India | A Whole New World Experience

Namaste blog! I'm alive and I'm fine. Sorry for not updating you since September. I've been lazy and busy honestly. I didn't even have time to plan my India trip efficiently. Anyway, it turned out amazing despite my unpreparedness.

After my South Korea trip, I'm actually thinking Japan or India for my next destination. Since I haven't got my new ITR yet (that would possibly cause my visa to be denied), then I chose to visit India first. As they say, India is not for the faint-hearted so might as well do this India trip while I'm still young, or rather while my body still can. =P

Taj Mahal is 4,646 kilometers away from Manila

Summary of my India Trip:

○ Philippine Airlines offers direct flight from Manila to New Delhi, but this costs P33,000. Obviously that's too expensive for me so I opted for another route. Air Asia offers cheap flights from Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, but these airlines will not land at New Delhi. India only allows India-based low cost airlines to use the newly built international airport at New Delhi. Fair enough. 

I have no doubts I wanted the Manila - Bangkok - New Delhi route, so I booked a Cebu Pacific's piso fare to Bangkok, for P4,000 (no baggage allowance).

For my Bangkok - New Delhi flight, I originally planned to take IndiGo airlines, one of India's newest low cost yet efficient airline, for the price of P12,000. Unfortunately, I tried all the cards I have but my bookings cannot be confirmed. To make the story short, I ended up booking a flight with Air India. The cost? P15,000 for a two-way ticket. Not bad specially meals are included and it was a comfortable flight. Could be cheaper only if we booked this months ahead or if only we chose to travel on a rainy season. Oh well, we experienced India with a very nice cold weather and this route is still way cheaper than a direct flight - P33,000 vs P19,000. 

a comfortable and morning flight from Bangkok - New Delhi flight via Air India

○ Indira Ghandi International Airport is amazing! While most people talk about India being dirty and chaotic, this airport stands as their pride. It's so clean and efficient. Yeah, I wish we could improve our main airport too.

Indira Ghandi International Airport (arrival area)
ang ganda!

Indira Ghandi International Airport (departure area)
mas maganda, in character pa!

○ So aside from I wanted to land at this fabulous airport, I chose New Delhi as my port of entry because of the Visa On Arrival service. I do not have time to prepare my itinerary, what more apply for a visa. This Visa On Arrival is so efficient compared to securing my visa in Manila.

Visa on Arrival is offered at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata airports only

○ Even getting out of the airport is efficient. They have bus, metro, and free transfer to domestic terminals. 

 Free Inter Terminal Transfers
just present your boarding pass

○ I tried to find a money changer here in Manila that sells Rupees. Unfortunately, none of the money changers I went to have this currency. So we bought USD instead and exchange them in India.

1000 rupees = 700 pesos

○ The Golden Triangle (New Delhi - Agra - Jaipur) is the usual route for tourists, but instead I planned something different. My route is New Delhi - Udaipur - Varanasi - Agra, so my point of entry which is New Delhi is perfectly located at the center of it.

If there's one place I really wanted to see in India, that's the Ganges River in Varanasi. For some reasons, Im not actually crazy to see the Taj Mahal.

 my route is New Delhi - Udaipur - Varanasi - Agra in 10 days
i would love to include Dharamsala, Amritsar, Khajuraho and Mumbai if I have more time

○ New Delhi to Udaipur via train would take 13 hours, so we chose to fly instead. Same thing we did for Varanasi which is also 13 hours if we did it by train. For domestic flights, we booked flights with Spice Jet, a low cost carrier. Don't believe the bad reviews, this airline is mostly on time.

 the airfare from New Delhi to Varanasi costs the same as a First Class train ticket

○ Varanasi is definitely the highlight of my trip. The experience is amazing and there's nothing like it. The holy river of Ganges is where the locals dump the cremated bodies, wash clothes, take a bath, pray, and everything else! Despite being polluted, all Hindu wish to die around this river in belief reaching heaven. If you want to experience the rich culture of India, go to Varanasi.

the burning ghat of Ganges River
saw at least 3 bodies being cremated that day

..and i cannot miss the chance of soaking my legs into this holy river
pinaghandaan ko yan, di ako nagpapedicure for 2 weeks para sure wala akong open wound! haha

○ Udaipur is a lovely city, far different beauty from Varanasi. This is my 2nd favorite spot, particularly the the Jain Temple in Ranakpur. The marble carvings are so great! This is much better than the interiors of Taj Mahal.

Khumbalgarh Fort, the 2nd longest fort after Great Wall of China
opcors, di namin yan inakayat. ang layo!

there are 144 carved pillars and amazing ceilings in the Jain Temple. carvings are made intrinsically

○ Indian Railways is so efficient. Tourists will have no problems traveling from the northern to the southern part of this country. Booking your train tickets is a pain though. Thank you Marx for letting me use your cleartrip account.

Lots of scams happen at the train stations. Basta wag lang maging tanga at uto-uto, and you will be fine.

First Class seats to Agra
meals are served

○ Agra is lucky to have the Taj Mahal in it. Hehe There's not much to see except this world famous landmark. Hehe kidding! But I must admit I got breathless the first time I saw this. Entrance fee for foreigners is 750 rupees. Local fee is 5. Some locals will ask to have a picture with you. To stop this, tell them you charge 10 rupees per photo. Haha

living in a postcard moment at the majestic Taj Mahal

○ New Delhi is the capital of India. Getting around is easy because of the metro rail. Fare is cheap! Don't worry about the number of people because trains arrive every 5 minutes or less.

 Delhi Metro route map

○  As expected, people here are more modern. Women go to offices. Anyway, being fed up with temples and forts, we decided to have a break and visit an entertainment area in Gurgaon called Kingdom of Dreams. Afterall, what's an India trip without experiencing a live Bollywood musical show?

the indoor streets of India at Culture Gully

 Kingdom of Dreams

So how much did I spend for this 12-day India trip? 
P30,000 for the airfare + train tickets.
P25,000 for the hotel, food, tour, and misc expenses in India.
P2,000 for the departure tax and terminal fee at NAIA.
P3,000 for the 2-day Bangkok shopping and lots of food! 

Total budget for this trip is around P60,000. Of course it depends on which hotel you will stay, and what food you will eat. Could be a lot cheaper too if you will take AirAsia and be sure to book a promo fare.

Is it okay to bring a luggage instead of a backpack?
Absolutely! I never felt that bringing this luggage is a hassle. Even locals carry a trolley on the train stations. Gumagana ang elevator at escalator sa kanila so walang hassle. Hehe So, if you prefer to carry a luggage, do so.

 no more big backpacks. just a handcarry luggage for this 12-day India trip.

What should female tourists wear in India?
Basically, the rule is that "you are a guest and you need to make the people around you comfortable". As long as you dress up decently (having your legs covered at all times), then you'll be fine. No need to wear extreme cover ups from head to toe. Hehe It's totally up to you. As for me, I had 2 long sleeves, 2 tshirts, 2 loose tops, 2 tank tops, and 2 jackets. Short or skirt is a big no. I haven't seen anyone who wears short, not even males. I brought scarfs with me but in reality, I was not required to wear them. I just use it as a sun shield. I cannot find a single store which sells umbrella! Actually, I didn't even see a person who uses an umbrella in India. Hindi uso. ^_^

And for the record, there is no dress code in Taj Mahal. 

what I actually wore in India
again, scarf is not exactly required. I only use it in Varanasi as a sun shield.

Realizations, Tips, Interesting Finds and More!

○ India is not for the faint-hearted. If you cannot control your fear, then India is not for you. Im a carefree person, but I admit I felt at risk when we walked down the alley towards the rail station at 10PM. To add, you will be dealing with men 95% of the time. In Udaipur, Varanasi, and Agra - women just stay home. Men are all around the markets, streets, ghats, restaurants, etc. If you go paranoid when these men talk to you, then I'm not sure how you can survive India.

there are 1.21 billion people in India and 655.8 million are males
and for the record, isa lang ang nakita kong bakla. hehe

○ It's absolutely unfair to generalize that India is an unsafe place. Yes there will be people who will try to scam you, but scams are everywhere in the world! Indians are actually harmless, they are not even violent. They drive recklessly but I haven't seen a road accident or even two drivers screaming or fighting with each other. Again, wag lang maging tanga and uto-uto, and you will be fine.

○ It's unfair to tag Indians as dishonest people. It's so heartwarming that the vendors actually gave back the excess money I paid them. Yes there would be abusive drivers but more people are genuine to help you without asking for anything in return.

○ Hindi mabaho sa India! This is a common false belief. Well it's time to educate yourselves and never say na mabaho sa India unless you have actually been there.

○ India is not as dirty as what other people say. Ang aarte ng mga nagsasabi neto. Imagine Manila, ganyan ang kalevel. There are places which are dirty, and there are places which are clean. Difference is - India has an impressive airport and efficient railway system. And oh, gumagana ang mga CCTV nila.

 wide and clean road in New Delhi

○ I cannot count how many times I've been warned not to use my camera. As a tip, bring a digicam so locals wont be bothered to see you in your big bulky camera. I ended up not taking any photos and just enjoy India with my own eyes. Afterall, India's most photographic people, scenes, and characters can never be captured thru my lens. It's so much different when you actually get there. India is "for your eyes" only.

India's most photographic scenes are not the landmarks but the interesting people on the streets

○ Women are not pampered in India. Don't ever think that males will give way to you in the train station or the elevator. To avoid being pushed, get out of their way. Well lucky us, women are pampered in Pinas!

○ Arranged marriages are so common that ladies are being advertised in the newspapers!

daughters are advertised in the newspapers

○ Mehndi or Henna is typically applied during special Hindu weddings and Hindu festivals like Karva Chauth, Vat Purnima, Diwali, Bhai Dooj and Teej. In Hindu festivals, many women have Henna applied to their hands and feet and sometimes on the back of their shoulders too, as men have it applied on their arms, legs, back, and chest.

nakikiuso lang ^_^

○ I love Indian food. We had countless orders of biryani, masala, curry, roti, naan and some more. But of course, I got tired of having the same taste after 9 days. By the way, milkshakes are the best! I had coffee milkshake, banana milkshake, vanilla milkshake and mango milkshake when I have the chance! These tasted excellent.

And for the record, hindi kami nagkasakit! Ang tibay ng resistensya namin! Haha!

home-cooked meals: cheese naan, biryani, eggplant something, and spinach something

"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home"  -  this stays true with India.

Only if you can ignore the faults and look at India in a different way, then you are ready for India. It's a totally fascinating country that you cannot even capture its character in your lens. All you need is to keep your eyes wide open + an open mind to have a whole new world experience. ★

Dhanyavad India!

46 responses:


First! Sana first hahaha comment .... Simple post pero and laman sobrang ganda ms chyng!!!! Standing ovation sabay slow clap! U survive india!

Photo Cache said...

I'm glad you didn't find the country dirty, because it is. At least what I've seen, but that's part of life. Acknowledging the obvious is not bad anyway, it's just the way it is.

The landmarks and temples are worth all the hassles, right?

Nicole said...

comment muna ako before ako magbasa! :D

Nicole said...

"I ended up not taking any photos" pa yan ha! Ang gaganda kaya ng picture mo. :)

P.S. Gusto ko pa rin magpunta sa India!! Basta hindi lang ako makikinig sa mga offers nila. Hihi

Jeng R. said...

waaaah i'm so jealous sa india trip mo Chyng! having regrets why i turned down your invitation 'cause it coincides with my SoKor trip :( but glad you're home in one piece :)
on to next adventure! ;)

adventurousfeet said...

yung tingnan ko lang yung pictures solve nako chyng hahaha! seriously gusto ko din mag india fan din kasi ko ng bollywood movies :)

mozilla said...

wow! nice blog ms. seems that you enjoy India very well...

by the way ms. chyng i don't think you'll be denied applying visa for long as complete ka sa doc, and you'll be fine...and to think you have travelled a lot...

ang simple naman ng train stations ng india...wait till you see the train stations in Japan...haha! spell hilo... lol


Mustachio said...

Wow, you have been to India! It's on my list of to-visit countries. How much did you spend for 9 (was it 9) days in India, not including the airfare?

Looking forward to reading more about your trip.

Kathleen said...

wow! just wow! all questions i have are answered in this post. nice photos chyng! :)

Elal Lasola said...

bilib na bilib na ako girl. todo basa ako ng updates sa fb before this post. kayo na ni marx umiindia :D

michymichymoo said...

My tummy still isn't quite friendly with Indian food, pero gusto ko talaga magpunta sa India. I've been watching Bollywood movies and I want to see those places in person. :)

edelweiza said...

I'm so inggit! I need to be inspired and determined enough to push for an India trip for myself and for my husband (package deal eh!) in the near future. Must start saving my online income na, no matter how little it is. Hehe.

Thanks for sharing your pleasant and pleasurable experience of India with us. :)

Anonymous said...

You are truly amazing Chyng! :) nice talaga ng blog mo truly informative and impressive. :)

Claire | Traveling Light said...

Very informative! Will use this as reference when my India trip finally happens. The ad for the groom made me laugh. Talagang common pala ang arranged marriages sa kanila.

Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...

panalo, isang bagsak lang talaga lahat! aabutin ako malang ng isang buwan sa ten-day india trip haha

blissfulguro said...

eto na to chyng?! as in eto na to?! haha. text nga kita... mag-usap nga tayo... hahaha

Mariane said...

Ang saya! Nainggit ako! Will definitely bookmark this para sa future India trip ko. Chos. Feel ko aabutin ako 1 month (or more)

Arnie Monacillo said...

Panalo ka talaga Ms. Chyng. Tama nga naman you don't need to tell against a person or a place if you haven't see nor being there. Ganda ng mga kuha mo. :)

rob said...

.. obviously, a great experience you had in india! if i get a chance to go back to that place, I WILL - for there is still too much to see. :)

mark julius Estur said...

such a nice post. some of my questions in mind were certainly answered. and no doubt i'll be going to india soon. thank you.

Lisa Marie | Pinay Travelista said...

Kainis ka Chyng! I love your take on India. I'm putting India back on my list dahil sa post mo na 'to! =D

Pondering Paodaolei said...

India is by far the most beautiful and diverse country I have ever been to. It's so colorful.

I am glad you loved India as much as I did. :-)


omg teh! Lovely post! :D Excited to read more about your india trip. ng mkapag prepare din nmn ako for india ko next year :D

Bee Chavez said...

Whoa! India. Lovely India.
I should go to India in this lifetime. Hehehe.
Another vonggang post from you.
You survived! Congrats.

Laagholic Buyog

Nicely said...

Wow! Nainggit naman ako, particularly dun sa pagsoak mo ng feet mo sa holy river. :) Sobrang priceless un!

Nicely said...

Wow! Nainggit naman ako, particularly dun sa pagsoak mo ng feet mo sa holy river. :) Sobrang priceless un!

JeffZ of said...

You really are a great story teller chyng.. saktong sakto ang timpla.. :)

Axl Powerhouse Production Inc. said...

Ang ganda ng framing mo sa taj mahal!
ang ganda ng airport nila maayos ha..
ilike the hena...

grabe para talaga nag byahe na ako sa pagbigay mo nga kumpletong mga detalye parang landmark ng ne25 ang dating.. thanks for that awesome info!!

Sky Summer said...

Bow Kami! It's so obvious that you really had a good time in India.

We'll visit India but not yet for now.

Gladys Serafines said...

I love the details Chyng... ang ganda ng shots... and gusto ko din makapunta sa Ganges River, how much ang lahat ng expense?

khantotantra said...

maygas, parang yung mga eksena na nakita ko sa amazing race.... india!!!

nice naman ng adventure.

at mas nakakakilig kung makakapunta ka na ng japans for your next travel! exciting

Anonymous said...

Very nice post Ms. Chyng. Tanong lang po, how much did you spend for the whole trip?

Cah said...

Nice... Galing mo Chyng... Hope to see more pictures of India... And hope next time you'll be planning our get together na.... Miss you Chyng... said...

India 10 days + BAngkok 2 days - around 68K. pwede itrim down yan sa 50K, basta murang airline at super budget hotels.

Lizzie Argulla said...

Your post made me want to go to India sooner! ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a long time reader, thought you stopped blogging; glad to know you're still into it... have enjoyed all your posts and learned a lot from them. Looking forward to more of your travel posts in the future :) said...

^ Hello!

Nice to hear this. =) Yaan mo sisikapin kong wag maging tamad sa pagblog. hehe Salamat!

abeng said...

Japan na nxt year! ^_^

kangkong said...

Thanks for this :) when my bf and i get married, this will be our honeymoon destination.

Traveling Morion said...

lupet! sori hindi ko ata kaya pag soak ng paa sa holy river na yan huhuhu :(

Anonymous said...

nice post chyng. btw, will u recommend bottled water brand that is safe to drink. saw some in other blogs that kahit bottled water siya, it is still unsafe for a pinoy tummy :)

Chyng said...

^ yes, ok ang bottled water sa India. =)

dorothy said...

Hi Chyng,

Can I ask for a detailed itinerary of your trip? I plan on going to India this December -- takot lang ako because of the news about rape and that they look down on women as second class citizen.

Chyng said...

hi Dorothy,

forgive at super lte tong reply ko. very detailed OT, hmm. wala ako nyan. hehe sa totoo lang Day1 lang talaga ko may concrete na plano.

pero as tip, dress properly, this means cover your legs and arms. do not overdo. afterall alam naman nilang di ka local. ano pa ba, do not make eye contact.

kaya nyo yan! =)

dorothy said...

Hi Chyng!

Thanks for the reply! :) Sorry sa question ko, ang demanding pala hehe. Did you guys get a tour guide or DIY lang kayo all throughout?

Maraming salamat ulit! :)

Chyng said...

hi! DIY all throughout. wala din naman kami kasi trusted na tao dun so might as well kami nalang. hehe

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