Top Places to Escape India in India

Top Places to Escape India in India

India is different.  After four months and 30 cities visited, I’m still not sure what attracts tourists.  Let me save you the trip: whatever India has another country has better. UNESCO Buddhist caves?  China’s Datong and Luoyang are masterpieces.  Mountains?  Nepal or Bolivia will never let you down.  Beaches?  Grab your towel and head to the Philippines, Australia or Mexico.  Ancient temples and ruins?  Until you’ve been to Cambodia, Peru, or Egypt don’t bother with India.  Big cities?  Tokyo and Buenos Aires.  Colorful culture?  Myanmar.  Not only will the sights be better, but you won’t be groped or harassed like in India.

Visiting India for a few weeks won’t make you a skeptic because easy to say, “it was just the places I went,” but the vast majority of long-term travelers we’ve met want out.  If you’re here for too long and tired of having men masturbate in front of you, riding on buses that average 10 Km/hr (6MPH), or debating what intestinal illness you have this time (all true stories), here are some places you can escape India without even leaving.  Welcome to un-India, India.

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AGRA

Not only is it the main attraction, it is the only tourist attraction worth visiting in the country.  “What!?” you may ask.  I’m sure you’ve heard from other travelers that “there is so much to see in India”.    The most beautiful thing in India is the Taj Mahal, there is nothing else like it anywhere in the world. The city itself has good tourist infrastructure and some other sights such as the Baby Taj, making it the must-see tourist city in the country.

LEH

India seemingly ends where Leh/Ladakh begins, where honking horns give way to Buddhist gongs.  The simmerng heat of the Indian plains is found only in dumpling steamers.  Populated by ethnically Tibetan people, Ladakh is worlds apart from the India that surrounds it.  The arid mountains, accented by monasteries carved into them, are reminiscent of Tibet. This is a place that people come for a few days and stay for weeks, constantly traveling farther out to more remote villages, getting deeper into the ancient culture.

MANALI

A great place to learn Hebrew.  A great place to jam on an instrument you didn’t know existed before arriving. Unbeknownst to anyone who hasn’t seen it, India is the place that Israelis come to party after finishing the army.  Few places is it as obvious as in Old Manali and neighboring Vashisht.  Curry gives way to hummus and Bollywood hits to American classic rock learned while serving in the Israeli Army. The reason they flock here?  Enchanting scenery, great weather, and a chill vibe.  It is a great place to relax, have lazy days and avoid the noise of Indian cities, but clearly not for everyone.

DARJEELING

“Why aren’t there more Americans in India?” we are often asked.  My response: go to Darjeeling.  I haven’t seen more Americans anywhere else since leaving the motherland. What draws us there?  Great restaurants, stunning mountain views, and cool weather.  Compared to much of India accommodations are substantially better, but so are prices.  If India has gotten to you do as the British did and retreat to Darjeeling and relax…life is better here.

VARKALA

This is “easy India”.  I could have included a photo of gorgeous coastline or a stunning sunset, but I don’t want to ruin it for you. You should get the chance to walk out to the edge of the cliff and see it for yourself.  This is not only one of the best places in India, it’s one of the best places to chillout in Asia.  Head straight for the North Cliff and make sure you have some extra days…or months.  It’s a hard place to leave.

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Comments

» Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) :
Sep 27, 2012

It’s pretty clear from your posts that India has not been the place for you two! But out of curiosity, why did you guys choose to spend 4 months of time in a place that you obviously disliked so much? What stopped you from just packing your bags and heading to another place, rather than continuing to spend your time and money in India?

thinkCHUA Reply:

Optimism. I had faith in the idea that “India is a big country” and the more we saw the more it would impress me. I didn’t want to be like people that come to the USA, visit one part and say, “I don’t like America”. That just wouldn’t be fair. Sadly though, after four months and 30 cities visited, I can’t give India a positive review. In a world with so many things to see, so many wonderful places, I can’t recommend spending the few travel days of one’s life in India.

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.
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