7 min. read

We had a lot of ‘fear’ and doubts before we went to India, as we’ve heard crazy stories. And before you go on in this itinerary, we have to warn you. India is not for the average traveller. We can best summarize it with the following quote:


India is not a vacation, it’s an experience.

Yentl Geldmeyer

Nevertheless, we’ve enjoyed every moment in this super diverse country. India has so much to offer: beaches, culture, nature, friendly (and less friendly) people, crazy traffic and delicious food!

There were only 2 things we really disliked after a while

  • Cows everywhere. Literally everywhere. Including the huge pies, they leave, everywhere on the streets.
  • People staring or asking for selfies. If you’re tall, have blond hair and/or blue eyes you’re going to be a real celebeity. Imagine being tall and blond with blue eyes… One of the first days in India we had a queue of people wanting selfies. Literally, a queue of more than a dozen Indians waiting for a selfie. 

Kochi / Cochin

Length of stay: 2 days
Where we stayed: Kevin’s Placid Homestay, a very lovely owner who showed us a bit around.
How we got there: Flight from Malé to Cochin airport, then a taxi from the airport to Fort Kochi.

What to do in Kochi Fort:

  • Visit Santa Cruz Basilica, Jawahar Park, Princess street, Vasco Da Gama Square, Chinese fishing nets, Mattancherry Palace, Jew Town, Jewish Synagogue and the spice market of Kochi Fort.
  • Boat cruise through Kerala waterways.
  • Watch music performance @ Kerala Kathakali Centre.

Where to eat in Kochi Fort:

  • Veggie dinner @ Grandma’s Kitchen
  • Roti @ Dal Roti

Resort @ Marari beach

Okay, these 2 days are not really part of our ‘budget’ trip through India. Why did we stay in such an amazing, beautiful (and expensive) resort? We got it as a wedding present from some of our colleagues. Many, many thanks if you guys read this!

Length of stay: 2 days
Where we stayed: A beach symphony, an amazing private resort next to the Marari beach
How we got there: The resort provided taxi service from our previous accommodation, this is the best way to get there since it’s hidden in a small fishers town.

What to do in Marari Beach:

  • Enjoy the pool at your resort
  • Stroll on the beach
  • Visit the city centre with a bike or tuk-tuk
  • Visit the harbour where they have a fish auction
  • Home coconut fibre factories where they make coco rugs

Where to eat in Marari Beach:

  • We ate in our resort since we had a private chef, the food was delicious! #sorrynotsorry

Bangalore / Bengaluru

Length of stay: 4 days
Where we stayed: The little blue window hostel. Hands down the best hostel we’ve ever stayed in. Not because of the quality or the price, but because of the owner. Roshan is a very friendly Indian who helped us a lot to make this 6 weeks India itinerary, he booked some bus tickets (without charging us anything) and we even went for drinks with him and his wife.
How we got there: Flight from Cochin to Bengaluru, from the airport you can take public transport (bus) to The little blue window hostel.

What to do in Bangalore / Bengaluru:

  • State office (Vidhana Soudha)
  • Cubbon Park
  • Government Museum
  • UB city (shopping center)
  • Bangalore Palace
  • National Gallery of Modern Art
  • Commercial Street
  • Ulsoor Lake
  • Chickpet flower market
  • Bangalore Fort
  • Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace
  • Lal Bagh Botanical Garden
  • Gandhi Bazaar
  • Shree Dodda Ganapathi Temple

Bengaluru is a big city where there is a lot to discover!

Where to eat in Bangalore / Bengaluru:

  • Food street: if you like typical Indian street food, this is the place to be.
  • They sell Belgian Waffles everywhere in Bengaluru, we had to try them!
  • Try the Malai Kofta in one of the restaurants close to the hostel, it’s delicious. Roshan will explain to you where it is 😉
  • The Biere club: international or Indian beers combined with good food. (a bit expensive though)
  • Arbor Brewing, great place for a night out, even on Sundays!

Hampi

Yentl’s favourite city in the last 3 months!

Length of stay: 3 days
Where we stayed: New Lakshmi Tourist home, basic homestay next to a goat farm! Very close to everything in Hampi.
How we got there: We took a bus from Bengaluru to Hospet and then a tuk-tuk to Hampi (14km)

What to do in Hampi:

  • Bike temple tour
  • Visit rice fields @ hippie lane
  • Visit waterfalls
  • Sunset from Matanga Hill
  • Scooter tour through hippie lane and the rice fields

Where to eat in Hampi:

  • Mango restaurant was our favourite, delicious and freshly made Indian food.
  • At hippie lane, you have a lot of restaurants with western food

Goa

Length of stay: 5 days
Where we stayed:

We stayed in the wrong parts of Goa as we really did not enjoy the city as much as others told us it was awesome for them.
How we got there: Nightbus from Hampi to Panaji Goa, local bus to Dona Paula and to Colva. It’s easy to travel around in Goa by bus.

What to do in Goa:

  • Enjoy the beaches
  • Dona Paula viewpoint

Where to eat in Goa:

  • Veggie restaurant: Malabar restaurant in Dona Paula
  • Coffee café day in Colva

Mumbai / Bombay

Length of stay: 3 days
Where we stayed: Horn Ok Please Hostel, really modern hostel, hidden in the busy streets from Mumbai.
How we got there: We took a flight from Goa to Mumbai, from the airport you can either take a local bus or a tuk-tuk to the hostel. Don’t forget to take a train at least once in Mumbai, just to experience it, you can easily take a train from Bandra station (close to the hostel) to the south of Mumbai (Churchgate Railway).

What to do in Mumbai / Bombay:

  • Visit Elephanta Caves
  • Explore South Mumbai: Gateway of India, Town Hall, Rajabai Clock Tower, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai University, Oval Maidan, Flora Fountain,…
  • Shopping @ Hill Road
  • Watch the sunset at Juhu Beach

Where to eat in Mumbai / Bombay:

  • Lunch @ Samrat Hotel, all you can eat thali! A bit more expensive but really delicious.
  • Veggie restaurant Elco
  • A night out @ Bar Exchange

Udaipur

Length of stay: 3 days
Where we stayed: Mewar Avenue
How we got there: We took a night train from Mumbai to Udaipur (16 hours), make sure you reserve your sleeper in time!

What to do in Udaipur:

  • Lake Pichola, you can take a boat trip if you want
  • Musical fountain, from here you can take the cable ride to the mountains
  • Walk through the Rose garden
  • Visit the Jagdish Temple
  • We enjoyed the Ganesh festivities when we were in Udaipur, just go in the streets and you will find them everywhere.
  • Visit the City Palace, it’s really beautiful, you can walk around for a few hours!
  • Just walk around in the city centre, there are beautiful buildings and ghats everywhere.

Where to eat in Udaipur:

  • Go to Café Edelweiss for some good coffee and delicious homemade cake! 😊

Jodhpur

Length of stay: 3 days
Where we stayed: Gopal guest house, we do not recommend this one.
How we got there: We took a bus from Udaipur to Jodhpur.

What to do in Jodhpur:

  • Visit Fort Mehrangarh, you get a free audio guide with your (expensive) entrance
  • Walk through the blue city, who is not that blue… When you see it from the Fort it looks amazing though.

Pushkar

Length of stay: 3 days
Where we stayed: Shankar Palace, a cosy and quiet guesthouse with a nice garden.
How we got there: We took a bus from Jodhpur to Ajmer, you get dropped off next to the highway so the best option is to order an Uber from there. Don’t take one of the taxis at the bus stop, they are overpriced.

What to do in Pushkar:

  • Walk around the town and enjoy the chill and hippie vibe.
  • Visit the holy Pushkar Lake, watch out for the tourist traps! (See picture below 😊) Go at night for the music and some local dancing.
  • Visit the Gurudwara Sahib, it’s a beautiful white temple.

Where to eat in Pushkar:

  • Funky Monkey Café for good Indian coffee and a healthy breakfast (= yoghurt, fruits, muesli).

Jaipur

Length of stay: 3 days
Where we stayed: Chalo Eco Hostel
How we got there: We took a bus from Pushkar to Jaipur.

What to do in Jaipur:

  • Jaipur is the pink city, you must visit the Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and the City Palace.
  • Go shopping in the Johari or Tripolia Bazar.
  • Visit an authentic textile company where everything is handmade.
  • Visit one of the beautiful forts like Ajmer Fort or Jaigarh Fort.

Delhi / New Delhi

Length of stay: 4 days
Where we stayed: Hide-in hostel, this is a good hostel in a great neighbourhood. It’s located close to one of the metro stops, and it is not in the typical backpackers’ neighbourhood.
How we got there: We took a local bus from Jaipur to Delhi, the worst bus ride ever!

What to do in Delhi:

  • Visit the Lotus Temple, Red Fort, Friday mosque, Lodhi garden, India Gate, Connaught place, Memorial park from Gandhi, Mausoleum from Safdarjung,…
  • Discover the beautiful Akshardham, it’s free and easy to reach with the Delhi metro.

Agra

Length of stay: 2 days
Where we stayed: Rhine In hostel, the owner was rude so don’t stay at this place! He was kinda begging for 10/10 reviews…
How we got there: We took a train from Delhi to Agra, which takes about 3 hours.

What to do in Agra:

  • Visit the Taj Mahal, of course! 😊 Try to go as early as possible, they open the gates just before the sunrise. Prepare to wake up early…
  • You can also go to Mehtab Bagh across the Yamuna River to see the Taj Mahal from another perspective.
  • Other things you can discover: Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Akbar’s Mausoleum, Baby Taj.

Varanasi / Benares

Length of stay: 5 days
Where we stayed: We stayed at Moustache hostel, they had dorms for couples!
How we got there: We took a night train from Agra to Varanasi.

What to do in Varanasi / Benares:

  • Go to one of the famous ghat’s to watch a body burning ceremony, be prepared for this one!
  • Do a boat tour on the Ganges with sunrise or sunset, this way you can see the city in a different perspective.
  • Walk through the small streets from Varanasi, experience how the local people live, eat, drink and celebrate.

Where to eat in Varanasi / Benares

  • Brown bread bakery, they have delicious bread, cheese and lasagna!
  • Open hand café (close to Mustache hostel) has delicious food. Make sure you try their wraps!

Kolkata

Length of stay: 1 day
Where we stayed: Backpackers park
How we got there: We took a night train from Varanasi to Kolkata.

What to do in Kolkata:

  • We were only here for one day before our tour to the Sundarbans, that’s why we didn’t see a lot from Kolkata unfortunately. But be sure to take one of the famous yellow cabs!

Sundarbans

Length of stay: 3 days
Where we stayed: Backpackers eco-village
How we got there: We booked a tour with Backpackers eco village. To get to their village we took a minivan, a speedboat, a tuk-tuk, another speedboat and another tuk-tuk! 😊

What to do in the Sundarbans:

  • Best thing to do is book a tour if you want to visit the Sundarbans, we were very happy with our 3 day tour.
  • We slept in a little cute bamboo hut in the eco village.
  • First day we walked through the village, did a mud fight and a night tour with a small boat.
  • Second and third day we did a boat tour through the Sundarbans from 6am until 6pm to visit the different watchtowers and spot animals, unfortunately we didn’t see a Bengal tiger.
  • The organization took care of the pickup and drop off in Kolkata center.
  • They also provided food 3 times a day which was delicious and a huge portion every time!
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