India is a country steeped in history, culture and tradition. That’s what makes it such a desirable tourist destination. The opportunity to see the sights and sounds are too good to pass up. Intricate and stunning architecture. Divine and irresistible cuisine. Warm and welcoming hospitality. There are very few places on this earth that can rival the all-around experience of India.
If you’ve been before, you’ll already be well aware of what a special country it is. But you’ll also be aware that it can be something of a culture shock. So, if you’re planning your first trip to India, there are a few things you need to be aware of. Let’s review them now, so that you don’t suffer any nasty surprises once you’re out there.
Avoid Street Food
I’m sure you’ve heard that before. And equally, I’m sure you’ve heard somebody recommend the alternative. The former argument is that by eating street food, your chances of becoming ill are increased greatly. This is perhaps down to the lack of food safety regulations on the street. Others will argue that you can’t appreciate the full experience of a country without engaging in local culture. As far as India is concerned, I’d recommend swerving the street food. Traveler’s sickness is notorious around India, and I’m sure you’ve heard at least one horror story. Also stick to bottled water as a strict rule rather than a guideline.
Respect the Culture
India as a country is extremely proud. They may well be very hospitable towards tourists, but they expect you to treat their values and customs with respect in return. It’s not a lot to ask, really, is it? Be aware of dress regulations when visiting tourist hotspots. Be aware of local prayer. Identify the differences in cultures across different regions. Above all, make sure you treat people, especially elders, with respect. You can learn more about specific places, traditions and beliefs at indiatravelforum.in.
Beat the Traffic
I’m sure you’ve seen Indian traffic depicted in Hollywood as unruly, hectic and outright dangerous at times. For once, this isn’t a figment of moviemakers’ imaginations. Forget everything you know about Western travel, because the rulebook flies out the window. Red lights and stop signs no longer seem to mean ‘wait patiently.’ The concept of lanes are more of a theory than a practice. Speed is relative. Western drivers should take caution before braving the roads in India. It’s better if you can avoid it altogether, as the noisy and chaotic scenes can be overwhelming.
Learn to Negotiate
Haggling might be common in the Western world, but in India it’s a regular occurrence. The fastest way to identify yourself as a tourist is to simply accept the asking price. Market in India work differently to those you’re used to. Prices are hiked because the stall operators know that customers will try to bargain with them. It can become something of a stalemate process, but brushing up on your negotiation skills will save you a lot of money.