06 Jun 20 useful tips to know as a tourist (part 1)
Radically opposed to our Western lifestyle, India can sometimes be a relatively confusing country, or even surprising (what we are looking for during a trip). Rules of politeness, life and practical aspects, we listed 20 useful tips to know before going for a trip to India.
Right hand first: either to eat or to give something to someone, you should use your right hand. The left hand is considered as unclean, you may be taken for a “dirty” person (me dirty ?).
Learn to bargain: taxi, tuk-tuk, hotel room, shop… EVERYTHING is negotiable in India, except in places where the price is shown (well, you can still try…). This advice is particularly important for rickshaw transports (these famous trycicles with motors or not that you see everywhere in Asia) in which it is essential to negotiate BEFORE you get inside of it. Also make sure that your driver well-understood your destination otherwise you will be ending up somewhere you don’t know (yes, it happens).
Care about your feet : in India, it is insulting to touch someone with his/her feet. It is also very rude to step over someone who is sitting or lying on the ground. You will notice that in all the holy places you will have to take off your shoes before entering the sacred place. Similarly, if you are invited to someone’s home, you will have to do so. In general, all these rules of life are related to the fact that the floor is considered as unclean.
You’re not a paparazzi: it is strictly forbidden to photograph Indians who are washing themselves or doing their ablutions, most of all in sacred places. All the guides will remind it and in some places you will be able to read it on the panels. We prefer to repeat it because some travelers tend to “forget”.
Stay clean (despite everything): you will notice that most Indians are used to throw up their garbage in the street or even throughout their window during a journey by train. For once, you’re not obliged to be like them. Make a small green gesture.
Catch up with your divisions: when a price is announce in a market, divide it immediately by 2 before bargaining. However, do not negotiate if you don’t have the intention to buy, it can be really insulting.
Forget politeness rules: « hi », « thanks », « bye » are essential polite words in our country. However in India they hardly exist. So do not be offended if an Indian don’t say thank you while you hold him the door.
Say hi in another way: shaking hands is considered as impolite. So let him come to you or, more traditional, prefer a hello clasping hands in front of the chest.
Avoid physical contacts: when you’re in the street with a person of the opposite sex, avoid kissing or holding hands, it can be shocking. However, two persons of the same sex can hold hands. You will notice that numerous men in India are doing it. And yet, they are just friends…
Find out the next episode later if you want to know the 10 other tips (yes… Nouvini likes playing with suspense). Some clues… We’ll let you know about cinema, beach, money… You can plan your next trip to India until then.