I know that millions of people a year visit India and have an incredible time. I have read and heard about many great travels thru the sub-continent that describe the wonder of this exotic locale. India is a place of incredible culture and history and quite unique in the world. However, after suffering through more than the standard amount of travel woes in India I began to question if the sites are worth the hassle. These hassles were further illustrated once we entered Nepal. A place with similar culture, history, landscape and people, only fewer hassles. Of course, I am well aware that India does have more to offer than Nepal (seaside beaches for one), but there are a few reasons why I think Nepal is a better choice for your travel:
1. No cows in the street.
At first these traffic clogging bovines do have some charm. You don’t get to see cows roaming freely as you walk around New York City, and it makes for a good photo op. But after a few days of dodging cows (some which attack you), being stuck in cow traffic jams and stepping around piles of cow @&#!, cow free Nepal is a joy.
2. Working sewerage systems
There are of course many infrastructure issues in developing countries. After visiting poor countries in South America, Africa and Asia I find the sanitation in India to be the worst. Open sewers and raw sewerage running down the street is sub-standard for virtually any country, for a place like India with such a fast growing economy and no shortage of labor force, this is inexcusable. Nepal, India’s poorer little brother to the east is not perfect, but it is obvious that the people expect better.
As you can imagine, open sewers and people who performing all manners of bodily functions on street corners in the open gives India a certain essence which is inescapable. Literally from the time you get off the plane until the time you leave, thru out the wide swath of India we visited, coastal, desert, urban and rural. The stench was there.
4. No Pushy Touts
In India everyone seems like they are only after your money. In Nepal they are as well but you don’t feel like you are being cheated.
5. Food Quality
In India many places are dirty, empty and you fear food poisoning. In Nepal, you can get pizzas, Chinese, Mexican or whatever you want, and the restaurants are clean. You can even eat salad (which is called “hygienic salad”).
You can get cheap food in India, but you may get diarrhea. For good food, or a semi nice room, Nepal is just cheaper.
7. Hotel Quality
As stated above, you can get a nice room in Nepal for a pretty good price. In India, you can get a pretty good price, but you may also compete with rats, roaches, mold, dysfunctional toilets and dirt.
In India you get harassed at every corner. The beggars are plentiful and persistent. In Nepal, there are a few people asking for money, but it is not half as bad.
In Nepal the toilets are cleaner, they flush most of the time and they don’t smell like boiled diarrhea. And they are mostly western style, which is a lot easier when you need to go to the toilet in the middle of the night.
10. Friendly Natives
The Nepalese are laid back. The shop owners are not pushy. You get the feeling people are willing to help you because they like people, not only because they are expecting something in return.