I went to India for a last minute work trip so I didn’t have time to see as much as I wished, but I will share with you what I learnt from my experience and try to be helpful. I was also there during Diwali, which together with Holi are one of the two biggest hindu holidays in India and I highly recommend choosing such a period to visit. Diwali date varies each year, based on the moon cycle; (mid Oct to mid Nov) and Holi date (late February to March). If you want to avoid rain, March is better 🙂
I got lucky with a last minute invitation for Diwali by my colleague, where I saw how her relatives celebrate Diwali and we exchanged thoughts, got to know each other and saw firecrackers together.
Is it expensive?
No, prices in India are on the lower side.
Do I need to rent a car?
I would not be able to drive in India as the traffic is quite hectic. Stick to Uber (choose Premium option) or Ola (for taxis).
Where do I choose accommodation?
I usually guide myself based on booking.com reviews (I usually filter for 8.5 out of 10 & includes at least 50 reviews). A night at a 5 star top rated hotel in Bangalore is 135 euros/double room. Some examples that stood out: The Oberoi, Leela Palace.
Activities & sightseeing I recommend
- The Bangalore Palace (make sure to buy the ticket which includes taking photos and to get the free audio guide)
- Iskcon temple
- Cubbon Park (+Suvarna Vidhana Soudha, government building which you can see from outside only)
Restaurants I liked
- Tiamo (mediteranean restaurant in the Conrad hotel): by far my favourite!
- Salvadores (mediteranean restaurant on top of the Bangalore Central Mall)
- Polo club at the Oberoi hotel (multi-cuisine restaurant)
- Rim Naam (thai): tbh I am currently not a fan of Thai food, but my colleague who is, said it was very tasty
- Yauatcha Bengaluru (cantonese): same story, not a fan of this cuisine at the moment, but my colleague who is, said it was good
- Arbor brewing company (for drinks, I did not manage to go there but it was highly recommended for interesting local beers & ciders, etc.)
- I also had Indian food daily in the office; my favorite dishes from Indian cuisine were ragi dosa with masala and baingan bharta (which I tried at the Oberoi hotel)
Activities to try whilst in India:
- Yoga: Sarva Yoga studio (a simple yoga studio, just to manage expectations)
- Spa treatments: Earthen Wellness Spa & Ayurveda
- Ayurvedic treatments (Indian traditional medicine treatments incl. specialised massages, ayurvedic doctor consultation, etc.): Ayurcare (this is not a luxurious place at all, just to manage expectations)
What local souvenirs could I bring?
- FabIndia (search on maps for your nearest shop): they sell traditional clothes, house deco, etc. made by Indian artisans
- Cauvery Handicrafts Emporium (artisanal handicrafts)
- Mysore Saree Udyog (sarees – Indian traditional costume, raw materials for making clothes, etc.)
- Kama Ayurveda or Forrest Essentials (for ayurvedic comestics): search on maps for the nearest one to your location as it is a chain of stores
Things to keep in mind
- drink and brush your teeth with bottled water only whilst there
- bring a mosquito spray with you (a brand recommended by the vaccination center in Zurich is “Anti Brumm Forte” for skin and “Nobite” for clothes)
- get your vaccines in order before you travel
- the food is going to be spicy, so always remember to ask for your meal to be made less spicy
- crossing the street is challenging as most traffic rules are not followed, pedestrian crossings are ignored, etc.; I love walking around for hours every time I travel to a new place and I did it in Bangalore too for a few hours, but I wouldn’t recommend it to most folks who are not used to it
- you will likely need a little bit of cash, so you can use any of the ATMs you find by searching on Google maps to have a bit of pocket money (I used my Revolut card which give great exchange rates and made sure to get the money from an international bank, like Citi; 20 euros was enough for me for one week as they accept cards in most places)
What did I not manage to see in this trip and is still on my list
- Goa and Kerala regions are next on my places to see in India list 🙂 If I had more time, I would have certainly spent a week in each of these 2.
- There are also beautiful places in the north of the country, which is more mountainous, to be visited.
What would I do different if I was to redo this trip
I would choose a time of the year with less rain & more sun, as it rained daily in the afternoon (perhaps March/April). I would also do a day trip to Mysuru (4-5 hours by car or train from Bangalore).