India is one of those countries where background knowledge around the traditional, everyday customs will ensure your experience is the best it can be. Familiarising yourself with the local culture will always guarantee the most authentic experience, no matter where you are in the world,” says Amber Wilson, International Marketing Manager at Cruiseco.
1. Embrace the unpredictability and adopt a ‘go with the flow’ attitude. India is a busy and bustling country, but this is all part of the experience, so expect the unexpected and enjoy the journey.
2. Adopt a vegetarian diet whilst travelling in India. Cows are considered a sacred commodity in the Hindu religion.
3. Have a few Hindi phrases up your sleeve such as "Namaskar" (hello), "shukriya" (thank you) and "yeh kitne ka hai?" (how much is it?).
4. Understand the currency. There are approximately 55 rupees to each Australian dollar, so to avoid any scams, or just to stay on top of your spending, it’s helpful to keep this in mind. Although credit cards are widely accepted across the country, signatures are no longer accepted, so make sure you know all your pin codes before travelling.
5. It’s best to ensure that all your vaccinations are up to date and always pack a first aid kit. It’s a good idea to visit your doctor before you head to India, so they can prescribe antibiotics and any other medicines you should take with you.
6. Embrace the traditional, colourful dress style. The Indian culture is generally very conservative about dress. Women are expected to cover their legs and shoulders, and men should always wear a shirt in public. By dressing like the locals do, you are less likely to draw attention to yourself as a tourist and it also shows respect to the locals.
7. When entering a mosque or temple, always remember to remove your shoes and leave them at the door. Socks and stocking sockettes are perfectly acceptable.
8. In India, food is traditionally eaten with your hands. It is important to remember that you should eat with your right hand only. As a general rule, you should not pass anything to anyone, point to anyone or accept things given to you with your left hand.
9. Avoid tap water, even if it’s filtered. We recommend steering clear of ice, salads, fruit juices (unless you have peeled the fruit yourself) and street food. 10. Locals will expect you to barter when purchasing just about anything and it’s another part of the experience. Rule of thumb: if the vendor says 1,200 rupees, never pay more than 600 rupees. If you pay the initial asking price, expect to receive the most pitying of looks.
View the new Cruiseco Authentic Asia: India Brochure, visit www.cruising.com.au or call (02) 9492 8520 for further information and to find details of your local Cruiseco agent.