Final Thoughts, Incredible India

by Dave on July 13, 2008 · 14 comments


Touring Sikkim

I had to see India for myself, and am glad I did, but it was a challenge. There were moments of awe like seeing the Taj Mahal for the first time, and moments of being utterly fed up with the incessant honking of car/jeep horns from Darjeeling to McLeod Ganj. Why take on the heat, unsanitary conditions, noise, and unscrupulous hustlers? To savor authentic Indian curries, enjoy the friendly offers of chai, see more of the Himalaya, and the spot where the Buddha became enlightened.

And while it might not be my next destination after this trip, the draw of exploring Goa, Bombay, Pushkar, Udapur, the deserts of Rajhastan, and the high-altitude plateau of Buddhist Ladakh (to say the least) will remain with me.


Highlights –

  • the views on the share jeep ride to Darjeeling
  • drinking Darjeeling tea in Darjeeling
  • views of Mt. Kanchenjunga
  • riding the Himalayan Toy Train
  • seeing a snow leopard
  • hanging out with Natalie, Cameron and Sarah
  • share jeep ride to Gangtok, Sikkim
  • visiting Tsomgo Lake and riding a yak
  • 3-day tour of north Sikkim
  • first overnight train ride in India
  • sitting under the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya
  • staying at the Tibetan Monastery
  • visiting Sarnath
  • walking along Varanasi‘s ghats at sunset
  • seeing and walking around the Taj Mahal
  • touring Agra Fort with Laura and Dan
  • watching kites being flown from the rooftops in Agra at sunset
  • arriving in McLeod Ganj

Hot, hot Varanasi

  • listening to a teaching by H.H. the Dalai Lama and seeing his eyes, smile, and wave up close and personal
  • reuniting with Steve and Marie
  • meeting Anastasia, Olga, Ron, Fred, and Ian
  • Tibetan cooking classes
  • 4-day camping trek to 4,320-meter Indrahar Pass
  • trying Tibetan massage and acupuncture
  • open mic nights at Khana Nirvana
  • attending the public audience with the 17th Karmapa
  • getting my first shave with a straight razor at a barber shop
  • celebrating Steve’s 27th birthday at Carpe Diem
  • walking around Amritsar‘s Golden Temple
  • witnessing the India-Pakistan border ceremony
  • early morning auto rickshaw rides to the train station (Bodhgaya, Amritsar)
  • visiting Jama Masjid (mosque), Gandhi Memorial, and War Memorial in Delhi
  • metered rickshaws 
  • meeting Neil and his family
  • watching the live Euro 2008 final at Regent’s Blues
  • dining at world-renowned Bukhara
  • the air-conditioning at Delhi’s airport
  • the sunsets

Fun at Agra Fort

Lowlights –

  • overpaying for the majority of rickshaw and taxi rides
  • the constant need to ignore touts and hustlers (less of an issue in the Buddhist/mountain regions)
  • the crazy (scary) 20km jeep ride on the second night of the north Sikkim tour
  • coming face to face with the poor beggars, especially the children, disabled, and women carrying babies
  • the heat, especially in Bodhgaya and Varanasi
  • the necessary bed rest for the few days after my trek
  • my first failure to complete a dare (rooftop train ride)

Spices for sale

Eating –

CHAI, chai, chai!!!!, darjeeling/ginger/mint teas, paneer butter masala, malai kofta, butter naan, rice, momo’s, eggs, scrambled/omelets/hard-boiled and toast, banana porridge

Playing with perspective in Agra

# of Nights Couchsurfing –


Displaying the Tibetan flag atop Indrahar Pass

Average Cost Per Day –

$43 (the lowest for me in any country so far)

Bird's eye view of a Delhi intersection

About the Author:

is the author of 1752 posts on Go Backpacking.

Dave is Editor and Founder of Go Backpacking and Medellin Living, and the Co-founder of Travel Blog Success. Follow him on Twitter @rtwdave or Google+

The Travel Blog Success community offers practical resources and personal support to help you build a better travel blog.

Whether you treat blogging as a hobby, or dream of building a location independent business, you'll learn what's required to create a name for yourself in the online travel world.

Benefits of Joining:

  1. Personal support from Dave, including site critiques and tips on negotiating advertising deals.
  2. Ability to learn from others' mistakes, and save yourself time, energy and money.
  3. Chance to network with other travel bloggers of all levels, from around the world.

Click here to learn more.

Categories: India


Leave a Comment

Comment Policy: Please use your real name. If you use your company name or keywords instead, it'll be deleted. If it is your first time leaving a comment, or you include a URL, it will be held for moderation. Other than that, please keep it polite and respectful.

Previous post:

Next post: