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I've Never Been To India! What Should I Expect?

Discussion in 'Travel advice' started by hellotraveler, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. hellotraveler

    hellotraveler Member

    Hi! I'm new to this forum, and although I'm no stranger to traveling, I am very new to travel plans in India. I am an American businessman that works in multiple industries, so while this is initially a pleasure trip, there may be times that I will return potentially for business, too.

    I haven't made an official decision yet of where and when I plan to go, but I'm thinking this would be the best place to ask seasoned travelers and residents of India who know what to expect and where the best places to go in the country are.

    What are my options like? Should I go to the popular places like New Delhi or Kolkata, or off the path and into the unknown a little more if feeling adventurous? I suppose I'm just looking for tips and important info as a first-time traveler to the country, in addition to shared experience on where I can find the best resorts, restaurants, hotels, and interesting places to see between traveling there. Thanks!

  2. Vinaya

    Vinaya Member

    hellotraveler likes this.

  3. hellotraveler

    hellotraveler Member

    Thank you Vinaya! I like to go to the beach when I can, enjoy swimming, fishing, and hiking. So from the list, it looks like Goa and Laddakh are going to be the most interesting to me. I would make it a point to spend time and stop in Varanasi to learn about the Hindu religion too, since the cultural part of going there is also important to me and I wouldn't want to miss out on knowing it. Thanks again!
  4. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    Expect the unexpected. But really, it is hard to put a pin in what India is. In the US, we get only a brief idea of the culture. The reality is there are hundreds of cultures, some of them radically different from each other. Even going city to city will show vast differences in architecture and people. What I enjoyed were the styles, art, cultures that were unlike those of European descent. I have loved Indian food, so it was neat to eat the local dishes and find some new favorites. The land can be beautiful, to built up city, to polluted fields, so it is a mixed bag. Be aware that there will be poverty, and there is very little you could do about it. A lot of people I knew were shocked, and it stopped some of them from having a good time.
  5. Geena

    Geena New Member

    I definitely second Goa and Varanasi.

    Goa was quite relaxing, but Varanasi was completely mind blowing for me. The combination of the Hindu religion combined with thousands of years old architecture was simply astonishing. If you're very much interested in Hindu religion and its culture, Varanasi would be the main centre of it all.
  6. jnorth88

    jnorth88 Active Member

    Varanasi has such beautiful silks, too. It is a must see location for shopping. Goa is excellent for the beaches, especially if you can go further south. There, the beaches are less crowded and far more pristine. You can have them all to yourself. I would recommend the Taj Exotica if you have the money. It provides an excellent atmosphere and high standard of service.
  7. integrity101

    integrity101 Member

    The Western Ghats are great at this time of the year. You'll be swept away by the beauty of Karnataka, Coorg, a picturesque hill station set 3500 feet above sea level. It is also a great place for nature walks and bird watching. All in all, expected to be wowed by the exotic beauty and diversity of India.
  8. rajesh

    rajesh Member

    If you are a modern casino and beach enthusiast, Goa is the best place for you. If you want to see the real beauty of nature, you can visit Kutch, Gujarat, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. There are many metro-cities (technologically advanced than rest of India) you can visit. The metro cities include Delhi (Captial of India), Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai. Varanasi is a great place if you want to know more about Indian culture. Among all these places I suggested, I would highly recommend you visit at least two main places, i.e Delhi and Goa.
  9. knitmehere

    knitmehere Member

    For your first trip there, if you do decide on India, I would stick to well known places and tourist locations. That way you can get a feel for the people and the environment. After that, if you choose to return, I'd suggest getting a bit more adventurous and doing some research on areas that aren't so well known.
  10. ellajanelle

    ellajanelle New Member

    Great advice and tips from all of you! Honestly at first, India has never been a top destination for me because I came from a country plagued with poverty and some people here keep telling me that India has worse conditions. Later on, I told my friend who is Hindu but who lives here about this and he convinced me how wonderful India actually is. I am very much into culture, history, and religion... so I guess Varanasi is a good place for me? ;)
  11. GammaRay

    GammaRay Member

    You should enculculate yourself in the culture of India which is primarily embodied in Varanasi, a primarily Hindu region. Visit the Taj Mahal as a right of passage for tourists as well and enjoy the cuisine in New Delhi where you can try authentic curry.
  12. Kritika

    Kritika New Member

    Yeah if you visiting India than not expect anything other than diversity and technicolour everywhere and in every aspect. Everything changes from place to place and about the kind of destination you are looking for than you should try Mumbai for fast and ever running life and starlet nights, and Pondicherry and off course Goa these three places gives almost the feeling of whole India. Great food, Hotels, Dinners,great travelling points and great landscapes for enthusiast and eager tourists. And if you want to be adventurous than Hill stations of Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh is very right for you where you can have your share of moment with nature.
    And if you are planning to visit India somewhat between May- July then pick north part of India including Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir where not only temperature is moderate but also climate and view is also very fine. Hope you enjoy your trip to India.
  13. CaptainOblivious

    CaptainOblivious New Member

    If you are visiting major cities, expect to be gawked at everywhere, very friendly people, the occasional fleecing businessman, really crowded public transport. If your destination is more rural, you'll find a lot of natural beauty, simple minded and mostly content people and lots of cows :)
  14. Maja

    Maja Member

    I've never been to India but it's definitely on the list of the countries that I want to visit. Taj Mahal is of course, the very first place that I would go to. I will research more on Vanarasi since I love learning about a country's culture and religion. It helps to learn about a place first before visiting it. But of course, nothing beats a personal connection and encounter.
  15. OursIsTheFury

    OursIsTheFury Member

    Same as any other country you weren't from, to be honest. The people will be nice, there are lots of things to discover, but also beware of pickpockets and beggars who specifically target unwary tourists. Always be on your guard all the while trying to enjoy yourself, as you may never know what might happen to you or your belongings. Always keep your essentials light and portable, make sure to keep an eye out for your wallet and passport, and if you plan on backpacking, hopefully you consider not bringing along a laptop and just enjoy the scenery.
    Maja likes this.