Guest blogger Rohit Agarwal joins us to advise on how to travel in India like a local. If you’re planning a trip to India, his wisdom will assist!
India is a diverse country where you have a number of places to visit and amazing number of things to do. Traveling the lengths and breadths of India can be very interesting yet challenging. To add fun while also making the most out of your trip, travel in India like a local. Here is how you do it.
Know That Your Clothes Can Give You Away
Your color and facial features can show you as a foreigner. There is nothing you can do about it and there is absolutely no need to as Indians are known for their hospitality and they love to have foreigners in their home land. However, to make you look the part while you are in India, you need to wear modest clothes that are neither revealing nor form-fitting. Indian women do wear such clothes but not all Indian women prefer to wear short trousers and sleeveless tops. Wear something that you are comfortable with while at the same time ensure they are modest by Indian standards. You can always buy a lot of such clothes in Indian shops and you will get them for a cheaper price too.
Learn Local Language
Of course you are not expected to master the language, but learning some basic words will help you communicate with others and you may also be able to understand what others are speaking. Helps a lot while you are traveling and bargaining, right? Since India is a land of diversified races and culture, people of different states speak different languages. While you plan your travel, learn a few important words and sentences in the language of the state you are about to visit.
Understand The Culture
One of the most admirable qualities about Indians is that while they may be religious and conservative, they can understand if a foreigner commits a cultural ’error’. They come forward to offer you explanations and will be very polite in pointing out the error, if at all they do. However, there may be exceptions to this rule if someone is a very staunch follower of customs and from the part of India that is not exposed to having tourists from other countries. Knowing about the culture of a state will be helpful when you visit the place. Consult with state-centric entities such as Sikkim Tourism to check out immersive experiences from a cultural perspective. You will also succeed in getting closer to the hearts of the local people who will be glad to see that you appreciate their values.
Know the Weather
Knowing the type of weather prevalent in an area you are about to visit will help you wear appropriate clothes so that you stay comfortable while also looking very much like a local. India can be very hot during summers and quite cool during winters. However, it depends on the travel destination in India. Know the weather to plan your travel.
Travel in India Like a Local by Train Where You Can
If you want to travel like a local in India, traveling by train will be the best way to go. Most parts of the country are connected by train and hence you can have a great time traveling in Indian train. But for special trains and a/c compartments, you may not find the facilities to match international standards. However, you get to see a blend of culture as many in India travel by train. And you stay connected too, unlike when you choose a plane instead. As the train draws to a halt in every station, you will love the sights of local people rushing to get into their compartments and vendors selling their goods on the platform. A perfect way to be introduced to the real India.
Bargain Like a Real Local
Your attempt at travel like a local in India will be enhanced if you master the art of bargaining. Products sold to foreigners can have a different price tag unless you are smart enough to smell it. Leading stores do not hike prices but as a ‘local’, you may want to make some purchases from ordinary shops as well. The chances are that the prices will be hiked at the sight of a foreigner. Never hesitate to bargain and bargain like a real local. Claim that you are aware of the prevalent price and bargain to get it at half the rate. You may not get it thus but you may get it at a much lesser price than was originally quoted. It will be fun and be assured that the vendor too loves it.
Rohit Agarwal is an architect by profession and a blogger at www.transindiatravels.com. His passions are travel, reading books and studying different cultures.