India: daily budget, prices and travel tips

How much did we spend in India in 2 months? Is India cheap or expensive to travel? How about a daily budget in India? Let’s answer the questions…

It’s time to calculate all miles we’ve done, rupees spent and estimated daily budget. Places worth to visit and those that better to avoid are described at the end of this page.

 

We were in India 59 days in total.

We have done 4070 miles:
– 2120 miles on trains,
– 1765 miles on buses,
– 185 miles on a scooter.

 

Daily budget

Our daily budget was 1720 rupees for two of us (£17, exchange rate for 21.05.2015), but:

– after deducting our stay in Mumbai and Kolkata (the most expensive cities), a daily budget would be 1550 rupees (about £15.50);

– after deducting above and another cost we could avoid such as sim-card (didn’t work anyway) backwaters tour (it wasn’t worth going there), train tickets for higher classes that we had no choice but buy it (cheap ones were sold out) etc. our daily budget would be 1380 rupees (about £13.80);

– if we stayed in one place (without paying for transportation), our daily budget would be 1100 rupees in average (£11).

 

Accommodation prices in India

The average cost of a double room with bathroom without AC, often with balcony or terrace, was 700 rupeees so about £7. Although prices in bigger cities were much higher than that. In Mumbai or Kolkata finding a clean room below 2000 rupees was difficult. The cheapest accommodation was in Hampi (200-300 rupees) and Goa (300 rupees). Other places: Mahabaleshwar 850 rupees, Kochin 700 rupees, Munnar 700 rupees, Allepey 400 rupees, Aurangabad 1300 rupees (with air-con), Agra 450 rupees and Varanasi 400 rupees. The cheapest hotels were in touristic places.

 

Restaurant prices in India

To keep our stomach full we were spending about 600 rupees (£6) per day for two of us. We had omelettes and toasts for breakfast for 60-80 rupees per person, dinners were about 300 rupees for two. We had immersion heater so more than often we were doing coffee or tea for yourself but prices in the restaurants were 15-80 rupees (£0.15 – 0.8) for coffee and 5-40 rupees (£0.05-0.4) for tea. We were drinking a lot of water, 6-7 litres per day (15 rupees/litre).

 

Alcohol prices in India

It was quite expensive, beer was for about 100-180 rupees, wine in some places was ridiculously expensive like Kerala 1200 rupees so about £12! Only whiskey was cheap 180 ml for 110 rupees (£1.10).

 

Public transport prices

Transportation costs were a huge part of our budget. One mile cost around:
2.4 rupees on buses,
0.8 rupees (sleeper class) and 6.4 rupees (more expensive one) on trains,
4.8 rupees on scooter,
16-32 rupees by rickshaw.

 

Souvenirs and gifts

We spent about 3000 rupees (£30) for gifts.

 

Is India cheap or expensive to travel?

India is not as cheap as it used to be. Prices rose here a couple of times within few years. It is a myth you can travel here for peanuts. India is cheaper than other countries in Asia, but prices for what you get are way too high! Rooms are very basic and filthy, eating food was like a lottery for us, we were never sure what would have happened the next day (if you see a kitchen through back door you will never eat again!), travelling on buses or trains was kind of stressful experience as well, they were falling apart and didn’t feel like there were any rules on the roads. Moreover, Indian people cheat foreign tourists all the time and everywhere. Prices for us were higher than for locals and even price was the same we were getting less food for example. We also had to remind about change as it wasn’t given back to us (every single bus conductor was like that!). In restaurants, they were tipping themselves or adding made up taxes. Things like paying more than Indians were normal for the government too. One foreign tourist equals 50 Indian citizens… How? An entrance for Indian 25 rupees, foreign tourist 750 rupees! We met some nice Indian people there, but we can count them on the fingers of one hand which is sad after traveling for so long.

 

Places

– What was worth to visit?

We definitely liked tea plantations near Munnar, intricately carved temples in Belur or Halebidu, we loved time being lost somewhere in between boulders in Hampi, Buddhist caves in Ajanta or in a labyrinth of the old town in Varanasi.

 

– What was a waste of the time?

Mumbai – expensive and filthy place. A lot of cheap flights from all over the world is the only advantage of that place.
Goa – better beaches and clear water can be found in different places in Asia, but not here.
Backwaters of Kerala – scenic, but cluttered by locals.
Mysore – one of the many cities in India, nothing special.
Lucknow – avoid! Cheaters are everywhere. If somehow you end up in there, stay in the hotel and do not go anywhere. ;P

 

Our opinion

We have mixed feelings about this place. On the one hand we liked old temples, scenic mountains or their rich heritage but on the other hand thanks to dishonest people, mess and tons of rubbish everywhere, neverending cacophony of klaxons, noise all around, that smell of sewage or smog in the air, no rules or no logic behind anything made that time hard to fully enjoy. Do we regret it? No! We were there and we saw India with our own eyes. We may sound harsh, but we wanted to be as honest as possible so whoever wants to go there, knows what to expect…

 

Check out all our travel stories about India here: Travel stories – India