Thursday, January 26, 2012

Destination: INCREDIBLE INDIA (Part 1)

My travel buddy woke up one morning and invited me to go on an adventure with her. She imagined us going to India on Valentine's Day because she wanted to see one of the greatest proof of love, THE TAJ MAHAL.

She also knew we were both hopeless romantic girls with an itch to see the world. Without a doubt I said YES! We began planning the entire trip a couple of months prior the journey. She undertook most of our 6 days Golden Triangle itinerary, while I asked friends specially Denise T. on where to go and how to go. The most valuable advice she imparted: "try to wear non-flashy and not-so-revealing clothes, when in crowd have a nonchalant expression and avoiding dozing off on train rides."

To my readers who are planning to go on a trip, there are a lot of ways to go: for a hassle-free trip, book from your favorite and trusted travel agency, you will pay a premium but everything is planned out. You will also be sure you can live and eat SAFELY. For those who are looking for a cheaper alternative then you have to book everything by yourselves. Also, book at your own risk. I'll tell you more about the risks later on. 

At that time, Philippines Airlines did not have a direct flight to India so we searched the internet on what would be the best and cheapest way to go. Choices were Thai Airways ( Manila - Bangkok - New Delhi ), if you want a more comfortable flight and willing to spend cash there was Singapore Airlines ( Manila - Singapore - New Delhi ), and the one we chose were the combination of Cebu Pacific Airways and AirAsia ( Manila - Malaysia - New Delhi ) because it was the cheapest fare we found in total.

As for the hotels, we searched, read rates, scrutinized write-ups and finally booked from the website www.agoda.com.
 
Let me show you a picture heavy post about two backpacker wannabes' travel to India. I'll put in as much details as I can remember about this trip!



When traveling to countries you've never been, always do a background research. I read the entire Wikipedia about India. Since it was said Indians are very religious, I packed more conservative clothing, mostly long sleeves. This was me boarding my flight to Kuala Lumpur, and no, I do NOT know who that guy was and why he was looking at me. The flight time was approximately 4 hours.


Upon arriving at Kuala Lumpur I waited for an hour before my flight to New Delhi. In doing two continuous flights with two different airlines, always be conscious of time. I necessitated a one hour leeway period before the next flight because I was anticipating flight delays or getting myself lost in the airport. Good thing none of those happened. AirAsia is a budget airline like Cebu Pacific so no meals will be served to you unless you purchase in advance, via online or order it inside the aircraft. The food was not really expensive and the flight time was approximately 5 hours. To my utmost astonishment, the female flight check-in attendant gave me a HOT SEAT, which has more leg room, free of charge.


Upon arriving at New Delhi, I took a cab from the airport and went to New Delhi Railway Station to catch my train ride going to Agra Cantt. So basically, I spent my entire day traveling to Agra, the first destination of our tour. 

India has a lot of different train companies and they travel on different times. Also, be aware there are nice trains and old ones. Since I got there around 10:30pm, the train departing that time was Tamil Nadu Express which was pretty old looking ( the wall has tiny roaches crawling so I suggest not to OFF the lights so you can see them if they are going towards you ). I booked the highest class which was AC1 First Class for about php800 ( please do not book below AC Executive Chair Class if you don't want to be squeezed with a number of local people ). To know more of what I am talking about just click this http://www.seat61.com/India.htm. You HAVE to book train tickets in advance via www.cleartrip.com because you cannot purchase tickets in the train station. 


The hotel we stayed at was Hotel Taj Resorts. We booked this because it was only 20 minutes walk away from the Taj Mahal and the write up was pretty good. But DANG! The room in actual was small and the bathroom was not good (clogged). I would not recommend this hotel, and this also explains why I said earlier to book at your own risk. We were walking with a lot of European backpackers, American families, Japanese students and Korean honeymooners towards Taj on this picture. I suggest you wake up early and go early so as it would not be too hot and too crowded when you tour the place. 

at the entrance of the vicinity
the main entrance of Taj Mahal

We hired one of the locals who offered his photo session package. Another tip before hiring someone is canvass for prices. Since there were a lot of them offering their services ALWAYS ask their fees and haggle with them. We paid INR1,200 or Php1,200 for a total of twenty-six 5r photographs from INR100 per picture.


You cannot take photographs inside and we were asked to wear socks. Upon entering we were surprised to see how small the area was. The huge marbles walls and flooring were taking up most of the space. Taj Mahal was built by the 5th Mugal Emperor Shah Jehan for his third and beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal when she died during giving birth to their 14th baby. ( wow! that's a lot of kids )

intricate marble carvings
rear view of Taj Mahal

Stay tuned for more incredible places you can find in India.

Have A Lovely Day!



4 comments:

  1. hey...actually u can buy train ticket at the railway station.. just proceed to the international tourist bureau at first floor above the main departure building...it's wayy cheaper than the cleartrip.com

    also..dont be afraid to take the sleeper class as u can see the REAL india from there ;) it's fun !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ohh cool! I was advised to have an advance booking from cleartrip so we would be sure we have a seat though.

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  2. These kind of post are always inspiring and I prefer to read quality content so I happy to find many good point here in the post, writing is simply great, thank you for the post

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much cheap hotels in singapore. ( hopefully you are a human and not a computer )

      Delete

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