India is one of those challenging destinations that people either love or hate, but what a lot of people find is that good preparation can really make or break your trip there. I have truly heard of people having the best holidays of their lives and I know others that have had some horror stories. When you know the following tips, you will hopefully belong to the ones that absolutely love their time in India. After all, it is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries on earth. Read on to find out my guide to navigating India for the first time.
Like a number of countries in Asia, a visa is a must for India. The Indians do have a great system known as the e-Tourist visa and you can get get an Indian visa with evisums. The processing time is normally around 72 hours and costs around 60 American dollars. You need to print your e-visa before travelling to India. You should carry this with your passport at all times.
What to wear
As with any country, the climate will have a huge impact on what you wear, as well as the local customs and culture of the area. India is typically a very warm place, but there are regions where the weather can get cold at times, so be sure to research where you are going exactly to ensure you bring the right things. In general, India is a very conservative and modest country, and this means that covering the body is generally a good idea. This is an absolute must when visiting religious sites, such as temples or mosques. If you do not respect these rules, you may be denied access to such places.
Be aware of the stare
One thing that a number of foreigners find difficult in India, is often the looks that they get from the local people. It’s a good idea to remember that this is one of the cultural differences that makes India a very unique place. The local people are nothing but curious and it is simply a part of their culture to look when they see something or someone that does not look like them. Imagine seeing a 6 foot tall blonde haired, blue eyed Swedish guy after seeing smaller darker skinned people your whole life. You would naturally be curious too!
Enjoy the food but beware
Indian food is some of the best that you could possibly enjoy on the entire planet, but it is definitely something that you should be very careful of. India, unfortunately, does not have the highest standards of hygiene when it comes to food and if you are not used to this, it can make you quite sick. I know a number of people that have had their trip ruined by a bad case of “Delhi Belly”. Avoid street food if you can, as it tends to be the most unclean of all foods. It is also a good idea to ask around, because this often gets you the best results. For example you could ask at your hotel for some good places where you know the food will be handled in a clean way or simply at at the hotel!
Another thing to note is spices. Start small and move up the ladder, never try to go too overboard from the beginning, because the Indians can really eat some spicy food!