RTW TRIP PONDICHERRY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA DAY 127 – 129: WHEN YOU WANT TO BE IN FRANCE WHILE VISITING INDIA
We took a cheap bus ride from Thiruvannamalai to Pondicherry for a mere 115 rupees. Pondicherry is another one of those charming towns, with French colonial buildings with cute little stores, trees along the roads, with spacious roads by the water. Some people may even go as far to say that it feels like France without ever leaving India. I will let you be the judge of that! I will say though, that this town really caters to foreigners, and you can definitely say goodbye to the gritty Indian traveling here, as there are sidewalks and many tourist restaurants to keep you comfortable!
First off, for accommodation, there are a number of places to choose from, some with more charm than others. We got an amazing deal for a centrally located hotel called the Pleasant Inn. The rooms were spacious, comfortable, and modern, with excellent staff. The only downfall was that we had to go to reception for wifi. But for $16 a night, I couldn’t complain! (We got a really great deal on Agoda, so this may have been a one time deal!)
We spent most of our time in Pondicherry just walking around, and eating and drinking in charming spots around town. There are some nice neighborhoods with charming buildings, some fancy cafés geared for tourists, and a decent ocean front for sunset walks. Eating here was a pleasure. Here are some of our faves:
– If you are craving Italian food, head to the second floor of a hotel to Don Giovanni Restaurant for some solid pizza. The carbonara I had was good for India, but you may be better off ordering a different pasta. The owner is from Italy, and seemed to take orders from all of his tables.
– Our fave Indian place was the ever popular Surguru Restaurant. There are a few locations, some with different pricing, but we enjoyed the large one with a walkway full of plants. The dosas are excellent, as are the veg noodles. You can also get good coffee here! Popular with Indian and foreign tourists, and locals. Everything we ate here was excellent!
– For good, cheap, and fast Indian food, head to the very busy Adyar Ananda Bhavan. It is a chain restaurant known for Indian sweets, but do not overlook their savory food. Just head up to the counter and point to what you like. Our favorite was the sambar rice which was basically a veg curry mixed with rice. It seemed like total comfort food!
– For coffees and ice-cream, head to relaxing Le Cafe, located right by the water. Grab a seat directly facing the water and order drinks. Food is also available here, but it seemed to be a bit more of a drink place.
Costs for Day 127:
Abirami Hotel: 2 veg thali with ice cream and grape juice 230
Toilet paper and chips 65
Bus from Thiruvannamalai to Pondicherry 115
Rickshaw to Pleasant Inn 70
Tip for hotel guy 20
Pleasant Inn $16
2 beers 135
Don Giovanni Restaurant: Carbonara, Parma ham pizza, water, kingfisher beer 1000
Total cost for Day 127: 1637 rupees + $16 USD = $20.89 per person
Costs for Day 128:
Pleasant Inn $16
Surguru Restaurant coffee x2, chai tea, cheese nan, veg noodle, water, masala dosa 367
Cafe de Florence: grape juice, Fanta 130
Surguru Restaurant: aloo mutter, naan x2, water, daal dosa, corn soup, masala tea 390
Total cost for Day 128: 1072 rupees + $16 USD = $16.44 per person
Costs for Day 129:
Pleasant Inn $16
Adyar Ananda Bhavan: Veg thali, water, samosa, sambar rice 198
Le Cafe: espresso on the rocks with lemon zest, Moka shake 170
Nilgiri Supermarket: Odomos insect lotion, knight insect repellant, coconut oil, toilet paper, other toiletries 760
Surguru Restaurant: water, puri masala, French dosa, veg noodle 240
Total cost for Day 129: 1628 rupees + $16 USD = $20.82 per person
What I learned: Agoda is a great site to book accommodation. We paid half the price as we would have on Booking.com. Take a close look at taxes when booking on Agoda though, as they can bump up the price quite a bit.
Actual date of travel: Jan. 8-10, 2015