India & Nepal 2014 – 2015

The most incredible trip in two of the most amazing countries. You can’t really prepare for India, you just have to sort of show up and try to get used to it. The noise, the chaos, the poverty. This is all offset by some of the best food you’ll ever apply liberally to your facehole, and the genuine warmth of the people. Not the ones that work in tourism though, they want all of your money and will lie to your face to get it. As for Nepal, it feels calm in comparison, and the Nepali people are so friendly, and those views! Those mountain views will take your breath away. Assuming the altitude hasn’t already done that for you.

Scroll down for the whole blog. If you’re looking for something specific you can use the search bar, or navigate to the map; there are links to the relevant posts in the pin-drop descriptions.



Budget

For some reason I stopped counting after I left Nepal and entered India the second time, possibly had something to do with carelessly misplacing my phone on a bus, but up until then I spent £3348.73 (not including the Everest Base Camp Trek which cost over a grand on its own). Most of this (£828.58) was on food. I have no idea how I’m not the size of a whale.

My second biggest expense was accommodation at £724.02.

Entertainment: £651.58. This includes everything from the rhino safari at Chitwan to bungy jumping to sunrise tours and everything in between. Caves, palaces, forts, the lot.

I managed to spend £502.75 on booze. A lot of it was probably that horrific 8% stuff too. I’m lucky I still have brain cells.

Transport: (not including flights in and out of India, or my flight from Leh to Delhi as I’d stopped counting by then) was a total of £287.76 which if you think about the distances I travelled is really two tenths of fuck all.

Everything else was just living expenses. Medication, toiletries, phone credit, souvenirs. That sort of shit.


Delhi, Uttarakhand & Uttar Pradesh

Welcome To India

I fully intended to get the Metro to Paharganj from the airport. I strode purposefully towards it, following the signs as a bloke fell into pace with me and asked me if I wanted a taxi. I declined, for I, […]

Okay Delhi, Bring It On!

Fuck yeah, Delhi Metro! I think I might love it a little bit. Not only can you get a one day Tourist Card for ₹150 (₹50 of which I got back when I returned it), it’s like some manner of […]

The Kindness Of Strangers

Well I’m finally in Rishikesh which means I’m not sweating like a blind lesbian in a fish shop for the first time in four days. Not that I’ve used my ability to walk around whilst not losing a litre of […]

Water Everywhere… Maybe Don’t Drink It Though

Friday 10th October Ahh, there’s nothing like a nice, long walk in the searing heat ay. Especially when you’re not exactly renowned for your sense of direction since that time you had to ask for directions out of a Marks […]

Sorry, Legs. It Was Worth It Though!

Sunday 12th October Oh sunrise. I love you, but why do you have to be so fucking early? Glaring at my alarm didn’t stop it from being 3.30am either. To be fair the tour wasn’t leaving until 4.30, I didn’t […]

So Far, So Good

Ok. Fine. I admit it. Lemon, ginger and honey tea appears to be just as good at fighting cold and flu symptoms as pseudoephedrine. There, I said it. I draw the line at wearing brightly coloured woollens and stinking the […]

Return To The Capital

When I told people I was going to start my trip in Delhi they looked at me like I’d just told them I was going to be the first person to populate Mars with 20 lesbians and a turkey baster […]

Temples And Talents

That thing where a temple won’t allow photography and to enforce this they look inside your bag, advise you to submit phones and cameras to the cloakroom along with your bag, put you through a metal detector then thoroughly frisk […]

The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For

There’s nowt like sipping a freezing cold Kingfisher on a roof terrace whilst gawping at the Taj Mahal. I believe beer is essential fuel when preparing oneself to do battle with the endless touts wanting you to change money or […]

Brace Yourself At Fatehpur Sikri

If you’re going to Fatehpur Sikri you might want to take along a fuck off great big stick to fend off the traders in the free-entry square. A huge stick, with nails in the end. Or a chainsaw. Or a […]

Whoop There It Is

My very first Indian gut rot! I think my bowels have turned to knives. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even eat anything to deserve it. Screw you, knife bowels. Fortunately I learnt my lesson after South America and I brought […]


Rajasthan

The Elusive Tiger. Really, Really Elusive

So. Sawai Madhopur. The gateway to the Ranthambore National Park which is where people flock to gawp at wildlife from some manner of vehicle in the hope that one of the creatures mincing through the undergrowth will be a tiger. […]

Things To Do In Bundi

There are many things to do in Bundi but most of them I didn’t get around to doing on account of ending up with my head in a bucket throwing up whatever my various internal organs could produce. I’m not […]

The Pink(ish) City

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and is known as the Pink City which I was later told is because when the Prince of Wales visited the city sometime in the 1800’s they painted the whole bastard place pink to […]

All Of The Jaipurness

Travelling alone is a bit of a ball ache sometimes in that everything costs a fucking fortune. Yeah okay, I could have made may way around Jaipur on public transport but that takes time and I didn’t really want to […]

Camels, Fairs And Special Water

Pushkar is a holy town. Really holy. In fact it’s so fucking holy not only is meat forbidden, so are eggs. And booze. Like, they’re illegal here. It’s one of those places that people tend to get stuck buuuuut I […]

A Taste Of The Golden City

I’d not intended to catch a sleeper bus in India on account of it being quite expensive, but I’d decided to skip Bikaner and head to Jaisalmer with Jill and Chris who I’d met at Milkman Guest House in Pushkar […]

Into The Desert

Everyone knows that banana was put on this earth to complement chocolate. As we sat outside Sahara Travels waiting for our trek to start I inserted the banana chocolate pie I’d bought from a German bakery the evening before into […]

Hairy Walking Attitude Problems

So last night was a bit fucking cold, wasn’t it?! I’d rugged up in woolly socks, a singlet, base layer, shirt, hoody, scarf and a thermal sleeping bag liner underneath my thick blanket and I still felt like my snot […]

Bhang Shaped Brick

So I think I experienced my very first Indian “is that what I thought it was?” arse grope. Now, this has happened to most women I’ve met whilst travelling here but it doesn’t normally happen to me. Despite the fact […]

Why So Blue?

When I asked people what they thought of Jodhpur, about nine times out of ten they said it was pretty lame, just another Indian city. A couple of people really liked it though and whilst the so-called Pink City of […]

It’s Not Always Sunshine And Rainbows

Christ, Mount Abu, you’re a stunning looking little bugger, aintcha?! Seriously, it’s so idyllic here it makes you wonder why it’s not more popular with backpackers and foreign tourists, y’know, apart from the wild animal attacks and the muggings and […]

How To Do Mt Abu Without Getting Lost Or Eaten

When the only internet in the whole hotel is in reception and the little cafe, that’s where you’re pretty much forced to sit. Y’know, where people go. People that will talk to you whilst you’re busy trying to be slightly […]

The “Oh But You MUST!” Guide To Udaipur

Vehicles in India have this slightly terrifying habit of driving up the wrong side of the road if they need to get somewhere on the right. Usually it’s rickshaws or motorcycles and they aim for the edge of the road […]

My Favouritest Udaipur Shenanigans

I fucking hate cooking. It stresses me out. I can’t time things to cook together which results in having to eat a meal in sections and yes, this includes beans on toast. On more than one occasion I’ve accidentally grilled […]


Mumbai & South India

Mumbai Interlude

I didn’t do much in Mumbai on account of the fact I want to do it properly with the mrs when she comes to visit so I have decided to use bullet points for this very short post on account […]

A Little Slice Of Awesome

I don’t usually go in for beach holidays, partially on account of the fact I get bored easily and sprawling across a sarong whilst my tender, English flesh slow roasts to an unrecognisable crisp isn’t my idea of fun. But […]

Lava Rocks, Palm Trees And Bum Hoses

That awkward moment when a mother uses you to threaten her child! I was in Malpe waiting for a boat along with an Indian family and suddenly I realised what she was saying to her sprog; “Do you want her […]

Nothing Important Happened Today

So I ended up giving myself the afternoon off from being a tourist today. I wasn’t going to, I came to Kannur to see if I could find a Theyyam possession ritual to wrap my eyeballs around but I ended […]

It’s Not Pretty But At Least It Has Tea

Train is definitely my favourite way to get around India ay. Buses are great and all that and you don’t have to book half your life in advance but they’re not as comfortable, you can’t get up and walk around […]

Non-Stop Tourist Whirlwind (Just A Very Slow One)

Life in Fort Cochin is a non-stop adventure assuming that by “non-stop adventure” you mean sitting around a lot whilst consuming tea and cake. Other activities include walking around looking at the various tourist attractions, but really really slowly so […]

Cutlery Is For The Weak

Ok, so, whilst I was looking for somewhere to stay in Alappuzha, a friend recommended the amazing Alleppey 3 Palms Guest House which only cost me ₹350 per night and this included dinner and as much tea and coffee as […]

Taking It Easy… Even More So Than Usual

I feel like everything has slowed right the fuck down since I got to Kerala. Everything. My natural walking pace has gone from “relaxed amble” to “practically backwards” and my food consumption speed has had to be re-designated “acceptable rate […]

Varkala’s Expensive Little Sister

So me and Jill had rocked up to Trivandrum in the pissing rain and did that thing where you ask every other person where the actual fuck you’re meant to catch the bus to Kovalam because Indian directions often involve […]

Killing Time

Me and zoos have an uneasy relationship. On one hand, animals shouldn’t be kept in captivity. If they’ve been plucked from the wild and enclosed in a zoo then that’s not something I want to look at. Buuuut if they […]

I Came, I Saw, I Selfied

Kanyakumari is basically as far south as you can go in India. If you tried to go any further south you’d probably drown. You wouldn’t even know which ocean you actually drowned in either on account of the fact that […]

Non-Denominational Holiday Wishes

Generic non-denominational forced holiday happiness wishes to y’all. Despite the photos I didn’t spend my whole afternoon frolicking in the waves. Mainly I spent it stuffing various food products into my facehole at the Coffee Temple which is run by […]

Slow Down Before You Hurt Yourself

Well yesterday was pretty hectic. Though to be fair, “hectic” by Varkala standards basically means “I got out of the hammock and remained upright for more than twenty consecutive minutes.” This in itself results in collapsing dramatically into a chair […]

Thanks For The Good Times, Varkala

I’m a sucker for a view, me. Any chance to get up high and have a look around and I’ll probably take it provided it doesn’t involve me edging too close to a sheer drop that doesn’t accommodate a nice, […]

Kicking Arse, Keralan Style

Eight hours on an overnight government bus is about as much fun as being repeatedly kicked in the arse by an angry donkey wearing cramp-ons and causes a similar amount of buttock pain. It wouldn’t be so bad but I’d […]

Brave Adventuring And Fully Justified Fleeing

I knew we were getting packed lunches today but I always worry that I’m not going to be given enough food and I’ll wither away and die in minutes, so we got up especially early to get our overpriced park […]

Bamboo Rafting On The Periyar Lake

This morning we’d arranged to have Satheeth to pick us up after breakfast. Yeah, I know we were due to get enough food to keep us going for about three days, I only ate a fraction of my packed lunch […]

Worship At The Alter Of Tea

God I love tea. I love it so much. I don’t think there’s any other liquid that I revere above tea, not even beer or Jägermeister and I’m pretty fucking fond of both of those things. Tea is the one […]

Tea, Spices And General Munnar-ness

Bugger me backwards, it was cold this morning. Definitely cold enough to make your nipples sit up and take notice. And you don’t have to worry about Benoy’s early morning song singing waking you up because the fucking rooster will […]

A Sod Off Great Big Temple And A Little Chat About Gandhi

The road from Munnar to Madurai probably registers about the same on the oh-em-eff-gee-it’s-stunning rating as it does on the shit-your-pants rating, so that makes the narrows roads with the sheers drop to the left slightly easier to deal with […]

Sit There And Just Look Pretty, Sweetheart

Kodaikanal basically has one job and that’s to sit there and look pretty, and it does it incredibly well. It’s high up here, about 2100 m.a.s.l. so it gets pretty chilly at night which is basically a politer way of […]

Udhag… Udhagama… Bugger It. Ooty.

It was around 6am when I hopped off the bus in Udhagamandalam and all of the water in my face cells promptly froze. I’m not even shitting you. Ooty (as it’s commonly known because Udhagamandalam just looks like drunk texting) […]

Turns Out Mysore Is Actually Worth A Visit

The bus journey to Mysore was a proper treat for the eyeholes. The spinal column though? Not so much. The road takes you through the tiger reserve so the scenery is gorgeous, but the only way to slow down drivers […]

Just Quickly…

I’m in Bangalore on account of the fact it seemed like a vaguely sane place to book a train back up to Mumbai from. The fact that trains have to be booked half your life in advance means you have […]

The Waiting Game

India is fucking huge, but you only realise how huge it really is when you try and get from one place to another. It takes 23 hours to get from Bangalore to Mumbai by train. Twenty three whole, actual hours. […]


Goa & Hampi

You Know You’re Getting Old When…

It’s awkward saying hello to your partner who you’ve not seen for nearly four months when you’re queer in India, they’ve criminalised gays and lesbians here so we could only greet each other with sort of an awkward hug which […]

Obligatory Death Trap Rental Day

I am literally the only person in the whole of Goa who insists on wearing a helmet whilst on a scooter. True story. It’s not like the helmet in question would offer any manner of protection if I did fall […]

Checking Out Old Goa

Sooooo you know what’s not fun? Catching a bus with all of your bags when you’re still not sure if your digestive system is ready to rejoin civilised society. I chucked a couple of precautionary tablets down my throat and […]

Hello, Feni, Meet My Liver

I have so many habits I need to drop as soon as I get back to the UK. The head wobble for one. Despite having exactly zero idea what it really means I appear to have adopted it and seem […]

If You Like Piña Coladas

Given that lying on a sunbed whilst people bring me things to insert into my facehole is my new favourite thing in the world I figured I should do it as much as possible because, y’know, practice makes perfect, so […]

Cooking, Beaches And Kayaking; Standard Palolem

No, Tarrant. No. You may not feed beef momos to the tiny cow. I’m sure the tiny cow would enjoy them but it’s kinda like grinding up the postman and feeding him to the neighbours wrapped in a little steamed […]

Canyoning In Palolem

I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t really have a fucking clue what canyoning was when I purchased the extra insurance necessary to allow me to do it and have my medical bills paid should I end up in a full […]

Hampi On Two Less Terrifying Wheels

Hampi is what happens when you take a bunch of aesthetically pleasing stuff and chuck it all together in a manner that makes it really hard to keep your jaw from scraping on the floor in an undignified manner. I […]

Bouldering, Sunsets And Macrame

Hampi consists mainly of granite boulders which Michael pretty much couldn’t get over. Granite is proper expensive in Europe and here they just use roughly cut slabs as make shift fences like it was cheap plywood or some shit. Granite […]

Living It Up

One of my favourite things to wake up to, apart from breakfast in bed consisting of a large pile of bacon and half a cheesecake, is the cry of “Chaaiiii chaaiiii garam chaiiii garam garam chaiiii garam” as the chai […]


Aurangabad to Varanasi

All Buddha’d Out

Way before that Jesus bloke cropped up shouting about being the son of god or some shit, men with hammers and chisels were hacking elaborate caves into rock faces in the name of much older religions. Ajanta caves date back […]

The Calm Before The Tourist Storm

Seriously India, I love you but you sure do like to punish people for last minute plan changes, and it was a last minute plan change that had me thoughtfully munching my way through a masala dosa whilst trying to […]

The Mildly Pornographic Temples Of Khajuraho

I was hoping I could just sneak in a cheeky little photo blog for Khajuraho and be done with it because I thought it’d just be a bunch of pretty temples adorned with a spot of casual porn and I […]

Varanasi – Part 1

“Meh. Varanasi. No strong opinions either way…” …Said no one ever. I braced myself for Varanasi, I’d been told that you either love it or hate it, there was no in between in one of Hinduism’s holiest cities. Varanasi was […]

Varanasi – Part 2

I’m not entirely sure that my body clock loves Varanasi as much as I do, especially since I dragged myself out of bed for a second sunrise. It’s so worth it though. A few of us wanted to head down […]


Darjeeling & Cherrapunji

Holi Hai!

When I was planning this trip I planned the timing around two things; the Nepal trekking season and Holi. Initially I thought, Varanasi. Yeah. That seems like it’d be a cool place to celebrate Holi, and indeed it is. Unless […]

The Queen Of Hill Stations

Seriously, Darjeeling. You better be worth the Hell Train I endured to get to you. Okay, actually the train only went as far as New Jalpaiguri, affectionately known as NJP because New Jalpaiguri clearly has way too many syllables, then […]

Just When You Thought Tea Was Just Tea

I love tea which is slightly stereotypical given my nationality, but then again I’m lesbian with short hair, several P!nk albums and a penchant for Superdry underwear so stereotypes are kinda my thing. I was totally thrown by chai when […]

Dipping Into The North East

I’d first heard about the Living Root Bridges of Cherrapunji on Atlas Obscura‘s website and tucked that little nugget of awesome away in the back of my mind for when I finally made it to India. It’s one of those […]

Heaven On Earth

So these living root bridges we’d come to see are actually located in a valley which is easily accessible from Cherrapunji. You can do it in a day and domestic tourists from Shillong do indeed do this, but we’d heard […]

Aaaand That’s India For Now

All over India when you catch a train, sometimes a group of transgenders, or hijras, will board and ask men for money. They clap loudly, touch men on their heads and the men are expected to give the transgenders ₹10. […]


Nepal

This Is My Last Resort

So back in 2009, me and my sister did our very first bungee jumps together in Queenstown, New Zealand. Since then I’ve needlessly thrown myself off various structures in the name of adrenaline but Nat hasn’t and as soon as we’d confirmed that we’d […]

Kathmandu Highlights

Aside from purchasing enough prayer flags to sanctify the air in a mafia strip club and trying to stop “Om Mani Padme Hum” from crawling round your braincells like an earworm on crack, there’s not huge amounts to do in Kathmandu itself unless you’re […]


Everest Base Camp 2015

My sister flew out to Nepal so we could hike to Everest Base Camp with a group she found on the Internet. We did consider doing it independently, finding a guide in Kathmandu or Lukla and cracking on, but Nat […]

Hunting One Horned Rhinos

Chitwan National Park, protected from poachers by army patrols and watchtowers, is where you go to gawp at one horned rhinos in their natural habitat, and it’s not like most places where there’s a high chance all you’ll see is […]

Birthplace Of The Buddha

Well if you will insist on rocking up to Lumbini in April then the first thing you’re gonna notice is how fucking hot it is. Seriously. It’s oppressively hot. It’s like someone smothered you with a blanket and you’re forced […]

On Shaky Ground

Just before midday on the 25th April I was sat in the garden at my hotel in Pokhara when there was an almighty rumble. I thought it was just a truck about to come past, and when the truck didn’t […]

Unaffiliated Locals Of Nepal

I had literally no idea what to do with myself after the earthquake. My insurance company told me in no uncertain terms that I was no longer covered for trekking in Nepal and I didn’t fancy being stuck up a […]

Life In Pokhara

It wasn’t all work and no play in Pokhara. There was lots of play. Sometimes too much play. So much play I don’t know if my liver is ever going to forgive me for what I put it through. There […]

I’ll Be Back

It was surreal heading back into Kathmandu. I’d come back to apply for my Indian visa as I’d heard they’d started issuing them again, and whilst it’s possible to arrange it in Pokhara it’s already more expensive for a British […]


North India

City Of The Golden Temple – Part 1

There’s nothing like waiting for a train in India to make you feel like you’ve got three heads and 10 metre tentacles instead of arms. There I was, sat on my bag on the platform at Bareilly, when someone asked […]

City Of The Golden Temple – Part 2

As I said in the last post, if you loiter long enough someone will approach you and bundle you into a tuk tuk to head to the Wagah border closing ceremony. If you’re foreign, take your passport. You’ll be dropped […]

As Spiritual As A Spanner

There’s only one reason to go to Dharamsala and that’s to get a bus straight to McLeodGanj. Fact. And the best way to get there from Amritsar is to bus it to Pathankot first and change buses there, and it […]

Hello To The Waistline

Bhagsu and Dharamkot consist entirely of hills and the trick is to try and minimise the hillage between where you’re staying and the nearest beer. We massively failed at the first attempt and ended up staying in what was basically […]

The Tibetan Government In Exile

It’s well known that McLeodGanj is the home of the Tibetan government in exile. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama himself, the Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet, made the journey from Lhasa to India over the Himalayas back in 1959 […]

Adventures In Bhagsu

There are about a thousand things to do in the hippy training camp that is Bhagsu in between saluting the sun and having all the blood rush to your head in a decidedly unpleasant manner as you attempt pre-breakfast yoga. […]

Trekking To Triund

After lots of research which basically involved accosting anyone who’d been and demanding to know things, we decided to trust that there would indeed be tent accommodation and food at Triund once we got there and all we needed to […]

Tiny Trekking

You know when you stumble bleary eyed off an overnight bus, tired and hungry and barely keeping murderous urges in check, and hoards of taxi and tuk tuk drivers besiege the exit of the bus insisting they can take you […]

On Being Perceived As Scum

Malana is a fucking weird little place! We’d read about it and kinda knew what to expect when we rocked up, we knew we weren’t allowed to touch anything, but no amount of reading about it will prepare you for […]

The Joy Of Mauling All The Things

After spending several hours gleaning the advice of Malanan locals we decided to ignore most of it and hike to Rashol (also spelt Rasol) without a guide, because how hard can it be, right? I mean, as you stand at […]

Boom Shankar

We’d been assured that the path down to Kasol was easy, “You just go down down,” and it was more used than the Malana to Rashol pass and a guide most definitely wouldn’t be needed. We set off in the […]

Up The Hill And Down Again

On account of the fact we were already in Kalga we started the hike up to Khirganga from here, and it wasn’t even raining. We headed off as soon as we could to take full advantage of the lack of […]

Tosh & The Tiny Glacier

Our hike down from Khirganga finally finished at Barshani where there are dhabas so you can rapidly replace all those calories you just burnt before your body thinks you’re attempting something healthy and goes into shock. Our next stop was […]

Gurdwaras And Hot Springs

So apparently, Shiva and Parvati were wandering around and happened upon present day Manikaran and because it was beautiful they decided to just chill there for eleven hundred years or so. Shiva was meditating and more than likely enjoying the […]

Journey To Spiti Valley

I didn’t really know what to expect from Kaza, the main town in the remote Spiti Valley, but I certainly wasn’t expecting super fast Internet access and electricity 24/7, so I hung back in Manali an extra day just to […]

Spiti Valley: Kaza – Komic

So you’re meant to start at Kibber or Langza for the Spiti Valley Homestay Trek, that’s the classic route, but apparently that first leg from either of those two villages to the village of Komic is an absolute bitch of […]

Spiti Valley: Komic – Demul

This morning we were provided with a breakfast of egg and bread, and a packed lunch of Tibetan bread and jam to take on our walk to Demul, the next village. Right. Our first real walk on this trek. We […]

Spiti Valley: Demul – Lalung

We were assured that it was downhill all the way from Demul to Lalung so we enjoyed our breakfast of eggs and bread, packed our lunch of Tibetan bread and jam into our bags and headed on our way. So […]

Spiti Valley: Lalung – Dhankar

I don’t remember much of the walk to Dhankar, I just know it involved a lot of pain and with no McDonald’s within hundreds of miles to provide an appropriate hangover cure, doom was imminent, at least for my liver […]

Tabo Gompa

Unless you have a penchant for towns that begin with T, you visit Tabo for the gompa, established in 996AD. It’s the oldest continuously functioning Buddhist monument in India and it also happens to run the Millennium Monastery Guesthouse where […]

Kee, Key, Ki or Kye?

One last thing you absolutely have to do whilst you’re in Spiti Valley is check out Kee, or Ki, or Key, or Kye, take your pick and delete as appropriate, Gompa which has got to be the single most photogenic […]

How To Get From Kaza To Leh

Roads in this region and all the way down to Manali are maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, or BRO for short. BRO loves you and doesn’t want to see you career off a dodgy road to your untimely and […]

K-Top Cycling Fun Times

Khardung La. At 5602 metres above sea level the locals would have you believe it’s the highest motorable road in the known universe and will sell you appropriately branded t-shirts that’ll shrink if they so much as come within two […]

Getting Leh’d

So here’s the thing about Leh; it’s remote as fuck. Seriously. There was no Internet for three days when we rocked up and the town often loses connectivity. Apparently they have one line that comes in from Srinagar and if […]

Where Do I Even Begin?

You’ve got to get used to India. You can read about it all you want and glean information from friends who’ve been there, you can research it until you feel you know it like an old friend, you can compile […]