Victoria King, a tourism student who is currently doing work placement at Gecko’s Adventures Head Office, travelled to India recently and has some handy hints for any travellers heading to India.
Experience the Taj Mahal
We have all heard of the majestic Taj Mahal and no doubt seen the pictures, but believe me, until you see it for real you cannot fully appreciate its beauty. To see the sunrise over the white marble is well worth an early morning wake up. Get there nice and early to beat waiting in the line. Don’t be alarmed when you enter the gates and see lots of people in uniform waiting to conduct a security scan on you, they look after this historical site with pride.
To get the most out of your visit to the Taj, find a local guide to take you around. They will share their love of the Taj and give you lots of fascinating insights. Like, when and where photos can be taken, where to take off your shoes, and the best spots to take your photos. There is no such thing as too many photos of the Taj!
Don’t take a banana off a monkey
Monkeys are cute, adorable, and funny… most of the time. In India I found this one particular monkey so cute that I wanted to get a closer look. So I approached the innocent-looking animal, slowly as not to scare it. However, it was eating a banana, and when I got too close it became protective of its lunch and took a swing at me! Lucky for me I was able to escape the attack without any damage. So they may be cute, but admire them from a safe distance.
Explore the cuisine
Don’t play it safe, get out of your comfort zone and explore the variety of tastes and flavours of India’s cuisine. Try a different dish each time you eat, there are so many wonderful dishes to experience.
Ask questions if you’re not sure what exactly is in a dish, or what it means. I was really puzzled by a particular dish I had never heard of, so I actually got to speak to the chef of the kitchen. He answered my question, then offered to show me how to make naan bread – it was an unforgettable experience. You never know what you might learn just by asking.
Always have toilet paper on hand
You don’t want to get caught out with no paper, trust me this is not pleasant. It is very rare to go to a bathroom in India which actually has paper, so be prepared! Carry a small pack of tissues with you everywhere you go.
Get in touch with the locals
You can learn so much from the local people. Their English may not be fantastic, but most people will understand what you are trying to say and they will be happy to talk to you. You might find they are just as interested in your country as you are in theirs. Use the local mode of transport, the tuk-tuk. You can’t go to India without riding in a tuk-tuk, I guarantee you will love the ride!
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