Weekend trips in India during rainy season?
June 12, 2018 9:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm in Bangalore, India for the next 8 weeks for work. This is my first time in India and I'd like to use the opportunity to see some other parts of the country. Unfortunately, I have to work during the week, so I only have weekends free. Which places are worth traveling to if I will only have 1.5-2 days to spend?

I will have one 4-day weekend while I'm here, and I'm planning on using that for a whistlestop tour of the golden triangle. I'm also tentatively planning on a weekend in Hampi, probably Mysore, perhaps Kerala (but not sure if it will just be constant rain?), …and that's it. I can maybe manage an additional 3-day weekend, but I will only have Saturday and Sunday free during other weekends. Which other places would you recommend that are worthwhile visiting for a short amount of time? I'm thinking about Goa, Pondicherry, Sri Lanka, Singapore…but I don't know if it's worth spending the time/money to spend a day and a half in these places, and I realize that travel does not happen as quickly here given infrastructure constraints and weather during the rainy season. My interests are pretty varied, I like history, old architecture, new foods, different cultures.

Thanks for any recommendations!
posted by btkuhn to Travel & Transportation around Bengaluru, India (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
- Definitely do see Belur and Halebidu. Can be clubbed together with your Hampi trip very easily, they're hardly an hour away. Mindblowing old temples with amazing carvings/sculptures.

- Definitely make a trip up to see the Taj Mahal. Cannot be missed. Sure everyone knows what it looks like, and some will try to tell you it's no biggie because it's too touristy or too popular, but there's nothing like standing in front of it. I grew up in India, I must have seen the Taj Mahal probably 9-10 times as a small child, but I still cried when I went back there as an adult. I would advise spending one day in Agra (Taj Mahal and maybe one other palace/historical site nearby), one day in Delhi (stay in Old Delhi, see the Red Fort/Meena Bazaar/Masjid and eat a ton of sweets), and maybe another half a day to go out to the Lotus temple if you can spare it.

- Make time for Rajasthan during your four day weekend. Go to Jaipur and see a bunch of palaces, and then to Jaisalmer for a night out in the desert.

- Mudumalai forest sanctuary which is on the border of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is a neat fucking place. IDK if this is at all possible for you - maybe ask local friends for help arranging this? - but if you can find yourself a homestay or homestay-style inn in Masanagudi or one of those little towns deep in the forest, you'll be treated to incredible wildlife (elephants, deer, primates, birds) at dawn every day, beautiful rivers and waterfalls and forest hikes, and fucking fantastic local food cooked by your hosts. Both my times spent in this area were my definition of heaven. Anther possibility for forest/river type getaway is Kabini in Karnataka.

- For beaches, skip Goa (touristy and drug-ridden, plus if you're white it can be actively unsafe for you) and go to any of the millions of beaches in Karnataka instead. Karwar is awesome, but Mangalore has good beaches also.

- Mysore is not my favorite but whatever, you're in Bangalore, so you might as well. Not that it's any less inspiring, it's just that there's sooooo freaking much to do elsewhere.
posted by MiraK at 9:55 AM on June 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Lived in Bangalore most of last year and made such weekend trips.

The rainy season happens but is not so intense. In Bangalore there will be an occasional day where the rain is heavy and the streets that aren't paved are difficult to travers because they become muddy. If you don't have to go out, easier to stay in or you could be on the road for a long time. Usually all better by the next day.

You can take a one-day bus tour to Mysore which will take you by several other temples.

Kerela and Goa may be overwhelmed with rain which would make a guaranteed 2-day trip difficult (because you may get stuck traveling).

Personally, I liked Kerela better.

You can ride a sleeper bus from Bangalore to Kerela and Pondicherry, which travels paved highways overnight. It's a cool experience - you wait around in a crowded bus area, anxiously hoping you understand what you're doing until finally you are directed to get on a bus. You hop into a bunk bed, and try to sleep trusting that everything is going to be alright, arriving at yur destination around 6am. You'll want to book an "A/C sleeper bus" and a roundtrip for one will cost around $30, I think.

In Kerela, eat local fish and look up kayaking. Houseboats are the big thing there, but kayaking is better because you can go down village canals.

In Pondicherry, eat at fancy hotels, walk through the Sunday market, visit the beach, and take some surf lessons from French people. Oh and eat chocolate.

Both cities are wonderful and safe to walk through.

Definitely take a day to explore the markets in Bangalore itself. There are wonderful restaurants and people and experiences.

Bangkok as a 4-hour flight away and, heck, if you're on that side of the world, you could make a long weekend of it. Bangkok is a great international city and there amazing places an hour's drive or flight away.

You could spend a long day hiking through the temples of Siem Reap, and I would recommend hiring a driver for that.

Also, if you have any control over it, consider routing your flight there and/or your flight home through a long layover in an interesting place. From the U.S. to Bangalore, you could stopover in Singapore, Taiwan, Paris, even Tokyo.

Couple other things:
Bangalore and other big cities have Uber. It's fine and safe.
Being a foreigner in India is sometimes difficult. Make friends with locals. Some people might want to travel with you.
It's ok to eat COOKED street food. Only take fluids from a factory-sealed container.
Bring your favorite medicines - Pepto Bismol chewables. Nyquil and Dayquil. Ibuprofin. Take enough that you could be dosed up every day if needed.
posted by jander03 at 10:00 AM on June 12, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you can make the flights work, Ladakh is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You won’t be able to hike (no time to adjust to the altitude), but just wandering around the backstreets, and taking a day trip or two, is worth it. Most jaw-droppingly beautiful place I’ve ever been and so strikingly different from the rest of the country.
posted by lunasol at 11:16 AM on June 12, 2018

Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.
I took the night bus from Bangalore.
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 10:37 AM on June 13, 2018

Kerala is nice place to visit during rains. If you are non vegetarian you should try eating fish.
posted by Vaibhav.seo at 12:23 AM on July 19, 2018

« Older You can't do that on work time   |   Amending my 'travel time window' Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.