A dynamic and developing country, India has a lot of lure for tourists of all sorts. If you’re travelling to India for the first time, it’s best if you keep in mind the following quick tips to ensure that your stay in this incredible country is as safe and comfortable as possible.
– India has a lot of offer in terms of wildlife. While each reserve/national park/sanctuary will have its own safety measures in place, their effectiveness can vary. Therefore, be sure to follow all rules and regulations stated by the officials, remain in your vehicles at all points and maintain distances even from “safe” animals.
– Both the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea can be extremely inviting for the avid swimmer. However, exercise extreme caution while swimming in the open waters; especially during the monsoons when the water can get really rough. While there are coastguards on duty during the day, there is no supervision at night. Follow all warnings strictly.
– If you’re in India for a trek, it would be safest if limit your adventure to already identified routes that are approved by local authorities. Be careful to ensure that any help coming your way is via a registered agent, porter or guide only. Despite all your expertise, it is best to embark on the trek in the company of a local climber who is familiar with the area.
– Most adventure activities in India are risky during the monsoons with risks of floods, land/mud slides and spread of infectious diseases. Its best to avoid visiting India during monsoon season.
– Regions like Jammu and Kashmir, all other border areas shared with Pakistan, the north-eastern states and the interiors of Bihar and Jharkhand are known for political violence and violent crimes. While threats of trouble here are high, it is not a constant. Keep a track of the political situation in these states before you plan a trip to these places.
– India is also known for a high rate of petty theft and scams. Be aware and cautious. Often, offers of cheap deals in hotels, cabs and tours are scams. If you’re backpacking it across India, it’s best if you do a bit of research before you take the plunge.
– It is true that India is not the safest place for women. However, if you are dressed appropriately for your surroundings, avoid smoking/drinking publicly in less developed areas and travel with companions when travelling at night by public transport in urban centres and throughout when travelling through the interiors of the country; you should be fine.
– Due to the great economic disparities in the country, you will often find pockets of extreme poverty in India, which also equates to poor hygiene. It is best if you drink only bottled water that is sealed properly and opened in front of you.
– The people of India are very sensitive about their customs and beliefs. It is best if you keep yourself well acquainted with local laws and practices to avoid hurting sentiments.
– Public display of affection is looked down upon in India. Anything beyond holding hands and hugs is unacceptable in public even in urban India. Avoid if you want to avoid nasty glares.