Tatty Travel Tips – 10 for India

So at the end of our 3 months in India, we would still describe it as amazing and infuriating. Get ready for a culture shock like no other. Having said that… we are in Singapore in wonderment of the clean toilets, flat roads and to be honest… missing wading through the crap of India!

Doing a kit check in India...

So, if you are planning in visiting the land of a thousand curries/car-horns/cows/temples… these tips might help!

  1. Don’t be a slave to the guidebook, but familiarise yourself with each place before you arrive… how to get around, how much things should cost… to avoid being misled. Some of the scams of  very inventive! (see our earlier blogs for examples!)
  2. India’s great, but always late! So prepare to be flexible… trains, buses, rickshaws, allow time to get to them.
  3. If travelling all over, you will inevitably end up in some big  cities… use these to refresh. Stock up on non-tourist priced supplies, drink a cheap beer, watch a movie, then hit the trail again.
  4. Booking transport in India can be INFURIATING! Everyone is out to make money off you. So ask around about prices and try and use public transport. The trains are so cheap and efficient but tickets get booked up fast! Tourist quota and emergency tickets are available from agents, but you can book in advance on the amazing website www.cleartrip.com for very small commission and if you don’t use the tickets, you can get a refund.
  5. There is a perpetual lack of change in India from stalls, drivers and restaurants… so try and get change when you can. Indians are also adept at confusing the situation and will add up bills wrong, or ask for an extra 50 rupees note and then give you incorrect money back… so get used to some fast maths!
  6. One’s mans trash is another man’s treasure… take others’ advice with a pinch of salt… just because they thought Varanasi was smelly and horrible… doesn’t mean you won’t feel spiritual and chilled out there!
  7. Illuminate yourself… torches are essential… there are lots of powercuts and dark streets.
  8. Get your haggling powers up to speed… hardly ever pay the price first mentioned… not even for hotel rooms… there is always room for a better price.
  9. Snaps! See a group of Indian Tourists coming your way… be prepared to have a snap with them… then the next group and the next group and the next… or run away and hide if you are feeling sweaty and less than glamorous!
  10. Choose your footwear carefully. Yes India is hot and flip flops or sandals are great… but we were really thankful for our walking boots when in the very dirty and sludgy cities.

Essential items to pack: padlock and chain for bags on the trains and buses, neck pillow for comfortable travelling, earplugs (not for sale in India), Buff or scarf for sun protection and covering your mouth in the big cities, wet wipes (just don’t look at the colour they are when you clean your face after a city stint) and finally sharp elbows … or you won’t get anywhere!

Andy with his kit

Kit... check... footwear... removed!

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9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Connaught
    Dec 16, 2010 @ 07:54:09

    “India’s great, but always late”. Due to population….. But India is growing too fast and recover very soon.. Also nice post..

    Reply

  2. tonton
    Dec 16, 2010 @ 20:51:21

    Glad you 2 are back in touch & have”survived” your indian experience.Thirty
    years ago,my mum & I had a stop-over in Singapore on our way back from
    Oz.We stayed at “the Cockpit Hotel”.Turned out it wasn’t a 3*** brothel,nor the control-room of a jumbo-jet,but a place where fighting-cocks used to compete for the entertainment of punters.Silly bloody story,nespa?
    Anyway…Singapore,where you can get jailed for spitting in the street or
    fined for chewing gum,must seem a striking contrast after India,where
    anything goes!?Not the ideal preparation for the shock of Bangkok?!?C yez.T

    Reply

  3. Tony
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 06:04:32

    Hey there!

    We are finally in India and have been for the last 2 weeks working at a school in Kombalam, Kundara. Other great tips….
    Don’t believe ANYTHING anyone tells you about ANYTHING!!!!
    Always barter the drivers down before getting in taxi or Auto rickshaw.
    Never tell people its your first time here… did it once and never again!
    If you are left handed, remember to use your right for eating or you will spend too much time explaining why!
    Soak it up and enjoy!

    Glad you guys enjoyed it we are heading further south for a 2 day respite in plush accommodation – We’ve been in the rain forrests way too long!

    Take care!
    Tony

    Reply

  4. london travel
    Dec 29, 2010 @ 19:39:30

    I have bookmarked your site, keep up the good work.

    Reply

  5. london travel
    Dec 29, 2010 @ 22:32:36

    This is a super Blog. in love upcoming here.you content is great.

    Reply

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