Backpacking India (weird?) itinerary
Replies: 19 - Last Post: Dec 12, 2012 7:05 AM Last Post By: Caped
Dec 11, 2012 9:11 AM
15If an itinerary - which is almost guaranteed not to be ideal for you - might be helpful, below is an itinerary which I helped some friends develop , which worked very well for them last year in January-March:
arrive Chennai (just after midnight of Day 1)
nights #2,3,4,5 Coonoor
bus/taxi to Coimbatore
nights #6,7,8,9 Kochi
nights #11,12 Goa (Benaulim)
nights #13,14 Mumbai
nights #15,16,17 Aurangabad
bus/taxi to Jalgaon via Ajanta
night #19 Agra
night #21 Khajuraho
nights #23,24,25 Udaipur
auto to/from Chittaugarh Fort
nights #26,27,28 Bundi
night #29 Kota
nights #30,31 Ranthambhore
nights #32,33 Bharatpur (Keoladeo Ghana)
nights #35,36,37 Jaisalmer
nights #39,40 Jodhpur
nights #42,43,44 Amritsar
nights #45,46 Delhi
depart just after midnight day #48
A couple of notes.
Grahamapoole's advice about Chennai is good for ~95% of travelers - but not so much for these folks, because
- they had to use Lufthansa (the reasons why are not worth going into here) and Lufthansa didn't fly to Trivandrum, Kochi, or Goa
- they wanted to take the Nilgiri Mountain Railroad, and the only train with an absolutely seamless connection with it is the Nilgiri Express out of Chennai
- they were coming from the USA west coast - and it doesn't much matter where you spend the first day in India because you are completely out-of-it due to the ~11 hour time difference; I knew a good hotel in Chennai convenient to the train stations with a complimentary breakfast and next to a Saravana Bhavan, so they didn't need to make any but the most minimal decisions while totally addled.
We omitted several places many people consider worth visiting (e,g., Hampi, Varanasi) but which would have been clumsy to get to, because we decided that they would not be of sufficient interest to be worth the additional trouble for these particular people.
As for the north Indian plains in January ... it depends on what you call cold. Compared to Copenhagen or Seattle, not cold. Compared to Goa, can be cold. Some days are pleasant, highs around 20-22C, lows around 10C. Other days are rather chilly (high temperature ~12-15C) and foggy (which can wreak havoc with airline, and even train, schedules). Fog and chill conditions become much less frequent as February progresses. This is the main reason why, if doing a longish south-and-north trip in January-March, it's best to start south and work north.
Edited by: fdbaz
Dec 11, 2012 9:39 AM
16I'd certainly endorse fdb's view that one should start in the South and travel Nortwards at the beginning of the year.
If the OP is travelling from Europe, an openjaw ticket thru the Gulf is certainly advisable - all the Gulf airlines do it as transporting Indian guestworkers to and fro is big business. This obviously maximises one's valuable time.
5 weeks sounds a lot but it is certainly not excessive, can you plan it so that you stay the whole time travelling towards Delhi and then leave the further North and Nepal to a later date and also later in the year?
One can normally plan for 3 days per location, so 5 weeks = 12 places, max.
Dec 11, 2012 10:00 AM
17We thought that we would start in Goa or Mumbai and then work our way up - Udaipur/Jaipur/(New Delhi?)/Agra/Ranthambore/Varanasi - but Delhi is kinda away from our route, or it seems at least a bit challenging to combinate these places in a practical manner..
We thought about crossing the border after visiting Varanasi, the border Raxaul - Birgunj, and thereafter heading for Kathmandu..
I'm just not sure about that itinerary xD Seems very overwhelming because I know nothing of transport/train routes and so on. (Of course that's just one of the other things we must search for..) There is just so much :) Good to have time enough, at least!
Dec 11, 2012 6:36 PM
18You see, that's where a guide book can be useful, Caped. The LP guide, and similar backpacker-oriented guides, will tell you how to get to/from a place. It will list easily accessible places by bus & train (as well as plane) and give approximate journey times and fares. Very useful for planning. Get a good size map, too, to help you get everything in perspective (the Nelles series is very good).
Dec 12, 2012 7:05 AM
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