You might love India, you might hate it; but one thing’s for sure – you’ll never be unaffected by it. This country of a billion is more than just an assault on the senses, as travel writers like to call it. It’s vast, noisy, incredibly diverse, ostentatious, incredibly wealthy, dirt poor, simple, extravagant all at the same time.
India is not an easy country to do, if you’re visiting for the first time. In fact, you should probably “ease” into the country after visiting a couple of other Asian destinations first, to lessen the culture shock that assaults visitors as soon as they land.
You’ll never be able to say your trip to India was boring, but here are a few tips to keep in mind, so your holiday doesn’t get too exciting to handle!
India is a hot country for the most part, except during the time from November to January when some parts of the country, particularly the North, experience chilly winters. Women should avoid long, flowing dresses that can drag on the ground – the roads leave a lot to be desired – and too skimpy attire. Indian women are modest in their clothing, and your Daisy Dukes and a Tee combo will elicit more stares than you need.
Bring most of your personal products, and other essentials. Most international brands are now available in India, but you might find your neighborhood supermarket doesn’t store the brand you use. Ditto for medication and first aid supplies. Pack plenty of insect repellent and sun block – most of the touristy areas are unbearably hot.
Food and Drink
Always drink only bottled water, and stock your bag with a few extra bottles when you’re out for the day sightseeing, or heading to a remote village. If you’re in a large group or intend to stay in a place for a while, buy larger 10,15, or 20 liter canisters, and refill your bottles as you go along.
Avoid fresh fruit juices from roadside eateries. In fact, avoid roadside stalls altogether. The taste may be divine, and the flavors mouthwatering, but unfortunately, the hygiene and sanitary conditions take a hit. Stick to high quality restaurants. I don’t mean you should eat only in five star joints, but reasonably high quality places that aren’t teeming with flies and have a clean look about the surroundings, should do fine.
Avoid salads, and fresh fruit that’s been pre cut. Avoid Western food in a restaurant that serves mainly Indian food – chances are the food might not be as fresh, because it’s not as popular with the locals. If you want a taste of home, head to a five star hotel or any one of the pizza and fast food joints cropping up all over the country.
If there’s one thing that will jump out at you the moment you land in one of the metro cities, it’s the beggars. Most beggars here are professionals, and belong to a beggar mafia. Those horrible disfigurements and amputated limbs? Chances are high that those were actually done on purpose, so the beggar could garner more loose change. Ignore them, or handover a single rupee if you have to; not more. Be generous, and you risk having an entire gaggle of beggars surrounding you, clamoring for more!
Photo of Indian market originally posted by Meanest Indian