India is a fascinating country that has rich history, amazing culture, ancient religion, and an abundance of equally ancient practices meant to develop both your mind and body. Whether you’ve been to India a few times or only planning your first visit, here are 10 things no one told you about travelling India.
It’s incredibly well-connected
You must think that most countries are well-connected, but it’s not exactly true when it comes to Asia and Southeast Asian countries. India, on the other hand, has an incredible transportation system. There are comfy trains with air-conditioning, simple trains with fans, buses, comfy sleeper buses, and of course flights. You can plan a trip depending on your budget, and rest assured that you’ll always be able to get from point A to point B somehow!
Train ticket system is complicated
The best way to get your train tickets is buy them online, but the tricky thing is that IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) site still doesn’t quite accept international cards. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t, that’s the gamble you have to take. Otherwise you can use services like Cleartrip or Yatra where you’ll have to pay a small extra fee to get your tickets.
Train tickets finish fast
Buy train tickets in advance! There are lots of people in India and train tickets disappear fast as it is one of the cheapest and most comfortable ways of travelling. But don’t despair, there’s a trick called Tourist Quota. Tourist Quota tickets are a small number of tickets reserved special for international tourists and you can get them in most big railway stations by filling out a form and showing your passport. Can’t buy them online! A small extra fee is applied.
The head wiggle
Indian head wiggle is a mysterious and wonderful thing. It can mean literally anything! “Yes, no, maybe, sure, I don’t know, of course, okay, let’s see…” The list is endless! It can change meaning depending on the situation and the person you’re talking to. Our advice – start using it as soon as possible as it will immediately make you more in tune with the local people wherever you go. It’s also incredibly fun!
There’s coffee and it’s good
India is most famous for its tea or chai and there are many varieties growing in places like Darjeeling and Assam, but not many people know that Indian coffee is actually quite good too! Southern states of India are growing amazing coffee (like Monsoon Malabar) and you can buy freshly roasted beans in Karnataka and Kerala, so think about that when you plan your next trip.
Cheap phone Internet and good coverage
You’d be surprised to see just how affordable Indian mobile Internet is! There are packs as cheap as $3 and you get 1.5 GB of data per day, unlimited calls all over the country, and a few hundreds of SMS. That’s for one months, but the longer pack you get, the cheaper the price! The coverage is also great and you’ll have working Internet everywhere, be it a beach or a hill station.
Wi-Fi is not so good
It’s a paradox, but good Wi-Fi in India is a rare and precious animal. Of course, big cities are well-connected, but once you get a little bit into the wild and go travelling to faraway places, villages, and smaller towns, you’ll find out there’s not much Wi-Fi in India and the one you do manage to find is kind of slow.
A ‘hotel’ is not what it seems
If you see a sign saying ‘hotel’ wait before grabbing your things in hope to find a room. Most of the time this means a restaurant, not an actual hotel. If you’re looking for a place to spend the night, then better pay attention to lodges, rooms, residencies, lodges, and other words indicating there’s a place where you can stay.
Almost everyone speaks English
There are hundreds of live languages spoken India, which means you’ll hear a different dialect wherever you go. Most people know Hindi, but not all of them, and some choose to avoid it in favour of the native tongue. English, on the other hand, is spoken almost everywhere. You will see many signs and boards in English, which makes India a relatively easy country to navigate.
Each state has its own weather
There’s monsoon, the rainy season, that hits most of the country in summer, but there’s also weather common for every state in particular. Hot southern part of India is good during autumn and winter months as later it gets super hot. Northern India is amazing in spring and first months of summer while the rains still haven’t kicked in, as well as first months of autumn, while it’s not too cold. This is the best time to see the mountains. There’s also the dry state of Rajasthan that you should never ever go to in summer as it gets scorching hot due to the dessert nearby… Just do your research thoroughly once you’ve decided what places you want to visit!