Has anyone Travelled to India in May

Mar 30th, 2011, 03:13 PM
  #1  
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Has anyone Travelled to India in May

We were just wondering if anyone has travelled to India in the month of May, how comfortable or uncomfortable is it weather wise? We plan to start from Delhi and find our way all the way down to Bangalore. In between we would like to visit Agra, Kolkata, Jaipur, Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Are all tourist places open during this time? How safe is it to eat street food? How punctual, reliable, and safe are the trains from one city to the next? Is it best to have US currency or withdraw cash from ATMs? Thanks.

Kay
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Mar 30th, 2011, 05:37 PM
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I can't speak to the May timeframe specifically, but I'll tell you that trains can be delayed by weather. I didn't eat much street food, but I think the same guidelines would apply for anywhere - if the food is freshly cooked, it's most likely ok. But no guarantee.

And yes, it's best to withdraw rupees from ATMs. Most places don't take US dollars.
althom1122 is offline  
Mar 30th, 2011, 07:22 PM
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I have travelled in India in August, November, October, early May and again in Late May/early June. I had heard that the weeks leading up to the arrival of the monsoon are the worst, but I figured I had done fine in early May and August trips, so it wouldn't be much worse.

What I didn't realize is that August is after the monsoon has passed, so at least there is water everywhere, and the humidity drops. May is the most muggy time of year as the winds just stop until the monsoon arrives.

So it was a lot worse tha any of our other trips, especially since we started out in Chennai, planning to spend a couple weeks exploring Tamil Nadu. We lasted about 5 days. Chennai was horribly humid and hot, but we could stop in AC buildings and take cabs. Pondicherry though, was not only swelteringly hot and humid, but many places, including taxis, buses and trains are not airconditioned. Even our hotel, one of the best in town, was not airconditioned in the common areas or the restaurant-- only the bedrooms. It was 115` that week, though they said sometimes it gets to be a cool 105` or so at that time of the year!

After two days, we gave up. We bought tickets up to Shimla and spent the next week in Shimla and Dharamsala. it was much cooler there (about mid 80`s), but they burn fields at that time of year, so visibility is really poor.

If you go in May, I would plan on staying as far north as possible, and expect hot, muggy weather all over.
lcuy is offline  
Mar 31st, 2011, 03:27 AM
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"I would plan on staying as far north as possible" - or as high as possible - the hill country in the south should be cooler than the coastal areas. BTW, I hope your list of places wasn't in itinerary order! (And how long do you have?)
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Mar 31st, 2011, 11:43 AM
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Hot and humid in India is worse than hot and humid in the US. Like already mentioned, although there may be A/C, it may bring down the temp only somewhat and it may not dehumidify the air like we're used to here.

Don't eat street food. The risk of getting sick far outweighs any benefit, especially if you're just here for a few weeks. Even the locals get sick from the food. Eating out is still viewed with a lot of caution.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 03:41 AM
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Thank you Althom, Lcuy, Thursdaysd, and Jaya, all for your responses and all the advise. We truly appreciate. We are planning to spend the whole month of May. This is just the most convenient time for us after having planned a trip to India for more than 10 years.

Thursdaysd, yes that is pretty much our itinerary, we are supposed to land in Delhi at the beginning of May, and fly out of the country from Bangalore at the end of May. We have taken out Jaipur from the list. So we would visit Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Panaji, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Bangalore (in this order). Do you have any suggestions on the itinerary, please?

Kay
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Apr 1st, 2011, 05:09 AM
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That's a bit of a zig-zag!

I would drop Mumbai and Chennai in favor of time in the Nilgiri hills and/or Coorg. They are big, raucous cities that will be beastly hot and humid and are short on tourist sights, and you're already spending time in the other two biggies, Delhi and Kolkata.

Delhi to Kolkata is fine and can be done by train. Then I would fly from Kolkata to Hyderabad (but see my TR - http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...an-sojourn.cfm - for why you might want to skip Hyderabad too) and then Hyderabad to Goa. (I'd stay at the Panjim Inn in Panaji, and pick one beach for a couple of nights) and then I'd spend some time in the hills on the way to Bangalore - possibly adding Mysore.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 07:28 AM
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Thanks a lot Thursdaysd. We appreciate all your help and tips.
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Apr 1st, 2011, 09:12 AM
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If you must do Chennai, do it first, then move north as the monsoon approaches with all the heat and humidity. (Chennai doesn't get the rain in June like west & north cities)
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Apr 2nd, 2011, 05:43 PM
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Thursdaysd, it's going to be extremely tough for us to drop Mumbai. This is our first trip to India and we may not get another opportunity to go back there. While growing up all we knew about India was the famous city of Bombay and the Taj Mahal. So Bombay has to be in there, at least for us . But we can drop off Chennai from the list without any problem. By the way, we are not really beach people; we like big cities, especially local markets, etc., where we can really meet the natives. Or even better, go into small villages as long as we can come back to our hotel in downtown for a night sleep. Thank you so much for all you advise and tips.

Lcuy, it's too late now. According to our ticket, we are arriving in Delhi at the beggining of the month and flying out of Bangalore at the end of the month. At any rate, it is not really a must to do Chennai. It seems we just have to brace ourselves and face the heat head on! Thanks a lot for the advise.
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Apr 2nd, 2011, 06:14 PM
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"the famous city of Bombay " - any details of what you thought it was famous for? I suppose there's the Gate to India, and the fabulous railway station, and the immense slum. Aside from that there's Bollywood and the Elephantine caves (very disappointing after Ajanta and Ellora).

If you're not into beaches why are you going to Goa? If you insist on Mumbai and Goa I would fly to Mumbai from Hyderabad and take the train to Goa.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 11:49 AM
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Thursdayd, thanks once again. Because we will first visit Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, and Kolkata. We were thinking of flying from Kolkata to Mumbai, and from there we will use trains to Goa, Hyderabad, Chennai, and finally Bangalore. Does that seem okay?

As for Goa, it's partly due to nostalgic reasons. When I was growing up I met a lot of people who were from Goa. At the time I had no idea that it was part of India. I grew up thinking of it as a separate island nation. On the other hand, my understanding is that there is beautiful architecture there. And more over I believe it's the richest state and one with the best quality of life. So to sum up, while we are not really beach people, I think it will still be fun to meet and mingle with the people of Goa, go to the market, enjoy the architecture and any other Portuguese influence which is still present, and hopefully breath some fresh air (which should be better than other cities that we will be visiting).

Thank you kindly.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 12:26 PM
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"from there we will use trains to Goa, Hyderabad, Chennai, and finally Bangalore. Does that seem okay?" - in a word, no!

I really would advise skipping Chennai. You are going west to east to west to east to west... And have you looked at the railway schedules??? You do NOT want to try to travel by train between Goa and Hyderabad.

There are direct flights from Kolkata to Hyderabad on Indigo and Kingfisher, and from Hyderabad to Mumbai on multiple airlines. THEN take the train south to Goa. From Goa you will likely be better off with a car and driver to your next stop, as the trains from Goa inland are few and slow. If you insist on keeping Chennai in I would put it between Hyderabad and Goa as you should fly those legs in any case.

There are sights worth seeing in Goa besides the beach, but it is quite touristy. (Actually, I think it's Kerala that has the best quality of life.) I would still recommend time in the hills between Goa and Bangalore.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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'.. it will still be fun to meet and mingle with the people of Goa, go to the market, enjoy the architecture and any other Portuguese influence which is still present, and hopefully breath some fresh air ...'

I think mabiasha must be talkin about some other Goa.

While I'm at it, let me caution you: thursday is a known Indo-choo-choo-phile madwoman. lol lol lol. Most people with any sense, traveling in the intolerable heat of May would be using planes and thanking kind Mr. Dogster for this excellent advice.

And Mumbai is a great place. Group-think in here is that it's all a bit of an uninteresting crap-hole but, after Kolkata, it's my fave city. I've spent weeks there. It's full of secret treasures - but, on first arrival, can try your patience. You'll be blooded by then, anyway...
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Apr 4th, 2011, 12:47 PM
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Hi dogster - we must have posted at the same time. Please see my reiterated advice to fly between Kolkata and Mumbai, via Hyderabad or not. I still think people should ride Indian trains where it makes sense, but notice that even I flew from Lucknow to Hyderabad!
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Apr 4th, 2011, 03:17 PM
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Indeed we were, thursday. We have to get these two intrepid travelers out alive.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 03:58 PM
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Dogster, it's good to see you back amongst us.

Mabiasha, I'd highly recommend two purchases now so you can better plan your trip: a good, comprehensive guidebook and a large, detailed map. India is a fascinating country, but logistics are complicated. Once in India, you will appreciate every hour you spent researching and planning.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 04:53 PM
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Thanks a lot Thursdayd, Dogster, and Kathie. I appreciate all your advise and we are taking it very seriously.

We are convinced now and have made a decision that we are going to fly from Kolkata to Hyderabad. And fly from Hyderabad to Mumbai. And fly from Mumbai to Bangalore. We will however purchase the tickets once we get to India because we are not certain of exact dates to go from point A to point B. Is that okay? On the other hand, we are almost certain we will drop off Chennai from our itinerary and possibly Goa too.

We believe the best method to go from Delhi to Agra is by train. But the only question left is, what is the best method to go from Agra to Varanasi? And also Varanasi to Kolkata?

Thank you kindly.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 05:43 PM
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Not sure what the status is with the Agra airport right now. Check the airline sites, but I think you'll have to train to Varanasi. I'd take the train on to Kolkata too, but dogster does have a point about the temps - although the AC in 1AC can be pretty fierce and it's pretty good in 2AC, you still have to get on the train. If you do that you could consider stopping off at Bodghaya - Bihar is a lot safer these days.

I will once again (last time, I promise) recommend time in the hill country between Mumbai and/or Goa and Bangalore. Or you can side trip to Coorg from Bangalore.
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Apr 4th, 2011, 05:49 PM
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Oh, and whether to leave your ticket purchases until you reach India? Maybe OK in May, maybe not. Lots of Indians traveling. Are you talking THIS May?
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