India

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From the foothills of the Himalayas to the backwaters of Kerala, the slums of Calcutta or the ashrams of Rishikesh, the ghats of Varanasi to the beaches of Goa . . . India will fascinate, shock and excite.

Fascinating with its myriad cultures, its penetrating smells and colours, its intensity of life, its many Gods and temples, the people, food, and religious fervor. Shocking with its open sewers, poverty, noise, filth, scams, and stares. Exciting with its chaotic traffic, tigers and lions, holy and un-holy men, its food, its drugs, its mountains and beaches, its jungles and deserts, and its religious and erotic temples.

India is a country of extremes where you will see the whole spectacle of life played out before your eyes, uncut, uncensored, and unashamed. You will encounter death, birth, possibly rebirth, and see people washing clothes, bathing, crying, laughing, and probably squatting for a bowel movement. All in the first day.

This country has a history dating back to time immortal, a religion that encompasses hundreds to thousands of Gods, and a population that will soon surpass China despite being less than half the latter’s size. It brought forth the romantic tale and architecture of the Taj Mahal, Ghandi, and the number zero, and let’s face it, the world would be a very different place if those three had never been.

There is no country as diverse as India, so strap on your seat belt for the wildest travelling roller coaster experience around this incredible sub-continent. You will love it or hate it, but you’ll not forget it.

India is spicy, it is dicey, and if you are not careful it will be very, very pricy. Beware of touts and scams!


Highlights from India
Hints and Tips for India
  • Everybody who has been to India will warn you about its touts and scams. Be wary, but don’t let it ruin your trip.

  • If somebody tells you a hotel/restaurant/shop doesn’t exist anymore due to fire, earthquake, because it closed down, or simply vanished into thin air, don’t believe them! They may be trying to lure you to their hotel/restaurant/shop because they receive a commission. Always check for yourself, chances are it is still where it always stood.

  • Indian food is mouth-wateringly delicious! To minimize the chances of getting the “Delhi Belly” go to restaurants and street stalls where lots of locals go. If there are lots of locals it means the food is probably good and cheap. Remember that most Indians are vegetarians so a smart thing to do is to be vegetarian too, even if temporarily, as it will lower the odds of getting sick.

  • Always haggle! If you are going to buy something, you will always be quoted ten times as much as the item is actually worth. Start with a ridiculously low counter offer, and keep smiling and laughing, but remain firm and go up very slowly. Another trick is to walk away, that will mostly get high sellers to drop the price quickly. Always remember it is more of a game, so try not to express anger or over-excitement.

  • Most visitors will be stared at in India. You will be stared at on the streets, in the restaurants, in the trains, buses and planes. Sometimes people may touch your skin or hair to see if it is real.

  • Women are advised to be wary of very crowded and very empty places. Rape and sexual harassment are unfortunately major problems that have hit global news more frequently in recent years.

  • The positives far outweigh the negatives in India. Please be aware of the negatives, but don’t let them deter you from going to this marvelous, one-of-a-kind country!

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