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Indian Sub-Cont. From Kathmandu to Colombo, and Islamabad to Dakha, one billion smiles, treck in the Himalayas, bathe in the Ganga, dance to Hindi pop ! Namaste !

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Old 04-21-2006, 03:50 PM   #1
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Hello, I am Anthony, and I am a student pilot of Florida Institute of Technology. My Fiance and I are going to be getting married this summer. We are both college students, and we are both backpacking for our first time; as such, we will be getting our passports soon and buying our first backpacks. Being a pilot, my urge for adventure rivals that of Columbus, African Tribesmen, and Jules Verne combined. My future wife shares my drive, envisioning lands and people that to this point she had only dreamt about.

Therefore, as one might expect, Jennifer and I will not be dancing around Western Europe and dining on marble slabs alongside rich, well-to-do oil tycoons in Paris. Something quite different is in store for us. Among all the places in the world that beckons us, we have decided on a rudimentary itinerary. We will have a month, from June 15 to July 15, to explore a country that fills us both with mystery and intrigue: India.

We have read many books having to do with life in India. I am a sucker for cultural books, as is my fiancé. The three most inspiring cultures to us are the Arabic culture, the Indian culture, and the Chinese culture. India is her jewel, though, and nothing will stop her once she has her mind set on these sorts of things. I am likewise extraordinarily happy to go with her to India.

As I mentioned before, though, India will be our first incursion into the world of backpacking. As much of a travel demon as I am, I will swallow my tongue and say that I am not fully prepared. That does not mean that I will not go on this trip, as nothing will stop us now, but I have decided to take my plans to those much wiser than I on these matters: the Travelpunk community. Our plans are humbly submitted for advice.

We want to take a clockwise journey around India. We want to start in the tropical south, visiting the coastal regions and seeing the jungle. From there, we wish to work our way to Western India, Primarily to see Bollywood. Then we want to work our way to the Northern regions of India, to see the holy temple in Amritsar. Then we want to go East and see Calcutta. This is where the trip starts to get difficult…

We both are captivated by the political hotbed known as Burma, or modernly, Myanmar. Is it currently feasible to enter Myanmar, if only for a day, through Northeastern India? If not, then what of Bangladesh?

Another question I have for our trip is… for people with experience in India… where might I look if I truly desire a look into what drives the culture of India?
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Old 04-21-2006, 03:55 PM   #2
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I hope someone with some more india experience can help. I am going to move this thread to the india section and hopefully you'll get some more hits!

Best of luck to ya. I know of another new tpunk that is tackling india as well!
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Old 04-21-2006, 05:09 PM   #3
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Hey there, welcome.

I'm going to be taking a solo trip to North Eastern India (starting in Calcutta, actually) in the fall for 2 or 3 weeks. My best advice is to get SEVERAL guidebooks and read all of them. Also, plan on experiencing extreme culture shock-- whether good or bad. India is, from all accounts, very "hard" on the senses but you can adjust.

The problem with Burma/Myanmar is that you'll have to go through Bangladesh to get there if you plan to arrive from India. Right now Bangladesh is highly unstable and is all but cut off for travel. I know a couple who had been in Dhaka for the Peace Corps and just one month ago were evacuated because the situation had deteriorated and became completely unstable. If you know where the Peace Corps sends people, then you might be able to imagine how dangerous a place has become for them to actually evacuate.

Granted this might change a bit by the time you take your trip, but it might actually be easier for you to try to put Myanmar/Burma at the *beginning* of your journey and then plan on flying from there to Delhi. Just a suggestion.

Here's what the US Foreign Entry Requirements for US citizens traveling abroad has to say about Burma/Myanmar:
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BURMA (Myanmar) - *Passport and visa required.* Single entry tourist visa (valid for 3 months), for stays up to 28 days, requires $20 fee, 2 application forms, 3 photos, and itinerary.* Tourist visas are issued for package or group tours as well as Foreign Independent Travelers.* Enclose SASE for return of passport by express mail.* Allow up to 5 working days for normal processing.* Overland travel into and out of Myanmar is only permitted at certain points (check with Embassy).* For business visas and additional information, contact the Embassy of the Union of Myanmar, 2300 S St., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (202/332-3344,4350 or 4352) or the Myanmar Consulate General Office, 10 East 77th St., New York, NY 10021 (212/744-1271/75/79).* Internet: www.mewashingtondc.com
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Old 04-22-2006, 01:29 AM   #4
 
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We want to take a clockwise journey around India. We want to start in the tropical south, visiting the coastal regions and seeing the jungle. From there, we wish to work our way to Western India, Primarily to see Bollywood. Then we want to work our way to the Northern regions of India, to see the holy temple in Amritsar. Then we want to go East and see Calcutta. This is where the trip starts to get difficult…

We both are captivated by the political hotbed known as Burma, or modernly, Myanmar. Is it currently feasible to enter Myanmar, if only for a day, through Northeastern India? If not, then what of Bangladesh?

Another question I have for our trip is… for people with experience in India… where might I look if I truly desire a look into what drives the culture of India?


hey ,
if you re looking a clockwise travel in india itself.. i d sugest you start from chennai .. explore the southern most tip kanyakumari.. see the french colony at pondicherry (remember m night .. his birth place) .. move on to kerala "god's own little country" as it is called .. has lots of quite beaches ad backwater accomodation are simply awesome... and cheap too!!

move up the western coast to goa ... (yeah!!!) some of the hippies still there alive and kicking ...anways ..lots to see in old goa... churches museums and yes beaches... move up to bombay (bollywood) ok i happen to be a filmmaker ( not hardcore bollywood though ...went to USC came to back too direct commercials ) i would have invited you with open arms to come and be my guest but i m going to be backpacking in spain at that time.. anyways , we still may connect while you re here...
then move up to rajasthan in the desert ..jaipur the pink city .. jaisalmer ..lot of good exotic locales ...and old forts turned hotels (u can actually stay in the rooms where once maharajas lived!!)
then move up to delhi .. capita nothing much to see there... u can find GOOD FOOD to pass your time... (thats what most delhites do!!)

move up to himalyas... manali in himachal pradesh.. u can be ready for the most beautiful journey of your life time by road.. manali to leh, ladakh.. passing the rohtang glacier pass.. it is the highest built road in the world...leh is at 18000 ft .. so its better to reach there by road to get acclimatised..lot of places to see around....move down backwards to gharwal..lower himalyas... then to benaras holy city (in case you re spiritual) move to calcutta
i would suggest when you re moving in north eatern states ..east of benara.. u plan your trip by air and not by road.. bihar and eatern UP are not the best states for a foreigner to travel ( i can tell u with my own experience coz i dont look like an average indian)

move to calcutta and north eastern states.. aizwal in mizoram is great.. and of course sikkim.. u can avooid the rest of the countries like bangladesh and burma as someone suggested "not very stable states" well sometimes it can be challenging and fun to travel under these circumstances but you re with fiance so i d ask u to take it easy on them.

bhutan is a great a small country.. paro and thimphu (capital ) are the two good cities.. i found my peace there... u must visit bhutan .. its safe and heavenly.


well this is more or less all the information.. u can pick and choose places out of these according to your likes and plan your trip and the duration accordingly ..



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Old 04-23-2006, 07:26 AM   #5
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I went to Myanmar, but it via air from Bangkok. Extremely friendly people...I highly recommend it to anyone who can make it there. See if you can squeeze in a trip to Bagan (see my travelog on my website), it was truly an amazing place.

As far as the technical details of land crossing between India and Myanmar, I've found the Lonely Planet guidebooks are pretty useful with that info. Look in the section on where you'd be thinking of making the crossing. They know that folks like to do stuff like that, and often squeeze the border requirements into that part.

Of course, you can always e-mail or phone the U.S. consulate here and see if they can dig up that information for you...

Good luck! Keep us posted on your plans...they sound amazing.

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Old 01-19-2007, 03:54 AM   #6
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Default The Right Season?

I'm thinking of doing a very similar trip, during the same time of year. But is mid June - July a good time? Everything I'm reading says that this is the wrong time of year, but the problem is that it's just about the only time I can make it. Any ideas? I'd hate to have rain every day.
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Old 01-19-2007, 07:55 AM   #7
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Moonsoon is almost at its peak in July in India, Nepal, Myamnar and Norther Vietnam. I've read that it is pouring rain.

However, in Southern Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia, although the moonsoon season is also going on, it only rains from time to time, and the rain is welcomed as the temperature reaches 30 Celsius and over.
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