I remember my experience when I traveling to India as if it were yesterday. That characteristic spicy smell, the deafening sound of traffic, the dirt, the high temperatures. And I went through on my first trip and the difficult times I experienced when I was alone.
I also remember the freedom of touring southern India on a motorcycle. Its unimaginable beaches, its open people and the incredible nature it hides.
With this post, I want to capture my whole experience in India, I cover in my visit North India and South India. There were two completely different journeys. These are not identical but similar sensations, two kinds of India in one.
On several occasions, We discussed…. Someday we will go to India, someday we will go, and that first time came in 2019. I always said that India calls us and today, after my two visits I keep saying this. When people tell me…
Travel without prejudice, travel with the heart
One day I decided to click the buy button and it was without thinking. I had not planned for traveling to India at that time, not had he searched with whom, not had he inquired that he had to visit.
It was when buying the ticket that I learned a little about everything I needed to know about the country.
This trip was going to be the hardest of all I’d ever done. And it was a little scary, but something inside me said … Today is the day, today you are ready to face everything you will live. Today there is no turning back in your decision, today will change the course and the way you see life … And so it was.
Ready for traveling to India
Alex had gone to Bombay before and well, as he says … yes but no. I mean, he did like it. But it wasn’t time to come back and he didn’t have it, he didn’t have, among his upcoming plans. I was very clear that if it wasn’t with him. And I couldn’t find any “victims” who signed up for my adventure, I’d do it alone. India had called me and I had to go to see what he wanted to teach me. Finally, some friends signed up in the middle of my adventure and the rest of her I did it alone. I didn’t go too crazy researching the things I couldn’t miss.
I read something. But I read a little compared to how I usually prepare my trips.
I remember that guide which I bought for my India trip. That I read it a little over the top (I took it out a few times). There, I would ask the local people what I did not have to miss.
The day of flight departure arrived. My family was attacked when I was going to a country totally unknown to me. I had never dealt with their culture or their life habits. Everyone was telling me. When you reached their write us you reached well. Don’t forget! We’re on the phone!
But what I liked the most, is that they told me … Have a good time, but above all, soak up new things, that is what makes you a better person. The main thing is that I adore my family, well, like everyone, right?
Finally, I reached in India
I was on the plane remembering the area where I was going to stay once I arrived in Delhi. My friends arrived the same day but at dawn, so the first contact would be done alone.
I had left prejudice and negativity at home, so I just had to enjoy and let myself be carried away by feelings.
Finally, I arrived at Delhi Airport, I went down the steps of the airport with fear of the unknown. I did not know whether to continue or reverse. I was alone, there was no one to tell me come on come on!
The noise in the road was horrible, there was no silence like in our country. There everyone played the horn and the escapes from cars and motorcycles were giving me a headache. And left the station without looking back, thinking about the things that this first trip to India would bring me. Which surely was going to be special.
I began to notice the harassment of the Hindus as soon as they left the Airport. It is something common in all of Asia. But here it is 10 times more.
Without paying attention to them and being very clear (well, nothing clear really haha) where I had to go. They kept insisting, grabbing me, surrounding me. But I was very serious saying “no thank you”. Someone with a little fear would surely have had a very hard time.
Take care of hygiene
Then I took a pre-paid taxi for Paharganj. I read about this area in my guide there I can get less expensive hotel. So after one hour drive I reached in Paharganj.
After walking for a while. If everything seemed chaotic to me, that area was even more chaotic, although to tell the truth. I’ve always liked that roll of uncontrolled chaos (my favorite city is Bangkok). There were many accommodations in this street, so finding a place to sleep was not difficult for me.
I spent the day exploring the area. Seeing how they sell, how they work, how they live, where they live. And in the conditions in which they do it, something super shocking that left me stunned.
I was used to poverty, or so I thought because what I could experience here was. They practically live without means and the country has very little health..
I knew that India was not clean but I did not expect it so dirty. The streets were littered with paper and plastic, rotting food, animal feces, and spoiled liquids.
For someone who is very scrupulous, things in India are complicated. I had to be careful where I stepped and where I sat if we add to that the thousands of people on the street, the cars, the motorcycles, the tuk-tuk, the countless mangy dogs and cows in the area, you may want to go out running.
Beware about beggers
I had to look the other way several times when a disabled person or a child asked me for money. There are some well-known mafias in India about exploiting people with problems and very young children.
The guides, drivers or people of a higher caste, make it clear that this practice should not be encouraged. Since it only damages society and increases this type of mafias. According to them, the real needy do not ask for money. And is something that I could verify first hand. So be careful about baggers when you traveling to India.
What pleased me right now was putting my eye behind the camera and seeing India through the viewfinder. Children like photos and they really freak out when they are seen on the screen. Is there anything prettier than a child’s smile?
My friends arrived the next day. I had clearly told them where my guesthouse was located. I sent them a map with the exact location and directions on how to get there from the station (later I discovered a shorter path).
They were arriving at dawn, but it was too late and they still hadn’t called me. What would be happening? Finally, they called me the next day in the morning. That crowd of local people who harassed me as soon as I left the station, took them as “victims”.
They had been told that my area was closed because there was a party (at night there was not a soul on the street) and endless lies to get them to a super expensive hotel and they get a good commission. Here in India, it is about commissions.
The experience of transport like Car with driver
You can visit India in several ways; In public transport or car with driver, on my first trip, I made the combination of both. When we were offered to visit a part of India with a driver. We thought it was the best since the distances are enormous and on our own, it would take us much longer.
In fact, I still think so, although we had a very bad experience with ours. It must be said that behind these drivers there is a mounted business. Some respect your decisions and others clearly do not, and that was, unfortunately, our case. When I go to the sites I don’t like having contracted hotels, that’s why we only and exclusively hire the chauffeur “without hotels”.
As a general rule, drivers take you to the hotels they want, So they leave the accommodation for free and take a commission to take the tour. But it is that when you hire this service, which is not cheap. you are already paying for the meals and accommodation of the driver, that is, it is included in the price.
What they want is to take the salary in full and? commissions, and not spending it on rooms or food.
Beware about drivers Commissions
When we got in the car I noticed something that didn’t quite fill me up. Do you know those people who have something you don’t like? Well, that happened to me. During the twelve days that our journey with a driver lasted, we had to endure slamming doors, bad faces and bad responses from him.
And all for not wanting to stay in the hotels of $ 30-40 that he recommended. Why did I have to stay in that type of hotel when for $ 5 I could stay in another in perfect condition?
He had paid only the car and the driver, he had not made any hotels. Clearly, I wanted to stay where I wanted. This was my experience with the driver, which by no means has to be yours. What’s more, the driver of some Chilean girls we met was charming, funny and very correct.
Another negative with the driver is that in all the textile stores or shops that typical things stopped us (they give them some money to take the tourist). The continuous struggle of the hotels was not enough, but we also had to fight with the stores. We stopped at a minimum of five stores a day and they were all the same.
For someone who is going to buy it is great, but we had clearly told him that we were not going to buy anything and that we did not want to waste time (one hour per store) in those types of places.
The positive thing about having a driver is that apart from stopping at characteristic places, it will also give you information about the area, its religion, its culture and it will deal with you if you have any problems on the way.
My Experience about Agra
India has a thousand wonders to visit and whoever has seen what this country has to offer knows what I am talking about. All places hide something that leaves you breathless. It must be said that the south offers completely different things from the north.
It does not matter if it is a fort, a temple, a lake or the desert, all places have a very characteristic beauty.
A very famous place that did not disappoint me was the Taj Mahal. It is an authentic work of art built by man, it is something spectacular and imposing. When I saw it, I felt that greatness that characterizes it and upon learning its history the feeling was even greater. It is a precious demonstration of love.
The city of Agra has to thank this mausoleum because if it is not for the Taj Mahal, it is not very attractive to the city.
Read more: Visit Taj Mahal: Best Tips and Advice
My experience about the visit Varanasi
I don’t know if I could rank the places I visited during my first year in India in order of preference because they all hide something that makes you hallucinate. I could say that Jodphur, Udaipur and Varanasi were the places that gave me more than the others. Obviously my tastes do not have to coincide with yours.
Of all the cities I visited, Varanasi completely stole my heart. Something told me I was in the right place at the right time. Benares was a great discovery, not only because of the place itself but because of what you feel on the banks of the Ganges River, the most polluted in the world and where people will die.
It is a city full of life, death, magic and a lot of mysticism. They let me be complicit in their peculiar culture about death and that I managed to understand without judging. This place marked a before and after in how to see India. It made the negative experiences that I had lived during my trip become banal. I was experiencing something very big that made me have the ability to forget everything.
I leave you a post that I dedicated exclusively to my beautiful and beloved Varanasi. The holy city of Varanasi.
The women’s clothing is beautiful, even the one with the least money is beautiful. Those gaudy colors, patterns and glitter from the sarees make the streets of India a spectacle of color.
My experience about Hindu Wedding in India
We sneaked into a Hindu wedding and enjoyed ourselves as little children. People did not look like … Who are these?. Ohhh, well we are the girlfriend’s friends hahaha. We ate, we danced and we had a real party. Everyone knew that no one had invited us, I think, but their people treated us as if we were family.
What to say about the people of India? For a moment you may feel harassed, disappointed, disappointed, or happy that you have met wonderful people who come across your journey.
My Experience about Aurangabad
So it was on my journey in solitude, where I arrived at Auranbagad, where the caves of Ellora and Ajanta hide. After seven hours on a very Hindu-style train (where three go seven) and with the almost need for a knee prosthesis implantation due to not having space to stretch my legs, I reached my destination. What did my solitary adventure hold for me?
At this point in my trip, the news announced a heatwave and my mother, very insistent as a good nurse, wrote to me every day … “drink lots of water and don’t get dehydrated.” The temperatures I reached were quite high, something that did not help me on my trip.
It couldn’t go fresh. I could not wear shorts, a short skirt, or any garment with which my legs were seen, going so “naked” is not advisable in a country like this, you can have enough problems and more if you go alone.
The issue to find room in Aurangabad
With forty-five degrees and a six-kilo backpack on my back, I walked for almost five hours in search of accommodation. What happened? It wasn’t high season so rooms should be available.
They would say to any door I knocked … “No rooms”, “No rooms”. It didn’t matter if it was a good hotel, everyone said NO! I walked for many hours and hardly felt my legs. I could not with my soul! It really weighed my whole body. This section of the trip was a real pain.
I was tired of the horrible train ride, of being without food, of avoiding people who wanted to scam me, of avoiding places. Where I could have problems by going alone, of avoiding groups of men for being a woman, I just wanted to find a place to stay and refresh myself.
Almost five hours lasted my agony. For a moment I considered sleeping on the floor, I thought .. “Well nothing happens, if they don’t give me accommodation, I look for a place with an influx of people and I stay there to sleep”. I thought so many things, but that man got in the way. That man in his 80s, with a sensitive face, wrinkled, tanned from life and pretty.
With a smile that was missing half his teeth but that reached his ears. That man that just seeing him you feel that feeling you have towards the elderly of … “I eat it” Do you know what I mean? He was the one who held out his hand and helped me that fateful day.
It did not matter to her that she traveled alone, that she was a woman or that she was a tourist, her karma told her you have to give accommodation to this poor girl and so it was.
Experiences about nice people in India
As soon as I entered through that half-destroyed door, in the middle of a chaotic street, I felt as if I was waiting. Could it be that my destiny was to reach this good man? I don’t wonder anything, he just saw me and said, I have rooms. I don’t know if it was my face from having a bad situation or what he saw, but the words were not necessary.
There he was, behind that “reception”, smiling at me and saying welcome. I only needed to cry I am serious. Do you know what it is like to feel like this thousand of kilometers away, where very few speak English and almost nobody understands you? It is very hard. Fortunately, I am a bit of a “pasota” as my father would say and I usually adapt quite well to all kinds of situations, if not, I think I would have turned around and returned to my country. Nothing similar had happened to me on any of my trips.
After resting for a couple of hours the man at the reception invited me to a tea to speak. It seems that women who are tourists and travel alone do not tend to be very welcome. He told me that when he saw me, his interior told him that he could not say no, although I believe that this great man is not capable of saying no to anyone.
We talked for a while, I told him a little about our culture and what my plans were in the following days.
I explain a little about their religion and doing good in this life, something that, as a general rule, Hindus carry deep inside because it guarantees them a better future of reincarnations.
Dinner with an Indian Family
In that same place, after visiting the Ajanta caves, I bumped into another kind man on the bus.
It is rare that gentlemen address women because as we already know this culture is very macho, something that during my trip I was able to appreciate.
He told me that his daughter was studying English and that he had thoughts of visiting Spain.
We found her coming down from the station and one thing led to another, and I ended up having dinner at her house with her huge family. Maybe fate was rewarding me for everything he put me through? I don’t know what it was, but I felt very welcomed.
We chatted for hours, we took thousands of photos and recorded ourselves on video. I had a great time with them. Many told me that I was crazy, that I had gone to dinner with a family. I did it because I had the feeling that they were good people and so it was, I took one of the best experiences of the trip.
Indian food is delicious, although for me it has a flaw, which is too spicy. It does not matter if you tell them not to spice you, because they will put it the same.
If you neglect it stings to the water haha. Their lifestyle is vegetarianism and it is almost impossible to find some meat in the country. When you find it, the price difference is quite significant. The gastronomy of India is characterized by the multitude of spices that they use.
My Experience about Mumbai
After arriving in my country with my experience in India, I took stock of everything I lived through and got a million positive things. Returning to the comfort zone helped me sort through all the feelings experienced during that month. During my trip, I had bad times but I also experienced many good ones. Here, I met wonderful people and discovered an impressive culture.
I also made my first solo trip and therefore I have a special affection for this country.
I wanted to know more about India, I was curious again, so a year later, my little finger clicked to buy a flight to Bombay. Again I had the ticket purchased and I had no one to sign up for my adventure through South India and Sri Lanka. Finally, three days before the flight, a friend of mine from the faculty who lives in Cantabria signed up.
The arrival in Bombay made me remember my time in India a year ago, there I was again in the country of chaos.
We enjoyed a few days in Bombay and my slightly scared friend got used to it. It is not easy, I know, everyone has their time and she also needed it. Today he says that he has not yet returned to India, although he liked what he lived.
One thing that caught my attention and that I would never have imagined from the south is that it is a completely different India from the north. It is a more hippie India, more relaxed, used to living with tourists and seeing women “uncovered”, a more liberal and somewhat more open India. I was very surprised and for the better, I felt less tense.
Travel to Hampi
We toured the south of the country by public transport, something that was quite successful in this area. Unlike in the north, getting around in night buses (bus) or night trains is a good alternative, thus saving hotel night and daylight hours.
Although the negative aspect must also be said, it was many hours on public transport where people are crowded and driving is not good. The hours in night buses can be summed up to hours of movement without sleep and blows in bed.
One of the cities that the south hides are Hampi, its ruins and the good vibes of this place left us with our mouths open. Crossing the river and foolishly I bent my foot, I was three days with an ankle swollen, purple and almost unable to support it. You have to take into account these possible mishaps and have good health insurance.
Although I thought that India did not have good beaches, I found places with real charm and very beautiful beaches. We trekked in the area in search of coves and we found beautiful places that we could enjoy completely alone. The hippie roll was abundant in the area and there were many bars with music on the beach, perfect places to disconnect and feel the peace that India hides.
As I said a little bit above, South India is another India. Along the way we met wonderful people, we made friends from many places in the world and we got out of the dirt and pollution, to find places full of green and clean enough air to breathe, a breath of fresh air in South India. Who would say true?
My Experience about Ooty
Although it is hot in India, areas like Ooty made us have a bit of a bad time. During the day we could be in a short shirt, but when night came, the drop in temperatures was quite hard and we were poorly prepared.
Of course, the landscapes in this area are incredible and its people are very friendly and curious.
Here we live a surreal experience that I have never seen so heavy during my days in India. We were waiting for the bus to go to Cochin completely alone, there was no one around us.
When the bus arrived, people appeared running out of nowhere, and with the bus running, still not stopping, they began to climb through the windows, doors and roofs.
We ran away because a six-hour ride awaits us and if we couldn’t find a place we would have to stand up.
The entrance through the door was chaotic, we almost died crushed. We fight to get in between shoving, baggage, baggage, the smells of sweat and the screams of people.
The worst thing of all is that. This was the last bus that left. And we could not lose it.
Finally, and due to the climbing agility of the others, we went six hours on foot. Can you imagine a six-hour drive on the poorly maintained roads of India? it was awful.
One of the top places to visit in the south, Kerala
After visiting several cities where you can easily wear shorts, tight clothing, dresses or tank tops, something practically unthinkable in the north, we arrived at what I consider the top 10 in the south, Kerala.
Kerala is a green paradise in the heart of India. We live a fantastic experience aboard a ” Kettuvallam ” by the backwaters. Sailing at a slow pace, listening to the sound of birds, observing local life, enjoying the sunsets and its palm trees and rocking the swing of the boat, was one of the best experiences of the trip. Time had stopped and we were able to find the sentimental comfort we needed to continue our journey.
People are charming and adore tourists, they love to sit down to chat about their life experiences in a smiling way and no matter how bad they have been in the past. It is a pity that I missed the camera in Sri Lanka, it had wonderful photos of its people.
After a wond/ erful fifteen days my second trip to India was over and we set off to get to Sri Lanka (our route through Sri Lanka here ). But those who know me know that they will not stay here … We will see chaotic India again.
You can check more posts about traveling to India here.
I hope that my experience in India brings you a little closer to it and feel when reading it what I got to feel being there.