"Trains, Planes and Auto-Rickshaws {:-)~" Top 5 Page for this destination India by into-thin-air

India Travel Guide: 28,496 reviews and 78,625 photos

Hi and Welcome to my India page and thank you for visiting :-)
The following pages and tips are from my 2007 trip, Backpacking around India.
All my tips Genuine and intended to help future visitors to India plan there trip.
IF you have any questions and /or need help and information in planning your own trip then then please feel free to email me

I am often asked whether I use my own travel accessories when backpacking, the answer of course is Yes !! If you look closely at some of the photos you will see some of my products form Pro-Tector in use.

Please note that I have recorded All my tips in chronological order (the order that I did them as opposed to what I considered their order of merit / importance) – So I Hope that helps you find what you are looking for !!???

On this trip I went with two companions from companions2travel

We all met up ok at Heathrow and arrived in New Delhi safe and sound ! B.A. were initially as Bad as they always used to be but then came to the good at the last minute -- At first they said that it was going to be Impossible for us all to sit next to each other but then as Dee had had a word with the check-in in Edinburgh, they came up with an up-grade for us all -- So a good start for the trip !
We were met with a guy at New Delhi airport with my name on a board and we were transported to our accommodation at The Smyle Inn - and it turned out to be a Very Good choice !!
Our first day, we were all a bit tired but never-the-less set ourselves the task of sorting out the train tickets -- This turned into a Real epic ! We went to New Delhi train station but were informed that the advanced ticket booking office had now moved to Conought place - about a mile away ! so we hopped a Tuk Tuk and went there only to find a Rip off travel agents -- so back to the train station and were told that the Tuk Tuk driver had taken us to the wrong place - so back again to Conought place and another Rip off travel agents - So One more time back to the train station - this time we Ignored Everyone - Lots and Lots of people trying to divert us and guess what - we found the right place !!!!!!!! And got 11 of the India rail journies booked in one foul sweep ;-) and the lot for around £55
The 2nd day I over slept a bit and Dee had to knock me up - 10.30 ! Then a good breakfast provided by the hotel and included in the room price we went out sight seeing - India Gate, The National Museum, Purna Qila, Lakshmi Narayan Temple, Ghandi Museum and Lotus Temple to name a few.
Then packed up and an EARLY start the next morning and the train to Jaipur, Indian trains are Really Excellent and Virgin could learn a thing or two from them, Food included in the ticket price on some trains and Good too ;-) Better than what we got with B.A. on the flight out in fact :-) In Jaipur we found a good Hotel close to the railway station and booked up a city tour on a bus for the next day, then in the evening we went to a place about 20k outside the city for a cultural evening, More like Rahjastan’s Disney Land ;-) But an ok evening.
Then the next day was the full day city tour of Jaipur and the surrounding area, More Monghal palaces and forts but All Really Good, Laxinarain Temple, Hana Mantar, City Palace, Nahargarh Fort, Perched High above the city, Jaigarh Fort, Home to the world biggest canon ! or so they say ;-) then finishing up at the Amber fort.
Next day we were again up early and the train to Agra, it was scheduled to take 7 hours and did it in 4 !! again Virgin trains take note !!
We found a great place to stay in Agra !! Right next to the Taj Mahal, and Believe me – The Taj is All it’s cracked up to be an MORE !!

Then from there we went to see the Red Fort, Built by the same Moghul Emperor as the Red Fort in Delhi and quite similar in a lot of ways, But as we had only seen the one in Delhi for the sound and light show in the evening it was still a worthwhile trip.. Then after that we hired a Tuk Tuk and crossed the river to go and visit the "Baby Taj",This is a slightly older and much smaller version of the Taj and Maybe where they got the idea from !!??.
We also made our first Big Mistake, but All see the funny side now !! – We All thought that we were staying for three days in Agra so made our way to the train station on the evening of the third day, boarded the train to Varanasi that came in on the right platform and more or less on time, then made our way to our reserved bunks (Night Train) to find them occupied – so the guard checked our tickets and informed us "Right Train – Wrong Day" – Luckily there are several train stations at Agra, we had boarded at one called Igdha and after 10 minutes it stopped again at Agra Fort, So, a bit Red Faced we left the train and found another hotel, a bit closer to the station and spent the night there !!
None us of were sure what had happened – we all thought that we had booked train tickets to enable us to spend the three nights in Agra – and None of us had checked them !! So I Guess we were all equally at fault !!
But in some ways it turned out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise – We looked in the Lonely Planet to find something worth-while to do on our extra day and discovered a place called Fatehpur Sikri, 40k west of Agra and so ordered a taxi to take us there, an Awesome place, a ruined city built by Akbar, so we ended up enjoying the day !! and it had the largest gateway in Asia – or so we were told !!??
So, that night we again boarded the train, this time the right one and got into Varanasi at lunch time the next day. We found an ok Hotel here, Scindhia Guest House, The Big plus is that all our rooms overlook the Ganges.
Then in the evening we took a boat ride on the Ganges – another great trip – well apart from the Mosquitos !! In Fact we enjoyed it so much we got up Early the next morning at 5 for the Sun-Rise boat trip, alas not much of a sun rise but still a nice relaxing start to the day !!
Dee departed in Varanasi and that left the two of us for the rest of the trip, Nina and myself :-)
We left Varanasi and caught the train to Jabalpur, Here we had three days but didn’t stay in Jabalpur but at a small place called Bheraghat which is famous for “The Marble Gorge” A Really Good palce to go and wind down a bit after the crowds of the larger and more touristy cities, Beautiful relaxing place it was too – No traffic noise and the rush hour was when the monkies crossed the street – We were both well ready fro a rest after all the miles and all the cities in such a short time !!
Then after a quick halt in Mumbai we headed for Goa and a small place called Benaulin, Really Beautiful beach and low key, No mass tourism – Yet !!
We found a beach bungalow and splashed out – en-suite and even had a western style toilet ;- ) and only a few yards to the Arabian Sea ! – and all for just under £4 a night !!
Then from there back to Mumbai for three nights, , We had reserved a room at a hotel near Victoria Terminus but got in late, almost midnight but they had actually saved the room for us, So that was a bonus !!, The train journey up from Madagon was good and they somehow managed to cut the time it took to get down there by half !! so it only took 8 ½ hours to cover over 500k – a Real Express :- )
Mumbia is a Very Interesting City and reminded me a lot of London !! We also went out to Elephant Island, about an hour on a small boat from Mumbai, an Interesting island and the caves there reminded me a bit of Petra !!??

From Mumbai we went north by train to Ahmedabad, stayed there for three days and visited Sarkhej Rosa, Yet another Interesting site !!
From Ahmedabad we caught The Raj Dani Express to Delhi, had one night there, Back in the Smyly Inn, then caught the train to Kalka, That’s where the "Broad Gauge" railway ends and the narrow gauge "Toy Train" to Shimla starts. We over-nighted in Kalka and then caught the Early train up here to Shimla . The day we arrived it was Beautiful, Blue skies and sunny, If a bit chilly,Well it is over 7,000 feet up !!
The journey up here from Kalka was Awesome, only 60 miles but a height gain of about 6,000 feet and over a 100 tunnels !! In fact I can’t think of another rail journey that I have done that beets this one for scenery !!

Then the next day we woke up to rain and it rained all day, then at night there was a Huge storm, Thunder and Lightning, at one point I thought that the hotel roof was going to blow off, But it didn’t ;- ) and the next morning it was still raining, But then it turned to snow – and a real blizzard too !! But Luckily it didn’t block the road to Dharamsala, well actually McLeod Ganj which is just above Dharamsala and an old Hill Station where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile is.
It was Snowing when we left, and we were both pleased to "Escape" Shimla -- It was a 12 hour bus journey to Dharamsala and another 1/2 hour up to McLeod Gang.
We had a few problems finding a hotel -- I must have checked out 20 before finding one -- and that was a little more expensive than we have been paying -- 700r so about £8 !! But it was nice, has a balcony with Excellent views down the valley, en-suite with satellite TV too, So I guess not too Bad !!
We went through "Security" to obtain passes to go and listen to the first day of "The Teaching" By The Dalai Lama, and that was my Highlight of the Trip !! I Fell Really Privileged to have been able to hear His Holiness and feel that IF some of our world leaders also went to listen to him then The World would be a Much More Peaceful Place !!!!!!
Then when we left McLeod Ganj we caught a taxi down to Kangra to enable us to catch the train on the Kangra Valley Narrow Gauge Rail Line to Pathancot and from there catch a night train to Delhi, One night there and then Kathmandu for our last 4 nights of the trip !!
I will write up tips for Hotels, Restaurants, Places of Interest etc etc over the coming weeks but meanwhile IF you have any questions or feel that I can help you with planning an India Adventure then Please feel Free to Drop me a Line
Thank you for taking the time to read about My India Adventure !!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Beautiful Scenery, Seeing and hearing The Delai Lama, Taj Mahal at Sunrise.
  • Cons:Beggars, Dirt, Getting Good and Honest Information
  • In a nutshell:India is a Difficult country to travel through BUT the rewards are there for the Determined
  • Last visit to India: Mar 2007
  • Intro Updated Oct 27, 2009
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (127)

Comments (39)

  • easterntrekker's Profile Photo
    Feb 19, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    Very useful pages. I'll be returning often as I plan our next trip.

  • Jul 14, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Really good India page lot's of informmation Rob .Your tips are very helpful ,I'm hoping to go next year and will use many of your tips when I'm there .

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    May 14, 2010 at 4:43 AM

    One of the very good pages on India. I am sure my friend Lynne Hamman ( Sydney) has visited this page. If not, I shall suggest her to visit. Great job.

  • illumina's Profile Photo
    Jan 23, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    Great India page - I'm trying to write mine up and trying to sort out everything I want to say from the jumble of memories and impressions is quite tricky!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    Thanks for many great tips Rob! You saw many interesting places during your visit to India. I'm going there for the first time next year and I'm really looking forward to that.

  • shh_silence's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2009 at 9:04 AM

    great india page. preparing my trip to india and wrote so many tips you given

  • chevy51's Profile Photo
    Aug 19, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    Thanks for helping us plan our first trip to India and Nepal. You have been great to answer all my questions. Happy Trails!

  • Aug 18, 2009 at 4:53 AM

    Wanna visit one day, in my travel plans. The only problem is that India is very big and time to visit all the great destinations!

  • kaymac's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2009 at 4:45 AM

    hi rob going to india october reading your travel page i wish it was tomorrow but i have 10 weeks and counting

  • joiwatani's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2009 at 8:56 AM

    Hopefully to visit India again in the near future! I was here when I was young!

into-thin-air Visits Here Frequently!

into-thin-air

“The Best People you Meet, You Meet on the Road !!!”

Online Now

Male

Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 1 2 8
Forum Rank:
0 0 0 7 7

Badges & Stats in India

  • 127 Reviews
  • 435 Photos
  • 209 Forum posts
  • 50,896PageViews
  • 0 Cities

Have you been to India?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in India

Travel Interests

See All Travel Interests (4)