mysore palace india

India: trip highlights and lowlights

Mysore PalaceAt the end of every trip, I like to do a highlights and lowlights summary. I have to say that India is up there with one of my favourite trips of all time (along with Vietnam, Italy, Greece and the former Yugoslavia). I would love to go back again, and take my time so that I can  really immerse myself in this crazy-amazing country. So without any further ado, here is my list:

Highlights

  • The Golden Temple and eating at the communal kitchen at Amritsar – the power of volunteering on a massive scale
  • My first authentic curry in Amritsar—it was a vegetable tikka masala and I still think it was the best curry of the trip and certainly the best curry of my entire life!
  • My first autorickshaw ride – it was hair-raising, but it felt great to be right in amongst it
  • The Pakistan-India border crossing ceremony – edgy and scary, then it was like being at an interactive theatre show
  • My first overnight train trip… the sleeper carriages are something to behold
  • The spice market in Old Delhi – a cacophony of crowds, colours and aromas
  • The Taj Mahal – it was simply breathtaking
  • Mahatma Gandhi’s house in Mumbai – humbling
  • Seeing an elephant up close and personal at a spice farm outside Goa – what a happy elephant she was
  • The photography exhibition outside my hotel room in Goa – a happy accident
  • Playing Uno with the two lovely, young men on a train – they were just delightful
  • The palace at Mysore – and I was pretty sick of palaces and forts by then 😉
  • The night markets at Mysore – lively, colourful and friendly
  • Seeing elephants and two Bengal tigers in Bandipur National Park – wow, just wow
  • Eating fresh naan and tandoori chicken straight from the tandoor oven in Bandipur – best. tandoori. chicken. and. naan. ever!
  • Sailing through the Kerala backwaters – this was such a relaxing way to spend the day
  • The Trident hotel and its lovely pool and restaurant and staff in Kochin – despite issues with the room key, the staff were lovely and helpful and the hotel itself was beautiful
  • Being greeted/escorted/helped to immigration at Kochin airport by the Cox & Kings representative – although on meeting me, he gave me his business card and asked me to help him find a job in Australia!

Lowlights:

  • Being bumped from my flight from Delhi to Amritsar, and then having to pay another transfer fee because the driver came to the airport twice – yes I was compensated 3000 rupees, but that’s not the point!
  • Being tricked into a tuk-tuk in Delhi while we were on our way to dinner – we were taken to a “government shopping mall”… I’m 99.9% sure there was some sort of kickback was involved
  • Being charged an outrageous price for vodka by the hotel I stayed in Delhi – $60 for three shots of vodka? Outrageous, and I wasn’t aware until I paid my bill
  • Getting scammed in Jaipur when buying alcohol – and it was completely unnecessary because I would have paid the extra 500 rupees!
  • Thin, watery, tasteless Dahl at a restaurant in Agra – but the rice was nice, and there was free wi-fi – swings and roundabouts
  • Two people with most unfortunate personalities on the tour – urgh. And they are the reason that I can never do another group tour – ever!
  • All the rubbish lying around in the streets practically everywhere went – due to corruption, I later found out
  • Being hassled ALL THE TIME by hawkers and vendors – actually, I was hassled considerably less than most of my group because I cultivated an expression that can best be described as bored indifference. Hawkers pretty much asked me once and then attacked more vulnerable prey 😉
  • Being unable to run – not for personal safety reasons, but because the basic infrastructure (footpaths, decent roads, gyms that worked) weren’t there to support it
  • Being stopped by security at Kochi airport as I was about to board just because my bag didn’t have a stamped security tag – ah, dude… I don’t know your security processes!

2 Comments

  • tots2travel September 14, 2015 at 5:01 am

    We had our honeymoon in India. Amazing place as there are so many ups and downs to it all.

    Reply
    • Diane Lee September 14, 2015 at 6:25 am

      That’s what I found too. It was a feast for the senses and never a dull moment. I would go back in s heart beat 🙂

      Reply

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