Photo Credit: Tix at HappyTelus.com (creative commons license)
Travel to India…hmmm. I’ve thought about it over the years, and have often daydreamed of standing in front of the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Though, honestly, the sheer number of people that inhabit this vast counrty, 1.27 billion in 2014, has always made me just a tad nervous. I’ve talked to a few people lately who have spent a lot of time in various parts of India, and I’m hearing more good than bad. On that note, I’ve decided to give India some serious consideration for next winter, and I’m starting my planning now. I’m hoping that I’ll have two and a half months. Anyone who follows Budget Travelers Sandbox knows that I like to travel slow. Slow travel stretches those precious dollars further, and it’s the only way I know to really get a good sense/feel of a city, its people, and of course, the all important FOOD CULTURE. Of course, the fact that it is a great destination for budget travelers appeals to my budget travel lifestyle!
I’ve heard such great things about Southern India that I’m thinking that will be my focus, plus Agra to see the Taj. My tentative plan at this point is to fly from Seoul to Delhi, see the Taj at Agra, and then head down to either Goa or Pondicherry. Both places appeal to me because they are on the coast — I’m missing the water badly these days– and travelers always have good things to say about both places.
These sites have proven very helpful so far…
- Goibibo: A comphrehensive travel booking platform where you can book domestic flights (domestic fares looked reasonable) within India, international flights, hotels, train or bus travel, travel packages for every price range, and even prearranged taxis waiting on arrival. The site is easy to navigate, and I know that I’ll be going back to it often when I’m doing my bookings. One thing to remember, all prices are in Indian Rupees, so you need your favorite currency convertor handy.
One thing I have read several times is that train travel is a great option for budget travelers. Considering my luck with long, curvy rides in rickety buses, remember Mae Hong Son, I’ll be checking out the trains through Goibibo, and doing some bookings.
- Government of Goa–Department of Tourism: I like the transportation tab, which includes schedules for flights, trains and buses. The tab for acommodation includes some info for long term accomodation, which interests me.
- Goa TravelWiki: Well developed travelwiki with information ranging from the best beaches, towns, what to eat, what to do.
There doesn’t seem to be any indepdent traveler blogs devoted to Goa, or at least I didn’t find any. I did find one article here at Wego which was informative.
Photo Credit: Dominik Hundhammer (Creative Commons)
I’m also thinking of wiling away some time in Pondicherry (or Puducherry, as it was known by they French. This quote from Pudcherry Tourism sums it up nicely.
“The air filled with nostalgia and the present is living up to a heritage that speaks so much. A trip to puducherry is like a journey in time with a vibrant present celebrating its interesting past. “History goes back to the Roman times, but factually started with the arrival of the French in 1963 (I think this a typo – 1673 seems more accurate!), who founded the town and built it in its present form, during the two and a half century they occupied it.”
Apparently French is still widely spoken, so maybe I’ll get to put my rusty French to good use!
- The city boasts an International Yoga Festival in January. I’m thinking there would a lot of awesome photo opportunities! Maybe I’ll even join in! I’m sure my body would be delighted.
- Ponducherry Travel Wiki: Seems to be as well developed as the Goa Travel Wiki, with similar info. pertaining to Ponducherry.
- Blog post of a short visit to Ponducherry in 2013.
- Sri Aurbindo Ashram I can’t imagine a trip to India without a least a brief visit to an ashram.
Photo Credit: Avaid2001 (Creative Commons)
A visit to the Taj Mahal is a definite MUST DO on this visit. Who knows, it could be my one and only opportunity!
- Taj Mahal Official Website –Very comprehensive site including info. on ticketing, how to get there, do’s and don’ts, and general tourism info. for Agra. This will be a site that I’ll use often.
- Just Another Taj Mahal Post..Recent blog post on a visit to the Taj. Some interesting tid bits to be aware of such as the challenge to get to Agra, rickshaw drivers taking you to places you don’t want to go 🙂 the traffic challenges in Agra, and of course beautiful photos of the Taj.
- Taj Mahal Photos
Now I am officially excited. I try to never wish my life away, but I am really looking forward to next winter in India. If you have any tips for me, don’t be shy. Leave them in the comments below.
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