India is one of the most diverse countries there is in the world. This may be because of the large population or the spicy food or its geographical location. Whatever you know India for, it is highly recommended as a travel destination.
India has it all. Swim in the beaches, climb the mountains, skate in the snow, unleash your passions and desires in this Asian country.
I have compiled what I hope will be a helpful guide.
What to expect
Language: Not everyone speaks English in India. As a matter of fact, just a small part of the population communicate excellently. In most parts of the country, you will occasionally meet people who know basic English – call it Hinglish! Anyway, most people make an effort to understand you so it shouldn’t be as hard to get along. As is the case anywhere else in the world, language barrier can be a major hindrance, and sometimes, a nuisance. To avoid wasting time, money, and energy, be sure to do your homework. Conduct research before you visit a place – no one place is the same; this is especially true for India.
Currency: Indian rupees are used all across the country.
Banks and Credit Cards: we are a cashless society, or are we? A decent number of places across India accept credit cards. However, a good number of them accept cash only. To be safe, be sure to have some rupees on you. Don’t go to the local market without cash, for example! There are banks all across the country, so it shouldn’t be a hassle withdrawing cash. It is also important to note that these banks charge varied commissions for Visa withdrawal. While it might not seem like much for a single withdrawal, it is quite some cash over time. Budget travelers should take note of that as well.
Climate: Now, this is a very tricky one. The Indian climate is very different from one state (and town) to the next. It is obviously cold in winter, but again, this varies. Personally, I never experienced winter in Pune. Nonetheless, it is very hot when it is summer. Places near the Himalayas are normally cold.
Getting to India
Most of the times you might need to fly into the country. There are many large airports, like those in Mumbai and New Delhi. In case you’re in a neighboring country such as Nepal, you also have the option to take a bus or train.
Getting around India
You can easily take flights around India. Probably cuz of the large population, flights are not as expensive as one would otherwise expect. There are many apps available for searching and booking your flights; use them wisely, you might save chunks of cash.
In case patience is one of the virtues you possess, a bus would be a worthwhile consideration. They have buses that take as long as 36 hours on the road. If you’re not in a rush, if you’re looking to save, or if you’re just up for adventure, be sure to try out a bus ride.
You may also wheel across the country on a train. Needless to say, you will have access to some of the most amazing sceneries the country has. Trains have a way of taking care of all the anxieties associated with purpose, being suspended between two places is a feeling you only experience when on a train. While I didn’t do long distance trains in India, they are recommended – I, however, suggest not putting your hopes so high, where luxury is concerned!
Driving in India is not recommended since the roads are chaotic, the traffic crazy – not unless you’re just as crazy! Cabs are manageable in India. They have Uber and Ola cabs that are available throughout the country. Public buses are also available and could help you save a lot of money.
Depending on the town, you could rent a bike. For just around 300 rupees a day (again this depends on where you are), you can experience the country as a local. The flexibility that comes with having a bike is also unmatched.
No matter what they invent, nothing will come close to our legs, no? So, walk when you can. It allows you experience hidden parts of the country, meet the locals, and generally feel more alive.
Now that you know how to get there, and that it’s not (as) difficult to get around, make a deliberate effort to get there. No second-guessing! Cheers to more adventures and getting off our comfort zones; till next time, with love!