India is such a large, intriguing and a diverse country that it can be a major culture shock for a traveller, especially if one is visiting for the first time. Any visitor to India is stunned by the richness of the land, by its lush beauty and exotic architecture, by its ability to overload the senses with the pure, concentrated intensity of its diverse colors, smells, tastes, and sounds. The country, though overwhelming for first timers, also has its chaotic side. It is therefore wise to be mindful of local laws, customs religions and cultures Here are some tips and insights to get the most out of your trip.
Watch what you eat and drink
Tummy rumblings are something that most first timers suffer from. This is just because of the difference in composition of food – most Indian foods can be heavy. Do not drink local tap water, drink bottled water only. Do not eat fresh fruit and vegetables that you cannot peel. You must keep in mind not to eat raw food, especially from the streets. Try the Indian food gradually.
Water is certainly an easy carrier of germs, so stick to mineral water bottles or boiled water!
Do not try to explore Indian road yourself, or to drive in India unless you have been trained on Indian roads. Always purchase air, rail or bus tickets through authorized travel agents or tour operators and avoid persistent touts and taxi-wallahs at airport/stations/bus stands. In case of taxis and auto-rickshaws, try to hire them from the pre-paid booths if possible. Otherwise, insist on going by the meter or set a fare in advance. Use tourist assistance desk for proper advice. Trains are a great way of seeing the Indian cultural and physical topography. For long travel, the best way is train. For an overnight trip, the best arrangement is via “AC Sleeper” , where you will be provided with a blanket, sheets, pillow, and towel, and you will have a sleeper berth.
Be Prepared for Noise
The noise on the streets is something that many travelers cannot seem to fathom. Also, there is generally low regard for personal space and people are quite loud in public places. If traveling alone and you want some quiet time, rely on a good set of ear-phones to shut out some of the surrounding din. This will also help to fall asleep in overnight trains and buses.
Avoid deals that seem too good to be true
Government shops are probably the easiest way to avoid foul scams. Simple rules like paying for things with cash, to avoid card cloning scams, helps. You should also pay particular attention if you’re arranging to have things sent home by post, as it’s not unknown for shops to take your payment and send worthless items instead.
Avoiding traveling by public transports or walking at night are rules that one would follow anywhere around the world. While “don’t go down dark streets alone” might seem a bit obvious, there are plenty of straightforward ways to avoid subtle dangers in India. Carrying huge quantities of cash isn’t a good idea anywhere, but in crowded Indian cities pickpockets are on the lookout for opportunities. Avoid unpleasant and heated exchange and don’t allow yourself to be irritated.