Before coming to India, I had heard a lot of misconceptions about it. Even while backpacking I was hearing constant false accusations about this beautiful country, and I really wanted to express a few things which I thought were untrue or over exaggerated about this place. Here’s 5 misconceptions about India…
Everyone is out to scam you
This was on my mind 24/7 after my stalking in Delhi. As my trip progressed I learnt that everyone wasn’t out to scam me. I met some awesome and helpful people along my journey. I remember when I needed to get train tickets I ended up waiting in the Indian men’s line which is a big no-no. A nice older gentleman kindly told me that I’m not allowed in this queue and that the women just push in front. He gave me the slips to fill out, then suddenly a few other men came to help me figure out which trains I needed to catch, and which ones had tickets still available. They then all came to the counter and talked to ticket man in Hindi for me. I think we Westerners put a guard up against most strangers, which you should do to an extent, but not so much that no one can help you. For all the touts trying to scam me there were 10x more people trying to genuinely help me from taxi drivers, randoms on the street, families to shop owners, everyone is just human after all .
Public transport is shit
Actually I was very, very impressed with Indian public transport. I caught trains for most of my journeys. I’m on one right now as I write this! I love catching the trains rather than buses because you can lock your bag under the seat so you know it will always be there. You can buy constant Chai’s off Chai Wallahs and food off the catering cart from the men walking down the aisles. On buses your luggage will be thrown into the under compartment, which you will not be able to keep an eye on every time there is a stop. Now, don’t expect Indian trains to be on time, I have heard trains being hours late and even a couple of hours early! I was quite lucky as my trains came nearly always on time and were hardly ever late! Keep in mind trains need to be booked months in advance, although there are very limited amount of tickets under the foreign tourist quota. They put a limited amount of tickets aside especially for foreigners who are trying buy one last minute. Sometimes there will only be one spare ticket so keep that in mind. If you decide on trains then make sure you download the ‘Indian Rails’ app so you can get live updates of where your train is, what platform and if there are any seats available to buy.
You should never travel here if you’re a lone female
Bullshit! You should experience it. Being a solo female backpacking shouldn’t hold you back. Just make sure you listen to your gut instinct and use common sense to keep yourself safe – and read this blog! I have an article on tips for solo females traveller, that you might want to read. Most of the horror stories came from people that had never even travelled here. The people who had been to India told me to go for it and not be terrified like everyone else was telling me to be!
2 weeks is enough in India
Absolutely not! I think if I had 2 weeks I would have hated it. India takes time to get used to. Everything makes no sense compared to where I come from but you learn to love it. Once you’ve travelled to India you will always have a piece of it in your heart. I suggest you have at least a month here, and that you take your time. Change your flight if you have to! It took me 3 days to get used to Varanasi, and in the end I nearly cried leaving it!
You will come back thinner
Ahhhh no! Everyone told me I would be food deprived in India and probably come back skinner. That did NOT happened, not one kilo lost. It has probably been the complete opposite and I feel like all I have done is put on weight. Don’t expect to come back fitting all your clothes when you get back home, unless you’re on an intense yoga retreat then leave those expectations at home.
I really urge you to travel to this beautiful country! What are some misconceptions you have heard about India? Leave them below because I would love to hear them. I also have lots of posts about India including ‘Scams of India’ and ’Does India Really Change You?’, you should read them!