It’s definitely fair to say that I am up there with the most disorganised people in the world. Luckily, Ollie is the complete opposite and so we actually have an action plan – otherwise I’d be strolling around India with a suitcase and a map of China, merrily giving away all of my belongings to any remotely sad-looking child.
So, thanks to Ollie, we have a basic plan for where we will be going. We have no idea if we will stick to this at all, as we won’t know how much we enjoy each place until we are actually there; or if we can deal with Dehli belly long enough to power through the journey. We think our money will last between 6-9 months, but we don’t know whether we will squeeze all of these amazing places into this time – or if we will find other places we want to visit along the way, and completely change the plan. Here is our plan of action, mainly for my own use as I forget where we are going half the time.
The first country we are visiting is India, where we have a 30 day visa. The North and South of India are so different, so we have a lot of travelling and different areas we have to fit into this time. India is also the most heavily planned section of our trip, because of the fact that this is one of the only places that we have a time frame to fit into.
The first stop on our Magical Mystery Tour is Goa. We will be flying from London Heathrow on the 6th of December, and this flight will have a little stopover in Mumbai. There’s a bit of a disaster in that there is basically no money in the ATMs in India after they’ve made changes to their currency, so we will scrabble around Mumbai Airport to get some cash before making our way down South.
In Goa, we have our first 2 nights booked in an incredible treehouse in Anjuna. This is a cute little beach town that is apparently a bit shabby but “grows on you”. I’ll take the time now to admit that I hadn’t seen that phrase until now, which is a bit of a worry. However, the beach is cute and it’s famous for markets, which can only mean one thing: my bag will be considerably heavier by the first day. Basically, my plan for Anjuna is to lie around in my treehouse palace starting off what is going to be a killer tan, and popping out for a cocktail every now and again. We will see how close to this vision it turns out to be…
From here, we are pooteling across to Hampi. This place looks absolutely incredible; it’s a World Heritage Sight and it’s completely packed with palaces (well, ruins) and temples. Obviously more importantly, we have just discovered that there is a Sloth Rescue Centre which will most definitely be towards the top of our agenda. Worryingly, I have also just found out that you’re warned not to pee outdoors incase you’re attacked by a tiger.
Next up, we are off to Kerala in the South of India. This is a place that I am so excited about. It seems like one of the calmer areas of India – a place where you float around in canal boats as opposed to dodging cows in the road in a tuktuk. It’s known as “God’s Own Country” and seems beautiful and peaceful, and more of an insight into a rural Indian village. Plus you can bathe elephants, which is adorable. (Obviously not in places where they’re mean to them or I’ll cry). It’s also really famous for spice plantations, so I am going to need to give my tastebuds some motivational chats so they’re prepared in time for this.
Next up is a ridiculously long bus journey, or preferably flight, to Mumbai. If I’m honest, this is the part of the trip I am most worried about. I’m a sensitive little soul and had to fast forward a lot of Slumdog Millionaire, so I know seeing a lot of suffering in the world’s biggest slum is going to be really hard for me. Safe to say I’m bracing myself for the culture shock (and tears) I’ll have to endure here. Other than a lot of poverty, this is going to be bustling and filled with colour, amazing foods and a lot of (sometimes rank) smells. We have discovered that you can go to certain areas where the makers of Bollywood films are keen to find British people to star in films/do dramatic voice overs. This has now become the aim of our entire trip, so watch this space. Coming to a cinema near you soon.
After Mumbai, we are off to the calmer Jaipur. This is a pretty little place known as “the pink city”, because the majority of the landmarks are made of pink stone (ironically, the building in the picture is gold). The basic deal is that there are a lot of impressive pink forts and palaces. I have limited knowledge on this so I’ll keep it short and sweet and get back to you when I’ve actually been.
Next up is a bus journey to one of India’s most famous places, the home to the Taj Mahal. The plan is to see this at sunrise, which will be beeeeautiful. We have seen a lot of things about fake tour guides and people stealing your shoes here, which is a bit of a worry as Ollie’s got some fresh crepes. On the other hand, I’m taking some battered old trainers so anyone willing to make the effort to nick them is welcome to them. Other than the Taj Mahal there are loads of other really amazing sights here, so it should be a lovely little stop.
The main thing we are excited to do in Delhi is getting matching suits made in the markets, so that we have any future fancy dress parties covered. There are lovely gardens to wander (or for me to look round while Ollie snoozes on the grass). As I’m sure you can tell, I have literally only researched the suit making so I have no further fun facts to share here.
We really ummed and aahed about whether to go to Varanasi. It’s where the famous body burning ceremonies take place, where loads of people gather by the side of the Ganges while religious ceremonies take place. We didn’t really know if we wanted to get involved with this but it seems incredible and is probably a side of India you should see, despite us only enduring the injections and long flights for the shoddily-made suits.
So, here is our plan of India; if you made it this far, I congratulate you! Tune in next time to see if we actually make to India or if I get stuck at Heathrow Security because I’ve accidentally picked up someone’s drug-filled suitcase as a kind gesture.
(www.varanasicity.com) (lonelyplanet.com/india/hampi) (www.newhealthfoundation.org (www.aeisec.com/delhi) (www.lonelyplanet.com/india/mumbai-bombay) (www.saavari.com/agra) (www.sujanluxury.com/raj-mahal)