How to plan your trip to India

Once you start telling your family and friends about going to India for the very first time, you will hear widely differing opinions from those who have already been travelling through India, ranging from “worst travel experience ever” to “you will love it”. Even for the more experienced travel aficionados among us, India raises a lot of questions and uncertainties often before even starting to plan the trip: Is it really that dangerous as one can read in the newspapers? Will I be able to handle the food? Which places are a must see and how to plan my route?

Well, regarding the latter, find some inspiration in the following:

1. Varanasi

From a strategic point of view, starting your trip in India’s major religious hub, has the big advantage that you will be thrown right away into the hustle and bustle of an Indian city. Being known for its scenic location along the Ganges River and Hindu cremation ceremonies, this holy place gives a first glimpse of the India we imagine it to be: Dirt, unpleasant odours, holy cows blocking the streets and lots of people.

Where to stay: Ganpati Guest House
Where to eat:  Coffee: Brown Bread Bakery; Dinner: Rooftop Terrace of the Ganpati Guest House

2. New and Old Delhi

Visiting the capital city of New Delhi is a must stop on everyone’s trip through India. One will be surprised about the rather modern and green part of the city (New Delhi), but shall not miss to visit Old Delhi on the contrary. Hint: You will find Delhi’s very modern Metro to be the fastest and least stressful way to travel from A to B.

Where to shop: Fabindia at Khan Market (Metro Station Khan Market)
Where to eat: Restaurant Bukhara, ITC Maurya Hotel

3. Agra

Being known for the Taj Mahal, Agra will mark another highlight when taking the Golden Triangle Tour. However, be prepared to see monkeys in lots of places and protect yourself against pickpockets when visiting the main sights (Taj Mahal, Baby Taj and Agra Fort).

Where to stay: Courtyard Marriot Agra
Where to eat: The Oberoi Amarvilas (right next to the Taj Mahal main entrance)

4. Jaipur

Home to the Palace of the Winds, the capital of Rajasthan offers a lots of nice shops, boutique style bars and a variety of sights worth visiting. Being known for its more structured street scene, the Pink City can easily be experienced by foot. Find an exclusive Walking Guide on twentyninesomething’s Instagram account (@twentyninesomething).

Where to eat: Caffé Palladio Jaipur
Where to stay: Hotel Narain Niwas Palace

5. Udaipur

Travelling from Jaipur to Udaipur by car is a beautiful experience on its own, as one can see a lot of Rajasthan’s beautiful nature. Udaipur is mostly known for its lakes and precious textile stores, as well as having been the setting for the 1983 James Bond movie “Octopussy”.

Where to eat: Udai Art Cafè (watch out for the great art they exhibit inside the coffee-house. And yes, you will find the best coffee through your entire trip there).
Where to shop: Ganesh Handicraft Emporium (rumours has it, that Beyoncè was there too…and Roger Moore of course)

6. Goa

Its long history as Portuguese colony and 1970 “hippie paradise” reputation is still evident. Getting to know India’s South is an experience on its own and will be rewarded with spectacular sunsets, beautiful beaches and lovely seafood restaurants.

Where to stay: Most of the time in your hammock…(Taj Holiday Village)
Where to eat: In one of the various nice beach restaurants…

7. Mumbai

Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is the most populated city in India and home to Bollywood. The British footprint cannot be denied and one can easily spend a whole day wandering around its main attractions, such as “the Gateway of India” (…or watch a Bollywood movie instead). Find an exclusive Walking Guide on twentyninesomething’s Instagram account (@twentyninesomething).

Where to stay: Trident Hotel Nariman Point
Where to eat: Indigo Deli

To sum it up: Yes, India is definitely worth a trip due to is diverse cultural differences and its many historic influences. One will find the Northern part to be very different from the  Southern part for sure.

Still feeling insecure? Well, when following theses three rules, you should be on the save side:

(1) Don’t expose yourself to the bright sunlight, (2) Be careful when showering or swimming in the pool – drinking any other than bottled water will make you feel very sick (3) Never go out at night alone and grab a snack or else.

Or, in other words, simply follow the three Gremlin rules: (1) no bright light, (2) don’t get them wet, and (3) never feed them after midnight 😉

 

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