pretty uninteresting city from a tourist perspective so 3 days seems like overkill. Ignore this advice if you have non-touristy reasons to go.

  • [deleted]

    I’m from Cochin and I did a 10 day trip to Rajasthan in the beginning of this month.

    You don’t need to know Hindi, however if you are going backpacker style, tuk tuks and budget restaurants might be a bit too difficult without basic knowledge of Hindi. You would do fine with English as you go to the South. Uber is available in major towns and cities but a tad bit too expensive compared to tuk tuks and autorikshaws. I found myself spending around $20 a day for backpacker style meals and stay. Prepare to shell out more for that Uber ride to out of town attraction.

    I stayed with Zostel, a popular chain of backpacker hostel, but with $5000 budget you can stay at decent hotels. However $1000 per night hotels were not uncommon where I went (Rajasthan). Also, cab ride between cities eats most of your budget. While you are India, use Redbus to find and book bus trips. Also, people will charge you upto 10 times of what something’s worth when you are in the streets. I saw a snakecharmer asking for 2000 rupees for letting a white girl touch one of his snakes while we paid only 100. Your accent might prompt them to ask for more; hence prepare to bargain. It helps to know multiples of 100 in Hindi and listen to what other are paying.

    As other have pointed out, there’s not much to do in Kolkata and Chennai and I would definitely recommend Rajasthan, Ladakk (spiti valley, nubra valley) and Meghalaya. I went to Jaipur, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bishnoi, Ranakpur and Udaipur during my visit to Rajasthan. In Kerala, I would recommend Cochin, Wayanad, Alappey, Munnar and Varkala.

    As for flooding, much of the damage occurred in Kerala, but they have recovered and everything is back to normal. Do keep your ears open for Hartal(strikes) declarations when you are in Kerala.

    Feel free to PM should you have any questions.

  • nakeycatstakebaths

    The mosquitos aren’t a joke in south India also. Went there two years ago didn’t wear spray, wore shorts everywhere, figured I’ve got Indian blood I’ll be fine. Got dengue fever and it really knocked me out, 0/10 experience. Would 100% recommend following precautions even though they seem like overkill most of the time. The Kerela mosquitos are particularly big for some reason also lmao

  • shyambutani

    5. Broken Hindi (foreign language) sounds fun and adventure. That’s something you will enjoy visiting a foreign land i guess.
    6 & 7. Please note that you will find every kind of humans in any part of the world, specially if we are talking about India given that it is very diverse country. So it is what it is.
    8. I guess yes. Except if you are flying near government/military area. Better you find some local companion who can help you with that.

    And I see you are not planning to visit North India. I don’t know why? But I personally like Himalayan Beauty than any other part of India because it is so pure and natural. I would recommend Himalayas than any part of the country.

  • EggShellBuddyPal

    Money is more than sufficient, but have you considered visiting north east? Assam, Meghalaya? They are awesome places too, and I can certainly vouch for it after just recently visited. PM me in case you need any info on it.

    Edit: Also look at options like Treebo or Oyo hotels or residentials. They are both economical and comfortable, plus you’ll have more money for whatever.

  • Sabacpa

    Ya I would do Jaipur after/before Taj Mahal. Just went there myself, loved it. Beautiful city with amazing palaces.

    Always carry cash (Rupees).

    Always Always negotiate on your purchases when you don’t see ‘Fixed Rate’ sign.

    In US I find food expenses get very high when you are traveling but compared to India my experience was mind blowing. 10inch pizza and 16oz Thumps Up was $2.02. So I think you will good with your budget.

    Their domestic flight are not expensive at all try and book in advance for great deals. You can probably get away with flights around $45.

  • caffeineismylife

    Hey I’m Indian and will try and answer your questions.

    * No stigma against solo male travellers. You’ll be absolutely fine
    * Hard to comment without knowing your travel style, but on average, yes 5000 USD is absolutely comfortable
    * No don’t worry about elections – you’ll be out of India a few weeks before the heavy duty campaigning and disruptions start
    * The infra is absolutely fine now. I have friends from Kerala and they went home for Christmas z everything is up and running. No other parts of the country were affected, so they’re OK
    * Broken hindi is fine. Will get you some strange looks in North India (I’m a south indian who moved to North India a few years ago so this is from personal experience) but you can definitely manage
    * I get where you’re coming from with the racism. Personally I found these to be one off cases, so I would urge you to just ignore these and don’t let this ruin your holiday. Not every place in North India is racist – I have found Amritsar, Himachal and Uttarakhand to be very non-racist. Honestly it’s mostly Delhi and UP
    * Yep drones are allowed in public. Having said that – there’s always some jerk policeman who’s out to take a bribe. I would suggest you carry a printout of the recent DGCA regulation that states it’s legal – ideally in Hindi if you can get it

    General advice – have you considered adding Amritsar and the golden temple to your trip? Personally one of my favourite places and one that everyone I know has loved. I am not religious, but the golden temple is truly a wonderful experience. Also – some of the best food in India. In your place I would cut Gaya and add Amritsar.

  • SorrowsSkills

    > I am a solo male traveller, would Is there something I should be aware of? – There is a stigma against solo male travellers, I have heard.

    The stigma is towards women not men.

    > is $5000 sufficient for a wholesome stay?

    5k I presume USD is very good for 2 months in India. India is still a developing country (at least in my opinion) so 5k can go a long way. Does that 5k include your flights to and from India though? I mean I guess even if it did you’d still be fine.

    > I know its the election year out there, am I supposed to be aware of any possible mishaps during the time?

    I’m sure things could possibly get a bit rough closer to the elections but you’ll probably be fine, if any large protests or demonstrations start up just avoid them to be safe.

    >Is some broken Hindi sufficient for getting around?

    English is somewhat common in India, I believe at least 10% of the country can speak English at a good enough level to converse with them. India is after all the country with the second most English speakers in the world next to you the US.

    ​

    Shame to see your post getting downvoted but you may have triggered some people with that first question :P. Hope you have a good trip though! I really want to visit India myself, I’d love to explore Rajasthan which is the most popular province/state/region of the country for tourism but popular for a reason! The forts there are incredible. Varnassi is a great city I’ve heard. Very religious and gives off incredible vibes. Check out [Indigo Traveller](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpKKH00qJfc) on youtube for his India series, you might learn something’s or see something you like. In my opinion he’s the best travel vlogger there is and I personally love his India and Vietnam series!

    ​

    Any more questions I’d love to help you out! I’ve never been to India personally but it’s a beautiful country and I have done some research on the Rajasthan area myself for a future trip.

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