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Our 10 Favourite Things To Do in India
Our 10 Favourite Things To Do in India

We believe India should be on everyone’s travel bucket list all the way on top. Not just because of our exotic culture and diverse landscapes. Also because there are so many things to do in India that you won’t be able to do anywhere else in the world. From staying at old elaborately crafted palaces to enjoying the views over snow-peaked mountains. We made a list of our Team’s and guests top favourite things to do in India:

1. The Taj Mahal in Agra

Yes, we know, it’s quite an obvious one. You might say it’s overrated. Due to an extensive renovation process going on and parts of it being covered in scaffolding you might also say it lost its magical touch. No it did not! The Taj Mahal is one of the most fascinating and most stunning monuments in the world. It doesn’t have world wonder status for no reason! See for yourself and then judge. Check out our route suggestions for Delhi, Agra and Rajasthan for more things to do in India along with a visit to the Taj Mahal.

2. Tiger Safari at a National Park

India has some magnificent national parks with great flora and fauna to experience. But the main purpose travellers visit these parks is to see the great Bengal tiger. The good news: its population is slowly growing again in the subcontinent’s protected areas. One of the most popular parks due to its proximity to Agra and Jaipur is the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Other good parks to spot the royal cat are Kanha, Pench, Bandhavgarh, Tadoba or Jim Corbett National Park. So to feel like Mowgli in ‘The Jungle Book’ (supposedly set at Pench National Park) head to these remote natural spots and bring along some good luck! But be prepared that accommodations in the protected areas are expensive. To get there you will mostly have to book private transport as public transport options would not exist. Also very often the Jeep Safaris are booked out three months in advance!

Tiger Safari Amongst the best things to do in India: a tiger safari at a National Park

3. Outdoor activities in the mountains

Oh the Himalayas! One of the largest mountainous area in the world with the highest mountains in the world. Here you experience views which make you feel so small and irrelevant like you would have never imaged before. There are so many things to do: day and multi-day hikes, paragliding, bungee jumping, zip lining, rafting, skiing and so on. Check out Coralie’s trip to Leh and Ladakh in the Himalayas and Joanna’s and Alejandro’s trip to the north-eastern mountains.

If you come in winter check out Western Ghats along the west coast from Maharashtra to Kerala. Here you can hike in between tea- and coffee plantations, find hidden waterfalls and enjoy the subtropical rain forests older than any monument you can find in India. And it’s pleasantly warm in winter. That’s what Daphne did on her 14-days-trip across South India. Who thought India is just old stones and urban chaos, think again!

4. Houseboat in the Backwaters of Kerala

The Backwaters in the centre of Kerala in South-West-India are a paradise of water lilies covered lakes and small winding canals overgrown by palm and fruit trees and little villages far from urban chaos. Being a labyrinth of 900km waterways parallel to the coast of the Arabian sea this place offers serenity and peace for the nature loving traveller. And what better way to explore this piece of a natural world wonder by renting a private houseboat for one night. You can cruise through the landscape while eating fresh fish and fruits and other delicacies cooked by your very own cook and hanging out in your private lounge in the front. The best treat of your India trip! Read about the best time to travel to Kerala and a night on a houseboat and see Tom and Amy’s trip to South India for some inspiration.

5. Beaches of Goa

From one to another relaxing treat. If you are looking for a little bit of beach vacation at the end or beginning of your trip there is no better place in India than Goa. Wide sand beaches with palm groves leading to small village huts serving delicious fish and other culinarian treats. Most resorts have beach huts from which you can hear the waves break or watch the sun set over the Arabic sea.

There are many things to do for everyone:  There is crazy nightlife for party animals and quiet beaches for sun worshippers. Goa has fun hostels for long-term travellers with small budgets and luxury resorts for the comfort guest. There are many restaurants and cafes with international cuisines. But be aware that most resorts are booked out for December and January months in advance as that is main season! If you are interested in more things to do in Goa than sunbathing at the beach, read this article by one of our travellers about things to do in Goa.

 

Goa_Reiseziele Indien There are many things to do in Goa but most people come to relax at the beaches.

6. Homestays of local families

What are travellers hoping to experience when they decide to come to India? A culture that is so substantially different from their own. How can they achieve that? By meeting locals and getting to know their mentality, traditions, spiritual beliefs and just simply their daily routines. There is no better way to make this experience part of your trip to India than by staying at homestays.

These are basically homes of local families who rent out a room or more at their own houses. They cook for you, they chat with you, they tell their stories and show you how they live their life. Also the owners can give you a perspective on the city from the eyes of a local, not a chain hotel. They suggest you definitely the best things to do in every city. Our guest Henning from Germany decided to stay entirely in Homestays during his trip though Rajasthan.

7. Stay at a 500-year-old palace

All over Rajasthan and central and north India you can find historical sights of long gone glory days of the Moguls and Maharajas. Many bigger cities but even small rural villages were once the seats of different ruling families. They protected their own from neighbouring enemies by building large forts with amazingly crafted palaces inside. Many of these strongholds were transformed into luxury hotels over the last decades since India became a democracy and the royal families lost their powers. So you can stay in hotel rooms with very detailed traditional wall murals and antique furniture, looking over royal land like the kings and queens did already many centuries ago. And that is not always as expensive as you might think! Plan with us and we can tell you where you can stay like a royal guest on a small budget.

Deogarh Deogarh Mahal is a former royal palace transformed into a hotel.

8. Festivals

India has incredible spiritual festivals. There is Holi, the festival of colours, where everyone plays with dry colours and water and can feel like a child again. Or the festival of light called Diwali which is the most important festivals for Hindus and considered their new years’ celebration. Ramadan is the one month long fast of Muslims that comes along with great delicious feasts at the rise of the moon for 30 days and the big Eid celebration at the end is another great. In Mumbai people celebrate Ganesh Charturthi, the holiday that marks the birthday of the beloved god with the elephant head, extensively. There are so many festivals and they are all so different to what we celebrate at home abroad. Learn more about the most important festivals here.

9. Spiritual and rejuvenating experience

Yoga and Ayurveda originated in India and are practised all over the country. Traditional Indian medicine and treatments are all about using the healing powers of nature and from within our body and mind. For everyone who can stay a little longer in India to find peace and spiritual and physical healing there are many ashrams and Ayurveda institutes. Mostly, as a travel agent, we can’t book most places for you but we can advise what places fit your needs and how to get in touch with them. If you still want to travel for adventure and sightseeing but also practise yoga from time to time, you can stay at certain hotels and resorts where they offer yoga classes as a one-time activity. In most cities  private teachers also offer yoga classes on regular basis.

Yoga India Viele Reisende in Indien kommen um Yoga zu praktizieren.

10. Responsible Tourism Activities

India has many Responsible Tourism activities that make you understand the culture in a sensible way. Reality Tours & Travel runs slum tours in Mumbai and Delhi that aim to break down the negative stereotypes people might have of such communities. They invest 80% of their profits into social activities in the slums. While you are in Agra check out the wonderful Sheroes Hangout Café which is run by survivors of acid attacks. The proceeds go fully to their medical and legal aid. Kabani runs responsible tours in Kerala which educate the visitors about the traditions of local ethnic groups. You can combine those tours with an individual trip across South India.

Of course there are many more things to do in India and they are all so different from each other. We can suggest many more activities that fit your expectations of a perfect trip to India. Plan your India trip with us now and we can find together the best route and itinerary for you.


Weather in India in July
Weather in India in July

AN OVERVIEW OF JULY WEATHER IN INDIA

In July half of the year has passed and India has seen all possible climates already: from snow to heat to rain, from dryness to humidity and from cold and hot temperatures. By end of June the monsoon covers the most of the country with a thick and wet blanket of clouds and weather in India can be called nothing else but wet. From Kerala in the south to the Himalayas in the north, from Rajasthan in the west to Sikkim and Darjeeling in the east, it rains regularly and heavy in all regions. Find out more about the effects of the rain season and how it can impact your travels in this blog.

farmers_india Agriculture picks up in July as the necessary water is flowing. Fun to observe the busy farmers.

Most locals will be still quite happy with the weather as the hot summer months are finally over and the rains provide a cooler and fresher air to breathe. Temperatures drop between 5 and 10 °C on a monthly average. Rivers, waterfalls and lakes fill up and therefore the agricultural industry becomes busy. It is a great time for farmers but also for trekking and tropical nature enthusiasts.

SOUTH INDIA IN JULY

Kerala faces slightly less heavy rain showers in July compared to June but it rains more often and long-lasting in this month. It is a great time for trekking and national park visit but we aware of the blood-sucking ledges. But if you prefer less wet holidays with lots of sun July might not be the best time to visit Kerala.

The constant rain can also cause interruptions for travels and activities. In Goa many resorts, restaurants and shacks will be closed from May to September, similarly at the beaches of Kerala. If you find a resort that stays open though you can catch great discounts on stays, even at luxury stays. And both Goa and Kerala offer lush greenery in the countryside.

If you still decide to travel despite the humid and wet weather we would recommend to concentrate on the Western Ghats, a 1600km long mountain range listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site parallel to the coast of the Arabian sea. The region is covered with national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves as well as charming hill stations. You can’t just find various wild and unique flora and fauna species in those hills but also endless fruit, tea and coffee plantations. And in July they offer cooler temperatures and less stuffy air than in the cities and plains of India. Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady are such places but also the Dudhsagar Waterfall Hike in Goa. Ooty in Tamil Nadu is very popular amongst domestic tourists to flee the annoying conditions of the cities in the monsoons.

When the monsoon hits Indian land in Kerala the sun rarely shines and it can rain a lot! In July the beaches loose their charm as it rains and storms a lot. However, beach resorts offer great discount if you don’t mind the weather!

Tamil Nadu doesn’t face the entire power of the rain season in July yet as the monsoon hits this region later from August to November with the wettest month being November. But even here it can be quite cloudy and therefore cooler in July. Tamil Nadu tends to be very hot in the rest of the year (except winters) so it might be a great time to visit, especially if you come mainly for the sightseeing of temples and religious monuments.

NORTH INDIA IN JULY

By end of June and beginning of July the monsoon has also hit Rajasthan and the other central and northern regions with full power. All the popular cities of the North like Jaipur, Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Rishikesh and Amritsar face the highest precipitation and number of rainy days in July and August.

Even though the sun doesn’t shine often through the heavy clouds the temperatures just drop slightly and the humidity increases. Travelers who prefer humid heat to dry heat should come to Rajasthan now but it will leave you feeling exhausted if you are physically active.

The cooler regions at the foothills of the Himalayas seem like a good escape but don’t underestimate the power of the monsoon when it hits the mountains and cloudburst appear. The regions of Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarkhand have experienced many such extreme weather events when suddenly a huge amount of water was dropped in very less time. In 2013 thousands of residents, tourist and pilgrims were killed near the holy temple of Kedarnath when a landslide caused by such a cloudburst came from the mountains and carried away everything in its way. Even though that happened in June, cloud bursts and landslides are more common in July so keep this in mind if you want to travel and trek in the mountains despite the rain.

In Ladakh im Norden Indiens wird es eventuell etwas wolkig, aber es regnet selten! There isn’t much rain in the mountain ranges of Ladakh so you can enjoy the blue skies and great view!

If you want to escape the heat and the monsoon all together and enjoy stunning landscapes in the mountains, Ladakh or Lahual Spiti might be the best destination in India in July for you. The state in the most northern part on India in the midst of the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas offers breathtaking views and great opportunities for hikes. Ladakh is also called the cold dessert for a reason as the precipitation is very low up here. In July the temperatures are at its maximum high for this region but rarely reach higher than 30°C. But it is also the main tourist season for this part of India so be prepared that it won’t be as tourist-free as the rest of India.

The east stream of the monsoon winds hit the north east of India by beginning of June and some regions like Meghalaya get an intense amount of rain. Rather plan a visit to this region after October.

July certainly offers a rather difficult weather in India. It rains a lot, it is humid and it might get hot. The sun shines rarely and flooding and landslides are common. But while the cities might be less hospitable due to the dense infrastructure and lack of drainage systems, in the rural areas and especially the hill stations will welcome you with lush greenery and strong impressive waterfalls. . The very north of India in the Himalayas offers the best choice of travel destinations in June as the temperatures are moderate and the precipitation low.

Plan your trip to India in June with us now and we will suggest the best places to enjoy during this travel time.


Best time to visit India – Kerala
Best time to visit India – Kerala

When shall you go on a Kerala Holiday?

India has a very distinctive climate and a different concept of seasons. While the winters are mostly pleasant with moderate temperatures and almost no precipitation the summer months of April, May, October and November can get unbearably hot. From June to September the wet monsoon covers almost the entire country and brings lots of rain and humidity. Therefore, one needs to especially consider the climate to specify the best time to visit Kerala. But also festivals play an important role to decide when to travel. Get in touch with us if you want to know where to go at which time of the year in Kerala.

Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations

Weather in Kerala around the year

Kerala is situated in a tropical climate zone which means that the region faces the typical humid to wet weather conditions like most of the planet’s rain forests. The annual average rainfall is higher than in most of India and the air feels often more humid than elsewhere. Due to the proximity to the equator and the warm dry winds from the north it should actually be very hot in Kerala but fortunately the high mountain ranges of the Western Ghats prevent the temperatures to rise much higher than 35 °C. All together the temperature in Kerala doesn’t vary much but it is of course cooler in the hill stations of Munnar, Wayanad or Thekkady than at the coast or in the cities of Kochi, Trivandrum, Thrissur or Calicut.

Winter starts by end of November and ends around end of February and beginning of March. The temperature rises rarely above 30°C and it rains very less to never. In the mountain ranges of Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady you should definitely pack some warmer clothes as it can get quite cold in the morning and evening hours. You will definitely not require air-conditioned rooming. Since it is the best time to travel to this region it is also the main season for tourism. Be prepared for crowds at some of the sights.

Marari is a little untouched village at the beach with only a few hotel resorts. Perfect in the winters! Marari is a little untouched village at the beach with only a few hotel resorts. Perfect in the winters!

While other popular places to visit in India like Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Madhya Pradesh get very hot in the summer months from March to end of May, the heat stays moderate in Kerala as the Western Ghats stop the hot winds and the Arabian Sea offers a constant cold breeze along the coast to enter the state. If it rains it usually comes with a lot of thunder and lightning and flooding is not rare but the water dries up quickly. The only issue is the high humidity which makes physical activities seem very exhausting. If you prefer to share the sights, mountain treks and national parks with less other tourists and want to stay at top-end accommodations for lower prices this season is perfect for you.

The monsoon hits Indian land first in Kerala around end of May or beginning of June. Kerala faces 85% of its annual rainfall from June until end of September. Since the wet and heavy clouds hit the western Ghats first in Kerala the precipitation is extremely high here and the humidity strong. If you do enjoy the tropical climate and rather explore nature in this weather than in the bright hot sun, then this is the time to come to Kerala. However, you might also get stuck indoors when the rain gets too heavy. On nature treks you will encounter a couple of blood-sucking ledges but locals always know how to prevent that. Due to landslides and floodings roads and train tracks might get blocked so that even your travel plans could come to a halt. So be prepared to be flexible.

South India faces another phase of monsoon from October to November and sometimes even until mid-December. The North-East-Monsoon doesn’t bring as much wetness as the earlier South-West-Monsoon but it can come in heavy with strong downpours, thunder and lightning. It gets as warm and humid as in the summer months of March to May.

Due to the climate conditions in Kerala there are more international tourists in winter than in the rest of the year. However, Kerala is a popular destination for domestic tourists, especially honeymooners all year around. And Indians do love the rainy season so even during the monsoon they will travel to the region around the Western Ghats.

Between May and September, the beaches turn empty. The current of the sea is too strong to swim and the wind and weather doesn’t allow you to sunbath either. Many resorts and restaurants close down for multiple months. The popular Backwaters are in season all year around but in the summer months of April and May you might not be able to explore as much of the river and lake landscape as the water levels are too low to explore all areas.

The best festivals in Kerala to visit around the year

Due to its interesting history of colonisation and trade Kerala is home to many religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Therefore, there are many spiritual and cultural festivals to be celebrated but the biggest and most exotic ones are the Hinduist ones.

28451935993_8bb3ae800c_k Thrissur Poraam, a temple festival where dozens of elephants are being decorated and showcased in parades, is one of the biggest festivals of the region. © shankar s.

The temple festivals in Kerala are as colourful and impressive as the temples themselves. The so called Poorams happening in April and May in many temples around Kerala, mostly in the Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, are famous for the loud and exciting processions with dozens of heavily decorated elephants.

In July, August and September traditional snake boat races are happening in the backwaters and the rivers or Kerala. Nowadays it often becomes a political event rather than a religious one but it is fun to watch nonetheless.

Onam is the traditional harvest festival of Kerala celebrated for 10 days in September. It is the biggest fest for the locals so houses get decorated, feasts are being served and games are being played. The quirkiest part of this festival is the Onam Pulikkali Tiger Play, a folk art where men dress up as tigers and their hunters to dance to traditional music. A very funny parade to observe!

The Pulikkali tiger play in Thrissur is definitely the quirkiest festival in Kerala. The Pulikkali tiger play in Thrissur is definitely the quirkiest festival in Kerala. © Felix Francis

Kerala honours every year its spiritual and cultural diversity by even celebrating big Christian feasts and the Eid-Festivals of Islam. Friends of other communities are invited home and traditions are being shared. In a country divided by religion after independence Kerala serves as a role model to religious freedom and peace. But that also means all around the year there is at least one big festival celebrated in some part of the relative small state.

If religious festivals with big crowds are not your thing, maybe the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is. The contemporary art festival held every winter from December to March in Fort Kochi is one of its kind in India. One can find art exhibitions of all mediums all around the city in galleries and open spaces.

If you interested in travelling to Kerala, plan your trip with us now.


South India in May and June
South India in May and June

VISITING SOUTH INDIA IN MAY AND JUNE

To be honest, we aren’t big fans of May and June. It’s hot. As in super hot! And humid! This doesn’t just mean less travelers coming to India but also that our subtle travel expert brains work a little slower than usual. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t travel to India. In fact, it only means that the mountains are calling!

And it’s not only the foothills and mountain ranges of the Himalayas that should get all the attention. From Mumbai in the north to the most southern tip of the subcontinent parallel to the western coast run the Western Ghats, a 1600km long mountain range listed as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Covered with national parks, wildlife sanctuaries, forest reserves as well as charming hill stations.

As soon as it starts raining in the Western Ghats the waterfalls and lakes fill with streaming water. As soon as it starts raining in the Western Ghats the waterfalls and lakes fill with streaming water.

You can’t just find various wild and unique flora and fauna species in those hills but also endless fruit, tea and coffee plantations. And in May and June they offer cooler temperatures and less stuffy air than in the cities and plains of India.

As soon as the rains start by beginning or middle of June the nature changes its color from brown-yellow to lush green within a couple of days. Waterfalls appear and rivers and lakes fill up. It’s a celebration of life! The cloudy sky and cooling rain bring a drop in the temperatures and fresher more breathable air.

The most popular amongst the hill stations is Munnar which is reachable in 3h from Kochi and in 5h from Madurai.
It’s more a region than a certain city or village worth visiting. In fact, the city of Munnar is a cluster of shops selling locally harvest products and cheap accommodations. Therefore, we rather suggest to stay in the countryside amongst tea plantations, dense rain forest and high mountain views. There are numerous homestays and boutique hotels meeting every kind of traveler’s expectations and budget.

Things to do range from roadtrips up mountain roads through the breathtaking landscapes, visit tea manufactories and museums and stroll or even hike through the tea plantations and forests. The beautiful Eravikulam National Park is home to the endangered Nilgiri Thar and is located only 35km from the city centre of Munnar.

Thekkady can be reached in 3.5h from Munnar. The drive there is quite an experience in itself as the roads are built in several serpentines running up and down the mountains covered in dense forest and more tea plants. Thekkady is a region that accommodates the famous Periyar National Park. Spread across 777 km2, the wildlife sanctuary is home to tigers (no chance to see them though) as well as elephants, bisons and deers who often come to the artificial lake in the center of the evergreen park to drink. Your best chance to get a glimpse is to go on a bamboo boat ride or on a guided safari tour with tribal ranchers.

The little village of Kummily is the closest to the entry of the park and offers many nice restaurants and accommodations. The region is also famous for spice plantations you can visit and learn more the local culinary and Ayurveda secrets.

Wayanad Is a region in the Western Ghats further north of Kerala and due to its bigger distance to the backwaters and the beaches worth visiting it is less crowded and touristy. However, there is a lot to experience and see in Wayanad. The medium difficult hike up to the Edakkal Caves with its prehistoric wall painting dating 8000 years back are a great way to get an overview of the mesmerizing landscape of Wayanad. Or you climb up to the Chembra Peak with views all over the area with pleasant mountain climate to enjoy. Don’t miss out on the Banasura Sagar Dam in Kalpetta. It is the largest dam in India and is the 2nd largest in all of Asia. At Muthanga National Park you can experience exotic wildlife and nature on a half day safari. Kuruva Dweep is a group of unhabituated islands in the river delta of the Kabani River where one kind find an incomparable interesting flora and fauna. You can cross from river island to island on small bamboo rafts which make the visit very adventurous.

The beautiful landscapes of Wayanad. The beautiful landscapes of Wayanad.

Other interesting hill stations are Ooty, Conoor and Kotagiri in Tamil Nadu, all within a 50km radius from each other. Ooty is called the queen of hill stations and was established by the British as a place of temperature relief. You can reach it on a memorable ride with a toy train. Conoor and Kotagiri are smaller but you can also hike and enjoy stunning views from the surroundings of these small villages but do avoid their bustling messy centers.

Coorg is a hill station in Karnataka, 120km north of Wayanad, and famous for coffee and spice plantations. On the weekends domestic tourists from Bangalore flood into this countryside but on weekdays you can enjoy the beautiful nature almost by yourself.

You can find some of the mentioned hill stations in our articles ‘Suggested travel routes for two weeks in south India’, ‘Budget backpacking tour of south India’ or ‘Four travel routes for Kerala’. We can also create a personalized travel route for you to include some or all of the mentioned regions so you can travel from one cool and naturally beautiful place to another.

If you aren’t much of hiking or nature person and prefer luxury travels and relaxation, you could consider travelling to the beaches of Goa or Kerala as well as the Backwaters and stay for a bargain at 4 to 5 stars resorts. Many hotels, homestays and resorts close between April and October but the ones that remain open offer great deals in the hot and rainy season. However, be prepared that it can get extremely hot and many restaurants and bars will be closed.


Traveling to India in the monsoons
Traveling to India in the monsoons
WHAT WEATHER CAN I EXPECT DURING THE INDIAN MONSOON?

India has three climate seasons: Winter with pleasant temperatures and almost no precipitation from end of November to March, Summer months with a dry or humid heat depending on the region in April, May and October and November as well as the Indian Monsoon, the rain season, from June to September.

Monsoon is a very exotic concept to those travelers coming from more moderate climate zones and arouse different associations – from constant drizzle to short but heavy rainfalls to tropical storms and gales. But India is a big country with multiple climate zones and therefore the monsoon can develop differently in various areas of India.

However, and we don’t want to butter it up, it does rain a lot…like A LOT. Not like British drizzle or the one shower for a couple of minutes you get in South-East Asia. It often rains for days and it rains heavily in the tropical areas of the west coast and in the north of India. The cities have an almost non-existent drainage system and the streets flood quickly. And on top of it there is the humidity, your constant travel companion. Clothes don’t dry for hours to days and the heat feels more discomforting.

It's all about the attitude when you travel during Indian monsoon. It’s all about the attitude when you travel during the Indian monsoon.

In the mountains landslides aren’t uncommon. Transport, especially buses and trains can be delayed (but there are also late for the rest of the year!) and due to heavy fog and rains even air traffic can be disturbed. Almost all national parks in India are shut from June to beginning of October and tiger and other safaris won’t be possible.

WHY SHOULD I STILL TRAVEL IN INDIA IN THE RAIN SEASON?

But even though the weather can be sometimes quite unpleasant from June to September, there are benefits to this season. The nature comes to life, dry brown grasslands and forests become lush and green, the farmers welcome the season with full productivity and lakes and rivers as well as waterfalls fill up and become stronger than ever. This all is a pleasant sight in a country often struck by droughts in the recent past.

Many tourists avoid India in the monsoon which means that you have a lot of sights to yourself. That makes it easier to connect to locals and experience more authenticity. The typical tourist scams appear at a minimum and all together you just don’t feel like one in a thousand travelers while you stroll the lanes and monuments of ancient India.

Furthermore, it is the best time for budget-conscious backpackers who like to keep their expenses to a minimum but don’t want to miss out on some comfort. Many hotels offer their rooms for much less, often even for half the costs than in the main season. You can stay at boutique hotels or luxury resorts for low prices. A good accommodation is a must in the Indian monsoon time as you might spend some time indoors when a particular strong downpour hits the city.

WHERE TO TRAVEL TO DURING THE INDIAN MONSOON?

Technically you can travel anywhere as long as you are mentally prepared and pack the right clothes. However, some areas might be more enjoyable than others.

The India monsoon hits the west coast  the most. Therefore, Goa and Kerala face a lot of rain and humidity. We would recommend to avoid the coastlines. The beaches lose their charm and the strong currents make swimming even dangerous. The beach resorts and shacks close already in April and don’t open again until September or even October.

So it is the best time to hit the countryside and hill stations. As the nature and greenery is at full swing, it’s a great pleasure to walk through the lush hills and pass the freshly filled lakes and rivers and enjoy what makes the tropics to interesting and unique. Wayanad, Munnar and Thekkady are such places but also the Dudhsagar Waterfall Hike in Goa. Ooty in Tamil Nadu is very popular amongst domestic tourists to flee the heat of the cities.

Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations. A great destination even in the rain! Munnar in the Western Ghats is famous for its tropical mountain climate as well as the tea plantations. A great destination even in the rain!

If you want to escape the Indian monsoon all together and enjoy stunning landscapes in the mountains, Ladakh might be the best destination for you. The state in the most northern part on India is flanked by the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas and the Karkokram mountain range.  The state offers breathtaking views and great opportunities for hikes. It’s also called the cold dessert for a reason as the precipitation is very low up here.  It’s ideal to go there between June and August, when the days are moderately warm and the night pleasantly cool.

Indian monsoon When the monsoon hits central and south India it is the best time to travel to Ladakh where the sun is still shining.

Even though it can rain a lot in central India, i.e. in states like Uttar Pradesh, Madya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and also Bihar and West Bengal, it might be a better time to visit than in April, May or October since the temperatures are lower, especially during overcast and cloudy weather.

The rocky surroundings of Hampi where you can explore ancient temple and palace ruins of an empire long gone, might be worth a visit as it can get very hot and dry in central India during the rest of the year. Combine it with a visit to Mysore and Wayanad. Find out more here.

Rajasthan faces less rain rainfalls every year and some rural parts don’t even get any rain at all, especially in the Thar desert. There are very unique and beautiful boutique and heritage hotels that lower their prices a lot during the rainy season. The south and east of Rajasthan becomes very green and lively. Hiking is definitely an attractive option.

From June to August you should avoid travelling to the footsteps of the Himalayas. Rishikesh, Dharamsala, Manali, Shimla and Kasol as well as Sikkim and Darjeeling face a lot of heavy rainfall and therefore even many landslides. Trekking is impossible and you would need to stay indoors most of the time – not how you would like to spend your time in India

In a nutshell in the south avoid the beaches and big cities and rather enjoy the countryside and hill stations, in the north travel to the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas in Ladakh or enjoy the lower temperatures in Rajasthan.

WHAT TO WEAR DURING THE  INDIAN MONSOON?

The most important thing to take care of in India in the rain season is the right footwear. Flip Flops aren’t the best option as you just flip the dirt against your legs while walking. But any sandals made of lasting rubber and with a back strap to hold the shoes to your feet are a good idea.

Some people enjoy gum boots but for others it might be too warm, not to mention the space they occupy in your luggage. So do invest some money in good quality rubber sandals or check the markets after arrival as the locals know best how to cope with the flooded streets.

weather in india in june During the Indian monsoon you need to pack water-proof clothes and shoes.

A thin rain jacket with breathable material is essential as well as thin light clothes that dry quickly. Pack clothes that cover your skin entirely as the sun can be quite harsh when she shines through the clouds. Sometimes a rain jacket might feel to warm so also pack an umbrella.

Also important is a good mosquito protection spray because with the rain comes the higher chance to be infected with malaria or dengue. Also pack rain covers for your luggage as it can take hours to days to dry your stuff once it got wet in the rain.

SUMMARY

My PE teacher used to say ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, only a bad choice of clothing and attitude’. Of course I didn’t agree with her while running 1000m in cold rains and heavy winds but she had a good point. It’s all about setting the right expectations and making the best of the situation.

The Indian monsoon has disadvantages but also many benefits: the lush greenery, less tourist crowds and much lower accommodation and other service prices.

However, we can’t predict the weather and every monsoon is different. One year it could rain cats and dogs and in the next year India suffers from droughts. So do embrace whatever may come and make the best of it in India…someday!


Goa during off-season and during the rains
Goa during off-season and during the rains
Should we visit Goa during off-season?

We would say Yes!, but go with the right expectations. Goa during off-season is very different from what it is like during the cooler months.

  • Fewer parties
  • Choppy seas, not perfectly safe for swimming
  • No water sports on offer

But,

  • The countryside is mesmerizingly pretty, rice paddies and streams
  • If you are on the right beaches, there is still enough activity
  • Alot less tourists
  • Great deals on hotels, especially the upper-end of boutique hotels

Which months are considered off-season months?

The months May to September are considered off-season. May is usually unbearably hot. The monsoons hit Goa by early or mid June. It starts cooling down once the rains arrive and the countryside starts turning green.

Which beaches/areas should we visit in Goa during off-season?

Generally speaking choose a beach in North Goa. (or a resort in South Goa)

We’d say in and around Baga-Calangute if you want to be walking or a short-ride distance from shacks/resturants which are still open. Baga-Calangute tends be open all season. A bunch of beach-shacks would be open, a number of shopping stalls would be open too.

If you like the quiet, then you can stay aroung Anjuna and Vagator. However, expect most resturants and shopping in and around to be shut. On the other hand it is really nice and peaceful.

Avoid the very North of Goa, Arambol/Mandrem/Ashvem would be very desolate.

What about the beaches in South Goa?

We love the beaches in South Goa. Palolem, Patnem and Agondi are really peaceful and pretty beaches. However, they would almost completely empty during end of May onwards. You can still pick a nice resort in South Goa or stay in North Goa and go for a drive to South Goa.

What about the night life?

Minimal, but if you are lucky and get the news from the right people you might still find some parties. Few shacks on Anjuna would occasionally have parties during off-season. Most of the major clubs, like club Cabana are shut during off-season

Which cool/really nice hotels would you recommend staying at in Goa during off-season?

Goa has innumerable five-stars, equal number of really cool and hip/boutique hotels to stay at. Get in touch with us and we’d love to help you plan your trip to Goa and beyond.


How much time in India is enough?
How much time in India is enough?
Ideal duration for India Tour

You can spend six months  of time in India and still not see all of the country. Unfortunately not a lot of people have the luxury of that much time.

If you are looking at a practical time frame to tour India and be able to really experience the country, culture and see a few diverse regions then you should look at spending at least three weeks in the country.

How much of India can you see in three weeks?

It really depends on the pace of travel that you enjoy and your budget. Traveling by train, bus or even rented car is fairly inexpensive India. However, including a lot of flights can make your trip expensive. More flights would mean more regions that you can visit.

Ideally we would recommend touring two regions in the span of three weeks. So you could look at touring North India i.e. Delhi – Agra – Varanasi – Rajasthan and visit the Himalayas. Alternatively, you can visit up to three or four states in South India. Goa – Karnataka – Tamil Nadu and Kerala

If you do not mind taking a few internal flights then you can look at a North and South India tour. However, you would only be able to visit a few places in each region. If you think this would be your only trip to India then that is an option you can choose.

Always remember that travelling between places in India; especially road travel can take time. It can be a little tiring and you could fall ill. Try not to be too greedy, often less is more.

Spending two weeks time in India

Two weeks is often the maximum time duration one can take time off from work. Also, if this is your first trip to Asia or to a very different/chaotic country then you might want to visit India for two weeks.

Ideally try and visit only one region in a time frame of two weeks. You can do a good mix of highlight places and some less popular places in North India. (or the same for South India)

You could also look at a 8-9 day North India tour and end with 4-5 days on the beach. While one can rush and tour both North and South India in a couple weeks. However, you would only be scratching the surface without really experiencing either region.

Spending a month or longer in India

India is a great value for money destination in terms of stay and food. Train travel is remarkably inexpensive, but you have to book tickets in advance. If you plan well in advance you can also book some key flights at a good price.

You can visit multiple regions, you can do some volunteering work or one could even spend time at Ashram. There’s more than sufficient to do and see.

Do remember India, at first is not an easy destination and will give you a culture shock. If you plan to stay in India longer you would miss home. However, you will certainly end with a more deeper Indian and enjoyable India experience the more time you spend in the country.


An honest review of ‘Mewar Haveli’ hotel in Udaipur
An honest review of ‘Mewar Haveli’ hotel in Udaipur
What we love about Mewar Haveli
  • That it is an eleven room, cosy and homely hotel with great location
  • Has a gorgeous roof top restaurant with a commanding view of the Pichola Lake
  • If you can get one of two lake facing rooms, they are a steal at the price. The element the view can add to stay is indescribable.
  • That you can just walk to the city attractions around, or stroll around the town from Mewar Haveli.
What we like about Mewar Haveli
  • The room was spotlessly clean, clean linen and cushy bed (nice soft mattresses)
  • The bathrooms are perfectly adequate, running hot water and very clean
  • The staff were polite and non pushy
  • That is has an elevator to get to the rooftop restaurant, other similar hotels around the lake do not have an elevator. And it feels a little un courteous to walk up passing other people’s rooms.
  • The rooftop restaurant prepares lovely non greasy, fresh and non spicy vegetarian food. And the prices seemed fair.
What we did not like

Personally we did not have any complains for the Mewar Haveli, Although the following is good to bear in mind

  • The rooms are of different sizes and most of them are compact. Not a deal breaker, but if you travel with a lot of suitcases you might fill the room up.
  • That they only have two lake facing rooms. The rest are equally comfy, but after having stayed at both, you want to try and book in advance to get a lake facing room.

Romantic – Yes, especially if you have a lake facing room. Even otherwise, it is a cosy hotel with tasteful attention for detail and the roof top restaurant takes up a different mood from morning to sunset to night.

Back packer friendly – Not really, initiating interactions with other guests in the hotel did not seem easy. It gets a varied age group and families, so not a high percentage of young backpackers.

Children friendly – Mewar Haveli does not have any games room or activities per say for children. Yet, families with kids would be comfortable here. It is easy to step out and get around on foot; again the restaurant with the lake view would always be fun for the kids.

Rates – Remember Mewar Haveli is between a budget and value for money hotel. Rooms start at INR 1400 and go upto INR 2100 approx.


Practical guide on Hotel Experience in Pushkar, India
Practical guide on Hotel Experience in Pushkar, India

The small and non-descript holy town of Pushkar is extremely popular with backpackers in India. It offers a wide variety of guesthouses for budget travelers within the city, but just a 10 km drive away you will also find luxury tented accommodation. There’s a lot of quality hotel experience in Pushkar. There are few nice mid -budget options walking distance from the city as well. So get ready to relax, unwind and get in touch with your spiritual self.

Mid-budget

Inn Seventh heaven – this is one of indiasomeday’s  favourite places, this small boutique hotel is very close to the center of pushkar city but manages to take you away into another world. Cascading fountain in its courtyard and vines growing along its walls, this is a lovely great value for money hotel.

In Season INR 1500 onwards (USD 30+ / Euros 22+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Mama Luna – this backpacker hostel is clean and great value for money. Unlike Seventh Heaven it does not offer luxury at a minimal cost, but it does offer clean spacious minimalist rooms at an very affordable rate. It also has a nice rooftop terrace where you can meet other travelers and enjoy the view of the lake.

In Season INR 450 onwards (USD 9+ / Euros 6.5+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Chacha’s Garden – another great budget option, run by a couple and their children this is another quaint hostel, where the family has converted their house into a guest house. Very close to the main market, this place is great just because of the hospitality of its owners.

In Season INR 450 onwards (USD 9+ / Euros 6.5+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Green Park Pushkar – is a comfortable, clean hotel a short work from the main city. The hotel has a pool within it’s premise.

In Season INR 2000 onwards (USD 35+/Euros 25+) Trip Advisor Reviews


Practical guide on Hotel Experience in Delhi, India
Practical guide on Hotel Experience in Delhi, India

Delhi has really expanded over the past few years and this has led to a large number of hotels popping up in various parts of Delhi. You can choose to live in the heart of the city at Florence Hotel . You could try Woodcastle in Karol Bagh, with markets and activity at your doorstep. Whatever you like, we’ll help you find the perfect hotel experience in Delhi.

Another popular (and often recommended option) is to live in service apartments/homestays in the residential areas of Delhi like Tree of Life, Saket House or Amarya Haveli. The location is more peaceful, better hospitality and spacious, tasteful rooms. Most importantly, Delhi is extremely well connected by Metro, so even when you choose to live in this part of Delhi access to the tourist sights, airport and railway station is very easy.

Finally, being the capital of India, Delhi has all the comfortable upper end luxury hotels too. Imperial Delhi, is a delightful Heritage Luxury hotel.

In the hustle bustle of the city

Woodcastle – Situated in the crowded market of Karol bagh this is a good value for money option in Delhi. It  has a communal area in the lobby (WI-FI available) where you can interact with other travelers. The rooms are little small but nice with all basic amenities. It is close to the Karol Bagh metro station.

In Season INR 2500 onwards (USD 50+ / Euros 35+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Florence hotel and inn – Situated in karol bagh, central Delhi, Florence is surrounded by shopping arcades, entertainment plaza and a lot of hustle bustle. The rooms are of a good standard and would be what you would expect in any new developed modern room. There is nothing spectacular about this property but you will get good service and good location.

In Season INR 3700 onwards (USD 75+ / Euros 53+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Lal Haveli– a great budget option near the new delhi railway station in the backpacker area of Paharganj. Acceptably clean rooms and bathrooms, great central location but no real service and windowless rooms is what you would get. But having stayed here before for the price that they charge each room has a air conditioner, television and hot water facilities. Great budget and value for money hotel

In Season INR 1200 onwards (USD 18+ / Euros 130+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Comfortable in Residential Delhi

Tree of life –  A popular pick for our guests. This cozy bed and breakfast is located in a charming residential part of south Delhi. It is set in a small, leafy street away from traffic and city. An added advantage of staying at tree of life other than its lovely hosts, decorative furnishings is its proximity to the metro of Saket. Having stayed here ourselves we can safely say that this is a oasis in the chaos of Delhi. A hotel experience in Delhi like no other.

In Season INR 4500 onwards (USD 90+ / Euros 65+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Saket Bed and Breakfast – Very close to Tree of Life, Charming with great attention for detail. Very comfortable and hospitable hosts.

In Season INR 4500 onwards (USD 90+ / Euros 65+),Trip Advisor Reviews

Amarya haveli – located in the plush surburb of Delhi, hauz Khas this is a Ethnically decorated and jewel-coloured serene haven. There’s lots colour, Indian textiles, artifacts and imaginative design in the entire property. Having only 6 rooms this is a place you have to book early. This is not to far from the metro of hauz khas.

In Season INR 7500 onwards (USD 150+ / Euros 107+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Something Different

Shanti Home – Shanti means peace and that is what you will get in this tranquil getaway in janakpuri (delhi). The 17 rooms themed rooms are tastefully decorated and the service at the hotel is great. The only flaw is that its location though well connected by the metro is still too far away and isolated from all the tourist sites and markets.

In Season INR 7000 onwards (USD 140+ / Euros 100+), Trip Advisor Reviews

Epitome of Luxury

Imperial – teak and rosewood, Italian marble, art deco architecture is what defines this luxurious property situated on Janpath (Central Delhi). Close to Connaught place this property is really close to where the action is with Bars, restaurants and the groovy market of janpath a stone’s throw away. Remember that with 200 rooms this is quite a large hotel and it is also fairly expensive on your pocket.

In Season INR 17500 onwards (USD 350+ / Euros 250+), Trip Advisor Reviews