India is great fun but the fun can fizz out if you see some of the toilets India has to offer. The toilets in your hotel room will most likely be western style but if you are out and about and if you want to pee and most likely you want to, then you are in bad luck. You will have to deal with Indian style squat toilets and it’s not easy using it. If you happen to be travelling in trains then it’s even worse. You not only have to deal with a moving train but also the toilets are dam right dangerous. Guess where the ‘poo’ and the ‘pee’ drain on to. Yes – straight on the tracks! That is why most trains have signs requesting passengers not to use them on platforms. Even Indian ladies try not to use them unless they really have to, let alone foreign tourists travelling to India. It’s not going to be easy for a western lady to pull their pants down and bend their bum all the way down to the ground not to mention that they can get mosquito bites when the’re down there. If you’re not sure how to use the Indian toilet then read here.
Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi will perhaps be the entry point for most foreign travellers to India. I have always wondered why this airport was not named after Mahatma Gandhi since he is considered as the father of the nation. Anyway, from a personal point of view, this is the worst International airport I have seen and rightly so, it was once considered as the worst airport in the world by an international consortium (can’t remember which one). The reason why I say this is because I have found the toilets semi unusable, absence of decent restaurants (good coffee by the way), unsupportive staff, long and slow queues, no decent baby changing facilities, overcrowding and so no; you get the drift. But anyway, you can’t judge a country by its airports!
When you arrive in India for the first time, you are in for a big culture shock depending on which part of the world you’re coming from as far as traffic in India is concerned. At its best, its chaotic, which is perhaps a light word to describe the traffic in India; the word better used would be “manic”. As soon as you step out of the airport, you’re going to feel extremely hot. Imagine this, you have something cooking in the oven and you want to check if it’s done or not so you open the door with your face close to the oven and then it hits you, the heat of course. This is exactly what it’s like walking out of the airport in India in the summer.
It is generally accepted that India is a safe country to visit but one cannot be too safe. Here’s a round-up of safety precautions and tips when travelling to India.
To start with, here’s a compilation of my 101 tips when travelling to India. The list comprises of how to keep safe to what to wear while India.
Act like a local
Although India has many languages, you just cannot escape Hindi. English will also do just fine but what better way to impress the Indians with some of your Hindi. Here’s a compilation of some Hindi words and phrases I recorded, you might need in India. Also the local language will make you look like as if you’ve been here before and cannot be taken for a ride.
One of the first concerns while travelling in India is where to get water from. Drinking water fountains are a rare sight and even when where there is one, an issue of quality crops up in the mind of a tourist. The golden rule is not to drink tap water. The safest bet therefore is to go for bottled water, but is it?
There are currently half-a-dozen major bottle water brands in India. The most popular are Bisleri, kinley and Aquafina. Of these, Bisleri has a longest presence in India. It’s an Italian company which came to India back in the 1960s. It’s a big player in the bottle water industry. There are smaller players too that claim to have very high standards. But that’s only a part of the story.
Hindi is an Indo-European language which its roots in Sanskrit. It is spoken widely in India; in fact, it is thought that more than 60% of the population of India are able to speak Hindi or at least understand it. It is one of the many official languages and is the national language of the Republic of India. Hindi is the official language of the states of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana.
Learning Hindi is perhaps beyond the scope a traveller but it’s quite possible to learn some words and phrases. Although, leaning Hindi is not that hard at all but English speakers might find it a little challenging since Hindi has 11 separate vowels and 35 consonants.
But don’t let this trouble you; most Hindi speakers don’t speak the standard Hindi anyway. I myself speak Hindi with a Bihari accent which is sometimes subject to ridicule in India. My personal opinion is that the worst Hindi speakers are from Delhi itself.
A little local knowledge can go a long way. Here’s some the common Hindi phrases and words that you must learn if you wish to communicate with the locals in India, at least in Hindi speaking regions of India.
Some Hindi phrases and words useful for travellers to India. Listen to me speaking in Hindi, pay careful attention to the pronunciation. If you want a complete list of Hindi words and phrases for your travels to India then you might wish to buy “Essential Hindi Words And Phrases For Travelers To India” on Amazon.
India is a tropical country and you are likely to meet the heat throughout the year in most parts of the country. Dirt, grim, pollution, sweat, sunburn and exhaustion become inevitable in the summer for us Indians. But if you are a tourist to India and do not come from one of the tropical countries then it is essential that you know about the weather and place you are travelling to. The summer in India approaches around May 20 to July 20 where the temperatures are extremely hot that can go up to 40 degree centigrade while 45-50 degrees in some parts of Central India. Nonetheless, you can still have great fun under the sun and find some cool ways of having fun in India while beating the heat with some of these handy tips when visiting India in the summer.
Tips to keep cool in the Indian summer
Visit amusement parks
Water sports and amusement parks in metro cities and other major cities offer loads of fun along with adventure and at the same time allows you to sooth your sweat glands.
Wonderla near Bangalore, Essel world and water kingdom near Mumbai which together form the Asia’s largest amusement park, the Ocean Park yet another sought after water park near Hyderabad and Fun and Food Village in Gurgaon (near Delhi) are some of the water parks in India that meet the international standards and allow you to soak yourself in the water. This is a perfect way to beat the heat while having fun and adventure.
When you come to India, I suggest you wear combat pants. They are the best travel pants you can get. Combat pants also known as Combo or Cargo pants have numerous pockets and will keep your hands free. They are practical, lightweight, and decent looking, styled to look good and you can go almost anywhere in them. Just make sure they are made of cotton and light in colour usually khaki that goes well in the hot Indian climate. They are basically designed as loose pants with numerous pockets for outdoor activities. Typically they have 6 deep pockets on each leg each with a secret pocket inside of cargo pocket giving it increased carrying capacity. Some of these pants have pockets near the feet making it almost impossible for pickpockets to steal your money.
Going on holiday is fun and the last thing you need is agony over packing a suitcase. If you are travelling to India on holiday then you really don’t need to take a lot of things. Remember, India is a country where you can buy cheap goods. Things like clothes, toothbrushes, shaving kits and other toiletries etc can be bought at next to nothing prices so you can always buy them when you are there.
So you must plan your holiday and need to think of the things you need to carry in your suitcase. In addition, if you pack your suitcase with items that are not permitted, you’re bound to get in trouble at the airport.
India is a place that can capture your heart, no wonder tourists come back for more. India is a hectic, daunting place with overcrowded bazaars, noisy music, pungent spices, dusty roads, cow dung on the streets; a mesmerizing place that will make you addicted to this amazing country. It will cast a spell that few will forget from the moment they step off the plane. Here is a compilation of travel guide and travel tips for India that you need to know before you make your trip to India. But mind you, these travel to India tips is not the complete list. Bookmark this page for more tips on India from me!
Tourists coming to India will have their first culture shock when they come out of the airport. First thing they will notice that India is one crowded country, too many people walking around, people wanting to talk to you or staring at you, some even offering you to take you to hotels and so on.
The second shock comes in quite unexpected. As soon as you walk in a public toilet you will notice that toilets are different to what they are used to. You may not notice this at the hotel as most hotels will have western style toilets. Depending what part of the world you are coming from, you will notice that the Indian toilets are like a hole in the ground. It’s not exactly the same as the pit latrines or the makeshift squat-holes you will find in sub-Saharan Africa but close. But there you have it, these are the traditional latrines used in all over India. You will find these types of squat toilets in many places in India including trains. Unless you are travelling on the Maharaja express you are bound to encounter squat toilets.
You will be forgiven to think, how on earth people take their dump. First things first, don’t panic, it’s quite simple. Also known as the squat toilets, they are pretty simple to use. It’s used in many countries around the world including Japan.