Planning a trip? Nothing is better than a well-deserved holiday after a tiring work span or those stressful board exams. Now, the big question is, domestic or international? While we all dream of traveling international, budget and time often stays a constraint: Tight budget, not many leaves, fear of international travel, visa rejection are few of the common obstacles. But why bother taking an international trip away from your home country, when your own country ‘India’ has so much to offer. From graceful valleys to colourful streets, lovely beaches and inspired architecture to rich heritage, they remind us that India has her share of spectacular attractions that not even locals know about. Moreover, you’ll save time, money as well as see more for less!!
There are many places in India that has the essence of a foreign land in terms of beauty & affordability. Though some of them are instantly recognisable as India – hello, Big Golden Temples – there are plenty others that you could mistake for being somewhere else entirely…These Indian cities will make you feel as if you’re abroad without the sky-high ticket price and exorbitant international tour packages. Need beaches? Head to Goa. The tropics? Cherrapunji. Desert? Rajasthan. Mountains? Head to Ooty. Want some snow? Manali it is! Temperate forests? Coorg.
Get ready to join us on an epic journey round the world – without even having to step out of India.
Fasten your seatbelts & hang on tight as we take off to 20 places in India that totally feel International:
1. The Beauty of Switzerland vs Paradise in Kashmir
Switzerland has some of the most jaw-dropping sceneries in all of Europe, thanks to the majestic Swiss Alps. Unfortunately it’s also the planet’s priciest destination according to the World Economic Forum. But what if, just a few hundred kilometers away in your own country, there was another gorgeous alpine region offering similarly magnificent scenery at a third of the price. KASHMIR…there’s no other place like it in the world! One look at the Kashmir mountains and you’ll really believe you’re in some sort of cold (ok, cool) Swiss Alps. From snow-clad mountains, rolling green hills to serene views of lush meadows, sparkling lakes, silvery streams to bustling markets and eternal snow, Kashmir is often referred as the ‘Switzerland of India’ and ‘Paradise on earth’ for a reason.
There’s a reason so many big films have been shot in Kashmir – it is quite simple one of the most visually stunning places on planet earth.
2. The Niagara Falls of Ontario vs The Chitrakote Falls of Chhattisgarh
Niagara Falls is an icon that needs no introduction. Niagara Falls is famous the world over for its thundering power and impressive show, located along the Canada-USA border. Well, in case you’ve been dreaming about visiting the Niagara Falls, this piece of information might save your travel expenses all the way to Ontario. You can thank us later! ‘India has one of its own’. To see this waterfall, you don’t need to board a 16-hour long haul flight or apply for extra leaves to cover the travel hours. Considered as the Niagara Falls of India, Chitrakote Waterfalls in Chhattisgarh is located to the west of Jagdalpur in Bastar district. It is one of the most spectacular natural waterfalls in the world and the natural wonder attracts legions of visitors annually who are eager to witness the “Niagara Falls of India” in person. While Niagara Falls is a roaring spectacle, Chitrakote Falls is impressive in its own beauty and appeal.
The Chitrakote falls is one of those ticks-all-the-boxes type of places. It is about 100 feet high and about 1000 feet wide, making it the widest waterfall of India. The Indravati River, originating in Kalahandi region of Odisha, falls from a height of 29m to form this waterfall. The main reason for the comparison to Niagara Falls is due it its horseshoe shape. It is believed that the pressure of falling water is equivalent to the weight of 500 elephants. Also known as Chitakote Falls, on the left bank of the falls, a Hindu shrine of Lord Shiva is located. On sunny days, rainbows are likely.
If you want to see Niagara, but don’t want to deal with the tourist crowds or crossing the border or sky rocket ticket costs, Chitrakote Falls might be the next best thing. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the thunderous forces of Mother Nature in our own home country.
3. Tea Gardens of Cameron Highlands in Malaysia vs Munnar Tea Plantations in Kerala
The love that Indians have for tea is no secret. If you happen to be a tea lover too, then visiting a tea plantation should be on your list, to see how a tea is grown, processed and served. A visit to a tea plantation is always a treat, especially when the trip takes one off the beaten path. While a trip to Malaysia may burn a hole in your pocket, Kerala is perfect for the budget traveller. India’s big star, Munnar is one of the largest tea plantations in the world. The hill station of Munnar is synonymous with rolling hills that are carpeted with verdant plantations of tea – a delicious beverage loved worldwide. Imagine having tea and strawberries up in the highlands – it’s like having a piece of Malaysia here in India!
A must-see for any tea fiend would be the Tata Tea Museum – with lots of tea history, culminating in a nice brew at the tearooms. Or go the whole hog and sign up for a tea tour.
4. Alpine Gardens of Switzerland vs Khajjiar Hill Station of Himachal Pradesh
Switzerland is a picture perfect country of soaring Alps and glaciers, snow-clad mountain peaks, shimmering lakes, quaint villages and dense Alpine forests. Yet, it does have its downsides too. There’s the traffic, the crowds and the high price tag, especially during the peak season. When it comes to a budget getaway, the Khajjar Hill Station in Himachal Pradesh is the affordable version of Switzerland! Often referred as ‘Mini-Switzerland of India’ and ‘Gulmarg of Himachal Pradesh’, Khajjiar is a small town and also a popular hill station about 26 km from Dalhousie. You’ll find snow-clad Himalayan peaks, picturesque landscapes, rolling hills, incredible culture, amazing food, smiling local people, encompassing dense devdar forests and plenty of snow.
Off course, there are the expensive resorts on the hill that overlook the rolling hills, or you can also find something to suit a tighter budget in the village. And thanks to Himachal’s beautiful climate, the weather is generally good all year round, so it’s never a bad time to snag a deal. Plus, it’s not overrun by tourists.
5. The Sands of the Sahara in Africa vs The Dunes of Thar Desert in Rajasthan
Covering most of North Africa, the Sahara is almost as large as the United States and the largest hot desert in the world. Our own Thar Desert although not particularly large or big, covers a large part of the north-western Indian subcontinent and is home to majestic forts, dreamy palaces as well as quaint villages. Though India is surrounded by water on three sides, it is also home to the 17th largest desert in the world; The Thar Desert, fondly called the Great Indian Desert. The areas of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Gujarat are all located in the Thar, making it one of the most culturally engaging desert regions. Quite interestingly, the Thar Desert is bounded by the Sutlej River in the northwest, the Aravalli mountains in the east, the Indus River in the west, and the Rann of Kutch (a salt marsh) in the south.
If the snap-worthy panorama of the dune-like beach is not enough to convince you, the sandboarding experience definitely will! Explore the dunes on camels – an authentic way to traveling in the desert.
6. The Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah vs The Rann of Kutch of Gujarat
Mother Nature has created some awe-inspiring wonders in the world. Both, the Bonneville Salt Flats and Rann of Kutch are some of the living wonders. These are huge areas of salt marshes, which makes them quite similar to look at. And while the Bonneville Salt Flats may be seven miles away, The Rann of Kutch is a precious possession of India and you don’t even need a passport to visit it. All you’ll need is a camera and some sunscreen! The Rann of Kutch, for the last several decades, has been home to trekkers, filmmakers and curious travelers looking to explore its vast 10,000 sq. miles of white, salty Earth. And rightly so. The dense salt pan of Kutch is a natural phenomenon and definitely worth checking out for its own sake. Not to mention there are several places to camp nearby! Gujarat is truly an outdoor lover’s dream. With natural wonders, it offers ample opportunities to reconnect with nature. This truly otherworldly part of the state is one of the most impressive Indian destinations.
The area is one of the most unique natural features in the country, access is free and you can even drive on the flats. Oh, and it makes for an epic photo spot, too.
7. Christ The Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro vs Statue of Unity in Gujarat
A larger-than-life statue of Jesus Christ perched on the Corcovado Mountain in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, ‘Christ the Redeemer’ is inspiring, to say the least. But, if you want to see the world’s biggest statue, head to the Indian state of Gujarat. At 182 metres, the mammoth replica of Sardar Patel is the world’s tallest statue, leaving behind Brazil‘s Christ the Redeemer (38 metres). The statue is by far the tallest statue in the world, as it stands more than one hundred feet taller than the next tallest statue, the Spring Temple Buddha in China and about twice the size of New York’s iconic Statue of Liberty. The gigantic bronze structure pays homage to Vallabhbhai Patel, a leader of the Indian independence movement and the country’s first deputy Prime Minister. The unique feature of the structure is that there is an elevator inside it. This is basically for the tourist to reach the top of the structure at 153 metres to view its museum, exhibition and gallery as well as enjoy a panoramic view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, and the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges.
A 3-star lodging facility, a food court, a memorial garden and a grand museum are part of the Statue of Unity. With the ‘statue of Unity’, India has now become the world leader in super-tall statues.
8. Floating Market of Bangkok vs Dal Lake Floating Market of Kashmir
Ever fancied yourself shopping for groceries while floating on water? Just like the Bangkok Floating Market, Kashmir Floating Market is only one of its kinds in India and the world. But did you know that Dal Lake also has a floating vegetable market? Apart from Kashmir’s Dal Lake being quite celebrated around the world for its scenic beauty and shikaras, it is also well known for the floating market. The market is loud and vibrant, as is typical with most markets, except this one’s on the water. The Kashmir market focuses on vegetables and is often clogged with tourists, who throng to the place due to its rising popularity and surrounding beauty. The Dal Lake floating market is a reflection of the Kashmiri local culture, which has remained consistent over the years, where buyers and sellers meet each other using only boats. Vendors here cater mainly to these tourists, but also to locals, and authentic local products are still found here!
You can easily have an eventful day at this market and return with a lot of unique memories.
Shop while you float!
9. Phi Phi Islands of Thailand vs Andaman & Nicobar Islands of Bay of Bengal
Hankering for a sun-kissed holiday without the crowds? With its romantic resorts, azure sea and sea breeze, Andaman Island is the Phi Phi Island of Thailand. It is also a great spot for scuba diving. If you have been thinking of diving and snorkeling in Thailand, you could give this island a look! Take advantage of the bountiful beauty beneath, with fantastic coral reefs – or just relax by the ocean and enjoy the exotic delights. Deep in the lagoon, you can also spot many fish species including stingrays, sharks and seahorses. With daily flights to and from Port Blair, this blissful island makes for a perfect, relaxing holiday with plenty to keep you entertained whilst you’re there. Plus, it’s a whole lot cheaper than Thailand.
Thrifty travellers can grab bargain with flights, the average cost of a flight from Mumbai to Port Blair will cost you about Rs. 6000 to Rs. 8000 on an average. You can’t miss Andaman!
10. The Flowers in Antelope Valley in USA vs The Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand
The Antelope Valley in USA lures nature enthusiasts with its gorgeous scenery, miles of hiking trails and cozy mountain towns. But travel may be a constraint due to the long haul flights and hefty price tag. As a substitute, say Hello to the Valley of Flowers! The stunning landscape of The Valley of Flowers National Park in northern India’s state of Uttarakhand, bordered by Nepal and Tibet is a sight to behold and experience. Located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, the Valley of Flowers, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is a high-altitude Himalayan valley, encompassed by snow-clad mountains and covered with blooms – approximately 650 species of alpine flowers including the subtle Brahmakamal, the Cobra Lily, the Himalayan Edelweiss and the Ethereal Himalayan Blue Poppy. Spread over 87.5 sq km, the bio-diversity hotspot is known for its picturesque beauty comprising alpine shrubs and meadows, milky white streams and pristine air. The valley is also home to several fauna like Himalayan musk deer, yellow-throated marten, snow leopard, blue sheep, black and brown bears, as well as, rare and endangered animals, including the Asiatic black bear, snow leopard, brown bear and blue sheep. Trekking or riding a mule’s back is the only way to reach the Valley of Flowers due to absence of road connectivity.
Dreaming of a landscape featuring sloping hills and vibrant fields of bright orange, yellow, pinks and blue poppies? Valley of Flowers is the place to be! To enjoy as many photo shoots as your heart desires, plan your trip around the bloom period which is between July to September, when the flowers are in full bloom after the first monsoon rain. Choose a holiday package in Uttarakhand to have the easiest access to the flowers.
11. Art de Triomphe of France vs India Gate of Delhi
No doubt there is only one Eiffel Tower, but did you know, the iconic ‘Arc de Triomphe’ of Paris has a twin in the ‘India Gate’ of Delhi. Exactly parallel to its French counterpart, the India Gate, an important monument in Delhi, is a memorial built in commemoration of more than 70,000 Indian soldiers who were killed during World War I and other battles during the time of the British Raj. The monument is an imposing 42 meters high arch and was designed by the famous architect Edwin Lutyens. The monument commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for the British Army during the World War I. The design of India gate is almost similar to its French counterpart war memorial, the Arc-de Triomphe in Paris, a 50 meter tall structure built a hundred years earlier in 1836 to honor the ones who fought and died in Napoleon and the French revolutionary wars.
Locals and tourists alike throng the India Gate Lawns surrounding the monument for a leisurely evening, enjoying the light show at the fountains along with snacking on street food.
So in case you are planning a trip to the capital, make sure India Gate plays a pivotal role in your Delhi itinerary.
12. The Grand Canyon of USA vs Gandikota Gorge of Andhra Pradesh
The Grand Canyon is a true marvel of nature, but it’s not the only natural wonder in Arizona worth hitting the road for. Are you aware that there is a hidden Grand Canyon in India too? We are talking about Gandikota known as the Hidden Grand Canyon of India. It is a small village situated in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, which has gained momentum due to its spectacular natural gorge formed by river Pennar, which cuts through the Erramala hills. Located 300 feet above sea level is Gandikota, a handsome piece of nature’s architecture. In fact, the Gandikota Gorge is loaded with more sites such as the fort, temples etc. to see than just, well, the Grand Canyon. The location is situated beautifully amongst the dense forest, and a scenic nature spread. The gorge is gaining popularity for trekking, rock climbing, rappelling and kayaking.
For those of you who cannot see the possibility of visiting the Grand Canyon of USA in the near future do not be saddened, as the solution to your problem is right here in India. Book our tour package and enjoy this trip to the Grand Canyon of India in Gandikota, wrap the speedy wind in your hair and visit the relishing sights.
13. Great Wall of China vs Great Wall of India, Kumbhalgarh Fort of Rajasthan
Are you in search of a less crowded, more serene Great Wall experience? Head to Kumbhalgarh in Rajasthan; The great wall of India we bet you’ve never heard of. After China, India comes next in line for building great walls. The untold history of Kumbhalgarh, Rajasthan’s most famous 36 km fort is that, at almost 23 miles long it’s the second longest wall in the world, second only to China’s Great Wall. Built in the 15th century by Maharana Pratap, the Kumbhalgarh Fort in the rugged Mewar terrain is the second largest fort in Rajasthan (after the Chittorgarh Fort), and is one of the 6 Hill Forts in Rajasthan to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort, perched 3,600 feet above sea level, is one of the loftiest jewels in Rajasthan.
Kumbhalgarh is an eccentric, remote fort, fulfilling romantic expectations and vividly summoning up the chivalrous, warlike Rajput era. There is a daily sound and light show at the Fort where the fort is lit up with lights which is open to public and is popular amongst the tourists. The nearest airport to Kumbhalgarh is situated in Udaipur.
14. Blue Mountains of Jamaica Vs Nilgiri Mountains of Ooty, Tamilnadu
No doubt, there is no other destination in the world like the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. And while Jamaica is proud of its blue mountains, India’s has its own blue mountains in the Nilgiri Mountains. The Nilgiri Mountains of Ooty are as beautiful and mysterious as the Blue Mountains. Commonly called as Nilgiri, the Blue Mountains of India are popular among campers due to the view from the mountains which can take your breath away. Located in the western Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala, these ranges in Southern India are much talked about in the world for 24 peaks much above 2,000 meters. A cluster of mountain ranges, Nilgiri has several hills gushing with beautiful waterfalls, streams, and various trekking options.
If you’re looking for a destination that not only boasts affordability but also incredible nature, out of the world landscapes, dense rainforests, rolling tea plantations, intriguing culture and great food, Akbar Travels advises you check out Ooty. Only a three hour journey and all-year-round balmy weather, there’s a range of activities that won’t cost a fortune.
15. Exotic Islands of Maldives vs Exotic Islands of Lakshadweep
The Maldives have long been at the top of our bucket lists – and for good reason. With unspoiled oceans, pearly-white sand beaches and luxury over-water villas, it’s the epitome of relaxed luxury. But this quality of luxury can come with a hefty price tag. The Maldives aren’t exactly a wallet-friendly destination. If you have your heart set on a luxury style vacation, yet the budget doesn’t quite allow for a Maldives trip, fear not. Now check this out: picturesque beaches, awe-inspiring landscapes, lush-green rainforests, and lip-smacking cuisine: Nope, this isn’t Maldives. India’s answer to the exotic Maldives Islands is meant to be the ‘Lakshadweep Islands’. This holiday destination offers Indian travellers accommodation prices that are 60 per cent cheaper than Maldives. To avoid the hiked up prices, costly transfers and crazy long flights to Maldives, plan a trip to this slice of heaven.
Go snorkelling, kayaking, dolphin watching, and swimming, explore the forests behind the beach which is great for trail walking and bird watching or simply read a good book with the relaxing waves as your backdrop.
Overall, the Lakshadweep Islands provide a very affordable alternative to the Maldives. And with a little research, you can stay and eat there for a week for less than the cost of a Maldives hotel for one night!
16. Skiing in Canada vs Skiing in Gulmarg
When it comes to skiing, the proximity, soft snow and dusty mountains of well-known Canada is hard to beat – but once in a while it’s worth looking a little further afield. Both Canada and India are home to impressive mountains and world-class powder, but debate rages on about exactly which location provides the better runs. We have the Himalayas and we have Kashmir; if you still cannot add two and two here, we are screaming ‘Skiing in Kashmir’! If you have harboured the wish of skiing, one of the most popular ski resorts in India, apart from Auli is Gulmarg, one of the highest ski resorts and home to the highest cable car in the whole world. Gulmarg is well-known for its feathery, high-altitude snow and has all that it takes to be pitched against the best in the world. The short trip it takes to reach the likes of Gulmarg Ski Resort means that while you may be doling out the slightly hefty ski fees you can save big on flight and accommodation costs. Moreover, incredible scenes of Gulmarg skiing have been captured in our Bollywood film for decades.
Imagine dropping in for a run in the Himalayas, surrounded by the highest peaks in the world, powder all day. You will be amazed to see 5 to 55 year olds giving their best to ride the slopes!
17. Tranquil Beaches of Bali vs Vibrant Beaches of Goa
There’s no denying that the Indian love affair with Bali is going strong. With the number of couples choosing Bali as their honeymoon destination, visitor numbers are soaring, making it an over-touristed and exorbitantly expensive holiday destination. We’d say, bypass the expensive cities of Kuta and Seminyak and instead head to India’s most beloved city Goa that offers long exotic beaches, cocktails by the pool and great value-for-money. Self-styled the ideal destination for “beach bums worldwide”, Goa is home to some amazing seafood, as well as a rich cultural heritage. Not only is Goa super cheap to visit, there’s plenty to do. This Indian state is ticking serious boxes: gorgeous beaches, thrilling nightlife, great adventure breaks, vibrant culture, delicious cuisine and stunning properties.
Average cost of a flight price from Mumbai to Goa will hardly cost you a penny and accommodation prices are as low as Rs. 500 to Rs. 2000 on average per night, depending upon the type of accommodation you choose. And the value for money doesn’t just end with airfares and hotels, once you get there don’t be afraid to haggle!
18. Overland Track Trekking of Australia vs Breathtaking Trekking in Ladakh
The picturesque setting of Ladakh reminds you of hilly mountains in Australia, which makes a great spot for photography sessions! There’s nothing quite as stimulating as a trekking trip, whether you’re climbing to the top of a mountain or taking a walking trip overland. Certainly, trekking in Australia will make you skip a heartbeat, but trekking in Ladakh will make you see the unimaginable. With its uneven altitude, picturesque landscapes and terrain, Ladakh offers a mix of challenging and scenic routes to the adventure enthusiasts; that is no less of an adrenaline pumped adventure you’ll experience in Australia.
Hike, bike or kayak among the raw, majestic beauty of the Himalayan environment and the reward is an experience that lasts a lifetime.
19. Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur Vs Imperial Towers of Mumbai
If Malaysia has the Petronas Towers, India has its own Imperial Towers! Standing 60 storeys high above ground (at a height of about 256 m, 840 ft), the Imperial twin-tower skyscraper is the tallest tower in Mumbai, as well as, one of the tallest buildings in India. On global ranking, the Imperial Towers are ranked 135th in Asia and 258th in the World. All of the upper-story condominiums offer breathtaking views of the Arabian Sea. There is no doubt in the fact that Mumbai is the city of skyscrapers. With over 3,000 high rises in the entire metropolitan region, most of India’s tallest buildings are located in the city of Mumbai. Besides being one of the cities with most skyscrapers in India, Mumbai is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. Showcasing best of night life, rooftop bars, Bollywood, fine dining restaurants, high-end shops and fashion outlets, Mumbai leaves no stone unturned to entertain and amuse you.
Embark your journey in one of India’s tallest twin towers, and experience the marvels of city landscape with lots of interesting features waiting ahead. Make sure to see and visit these structures during your trip to India.
20. Tulip Garden of Amsterdam vs Tulip Garden of Srinagar
Could these be the famed tulip fields of the Netherlands? No. Srinagar, it is! Situated on the foothills of Zabarwan Range with an overview of Dal Lake, the Tulip Garden of Srinagar is the largest Tulip garden in Asia spread over an area of about 12 hectares (30 acres). Also known as Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden, it is ranked fourth among the world’s biggest Tulip Gardens by the World Tulip Society. There are over 20 lakh Tulips of over 70 varieties in the Indira Gandhi Tulip Garden, all blooming delightfully at an altitude of 5600 feet. Think of any colour — red, yellow, orange, purple and Tulips in those colours are present at the garden. Apart from tulips, many other species of flowers – Hyacinths, Daffodils and Ranunculus have been added as well.
The Tulip Festival held at the Tulip Garden Srinagar between March and April is an experience you must not miss. A treat for eyes and the soul – that is the Tulip festival in Srinagar!
Why spend thousands to visit the Tulip Garden of Holland, when you can have the same experience in your own country at a cost of few hundreds.
Surprising, isn’t it?
With a myriad of landscapes, great heritage and culture, varied flora and fauna, India is among the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Head to the mountains, enjoy a beach retreat or cruise through the golden Thar, India has options galore for all.
So, why endure a 7 to 14-hour flight when you can experience the world in India? It won’t be long before you can say you’ve really travelled the “world”. And with India being 100% safe to travel, the time is NOW!
It can be hard to choose just one, but lucky for you, we here at Akbartravels.com make the getting there part easy. Book our domestic tour packages & enjoy big discounts + 100% Safety + value for money + peace of mind.