India is undoubtedly one of the richest countries for a traveler, offering a wide variety of sights, temples, magnificent palaces and cultural landmarks. Once you have decided to visit India there are must-know things that we recommend you to learn to make this unforgettable experience even more amazing. Below we offer useful travel tips for those visiting the Golden Triangle in India, which has always been one of the best travel destinations in Asia.
1. Do not worry! A certain amount of fear is quite normal: there will emerge some anxiety regardless of where you travel, it is called culture shock. So if you are up to travelling to a completely new culture, make sure you are prepared psychologically.
2. Weather should not distract you from enjoying the beauty of a new country. Many guidebooks prepare the travelers to see a lot of mess and fuss in India, but if you have overcome weather and atmosphere issues in Morocco, Egypt or Saudi Arabia, India will seem like a breeze.
3. Booking in advance is vital! You will most probably find itredolent travelling from one head of the Golden Triangle to another. The railway system of India is pretty well done-up, but it is rather occupied. Usually you cannot just come over and buy a ticket for the next train. Thus, you need to book your tickets beforehand to ensure everything is fine and well arranged.
4. Choose the right means of transportation. You will find difficulty driving a car in India, as the traffic is too heavy, streets are stuffed, there are almost no road signs, and drivers in India follow approximately no traffic regulations. The best solution here is to hire a taxi with an experienced driver: the hiring company is responsible for your security. For in-town movements you can get a cycle or a scooter:these are quite popular especially in terms of heavy traffic.
5. Make a careful choice of a hotel room. Most hotels in India have websites where you can get acquainted with their service and prices. These are usually cheaper on place: you can bargain for a reasonable price on the receptions. However, we strongly recommend you not to save up money on hotel choice: the windows of 3-4-starred hotel rooms have no isolation of sounds, which will keep you awake from having a good rest after exhausting experiences you had by day.
6. Get some help when charging devices. Before using electricity, ask for regulations from hotel attendants. The plugs and energy providence differ from those in Europe and might change from state to state as well.
7. Watch out for your properties! Robberies are common. Keep your money, passport, documents and other essentials in safelyin your hotel room and take only the minimum needed for the day.
8. Feel safe for your health. India has quite a developed medical system. The clinics, hospitals and medicines correspond to European standards. Many people arrive in Delhi to get medication on a significantly lower price than it would be in Europe. Pharmacies provide any kind of drugs and medical instruments, the only difference being their names. Nevertheless, the farther you go from centers of civilization, the harder it would be for you to find anappropriate hospital nearby.
9. “Delhi belly” is avoidable. As everywhere in the South, it is not recommended to drink water from the tap. There is purified bottled water at affordable prices available everywhere. Wash your hands, vegetables or fruits thoroughly with soap. Avoid eating anything raw: even vegetables should be steamed or fried before they appear in salads. For a stay of a week or two, you will not notice any difficulties, but if you are going to stay there longer, take some water-purifying tablets with you.
10. Keep clean and take care of your hygiene. Make sure you always have antiseptic napkins and sanitizers at your hand: in many parts of India, people have the habit of greeting newcomers by touching them. Besides, in India the left hand is considered dirty and used only in toilet, for everything else the right one is used.
11. Beware of touts! People in India are usually very friendly: you will meet a lot of strangers who have come to say “hi”;however, under no circumstances should you mix them up with touts. These usually gather around travel groups or buses, so this might serve you a nudge to travel alone instead of taking group tours. If you, anyway, have to deal with them, you should politely but firmly say “no”. No ambiguity is to be smelled in your answer; otherwise, you will find it extremely hard to get rid of them.
12. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”. This saying goes perfectly with any place on Earth you go and India is not an exception. For women it is important to wear clothes as humble and non-revealing as possible. The reason is that women in India usually wear long dresses covering the whole body; the contrast with them makes tourists look provocative to the residents.
13. Get help to avoid confusion. When coming to the train station of Delhi, Agra or Jaipur, you need to find your exact train and seat in it. To evade embarrassing situations you should hire a porter, who (for a little fare) will carry your luggage and lead you to the right place.
14. Sleeping in the street is a normal sight. Take it for granted if you see people sleeping in the streets of big cities and megalopolises.It is socially accepted, say, is already a tradition.
15. Have some clothes by hand to cover up. To enter Sikh temples people need to cover their heads. For getting into mosques, womenshould have covered heads, shoulders, and wear long dresses. You should not take anything made of leather into the temples. It is considered normal to donate some money to temples (it is dropped into boxes for donation). It is accepted to pass any religious constructions on the left side. You should treat any cult objects with respect.
16. Keep overshoes when visiting a temple. You will be asked to take off your shoes before entering any churches: overshoes will help you keep your socks or feet clean, and you can toss them out after use.
17. Taking photographs is restricted. You will be allowed to take a picture of a temple only if the warden lets you. Taking videos in national parks is allowed for extra payment to the administration. It is highly recommended that you do not photograph the representatives of certain ethnic groups and castes.
18. Greetings and conversations require certain knowledge of etiquette. It is not accepted to kiss and embrace publicly in India. The traditional greeting consists of certain hand movements. Do not try to shake hands with someone first – many religious taboos might neglect touching with hands at all. Unless a woman points her hand out you should not greet her with a handshake. Pointing at something with your index finger is considered rude. Try to avoid raising your voice while speaking: people consider it impolite, and some might stop talking to you at all.
19. Smoking is banned in public areas. You are not allowed to smoke at hospitals, restaurants, bars, cafes, malls, cinemas and nightclubs as well as libraries, public toilets, stadiums, bus stops, railway stations and at airport halls. Hotels with more than 30 rooms, and large restaurants provide separate zones for smoking visitors. Those, who do not follow the regulations, will be fined (four dollars).
20. Make sure to leave tips. At restaurants, tips comprise 10-11% of the bill, at hotels – 10%. However, usually 2 or 3 rupees are left for hotel cleaners, 2 to 5 – for porters, 2 to 10 – for taxi drivers and 300 to 400 rupees are given to the drivers of trip buses from the whole group.
21. Airport is a big deal! In most Indian airports, you will have to follow strict rules and regulations. According to them, only passengers withtickets will be allowed to enter the terminal. As long as there are ticket offices, banks, airline offices and the like, inside the terminal, the entrance turns into a difficult operation of finding the right official to let you in to the airport. We recommend that travelers, who have arrived at Indian airports, take care of all matters connected to money change, tickets and luggage, inside the terminal. Once you stepped out of the terminal under no circumstances will you be let in.
Once you have learnt these travel tips, the best vacation for you in the Golden Triangleis ensured. Go ahead and enjoy your trip to the Indian world of wonders, gaining the utmost of it. Good luck!