I am glad to be back on Tripoto, super-excited to share my journey to three more places in South India with you. Before that, I want to talk about how I plan my leaves, expenses, safety and manage to carry myself around without complaining. I am a consultant working with a state government in South India. I live in a very small city where flight connectivity is a huge issue. Hence, all of my trips around South India have been on either trains or buses. Thus, I have to spend extra time reaching my destinations. I am very careful with my holiday calendar and plan my vacations well in advance. I take my leaves only to travel. I make sure I don't fall sick so that I don't have to take leaves for them. I constantly check flight tickets from big cities (Hyderabad and Bangalore) and book them whenever I find them cheap. Sometimes, I plan my vacation after booking the tickets. I have a very simple way of traveling, so any type of train coach or bus works. Idea is to travel at a low cost. I save money by living in a less posh colony, not going out very often and still buying clothes from Sarojini. Only thing I spend is on traveling.
Also, being a solo female traveler in India though not difficult might become unsafe. You might feel uncomfortable but the key is to find local women around markets and shops, and cling to them if you smell danger. I try to dress up in a conservative manner if I am in local villages or towns. But if others around are in bikini, I am a free bird in terms of dressing. I avoid drinking when I am traveling alone.
Lastly, a lot of people complaint that they'll get bored if they are traveling alone. That is a wrong assumption to make if you haven't experienced solo traveling yet. I love observing people and their activities in trains, buses and markets. Its the best way to get acquainted with the city. I read a lot, so long journeys are easy for me. Taking risk, getting out of comfort zone and setting priorities is important. Hence, if you have been wanting to take a trip but didn't gather courage to go. This is the right time. Destinations in this post are perfect for solo budget travel. Thus, book your ticket, grab your lazying backpack and get on to that flight/train/bus. Hope you enjoy this post as well.
This old little city was once a French colony and still has the Paris feeling in its bougainvillea landscaped streets. Although famous for its beaches, walking around the laid back White Town, visiting old churches and trying a variety of flavours of ice-cream at GMT is Pondicherry for me. You can also try surfing on Serenity beach and sunbathing on Paradise beach. However, the most amazing part of Pondicherry for me is the time after 6 PM and before 8 AM on Promenade Beach (also called Rock Beach) when motorized vehicles are prohibited on roads. A walk around the road during the morning and evening gives you a glimpse into the lives of locals when they take their kids out for ice-cream, street hawkers selling raw mango with red chilly powder and couples strolling hand-in-hand watching the moon rise. I sat on a rock with mild city bustle in the background and watched the big red moon in its most beautiful form.
Since this beach town is on East Coast, you'll witness a spectacular sunrise on this beach. Sunrise is also the time when the fishermen will take their boats out in the sea for their catch. There is a great camaraderie in the city even at 5 AM the sky shows colours of blue, orange, red and yellow. Since the city has a European resemblance, you'll find a lot of cafes and restaurants selling freshly baked bread, croissants and crepes. GMT ice-cream on Promenade beach (opposite petrol pump) is highly recommended. There are a plenty of hostels and boutique hotels at cheap prices available if you don't want to spend a lot. City can be explored on walk, on a rickshaw or cycle. Rent a scooty for Serenity and Paradise Beach.
Cost of trip: I was a student then and my plan was sudden. It costed me 4k for a two-day trip from Hyderabad. I took lifts and stayed in a very small hostel.