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Going to India and Thailand - need some advice....

 
 
Ceili
 
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2006 12:15 pm
Hi all...

Firstly, I am deadly allergic to fish and nuts. Please don't take this question as ignorance but even here in Canada, allergies are quite frequently misunderstood. If I had a buck for every time someone wiped nuts off a desert and said " here now its fine" , I'd ...well I'd probably be rich and dead if I took them up on the offer. So my question is... Do people in these countries understand the concept? If not, how do I convey the seriousness of the situation? Anyone speak some Thai?

Hotels...Anyone know some gems, preferably not hugely expensive, because we are travelling with the Canadian dollar. It's not as big as the Euro and/or the greenback.

We are flying into Bangkok for a couple of days, then on to India and we will backpack from Bombay, Goa, Jaipur, Delhi, Chandigarh and back to Thailand. Most likely staying in Phuket or some other jewel like resort area.
I have been reading books, sites on the internet and have rented several travel videos. I'm not sure If I should pre-book lodging or trains. If you have any experience please help me. This is totally foreign to me, never having visited such exotic locals before. I will be leaving Edmonton on Feb. 21 and will return home by Mar. 24.

I will be attending a Sikh villiage wedding and I'm not sure what to wear. I think I will probably buy a sari or two, but are there specific rules as to what women should wear?

I've heard about Delhi Belly and have already anticipated buying Immodiun et al, but are there other meds I should bring along, just in case?

Any other advice would be appreciated, thank-you in advance.
Ceili
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spidergal
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2006 12:22 pm
Re: Going to India and Thailand - need some advice....
Ceili wrote:
Hi all...

Firstly, I am deadly allergic to fish and nuts. Please don't take this question as ignorance but even here in Canada, allergies are quite frequently misunderstood. If I had a buck for every time someone wiped nuts off a desert and said " here now its fine" , I'd ...well I'd probably be rich and dead if I took them up on the offer. So my question is... Do people in these countries understand the concept? If not, how do I convey the seriousness of the situation? Anyone speak some Thai?

Hotels...Anyone know some gems, preferably not hugely expensive, because we are travelling with the Canadian dollar. It's not as big as the Euro and/or the greenback.

We are flying into Bangkok for a couple of days, then on to India and we will backpack from Bombay, Goa, Jaipur, Delhi, Chandigarh and back to Thailand. Most likely staying in Phuket or some other jewel like resort area.
I have been reading books, sites on the internet and have rented several travel videos. I'm not sure If I should pre-book lodging or trains. If you have any experience please help me. This is totally foreign to me, never having visited such exotic locals before. I will be leaving Edmonton on Feb. 21 and will return home by Mar. 24.

I will be attending a Sikh villiage wedding and I'm not sure what to wear. I think I will probably buy a sari or two, but are there specific rules as to what women should wear?

I've heard about Delhi Belly and have already anticipated buying Immodiun et al, but are there other meds I should bring along, just in case?

Any other advice would be appreciated, thank-you in advance.
Ceili


Welcome to India, Ceili Smile

Yes, you can wear a saree at the wedding, its pretty acceptable.

With Indian railways, reservation of tickets beforehand always helps.Indian railways


Ahh...Ceili, I'm having tough time with my cold, 5 sneezes in the past minute. Get back to you with some more help. Sad
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2006 12:31 pm
I'm just getting over a bad cold myself. I feel your pain spidergal. I'm off to work, so I'll talk to you later. Thanks for your quick reply.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2006 06:34 pm
Oh, this sounds really exciting, Ceili!

The Lonely Planet travel books have served me pretty well when I've gone abroad (not nearly enough, and never to India or Asia -- so cool!)

Dagmaraka has been to India a couple of times now and is probably a fount of good info.
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2006 07:04 pm
hi ceili, when are you going? of the places you're going to i've only been to delhi and mumbai. in delhi we stayed with a friend, a traditional indian dancer sharon lowen (a litvak from detroit, but you'd never know she's not indian). she has a colonial mansion in the center of the town, but that won't help you, will it... delhi shouldn't be a problem though, although one thing i will NOT do next time around in any indian city is staying in one of those 'cheap' hotels around the airport. that tends to land you in a decrepit place for around $50 a night, you know you're getting ripped off and you can't do a thing about it, because everybody's in on the deal- from the people at the airport, through the taxi driver they call and people at the hotel. each taxi driver has a deal with some hotel and WILL drive you there unless you openly resist. thus it is better to know in advance. i'll ask around - friend of a friend is going to delhi soon and he was looking into hotels and advice. i'll paste advice that he got so far (also on restaurants and what to see while there).
in mumbai i always (that means twice) stay in the pharsee neighborhood - near the Taj hotel and Gate of India. It's an hour away from the airport, but worth it. It's a pleasant neighborhood with little hotels/hostels and great cheap restaurants and bars. Oh, another piece of advice - whenever you're booking a hotel, make sure you're not agreeing to staying in a 'guesthouse'. Make sure it's in the hotel itself. Many hotels have guesthouses, which turn out to be, in some cases, sort of dormitories/youth hostels... i've had some bad experiences with that. in some hotels it's on first come first serve basis - also worthwhile asking about. if that's the case, you want to come to the hotel early to get the best room. i'd have to ask about the name of the hotel we stayed in though, although it wasn't stellar by any means. in fact we stayed in a 'guesthouse' in mumbai and that was, well, adventurous, but the main hotel looked very nice.
goa will be the best, and it doesn't matter where you'll stay. things are greener, cleaner, livelier, dreamier, prettier, healthier down south. once you go you will never want to go away from there. i haven't been to goa, but it's supposed to be similar if not nicer than kerala and kerala is engraved in my heart ever since i set a foot there.
oh, memories. i can't wait to go back to india. your heart shoots out a sticky thread when you get there, much like spiderman, and it will keep pulling you back again and again. and again. and again. and if you can't go you'll keep thinking about the sensory richness - colors, sounds, smells, people - and the world without india will seem like a dusty dull lonely place. consider it a fair warning - it is highly addictive and it's an expensive addiction to have!
0 Replies
 
dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2006 07:23 pm
advice from folks who visited/lived in delhi (from another online forum, thus i'll leave it anonymous) to someone who will be traveling there shortly:


Agra is an easy trip by train to see the Taj. Worth staying a night or two
and getting to Fatehpur Sikri, a great abandoned royal city about and 1.25
hours from Agra. Jaipur is great. There are a few heritage properties in
the area to check out, the Trident Hilton is also a nice moderately priced
western hotel there and best to ask for a room with a view of the lake
palace if staying there. Also worth trying to get to Ranthambore National Park to see the tigers. It's an easy trip by train from Jaipur, Agra and
Delhi and there are a host of small hotels in the area. Udaipur is not
really in the area, but can get there by train or a short flight from Delhi.
It was the highlight of the trip, many moderately priced hotels and good
restaurants.

~~~~~

This one was from me:

be sure to visit a restaurant called Chor Bizarre (
http://www.chorbizarrerestaurant.com/delhi.asp), where every plate, every
piece of silverwear, every last cup is different... Chor Bazaar used to be
'thieves market', where stolen stuff was sold. This restaurant collected all
sorts of items and converted them - one table is made out of a four post
bed, salad bar is inise an old car, there's a staircase leading nowhere,
etc. Plus the food is phenomenal. It's on the boundary of Old and New Delhi
, thus you can have a nice walk into the old part after dinner. Otherwise I
prefer to go for holes-in-the-wall kind of places, where food is absolutely
the best. Watch out for mosquitos (in Delhi malaria is more widespread than
elsewhere in India, though peak season is in August) and for monkeys - who
can be real pests and may have rabies.
I will give you an email of a friend, a New Delhi-ite. He is also
thirty-something, a fascinating creature. He teaches comics technique in
poor rural areas as part of social development projects, lending voice and
bringing issues to to those who are often illiterate.

~~~~

And, most importantly, suggestions from someone who grew up there:

That's exciting that you are going. I lived in Delhi as a child. It was
greener and quieter then, but alas...
Delhi is full of (mostly Islamic) historic sites, many of which are
really worth the visit.Since I spent most of my time there many years
ago, I will stick to these sites and will leave other tips to others.

In order of beaty and importance (IMHO), I would rank the sites as
follows:
1) Humayun's Tomb (when I was a boy, the gardens were beautiful. Now?)
1) Jama Masjid ( Built by Shah Jahan. It is worth negotiating the
madness and the beggars outside to walk in and see the peaceful inside)
3)Qutb Minar, a beautiful minaret from the 11th century, and
surrounding gardens, including the Iron Pillar and the oldest mosque in
India, made from the ruins of destroyed Hindu temples.
4) National museum: fabulous collection, including some treasures from
the Indus Valley Civ and India's early Buddhist period.
5) Red Fort: Although rundown, it is still magnificent. Try to go for
the Son et Lumiere spectacle in the evening (but cover yourself with
mosquito repellant).
6) Rashtrapathi Bhavan (Viceroy's Palace): a gem from British era. It
is the President's palace, so there may not be tours of the inside.
Make sure you see the outside.
7) Connaught Circus/Place: You will definitely go here, as this is the
shopping/dining capital. It is also from the British era. I went to a
very good Indian Chinese (or Chinese as they are called there)
restaurant there a couple of years ago. I can't remember the name,
though.
8) Get lost walking the streets of Old Delhi
9) If you have the time, also see Purana Qila (old fort), Tuglaqabad (
an abandoned ruined city), Feroz Shah Kotla (with the 3rd century BC
Ashoka Pillar).

All in all, Delhi has a lot to see, but it is also very crowded and
polluted. And it is also not as safe as it used to be, so watch
yourself and the kids, especially around Paharganj.

I assume, since you are going to Jaipur, that you will also go to Agra.
In addition to the Taj and the Red Fort in Agra, you should also not
miss the Itmad-ud-Daula, a beautiful precursor of the Taj, not on most
tourist agendas. Also, if you go to Fatehpur Sikri (also recommended),
Akbar's abandoned Royal City, try to spend at least a day exploring.
Most tour buses from Delhi or Agra take you there for 1 hour, 30
minutes of which is spent at the cool drink stalls in front of the
gate.

Last, but most important thing: READ "CITY OF DJINN'S" by William
Dalrymple, the best book about the history of Delhi that I have read.

Hope this helps and have a great time,

Harsha
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 1 Feb, 2006 07:26 pm
Oh! You lucky gal! Sorry, no help, just envy.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Feb, 2006 12:04 pm
Excellent advice thank you so much Dag. I'm definitely going to do more research and check out your suggestions. I have been reading your diaries, I'm almost through them. Very Happy They are as fascinating are they are helpful. It sounds as if you had a great trip.

We confirmed our tickets last night and we are going! yee-haw.....
Although we leave on the 21st, we land on the 23rd in Bangkok. We will be staying a week in Phuket then on to Dehli on Mar 3. The wedding is somewhere near Chandigarh on March 5, I think. Do Sikhs typically get married on Sundays????

We have many people to visit in several different places, so the itinerary hasn't been set. I know our friends will be meeting us in Delhi, then taking us to the Golden Temple and to Agra and Jaipur as well as many other places. But... we would also like go on our own and explore. Sadly, I don't think we will have the time to go to Kerala, but we will hopefully go as far south as Goa with a stop in Mombai. We are planning to fly out of Mombai back to Bangkok and area for a few days. We haven't booked tickets for these flights yet. So we have a wide open schedule.

Sozobe, I have been to the library several times and picked up some great books, but I think I'll buy a copy of the LP books for the trip. We also borrowed some Lonely Planet programs and watched them. Highly reccommended as a pretrip hors d'oeuvre.

Little K. In my life, I never thought I'd be taking a trip like this. I'm just brimming with excitement. Thanks

I'm hoping I can write a diary as well. I'm backpacking, no fancy equipment so I'm not sure how much access I'll have to the internet but I'm going to do my best to write as often as I can.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Feb, 2006 12:20 pm
Bring jerky. You'll thank me.
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2006 12:41 am
Wear simple, summer faded color clothes to dissuade beggars when walking around.

Hindi is aphonetic language that means it is pronounced the way it is spelt.

I forgot a lot.

Khanna = food
Khanna khaya? Eaten food?
Aap Khanna khaya? Have you eaten food?

Rupiah (Roopiah) = Rupee, the unit of monetary exchange.
anna = 100 annas = 1 rupee

ek (ache) = 1
do (doe) = 2
teen = 3
char (chahr) = 4
panch (n has a nasal sound) = 5
che (chay) = 6
sat (saht) =7
at (aht) = 8
nau = 9
das =10

rasta = road
ghar = house
gari (gahri) = car or vehicle
gora = horse
admi (ahdmi) =man
vo admi = that man
paisa = money

In Bombay or Mumbai,

Go to Chowpatti Beach off Marine Drive where they have delicious ice cream (khulfi) (faroda) and paan. Pani poori is also great. I don't know if they horse carriages anymore. Marine Drive is where many Bollywood movies are filmed as I watch Bollywood DVDs.

See Flora Fountain

Hindi sites
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2006 01:00 am
A few years ago my brother went with his family to Thailand. His wife and kids were mad because the travel agents booked all their free times to Buddhist temples. It is very hot in summer. They went there on spring break. Go to India and Thailand in winter as they are in the tropics and very hot in summer.

Bomba or Mumbai scenes

here is Flora Fountain:
http://www.mumbainet.com/travel/images/fountain.jpg

Horse buggy:
http://www.indiatravelite.com/mumbai/mumbai16.jpg

Food stalls in Chowpatti Beach:
http://www.searchindia.com/search/images/bombay/chow1.jpg

Marine Drive by Chowpatti Beach:
http://www.searchindia.com/search/images/bombay/mar.jpg
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2006 01:04 am
Rats.

Marine Drive by Chowpatti Beach:

http://www.searchindia.com/search/images/bombay/mar.jpg

Food Stalls in Chowpatti Beach:

http://www.searchindia.com/search/images/bombay/chow1.jpg
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2006 01:06 am
Horse Buggy:

http://www.indiatravelite.com/mumbai/mumbai16.jpg
0 Replies
 
spidergal
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2006 01:52 am
Quote:
Aap Khanna khaya?


A bit of correction here...

It should have been- Aapne Khana Kha liya?

Nice to learn that you have some idea about the language,Talk7200.

Ceili, if you need any help with Hindi don;t hesitate to tell me. Smile
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Feb, 2006 02:09 am
I did speak pidgin Hindi. Forgotten a lot.

Ceili,

Whatever happened to cavfancier? Who is he? You mentioned his death. I joined a2k after magginkat posted that Dorrel or somebody committed suicide in the Buzzards Roost forum.
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 11 Feb, 2006 09:58 pm
Get a simple Hindi-English Dictionary. Get travellers' cheques.
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Sun 12 Feb, 2006 02:01 am
Wilso travelled to Thailand in here

You could get some pointers.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Wed 15 Feb, 2006 02:39 pm
Thanks for the pictures and advice.

We got our shots a couple of days ago and started on the malaria meds. Yesterday we bought all the supplies we'll need except for the books.
The Passports finally arrived and we are expecting the Visas on Saturday. We leave early Tuesday and I'm on pins and needles.
What have I forgotton, I swear we are bringing more drugs than clothes. Imodium ect.
I've started packing and organizing all the last minute details. I am mess.
I can't wait.
0 Replies
 
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Feb, 2006 03:14 am
Make sure you boil the tap water before drinking. Get a first-aid kit as well as alcohol in case you get cut or something since you are back packing. A pair of binoculars and camera would help as the two countries still have a lot of wild life depending where you go. Hope you are going with a bunch of people to keep company or get out of trouble.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 17 Feb, 2006 08:12 am
Have a great time, Ceili.
0 Replies
 
 

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