Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thank You, India

"Thank you India
Thank you providence
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you nothingness
Thank you clarity
Thank you, thank you silence."

- Thank U, Alanis Morissette
I now dig Alanis, and why she was singing nude in that music video. You'd have to experience India to find out yourself. When we left the country, I felt like I was born again.


Madurai's Thirumalai Nayak Palace

It seemed odd choosing Tamil Nadu over its more popular siblings like Uttar Pradesh (where Taj Mahal is), Goa and West Bengal. Thing is, Shervin and I planned this trip last year when I was still six months pregnant. We were contemplating then whether we'll take our baby with us or not. And so we researched on cities with the least malaria risk. Hence, we bought cheap tickets to India to its southern region.


Thanjavur's Brihadeeswarar Temple

We ended up not bringing Luna though. She's still fragile at five months, and she won't remember such trip anyway. We'd only be punishing ourselves and exposing her to several risks had we lugged her around.


Tiruchirappalli's Rock Fort.

Our six-day stint took us to three cities, and we wandered around these sites:

Madurai
1. Meenakshi Temple
2. Madurai's Thirumalai Nayak Palace
3. Mariamman Theppakulam
4. Gandhi Museum
5. St. Mary's Cathedral

Thanjavur
1. Brihadeeswarar Temple
2. Thanjavur Palace

Tiruchirappalli
1. Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
2. Our Lady of Lourdes Church
3. Rock Fort

With the exception of Indonesia, our budget in India was much less than elsewhere in Asia. We only spent P2,590 ($60) each for accommodation, food, internet usage, and admission/camera fees for temples and museums. At such cost, it was even a splurge trip (because I'm a huge fan of their food and I adore Indian trinkets!).

Coming soon are stories about Shervin's fans day, Sudanese Couchsurfers, paparazzi moments, almost losing an iPhone and iPod, conversations with locals, and a lot more misadventures.


Trip's Nitty Gritty

1. We spent P10,928 each for 5 flights. Clark-SG, SG-KL, KL-Trichy, Trichy-KL, KL-Clark. Our tickets for KL-Trichy-KL-Clark were purchased during a zero ringgit Air Asia sale. But then we spent loads for Clark-SG-KL because we totally forgot we didn't have a flight to KL yet and ended up buying regular-priced tickets with Tiger Airways.

2. At the time of our travel, 1 Indian rupee is equivalent to .96 centavos.

3. Their electric sockets/plugs have three round prongs, adaptors can be bought for Rs 20 from a hardware store.

4. Budget accommodations are at Rs 400, midrange at Rs 700 and posh at Rs 1,200.

5. Most of the temples we visited don't ask for admission fee but they do charge for camera/videocam. Rs 30 each.

6. Vegetarian meals in small canteens are only Rs 30-50, Rs 60-80 if with meat like chicken or bits of mutton. Locals eat with their hands. You'll be given spoons, but hey... when in India, do what the Indians do. Bring hand soap though cause some canteens/restos don't have 'em.

Piping hot milk tea's Rs 5-13.

7. Internet's Rs 10 half hour, Rs 15-20 1 hour. Internet shops are also called "browsing centres".

8. Tamil Nadu is well networked by bus. Short distance rides are only Rs 3-4.50. During rush hour, be prepared for a sardine-packed/overflowing bus. At such time 2 conductors attend to passengers, one at the front and one at the rear.

Buses are numbered so don't worry about trying to reading Indian alphabets! You'll also find a lot of locals speaking English, it's very easy to go around.


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58 comments:

Gabe said...
March 13, 2011 at 4:19 PM

Amazing!!!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 13, 2011 at 4:23 PM

Gabe, join ka pagbalik namin! Tapos ikaw magbabysit kay Luna. Lol.

AJ said...
March 13, 2011 at 4:48 PM

I'd like to commend you for writing a short but uber informative and practical post (something I cannot do, btw). Sana ganito din ako. I usually forget costings and all after the trip. I'm not a numbers person.

Almost P11k for 5 flights is WAY cheap! Amazing! I wonder how much it is now after the promo. I've always wanted to go to India and thank the country in the nude, but I'm thinking airfare would be pricey kasi ang daming transfers.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 13, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Thanks AJ! I got so much stuff in my head actually that I wanna write about, but the baby's constantly crying for attention I couldn't concentrate! Anyways, hope travelers find this post helpful :)

lakwatsera de primera said...
March 13, 2011 at 4:59 PM

Finally India series na :) grabe ang galing mag-abang ng seat-sale, ikaw na talaga :)

Kate said...
March 13, 2011 at 5:00 PM

Same as AJ, I always try to take note of my expenses but I palagi ko nakakalimutan at some point. haha! Love this post :)

Pinoy Boy Journals said...
March 13, 2011 at 5:11 PM

I agree with AJ. Gay, this comes handy. Booked my flight already but i'm going to the other side. I'm still thinking if i should take the flight going back home, that soon. he he Thanks for the tips. More or less, i have an idea how much i will spend.

Rizalenio said...
March 13, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Wow!!! I cant wait to read your other stories. Your post now re India made me shriek (like a little girl. Hope my gf will not read this. Hahaha).

I experienced this in Little India Singapore - 3. Their electric sockets/plugs have three round prongs, adaptors can be bought for Rs 20 from a hardware store.

Re overflowing busses, I saw many photos of that from the Lonely Planet book my gf gave me. Ang nanotice ko sa mga guys sa kanila, laging nakalong sleeves polo.

I always love India. Very kaleidoscopic and cinematic, not to mention the intricate details sa mga carvings sa walls, ceiling, roofs and even sa mga halls.

Will stay tuned for more of your India stories.

Markyramone said...
March 13, 2011 at 6:41 PM

very informative also with regards to the budget. Hope I get to India this year. :) sama ako pg balik nyo ulet

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 13, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Claire, subscribed sa email alert eh! Haha!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 13, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Thank Kate! Medyo masipag pa ako ngayon. Maybe someday I'll be jaded.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 13, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Rizalenio, natawa naman ako sa 'yo! Yeah, lagi sila naka-long sleeves and polo. I told my hubby, underdressed siya!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 13, 2011 at 8:11 PM

Marky, gow! Incredible India awaits...

monette | fliptravels said...
March 13, 2011 at 8:18 PM

so inspired now to go to india... can't wait!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 13, 2011 at 8:19 PM

Monette, Sri Lanka muna. Weee! Sayang di pa tayo nagsabay :(

Marco said...
March 13, 2011 at 8:20 PM

Love it!

Cedric said...
March 14, 2011 at 8:58 AM

The place is friggin' fantastic Gail!

Chyng said...
March 14, 2011 at 9:17 AM

ang ganda ng route!! and that is so cheap, P10K lang! grabe!

this india post is unusual, i like it! =)

bits & pieces said...
March 14, 2011 at 9:20 AM

thanks for sharing, sana mka punta nga India this year.. :) how about acquiring the visa madali lang ba?

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2011 at 9:25 AM

Cedric, India's oozing with awesomeness!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Chyng... abangers kami ng seat sale lagi :)

bits & pieces said...
March 14, 2011 at 9:35 AM

hey Gay, sorry gi ko nilagay name ke..hehehe
thanks for the link... :)

Nathalie :)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2011 at 9:36 AM

Bit & Pieces (tried looking for your name but couldn't find, hehe): Yup it's just easy! Here's a guide I composed http://www.pinaytraveljunkie.com/2011/02/how-to-apply-for-india-tourist-visa-in.html

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Nathalie, ikaw pala yan! Sorry po tagal ko nang hindi nakadalaw sa blog mo. Hihi. Na-memory gap tuloy ako. Makasubscribe na nga so I could stalk you too :)

Anonymous said...
March 14, 2011 at 11:35 AM

Really nice and very informative. =)

*Christian Solis*

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Hey Christian! Thanks for dropping by!

wanderlass ✈ said...
March 14, 2011 at 12:03 PM

Awesome! Good to see another side of India. Did u research beforehand the 3 cities u needed to go to? India is definitely on my list. =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Hey Lil! Nope we didn't research much (except Trichy), we only asked for recommendations from Couchsurfers and Shervin's "fans". We thought, India would be an awesome place to get lost in :)

sheril benedict said...
March 14, 2011 at 9:27 PM

Hi..thx for this post coz i m from south india ..Pondicherry just 230 km from thanjore ..rates r far less when compared to other countries!!lots of places are here to explore ..make sure u inform me nxt time when u visit south india !!!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 14, 2011 at 10:02 PM

Will surely let you know! Would love to check out Pondicherry as well.

Shervin Emami said...
March 15, 2011 at 2:48 AM

Nice summary babe :-)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Oh. Welcome Sherv to my blog!

nina said...
March 15, 2011 at 4:06 PM

Naman Gay eh.. Now I want to go to India.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 15, 2011 at 4:13 PM

I-plan na Nina :) Eat, pray, love moment ito!

Karla said...
March 17, 2011 at 7:50 PM

Wow! After seeing your pics parang gusto ko na rin mag India! =) I love the top pic Gaymie! Anong sinabi ni Julia Roberts =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 17, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Hey Karla, tell Mark you guys SHOULD go! While you guys are on this side of the globe :)

Jorie Pacli said...
March 17, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Thank goodness you shared the cost! Now, India is reachable and within budget...:) India is an amazing place to visit and lucky you, you'd been there! :) Cheers!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 18, 2011 at 11:31 AM

So cheap, Jorie! One can easily splurge on anything :)

krystle said...
March 18, 2011 at 2:07 PM

I would just like to say thank you for keeping my DREAM of travelling INDIA alive. I have an ultimate dream country to visit and that is INDIA. I have and always been fascinated to go to India but I have always thought too that going there would cost an arm and a leg. Seeing your budget keeps the dream burning. Would have thought for our 7th year (and hopefully first year of marriage) Jp and I would be going on a SEA backpacking trip but with your informative blog I am seriously reconsidering. :) At any case, I now know it is very much doable. No need to wait for big funds to roll in. Thanks for sharing, you just don't know how much this blog of yours meant for that dream of mine.:) By the way, it is my first time to visit your blog. Will wait for this series.:)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 18, 2011 at 4:34 PM

Hi Krystle! Wow, congrats in advance ;p Just dropped by your blog. Looks like you've been busy planning for your wedding. I remember how much fun I had when I was at the planning stage of the biggest event in our lives.

You guys will love India for sure! And yes, very much doable. Keep posted then dear :)

The Nomadic Pinoy said...
March 20, 2011 at 9:08 PM

you finally made it to india!!!
your baby may not appreciate yet the sights, sounds and smells of this sensual subcontinent but once she grows up and reads this blog, she'll nag you about it :)
in varanasi, i remember sharing a boat ride with a german couple who had 2 young kids with them! they said having kids in tow made it easier crossing borders, dealing with touts - in other words, they were less hassled.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 20, 2011 at 9:53 PM

Very true Dennis! Everywhere we go with the little one, we're given special treatment. Haha!

Katmichelle said...
March 24, 2011 at 9:12 PM

how very nice! seeing the pictures make me want to see india too!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 24, 2011 at 9:50 PM

Go Kat :) Such a beautiful country.

sometimes KIM and sometimes MJ said...
March 24, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Wow this is an inspiring post!

We've been eyeing India for the longest time but always gets sidetracked, also we find it really intimidating! You're line on the comment section about India being an awesome place to get lost to though struck me. Indeed, getting lost in a new place makes the experience all the more interesting.

Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to the next installments.

All the best.

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
March 25, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Thanks for dropping by! I hope you find your way to India someday soon. It was a life changing experience for us, perhaps it will be the same for you :)

deels said...
April 2, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Nice post Gay! Very informative indeed. When is the best time of the year to visit India? Always wanted to go but afraid i might get lost. City seems so big and crowded. But then again, i thought of the same thing before I went to China. My friend and i got lost but it wasn't so bad after all. =) And I'm grateful for your China tips as well. =)

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
April 2, 2011 at 7:15 PM

Thank you! About the best time, it depends which state you visit. When we went in February, the climate was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. But that's South India.

Plus the more popular cities are of course more crowded, and got more touts. You gotta be wary. Swerte lang siguro kami na everyone was nice to us. Walang nag-take advantage.

nadia said...
June 16, 2011 at 9:30 PM

I've never been to those parts of India, but based on your photographs, I should probably start planning a trip! Thanks for all the practical tips/financial advice :D

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
June 16, 2011 at 9:41 PM

Thanks for dropping by Nadia! I should start planning a trip to Delhi soon, haha!

Ian | Going Places said...
August 18, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Thirumalai Nayak Palace looks magnificent... what's its function for.
India is one big country, there are so much to discover here as a traveler. Namaste!

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
August 18, 2011 at 10:30 PM

It used to be a palace. Dating area na ngayon - Kidding! Free admission for tourists to see.

Anonymous said...
January 29, 2012 at 12:22 AM

Hi! it's my first time here and i've always wanted to go to India to visit friends!You only spent 11K on your airfare?! lucky you! would it be cheaper if it's a direct flight as with Philippine Airlines?I am planning a trip to Delhi early next year.. This blog has been very helpful. Shukriya :) -Josnnah Pangilinan

Anonymous said...
January 29, 2012 at 12:48 AM

errr... i mean nonstop flight there.. my mistake :p

Pinay Travel Junkie said...
January 29, 2012 at 4:54 AM

Hi Josnnah, I have not actually looked up PAL's rate for the direct flight since the route was launched. Generally, direct flights are almost always expensive. What's good about Air Asia is, they usually got seat sales. With good planning, it's quite easy to get good rates :)

Anonymous said...
January 31, 2012 at 11:53 PM

i guess i have to make abang for the good rates then...Thanks a lot. I am your new fan! :D -josnnah

Pink Tsinelas said...
February 2, 2012 at 11:32 PM

this post makes me want to go to India.

ayan villafuerte said...
February 5, 2013 at 4:43 PM

very interesting place.
understatement.

perpetually fascinated by this place... parang magical yon dating... haha
lalo na pagkatpos mapanuod yon 3 idiots. hehe

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