India is a country that offers a vast variety of language and cultural diversity. It is a beautiful place to visit but many people find it odd because it is very different from western world. Below are the top 12 tips that will help you travel India with ease even if you are a first time traveler.Credit: Wikipedia
1. Use advanced booking and choose your route wisely
Rather than deciding every thing at the last-minute it is good to book your trip in advance. You can use services like makemytrip.com or yatra.com. It is good to have an Indian with you as a guide so that he/she can help you travel with ease. Make sure that he/she knows English. India is a country with about more than one billion citizen. That is why population becomes a headache for many traveler. So try visiting places with low population like backwaters of Kerala or any hill station is possible. Below is a video that can help to choose your route wisely.
2. Never drive yourselves
In India, traffic rules do not exist because very few people follow them. So better than driving yourself it will be a good idea to hire air-conditioned CAB that you can get at a relatively low-cost. You can search online for such services. They can also help you travel from one city to another. It will be better to take roadways for travel and not railways due to rush. In Delhi and Kolkatta Metro trains are good option.
3. Stay safe
Never travel alone through dark sides and lonely roads of India. The emergency number for police in India is '911' and '100'. India has a modest culture that is why covering your body, arms and legs, specially for women is advisable.
4. Get ready for noise and traffic jam
If you are travelling through rural areas of India, noise is a basic issue due to huge population. Wherever you are going to airport or somewhere important go early about 1 hour before because you may get delayed due to traffic jam. The best way to avoid traffic jam is to travel via national highways or state highway.
5. Bargain while shopping
Feel free to bargain while shopping, especially when shopping at the street vendors. Many of them try to fool by doubling the price of the product and saying that the product is of excellent quality. Many times I bought the products at 50% of the cost price.
6. Use Language Translators
Many Indians don't know to speak in English. That is why it could be a good move to use Google Translate or any other service where ever needed. Many translators including Google translate give voice feedback while translating and is available on Android and iOS which is pretty handy to use. Whenever you meet some one new, join your hands together and say "Namaste" which means "Greetings" in Hindi, which is the national language.
7. Always take enough rupees and do not use dollar or any other medium
Many times I have seen Indian salesman pointing out 10 rupees with their fingers and foreigners pay 10 dollars (about 500 rupees) to them. So always pay in rupees and not in dollars or any other medium. Never send your money to a person or any company that you don't know or trust and try having transactions with reputed brands. Take more 10 or 20 rupees note since most of the services do not cost more than 20 rupees. And also don't pay more than 20 rupees as tip. It is not a good idea to give money to beggars even if you want to because the money actually goes to some one else and not to the person you are trying to help.
8. Do not travel with all your cash or passport
Foreigners are easily being fooled in India that is why it is a good idea to keep most of your belongings in the hotel safe, and never carry all of your cash or passport with you and never trust any person you don't know.
9. Try local food
Food is of no problem in India. Most metropolitan cities in the country have every cuisine and fast food chains. Local food is great, and you should definitely try some of them. Each and every place in India has different local food due to varied culture. It will be good if you don't eat food from street vendors. Many hotels do offer the same food with better hygiene.
If you want to experience the animals in India, visit a national park for a safari. You can see the most interesting resting areas of animals like the peacock, deers and lion only with an experienced guide. Seeing tigers is not guaranteed. But you can always watch less dangerous animals in closer proximity. The best season to visit the park is between November and March.
10. Use mineral water bottle
It is good to make sure that you are drinking mineral water with seal on it or perfectly boiled water. Do not drink tap water. Try avoiding ice in your drinks at street vendors. Since many diseases in India spread due to water contamination.
11. Enjoy festivals
In India, we have festival all around the year. From Holi (the festival of colors) to Diwali (the festival of light). These festivals are celebrated because of ancient rituals and beliefs of important dates associated with different gods and goddesses.
12. Visit Religious Places
India has many religions centers including temple, mosques and churches. You should definitely visit such places as it gives look to India's old and unique heritage. Before you enter any temple make sure that you remove your footwear outside the temple.
The top temples in India include
- The Konark Sun Temple
- Tanjavour temple
- Somnath Temple
- Stanchi Stupas
- Golden Temple (pictured below)
With these tips you can travel comfortably, safely and have good health.
Happy Travel! "Namaste (Greetings)!"