B is for Bengaluru
February 9, 2015 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Please tell me more about visiting Bangalore, particularly as a solo woman. Is it a can't miss?

My husband has been invited to a week-long conference in Bangalore, and I am trying to decide if I would like to tag along. I know essentially nothing about Bangalore beyond its reputation as a tech hub. Ordinarily, I'd be thrilled, but I also have an unreasonably busy summer lined up, so I'm inclined to pass unless it's really worth it.

I'm partly reluctant because my husband would primarily be spending his time at the conference, so I would be on my own for most of the day and possibly some of the evenings. We're relatively seasoned travelers, but neither of us has ever spent any time in India before, and I haven't done a ton of travel alone. While his needs will be more or less catered to by the conference organizers and we'd have a hotel room arranged for us, I'd have to get my own plane ticket and arrange my own entertainment, which seems like it could be an expensive recipe for disaster, but I'm happy to be convinced otherwise.

In case it is relevant, I am in my early 30's and an English-only speaking Japanese-American--which occasionally throws people off when I'm traveling--and my husband is white.
posted by Diagonalize to Travel & Transportation around Bengaluru, India (8 answers total)
I think you should not go because you don't seem excited about it, just obligated.

Why not spend that week exploring a new city in the US? The Pacific Northwest is lovely in the summertime...
posted by oceanjesse at 5:51 PM on February 9, 2015

To be clear, I'd love to visit India someday and this would be a great opportunity, but I'm already traveling quite a bit this summer and also moving, so I'm a little wary of the timing and restrictions involved with this particular trip.
posted by Diagonalize at 6:06 PM on February 9, 2015

Bangalore has great food and drink, is pretty laid back, has some interesting art and theatre stuff going on, and plenty to see by way of interesting architecture, parks, temples, etc. It is also a good gateway to a lot of places in the South (Hampi! Mysore!), but honestly, by itself it has never struck me to be the best place for tourism, particularly a first visit to India (I say this with love, I grew up in that city and it's one of my favourite places on the planet). On the other hand, what would make a place a can't-miss for you? What kinds of things would you like to do or see?
posted by 9000condiments at 7:33 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've been to Bangalore and found it quite boring from a "things to do" perspective. I have also been to other parts of India and think now that Bangalore was a complete waste of time in comparison. I would also prefer to be accompanied by a male ANYWHERE in India, except maybe Goa. Hope this helps!
posted by shazzam! at 7:34 PM on February 9, 2015

Native Indian here.

Bangalore is not worth flying 24 hours for unless you have a wedding or similar to attend. The only things it has going for it are cheap booze and decent weather compared to the rest of the country, it's really a boring shithole otherwise. Save your money and see India properly another time.
posted by Tamanna at 12:51 AM on February 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've been to India four times and the first two were solo to Bangalore for work. It was interesting, but I can't say I enjoyed it overall. By Indian standards Bangalore is efficient and modern and easy but it's still not great for women alone -- when I was on the streets by myself, there was a constant low buzz of harassment that I found unnerving, and I spent a fair bit of emotional energy trying to figure out whether I was safe. Men stared at me, made hissing noises, and muttered stuff, and people at work and the hotel spent a lot of time warning me about where to go / not go, how to get there safely, etc. I also got asked constantly where my husband was, and why he was not with me. (For reference I'm dark-haired and was dressed very modestly. I am also an experienced traveller and not easily frightened.)

I think you're right to lean towards skipping this trip. India is most fun when you have a lot of time and are in a group. I'd also advise you FWIW when you do go, to avoid Delhi or if you fly in there, plan to leave immediately. Delhi is a shithole: both times I've gone I was pretty much entirely incapacitated by the air pollution, and was constantly given advice on how to avoid being raped. Not pleasant, at all. Mumbai, by contrast, is awesome, and Shimla was a revelation and one of my best holidays ever.
posted by Susan PG at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2015

I'm from Bangalore and I tend to agree with the comments above. Bangalore can be a great base to visit the neighbouring sights, but by itself there's not much to do, especially if you're on your own. If you do decide to go, I suggest you have a particular plan in mind (ashram stay/ workshop of some sort) and do only that.
posted by dhruva at 6:06 PM on February 10, 2015

Based on everyone's answers, I think I'll give this particular trip a pass and instead save up for a less restricted trip to India in the future. Thanks for all the feedback!
posted by Diagonalize at 4:55 PM on February 11, 2015

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