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India--Why were some of you underwhelmed?

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Oct 23rd, 2011, 03:14 PM
  #1
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India--Why were some of you underwhelmed?

I've been reading and reading old trip reports, and I've noticed that several people have commented that they were underwhelmed, or underwhelmed initially, by India. Why? Was it the type of trip you planned? Was it the destinations? Was it that you wanted more relaxation and got chaos? Exactly what is it? I'm trying to think about planning a trip and would like to learn from mistakes others made. Thanks.
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Oct 23rd, 2011, 04:19 PM
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I am never underwhelmed by any country I visit, although I am occasionally (rarely) disappointed. Egypt was like that, but not India.

I deliberately try to see the country as an observer and guest, not as a judge, and I try to blend in with local mores. Sometimes that is not possible and sometimes it is hard not to judge in places like India where the extremes of wealth and poverty are so dramatically seen daily and the customs and culture are so different to Western society.

After my first brief trip (the Golden Triangle) I described India on my blog in this way:

"all of the adjectives applied at some stage – magnificent, squalid, fascinating, horrifying, fabulous, terrifying, heart-rending, awe-inspiring, shocking, stupendous, and more – that’s India."

I went again, to Kerala, earlier this year and had no reason to change my opinion.

If you haven't been - go! Accept the hassles and time spent in the airport, the dust and the poverty, the opulence and flamboyance, the beggars avoiding Rolls-Royces, the traffic and bad hotels mixed with good ones and the occasional unexpected wonder as all part of the experience and you won't be underwhelmed; you'll have a great time.

I also suggest you spend a little time on the IndiaMike forum (http://www.indiamike.com/) to help your planning.

Cheers, Alan, Australia.
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Born Under a Wandering Star http://loraltravel.blogspot.com
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Oct 23rd, 2011, 06:33 PM
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I usually enjoy rural settings and my trip to India many years ago was strictly urban and I found it overwhelming.

I had a layover in Bangalore earlier this year and while I still disliked being in the city, the countryside (Hesaraghata) was nice.
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Oct 23rd, 2011, 08:11 PM
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Perhaps India underwhelms some due to it's drabness, dusty and dirty roads filled with potholes, houses crumbling or half complete, ugly wires everywhere...but when you meet the people and dig a bit further, India is fascinating and probably the most foreign country we have visited thus far.
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Oct 24th, 2011, 02:11 AM
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The poverty urban squalor and human misery preclude some from from looking beyond to the essential wonderful spiritual quality that is India.Not for the faint of heart not club med.
African Cities and Port Au Prince Haiti evoke similar responses of disgust/revulsion/sadness initailly in the unprepared.India is a weed that becomes a flower as you get to know it more intimately.

indiamike.com best forum online do careful research

to find what is best for budget/interest MANY scammers.

Usually best for unseasoned newbies to elect a tour

tucantravel.com budget groups

affordabletours.com great value on upscale

Globus is great up to 40% off...

India is the taproot of all spirituality for me a do not miss.

Happy Planning!
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Oct 24th, 2011, 02:51 AM
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I REPENT... i think we like relaxation with activity and there was none of that where we went...
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Oct 24th, 2011, 07:42 AM
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I am starting to get it, and I think, for me, it has to do with following your instincts on what appeals to you as an individual rather than following the herd as to what the typical tour itinerary is. I think we'll be fine with some of the reality checks that India provides since we are not Club Med or "all I want in a vacation is to go to the swim up bar" or deluxe 5* travel types.

Quovadis--We also just are not group-tour type people, and I know both I and the guide would probably be seething within the first day of our trip when I wanted to linger to see something that really interested me and to take photographs. And, I'd be sulking at the mandatory shopping stops that kept me from spending my time how I really want. With a lot of careful research, I arranged our entire trips in places like Romania, Nicaragua, Peru, Vietnam and assume I should also be able to do this for India. In those countries we spent time on our own and also used small, local agencies to provide us with the specific types of experiences we were looking for. I hope that this will also work for India.

Knowing our travel style and preferences, I had already figured out that we shouldn't be spending any time in the truly large, major cities because they typically don't appeal to us. So, I have no intent to spend any time in places like Dehli, Mumbai or Calcutta. Fly in, get out is my mantra. Rural is more of what we are interested in. Yet, I also realize that a couple of places that are must-sees for me--Udaipur and Varanasi--really are large cities.
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Oct 24th, 2011, 02:05 PM
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@julies

"-We also just are not group-tour type people, and I know both I and the guide would probably be seething within the first day of our trip when I wanted to linger to see something that really interested me and to take photographs."

On both my trips I used local cars with drivers. That let me go where and when I wanted to, staying as long as I wished or moving on if I was bored.

When I arranged them I made sure the drivers had good English. The drivers are not officially allowed to be guides, but they are invaluable as interpreters when needed and can still offer good advice on places to go and things to see.

The cost is cheap by Western standards for the service received. I used drivers at the higher end of the range and it still worked out at less than $50 per day.

Cheers, Alan, Australia.
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Born Under a Wandering Star http://loraltravel.blogspot.com
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