Tripchick

Just to clarify, please note that in China I have only visited Tibet (now considered part of China), but I have not been anywhere else in China. However, Tibet was not an option on the "Visited Countries" list.

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Tripchick
Tripchick Anyone want to travel in Egypt and/or Jordan in Oct.-Nov. 2010? My itinerary appears on my blogsite: www.tripchicktravels.blogspot.com or www.tripchick.wordpress.com -- let me know if you might be interested in doing any portion of the trip. I'm female, 41, and live in southern California.
Region | North Africa Travel Forum 4 years ago
Todd
Todd A new blog post on Indie Backpacker about women travelling in Egypt http://bit.ly/cKxR8O
4 years ago
scottooooo
scottooooo Hey Tripchick.I'm flying into Cairo Sept 10th and leaving Istanbul Oct 2.Gonna hit Jordan,Israel,Syria and on to Turkey.Any experience in these part's?I've been to Egypt before,but none of the rest.Any info you have would be great.I'm in Windsor Ontario and flying out of here to Toronto.Look forwaed to chatting with you.Scott
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Sorry, Scott, but I've only traveled in Israel and that was in 1987. I lived there for 3 monhs. But since you're not a young woman, my warnings would not apply to you in Israel anyway (you're lucky!).
4 years ago
scottooooo
scottooooo If you need any tips on Egypt let me know.Was there last year
4 years ago
RossyGGG
RossyGGG Hello dear, Greetings to you,My name is Rose, i view your profile in this site and i decide to communicate with you, it will be my pleasure if you will be my friend, i wish if you will respond to my mail box so that i will tell you more about my self.and sent you my photo, i hope to hear from you. yours Rose. Email miss_rossyggg16@yahoo.com
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Just a quick update. I'm super busy getting last minute stuff done before I depart for Cairo Oct. 13. So, anyone interested in joining me on any portion of my trip will need to just get in touch with the local tour operator directly for more info. on updated prices after the booking deadline (which was June 30), but you can leave me a note and I'll private message their contact info. to you. There's just so much I have to do in a relatively short time. So, thanks for your understanding. And wish me luck!
Todd
Todd Hope you have a ball TripChick. I'll put up a note on our Facebook page to find anyone looking for a last-minute adventure.
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Thank you, Todd. That's very sweet of you. Should be a great trip. And by the way, there are now two of us going to the Western Desert (Nov. 1-10), so that part is definitely a "GO" now also! Yeah!!! : >
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Marie -- Just wondering if you saw my response to your question about the dates of our Western desert oases safari (including White Desert) that I posted on my profile page. Any thoughts on the trip? Would the dates (Nov. 1-10, 2010) work for you? Looking forward to hearing from you.
Tripchick
Tripchick Hi, Jess -- I did a similar trip (although in reverse, starting in India, then visiting Nepal, Tibet, and back into Nepal and India again at the end) for three months in October-December 2000. Great time of year in that part of the world. Sounds like you may be open to suggestions on where to go in India. It depends on what interests you, but I could send you a short list of favorites if you like. Happy to help with advice on dealing with altitude (especially in Nepal & Tibet) or other questions. It was such a memorable trip and well worth the effort. Go for it!!
Todd
Todd Hey TripChick, I think we'd all love to hear those favourites. A bunch of us will also be there a little later than Jess for the GCIRC http://globetrooper.com/the-great-circular-indian-railway-challenge-2011.
4 years ago
Tripchick

Tripchick Ok, Todd/Jess -- Let's see... this list won't be as short as I thought now that I'm thinking about it -- there's so much worth seeing in India. At the time I was really interested in Buddhist and Hindu cultures/religions and historical sights. So, I visited the big Buddhist sites including Lumbini in Nepal where the Buddha is said to have been born, Sarnath (India) where he gave his earliest lectures, Bodhgaya (India) where he sat beneath the bodhi tree and attained enlightenment, Rajgir (near Bodhgaya) where he gave more lectures, and Kushinagar (India) where he is thought to have died. Of all these places, the most magical and lively was BODHGAYA because I was there around the time of the anniversary of the Dalai Lama's ascension in November and lots of pilgrims were in town. Fascinating little town with great "vibes". I stayed in a monastery’s guesthouse and also did a 9-day meditation retreat at the Root Institute there. If you are into sampling the Buddhist culture, Bodhgaya is a great place to do so. It was a very rural and relaxing environment in 2000 (hope it still is!).

Now, a lot of folks hate CALCUTTA. I loved it! I found it a very lively city -- always something going on there and a great place to learn about Mother Theresa's work. Excellent for photography too. The Kali Temple there is worth a look. Yes, Calcutta is filthy... just like almost every other city in India, but there is a warmth and friendliness that can't be beat. Not sure why I enjoyed it so, but perhaps the Salvation Army hostel where I stayed played a role in making me feel extremely welcome. You'll definitely get a taste of the Victorian era and what India was like as a British colony years ago.

DARJEELING is worth the effort of getting to... high up in the hills in eastern India. And if you enjoy tea, it's a great opportunity to sample and learn about all the varieties available. However, it does get cold in November/December, so pack extra layers. The views of Kangchenjunga (third highest mountain in the world) are brilliant at sunrise!

The temples at KHAJURAHO are gorgeously elaborate... although a bit X-rated as I recall. But you'll have fun wandering among them.

In Rajasthan, JAIPUR is a fabulous district to visit as is UDAIPUR where I treated myself to a couple unforgettable nights at the Lake Palace Hotel in the middle of the lake (the Bond movie, Octopussy, was filmed there) and toured the City Palace on shore. In Jaipur, the Amber Fort was wonderful and you can ride an elephant up the ramparts to the fortress entrance. But again beware of monkeys who will steal your possessions the moment you set them down and turn your back.

AJANTA and ELLORA have some amazing caves and Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain sculptures and paintings with great historic significance. I believe they are both UNESCO world heritage sites. Lots of fun to explore and photograph!

And if you visit Mumbai, you may be able to take a boat out to Elephanta Island which has some nice temples and LOTS of monkeys (watch your bag/lunch)!

It's true that they often call VARANASI "Very Nasty" due to the filth (even the butterflies are black!), but somehow you seem to forget about it once you are floating on the Ganges while people bathe and worship in the water at dawn. The Ganges at sunrise is an other-worldly experience. The colorful saris, meditating sadhus (holy men), and cremation sites along the shores make for some truly unique observations. On the same morning, I saw a rare river dolphin swimming and a dead body in the river.

Of course, the TAJ MAHAL (ACRA) is not to be missed... and you might hit it during Diwali (Indian holiday) so there may be some celebratory throngs of Indians... which makes for a fun cultural experience. Give yourself at least a couple hours to fully explore this site.

I stopped at many other towns en route through India, but never made it to the far north or south. So, if I can ever go back, I'll definitely visit Dharamsala in the north and Madras and Goa in the south.

I know this was supposed to be a "short list" of favorite spots to visit in India, but once I got started, the memories just came rushing back. It's hard to explain, but as difficult as India can be for Westerners to stomach at times, there is something addicting about the country. It gets in your blood and you cannot resist it. Sure, avoiding touts and beggars almost everywhere you go can be tiresome, and at the end of the day you may find yourself a bit exhausted from it all, but still you find yourself leaping out of bed the next morning ready to experience and explore all that India has to offer because it's just so unbelievably interesting. I think I lasted on pure adrenalin for the months I was there. It was a shot in the arm for me and the lessons in compassion are, well... endless.

4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Ouch... now I see how hard it is to read my last post without paragraphs (which I had inserted, but they did not show up). Ah, well. Sorry about that, everyone.
4 years ago
Todd
Todd Leave it with me Tripchick, we'll try to get those paragraphs working. I'll fix first then read :)
4 years ago
Lauren
Lauren Thanks for all the info Tripchick! I definitely want to go to Bodhgaya and Udaipur now. And everywhere else as well but we may be limited by time :(
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Cool -- thank you, Todd! That's MUCH better. : >
4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice Thanks so much for sharing that tripchick, will help ALOT as Im working out which route to take and how long it will take me and where the best places are to see....loving the sound of Lake Palace Hotel too :P I'm just going to google that, I think after weeks of rations that would be truely devine haha. Thanks heapps!!!
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick No problem, Jess. You are very welcome.
4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice Hey! Just one thing, I notice you didn't go to Dharamsala, I am thinking of going to a teaching by the Dali Lama there for the experience, can you suggest/reccomemned anything else near the region? thanks!
4 years ago
Tripchick

Tripchick Hi again, Jess. That's right -- I didn't go to northern India. So, I didn't investigate that area. But I heard from other travelers a little about Ladakh and Leh in that general northern region. That's near the Himalayan region, so the mountains there may be a draw for hiking, natural beauty, etc., but I don't know what other sights there are to see there. Sorry I can't be of more help on that.

The Dalai Lama was teaching in Bodhgaya when I was there because it was the 50th anniversary of his ascension to power as the 14th Dalai Lama. I've been to a few of his teachings and talks since then also. The teachings can be... how shall I say it... rather esoteric. But I'm not a very good student of Buddhism -- and although I have much appreciation and interest in that religion/philosophy, I struggle with understanding many aspects of it. However, just seeing/hearing His Holiness is a wonderful and memorable experience in and of itself I think, and worthwhile for its own sake.

I've stayed in contact with the guide I used in India over the years and she may be able to provide more ideas about what to see near Dharamsala. I remember her saying that she had spent some time in northern India. So, I'll send her an e-mail and I'll let you know what she recommends. She usually responds to e-mails pretty quickly, so it should not take long to hear back from her.

4 years ago
Jessica_Alice
Jessica_Alice Thanks for the response! For some of the joureny I will be travelling alone, you say you had a guide, how did you go bout that and was it pricey? Reason I ask is it would be good to have someone that speaks the language in some of the parts Im going to, but I kinda wanted to steer clear of the big touristy groups they have advertised. That would be great if you could email her aswell. Thank you :)
4 years ago
Tripchick

Tripchick Jess -- I only had a regular guide for the first 20 days of a tour I did with about 11 other travelers and that's the female guide, Parveen, I mentioned to you. The rest of my 3 months in India, Nepal, and Tibet I was on my own and just met other travelers along the way. The only exception was the small group (5 of us including guide) I organized in advance for the Tibet 10-day trip which had to be done through a tour company (entering Tibet from Kathmandu). We went through Tibet with a company based in Kathmandu. But it is totally possible to travel on your own in India and Nepal. I found it easy to find local "freelancing" guides when I showed up at some of the sites as well. In fact, some were working on higher university degrees and guiding tourists through the archeological/historical sites helped supplement their incomes.

Anyway, I e-mailed Parveen and she just replied: "For your friend depending upon her length of stay she could begin with the visit to Amritsar to see the Golden Temple and the holiest of Sikh shrines, proceed to Dharamsala to attend Dalai Lama's discourse and then the wealth of India Himalayas can be explored. Ladakh though quite spectacular in autumn with changing colors and first snows may be a little cold and some of the roads were badly damaged in this years floods. Dharamsala can be combined with a vist to the lesser explored parts of Himachal such as Thirtan Valley, colonial Shimla and remote Kinnaur. One factor to note is that Delhi is hosting the Common Wealth Games and a lot of domestic tourists will head to the hills in October, so for hotel accommodations, you need to decide fast."

Parveen offered to work out an itinerary of the off-beat Himalayan destinations for you, if you like, but no pressure there. She's a nice lady and gets lots of business from tour operators including SITA (the group I went with initially). And yes, SITA was rather pricey, but their tour covered a lot of ground and the sites I wanted to visit across central India including the Rajasthan so I went for it. But I think you have the answer to your main question about other sights to visit in northern India around Dharamsala. So, I hope this is useful.

4 years ago
Tripchick

Tripchick Just a quick update: I have purchased my flights. Hurrah! I also sent in my deposit for the Egypt portion of the trip and the tour operator told me that since I've reserved the trip by doing this, they can add other travelers who may decide to come on a first come first serve basis up to 6 people (max. to fit in one vehicle). So far, a few other women have contacted me and it looks like we'll be doing different parts of the trip together (in Egypt and Jordan). However, I'm still seeking at least one other female to share with me on the Western Desert (Sahara) oasis safari and Alexandria leg of the Egypt trip. So, if you are interested, let me know! The desert will be spectacular in the Fall -- not too hot and not too cold. I can totally picture myself hanging out at an oasis and surrounded by the vast sand dunes of the Great Sand Sea! Sometimes I even dream about it at night. Am I crazy???

Tripchick

Tripchick Hi, Marie... Thanks for writing me again. The dates for the Western Desert oases safari (including White Desert) will be Nov. 1-10 (departing from Luxor and returning to Cairo). We'll stop at all 5 of the main oases (even Siwa!), El-Alamein, and Alexandria also. A more detailed itinerary appears on my blogsite: www.tripchick.wordpress.com if you would like to take a look. I'm really excited about this part of the trip because it is more off the beaten path and I enjoy deserts. At the moment there is just one guy who wants to come with me, but I was hoping to find another female to share with and also maybe another guy for him to share with if possible. So, let me know if you are interested. Thanks again.

4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick The booking deadline for this trip is just around the corner. So, anyone interested in doing any part of this trip with me needs to contact me by JUNE 25. Thanks.
Tripchick
Tripchick You can leave me a message here and I'll respond.
4 years ago
Lauren
Lauren A must-do is the balloon ride over Luxor. It's a great way to see all of the city if you only have a short amount of time there, although I remember it to be a bit pricey. One of my best memories of Egypt was donkey racing through Aswan. The Sun Festival sounds exciting, good luck!
Todd
Todd I think we paid about US$90 for the balloon ride, which is much cheaper than the $200-300 elsewhere. It was an amazing thing to do in an amazing place. More than 20 balloons, all lifting off at 5am, above the Valley of the Kings, such a great sight.
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Yes, the balloon ride over Luxor (Valley of the Kings & Queens) is INCLUDED in this tour.
4 years ago
Todd
Todd Great to hear. Make sure you record some video of the balloons (not just pics). I won't spoil it by telling you why. :)
4 years ago
Tripchick
Tripchick Sure thing, Todd. I did this in Kathmandu too and the video was great.
4 years ago
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Tripchick

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