Red Fort in Delhi, India

4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Travel to India

In India, Travel Tips by Kaspars Misins9 Comments

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So far we have been to India twice, for more than half a year in total. And I’m pretty sure, that many of you, who are following our journey for some time already, think, that India is one of our favorite countries in the world. But that’s not quite true. India is interesting for us. Some day we will travel to India again. And there are also parts of India, like Goa and Kerala, where we would love to return again and again, but, yeah, it’s not the same with India as a whole.

So when someone asks us whether to go to India and what to do in India, more often than not we end up talking about alternatives. Because, you see, India is far from the best countries, where to go to on your very first or one of the first trips abroad. Well, traveling to India doesn’t get much easier after you are well traveled either. So think twice before traveling to India and go prepared!

It’s an interesting country. But it can also be too different and too harsh for many. Let me explain you why!

So Why You Shouldn’t Travel to India? Because…

1. In India They Lie a Lot and Everywhere

Ok, I thought, there are a lot scammers (hordes of scammers) in Delhi, capital city of India. Ok, there are lot of scammers and people trying to trick you near popular tourism objects like Taj Mahal.

But why that woman in Goa, from whom I was buying fruits every second day, one day asked me double price for bananas? And then it repeated again, and again. Or that man selling sugar cane juice, who saw me every day. Why that time, when I was giving him 100 rupee banknote instead of 20 or 50, why then he tried to take five times more money for the same glass of juice, at the same time pretending that it’s OK?

Or that “holy man” in the temple, who aggressively criticized me for donating too little money? He was telling me, that it’s how it should be, because foreigners give 10, 20, 50 euro or dollars. Foreigners give euro and dollars, Indians give rupees, he said.

Another example. Imagine – you are in some new place for you or maybe you are just standing and trying to figure out where to go next. Some 10+ people are trying to convince you to follow them. Then from somewhere comes that nice looking person, well dressed and polite, or maybe it’s some official (you think so), and you listen to his advice. You feel a relief for a moment. But, of course, turns out that he just wanted to rip you off, or to sell something.

tuk-tuks in Delhi India

Tuk-tuks in Delhi, India

2. It’s Not Clear Where All the Money from Tourism Goes

Will your donation to temple be used to help people or will it simply help someone to buy a new and expensive car? Are you really helping these poor kids buying them these sweets, food or clothes, or it all will be sold back on the same day? You never know in India.

Hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists are visiting Taj Mahal every year. It’s India’s top tourist destination, and admission fee respectively is pretty high. Yet Agra, city where this wonder of the world is located, is one of the dirtiest cities of India, that we have seen (while cycling all the way across India for 5300+ kilometers we saw a lot). Agra is ugly. Everything is overpriced. And there again you will need to listen to lies. A lot.

What that decently dressed and extremely polite taxi driver told us, when we arrived to Agra? He told us, that now there in Agra they have some big doctors conference and that because of that all of the hotels are fully booked. Of course, he knew one, where there still were some rooms available. Of course, he was lying. Because there were no any doctors conference. And there were plenty of hotels to choose from. Apparently he wanted us to stay in that one more expensive hotel, because then he would earn some commissions.

Agra, India

In Agra, going to Taj Mahal

3. Price/Quality Ratio in India Often Is Far From the Best

Cheapest street food, cheapest hotel rooms, cheapest train and bus tickets, yes, all of it really costs very, very little in India. Especially when we compare prices to ones in Europe. But how long are you going to live in that dark room without windows, with smelly toilet and dirty bed? Can you even imagine traveling on the train for 14 hours, sitting on one bench with 5 other people next to you, while many others are lying on the floor?

It is possible to live and travel in India relatively more comfortable for still very little. For example, our budget in India was around 300 EUR per person for a month.

However, from our experience, in other Southeast Asian countries it is possible to get more and something better for the same money. Speaking, for example, about budget hotel rooms (10 – 15 euro/night), in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia, most of the time they have been much cleaner and nicer than in India.

Double decker bus in Mumbai, India

Double-decker bus in Mumbai, India

4. Traveling in India Is Stressful

There simply is a lot of, in my opinion, unnecessary hassle, when traveling in India. For some it is the part of their journey, but if you aren’t one of them, then maybe you shouldn’t travel to India.

What do you do when you want to travel across Thailand by train? You go to the train station, buy a ticket and go on the journey. That’s it.

What do you do in India? At first you need to get into the station, pushing yourself through scammers, who are trying to convince you, that ticket counter is across the street or that it is dangerous to be in the station now because of possible terrorist attacks. Really? Yes, that happened to us every day in Delhi, when we were going to New Delhi train station. And then it takes another at least 30 minutes to buy a ticket. Not because of long queues, but because of bureaucracy.

You could buy a train ticket online, but then you should have an Indian mobile phone number. To get Indian mobile phone number you need to spend about an hour in the shop filling forms and waiting, and at least few hours, or 2-3 working days, like we have experienced, of waiting until the number will be activated.

And so you decide to fly in India instead? At least partly also because India is just so big, but traveling by train in India takes a lot of time. And here again I need to disappoint you, because flying can involve the same as much hassle. Getting to and from the airport, possible dishonest taxi drivers asking far too much for a ride. Or tuk-tuk drivers telling you some new lies, just to get you going with them, and to get as much money as possible from you later.

We have flown from India only three times. Once from Delhi, another time from Chennai, and then from Goa. Flying from Goa was fine. But in both of the other two times we were at the airport 3 hours before the flight, and still we hardly managed to get to our flight. And only because of ineffectiveness of airport. Nowhere else we and our documents have been checked that much. At the same time leaving you with a feeling, that it doesn’t make it any safer there. So, what’s the point?

Maybe we just weren’t lucky, but it left us with a bad impression about airports in India.

Queue outside Goa International airport

Queue outside Goa International airport

However, if after reading this you still think, that you want to travel to India, here you will find all we have written about India, and that’s quite a lot. Traveling in India is far from impossible, and it’s doable by most. Mostly there is no real danger, it just can takes more time to achieve something (or everything…) you want to do. And it can be stressful, sometimes very, very stressful.

Happy travels! If you have any more questions about India do not hesitate to contact us!

Kaspars Misins

Author: Kaspars Misins

Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.


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    I totally agree with everything you mentioned above. I am currently in India and it is my second and last time. It does not worth the stress and headaches one get in this country.

    1. Kaspars Misins Author

      Try and go to another place maybe. Or just leave India and, maybe, come back again another time, when you feel like that.

      I’m now in India for the third time, loving it this time (just spent a month traveling overland for more than 6000 kilometers spending 1 month on the road). Yes, it’s as busy as always, but my experience with people is WAY better than it has ever been in India. It’s that good that it feels super strange.

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    Hi kaspars.. i read your article its quite interesting, true ans well narrated.
    If you compare it now and 2013 you will be find a complete change in it.. now here is good roads across india .. clean cities and more helpful people. .. yes though still we Indian also more carefull to dealing with those hotels agents and tuk tuk drivers ?? they are literally liar.

    Hope you visit again and write some thing good about us after a delightful trip…

    1. Kaspars Misins Author

      Thanks! I know, it’s changing, but there is also a place for improvement. I’ve been in India in 2016, and for 3 months in 2018 :)

  3. Avatar

    Nothing has changed. If anything, it has gotten worse because folks get away with it once and try for more next time. Save the stress and money and travel near home.
    I’ve been here five times for work over the past four years. I enjoy my job, but will quit because of this last trip.

  4. Avatar

    try pakistan it’s a mix of iran afghanistan and india. some parts are like a super clean and honest india the rest are like a safer iran and afghanistan and the others are like a super quiet switzerland, you should check out some travel pakistan videos, unlike india people in pak might give you things for free because we love guests .

    1. Kaspars Misins Author

      Thank you! I’m thinking of going to Pakistan in near future. I have heard a lot about Pakistan.

  5. Avatar

    Hey I am Indian. I m sorry for the discomfort you have suffered in India. I Want to clear out some things, Not every Indian are liars. yes it might be true some auto riskshaw vendors try to convince you to take hotels of their choice . But this not happens because you are foreigner. It happens with indian tourist too. This happen because in India there is lot of competition among small hotels so they tie up with drivers. But if you say no they will not force you.

    IN Indian people here very genuine, specially when you travel to villages or small cities . you find people here are very friendly. They will treat you like God ( ” Atithi davo bhava” It is famous hindi proverb which means guest is God here)

    In Indian there is variety of culture and languages .You really love to have multicultural experiences, with rich heritage and myriad attractions,
    Beautiful himalayas in north to tropical forest in south, India is full of mesmerizing scenic beauty.

    It is not stressful to travel in India. even Indian railway give special quota to foreign tourist so that you can travel safe and comfortable and remember to book ticket on official website or inside railway station. Dont buy your ticket outside station.

    You said, you don’t know donation given in temple goes where… I want to say It is really not compulsory to donate in temples/ mosque / gurudwara ..If you really want to give donation in India , then contribute in NGO like Smile foundation for under previlaged children, HELPAGE INDIA for elderly poor and many others you can google it. you can feel secure about your contribution.

    Indian is lot more than Goa and Tajmahal
    you can travel eastern India: guwahti , Sikkim
    South : kerela ,Andaman nicobar Island
    West Rajasthan
    North : Spiti valley, ladakh , kashmir

    I Hope i have cleared some of your doubts regarding India. If you come to India want some help or advice feel free to email me: sanchit3498arora@gmail,com
    Iam ready to help anytime

    1. Una Baufala

      Thanks for the comment. Yeah, we know that India is amazing, and there are a lot of awe-inspiring places in the country. We’ve been to India 3 times, and one time we travelled for 5 months on bicycles. We’ve seen not only the main tourists spots but also small towns and villages where life is very different from what we see in the bigger cities / tourist hotspots. This article is only about aspects we didn’t like. But there are tons of things we loved about India.

      About the rail tickets – yeah, it’s not that hard to get them. We always buy them at official counters or online. But for people who don’t know about the scams, it’s really a pain.

      Thanks again!

      Regards, Una & Kaspars

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