Tag: "India"

Quick travel planning tips for India

With its rich cultural history, magnificent temples, and great people, there’s something enchantingly unique about India. So you’re all set on that mystical trip you’ve been planning for years … ready to take the plunge? Here’s a few quick tips to consider.

First, know your home country currency versus the value of the Indian Rupee. Since the Indian Rupee has dropped in value as a world currency over the past few years, you might be able to create a more memorable trip! You should plan accordingly when scoring cheaper airline tickets, budget hotels, apartment rentals, and discount transportation as a result.

Next, when planning out where you’re going to stay. Think about the diversity of Indian cuisine as it varies from region to region. Also consider in advance how much traveling you intend to do, since India is historically well known for its central role in the spice trade. That means you will find a various assortment of colorful, fragrant, spicy dishes during your travels.

As for hotel accommodations, you might consider Tripadvisor‘s top ten list of upscale hotels such as the Parakkat Nature Hotels and Resorts, or the Oberoi Vanyavillas for an amazing experience. Though if you’re already on a budget, one of the most highly rated hotels to stay at versus price point is the AkashDeep.

If you’re opting for a more traditional stay, then you’re probably not looking for a hotel unless you’re traveling in a big group. Some consider staying at hostels, but typically they’re not worth the expense unless you’re making a point of staying in one since budget hotels will often cost the same.

One way to get around staying at hotels, while saving extra cash, is by looking directly for Indian families who will host you on the various hospitality exchanges. For example, the popular website Couchsurfing is one of the largest networks in India and comparable to Airbnb.

At the site above, there’s well over 100,000 hosts and growing. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with Indian culture, though if you’re new to the country you’ll find most Indian families are gracious and will appreciate your interest in their culture.

As for transportation, you might want to rent bikes and take trains. Check out a few styles offered by Brooklyn Bicycle Company, as these are the types of city bikes you’ll want to look for in terms of tires and comfortable seating.

Don’t expect speedy travel arrangements when you get there, and don’t expect your airline departure and arrivals to be exactly on time. The same goes for buses and trains. It’s helpful to research a map of India and consider the sheer size of the territories you are wanting to see and plan out your travel route in advance.

Lastly, a few safety tips for women travelers. Remember you should be dressing appropriately with the customs while you’re travelling through the country. This includes shoulders, legs, and cleavage because India is still a conservative country when it comes to female expression.

Also, consider the ramifications of being female and travelling alone. One of the most important tips is not to arrive at your destinations at night by yourself. Always exercise caution and judgment while abroad while paying attention to your surroundings.

Above all, have fun and enjoy your well-planned trip!

Alternative ski destinations and culture shock on the slopes

So the other day Sharon wrote about some ski chalets, including catered ski chalets in la Rosiere. I’ve only been to ski resorts in Korea, but I hear they can be pretty different from ski resorts in Europe or North America.

First, artificial snow is the norm in Korea. It’s normal to go to a ski resort and find only artificial snow. Many skiers prefer natural powder snow to crunchy and damp man-made snow. I’m not sure if that’s because skiers are used to natural powder or if there really is a significant difference.

Second, the mountains in South Korea are relatively low. The four resorts hosting events for the 2018 Winter Olympics are 700-1500 meters above sea level. The terrain is not as steep as many Americans would expect.

Third, even though the terrain is not above the tree line, tree skiing is not an option. Chain fences line all the slopes

Fourth, much attention was paid to entertaining non-skiers. Typical attractions include water parks and shopping centers. The government owned High 1 Resort has a casino (the only casino in Korea in which Koreans are allowed to play – all other casinos are for foreigners only).

I’m not sure these cultural differences will last forever. Korea may try to westernize in advance of the 2018 Winter Olympics to Alpensia Resort in Pyeongchang and three other resorts all within half an hour (including the High 1 Resort mentioned above). Although I don’t think they’ll be importing natural snow or changing the incline of their mountains.

So given the many possible cultural differences, I searched the web for ski culture shock and similar terms. I found a few interesting things I’d like to share with you now.

Japan

Unlike Korea, Japan is known for natural powder. Also, if you check out the video below around 2:30, you’ll see trees, which would be off limits in Korea.

Kashmir India

This video seems to show untouched snow, white and powdery. Skiing through forest looks amazing. Then around 2 minutes in, very close to the end of the video, there’s a shot where the skiers are on a road. They pass a truck going the other way. Maybe that’s where the culture shock mentioned in the video title comes from. I can’t imagine skiers and vehicles sharing the road.

China

Long slopes and slow lifts. They interview tourists who say the skiing in this Chinese resort is comparable to America, Canada, and Swedish skiing.

And I believe the Atlai Mountains are also in China. If someone wanted a really different ski experience, they might try skiing uphill (or down) with a single pole.

In conclusion, it seems there are a lot of different ski experiences to be had in Asia. From resorts to country skiing, lots of culture awaits skiers willing to travel. Where would you go for a ski holiday?

Persuade people not to poop in public but dissuade people from visiting India

So the last video I posted had some good reasons to visit Oman. This video will be a bit different.

I’m sure there are lost of good reasons to visit India. This video, however, will probably leave a dark brown stain on many travelers’ view of India as a tourist destination. For context, the webpage poo2loo.com has some numbers about India:

“Daily 620 million Indians are defecating in the open. That’s half the population dumping over 65 million kilos of poo out there every day. If this poo continues to be let loose on us, there will be no escaping the stench of life threatening infections, diseases and epidemics.”

Certainly sounds like a problem. Maybe this video will help persuade people to stop pooping in public. It will definitely hurt India’s tourism marketing efforts.