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  • Colin B.

Suggested India Itinerary

As we made the decision to travel India about a week before arriving in Delhi, we were

scrambling to plan out a basic itinerary of where to go, what to see, and how to do it. It is a

pretty overwhelming task - we spent many full days scouring through travel blogs, forums,

India's railway website, and the Lonely Planet book to figure out where in the sub-continent we

should visit.

India is a big place. In fact, it's massive. We only spent six weeks here and feel like we barely

touched the surface. We are very excited to return to India in the near future to see more of this

crazy, chaotic, and colourfully unique place.

Our itinerary is one of many ways you could tour India, and of course, your itinerary may change

based on how much time you have there. Regardless, we hope it helps you in your research of

travelling this amazing country.

Note: prices for rooms are per night for a double bed with private bathroom and fan.

Delhi

How long: 3 nights

Where we slept: Ajay Guest House (700 rupees)

How we got there: Flight from Istanbul via Dubai

Other notes: A friend recently described Delhi to me as "the armpit of the world". I would say

this is a fair description. There is not much going on here other than chaos and lots...I mean lots

of people. We originally planned on staying for only 1 night, but were stuck here as trains out of

Delhi were sold out (tip: if you are travelling within a month of Diwali - book trains in advanced!).

Despite this, Delhi is a good base to fly into and you can do a day trip to Agra to see the Taj

Mahal.

india itinerary

The streets of Pahar Ganj

backpacking india itinerary

Piles of garbage on the streets

sleeper class india train

Sleeper class (SC) trains for long or short distances

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan

How long: 3 nights

Where we slept: Roop Mahal Guest House (400 rupees)

How we got there: Train Delhi to Jaisalmer (18 hours)

Other notes: Jaisalmer was one of our favourite destinations in Rajasthan. The sandstone Old

Fort is stunning - and it is a lot of fun to attempt to navigate and inevitably get lost in the small

streets of the fort. The popular thing to do here is camel safaris to the Thar Desert - be

compassionate! Opt for a ride in a Jeep to the sand dunes instead of riding a camel. Save a

camel...ride a Jeep...?

jaisalmer india itinerary

View from a viewpoint inside the old city over the sandstone town

jaisalmer india itinerary

The most detailed buildings we have ever seen all hand carved into sandstone

Backpacking India Itinerary Vegan Travel

gigantic bats you can find inside the fort and surroundings

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The 'Great That Desert' sand dunes for sunset

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Colin posing with one of the many many many cows of India

Pushkar, Rajasthan

How long: 3 nights

Where we slept: Diamond Guest House (300 rupees)

How we got there: Train Jaisalmer to Ajmer (11 hours), public bus Ajmer to Pushkar (1 hour)

Other notes: Pushkar is a really relaxed place. It is a very small town, yet is a backpacker

favourite and is inevitably very touristy. It is worth a stop to rest from the hustle and bustle of

India. We found the markets and shopping here to be our favourite in all of India, and there are

also two vegan restaurants here (rare for India!). Though it may seem sleepy, there is lots to do

in Pushkar, such as hike up to a nearby temple or people-watch as Hindus bathe in the lake. Oh

- and accommodation is very cheap here.

budget backpacking pushkar where to stay

Our great value room with a balcony !

vegan food pushkar

super creative healthy vegan food at Honey and Spice

india itinerary

Holy Men near the Ghats- careful, not all of them have honest intentions with your donations

india travel itinerary

The holy Ghats of Pushkar

Savitri temple pushkar hike

Hiking up to Savitri Temple

Jaipur, Rajasthan

How long: 3 nights

Where we slept: Vinayak Guest House (450 rupees)

How we got there: Train Ajmer to Jaipur (2.5 hours)

Other notes: The Pink City was our least favourite city in India. Like Delhi, it is busy, hectic, and

the locals are not friendly...at all. We were actually quoted 1000 rupees ($20) for a tuk-tuk driver

to take us 5km! If we could do it again, we would probably only spend one full day in Jaipur.

Despite this, we had a great time hiring a tuk-tuk driver for the day to tour the Amber Fort and

Old City sights. A hike up to Monkey Temple is also a must do.

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Posing for a photo with a family who wanted pictures with us- a common occurance

india itinerary jaipur

Floating gardens at the Amber Palace

what to do in Jaipur india

Our fun Tuk-Tuk driver, equiped with speakers in the backseat and lots of dance moves

jaipur monkey temple

Walking around Jaipur is a bit like a zoo

Sawai Madhopur, Rajasthan

How long: 2 nights

Where we slept: Hotel Ranthambore Palace (450 rupees)

How we got there: Train Jaipur to Sawai Madhopur (2 hours)

Other notes: If there is one mistake we made planning India, it is deciding to come to Sawai

Madhopur. We stayed 2 nights, and it was 2 nights too many. Sawai Madhopur is the nearby

town to Ranthambore National Park. We did one safari tour of the park in hopes of seeing a

tiger, but only saw a bear and (many) antelope. We unfortunately found it underwhelming and

expensive. You may still want to test your luck to sight a tiger - and if so, don't spend more than

one day in Sawai Madhopur as there is quite literally nothing to do in this small town.

ranthambore national park bear

Our bear siteing at the very end of our safari

ranthambore national park bear

The most stressful ticket buying ever. Getting pushed and shoved, yelled at, and ignored.

ranthambore national park tiger safari

A fresh tiger footprint

Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

How long: 3 nights

Where we slept: Hotel Tourist Home (250 rupees)

How we got there: Train Sawai Madhopur to Haridwar (12 hours), public bus Haridwar to

Rishikesh (1 hour)

Other notes: We love Rishikesh. Touristy, but fun nonetheless - very relaxed and hippie vibe.

Great restaurants and it is exciting to immerse yourself with domestic tourists, backpackers, and

(hundreds of) macaques exploring Rishikesh's different areas. Of course, visiting an ashram for

some yoga is a must-do here. We wish we spent longer than three nights.

india itinerary rishikesh

serene settings and beautiful clean air

yoga rishikesh

Colin taking part in a yoga class at Vini Yoga, highly reccomended!

small cows rishikesh india itinerary

Why do all the cows in Rishikesh have such short legs?!?!?!

india itinerary rishikesh

A shakey walk across Lakshman Jula blowing in the wind

india itinerary rishikesh monkey selfie

But first... Let me take a selfie

Varanasi

How long: 5 nights

Where we slept: Ishan Guest House (350 rupees)

How we got there: Train Dehradun to Varanasi (19.5 hours)

Other notes: Varanasi swept us off our feet and made us feel extremely uncomfortable (in a

good way). If we thought the old city of Jaisalmer was tough to navigate, just wait until you get

to the narrow, winding streets of Varanasi. Tip: be careful of charging bulls running through

Varanasi's old town. A walk along the Ganges to explore the ghats is an incredible experience,

and it is very difficult to describe what it is like witnessing the Hindu rituals at the burning ghats.

We extended our stay to be here for Diwali but could have seen all the sights in much less time.

We enjoyed going into the University grounds and walking through the many parks and going for runs in the

quieter and cleaner setting.

india itinerary varanasi

The constant crazy traffic on the main roads in Varanasi

india itinerary varanasi

The smells can be overwhelming in the old city and smoke makes the air thick and hard to breath

india itinerary varanasi

An intimidating visitor to the Dosa Corner for lunch

Mumbai

How long: 2 nights

Where we slept: Airbnb apartment

How we got there: Train Varanasi to Mumbai (29 hours)

Other notes: We decided to stay two nights in Mumbai to break up the long train from Varanasi

to Goa. Mumbai is a great city - we found it much less crazy and a lot easier to travel than Delhi.

What to see in Mumbai

The stark contrast between high rises and blue tin roofed slums running like a river through the city

india backpacking itinerary

Our first visit to a proper supermarket in weeks, a nice break from two tiered pricing scams

Anjuna, Goa

How long: 3 nights

Where we slept: An extra room in a local's house (450 rupees)

How we got there: Train Mumbai to Thivim (10 hours), tuk-tuk Thivim to Anjuna (40 mins)

Other notes: Known for its all-night beach parties, we had an alternative experience in Anjuna. It

is relaxing, the flea market is a lot of fun, and the sunsets are gorgeous. There really is nothing

like watching the sunset on the beach with more cows than people around you. There isn't

much of a beach here, but maybe Anjuna is worth the quick stop.

Anjuna Flea Market India

The famous Anjuna flea market- a tad tacky but still lots of fun

Anjuna beach india itinerary

In love with the golden hue of Goa sands

Palolem, Goa

How long: 6 nights

Where we slept: Rosy Paradise Beach Bungalows (500 rupees)

How we got there: Train Thivim to Madgaon (2 hours), public bus Madgaon to Palolem (2 hours)

Other notes: It's hard to compare Palolem to the rest of India. We loved it here - we had a hut

right on the beach with a sea view for only $10 a night. The beach is stunning - very long and

lined with gorgeous palm trees leaning over. We originally planned on staying only three nights,

but extended our stay to six. We would go back in a heartbeat.

beach hut Palolem Goa India

Colin relaxing in our bungalow's hammock on the beach, our favourite view ever

Munnar, Kerala

How long: 1 night

Where we slept: Green View Holiday Inn (500 rupees)

How we got there: Train Madgaon to Aluva (13 hours), bus Aluva to Munnar (5 hours)

Other notes: As we extended our stay in Palolem, we had less time to explore Kerala. Munnar

was gorgeous - the drive from Aluva to here was stunning. We enjoyed doing a full day hike

through the tea plantations and even saw a wild elephant!

Munnar India Hike

The highest point of the hike overlooking rows and rows of tea fields

Munnar India Hike

hiding between the maze of tea plants !

munnar wild elephant sighting

Very rare and exciting elephant siting in the tea plants!

India Itinerary

Plenty of vegan fresh and cheap chocolate to buy in Munnar Town

Alleppey, Kerala

How long: 1 night

Where we slept: Prince Homestay (350 rupees)

How we got there: Bus Munnar to Kochi (5 hours), Bus Kochi to Alleppey (2 hours)

Other notes: Another short stop for us, but it seemed like enough. We could not afford to rent a

house boat to tour the backwaters, so we opted to do a ferry tour for two hours around the

backwaters. It was quite beautiful, though the amount of houseboats and the pollution they are

causing is concerning.

Allepey India Backwaters

The many house boats parked along the keralan backwaters

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Wonderful views of palm lined canals and local life

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Instead of an expensive house boat cruise we opted to sit at the top of a local taxi ferry for the same views!

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#1 Attraction on Trip Advisor, and its not even open to the public!

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The best meal in the world. No questions about it.

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Pumpkin and coconut soup, keralan rice, with chapati, three different coconut curries and a coconut crepe dessert.

#india #itinerary #planning

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