Swaroop C H

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Alleppey and a question on how to travel

27 Jul 2011

Every time I go travelling within India, I have noticed that the foreigners always seem to find the best spots - whether it is hidden beaches in Goa or amazing lake-side guest houses as I noticed in a recent getaway to a houseboat in Alleppey, Kerala. "How do they do that?" was a question that lingered in my head for a long time after that.

One hypothesis I came up with is that there are two reasons:

I was not really sure this was true because, in hindsight, I didn't speak to any of these foreigners, I could have just asked them!

But it seems to be true to some extent from this tip by Ryan Estrada on how to travel cheaply:

Don't book in advance when you're travelling

Thoughts?

Comments

Sriranga says:

They also have a very strong network of people who provide good feedback! Sites like lonelyplanet.com and tripadvisor.com does a wonderful job.

Especially in Goa - I have seen foreigners laying down on the beach enjoying the warmth of the sun, sipping their favorite drink and reading a book. So a secluded beach will do for them. Indians, I have seen tend do like discounts and combo deals.
We are poor judges of true value!

Sridhar Iyer says:

I have backpacked across Europe and East Coast in US and done road trips in India.. The main differences I find the way we Indians travel in India are:
- Don't research a place enough.. most of it is word of mouth.
- Scared about going out at night in new places.
- Spend waay too much on accommodation and food.
- Too lazy about just walking or taking public transport.

In my opinion, to really enjoy a place:
- Get a damn map of the city, and explore it yourself using public transport or rent out bicycles for close by places.
- Have some basic translations in local languages for phrases you need.
- Have a cup of tea and some snacks in some hole of a restaurant.. preferably one where you have to share a table.. this is where you can have conversations with the locals who will redirect you to really undiscovered places..
- Don't carry more than a backpack... nobody cares if you are wearing the same pair of shorts 2 days in a row.. you can always get them washed and ironed wherever you are.
- check out the nightlife.. some cities are dead but some cities dawn a completely new personality at night..
- Don't dress in shiny clothes.. normally everything about you would shout "tourist" to the locals, but you can try to blend in by wearing earthy colors.. (again depends on the place.. but true for most Indian places)

Again, this advice is true only if you want to explore a place and get a taste of the local culture.. _not_ if you want to relax (which is my kind of vacation).

Swaroop says:

@Sriranga Yes, I agree about the travel forums but there seems to be an underlying "slumming" attitude they have during travelling that I find fascinating.

@Sridhar Excellent excellent (yes, that's twice) points! Ryan Estrada also makes some of those points in his subsequent slides.

Krishna says:

There is an ironical fact, foreigners like everything they see on our country. They even find slum areas as a tourist spot :P

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