I'm looking at planning my first trip to India, as part of a longer trip that will include Europe and either Japan or Vietnam. India's been a "dream" destination of my mine for a long time. I think I've read every single India trip report on here 2-3 times each!
I'm nowhere near the nitty gritty of a detailed itinerary yet. I'm still reading guidebooks, thinking about what to see and do. But I do have a sort of broad, general question about traveling in India:
How do you decided how long to stay in each destination? And why do most people seem to travel so quickly through India? Is it because it's unpleasant to stay in any one place too long, or is it more a desire to see as much as possible?
For background, I'm late 30's, female, will be traveling solo. Never been to Asia before. I've done a couple of trips to Europe where we moved around every few days, and enjoyed myself. But when I travel solo, I tend to "stay put" for 1-2 weeks time in major cities like London, Paris, Rome, Florence, without a whole lot of traveling between places.
Back to India- I'm planning maybe 6 weeks, mostly by train. I'm thinking something like Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Kolkata, and then a couple of weeks in Darjeeling and Sikkim (I'm also thinking about including a few places in Rajasthan, or even scrapping the north and focusing on the south instead- as I said, I'm a long way from a proper itinerary).
When it comes to my question about "slow travel", here's an example of what I mean: my "instinct" is to spend maybe 6 nights in Varanasi- it takes a lot to get there, overnight train to and from, or a flight. The gnat activity of course sounds fascinating, and from what I've seen on various youtube videos, the old section of the city itself also looks fascinating. Most travelers seem to love Varanasi and highly recommend it. But at the same time, most travelers seem to recommend only 2-3 nights. So I wonder if 6 nights would be a mistake...?
I know there are lots of experienced India travelers here- I'd love to hear your thoughts about the ideal pace of travel in India.
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