Journey Woman


Spa Shangri-La in the Himalayas

India -- Know Before You Go...

Stay Healthy
Make an appointment with your travel doctor. Be sure your shots are up to date and get a prescription for anti-Malaria medication.

The most up-to-date medical information for travellers can be found online at such sites as:
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/travel
Health Canada's Laboratory Centre for Disease Control
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpb/lcdc/osh/tmp_e.html

Stay Safe
Although street hawkers can be unbelievably persistent and in your face, they generally aren't dangerous. Keep your eyes averted if you don't want to buy their wares. In cities like Delhi I took walks by myself downtown during the day and it was fine since there were other people out on the busy streets. I wouldn't recommend women go out alone at night and generally it is better to do your sightseeing with a government-approved guide (this way other would-be guides won't harass you). For more information on government approved guides, e-mail the India Tourist Office at: ny@itonyc.com (US) or india@istar.ca (Canada).

Food and drink
Hopefully you like curry. Indians eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Take some power bars and other transportable foodstuffs just in case your stomach rebels. Stick to hotels and higher end establishments to dine and never eat from the street vendors since sanitary conditions are less than perfect and flies are abundant. Drink only bottled water and always make sure that the cap has been sealed. Dishonest vendors have been know to refill bottles with ordinary tap water.

Climate
Agra and Delhi in the north are dry, dusty, hot and polluted. Beware if you have respiratory problems. Temperatures average around 70F in January, rising to over 100F in the summer. The south, around Cochin and Trivandrum, tends to be very humid and temperatures remain in the 80s throughout the year. In the mountains, it's definitely cooler.

Toilets
Try to go in your hotel as conditions outside are poor to say the least. Always carry toilet paper with you. Expect that public bathrooms will be very dirty and smelly and more often than not they're the hole in the ground variety. A little trick -- to combat the odors carry a mentholated Chapstick and dab some under your nose to make breathing bearable.

Clothing for women
For women, loose fitting pants and a light-weight, long-sleeved shirt will go a long way, as will a long skirt and a shawl for over-air conditioned interiors. Indian women dress very conservatively in saris and salwars (a dress and pants combination) and usually cover their shoulders and ankles, so it's best to follow suit. Leave your shorts, halter tops, clingy sundresses and other provocative outfits at home. Sturdy walking shoes are a must. To enter holy areas such as temples and mosques you must take off your shoes. As the ground isn't clean, I carried an extra pair of socks that I slipped on for these occasions.

For lots more information about India, click here.

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