Popular tourist scams in India
India is a beautiful country with a rich history and diverse cultures, beliefs, and languages. Not only that, its vastly varying topography, makes India a perfect place to enjoy mountains, beaches or deserts. As much as you’ll enjoy your stay in India, one bad experience might ruin your complete vacation. So, before you pack your bags, just be wary of a few common nuisances and scams as you tour the country.
Given below are a few things that you need to take care of to have a safe travel 🙂
You can travel almost anywhere within the city by rickshaws that can save you from the trouble of walking long distances on a bad weather day. But, it will pose its own problems if you are not able to blend in the local ways. If you act ignorant, rickshaw drivers will easily charge you double or even more than the nominal price. An alternative to rickshaws is the pre-paid ride-hailing services like Uber/Ola. These services are prevalent in big cities and their prices have an upper cap for a ride between two places. This will save you from the trouble of bargaining.
If taking a rickshaw or TukTuk, check the distance before heading out so that you have a fair idea of how much you can be charged. Checking the regular rates with your hostel/hotel attendants for a ride to a particular place can also be helpful.
One additional piece of advice that when you take TukTuks, remember to go by meter whenever there is an option. There is a good chance the driver says, that meter does not work, and give other similar excuses. And this is where you can use the knowledge that you gained in above 3 steps and pay accordingly.
Entrance Fees without actual entry
A friend of mine was visiting Ranakpur Temple near Udaipur with a few of her foreigner friends. The entrance fees of the temple for foreigners was around Rs 200 and it was only when they entered they realized, they are not allowed in the main temple shrine. So, my biggest suggestion for you is to just research about the place before you visit it.
No Free Help/Gifts
In many religious cities, like Varanasi, Pushkar you can meet fake pandits who will offer you blessings for good luck and would charge hefty fees at the end of it. So, be sure to either say no or enquire properly about the offer before accepting it.
In other places, you might also meet people who would volunteer to guide you. But, when all this ends, they would ask for a heavy tip and if not given, there is a good chance that they get aggressive.
Sure, it has improved over time, but locals still get excited seeing a foreign tourist in town. In their eagerness, many might approach you and act polite and helpful and in return would ask for a photograph with you. It is fine until these people start disrupting your personal space. So please be aware of your surroundings and be alert at all times.
Long Bus Rides
Long bus journeys are tough and it even gets tougher when you don’t find clean toilets and good food on the way and have to pay more than what these are worth for. The toilets that the bus will stop at are generally dirty and most of the times there is a Re 1 or 2 charge for use, which doesn’t really make sense if they are not clean. In addition to that remember to carry toilet rolls and hand soap/sanitizer because most of the times you won’t find these here. Moreover, the packaged food items that you’ll purchase will be charged at a higher price than the MRP and there are a very few times when you can argue or do anything about the situation. The best idea would be to keep some snacks in your travel bag for that unexpected hunger pangs 🙂
Having said that, I believe India is a very loving and welcoming country and if you take care of these few things, you’ll definitely have a wonderful time.
Happy & Safe Travels!!