Travel to South India alone as white blonde woman

#1 Oct 21st, 2004, 17:25
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Singapore (but European)
  • Biggi is offline

I have never been to India before.
Now I am planning a 10-day trip to Madras, Bangalore, Mysore and Ooty.

As I have heard all different kinds of reactions from friends and even Indian women abroad concerning safety for white blonde women travelling there by themselves (will use domestic flights and trains), I would like to have your opinions.

Will it be hard or unsafe for me to go these places and sightseeing ALONE?

Thanks for any serious comment.

Best regards,
#2 Oct 21st, 2004, 17:43
"love & hate India" club member
Join Date:
Aug 2004
  • icetea is offline
not necassarly unsafe, if you take good care and, as Herby says, you keep your eyes wide open all the time..

but it would be highly uncomfortable at times, I would say....

I am a woman...not blonde though.....and even at my second trip to India I would feel very uneasy about travelling alone...

It all depends on your personality...and guts.

are you used to travel alone, generally? If so...then maybe you are the kind of woman who won't be bothered by insistent starring, touching of knees and other things that men might do in crowded places, trains and so. I highly dislike it...and thus would avoid travelling alone by all means.

there sure are women posters on this site who have done extensive travelling in India and similar places of the world alone, without any difficulties. You will get a different answer from them.

as I said, depends on what kind of a person you are.

anyway, good luck..and enjoy!
#3 Oct 21st, 2004, 22:44
Join Date:
Jan 2004
The OC
  • skell is offline
This question comes up for all "third world" countries. People are curious because they don't often see blond hair or pale skin. Sometimes they (often women and children) want to feel it. But it is only curiosity, not malicious. You can tell the difference when the attention is sexual and then it's time to put a firm stop to it with a sharp word or a slap if necessary. I think men can tell which women should not be messed with, so I try to act like one.

That said, I haven't been to India yet (11 days!!!) so maybe I shouldn't be giving advice. But I've seen these same fears expressed about the Middle East and South America and I've lived and traveled in both places. IMHO, blonds do have more fun!

It's all about your attitude.
#4 Oct 21st, 2004, 23:53
Join Date:
Sep 2003
  • radz is offline
The places you mentioned all cityes,more or less all in tourist circuit.
Be careful as you will be any other new place,you will be fine.

Plz search this forum about"women travelling alone India ",Many thread discussed about this topic,have a look,and you will get some idea .

Happy travelling!
#5 Oct 22nd, 2004, 00:04
Join Date:
Sep 2004
  • crvlvr is offline

You can thank Hollywood (ala James Bond movies, which are very popular in India) for portraying white women as being more sexual than their Indian counterparts. Just be aware of this perception among Indian men. Dressing conservatively will help in managing that perception and avoiding uninvited advances. As skell put it the attention you get will either be innocent curiosity (which is harrmless) or malicious. If you are uncomfortable, take your concerns to the cops. The laws against "eve teasing" are enforced, especially in south india. you might find this article interesting.
#6 Oct 22nd, 2004, 00:24
Join Date:
Oct 2003
New York
  • Merchant is offline
If you live in Singapore, you must have some experience of Tamil customs and mores. Do you have Indian friends there who will put you in touch with their relatives in India? If you spend some time as an honored sister with a family in India, you won't have the slightest difficulty.
#7 Oct 22nd, 2004, 00:30
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Oct 2004
Yellowknife (Canada)
  • Gurnomi is offline

Train Berths

Make sure that you are placed in an all-women's berth on any overnight train journey you're taking in an enclosed berth (I think this only applies to 1st class non-AC and higher??). If you find yourself in a men's berth, which often happened to me, baksheesh may have to be paid, but will be well worth it.
#8 Oct 22nd, 2004, 01:02
Join Date:
Sep 2004
  • Karma Queen is offline


I was there for 2 months, and felt very safe there. It is very cosmopolitan, and I would have felt comfortable having exposed shoulders (although I prefer to cover up in India)
#9 Oct 22nd, 2004, 08:59
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Singapore (but European)
  • Biggi is offline

Thanks for replies

Hi to all posters,

Thank you for your efforts of giving me advice that has been very useful to me!
It was good to hear your stories, and of course I would be grateful of any other comment in the next few days!

#10 Oct 22nd, 2004, 17:15
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Chennai, India
  • Nick-H is online now
Originally Posted by Karma Queen I was there for 2 months, and felt very safe there. It is very cosmopolitan, and I would have felt comfortable having exposed shoulders (although I prefer to cover up in India)
No on would stare at my shoulders ...but I wouldn't expose them to the sunshine!
Life gets aadhar every day.
#11 Oct 22nd, 2004, 18:57
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Ottawa, Canada
  • Casey is offline
I travelled on my own and with a friend in India. I found other than unwanted attempts at conversation and some silly giggling by grown men on the train, I was not bothered at all. I did not interprete myself as being a target with all my interactions with men. The incidents of unwanted attention went up while travelling with someone. I found when being alone, many families took you under their wing and made sure that the unscrupulous men were told to keep away. I was a bit more homesick when I was travelling alone than with a friend but other than that it was a great way to learn about India and yourself.

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