There are few cities as vibrant and full of life as Delhi. While this is an immersive and inclusive culture, it can, admittedly, be a little intimidating for tourists. We have compiled a list of the common difficulties faced by travelers in Delhi and their possible solutions.
1. What To Wear?
As a foreigner, you are a center of attention so dress conservatively when out and about in the markets. Wear a long skirt or trousers or a Capri or anything that covers your legs below the knees. Wear clothes which cover your shoulders, carrying a scarf with you is a good idea as well.
For places like Old Delhi- Chandni Chowk area, Mosques, Temples etc, be sure to put on more layers. Jeans and a small Kurti or a long skirt is always a good choice. Moreover, Indian clothes like salwar-kameez, kurta-pajama are light and easily available locally.
Do carry a scarf. Most religious places require you to cover your head. You can buy one here.
You can read further about how to stay safe in Delhi as a solo female traveler here.
2. Sanitation And Cleanliness
Delhi is somewhat infamous with the tourists because of Delhi belly (an upset stomach). Here are some tips to avoid any diseases- short term or long- due to less than ideal sanitary conditions. Avoid drinking tap water, also try to avoid any food that may have been washed in it. Avoid ice or ice cream from street vendors. Do not eat any salads or fruits that you haven’t peeled or washed yourself. Don’t go for the spicy foods on day 1. Let your body adjust to the new place.
Most importantly, whenever buying street food, apply a very strict assessment of cleanliness standards, such as- are the owners freshly cooking the food or has it been standing there for a while? Is the stall busy with lots of customers or only attracting hoards of flies?
When you are out and about, you will have to use public toilets- which, even though they have a minimum fee, may not hold up to the normal standards of cleanliness. Toilet paper is rarely available in these places. There is water and soap, however. Use anti-bacterial wipes and anti-bacterial gel for a final clean up.
3. How to Deal With Crowd?
Most places in Delhi are relatively more crowded as compared to other cities elsewhere. Avoid rush hours to best deal with the crowd especially in areas such as Chandni Chowk. Check ahead on travel advisories as to when rush hours of a certain market or tourist place might be.
Be wary of pickpockets in these crowds. Go with the flow. If you have to shove and push your way into a train or bus, don’t hesitate to do so.
Apart from the popular, most visited attractions, Delhi is a treasure trove of neglected architectural wonders. You can check out some of these overlooked wonders here. Since these places are lesser-known, there won’t be much crowd here.
4. How to Visit So Many Places in So Little Time?
There are a lot of places of interest such as monuments, religious places, markets, etc, all packed in and around Delhi. Most tours try to finish off as many of these places as they can in a very short interval. You not only miss out on basking in their magnificence as you ideally should be but also miss a lot of hidden wonders. These rushed deprive tourists of enjoying Delhi in its essence.
Get on the internet. Do your research. Figure out what interests you, how much time you have, and then tailor your trip accordingly. Give ample time to each place. Most tourists try to do too much in too little time and burn out. You don’t want to do that because not only do you miss out but also not get your money’s worth.
To ensure that you make the most of your trip to this exciting city, do check out our Free Resources for Delhi. Before you decide your itinerary for the day, make sure to look up the reviews and recommendations of other travelers. Our one and two-day itineraries might also be helpful for you to plan your time here.
Check up on where you are staying. Make sure you don’t pick accommodations based on distance, instead, pick a good neighborhood. Some of the best memories can be made with warm, welcoming locals. Here are some good neighborhoods in Delhi.
5. How To Handle Cash?
While it is advisable to not carry a lot of cash if you are simply out of sightseeing, make it point to carry enough if you are out for serious shopping. We recommend that you withdraw sufficient cash a day before from an ATM anywhere close to where you are staying. More often than not, the ATMs are either out of service or out of cash. Walking around looking for ATMs is a wastage of time.
A lot of international bank cards are not accepted by ATMs in India. Please ensure that yours is either a master or visa card for sure, maestro and cirrus cards may also be accepted. Carry cards from more than one bank, if one does not work, you’ll have a backup. ATM machines have a limit to the amount that you can withdraw at one time. This limit is INR 10,000 (USD 180 approx). The daily limit is set by your bank back home so know that beforehand.
The most accessible pocket should have the least amount of money. Not more than Rs 1000. When you are out in crowded markets this is the pocket that gives money. Learn to keep your money safely divided. Here is an article you can check for more details.