India, the Taj Mahal, fantastic nature, rocky terrains and crazy experiences. India has always been an exotic location for many, yet people are hesitant to visit due to its safety. However, it is not as dangerous if you are careful!
Today, we have with us Jasmine, who just returned from her 10 days trip in India. She shares her incredible experiences in India and thoughts on the negative image of India. This interview is altered to suit the flow of content.
Background of Jasmine
Jasmine is a backpacker that travels when she has time. She backpacked Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand, just to name a few. This time, she brings us to India. She visited Rishikesh and the Golden Triangle which includes Delhi, Arga and Jaipur for a duration of 10 days. She flew with Scoot to Jaipur for S$280, return. She bought the tickets 6 months in advance without any checked baggage or additional benefits. Then, she booked a 12-hour train to Dehli.
Why did you want to visit India?
I’ve always wanted to visit India as I genuinely believe it is a beautiful country that does not deserve the negative perceptions. The more people discourage me to visit, the more I want to see it for myself and prove them wrong. I’m glad I did as India is such an incredible country, rich in culture. I hope to share my stories with everyone to change their perception and to encourage/inspire them to visit India one day.
India is always known to be dangerous. Honestly, how dangerous is it?
To be honest, it wasn’t dangerous at all. Just like travelling everywhere else in the world, one ought to be careful. I don’t walk in dark quiet alleys and or go out late at night.
But if you’re talking about the perception of it being dangerous due to the high rape cases, I would say it is not as dangerous as reported. The most I’ve experienced are stares from head to toe and approaches by local guys to take a picture. Of course, you will have the liberty to say no.
But in reality, children and women look at you too. For instance, I was taking a photo and I aroused the curiosity of a lady. She was carrying her baby and was simply fascinated by our phones, amused by how they work.
I’m Asian and fair-skinned. No doubt my differences arouse their curiosity and there is nothing wrong with that.
What’s the best experience in India?
That is a tough one. But I have to say, my favourite experience would be the journey up to my Airbnb, which was located near the mountain, Mount Abode.
Being adventurous and wanting to save money, we embarked on a 3-hour scooter ride up with our 10kg backpacks. It was such a crazy experience as we rode on rocky terrains, often near the edges. But for that same reason, it is completely untouched by capitalism. I was able to surround myself completely amongst the great sceneries.
And when you think you can chill after a long tiring journey…
…we had to trek for another 30minutes to our Airbnb!
The trek was in the complete wilderness with no signage. We had to trust our instinct and find our way. Despite the crazy on-the-edge-of-the-mountain ride and lost-in-the-wild trek, the reward was oh so sweet!
At the top, we were greeted with clean fresh air, complete with the amazing view of the Mother Nature. Best part? Zero connection. It was just nature and us. Having grown up in the city, it was such a precious and refreshing experience for me.
The owner mentioned he particularly wanted the Airbnb to be inaccessible as he wanted his guests to explore. Well, WE SURE DID. Didn’t we? In fact, it was just the start of the best adventure in our lifetime! This brings us to the next adventure.
Where is your favourite city in India?
This took place in my favourite city, Rishikesh which is located in the foothills of the Himalayas (which explains the breathtaking view). It is known as a spiritual city, termed, the Yoga capital. Yet at the same time, a city filled with adventure.
The people there are just the loveliest. It might because the majority of them practice meditation. Everyone was simply so helpful and nice. A mantra that best explains my experience in Rishikesh would be “Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om”.
It is a peace mantra of peace in body, speech and mind. I felt so at peace when I was in Rishikesh.
If you’re looking to find inner peace with a side of adventure, Rishikesh is the place to go.
How did you get to Taj Mahal?
I stayed in a hostel which was near the Taj Mahal. I took a rickshaw which dropped me off at the entrance. After, it is a 10 minutes walk before you reach the main ticketing entrance. There will be many locals offering you a ride to the main entrance, but I recommend walking in cause why not.
Did you like Taj Mahal?
Taj Mahal was beautiful and magnificent, but the pity was that it was too hot and crowded to explore. I went there around 8.30am, 3 hours after the opening hours.
Note: Taj Mahal’s operating hours are based on the sunrise and sunset timings of the day.
By then, it was flooded with people! There were long queues for the visit to the tomb (which was the main highlight of the Taj) and because of that, we couldn’t stop or stroll leisurely.
We had to follow the flow and within 2 minutes, we were out of the tomb. It is really a pity that I didn’t get to enjoy Taj Mahal as I would like to.
Trevellers Tip: I would strongly urge everyone to visit Taj Mahal during sunrise to really immerse in the beauty of the Taj.
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.