The Indian monsoon is one of the most famous and weather systems in the world. Economically it is a vital system that brings water to crops all over the country. It has been well understood and anticipated by the Indian population for centuries, yet remains one of the most unpredictable weather events in the world. For this reason June – September is described as time to avoid visiting India. However, sometimes we don’t have control over when we can go on holiday and so I want to provide some advice based on my experience of travelling India during the tail end of the monsoon season – in August and September.
As this was the only period we had to schedule India into our itinerary we carefully researched the best route to take to try and avoid the heaviest patterns of rain. I can say that the rain did not affect our trip negatively at all. We only got rained on a couple of times and only one activity – exploring the Ghats in Varanasi was disrupted. In my series of posts on India I will provide my tips on the best activities for the tail end of monsoon. Read on for my tips on enjoying this period in India.
Our 30 days during the tail end of monsoon
As I discussed in my previous article there were many things that I struggled with in India. However, fortunately the rain was not one of them. We tried to pack a lot into our 30 days, because we are not sure we will go back to India. We covered a huge amount of ground in this one month period. Our itinerary ran from Kerela in the Southwest, up the West coast to Mumbai, then north through Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh towards West Bengal for our flight out.
The thirty-day tourist visa, which costs $45USD for Australian tourists and $60USD for UK tourists (Aug-16), can be organised online. It is a long form to fill out and a bit of a pain, but once you have the visa entering the country is fairly straightforward. Make sure you take a print out of your e-Visa when it is emailed to you.
From the moment you leave the airport in India things are intense. Rickshaw/taxi drivers are very pushy, people will stare long and sometimes aggressively, and the streets are very dirty. The blatant poverty everywhere is confronting. You will walk past slums. It is very hot. When you step outside each day until the next point of solitude in a restaurant or your hotel room, it can be hard to take. But for all the trying moments that you will have in overcrowded buses and trains, watching people begging and being surrounded in rubbish, you can also find golden nuggets of utter tranquility. Sometimes you have to spend a little bit more to fund them, but the absolute luxury you can get for the price of a cheap hotel back home is absolutely worth it.
This is why our attitude in India was to take advantage of how cheap things can be and enjoy some moments of absolute luxury that we couldn’t dream of affording back home. The fact it was the end of monsoon season and generally a bit quieter in tourist destinations only enhanced our ability to take advantage of cheaper prices. Being the low-season we were in a position to negotiate cheaper prices and were able to enjoy more frequent moments of peace and quiet. I hope this gives other travellers the confidence to visit India during low-season.
In India we had some amazing experiences that I don’t think we can ever replicate and all of them were available to us despite it still being considered monsoon season. In these articles I will share some of these outstanding moments and how to approach these activities if they are part of your plans.
My suggestions for top experiences during August and September – the tail end of monsoon. In these articles I will talk about some of the highlights from out 30 days and share some of the lessons we learned when organising our activities:
- Houseboating in Alleppey, Kerela
- Food paradaise in Panjim, Goa
- Wandering the Lake City in Udaipur, Rajasthan
- Camel trekking in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
In later articles I provide some information on food and eating gluten free or Paleo in India. Unfortunately I struggled to feel well over the month because of the food here. I wasn’t unwell from food poisoning as you might expect, but just very bloated, swollen and uncomfortable due to the very rich and carbohydrate heavy nature of Indian food.