When I told people in my social environment that I was planning to go to India alone for 5 weeks, most of them asked me Aren't you scared to get raped or abused? Well, at least because of this chatter I was beginning to feel a little bit uncomfortable ☺ Now I'm writing this post to encourage you to go, don't be afraid! India can fascinating and frustrating at the same time but you will also get the chance to meet very friendly and curious people. These are my 12 tips to survive this incredible country.
1. Do not drink water from the tap, there is no proper water treatment in India. Make sure you only drink bottled water that is acceptable closed. Some vendors tend to sell water bottles filled with tap water.
2. Be patient. The Indian sense of time is different to European countries or the US. Most Indians are never on time, reaching 5 hours later to an appointment seems to be pretty normal.
3. Power. There will be blackouts all the time, especially during monsoon.
4. Bring ear plugs. It is super noisy everywhere. People never talk low, they scream, no matter if they are angry or not, TV plays at full volume Bollywood ... What seems ruthless to us, well, it is just India ☺.
5. Ask for help. People are willing to help you find your way to a bus or train.
6. Do not go alone to crowded places or stay alone outside at night. It is always great to have local people guiding you.
7. Clothes. Do not wear clothing showing too much skin. I feel ridiculous wearing the traditional Indian sarees but tried not to exceed social taboos. It is important, especially as a woman. Also do not carry expensive items.
8. How to be left alone. Just ignore annoying guys and pretend (if you are not) to be married. It really helps.
9. Drink Masala Chai. I really promise this is the best tea ever.
10. Carry toilet paper and a hand sanitizer. India is dirty and unhygienic. Traditionally people are eating with their hands, if you do so, make sure that your hands are clean. Also, the food is really really spicy.
11. Take photos if you want to. Indian people are often asking for photos. Sometimes it is really hard to get far too much attention but most of them just want to be nice and getting to know you.
12. The traffic is crazy. Cars, bikes, rickshaws, and cows. They all come from different directions. It is really hard to get used to that. I never felt safe walking that is why I always took a cab.