Tips for travellers in India – things that made our travels easier or simply more special!
I will try as best as I can to keep adding to this one but for now enjoy…
Go to bar social behind the Taj hotel and try their vada pav – these are phenomenal crispy onion patties in soft bread – wash them down with their super cold beers and you can sit on these super hipster swing seats too!
If you visit in Feb don’t miss the Kala Ghoda arts festival- this was AMAZING and involves tonnes of events – dance, live music, theatre, literature and entry to great galleries.
For sleepy pretty beaches go south to Palolem and Patnem (pretty beaches but not as ‘India’ as we had hoped!) if you can stay on a beach hut – we didn’t but this looked SO lovely – oh and on palolem beach, take a right and head along he sand to the very end for a great bar to watch the sunset from!
In Palolem go to the little world cafe for the BEST chai in India! And try yoga with Krishna nearby – you can book at the butterfly bookshop which is on the main market street.
In the north we found Anjuna pretty boring apart from the fab live music night at the German Bakery. Instead, head to Arambol to relax by sweet lake just off the beach, you can visit the beautiful Banyan tree which is about 15 mins walk through jungle from here. Also don’t miss the drum circle at the far left of the beach – if you face the sea – it kicks off just before sunset!
Definitely skip Panjim – it is pretty dead and there is so much more that is buzzing about Goa that you don’t need to waste time here!
ATMs all over Goa seemed to be few and far between and often empty following the cash crisis so try and bring as much as you can with you!
The sleepy Alleppy cruise is great – we booked through our hostel – the dream nest – would defo recommend as you get delish food all day included including a classic thali on a banana leaf and some lovely fresh coconuts!
Spend time cafe and gallery hopping in Fort Cochin – again Kerala like Goa wasn’t what we expected from India – you could be just at any sleepy port or seaside town in the world but it was lovely and chilled nonetheless!
Go to the golden temple for sunrise and eat in the temple- so magical and so delish!
Bring your passport to the Pakistan boarder or a copy on your phone/on paper – they didn’t really care when all I could show them was my national insurance card but you never bloody know!
Eat dosas, kulcha and stuffed parathas here – try Neelams close to McDonald’s by the temple – such amazing Punjabi food and a tiny TV playing amazing Punjabi pop music!
Bring your student card to any big attractions as tickets are MASSES cheaper and you can often blag your way into having 2 tickets under one student card!
Bar Palladio is a beautiful place to eat and drink and you can spend a whole day in the complex that the bar is part of just pottering around boutiques and chilling at the hotel pool – entry is 300 rupees.
Try Choley bhature in Jaipur – it is just so delish and massive even at the train station! When you get the massive puffy breads just press on them to deflate and rip the, to scoop up the chickpea curry with!
We visited the Saksham NGO here and this was an amazing experience! To drop by or to volunteer contact Nitin who runs the organisation via the Facebook page.
Stay at the zostel here – the best views and amazing dinner and chai on the rooftop! Super clean and so lovely!
The Udai kothi hotel has a great pool for beautiful lake views for 500 rupees.
Learn to cook at Millets of Mewar – great value and such an amazing feast!
Try katchouri here or in any place in Rajasthan – you can get it for about streetfood stand – it’s like pastry spheres stuffed with dal and potato and topped with curd and sweet chutney!
When visiting the Taj Mahal going early is so lovely (we started queuing for tickets around 6.15am) and once you have entered just head past where everyone else takes pics and go to the left of the Taj itself where there is a mosque – here you can get slightly more shadowy but much better pics without tourists in the background!
Oh and it’s closed on Fridays unless you are Muslim!
We only spent an evening here but went to the amazing Farzi Cafe in Connaught place – they serve incredible food and the staff were amazing – even helped us get a taxi back to our hostel!
– Bring your boarding pass with you through security – don’t leave it in your tray with your phone/liquids or you will have to just go back on yourself to hunt for it!
– Get a label at the check in desk for your hand luggage – this gets stamped for no apparent reason so many times as you go through security.
– There seem to be prepaid taxi counters at all airports and train stations which are helpful to make sure you have a price negotiated before heading somewhere!
– Check which class of train you are in and plan food accordingly! 1AC defo gets food and we also got food on a 2AC night train but 3AC and sleeper you either have to rely on chaiwallas and food sellers walking down your carriage or just stock up at the station before you board.
– In sleeper train class you also won’t get any sheets or blankets so if it’s a night train bring cosy clothes because it gets COLD and an eye mask is super helpful.
– If you can download an offline GPS map for your route I imagine this would help with knowing where you are when you are on the train at night as there aren’t announcements and often it’s way to dark to see where you are! We didn’t but it was pretty stressful waking up every time the train slowed down and leaping from our bunk to try and work our Where the hell we were!
– Download Uber app to use in Jaipur and Delhi or ola cabs for other cities in Rajasthan
– Pack loo roll or tissues and plenty of hand sanitiser
– A sleeping bag liner is really great when you get to a gross bed in a dorm or one With massive heavy blankets
– Turkish hammam towels dry really fast and don’t have that weird feeling that microfibres ones do and make great sarongs if you need to double up
– Haggle all the time – there is always a better price and whilst you may be bartering over a couple of pounds – sometimes its worth it as that could be dinner for you or even the price of a dorm room!
– Packing cubes are so helpful when you want to organise your clothes within your rucksack and mine had little handles for easy hoiking out when needed!
– Indian showers get the ENTIRE bathroom wet so have a way of hanging up your clothes or wash bag or just pile them in the furthest corner you can!