These are the details everyone wants to know. Its well and good to hear about wonderful holidays and wish and dream to do them, but most people then think about the expense and its too overwhelming so the holiday ideas are ditched. So I’m giving you a quick low down, that will hopefully help some of you realise you CAN make your wishes a reality. Click HERE to read my in depth experience in India if you missed it.
Flights. Our flights from Brisbane to Delhi cost $900aud return for one person. This was a standard price, not some freak sale and we flew with Cathay Pacific, a reputable airline. There were cheaper ones but with cheaper airlines, the choice is yours, or should I say the risk is yours? haha. Also make note Cairns people that for a bit more money you can go Cairns to Delhi with only one stop, in Hong Kong.
Indian Visa’s. YOU MUST HAVE AN INDIAN VISA TO ENTER INDIA. This must be arranged weeks before you leave so it has time to be sent to you (10 days). If its all overwhelming go to a travel agent and get them to fill it out for you. There is a new system up where you can do it online and get it within a few days without sending your passport away, its also a lot cheaper. Maybe look in to it but I just went with the old system and sent our passports away, cost $200aud each. Annoying but essential.
Accommodation. The choice is yours, you can go cheap or expensive that’s the beauty of India, you have a huge price range to choose from. More expensive does not always mean better, our favourite hotel was a $40aud per night one! It was wonderful, authentic, spacious and the rooftop restaurant was cheap and delicious. The most we spend was $150aud per night BUT that was only because it was at the Ranthambore National Park (tourist area) and it included three amazing buffet meals a day for the two of us… And I wanted a luxury tent. Use Trip Advisor to search hotels and bnb’s, pick the cheapest one in the top 5-10 and you’ll be satisfied 🙂 Having a restaurant at your hotel is essential if you want safe, clean food, you will probably eat most of your meals there. The more expensive your hotel is the more expensive the restaurant will be, and it doesn’t always mean the foods any better than the $40aud per night hotel! Looking back I loved all our hotels and it really didn’t cost much BUT I could of done it a bit cheaper in some places. So you can really get fantastic accom at any price just make sure you read reviews and do your homework. All I want is clean rooms, friendly staff and good food, fancy stuff is really not needed.
*The awesome $40 hotel, Sunder Palace, Jaipur
Food. As I mentioned before you’ll most likely be eating at you hotel the majority of the time. The more expensive your hotel the more expensive the food. At out cool $40 per night hotel in Jaipur at Sunder Palace Guest House it cost $15aud for both of us to eat curry, rice, naan, and drinks and it was all fresh and delish. On the other hand when we were at more expensive places we were charged up to $40aud for the same type of meal for the two of us! Eating at a market etc is even cheaper, you can get a meal for one for about $2-$5aud. We did this twice and no we didn’t get sick but I did extra trips to the toilet haha A good rule is as long as its cooked and hot then its reasonably safe. Avoid ALL cut up fruit, juices, and milky drinks made on the street, very likely to be washed with or contain unclean water. Watch out for ice cubes also. Hotels are usually fine its only on the streets you have to resist some things. Bottled water is everywhere so don’t stress about the water.
Travel. Tuk Tuks are the cheapest way to get around the city at around $2-$4aud (100-200inr) to get from A to B. But you have to deal with the drivers! They can be annoying and rude, but its cheap. Bargain hard with them! Having your own driver with car or a taxi is more relaxing in a way, you are in a nice quiet car with air con. These drivers are better but they will still try and get extra money out of you by taking you to shops, here they get money from the shop owner by bringing you here, or commission on what you buy. Just say no you don’t want to go, be firm. If you want to go or feel you must, then go, you don’t have to buy anything, if you do bargain hard. A driver for 4 hrs costs around $20aud (1000inr). You can have a driver for your entire trip also, he will take you anywhere you want, as far away as you want, he is at you beck and call. They drive all over India. Prices vary but I know someone who had a driver for 5 days and it cost $400aud. We had a Driver for two days and it cost $200aud. Trains are cheaper to do big distances and sometimes faster. A five hour train trip cost us $15aud for two people. I loved it cause we didn’t have to deal with any drivers or bargaining.
Okay so what was the total of all the essentials for us personally, for two people, flights + accom for 12 nights + train + visa’s = $3500 aud. Umm, this is cheaper than a couple of weeks living it up in Sydney or Melbourne for us Aussies. Obviously for one person it would be a lot less and even more less if you do what I recommend and stick with good quality budget accommodation. You don’t need a lot of spending money per day, breakfast is usually included with your hotel so you only need another 1-2 meals. If you don’t want to do much “shopping” $30 – $50 per day will be plenty for your food, travel and sightseeing. If you want to go shopping you can spend to your hearts content!
What I’d do differently if I could do it again? Get out of the cities more, our favourite part was when we were at the national park doing safari’s, cause it was beautiful there, actually pretty, which is a hard thing to find in Indian cities. Go north of Delhi, see the mountains capped in snow or experience snow in the winter months from December. Yeah you can do a white Christmas here! You can trek the Himalayas here and experience small village life. We didn’t do this, we chose the tiger safari’s instead, we didn’t have enough time to do both.
Is it safe? Its as safe as anywhere, and actually felt safer here than Europe. You can find danger anywhere in the world and don’t we realise that now after the horrible things just past in Paris. Don’t be silly here and your safe, don’t flash your money around don’t go walking in deserted filthy parks, its obvious. Yes you can walk around at night, it’s super fun and busy.
Can you travel alone here? Yes we saw many people, even women traveling on there own. Again just be smart. I recommend taking someone to share the ups and downs with, it makes it more enjoyable.
Can you take children? Yes, now that we have been we feel confident you could take kids. Use a driver though for the entire trip, this would make things so easy. No train times to stress about, tuk tuks to deal with, or walking around on crazy roads. I think having a driver would be worth it if you are bringing children. North Indian food is not really spicy either so they will love it, especially the lassie drinks!
What do I wear? Female’s you will be stared at, white skin is highly desirable here, so much so the standard thing in beauty salons is to bleach skin! How sad, Indians are really lovely looking. Cover your shoulders, wear longer skirts or pants, just be respectful. You will feel like a movie star, everyone looks at you, some want photo’s with you. Only with the women, they never asked my husband haha
So there you go! I hope this has made India less mysterious for you and a possible holiday destination for some people. Happy holiday dreaming! Namaste!