Being fairly close (12 hour overnight bus ride) to Bijapur, Bangalore was a fairly convenient city to get to.
Also known as Bengaluru, this is the third most populated city in India, with a number of migrants from various other cities around India, as well as international expats. Thanks to such a diverse range of external influences, Bangalore is one of the more modern cities in all of India, with shopping malls everywhere, exceptional restaurants, stunning parks and buildings, and the roads are a lot more civilized too.
When arriving to the city by bus, expect to be dropped off in the middle of nowhere somewhere on the outskirts of the city, with a number of pushy, harassing rickshaw drivers standing by, waiting. We had no choice, both times to pay the driver 200Rs to take us to our hotel.
After spending four weeks eating nothing but masala dosa, dahl fry and omelets, we were beyond excited to finally get some amazing food. There are so many fabulous restaurants in Bangalore ready to whet your appetite. The first place we ate at, which we searched for due to the excellent reviews, was Portland Steakhouse, which I highly recommend for steak and pasta. Out of this world! They also do an excellent poutine too, which I agree, isn’t exactly a healthy choice.
An unlikely place we absolutely loved, and ate at on both our visits to Bangalore, was the Hard Rock Café. Yes, I know. Not exactly cultural, I know. But wow! The food was phenomenal. I usually hate this chain, but we were looking for a place to drink after being sober for almost five months, and we just stumbled upon it. The next thing we know we’re making groaning noises at the table whilst demolishing one of the best steaks I think I’ve had in my life (with the exceptions being El Gaucho in Hanoi, and Gauchos in Manchester). Only one issue I had was that when I ordered a gin & tonic, I wasn’t aware they were going to give me the expensive one and I ended up paying 897 Rs for the drink I felt obliged to pay for.
The nightlife in Bangalore is lively up until 11/11.30pm, due to the curfew. I’m sure that any expats would probably know the places to go after the crackdown, but we didn’t meet anyone who did. However, as long as you get out early, there are a number of fun places to visit, ranging from dance clubs, bars playing rock music, karaoke bars, swanky clubs, lounge bars and pubs.
As you won’t wake up with much of a hangover due to the early night, there’ll be ample time to explore what Bangalore has to offer. On our first visit, we were taken by an unexpected acquaintance, around CubbonPark which covers an area of over 250 acres. Located within the park is a wide variety of fauna species, as well as numerous buildings including the Public Library and the Government Museum amongst many others. Also within the park is an old bandstand, in which the British Royal Air Forced used to play band music every Saturday evening. The toy train running through a large part of the park, as well as a boating facility makes this a great place to visit with children. You can also find the famous statues of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII in Cubbon Park.
Another favourite destination for visitors is of course the Lalbagh Botanical Garden which holds one of the most famous flower shows every year.
Something I advise watching out for: the guy who tries to persuade you not to go down MG Road, due to a “political rally, which is very dangerous for tourists to be around”. Not that we believe him, but we did attempt to change direction just to shut him up and stop following us, and surprise surprise, he turned out to be a rickshaw driver, who “just happened to be heading this same way” and would be happy to take us to where we were heading. Of course, he didn’t take us to where we wanted to go and expected us to pay him for taking us to a shop that we didn’t want to go to. And because we refused to pay him, he just left us there. When we returned two weeks later, the same guy approached us with the same Bullsh.. and of course when we confronted him, he ran away. Safe to say, there are no political rallies. Beware.