When I told people that we were going to India for holiday, they didn’t seem very convinced. They will talk about the crowd, the smell, that you should not eat their street food, that you should be very careful, that they are really poor and all the things that I have read about this country. To be honest, India was not on the top list of my must visit countries but Azlani suggested it and so I thought okay why not?
I immediately got curious about India. What if it’s not as bad as people thought? What if it’s actually really nice? Plus the weather is going the be cool so it shouldn’t be so bad?
We landed at Delhi Airport and thought wow it’s feel is almost like Changi, Singapore Airport (my favourite airport ever). It’s huge and very organised. And no there’s no smell. What smell?
The next day we took an express train to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Frankly, we didn’t have a proper itinerary and all we wanted to do in Agra was to see the Taj Mahal. We didn’t know what to expect at all.
We arrived in Agra and took the ‘Auto’ they call their small taxi – my favourite ride in Delhi, and the driver charged us INR 600 for a full day trip in Agra.
Along the roads to each places, you’ll see really poor people living under tents, houses with walls made of boxes. It was really sad to see.
We then spent the rest of our days exploring Delhi. Again, we didn’t really have a clue of where to go, or eat so we just googled and read blogs of people who have been there. That helped a lot. Later in this post I will help you too in case you too are like me 🙂
I think during winter is the best time to visit India. The weather is cool but dry. You don’t sweat and it doesn’t rain at all.
In Delhi we walked a lot and when I’m annoyed with the crowd or when my legs were tired, we took the rickshaw or the auto.
You can find all kinds of vehicles on the streets of Delhi. Cars, busses, rickshaws, cows, bulls, horses, bikes. It’s amazing. Even horses queued in traffic!
Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, here are a few tips if you are planning to visit Delhi.
Normally when people visit Delhi, they will visit the ‘golden triangle’ – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. But we only went to Delhi and Agra because Jaipur is a bit further from Delhi compared to Agra and we only had five nights.
Getting to Agra from Delhi
We took the express train called Gaitmaan Express from Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi to Agra Cantonment railway station. It was the fastest train – only 1hr 40 mins to Agra. There are other train options but they take up to 3 to4 hours to get to Agra.
Train tickets you can get online from cleartrip.com but it’s a bit tricky because you have to create an account at IRCTC and you must have a local mobile phone number for that. Because they will send verification codes to your email and your phone. I was lucky because my ex Indian housemate helped me with that.
Getting Around In Agra
When you arrived at the train station in Agra, there will be taxi drivers waiting to offer you a tour. Half day, full day you can choose. Unless you have booked a private driver earlier then you don’t need them. But it was convenient for us to get the taxi tour.
Places to Visit in Agra
- Tomb of I’timād-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj)
- Mehtab Bahg (you can view the back of Taj Mahal from here)
- Agra Fort
- Taj Mahal
Truly majestic. The taxi driver advised that we should visit Taj Mahal later in the day because it will look even more amazing with the sunlight being the perfect lighting to view the building. We had a ball taking photos of it and ourselves, of course. Excuse us, it’s our first wonder of the world.
What to expect?
INR 1,000 fees to enter the gate for foreigners. Only INR 40 for local though but they had to queue to get in and the queue is so long.
Due to the crowd it was difficult to get a decent photo and a full view of the Taj Mahal but we tried…
Where to go in Delhi?
- Lodhi Garden
- Jama Mosque
- India Gate
- Old Delhi
- Hauz Khas
- Connaught Place
- Spice Market
- Select CityWalk Mall
Karim’s at Old Delhi, near Jama Mosque
Try not to go during lunch because it WILL be super packed. Try the mutton stew, butter chicken – they were really good!
If you are feeling more adventurous (not because it’s dangerous), but it’s unique – try the Kulle Chaat which you can find at Chawri Bazaar. It’s quite hidden along the road so use the instruction from this blog – https://migrationology.com/kulle-fruit-chaat/ to get there.
I didn’t try it but my husband it. He liked it.
Getting around in Delhi is easy. There’s Uber which we took to get to far places (very rarely). Our main transport when we were there was the metro which was comfortable for me because I rode on the women’s coach which was never packed. Men’s coach however…can be super packed. It’s either there are more men in India or women there prefer to stay at home…?
So did I feel unsafe there? Not really.
Street food? We tried twice and it was good, nothing happened. Maybe we were lucky.
Dirty? The weather was dry so yeah it was quite dusty. You’ll notice all the dust on your shoes. Also people spit for fun there…
One more thing. ALWAYS NEGOTIATE when in Delhi. Except for restaurant food and if you shop at the mall of course. But everything else, try to negotiate because they will try to rip you off. People there try to earn in any way they can.
Overall it was an amazing trip. I’ve never seen any city like Delhi before. It’s almost like Jakarta but more interesting.