Anyone been to India?? Please give me your best tips!(37 Posts)
DP and I are planning a trip to India late September/early October for two weeks and are very excited! No DC.
We are coming around to the idea that as it’s our first time, it’s probably sensible to book on a tour to avoid getting scammed, lost, etc! As a general rule we’re not really that keen on the idea of tours (antisocial buggers that we are ) , so looking for something that gives us as much freedom as possible whilst getting us safely from A to B, advising us on where to go etc along the way.
Has anyone had a tour like this and could recommend? We’d like to focus on the Northern part - Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpurs, Udaipur...
And any tips generally?! Thank you!
I never got ill in India but some of our party did. Be prepared to be hounded. People will beg and try selling you stuff all the time. The poverty is awful and some sights of children crawling around outside the Taj Mahal begging due to disformed legs etc is horrible. Taj Mahal was great. We were hounded for photos there because we were 'white'. women (in our group) were treated like second hand citizens. All the men were served food first, allowed into lifts first etc.
don't expect to be able to swim in the sea unless fully dressed in your clothes
Why, what might happen if you wear a normal costume?
I've been to Goa which is very different to other parts of India. More relaxed about clothing etc.
I was never ill... I don't ordinarily have an iron constitution and ate whatever I wanted. Lots of lovely fish curries and sea food and veggie stuff. I also never got bitten by mozzies - our host insisted the quinine in our gin and tonics was keeping the mozzers away. It is a beautiful part of the country with some of the kindest and most interesting people I have ever met. I never felt unsafe and men were respectful to my friend and I (both women).
Don’t go lol?
But seriously, only drink bottled water and make sure you wear cotton clothing to keep cool.
Oh yes @MissPhonic - DH and I are in a few people's wedding albums
The trouble with two weeks, OP, is that it's just not long enough! But you can definitely have a good tour of Rajasthan in that time, so do that and do it well & enjoy it. I wouldn't try to fit a side visit to Goa or a hill station on top of that, you'll just get stressed out and exhausted.
This is a good blog
I loved the food. I ate freshly cooked vegetarian food and always washed or alcohol-gelled my hands before eating, and didn't get sick. The freshly cooked food on train platforms is delicious. The amazing street food was one of my Indian highlights. Just pick cafes and stalls that are busy and are cooking the food fresh, so it isn't sitting around for ages.
The one time I got mild diarrhoea was when I ran out of bottled water and drank a glass of tap water in desperation as I woke up very very thirsty overnight. Don't run out of bottled water! And in cafes ask for drinks without ice.
I loved the south - Tamil Nadu and Kerala - and found it more relaxing and less hassle from touts than the big tourist sites in the north. This was over ten years ago so the places I liked may have changed. But I'd try to choose some places that aren't heavily touristed, or where you travel into the countryside, as it can get draining to be followed around by rickshaw drivers, wannabe tour guides and children asking for money in some of the cities.
I particularly liked visiting hill stations as they are a great break from the heat.
Travelling by train is awesome. Check out the different train classes to see which you would enjoy most. Such a great way to travel long distances and very entertaining journeys.
Furry You'll get groups of leering men watching you from the shoreline and filming you on your camera phone.
I didn't get ill at all and ate everything!
Most people have a little diarrhoea at some point though..
I've never been ill but have only travelled with Indian friends/family who are very wary of becoming sick. I was instructed to only drink or wash teeth with bottled water, have no dairy produce in restaurants (even mango lassi ☹️) or fresh fruit unless it can be peeled, no street food ever, and not to use public or hotel swimming pools. Oh, and we're all vegetarian anyway. I hope you'll have an amazing experience visiting.
India is an amazing country. An assault to the senses though which I loved!
Lovely street food.
I spent 6 months there and only got ill once - my own fault for eating pink chicken in a pricey restaurant in Goa after one Kingfisher too many.
If you stick to busy restaurants where there's a high turnover of food you shouldn't go too far wrong.
Never got groped either- you'll get a lot of attention but for me it never felt threatening the way it has done in some other countries.
Jaipur and Udaipur are my favourite in the area you're going to but yes, for the novice a tour is a really great idea. I'm pretty antisocial at the best of times but absolutely loved my Rajasthan group tour
I’ve never been unwell in India over many work trips and holidays and I generally have a weak stomach. Be sensible. Drink bottled water, brush your teeth with bottled water!!
My DH insisted on brushing his teeth with the tap water at the very lovely Oberoi hotel in Agra. He was very very poorly for days and despite travelling all that way, he didn’t actually get to visit the Taj Mahal!!
My tips would be to make the most of the wonderful hospitality. The hotels can be out of this world. My favourites are:
Delhi: Leela Palace (the club floor rooms are just beautiful)
Agra: Oberoi (book a room with balcony overlooking the Taj Mahal if you can)
Udaipur: Oberoi (book a room with direct access to the pool from your private terrace and a view over the lake. The arrival at the hotel is just spectacular!).
Book all of your drivers, airport pick ups and guides through the hotel. You’ll feel safer. And make sure you visit the Taj for sunrise. One night in Agra is probably fine.
Also, be prepared for followers. I felt like Angelina Jolie. I had a crowd taking photos and trying to speak to me (not in a creepy way though, just in a oh my goodness, how odd way. I think it was my skin/hair).
Take your medical supplies. Including iodine. I once cut my arm climbing onto a roof in the middle of a Mumbai slums!!! Causing a major panic.
Have an amazing trip!! Definitely the right idea to leave any DC at home
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.