Travel tips

Published on June 2nd, 2014 | by Geckos Tales Team


The ultimate guide to India (part 1)

Read time: a bit over 3 minutes

Ryan Turner is the Geckos destination manager for India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. This means that he builds trips and itineraries in these regions and is something of an expert in all things subcontinent. This makes him an ideal candidate to ask a bunch of questions and get the full lowdown on tips and advice for travellers hoping to get to these parts of the world.

If you’re planning a trip to India, or thinking about planning a trip to India, listen up. Ryan knows his stuff.

What is it about India that makes it such an awesome destination for travellers?
There is literally nowhere else like India. Its got everything. Teeming cities, beautiful beaches, mountains, deserts, ruins and palaces, and the most friendly people and amazing food on earth. Each region is different to the next and every day is a proper adventure.

It’s a massive country and it could be tough for first-time travellers to know where to start with India. So, where do you recommend they start?
That’s a really hard question, India is quite daunting to start with but once you immerse yourself its fascinating. You sort of just have to go with India and when you do, it’s so rewarding. Speak to people, ask questions and get involved in everything that’s going on around you.

Having said that, my personal opinion is that Delhi is a little easier to navigate that Mumbai and the mountains north of Delhi around Rishikesh and Haridwar are a nice introduction to India. The south is also pretty relaxed, so maybe start in Kerala and spend some time in the backwaters

Backwaters of Kerala | Photo courtesy of Jo Kent, Flickr

Backwaters of Kerala | Photo courtesy of Jo Kent, Flickr

What’s your favourite part of India?
Another really hard question. I loved spending time on the beach in Gokarna, south of Goa. Karnataka is a beautiful state. It’s really relaxed, has great food and the Western Ghats mountain range is pretty spectacular. But Ladakh is my out and out favourite. Leh is the main town, it’s deep in the Himalaya. You fly into this moonscape that’s surrounded on all sides by high mountain ranges. The people there are mostly Tibetan Buddhists. It feels like a world away from the rest of India. Its also the place that my lovely wife agreed to marry me so its pretty special.

What about your best memory of travelling in India?
I tried my best as often as possible to get up before dawn and go for a walk. I think it’s the best time to watch India. The sun’s coming up, people are going about the morning rituals and everything feels fresh and clean. Its great to walk through a town or village as it wakes up, drink chai in the street with people on their way to work, grab some breakfast and feel like you’ve done something before most other travellers have gotten out of bed.

…and obviously that my wife agreed to marry me!

Another boat pic - the ganges at sunrise | Photo courtesy of Jon Rawlinson, Flickr

Another boat pic – the ganges at sunrise | Photo courtesy of Jon Rawlinson, Flickr

When you put your Geckos trips together, what kind of things do you take into consideration to make sure travellers get a REAL slice of India?
Firstly, we use fantastic local leaders, just having a tour leader who’s from the region you are travelling in makes all the difference. You learn so much from someone who is passionate about where they live and really wants to show it off. I really try and give our travellers a good balanced overview, so we don’t just tick off the main sites. I want to visit the Taj Mahal, but I also want to get our travellers into smaller villages and meet local people going about their daily life. We try and incorporate a good balance of immersive experiences with interesting local knowledge and seeing all the important sites as well as finding that great little restaurant and local bar.

Ready to roll? Check out our massively popular ‘There’s Nothing Sub About This Continent’ trip – the perfect itinerary for your Indian escapade.

Need more info? Stay tuned for part 2, coming next week!

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About the Author

We run awesome trips around the world. But when we're not on the road, we're sitting here and writing loads of travel-related insights, tips, information and advice. Geckos Tales is your go-to source for whenever you need to find something out about pretty much anything.

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