Have you made a bucket list of all the travel destinations you’d want to explore? From the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland to the floating markets of Bangkok, wouldn’t you want to experience every nook and cranny of this beautiful world? Well, we’re here to tell you that you don’t need to go out of India to have international experiences. In our #Vocalforlocal series, Curly Tales presents you the Top 15 International Travel Experiences that can be found in India. So you can enjoy global travel experiences which are similar or even much more breathtaking than the ones you will find abroad. So replace these international destinations with our very own desi ones.
1. Ditch The Beaches Of The Maldives For Andaman’s Radhanagar Beach
The beaches of Maldives have clear blue waters, white soft sand and a peaceful aura like no other. But why travel all the way to the Maldives when Asia’s best beach is situated in India? Radhanagar Beach nestled in Andaman’s Havelock Island is accoladed the best beach in Asia and the 16th best beach in the world in TripAdvisor’s Annual Travelers’ Choice 2019. It has everything and more than the beaches in the Maldives have to offer. This beach offers a picturesque sunset, a perfect picnic spot and of course emerald blue waters. Andaman’s Radhanagar beach gains brownie points over the beaches of Maldives as you can still enjoy a peaceful, secluded time here, despite its popularity.
2. Replace Amsterdam’s Tulip Gardens With The World’s Biggest Tulip Garden In Uttarakhand
When you’d think of tulips, you probably think of the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens of Amsterdam. Well, not anymore because India has now got the world’s biggest tulip garden perched in the gorgeous Himalayan town of Munsiyari in Uttarakhand. The tulip garden in Amsterdam is spread across 32 hectares. The one in India is spread across a massive 50 hectares of forest land in Pithoragarh district. This tulip garden not only has colourful tulips but is adorned with beautiful flowers like Iris, Lilium and Daffodils. This is indeed one of the top 16 international travel experiences that you can get in India.
3. Give Iceland’s Jökulsárlón Lake A Miss And Head To Gurudongmar Lake In Sikkim
If Iceland has the Jökulsárlón Lake, then India has the Gurudongmar Lake in Sikkim. Perched at a height of 5212 meters, the picturesque Gurudongmar Lake is one of the 15 highest lakes in the world. It’s also the second-highest in India. If you compare it with Iceland’s Jökulsárlón Lake then it’s not just scenic thanks to its frozen nature. It’s also believed to have healing properties. Tourists often carry the lake water with them as it’s believed to be sacred.
4. Say Goodbye To The Grand Canyon in Arizona And Hello To Gandikota, The Grand Canyon of India
Gandikota, The Grand Canyon of India might be giving serious competition to its Arizona counterpart owing to its magnificent beauty. The best part about Gandikota situated in Andhra Pradesh is that the village has not been commercialized which means you’re going to find lesser crowds of tourists and peaceful surrounding devoid of litter. The spectacular gorge of Gandikota was formed by the river Pennar that cuts through the Erramala hills. It has everything to offer that Arizona’s Grand Canyon has to offer. But it sprinkles the added benefit of seclusion, as it’s also known as the Hidden Grand Canyon of India. And once you visit this place you will get bewitched by its beauty.
5. Replace Floating Market Of Bangkok With The Floating Market Of Srinagar
If you ever compare the pictures of the floating market in Bangkok and the floating market in Srinagar, you’ll realise there’s hardly any difference. The two floating markets are scenic, sell fresh produce on houseboats and are truly the best in the world. In fact, the only difference you’ll ever find is that the floating market of Bangkok predominantly sells fresh fruits while that of Srinagar focuses on selling vegetables. The floating market perched in Dal Lake in Srinagar is dotted with canoes, adorned with fresh produce, which is sold in the break of dawn from 5 am to 7 am. India’s market is touted to be almost a century old, and fables say that the melons which grew here were so sumptuous that the first crop of the year would be sent to the Mughal rulers in Agra. Now, who wouldn’t want to visit this legendary floating market in Srinagar?
6. Forget Malaysia’s Boh Tea Plantations And Visit Munnar’s Tea Plantations Instead
We Indians cannot start or end our day without a cup of fragrant milky Chai. So, why venture all the way to Malaysia’s Boh Tea Plantations, when you can head south to India’s very own Malaysia, in Munnar? With strikingly similar lush green manicured tea fields, sporadic forests home to endemic species like the Nilgiri Tahr wild goat and elephants, the tea plantations in Munnar, Kerala, is truly an international experience which you can get in our very own India. Did you know Kerala Has The World’s Largest Bird Sculpture?
7. Find The Ruins Of Rome In Hampi
The ruins of Hampi in Karnataka is not only strikingly similar to the ruins of Rome. It’s also much more beautiful and bewitching. The ancient city in Karnataka has bagged the 2nd place on the New York Times ‘List of places to go in 2019. Built along the banks of the Tungabhadra river, Hampi has two starkly opposite sides to it, the UNESCO World Heritage Site on one side, and the hippie island on the other. Hampi was once the capital of the majestic Vijayanagar Empire of 1500 AD. It now houses its ruins. If the ruins of Rome has the famous Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Arch of Constantine, then Hampi has architectural wonders like Sree Virupaksha Temple, Matunga Hill and the Elephant Stables, to name a few. So travel enthusiasts, if India has the 2nd best place in the world to visit, then why even go abroad right?
8. Sail Away From the Canals Of Venice And Dock Away In The Backwaters Of Alleppey
Forget the gondola ride in Venice, and head south to experience the same, serene, calm and breathtaking boat ride in the backwaters of Alleppey in Kerala. Officially called Alappuzha, Alleppey borders the Laccadive Sea. Alleppey is known for its wide network palm-fringed canals, blue backwaters and rejuvenating Ayurvedic resorts. The houseboat cruise in Alleppey is something to die for. Imagine residing in a cosy little houseboat, as you sail softly through the backwaters, enjoying the views of the green paddy fields and tall coconut trees. So sail away from the canals of Venice and dock away at India’s very own Venice of the East, Alleppey. It’s one of the 20 Romantic Honeymoon Destinations In India
9. Give Africa’s Sahara Desert A Miss And Visit Rajasthan’s Thar Desert Instead
If you’re mystified by the idea of an odyssey into the Sahara Desert of Africa, then why not surf the sands of the Thar Desert, the largest desert in India! Spread across 200,000 km², Thar Desert offers everything and more than what its African counterpart does. From sand surfing, watching the glorious sunset, camel rides, to even the annual Desert Festival of Jaisalmer, it has everything. You can witness beautiful folk dance performances with artists adorned in traditional attire and jewellery. Gorge on delicious local food against the backdrop of soft expansive sand dunes of Rajasthan’s Thar Desert.
10. Splash Away From The Niagara Falls In Canada And Into The Chitrakoot Waterfalls In Jagdalpur
The gushing waterfall, meandering streams and the picturesque views undoubtedly makes Chitrakoot Waterfalls in Jagdalpur is the most spectacular and the largest waterfall in India. It’s so beautiful that it’s officially known as the Niagara Falls of India. One glance at the pictures of the Niagara Falls in Canada and Chitrakoot Waterfalls in Chattisgarh, and you’d know in an instance that India holds a trove of travel treasures. Nestled in the mountain and hill ranges of Vindhyachal. Chitrakoot Falls has a 95 feet drop of the river down the cliff, giving you a sheer spectacle to behold. This is surely one of the best international travel experiences that you can get in India.
11. Au Revoir French Towns And Bonjour French Colonies Of Pondicherry
If you want to bite into a fluffy croissant, while walking down a charming lane dotted with French vintage houses then why even travel to France for this? You can get the entire look, feel and aromas of France right here in Pondicherry. Popularly known as the French Capital of India, Pondicherry or Puducherry, houses French Quarters. Charming mustard yellow houses, laced with cosy cafes and chic boutiques that offer sumptuous French cuisine and beverages is what Pondicherry is all about. Take a bicycle and cycle down the streets of India’s France and enjoy the fairytale charm of Pondicherry. The boulevards and rues, authentic French bakeries, the crystal blue beaches and the experimental town of Auroville, with no concept of religion, politics or money; will make sure you won’t really miss your trip to France, as you can get anything and everything French in India. Here’s A Detailed Travel Guide From Mumbai To Pondicherry
12. Forget The Mountains Of Switzerland As The Mountains Of Gulmarg Are Calling
If Raj and Simran of DDLJ romanced in the mountains of Switzerland, then Bunny and Naina bonded in the snow-capped mountains of Gulmarg in Jammu & Kashmir. Didn’t get it? Well, Switzerland might be on the bucket list of many Bollywood fans as movies like DDLJ, Chandni and Sangam were shot there. But if that’s the case then the gorgeous snowy mountains of Gulmarg has been the shooting location of iconic Bollywood films like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Haider and Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Gulmarg situated around 52 km from Srinagar, is itself as good as any foreign destination. The snow-covered peaks, tall pine trees, and Gulmarg Gondola, Asia’s highest and longest cable car project, gives you all the more reasons why you must ditch the mountains of Switzerland for the serenading icy peaks of India’s Gulmarg.
13. Find The Fragrance Of France’s Lavender Fields Of Provence In The Khaas Valley Plateau Of Satara
Did you ever wish to submerge yourself in the gorgeous lavender fields of Provence in France? Well, then we have vibrant, fragrant and great news for you. You can get a first-hand experience of the same, without having to shell out a fortune on an air-ticket to France. India has the Kaas Valley Plateau of Satara in Maharashtra. During the months of September and October, the plateau is laden with wildflowers. This resembles a carpet of umpteen colours and fragrances. This beautiful travel destination in India also became part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2012. This plateau of a million flowers in India has innumerable tiny flowering plants that drape the slopes and hills in sheets of lavender, yellow, pink, purple and even white. It truly resembles a rainbow on the ground.
14. March Away From Bolivia’s Uyuni Salt Flats And Into The Rann of Kutch in Gujarat
The Rann of Kutch In Gujarat is like the alter ego of Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia. So you must experience the calmness and serenity of Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch before you see its look-alike in Bolivia. Now, while Rann of Kutch is the world’s largest salt desert, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat. So you see the similarity? Apart from the expansive salt marsh, picturesque landscapes, Rann of Kutch has an edge over its counterpart. This is courtesy of the annual Rann of Kutch Festival, which is literally to die for! The vibrant dance performances, echoing traditional music and gala against the backdrop of the white salty marshes, is truly a sight to behold. And you get this only in India. Have You Explored This Hidden Gujarati Market Yet?
15. Step Away From The Lake District In The UK And Dip Into The Emerald Lake In Uttarakhand
The Emerald Lake in Uttarakhand is our answer to the Lake District in The UK. The former is known for its rugged fell mountains and glacial ribbon lakes. The latter is known for its distinct mango shape and its medicinal advantages for human skin. The Dodital Lake or Emerald Lake in Nainital, Uttarakhand is surrounded by lush meadows. The allure of the lake resides in the white flames that encrust the lake during the winter season. It’s truly an abode for bird-watchers, trekkers and photographers; who can enjoy the beauty of meadows, emerald lake and the surrounding beauty of UK’s Lake District in the Emerald Lake of Uttarakhand.
So here are the top 15 international travel experiences you must have in India. There’s a reason why we live in Incredible India. So, the next time you’re making a bucket list don’t forget to go #Vocalforlocal. After all, there’s everything and more in India that you can experience abroad. To explore our country better do have a look at Curly Tales’ new series I Love My India.