This is my monthly summary post with high points of the month, not-so-high-points and what’s next for Soul Travel Blog.

Recapping January. 

I left the sunny (and tragically overdeveloped) beaches of Vietnam in the first week of January and made my way to India—where I’m writing this from.

India has always called to me somehow, but my first time here was not until November 2015. It’s safe to say I fell a little bit in love with this country.

This time, my trip is taking me around Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand (Rishikesh). So far, I’m loving it just as much as the first time I was here.

Since I’m travelling solo this time in India, in a country which doesn’t have the best reputation for solo female travellers, my confidence and commitment to solo travel has been tested on occasion. Before heading here from Vietnam, I definitely had a case of the pre-travel nerves. Being here though, I couldn’t be gladder that I came! I have only had positive experiences so far, and I hope that continues to be the case.

The thing with India is that the country is so big, that even trips between cities in a state like Rajasthan take many hours! So one thing is for sure—there is far too much here to cover in one trip, and I will have to come back again….

Soul Travel Blog January Summary

Visiting the Gabriel Field Project in Mumbai’s slums with Visit.org

Where I’ve been in January.

  • Phu Quoc and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  • Pune, India, for a spot of Ayurveda R&R
  • India’s city of dreams: Mumbai
  • Some of Rajasthan’s most majestic cities: Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur, Jodhpur
  • Two village stays outside of Jodhpur that are pioneering community based tourism models: HACRA and Chandelao Garh.

More to come on all of the above over the coming weeks—so stay tuned!

January Highlight. 

Getting up super early during my stay at beautiful and homely Abode Bombay (in Mumbai) to go on their Mumbai Morning tour.

Getting up at five in the morning has rarely been so worth it.

I stood in the middle of the bustling vegetable market, saw the sorting of the millions of newspapers that are delivered daily and watched the sunrise over Dhobi Ghat (the very famous outdoor laundry area). I can definitely say that I got to see a different side to Mumbai.

Soul Travel Blog January Summary

In Udaipur, Rajasthan, at the famous Pichola Lake.

January not-so-Highlight.

I would say that Phu Quoc, in Vietnam was my lowlight of the month. I spent New Year there and while the island has a couple of strong points (beautiful sunsets and some nice beaches), it was upsetting to see raw sewage just flowing into the ocean from the vast majority of resorts and homes there, and also the extreme levels of construction that are being allowed with no thought to planning or the environment. I will definitely not be returning there.

Soul Travel Blog January Summary.

Looking out from Jodhpur’s blue city to the amazing Mehrangarh Fort.

January Blog Posts.

Much as I love India, internet is not one of her strong points! That and I’ve been having such a wonderful time exploring that I’ve got a little behind on my posts! I will definitely be making up for that in february… :-).

Instagram Post of the Month.

One of the above mentioned Phu Quoc, Vietnam sunsets. I’m definitely a sucker for a beautiful sunset and seems that I am not the only one!

After floating around the mekong delta in #vietnam, I headed south west to the island of Phu Quoc. And honestly? I didn’t love it. It’s one of Vietnam’s only islands and is already massively overdeveloped, with more on the way. Like many islands in that part of the world there’s no planning, no infrastructure and no waste management facilities. Meaning? Raw sewage goes straight from resorts into the sea. These are issues which it will take time and investment to change. There was however at least one thing I loved about the island: the sunsets – which were some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen and a high note to send 2016 on. How about you? Where are the best sunsets you’ve seen? #beachsunset #pinksky #soultravelblog #vietnamtravel #sunset

A photo posted by Soul Travel Blog | Ellie (@soultravelblog) on

Where Next? 

I’ll be continuing my journey around Rajasthan, India for another week or so: tonight I’m heading from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer by train. After Jaisalmer I’ll be visiting Delhi and then Rishikesh, for a touch of soulfulness and yoga!

Sadly I have to leave India before the end of February and will be heading back to London, UK (my original hometown) to see family and friends for a few weeks.

If you’ve got tips for me on either of these places or other parts of India please Contact me and let me know, or just comment below!

Thank you for reading!

As you know, without you I wouldn’t be here writing this. Every comment, like, share and piece of feedback matters to me and I appreciate it. Thank you!

Got recommendations for me on the next stages of my journey? Let me know in the comments below!

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