Get a mobile phone. You need it to book anything online…and anything online is easier than dealing with Indian travel agents.
Book trains at the post office, either 2AC is a good benchmark to aim for.
Often, flying is worth it…less than 100 bucks and way quicker/safer….plus the airports are a great reprieve from the otherswise dirty streets of India
1.25L of water is probably 18ish rupees. Don’t pay more than 7 for chai, even that is high…and know that you are literally getting 2 ounces of beverage.
If somebody shows you 5 fingers for a price, it is 50 not 5.
Samosas aren’t that great here…parathas, chapatti, and curry however are a whole new world to the west. Ohhhh and the Thalis-yum!
Tourist bus means round trip…and it is also often all Indian tourists
Ashrams are not as glamorous as even eat pray love makes them out to be.
Thums up is like spicy coke with 10 times more sugar.
They like to salt fresh fruit juices, and put sugar on fruit you buy in the street.
Look carefully where you are stepping…there are many animals in the streets dumping the garbage they consumed for lunch, and nobody cleans it up….and it doesn’t really smell much worse than the rest of the street.
Eat with your right hand, something about wiping your arse with your left.
Wash your hands often, and especially before eating…there’s always a surprise that requires you to eat with your hands
Taxes are not included and they are high. Tipping is also expected…for pretty much everything it seems, or maybe I’m just a foreigner so they try…haven’t sorted that yet, but I did have to justify not tipping the guide who yelled at me in Hindi for 20 minutes about not being late returning from the Taj then waited 2 hours for the Indians to come back.
You will see people living in conditions way poorer than in South East Asia. You can’t save them all, but be grateful for what we have at home.
They are conservative…but Sarees show skin, look at one and judge what you think is relative.
Markets are outdoor malls….bazaars are what Western folk would call a market.
Traffic is bad. There are actually cars vs. just motos in SE Asia, it’s a whole new world of traffic jam
If taking a bus to one place, expect to stop at 10 other temples, marble shoppes, and often for food, it took 7 hours to get to Agra from Dehli…a 200km journey.
Use big bills wisely, and be careful not to rip any.
Book in advance…my new found spontaneity is not serving me well thus far.
If you are a girl alone and you have even the most distant of connections, this is the time to use them.
More Indians than you think speak English, be nice and they will at least try, be harsh and good luck.