So you've decided to come to India . Great!!!!! ..Here's a list of some things you must know before hand
1. It's a big big World - India is not small ,nor in size neither in what it offers . There is a vast array of people ,religions ,languages ,food , customs and of course weather. The whole of North and west India face extreme temperatures around 45 degree celsius from April to September whereas October to March are relatively cooler around 10 deg celcius. The Eastern part experiences heavy rainfall in monsoons and also around November. So plan your clothing accordingly.
2. Water - Please don't drink our water! One thing which most of the tavellers eperience in India is the 'Delhi Belly' or Diarrohea ,the reason being the difference in water minerals , the best option drink bottled water as much as possible.
3. Food - We love our spices and most of our dishes aren't suited for Western palate. Also ,60 pc. population is Vegan (not even Eggetarians) so its not uncommon to find restaurants serving vegetarian food alone and Cow is sacred to us so forget beef while you are in India.Thumb rule -Eat where lot of people are eating . Also a good idea would be to carry Nutella ,butter ,jam so that they can be eaten with Chapatis or Paranthas (common Indian breads) when nothing else is available.
4. Travel -Travelling in India can be a unique experience for many because of so many people. Although air travel has become quite popular and air connectivity has improved considerably yet Trains are the most common and cheapest mode of travel. Make sure to reserve your tickets well in advance .There is a quota for Int'l tourists also . Check the India railways website www.irctc.com . Try to book the Air Conditioned coaches as they are realtively safer and cleaner. Also abstain from sharing food in trains. Its not uncommon to be drugged and looted in trains .If you are travelling alone avoid night travel especially by buses.
5. People - We are an obsessed bunch of folks. For us watching a foreigner is equivalent to watching a hollywood stars. Be ready for long stares , friendly hellos and requests to get clicked . If you are a girl you can experience some pretty harassing situations in public places. Conducting yourself properly becomes essential. Be friendly but being over friendly could sometimes land you in jittery situations . Most off the times people don't mean any harm but its not uncommon to get scammed by these friendly people. India is not a bad country infact 99% people are good hearted. Asking for help or directions would never get you a cold reply. People go an extra mile to help tourists here. But also remember that there are language constraints as most of the people have bare minimun English conversation skills so try to find someone who knows English for help.
6. Scams and Hustles - Pickpockets , Snatchers ,Scamsters , Tricksters , Frauds you will meet them all here. You will be sold dirt in the name of antiques ,charges eorbitantly by tais and rickshaws. Haggling for price to 20 % of the original is quite commom. Try finding faults ,sound knowledgable. Being firm and confident would help you in dealing with India. Also it would be a good idea to make partial payments for hotel rooms ,and taxis and the balance at the end.
7. Hotels - All most anywhere in India a good room with AC and TV would cost you around 20 dollars. Try finding these 20 dollar rooms as they are safe and reliable. Going or too cheap places can sometimes compromise on safety. Pre booking the hotels is a good idea. Try reading reviews on Trip Advisor. There is a very nascent hostel culture in India.
8. 40 dollars a day - A sufficient budget if you are travelling alone and using public transport or for a group of five using private transport. A sufficient meal costs 2 dollars and 15 dollars are enough for sight seeing or travelling plus the 10 dollars for sharing a room and still 9 dollars for other spending.
9. Andamans -Heaven on Earth . India is a rushy place when you have 15 % of world population living on 2% land its bound to be rushy ! But India has its bery own isles , the Andamans are a group of 500 islands geographically near too Myanmar than India but under Indian control. It has pristine beaches ,no rush . the best among them Havelock Island where there is nothing but sand and sea ,a very good spot for underwater diving and the best beach in Asia (Radhanagar Beach) . Its a must visit on a trip to India.
10 Namaste -This word would help you navigate most of India . Fold your hands and say Namaste and the country is yours.Please be ready to tell your name and nationality and what do you do to more people than ever.The Indian nod is something you should be aware of. We shake our heads both in acceptance and rejections so it becomes difficult to understand what is yes and what is no. But you will understand after a few days.
So be prepared , don't be afraid ,forget anything bad i've said. India is a great place and you'll enjoy a lot. Happy travelling