Road in Kolkata
There you go! Finally I booked my flight to India and find a partner who want to travel to India as well. After a visit to Google Singapore as the winning prize for Young Caring Professional Awards 2013, me and Felly decided to continue our journey to India!
I always want to get lost in India with all the incredible things inside. Getting along with the locals, eating Indian food in the street, get a rickshaw, get in the train, and finding peace with the nature.
Many people warn me before I go to India. Much more people really warn me when I say I use couchsurfing (CS) in India. Andina, one of my friend who got an exchange in India told me to not staying with Indian man moreover if they are single. BUT I did not find any female CS, its only few of them. Thus I request to some male CS in India. I still have a good believe on CS even though I am a bit worried about what ppl say about India.
So whats the result? I got my host in India easily! This make me even worried and they are all look so nice. I tell this to my friend and they said dont stay with them! Its dangerous to stay with strangers! But I still want to try to stay with these CS then I look at their reference in their profile and I saw many positive and good comment about them so I decided to follow my feeling and trust CS!
The preparation for the trip is not that long. We only have 2 months-ish to prepare everything and we start to decide which route we want to go. We decided to go to North India and here are our final itenerary:
9 Oct: Singapore – Kolkata by flight
9 Oct: Kolkata – Varanasi by train
11Oct: Varanasi – Agra by train
12Oct: Agra – Delhi by train
12Oct: Delhi – Dharamsala by bus
14Oct: Dharamsala – Delhi by bus
15Oct: Delhi – Chennai – Singapore by flight
16Oct: Singapore – Jakarta
So in total we spent 8 days from 9 – 16 October 2013 to India. Quite short time and many traveler that we met shock with our short trip to India. Yes, most of them spend at least a month in India. Well, I need to settle my own business then to be able to do that so I dont have to take a leave in my company.
Then we apply for our visa! It cost around 500.000 to get ur India tourism visa. Now the regulation is we have to come to the Embassy at Rasuna Said, Kuningan by ourself because we need to do finger print and retina check. The visa will be ready in 1 day! So fast!
Then, Felly booked our train and we just now that its very complicated to book a train in India!! We need to have Indian phone number to het verification code, we need to be waitlisted passanger if we book very close to the date. In India, they have this system and when I ask Ali, my host in Agra about this, he said: “How many people in India? How many seats they have on train??” Then I understand that they want to give chances to everyone to get the train. While for us a tourist, this system is very complicated that we need to always check our status from waitinglist become confirmed, etc. So, I really really suggest u to book ur train in India at least 1month before otherwise you will ended up get a general seat like us!!! 😃 Its the seat where you stay with everythings! Local people, many many staff, etc that its so hard to walk inside. I will tell u in my story get a train from Kolkata to Varanasi using general seat. Very adventurous!
I will explain the cities one by one in my upcoming post for sure but in this post I am gonna show you my host in India! They are super nice and I am glad that I stay with CS in India. All my worriness and bad feeling are gone when I met them. So guys, its ok to use CS in India as long as you really check the reference and if possible call them before your arrival. I did this and even whatssapp one of my host. We call 2 of them because we need to borrow their Indian number to be submitted when we book the local train in India. I made conversation with then when I was still in Jakarta so at least I know they are real. Lol.
Let me introduce my angels in India:
1) Ashis – Varanasi
Me – Ashis’ mom – Ashis – Felly
He is such a shy man with a very thoughtful mind and kind heart. He is one of the few among Indian who thinks that honking in the street in Varanasi especially is bad, littering at street are bad, and even peeing in a street is not acceptable. We have a very interesting conversation in one night about India, religion, and life. He did not charge us for every food that we order from his hostel and thia surprise me a lot!!! I am so blessed to know such a braveheart man like him.
2) Ali – Agra
Ali with his big family who all doing business. Ali is the one with purple shirt.
Ali is such an energetic, funnny, and helpful man! He own his travel agent and he call himself a Robinhood in Agra! Lol. But he is actually our hero in Agra even though we did not stay overnight in Agra. He made us breakfast and lunch, he send his driver to pick us in the station, he send his friend who is a tour guide to give us free guide along Taj Mahal and Agra Ford, he booked us bus from Delhi to Dharamsala, and he make sure we got our seat in the train from Agra to Delhi! He is a Robinhood
3) Ram – Dharamsala
Uma (Ram’ s wife), Felly, Saiyam, Saher, and Ram.
Very unique character! Ram married a Buthanese lady and have a very lovely twins called Saiyam and Saher. We stay 2 nights in his lovely home inside the Jikkar Lanjhani village in Dharamsala. Its between the forest and with the view of Himalaya mountain up there.
Ram show us different places to see in Dharamsala. We had an interesting conversation on one night.
Those are my incredible 3 hosts in India! Without them, my experience in India will be different. With them, I get to know India better and staying with locals is always the best experience
My impression on India:
- I love the strong culture and habit
- I love how people make friends in the train in India!
- I love the foooooood!
- I love how some ppl are very energetic
- I love how most of them can speak english!
- I will not forget how hard it is to book a train ticket and get into the train!!!
- People are everywhere! In train, station, street, market, etc
- Some people really live everywhere
- Still a big gap between rich and poor
- You need to ask 5 people to clarify the right answer of your question
- Birds are everywhere in sky.. lovely!
- The CHAI tea is damn gooood!!!
And most of all.. India is Incredible! :))
Continue to the next post!