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.
Could I ever think that there is such thing in India as a pre-paid taxi? Man, I have to tell all my friends about it: never ever when you are somewhere take any car just like I did. Always search for a pre-paid taxi, especially, in Asian countries. Especially in India!!! Trusted the bugger. And of course got cheated! Paid instead of 200 RPs - a thousand!!! It's like 2 months salary for some people here and hell a lot of money! Well, for me it was not really much, but yet - just feeling sooo stupid. He got me to the wrong place, blackmailed for a while, and then stood me up there. And I ended up weeping in some house - feeling pity for myself, which was actually near the Baha'i House. Ha ha ha! Those people got so scared! Now I laugh - but before - was just in a shock, couldn't say a word to them, just nodded my head. Ahh, what a life - no minute passing without something amusing happening with me...
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you know your exact destination. Have Lonely Planet travel guide, ask your hostel/hotel stuff whereabouts and how much you are supposed to pay. If there is a pre-paid taxi desk - head right there. It is the safest. If it is an auto - bargain the price ahead. You can tip the drivers.
Fun Alternatives: Everything in India is a tourist trap. Act confident, you can also ask sales people at some newpaper stands the directions and the prices. At the markets - bargain your head off. Ask for the prices 3 times less than offered.
The taxi-drivers have a nexus with some shop-keepers . They take you to shops saying that they are selling original Indian stuff but actually they are FAKE . Th egovernment emporioums are located far away frompeople's reach and can be found only after visiting the tourism department.
be careful of the shop-keepers as they hound you like dogs
Unique Suggestions: Don't listen to anyone . Use he official government shops atleat you'll buy originals
I booked this bus tour to Agra from Abyss Travels in Karol Bagh. Costs 500 Rupees. The bus will take you to Taj Mahal, The Red Fort and some other sights mostly temples around Agra.
The travel agent will book you into one of the tourist bus tours to Agra. They picked me up at the hotel past 7AM though they mentioned 6 to 6:30AM reason for me to wake up at 5:30AM.
I was already warned from the travel agency that there are people who might get in the bus and talk to me. I was again informed by the guy who picked me up at the hotel and took me to where the bus is, that I should be aware of the people coming in the bus and asking me to go with them. And so the tour bus did left Pahar Ganj area, picking up some more people along the way. It's full. The trip took about 4 to 5 hours including the stop to take our breakfast in one of the restaurants between Delhi & Agra.
It was maybe one hour before finally reaching Agra that a guy came in the bus and approached me asking me for informations like which country I came from ...etc... Then he came back to me again asking me to go down the bus, I asked why, he told me that I'd better go with him and that he will take me personally on a tour and telling me about dangers and scams in the area. He left again and the other Indians beside me and around where I'm sitting started talking and telling me to stay with the group if I wanted to and that this guy "just want to squeeze money" from me.
In fact, I saw the guy talking to the bus driver before he came back to me third time and asked me the last time to go with him and when he finally realized that I cannot be persuaded, he showed me a small piece of paper which I did not even bothered to read and told me "well, it's up to you but you cannot blame anyone just in case something happened to you during the tour", and that it's dangerous and that there are many scams around....blah..blah and blah..... DUH!!!!! and what just does he consider himself if not a scam artist?
Unique Suggestions: This happens all the time, and am sure there are some people falling for it. I guess, the bus employees/driver knows it but either no control of it or they just let them do their thing, and the scambags may be able to muster something and might as well get a "cut" on the deal.
The bus tour is highly recommended - very affordable, practical and more fun, mingling with the locals. Going alone by trains or local buses may turn out to be more expensive, although you have all your time, unlike the tour bus that is on schedule, leaving early morning and coming back to New Delhi at past midnight.
Be cautious, the bus tour is going on a "group tour" with a tour guide giving some info on the places and history, there's no other fee nor a personal guide. You pay for the 500 rupees and they'll pick you up at your hotel, jump on the bus and go with the flow as with other tourists on the bus. Stay with the group at all times.
pls be care of 'golden traingle' agents. They are trouble. I offer you to have a government tour. India government has an office in New Delhi.
At the airport If you will take a map, you will see government toursim office adds. Pls just go to that office. Many people may tell you as they are the government office. but no ..pls be aware. you may have a better quality on service and also prices are better
Auto rickshaws (the motorised three-wheelers) are a convenient mode of transport in Delhi. However, the drivers of these vehicles often take unsuspecting foreign tourists for a ride.
Unique Suggestions: Before you get into an autorickshaw, you shoud do the following:
1. Check out at your hotel the distance of the destination to which you will be travelling. And carry a map of Delhi with you. Also check out what the fare would be so that you know how much you would need to pay.
2. Insist on going only in metered autorickshaws and ensure that when the driver puts the meter down, the reading is at zero.
3. Let the driver know that you want to take a particular route (that will give the impression that you know the way and that he doesn't take any unnecessary detours.). There have been cases where the autorickshaw drivers takes a long detour and then overcharges the passenger. They dupe even Indians like this and such treatment is not just reserved for foreigners!
Quality of goods varies dramatically!!
You will be approached by several vendors, wanting you to buy their wares; but please be choosy about what you pick up.
If many are offering similar products, take your time to check the quality before committing.
Unique Suggestions: Take your time to check the articles you plan to buy & don't be afraid to step back or walk away.
Be polite but firm.
Fun Alternatives: If you can scan what's available in a certain neighbourhood, and feel it's not what you're after, just steer clear.
Well, using auto-rickshaw giving you a new experience in exploring this city. It's nice, you can taking picture and stop as much as you want. But, you should be careful towards the auto-rickshaw drivers who offers you a special package like city tour or whatsoever it calls. Since they will bring you to a place [and maybe more than one!!!] so they will get tip from that place [mostly shops which sell souvenirs and carpets things].
Unique Suggestions: Tell the driver your destination and insist to say NO whenever they try to go to somewhere that you don't want to. Even it's lots of hassle sometimes.
Fun Alternatives: If the driver still insisted, say stop in polite way and give some money, shake his hand and leave. Then pick-up another oto-rickshaw.
Just about when u pass thru the exit of Delhi's International AIrport, you'll find many pre-paid taxi counters. but the one with Pre-Paid Taxi (Traffic Police) is the safest & cheap.the other counters like 'Car Rental' are fake and very expensive. they'll show you the Govt. of Delhi board......but its fake.
for eaxmple.......fare from international airport to domestic airport -Rs.145 (thru former) .......Rs.350(thru latter).
Fun Alternatives: Go for Pre-Paid Taxi (Traffic Police) counter......which is just located at the exit of Airport
First off for the guy that says there are no tourist traps, you got to be kidding me. I just got back from Delhi. If you say there are no tourist traps, lets put it another way, con-men everywhere.
Be careful when you go to New Delhi Train Station to book tickets. The tourist reserve booking office is on the 2nd floor (or 1st floor if you're British). Someone may tell you the office is closed or point you somewhere else such as a dishonest travel agent.
Auto-Rickshaw taking you to a place you don't want to go to? Don't get out of the rickshaw and be firm. If he doesn't want to take you, just get out and don't pay him a dime until he does.
I heard many stories of tourists who were terribly cheated by the travel agents in Delhi & around.These people will talk very nicely and they might arange everyhing (from Hotel Reservation to Train tickets) to you. But there prices are almost 2 times the actual price.
It's always better if you can decide where you wanna go and how you wanna go than to be preyed by these hawks.
please seethe following link for such a story. I would like to add that it's the story of a couple who were deceived by such a travel agent. But obviously I believe they made 2 faults.
1.They never planned their journey in an appropriate way.
2.They forget that they are capable of taking intelligent decisions !!
Unique Suggestions: Plan your journey at home. Never 'heavily' trust those people whom you meet in a foreign land.
The Taj Mahal is synonynous with India. And isn't it romantic? A man built it for his favorite wife who died... then plunged the country into debt and was killed by his son so he wouldn't further the economic problems by building a shrine to himself. But, as with all famous tourist traps, you've already seen it. And it does look the same as every postcard or television show you've seen it on. And if you avoided the four-hour bus ride in which you saw a man kill a dog with a mallet and another man torture a bear to make it dance for your bus, and the street vendors and assorted locals trying to make a buck in and around the Taj, it might be a good thing.
Unique Suggestions: Everyone will try to take you around and show you the Taj under flashlight -- then demand payment. If anyone grabs your arm or tries to approach you, don't humor them, tell them no, you already have a guide. You're going to lose money here, whether it's to the people who hang out at the bathroom hoping for tips (they aren't employees, they just come in and stand there), the "guides" or the photographers, someone is going to get some of your money. But if you let anyone see you give someone money, you're not going to be able to move with the amount of people around you. Also, it may help to speak Swahili at everyone. But just a warning, there really aren't that many tourists here, so you will stick out, and you will have people following you everywhere.
Yes New Delhi has no traps. The way of seeing and the value of life here is far too different from those who defined tourist trap. Tourist trap only applies to countries that think and see tourist trap as tourist trap. Here in New Delhi, because the way of seeing and thinking towards tourist trap could be different or even not exist, therefore New Delhi have no traps.
(date almost trapped - Jan. 24, 2004)
I was scheduled to go Agra at 5:00 am but when I reached the station, I was looking at the sked in the station board when suddenly, an Indian guy came to me and looked for my ticket. He told me that my ticket needs a stamp before leaving for confirmation.
Then, he accompanied me to a tourist/travel agency near the station. All of them were sleeping that time and then...they looked at my ticket and they said that the scheduled time going to Agra was delayed so I need to pay US$ 20 so that I can go immediately!!
I was really shocked and I told them, I won't pay it and I left them with an angry face! I went to the station again and talked to a ticket seller in the window.
I told them about the incident and they told me not to ask or talk to anyone and never pay anything!!!
While walking from the hotel to do a little shopping in small shops, you are constantly accosted by taxi drivers who want to take you to the Emporiums for which they get a "finder's fee". A very nice young man whom I met had the same idea to see his uncle's shop. I insisted on walking to the emporium, stopping at nearly every shop on the way. These places are magnificent and very expensive. You can go to see, but don't have to buy. Finest goods available.
Unique Suggestions: Go, but you don't have to buy. The things on offer made you feel like you were in a Rajah's palace! You could imagine that it was all real gold and jewels to get a feel of how the kings lives.
Fun Alternatives: You can gently but firmly insist that you walk where you want to go. It is quite safe. If you get lost you can take a taxi. Don't fall for the $34 fee, agree a price first. The tuk tuk was about 7 pence (british) I think a taxi would be about $2-3 USD. You probably need to take transport back to the hotel as you will have bought enough for an entire army!