I’ve been wanting to visit India since 2012. I made a list of top 3 countries to visit this 2015 and India is on the top. Why? Because I love Indian food, I have few Indian friends and I think India is one of the most diverse country in this world which I’ve been wanting to see. A lot of people told me that India is a dangerous country specially for a woman like me but hey, danger is everywhere! Let’s not judge a country or its countrymen because of media or just because of one or two bad stories you heard. 😉
As a Filipino citizen, we are only eligible for visa on arrival in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata, Trivandrum, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kochi airports. I was backpacking Thailand and the cheapest flight I found from Bangkok is to Chennai. A one way ticket costs around US $120 through AirAsia of course. I did not book an outward ticket because I plan to cross the border to Nepal by bus. On the 2nd of February, I applied for my visa online https://indianvisaonline.gov.in. I just had to fill out information and paid US $60 fee. It says wait for 72 hours to process but the next day I got a confirmation that I’ve been granted a visa which made me very happy.
My flight was last night, February 16th. I was so anxious and excited about this trip. The flight did not arrive Chennai until after 10PM. The immigration guy asked for my outward ticket which I did not have but he let me through anyway and just told me to have an outward ticket next time I come to India. So yes, I finally got a stamp on my passport from India! 🙂
I booked a room at Royal Green Accommodation for $20 per night. They offer free airport pick up. This place definitely exceeded my expectation. The staff was polite and very attentive. The room was clean and spacious. It has TV with English channels.
They also offer free traditional South Indian breakfast so I had Idli for my first breakfast in India.
Krishna, is a theater actor from Chennai. He contacted me through Couchsurfing then we met in the Philippines in November 2014 when he was there for a dance festival. I contacted him the day before I flew to Chennai so we met on my first day in India. He came to pick me up in my hotel which is about 12km from his home.
On our way, I saw how many cows are on the road which is weird to me but seem pretty normal here.
I’ve never been this fascinated on my backpacking days! Seeing a lot of Indian people wearing traditional outfit is just compelling.
I wanted to have Indian food on banana leaf which I had as my first lunch in India.
He took me to his work place (The Little Theater) and had a glimpse of what he’s doing. I got to meet his co-workers, not to mention their director, Krishnakumar Balasubramanian.
We then went to see Kapaleeshwarar Temple.
Then we watched sunset at Elliot’s Beach.
I invited myself (LOL!) for a dinner at his house because I always want to experience the local life. Thankfully, he agreed and so did his parents.
I had chapati for my first dinner in India. Nothing tastes better than a home cooked food!
Krishna has a lovely family. I, of course got along with his parents and sister. Oh, yeah I bought Kurta near the temple. I wanted to have Indian outfit and thought this family dinner is the best time to wear it for the first time. 😉
It has been an exciting, fun first day in Chennai. I am definitely looking forward to see other parts of India. 🙂