Whoa, India has some attractive reasons to visit! A super rich vibrant culture, AMAZING food that I absolutely love, nice people, tons of places to go, mountains to beaches to deserts, and a wealth of other perks. Unfortunately, I decided I didn’t like India.
My boyfriend and I decided to go after getting invited to a wedding- Hell yeah!
While we had some lovely experiences, India proved to not be for me. I’ve been traveling for nearly five years and many of these occurrences below happened to me many times before, but I found everything to be amplified in India by 10, and for that, I wasn’t impressed and I didn’t enjoy my time there.
WARNING: You are about the read the opinion of a single human being. This person went to India with an open mind, and formulated an opinion after a few weeks. This is not to turn anyone away from India. This is not meant to generalize the entire country (India is freakin huge.) This is an opinion and experience piece. Perhaps India had an off two weeks? Perhaps the wrong impressions were made? Who knows?
This is someone’s opinion after their experience in India, so take it as that, and that only.
Overly sensitive people and those who can’t handle reading an opinion of another person that’s not the same as theirs can stop reading now.
I’m sorry, but I didn’t like India. Maybe I’ll try it again another day, long down the road…Maybe.
I just felt so incredibly uncomfortable the majority of my time there. It was unfortunate.
Here are just a few of my unfortunate experiences, and why I doubt I’ll want to travel to India again…
The Nice Lie
Being super friendly and making you feel comfortable and then lying to you.
The problem: you don’t realize it’s a lie until too late.
The top two occurrences of this unfortunate situation…
The Friendly Taxi
Our Indian friend got us a taxi, he called this taxi his friend. He picked us up to go grab my dress and Garrett’s suit for the wedding.
He brought us to a rental shop, we got the suit, picked up my dress, went to the ATM (mistake), and then he all of a sudden needed gas (he didn’t). He requested 500R ($8) stating he was our taxi for the day, the evening and probably tomorrow too (another event for the wedding).
We didn’t want to be rude to our friend’s friend and he had been so nice! Since he was driving us around all day and such, we handed it over thinking, why not? He’s driving us, he deserved a few bucks (our friend told us we didn’t owe him anything, but we figured he deserved some money). There are plenty more details that made this scam so much more apparent (afterwards) and the pieces fit perfectly, he did a very good job. Needless to say, after the initial drop off we never saw him again. He wasn’t really a friend.
The kicker: As if stealing 500R wasn’t enough, this dude had the gall to order a large bottled water and tea and put it on our tab at the hotel he picked us up from without asking. We didn’t notice until we checked out the next day.
The Computer Dude
The second scam was in Rishikesh when my MacBook charger crapped out on me.
Not having a computer is not an option for me. I needed one and a trusted electrician I found online with three great reviews seemed to be the best and only solution.
He was so nice!! Making a long story short, I was promised a brand new original Apple charger and he gave me a bunk one. It was obvious to us it wasn’t a real Apple. I was insulted he thought I was that dumb.
The problem was, I was desperate for one so I bought it, but I didn’t give him the 5500R ($85) he wanted and only gave him 3000R. Still a lot of money ($46) for a non original. If he would have given me a real one-I would have given him his asking price, but he lied.
Apparently lying is a very a common thing. Even between locals. We saw the lying day in and day out with our experiences and even the locals around us. Deceiving others seems to be common practice. I wasn’t down with that.
Burning Holes Into My Soul
A slight exaggeration? Perhaps, but well justified.
If they stared any harder, I’m sure my soul would have permanent scarring from the laser beams that streamed out of their eyeballs that seemed to come from every direction.
I never ever had the desire to travel India alone, mostly for the unwanted attention such as gawking stares, but I was with my boyfriend and still got gawked at on the regular.
Gawked is actually too nice of a word, I need a more intense word to describe this. It was so bad, I FELT violated. I have been stared at plenty over the last few years of travel, but this…this was unprecedented. I have no further words.
Privacy = Nonexistent
So along with the staring… If that wasn’t bad enough, it was often done in close proximity.
The idea of privacy or personal space is nonexistent. I knew this coming to India, but the extent of it I wasn’t prepared for.
Strangers looked over my shoulder when I was checking my work email on my phone. Are you f-ing kidding me?
At our local friend’s house, everyone was so lovely, but at the same time, it got a bit annoying and creepy. People and children would just sit there with us and stare. For hours upon hours. I’m not exaggerating.
If we got up to do anything (sometimes even to just walk to the bathroom) we would get followed. I felt like I was in a circus and I was the freak show everyone wanted to see.
My boyfriend and I went outside to get some “fresh” air (fresh is a joke, this area was so polluted), but the reason being, all we wanted was just to be alone for maybe ten seconds… Nope. About 10 people followed- to do nothing more but stare. It just got to be too much.
To state that I was uncomfortable would be the understatement of the year.
Selfies and Pics
Why would you want a picture with a random stranger?
I still don’t have the answer to this question but lots of people there apparently want it. Yes, I know it’s likely just for the “novelty (?)” factor of seeing a foreigner but…really??? Random strangers would come up to us and ask to take a selfie.
It was again, very uncomfortable, but that’s not even the worst part. At least these people asked, so I entertained them and said yes. Some people would just shove their phone in our face and take a pic. What.the.fuck. !? That- Just no… NO!
The most annoying occurrence, and I’m not sure if this should go here or under my lack of privacy category, was when I was asked for a picture while I was mid chew.
The background: This individual saw me a total of three days and got a picture before. I had not eaten in 10 hours. I was eating dinner, and, this, to him, was the perfect time to ask me to take a picture……….?!
Side note-I was hangry AF. Fuck off with your photo! Give me food!!!!
Pictures might seem a bit petty to be annoyed with, but after a few days with people constantly doing it to you… – no. At least celebrities get paid millions a year to deal with it.
Any Idea When or What?
I get the concept of time. I get that some cultures don’t get the concept of time/ just don’t care about it.
After all, I’ve spent the last 4.5 years living on Thai time. I like Thai time! I’ve adopted it. I’m cool with it. I get it.
India takes it to the next level, a level that seems next to impossible.
We were never told what time (or round about time) of when things would start or what they wanted or expected of us. It was as if we needed to read minds. Or maybe blindly follow along like puppets?
We ordered a taxi and asked for the time he would get there. We never got the time and when we walked out of our hotel that morning to grab food, he had been waiting for us. We had to pay extra for his wait time.
Were we supposed to be ready and waiting all day with our thumbs up our ass?
On the wedding day, we had no idea what was going on the entire time, and without divulging all the details for the sake of not offending anyone, we were quite unprepared for an event that was to last around 15 hours…15 hours+!!!!!!
Lastly, my own money was spent without my knowledge. Again, I’ll leave out specifics, but I was told my wedding outfit would be cheap. Cheap, as in let’s go to the market and pick out something nice but cheap for you- something very viable here.
Instead I was stuck paying $35 for a rental. If you haven’t traveled in this region, that might sound cheap, but in reality $35 for a rental of a garment is astronomical. I probably could have bought at least three awesome and wedding appropriate outfits to keep with that money. And again- it was spent without consulting me! My money! (My boyfriend was stuck with the same situation.)
For the record:
– Yes, I did my research but nothing could have prepared me for actually being here.
– Yes, I was careful with what I wore. Shoulders and knees covered. Still looked at as if I was a naked clown juggling puppies.
– Yes, we went further off grid than many people and I think this was a big problem for us. It’s unfortunate, as these experiences are meant to be more authentic, but instead, it was just downright the most uncomfortable position I’ve ever been in. In my entire life.
– Yes, the occurrences at the more tourist friendly Rishikesh weren’t as bad, but definitely still happened.
– Yes, we met some amazing people and saw some phenomenal places! This is not to generalize the entire country!
– Yes, I know I only spent two weeks and saw a small amount of the country, but I had enough of an introduction to the culture and people to understand that I don’t think I belong there. Yes, I’ve heard Goa is amazing and different. I’ll think about returning after I check off about 45 other countries off my list.
– Yes, I know this is just another culture and the way things are, but this is my opinion and my explanation of why I probably wouldn’t want to go back, and why I’m sorry I’m not sorry, but I didn’t like India.
I have the right to my opinion, just like a country has the right to keep in their own ways. It doesn’t mean I have to like it. Not everyone will enjoy every single place they go.
AGAIN- This is not meant to offend or generalize. I’m not ignorant- I understand this is their culture and the way things are. This is my opinion, and you should go to India to form your own.
I wouldn’t want to spend my precious time and money on a place that makes me feel so incredibly uncomfortable, and at the same time- Not give the country the appreciation that it deserves- because India is a fabulous country… All countries are in their own way.
This one just wasn’t for me…
I aim to travel the world and experience as much as I can, but the reality is, not all experiences and places are going to be entirely positive and magical.
So I (we) didn’t like India to the point where my boyfriend and I changed our flight to escape a week earlier. I know many enjoy India and I can see the positives of it. I even had many firsts in India. For me, the taste I got just wasn’t pleasant enough for me to stay or have a desire to return anytime soon.
I’m sorry, but from my experience, I didn’t like India.
Thank you, but no thank you, India.
What was your experience there? How did you like India?
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Nina Ragusa is an adventurer, messy bun master, breakfast fan, and full-time travel blogger. She’s been abroad since 2011 and blogging on Where in the World is Nina? for nearly as long. Nina helps people like you move around the world while making money. She loves talking about how to work abroad and online to travel longer!