My wife and I were in Egypt recently. Between the touts and disgusting men constantly trying to grope and saying dirty things to my wife, of course right in front of me, we left with a really bad taste in our mouth. We are considering a trip to India in the fall and heard this stuff is really bad there as well. Can anyone out there give me a comparison between these issues in Egypt and India, especially women? I think Egypt was our limit so if India's worse, then maybe we'll spend our time elsewhere.
I was in India in 1999 (I was in my mid 20's) and didn't have any problems at all. I was in Dehli and Madras (Chennai) and of course, to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal. I travelled with a male friend the whole time. Your wife will get LOTS of stares, and may find it helpful to wear a scarf over her head (I found it was relieving at times so I could "hide" from the staring), but I never felt offended or threatened at all.
Have fun - India is one of a kind!!
One other thing - I think the comparison to Egypt would be that you will definitely have to have thick skin with respect to being constantly bothered for money and constantly haggling for every service/transaction. Having said that, once you've gotten used to it, it becomes part of the experience. What I did NOT experience in India was any groping/disrespect by men.
Yes, India is as bad, if not worse, than Egypt, for touts. And there are way way more beggars, in India, than in Egypt. In fact, there will constantly be somebody begging from u, and kids hanging off your sleeves. There is also quite a lot of sexual harassment there, for foreign women. India is not the place to go, if u want to be left alone and in peace.
If u are looking for an exotic destination, with not many touts or sexual harassment, I would recommend China or Thailand. Your wife will be able to walk around in peace, with or without u, in either place, most of the time. Although, in Thailand, u may get more attention, from the women there, if u go anywhere, without your wife, than u would like. Sex tourism is big, in Thailand.
[ Edit: Edited on May 3, 2007, at 2:35 AM by Mel. ]
I wouldn't agree with Mel entirely.
Yes, there are a lot of beggers and quite a lot of staring. But sexual harassment is rare, definitely not quite a lot. As for being left alone and having privacy, it really depends a lot on how you're traveling. Backpackers get the bigger share of beggers and drooling men just because they're on foot most of the time.
If you prefer to travel by cabs, you'll get all the privacy you need. But then again, the true Indian experience becomes a little restricted.
I've been to both Egypt and India and Egypt is nothing like as bad as India for touts, conmen and general jerks. You can escape it with some things in Egypt like going on a felucca from Aswan-Edfu (near Luxor). That was very relaxing and about the best thing in Egypt, Dahab was also really relaxing and nice, but India you will find it difficult to avoid touts and any number of annoyances unless you are of Indian appearance. -snip-
Whenever you hear the words "hello my friend", when you haven't initiated the conversation, you know that it is someone about to try and con you or rip you off. It gets sooooo annoying when you hear that phrase, that say it in this tone that makes you want to punch them in the face after the first 20 times of hearing it and discovering that they are always going to con you (even if it doesn't appear so straight out, they will in the end). When getting off the train they treat you like you are a little fish in a sharks feeding frenzy. The horrific sites that you see of terrible poverty in the city which is meant to be where the richest people live, is just depressing. Egypt on the otherhand has some things like that especially the taxi drivers who harrass you, but they have nothing on the Indian drivers.
[ Edit: some derogatory remarks removed ]
Surprising to find a "travel guru" talking in such a depressing manner. Maybe he had a bad experience but the fact remains that India remains a hot tourist destination and u would easily find enough honest men through the length and breadth of this vast, varied and culturally varied country. It is a pity that aharrold couldnt find even a single honest man from the thousands he spoke to.... i would recommend aharrold to visit India again and make it to any of various ashrams that would lead to his spiritual awakening
[ Edit: removed quote due to derogatory generalisations ]