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Moomintroll

Delhi/Agra/Jaipur

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Going on a Golden Triangle tour next January but cannot eat spicy food due to a delicate stomach. Anyone been before who knows how easy western dishes are to find? Breakfast & Dinner will be fine as all the hotels have extensive menus but worried about the lunches. Also, most importantly, are there any hidden gems to go & see that aren't mentioned in the usual tourist bumph?

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On the most part the food really wasn't that spicy - sure there are some spicy dishes but it's certainly not a hard and fast rule that they all are. Most I found were either very rich creamy style curry dishes, or deep fried something or other.

I can personally recommend this guy for an old Delhi street tour - the pigeon game above the city being a surprisingly interesting highlight, and these guys if you're up for a bike tour of Jaipur with the highlight of this one being the Krishna temple carnage in the morning.

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Food is not at all spicy on the whole and far better to eat local food than hashed up western dishes. Most hotels play down the spice anyway. You would have no issues.

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Reiterate what the lads above are saying, I worked in Indian for six months and only ate spicy foods when I wanted too.

I was eating with locals a lot in their homes and again the food was very tasty with little or no spices.

It's only us Western idiots that seem to want everything super spicy for some reason.

You will have no issues.

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From memory (it was 20 years ago) there were usually western options available on the menus but not so many dedicated western restaurants.  The guys above are spot on, stick to the local food and just make sure they prepare it without too many spices.  I do remember coming  across a Pizza Hut in Agra - it was a welcome change from the Indian food to be honest.  That said, the food in general  was  fantastic, with the Chinese dishes available surprisingly good.  

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Cheers guys, do like cream/yoghurt based curries but anything more fiery will basically lead to IBS City which I will not need travelling around there. One more question, are the "toilets" outwith the hotels really as bad as I have read?

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On the most part the food really wasn't that spicy - sure there are some spicy dishes but it's certainly not a hard and fast rule that they all are. Most I found were either very rich creamy style curry dishes, or deep fried something or other.
I can personally recommend this guy for an old Delhi street tour - the pigeon game above the city being a surprisingly interesting highlight, and these guys if you're up for a bike tour of Jaipur with the highlight of this one being the Krishna temple carnage in the morning.
Excellent Spain, most of the week is taken up by private tours but have a couple of free afternoons, that Horseriding tour is right up my street so will be looking to book that, thanks for the link.

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I done the golden triangle whilst living in India. I’m currently sitting on a sun lounger in Dom Rep. I’ll ping you over the places I visited when out there. A few hidden gems that I wasn’t aware of that our tour guide took us to.
One thing I would say is get in and out of Agra as quick as possible. The place is a toilet (even for India).
Food isn’t spicy at all. Big hotels will all cater for western pallets.

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I done the golden triangle whilst living in India. I’m currently sitting on a sun lounger in Dom Rep. I’ll ping you over the places I visited when out there. A few hidden gems that I wasn’t aware of that our tour guide took us to.
One thing I would say is get in and out of Agra as quick as possible. The place is a toilet (even for India).
Food isn’t spicy at all. Big hotels will all cater for western pallets.
Nice one Mitch, cheers.

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Go the full bhuna, moomin.
You won’t regret it.
I won't but the chambermaid will when it's cleaning time.

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13 hours ago, Mitch said:

One thing I would say is get in and out of Agra as quick as possible. The place is a toilet (even for India).

Oh yeah, and this. 24 hours in Agra is more than enough. Catch the Taj at sunset from the Fort, then hit the Taj itself early doors the next morning then get out. The place has literally nothing else going for it and this would definitely be an eat at the hotel job for you.

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16 hours ago, Moomintroll said:

Cheers guys, do like cream/yoghurt based curries but anything more fiery will basically lead to IBS City which I will not need travelling around there. One more question, are the "toilets" outwith the hotels really as bad as I have read?

Yes.  Often open to the elements so best avoided.  I'd take the chance to go whenever you can in a hotel/restaurant

 

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Oh yeah, and this. 24 hours in Agra is more than enough. Catch the Taj at sunset from the Fort, then hit the Taj itself early doors the next morning then get out. The place has literally nothing else going for it and this would definitely be an eat at the hotel job for you.
That is pretty much the itinerary thankfully.

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Lived in India for 2½ years. Mostly in Gujarat, which is primarily vegetarian, but also travelled around Delhi, Rajastan & Maharhashtra. Would echo most of the comments above, ie it's not as spicy as often served in the UK, unless specifically asked for. Eat local dishes, rather than as Tight John McVeigh is a tit says, hashed western dishes. One of the few times that I had stomach problems was caused by a Dominoes pizza!

As regards water, make sure the seal isn't broken and stick with the main brands, Bisleri, Aquafina etc. Also don't forget to use bottled water for brushing your teeth. As regards Ice cubes, then no issue in the main hotel chains but be careful at some of the tourist spots from vendors outside.

Out on the road there is next to no chance of a toilet having toilet paper, so keep a bog-roll or a packet of tissues with you. At service stations etc. then quite often it'll be Asian style squat toilets, although if there is a disabled one, then it'll be a western style one.

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As regards water, make sure the seal isn't broken and stick with the main brands, Bisleri, Aquafina etc.


That’s one to watch. Very common for them just to refill bottled water. Was in a restaurant a few weeks ago and they were refilling all the bottles and putting them in fridge for resale.

Even happens with the bottled water in your hotel room.

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I’m sure your tour guide will have a good list of the things to see around Delhi. The obvious things like Gandhi’s House, India Gate, Red Fort and Humayuns Tomb will all be on the list.
Jama Masjid Mosque is worth a visit. It’s in Old Delhi and it’s great to see the difference between the two parts of the city. Be prepared to leave your shoes outside at the gate and be bare footed walking around the place. I can’t recall if they made women cover their heads, but I would advise women to wear a long sleeved top as a lot of places will expect them to be covered. I may be recalling this wrongly, but I think it was the mosque that gave me a blanket type thing to wear as a skirt as I had three quarter length trousers on and they wanted me covered.
I visited quite a few tombs whilst in Delhi, but I think it was Safdarjungs Tomb that stood out the most. Defo worth a visit.

Couple of other things. Be prepared to pay “White man prices” for entering any of the tourist spots. Generally only charge the locals about 10Rs (about 12p) but will charge tourists about 250Rs (about £3). Not very expensive, but they fair hike it up compared to the locals prices. Some places will charge you separately for a camera. I had a proper camera with me, but not sure how they manage it with iPhones and such likes these days.

For Agra, Taj is the only place worth visiting. As mentioned elsewhere, see it at sunset from the fort and then get in for sunrise. You park up about 500yards and will be carted to the taj on a golf buggy. They don’t allow vehicles within a set distance of the taj. It is breath taking. Possibly the most amazing experience from my travels. Get out of Agra as quickly as possible!

Jaipur is a decent city. “The Pink City” and you will see why (although my wife said it’s Terracotta ). You have the huge lake that was used to film one of the James Bond films. They were looking to renovate the building that is in the middle into a hotel. That was about 4/5 years ago. Unsure if they actually proceeded with it. Amber Fort is worth a visit and you get some amazing views from the top. You can take an elephant ride up for about £10. Worth it for the experience but it’s not the most comfortable ride. I never done too much else in Jaipur as I was tired from the previous days in Delhi and Agra. Your tour guide will almost certainly take you into one of the local shops, which they will no doubt say it’s their cousins or such likes. Depends if it’s your thing or not, but they will rip you off.

When selecting hotels, I would suggest sticking to the big chains (Raddison, Hilton ShangRaLa etc) as the smaller chains are touch and go. Raddison Blu in Agra is very good! If you have a fair amount of disposable cash then consider staying in Oberoi in Agra. It overlooks the Taj and the views are meant to be out of this world. I looked at it but I am sure it was about £500 a night, which ruled it out for me. Eating wise, the big chain hotels are very westernised and will cater to your tastes. The food is not spicy in India so wouldn’t worry too much. When eating out and about, you will see all the usual fast food chains. I would avoid any of the street food places as the quality of the meat is questionable at best. Also, you won’t see beef on the menu anywhere. If it’s being offered then it is likely buffalo or similar. If you do order a curry, if in a western place then it will probably be chicken breast, but if it’s not westernised then me prepared for chicken to be on the bone. Mutton was popular on the menus, but it wasn’t really to my liking.

Be prepared to encounter some of the most awful smells and you will very likely see rats and such likes about the cities.

India is an amazing country. People are very friendly, but they may come across as rude. They have no concept of queuing and will push in front of you as if you’re not there. You will see a lot of poverty and begging around the cities. Quite often they have some physical disability and will play on it to get money from tourists. People think India is really cheap, but it’s not really the case if your a tourist and sticking to more western places (hotels/restaurants). It’s probably slightly cheaper to eat and drink than the UK, but not miles cheaper. From memory, a main course would be about £8-10 and a bottle of beer about £2.50. They heavily tax alcohol in most states and anything imported will cost you a fortune. Sula is a brand of wine that is made in the country. Not as heavily taxed but it’s not really the best. Any imported wine will set you back about £20 a bottle, which you would pick up for £4-5 here. I can’t really the lager that I was drinking in the north, but it was Kingfisher that was the main brand when I was living in the south. Budweiser was available as well as some other well known brands. It’s all bottled beer and I cannot recall seeing much draft beer or offer anywhere in India. They love their whiskey in India, but same issue with tax making imports expensive. Some of the local stuff is actually ok. They also take their smoking laws pretty seriously in India, with pretty much the same laws as the UK. Cigs are cheap and about £3 a packet.

Ill probably add some other bits and bobs as they come back to me. You will have the trip of a lifetime. I will go back one day and do it again myself. I love hearing about people going out for a tour and I’m extremely jealous! Let us know how you get on.

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5 hours ago, Mitch said:

People are very friendly, but they may come across as rude.

This reminds me, a common thing if you're out walking somewhere busy like Delhi seems to be them latching onto you just to "practice their English". The first few times it happened I was adamant they were building up to trying to scam me, the very obvious tourist, but it seems to be a very thing. They want to ask you very random questions (especially when they find out you're from Scotland) and are desperate to give you directions anywhere, or even walk you most of the way just so they can keep talking.

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On 06/07/2019 at 01:36, Tight John McVeigh is a tit said:

 


That’s one to watch. Very common for them just to refill bottled water. Was in a restaurant a few weeks ago and they were refilling all the bottles and putting them in fridge for resale.

Even happens with the bottled water in your hotel room.
 

 

That's what happened to me the only time I got badly ill while travelling. Just arrived in Aswan in Egypt in over 40 degrees. It's a bit of a fundamentalist hotbed and I made the mistake of asking a stallholder if he knew anywhere I could get a beer. Gave me an angry look and I said some cold water would do. He nipped away and came back with a bottle, was so thirsty I didn't check the seal and downed it. Worst shits, retching and stomach aches  I've had for about 3/4 days. Zero sympathy from my girlfriend.

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I've been fortunate to have been many places in the world but my taxi took a wrong turn and ended up in Agra "town" and it is by far the biggest shithole I've ever seen in my life. Conversely, the Taj is one of the most beautiful places I've beem and I was really surprised at how peaceful it was despite the thousands of people there (my experience anyway). 

Toilets at services are possible but you will pick up germs from the walls and surfaces so take wipes and sanitiser. 

You'll probably end up with the shits at some point so make sure you have imodium, part of the experience I suppose. 

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