Discussion: What was traveling alone in India like for you?

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#151 Mar 19th, 2017, 21:47
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#151
While I enjoy the jousting with beggars and stallholders, to a certain extent, it does become tiring after a while.

Most posters here are male, and although we try to sympathise and understand harassing issues as a female does, we certainly can't...

My feeling is that most folk who visit India are looking for something out of the ordinary, maybe expecting a spiritual awakening, with all the auervedic, yoga, temples, mosques and shrines, monks, holy cows, etc...

Fending off unwanted and persistent attention from conmen of any ilk is often not part of a first time western tourists expectations...

Ed.
Last edited by OldandRambling; Mar 20th, 2017 at 02:44..
#152 Mar 19th, 2017, 23:53
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#152
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Originally Posted by whatsout there View Post My suggestion would be to stay at a reputable American brand hotel for safety reasons even if it is a 4 star hotel...

I would suggest that she stay with the Taj Hotels, Sheraton, Marriott, Hyatt, Oberoi or any of the major US brands...

As regards going to Agra to see the Taj, the best thing to do is to book a local Tour Bus or Private Taxi- Chauffeured cars through a travel agency with an English speaking guide. The same applies to sight- seeing in Delhi...

Trying to get around on your own for a woman in India is not recommended, especially if people see that she is new and does not know anything...

Nothing can prepare her for the trip to India. It is a different world. Women of any age and physique are not safe by themselves, so there is safety in numbers and hence my suggestion to use a private tour bus or car with a guide.

There is no point being a hero, especially when the luxury is affordable in dollars and recommended for safety reasons. This is the system, even if I was going to visit the Taj or the sights in New Delhi. Book a guided tour with an English speaking tour guide, she will get a lot more out of the trip.

If traveling by private car or tour bus, the eateries rest stops along the way are known to the drivers and they can make the appropriate stops.

She should not eat at any roadside restaurants. Air Conditioned Places are better than roadside shacks. Find a place with American standards. There are a lot of American brands there that are safe. There are Indian restaurants as well but you have to find the hygienic ones that meet International Standards...

Indians drink a lot of tea and now there are a lot of Coffee shops called Baristas and Starbucks are all there. Make sure the cups and glasses they use are clean and properly washed...

Be careful in public as there are pick pockets, so keep your money safely in a pouch or bag. She will see every mode of transportation known to man on the streets of India. She has to be alert and vigilant at all times in Public Places and on the road. That is why I recommend that she use guided escorted reputable tour companies booked through a travel agent or hotel concierge.

THIS IS NO ONE TO TRY TO CUT CORNERS, especially when the luxury does not cost any more in dollars. Go in style and first class your money multiplies 65 times so enjoy and pamper yourself....

...so treat yourself to 4 or 5 star luxury by US standards.

People are friendly and nice, but beware of cheats, so do not let down your guard till you know you can trust them.
I am sure you mean well, but I cannot imagine worse advice for a trip to India. The travel you propose sounds boring, and is frankly patronizing. (I have traveled to India twice as a solo woman, and have done almost none of the things you suggest, other than drinking bottled water and shopping at Cottage Industries.)
#153 Mar 20th, 2017, 04:57
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#153
Frequent flyers do mileage runs; Points addicts to staycations; Bloggers ? Resurrect old threads to drive traffic ?
#154 Mar 20th, 2017, 05:01
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#154
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Originally Posted by whatsout there View Post My suggestion would be to stay at a reputable American brand hotel for safety reasons even if it is a 4 star hotel.
Why just American brand ? Why not European brands ? Club Carlson has more properties in India, than Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton.
#155 Mar 20th, 2017, 06:41
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#155
This was not my advice, but was from an Indian man. I was there three times and I have to agree with him.

I thought the advice from the Indian man was quite good. No one knows their country like a countrymen. I've been traveling all over the world most of my life and had to do a lot more fending off in India than anywhere else. I'm glad I'm MMA trained.

Yet, the fights were worth the monuments and a lot of things that I have seen in that country which greatly interested me.

I just get my hotels online and read the reviews like most of us. Had a lot of trouble in the first hotel, but had a man in the US lobbying for me and I think that helped.

The hotel staff in some other hotels were overly solicitous if you know what I mean. It can really be a disturbance.

I get it with the car! I gave myself some travel rules though, and one is to only drive where it is on the right not left side of the road! Be happy about my making the country safer!

I found it more relentless than anywhere else I have been.

I also was heartbroken at crippled children, and felt saddened for the lepers. When I saw children being pimped that was the worst. I will never forget the face of one little boy, maybe 11 years old. I was told you could get virgin girls for $60.00 at a nearby brothel.

I don't travel like "Mary Poppins thinking" all is wonderful, and try not to have cultural honeymoons. I want the realities, good and bad. Just glad I was able to see so much of the good as well.
Last edited by snotty; Mar 20th, 2017 at 08:29..
#156 Mar 20th, 2017, 07:14
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#156
It's a hard place. No gettin' 'round that fact. Glad you saw the humanity too.
#157 Mar 20th, 2017, 07:19
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#157
A friend sent me this article and I was upset that I saw these women in this town and did not know their circumstances.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ma...ination-exile/
#158 Mar 20th, 2017, 07:38
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#158
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Originally Posted by whatsout there View Post A friend sent me this article and I was upset that I saw these women in this town and did not know their circumstances.

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ma...ination-exile/
Brilliant article. I have to re-read it but very moving. Mindsets have to change.
#159 Mar 20th, 2017, 08:48
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#159
Someone sent me this as well about abandoned baby girls. I think when we travel we can do the Mary Poppins, its all rainbows when I'm on vacation version, the cultural honeymoon version , or the I'm here to see it, good or bad.

I try to be a realist but it is so easy to sugarcoat when I am processing from the perspective of wanting to see the good.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/fea...080218497.html
#160 Mar 20th, 2017, 23:26
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#160
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Originally Posted by whatsout there View Post This was not my advice, but was from an Indian man. I was there three times and I have to agree with him.

I thought the advice from the Indian man was quite good. No one knows their country like a countrymen. I've been traveling all over the world most of my life and had to do a lot more fending off in India than anywhere else. I'm glad I'm MMA trained.
If you're passing it on without distancing yourself from it, it IS your advice, regardless of it's origin.

So much defensiveness in your response! OK, you're a woman and you've been to India multiple times (so am I and so have I). You've traveled all over the world (so have I). You had to do more fending off in India than other places (So have I, but I don't really care, and maybe that's the difference). You're MMA trained (I trained Muay Thai for years, but it seems silly to bring up in this context. What were you going to do, arm-bar someone on the train?)

There are countless ways of traveling in India. If to be comfortable, you require Marriott Hotels and Starbucks, then that's what you should do. I'd never do it that way, but we're never going to be travel companions, so we can easily agree to disagree on the matter.

Cheers!
#161 Mar 21st, 2017, 14:52
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#161
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Originally Posted by whatsout there View Post Someone sent me this as well about abandoned baby girls. I think when we travel we can do the Mary Poppins, its all rainbows when I'm on vacation version, the cultural honeymoon version , or the I'm here to see it, good or bad.

I try to be a realist but it is so easy to sugarcoat when I am processing from the perspective of wanting to see the good.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/fea...080218497.html
And the point of this is? I think we're all very aware that there's misery in India. In your travels, have you ever visited a Romenian or Belarussian orphanage or a prison in central america or seen skid row in downtown LA?

If you want to 'see it all' as you write then don't be surprised if some dirt rubs off, it's part of the package you choose, not something that's imposed on you. As a tourist, the advantage is that you get to choose what you want to experience, not least through your choice of destination.
"It is preferable to have a criminal for a servant rather than a fool because a criminal's actions are predictable and you can protect yourself against them, whereas there is no telling what a fool's next move will be.
#162 Mar 22nd, 2017, 00:09
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Originally Posted by whatsout there View Post My suggestion would be to stay at a reputable American brand hotel for safety reasons even if it is a 4 star hotel. So she can look on the Internet for them. I would suggest finding one that is close to the Metro (subway)station. That is the best way to get around in Delhi The US dollar multiplies 65 times in local Rupees.

Everything is very affordable and reasonable in dollars. Laundry and dry cleaning services are cheap, you do not need to do your own laundry. Have it done by the hotel if needed. Most 4 star and better hotels have gyms and restaurants. I would suggest that she stay with the Taj Hotels, Sheraton, Marriott, Hyatt, Oberoi or any of the major US brands. Try to stay near Connaught Place near Jan Path. It is a main road there. Then she can walk to most of the sights and shopping. It would be like staying in Manhattan vs. staying in the suburbs of NYC. Besides you want to be safe rather than sorry.

As regards going to Agra to see the Taj, the best thing to do is to book a local Tour Bus or Private Taxi- Chauffeured cars through a travel agency with an English speaking guide. The same applies to sight- seeing in Delhi.

Trying to get around on your own for a woman in India is not recommended, especially if people see that she is new and does not know anything. They tend to take advantage of her. She has to learn to bargain for everything in shops when buying anything. If someone says Rs. 10 she should offer Rs. 2 and finally pay Rs. 3 or walk away.

English is the national and court language. So most educated people speak English. The laws are all based on British Common Law like the US, as a former British colony. There is so much diversity of histories the British and the Mogul influence can be seen everywhere.

I would recommend booking the Golden Triangle Tour through a travel agent or concierge. This is Delhi- Agra and then to Jaipur and back. You can do it in two or three days on a guided tour or by private taxi. You leave Delhi 5AM , stop at Sikandra- Akbar’s tomb ( predecessor of the Taj) get to Taj -Agra by 9 AM, see the Taj, have lunch, see the Red Fort. Go in the afternoon to Fatehpur Sikri –Akbar the great’s capital, then proceed in the late afternoon to Jaipur. Have dinner in your hotel in Jaipur, retire early and get an early start the next day. Tour the City Palace, Hawa (Air) Palace, Amer Fort and then head back to Delhi and get back to your hotel by night. Heavy breakfast at Jaipur Hotel and the lunch on the road. Dinner at your hotel in Delhi. She may want to check out for a night and come back to her hotel base in Delhi. Travel with her own hotel bought water bottle. Otherwise drink carbonated drinks.

Her visa she can get from Cox & Kings the Visa contractor of the Embassy of India in Washington DC that handles the visas for ****. She can go on the Embassy of India website and apply for a tourist visa online. There is a link to Cox & Kings for visas. They do the processing. I would suggest getting an expedited visa given that there is very little time left. Please send in the application photos etc. by FedEx and ask for the documents to be returned the same way.

Nothing can prepare her for the trip to India. It is a different world. Women of any age and physique are not safe by themselves, so there is safety in numbers and hence my suggestion to use a private tour bus or car with a guide.

There is no point being a hero, especially when the luxury is affordable in dollars and recommended for safety reasons. This is the system, even if I was going to visit the Taj or the sights in New Delhi. Book a guided tour with an English speaking tour guide, she will get a lot more out of the trip.

If traveling by private car or tour bus, the eateries rest stops along the way are known to the drivers and they can make the appropriate stops. Please tell her to be very careful of the water. DO NOT DRINK LOCALLY bought water at roadside shops. Buy it from a reputable place. People tend to refill bottles with impure water and seal them, making them look like new. You will need Imodium and Anti-biotics to stop the diarrhea. Suggest taking some Alka-Seltzer and Pepto-Bismol. She should take malaria pills and any other shots a doctor would recommend for India. The CDC, State Dept. and the World Health Organization all have recommended immunization shots before going. There is very little time so she should get started with the malaria pills and any Hepatitis booster shots that maybe recommended. Her Internist- Primary care Doc or Pharmacist can recommend drugs that she should take. I again would rather be safe than sorry. The slightest mistake can be very costly both in time and money. She cannot let down her guard at any time.

She should not eat at any roadside restaurants. Air Conditioned Places are better than roadside shacks. Find a place with American standards. There are a lot of American brands there that are safe. There are Indian restaurants as well but you have to find the hygienic ones that meet International Standards.

There are no health inspections of restaurants, rats and roaches are very common everywhere, so you have to be careful not to eat in any dives as they could be life threatening. Take your bottled water from your hotel. When in doubt drink carbonated drinks like Pepsi, Coke or Ginger Ale or Limca ( Lemon Lime drink) . It is better than water. Tea or Coffee are safe bets as the water has been boiled.

Indians drink a lot of tea and now there are a lot of Coffee shops called Baristas and Starbucks are all there. Make sure the cups and glasses they use are clean and properly washed.

She has to learn to say a “FIRM NO” and move on, otherwise the beggars and street peddlers will harass the hell out of her and try to exploit her.

It is a business for them where some drive Mercedes cars from their begging income. They disfigure kids to get sympathy and earn money. There are many who pretend to be disabled. So there are a lot of scams and she should not get involved at all, just say NO and Walk Away.

Be careful in public as there are pick pockets, so keep your money safely in a pouch or bag. She will see every mode of transportation known to man on the streets of India. She has to be alert and vigilant at all times in Public Places and on the road. That is why I recommend that she use guided escorted reputable tour companies booked through a travel agent or hotel concierge.

THIS IS NO ONE TO TRY TO CUT CORNERS, especially when the luxury does not cost any more in dollars. Go in style and first class your money multiplies 65 times so enjoy and pamper yourself. I would suggest that she take a pre-paid taxi from the airport to her hotel. This way the taxi driver does not over charge her.


Secondly there is a record of her going in that taxi, so no one will try and kidnap, rape or molest her at knife or gun point. India is not like the US. There are frustrated men who pounce on any unescorted female, especially someone from the US. So be very careful.

If she needs any further advice, she can call me. My cell is: ----here in . My brother is in New Delhi. His name is ___. He and his wife ____ can be reached at Mobile ___. This is not too far from the airport. Any surface trip by road in Delhi takes an hour minimum. This is why you should leave early morning when going to the Taj- 120 miles away one way. A 5 AM departure would be recommended to safely get a head start and reach some of the less populated areas and before the traffic picks up.

Please also be prepared for a lot of diesel exhaust fumes from trucks and buses. India is the most polluted country in the world. So be ready to put on a face mask in traffic or have your windows rolled up in an air-conditioned car. DO NOT TRY TO GO CHEAP, it will end up costing you a lot more in the long run, so treat yourself to 4 or 5 star luxury by US standards.

Try to shop at fixed price Govt. run Cottage Industries emporiums, where you are assured of the quality. This is a good place to buy handicrafts etc. If she is forewarned and prepared she will have a great trip. She just has to know the rules of engagement for traveling in India and the environment she will be in. It is a different world and that is the charm of it. People are friendly and nice, but beware of cheats, so do not let down your guard till you know you can trust them.
I've not heard such advice since I last planned a trip to Scotland.

A question, if you were looking at visiting India for the first time, and you read the above advice, would you still visit India?

The advice is so intense, so determined to get the point of view across that I fear it would scare off all but the most determined, and those are less likely to take the advice.

Travel agents used to regularly give out similar advice, only they'd add a paragraph describing how near certain death would follow any attempt to use an Indian train, they were trying to scare people into using their services, but I've had similar advice from normal Indians, though most of the times I doubt they'd tried the things they were advising against, but they are only trying to be helpful.
#163 Mar 22nd, 2017, 00:36
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To be fair -although I don't agree with the advice- it is almost exactly the same as what my landlord (a super wealthy Indian) explained to my wife and I when we arrived in Delhi. Didn't make an impression as I had been travelling in India for years prior to being posted there for my job. But his opinion was very much like what was described. Among other things he was proud of not having been to old Delhi for 25 years (nothing to see there and lots of hassles) and to communicate nuggets of wisdom like 'If you want a relaxing and peaceful holiday, go to Thailand' (a maxim that he scrupulously followed, I had seen more of India in 6 years than he in a lifetime). To him, India was his house with staff, the interior of his chauffeured Merc and his AC office tower.
#164 Mar 22nd, 2017, 02:20
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Originally Posted by Newworld View Post I've not heard such advice since I last planned a trip to Scotland. ...


I can take whatsup there's experience as her personal experience and response. I've mentioned how scary I found India when I didn't have a clue --- I remember the owner of my regular Indian restaurant advising me to take plenty of biscuits!

As a personal take, there's plenty to disagree with; plenty of contrary personal takes. As advice, I don't think I've seen anything like it for fifteen years. We do have one member who has, several times, expressed his firm opinion that women should never travel alone in India. Needless to say, several female lone travellers have disagreed. oh... he is an Indian expat.
~
Squawking.
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#165 Mar 22nd, 2017, 05:06
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#165
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Originally Posted by whatsout there View Post My suggestion
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsout there View Post This was not my advice, but was from an Indian man. I was there three times and I have to agree with him.
whatsout there, these long writeups, are these cut-n-paste from your blogs that you are posting around the various sites ? You can admit it here, we are all forgiving people ...
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