Video: My First Night in a Cheap Indian Hotel (Sleeping with Unwelcome Visitors)

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My first night in a cheap Indian hotel was not without its surprises. As this was my first experience, I somewhat overreacted to the visitors. In hindsight, the unexpected visitors are to be expected in these places.

Keep in mind this video certainly isn't indicative of all cheap Indian hotels. Since this video was shot, I've stayed in much nicer hotel rooms for only slightly more per night.

I'm on a very tight budget for the next four months, so I anticipate sleeping in many more "cheap" hotels. There are plenty of them around -- the trick is finding the ones that are both cheap and clean. I've discovered that asking a ricksha driver for a recommendation can work well.

Every hotel I've been to so far has had a flushing toilet. Some of them even have shower spouts, although I can't say I've used them; since adjusting to showering from a bucket, I'm starting to prefer that method over the "normal" shower!

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  1. Your shirt around the head keeps them from your ears, what keeps them out of the nose and mouth?

    But yeah, met a BIG cockroach in Vietnam 2008, he went down the shower drain with a lil help.

    • I was counting on my breath — the breathing in and out — preventing them from venturing down those orifices. 🙂

      Besides, if something went in my nose or mouth, I would likely wake up and cough or spit it out. And if it makes it all the way down, I’m sure my stomach acid will take care of dissolving it! 😀

  2. Raam,

    You really are experiencing the not so touristy parts of India I guess huh?

    I’ve had that experience once growing up in Chennai. One night I had a dream that something was crawling all over my face. I woke up to find over 50 roaches all over me. A few of them may have kissed me 😉 It completely grossed me out.

    A few years ago, my wife and one year old son had to stay at a “cheap” hotel in Tirupathi, AP, because someone screwed up our reservations. As we turned off the lights, we could hear rats crawling through the paneling. We couldn’t really sleep that night. On the one occasion that I did get to doze off, I was woken up because I thought something bit me on my toe. I immediately went out, found a doctor and got some shots.

    Good luck to you Raam. Hope you do find good places to stay that are within your budget. Keep the stories coming.

    • Hey zBrain! Thank you for the comment!

      Those are quite the stories! You make me feel lucky that I haven’t had experiences that bad! That last part about getting shots made me literally laugh out loud. 😀

      I’m definitely all about experiencing the not so touristy places! Anywhere in particular you can recommend? 🙂

  3. I am too far removed from India these days – living in New Jersey – to be making any recommendations. At this point you might know more than I do.

    I see that you are around the Bangalore area. If you are in the Chennai area, I’d be happy to hook you up with people who can help you with accomodations.

    My father-in-law is a very spiritual man with excellent connections. Let me check with him.

    In the meantime stay clear of the “roach motel” 😉

    • Ah, I didn’t realize you were no longer in India. 🙂

      I will most likely be going through Chennai during the beginning of September, as I make my way from Nepal back to Bangalore to catch my plane back to the States on September 10th. I really appreciate the offer for connecting with your father-in-law! Please send me an email when you get in touch with him. Thank you so much! We will definitely have to meet up the next time I’m in the New Jersey area. 🙂

  4. Hey Raam,

    Good to get an update from India!

    I’ve always had a weird fear of cockroaches – bugs in general just rub me the wrong way (spoken like a true American) – so I don’t know how I’d survive in that hotel.

    This trip is pretty inspiring, my man. Keep up the good work!

    • Hey Brett! Glad to hear you enjoyed the update! 🙂

      Everyone has their nemesis; bugs definitely are not mine! I loved bugs as a kid and I still find them fascinating, as long as they’re not finding their way into my body. 😉

      I’m happy to hear the trip is inspiring for you! Is there anything else about the trip you’d like to hear more about?

  5. Hey Raam – You’re right, they’re only cockroaches and it could be a lot worse. I’ll take a dozen cockroaches over one bedbug any day!

    You never know in India…I’ve seen cockroaches in $30/night rooms and have had amazing $4/night rooms that were spotless and bug free.

    Where are you off to next?

    • Hey Earl,

      I’ve definitely been experiencing that with the hotels — you can never be sure what you’re going to get and price doesn’t always dictate quality!

      I’m in Gokarna right now (loving the beach life!!!) and I will be making my way to New Delhi later this month (attending a wedding there on the 29th). I’m thinking of leaving Gokarna around the 15th or the 20th and stopping in Rajasthan for a bit. I have a flight that leaves New Delhi on the 13th of June going to Vietnam. I’ll be exploring North India a bit before I leave!

      From Vietnam I fly to Nepal on the 27th of June and then I’ll be taking a bus back into India around August 15th and exploring the East side of India before leaving Bangalore on a plane back to the States on September 15th.

      Any places you can recommend on the East side of India (or in the North for that matter)?

      • Lucky you, I love Gokarna!! I remember walking over the hills into the town at sunrise to buy some fresh fruits from the market a couple of years ago. Great place.

        As for recommendations, for Rajasthan, I always make sure I pass through Udaipur and Bundi, both magical places. And while Udaipur receives its fair share of tourists, it’s quite easy to get away from that scene and explore the real ‘Udaipur’.

        In the East, I’d recommend Sikkim and Bodhgaya. I didn’t want to leave Bodhgaya when I was there and spent every day just sitting for hours by the tree where Buddha attained his enlightenment. Regardless of beliefs, it is impossible not to be affected by the atmosphere here.

        Two of my other favorite places are colorful Bhubaneswar and Puri along the East coast which are little-visited slices of a completely different India. And I’m not sure how you feel about big cities but I personally love Kolkata and spent over a month there on my last visit. This city actually has more book stores than any other city in the world and is considered the main reason why the crime rate is so low. But it also gives the city a unique intellectual feel that is unmatched in the rest of the country. Combine that with the endless religious festivals and overly-hospitable locals and it makes for an exciting and educational place to spend some time.

        And if you need some recommendations of places to stay in any of the areas you visit, just let me know. I have my favorites in every town and city and don’t worry, I’m quite a budget traveler as well.

        Keep on enjoying Om Beach!

        • Earl, thanks so much for all these suggestions! Your breadth of knowledge on India is incredible! 🙂 I’ll bet we hiked over the same hill from Gokarna to Kudle and Om beach. I just came back from a swim on Kudle beach a few minutes ago!

          I will definitely take your advice and visit the places you recommended. If you could give me the names of good (budget) places to stay in all of them, that would be fantastic.

          I had no idea that Kolkata is how you described it. I’m definitely not one for big cities, but just based on your description I think I will make an exception!

          • Wow those are some really nice recommendations from Earl. I hope to go to some of these places soon too. Planning on Sikkim and Kolkata(mainly for the street food!!) in June.

            Have you heard of the Valley of Flowers? its in Uttarkhand. I’ve met just one person who’s been there and he said mid-july to mid-august, the place is just heavenly. Just found some pics

          • Hey Priya!

            Yes, Earl’s experience and knowledge of India is incredible!

            I haven’t heard of the Valley of Flowers, but it looks absolutely amazing! I will definitely have to try and make it there. Thank you for the suggestion! 🙂

  6. Hey Raam,

    I think the bus driver must have tied a piece of wool around his head to keep out the cold and keep his body heat, as a lot of it escapes from the top of the head.

    I doubt it has anything to do with keeping the bugs out.

    • Hey Jacob! Thanks for the comment and the clarification!

      I suspected it might have nothing to do with keeping the bugs out — keeping the body heat in makes a lot more sense!

  7. Oh Raam. I had to STOP the video when you introduced your little cockroach buddy. They used to be so common when I lived in Iran even in our spotless house and yet I cannot seem to tolerate them anymore. I do not hesitate to immediately remove them. They don’t freak me out and have me go running and screaming like lizards or frogs (gasp) but I am going to Bali in September and a bit concerned about the reptile family situation there….wish me luck! And I wish you a hotel void of any nocturnal visitors!

    • I grew up playing with insects, spiders, and frogs and I even spent a lot of time reading books and studying them. I thought they were fascinating (I still do!).

      My mom doesn’t like small insects, reptiles, or amphibians and she was always telling me to keep them away from her. One time I brought a big bull frog (about 6″ long!) into the house and he jumped out of my hands and onto my mom’s feet while she was on the phone! She screamed hysterically!

      I’ll bet there are plenty of reptiles in Bali — good luck avoiding them! 😀


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