If you’re looking for ideas of where to visit for your next holiday or travel adventure, then you may very well want to consider India. India is one of the most underrated countries on the planet, which is why we’re here today to convince you that India is well worth visiting.
When most of us think of India, we can’t help but think of those gloriously cheesy Bollywood movies, as well as some of the most amazing cuisine in existence. Seriously, it is worth visiting India for the food alone as the authentic dishes you’ll sample over there are nothing like the “curries” you’ll find at your local 2 for 1 pub chain during the week.
We aren’t here to talk Indian food, though, we’re here to talk about India in general. You see, one of the main reasons why people are hesitant to travel to India is because they’re concerned about the safety. There are certain things you need to be aware of before you visit India, but once you know the ins and outs, you’ll want to book your ticket sooner rather than later.
Here are se7en things you need to know before visiting India.
There are good areas and bad areas
When people ask is it safe to travel to India, the answer is generally a resounding ‘Yes’. India is one of the most beautiful and eye-opening countries on the planet, and for the most part, it is a very safe place to visit.
Like pretty much anywhere else in the world, though, there are good areas in India and there are bad areas. Before you book your trip and accommodation, it’s important that you learn as much about the area you plan on visiting as possible.
Read forums online, as your travel agent, and do your own research online and find out as much as you can.
You must drink bottled water
Back home, we take a lot of things for granted, including being able to drink water directly from a tap/faucet. In India, though, this is not the case. When in India, you must never drink water from the tap, no matter how thirsty you may be.
There are many more water-born diseases in India than there are back home, and as a result, drinking tap water can make you incredibly sick and could even be life-threatening.
Once there, one of your main priorities should be to find a reputable store that sells bottled water, and stock up with as much as you can.
Avoid the street food
Now, this is such a shame because Indian street food tastes absolutely divine and is amongst the best you will ever taste. Sadly, because of high temperatures, a lack of refrigeration, and generally unsanitary conditions, much of the street food that you consume in India will likely make you sick.
If you’ve ever heard of ‘Delhi Belly’ you’ll know exactly what we mean. We aren’t saying all street food will make you sick because it won’t, and there are plenty of hygienic and perfectly sanitary street food vendors all over the country.
As a foreigner in an unknown land, though, it really isn’t worth taking the risk unless you are as close to certain as possible, that the street food you’re planning on eating is fresh, clean, and sterile.
The roads are manic
You certainly don’t need us to tell you how dangerous it can be on the roads in any country, but India takes things to a level many of you will never have imagined.
Seriously, if you are planning on driving in India, our advice is not to bother. In most parts of the country, laws, rules, and regulations go out of the window and people drive as they please.
Cars, lorries, vans, and motorcycles often won’t give way, they’ll drive on whichever side of the road they feel like, they’ll go the wrong way at roundabouts, and they’ll use their indicators even less frequently than a BMW driver.
Crossing the road as a pedestrian is not much better, so take your time, look carefully, and don’t take any unnecessary risks. If crossing the street safely means walking to a quieter stretch of road then go ahead and get walking.
You will need to haggle
If you’re good at haggling then you’ll be in your element when shopping in India, and you’ll be able to snag yourself some amazing bargains. If, however, haggling isn’t your thing, you might want to learn. Having gained some insight into the art of haggling during my first trip to China, I can safely say it might not come easy to all of you.
You see, over here, when shopping on the High Street, items cost what they cost, and that’s that. In India, despite price tags and labels, you can haggle over pretty much anything.
Whatever you’re planning on buying, there’s a good chance that the initial price of an item will be far greater than it’s worth. Now comes the time to haggle. Try to do your research to find out the average price of the types of items you plan on buying, as that will give you a figure to aim for.
Be very careful around stray dogs
In certain parts of India, especially around towns, cities, and larger villages, you’ll find stray dogs just wandering around by themselves, quite happily doing their own thing.
Now, we all love doggos, right? If not, what kind of a heartless animal are you?! Only kidding, but even cat people like me can appreciate a nice dog. When we see an animal, our first instinct is normally to pet them. No matter how cute the dog may look, you should be very, very careful around them.
Stray dogs could potentially be aggressive, but even if they aren’t, they could very well carry diseases such as rabies, and be infested with ticks, fleas, worms, and such like.
You should also resist the temptation to food strays, as what often happens is that more strays turn up when they smell the food, fights break out, and things can turn very violent and very dangerous.
Finally, despite the intense heat, there are certain sacred parts of India where dressing disrespectfully could land you in some very serious trouble.
When visiting shrines, places of worship, and other sacred and religious places, you should not go showing off too much skin. You obviously don’t need to be dressed head to toe in knitwear, but you’ll want something that offers way more coverage than say, shorts and a vest or tank top.
So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, you can once again focus on all of the many, many positives that are associated with India. Go on, pack your case and get over there. You won’t regret it.
Until then, stay curious and don’t stop wandering!