10 Tips for First-Timers to India

Are you planning to visit India for the first time? Check out this article to learn about what are the things you need to know when you visit India for the first time.

India is a vast, diverse and addictive destination and there is no denying that travelling there for the first time can be a significant culture shock. A well-planned visit in the huge and bewildering country can deliver far more of the spirit and texture of the place, with its many religions and cultures, and cities that bustle with activity and roar with traffic.

With expansive deserts, snowy mountains, pristine beaches, and glittering cities, India is one of the world's most beautiful countries. And if it's not already on your bucket list, then it's a must-have add-in. So if you're planning on embarking on a trip to India, here are ten tips for first-timers to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Pack light if you plan to sight-see

India is a country with diverse climates, but mostly it's hot. Pack loose, breezy clothing that covers your arms and legs if you plan on visiting temples and other religious places. If you go sight-seeing, wear a brimmed hat and sunscreen and carry only your phone, wallet, some rupees, camera, passport and a bottle of water. Avoid carrying a bag as you'll be forced to wait in line for a long time. Security is taken very seriously here.

2. Apply for an electronic visa

Do not forget your visa! Getting an electronic visa is easy. Make sure to reserve at least two empty pages in your passport and ensure your passport is valid at least six months from the date of arrival. Carry your passport everywhere. On tours, trails, the beach, and restaurants.

3. Get ready for chaotic scenes

During the rush hour, cities in India can get chaotic, and it can take hours to move from one end of the town to the other. Train travel is popular but be ready for chaotic scenes at the train stations. If you plan on venturing out of the cities, domestic flights are a good option, since they're readily available and are inexpensive.

India also has plenty of quieter areas if you need a break from the cities to escape the crowds. Head to Ladakh in the north or south to Kerala.

4. The food is so good

Sampling the flavours of India is a bit like bringing your taste buds to a whole new level. Each of the country's 30 states has multiple cuisines and complex recipes with ingredients you may never have heard of. In the north, you'll find rich lamb stews, and in the south, you'll be served spicy vegetarian curries. Being your first visit, a dodgy stomach is not unusual, but that doesn't mean you should rule out street food, but it is a good idea to stick to foods that have been either fried or boiled. Drinks lots of water and avoid salads and ice.

5. Dress conservatively

The country has a relatively modest culture, so respect their culture by covering your arms and legs. Most people are forgiving of foreigners not familiar with their culture, but you can make a good impression when you remove your shoes before stepping inside your host's house.
6. Be patient. Lateness is common

Develop patience as lateness is common. Few things run on time apart from banks opening and closing times.

7. Avoid deals that appear too good to be true

Like all major cities of the world, Indian cities are teeming with conmen and tricksters hungry after your money. Government shops are the only place you're likely to avoid getting scammed.

8. Luxury is affordable

India is a cheap destination, you can experience India with a very modest budget compared to most other travel destinations. If you can afford it, most 5-star hotels in Indian cities are affordable. A basic but luxurious room costs $200, and the setting, service, and food are similar to other major world cities.

9. Trekking and mountains

The north is popular with adrenaline seekers. From trekking to skiing in September through November. Massive hiking trails crisscross the towering peaks.

10. Visit India at the right time

India is a very seasonal destination. There are two monsoon seasons which affect different parts of India at different times. With a little planning ahead you can make sure you avoid the wettest and most deserted times. Generally India's the best time to visit is October to March.


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