So my first month of backpacking and my time in…
Leaving is never easy but India has been the toughest goodbye for me so far on this trip. I made some really good friends and fell for some lovely animals while I was at Animal Aid. My last few days I had a constant lump in my throat and had to fight off tears quite often. I am already putting together my plans to come back.
Where Did I Go?
Delhi – 4 nights
Agra – 2 nights
Jaipur – 3 nights
Udaipur – 42 nights
How Much Does 7 Weeks in India Cost?
Because I stayed put in Udaipur for so long my expenses were lower for India. I wasn’t particularly paying attention to what I was spending either so India can be travelled extremely cheaply if you give up air conditioning and stick to street food.
I got my visa while I was in Kathmandu. I’m not sure how much it varies in other locations but it took a week to have my visa approved.
Visa Cost for 90 Days $60
My accommodation is something I really could have spent less on. I decided that because it was so hot that I definitely wanted an air-conditioned room while I was in Udaipur. I ended up staying at the Panorama Guest House which was quite nice but a bit pricey compared to what I’m used to.
Total spent $913.30 for 51 nights
Food and Drink
Food is always a weakness for me. I will happily pay the restaurant prices here because it is still so cheap compared to home. I ate in restaurants every night and for breakfast most of the time too. You can eat a decent diet in India for a fraction of what I spent though.
Total Spent on Eating and Drinking $476.77
I didn’t move around very much while I was in India but I was catching Auto-rickshaws almost everyday to get to and from Animal Aid. We managed to get a very good price of 250 rupees per day from one driver that drove us regularly. But the costs still add up quickly. I also decided to fly to Mumbai instead of get the train which was a significant price increase.
Total spent of getting into, around and out of the country $578.90
I did very little sightseeing so my activities budget is tiny this time around. The only thing I did was go to the Taj Mahal and visit a few of the attractions in Agra.
Total Spent on the Fun Stuff $21.60
And all the other stuff. Credit, laundry, groceries and the couple of souvenirs that I picked up. I spent more than I thought in this category this time around.
Total spent on the other stuff $174.76
Total $2293.56 or $44.11 per day
The Highlights and the Not-so-great Bits
My #1 Highlight – Animal Aid
It was so difficult to leave. I spent five and a half weeks volunteering at Animal Aid and it was one of the most rewarding and also one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I got very attached to some of the animals and I experienced break-downs when they didn’t make it. But for the most part I got to see a lot of animals get the second chance that they deserved. Very few animals in India are as lucky. I will be visiting again.
The Worst Experience – Being propositioned as a prostitute.
I was walking back from dinner with Heather one night. After we said goodnight and went our separate ways to head back to our accommodations I noticed a young man walking with me. He attempted to engage me in conversation which for the most part I ignored while I made a fuss of the dogs along the road back to my hotel. The street dogs are generally a good way to get rid of unwanted attention because a lot of the local people are scared of them. As I neared the hotel door I tried to ditch the guy by saying goodnight and bye when he said to me “Can I f*** your p****? I have money, can pay.” Needless to say I didn’t respond very kindly to that. But the thing that got to me the most was the sincere look of astonishment on his face when I said no and told him to leave. As if white women are nothing but whores. I knew that is generally how we are regarded in India but to be faced with someone that truly believed it was infuriating. Hopefully after that he will think twice about assuming things about white women. Other than that the attention I received from men was fairly harmless, invitations for Chai and that sort of thing. After a few days of dodging them they tend to get the message and give up. It’s certainly not as bad as the media makes out.
The Strangest Sight – The Weddings
The colours, the deafening music, the fireworks. It really bombards your senses if you’re not used to it. I happened to be in Udaipur during wedding season so everyday there would be fireworks going up in the evenings and occasionally I’d get stuck behind a wedding procession that takes up the whole road.
The Craziest Experience – Riding side-saddle on the back of a scooter
I really didn’t want to. It takes a lot for me to get on the back of a scooter at all. So I really wasn’t keen on riding one sideways. A few of the Animal Aid staff and volunteers had been invited to a celebration one evening. Thinking that I didn’t want to look silly showing up in a t-shirt and hippy pants I decided to wear a sheathe style dress that I had purchased a few weeks prior. But when our rickshaw driver didn’t answer his phone at the end of the evening I began to regret my decision. The only option to get back to the hotel was to walk for 45 minutes or get a lift back on a scooter.
When I got back I had a dent in my hand from holding onto the handle so hard. Riding on a scooter is scary at the best of times but when you throw in Indian traffic and a really unstable sitting position it’s down right terrifying. I’m never wearing a dress in India again!