Travel Consultant, Charlotte went to India for the first time recently, she shares her thoughts and top tips with you…
Last month I was lucky enough to go on a three week trip to India, exploring both the north and the south. Although I’ve traveled elsewhere in Asia, this was my first trip to India and it was certainly different to anywhere I’d been before. It may sound cliché, but India really is such a colorful, vibrant and diverse country and, to some, it can be a little overwhelming. But it really needn’t be.
With India, it’s all about being prepared – prepared to see, taste and experience the new. So here’s my rundown on what first time travelers to India can expect…
The north and the south are completely different
The first thing I noticed about India is that each of its states are completely different. During my trip I visited Delhi, Uttar Pradesh (Agra), Rajasthan and Kerala, and was blown away by the stark difference between the north and south of the country.
The north is what many people envisage India to be like; busy bustling cities, lots of noise and vast, extravagant palaces. Whereas in southern Kerala, once you step off the plane, you are met with swaying palm trees, lush plantations and tropical backwaters.
It’s full on
A trip to India is always going to be full on – the streets are buzzing, drivers are forever honking their horns, and the strong smell of spices is always in the air; this is what makes India so exciting. However, after a long day of sightseeing amongst the hustle and bustle, those peaceful, luxury hotels are so much more desirable. And at many of our properties, expect to be treated like royalty.
Indian food in India is not like Indian food in England
One thing I’d recommend is trying as much of the local cuisine as possible. The food in India is really delicious and in most restaurants the spice level can be toned down to suit western palates. You’d also be amazed how different the food here is compared to the ‘Indian’ food back home. I learned that chicken tikka masala doesn’t actually exist in India and is instead a British hybrid. Who knew?!
Bring an extra suitcase
If you’re interested in homewares and textiles, then Rajasthan is for you. There are a number of warehouses that we can suggest and add into your itinerary where you can roam floor after floor of cushion covers, throws, saris, table runners, bedding and towels. The list really is endless. In terms of Kerala, this is where you should stock up on spices!
It’s easy to get around
By booking a trip to India with Scott Dunn, you will have a private driver throughout the duration of your trip who knows the roads like the back of his hand. All of our drivers speak English and are extremely knowledgeable on the local area. We’ve made sure that no part of your trip is left unaided – if you catch a train, you will even have a local member of staff escort you onto your carriage and to your seat.