India was fantastic and I heartily recommend it to anyone interested in travel. It’s worth mentioning a couple of things though.
First, for a US citizen and as far as I can tell for most other nationalities an Indian tourist visa is really damn expensive. Mine was 130,000 won (about 110 USD) plus the added cost of going up to and coming back from Seoul.
Also, India isn’t cheap. During most of my travels in Southeast Asia (Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Phillippines, Thailand) it’s been easy enough to find clean, air-conditioned rooms for between 20 and 35 USD per night (tripadvisor.com ftw!). I’m definitely not a high-roller, but I’m also not a budget person. If the country is hot, I need AC or I can’t sleep, and having a TV is nice as well.
Hotel-wise, 20 to 35 bucks isn’t going to get you very much in India. For whatever reason, rooms are really pricey throughout the country. Food and transportation, however, is really cheap. I’m a little guilty that I visited the country and didn’t take a single train, but when a round-trip Mumbai-Goa airplane ticket is only a little bit more expensive than a bus or train, why wouldn’t you fly? (A one hour trip versus a 12-or-more hour trip, natch.)
Keep in mind that I only visited Mumbai and Goa, but my impression matches what I’ve read about other parts of the country. It’s generally hard to find decent, middle-of-the-road levels of accommodation at decent prices so be prepared to budget accordingly.
That said, I really hope I can get back some day to see the northern part of the country — Delhi, Agra, and the Taj Mahal.