Bad experience looking for a hotel after arriving early in the morning
cpio
India > India Travel Basics > India Travel > Scams and Annoyances in India
#1
| Member

Bad experience looking for a hotel after arriving early in the morning

Last time I arrived very early with the metro from airport, to New delhi train st. wanting to make my way to main bazaar at the other side. I didnt realy know how to get around, so I was picked up by a guy in a rickshaw, I told him clearly to drive me to Main bazar, he drove me elsewhere. I had been up all night and was bery tired, and the sun was getting up and it was getting hot. He drove me somewhere else in Paharanj and then took me from hotel to hotel, every place refused me a room. I was getting really tired and thirsty, after awhile I abandoned the guy and wandered around not knowing where I was, but finally found hotel and checked in.

If you look tired and vulnerable dont trust the rickshaw driver or make very sure you know where you are going so you can complain if he goes somewhere else, especially on weird times/night and on hot days.

13 Replies

#2
| retired
I don't understand, what was the nasty, dangerous scam?

Main Bazaar is the main hotel street of Paharganj, it seems like he was trying to take you to a hotel where he'd get a commission (for taking you), OK, you pay a little extra, annoying, but not nasty or dangerous.
#3
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post

I don't understand, what was the nasty, dangerous scam?
:rofl:

Originally posted by: cpio View Post

I didnt realy know how to get around... I told him clearly to drive me to Main bazar, he drove me elsewhere.
I hope you tipped the probably illiterate riksawallah, for it seems that he did exactly what was asked of him, that is if you didn't really know how to get around... Which main bazaar is that in Delhi anyway, last time i looked it was all one great bizarre.
#4
| Senior Member
What a disappointment! I was sooo looking forward to reading about the nasty / dangerous scam in Paharganj [shock], and it turns out to be a tale of a rikshaw wallah who, surprisingly, does not speak fluent English... Starting to think that IndiaMike is all a big scam. :pissed: Also, India is not turning out to be the exciting, dangerous place I was lead to believe it was. No nasty scams, not even in Paharganj?
'Enlightenment is not a matter of having answers, but a matter of having no questions.' (I.D. Garuda)
#5
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: Mirjam2 View Post

What a disappointment! I was sooo looking forward to reading about the nasty / dangerous scam in Paharganj [shock], and it turns out to be a tale of a rikshaw wallah who, surprisingly, does not speak fluent English...
Or even kucch Hindi... In the old days, East was East and so on - and in Asia anything was gonna happen for sure. Have we succumbed to the talked up reality of some false homogeneity going around our one world, where in this digital age when we can research anything on the net, yet, folks are still surprised to experience that stuff, is not like it is at home.. the riksawallahs and cabbies haven't done a few years of Knowledge nor do they impossibly know their Delhi inside out.

Tarun Tejpal, in particular of Tehelka fame, has written 'The Story Of My Assassins" located in Delhi and in N.Delhi railway station, for connoisseurs of scamsters and the scam..
#6
| Clueless
This is not first visit to India/Delhi for OP, is it ? Was he trying to wingit and go hotel-shopping ?
#7
| Still lurking
Mod Note:

I have renamed this thread as I couldn't pinpoint the 'Nasty/Dangerous scam around New delhi train st, and Pahar ganj' bit of the post either.



And from me personally: every traveller should know they're probably not at their best when arriving tired in the early hours so should probably plan ahead.
India blogs: monsoon meandering (2011) and big cats & holy ghats (2009)
Type 1 diabetes blog: circles of blue.
#8
| Account Closed
Heheh. I'm reminded really (I think from descriptions here this may have changed) of my first landing at New Delhi Railway Station, arriving by public bus from the airport (as us budgeteers should diligently be made to do).

1993. I'm embarking on a 6-month trip here, and have spoken to any friends of the many I could lay my hands on who'd been before for nights on end, flicking through guidebooks and whatnot (there was no internet, to speak of), a few of whom had inspired me to go there at all with their enthusiastic stories having just returned from indeed a half-year trip btw. (Yes, young white ladies. Incredible, isn't it.)

So of course none of that could have prepared me (and I ff'ing hated it with a vengeance for the first few days. Until I got my sorry bum out of that main city and moving around. Those silly "cool" fellow travelers you meet not the least of my misgivings, btw.)

So anyways here I am dropped off at NDLS, trying to find my bearings, doesn't seem too familiar from all I've been told. I'd figured I should be able to walk from there, but just can't find my bearings.

So I engage an autorickshaw anyway. So we drive around for quite a bit, only for me to notice that looking down the street as I get dropped off, I can now see the station from the other side. So I think OK you were just ripped off on your first ride, just par for the course as you've been told.

Only much later really and probably on subsequent visits to town do I realize I'd stepped out at the Ajmeri Gate side, the Paharganj side being at the other side. And at that time at least, there really didn't seem to be any direct ways around the station. (This may indeed have improved.)

Then another thing is those poor drivers there really don't know every alley and a gazillion of funky backpacker hotels. Being able to tell them a landmark always helps.

Well. Welcome to India :cool:

But so in fact you haven't been ripped of just yet, you (I mean the plural you, as in one; maybe the poster ran into something, I don't know) have just gotten your own sorry mind in a knot. It takes some getting around there, and I'm not saying Paharganj is the cutest of places to start, but there are in fact an amazing number of Indians who are not out to get you. Rather to help you make the most of your time, and often going amazingly out of their way to do so.
Reading tips, all picked up at IndiaMike :bunny: : INDAX's A Comprehensive Guide To India / ITHVC on Culture Shock & Travel Health / JetLag Travel Guides For the Undiscerning Traveller / India Travel Links
#9
| Gruntled Member
I still wonder that so many tourists set off to places unknown to them without an up to date guide book or without bothering to print or copy to their gizmo of choice some minimal information that would secure them a bed.

I have found that Indian taxi drivers and staff in hotels are frequently untrained and are expected by their employers to learn on the job from their customers. Sometimes the customer is a resident and the unwitting employer of a person totally inexperienced. Aravind Adiga's black comic novel, "The White Tiger", explores this tradition in the context of domestic employment within a middle class family.

I suspect a proportion of tourists feel that their winging a situation will accelerate their understanding of a place and gaining of applicable street smarts. If such people do exist I would rather they relate their experiences elsewhere.
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#10
| Gruntled Member

Originally posted by: cpio View Post

Last time I arrived very early with the metro from airport, to New delhi train st. wanting to make my way to main bazaar at the other side.


cpio, Upon rereading your post I was reminded that Delhi's new airport terminal and new airport metro service has shifted the point at which a new arrival encounters the Delhi street.
A traveller familiar with modern airport services elsewhere in the world could easily think that Delhi's new airport metro would bring him someplace where taxi services were of a familiar world standard.

I rather enjoy that the taxis I take when in India are frequently the same Hindustan Ambassadors I used thirty years ago. Sadly, driver knowledge remains uncertain.
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#11
| Grandad of Four

Originally posted by: cpio View Post

... make very sure you know where you are going so you can complain if he goes somewhere else, especially on weird times/night and on hot days.


I love the random juxtaposition of "especially on weird times and on hot days"! "Weird and hot" describes a lot of my days in India!
"I am in love with India...where I find the heat and smells and oils and spices, and puffs of temple incense, and sweat and darkness, and dirt and lust and cruelty, and above all, things wonderful and fascinating innumerable." Kipling 1893
#12
| Professional cynic
I told him clearly to drive me to Main bazar, he drove me elsewhere. I had been up all night and was bery tired, and the sun was getting up and it was getting hot. He drove me somewhere else in Paharanj and then took me from hotel to hotel, every place refused me a room. I was getting really tired and thirsty, after awhile I abandoned the guy and wandered around not knowing where I was, but finally found hotel and checked in.


I wonder when this tale of woe took place because the last couple of months it's been anything but hot in Delhi. If you arrive in the middle of the night/early morning and are not prepared to suffer, for god's sake, book a room in a good hotel in advance and take a prepaid taxi to get there. Carry the hotel phone number. Plenty of time to go hunting for something cheap the next days. Some people are gluttons for punishment...

But a scam it's not.
"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.
#13
| Senior Member

Originally posted by: dillichaat View Post

I wonder when this tale of woe took place because the last couple of months it's been anything but hot in Delhi. If you arrive in the middle of the night/early morning and are not prepared to suffer, for god's sake, book a room in a good hotel in advance and take a prepaid taxi to get there. Carry the hotel phone number. Plenty of time to go hunting for something cheap the next days. Some people are gluttons for punishment...

Not only that, get a GPS. I love that I brought my Garmin Edge 705, even though it is a bicycle GPS. With this GPS I can use the Garmin BaseCamp to put in points of interest, like the hotel I was going to. And every day all the places I wanted to visit. It is fantastic to be able to tell the taxi driver that he turned the wrong way or took a detour. Or give directions, like turn right now, or left. Pointing works better than words.

Sometimes your GPS suggests a road which is closed or one way, but then there are usually another road close by, or the driver knows the way. Other times I happened to direct into a big queue, where as he wanted to go a road with less queue. I have also accidentally made him turn hard left, when he was supposed to only do a 30-45 degree angle, which resulted in a little detour.

Maps? I used maps in Garmin format from openstreetmaps.org and they even come with Points Of Interest. Not all smaller side roads is on maps from Openstreetmaps, but the big ones are.

To get your hotels GPS? Well, when you book your hotel through booking.com then they also send the latitude and longitude for the hotel. This means you can always just give the driver a piece of paper with the address, and you can choose the same destination on your GPS and check if the direction is correct or not. I did stop and get out of an autorickshaw that was totally in the wrong direction.

I used this for 6 hotels so far here in India. Often booking.com lattitude and longitute is a little off, like maybe 50-100 meters, but I did experience one 4-5 km off with both map and latitude and longitude for a luxery 5* hotel in chennai. I did report it so they probably have fixed it by now.

If you dont yet have a GPS I do recommend that you get one which has removeable batteries or even better can use standard AA batteries which you also bring extra, so you can always get home if you run out of batteries. Also useful if you travel with train and have no chance of charging the GPS. You end up using lots of battery because the backlight must be on inside the autorickshaw, and to do all the routing and calculating.

One further advantage is that the GPS can be used to check the distance to where you are going, and negotiate a better price with an autorickshaw driver, and also it can get you there if he is lost or doesnt understand you. Or pretends to.

If you do end up traveling on trains (above ground) then you might want to put it into walking mode and direct line mode rather than routing for a car. Then you could set it up for the station before your stop and then you know where to get off.
#14
| Naan.tering Nabob

Originally posted by: cpio View Post


If you look tired and vulnerable dont trust the rickshaw driver or make very sure you know where you are going so you can complain if he goes somewhere else, especially on weird times/night and on hot days.


In India, if 'you' don't know your next move ... somebody will soon come along and attempt to make it for you. Next time, be more prepared & thus the master of your own destiny. :)
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

http://www.derekgrantdigital.com

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