India truly is a land extreme. Extreme poverty rubbing shoulders with extreme wealth. Natural beauty and manmade waste.
Worth the visit. Knowing these few things before you go will make your trip a bit easier.
The Indian cultures are as diverse as the country itself. People are incredibly friendly and helpful and will go out of their way to assist you. Once you have managed to decipher the subtle nuances of the head wobble you will have no problem communicating.
When travelling to the more rural areas the people tend to be more conservative and you will need to exercise more cultural sensitivity than in the larger centres. This includes dressing appropriately and standing for endless selfies with complete strangers.
You as a traveller are a fascination and it is your duty to pose for the pic, even if you are enjoying a little bit of a chill out session and playing the online pokies NZ has to offer on your mobile.
Street Food and Your Digestive Tract.
You arrive in India, catch some stomach torturing bug and you spend the balance of your trip wrapped around a hole in the floor. Yes, you should heed the warnings (some of them), wash your fruit, drink bottled water, hard-boil your eggs.
Having said that the places that are most likely to make you sick are the ones that cater to tourists. It will take your body a bit of time to adjust, but if you eat where the locals eat you will be fine. That’s all part of the experience.
That and the pallet exploding, sneeze inducing, brain incinerating speciality curry you accidently ordered.
It is not uncommon to see cows roaming freely around the cities and towns. Walking the wrong way up one-way streets or happily strolling down the middle of the highway, the sacred bovines have right of way.
There is no specific etiquette regarding the cows, but it would probably be frowned upon to ask for beef as a joke. Just be prepared to duck into the closest doorway if you find yourself having to share the walkway with a bull.
The easiest way to get around is by tuk-tuk or motorbike. Tuk-tuks are amazing mini three-wheel taxis. The experience of travelling by tuk-tuk can be so terrifying that it takes care of the extreme sport requirement for your trip.
Seriously, travelling in a tuk-tuk is like rollercoaster adjacent when it comes to an adrenalin rush. Be sure to negotiate the fee before you get in to avoid arguments later. Alternatively, you can hire a motorcycle to get around.
Only recommended for the more rural areas where there isn’t much traffic. When it comes to city centres it is safer to put your life in a local drivers’ hands.
But I have to go, NOW!
There are no public loos. Some of the hotels and restaurants in the cities may allow you to use their facilities, but in rural India every tree is a lavatory. Something to keep in mind if you suffer from stage fright.
Since we know that desperation will eventually overcome shyness the real tip here is watch your step. Not everyone is as considerate as you may like.
India is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Made so by the people who will genuinely try to accommodate you, even in their homes, the exquisite white beaches of the Andaman Islands, beautiful temple ceremonies, and the colourful culture and festivals make it a must see.