At first she terrifies you, and then delights: the story of a trip to India

At first she terrifies you, then delights you: the story of a trip to India

Natalia, a reader of The Subtleties of Tourism, unexpectedly ended up in India in the winter of 2023. “It started with Aeroflot suddenly generously offering a 40% discount on any flight. After some deliberation, we decided: Delhi! On February 22, 2023, we flew to the capital of India, booked a car at home through an Indian friend. Thus began our journey through paradoxical India,” says Natalia.

Provisional calculation

Our preliminary calculation for 5 adults and a child for 16 days in dollars was as follows:

  • Hotels — 1205 USD.
  • Car – 330 USD, gasoline – 165 USD, transfer – 130 USD, car rental in Goa plus gasoline – 90 USD.
  • Daily expenses – 1500 USD.

Total we originally planned to spend 3420 USD, but in the end it turned out 4300 USD (gulen, however). Dollars were bought from friends at that time at the rate of the Central Bank for 70 rubles. And if you figure that this amount includes everything – food, and drinks, and trips, and excursions, and entrance tickets, and hotels, and entertainment, and souvenirs – it seems very inexpensive.

Air tickets were counted separately

To Delhi and back for everyone – 184,000 RUB, domestic flights Delhi – Mumbai – Goa – Delhi – another 96,000 RUB. Well, in Goa, another 40 thousand were changed to rupees by transfer from the card (it was not enough, however). In total, our super-saturated vacation cost about 100,000 RUB per person.

Our route

We arrived in Delhi at 4:00, settled in, went to Main Bazaar to walk and eat. We bought a local SIM card, the Internet for 500 INR was enough for the whole trip. They immediately connected Uber, saving 4-5 times on taxis. In the evening we got a 7-seater car in Delhi and in the morning we went to Jaipur.

Roads in cities are trash, and that's putting it mildly. Our driver, having experience in Asia, of course, coped, but in reality it is super difficult. They thought it was trash in Sri Lanka, but compared to India, these are flowers. Therefore, for those who are not completely confident in themselves, it is still better to rent with a driver.

In Delhi, there is noise and dirt, but there are also chic areas and attractions, in general, it is interesting.


The pink city of Jaipur itself was somehow not very impressive, but I really liked the Amber fortress. Hotels there for every taste and inexpensive. We took with a pool, but at this time of the year it is not needed, the nights are cold and the pool does not warm up. I note that Booking is working, everything was successfully booked.

With alcohol there, not everything is simple, you need to ask which establishments have it. We weren’t in our hotel, so we went to the next one and walked there! Musicians and dancers in national costumes came, sang and danced, they took us to dances, begged for money, but it’s not a pity at all! Very colorful artists, people pulled themselves up, and they were all local tourists, and they also spared no money. And they danced and took pictures with us, filmed videos and got to know each other, had fun, very positive people. The evening there was simply unforgettable. 1/1

Next Agra and Taj Mahal

I don't think I'm going to add anything new here – it's just amazing! We returned to Delhi to the same hotel, very convenient: we left things there and flew to Mumbai. No matter what anyone says, this city is a great heritage! Some special flavor of the colonial port, the architecture of the Victorian colonial era combined with tropical nature is just a brain blast.

In the evening we rode on a sightseeing double-decker bus, many buildings in the center have amazing illumination. In the morning we sailed to Elephanta Island, we liked it very much. The cave temple, and the island itself with its narrow-gauge railway, a trip in open trailers … in a word, I recommend it.

I clearly understand that if there is a fate to go to India again, I will definitely return to Mumbai and with great pleasure.


And finally Goa

Calangute beach. We rented a 2-storey villa with a kitchen and a swimming pool. And this is a plus: when it's hot during the day, we left the beach and swam in the pool. We rented a car and drove to Palolem Beach, where we booked two bungalows on the beach. Yes, I liked it, the beach is beautiful – but boring, for a couple of days, no more. There are many cafes in Calangute, restaurants with live music, there is a market, and if you come closer to closing, you can buy excellent fish for 100 INR, shrimp for 300 INR, crabs. Fruits are inexpensive, vegetables are pennies (tomatoes – 20 INR per kg).

Food in cafes is more expensive than in sheks(small cafes on the beaches – ed.), but tastier. I liked the soup with mushrooms, here it is 120-200 INR, and in Agra in a cafe – 250 INR. The main course is chicken or pasta for 200-300 INR, expensive fish – 700-1500 INR depending on the size, 0.7 l beer – 100 INR in Goa, and 300 INR in other regions. There are really good products: cashmere scarves, leather, spices, cosmetics.

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My impressions of India

I want to say that India, despite all the dirt and unsanitary conditions, is an unusually interesting country! There are a great many unique sights here, and a year is not enough to see everything, but people are a separate issue. They, of course, have a different mentality and a completely different worldview. They very much ask to be photographed, and were so grateful that we did not refuse them … And how happy they were when we danced their dances with them (as best they could), and they danced Kalinka-Malinka with us and rejoiced like children.

They have an absolutely unbiased attitude towards foreigners – you are American, German or Russian – it doesn't matter to them. In many countries, oh, how one feels reverence for sams and burghers.

And, by the way, we almost didn’t meet beggars, now there is a very large middle class in India, they travel a lot, and there are a lot of local tourists in all tourist places and resort areas . It can be seen that they are not poor: they stay in expensive hotels, eat in restaurants, dress well, they have good perfume, and they are very positive, sociable, open.

India is paradoxical: at first it plunges you into chaos and horror, and then it surprises, delights, enchants you so much that you really want to return!

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