My personal list of handy India travel tips. All first hand knowledge - written during my travels in India.
All the tips have been categorised into sections. Just click on each tab to fully open and start reading.
Two ways to get your Indian visa. First, you can apply for an e-visa online but you still have to wait in the long Visa queues (usually only two desks open) at immigration in order to get the official visa stamped in your passport. Or second, apply for your visa at your local Indian consulate in your country and have the visa immediately stamped into your passport. Then you can walk straight through the many standard Immigration desks at the airport, as opposed to the e-visa immigration desks. However, please be aware of websites that offer to get your visa for a small fee - I have read many reviews that travellers were scammed.
There are some crafty Indians that have mastered the art of conversation, all for the purpose to eventually sell you a tour. My handy tip - when a friendly Indian approached me and asked where I was from, I would reply with "I'm already booked on a tour" even though I wasnt. To my surprise, they would immediately walk away. The ones that didnt, were genuinely interested in having a friendly chat with you.
India Travel Tips - New Delhi
BANKING AND CURRENCY
Money changers seem to be quite rare in India. In New Delhi, I only found two money changers - along Main Bazaar Road in Paharganj (opposite New Delhi train station). Other times I changed cash in jewellery stores and bus/train travel agencies. However, your best bet is to withdraw cash from ATMs as needed (check the overseas withdrawal fees from your bank first).
Arriving at the airport, avoid following random guys who say 'follow me' - they will lead you astray. Instead walk straight to a Post Paid taxi desk outside the terminal building doors to book your taxi and ask them to point out which taxi is yours. I can recommend Meru Cabs. There are other pre-paid taxi desks inside the terminal building. However, be aware that they used to be reliable but stories are starting to emerge that even they are now starting to scam unsuspecting tourists. Watch this interview to hear about my airport taxi experience compared to Johnny’s – we both arrived on the same night.
Although New Delhi's metro system sells 1 and 3 day Smart Cards, I opted for the flexible Travelcard instead. You purchase the card for a small fee and then top it up with some cash. 5 single metro trips cost 50 rupees (about $1) - so cheap. Using a travelcard simplifies the process - no lining up to buy tokens, it can be topped up anytime and a refund is given on the unused balance when you no longer require the card.
As a single female traveller, I found the New Delhi metro system so easy to use. The first two carriages are always female only - therefore there was more space inside and no creepy men looking at you. Plus there is a separate lane for females for the security bag scans. All bags are scanned before heading to your platforms.
Lodi Garden is a welcome relief to the craziness and noisiness of New Delhi. It is a huge and beautifully kept park that contains a few ancient buildings and tombs. You can sit in this park for hours and not hear any traffic. To get there, just take the metro to Jor Bagh, an affluent part of New Delhi. Then its a 10-15 minute walk to the park entrance or you can take one of the rickshaws that are waiting outside the Metro station.