Have you seen the latest Jungle Book film yet? Did it inspire you to go to India to see the wildlife? If so there are plenty of tours which take in the wildlife and wonders of India.
I visited India a few years ago and was enthralled by the country: it is a place full of surprises, colour and spirit and is certainly a unique holiday destination.
For first time travellers to India, I have put together a few travel tips to help to get the most out of your trip.
The cities are vast, busy, bustling, overcrowded and sometimes smelly so it can be a major culture shock if you’re not prepared. If you can get out of the city and into the less populated areas you will start to feel the real spirit of India: the food, the music, the culture and the hospitality of the locals really shines through in the villages.
Plan your trip wisely, it is such a large country that you will need to be realistic and selective about what you want to see – If you try to cram too much in you will feel exhausted. An organised tour is a great idea for your first trip and if you are travelling alone you will feel safer with a group.
Be careful what you eat and drink, a case of Delhi Belly will quickly ruin your trip: Stick to food that has been either boiled or fried. Eat only peeled fresh fruit and only drink bottled water. Avoid any salads, ice cream, ice cubes and any meat that looks undercooked or dodgy. I only ate cooked vegetarian food whilst I was there and was fine. For your own comfort take your own supply of toilet paper, the locals don’t use or generally provide it (except at nice hotels) so it can be a shock! A supply of hand sanitizer gel or wipes is essential. Indians eat with their right hand and it is considered very rude and unhygienic to eat or pass anything with the left hand (they use the left hand with water for toilets only!)
Indian culture is fairly modest so try to respect their traditions, it is polite to remove your shoes before entering a home or temple and conservative dress will make you less conspicuous as a tourist.
Be aware of scammers at shops, markets and on the streets, taxi drivers often try to cheat tourists by overcharging or giving the wrong change. Never carry large amounts of cash and leave your expensive jewellery at home, pickpockets are everywhere so keep your wits about you. If you do fall prey to a scam stay calm, it is not worth ruining your holiday by getting stressed out.
Have your camera ready but secure at all times, the colour of India is amazing, wonderful and sometimes overwhelming so try to capture some of it to take home. You should get some fantastic shots of people, places, festivals, markets, food, wildlife and landscapes so always be prepared.
“Now India is a place beyond all others where one must not take things too seriously
— the midday sun always excepted.” Rudyard Kipling
If taking a trip to India is on your list of “very important things to do”, take a look at the tours below… if after reading this blog, you have become somewhat intrigued by India, go ahead and have a look anyway – you may feel inspired to make the trip! And you’ll find more on Tour & Explore
17th September 2016 – 9 Days – £1890pp
The fabled Golden Triangle is the classic introduction to this vast and beautiful country. Bustling streets, havens of tranquillity and architectural wonders await as you dive headlong into the vibrant sights, sounds and experiences of northern India.
Essence of India
18th October – 10 Days – £1495pp
An amazing tour of the Golden Triangle and the exotic Ranthambore National Park takes you through India’s most famous sites. Ride a rickshaw around Old Delhi, marvel at the Taj Mahal and discover the Pink City. In Ranthambore, you’ll also have the opportunity to spot the Royal Bengali Tigers.
Kerala – Flavours of Southern India – From Heathrow Airport
11th November 2016 – 10 Days – £1745pp
Uncover southern India’s enchanting culture and scenery on this unique adventure. Unleash your culinary skills and cook fragrant food with a famous chef. Surround yourself with nature in Kerala’s backwaters as you spend a night on a converted rice boat.
India’s Golden Triangle
11th November 2016 – 11 Days – £1595pp
An enthralling insight into the colourful and exotic heart of India’s Golden Triangle. Experience the sights, sounds and colours of vibrant Delhi, absorb the majesty of the Taj Mahal in Agra and experience a game drive to spot wild tigers.
India & Nepal – From Heathrow Airport
9th February 2017 – 15 Days – £2699pp
This is an incredible journey to India and Nepal, you’ll return with a new outlook on life and endless extraordinary memories. Fascinating and intriguing, this is a world that’s far removed from our western way of living.