- This was a very good trip indeed - made so by both the itinerary and our excellent guide. He was highly organised, highly effective and highly diplomatic. He worked so hard behind the scenes to smooth out any issues arising - including sorting out access to currency, as a currency crisis began a few days before our arrival.
There were highlights every single day, but Shimla and Amritsar particularly stand out.
Tips for future travellers:
1. If you are an asthmatic or sensitive to traffic fumes, you are best advised to bring an industrial face mask of the sort used by builders. The traffic pollution in Varanasi is particularly bad.
2. It is also a good idea to bring a pillowcase and a sleeping bag liner. I used these on the sleeper train and in hotels where I wasn't convinced the sheets were clean.
3. You will need a light cable and padlock of the sort used to secure bicycles, to secure your bag to the loop below your seat in the trains.
4. Finally, if you intend to climb up to the monkey temple in Shimla, be aware that the monkeys are aggressive. Buy or hire a stick at the bottom of the hill (you don't have to use it as the monkeys will see it). Also pick up a stone or stones which you can bang together or against railings to alert the monkeys that you have them. Don't make eye contact with the monkeys and don't wear glasses or sun glasses - as they will snatch them!
Published on: 15 December 2016