Tips For Travelling In India
Posted on February 8, 2020
India is a land of diverse cultures, religions and traditions and most of the cities are bustling with traffic, people and noise. Your first time travel to India may seem to you as an assault on your senses; however the following recommendations on various aspects will help you to enjoy your holidays in India to the fullest.
How Not to Get Scammed:
• Try as far as possible to frequent shops which have ‘fixed rate’ like the government approved shops or learn to bargain like the locals.
• Avoid giving money to beggars as very soon you will be surrounded by hordes of them.
• Be aware of the road routes through your GPS as that will alert you if the rickshaw driver is overtly overcharging you or taking a wrong route.
• Do not give too much of value to gemstones touted as such and sold by people at tourist locations and pay them money as you would for a souvenir.
• Do not accept food in any form from strangers and check seals of bottles to ensure they have not been tampered before using them.
• Always use the ATMs for obtaining cash.
• Always verify the change especially if it runs in big amounts.
• Get SIM cards in India from an official of the service provider.
• Research on your destination and get knowledgeable on it before turning up.
Etiquette to be followed at Temples:
• Flower offerings to be placed before the deity while entering a Hindu temple as a symbol of respect.
• Removal of shoes before entering the temple is a must preferably at the flower shop.
• Use of ear plugs to drown out the chaos and din that is prevalent at some of the temples so that you can take in the spiritual aura that prevails there.
• Take the benefit of ‘special darshan’ that is available at most of the temples in order to avoid standing in the long queues that are normally present for the darshan.
• Look for a quiet spot within the temple premises and meditate; it can be a life-changing experience for you.
Safe Handling Of Money:
• Carry cash especially ten rupee notes as credit cards will be accepted only at big establishments.
• You can conceal your passport and money under your clothing in a passport pouch or so.
• Use Citibank ATMs for withdrawals amounting to more than Rs 10,000.
Packing List of Main Items:
• Passport Pouch is advisable as it helps to keep your passport and money concealed beneath your clothes.
• Charcoal tablets for tackling incidences of diarrhoea and dysentery, first aid kit and electrolytes for extra dose of hydration.
• Stock of pro bio tics for travel to India helps in improving your natural immunity.
• Indian power adapter is needed; carry one that is specifically tested in your own country.
• Life straw filter to cleanse drinking water wherever bottled water is not available is worth packing.
• Travel insurance from a travel insurance provider who covers everything a traveller will require for his travel to India.
Eating, Drinking & Vaccinations:
• Go veggie during your vacation in India and eat freshly cooked food from restaurants that are busy.
• Avoid too spicy food and if you want to sample street food take the required precautions.
• Stay well hydrated, use a lot of coconut water and drink only bottled water.
• Do not forget to take all the necessary vaccinations.
Some More Recommendations To Travel To India:
No therapist can teach you as much about patience as India. I can only give you some practical examples where you must arm yourself with patience:
• Train and bus schedule
• In the queues (any of them)
• Tuk-tuks, merchants and other stalkers
Train and buses:
You usually know when your train or your bus leaves, but never pay attention to the arrival time as it can vary from a few minutes to 5-7 hours. The roads and highways of India leave much to be desired and their natives are not that they are stressed much to improve the situation.
In The Queues, Any Of Them:
The Indians do not understand respect for the order of arrival within a row of people waiting for their turn for something. Therefore, do not expect that when you arrive at a ticket counter to buy your train ticket, bus or any other tourist attraction, respect your turn.
Tuk-Tuk And Other Merchants:
As soon as you reach a point of tourist confluence there will be one billion drivers of the so-called tuk-tuk or autorickshaw, willing to help you and take you to your destination. Even if you repeat them a thousand and one times when you go by taxi, bus or walking they will never give up. The same happens with different scammers who will try to sell things of all kinds in markets or on any street. Don’t try to talk to them in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu or the language you think the guy speaks because it doesn’t work. You are a foreigner and they smell it for miles. Do not become the local.
Get Used To Being Looked At And Photographed:
At first you will feel harassed with such a brazen look. Again, they don’t do it badly, they just are like that, and you’re the weirdo who has gone to visit their country. They still didn’t see a tourist in years and want to know how you act, what you do, what you read and even what you have in your pockets. They want to know everything! If you want to do the test, when you are in a bus or a train and you have Indians on your sides, take out your cell phone and after 3 seconds look what they are doing: Look at your screen with impudence! All Indians want a selfie with you (and they are over a billion).
Tip: smile and make friends in the meantime. If you’re a girl, keep an eye on where they put their hands for the selfie, they would never touch an Indian woman, so they shouldn’t touch you on the shoulder, waist, etc.
Take Care Of Your Clothes:
Especially if you are a girl and want to avoid looks and misunderstandings that there are Indians who have not seen a shoulder or a knee for years, they have never seen one more than in a Bollywood movie. There are foreign women who even buy a Sari or a Kurta to feel more integrated and eliminate some looks. You don’t have to get to this, so be careful to cover neckline, shoulders and legs is more than enough.
Use Of Tissue Paper Or Cleaner:
In India, toilet paper is not used, but rather a hose with a pressure jet is used to clean your intimate parts. Sometimes this sleeve is not very practicable and it is better to use a clínex or a toilet paper to clean yourself and everything around you.
Smell Everything, Get Ready:
• Smell like cow shit almost always
• Smell a mixture of spices and beetle (one of the things they chew)
• There are markets and other shops that smell
Repellent Of Mosquito:
In India you can get many diseases and in most cases these insects are to blame. Therefore, in areas of beach, jungle, rice paddies or tea fields, look for accommodations that always have a mosquito net. Either that, or take your own. Daily wear long sleeves or always have a good repellent on hand. Keep in mind that mosquitoes go out “to eat” in the hours of sunrise and sunset. Be especially careful in this time slot.
Travel With Insurance:
Take a good travel insurance that covers you throughout the country and act fast. Private hospital in India is good.
Travel By Train:
Many people express their fear when traveling by train, especially when doing so in Sleeper Class or second class. In my opinion, real India is in this means of transport and if you want to live it, there is no better way to do it.
If you travel in the sleeper class (for me, the one that is cooler), also called SL, I recommend you have a sleeping bag or a sheet (because of the cold and dust in India). It is also advisable some earplugs and a mask to avoid the light. When you travel in the sleeper class always choose the upper birth, they are the ones that will less bother you.
There are different applications to book the ticket online but the cheapest option is to do it through the official website of the rail network IRCTC (you need an Indian number, it is not difficult to get one at any mobile phone store). Use the Indian Rail Info application to view the schedule in real time.