Best of the West – A foodie itinerary to West India

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Best of the West – Highlights of West India Foodie Itinerary Ideas

Mumbai

Why Go?

Workers from across India, seeking to make it ‘big’ in the bright lights, bring authentic regional food  to Mumbai including India’s best range of creative street food (like Vada Pav, Behl Puri and Pao Bhaji).

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Try Parsi cuisine, originally from Persia…most fun at Britannia and Co.

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Don’t miss the dabbawallah unwritten delivery system that takes thousands of home cooked lunches to workers every day.

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Visit local food markets and Sassoon Dock fish market.

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All set against stunning colonial architecture…and surprisingly innovative and creative high density living in Mumbai’s many ‘slums’.

Check out:

Reality Tours and Travel – Excellent, great value tours around Mumbai that include the famous Mumbai street food, the dabbawallah delivery system and a socially responsible, sensitive Dharavi slum tour.

Where to Stay?

Colaba is the best area to stay, and a night in the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel (while quite expensive) is a once in a life time experience.

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Another good spot in Colaba is the Ascot Hotel  – more budget friendly prices, but still an excellent location.

http://www.ascothotel.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_Review-g304554-d606365-Reviews-Ascot_Hotel-Mumbai_Bombay_Maharashtra.html

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How to get there?

Mumbai is a major airport in India and good airlines often have specials. Check out Singapore Airlines for regular specials.

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Jodhpur

Why Go?

Dine with fantastic rood top views of the mighty Mehrangarh Fort and beautiful ‘Blue City’.

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Head to the clock tower to try regional snack food favourites including the famous rich lassi, have lunch with a local village family and experience a delicious Rajasthani thali at Gypsy Dining Rooms.

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Where to Stay?

Raas

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But also consider Castle View Home Stay for an amazing view, very thoughtful and kind host and great prices.

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How to get there? 

Mumbai to Jodhpur return $186 Jet Airways (online booking).

Jaisalmer

Why Go?

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Dine roof top on the massive, sandcastle-like fort that rises out of the desert, above this ‘Golden City’ and enjoy regional Rajasthani dishes in between visiting gorgeous havelis and perhaps enjoying a camel safari.

 Where to Stay? 

Garh Jaisal

Gorgeous, well priced rooms with window seats, each a different colour and lovely roof top spot for drinks and breakfast.

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How to get there?

Hire a good sized car (e.g. Toyata Innova) from one of the many car and diver businesses.

(About 4.5 hours from Jodhpur. Stop for a snack or lunch at Manvar Resort and Desert Safari Camp or Samsara Resort long the way).

Goa

Why Go?

A distinct Portuguese influenced cuisine in a setting of post colonial architecture featuring whitewashed churches and colourful villas as well as beautiful beaches.

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Lunch at a spice plantation, visit local Mapusa market on a Friday and marvel at the lush greenery of rice paddies and coconut palms.

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Where to Stay?

Anjuna

(home to the famous Wednesday Flea Market)

Casa Anjuna

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or Marbella Guest House (Candolim)

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How to get there?

Mumbai to Goa return $152 Jet Airways (online booking).

Suryagarh Hotel Jaisalmer – absolutely delicious for food

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Suryagarh Hotel, 16km out of Jaisalmer, is beautiful, but isolated in the desert.

While rooms can be quite affordable, especially in the low season,  food and drink is expensive, at Australian prices.

That said, the dining is very, very memorable….and there’s a few ways to stay in budget.

Welcome drinks and snacks are amazing and extremely generous.

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Then, through your stay, little treats and sweets arrive mysteriously in your room.

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Breakfast is included in the room price and is incredible, including a ‘chaat bar’ (make your own snacks) and traditional Indian sweets, as well as Indian breakfast foods and marsala chai served in a variety of traditional ‘tea cups’.

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The setting for breakfast is lovely and peacocks wander around the courtyard.

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Dinner is silver service, glamourous and romantic in the courtyard and very, very good.

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Safed chicken, rice, misi roti $AUS25          Bundi ladoo

If you have enjoyed the arrival snacks and sweets that arrive in your room, then really, one main, bread and rice is enough for two people…and helps to compensate for otherwise steep prices.

The complimentary sweets are very lovely too.

Another tip to stay in budget is to take some pre-dinner drinks and snacks out with you (a welcome tip from a fellow traveller).

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Gin is $AUS3 for 750ml (a bargain)

 

Warm hospitality and exceptional value at Castle View Home Stay – Jodhpur, Rajasthan

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Castle View Home Stay in Jodhpur is a family home that has been converted into a guesthouse, by host Amit, and it has a hard to beat roof top restaurant view over the blue city against the backdrop of Fort Mehrangarh.

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Located in the old city, it is away from the busiest and most touristy clock tower area but within easy walking distance of Padamsar and Radisar lakes, amazing views from Elephanta Hill, interesting narrow lane ways and the Victory Gate entrance to the fort.

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There is a good feeling of being ‘part’ of local life, much of due to Amit’s knowledgeable but relaxed, thoughtful hospitality.

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Amit is also great for guidance on local foods, the best local places to eat (and where to be cautious of)  and how to see the best of Jodhpur. He can also organise great value tours for his guests, including a trip to surrounding villages.  IMG_0013 IMG_0001

But most of all, Amit takes great care of his guests.

Rooms have air conditioning, free wifi and ensuites. At around $AUS 20 per double, the price for this exceptional hospitality  and experience is hard to believe.

Raas Haveli Hotel – Jodhpur, Rajathan

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Set in a restored Haveli, Raas is stylish and classy, with a lovely view of the fort and offers good low season discounts (about $AUS 195 for a luxury room (not much more than the Garden room and worth the extra) if you book for three nights).

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Located near the centre of town (clock tower) it is also close to lots of less expensive good eating spots like Jhankar Choti Haveli, Priya Restaurant (for thalis) and Indique and snack options like the Omelette Shop, Mishrilal Hotel, Shahi Samosa and Janta Sweet Home.

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Staff are very professional and friendly and bring small fruit ‘slushies’ to guests at the pool side.

Raas has lovely garden and seating settings and the hotel shop has gorgeous textiles and  Love Travel guides.

The downside to know about is the early morning e.g. 4:45am call to prayer from the mosque next door.

But otherwise Raas is very lovely, though maybe a bit too lovely. It can feel a world away from the real Jodhpur outside the front gate.

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Breakfast in season time is buffet style and served in the Badari Cafe beside the pool.

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In the low season, breakfast is a la carte (both Western and Indian options) and may also be served in the Darikhana restaurant.

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The Duplex suite is on a higher floor than the Luxury room with two terraces/bathroom areas and a separate sitting area!

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