People say visiting India is not for every stomach and I think I have to agree with that. I probably would not recommend it to most people, but we are for sure coming back… just probably not to the Rajastan region. Do not take me wrong, Rajastan is all you would expect from India. It was just too tout-y or better to say tourism has drained some of the charm from it. You might still find women in amazing colorful saris, rich flavours of food, and the biggest contrast to say Europe or US; we were just hoping to feel the charm the way we experienced it in Tamil-Nadu and Kerala regions. We loved the south and will definitely return, at some point in our lives, after we explore some of the other beautiful regions of India (this country is HUGE).
Overall India was amazing and we had some of the best experiences on our travels. It is pretty, yet still dirty. It is polluted, yet still you find regions actively banning plastic bags. It is full of contradictions - apart from food. Food in India is amazing and has no contradictions whatsoever.
In India staying on the budget proved easy even with all the activities we incorporated in our visit. We did four game drives (safaris), two cooking classes, went to our first ever Kabaddi game, learned how to dance Bhangra for maybe our future career in Bolywood movies, and like everyone else tested our bodies at two yoga studios. On top of that we celebrated Tans birthday in a fancy restaurant, visited Taj Mahal, the Golden temple and few smaller attractions. As usual our itinerary was more filled with experiences and eating, than with the number of must see sights such as the thousands of temples. This is just the way we do it and love it.
In India we spent in total 56 days and needed to do our visa run to Nepal half way through, which made us pay visa costs twice as we used an E-visa type. Our accommodation was varied, from a very rustic fan room, to a nice hotel chains with AC (no it was not Taj group, but a more affordable probably 3-star range hotels). In the southern regions we used local non AC and AC buses with one overnight train, whilst in the northern regions we stuck to train travel in various price ranges (first class sleeper, to 5 hours-standing with no room to bend your knees and an elbow-in-your-back general seating). We ate out ALL THE FREAKIN' TIME as the food was so good we could not resist; we did so in local Dhaba places or restaurants, and tried few street snacks to keep us full in between meals. We were also constantly fed by our friends in Chandigarh, before they took us out for a night or two out at their favorite spots. It was a great way to discuss about their lives in India and ask questions about their culture. We are always very grateful for such insights.
Our estimated budget for India was 14.00 GBP per person per day as a mixed budget, which was also appropriate knowing that we did splurge at least during half of our India stay. We managed to be under that, so again the financial fairy is happy.
As you will see below, we included all the activities in the total. We thought that as we skipped temples and other usual activities on a traveler's to do list in India this cost should be included (as to replace the cost we might encounter for entrances). Overall safari and cooking classes were extremely affordable, and the Bollywood dance class cost could be a replacement for the yoga retreat that most travelers would sign themselves up for.
COST PER STAY
Sum per person including visa & Tan's Birthday present
Estimated total cost: 864.00 GBP
Actual cost: 840.49 GBP
Off budget: + 23.51 GBP
COST PER DAY (per person)
Time in India excluding Tan’s birthday present
Estimated per day: 14.00 GBP (+ visa of 26.00 GBP each) MIXED BUDGET
Actual cost: 13.71 GBP (includes visa cost) MIXED BUDGET
Excluded activities from cost
Birthday: 145.00 GBP