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India - how safe for tourists?

Travel Forums Asia India - how safe for tourists?

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1. Posted by Bekibell (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

Hi - my husband and I are travelling to India in 7 days time and although we have visited many different places in the world, I am a little nervous of this trip. (I wanted to go to China but as he is paying he got the casting vote)!! Initially I was really excited and was planning my trip using the Lonely Planet guide and other references but when I started to read the safety sections and in particular the government web site it made me very nervous in terms of personal safety and terrorist activity. Having never been before I wondered if any more experienced travellers of India could give me the benefit of their experiences to put my mind at rest.

I have read about the places to avoid and how to dress etc and happy with all the general safety advice, but having become a little paranoid I would like to know how others felt when travelling in India.

Incidentally, in 3 weeks we hope to visit Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jasailmer. Varanasi and Mumbai have been crossed off my list due to becoming a little nervous.

Thanks very much in advance - Beki

2. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 9y

First of all, crossing Varanasi off your list of "must do's" is a horrible mistake. I, and many, (of course not everyone) would agree that Varanasi is the undisputed highlight of the country. Don't miss it. Missing Mumbai is ok, not because it isn't a fantastic city, but because it's way off your route and you only have 3 weeks with alot already on your plate.

What I will tell you is of course only based on personal experience, so take it with a grain of salt, but hopefully others will agree with me.
India is generally a safe place to travel. In fact, I would be willing to say that it is one of the safer desinations in the world. Stressful, chaotic, mind numbing, and incredibly overwhelming? - yes, absolutely. But a great danger to your physical self? - not really. People will lie you to you, scam you, rip you off, take you for a ride, maybe even steel from you, but those people have no interest in harming you. If you do your research, know what scams and risks there are, and prepare yourself, it is unlikey that anything worse than a heated argument with a rickshaw driver or some "Delhi Belly" will happen to you.

Of course there is always a threat of terrorism. In a country with 1/6 of the world's population, countless cultures, and all the major religions represented, there is always going be a chance of terrorist activities - this is nothing new, just more publised in the post-911 era. Indeed over the last couple years India has had the odd bombing and whatnot, but guess what - so has London. It is quite possible you have as much of a risk of being blown up on the Tube on the way to Heathrow as you do in Mumbai. This terrorist activity is not aimed at tourists, and if something does happen to you its a simple fact of being in the wrong place at the wrong time - something that is extremely unlikely and that you cannot prevent anymore than you can prevent getting hit by a car on your way to work tomorrow. You said you have read the UK's travel advisories, in which case I hope you've read past the mention of terrorist activitiy, to the fact that of the 600,000 Brits that visit India a year, few have problems, and those that do are lost passport or medical related. So don't worry, go an enjoy yourself and think of the 99.999% chance you have of being trouble free, rather than that very unlikely chance that something bad will happen.
Having said that, there are a few area of India that most gov'ts recomend not travelling to, and a few people have reported here on this forum that they have encountered problems when they've stupidly ignored the warnings and travelled there. Primarily we are talking about Kashmir and parts of Assam. But your journey takes you nowhere near these areas. Just make sure you keep it that way.

Have a good trip

3. Posted by arif_kool (Travel Guru 1757 posts) 9y

hi bekibel,

I would just like to add a few things.

Northern part of india is very hot in april especially the Rajasthan part but if u can manage the heat then the places that u have chosen are really worth visiting.

Southern india, especially the Kerala backwaters would also have been a really relaxing experience..
We r settled in mumbai..if u do need any kind of help feel free to contact me... It would be my pleasure to welcome u both in india.

Regarding safety, india is absolutely safe, just be cautious and follow the normal safety precautions as in any other country.

Warm regards
Arif

4. Posted by Bekibell (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

Thanks ever so much for your reply. It is actually just what I needed. Scams, lies, stealing etc are commonplace the world over and no more so at times than here in Spain where I live, so I am not troubled by this. Being diagnosed obsessive compulsive I am prone to worry about things which have the smallest chance of happening and that you have no control over - its no reflection of my view of India. Buses get bombed in London and trains get bombed in Madrid so it can happen anywhere and I am just as scared of the aeroplane flight so I am all in all a bit useless really but having read your posts I feel loads better and nothing is going to stop me from seeing the world. I will try to squeeze Varanasi back into our plans and I really did fancy Kerala but I feel that might be trying to do too much and we might be better saving it for the next trip. Thanks for your offer of assistance arif - I will keep it in mind. As for the heat, I live in Spain and whilst I am sure India is far hotter, we at least have some good training!!

I will let you know of our experiences after the trip!!

Regards Beki

5. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Quoting Bekibell

Hi - my husband and I are travelling to India in 7 days time and although we have visited many different places in the world, I am a little nervous of this trip. (I wanted to go to China but as he is paying he got the casting vote)!! Initially I was really excited and was planning my trip using the Lonely Planet guide and other references but when I started to read the safety sections and in particular the government web site it made me very nervous in terms of personal safety and terrorist activity. Having never been before I wondered if any more experienced travellers of India could give me the benefit of their experiences to put my mind at rest.

I have read about the places to avoid and how to dress etc and happy with all the general safety advice, but having become a little paranoid I would like to know how others felt when travelling in India.

Incidentally, in 3 weeks we hope to visit Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Jasailmer. Varanasi and Mumbai have been crossed off my list due to becoming a little nervous.

Thanks very much in advance - Beki

Firstly, u are married. So u share your money, so votes from u should count equally.;)

Safety
U have done exactly the right thing, by combing through the safety information, in the Lonely Planet. I find the Lonely Planet is very accurate, with their safety instructions. If u make sure to follow all the safety instructions, u will be safe, unless u get very unlucky. India is a fascinating place. Dont let the challanges of traveling there put u off. ;)

Mel

6. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

INDIA SAFE

I dare to say safer then Europe or US..

[ Edit: Edited on Mar 30, 2007, at 4:14 AM by wouterrr ]

7. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

Quoting Mel.

U have done exactly the right thing, by combing through the safety information, in the Lonely Planet. I find the Lonely Planet is very accurate, with their safety instructions. If u make sure to follow all the safety instructions, u will be safe, unless u get very unlucky. India is a fascinating place. Dont let the challanges of traveling there put u off. ;)

Mel

safety instructions for India? that makes me smile, sorry. just go to India and don't be too nervous about it;)

8. Posted by cecily (Budding Member 6 posts) 9y

Beki... please do post all about your trip! We have an almost identical one planned for 3 months after you and any tips would be fantastic.

I think it's always very wise to take precautions, and definitely do your reasearch for ANYWHERE. To be honest anyone I've ever met who has had a bad experience when travelling didn't follow safety advice 100%.

9. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

going to Kashmir and the north-eastern states is not recommendable at the moment. but why make that a post. look it up on internet or ask at the embassy. find it out yourself if you are interested...

10. Posted by traveler1 (Full Member 190 posts) 9y

well i have lived in india all my life...i have had my wallet stolen only once in my life time....umm in BARCELONA

n regarding terrorism as Degolasse mentioned..that could happen anywhere anytime..

just go for it n enjoy.
cheers!