Here are some general tips for New Delhi, making sure you suffer as little of a culture shock as possible and spend more time having a ball in New Delhi. Travelers often start their Indian journey in New Delhi. A recent CNN study however, came to the conclusion that the Indian capital of New Delhi has the questionable honor of calling itself the ‘most polluted city in the world’. New Delhi has about 14 million inhabitants and that makes it the 3rd largest city in India, after Calcutta and Bombay. This city is a bustling metropole and the perfect introduction into the complexity and dynamics of India.
You are guaranteed to have a great time, if you follow these 4 tips for New Delhi.
1. Delhi Belly
Indian food is delicious. Chicken, lam, rice, naan and curries can be bought anywhere for pennies. It looks delicious and smells delicious too. Many travelers gorge on this food with excitement. But they’ll also get to know the “Delhi Belly” only a few hours later. This is a kind of diarrhea which can go on for days on end.
My estimate is that every 2 out of 3 travelers in Delhi will experience the Delhi Belly.
It is mainly caused by the extra bacteria, poor hygiene in the kitchens/ food markets/ inhabitants of Delhi and the lack of fibers and grains in the food. Pay attention to where you eat in Delhi and be extra careful for all standard pitfalls: wash your hands with hand alcohol, avoid tap water, ice cubes, raw meat/fish/ shellfish, peel your own fruit, etc. If you want to do it ‘properly’, make sure to not eat with your left hand in India. According to Indians the left hand is unclean.
“Fine feathers make fine birds” and this is especially true in India. Covering your arms and legs is the right way to show respect for the city and to the people of whom you are a guest. Indians, especially the ones in large cities like New Delhi, will forgive you if you’re not dressed appropriately. But as a tourist you’ll attract attention anyway and this attention is not always welcome nor always intended as friendly. An added benefit is that covering clothes will protect your from dirt, insects and the sun. female travelers will attract much attention in India, and thus, also in Delhi. Looking back to a man will unfortunately be seen as flirting. It’s better to completely ignore this attention or to wear sun glasses. A friendly gesture from your side can be interpreted in the wrong way.
3. Take it slow
New Delhi is very hectic and often many things happen at the same time and there is something to see and do wherever you look. Everything happens “in your face” as well. It’s impossible to not expose yourself to this experience, so don’t attempt to even try. To remain calm in New Delhi is paramount.
Breath in and out, keep on going and don’t get frustrated.
Try not to visit too many places a day or to do too many activities, as to not overdose on impressions. Check the opening hours of the sights beforehand on the internet, because not all sights are open all the time. Time has relative meaning in New Delhi. It will happen to everybody, that you’ll spend half an hour in a rikshaw, even though the driver said that it would only be 5 minutes. Either caused by traffic jams, or he just misinformed you.
Don’t forget to take off your shoes/ flip flops when entering a temple as well as entering many shops and homes. Rows of shoes are lined up at the entrance of mosques and temples, and are a hard to miss indication. As a tourist, you won’t escape taking off your shoes/ flip flops. Often, I had to (anxiously) leave my expensive Teva sandals behind in the middle of a pile of old flips flops from Indians, and unfortunately, they have been stolen once. A tip is to take socks and/ or covers so you can take your shoes with you.
These are my 4 tips for New Delhi. Do you have more tips for New Delhi?
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