India (Sepending)

Magic Words
(Indi) Hello=Namaste, Thanks=Dalne Bat
(Tamul) Hello= Namascara, Thanks=Nandri

Average spendig
1400rs(19eur) a day for two.

GENERAL INFO

Price Tag
Everything has the price written on it, so don’t let them full you, just look for the M.R.P printed label and pay what it says.

Food
The food in India is great and you can find everything. Don’t be afraid of eating at local places, they are very clean and you will rarely get sick with the food. Be cautious with the spicy though, otherwise you’ll remember what you ate the night before when your ass is burning at the bathroom the next morning.

Thali - India

Trains
First let’s state a few things about buses:
-buses are more expensive than trains.
-buses are slower than trains.
-buses go more often than trains.
-buses are more uncomfortable than trains.
-buses are not on time.

So, given the last few points, let’s just say is good if you try to avoid buses at all cost.

Now let’s talk about how the train system works, which is easy, reliable and a great way to discover India.

All the information about trains you’ll find it online at www.indianrail.gov.in, here you can see prices, availability, times, check waiting list status, pretty much everything besides booking, which you can’t do online. So, before buying a ticket at the train station(no commission) or at a booking agency(with commission, 100rs commission should be enough), check everything online and take with you the train name, departing station, arriving station, class and date and remember the price so you don’t get tricked.

When traveling by train you can go in different classes, sleeper class is the best one, given a money value ratio, remember to ask for a upper upper or an upper bunk, and try to avoid the bottom bunk if possible, given that people use it to seat and if the train is full they’ll make you company while you try to sleep. Second class seated is good for day travel and is even cheaper than sleeper class. The other classes I didn’t try, but I know they are considerably more expensive.

When you book a ticket you might end up on waiting list, this is when on your ticket it says RWL or WL, don’t worry, if you got a number under 100 you’ll probably get you ticket confirmed. You can check confirmation status the day before after 8:30pm on the Indian railways web page.

Finally, if for some reason you want to modify your already payed tickets, you have to go to the cancelation office at the train station and hand the old ticket and the new reservation paper, which you fill with the new ticket info. You’ll get a 70% refund for the canceled one and then you’ll have yo pay the total amount of the new one.

India on Royal Enfield
In one line, the ride of your life. Buying a bike was definitely one of the best decision we made in India, though it was a little bit scary at the beginning, soon we realized we were up for the adventure of our life. The bike we bought it in Pushkar form a well known mechanic named Mukesh, though he was a little bit more expensive than other options, maybe 5000rs more, he was reliable, a thing that at the end of our trip made a big difference. Unlike other bikes, we didn’t have any mechanical problems with our the bike, only small stuff like flat tires and burning cables hahaha.
So you have an idea of the price of the bike, we payed 75.000rs for a Royal Enfield Bullet year 2000. The price of a used bike moves between 40.000rs and 80.000rs in India, the main difference is the mechanical state of the bike, which some times is tough to judge, that’s why we bought from Mukesh. In terms of petrol use, the bikes usually use a 1 litre of petrol for 25-30 km and you can find gas stations almost everywhere. In terms of traffic, in the cities is crazy and outside them is more shanti(relaxed), some times you are almost alone on the road. In terms of which bike to buy, buy a Royal Enfield Bullet 350cc they are the easiest to fix and resell. In terms of selling your bike, be sure to have al the papers when you buy it, check the expiration date of the papers, just to be sure, and start putting posters around your last destinations, we started putting them about a month before we left and we sold the bike about 10 days before leaving India, we where lucky to sell to tourists, from locals you are looking at getting maybe 60%-70% of your investment back and with tourists you might even make money.

Royal Enfield - India

NORTH INDIA

Rishikesh
Shanti shanti between the Himalayas and the gathering point of Yoga world wide. A bit touristy at times but easy to escape the crowd and be alone in the nature.

image

Budget
Sleep: 300rs for a double room, we stayed at a family guest house called Mountain Full View, it was located in Tapovan, good place with good people.
Eat: 60-80 rs for local food. 20rs for prahta.
Rent: 300rs for a scooter a day.
Yoga: 800 USD for a one month instructor course at AYM school and 200rs for a class, you can go at 8:30 or 17:00 and its 1:45 long.

What to do
International capital of yoga means you have to at least go to one class and give yoga a try! After that, there’s many waterfalls you can go check out, some close enough to go walking and others far enough that you’ll need to rent a scooter. Spending an evening at the ganga river and getting a soul cleansing bath is something you shouldn’t miss. Finally, if you fill like doing some trekking there’s two stupas you can visit, each one is like a 4hr trek, ask around to get more details, I can just tell you its not easy easy to go up.

Amistar
The holiest place for Sikhs is here and its all for free! A donations is never bad though.

image

Budget
Accommodation and food are provided for free at the Gold temple, leaving a small donation is recommended and helping out, washing plates or something like that, is my personal recommendation!
If you want to get a room outside of the temple, you can get one for 400rs, we stayed at Golden Heritage, simple and good enough for the money.

What to do
Go experience Sikh religion at the gold temple. To enter you must cover your head, I covered it with a turbant which I got for 200rs outside the temple, the more you pay the bigger the turbant! Once in the gold temple area check the comedors, the museum and of course the gold temple.

Shimla
Beautiful city in the mountains with beautiful European architecture that doesn’t feel at all like being in India.

image

Budget
Sleep: 350rs at Hotel Candy, was the cheapest we could find.
Eat: 20rs for the best alu pratha I’ve had, 50rs for local food in the market.
Fare: 250/20 rs for 1st/2nd class for the little train of Shimla that goes from Shimla to Kalka.

What to do
Shimla in itself is a beautiful small city to just walk around, the architecture is totally different to the rest of India, and the views you get, because its up in the mountains, are magnificent. For a little walk I recommend going up to Hanuman’s temple, don’t forget to time your walk, it will let you know how fit you are according to Shimla standards, under 30min you are perfect!
The little train of Shimla is a must! This little train will take you trough 100+ tunnels between the Himalayas in about 5hrs, once in Kalka you can take another train to Delhi, 6hrs journey.

New Delhi
Never stopping city, noisy, busy and morning sleeper.
Humayans Temple - New Delhi

Budget
Sleep: 460 rs Kuldeep hostel is a nice cheap place, Robin, the owner, is a good guy that if you are lucky might give you a discount.
Eat: 60rs for local food.
Fare: 20rs for a tuk-tuk, pretty much anywhere, if you tell them you’ll go in to a sari shop so they can get their gas coupon.

What to do
Humayans tumb, is really nice and you can even walk there from your hostel, its safe and gives you a different perspective of the city. The red fort I didn’t love it but is cool to see also. I recommend taking the metro, is really well done and its brand new, it feels like from out of India. Finally, if you looking to buy things, New Delhi has the cheapest prices around India, for clothe, leather, etc.

Agra
The city of the Taj Mahal!
Taj Majal - India

Budget
Sleep: 500rs for a double room, we stayed at garden guest house, its located on the far right of the first street of the small city next to the Taj Mahal, when you enter it from the west gate of the Taj Mahal.
Eat: 50rs for thali.
Ticket: 750rs to go in to the Taj Mahal.

What to do
For me, the best time to go visit the Taj Mahal is during sunrise. At that time the place is not yet crowded and the light is beautiful. To be able to enter one of the first in the morning I recommend you buy your ticket the day before, because if not you will not be able to have one of the first places on the queue. The best photo spot for us was on the bench in front of the second pond, if you want to get a good picture, without people in it, go fast to the spot, get you photo taken and then tour around.

Jaipur
Crowded fast going city known for the close buy amber fort and its pink color, which looked more like an old orange.

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Budget
Sleep: 300-500rs, we stayed for 500rs at a really nice clean new place, the guest house was called Madhav.
Eat: 60rs for Thali.
Fare: 20rs for the local bus from Jaipur to Amber fort.
Entrance: 200/100 rs tourist/student to go in to Amber Fort.

What to do
Jaipur is cool to explore and to imerse yourself in Indian culture. During the day explore the pink city by foot or go check out amber fort, which you can easily do on a local bus, no need to go all fancy and get a tuk-tuk. After, during the evening, go watch a Bollywood movie at Raj Mandul cinema, its a unique experience and tickets cost 170rs.

SWM(Tiger reserve)
Yes we manage to see a Tiger but they said we were lucky.

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Budget
Sleep: In general its expensive, we found acomodation on top of a shop for 400rs, the rest was 600 rs or more.
Eat: 70-90 rs for local food.
Ticket: Jeep(6 plp)/Canter(20 plp) 1000rs/850rs.

What to do
The main atracction is the Tiger reserve, you can go during the morning, around 8am, or in the afternoon, around 2pm. Tickets are sold at the official booking counter where you can personaly go buy an avoid paying commission to an agency. The counter opens around 30min before the tours go to the park, so ask around to know at what time you should go book. We got canter tickets and it was real fun. We felt like in a safari in Africa, even though we have never been there hahaha.

Pushkar
Shanti city paradise for shopping, prices are low and they have got clothes with style.
Pushkar - India @monderay

Budget
Sleep: 300rs, we stayed at moon cafe, great place totally recommended.
Eat: 50rs for simple thali in front of where the bus from Ajmer stops.
Rent: 200rs-400rs for a moto.
Buy: 150rs/200rs/600rs clothe/scarfs/leather

What to do
Pushkar is an important place for Hindus, they must come at least once during their life to this holy place, so as you might imagine is full of temples and spiritual places. The lake an mountain temples are great places to visit.
Pushkar also offers great shopping deals. No matter what kind of shoppef you are, most definitely you’ll end up sending a package back home.
Restaurants are nice and cheap compared with the rest of India, I personally recommend La Pizzeria, get the quatre fromage pizza if you can!

Bundi
One of Rajasthan blue cities. Tranquil, cheap and full of friendly locals.

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Bhimlat Waterfall - 1

Budget
Sleep: 300rs-350rs a night. We stayed at a lovely guesthouse called Parihar guest house, right in front of Nawal Sagar Hotel, recommended!
Eat: Local thali for 50rs.
Kite: 3rs a kite and 20rs for good string.
Fee: Going in to the fort is 100 rs.

What to do
Visiting the fort is a fun thing, there’s usually not many people and the fort is massive. You can wonder around on your own and enjoy beautiful view points with the monkeys.
Flying kites is another common activity in Bundi, during the morning or late afternoon, the sky gets full of kites coming from different roof tops. Get your own at the market and go fight for your titls in the clouds!

Udaipur
The Venice of India.

image

Jagdish Temple - Udaipur
Budget

Sleep: 300rs-500rs, we stayed at Island tower in a room with a lake view for 450rs.
Eat: 50rs-100rs, with 50rs you eat noodles in front of the peatonal bridge, at a small “local” place.
Fee: 20rs/250rs to go into the royal palace. 20rs is just the outside, doesn’t include the museum.

What to do
Go to the royal palace and the jagdish temple, bouth touristy but beautiful. If you are lucky their might be a fare going on around Udaipur, when we were there there was one at Shilpgram, really cool experience, totally recommended.

Mumbai
Beautiful energetic city full of Indian dreams.

When we where in Mumbai we just arrived on the motorbike and started looking for accommodation, all was full and very expensive, we ended up getting a room for 2500rs (most expensive room we ever had!) and we were not happy hahaha. I strongly recommend you take the time to book on advance, or even better, arrange something trough couch surfing, we heard of people having amazing stays!

SOUTH INDIA

Arambol
Hippie vibe beach with a young crowd and good options for partying.
Arambol - Goa

Budget
Sleep: 400rs-500rs for a bungalow at the beach. Laughing Buddha is a good place to stay.
Eat: 70rs-150rs for restaurant food.

What to do
Everyone is on motorbikes, if you are up to the challenge is a good place to take a Royal Enfield for a spin and go check out other places south of Arambol.
During the day is nice to chill at the beach, during the evenings people gather to jam, juggle and sell their artwork by the beach. During the nights you can find parties, live music and other things going on around the beach as well.
If you want to do some shopping you have a lot of options and you can bargain a lot in low season, prices are more expensive than in the north though.

Palolem
Touristy beach for indians and foreigners. The beach has a bit to many restaurants but its full of palm trees.

Palolem - India

Budget
Sleep: 400rs-500rs for accommodation next to the beach. We stayed at 5th of August in a room without a beach view.
Eat: 100rs-150rs for restaurant food.
Buy: 60rs for a freesbe and 50rs for a flying lamp.
Rent: 150rs and hour of kayak.

What to do
During the day the you can hung at the beach or rent a kayak for two, or just for yourself, and go check around. On both extremes of the beach there’s rocks you can climb and enjoy of some privacy. At night, what I found really cool is to buy a flying lamp and light it up and see it go away, is more of a challenge than what is seams. If you are looking to party is also possible, ask the tuk-tuk drivers for more info.

Agonda
Known to be the cleanest beach in Goa and a good surfing spot.
cow at the beach - India

Budget
Sleep: 400rs-800rs, Agonda offers good accommodation, definitely a break from what you find in the rest of India. Prices are high but open to bargain. We stayed at Dersey Holiday Home Bungalows for 450rs, normal price was 1500rs.
Eat: 50rs-100rs close to the supermarket. At Dersey you can get half a tandori chicken with fries and salad for 160rs.
Rent: Scooter 300rs, Surf Board 250rs an hour at the end of the road.
Activity: 1500rs for a boat to go see dolphins, not worth it in my opinion.

What to do
Surf, play freesbi, relax, eat well, rent a scooter and go discover some cool places in Goa.

Hampi
This was our favorite place in India, full of History and crazy views.
Hampi - India

Budget
Sleep: You have to sides in Hampi, the one where the big temple is which is more expensive, and the more touristy side which is cheaper. We payed 550rs for a double room on the expensive side, the place was called Golden Garden, cool place.
Eat: 70rs-100rs at the main bazar. Very good masala dosa for only 50rs.
Entrance: Vithale temple 250rs.
Rent: Bicycle, on the cheap side, 50rs. Scooter, on the cheap side, 200rs.

What to do
You have to sides in Hampi, the one where the big temple is which is more expensive, and the more touristy side which is cheaper. To get from one to the other you have to take a boat or swim.
Hampi is a very cool place full of things to do. My recommendation is to check out Vithela Temple, Hanuman Temple, and the bathing of the elephant on the river during the morning, also go get blessed by the elephant inside the temple and go see the waterfall, here be sure to go to the place where you can jump in the water.

Gokarna
A pilgrimage town with beautiful beaches. Om beach is the one I recommend, it mixes up relaxing and comfort. Kudle beach is more of a junky beach, and half moon and paradise are more remote and intact.
Gokarna - India

Budget
Sleep: 200rs for a double room without bathroom and sand on the floor, quite nice. We stayed at Om Rock at Om beach. If you are a bit more adventurous go to Paradise Beach, which you reach after 30min of walking from Om beach, and sleep on the beach. You can either use a hamac or a pareo on the floor.
Eat: 60rs-150rs for food at a restaurant on the beach. Sunset cafe is a nice option.
Buy: Gokarna has really good hamacs, resistant, big and portable, for just 150rs-200rs.

What to do (Om beach)
Play frisbee, enjoy the sun, spend a night at Paradise beach, watch the sunrise at the lonely tree, where you can see the sun an the moon at the same time, eat cheap good food, and if you have time go check out Gokarna Town, its a pilgrimage town with a lot going on.

Udupi
A place of worship and pilgrimage of Krishna, also here you can find amazing cheap local food and friendly welcoming locals.

Budget
Sleep: 350rs for a double room close to the Krishna temple.
Eat: Very nice food, puri baji for 30rs, masala dosa for 40rs, and very nice people. The place is right in front of Polar Bear Ice Cream.

What to do
Visit the Krishna temple, if you are lucky there might be a festival going on and you are in for a cool experience.

Mysore
Beautiful palace and great food.
Mysore - India

Budget
Sleep: 350rp in a small room in a lodge, we stayed at a single room with a big bed, double room was 500rp.
Eat: 90rp for a great full thali on banana leaf at RRR.
Entrance: 200rp to go in the palace.

What to do
Go visit the palace and pay attention to all the details of the beautiful rooms and the overall construction.
Make yourself real hungry and go to RRR for a delicious all you can eat thali, don’t miss on putting ghee on your rice.

Ooty
City in the mountains, amazing how cold it is compared to the sea level area.
Ooty - India

Budget
Sleep: We stayed at Sweekar hotel in a double room for 500rs a night. Between all the accommodation we saw in Ooty this was the best place considering its a budget hotel.
Eat: 50rs-100rs close to the bus terminal you can find local restaurants.
Entrance: 30rs Botanical garden.

What to do
Go visit the tea plantations, a nice way of doing it is by renting a motorbike and then gooing treking through the plantations when you find one that looks cool, just hop off the bike and walk. The botanical garden is a cute visit, specially on a Sunday, when you get to see all the love birds and families.

Munnar
Beautiful tea plantations, kilometers and kilometers of mountains covered by them.
Munnar

Budget
Sleep: 600rs. We stayed at JJ cottage for 600rs a night for two, we couldn’t find a more affordable option.
Eat: 90rs for a full thali in town.
Entry: 50rs to enter the Top Station, not really worth it in my opinion. Enjoyed more looking at the tea plantations, which are before the Top Station than the mountains.

What to do
I strongly recommend renting a motorbike for 1 or 2 days and go around the area exploring. There’s many beautiful view points which you wont be able to check out if you are inside a car, and on the motorbike you can just park at any field and go on inside by foot. The road from town to the Top Station is gorgeous, plenty of kilometers to enjoy.

Cochin
The big city of Kerala, a lot of art and festivals, be sure to check the events calendar while here.
Kochi - India

Budget
Sleep: 500rs. We stayed at Privilege Home Stay, last time I checked you can find its address on google maps, just type the name.
Eat: 50rs-100rs at Fathima Restaurant.
Shows: 300rs to go watch the classic Kerala theater show.

What to do
Rent a bycicle or a bike and go check out some of the many art galleries, also try spotting the street art on the walls and pavement while you cruise around. The port is a nice spot to watch the sunset, the chinese fishing nets make a great picture around that time. During the evening you can do yoga or watch either a traditional show a dance theater or martial arts, its your pick.

Alleppey
The backwaters of Kerala, not the dream view of a not touristy attraction but definitely beautiful.
Back Waters - India

Budget
Sleep: 400rs-500rs for a double room, we stayed at lemon dew, close to the bus station and cool hosts.
Eat: 70rs-100rs for north Indian food, nan and gravey.
Rent: House boat is around 2000rs per person, we rented a small canoe from a local who took us around the untouristy paths for 700rs total.

What to do
The backwaters are the main attraction and are incredibly beautiful, to visit them you can do it in a house boat, where you can spend the day and the night if you wish, on a local boat or on a canoe. The best option for us was the canoe, we manage to go to canals with no tourists and marvelous views. To find the canoe we went by motorbike like 10km south of the city and stopped at a local village next to the backwaters and asked for a ride.

Varkala
10km cliff on the coast of Kerala, a little bit overcrowded but has everything a western misses from home.
Varkala sea - India @mecorre1

Budget
Sleep: 500rs for a double room, we stayed at The Palm Hotel, good, clean, and friendly staff.
Eat: 60rs-100rs at the beach junction, before going up to the cliff.
Do: 3000rs for paragliding along the coast.

What to do
Walk along the beach, there’s some lonely stretches where you can enjoy the beach all for yourself. Rent a surf board and go try your luck on the waves, finally, if you are a bit of a daredevil go fly over the cliff.

Madurai
Beautiful and gigantic Hindu temple, full of colors and details.
Madurai temple - India @monderay

Budget
Sleep: 500rs for a double room at the tower hotel, 10min walk from the temple.
Eat: 60rs-100rs for local food.
Entry: 50rs to go in to the chamber where the elephant is giving blessings in the temple.

What to do
Go visit the temple, it opens at sunrise and closes around 9pm, between 1pm and 4pm is also closed. To enter the temple you have to cover your knees and shoulders, so keep this in mind before leaving your hotel. Food is quite good all around the city and Puri(fried chapati), as always, is amazing.

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