India 2015: New and Old Delhi – Day One

So yesterday, we arrived in Indira Gandhi Airport in New Delhi around 9 : 30am and got straight on the metro just outside the airport. It cost 100 rupees and we got a little blue token to use as a ticket. When we got down to the platform, we had to go through bag searches and security which seemed a little over the top, but I suppose it’s better that way and it’s kept safe! The inside of the trains were very modern and the journey was very smooth, it took us around 20 minutes to get to New Delhi metro station. I took the photo below before realising that you weren’t allowed to take any photos on the metro and narrowly avoided getting in trouble with the guard that was only the next carriage along!

New Delhi metro carriage, India

When we arrived in New Delhi, we were totally overwhelmed by the sights , sounds and smells. Traffic was all over the place with incessant honking and strange smells of a busy city. We crossed the road and attempted to navigate our way to the other side of New Delhi Railway Station but gave up and got a bit lost.

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We took a rickshaw to the tourist centre for 20 rupees (around 20p) and   met a very nice man inside who helped us change our plans a little. He insisted that our original plan of 5 days in Delhi was far too long and that we should cut it down and, instead, fit in another destination; Pushkar. We decided to spend only one night in Delhi, which I was a little worried about, but by the evening I was ready to move on.

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We sorted out our hostels/hotels for the next 9 days and found a driver whom we have hired for the 9 days before we fly to Mumbai. His name is Bilou and he has been doing what we have hired him to do for 30 years and, so, is fantastic. He’s very friendly and informative and has already helped us out several times with vendors trying to rip us off and overcharging us.

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Bilou took us to our hotel, Hotel Sunstar Residency in Karol Bagh, where we dumped our bags, and then took us for a tour of Delhi. Our first stop was Humayun’s tomb in New Delhi. It costs 250 rupees to get in but you get more than one monument inside.

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Probably considered a side attraction to Humayun’s tomb is Isa Khan’s mosque, a beautiful building from the Mughal period that predates Humayun’s tomb. The architecture is stunning and it is a lot quieter than Humayun’s tomb as most people go straight to see that, but it is definitely worth a look, even though it is crumbling quite a bit.

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Humayun’s tomb definitely is spectacular, though. It has clearly been carefully designed as you walk through the gates, the tomb lines up perfectly and you are given a postcard view as you look through the archways. It is remarkable and has been heavily restored to its former glory, which makes it a wonderful place to visit. With the steep steps and intricate decorations, this is great value for money on entrance price.

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After we had seen Humayun’s tomb, we went to the Lotus temple, also in New Delhi, which I was desperate to see and it did not disappoint. The incredible view as you walk through the green grounds, watered by recycled water with a solar panel field to power the Temple, is something special but the real view is inside (it’s FREE, might I add). As we walked up to the Temple, surrounded by blue pools, we were asked to remove our shoes, put them in a bag and put them in a free cloakroom before entering. We were spoken to about staff and asked to turn off all phones and cameras, so I wasn’t able to get any photos of the inside, so I would heavily recommend going to see this as the inside really is something to behold.

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As the inside and the benches are made from white marble, it is very cool inside, which was refreshing after walking through the intense heat, and there is a lovely breeze that goes around. The temple was very serene and we sat inside for a long time admiring the awesome ceiling and meditating a little.

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After leaving, we had one more place to visit: the spice market in Old Delhi. As this is in the old part of Delhi, it is very busy and there aren’t many tourists so we had to rent a rickshaw as Bilou couldn’t take his car through the roads. The man that took us was very friendly and took us around the main markets before showing us the entrance to the place where the owners live and keep their spices and sell them to locals. The smells were overwhelming, particularly when we got to the floor where the chilli was stored; we kept coughing as it was sitting right at the back of our throats!

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He took us up to the rooftop where we were able to see as much of Delhi as the pollution would let us and was definitely worth the walk. In one of the markets downstairs, the owner stood with us for a long time showing us all of the different types of spices and let us taste some black salt which tasted like boiled eggs!

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Although I was aware of this before we went, I wasn’t quite prepared for the staring and touching that I experienced! Be prepared and keep your wits about you and you should be fine! 🙂

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As we left the market, we headed back to the hotel, had a shower, went for food and now we are going to bed as we are leaving 8am tomorrow morning to drive to Agra do I will post all about that when we get there! Lots of love! Xx

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Taxis in Bangkok

Hey guys! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, been super busy with finishing university for the year and deadlines etc. I’m getting ready to head off to India on Wednesday too, so that’s taken up a bit of time! But, here’s a non-India related post before I shoot off and then flood this blog with India posts!

When I went to Thailand, Bangkok in particular, I noticed different coloured taxis. The different colours of the taxis simply mean that they are run by different companies. I was informed by a local that the green and yellow taxis were the best to get as they are privately owned.

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How to be a full time student and still travel!

Everyone gets those holiday blues and wishes to be whisked away to some foreign country to sit under the sun or soak in some culture, but, unless you get a massive grant and loads of money from your parents, you’re likely to be, like me, a little stuck for money; my student loan doesn’t even cover my rent, let alone pay for travelling during summer!

It just takes being a little bit careful with your money – but remember, don’t overdo it as your degree is still the most important thing you’re doing during term time!

I have managed, so far, to start each September not in my overdraft, but still travel a fair bit.

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