So far in my travels I have really just been to China and SE Asia; China has very little tourism, and most of it people on a two week stop by, and SE Asia has a huge amount of travellers and holiday makers from all walks of life. Meeting people in India I have found tough.
The main two types of people I met in India (bearing in mind I didn’t go to the south) were;
- The Rich European
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The guidebooks paint an unpleasant picture of Varanassi, much like Agra, warning you of all the touts and how crazy the streets will be. In reality, after Rajasthan, Varanasi was a breath of fresh(ish) air. But then our guide book is seven years old and things can change in tourism very quickly once a trail appears.
We spent a full day walking along the Ganges and seeing the sights, it is most definitely an overload to the senses. In one glance you will see bodies burning while goats eat some of the funereal offerings and someone else washes on the edge of the river among the human ash. After everything else you see the dead bodies seem so much less shocking. It is the overwhelmingness of the situation which almost makes everything fit. If you saw a funeral pyre in London along the Thames it would seem much stranger. Read More »
After two weeks of being in India I was a little stressed out. I had heard before travelling that Pushkar was like a haven in the madness with a backpacker scene in a holy town in the mountains. It had been likened to an Indian version of Pai (Thailand) which is one of my favourite places so far. Any locals who had asked where we were going next had said that Pushkar was really peaceful and spiritual. I was really looking forward to it.
In reality it was pretty awful with some of the worst tout pressurising I’ve seen so far that make Agra look laid back. Either everyone is on a very different wavelength to me or Pushkar has taken a drastic turn for the worst in recent years. Whilst driving to the town the scenery is quite lovely rolling hillside with a spattering of Langkor monkeys by the roadside showing off their shimmering white fur. On entering the town it looks pretty much like any other city in Rajasthan with cows and street food and litter lining the streets. Walking along the main town road which loops the lake is also very similar to other places except for an abundance of souvenir shops boasting many hippie clothes in 60’s style printed fabric. Also a large selection of leather notebooks which confused me in a meet free town until it was clarified to me that it’s not about killing the animal but keeping the human body clean from the consumption. Read More »
Rajasthan is an interesting state with many beautiful things to see, because of this it is also a place with a significant tourist trail which results in people seeing tourists and seeing them as a walking wallet. Rajasthan is known for being bad at this and as the first place I saw in India it made me very disheartened about the people but now I know it is really just a downside to going to places with big attractions. Of the places I visited in India Rajasthan is my least favourite because of it being so touristy and expensive, but there is always a reason why tourist trails exist and I am the anomaly for liking places without attractions. Here is an overview of my Rajasthan tour, which, I think, covered most of what it had to offer in 20 days. Read More »
Of all the Backpacker experiences I’ve had this has made me feel the most middleclass, like the British of colonial times, with a driver under toe to take me around at my whim, or so I assumed. I don’t know what a good price to pay for a driver is but for two of us we paid £400 (30,000 Rupees) for a 20 day tour so roughly £20 a day. I assume this is a decent rate though it can be impossible to tell what some things are meant to cost. I think we may have got to know more about the Indian attitude towards money and tourism from our driver than we ever would from chance encounters and it’s been a very interesting experience with many pros and cons. These things may of course only apply to the Delhi/Rajasthan circuit; I have nothing else yet to compare it to. Read More »
Of all the places I have been so far Delhi is most definitely the worst. It is neither what I was expecting nor what I would ever wish for. The huge amount of hassle and confusion set to me within 24 hours of being there was almost enough to make me step back on the plane to somewhere new.
I have seen busy streets before but they have never felt anything like so intense, Bangkok, Beijing and Hanoi put together would struggle to match the intensity. Loud horns are constantly echoing in your ear drums and you have to be looking up at traffic the same time you are looking down for poo and making sure your next step will be a safe one. The morning after we arrived our hotel very kindly drove us for free to the ‘tourist information centre’ which was of course their friend trying to sell tours at hugely inflated prices as we were just off the plane. Read More »
This is apparently the dream for many holiday makers, and were I a holiday maker I think the appeal and draw would be much stronger. Having said that it was still really enjoyable for a chill out and my tan most certainly got a top up.
Like a true holiday maker I visited an island, but only one and not the most popular, it was Koh Chang. I had little interest in a ‘party island’ so this seemed to tick the boxes of being slightly chilled but still with things to do. With my budget in mind Lonely Beach was the only real option, though if I was confident on a motorbike on crazy roads the options would have definitely been more numerous. Read More »