It all began 3 years ago when I went on my First Big Asia Adventure. You should read my blog about that trip as well before you begin reading this one. Back then, I fell in love with Asia and I realized how much more there is to see on this fascinating continent. Ever since I have been planning another big trip around Asia to see more of this wonderful continent. So, I am about to embark on my Second Big Asia Adventure and I hope you will follow me on this trip. I quit my corporate job in style, I shipped all my stuff from New York to Europe and I ‘ve purchased a one-way ticket to New Delhi. Cousin Dora will accompany me to India in the first two weeks. I am not quite sure how long this trip will last, but I have many plans and ideas and I am excited to be on the road again. I did not do too much prep for the trip. I got 2 visas and 2 vaccines and the rest I will figure out on the way. I am pretty sure that this is gonna be one of the most memorable adventures of my life and I hope you will tag along for the ride. I will start the journey by exploring some of the best places to visit in India. India is easy to reach and there are many cheap flights to India from Europe. So, my second big Asia adventure will commence in this giant country that is as big as a continent itself. Read about how to get a sim card in India.
Read about visiting Loktak Lake in India.
Best Places to Visit in India
My cousin and I arrived in New Delhi in the middle of the night sans baggage. We flew with the Ukrainian Airline. The journey was OK, except that people were getting really wasted on the plane and they were loud sometimes. Once we got off, we realized that many of the bags were missing. We were sitting there at the airport at 2 am trying to fill the forms for the lost bags. At least we were sober, so it was not a big challenge for us, unlike it was for some others who got really wasted on the plane and could barely write down their own names on the form. We were tired but excited to be in this fascinating country. We went to bed and we were ready to explore all the tourist places in India the next morning.
We had a long list of tourist places in India that we wanted to see. We knew it was gonna be tough to pack everything into 2 weeks, but we were determined to see as much as we could. Next morning we heard much noise from outside, when I looked out the hotel window, I saw that everybody was painted with different colors and the people were painting each other with sprays. I soon found out at the reception that it was the day of some Spring Festival called Holi. Read more about this amazing festival by Emily Luxton in her Girl’s Guide to Holi.
This festival was lots of fun for the Indians because they got to paint each other pink and blue with sprays and paints. It was less fun for us given that we only had 1 dress for each and all the shops were closed, because of the holiday. I did venture out of the hotel to catch a cab so that we could go sightseeing and a local kid was running after me with his pink spray. I was screaming at him to stop. He only sprayed a little bit of pink on my arm. Luckily my only dress was untouched.
Read about Indian Street Food options by Sid the Wanderer.
By the afternoon, the locals calmed down so we could visit all the tourist sites in Delhi. There were many things to do in Delhi. We visited the Red Fort, the biggest Mosque in India, the India Gate, the Parliament and some more. My favorite was the Lotus Temple.
Delhi is a huge city with some pretty cool sites. The city has about 16 million inhabitants with lots of poor people. The place is super crowded. There are lots of men everywhere but one can barely see women anywhere.
We left the hotel at 6 am and hired a driver and a guide to take us to Jaipur. Jaipur was one of the main India tourist places. Jaipur was 5 hours away from Delhi. The trip was way too long and the traffic was bad too. The driver was driving like a maniac. I was praying in the backseat, I was so scared. Trucks were coming from every direction. All the cars were horning all the time. I couldn’t sleep in the car because of all the noise. The trip there was not as bad as the trip back. We got there at around 11 am. We went to see the Amber Fort, a beautiful, big pink palace on top of the mountain, which is one of the main India points of interest. Travel to India can be very rewarding, as there are many beautiful places to see.
We could see it from the distance as we approached the city. We walked around the fort it was truly beautiful. Everything was pink. I love pink! It is my favorite color! We even saw elephants and monkeys there.
Then, we visited the pink city. I felt like I was in heaven. It was so beautiful! Jaipur is apparently more than 1000 year old. Then we visited the water palace. There are many beautiful places in India, but Jaipur is certainly one of the most beautiful places.
After that our guide took us to the jewelry shop then to a clothing shop then another shop and he could not understand why we did not want to buy anything. I did not want to tell him that I did not really need any Indian hippy outfit. Nor did I need any cheap jewelry that I will never wear again. He got pretty annoyed with us and then he gave up. So we left Jaipur and the traffic was horrible on the way back to Delhi. Trucks were coming from every direction and the driver was driving like a maniac. He would just blow the horn and drive really fast. All the cars were driving like that so that was the norm there. I was scared. The driver was driving very close to other cars. It was one of the worst journeys of my life, I swear. I mean I have lived in NYC for 9 years and survived a couple of insane cab rides, but this was way worse than anything I had ever experienced. We got home at like 10 at night. We washed all our clothes in the sink by hands before going to bed, because we still did not have our luggage. After that, we went to an Internet Cafe to book our train ticket to Agra for the next day. We did not want to hire a driver again because the traffic was way too crazy.
We decided to take the first class train to Agra because we weren’t ready for another awful ride on the Indian highway with a local driver. So we took the Taj Express. The trip lasted for about 3 hours. It was nice and smooth. Exactly what I needed, after the ride the day before. When we arrived to Agra, we hired a taxi with a tour guide to take us around the city for the day. They took us to the Taj Mahal. This beautiful white temple is certainly one of the hottest places in India. It’s one of the seven modern wonders of the World. It is one of the most famous places in India, which should be visited by every tourist, who sets foot in this colorful country.
I loved the Taj Mahal. It was actually much more beautiful than I had imagined. It was a humongous white marble building. I fell in love with its elegance. There was another palace across from it. That was pretty as well. Afterwards, we went to see the Agra Fort. Every city in India has a big fort and they all pretty much look the same. Then our tour guide took us to the marble shop then the clothing shop then the jewelry shop. This guy also didn’t understand why we didn’t want to buy any useless stuff. At the meantime, my cousin was getting annoyed that these people think we are walking ATM machines and we would buy everything. It’s true, if I want to go shopping I will go to Paris and not India. It was sunny and hot and the last thing I wanted to do is going from one store to the next. When we got to the railway station, we were told that our train was at least 5 hours late. I was getting very frustrated. I didn’t want to sit in that railway station for another 5 hrs. So we decided to just get on the next train that was coming. Even the next train was about 2 hours late. So we stood on the platform for 2 hours until the train came. I saw all kinds of roaches on the platform. Homeless people were sleeping on the floor and mosquitoes were attacking us from every direction. Oh, and begging kids were asking me constantly for money and it was about 40C (100F) even at night. I was getting pretty annoyed with the situation, but there was not much I could do… Most places in India are overcrowded and dusty. So we finally got on the train and got home around midnight, when we realized that our luggage still had not arrived from Hungary. At that point, I felt like crying, but I just washed my clothes by hand again in the sink and went to bed instead. I was so glad to have seen one of the most famous tourist places in India.
I was so sleep deprived the next morning when I woke up. I was exhausted from all the travels in the prior days. Travel in India can be very tiring because the distances are far. We woke up and we were determined to finally get our luggage. First thing I did was calling the airline. The backpacks were at the airport, they were just about to be delivered. We told them to keep them at the airport because we were going there to pick them up as we were taking a flight to Amritsar anyway. Around noon we took a tuk-tuk to the airport to pick up the backpacks and checked into our flight to Amritsar. We picked up the backpacks and checked them in again. We took the plane to the Sikh center of India. The city is called Amritsar. It was one of the best places in India, we had seen. This is a place that all Sikh people visit once in a lifetime at least. Sikhs are the Indian guys with the big turban. I am sure you have seen them if you live in a big cosmopolitan city like NY or London. The beauty of India is that so many different people with different religions live in the same country. You can literally find people with all the religions in the World here. So the Sikhs were mostly tall people with big colorful turbans. I think many men were pretty good looking. Their most famous temple is the Golden Temple that we badly wanted to see, so we scheduled a day trip to Amritsar. The Golden Temple is a very beautiful temple made out of solid gold in the heart of Amritsar. It is one of the best places to visit in North India.
We had to cover our heads and check in our shoes to enter the temple. It was a very spiritual place. We loved the place. We were probably the only tourists there. The temple was surrounded by a pool of water. They called it the holy water and men were bathing in it. There was a mall where everyone was walking around and people would pray there. It was a very spiritual place. Amritsar was much more tourist-friendly than Delhi was. Nobody tried to scam us or take us to the jewelry store to sell stuff. People seemed very genuine. We had a very nice time there. This was one of the best things to do in India on our trip so far. At night we took a plane back to Delhi.
We took a flight in the middle of the night from Amritsar to Delhi, then another flight from Delhi to the town called Leh. Leh is a city in the Himalayas. It is one of the best holiday destinations in India for nature and mountain lovers. As soon as the plane landed we were surrounded by snowy mountains in every direction.
It was beautiful. We were up at about 4000 m high. (11,000 feet) so I was struggling with a constant headache because of the altitude sickness for the first few days. It was pretty cold up there as well. It was around 0 C (32F). So we arrived in our ski jackets, hiking boots, double pants, scarfs, and hats. I was feeling like an Eskimo again. We saw many tourist spots in India, but this was the one that blew my mind the most. The first day we slept all day then all night. Not only because we could barely breathe, because of the high altitude, but also because we were sleep deprived of running around in India. Our trip had been way too hectic. The Himalayas were the coolest place in India so far.
Next day we visited Shey and Thicksey monasteries not too far from Leh. These were Buddhist monasteries on the side of the mountains. They were one of the gorgeous places I have ever seen. They were very peaceful and we were surrounded by the snowy Himalayas everywhere we looked. The next day we ventured further out and we visited monasteries in Lamayuru and Alchi. They were beautiful as well. They were about 3 hours away from Leh and the journey there was rough. The driver was driving on the cliff of the mountains. There were no real roads, only dirt roads. There was always at least a 1000 feet drop below us. The roads were so narrow that two cars could not fit next to each other. We even had a flat tire on the way there. I was nervous, but at least the driver was very good. We spent the last day hanging out in Leh. We needed some rest because this trip had been pretty tiring. Leh was a very nice place. Buddhist, Tibetan people lived here. There were many monks too. It was a peaceful place. it wasn’t like Delhi. Everyone was very friendly to us. The food was Chinese, not Indian. We saw many fury cows in Leh. I liked those cows. They were so cute. Visiting the Himalayas was certainly one of the main India tourist attractions, that I can only recommend to everyone. These mountains are the most beautiful mountains in the World.
We flew from Delhi to South India. It took about 5 hrs to fly down here. India is huge! Kerala is one of the most important honeymoon places in India. So we were in our hotel with many couples on their honeymoon. We checked into the best hotel on Kovalam Beach. Kerala is one of the important tourist destinations in India. We stayed in a great room right in front of the sea and the swimming pool for a week. We spent much time hanging out on the balcony watching the fishermen fishing and the people bathing in the sea. It was beautiful. I spent the first four days being lazy. I slept a lot and read a lot and ate a lot. Then I got really bored so we decided to do something. One day we went on a boat tour thru the lagoons in the backwaters from Kollam to Alleppey. This was one of the best tourist places in India to visit.
The tour took 8 hours long. It was very scenic. We loved it. It was very relaxing.
Everything in Kerala is very green. I have never seen this many palm trees in my life before. The whole state is covered with concentrated green vegetation. We are in the middle of the jungle here. Kerala is named after coconut. Every food has coconut in it even the lentil soup is made with coconut. It is delicious! I love coconuts! Kerala is the only Communist, matriarchal state of India. Kerala is one of the main tourist attractions in India. It is a place that should be visited by everyone, who decides to visit this country.
I have never seen so many red flags and communist symbols as there were here. It was a little surreal.
We also went to see the elephants and the crocodiles of Neyyar Dam. When we got there, they were bathing the elephants. This was one of the top tourist places in India. These elephants were huge but so playful at the same time.
My cousin was helping them bathing the elephant. When they were done, they were feeding the elephants with big rice balls and after that, I went for a ride on the back of the elephant. agra taj mahal
Today is our last day here on the beach. We are taking it easy. Tomorrow we have a 5-hour flight to Delhi, then a 6-hour layover (we are going shopping to the bazaar in Delhi) then a 6 hours flight to Bangkok, then a two-hour layover then another 2-hour flight to Yangon. But I am very excited to visit Burma.
The above are some of the best destinations in India, however, there are many more sites to visit in this beautiful country.
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