.At all the tourist spots, there are always guys hanging around - offering their services as a guide. Some are honest and sincere, and only want to earn a few rupees- others are not so honest.They will lead you to "Cheap Shops" or Good Market - "JUST FOR LOOKING ONLY" is the catch-phrase- Don't be taken in by this. They get comission for bringing tourists, and the price is never less than anywhere else. This trick applies all over India. Take it with common sense and good humour.
Delhi (especially in Old Delhi, around Chandni Chowk) gets VERY crowded. People jostle for space to walk, and pick-pocketing happens. Carry money in a money belt. Never carry a wallet in a back pocket. Same for passport. Be aware of your surroundings always. When removing money from wallet or moneybelt, find a quiet spot, if possible.
There are two airports in New Delhi. They are Palam Airport, and Indira Gandhi International Airport (or IGI). They are actually both located in the same part of the city, south and west of the city center. If you are flying out of New Delhi, you might want to go to the right airport for your departure. :)
IGI is basically the international airport. Most of the flights leaving IGI are international departures, although I did see some larger jets headed to Mumbai and Kolkata. When you fly into New Delhi from abroad, you're sure to be landing at IGI.
However, if you have a domestic connection somewhere in India, it's very possible that you may be leaving from Palam Airport. And if the departure is to somewhere other than, say Mumbai or Kolkata, it's almost assured that your flight leaves from Palam. So... be sure of where you want to go when you get into the cab and say "take me to the airport, please".
Oh, another thing about Palam - or something I've been told. There are two terminals there and they're quite a distance apart. Find out from your airline, when you reconfirm, WHICH terminal you need. It might save you both frustration and a long hike.
Mostly, flight from abroad to Delhi landed around midnight. So be careful in pick up taxi. Use the service nearby exit gate which mentioned metered taxi. Describe your destination as clear as appears in address. And will be better added with your own map.
When in New Delhi, foreigners may be well advised never to use the pedestrian underpasses at Connaught Circus. Overzealous (and very evil) shoe shine boys (and men) go at great lengths (read: smudge your shoes with 100% real sh*t!) to force you to engage their services.
But I was spared from this potential disaster when a band of well-meaning young men warmed me never to take the underpass. Shukriya!
Well, you are in India, so here's the rule of thumb:
The price someone gives you at a market, taxi or other.... take off 60% and make this your entry offer...
Then settle around the %50 of the original price... even that is generally more than enough.
I learnt a phrase (thanks to a friend of mine)... "Do I have stupid tourist tatooed on my forehead?"... THAT did help and cause a lot of laughs.... :)
Mind I forgot the phrase as soon as I left India... so you'd need to look that one up yourself.
But BE warned they will try ANYTHING to sell you more then you ever wanted to a price that is extortionate.
Haggle, haggle, haggle!!!! :) and smile
In my experience .... do NOT:
- no drinking the tab water or rinsing out mouth with it
- no brushing teeth with tab water
- NO ice cubes
- no tampered or unsealed water bottles
- no ice cream
... I was in Asia almost a month and was the only one who had NO digestive problems... all westerners I met during my time there had dhiarria at one point because they got sloppy.
I handed out ALL my rehydration salts to other travellers....!! Stock up on these too.
What's nice about Delhi, is that at ten o'clock in the evening there is a lot going on. Lots of people and market places. Before you know it, you're in a totally other street. Then at half past ten suddenly all the action is over and all the lights are out. Especially if you're new in the city, it seems almost impossible to find you're way back home as you can't see anything. Even very little lights are off. I've never seen a darker capital in my life so be warned!
Most of the taxis/ Autos will overcharge you, or take you over a longer route if you look new to the place.
I would advise you to take a pre-paid car / auto ( available at the main railway stations) .
There is absolutely no concept of tipping the drivers.
Journal Entry: It is now the morning after the terrorist attack. It is described as the “city’s worst terror attacks” by the Hindustani Times. During one of the busiest shopping days of the year in India three bombs went off in succession all targeting innocent people. The first bomb went off at 5:38 pm at the Nehru Market in Paharganj, the second went off at 5:52pm on a bus in Govindpuri, and third went off at 5:56 pm in the Mini-Market at Sarojini Nagar. It is unknown exactly what kinds of bombs were used but people Pakistan has denounced the terrorist act. It is believed that the attack was carried out by the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) group. It was thought that many of the PoK camps were annihilated after the October 8th earthquake in the region. The current good will of India during the quake and the positive steps made towards the peace process has encouraged the PoK to respond with a terrorist attack to show India and the world that it is still viable and to create an atmosphere of fear and mistrust between the two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan.
Beggars - they are an inevitable part of every Indian city. Wherever you go, you will find them. And if you're a foreigner, you are particularly vulnerable because they just know how to make you feel sorry for them. Often many people are tempted to give beggars a few coins just because they feel sorry at their condition, or because they want to get rid of them, but please don't do that. Begging is a huge money-making business in India. There are beggar-lords (just like slum-lords) who use beggars to fill their bank accounts and own property! The children that beggars lug around are mostly "on hire" . By giving alms to the beggars you're NOT helping the poor, but just helping greedy and unscrupulous people who want to make money any which way!
Delhi is notorious for traders to short-change you if you hand over a large denomination.
This is particularly the case in open shopping malls, markets, and even public transport stations!!
Make sure you hold your note out in your hand, and let them get the appropriate change out.
I hired a pedal rickshaw driver for the afternoon. Near the end of the tour he demanded his payment, 400rs, at the end of a winding alley. I told him to drop me, at the Metro at Chowdri Bazaar and I shall pay him. He actually threatened me with violence so I told him to leave. He then changed his tune and took me to the Metro. I paid him the money and left. I was buying my Metro token when a tap on the shoulder came. It was my driver telling me that one of the bills i gave him was forged. I ignored him and went through the Metro turnstiles. The sad thing is, I am a very generous tipper and he got no more than we agreed on.
I couldnt help noticing the prob people are facing in india, nepal, pakistan etc (the indian sub cont), I have known delhi for long as i worked there and yea things can go wrong however a simple little thing to avoid the traps:
1. When you are lost or unaware of your location: Ask a College student, young university guys (make sure they look decent and are average body built).
2. If you having a trouble at a train station or airport etc always seek for help from authorities or locals (The decent looking locals can be a great help, but just make sure they are educated lots)
3. To spot a person who will definately help you - A young married couple, IT engineer / corporates (identification- they will have a their Company name tag around their neck, always suited in formal clothes and usually carrying laptops or official bag)
4. Avoid hiring AUTO (tuk tuk) in night untill u dont know the map, however if u have to hire one always try and look up for a PRE PAID tuk tuk will insure ur safety. Incase u have to travel in night, simply remember not to allow them short roots etc, there are no streets without Street lights so if they head to a dark area be smart to understand its the suburbs.
5. Why I insist on decent young people as you need to spot a person who has no flashy cars etc as Asian men generally look up to White women for sex, be careful. Motor Bikers can be helpful though they are rude or moody most of the times (by bikers i mean the real hardcore cruise bikers who keep travelling around).
6. Keep a low profile and for women when in the city, avoid wearing very short clothes, no one will harm you however people might follow u.
7. Get aquianted to the Map, for metro cities in india they are generally simple - the cocnept is simple - Outer Circle and inner circle. Visit wikimapia or google maps for more help or www.mapsofindia.com etc
Have Fun and if u wanna know more . . u can email and ask . . . [email@example.com]
While in Delhi we decided to travel around the area to see the sights - there are a lot of beautiful temples and building around. The easiest way round is to hire a taxi driver. You can hire them pretty much for as long as you like. They drive you to different areas and they are really cheap. My experience however, was changed after travelling to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. The roads in the area are not fantastic and can hardly be called roads. It is "some concrete" on a bit of land that is classed as a road. There is only enough room for one vehicle at a time (if that) and there are a lot of shanti towns on the sides of the road.
While driving down one of these "so called roads" a child ran out in front of our taxi and the driver knocked him over. Obviously we panicked. The driver got out and was trying to placate the people who had very quickly surrounded the car and were shouting (we later found out that they were shouting kill the driver - but glad I couldn't speak Hindi). Everyone was trying to open the car doors – which I had locked. Not sure what the would have done had they have been able to get in. The child was thrown into the back of the taxi with me and then we had to find a hospital. After driving round we managed to find a hospital sign – good job, as the hospital was a house with some rooms and a couple of beds in it. Thankfully the kid survived – he had a bump to the head but apart from that was fine. In order for us all to be let go, the child’s father wanted money. The driver obviously had no money and we had to pool our resources in order to be let go. Now call me cynical but how much of this was an accident and how much was done on purpose – guess with these things you will never know – just be careful with people running out in front of you. If anything does happen – throw money in the air and run – I was later told this was the best thing to do.