From Chennai we Earth Vagabonds flew to Delhi, where we met up with Mom Diane, Theo’s mother. After a week in Delhi, we went by train to Dehradun for a week. From there, we took a day trip to Mussoorie – a popular hill station at the start of the Himalayan range.
This post covers some budget travel tips to those areas, information that took some effort to find. This post is NOT about ‘where to go’ and ‘what to do’ — there are a gazillion of those out there already.
Read our review of Indian airline IndiGo.
One budget travel tip each for Delhi, Dehradun, and Mussoorie
During our time in Delhi, there was a ‘cold wave alert’ because temperatures got down to zero degrees Celsius, which is unusual. India’s capital city has many markets and shops filled with reasonably-priced clothing. Theo bought a pair of pants and a long-sleeved top at the Jama Masjid Market.
However, women’s clothing at this market by the mosque is mostly traditional, and so I searched for other options.
Luckily, I came up with the Laxmi Clothing Market. It sells used women’s sweaters, pants, and more, and most of the cuts and sizes are Western. In five months of traveling around India, I’ve never seen a ‘thrift store’. This market is the closest thing to that.
I bought a used coat for only $1.25 (!), and a few sweaters for a few dollars. The coat has definitely seen better days, but I only need it for two months. Mom Diane and Theo picked up some duds, too.
Laxmi Nagar Clothing Market Tips:
- Several racks of used clothing line the main road at the Laxmi Clothing Market, which isn’t really a market at all — just a long road of shops.
- Prices are negotiable if the sign doesn’t say “Fixed Price.”
- Take the blue subway line to the Laxmi Nagar station, exit Gate 1, walk a few blocks east, look left for the road with the used clothing racks.
A personal note about my favorite Delhi attraction: The Gandhi Memorial.
There is an eternal flame surrounded by an elevated flower garden. This is where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated following his assassination. It’s a marvelous, quiet, clean place in the middle of Delhi’s madness.
One of my favorite pictures of Mom Diane is from this peaceful place.
We had a week free between Delhi and Rishikesh, so we decided to check out Dehradun. Glad we did! It’s the end of the line for the train from Delhi because it’s relatively close to the start of the Himalaya range. It’s also the capital of the state of Uttarakhand.
The train from Delhi to Dehradun cost ($8) per person in the seating class – not the overnight berths. We didn’t need those beds because it’s only a six hour ride and we left Delhi in the morning. In fact, half way to Dehradun, the train car was nearly empty.
Despite its importance, Google Maps has not included any public transportation information on Dehradun. So here’s what we know.
There are few city buses. We lucked out one time with a new, clean, electric bus. The conductor who collects the fare told us it only runs once every 30 minutes. The fare across town was 10 rupees each (12 cents).
We walked or used shared rickshaws, also called ‘vikrams’. They’re ubiquitous. Vikrams run down main streets with several passengers sharing the fare — usually eight people crammed in the back, plus one or two passengers in the front.
Auto Rickshaw Pro Tips:
- If you get into a shared auto rickshaw but no one else is in the seats, make sure the driver knows you do not want a ‘private’ ride before you get in.
- Fares are generally 10 to 20 rupees (in our limited experience) to get around key parts of town.
- The shared auto rickshaws are white and blue, and say “Dehradun Centre” on the driver’s side.
- If the driver doesn’t speak English, one of the passengers might.
A personal note about my favorite Dehradun attraction: The Forest Research Institute.
This is the research center for the whole country regarding anything to do with forests. The massive brick complex is set on a beautiful huge park-like setting. It’s peaceful, and interesting – who doesn’t love trees?
Dehradun sits at the edge of the Himalaya range. Mussoorie is an hour’s drive one mile up into the range. It’s a popular hill station in Uttarakhand, and it’s a famous honeymoon spot for Indians.
Temperatures were about 10 degrees cooler than in Dehradun, and prices were a little higher. But I thought our short day trip was well worth it. We were not there long enough for waterfall hiking. If that’s something you want to do, you likely will need more than a day, or at least start early in the day.
Mussoorie Day Trip Pro Tips:
- The public bus stand is just outside the Dehradun railway station.
- One-way tickets cost 80 rupees ($1) at the counter. Get tickets for the Library Station, so you can walk downhill to the other station when you depart.
- You must buy your return ticket to Dehradun from the Mussoorie counter, which in the right side of concrete building near the road at the Picture Palace bus stand. *Taxis will be parked out front, nearly blocking the building.
Personal note about my favorite things about Mussoorie: the views. Incredible.
Walk up to Gun Hill and look down on Mussoorie at a cafe with hot cup of masala chi, or find a restaurant with a view of the Himalayas (I liked the Little Llama Cafe), or witness the Winterline at sunset – one of the only places on Earth to see this phenomenon.
Another of my favorite pictures of Mom Diane was taken at the Little Llama Cafe.
But it’s about more than money
Even though we travel on a budget, and we seek out ways to experience locations more like locations, we are not cheap. There is a lopsided wealth distribution here in India — as there is in America. You can have a resort in the mountains for $1,000 a night, with beggars at the driveway. We help where we can.
For us, saving money and traveling sort of like the locals are keys to successful budget slow travel — and so is meeting people. We love to meet open-minded people who come from different cultures. Essentially, we are really the same at heart, and we share this magnificent planet Earth.
Thanks for reading, “Delhi, Dehradun, Mussoorie budget travel tips.”
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