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Travel in India is an amazing adventure. It challenges even the most seasoned of travelers, but that challenge pays off with one of the most dynamic dynamic places I have ever been! The food, culture, landscape and people will make you feel all the emotions! Here are 12 tips that we think are good to know leading up to a trip.
- Be ready for sensory overload! We spent a total of just under 3 months traveling in a few different areas and one thing that is certain is that you are at a heightened alert the whole time.
2. Eat as much and as many things as you can. Don’t hold back, it is not the time to concern yourself with the nutritional value of the foods. The recipes all over this country are as diverse as they are delicious, so plan to eat, guilt free and enjoy every bite! With that in mind…
3. Be ready for some Delhi Belly! Yes, it will probably happen. Yes, it will probably come at an inopportune time, but there is probably no way around it so just embrace it! After all, there are bum guns at virtually every toilet so clean up happens on the spot!
4. The areas around the Golden Triangle are cool in the winter months. This may not be a shocker to most, but when we thought of India, we thought heat, lots and lots of heat. Arriving to Delhi in mid-January alarmed us with the cooler temps and it is best to be prepared with some extra layers. This also made for more pleasant sightseeing, so it works out to a benefit in the end.
5. Be prepared for staring and lots of it. Men, we get it easy. Just general staring and a fascination that can only be compared to how it must be to dine out as a celebrity. Women, however, this can get strange and annoying very fast. It does not do much good to stare back as it is seen as encouragement for more, there is no way that we can tell to stop it other than making a scene and embarrassing the person or people staring. It is simply a way of the culture and something that you should know about. This leads us to…
6. How to dress for women. Lianne spent countless time reading many travel bloggers about this as she likes to be respectful. Obviously, wearing revealing or tight clothing will draw a lot of attention and will be viewed as disrespectful in many places, so do it at your own risk. Best to cover shoulders, cleavage and legs and keep the clothes looser fitting. For more on this in detail and on India as a whole, we point you to this amazing site.
7. Train travel is an adventure on its own and should be experienced! We cannot express the joys we had in taking numerous overnight trains all over India! Great way to meet locals, travel cheap and even save money on accommodations.
8. Get ready to bargain! Negotiation is a lifestyle in India and virtually every transaction will have it to some extent. Do it with a light heartedness and keep it fun to get the best deals. Always try for the walk away strategy for a final attempt to get your price.
9. Riding in Tuk-Tuks is equally fun and scary! Weaving through the traffic of Delhi or Mumbai in one of these will have you second guessing your decision, but despite the chaos on the roads we saw very few, if any, accidents.
10. The use of horns is prominent, everywhere and will likely begin to sound like a screeching tea kettle at some point. We found that this finally got to us. We left Delhi for Singapore and being in a city where you heard very few horns seemed too good to be true at times.
11. It is dirty. Yep, it is, everywhere. Very few times did we feel as though it was beyond something we could stand, but it is best to be prepared for the filth. Have plenty of hand sanitizer and use it often. If it is rainy, have the appropriate footwear as the dusty roads turn to a thin layer of mud and puddles. The air is also dirty so if you have concerns about what you are breathing be sure to have a face mask.
12. The people are truly amazing and friendly. Everywhere you go, there will always be someone trying to get something off of you and that is true in India as well. For the most part however, we found the locals to be courteous, friendly, proud of their country and excited to show it to you!
There are always reasons to go or not to go anywhere and we think that holds true for India too. What we have found in our travels is that the good always outweighs the bad, so it is best to go and see for yourself. This country is wonderful and beautiful with so much rich history that it should not be missed.