It sure did, I travelled to India on my first solo trip.
Why Travel Solo to India?
Why not is the question I ask? I was ready to go off and experience India and had no one who wanted to do the same. I took the time to plan, read many blogs, reviews of hotels and such to prepare well for the trip. We all know that in recent times many Indian women have had some terrible experiences. I am not encouraging any woman to travel there solo. I am sharing my experience there and showcasing tidbits of what I enjoyed there.
Getting Around India Without Breaking the Bank
Flying and taking long distance trains are both good options. Booking ahead online is best. Once I had decided on my itinerary I booked my flights and trains online. I still get updates from Indian Railway. I went from Delhi to Agra by train and then on to Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer. The temperature in the train was frigid and the blankets did not smell fresh so it wasn’t as relaxing as I had wanted. It’s all a part of the adventure anyway.
It is also easy and affordable to hire a tuk tuk for the day or a few hours to take you around. I am happy that I am always alert when travelling solo or just living generally. One driver thought because I was alone he could make sexual advances. I immediately stopped him and got out of his tuk tuk. I was told by a male waiter that western women travelling alone are believed to be after sex. I am sure some are but not this girl. Gotta stay alert wherever you travel solo as a woman. This is something I always remember. It has served me well and continues to do so.
Things that Stand out Most from this First Solo Trip to India
Of course visiting the Taj Mahal is up there. It is majestic and truly a beauty with all the fine and intricate marble work. The entrance fee for foreigners is a rip off, as it often is in many places in the world. I stayed there for hours staring at the edifice, people watching and soaking up the atmosphere.
There are many magnificent structures all over India that one can discover or uncover on a trip. They are not as enthusiastically promoted as The Taj Mahal but they are worth exploring.
Another really memorable experience was riding a camel in the desert. I can’t even remember how I got to the desert. I did it solo and didn’t feel afraid but there were many people around including tourists. At first I was so scared to get up on the camel but bit by bit I got used to it and enjoyed it. I am happy I got some pictures taken to reminisce and relive what I can. It all seems like a life time ago.
Indian food in India tastes nothing like Indian food abroad. Yes, back then I was naive enough to believe it should be the same. A disadvantage of solo travel sometimes is sitting down to a meal alone as a woman in a strange country. Some men take this as an invitation to be annoying. The food was good but ‘Delhi belly’ is a real thing. Luckily I had taken some medicine to combat that but I had my moments. Plan for this is a tip I would give anyone visiting.
The people were lovely and plentiful everywhere. Even people as dark as me stared for days. That was truly mind boggling. I smiled, waved and chatted with those who spoke English…good times. I like that we could talk about cricket with The West Indies and India being popular rivals. That common ground made for some very entertaining chats. I enjoyed that.
Sample Itinerary for a First Solo Trip to India (2 weeks)
I think 2 weeks is perfect to get a small taste of the subcontinent. I also went down south to Chennai but I stayed with people I know there for a week. That part was not solo obviously.
DAY ONE and TWO
Fly into Delhi and take some time to walk around and find your bearings. Research and choose the season well. Explore Old Delhi as well as New Delhi there is much to see and do.
DAY THREE and FOUR
Get the earliest train to Agra and see the Taj Mahal and other sites.
DAYS FIVE to TEN
Visit two or three cities in Rajasthan and enjoy more beautiful architecture. It is very educational to see how people live in these more rural areas. Jodhpur is famous for being the blue city. I am sure there are many opportunities to get perfect shots for Instagram if that is your thing. Udaipur is also interesting though I did not make it there on that trip.
DAY ELEVEN to FOURTEEN
Fly down south and spend some time in Pondicherry and experience a different side of India. I really enjoyed the south and it was like being in a different country. The food was completely different as are other cultural aspects.
I want to go back and explore the south even more. There is much to for every interest there. Search for Incredible India on YouTube and titillate your senses.
India was a good start to my solo adventures. My time there navigating different cities reminded me of the beauty of being open-minded, persevering and living in the moment among other things. It opened the door for me to really know that I could visit places all over the world by myself and have rich experiences. It will be interesting to go back and see how things have changed and even my perspectives now as a more seasoned traveller. One day it will happen.