When traveling the best plan is to have no plan. This way you will never be disappointed. You will not get frustrated because you didn’t have enough time on your itinerary to explore a city properly. Similarly, you wont be restricted to a select few destinations. Instead you are an open book.
This said, it can be reassuring to hear about what others have done, to see what is possible and to get a rough idea regarding where to go and what to do.
This is not a plan it is just what I ended up doing in 6 weeks. I stuck to Northern India and traveled by buses and trains.
India is a huge country you needs years to explore it all. If you just have a limited amount of time take on a small section of the country and enjoy.
Looking back I may have skipped a couple of places and stayed longer in others. However, I’m not sure which places I would have skipped as all were wonderful in their own way.
Sarah’s 6 weeks in India:
Mumbai – Basti hostel – 6 nights, dorms from 699 rupees (worth every rupee, it was my favorite hostel in India). Perfect introduction to India; it is noisy, hectic and exciting. The city never sleeps. Visit museums, beaches, The Global Pergola and buy your new wardrobe for the next few months.
Overnight train for 19 hours Mumbai to Udiapur. Book in advance at the train station or online with a kind hostel host or local. This journey gets booked up fast.
Udiapur – Moustache hostel – 3 nights, dorms from 200 rupees. Here enjoy yoga, swimming in Lake Badi, hiking, gorgeous palaces, tasty food and fantastic sunsets.
Local government bus for 7 hours Udiapur to Jodpur easy to book with the hostel or any travel agent.
Jodpur – Locomo hostel – 2 nights – 600 rupees per night, explore the magnificent fort, markets, clock tower, museums and make sure to watch sunset – a truly magical moment.
Local government bus for 3 hours to Osium. You can pay on the bus.
Osium – luxury desert tent – 1 night – 4,000 rupees for two, devastating realisation of tourism gone wrong. You can go for camel and jeep rides and eat dinner under the stars. However, make sure to chose a well respected company who don’t use child labor.
Three local buses: 1. Osium to Jodpur (3 hours), 2. Jodpur to Ajmer (6 hours), 3. Ajmer to Pushkar (1 hour).
Pushkar – Moustache hostel – 2 nights – starting at 400 rupees. Try and get a discount if you are a travel blogger. Peaceful lake stay, rest and relax. Check out temples and go shopping for ornate handicrafts (best place for these).
Bus from Pushkar to Ajmer 1 hour. Ajmer to Jaipur you can buy the tickets as you go at the station 6 hours.
Jaipur – Zostel – 2 nights – 400 rupees for a dorm. Great vibes in Zostle, very sociable. There is tonnes to do in Jaipur. From the observatory to the numerous museums and palaces. You can easily stay a week. If mad like me you can cram a lot into three days too.
Jaipur to Agra bus 6 hours. Using the Red Bus application you can book the ticket.
Agra – Zostel– 1 night – 400 rupees for a dorm, perfect location to the Taj Mahal and nature walk garden. I would recommend staying there one night. You can visit the Taj in one day but it will be too tiring and rushed.
Agra to Varanasi Volvo overnight bus 12 hours. Hostel booked the bus for us (they added commission)
Varanasi – Go stops – 3 nights – 500 rupees for a dorm. Walk along the holy Ganges and watch the fascinating ceremonies and cremations. I learnt so much here.
Booked a train ticket at the train station. This was the longest journey 22 hours.
Rishikesh – Bunk Stay – 4 nights – 400 rupees for a dorm. Global heart for yoga. Relaxing mountains, waterfalls and sandy river beaches.
Bus from Haridwar to Chandigarh booked in one of the many tourist offices. Government bus, cheap and cheerful. To get to Haridwar take a shared a taxi.
Ropar – family home – 4 nights – (check out couch surfing if you don’t know anyone in India). Small village in Punjab, beautiful place.
Chandigarh to Dharamsala 6 hours volvo bus. Book on Red bus application.
Dharamsala – Ekant lodge – 4 nights 900 rupees per night, Triund camping – 1 night Gautama Niwas 1 night 500 rupees, Pink hotel – 1 night – 900 rupees. The Himalayan mountains are picturesque, go hiking, visit the Dalai Lama’s home, shop and relax in cafes.
Government bus 12 hours buy on the day Dharamsala to Delhi. A couple of buses leave per day.
Delhi – City empire hotel – 1 night – 1,200 for a lovely private room. Great hotel to stay in.
I would recommend booking your fist couple of nights in a hostel. From there you can talk to other travelers and staff to work out where to go next. Keep your trip open like this. There is no point booking far in advance as things change when you are on the road. Trains get canceled. You make friends and decide to stay in one place longer or you get sick and need to rest up. You also might not like a hostel and if you have booked a week there then you are stuck. I normally booked two nights when I checked into places to give me one full day and a couple of half days to explore.
Safe travels, feel free to share your journeys with me and any extra tips 😀