We're about to embark on our latest sourcing trip to India, so we thought it'd be a good time to share our top-5 tips for visiting this enchanting country. Traveling through India can be daunting, especially for first-timers. Preparation is a must and we hope these tips prove to be helpful for your first or next visit.
Personal Space = Premium Real Estate
There is a different understanding of personal space in India. It is, after all, a nation of over a billion people. Accept the fact that public areas such as elevators, queues, sidewalks and public transport will be more crowded than you're probably used to. That being said, don't be afraid to stand your ground when someone is particularly aggressive. A stern look in the right direction should do the trick.
There Will Be Noise
Another byproduct of one billion inhabitants is noise. Regardless of what your wristwatch is telling you - if you're outside, your ears will know it. Once again, accept that cars will honk, music will blare, people will chatter and shopkeepers will yell. If you're a light sleeper - pack ear plugs. If you dislike loud vendors - pack an iPod too.
Speaking of vendors, it's important to understand that India has a culture of bargaining. Bargaining, not cricket, is the national pastime (yeah I said it). They absolutely love it! Most prices are negotiable, and most prices are intentionally set quite high in anticipation of bargaining. You'll find this happens at street-side kiosks, shops at the mall and everywhere in between. Ask for the price, counter with a much lower figure and settle for something in between.
Escape to the Country
If the crowds, noise and intense negotiations become overwhelming, it's time to get out of the city. Rural India differs greatly from her urban sister. Life is less hectic here. This is where yoga was born and where Buddha found nirvana. No trip to India is complete without experiencing the tranquility of the her countryside. It also gives you the perfect excuse to hop onboard India's legendary rail system.
Watch Your Feet
In India, the foot is considered an unclean part of the body. You're expected to remove your shoes when you enter a home or holy place. If you see a doorway with several pairs of shoes placed around it, lose your footwear before proceeding. This means that you're going to need to slip in and out of your shoes regularly. Invest in a shoe or durable sandal that'll make your life a bit easier. Furthermore, be careful of how you use your feet. Simply showing the soles of your feet to someone is considered disrespectful so think before you kick back.
As we've mentioned, preparation is truly the key to a smooth visit to India. There's plenty of helpful information on this subject floating around on the internet so read up and travel safely!
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