Too much in too little time? South to North in 2 months

#1 Jan 3rd, 2012, 22:30
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  • Squeezy is offline
#1
Hi everyone! First of all I'd like to wish you all a very happy new year and the very best for 2012!

It's a very exciting year ahead for me! I'm backpacking for the very first time! To say I was jumping with excitement would be a tad understatement of my overwhelming joy! I've already booked my flight for end of Feb flying to India as the starting point of a 7 month backpacking trip in Asia, starting in India and ending in China. I've allocated roughly 2 months for traveling around India and come up with a rough travel guide.

I might have been a little too optimistic in the itinerary, trying to cover the south and north but also not wanting to completely exhaust myself by constantly being on the road.

This is my is my rough guide. .

fly to Bangalore (i know B'lore doesn't have much to see for a backpacker, but i'll be visiting a friend, which will be our start point).
Bangalore to Kerala
Kerala to Goa
Goa to Mumbai
Mumbai to Udaipur
Udaipur to Jodhpur
Jodhpur to Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer back to Jodhpur
Jodhpur to Jaipur
Jaipur to Bundi
Bundi to Agra
Agra to Jhansi
Jhansi to Chhatarpur
Chhatarpur to Varasani
Varasani to Haridwar
Haridwar to Rishikesh
Rishikesh to Chandigarh
Chandigarh to Shimila
Shimila to Manikaran
Manikaran to Anandpur Sahib
Anandpur Sahib to Jalandhar
Jalandhar to Amritsar

any thoughts and advise would be appreciated..
#2 Jan 4th, 2012, 01:05
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#2
Over 20 destinations in 60 days, well it it is doable but will be rather hectic. Especially as you mention Kerala and Goa as one goal, these are not cities but states.

I assume that most travel will by train or bus. Trains you must plan careful and since you travel from end February you must start booking them.

To explore the railway system have a look at erail.in, by using GoogleChrome you can also see the availability of seats.
For booking the tickets the best site is cleartrip.
#3 Jan 4th, 2012, 03:05
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#3
As vonkla wrote, "it is doable" . . . (and now, the BIG "but" . . . ) BUT, with over 20 destinations in 60 days . . . a little math tells me that's one place every three days . . . meaning essentially you'll have one full day in each place . . . for me, a little too much, too fast, a little "too" . . . many of the places on your list have been on mine too, and for some of them, a full day is just not enough . . . for me, to book trains in advance is a little too structured . . . you may find you love some where, and then the next day have to leave . . . in short, I personally would slow down, enjoy the places you are.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure - Marianne Williamson
#4 Jan 4th, 2012, 22:42
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Hey darmabum,

Sounds wise - This is what I am planning to do - hang out and soak it up for around 4 weeks in rishikesh/himalayas inside & outside of ashrams (after a month in chennai). This will be my first time in India. As you talk about "structure" and such, do you find it difficult or more expensive to make short notice travel plans plane/train within india? I plan to book a flight within the next couple days & contemplating whether to book firm also to/from rishikesh as well, or leave it more 'open' to what the moment brings.
Any thoughts on this?

peace
#5 Jan 4th, 2012, 22:56
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#5
Thanks Darmabum & vonkla for your replies! It’s much appreciated. It’s good to know that it’s doable but as you say, Darmabum I don’t want to be trying to fit in too much and not have time to enjoy the beauty around me and I don’t want to have too much structure of having to book transport in advance. The guide is only a rough one to have some idea of the places I would like to go and how to get there before I leave with the understanding that some places just wont be possible and will probably be have to be strike off my list.. Goa is one of those which I’ve taken off list now. My 2 months is not set in stone and I have a few weeks extra to play with as well as catching flights for the longer journeys to safe time and enjoy more at location.

My main attraction wish list is Kerala, Rajasthan and the Himalayan and anything else will be a bonus..

No one can predict the weather, but would you happen to know if traveling to Rishikesh\ Shimila or the foots of the Himalayas in March is likely to be cold and if this is part of my trip that I should consider having towards the end of my itinerary for India when it’s more likely to be warmer? I’m planning to travel light for backpacking and having to pack warm jumpers and hats will just add extra weight.

Thanks again for your opinion! It’s been noted, valued and taken into consideration
:-)
#6 Jan 4th, 2012, 23:14
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#6
astralyogijj - First thing - I am a Hanger-outter . . . my last two trips to India (five so far, none less than four months) have been to Varanasi and Varanasi only, six months each time. Love the place, the people I've met, etc . . . I've found that I much prefer not having a structure to my plans. At times, such as on my last trip when I landed in Mumbai and wanted to rest up for two days before the 27 hour train ride to Varanasi, I did pay more for my train ticket because I bought it through the hotel I was staying in. I knew it would cost more if I had them arrange the ticket, had actually figured it into my budget. But, for me, the time to rest and be ready for my trip was well worth the extra money I spent on the ticket.

Buying train tickets on your own should be no more expensive than pre-buying them. Plus you then have the added flexibility of staying for however long (or short) you want in a place. I've never flown internally in India so I can't address that/if booking late is more expensive . . .

The only "down-side" to booking your own travel, is the time it takes. Especially considering that your time in places may be short, any time (no matter how long or short) spent arranging tickets, is time you won't have to be where you are. Tickets are certainly much more easily and quickly obtained now then when I first went to India ('82).

Another consideration is when you'll be traveling. Certain times of year are especially heavily traveled and tickets can be more challenging . . . but, all in all, like a snow skiier - keep your knees at shoulder width, slightly bent and keep your tips pointing downhill . . . you'll be fine.

Enjoy India, whatever you decide, enjoy it . . . a remarkable experience
#7 Jan 4th, 2012, 23:26
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squeezy - the only experiences I've had with the areas you're talking about was on my first trip in '82 - spent my last ten days in Rishikesh, in May (it was warming up nicely by then) and then in '92 when I went to Dharamsala for three weeks for Losar in February and March (lots of rain that year, and cold/humid). Saving the mountains til the end of the trip may provide some heat-relief for you as the plains start to heat up.

On my first trip to India I planned to "see it all" (ah, youth ) but soon realized that that was going to be impossible, so I started to fine-tune my own personal approach: I am an immersion traveler, do best when I can get to know a place (I'm a photographer/videographer/writer, so that approach serves me).

Sounds like you're pretty well lined-up as to your own personal approach . . . dollar for dollar, rupee for rupee, India has been the biggest bang for my travel buck . . . Embrace it. Awesome place. Peace
#8 Jan 6th, 2012, 01:27
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#8
Thanks darma,

will leave some time open to grace...

astral

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