Having toured around South East Asia fairly extensively over the last decade (Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Bali in Indonesia), I was looking to explore a bit farther afield, and India was looming in my sights as both a huge challenge and a potential epic adventure as well.
Epic it was indeed.. I spent more than three and a half months traveling the subcontinent, with more than 40 separate legs, over more than 12,000 kilometers, and I had just barely scratched the surface. More upon more upon more.. so typical of of India in general. So if you are looking to learn about how to travel around India, you could do a lot worse than reading along, and hopefully you will find it entertaining and informative as well.
It also clearly met my definition of an adventure, which is “When you are in the middle of an adventure, you are saying to yourself ‘how did I ever get myself into this situation’, but when the adventure is over and you reflect back upon it and think ‘wow, that actually was quite a bit of fun, I should do that again’…”. My idea of an adventure is NOT staying exclusively in luxury hotels and eating western food.
Using Thailand as the initial destination jump off point (Bangkok is a great regional hub jump off point for exploring the area), I planned my foray for exploring a few places on the “other side” of the Indian Ocean, namely India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. As is all too often the case, maximizing flight benefits and points often comes into play, and I am compelled to fly a certain number of miles every single year in order to keep my Gold status card with Star Alliance. (see my post on schemes to leverage your travel dollars through points, rewards, and loyalty programs). For that reason, I found myself on an initial three day trip to India, followed by a visit to Sri Lanka for about twelve days, a brief sojourn to the Maldives for 4 days, and then a deep dive into India for three and a half months.
So come along with me on this journey through India, or at least the record of my experience of it. From staying in palaces and forts and meeting Indian Princes and royalty that evidenced the grandeur and glory of the past, to staying in local hotels in the core of the inner cities and hob-nobbling with the poorest of classes – the once titled “untouchables”; from trudging through the most crowded cities in the country being assaulted by the cacophony of sounds, smells, colours wondering how it is possible this all can work, to soaking up the ambience of the tremendous number of wildlife reserves and nature areas, many of which are unique in the world, India is truly the experience of a lifetime!
Just follow the second link below to “Part One” in order move forward to the next blog entry.