Jun 12, 2012

10 Things You Will Hate About India

If you consider to travel to India, you might have heard a lot of opinions about it. Commercials show Incredible India, while Youtube is full of Indian trains. Your friends could be saying it will be an adventure, others might say you are insane. What to think about India? And should you go there in the first place?

India is a very big and diverse country, where first time visitor will definitely experience a mix of unimaginable contrasts. It is definitely not a place for the fainthearted, but with a proper expectations management, we believe anyone can enjoy it. 

In order to prepare you for the worst, we have created a list of 10 most annoying aspects of travel in India. We don't want to make judgments about India or its people. We only have our travel experience to reflect upon. Besides, we personally enjoyed many aspects of the list, especially at the beginning of our trip!

1. You will be overcharged
Taxi drivers, street sellers, handicraft shop owners, tour operators and friendly locals - at some point it feels like everybody wants to take advantage of you. Even though price will still be low for Western standards, you might become disappointed once you find out that locals are charged two or even five times less. It gets tougher in touristic places like Varanasi, where a random passerby unasked will accompany you to your hotel to collect a commission for attracting a customer. Therefore, it's better to know the price in advance and to be ready to bargain.

2. Delhi Belly (traveler's diarrhea) 
No matter how hard you try, there's a 40-70% chance of having a loose stomach, while traveling in India. Buying bottled water and peel-able fruits is a safe bet, but there's not much else you can do about cooked food, when you go out (no matter how basic or posh the restaurant is).  Some warn, that foreigners shouldn't eat at their hotels 2 days before departure, especially in North India, since owners tend to poison the food to keep guests longer. 

3. Spicy Food 
Food in India is rice and bread (parantha, parotta, naan, chapati, papad, roti, bhatura, puri etc.) based. Rice is usually served with cooked lentils (daal) and cooked vegetables (sabzi). Served food is generally processed (boiled/cooked) and spicy (with chilly) for a reason - no bacteria can survive it. And if you fancy non-Indian or raw (not processed) food, it must be a trusted location. Besides, forget about spoon or fork, you will have to use your own hand (preferably right)

4. Chaotic Streets
Take one billion people, cars, bicycles, rickshaws and scooters in one place, add some cows, make everybody use a horn and move in every possible direction, add more cows and you get a typical Indian street. Loud, polluted and heavily congested streets here work as a road, marketplace and a restaurant. Once you figure out the rules, you might start enjoying this perfect chaos.

5. Extensive Attention
Unless you are invisible, people will stare at you. Most will smile at you, many will talk, some will approach  to make a picture of/with you, some - to shake a hand and some might even try to kiss you. Travelers usually enjoy this type of attention at first, but at the end of the day being Brad Pitt is not easy. Being Angelina Jolie in India, however, is even harder, since female harassment is very common. As a result, for safety reasons there are seat sections reserved for female passengers in trains and buses.

6. Pollution
Unless you travel in a box, sooner or later you will see/smell dust, car fumes, waste, urine and feces. While street trash is being stockpiled and burned by the shop-owners first thing in the morning, nobody takes care of toilet-like sidewalks - people walk on roads instead. Diesel-run busses, trucks and rickshaws, however, produce enough exhausts for a unibrow on your face within an hour

7. Climate
Even though India covers vast area of land and several climatic zones, heat dominates most parts of the country whole year round. By the end of march temperatures reach +30C (86 F) and in some areas exceed +50C (122 C) in Summer. Sunscreen and a lot of water is a must.

8. Liquid toilet paper 
Aside from contemporary homes and expensive hotels, most of the toilets in India are holes-in-the-floor with a can of water and no paper. And if you travel in India, you might find instructional video on how to use a toilet in India by Wilbur Sargunaraj somewhat amusing and very useful at the same time.

9. Animals
Cattle are considered sacred in Hinduism, as a result many cows hang out on the streets as they please. Besides these beautiful, calm and sometimes stubborn creatures, streets of India ensure peaceful coexistence of dogs, pigs, monkeys, rats, cockroaches, lizards and even elephants

10. Poverty
Begging is widespread. And while most travel guides suggest to abstain from donations, moral pressure is always there. We fell prey to entrepreneurial beggar once, who would order only the most expensive items from the menu while dining with us. Inevitably you develop a cold-blooded attitude. And when you think you've seen it all, Kolkata punches poverty in your face and your heart is broken again.


Re: #2, I hadn't heard that about N Indian hotels. However the two times I've gotten sick in 8 months of travelling have been from hotel food, so I think they're best avoided anyway. In Munnar, I was eating Indian veg food & still got sick, so presumably the hygiene was off. In transitory places (hotels), there's no incentive to have quality food, since they know you're leaving on a train, plane or bus to go somewhere else very soon.

Most of these problems are also common in Philippines, especially the pollution and poverty.

India is by far the worst country on Earth. Of the g20 countries it is the worse place to be a women. The wives are consistently beat up by their useless husbands. The men are for the most part completely stupid. Any India with even the smallest bit of common sense will tell you they would give everything they have to be able to leave their country. Feces is everywhere. Even in the business section of Mumbai, with their posh buildings you find people urinating in the street. They wipe their butts with their left hand and only a very few wash it with water after. None use soap. They constantly smell. It is truly the worlds toilet.

Everyone sees in India what he/she wants :) There are ugly deeds everywhere in the world. We have seen kind, welcoming and open people in a beautiful India. It doesn't come easy, but one should look deeper :)

I agree some part of India is dirty but not the country
some people make the country dirty and Dirty politicians who wont care about the country

I guess India is not for everybody. I have heard a wide range of opinions about the country. Some hate it but some love it too. Is there anything you enjoyed while traveling in India?

V have 125 million people so it is going to happen that some people r good and some r bad. U have to b prepared to b here it makes sense to travel in a group or with some friend.

This problem happens for over population and government corruption I think. I have heard a variety of views about the country. Some negative and some positive. however, thanks for your content.


I know that
a large part of the country is like that, but not all of it, and it has a lot
of cool things to offer.

I think india is a very gud country.....it is developing rapidly nd soon it will get rid of poverty......... If u want to visit india u should. U will surely enjoy in india.... It is a beautiful cntry and dont think about the rubbish things written above.......

India is very interesting country, very different parts. In rural areas it is very nice, in fact. What is a real nightmare — Indian cities, extremely overcrowded, polluted, full of dirt and stink. I travelled a lot and can call Delhi the worse city I've ever been

I was really disappointed too when I saw all the polution. I wasn't expecting it to be that bad.

It's India not U.S.what do you expect from a very poor country

Traveling is about experiencing the wholeness of a country, or a city, or a small town of it. Traveling with an open mind makes the experience likeable.. although this post's title is a little bit negative, I see how this writer leads the negative to positive. Let's have an open mind. India is a great place, and let's not compare it to your western lifestyle of rich and famous.

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