Many people have asked us about our trip to India last year and asked for tips – so here they are!
- DO NOT DRINK THE WATER! Drink only bottled water, and make sure it is sealed when you buy it. In restaurants and hotels, rather ask for no ice – even though the chances are they are using bottled water to make the ice, rather not take a chance. Use bottled water to brush your teeth. Don’t open your mouth when you shower – and eat cooked food. Don’t eat salads as you aren’t sure how the lettuce has been washed – in tap water or bottled so rather just stay away. Their curries are so yummy so ditch the salads anyway – you are on holiday!
- I would recommend not eating off the streets – street food smells delish and looks even better but rather not take a chance. There are lots of restaurants that your hotel can recommend, or use Tripadvisor or your guide. Our tour guide took us to wonderful restaurants where we ate curry and na’an bread until we couldn’t fit into our pants. Our tummies are more sensitive to new foods and rather go to approved restaurants. Majority of the hotels have in house restaurants too that you can try. If you are not one for Indian food, most restaurants have Western options like sandwiches and burgers and pizzas. There were some people on our tour who didn’t eat curry or Indian food for a single meal and they didn’t go hungry!
- Take Immodium, Rehydrate and probiotics with you. Just in case. And lots of hand sanitizer and wipes. We took probiotics every day and our tummies were happy and normal.
- There will be begging children wherever you look. Don’t give them money as our guide explained that money goes to unsavoury characters that use the children for their own gain. If you want to give the children something, rather give them fruit taken from the hotel or sweeties that you can bring with you from home. We also bought stationery to hand out to children when they were begging. They even bang on the bus doors to beg so don’t get a fright!
- At all of the tourist attractions, there will be hawkers trying to sell you mementos and souvenirs – IGNORE THEM. If you show any interest, they will not leave you alone. They will try get a rise out of you, don’t let them – pretend they are not there. There will be plenty of shopping opportunities, your guide can assist but try not to let the hawker harassment get to you. Breathe deeply and ignore them as they run after you! Yes, this is a skill you need to learn or you will get very irritated.
- Some attractions you will visit will have “normal” western toilets, others will be squatting toilets. Try go as often as you can where you feel comfy ie go to the loo at a restaurant or the hotel, as you don’t want to be bursting for the loo and then have to use a squat toilet if this is not for you. Often you have to pay for the use of toilets so always keep money on you for such!
- ATMs are not as easily found as here at home so draw money at the airport and then ask your hotel where else you can go. We drew at the airport and then used credit cards in all restaurants to keep our cash for other things.
- India is still very traditional so in terms of women, please cover up and stay away from revealing clothes. It will stop you getting unwanted attention. Try not to show public displays of affection with your partner too.
- Some tourist attractions or monuments will ask you to pay a camera/photography fee. So find out before hand so you can then leave your camera in the tour bus or at the hotel. The costs were quite exorbitant and often lighting bad so we made a decision based on that, if we would take camera’s in or not. Jaco also had his tripod confiscated and not allowed in to the Taj Mahaal which no one warned us of before.
I know this all sounds quite negative but I wanted to enlighten you so you know what India is all about. The people are lovely, the food is just delicious and the sights and smells and new experiences will stay with you forever!
TAKE THE TRIP! You won’t regret it.
For more info on our India trip, read my article here.
If you want to see a few of my photos, here they are – beautiful India!