Be aware that there will be touts everywhere and perhaps when you least expect it. Some examples: tuk tuk drivers telling you not to walk as it is very dangerous especially for women dressed as they are (Jeans and jumper); people who have recently lived in your country and want to practise the language; people on holiday and they just happen to know of a department store we might like.
- Adventure Travel
- Historical Travel
Paharganj - good and bad
The Main Bazaar in Paharganj can be a Tourist Trap. Many vendors on both sides of the narrow road wants to sell you something, and it can feel very stressfull for a first timer. I do not warn people from coming here, because it can be a great place for shopping, budget accomodation and to get in contact with other travellers.
"You have a nice T-shirt! Where did you by?" is a very common opening from the vendors.
If you answer this question you are easily involved in more fabric talk...
Unique Suggestions: The solution is to not get stressed, be happy and smile but not to much if you are really interessed in the Pashmina shawls... And if you just want to walk trough do not look them in the eye.
Fun Alternatives: An alternative for Paharganj depens on what you're after.
Shopping=Connaught Place, Palika Bazaar, Janpath Market.
- Budget Travel
Tour guides, touts
I have mentioned before on my agra tips page but would like to cover this area again, especially for anyone readign this thinking of going to india or already booked or already here (welcome!) PLEASE be careful with your money in India- it may not seem like a lot when you convert it into your own currency but it means something different for Indians, especially those who are in the business to show tourists around etc. Think logically about the prices you are being offered; does it look like XYZ product being bought IN INDIA should cost so much? or why does it cost so little...what is the quality of the product, what materials have been used, how was this made..and then decide whether the price is fair.
Always remember you can haggle in most places where there are no prices on display, please dont try and bargain in propper shops that have prices printed on the goods- we find it a bit insulting.
Unique Suggestions: If you are being shown around by a guide who wants to take you to a shop he will probably receive a comission from the shop owner. dont feel that this is rude, thats just his business to do that and promote the other guys stuff.
be a little patient. if his english is bad, ask him to speak slowly.
Fun Alternatives: alternative would be to get a local person to show you around, someone who you can understand and who can suggest other things to go/see/do....maybe ask at the hotel - ask the receptionist to advise you...check places like this website regularly!
UNDERSTANDING THE SYSYTEM AT AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE
it is not a trap but you have to know there is a lot of meticulous system in getting inside this wonderful edifice and everything is being done for your own safety.
IMP pl do carry a lot of mosquito repellent as the area is awamped with mosquitoes after dusk.the area is close to yamuna river and is very marshy.
FOOTWEAR STORAGE AND DEPOSIT SYSTEM IS COMPLETELY FREE NO TIPS.
ENTRY TO AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE IS FREE.
PARKING IS CHARGED AT INR10 PER VEHICLE.
Unique Suggestions: there is a form which you have to fill out listing out the things you want to deposit at the office.
bags mobilephones cameras are not allowed inside.it is in a way good as sometimes the touristy crowd wastes most of the time taking snaps rather than admiring the beauty of this palce. there is afood court and cafeterias offering good hygienic food inside and you can spend quite some time here.
the deposit system is very safe.
see the pic of the form in advance so u know what u have to fill up.
morning the temple opens very early before sunrise and it looks beautiful in the early morning light also you can properly see the gardens and layouts and intricacies of carvings in daylight.
afternoons best avoided due to scorching sun.
evenings best time to see the illumination and the interiors of the temple.
Fun Alternatives: no shortcuts here.
alternative is to avoid sat and sunday evenings.
try the early morning times.especially if you have a friend in delhi ask him to drive you out there!!!!persist with this demand)))
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
- Road Trip
Tour companies, such as Kapi Tours, have a hidden
Many tourist who plan to visit India ask for quotes (on line) from tour companies to travel to places like Agra and Jaipur. Some companies will quote attractive prices, and will insist on giving you a "free" ride from/to airport. Once you are in the car, they will tell you all kinds of lies about the hotel you have booked to get you to stay at the one where they get a commission. Some tour companies, like Kapi Tours, will even try to get you to stay at one of their small shabby apartments they run. If you tell them that you already have paid for your hotel, they will tell you there is no problem to cancel (they will offer to do it for you, but do not believe them) for just a small cancellation fee that they say they will deduct from the rate of their recommended hotel room. Later, you will find out that your room at the hotel you had booked was never cancelled, ending up paying for a room you do not use.
Unique Suggestions: The best way to avoid this is not to accept their "free" transport from the hotel (just tell them that you have made arrangements with your hotel or a friend is picking you up). They will still could show up and even try to tell you the hotel could not provide transport (or they misunderstood and they will be following you like dogs in heat). Just go to the taxi stand a get a prepaid ticket for taxi transport to your destination!
Autorickshaws: make them do what YOU want
The drivers earn more by bringing you to their shops or tourist offices then they will by transporting you to your destination. (If you have bargained a good price they will even offer you a free transfer if you go to their shop)
Unique Suggestions: - If possible, buy a map in advance in your home country. Always follow the route while driving (or pretend), you can't read the street names at the corners of the road but they appear on the advertisement signs on most of the buildings.
- Never say you want to visit some shops at a certain location or one of the state shops. Choose the nearest big tourist building or temple and let them drop you off at that point. These buildings are more easily recognizable. This will save you money because they will trick you.
- In the official tourist offices you can get a map for free. If the driver drops you at a "official" one just walk in, ask a free map and just walk out. The "not so" official ones will not give you a decent map. I went to Government of India Tourist Office at Janpath road near the Connaught Place. There is a pre-paid autorickshaw boot in front of it. Therefore it is better to ask (convince) a driver to bring you to this boot at Janpath (not the one in the center of the Connaught place).
- They will always ask you why you want to go to this place and not another. Do not give in (If you want, you can tell them you are meeting a friend there).
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
high prices for tour groups!
Our tour with Hi Tours booked through Indus Travel of Canada included a stop at a "special" carpet factory in New Delhi. There's a demonstration, then the offer of beer, tea, or soda, then the hard sell of very overpriced carpets. If you want a carpet in New Delhi go to Central Cottage Industries Emporium(beware other shops with very similar names) to get a good combination of quality and price. Anywhere the tour guide takes you is sure to be overpriced - kickback to the guide/tour operator?
Unique Suggestions: Know what items of comparable quality cost in government-run emporia. In New Delhi the best for me is Central Cottage Industries Emporium, though there are branches of state-run emporia such as Rajasthali.
A gentleman might walk up to you in a very friendly manner and offer you cheap rates and hotels to stay. These guys are called touts and take commissions or kickbacks from operators and hotels.
NEVER follow them coz even the locals don’t trust them.
You will encounter these people through out at airports, hotels, markets and tourist places.
Unique Suggestions: Whatever he is offering tell them you already have arranged for it, for them to understand in their local language hindi, say
NAHI BHAIYA, NAHI CHAIYE.
If they still persist keep walking and they will realise you are not interested and he is not gonna get much out of you.
Porters at the Airport
Suddenly a man would walk up to your baggage trolley as you are out of the lounge to help you unload your luggage. These guys are self styled porters and you can politely tell them that you don't need their help, coz after loading your luggage they would ask you for money.
Unique Suggestions: If he has already unloaded and kept your luggage in the Taxi, atmost give him Rs.10 and tell him to go away.
Beware of autowallas
You will find autos in every nook and corner,they usually over charge you pls check with locals how much you need to pay ,bargain with them coz as soon as they know you are new to this place you are fleeced......
Unique Suggestions: check with local people how much to pay......
Hairdressers in Pahar Ganj - way too cheeky
During our stay in India I always enjoyed going to local barber shops since their services are extremely cheap compared to European standards AND they do their jobs very nicely and thoroughly. However, in tourist-infested areas (like Pahar Ganj in New Delhi) be prepared to find hairdressers that are keen to part you from your cash. After the hair cut you will be talked into having facial mask, massage, etc. and at the end of the 2-hour-session you will be asked for Rs. 400.- Of course, at that time it is impossible (or very impolite) to haggle since you have already taken the service.
It is still not a lot of money but can be called a ripoff. In other parts of India (in places that are not packed with western tourists) you will get the same full treatment for Rs. 100.- or Rs. 50.- if you only have a simple haircut.
Fun Alternatives: 1) Go to hairdressers at areas that are not frequented by many western tourists.
2) If you insist on having only a haircut and you turn down their offer about extras, (massage, facial mask) they are less likely to overcharge you.
3) If you feel like you want to have a full "treatment package" let them know in advance that you have only 100/200 Rs.- for that so that you will not get a bad surprise at the end.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
LESSON NO. 3
"The little helpers"
Unique Suggestions: On another trip When I took my receipt for the PRE-PAID FARE, the cab driver and I started walking towards his cab. At the same time when I left the window of the fare-shack two other young kids about 17-18 yrs old started walking with us with their hands on my luggage cart. When I asked them are you guys with the driver they simply nodded. When I and the driver (who actually shook one the guys pretty badly) were done putting away our luggage in the cab, the guys asked for some money for helping me. A bit surprised when I asked them who the hell are you any way, they said we helped you to bring your luggage to the cab so you have to pay us. At that time I lost my cool and told them, "you mo___fo___s, if I can bring my bloody luggage all the way from 9,000 miles I think I can very well bring it from the fare-shack to the cab", and got in the cab. They tried to say something, but we were on my way home after I had escaped successfully from another well laid trap.
Fun Alternatives: Refuse any offers of help, except by the cabbie who is supposed to take you for a ride :).
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
LESSON NO. 1 & 2
I am going to talk about the International Airport at New Delhi. First and foremost as soon as you get out of the customs, DO NOT, I REPEAT - DO NOT BOOK A CAB FROM THE COUNTER INSIDE THE AIRPORT. They are big time cheats and I don't know how in the world they are ripping people off under the full view of the officials. I suspect either they have the connections or some one from the airport itself has a vested interest in that business.
Unique Suggestions: TO book a cab when you get out of the airport, in a small shack on the right hand side, a police man occupies that booth. Tell him your destination and pay him required amount in rupees This is PRE-PAID TAXI FARE. Get a receipt for the amount paid. It will have the licence plate number of the cab for you. Do not give that receipt to the driver, until you reach your destination safely. You will have to sign that receipt once you have reached your destinaiton. If the driver asks for more money, tell him to get lost. Until you sign that receipt he won't get paid back at the airport. THE TRAP - I was born and brought up in New Delhi and have lived abroad for 20 years. When the driver left the airport (My pre-paid taxi cab), he pretended not to know the directions to my destination. I innocently gave him the directions. When we finally got home, he told me that he could have brought me by a much shorter route (which I knew didn't exist), so I will have to pay him extra on top of the pre-paid fare. I realized then, that it was a trap, so I told him to take the receipt and get lost, or else I am not going to sign the receipt. I told him it is his job to know the routes, not mine. And finally I jotted down his licence plate number which made him further nervous, because if I actually would have sent a written complaint, the poor guy would have ended up paying more in "bakshish" to the traffic authorites to get his vehicle back from them, than what he was trying to get from me. So LESSON NO. 1 - Get a "Pre-paid" cab from the booth which is located just outside as soon as you leave the airport. LESSON NO. 2 - If the cabbie or the Auto-rickshaw driver says his meter is not working, tell him then his vehicle should not be on the road, and write down his licence plate number and tell him that you will report him to the authorities, it does work, because not only the vehicle is confiscated, they have to pay "bakshish" plus other charges to get their vehicle back and also suffer a loss of income.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
There are traps all over.
well no offence, but there are tourist traps all over. The taxi drivers, auto drivers, shop keepers, restaurents, hotels everywhere. If you don't know the actual price, they will ask you 5/6 times more for anything. If the price is 40 bucks, they will ask 200 for it. So irritating! If they find that you are a tourist, you will face this things.
Unique Suggestions: Well the only word I can say is, Burgain. Yes, u gotta burgain a lot. If they say 200, u say 80. That's the trick.
Fun Alternatives: If your are hiring an auto, ask the local people for the fare first. They can suggest you how much it should cost.
Don't pay even one Rupee/ US$ in advance
Delhi is loaded with tourist offices managed by impostors, claimed to be official governmental tourist information spots!!!
They offer fantastic tours in the north states hundreds miles away from Delhi(Srinagar in Kashmir for example, 20-30 hours by bus), and charge you in advance for hundreds of US$. You take a bus to these far away destinations expecting to meet the representative of the company.... and.....Mr NOBODY IS WAITING FOR YOU ! NOBODY!!
Unique Suggestions: Fortunately, I refused to change my plan, and didn't pay money.
In Dharamsala I met a female traveler from Taiwan that lost hundreds of US$, and even didn't go back to the croocks in Delhi. I'm afraid she didn't have invoice/ reciept and didn't know where to go and how to complain.
- Budget Travel