By Melisa Marzett
I have been to India for the first time in my life and it was one of the most exciting trips I have ever experienced. However, this country is very exotic and unusual, that is why, I would like to share some useful tips, which will help you during your first visit to India!
1. Visa You can do it by yourself, but it’s easier to order them through tour agencies. That is what I did and I got my visa without any problems.
2. Tickets It is necessary to buy tickets beforehand, not at the last moment, to avoid any inconveniences.
3. Accommodation It is really very easy to find accommodation by yourself. For example, when you go by taxi from the airport you should simply ask the taxi driver to help you with finding a homestay, guest house or a hotel (depending on your budget). Do not be shy to ask for help. People in India are very kind and they will gladly help you!
4. Health There is no need to make special vaccines, but if you are worried, you can do so. Do not forget that you should drink only bottled water. In addition, it is better not to drink ice in unfamiliar places (and sometimes at visiting guests). Note that in some nightclubs in Goa, there is a tradition to alcoholize (with a sprinkling of additional ingredients) white women. Currently, this can be faced in Turkey, Egypt, the United States. Look after your glass. You can take cocktails as a present from trusted people only. Be sure to take medical insurance! I would recommend to have your own First-aid kit. There are almost all medicines in India, but you still have to find them and you need to know their local names. Iodine, bandages, plaster, aspirin, nitroglycerin, condoms, etc. A couple of times I took some medicines and I was happy that they were in my kit and I didn’t have to look for them.
5. Language I should say that English language is spoken everywhere in India. Just forget about the correct Cambridge version. Even if your English is not perfect, Indian people are very responsive and they will try to understand you.
6. Water As already mentioned above, I would recommend you to drink bottled water only.
7. Food I found Indian food to be very very pleasant, but spicy. In Goa, you will come across the Goan cuisine. I would recommend you to try it. It is less spicy, but still it is sometimes worth asking for a not hot or not-spicy food. If desired, you can find ravioli, good steaks, etc., but the taste of chicken tikka masala will remain with you for many years, that is for sure! In addition, you can buy the freshest seafood on the market and ask them to cook for you in the restaurant you like. This is one of the most important of the 15 tips for visiting India.
8. Beverages I liked local beer. It has very pleasant and mild taste. Unique local dark rum is called the “Old monk”. It is drunk and appreciated by many tourists. I noticed that it is difficult to find a good coffee and green or red tea. However, you can. More often, they will offer tea bags and non-potable coffee.
9. Transport You can easily rent scooters and even bikes. I would recommend you to do so, because driving on normal cars on local roads requires good skills, strong nerves and luck, while the scooter goes almost everywhere. Moreover, they are inexpensive. As a result, almost everyone can rent them. Many people do not have any skills or even driving licenses. Tourists often drive drunk. As a result, there are enough accidents and consequences. You may be right, but it will not make the situation easier. If you take a bike – be extremely attentive. Taxis are available and you can save a couple of numbers of taxi drivers you liked in your phone. Remember that most of them will immediately begin to raise rates if they feel that you are ready to pay. The movement in India is left-sided.
10. Prices I should say that there is no need to bargain in India in supermarkets. In other places it is necessary to do so. Shops, taxi drivers, guesthouses, restaurants – an excellent field for working out your negotiating skills. Just stay positive and you will see the result!
11. Telephone Judging from my experience I can tell you that sim cards will greatly reduce your communication costs. Buying them is not difficult, but it is important to take into account a number of details. You may need to photocopy your passports and even a couple of photos 3×4. Choosing local operator you like is already a matter of taste. You can choose the one that suits you the most.
12. Documents In general, I would recommend you to have photocopies of all your main documents (passport, driving license, when taking transport for rent, insurance). Carrying originals with you is not practical, and photocopies are quite sufficient in most cases. It is also useful to have some photos of yourself with you.
13. Be polite Every country has its own traditions and peculiarities. You should respect the country you are visiting. India is one of the most amazing countries and I am pretty sure that you will also fall in love with it from the first sight!
14. Be careful with new products and tastes If you are not sure in the quality and safety of this or that product, you should avoid it. Be careful with exotic foods, as not every person may like it. Try fruits! They are various and very tasty!
15. Be attentive Do not leave your personal things (documents, money) without supervision.
I hope that this information was useful for you and you will enjoy your first visit to India as much as I did!
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