Hello,.. isi blog saya kali ini agak dibuat berbeda, dalam format paparan wawancara dengan seorang traveler asal Malaysia yang sempat ke India. Sebagai bahan bacaan untuk perjalanan ke destinasi berikutnya.
Tentang traveling, mimpi saya belum habis. Masih ingin kesana-kemari terutama destinasi di dalam negeri. Soalnya Indonesia indah banget, sayang kalau dianggurin aja. Tapi kali ini saya lagi mau mimpi untuk bisa menjelajah ke negeri antah barantah. Tempatnya harus unik dan sangat kental budaya, selain itu saya kepingin kalau kesana bisa tinggal dengan penduduk lokal. Maksudnya sih supaya bisa diantar kemana-mana, Hhahahaha 😀
Punya sih temen India, tapi lama nggak contact… hhahaha contact-nya ada di Facebook yang sementara deactive dulu sampai waktu yang tak ditentukan. Lagi pula orangnya lagi sekolah di US entah balik lagi tinggal dan bekerja di Singapura atau lagi stay di India???
Ke Korea Selatan aja batal lho tahun 2016, padahal tiket pesawat PP sudah dibeli. Terus kenapa India? Jepang gimana? Berhubung dua tempat tadi kemungkinan bakal dikunjungi sebagai bagian dari rangkaian liputan. Saya pending dulu, kemungkinannya lebih menantang ke tempat semacam India atau Nepal yang masih bagian wilayah Asia.
Berhubung mimpi dulu untuk bisa traveling ke India dan sempat menjadikan India sebagai bahan artikel saya, wawancara sama kenalan traveler asal Malaysia yang pernah ke India ini saya sertain aja di blog. Kan lumayan buat info bisa tahu langsung dari seseorang yang sudah pernah kesana 😀
So, what a possibility travel to India? bagaimana sebagai budget traveler atau mungkin yang backpacker style mau pergi kesana? Bisa dicontek lho gimana cara survive-nya. Check this out, pakai bahasa Inggris ya…
What Your Travelling Style, When You Going to India?
As an avid traveler, I prefer to go on solo travel in backpacker style with a tight or low budget and my kind of destination is usually to go off the beaten path, in the middle of nowhere and disconnected. I have a severe case of wanderlust and the only cure is to keep travelling. I always want to go somewhere – island, temple, exotic, nature or strange places and don’t have any issue in taking the longer route (by train or bus) as long as I have music, camera and books (a novel and a problem solving book such as Word Search).
I am not used to tell people where I am going (except family), I just go by throwing things into my backpack and escape. I bet most travelers can relate to the sensation of being somewhere new, it’s the adrenaline rush. While many people prefer to explore Europe, I have a dream to get myself lost in exploring Nepal, Tibet Bhutan & India, one fine day.
Tell Your Experience?
India is definitely a different country that I’ve been travelling to and the farthest country that I’ve ever been so far but not the first country that I went on solo travel. The misconceptions about India are the main reason for me to go. The media (especially social media such as Facebook, blogs & forum) doesn’t make it sounds like a safe and a dream place to go for a solo female traveler.
It’s truly shame what kind of image a media can create about a country. Violated women’s rights and sexual harassment such as rape, molest and murder have been associated closely with India but bear in mind that danger is everywhere and India is no worse than anywhere else. I can even get raped in Malaysia and by refusing to go or having a negative perception on India doesn’t guarantee that I might not get raped anywhere else. The fact is that, any place can be dangerous if you are at a wrong place at a wrong time.
‘Perception’ – It is absolutely rubbish and ignorance stereotyping to label one country (in this case, India) as ‘not suitable for traveler’. The world is huge enough for us to explore, to learn, to discover and to grow. I choose to believe that not all bad things are committed by bad people and I try to understand that some very good people do some very bad things, too. Just because people stereotyping India as a ‘dangerous and scary’ place, doesn’t mean that everything and everyone in India is dangerous too.
There is no surer way to find out whether it is dangerous or safe than to travel there. I’ve got my mum’s blessing (it was not as easy task to assure her on my decision to go, ALONE), ready with my Visa, packed my backpack and off I went on one of the most exciting adventure I ever had.
India is not for everyone. Most of people around me even questioned back – Why India, but I don’t have any answer for them even until now. India is a very interesting and beautiful country but it can be extremely chaotic (the traffic, the people and the non-stop honks) and confusing. One should travel to India with their eyes open to appreciate the culture and you’ll experience a love-hate relationship there.
I get myself mentally prepared that India isn’t going to be a fairyland but once you open your mind to understand the culture, you’ll be less agitated when things go awry and even though I’m traveling alone, I am literally bring my loyal travel companion, Lonely Planet India.
Never a burden to carry you! India is hot, extremely hot and a bit dusty in May. People say do not eat or drink while in India unless it’s packaged but that’s not really living for me. I want to feel what the local people feel. Eat what they eat. Drink what they drink. Thanks God, I didn’t have any stomach upset while in India (or maybe because it just get used to any kind of food). They are helpful but be prepared with the staring part especially women. Don’t forget to smile but if possible, avoid eye contacts. A group of boys will always stare while you’re passing by and sometimes they will laugh and take your pictures.
People will simply cut your line in a long queue, take your seat in the train or get mad when you don’t understand what they’re talking about (in Hindi). However, every time I felt I was taken advantage of and pissed off, there will be always something to be thankful of such as strangers that will help without I even deserve it. This, I am talking about the love-hate relationship with India.
I have had beautiful encounters with strangers such as an old Indian lady who will always wake me up when the train stopped so that I didn’t miss my Kollam station, strangers in the train who offered FOOD, taxi driver who asked around to find my homestay because both of us didn’t have phone (it was 0100 hours, the shops were closed and the road was totally empty), strangers on the streets who lend us phone, my incredible hosts in Kollam and Alleppey and many more (I miss India while I was writing this!).
When and How do you go to India?
I’ve been to India for the first time in May 2015, to the Southern part of India for four days & four nights. My route was Kuala Lumpur to Trichy (flight), Trichy to Kollam (12-hours train ride), Kollam to Alleppey (8-hours ferry) and Alleppey to Cochin (one and half hour’s bus ride & boat ride to Fort Cochin).
Do You Have a Trick and Tips to Traveling in India?
Be cautious but not fearful. Keep your fear in check. Dress modestly. Bring positive attitude. SMILE because negative look won’t make anyone feels better. Having confidence is very important for a solo female traveler. Drink a lot of water because you’ll dehydrate.
What About Preparation Travel to India?
It was not in my calendar. It was an impulse decision. It was unplanned. It eventually proves that all the best things in life are always better than planned ones. It was double travelgsm (LOL do we have this word?) :p
Traveling in India is absolutely safe but of course, like anywhere else in the world, you have to do your research and preparation. The more aware you are of things, the better it is. I bought tickets in March without thinking twice, prepared Visa in the middle of April and flew to India in early May (after a week of travelling to Bangkok and Cambodia, it’s a back to back).
Along the way, I did a lot of blog reading related to solo female traveler in India, safety tips, things to prepare, the scams, train timetable and few other things. I would say by studying Lonely Planet and reading other traveler’s experience really helps a lot. I would like to thank #thetravellingtwins for sharing his experiences while travelling to South India. All the readings make me comfortable with my decision to go. I did my checklist in my travelogue book which I will bring everywhere I go.
I took extra precautions while travelling to India by bringing some safety tools such as pepper spray, pad lock, door wedge and whistle (I wear it as a necklace) but none of them being used. India is cheap too. I didn’t stay at hotel and opt for homestay so that I can mingle around.
Tell More Something About Motivation Going to India?
Some people fall in love with people they never met. I fall in love with a place I’ve never been. There’s just something about India. Despite the negative perceptions and bad news, I fall in love before I even set my foot there.
India is the only country that continues to fascinate me and I guess I’ve been bitten by India bug. I would consider myself as a very stubborn person, the more you say NO, the tendency for me to do it will get even higher. It’s the curiosity I guess that keep motivating me to visit India. I want to see the real situation in India because I believe that what has been portraying in media could be misleading. And I’m glad that there are three of my friends that will be going to India too after this. Glad to inspire.
Do You Have Recommended Places?
Incredible India, it’s like nowhere else. Rock Fort Temple in Trichy is beautiful, Kollam is such a small town for chill out & the ferry ride to Allappey (the Venice of India) is very relaxing. My favorite pick will be Fort Cochin. I love the architecture of the church in Fort Cochin and the sunset view at Chinese-fishing net.
It has been wonderful four days – exciting, self-discovery, life changing and challenging. If you come to India with positive judgements, I bet you’ll definitely have a wonderful experience but if you’re being judgmental and skeptical, you will never love India like I do. India is so worth the experience and I would say that the train ride experience was the most expensive experience for me.
If you’re looking for a real fun adventure, do take the second class ride. It was interesting to mix around with local people. I’ve been taking few train rides but nothing could beat this one. It was scary at first (the thought of getting rape in the train) but it has become the most exciting train ever.
It was good to make new friends in the train. It was fun to see how they were fighting with each other for a seat. It was crazy. It was fun. It was loud. It was heartbreaking to see kids and old people slept on the floor. It was all, worth it.
Sometimes, it is not about the destination but it’s about the journey. The people. The food. The experiences. The self-discovery. The survival. The appreciation of life.