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First time traveller - LONE - 24 yr old Male - India in Aug 09

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I really am in desperate need of some guidance!
11 years ago, June 11th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #75838  
B Posts: 12
Hi people.

I wondered if anybody may be able to offer me some advice.

I am travelling to India on 25/08/09 for 2 weeks. I am travelling alone and this is my first experience of this kind. India is an AMAZING country with fantastic traditions, cultural differences to what we have in the UK and some facinating thigns to see, hence the reason I have chosen to visit India.

My only initial plan up till now is to fly into Delhi on the 25th (landing 09:45), spend the first day trying to find somewhere to stay ie a hostel or cheap hotel, and then work through my ambitions from there. Is this easy enough to find accomodation?

I have 1 major thing I would like to do if possible. I am a major football (soccer) fan and would love to go and watch a game or 2 in the crowd of an Indian Premier League match. I go to a lot of games in the UK and would love to sample football from a completely different perspective. Could you advise where it may be best to visit to do this?

Other than that, I'm keen to meet lots of other travellers and hopefully join in activites and adventures along the way for these 2 weeks. Trekking? Swimming? Anything really? I am not worried about travelling but obviosuly being there only 2 weeks and such a large scale country, it wouldn’t make sense making my way half way across India?

I am looking at a budget of around £500 GBP, do you think that this would be suffice? I know it depends on what you do, and i am planning a budget trip so.... cheaper is better.... but anyone who has done something similar, your advice is most helpful?

If you can help with any advice as like I say - this is a debut for me and I'm very nervous, at the same time extremely excited about the prospect - I would appreciate your help ever so much.

Reply to this

11 years ago, June 11th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #75843  
Hello Simon 😊

Is this easy enough to find accomodation?


Yes, it is. But, there are a lot of scammers and touts in India. I recommend you get the Lonely Planet Guide to India. As well as list of accomodation for the various places in India, it also has good safety advice.

....it wouldn’t make sense making my way half way across India?


That would be my opinion too. You can always go back. I flew into Delhi last December and was in India for around 2 weeks. I went to Delhi, Agra, Kurukshetra and Haridwar. All are just a few hours train ride from Delhi. Your can check out my photos of that trip here if you want.

I am looking at a budget of around £500 GBP, do you think that this would be suffice?


When I arrived in Delhi airport with my boyfriend and daughter, I changed 500 Euros. That was enough for all 3 of us for 2 weeks in the north of India. I also had enough of that 500 left over for a week in Mumbai by myself last month. Then when I was flying out of Mumbai I changed what I had left of the 500 back and got around 70 Euros. So, you will have enough, unless you have very expensive taste in everything.

...this is a debut for me and I'm very nervous, at the same time extremely excited about the prospect -


Hold onto both of those feelings. India is indeed very exciting and quite an experience, but you need to be nervous enough about it to be motivated to do enough reading about what to expect so you will stay safe and wont be robbed and scammed left, right and center.

Mel

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11 years ago, June 11th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #75845  
B Posts: 12
Hi Mel.

Thanks for the advice. Certainly is very helpful. Ill be sure to only book into hostels from the lonely planet site. I'm guessing the ones on there are all safe?

When you talk about scams, and robbery etc… how do you mean? How do you get scammed out there?

I am worried about safety etc, that’s why I hope to maybe find people on similar expeditions and that way be safer. Obviously being my first kind of travelling of any kind, I'm very nervous about it…. but as you say, that nervousness is the same kid of nervousness you get riding a rollercoaster….. scared butt excited!

Thanks again

Simon
Reply to this

11 years ago, June 11th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #75848  

Ill be sure to only book into hostels from the lonely planet site. I'm guessing the ones on there are all safe?


It is the Lonely Planet book. Usually what they recommend it safe enough. Even though things sometimes change since the last publication, the Lonely Planet information about safety is generally reliable.

When you talk about scams, and robbery etc… how do you mean? How do you get scammed out there?


You need to know where you are going to buy something and approximately how much you should pay most of the time. For everything you want to do or buy there will be people trying to rip you off and scam you.

For example, when I was in Delhi I went to the train station to buy train tickets in the ticket office for foreigners. Some guy at the train station actually managed to convince me that the office was closed and there was a new one. He even had a rickshaw guy ready to take me there. I walked and it was only when I got there that I realised that it is not an offical train office but a travel agents. They were charging the same for the train ticket as I would pay at the station, but there are scams with that too. You could buy a ticket to someplace and then on the way be told to get off the train, because your ticket only goes half way and things like that. So, I went back to the real train station office to buy the tickets. These kind of scam attempts are endless and a daily experience in India.

I am worried about safety etc, that’s why I hope to maybe find people on similar expeditions and that way be safer.


No need for that, if you would prefer to travel alone. Just be aware of the methods used to scam. The good news is that muggins are rare. Trickings are the norm. Just read all the information in the Lonely Planet book before you get to India. Dont wait until you are there.

that nervousness is the same kid of nervousness you get riding a rollercoaster….. scared butt excited!


That was how I felt the first time I went to India alone. I went there. I was freaked by everything for the first day. Then I got used to it somewhat. As soon as I left India that first time, I wanted to go back there. It is a country that will drive you nuts, but it will grow on you so you cant resist going back for more.
Reply to this

11 years ago, June 11th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #75849  

11 years ago, June 11th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #75850  

11 years ago, June 11th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #75862  
B Posts: 12
Thats very kind of you to help me out.

Thanks ever so much Mel.

If anyone else has any additional information i might find useful thats much appreciated.

Thank you

Simon Reply to this

11 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #76604  
B Posts: 160
Hi Simon - if you are looking at cheap accommodation in India, you can look at places in PaharGunj area in New Delhi.

It is known for its concentration of affordable hotels and restaurants, catering to foreign tourists, especially those travelling on a relatively low budget; and over the year it has becoming particularly popular as a haunt for international cuisine. A bed-n-breakfast would cost you anything from 400 to 1000 INR per night, depending on how fancy the place is.

Would check with friends if they have any details on football and share that with you, dont have any info offhand.

As for not wanting to travel half way through, you can easily opt for loads of adventure sports in and around Delhi. Do let me know if you have anything particular in mind, should be able to help you with options.

Take care n have a great trip! Reply to this

11 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #76676  
B Posts: 12
I will be sure to do some research on Pahargunj. Sounds ideal but as with not many things in India im sure it will have its difficulties.

So would you recommend for the first say 2-3 nights i should book into somewhere? If so, once i lad in New Delhi, how do you recommend i get the place safely and without being completely robbed? Im fairly sure that once i find my accomodation i will be able to speak with other travellers in there about what to do from there and where to go?

I have a Journalist contact who has given me his details so i can get in touch with him while im there so im sure i can arrange my football tours with him. Still.... any advice of course is greatly appreciated.

There are a few ambitions i have aside from my journalist adventures.

I would like to:

a) If possible spend 2 or 3 days working with disadvantaged indian children, either teaching, or just playing with them? I am in the process of trying to find some contacts to see if this can be arranged. Do you have any tips?

b) i would like to experience elephants while im there and possibly tigers. Is there such places you should recommend i go to?

c) Kayaking, swimming, mountain trekking, cycling, i would be interested in all these things should you have any information.

d) i have a dream of possible visiting the slums, but obviously being so daunting i would need to find a group to do this i presume. I would love to see how they live, speak with these people and my ambition is to give away my favourite football shirt to a child in the slum, something he/she can be proud of? I think that the gesture would stay with me forever and if possible to have a photograph with the child, well that would be amazing.

One again Tanya, thanks again for your help.

Simon Reply to this

11 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 10 Msg: #76678  

So would you recommend for the first say 2-3 nights i should book into somewhere?


If you are staying in the very cheap places they wont be prebookable. But I have never prebooked anyplace in India and always found a place to stay.

When you get to Dehi, if you are taking a taxi besure to use the prepaid ones in that you can book at their office beside the airport. Those are safer because they keep details of which driver took you so you can report any if they do anythign wrong.

Pahargunj: The taxi will not be able to take you to your hotel door if you are staying there. So be sure that you have your valuables way out of site. The crowds and those trying to get your attention there will be overwhelming. I stayed there when I was in Delhi. If you want the name and address of where I stayed, I will post it on this thread. It only costs a few Euros per night to stay there. It is safe and secure, but not so clean.
There is a public bus that goes from the airport to near this area (around 400M from it) if you are feeling adventurous.

a)For the just playing with them part: There are disadvantaged children and plenty of them around Pahargunj who I am sure would love you to play with them. If you know anyone who has childrens clothes and toys, you could take them to India and give them to these kids. I took some of my daughers too small clothes and gave them to the kids there.

i have a dream of possible visiting the slums, but obviously being so daunting i would need to find a group to do this i presume.


You dont necessarily need a group. I have been in a few of the slums. I went to them either alone or with my boyfriend and daugher. But, go during daylight hours. Take things like toys, oranges... to give to the kids. About your football T-shirt: Beware about giving anything that is costly. The families are very poor so the parents will sell anything that looks good. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 11 Msg: #76679  
B Posts: 12
I guess if they sell it is is still serving a purpose and i have still done something very good for that family i believe. So yes it is valuable to me, but lets face it, its only a football shirt really. I would love to just come away knowing i did something, even if its a minute thing in terms of help, it will im sure stick with me forever. So, if they sold it on, well they have made some money to survive from it.... thats not sucha bad thing really is it?

Im uneblievable scared doing this research. Its not putting me off in terms of wanting to do it, im doing it regardless. If i got scammed or robbed, well it would be awful but at least, so long as i survived, i could say i had achieved the challenge that is india.

Of course nobody wishes this, i hope i can go and experience it with difficulties but difficulties i can handle and cope with, which i wont really know until i get there.

Pahargunj - Well i really want to meet other travellers, other british people and backpackers and this seems the best place to go according to my research, but the thought of landing in Delhi at 9.20am and then first task, having to walk god knows how far with all of my belongings (obviously nothing valuable) sounds very daunting.

Also as for getting the bus, well im sure after a few days i would dare do this, but a taxi seems a lot easier/safer. haha.

Finally, the pre-paid taxies. Are these easy enough to locate in the airport? As in are there great big signs that say "pre paid taxies" on it or something? Just with you mentioning the other day about touts saying "they are closed, follow me", will it be fairly obvious that they are lying.

I feel like the whole ora around india is to trust absolutely nobody, stories of assault, robbery, begging etc... it seems almost impossible to do anything from how its being described?

If this is the case perhaps its best to get out of Delhi and go elsewhere straight away? What do you think?

Thanks so much Mell.

Reply to this

11 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 12 Msg: #76691  
B Posts: 54
Heya Simone
....august is the time for MONSOONS...so you can expect good deal of rains and sometimes you plans may get stuck cz of roadblocks and flooding....dont get depressed..and yeah..I must say..New Delhi..is the place, where you gotta be extremely careful..the moment you come out of airport or railway station..the touts..the cabbies actually pounce upon you...my personal experience to delhi from bombay, due to family visits has not been a very cool one...Delhi should take your three to four days of stay to cover all the good places....rest is just time waste...i would rather suggest you to take a trip around to AGRA, Mathura (The birth place of Lord Krishna ), Fatehpur Sikri (for Historical visit), and then best would be to head up north to Punjab and then on to Himachal Pradesh ...may be to Simla, Manali, Dharamsala (Thts where Dalai Lama lives), and up north to Leh and Laddakh.....alternatively you can travel to north east...like Dehradun, Haridwar (to have a better glimpse of Ganga River), and then of course have some river rafting over there 😊
Rest of all...my advice as a traveller first and an indian later...---
(1) Be Smart with people, especially in Delhi and northern states, to immune urself from paying more then necessary...They kind of trick you...Keep your Fingers Crossed...

(2) Be prepared for a constant changing weather...from dry to rains...and keep your health with SPIRITS 😊....

(3) Be careful with the WATER YOU DRINK...and the FOOD YOU EAT...am not trying to scare you..but i know of a blegian friend, whose mother ended up her trip with bed rest cause of jaundice...
--> Rains are when hygiene goes down...microbes mix with food n water ...and may cause trouble...so taking a bit of precaution and carrying those ANTI-BIOTICS would be of immense help...
(4) Keep your eyes open and your head...even more open...You don't get to see so many colours and diversity in life style...a perfect blend of history n modernism...and an even intriguing blend of The Riches and The Poors..anywhere else...

Enjoy your trip mate...😊 Reply to this

11 years ago, June 17th 2009 No: 13 Msg: #76698  
B Posts: 12
A V

Once again, a top bloke thank you so much!

Your knowledge of where to go is fantastic help, i cant thank you enough.

I think i am gonna for sure visit Agra and the Taj Mahal, even if its just for the photo opportunities. I have read about Ladakh and it sounds so beautiful. I would love to go there, would it be viable considering im only there for 2 weeks do you think?

Is it easy enough to buy bottled water and food in Delhi, and the rest of India for that matter? Or is it more a case of pop to the restaurents?

I think based on my research and what im being told it will be best to land in Delhi and pre book a "hotel pick up at airport" kind of thing, that way i should get scammed early on right? Then once im at my hotel, i can really plan where my journey will take me.

I have a lot of things in the pipeline which i hope can materialise before i get out there, and if so then these will be fitted in somewhere along my programme you see.

I love the idea of rafting! That kind of thing really interests me!

Thanks again A V!

Top guy!

Simon

Ps where abouts do you live? Reply to this

11 years ago, June 18th 2009 No: 14 Msg: #76749  
B Posts: 160
Hey, you can easily book a hotel online in Pahargunj - just google for 'Hotels in Pahargunj' and you will get loads of options - do read the reviews before you book. Also, initally, make a booking for 1 day only, so that incase you dont like the place, you can easily move to another hotel the next day.

You can easily get a prepaid cab from the Airport - just give them the hotel address - ensure that you are dropped right to the hotel. Dont tip the cab guy - its not required in India.

Its very easy to get bottled water everywhere in India - do stick to brands like Aquafina, Bisleri or Himalaya - they are good brands. You will find a lot of "un-branded" bottled water - heaven knows where they are bottled.

Since you are going upto Agra, you can travel to Jaipur and Ranthambore - its a Tiger Sanctuary. Elephants are easy to see in India, even sometimes on the roads. Actually, Corbett National Park would be ideal but its closed during monsoons.

You can go for white water rafting in Leh for Zanskar river expedition / on river Beas at the Tons River Base / on river Ganga at Rishikesh - you have a lot more options however it may get hectic in 2 weeks.

If you want to spend time in slums or with disadvantaged children then you can go through NGOs such as The Akanksha Foundation / Care India / Cry ; they do a lot of structrued work towards education and rehabilitation of under privileged children, should be a good experience.

Have a good trip in India! Reply to this

11 years ago, June 18th 2009 No: 15 Msg: #76788  
B Posts: 54
"I have read about Ladakh and it sounds so beautiful. I would love to go there, would it be viable considering im only there for 2 weeks do you think?"

Ans --> Ladakh is an awesome place...and as far as my memory goes...the routes are open in august..still you can check up..BUT..if you got just two weeks...then I guess, Delhi, Agra and Ladakh would be a bit too tough deal...you will be dead tired...they say you need to rest for at least 2 hours..once you reach Ladakh to get your body acclimatized to the altitude...

"Is it easy enough to buy bottled water and food in Delhi, and the rest of India for that matter? Or is it more a case of pop to the restaurents?"

--> Yeah man its easy enough to get bottled water..across most of the cities, tourist places and transport stations..still I agree with tanya, to be careful with the kind of brand you use...--> Aquafina by Pepsi, Kinley by Coca Cola, Bisleri by Parle, Oxy Rich by Manikchand, and Kingfisher by UB are the few trustworthy brands for bottled water....DO NOT RELY UPON THE OPEN TAP WATER...AT LEAST IN BIG AND SEMI-BIG CITIES AT ALL...

As far as food goes...Well..Delhi offers you the awesome Spicy north indian food ...Punjabi food and of course chinese and whatever you wish to eat....

--> Its a great idea to pre-book hotel and pick up...that will make things easy for you...at least in Delhi...

--> Sorry to disagree with Tanya, but May end to September, the tiger reserve is usually closed...cause of Monsoon season...And anyways..the best time for Animal Sighting is when the grass has fallen or dried up..and August as we know is always GREEN 😊...
So Ranthambhore should be avoided...but instead go for Bharatpur Bird sanctuary..close to Delhi and Agra..and enroute...one of the world heritage sites..IF YOU ARE OF THE BIRD WATCHER TYPES 😊...

--> I am unsure about how good it is to take a rafting tour in monsoons, still I will check up with one of my friends, who recently did it...

--> AND DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME SEEING THE POOR INDIA MATE...INDIA IS TOO BIG TO SPEND TIME ON THINGS WHICH CAN MAKE YOUR HEART HEAVY...A ROAD TRIP IN DELHI ITSELF WILL GIVE YOU AN IDEA ABOUT THE DIFFERENT STROKES OF LIFE 😊..I JUST CANT LEAVE MY LOVE FOR CAP KEYS 😊....

--> SO IN ALL...THE BEST WAY TO SPEND TWO WEEKS WOULD BE --- DELHI, AGRA, BHARATPUR, JAIPUR, AND IF POSSIBLE JODHPUR AND JAISALMER......THE BEST PLACE FOR THAT SEASON 😊...

--> Enjoye mate...and in case you are too troubled by touts and scammers, i can help you learn some INDIAN ABUSES for sure 😊...


Reply to this

11 years ago, June 19th 2009 No: 16 Msg: #76946  

.... thats not sucha bad thing really is it?


Not at all! They are very poor, and appreciate anything you can give.

A lot of people get disillusioned when they discover that the gifts they gave the children are missing when they go back to the slum for another visit.

Im uneblievable scared doing this research. Its not putting me off in terms of wanting to do it, im doing it regardless. If i got scammed or robbed, well it would be awful but at least, so long as i survived, i could say i had achieved the challenge that is india.


You are not the first to do it, and neither are you the first to be so scared. A lot of us went through that, then went to India where nothing terrible happened and when home with great stories to tell.

Robberies happen more to naive people who dont do enough research. If you have read all the advice of course you could possibly still get robbed but the chances are slim. I have been to India 3 times and was never robbed, but I can see how easily it could happen if you dont know what to beware of. Just about all you need to know will be in the Lonely Planet Guide.

...landing in Delhi at 9.20am and then first task, having to walk god knows how far with all of my belongings (obviously nothing valuable) sounds very daunting.


Dont bring too much stuff. Carrying a very heavy backpack can become a real pain. But, you wont have far to walk. you can take a bicyclerickshaw too when you get off the bus, or out of the taxi. They will charge you 20 to 50 Rupees to take you to the hotel door in Pahargunj.

Finally, the pre-paid taxies. Are these easy enough to locate in the airport?


Yes, and if you cant find them ask anybody where their office is. But dont get side tracked by any taxi drivers on your way to the pre paid office. Whatever they say, dont trust them. Just use the official ones. And dont forget to change money in the airport, before going to the pre paid taxi office. And it would be wise to look through the notes they give you to make sure none have pieces missing from the edges or tears on the edges. Many shops and restaruants wont take these and the banks may not exchange them for better notes of their full worth.

....will it be fairly obvious that they are lying.


Unfortunately not. Listen to nobody on the street. Sometimes respectable middle classed type Indians will help you out, but mostly be determined to stick with the Lonely Planet recommendations. Insist that you are going to the official train office. Insist that you are going to the hotel of your choice listed in the Lonely Planet book. etc.
Never accept free tours. Never believe that anything is closed. Check it for yourself.

I feel like the whole ora around india is to trust absolutely nobody,.....


Well dressed middle classed Indians can be very helpful and honest. Also, the hotel receptionist where you are staying will probably give trustworthy advice.

If this is the case perhaps its best to get out of Delhi and go elsewhere straight away? What do you think?


HaHaHaHa!!! No, it is not better. Have at least a few days rest, before venturing out of Delhi. It is just as chaotic in other places.

But, if you do want to break yourself in gently, Mumbai is a much easier place to be these days than Delhi is. You could fly in there instead.

Reply to this

11 years ago, June 19th 2009 No: 17 Msg: #76979  
B Posts: 28
Simon mate,

Unfortunately (or is that fortunately 😉 ), I am from Bombay so cant really give you much useful advice about Delhi & where to go from there. However, from AV's list I can definitely say that I & my wife absolutely loved Jodhpur & Jaisalmer.

We went to Udaipur as well & I liked it so much I wanted to move there 😊 It might be worth your while to research Udaipur as well if you will. We did Udaipur, Jodhpur, & Jaisalmer in that order. The distance between each city is roughly 4-5 hrs by bus but we had to take another trip back from Jaisalmer to Jodhpur to catch our flight back to Bombay. I am sure you'll love Rajasthan. Most tourists do. And the food there is really good too. Can recommend some decent places to stay in these 3 cities if you'd like. Take care.

Cheers,

Jai Reply to this

11 years ago, June 19th 2009 No: 18 Msg: #76980  
B Posts: 12
Hi Jai R

For sure i would lvoe to hear about these places. Im looking for places that will have a nice warm atmosphere, full of simlar adventurers like myself - the kind who wont mind if you join them at the table to share stories etc.

I will be sure to check out these places. Its all valuable to me. I have a "master plan" in my head that will fill my time but im sure that if i see specific things that will interest me i can rearrange a few things.

Thanks so much

Simon Reply to this

11 years ago, June 19th 2009 No: 19 Msg: #76982  

Is it easy enough to buy bottled water and food in Delhi, ......


Yes. There are little booths, food stalls and shops everywhere that sell bottled water. And there are plenty of inexpensive restarurants. Even the inexpensive restarants have very good food. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 19th 2009 No: 20 Msg: #76990  
B Posts: 54
But do go for the water brands i mentioned..for your health reasons...Being son to a surgeon father and pathologist mother...i need t advice extra on that hahahahhahh Reply to this

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