India Tips

This is a list of places and restaurants that I went to while in India in 2005

Bombay

– first of all – if you need a driver – contact Prakash Tiwari or Rajendra Tiwari at SAI Travels. Great, reliable, and cheap service. Tel: 9323278227
Places to eat:

  • Mocambo cafe – italian food – in Kala Goda – Sir P.M. Road
  • Indigo (near taj palace hotel) – european food – great food
  • shital samudra (sp?) – juhu taha road– indian – amazing bhiriyani
  • Delhi Darbar – only tried the tandoori and kababs, colaba – amazing
  • 5 Spice – chinese, bandra – pali naka, bandra – amazing
  • pani puri – everywhere! if you’re willing to risk it… i did and was fine, but everyone thought i was a nuts
  • bade miya – behind taj – great food – apparently, you shouldn’t eat the chutney
  • Baskin Robbins (yeah, that’s right! was totally fine on the stomach!)  Across from JW Marriott Juhu
  • Pizza Express – ok, ok, so this isn’t exactly authentic Bombay food – but we had to do it. It’s part of the london chain – although I think the pizza was even better. The cheese cake isn’t as good though… Nariman Road, Churchgate
  • Royal China – this is a sister restaurant to the one in London but is way better. Some big time bollywood star was sitting next to us, but I had no idea who he was. Fort Area – +91 (0) 22 5635 5310
  • Not only Jazz – crap! Band sucked, food may have been the worst i’ve ever had, and the service was pathetic too. The place was trying way too hard to be touristy.
  • Trishna – Seafod restaurant – amazing food, but ambience was a bit crap. place was feezing cold
  • everywhere we went was amazing (with the exception of the jazz place)! i don’t think there was a single day, where i thought the food was bad. it ranged from great to amazing…

    Places to Hang:

  • Indigo – restaurant/club
  • Taj Land’s Inn Cafe
  • Taj Palace Pool side (although, technically this is supposed to be for residents only…)
  • Dome – on top of Intercontinental Hotel – you would never think that you’re still in Bombay
  • Enigma – Juhu – cool place where apparently a lot of the bollywood stars hangout.
  • Olive Bar and Kitchen – Bandra, Pali Hill – Cool place but full of NRIs living in the UK or USA – way too much attitude for the ugly people present…
  • JW Marriott café on Fri and Sat after clubs
  • Hotels:

  • Taj President, Colaba – stayed there for a couple of nights – not really worth the price and doesn’t live up to Taj name. The restaurants downstairs are pretty good but expensive (2 Kir Royales and 2 Pina Coladas came to 1740 Rs…)
  • Taj Lands End, Bandra (Tel: 56681234) – great hotel but expensive. Great service and facilities.
  • Seaside Hotel, Juhu – budget hotel – tough to go to this one from the Taj! but it was decent and clean – and the staff was very friendly and helpful. Can be hard to find – easiest is to go to the Sun and Sands hotel and then walk behind to find the Seaside. www.seaside-hotel.com +91 (0) 22 5692 3901 (Rate January 2006, 2500RS/night) – safe to walk about in the nearby markets, etc.
  • Heritage Hotel, Baycula (Rate Jan 09, 2006 – 2290 Rs) – a Comfort Inn location. Some rooms are ok, but some are pretty sketch. Bell boys and lower staff are really friendly, but the management are a bunch of idiots. www.comfortinnheritage.com +91 (0)22 2371 4891
  • JW Marriott (Juhu) +91 (0) 22 5693 3000
  • Wi-fi

  • JW Marriott in Juhu has free access sometimes – they have a great patio and pool area to hang out in too.
  • I was also able to find a linksys connection from my room in the seaside hotel (also in Juhu) but it was very weak.
  • The Taj hotels have wi-fi access if you’re staying there but for 125 Rs/30 min or 600 Rs/day
  • Movies:

    We went to Versova Infiniti Mall Cinemax – this is way out in the North of Bombay in the Andheri area.  upscale area – and the cinema is not a budget old school place. it was higher end than any i’ve been to in Canada – full reclining seats, blankets, pillows, etc. For 300 Rs for 3 hour movie, it almost works out cheaper per hour than a hotel! We went the day after our hike and so as I sat down, I fell asleep snoring until the intermission, had some nachos, then went back to sleep! Movie was Shikhar, but honestly I don’t think I made it past the trailers…

    Shipping – Diana Sports ( gaurav ) 2201 5266 – Crawford market, across metro cinema

    Oxford Bookstore – Apeejay House, 3 Dinsha Vashha Rd, Churchgate, Bombay

    Sarees – Sagar Sarees 502 Jai Mahal, Linking Road Tel: 26485570

    Glasses – Alankar Optical Services (owners are Shailesh and Saurabh) – 369-A Kalbadevi Rd., Opp Kalbadevi Temple  – Tel: +91 22 2201 2557

    Jilani Furnishings – Shop No. 27, New Oberoi Towers, Nariman Point, Bombay (Tel: 5632 5518) – had my drapes designed and made here (silk with lining)- 7000Rs

    Fares:

    Flight Bombay to Delhi Jan30, 2006 – 4645 Rs Jet Airways

    Flight Dubai to Bombay – Dec 24 – $241.26 CAD – Air India

    Flight Bombay to Dubai – Mar 10 – 9490 Rs – Air India

    Boat Ferry – Bombay to Alibag (friend had a place here, otherwise not much there) – 100Rs return

    Sites:

    Elephanta Caves – Return ticket 100Rs – very cool place, but watch out for the monkeys who’ll steal your pop!

    Hyderabad

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    Hotel Harsha (tel: 040 – 23201188 Rate: 780Rs) – not a backpacker joint, but a budget hotel. Not the greatest, but clean and safe. Stayed for 3days.

    Pune

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    Bus from Delhi (Dadar district) – 160RS

    Hotel Ashirwad (tel: 612 85 85 Rate: 2200RS/night) – not really a backpacker place. More like a budget hotel. Clean and well maintained.

    Train to Hyderabad Jan 21, 2006 – 676 Rs

    Goa

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    Flight from Bombay – 2399 Rs Air Sahara

    Nizmar Resort – 1000 Rs/night – Jan 12, 2006 – Calangute Tel: 2275909 – Really nice resort type place. with swimming pool and AC.

    Delhi

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    Places you have to see:

    Humayun’s Tomb (Entry: 250RS) – personally, I liked the ambiance of this more than at the Taj Mahal – not as many people running about.

    Hotel: Jaipur Inn (D-32, Defence Colony, New Delhi. ph: 51551105)- basic, clean, and safe. Rate, Dec 2006: 1395RS/night

    Restaurant: Bukhara Restaurant ( ITC Maurya | Diplomatic Enclave, Sadar Patel Marg, New Delhi 110021, India) – amazing Indian/NorthWestern Food (real Tandoor ovens, etc). Expensive by India prices.

    – amazing food based on northwest

    Khajaraho

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    Flight from Delhi to Varanasi (I got off at Khajaraho) was 3419RS

    Marble Inn Hotel
    Generally nice, but it got super cold at night. The room I had, had just a cardboard covering over what should be the AC and it was super loud outside. Good service with hot water.

    Ganesh Restaurant – this is where I got my first stomach problems – I wouldn’t trust the food… a couple others also got sick here too

    Varanasi

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    Hotel Haifa (Assi Ghat, tel: 2312960) Rate in Feb 2006, 500RS/night – this place has an amazing ‘middle-eastern’ thali (35 RS) – babaganoush, humous, falafel and pita bread – I was there nearly everyday! By the time I got to Varanasi, my stomach needed a bit of break from the Indian food… it’s full of mostly Israeli tourists which is a drawback since they hate to meet non-Israelis but the hotel itself was great. Its at the Assi Ghat.

    Open hand café – +91 542 2369 751 – they have the best chocolate cake ever!

    Lucknow

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    Train Varanasi to Lucknow – Feb 09, 157 Rs

    Capoor’s Hotel (52 Hazratganj, tel: 2623958 Rate:990 Rs/night – this was one of the worst hotels. This city is not really on the tourist maps, so backpacker rooms are scarce. Too bad considering this is a great city.  If you go, definitely check out the Imambara and the Labrynth.

    Agra

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    Train (overnight) from Lucknow to Agra – Feb 11, 163 Rs

    Stop over place…

    Mughal Art – Eastern Gate, Tajmahal, Near Hotel Taj Khema, Agra (9319120424 Munidin Naimuddin)

    Fatehpur Sikri

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    Ajay Hotel – is listed in the Lonely Planet as a place to store your bags while you walk around the palace and then most go back to Agra – I stayed the nighte for only 50rupees – basic room (squat toilets) and they have to bring you the hot water in a huge bucket. I was only there for a few hours overnight, so I was ok with it. Clean and great service

    Jaipur

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    Bus to Jaipur – Feb 12, 180 Rs

    Jaipur Inn – CRAZY WACKO owner!! Don’t go there!! He threatened to have me killed – see my post

    Sunder Palace – not in the Lonely Planet yet so is still fairly cheap – super great owners. 091-141-2360178 e: sunderpalace@hotmail.com – its near the railway station just off of Aimer Road

    Lassiwalla’s – try them all! the one the LP lists is ok, but the one to the right is actually better I think.

    Pushkar

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    Tabla lessons: Saraswati – Birju has played with the famous Zahir Hussein. The classes were great – be ready to be tempted to purchase tablas though! e: saraswati_music@hotmail.com

    Shipping: I used Sumer Singh Rajpurohit who is based at the Yagya Ghat – he packaged and sent my items to Bombay for next to nothing. Everything arrived with no damage and on time.

    Jodhpur

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    Bus from Jaipur to Ajmer – Feb 15, 102 Rs

    Bus from Ajmer to Jodhpur – Feb 17, 99 Rs

    Yogi’s Guesthouse – although, we didn’t get the best deal on our bus ride, the guesthouse itself was actually pretty good. Clean and safe and for a good price. Plus it had a lot of character with well designed rooms and a rooftop with a great view. The owners are friendly too. t: 0091-291-2643436 e:

    Jagdamba Arts (handicrafts) Katla Bazar, Near Achalnath Temple – Owners are Umesh and Mukesh. They have a picture with Prince Charles, and claim to have sold items to the Royal Family (which I wouldn’t doubt). They were super friendly and helpful and even took me on a tour of one of their factories (a renovated house and yard) to show me how they make their items.  Some of the frames were being made for a broker who was then selling to Ikea.

    Jaisalmar

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    Shahi Palace Hotel – stayed on roof top first night for only 50 rupees so you can’t beat that! The rest of the nights we stayed in a room for three for only 800Rs/night. Great room with great layout. This is probably one of the best hotels I stayed in all of India. e: shahipalace@yahoo.co.in

    Little Italy – Italian place on top of the turrets of the fort. Has great Pizzas!
    Top Deck Restaurant – Mixed fruit Lassi place

    Train back to Jodhpur – Feb 22, 2006 – 304Rs or 152 Rs

    Udaipur

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    Hitch-hiked from Jodhpur to Udaipur so can’t give costs of trains.

    Cooking class: Indian Spice Box – listed in the Lonely Planet. I liked it although it is very Rajathani food specific. Shakti Singh, the teacher, had me in killing myself with laughter. e: spicebox2001@yahoo.co.in.

    Tourist:
    Boat Cruise in Lake Pichola – 75Rs – did not allow to get off on ‘James Bond’ hotel though.
    City Palace Complex Entry – 25Rs – great for lunch or just sitting by the water.

    Kutch

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    Train to Ahmedabad – 621 Rs (kills me that there is an extra ‘1’ rupee on the price…)

    Train from Ahmedabad to Bhuj – March 1, 2006 – 511Rs

    Bhuj
    Hotel Nilam – I didn’t stay at this hotel, but they have the most incredible gujurati thali for all of 50 cents! Station Road, Bhuj – best place!!

    Holiday Village Hotel – (Anjar Rate: 1275Rs/night) – this is actually about 20km outside Bhuj but it was great and was more accessible for me to get to the tours of the Focus projects.

    Bus to Jamnagar – 6 Rs

    Diu

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    This city is the best!! loads of places to go. Gujarati Portuguese town.
    Hotel Super Silver – this was a perfect place – central, clean, great service and great price. e: supersilver@rediffmail.com
    Heranca Goesa – you gotta go here!! for all of 100RS you get all you can eat seafood -but you gotta sign up by 10 in the morning for dinner the same day. It’s located behind the Diu Museum just off Hospital Road. tel: (02875)253851 — e-mail: heranca_goesa@yahoo.com
    Ram Vijay – Falooda place on one of the side streets behind the taxi park – i can’t remember the name, but it’s the best place for dessert.
    Apana Restaurant – great guju thali – they also have great Khatiawar thalis.
    St. Thomas Church – every other day they have a bbq on the lawn on the left side – look for George!

    Flight back to Bombay – $130USD Jet Airways

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