Bangalore (or Bengaluru) is a cosmopolitan city in India with a vast amount of things on the rise to serve everyone. It is known as the IT capital of India similar to Silicon Valley in the States. The reason for this is because just about every IT company in India and around the world calls it home.
While there, I did not feel like Bangalore relied on being known as the IT capital of India. There were a lot of other things I took note of that made this city great! What makes Bangalore a cool place to visit are activities, like eating at cool restaurants, meeting up with friends for drinks, and checking out the sites.
I do not drink but I am a foodie. So, being in a city that not only has great Indian cuisine but also cuisines from all around the world makes me happy. In my opinion, if you are an expat living in India, you must travel to Bangalore for an easy trip outside of your adoptive city.
I definitely think you can see the sights and enjoy your time in this city over the course of a weekend. For expats working in India, there are so many holidays you can take advantage of and I highly recommend you do so and go to Bangalore.
WHERE TO STAY
My husband and I took the trip with another couple who helped with a lot of the planning and I was really grateful. This was our first time traveling with another couple and I have to say, we may make traveling with friends an occasional option for the future.
The neighborhood we stayed in was perfect! I believe where you stay during your trip can either set you up for success or failure. Staying in a great neighborhood is one of the best tips I can give you.
We stayed in Indiranagar, a neighborhood located in east Bangalore at a hotel called Bloomrooms. The hotel is really inexpensive. This is probably because it is a mix of a hostel and a hotel. Our stay at Bloomrooms was not the most luxurious but we did not go to Bangalore to stay in our hotel all day. It was perfect for what we needed which was a place to sleep, shower, and store our belongings.
The amenities Bloomrooms offers are free wifi, towels, toiletries, room service, and free breakfast (if you book a room with this option).
There is also a bar/restaurant adjoining the hotel. At first, we thought the noise from the bar would be a problem throughout our stay, but once we were in our room, the door quieted the outside noise just fine.
The highlight of staying at Bloomrooms is the location. You have access to one of the newer neighborhoods in the city which means there are a lot of new shops, restaurants, breweries, shopping, and more. Indiranagar definitely has a residential side as well but the homes I saw where neatly tucked away and secluded from the hustle of the city.
One Weekend In Bangalore
(I omitted one travel night and morning from this guide)
Check out the below map of Bangalore so you can orient yourself with some of the places mentioned in this post.
Third Wave Coffee Roasters – A modern cafe perfect for grabbing a cup of coffee and a nice pastry before heading off to your adventure.
This was an odd highlight of the trip for me because it’s essentially just a coffee shop. But, it reminded me of home. It was also nice to get away from the busyness of the city and hang out in a place as aromatic as any coffee shop in the states.
Bannerghatta Biological Park – This national park deserves a full day! You are going to want to wake up and arrive at the park early before it gets too hot and crowded. As a biological park, Bannerghatta serves as a hub for all things animal related. There is a zoo, a center for rescued animals, a butterfly pavilion, a pet corner, an aquarium, a snake habitat, and a safari park.
Bannerghatta has something for everyone. If you have been missing the outdoors, you can walk or hike in designated areas. There are even ancient temples in the park for worship.
We arrived at the park at about 11 am and still felt like we did not have enough time to see all that we wanted. I recommend you arrive a little after the park opens so you get the most out of your experience.
We purchased our tickets for the zoo and safari upon arrival. There is an option, however, to book your activities and excursions online. But I found it was easier to book in person. The tickets to get into the zoo were inexpensive and the safari price was reasonable. We opted for an air-conditioned jeep which was fantastic! Going this route meant we had the car all to ourselves.
The zoo itself is really huge and there are a lot of animals to see. During my visit, they all seemed well taken care of which was a plus for me. We spent about two hours in the zoo walking around and taking photos.
Afterward, we went on our safari tour which was about an hour. The driver acted as a general guide, stopping at every designated point to give us basic information. The coolest part of the safari was how close we were to all of the animals in open spaces. Although seeing animals like lions and tigers outside of cages can frighten some, I personally felt very safe during the tour.
Chinita Mexican Restaurant – The story of Chinita is sweet. The owners fell in love with Mexican food while they were living in the states. When they moved back to India, they missed the distinct Mexican flavors so they decided to drop everything to start their own Mexican restaurant in Bangalore.
I had been craving Mexican food for such a long time and Chinita hit the spot! First of all, their chips and salsa spread is divine. With their variety of salsas and perfectly crispy chips, they could give Chipotle a run for their money. Now, let’s talk about the main dish. I got the pulled pork tacos and they were delicious. When people ask the question, “why would you eat Mexican food in India?” my answer is: “when I am home in Hyderabad, I eat a lot of Indian food. Having American food during a vacation is such a treat for me!”
Costa Coffee – If you need a coffee fix, this is a familiar shop that will get you what you need before you head out for your day!
Krispy Kreme – As an American who is also, an expat, I was really happy to see this shop in Bangalore. It was a little piece (or about a dozen pieces) of home that brought me so much joy. If you are looking for a way to connect back home and you want an authentic American donut, check out Krispy Kreme. It’s right next to Costa Coffee and both are a ten-minute walk from Bloomrooms.
Church Street – There are a lot of things to do in and around Church Street. This area is one of Bangalore’s busiest streets in their central business district. The array of book stores is amazing, and there are American franchises like Starbucks and Nike too.
Many restaurants populate the area as well. If you like walking, turn down any street and you are bound to stumble upon something interesting. That’s my favorite way to travel. Walking and finding things along the way!
UB City – If you are into designer clothes, shoes, and bags UB City will be perfect for you! At the top of the mall, there are also amazing restaurants. The variety of cuisines served in the area is great!
Bangalore Palace – As an architectural landmark in Bangalore, this palace has a lot of history both inside and out. Its mix of Scottish Gothic and Tudor architecture is present throughout the design of the palace. There is also a lot of familial and cultural history present within the walls. You would think every record, photo, and portrait, was saved since the beginning of time. All of the walls are filled with so many pieces. Seeing everything up close and personal makes it evident that powerful people inhabited this landmark.
When you arrive at the palace, be prepared to wait in line for about 10 minutes. You have an option to pay for the tour itself or, you can add the audio recording along with your entry fee. This audio can serve as a tour guide while you walk throughout the palace.
1131 Bar + Kitchen – I have to apologize! In my vlog, I wrote the wrong name down for this restaurant.
After a long day of touring the city, this restaurant gave us a break from walking! We sat on the top floor (the Kitchen) and enjoyed the fresh air. The oxygen was provided by the plant wall which was really nice. I truly enjoyed the food and would definitely eat there again.
*As a tourist, you will be required to pay a tourist fee at most touristic places in India.
More than a Weekend in Bangalore? Here Are Some Other Things You Can Do:
Flower Market (Krishna Rajendra (KR) Market) – The largest wholesale market for commodities in Bangalore.
Tipu Sultan’s Palace and Fort – A great place if you are interested in learning about the history of Bangalore. As a prominent landmark in the city, it is a must to visit if you have time.
National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore – Into the art scene when you travel? This gallery is composed of modern Indian art and more!
Food & Drinks near the Indiranagar Neighborhood
Are you a Foodie? Check out this list for more recommendations!
GENERAL THINGS TO KNOW
Uber works really well in Bangalore. There is also an app called Ola that I use regularly (since uber doesn’t work on my phone for some odd reason). Ola is just like Uber and is a great back-up app to have.
There is a metro system in the city. I did not use it but I was told it was a good way to get around the city.
Although Indiranagar is ‘walkable’ the sidewalks are a bit wonky so be careful! And of course, wear comfortable shoes.
The clothing in Bangalore is as cosmopolitan as the city. I actually wore some of my Indian inspired outfits during the trip and sort of stood out. A lot of people dress in western clothing compared to people in Hyderabad. I would still recommend you dress more on the modest side (i.e. no short shorts, limit cleavage exposure, etc). But it’s up to you!
Most people speak English. The main language used in Hyderabad (Telugu) doesn’t translate well in Bangalore so English is a safe option.
Places in Bangalore do not usually open until about 10 am or 11 am.
Bring tissue or toilet paper with you to the Zoo. There wasn’t any in the bathrooms when I went.
Bangalore is called the city of lakes because there are roughly twenty-five lakes in the city.
It’s said that Bangalore has the highest traffic congestion in all of India. However, I did not feel like it was worse than Hyderabad’s traffic.
There is an amalgamation of different cultures in Bangalore. This is due to the diverse number of faiths present within the population. There are places of worship like churches, temples, and mosques.