India is the ultimate travel destination.
We used to think that until we went to India we could never truly call ourselves world travellers. Why would we think this? Well India is overwhelming to say the least. It's a difficult travel that stirs all of your emotions. You will witness extreme poverty, yet extreme wealth. You will also witness suffering and sadness yet experience overwhelming kindness and warmth. But make sure you keep an eye out for Scams too, there are a lot of Travel Scams in India.
We spent three months in India traveling up the country on local trains and buses in every class. We loved it, we hated it and it has stuck with us forever. We felt that if you could travel independently in India, you can travel anywhere and now we feel that we can truly call ourselves world travellers. This India travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Read First: India Travel Tips for First Timers
Fast Facts about India Travel
- Power voltage is: 220-240 V; Plugs C & D
- Currency: The Indian Rupee – approximately 60 rupees to 1 USD
- ATMs can be found everywhere
- SIM Cards are easy to buy for your unlocked smart phones. Data is cheap and fast but you will have to get a different SIM card for each state.
- Tipping is expected in India, everyone expects backsheesh for everything.
Top Packing Tips
India is a big country and when packing you should take in to consideration where you are going. The South is hot all year long so you can get away with packing light. In Delhi it gets very cold. We were there in January and temperatures hit zero. In the desert it can fall to zero at night and the Himalayas is downright cold. Take area in to consideration when packing. Here are a few essential items we recommend having on hand for India. For a full list see 13 Essential Items & 5 we wish we Had for India and Travel Gear, did we need it all?
Pacsafe – Train travel in India can be nerve racking, especially if you have to keep an eye on your bags. Lock them to your bunk with a packsafe and you'll sleep safe and sound.
Combination Padlock – The same can be said for a padlock. It's always good to give things an extra lock up when traveling in India
Headlamps – We found our headlamps invaluable. It's amazing how often you are walking in the dark in India
Ear Plugs – India is loud. You'll have a better night sleep if you wear earplugs. Check out 10 things that will ruin your sleep in India
Wet Ones – India is a dirty place, there's no denying it. Have some handy wet naps to wash up in a snap
Sarongs – I think I have sarongs in every packing list. From covering up when visiting temples, being used as a towel or keeping cool on a hot night.
Note: Women, be sure to dress modestly, India is mainly Hindu and has one of the largest Muslim populations at 177 million. Be respectful of the culture. Buying clothes in India is a great way to blend with the locals and be more comfortable.
Top things to do in India
- The Golden Temple – Move over Taj Mahal the Golden Temple of Amritsar is the most incredible temple of India in our opinion.
- The Taj Mahal – Sure it may be touristy but you cannot go to India without seeing the Taj Mahal
- BackWaters of Alleppy – A boat tour of the Backwaters in Alleppy is a wonderful, relaxing experience. You can hire your own personal boat and putter through amazing culture and scenery.
- Udaipur – Everyone will recognize Udaipur from the white hotel in the middle of the lake. Remember Octopussy? That's the lake I'm talking about.
- Rajasthan – Rajasthan is your gateway to the Thar Desert for a camel safari. The Blue, Pink and Gold Cities aka Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer are also located here and not to be missed.
- Goa – It's the top spot in India for Beaches and if it's fun in the sun you want, go to Goa.
- Rishikesh – it's the Yoga Captial of the World but there are other things to do in Rishikesh too!
- Holi Festival – the most colourful and uplifting festival you will ever visit will be Holi in India. Get ready to be covered in powder and liquid as you dance through the streets.
- Practice Yoga – If you have ever wanted to study yoga, India is the place to do it.
- Ayurvedic Massage – Sign up for a month and really delve into the culture.
- Pakistan Border Ceremony – This is the best moment you'll see in India. Each night at the Pakistan Border in Punjab a great spectacle happens as the changing of the guards put on a show.
- Eat at the Golden Temple – Each day the Golden Temple feeds 100,000 people for free! Yes, you heard correct, now go and see it for yourself.
- Go to the Rat Temple – Yes, it may seem a little gross, and it is, but the Rat Temple of Karni Mata is incredible to see. People feel here that their ancestors are reincarnated as rats. If you see a white one it's considered very lucky !
- Go Bouldering in Hampi – Hampi was one of our favourite destinations. We spent well over a week, in Hampi exploring it's incredible ruins, surrounded by millions of boulders. Some so big that you can do a proper climb on them.
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