Having just ventured over to India, we thought we would have a chat with Charlie (25, Law Student) about his travels for our ‘No Bullsh*t’ travel guide.
Charlie, how are you? It’s Tom from Pelikin.
Hey Tom, really well thanks.
Great. So how was India?
India was awesome, definitely interesting at times, but a real treat nonetheless. It’s like nothing I had encountered before. We travelled around, visited historical sites, museums, city tours, partied in Goa and visited a ton of marketplaces.
Seems like a nice balance of activities. Where exactly did you go and for how long was your trip?
In total, the trip was around 2 months. I started with 1 mate and then we met up with my girlfriend a few weeks later. We ended up visiting a ton of places and covering a lot of ground. To mention a few places though (we mainly were up north) we spent time in Rajasthan, Jaisalmer, Amritsar Delhi, Kolkata, Varanasi and Darjeeling. Oh…we also checked out Mumbai, Hampi, Goa and Karnataka.
Wow, sounds like you ticked off the half the country. Would you recommend covering so many places in only a 2-month period?
Reflecting on the trip, I’d say we probably pushed it a little bit too much. You need at least 1 month to see India properly as the distances are so great and it’s really difficult to cover ground quickly over there. If I was going back or recommending an itinerary to others, I would highly recommend picking just 1 area e.g. South or North and spend all of your time in the one region.
So how did you get around? Any tips?
We travelled around by train and bus. It’s really the only way to do it. Definitely an experience and I would recommend that people have to get at least 1 sleeper class train.
Was there a specific highlight of the trip?
One memory that comes to mind is the Homestay we did called ‘Bhadal’s’ in Khuri (near Jaisalmer); such a unique experience. Some other cool things were definitely the Golden Temple, Rajasthan as a whole, the food (Thali plates!) and the people (at times…).
I’d imagine that India is quite cheap to travel around. How did you go with money over there?
Yep. For once I actually managed to spend less than what I had budgeted. I read a few blogs and travel sites before heading over and set an initial budget of $2k per month. I actually spent around $1.5k per month, this wasn’t skimping and being fairly liberal with expenses.
What’s the best way to manage your money once you land in India?
You need a combination of USD cash and some type of bank or travel card. ATM’s are NOTORIOUS for running out of cash, so be prepared and get cash out when you can. In saying that, scammers are everywhere. I was personally scammed a significant amount…a couple of times, through dodgy ATM’s or cashiers. You’ve also got to be careful of pickpockets, so it’s a fine balancing between not getting caught cashless, but also being prepared to lose the cash you have withdrawn.
Definitely does sound like an interesting place. Would you recommend it? What would you rate India out of 5? And have you got any other tips for our readers?
I would definitely recommend India if you’re after something a little bit different. I’d say it’s 4 stars out of 5.
As for a hot tip, ALWAYS check restaurants on TripAdvisor beforehand. Don’t ever eat street food or meat…I don’t need to tell you why, just take my word for it!
Try to speak to as many people as you can…. embrace and respect the local customs and traditions. Take a camera, you seriously never know that’s around the corner…somethings are breathtaking, somethings are unusual and somethings are simply unbelievable. Finally, expect some noise, expect some waste and expect some carnage.
If you’d like to see more of Charlie’s pics from his travels to India and #abroad — check out http://charlieschaffr.tumblr.com
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