Q I’m planning to travel to India later in the year. I know that Goa and Varanasi are ‘must-sees’, but what are the other highlights? Also, is it safe for a girl to travel around India independently? Jess, via email.
A Start by exploring India’s largest city, Mumbai. This cosmopolitan metropolis is a mix of colonial history, modern bars and restaurants and ancient bazaars. From Mumbai you can take the overnight train to Goa.
From here, you can fly for less than £60 to Jaipur to explore the Golden Triangle, made up of Delhi, Jaipur and the incredible Taj Mahal at Agra. From Agra Fort station, there are two daily trains to Varanasi (about 13 hours). You may also have time to travel to Kerala from Goa. Check out the backwaters, wildlife reserves and tea plantations for something a little different in this region.
India is a relatively safe country to travel in. The best advice is simply to be conscious of your safety as you would be here in the UK; ie don’t walk alone at night or use unmarked taxis. You should also dress appropriately, considering that local women will dress more conservatively than in the UK.
When travelling by train, my advice is to book AC1 or AC2 carriages where you will have more space and feel more comfortable. You should reservetrain tickets in advance as these carriages can get booked up.
You could also consider starting your trip in Kerala, considered one of the easier Indian states to travel around, to gradually build up your confidence of going solo.
Q I’m heading to Dublin on a stag do and have activities for the evening covered – but do you have any suggestions for things to keep a group of guys occupied during the day? Rob, via email
Dublin is home to so many sport- and alcohol-themed attractions, it is almost designed for a stag do. One of the city’s most popular sights is the Guinness Storehouse (£11.50 entrance, including a pint of Guinness).
The Storehouse is home to the world’s largest pint glass, a museum of Guinness advertising and memorabilia, and reveals how the world-famous drink is brewed. Finish up in the Storehouse’s Gravity Bar with views over the city.
Next, head to the home of Gaelic sports, Croke Park. The museum here displays the history of the traditional Gaelic games and features an area where you can try your hand at hurling a Gaelic football. From June, you will be able to walk on the roof of the stadium to take in incredible views of the city (£20).
For something a little different, why not explore the city on a beer bike – that way you won’t even have to take a break from alcohol
to check out the sights. The Dublin Pedi Bus is a giant table-cum-bike which seats 10-16 people. The tour lasts two hours and includes four pints of beer each.
Alternatively, take a break from the booze and try the amphibious Duck Tour (adults £16) to see the best of Dublin on land and water.
Lonely Planet’s Laura Lindsay will give you the benefit of her infinite wisdom if you email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org
If your question is answered, you’ll win a Lonely Planet guide of your choice.