Monday, November 26, 2007

India Travel Tips

Travel to India :

Tips for Women Travelers to India

Even after the modern influence of western countries,
India still remains a conservative country. Some
western habits are perceived as inappropriate and
degrading if practiced by women here.

Here are sometravel tips for women in India:

Don’t wear revealing clothes while in India. They do
not appeal to Indian sensibilities. You will attract
unwanted attraction and advances if you are wearing
skimpy outfits.

Apart from the big cities, touching between people of
the opposite sex in public is very unusual. Even
married couples avoid any display of affection
publicly. It will be better if you do not shake hands
with a person of the opposite sex unless the other
person extends his/her hand first. Among Hindus, the
way to greet is by bring your palms together in front
of your chest, or simply saying 'Namaste'. You can say
Hello or Hi also. But some old people may not
appreciate it.

Smoking by a woman is not acceptable anywhere in
India, except for the metro cities. A woman who
smokes/drinks is thought to be having a loose moral
character, especially amongst the middle class.
Discos, dance clubs, pubs, 5-star hotels are areas
with a modern touch. You can easily head there for
some entertainment or for drinks. However, having a
male companion or at least another female with you is
quite a good idea.

Even at beaches, the people here are fully clothed.
First find out what kind of attire is appropriate for
the beach you are heading to. In some places like Goa,
the visitors to beach mainly consist of foreigners.
There, you may wear swimsuits on the beach. However,
even there it is inappropriate to roam about dressed
in swimwear away from the beach.

In local trains, some cars reserved only for women. It
is advised for you to travel in those.

It is better not to venture outside in a street party.
Street parties on holidays generally don’t consist of
women. Inebriated men are seen partying at such
occasions. Women, in these parties, can be subjected
to groping and sexually aggressive behavior from the
inebriated males. It is very unsafe for women to
attend these festivities alone.

Avoid talking in a friendly manner with men you meet
in buses, trains, restaurants, shopping places, etc.
It may be viewed as a flirtation. It may also lead to
unwanted and unexpected sexual advances. However,
befriending Indian women can be a wonderful experience
for female travelers. But, you may have to start the

A way to get more respect from Indians is to wear
traditional Indian clothes, such as salwaar kameez or

Do not venture in isolated places alone. It is also
advised not to go outside alone after it is very late
and dark.


Tips and Advisories

I would never recommend that females stop exploring
India by train, and I would spend 1,000 more hours on
them to take in such a bewildering and beautiful
country. The following tips and advisories are for
female travelers especially, but also for the male
solo traveler, to ensure healthy and incident-free
travel aboard the Indian railways:

Unlike many other destinations, in India if you are a
solo traveler you will often be the only Westerner on
a train.

Ask for the upper berth (it will say “UB” on your
ticket stub) when buying your ticket—it has a far
greater degree of privacy and you can stretch out any
time, even in the middle of the day.

Avoid the lower berth or middle berth; you will not be
able to stretch out until everyone decides to go to

Purchase all tickets as far in advance as possible. It
is a good idea to purchase a few legs of your journey
all at once while you are at one major station so you
are assured a seat on the date that you want.

Do not make prolonged eye contact with any males; it
can be seen as a sexual invitation.

Although you will be asked for your sex at the ticket
office, this will not generally mean that you will
share your berth with other females.

Sleep and ride with any bags that fit right on your
berth—use them as footrest and pillows. All travel
documents should be in contact with your body at all

Study all the passengers around you after the train
leaves the station. Do not shy away from pleasant
conversation because you are afraid for your safety,
but do not feel a false sense of ease because you feel
like you know them.

Do not plan to change your clothes while on the train.
An ankle-length cotton skirt, dark colored t-shirt
with sleeves, and a long cotton scarf is ideal.

Pre-arrange all hotel information at your intended
destination before boarding your train, especially if
you will be arriving after 5 p.m.

Do not get off the train to stretch, even at prolonged
stops at major stations. Stay within eye contact of
your berth at all times.

If you feel uncomfortable in any situation on a train,
do not hesitate to change your seat immediately, with
or without first asking the conductor. If you sense
trouble, move first, ask later.

If you find yourself the victim of a crime, report the
situation to the conductor and request to speak to a
police officer. Gather the names and addresses of any

If you are the victim of a sexual assault in India,
report it to the authorities immediately and don’t
give up or be surprised if the men in charge to not
take you seriously. Place a call to the nearest
embassy of your country of origin as soon as you can,
and don’t be shy about telling the authorities that
you are doing so; it gets them to act. You will be
asked by the police to write a full report of the
incident and, if possible, identify the perpetrator at
the station. In my case, this took up the entire
morning of my day in Agra—a price I was happy to pay.

Don’t shy away from independent female travel—just be

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