Things to Know Before Traveling to Delhi, India
So you’re going to India – is it for business or for pleasure? Doesn’t really matter! Here’s what you need to know before you get there!
Here is a quick intuitive guide to the things you want to know prior to arrival, these are the things I wish someone told me as a solo traveler. After speaking to so many people in the country traveling from abroad you’d be amazed at some of the horror stories. Travellers are outnumbered here and everyones motivation is themselves and survival, don’t get caught in the rift!
Have a plan to get from airport to accommodations prior to getting off the plane
The airport has really bad wifi and unless you already have an Indian sim that’s topped up you’re going to have trouble connecting to wifi. Know where you’re going, how much it should cost you and what time you’re check in is (find out if early check in is possible a lot of flights arrive at odd times of the night to Delhi) I used Uber after 45 minutes of trying connect to wifi it cost me 140 rupees into Block C Rajouri gardens; about 30 minute drive away. The Uber pick up location is a off from the rest of the taxi pick ups so make sure you know where you’re walking to before you lose wifi. Someone else at my stay did the same ride and paid 1000 in a taxi so know you’re prices and negotiate before hopping in.
Be careful what you eat!
If you have dietary restrictions make sure you know how to specify this prior to ordering. If you have a weak stomach stay away from some street food and dodgier establishments; they don’t call it “Delhi belly” for nothing – you will miss flights, busses and trains because you couldn’t leave the toilet for a number of days straight. Get familiar with some of the common dishes and stick with what’s safe for you until you have a better idea of words and meals.
Be careful what you breathe!
Consider picking up a surgical mask; the pollution is no joke and if you’ve got respiratory problems you will experience issues in Delhi. It’s not fog is smog my friend and your lungs aren’t happy about it! It’s said that a day in Delhi is equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes. The smell of the streets and the exhaust from all the vehicles is horrific so the surgical mask might not be stylish but you’ll be happy you have it. Hand sanitizer would be a smart call too.
Know your currency exchange
It’s easy to get ripped off when the numbers have a bunch of extra 0’s and you don’t want to be fresh out of cash faster then necessary. There are a lot of great converter apps to help you out. Figure out the base price of most things because street vendors and rickshas will take advantage of you.
Consider your main attractions
Have an idea of what things you’d like to see, there is quite a lot to see in Delhi and you can often get some of them tackled on one day if you plan right. Also consider planning ahead as some days monuments may be closed
Metro card is a must!
Their metro system is amazing and equip with a women’s only cart at the front of every train! They are often packed; but arrive every two minutes. It’s a great way to get around and there is always English titles and directions in the stations.
Know where you’re going and have your tickets booked
When you’re planning to leave Delhi make sure you have your ticket in place ahead of time, some buses you can purchase last minute but a lot of the trains leaving Delhi are booked in advanced and fill up quickly; if you think you can take a quick trip out on your own to Agra to check out the Taj Mahal think again! You’ll either need to go with a guide or you’ll need a miracle.
Look every direction before crossing the road, maybe even look up. Cars, bikes, motorcycles and rickshaws come from every direction and don’t seem to slow up and hardly pay attention to stop lights.
Delhi is a big place with a lot to offer and many people make it a two day adventure but if you can handle the chaos there is a lot to appreciate about this city. From the old town to the new there is so much history, shopping, culture and food.
Go wild and maybe even try to find a rooftop to take it all in from!