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India - In Two Weeks?

pb21pb21 Posts: 2,168
edited April 2013 in The cake stop
I have booked flights to Mumbai in October, I have just over two weeks there. I have always wanted to go to India and Mumbai specifically.

What else should I do? I'm thinking to either to head just to Goa on the train and chill out for a week or so, or fly to Varanasi for a couple of days there then fly to Goa, or something else...

I think now I should have booked three weeks (or three months), what can I do to make the most of my time there?
Mañana

Posts

  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    So you've always wanted to go to India - but need to ask on here what you should do?? Surely you should know yourself already?? ;);)
  • pb21pb21 Posts: 2,168
    I don't know everything! And how long is 'enough' in Mumbai and Varanasi, but yeah I was a bit spontaneous booking the flights. :o
    Mañana
  • Wirral_paulWirral_paul Posts: 2,476
    pb21 wrote:
    I don't know everything! And how long is 'enough' in Mumbai and Varanasi, but yeah I was a bit spontaneous booking the flights. :o

    What are you doing on the forum if you dont know everything?? ;);)

    Well i'll add the Elephanta Caves to your "to do" list

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elephanta_Caves
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    pb21 wrote:
    I have booked flights to Mumbai in October, what can I do to make the most of my time there?

    I can't help, but I know a man who can.

    Calling Vtech, calling Vtech :wink:
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,215
    i've been there 20+ times

    practicalities...

    get your visa sorted out in good time, especially if you will do it by post rather than one of the offices, it's been outsourced to a private company for a while now, but imho all this did was add some extra bureaucracy, delay and cost

    do take antimalarials, i know a few people who've been infected, it's not nice - malarone is good, but you need a private prescription, buying online is cheapest, afaik can't get it in india (unlike many other prescription drugs), you can get paludrine and avloclor there, same as in uk, but they're not nearly as convenient as malarone

    take strong insect repellent, use it dusk to dawn, aside from malaria there's increasing incidence of dengue which imho is a whole lot worse

    october is usually good weather in the west, there can be some lingering cloud and rain from the rainy season sometimes, it's still pleasant though, can be cool in the evenings

    overall it's a friendly and safe place, but there're always a few exceptions, standard advice if you're going to travel by train is watch out for offers of food/drink, people have been drugged and robbed

    plan ahead and book as much in advance as possible, with only two weeks you could lose a lot of time queuing and arranging

    personally i dislike big indian cities, much prefer small and quiet

    hotels vary a lot, research carefully and book in advance, there're some excellent small indian hotels, spotless, spacious and friendly, whereas big hotels may still mean poorly located, bad value, and somtimes vermin infested

    mumbai, you can see the gateway of india, there's a ferry to elephanta island mentioned about from there, so the two sites give you some colonial grandeur, lots of hustle and bustle, a boat ride, and temples and caves

    goa will be less crowded than when the tourist season really gets going, some parts of the north are really spoiled by tourism, i'd avoid calangute and baga in particular, candolim is more relaxed, the south is where to head for less sprawl, and north or south, away from the beaches there're some beautiful areas inland

    i've spent an entire three weeks ambling from hotel room to beach, plenty of books, no tv, no internet, pure bliss

    try to time your return flight to mumbai to give you 3-4 hours before your flight back to uk, avoids wasting time with extra trips from/to airport

    btw if you want to keep in touch by mobile, take a few photocopies of passport details page, visa page, and some extra passport photos, if you want to get a local payg sim card you may need these (it's much cheaper than roaming charges)
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Graham KGraham K Posts: 329
    sungod wrote:
    goa will be less crowded than when the tourist season really gets going, some parts of the north are really spoiled by tourism, i'd avoid calangute and baga in particular, candolim is more relaxed, the south is where to head for less sprawl, and north or south, away from the beaches there're some beautiful areas inland

    I spent 10 days in Candolim last year, loved it, so relaxing.
    Used to walk up the beach to Calangute, have a drink and an early lunch then bus back to Candolim for an afternoon chill out, Just do what the locals do and embrace the country, its beautiful.
  • pb21pb21 Posts: 2,168
    Thanks for the replies, some stuff to think about...

    I think I am going to spend a few days in Mumbai, fly to Varanasi and back for a couple of days and then get the train to Goa where I will have just over a week to relax. I cant wait :D
    Mañana
  • MccariaMccaria Posts: 869
    Apologies, mis-read your original post

    Goa is October is really nice, temperatures can get high but not unbearable. The tourist season only really starts in October so it is a bit quieter. Christmas and Particularly New Year is the busiest time. The beach shacks only get contracted and erected in October, so depending when you go they may not be functioning whilst you are there, but there are plenty of places to eat off the beach. Same thing with the markets, last time we were there this past October, the night markets hadn't started up by the time we left.

    Goa is not particularly affected by Malaria. Goa was a Portuguese colony, so has Catholic roots. Pork Vindaloo is a Goan dish, although very different from what is served here, also Chicken cafreal is very tasty. The fish dishes are fantastic, usually very fresh.

    Don't know what you budget is, but the Taj holiday village in Baga near Candolim is amazing and right on the beach.

    As an alternative have you looked into Kerala backwater trips ? Not something I've done yet but supposed to a great trip.
  • When my mate went, he spent two weeks sick with dysentery.

    He said theres a lot of thing they don't show you on these holiday programmes on tv.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    When my mate went, he spent two weeks sick with dysentery.

    He said theres a lot of thing they don't show you on these holiday programmes on tv.

    There's more than enough elsewhere in the TV schedule.
  • pb21pb21 Posts: 2,168
    When my mate went, he spent two weeks sick with dysentery.

    He said theres a lot of thing they don't show you on these holiday programmes on tv.

    That thought had crossed my mind, although I spent 5 months in SE Asia last year and didn't get badly ill, although I imagine India is potentially a different kettle of fish.

    But I am not going to not go in case I get ill, and I cant afford to go for longer.
    Mañana
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,215
    i had one bad upset in years of going there, violent but it only lasted a day, i've had much worse in the uk, just because it's india doesn't make it especially risky, look what can happen on modern cruise ships

    be sensible, wash hands before touching food, only eat raw veg if it's washed, places serving the tourist trade are generally very hygiene aware, even beach shacks, i've had loads of salads there, even had sushi

    one thing to be aware of is when buying from beach vendors only get fruit whole and peel it yourself as they tend to clean their knives in the sand

    ensure you have good insurance, there's fast access to good healthcare if you are unlucky enough to need it, doctors come to you!
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Graham KGraham K Posts: 329
    When my mate went, he spent two weeks sick with dysentery.

    He said theres a lot of thing they don't show you on these holiday programmes on tv.

    My parents have been going for the past 15 or so years, my Dad who has a fragile stomach has been ill once through his own doing, de-hydration.
    The street food vendors are good, its fried noodles, rice, samosa's so any germs are killed on an instant :wink:
    The beach shacks have ALOT to lose should their food be dodgy.

    Simple careful self hygene will see you through hassle free, Thousands of tourists visit every year, and youll find some of the elder generations go for months at a time, cant be that bad a place then :wink:
  • sungod wrote:
    only eat raw veg if it's washed

    Ordinarily, this would be good advice, but in India a lot of the problem is with the water itself. Even bottled water that appears to be sealed can have been refilled.

    Best advice in India is to go for well cooked foods. Avoid raw veg and salads like the plague, and only drink beer or coke unless you are 100% certain of the source of the water. Do not have ice in drinks.

    Follow the above rules and you may still have problems, but they are a lot less likely.

    Enjoy India. I think it is a wonderful country.
  • madden2011madden2011 Posts: 142
    I went twice to india in 2009 in September & December. Never got ill apart from a stuffy nose, and didnt get any touches of the runs. I loved the place.

    Its a complete culture shock and prepare to be stared at and asked random questions from strangers, I'm pretty sure its more out a curiosity rather than rudeness. Though I found the locals very friendly.

    I visited Goa, Agra, Jaipur & Udaipur while staying in Delhi. Food wise I didnt eat from any of the street vendors and only in restaurants. If you get sick of Indian food theres plenty of McDonalds, Pizza Hut etc. Though only meat is chicken.
  • msmancuniamsmancunia Posts: 1,457
    I did Delhi to Kathmandu a couple of years ago.

    Varanasi is unbelievable. Make sure you watch the evening puja on the banks of the Ganges - it's breathtaking.

    Couple of tips.
    You'll get pestered by hawkers like you won't believe. Keep sunglasses on and don't catch their eye. Buy from them if you want - it's all money to the local economy, but don't allow the sheer number of them to intimidate you. Wear a money belt or keep your money and valuables safe - gangs of children will crowd round you if allowed and you can just feel them going through your pockets.

    I was the only person on my trip not to get sick. But, I don't like tea or coffee so don't drink it. I was fine with bottled water and soft drinks in cans. It's not particularly environmentally friendly, but safe - you can get seriously ill over there. We worked out that everyone was getting sick from the tea and coffee in the hotels because they weren't boiling the water for long enough. Ask your GP for antibiotics to take with you for stomach upsets - Imodium just acts like a bit of a cork, when you really need to kill off the bacteria and um.. purge.

    India is noisy, dirty and full of hawkers. But it's lively, colourful, and you'll never forget it.
    Commute: Chadderton - Sportcity
  • APIIIAPIII Posts: 2,010
    madden2011 wrote:
    Food wise I didnt eat from any of the street vendors and only in restaurants. If you get sick of Indian food theres plenty of McDonalds, Pizza Hut etc. Though only meat is chicken.

    Oh I don't know. The street vendor I met in Jaipur made some pretty awesome chilli fritters

    5564784818_646fc24c3e_b.jpg
    Street vendor, Jaipur
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,215
    chilli fritters, mmm

    this is a good point, india has a massive savoury snack selection

    chilli chaklis are one of my favourites, spiral crispy things

    at breakfast my favourite is rasam and the fresh local bread, tear, dunk, eat, repeat, need to go back


    so as well as sightseeing, SNACK
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • MccariaMccaria Posts: 869
    Dosa, the best breakfast food invented anywhere.
  • ^^ everything they said. You might also catch the last of the monsoon in October, so be prepared for rains. Its a lovely time to be about - relatively cool and very green.
    You could also take a long train ride down the west coast (called the Konkan railway) - from Mumbai to Mangalore or Kerala. there was a recent program on TV about it - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/journ ... rneys.html. Make sure you book an a/c 2-tier compartment if you are going.

    Rather than go to one of the big name resorts in Goa, try out some of the small boutique places. See http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/hot ... 84768.html

    Someone warned about refilled bottled water - absolutely true. Do NOT accept any bottled water that you have not seen and checked to be sealed.

    However there are good medical facilities in India- a visit to a doctor will cost you about Rs.150 (£2) + medicines. Almost all clinics in India are walk-in - you dont have to make an appointment. If the nearest one is full, there will be another one a couple of mins away.

    I run a travel company in South India - PM me if you need any help.
    2011 Scott S30
    2004 Trek 4500
    2009 Trek 7.1
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