From unsafe food, erratic traffic regulations to petty scams-there are plenty of challenges and mild annoyances in store for travelers in India. Well, violent crime isn’t a frequent problem in this country, but then there are many other issues that demand attention-especially when women are planning a trip to explore India’s many delights. These travel tips help you stay safe, and healthy while experiencing the diversity and cultural opulence of this sub-continent. Take a look.
Culture Shock in India
The first few days on the soils of India can expose travelers to difficult and crazy culture shock experiences-some of which are surely impossible to overcome. The chaotic pace of urban life in most regions, combined with jetlag and sensory overload can be overwhelming. However, there are few reasons for you to fret. Though it may take a lifetime to understand the many facets and feature of India, you will start indentifying with the true essence and spirit of its countrymen very soon. Once you have had enough of bribery, irregular tariffs, hard bargaining in marketplaces and rude gesture by some people thronging the lanes and by lanes of its many towns/cities; simply head for offbeat locations and rural areas to gain a better insight into the real India-you will be surprised by its simplicity and selflessness alike.(image by walter callens).
Traffic and Crowds
So, you have decided to walk into a country that boasts of a population of a billion plus? Gear up for traffic congestions, unruly crowded areas, long queues, over-packed public transport systems, no luxuries of privacy, irrelevant personal space and more. Do not be surprised if you find people leaning on you in buses or standing too close while having a conversation. Here, clogged traffic is an undisputed norm and is largely prevalent on all streets. A constant cacophony of horns will haunt you in your sleep and walk along with you on overcrowded and encroached pavements, be prepared.
You get Extra Attention
Even if you are not one, you will end up getting rock-star type stares and attention in India. The looks may sometimes be unfriendly and sometimes not. Remember to stay on your guard when approached by strangers. Female tourists need to be aware of their dressing sense -there is no dearth of ogling eyes here, so wearing sunglasses or ignoring pervert looks is the best option. It is well advised to ignore any requests for being clicked as your pictures may be used for unethical reasons-way beyond your comprehension.
The infamous ‘Delhi belly’, unfortunately is a harsh reality. Even the locals are wary of their drinking water and the stuff they eat. In spite of refraining from drinking un-bottled water, you may end up getting an upset tummy through fruit/vegetables washed with filthy water, dirty ice or water droplets remaining on plates and utensils. Even if you feel that the facilities offered in your chosen restaurant are safe, you have no clue of what is going on in the kitchen -so keep your travel diarrhea pills handy. You may need them sooner than you wish. (image by Sreenivasan).
Beggars, rapes, petty robberies, molestations and other small crimes are quite common in India. It’s best to keep your antennas up and be with yourself-if you really want to be safe.
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Feature image by Shounak Ray