Which parts of India are too dangerous to travel?

#1 Oct 27th, 2010, 12:47
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  • gagul_travel is offline
#1
I am worried.

At the time of purchasing my plane ticket to Delhi, I wasn't worried. But after reading many articles, especially the official document written by the Australian government (here), which labels India just as dangerous as places like North Korea, Brazil and Mexico...

I mean, I'm here reading about

But I believe I can stay safe with good street smart (I've done fair bit of travelling myself, albeit more civilised regions), and intelligence. And good intelligence is what I'm after from this forum.

My question is: which parts of India are not safe and should be avoided?

That article written by the government says, DEFINITELY avoid Jammu and Kashmir, and also think twice about visiting Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Jharkland, Manipur, Bihar, Chhatisgarh, Orissa, and West Bengal.

So I'm going to do that. My ticket is one month stay in India and I want to visit as much places...in one piece.

I would appreciate any feedbacks from people who live there, and other experienced travellers of India, to set my mind at ease, which I consider to be the most valuable and trustworthy intelligence that you can find on internet.

If it's okay, I would also like to know how safe it is to cross border to Nepal. I want to take maybe 4~6 days trip to Kathmandu/Patan, or maybe more native areas, wondering if it's a viable option while I'm in India.

I hear there is an option of taking a train from Gorakhpur to Sanauli, then a long bus ride to Kathmandu...or from Karakbhitta to Kathmandu. But I hear some roads are EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. Some 'roads' where buses have to literally drive on the edge of the cliff to make room for 2 ways. And I hear nepal airport isn't that reliable either...

I am also seriously thinking about disguising myself as a local while travelling. I am a Korean guy but have dark skin, hooked nose, and big pretty eyes with mustache, so I was thinking wearing worn out plain clothes might do the trick.

Thanks for any feedback guys! I'll be sure to make further enquiries when I make a draft of my travel plan, hope you guys can help me out then too!

Chris
#2 Oct 27th, 2010, 14:47
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  • paintedlotus is offline
#2
With the obvious caveat of no-one-can-predict-the-future, I'd like to say that you're probably a little too worried about this.

Government warnings on foreign travel can be notoriously paranoid about many destinations. Granted this is for good reason in some areas, such as North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

But India in particular is one of the most heavily touristed countries in the world with relatively few tourist-related incidents. Yes, terrorist activity obviously happens but you can say the same for, say, Europe as well. Bad things can happen anywhere. Personally, after I don't even KNOW how many trips to Europe--one of those literally a day after the Madrid train bombings-- and so far 4 trips to India (with a 5th coming up soon), overall I feel safer in India. It helps that crimes such as muggings, robbery, rape and pickpocketing incidents directed at tourists are much LESS than in many (most?) Western cities. You have far more to fear from drinking the water than you do from terrorism! Haha.

Go, have a good time and enjoy yourself.
#3 Oct 27th, 2010, 15:03
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#3
You will not blend in by wearing old clothes. You will look like a tourist no matter what you do, don't worry too much about it. People are generally very understanding and open to tourists in India. Government official websites and statements are pretty paranoid - you are probably in more physical danger in Sydney than in India. It's normal to feel worried before going to a new place but use common sense, avoid telling people that you consider their country "uncivilized", and try to be open to the new experience and new places. India is a great place if you can keep your wits about you, don't drink the water, and stay safe using general common sense. Don't worry too much and have a good time.
There must be more to life than having everything. - Maurice Sendak
#4 Oct 27th, 2010, 15:14
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  • Nick-H is offline
#4
Hmmm... Let's argue this one by analogy.

When travelling in UK, avoid Essex at all costs as this area is extremely dangerous.

Rubbish. But... would I go for a stroll in Romford at 2.00am on a Sunday morning? no way.

I suggest that you spend more time reading this site, especially about specific areas. There are places, like Kashmir, that have been trouble spots for ages, and I really wonder at people saying things like "will it be ok next week?" Why not just choose somewhere safer.

I also recommend that you begin by deciding where you want to go and what you want to see. You can then use this site to find out about those places.

Quote:
I am also seriously thinking about disguising myself as a local while travelling ... .... so I was thinking wearing worn out plain clothes might do the trick.
Local people do not wear worn-out plain clothes, unless they are very poor! First: there is no need to disguise yourself. Second: you won't be able to without a deep understanding, but at present you have no understanding. No offence! Just pointing out the fact. You have picked up some stuff that has worried you. Spend time on this site, and with guide books, to pick up stuff that does not worry you.

It is only just over a decade ago that I found India pretty scary --- and now I live here!
#5 Oct 27th, 2010, 17:10
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  • gagul_travel is offline
#5
thanks for the replies guys!

I admit that I sound bit too paranoid in my post. I guess I should've taken government warnings with a grain of salt. And disguising now seems like a very silly (but cute?...haha) idea so scratch that.

I am flying on late January, and have decided to travel to India only few weeks ago (it was either India, China, or Greece/Egypt/etc), and India just seemed like the place I wanted to experience the most.

I have gone through many travel books in book stores and internet sites and forums, and have a good idea what I want to see, but I want to come up with a properly drafted itinerary before bothering you guys again, so when I do, please give me good feedbacks!
#6 Oct 27th, 2010, 20:58
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  • Paleface is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gagul_travel View Post (I've done fair bit of travelling myself, albeit more civilised regions), and intelligence. And good intelligence is what I'm after from this forum.
We are less civilised, than err?? & from the same Aussie site - Large numbers of Australians get into trouble overseas as a direct result of partying too hard and forgetting about simple safety precautions... careful then!

And you're right, the mountain bus rides are freaky, specially the Nepal bound ones. Pedal to the floor stuff, gravel all over the bends and with the state of the tyres the vehicles have, i am always in awe as to how the drivers, often high on something eh (it's all the hours they put in), manage to keep the vehicle on the road. I'm petrified coming the other way in my car. You just can't know what's gonna come around the mountain when she comes, and swat you off into the abyss. Still, no point in being worried otherwise it wouldn't be worth getting out of bed isn't it. Ha, that's why i'm always high when setting off for a mountain drive, sort of anesthetized in advance.
#7 Oct 27th, 2010, 21:05
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  • capt_mahajan is offline
#7
Quote:
(I've done fair bit of travelling myself, albeit more civilised regions),
This civilisation is a few thousand years older than the one you come from, or something like that.
#8 Oct 27th, 2010, 21:25
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#8
Does being "more civilized" also include beating up someone black and blue and abusing not just physically, but racially as well.
Maybe i am just selectively blind or deaf, but can't remember having seen many cases of foreigners being attacked in a similar way.

Sorry just had to get it out.

Wonder what the Indian Govt says about visiting Australia. Googled and just glanced thru MEA site, but nothing seen. Can some point me in the right direction.
#9 Oct 27th, 2010, 21:36
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  • Paleface is offline
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Predictably, Australia being mentioned, someone was going to bring it up, but our Op is of Korean antecedents, and there's nothing wrong with that. I have known, well met you know, a few foreigners who took a thrashing in India, but i reckon they thoroughly deserved it. Amazed that more haven't been slapped up in India, considering how appallingly rude and disparaging some travellers can become.
#10 Oct 27th, 2010, 21:47
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  • Shiver me Timbers is offline
#10
Love how everyone reflexively bashes Australia, when in fact, the OP is from Korea, that most civilized of lands .

But yeah, Australia sucks (I read it in the newspaper).

Good luck in India gagul_travel, if you do decide to use disguise, you might pick up a few tips in Rudyard Kipling's 'Kim'.
#11 Oct 27th, 2010, 21:48
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by paintedlotus View Post You have far more to fear from drinking the water than you do from terrorism! Haha.
so true, you have a lot more to fear from drinking water, street food and crossing the road in Delhi or Mumbai.....

unfortunately govt websites take isolated incidents in one part of the country and label the entire country - India is a large country. there are places which are more crime prone but most of the tourist hotspots (except Kashmir) - Goa, Kerala, Rajasthan, Himachal, Uttaranchal, Andaman and Nicobar, Lakshwadeep are as safe if not safer than most place

some places like Mumbai, Delhi and Agra (?) you may encounter some petty crime like pickpockets but again happens across the world - you will not get mugged or stabbed
(i was mugged in NY years ago but hey that's was part and parcel of the NY experience )

there have been isolated incidents e.g. 26/11 Mumbai but unfortunately many places in the worl encounter isolated incident
#12 Oct 27th, 2010, 21:58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manch View Post (i was mugged in NY years ago but hey that's was part and parcel of the NY experience )
First time to NYC was when mugging was a new thing and i was fairly raw. A brother at Grand Central offered to carry my bag, didn't need the assistance but got convinced a mugging was imminent, turned out he was a helpful guy and that we had a mutual interest in Ska.
#13 Oct 27th, 2010, 22:08
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#13
You could do many things to improve your chances of a safe trip.

1. Follow Indian news, to see which areas might have a strike or a protest going on. You can avoid them.

2. Most areas are fine during daytime. You need to be more careful during dark, even in the safest cities around the world, night time can be naughty time.

3. Yes the buses along the mountains are a pretty rough ride. Road deaths in India are very high. Unfortunately, it is like weekly if not daily news around the country, where bus with passengers falls off into a gorge or something. The other more common accident is boat capsizing and passengers drowning.
In both cases, the transport is not used within recommended limits (speed/capacity, etc).

Other than that, just be alert and aware, like one should be at all times when traveling anywhere.
I mean even 'civilized' France is notorious for the purse-snatching-on-stations business.

Terrorist attack is unpredictable (and extreme bad luck for the unsuspecting victims). But I personally dont let the terrorists dictate where I will and wont go.
#14 Oct 27th, 2010, 22:19
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  • Ouzodave is offline
#14
Quote:
Originally Posted by gagul_travel View Post I am also seriously thinking about disguising myself as a local while travelling. I am a Korean guy but have dark skin, hooked nose, and big pretty eyes with mustache, so I was thinking wearing worn out plain clothes might do the trick.
Chris
Sorry, but this made me laugh out loud I kept thinking of Monty Python sketches for some reason.
There's danger anywhere you go in the World but i'd class India as one of the safer options. There's nearly always someone keeping a look out for you, Indians are very friendly. The biggest annoyance and not danger is touts and scam artists, just don't do anything you wouldn't do back home. Treat people with respect and courtesy and don't think Indians are uncivilised
#15 Oct 28th, 2010, 00:16
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  • capt_mahajan is offline
#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiver me Timbers View Post Love how everyone reflexively bashes Australia,
Umm, I wasn't bashing Australia, in case you are referring to me. Was just pointing out how old Indian uncivilisation was. Mahatir Mohammad of Malaysia said it well once but nevermind.

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