I can't remember how many times I was asked "Why?" and how many times I received a message with a "stay safe" at the end. I couldn't blame them and I am not surprised. If I was given the chance to travel to India 10 years ago, I think my naive self would tell me "don't even dare to go".
When I was in college, during a Microbiology lecture on Delhi Belly or the Traveler's diarrhea, I said I'd never set foot in India. I perceive things differently back then. When I moved to Dubai, I discovered this strong desire to explore the world. Wanderlust! I always get the impulse to see, feel, smell and taste the unfamiliar.
After watching a series of travel shows and documentaries, my fascination for India grew. Because despite the flaws, India is beautiful! It was only this year that I felt I am ready for its incredible diversity. Call me crazy, but I was ready to experience the peace and the chaos, the revelry and the apathy, the pleasure and just in case I get hit by the dreaded Escherichia coli... the pain.
The Budget Flight via IndiGo Airlines
The India travel plan started with a search for budget-friendly flights. Actually, budget wasn't the only issue, but the schedule as well. One of our travel buddies will be flying from Muscat, hence we had to look for a flight that coincides with hers.
After several days of searching and comparing, I found a perfect flight schedule via IndiGo. It is a low cost carrier based in India which reminds me of the Philippines' budget airline Cebu Pacific, Tickets are at a very reasonable price, however meals are not included and all seats are in economy class with no in-flight entertainment. On a positive note, the aircraft is an A320 airbus; new, very trendy and thoroughly clean with comfortable seats!
|IndiGo: India's low cost airline|
|perk of being seated at the back row: We were the first passengers to board the aircraft! :)|
|on a comfy budget flight to Delhi|
|my light snack on board IndiGo: cashew nuts in a reusable case and a bottle of water (30 AED each)|
Hello, New Delhi!
Our flight departed Dubai at 4:45pm and landed at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi at 9:25pm; earlier than our scheduled arrival. Dubai is 1 hour and 30 minutes behind New Delhi. The international airport in the capital of India is very spacious, sleek and clean. An eye-catcher are the huge sculptures of mudras or traditional hand gestures in Indian classical dance at Terminal 3.
Since we are all Philippine Passport holders, we secured our Tourist Visa on Arrival at the airport. More about the Visa application process here: How to get an Indian Tourist Visa on Arrival for Filipinos.
|Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi|
Travelling with Gets Holidays
I couldn't deny that safety was an issue. Other than the Delhi Belly, the reports on sexual assaults scared my family. I want my parents to sleep soundly while I'm in India, so Ed and I preferred not to go on a DIY trip.
We booked a Golden Triangle tour package from Gets Holidays, a reliable travel agency based in New Delhi. They arranged all the basics; the pick up and drop off at the airport, the hotel stays, the intercity travels and the sightseeing via a private Innova van.
We had an English-speaking driver, but we didn't ask for a tour guide as we want to explore the monuments on our own. So, every time we stepped outside our private vehicle, we got to interact with the locals. Some men stared at us from head to toe. I felt it was more of curiosity rather than harassment. But, beyond the curious stares were friendly smiles and polite Namaste greetings. It is not as scary as it appears to be on TV and in social media!
|We journeyed through North India on board this private van.|
|with our driver/guide/friend, Mr. Bije of Gets Holidays|
The Golden Triangle Tour
We explored the Golden Triangle of India which is composed of three amazing cities in four days and four nights. The popular travel route, in a triangular circuit, provides an overview of North India's diversity from the modern cities to the heritage towns.
Our tour kicked off in Delhi, the bustling capital of India. Then, we went to Jaipur, known as The Pink City. Saving the best for last, our third destination was Agra, home of the world-famous Taj Mahal. On our last day in India, we travelled back to Delhi and the tour came in full circle... or shall I say in full triangle. :)
|In Delhi: us girls doing a 360 groupie video at India Gate|
|In Jaipur: photo op with the palace guards at The City Palace|
|In Agra: celebrating LOVE at Taj Mahal|
Check out these posts to read about our days in Incredible India: