So you have decided to come to India but have no idea how to get by and what to do once you are here?
Although there are plenty of websites which will give you firsthand experience and ideas on what to do, Let us give you some tips on getting by and around…
What we would prefer though is that you give us a call and we convince you to book a tour with us. However, ours is a free country the last time we checked, and every one has the right to choose, we thought we would give some knowledge nuggets to help you make your stint in India an easier one even if you are not traveling with us on one of our trips.
Please ensure that you get a Visa before the departure from your respective country, as India does not provide a Visa on Arrival service.
Although, travelling in India is relatively open, some areas like the Restricted areas of North East and the Inner Line areas of the Border (Khardung La and beyond, Pangong Tso & the Changthang Region of Ladakh and Spiti Valley) require an Inner Line Permit. These permits have to be availed from the regional District Magistrate’s offices and you have to be personally present to have a photograph clicked. You could also ask the hotel staff who should be able to assist you in procuring these. For the North East region, you would have to apply for permits in Delhi.
Always keep your passport on your person, not only for its security, but to be shown when asked to by the Cops and other Law Officers.
When you disembark, you have to go through Immigrations, collect your baggage and then you exit the Terminal… This is where things start getting colorful and interesting… and unless you are booked with us, somewhat dangerous.
Beware of Touts, Louts and Taxi Drivers who would be all over you to drop you where ever you need to be dropped to. Do not, we repeat, Do Not even think of getting into one of such taxis. Always prefer to take a Pre-Paid TSR/Taxi or better still, get a radio cab.
Radio Cabs are expensive @ INR 25.00 per Kilometer (as of now), but they are the safest of all the public transport options and you are sure of the amount you need to pay and the amount you are actually shelling out. They are run by professionally managed companies which have a good track record of safety and punctuality.
Prepaid TSR/Taxi are a cheaper alternative to those unruly, risky and sometimes dangerous cabbies who would try to fleece you off your hard earned money and ask for more than what would be due as they do not run on the Fare Meter. The best response you would get if you question about the Fare Meter is “Not Working”
Another cheaper Option is using aggregator type services like OLA or UBER for travel purposes. Fares start from INR 6.00 per kilometer plus INR 1.00 per minute of travel time plus applicable taxes. These services have become popular over the past 1 year and have been a blessing for all commuters.
Now you have finally managed to survive the melee when you exited the airport terminal and managed to get into a cab without being jostled, mauled or molested. Your second thing of importance is to find a place to rest your weary jet-lagged body.
Ideally, you should have a hotel pre-booked for you so that no one has a chance to take you for a ride or make a quick buck off you. All the cabbies have a commission prefixed with the hotels they refer you to. Sometimes it is a good experience and sometimes, it turns out to be the worst, and it never is a good way to start seeing a country when your first impressions have not been satisfying.
Unless you are traveling with us, we would advise you to always have a hotel pre-booked when you travel, or if pre-booking was not possible, try to stay in hotels which have a good rating on Tripadvisor.com. Our experience has been that this website has reviews posted by travelers about all hotels around the world and has a plethora of hotels listed which would suit all budgets.
India is famous for giving Tourists, especially Westerners the dreaded “Delhi Belly”. This is an ailment where the patient suffers Diarrhea and Stomach Cramps, and the cause usually happens due to unhygienic ground conditions like contaminated water.
To avoid Delhi Belly, make sure that you have food which is freshly cooked, served piping hot and most importantly, and most importantly, always carry your own bottled drinking water for rehydration and quenching your thirst. Tap water is NOT potable and is NOT fit for drinking.
Always wash your hands before and after having meals and keep “Kleenex” wet wipes with you in abundance.
Delhi Belly usually lasts till about 3-5 days (mean 3.5 days), after which the patient starts to feel better and is on the road to recovery, however, if the symptoms (diarrhea and stomach cramps) become severe, or there are more symptoms, like Fever, shaking Chills, or Bloody stool, then it is best that you seek medical advice as it could become life threatening and may develop into something more critical.
India is famous for its culture, tradition, architecture, colorful attire, and the variety of ethnicities which have managed to co-exist in this cauldron. Your trip would be incomplete if you do not visit some of the areas which have managed to highlight and preserve these things.
Depending on your requirement, there are a lot of things India can offer the quintessential traveller.
We have White Water Rafting in Rishikesh, Motorcycle tours, Jeep Safaris, National parks, Bio-diversity regions and protected areas for those who want to go wild life hunting (with the camera), treks for those who like to walk, special interest tours for the people with a quest for knowledge about the country and its flora and fauna. You could experience Royalty-like treatment in Rajasthan, pamper yourself in the middle of a desert, Museums, Light & Sound shows depicting the history of Delhi, Forts, Palaces, Havelis, Home Stays for that unique local flavor, hot air balooning, Mountain Climbing expeditions and so on so forth.
For local sightseeing in Delhi, opt for the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus service started by the Delhi Government and Delhi Tourism, which makes a trip of Delhi’s monument circuit. More info is available on this link:
If you have opted for a package tour, some of the things you have to be careful of is that make sure that the person you have contacted knows what he is doing. Plenty many times, we have heard that the vacation was spoiled due to bad planning and no infrastructure or the customers were over promised with little in terms of delivery.
Do a background check about how long have they been in existence, any prior referrals, customer feedback etc etc.
While buying souvenirs or mementos, make sure that you bargain for the best deal, rather than taking things at the value mentioned. Usually, the price is hiked up when they see foreigners in order to make a fast buck, and to accommodate the commission which would have to be paid to the guy (usually your tour guide/cabbie/Auto rickshaw driver) who showed you the shop where you picked up that beautiful rug or that wonderful Hookah or that tribal mask or that pretty looking ethnic dress.
A good rule for bargaining in places like Delhi Haat, or the plethora of small privately owned shops is to make your starting offer about 50% less than the price quoted. If the shopkeeper starts to protest, then negotiate upwards to a price you feel is right for the item.
If you show that you do not want to pay anything more than what you said initially, start walking away and most likely, you would end up with the item you really wanted to buy at a fraction of the price originally mentioned.
This way, you did not get fleeced and the other guy also made some money from the sale; A win-win situation for both parties.
For traveling, we have a world class Delhi Metro service which has managed to connect pretty much all of Delhi, but there are certain areas which are outside the service area, hence traveling to them could prove to be a bit of a pain. However, there are plenty of Auto Rickshaws and taxis plying the roads so traveling to those places would not be problem. However, make sure that the cab runs using the fare meter or if that is not possible, discuss and finalize the fare before you actually start the journey.
Always keep a map handy and keep your eyes and ears open to make sure that you are not being taken for a ride. There have been instances when the actual distance to a place from the origin point of travel was 10 kilometers and the driver actually took the passengers the long way round to make some extra cash.
The official language of India is English, with Hindi being our national Language. Please note that just knowing these languages is not a guarantee of being able to communicate with the local populace.
We have people who do not speak English and then just like Chinese, there are multiple dialects of Hindi which can be quite confusing. We have listed below some terms and phrases which are common to all dialects and should come in handy if you are stuck in any situation or place.
When traveling to any country, it is always best to know the customs and traditions of the place to ensure that you do not end up in hot waters just because you forgot to pay attention to the way you dressed or looked at someone.
India as a whole is a very very conservative country with deep-seated traditions and culture and family values. We do not consider a person staying with his parents a failure. He is often looked up to as he looks after his aging parents who sacrificed their comfort and desires in order to see him as a successful person.
Always wear clothes which cover rather than bare your skin. For ladies, traditional clothing like Salwar -Kameez are a good way of making sure you not offend someone or attract unwanted attention from the males.
When visiting a religious place, keep your head covered. No body part should be exposed apart from hands, feet and face. Never wear shoes in a place of worship. Never utter a word which could offend someone’s religious feelings, and most important of all, NEVER SHOW AFFECTION TOWARDS YOUR PARTNER IN A PUBLIC PLACE.
Although after reading this, one may think have I bitten off more than I can chew? But these are the hazards of traveling to places like India… taking care of some stuff can you can have a wonderful trip which would be an adventure of a lifetime with unforgettable memories!
Some phrases and words in Hindi which would come in handy when you come to India
|English Words||Hindi Translation|
|I, me||Mein, Mera|
|His/Theirs||Uska (singular) Unka (plural). Although if you say “Unka” it shows respect.|
|Modes of transport|
|Two||Do (Pronounced as Doh with the H being silent)|
|Ten||Duss (Pronounced as Thuss)|
|Days of the Week|
|Monday||Som – vaar|
|Tuesday||Mangal – Vaar|
|Thursday||Brahaspati – Vaar|
|Friday||Shukra – Vaar|
|Saturday||Shani – Vaar|
|Greetings & Conversational Phrases|
|Hi! Hw are you?||Namastey! Aap Kaisey hain?|
|Good evening!||Shubh sundhyaa|
|Welcome! (to greet someone)||Aapka swaagat hai!|
|How are you?||Aap kaisey hain?|
|I’m fine, thanks!||Mein theek hoon, shukriya!|
|And you?||– Aur aap?|
|Good/ So-So||Accha/ Theek-thaak|
|I missed you so much!||Mujhey aapkee bahut yaad aaee!|
|What’s new?||Kyaa chal rahaa hai?|
|Nothing much||Zyaada kuch nahi|
|Good night!||Shubh Raatri|
|See you later!||Phir milen-gay.!|
|Asking for Information/Help and Directions|
|We are lost||Hum kho gaye hain.|
|Can I help you?||Kya mein aapki madad kar sakta/ sakti (female) hoon?|
|Can you help me?||Kya aap meri madad kar saktey hain?|
|Where is the (bathroom/ pharmacy)?||Toilet/ chemist kahaan hai?|
|Go straight! then turn right/ left!||Seedhey jaaey! Phir bānyae/ dānyae mudiye|
|I’m looking for John.||Mein John ko dhoondh rahaa/ rahi (female) hoon.|
|One moment please!||Ek minute|
|Hold on please! (phone)||Ek minute hold kijiye|
|How much is this?||Yeh kaisey diyaa/Yeh kitney ka diya?|
|Excuse me||Kshama (the K remains silent) keejeeae|
|Come with me!||Mere saath aao!|
|When does the train come||Train kab aayegi?|
|Lets have food||Chalo Khana khaayein|
|Is this food Veg or Non Veg||– Kya Yeh Veg hai ya Non Veg|
|Is this food fresh?||Kya yeh khaana Taaza hai?|
|Where does this road go?||– Yeh Sadak kahaan jaati hai?|
|What place is this?||– Yeh jagah kaunsi hai?|
|I am going to (name of the place)||Mein (Name of the place) jaa raha hoon|
|Introducing Yourself and asking others for introductions|
|Hi, my name is John/Jane.||Namastey, Mera naam John/Jane Hai|
|What is your name?||Aapka Naam kya hai?|
|I work as a website Designer||Mein website designing ka kaam karta hoon|
|I come from America||Mein America se aaya/aayi (feminine) hoon|
|What do you do (Profession)||Aap kya kaam kartey hain?|