5 Things You Won’t Expect On Your First Trip To India

Note:This is a guest post by Anil Polat, who writes at foxnomad. Anil Polat, is a traveler and travel enthusiast who has spent his entire life traveling, studying cultures, and picking up tricks along the way.

Here it goes.

India is a traveler’s dream but also place that can make amateurs out of even the most seasoned vagabonds. Once you’re in India you’ll be whisked away, for better or for worse, and it’s best to expect these 5 things you won’t. On my several trips to the country I’ve never been disappointed and still recall my first time there fondly. Travelers have many things to love and learn, quite quickly I might add, while trekking around the world’s largest democracy.

1. You Will Be Overwhelmed
India will overwhelm your senses and quickly. Depending on your country of origin you’ll be taken aback by the shear number of people… everywhere. There are sounds, sights, tastes, that hit you and you’ve barely seen anything on your first morning out. It’s difficult to properly mentally prepare (and most do try to) because the sensory overload is much more than you’re probably imaging.

t.nagar market

2. People Will Try To Scam You
I hate to say this but scams, particularly when it comes to transportation, are prevalent and clever in many parts of India. First time travelers to India often get stuck in the sensory overload a bit too long and fall prey to a variety of scams that mostly end up with you being overcharged. I’d strongly recommend anyone traveling to India brush up on some of the common tricks and transportation (taxi, rickshaw, etc.) prices to avoid learning them by experience.

rickshaw drivers

3. The Taj Mahal Is Spectacular
Of all the sites I’ve seen in the world, few have so greatly exceeded my expectations as the Taj Mahal. I had built up my expectations such that I was counting on certain disappointment. I was literally standing in awe the first time I saw the Taj Mahal with my own eyes, something my personal expectations had not prepared me for.

taj mahal

4. You’ll Deviate From The Plan (If You Have One)
Once you’re in India, all of the plans you made prior to your arrival will begin to morph. You’ll start adding new sites, figuring out cheaper and more savvy ways to get around town (also an easy way to get scammed if you’re not careful), and discovering things to do and see that weren’t in your travel guide. This tends to happen on most trips but the pace and culture of India tends to inspire spontaneity, even to the most strict adherents of their detailed travel plans.

delete button

5. Cultural Density
India is a place that I call “culturally dense” meaning that the amount of historical, spiritual, and artistic sites is packed into small geographical spaces. No matter what your final impression of India is, it will be hard to discount how much there is to see and do there – how many generations the historical sites span – and the variety of cultures reflected.

color in india

There is so much more I could have added to this list, for example, “you can eat the street food” and no matter what happens you’ll have an experience to remember in India. I can’t think of a place that has continued to surprised me as much on every visit as India has.

[photos by: mckaysavage, Matthew Winterburn, mingtong, M i x y, Marco Bellucci]

14 thoughts on “5 Things You Won’t Expect On Your First Trip To India

  1. Scams don’t come of as a big surprise really. I mean, you go to a foreign country everyone knows your a tourist. So the chances of being targeted is pretty high. Just be careful and think before acting.

  2. Even as an Indian, I am so much with pt #1 & 5. When I return back to my country, it overwhelms me completely in so many ways.

    And I am still wondering at the cultural density part of it. Different religions, customs, languages, festivals and lot more.

  3. All so very true in my one trip to India. The Taj is incomparable, the street food is fine and every sense is overloaded with this extraordinary country.

  4. Mark & Dan
    That’s the beauty of India. 🙂

    Maarten
    Welcome aboard !!
    How are you managing ? I know it’s just the beginning. Let me know if you need any help.

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