As part of our India trip we were planning to see Bodh Gaya. However, I've recently hard a lot of horror stories of tourists attacked/robbed ther etc (that includes: train travellers, hotel guests and so on). So says my Lonely Planet and the website of the ministry of foreign affairs of Holland where I live...
Since to Bodh Gaya we were supposed to go with my female friend only, do you think its reasonable to go there for 2 European girls alone? [if yes: what precautions are advisable to take?]
Or should we rather visit Varanasi, Sarnath and then skip Bodh Gaya & head straight to Kolkata?
I'd b grateful for your insider-advice!
Greetings from India’s Invitation!
People say few place are unsafe but what I think is this that nothing is unsafe until you put your self at a wrong place at a wrong time. But I do understand why people are afraid to travel, but in the world today it is hard to find a place where you can guarantee safety.
To avoid any mishap while traveling we may change few thing in our daily life when we are in any other country.
• It is advisable to cover yourself with travel insurance for thefts, loss and medi-claim.
• Women traveling alone in certain deserted places should avoid walking at odd hours. There should a particular time when you have to be back at your hotel room. As Bodh Gaya and another small cities do not have night life. You should finish your dinner and get in to your room or get your dinner packed if you want to have your dinner late in the night. Do not roam around after dark.
• Be careful of cultural and social sensitivities of the regions. There is no single rule for that, the best way is to observe and follow.
• Don't eat anything offered by fellow travelers on train or road travels. It might have sleeping pills. Always travel reserved class in trains.
• Always chain and lock your luggage under your berth in a train. Don't keep anything valuable near the window. Always carry plenty of water, fluids in trains. A lone woman traveler may request to be accommodated near other women travelers.
• Do not visit places which encourage orthodoxy, social injustice and inhuman practices (like visiting a sati temple).
• Don't accept offers of visiting anyone's home unless you are confident of the person.
• Use licensed guides for sightseeing.
• Don't tip unreasonably and unnecessarily in a hotel. The NEWS soon spreads in the hotel and by the time you checkout there will be a group of them saluting you to expect something.
• While traveling, don't act confused. Keep a posture of a person known to the region.
• Avoid eating buffet meals, even in expensive hotels. The food may become contaminated due to over-exposure.
• Do not talk to people unnecessarily as people take the things other otherwise. They may misunderstand your friendly nature.
• Do not wear indecent cloths. Wear full pants (no low waist jeans) and do not wear sleeve less t-shirt.
I hope the information is helpful for you. Best of luck for your Journey. And please keep this thing in your mind do not put yourself at a wrong place at a wrong time.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please... ]
Thank you for ALL the tips - Im sure most of these may be used as a rule of thumb for many travellers (women especially)!
And I think there were many among them, that r acyually valid not only in Bihar, not only India, but for travelling in general - Europe is sometimes no different!! Thank you!
greetings from an Indian in Germany and thanking you to choose India as your travel destination. Being scared of dangers, one cannot stop living or travelling. Everyone has to take his/ her own safety measures. Be strong mentally and you would feel safe and comfortable. Bodh Gaya is of historical importance being related to Lord Buddha.If you wish to visit then please do it, taking some precautions.
As Abhilash has given a long list of do's and dont's, I would just like to add some points to it.
a. If you wish to travel pls. try to join another group of travellers and be with them throughout, this way you would not be alone and feel secured in the group. You can get the info. of joining another group from the Hotel you are staying or the Travel agency taking care of your travel arrangements.
b.Plan and start your journey early in the day and return to your hotel room before dark. As antisocial elements are active after dark.
c.Please donot wear any provoking clothes, like minis, exposed tops etc. Use simple clothes (Full arm Tops/ shirts)which besides suiting the weather also cover your body completely.You can buy them locally.
For further queries you can write me at -snip-
Best Regards and Wishing you a very happy journey.
[ Edit: Sorry, no personal contact details in the forum please. Use MC instead.... ]
Thx 4 ur tips as well...
'm totaly with u on that, that dangers r everywhere - and a brick can fall on my head while walking down the street next to my house. Which shouldnt deiscourage us from discovering the world . Thx 4 the tops.
About clothing: Ive heard it some times and now im convinced - I will just take into cosideration that im not at home, and that i should respect the customs of ppl who live where i go - and part of the respect is adjusting - which im fine with (even if it means refraining from really innocently-intended clothing we r used 2). THX!
Having been to BodhGaya a few years ago, suggest following:
--arrive at Gaya railway station during the day time.Atall cost avoid arriving late evenings or at night. If you have no choice, then ask your hotel to send a transport to pick you up.
--Before you get in to the transport check with your hotel if the transport that they sent to you is one and the same.
--Use Hotel transport to take you to Bodh gaya.It's about 15-20kms from Gaya town.
--If you are staying in a hotel in Gaya, stay in a good reputed hotel and not in a cheap accommodation.Another reason is that you can expect frequent power cuts and so a better hotel would have generator to tide over such power cuts.
--Never never go out after dusk..There is nothing like night life in Gaya.At the time when i visited the roads were very poorly lit and narrow.
Don't skip Gaya if possible.There is a beautiful Hindu temple there and lost of people from far and near visit Gaya to visit the temple.
Expect train delays and plan accordingly.
It's not so scary to travel to bodh gaya as it sounds. U can take a train to Gaya from Varanasi.Go to bodh gaya by a taxi as the train stops in Gaya and bodh gaya is just an hour drive from there.
Ya,u can get ur booking done in advance so that u can straight reach the hotel instead of roaming around here and there.
Today only I came back from Gaya and even visited bodh gaya. It's completely safe for 2 girls to travel alone. It's just that don't talk 2 strangers and in the train please take a AC sleeper 1 class.
Nothing to worry about believe me....
Have a safe trip.....