Backpacking itinerary for India next year for 5-7 months, any suggestions appreciated

#1 Dec 17th, 2018, 17:08
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  • vekj48 is offline
#1
Planning to go to India next year from the end of February until around July/August before heading over to Pakistan for around 1-2 months then returning to India to maybe explore more before flying out. I have come up with the following "plan" that will chop and change as needed. I have solo travelled several times before and my style is to carry out as much research as possible on the places which I want to go to, but during the trip, am happy to improvise and do something completely different, especially as this is a long term trip. I will probably be leaving with around $10,000 AUD after flights, travel insurance, etc. and am keen to stick to a monthly budget of $1000 AUD if possible. I know that this will involve many long train journeys and less than lavish places to stay, but I am a backpacker and am happy to rough it out if needed.

I have come up with the following itinerary:

End of Feb until maybe ~mid March: Will fly into Mumbai and explore the city for several days before going to Pune as I am seeing a friend there and he has a car and we will travel together. Only thing that is certain is visiting Ellora and Ajanta Caves, but any other suggestions for things to do in Maharashtra will be appreciated.

~Mid March until end of April: Will take a train to Udaipur and check out Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle. After spending some time in Udaipur will visit Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bundi, Pushkar, Jaipur, Agra, Khajuraho, and Varanasi before ending in New Delhi. Will spend maybe 2-4 days in Delhi before going to Rishikesh, then Dharamsala for Yoga Teacher Training in May. I am aware that the Holi festival will take place during the 20-21st of March so would appreciate any suggestions for places in Rajasthan for this.

I am doing Yoga teacher training for the entirety of May in Dharamsala so that is the only thing that is fixed throughout the whole trip.

~Beginning of June until July/August: Upon completing YTT, I will be dedicating 1-2 months in the mountains. From Dharamsala I will head to Manali and spend some time there before going to Leh, and spending perhaps at least a month dedicated to trekking in that area. Not certain on the treks that I will do but am keen on Markha Valley and Stok Kangri so far. I am an experienced and fit trekker so will try and do as much as possible on my own without a guide to keep costs down. I have previously trekked in Nepal so am well aware of the risks of AMS and the need to acclimatise and ascend slowly.

July/August until September: Will at some point cross the Wagah border to Pakistan to spend 1-2 months there, depending on how my visa application goes.

September until October/November: Will go back to India and either fly out back home (only have a one-way ticket so far), or spend more time here depending on how much money is left/how much I can be bothered continuing to travel. Haven't really decided on what i will be doing but would love to check out the root bridges in Meghalaya, the Valley of Flowers (am aware that it is closed after September), and maybe the Northeast of the country in general. Would eventually like to work my way south and hang out in Hampi for a bit (I'm a climber so can spend time there bouldering), then go to maybe Goa, Gokarna, then further south to Mysuru, Kochi and Varkala.

Any suggestions/criticisms on the India part of the itinerary are welcome, like additional places, places to cut out etc. As a traveller, I enjoy just about everything, including historical sights, natural beauty, and cultural experiences. I am well aware of how hot it will become in Rajasthan in April but am prepared to deal with it. I am also aware of the monsoon which will last until September.

What I haven't figured out yet is the best way to obtain cash in India, for Australian citizens. I know that most travel cards only deal with the major currencies (USD, EUR, YEN, SGD etc.) so any suggestions here would be much appreciated. Thanks crew.
#2 Dec 17th, 2018, 20:20
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  • vonkla is offline
#2
I like the general idea of your trip, here are just some remarks.
-The maximum stay in India is 180 days, regardless the type of visa you have
-Nearly everywhere are ATM's where you can withdraw rupees
-Between Rajasthan and Varanasi visit in Madhya Pradesh places like Orchha, Mandu and Bhopal + surroundings. We also liked the not much visited area around Chanderi.

Have a nice trip
#3 Dec 18th, 2018, 14:31
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  • unclelach is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vekj48 View Post Planning to go to India next year from the end of February until around July/August before heading over to Pakistan for around 1-2 months then returning to India to maybe explore more before flying out.
vekj48, Welcome to IndiaMike . I have a few remarks about your intended trip.

VISA. You probably intend to apply for a tourist visa. These have usually been valid for six months from date of issue, NOT FROM DATE OF ARRIVAL. You will need to obtain your visa beforehand, preferably in your home country, which appears to be Australia. The procedure for applying includes answering a great many questions about other countries you may have visited in the previous 10? Years. India is particularly concerned about visitors having been in Pakistan and certain other nearby countries. India also wants to know if you have family connections with Pakistan etc.

If you wish to make a sidetrip to Pakistan or even Nepal it's important to supply an itinerary. You may be granted a multiple entry tourist visa. Nepal and Sri Lanka have been acceptable countries for a sidevisit but not, I think, Pakistan. You can only ask.

If your yoga training is a serious program you might be expected to apply for some sort of Student Visa. More complications.

MONEY. Cards issued by major Australian banks e.g. on the VISA/Plus system have been a reliable way of obtaining Indian currency from the ATM's of major Indian banks. An exception was during the demonetisation of late 2016.

ITINERARY. You would do well to read as much as you can manage of trip reports here in IndiaMike. Only you know what is likely to be of interest. Become well informed of seasonal weather conditions in places you plan to see. Also, check out the dates of major religious holidays which can impact transport possibilities.
I believe in taking an up to date guidebook e.g. Lonely Planet, that supplies answers to the dozens of questions you will have.

Keep returning with questions to IndiaMike. People are glad to offer pieces of advice. Not many will supply an exhaustive critique of your proposal.

GOOD LUCK
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