Hampi, India is a place out of the history books. If you are looking to immerse yourself fully in culture and history, look no further than Hampi.
As I mentioned in my previous post, during our stay in Goa, India, we decided to make a trip to Hampi. C had been to Hampi during his travels before we met. He suggested we go when we were booking our tickets to Goa, India. Hampi was on our list from the beginning. I had no idea what to expect. Well! Was I in for a surprise!!!
We decided to wait until we arrived in Goa to book any tickets to Hampi, as C suggested it would be much cheaper this way. He was right.
Getting to Hampi was not easy. It turned out to become quite an adventure.
We hired a taxi to take us to the nearest city, Mapusa, where we took a night bus, complete with a bed and A/C to Hampi. This was about 27 minutes away from Candolim.
Once we arrived to the bus station, chaos ensued.
This was my first real taste of what C called real India. Stalls of food everywhere, merchants selling their goods on the streets, calling out to you, hassling you to buy.
All of this was fine and dandy, but finding our bus stop was another story. Buses came and went, and we just kept asking and asking, and no one was able to help. Finally we started seeing tourists, or more accurately travellers trickling in, seeming to line up in the same place. Don’t call a traveler a tourist, they will be offended. These folk, normally between the ages of 16 to 36 are wanderers, who have been travelling for long periods of time. You can spot the difference by their clothes, if you have seen them you will know what mean. To be honest, I was quite jealous of them.
Finally, our bus arrived and we were ready to go.
Upon the bus journey, more chaos ensued.
Pro tip, if you choose the bedded buses with the A/C, be prepared to freeze your ass off, so bring a light weight sleeping bag to avoid this. These A/C systems are not playing, there is no high or low function on them and they blast you with air. We had no idea and didn’t bring anything to cover us up. I’m talking so bad, that there was humidity on our clothes. Suffice to say, I did not sleep much on the journey.
Thankfully the bus does stop a few times on the road to allow for washroom breaks and refreshments.
Second pro tip, make sure to empty your bladder before you get on the bus, there are no washrooms, and you have no idea when the first stop will be.
Halfway into our journey our bus turned into what looked like an abandoned factory and suddenly stopped. Without any explanation we were told to step outside. Some people decided to stay on the bus (this will become significant in a bit).
After stepping out, we noticed that the back of our bus was leaking, but not just little drops here and there, it was a waterfall of hot liquid flowing out of our bus. While us passengers were trying to figure out what the next steps would be, the bus driver and his assistant called up friends and they started working on the bus.
Then all of a sudden, the bus just left. Yup, you read that right, it wheeled of into the night, without a word from anyone.
We were left very confused, with no idea if they would come back, or where we were for that matter. One guy was very concerned about his wife who ended up staying on the bus (LOL)!
Pro tip #3, ALWAYS make sure that any important valuables (including significant others) stay with you at ALL times.
The bus did eventually come back, as you would expect, but we were left stranded, wondering if we would be rescued for a good 20 mins. Long enough for some to start panicking. I was surprisingly fine, it may have been the lack of sleep.
The rest of the journey was alright. I got used to the cold and became so tired that I managed to sleep for a few hours. The entire bus journey lasted about 9 hours.
You’d think my epic bus journey story would end here, but it does not!
Once we arrived at our final refreshment stop, about an hour or so away from Hampi, we were swarmed by buzzing taxi drivers.
Imagine this: you wake up from a restless bus journey, you have to pee really bad and cannot wait to munch on a few chips. You are waiting in line to get off the bus…the doors open…and you are automatically being pulled in different directions by men yelling at you! “Come here, I will take you around in Hampi!” “No, I have a better price!” “No me!” “No, no meeee!”.
To rid of them, I just promised this random guy I would find him once we got to Hampi, and that was that.
Yeah, right! At our final destination, in Hampi, that same swarm appeared. The guy I promised almost got into a fight with C because he was talking to somebody else. Eventually we did decide on a guy who just stood back and let us approach him.
Pro tip #4, prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for this to happen. These guys make their living off tourists. I had no idea. They live in Hampi and make their money by either becoming your tour guide during your stay, or by driving you to a guest house. The guest house either belongs to them or their family, or they make a commission off of your stay. As annoying as they are, it really is a fight for survival for them and you need to understand that before you talk to them.
Our taxi driver was super nice, he took us to a tiny little guest house, of just two rooms. I wish we took pictures!
Pro tip #5, there are no fancy hotels or hostels in Hampi. You will only find guest houses owned by the families living there. The rooms are nothing fancy and very minimal. This is all part of the experience tho.
The locals are lovely, accommodating, curious and always smiling. You can find these beautiful chalk drawings everywhere.
You forget the crazy 10 hour journey you just took to get here, instantly.
Hampi steals a piece of your heart, and never gives it back.
More on that tomorrow!!
Have you ever experienced a journey like this before? Let me know!