India… It takes you up to the mountain of excitement and swipes you off to the bottom of misery. It makes you think; consider, rethink and reconsider. It takes your eyes out and replaces it with a new pair with a clear vision. This clumsy metaphor is my way of describing India, my dream since I was 12 and now my curse.
Don’t take it wrong, this country is amazing in its own way, but if you are not ready to appreciate it, you probably gonna hate it there. It’s a tough mix of beauty and misery, sadness and happiness.
Must know things before going to India
I allowed myself to start this post in a metaphoric way because jumping into practical advises didn’t feel right. However, I did prepared few handy advises for you.
Before your trip to India
- I brought probiotics for my whole family to abide food poisoning and it worked very well: we ate in most local places and didn’t have any digestion problems. From now on, I will take these pills with me every time I travel to spicy-food destinations.
What to wear in India
- Buy a mask, because the city is very polluted (when I say “city” I mean every single one we’ ve visited in this trip)
- Put closed shoes and put modest clothes, avoid shorts and skirts. We went for shopping and got couple local outfits thus avoiding problems of not getting to some touristic places;
Hotels in India
- Booking.com doesn’t handle payments, so be ready to pay at hotel and either pay a disadvantage conversion rate or get enough of cash which you can easily exchange in city center or numerous bazars. They will always offer you to exchange money at the hotel but the rate is worse then in any other place. Note then sometimes you can negotiate the rate depending on how much money you exchange.
- If you chose to stay in a cheaper hotel, opt for bringing your own towel.
About sightseeing in India
- Line to Lotus Temple may go for hundreds meters, with no space between people. However, if you just go to the free park next to it, you can still see it through the fence. So, if you only want to see it outside – no need to wait.
- Tiger Safari is very popular attraction in national parks. Getting tickets to tiger safari is quite a ride too! You’ ll need register your identity to book the entry on the website before you go to the park, arrive before certain hour and take your tickets in the ticket window. Then, one of the guides will show you to the car. My point is – make sure you checked all the conditions on the website. To be sure to see the tiger, promise driver the tip if he shows you a feline.
During the stay
- There are a lot of children and poor people asking for money. Personally, I ignored children because I didn’t want to support child begging. They were crossing roads, going between the cars in a very dangerous way. So, my personal advice is not to give any money and not to buy anything from them. If you don’t feel comfortable with refusing people, get some small coins in your pockets, there’re a lot of adults begging on the markets and streets as well.
- Wash your hands every time you have such a possibility;
- Indians prefer to use toilet shower rather then toilet paper thus quite often you won’t find any.
- Taking a driver is always a good idea, its cheap and significantly improves your stay. When estimating the cost add 10-20% of tips expected to be paid to the driver directly. It’s a country where everyone expects a tip.
- If in rather touristic place someone is offering you help, you have to either clearly refuse it or pay some tips.
- Always bargain the price, sometimes it’s ridiculous, the price can go down to one third of the initial.
- When buying groceries, you can check the market price (MRP) next to the date of expiration, that is the price they are supposed to sell products.
Almost forgot about very important cultural thing, be ready to be asked to ba taken a photo with, be ready for people starring at you – its their way to express curiosity , it’s harmless but can get annoying when you are not ready. I played it as if I was a famous person and everyone wanted a pic with me – I had a great fun and people were happy that I was so keen to take a photo with them (it makes you loose a lot of time but you shouldn’t be in hurry in India)
Free Travel Itinerary in India
This trip was planned as a surprise for my mum’s birthday; I met her at the airport in Kiev and gave her the printed plan for our trip with some more info on the destination. I very much enjoyed doing this and now I am as glad to share an adapted version of it with you for free!
There’re recommendations on must try food in India, practical information about sightseeing and suggestions of the program. This was our trip to Golden Triangle in India, step be step.