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Facts about India
Stuff to See and Do
What to See
If you choose to visit Goa on your next holiday, do try and make it to Fort Chapora. It is located in Vagator, North Goa and can be easily seen from Vagator beach. If you do not wish to spend on a tour guide (which i'm sure you wouldn't, if you are like me) do a little research (perhaps online) to learn about its history. On an average, it will take you at least to hours to see the entire sight. The scenery from the top is breath-taking and ideal for someone who would like to stop in their tracks for a moment just to capture the peacefulness around. The climb to the fort is a little steep but totally worth it!
What to Do
A bit of information that might affect your travel plans. A few days ago, the Indian Supreme Court handed down a ruling banning all safaris in India effective immediately. We are planning a trip to BR Hills in Karnataka and have decided to go anyway. Even with the ban, we will still have access to the main road that runs through the wildlife sanctuary, and there are lodging options inside the sanctuary so animal sightings are possible. Do some research before you go. It is possible the ban may be lifted during your travels.
What to Eat
If you're not careful, you might be forced to eat vegetarian for large chunks of your time in India. Holy cities are holy! This means you have to dress respectfully in public at all times, that no alcohol be served, and NO MEAT! Holy cities like Hampi and Pushkar will force you to be a vegetarian. Be careful.
Some tips on what to do if your transaction is declined. Check with your bank to make sure your credit (debit) card has been activated for international use. Enter names and addresses, including street designations, exactly as they have been recorded by your bank. Use as many credit cards as you have, including Visa, Verified by Visa, Mastercard, etc. It really is a game of chance. You may also try purchasing at different times of the day or the next day. If nothing works, write down your booking # and call Air Asia customer serv or take it to a local Air Asia office and make the payment in person. With a booking #, you'll still get the web promo rate as long as your attempted booking hasn't expired. Good luck! After about 9 declines, my transaction finally went through. On to Bangkok!
All stations have a cloak room for storing bags, which can be handy on travel days with long stopovers. Prices are extremely reasonable, roughly 10 rupees per bag per day.
Sleeper class is my preferred method for overnight travel because it is good value for the price. If you go with 2nd Class Sleeper, bring something--a rain poncho, sheet, or anything to keep your clothes and body off the sticky, filthy vinyl seats, which can get a bit grimy. You might also consider bringing something to cover your face as mice have been known to jump onto faces during the night. It IS so gross.
I absolutely LOVED these articles featured in Departure magazine's "India 2008" series.
My favorites are:
1. A Tale of Two Indias
2. Riding the Rails (so true!)
3. Modern Love
These are must reads for anyone backpacking in India. Enjoy!