Like most backpackers and independent travellers, we usually travel
with a guidebook to get some idea of what we are letting ourselves
in for, but over time have become extremely disillusioned with the
bland writing, long out of date information and inconsistent opinions
these guides usually offer. The air of neutrality and the number
of writers with opposing likes and dislikes prevents these "guidebook
gurus" from telling you when somewhere isn't worth the effort,
or leads you into some dhaba they claim is “the best food
in India” while ignoring the place round the corner that sells
the Chicken Kiev you’ve been craving for 3 months, just because
it doesn't fit their politically correct 70’s veggie world
The best recommendations and advice always come from people you
meet on the road, and in that spirit we’ve put this section
together to let others know of the places we liked - and the ones
we didn't, to offer a few basic facts and background to give you
a feel for the place and how to get there, plus the date the information
was current so you can gauge the accuracy. We have also added a
note on the size of the place where it is applicable.
While some listings are our impressions of well known backpackers
destinations, others are not found in the guidebooks or only rate
a bare mention. Many are places we have passed through while touring
by motorcycle, and may be rather inaccessible to those travelling
by train and bus - or may be only worthwhile as short breaks from
the heat and dust of the National Highways. In the same vein, some
places are less about arriving than getting there; the landscape,
villages and people that are only really accessible if you have
your own transport and would not be worth the effort of 3 days on
a local bus. To this end we’ve included a “whos it for?”
note to give an idea if its worth the effort.
There are many towns and villages in India that lack any obvious
sort of tourism pull, yet have an undefinable quality that makes
them worth visiting and watching the world go by for a few days.
It is often the fact that they are simply very "typical"
Indian towns gives them that edge that the pre-packaged experience
lacks. They are usually the places that you find while going from
A to B; Bhavnagar in Gujarat, Mandi in HP and Mahad in Maharastra
fit the bill. These towns and villages - and the people who live
there - are the heart and soul of modern India.
We’ve tried as far as we can to be honest in our assessments,
but will offer an opinion - good or bad - where we feel it is warranted.
At the end of the day, these are very much the impressions of two
people who know what they like, and you may have similar or different
tastes to us, so please bear that in mind when viewing the information
As a guide to the words “expensive” and “cheap”
when used to describe hotels or restaurants; we think 100 Rs is
cheap for a room, and 500 Rs is expensive; when in touristy areas
we will usually spend somewhere around 80 - 100 RS each on a meal,
in a major city, more. To put “great food” in context
Kirsten is a lover of spicy dhaba food, I wish India was littered
with cafes that sold a full (very non veg and chilli free) english
fry up of the "heart attack on a plate" variety. We tend
to agree somewhere around kebabs.