The colorful chaos
Or welcome to India – a country that is guaranteed to leave an impression. Chances are you’ll never be the same again after visiting this Asian beauty. Located in South Asia, India is one of the largest countries of the continent. It is so wild, unique, bright, exciting, lovely, charming, joyful, tearful and all around brilliant you’ll have a hard time taking it all in.
So, to make sure you see and do the things that excite you, plan ahead. Just keeping the size of India in mind will explain why making plans is so important. Its massive size aside, the country is truly like a colorful explosion. The incredible cultural and historical legacy, the untamed wilderness, the many flavors, and colors add to its irresistible charm.
Whether you want to do some soul-searching, find some inner peace, relax on the beaches, climb mountains, hike the vast lands, try delicious foods, see the incredible wildlife, explore the always busy cities, or marvel at the stunning architectural features, you’re in the right country.
India is a magical place full of surprises. However, first-time visitors or inexperienced travelers might find some of the surprises not so pleasant. It’s true that India can be a bit rough around the edges, but that shouldn’t discourage you in any way. With a little planning ahead and keeping your mind open you’re guaranteed to have an adventure of a lifetime.
What to see and do in India
Taj Mahal and the many wonders of Indian architecture
To describe this beautiful site as impressive would be an understatement. After all, it’s on the UNESCO World Heritage Site for a reason. A postcard image of India, this stunning mausoleum of white marble attracts thousand and thousands of visitors who come to pay their respect and marvel at the outstanding features and details. Taj Mahal, located in Agra, was built between 1631 and 1648 in memory of Emperor Shah Jahan’s favorite wife. However, this isn’t the only architectural masterpiece worth seeing in India. You may also want to consider stopping by at Amer Fort, Hava Mahal, Jama Masjid, Golden Temple, Mysore Palace, and many others.
Explore the cities
Because they’re out of this world. Expect the chaos, crowds, and images you didn’t think were possible. Beautiful Varanasi is an image of India while the busy Delphi is a thrilling capital and a cultural hub of the country. Visit historic Agra with the famous Taj Mahal and other wonders, dreamy and exclusive Mumbai, fast paced Bangalore, and mysterious Hyderabad among many exciting cities.
Admire the nature
From the westernmost point of the Arabian Sea to the easternmost point of Bay of Bengal, India is beaming with countless natural wonders. Breathtaking scenery is a constant reminder of how remarkable and biodiverse our planet is. Be it the mighty Nohkalikai Falls in Cherrapunji or Dudhsagar Falls in Goa, mysterious Bhitarkanika Wetland of Kendrpara, India never ceases to amaze.
Stroll around the peaceful Tea Garden in Munnar, admire the views from Matheran near Mumbai, take a Markha Valley trek, or enjoy the colors of the Valley of Flowers. From caves, snow-capped mountain peaks, vast deserts, mystic wetlands and lakes, to the beautiful seas and beaches, India is the home to too many wonders to name them all. Add to this impressive list an incredible rich wildlife, and you get a place you can explore for as long as you live.
Spice it up
Indian cuisine is exceptional and very popular around the world. It’s all thanks to the spices. Strong and bold they dominate and dictate the flavors that so many love. Go to markets to see piles and piles of deep rich colored spices. Have fun doing a photoshoot as it’ll be a beautiful reminder of the time spent in this country. And of course, don’t forget to try and bring them home with you. Spice up your life but be careful, some might be very, very strong.
Do yoga and some soul-searching
If you need an escape, then India is a place to be. The birthplace of yoga attracts many, not only yoga lovers. The sense of spirituality, calmness, enlightenment, wisdom and serenity has an appeal that is hard to resist. Come here to stretch, relax, and find some peace of mind.
Finding a cheap place to sleep shouldn’t be too hard as you can find dorm rooms for a low price of 6-10 USD per night. However, you might want to consider sharing the room as you’ll pay roughly the same price for a double room in a budget hotel. It all depends on what your chosen accommodation offers and provides. Mid-range hotels charge anywhere between 25-80 USD per night. Airbnb is present only in bigger cities, and the prices start at around 10 USD. Couchsurfing is an option too, and it’ll allow you to experience the more authentic and real India.
Food and drinks
Inexpensive restaurants charge around 2 USD for their meals. You can have a feast at all you can eat budget-friendly places for around 5 USD, while two people can enjoy a three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for roughly 10 USD. You’ll need some less than 4 USD for fast-food meals. Beers won’t cost you much either. A pint of the domestic beer costs around 1.50 USD, and a small bottle of imported one around 3 USD. Soft drinks and cappuccinos are easy on the wallet as well. A small soda costs no more than 0.50 USD, while you’ll pay around 1.40 USD for a cappuccino or similar caffeine infused beverage. Wine is pretty expensive.
Eating in India might not be pricey, but it can be costly to your health. Indian cuisine is praised around the world still, there’s no place like India itself to enjoy its rich, distinguished flavors. However, no matter how delicious and appetizing the food might look, you need to be careful and rely on common sense. Eat only at proclaimed restaurants where they serve freshly prepared food and where you can see the hygiene is suitable. Since drinking water is such a health hazard, it’s advised to buy and use bottled water. It’s very cheap, costing well under a dollar per bottle. You better use it for food washing and tooth brushing too as some people experience problems, so it’s not worth a risk.
The country is massive so traveling around can be challenging, time-consuming and nerve-racking. The good news is, however, that getting around won’t cost much regardless of your means of transportation. Traveling by train is more than just a ride to get from one point to another. It’s a unique experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life. For less than a dollar, you can ride in a 3rd Class, but it’ll be busy, crowded, and not pleasant at all. Luckily, 1st Class is very affordable, and the final price depends on the level you choose. The lowest level costs roughly 15 USD. You can opt for a bus too and choose between private operators and government buses. The latter is usually cheaper, costing around 8 USD for a long-distance trip while you’ll pay around 10 USD for a similarly long trip. The starting cost of a taxi is 1 USD with an additional 0.20 USD per km. There are many flight operators, so you can find incredibly cheap flights for those long, long distances.
Tours to Taj Mahal start from 60 USD while the cost of the entrance fee is roughly around 12 USD. Otherwise, the difference in prices varies from place to a place. Some charge more and some charge less. Check online and see if you can save some money by booking in advance.