OK, so I know I’ve been promising all the info on our India trip, so here goes!
India was A-H-mazing! If you were following along on Instagram you will have already seen some snaps and heard about some of our adventures. We first visited India 10 years ago on a family holiday and completely fell in love with the culture and people, we knew we needed to head back and explore more.
India is a huge country with over 22 languages spoken and over 1.3 billion people! Yes that’s billion with a B! My first tip would be not to bite off more than you can chew. We spent a lot of time traveling from city to city and you need to make sure you have enough time to experience the city before you head onto the next.
Also the fun is in the journey. At first Greig had booked a few internal flights which we ended up not using and hired a driver instead. We had a lovely driver Veejay for 6 days and we saw and learnt so many things we wouldn’t have because of his local knowledge!
So lets get stuck into the details. I’m going to give you an outline of our itinerary and then split each city into a mini post as there is so much info and so many pictures I thought it may be a little overwhelming in 1 post!
I’ll also add in the most FAQ which are quiet general to the whole of India, any location specific information I’ll pop into that cities post.
You can find the city guides here!
Here is our basic itinerary that we had planned out, we did make a few changes which I’ll go into further on the city posts.
DAY 1-2. DELHI
DAY 3-TRAVELED FROM DELHI TO JAIPUR
DAY 4-6. JAIPUR
DAY 7. TRAVELED FROM JAIPUR TO AGRA
DAY 8. AGRA
DAY 9. TRAVELED FROM AGRA TO DELHI
DAY 10. FLEW FROM DELHI TO GOA
DAY 10-17. GOA
DAY 18. FLEW FROM GOA TO DELHI
DAY 18-19. DELHI-HOME
WHERE DO WE BOOK OUR TRAVEL?
If you book your travel online often make sure you make an account to access their reward scheme. Also if you aren’t already jump on TopCashBack. They offer cash back when you book with booking.com and loads of other travel sites.
India’s currency is the rupee and its a closed currency which mean you can only get it in the airport on the way or when you get there. We grabbed £50 at the Manchester airport to cover the cab to the hotel when we arrived in Delhi and then just used ATM’s whilst we were there.
BARTER, BARTER, BARTER!
India is a completely different world and bartering is expected. Don’t ever accept the first price they give you and go back hard at them. I enjoy a good little tussle over a price!
Prepare yourself for the noise! The traffic in Delhi especially is indescribable. We got to our hotel and just laid on the bed in silence. They certainly love there horns!
BE PREPARED FOR SICKNESS
Last time we were in India Greig had really bad stomach troubles (I think we can all read between the lines there). So this time I was prepared! There is nothing worse than being sick in 40 degree heat in a 3rd world country. So what was in my bag?
- anti sickness tables
- anti diarrhea tables
- insect repellent
- allergy tablets
- pepto bismal
- heart burn tables
I also had a small pouch with me out and about everyday that included wet wipes. The toilet situation in some places was quiet grim and I don’t think I ever saw toilet paper!
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR?
This would be dependent on where you are and what you’re doing. If you are in the city, visiting temples etc I would say dress conservatively and always remove your footwear when entering a temple.
If you’re in Goa or a coastal, beach town regular holiday attire is fine.
Personally I went for a long skirt/light trouser, tee and scarf look most days!
Cows are sacred in India so you won’t see beef on any menus. A lot of restaurants are vegetarian and often have signs out the front saying no meat but there are certainly a lot of place you will find chicken, lamb and fish.
SPEAK TO LOCALS
Indians are the friendliest people and want to tell you all the best bits of their country. We found some of the loveliest places from locals telling us about them and these places were often on the outskirts of cities or on the road in between cities.
Be prepared to feel as popular as Beyonce! Indians love photos and aren’t shy about walking right up to you and taking a picture or asking for a selfie! Especially in the more remote towns, you may be the first light-skinned person they have seen.
The Taj Mahal is closed all day on a Friday so make sure you plan around this because other than the Taj Mahal there isn’t a huge deal going on in Agra. Find out all my best tips for Agra here.
THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE
The Golden Triangle is made up of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. This was the main part that changed for us. Greig (against my advice) booked us flights which makes sense it would have saved time. When we told a few locals we were flying they were so confused. The magic of the Golden Triangle is all the bits in the middle. The man selling the worlds best poppadoms on the side of the road, the Monkey Temple between Jaipur and Agra the landscape really is beautiful and varied.
We booked a driver, the lovely Veejay for 6 days, it cost us around £300 and it was so worth it! We travelled at our own pace and made things up as we went along.
His local knowledge was invaluable, he would get us different things along the way to try like sugar cane juice and black salt (it basically tasted like eggs). He took us to his friends tea store, beautiful temples, booked us local guides and even found us a nice day spa when we decided we deserved a massage.
Our hotel in Delhi made arrangements with Veejay for us. You can pre-book them online but I would wait until you get there. You will get a better deal!
When your out and about you need to be really aware of pick pockets. India is soooo busy, the streets are packed and personal space isn’t really a thing. Make sure your bag has a secure clasp on it and that all your valuable are safely stored. Personally I didn’t take any jewellery with me and only carried essentials, sunglasses, lip balm, wet wipes and my camera.
The poverty in India can be overwhelming. Small children begging for money, babies laid on the dirty floor with no nappies and mothers looking helpless.
On our first night in Delhi I looked at a baby on the floor for to long and the sister (maybe 5 years old) scooped the baby up and followed us down the street hundreds of metres begging for money. Greig handed her some money as she was hugging his leg while he walked and the second he gave her money 10 other kids started running after us. It’s heart breaking but at the same time you can’t give everyone money!
We would always get a doggy bag from our meals and give that to the first person on the street that asked for food and collected any toiletries etc and gave them away.
Generally speaking I would say India is safe. In the cities we were told not to go out at night except in the very built up restaurant/shopping type areas which I think is normal for any traveling when you don’t know the area well. I would 100% feel safe traveling with female friends. The people are so friendly I would just always say be wary of pick pockets.
Right now that we’ve covered the general stuff dig in deeper in the city guides.