Published on June 9th, 2014 | by Geckos Tales Team
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO INDIA (PART 2)
The colours of India | Photo courtesy of Vinoth Chandar, Flickr
Last week, Ryan Turner (our in-house guru on all things India) shared a whole load of amazing information, facts and advice about India with us. This week, he pretty much does exactly the same thing. Want to know how to make Indian friends in an instant? Or perhaps you want to know the best time to visit and the best things to take with you? Does the Taj Mahal live up to the hype? Read on, then plan your trip. India’s waiting.
What’s your favourite food to eat in India?
I love a masala dosa, it’s a fermented rice batter pancake, generally served with a few fillings and different accompaniments. It’s a great breakfast snack and was a feature of my many early morning adventures. I live in Melbourne, Australia, near a restaurant called Dosa Hut, and their masala dosa has become a staple in our family. I also drink chai like its going out of fashion when I’m in India.
What’s the most surprising thing about the country?
That so many people speak English is an obvious one. It’s so easy to strike up a conversation with people in India. It’s a massive cliché, but if you’re Australian or English and know a few cricket players names, past and present you have Indian friends for life. I also really like that there are over 1600 native languages in India. It keeps things interesting.
If you had to recommend three essential items to pack for any Indian adventure – what would they be?
Definitely start with a silk sleep sheet. It gets cold in the mountains and good for when its warm. Then there’s ear plugs – dogs barking at night and sleeper trains can keep you awake. Good quality headphones are also essential – for me anyway. I love to watch India go by from the window of an Indian train with some great tunes in my ears.
When’s the best time to visit India?
October through to March is a great time to travel through India. October is the start of the tourist season, it’s post monsoon green in most of the country and there’s good weather in Rajasthan.
November to early March is great by the beach and in the north. The mountains are very cold, but also there are very few tourists. Ladakh is great from June to August.
Where’s Geckos most popular spot in India?
Rajasthan is our most popular destination and the best time to visit is Oct-Mar.
And what’s the deal with vaccinations and health risks? What in particular do travellers need to be wary of?
You just need to be aware of hygiene. Make sure you wash your hands a lot. Carry some anti-bacterial hand sanitiser gel. Drink only bottled water. Pack a well stocked first aid kit. Make sure you see a travel doctor pre-trip and read up on how to stay well. Delhi belly can be hard to avoid, but you can make your life easier for yourself by being prepared.
If you had to pick out three unmissable parts or sights of India, what would you pick?
The Taj Mahal is a must, it really lives up to the hype. If you can, wander down and see the sunrise from the river behind, saves you some money and you see all the different colours.
A sunrise boat on the Ganges in Varanasi is also pretty extraordinary. If that’s too early, sunset is a great time to go also. And Jaisalmer Fort in Rajasthan, it’s a pretty spectacular sight just rising out of the desert.
Essentials for an Indian travel medical kit?
The usual stuff – plasters, paracetamol, Immodium, hand sanitiser, suncream, more Immodium, Gastrolyte (or other re-hydration tablets), that kind of stuff.
The best person to check with is your local travel health doctor. Make sure you have all prescription medications well marked. Most medications you can purchase there.
Is it a relatively cheap destination for people to travel in?
It sure is! Food is cheap and delicious, souvenirs are numerous and you can find bargains everywhere. I collect Ganesh statues, and there’s always something to look out for.
Do you have any pointers for those planning on booking a trip to India in the near future?
Just do it. Find somewhere that interests you and work from there. Geckos have the country pretty well covered, ask lots of questions, check out for deals, book your flights and get out there.
Has this treasure trove of India info got you hungry to embark on an escapade of your own? Start making memories (and epic stories) by checking out our awesome itineraries in India.