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Nille
5th March 2009, 05:26 PM
Hi all,

we will have an over night stay in Delhi on our way back from Kathmandu and wonder:

- can anyone recommend a hotel fairly close to the airport?
- is it far into Delhi from the airport and is it worth staying in a hotel in the city and having a night out in town instead of staying close to the airport?

Thanks in advance,
Nille

kolobar
5th March 2009, 06:00 PM
There is a hotel on the airport itself next to domestic terminal.
There are few hotels on the main road from Delhi to airport about 10 minutes by taxi from the airport. The price should be about 50usd minimum. But the area doas not offer much beside a night in a bed. I dont use either of them but should not be difficult to find out about it browsing.
It might me worth going further to the city (approx.45 minutes by taxi). but it depends on how much time you have. Coming out of the airport takes more than an hour, another 45 min. drive to the city. You have to be back 1,5h before the flight which including the drive will take 2 more hours. Also mind that there can be considerable difference if you drive in/out of Delhi in the middle of the night (30minutes) or during traffic congestion.
Also there is not much fun in Delhi after 11pm beside going to fancy&pricy hotels for drink.
Common areas to stay in Delhi are Main Bazar, Connaught Place or Karol Bagh. Main Bazar is a sort of Thamel (much noisier), Connaught is the center with plenty of shops, restaurants, Karol Bagh (Channa Market) is quiet but has some good restaurants.

Nille
5th March 2009, 07:23 PM
Thanks a lot- well, we will arrive in Delhi at about 5 pm and have 22 hrs to kill. So we might actually go into town. Is it a big hassle to get a taxi? Do we have to watch out for anything in particular (e.g. get a prepaid taxi or so)?
How much can we expect to pay for the journey?

kolobar
5th March 2009, 08:46 PM
You should definitely go for prepaid taxi. Lately the booth to book it is inside the arrivals lobby (where visitors are supposed to meet arriving passengers) on the left side. Taxi will cost you about 300irp which is about 7usd.
You have to choose where you want to stay - perhaps Main Bazar is the best option. There are plenty of cheap places to stay there but also a bit more middle ranged hotels like Prinz Polonia www.hotelprincepolonia.com, Metropolis www.metropolistravels.com, Cottage Yes Please (incredible name!)http://www.yokosoindia.com/hotelcottageyesplease where you will spend between 20 to 30USD for double AC room. If you book a room in advance you can also arrange a pick up from the airport which might be more expensive than prepaid taxi but more hassle-free.
Top roof restaurant at Metropolis (even if you dont stay there) is very popular dining place for tourists (mostly because ice cold beer since food is not that great but still quite expensive for India).
If you are not too picky you can use metro to go around - there is Ramakrishna Asram Marg metro station nearby and Connaught is just one station further (Rajiv Chowk). You can also visit Old Delhi via metro.
Another option to move around is autorikshaw but I get tired of constant bargaining for price. Most comfortable is to hire a car and a driver to take you around.
There is no problem to get a taxi back to the airport since your hotel can arrange it on a very short notice.

Nille
5th March 2009, 09:31 PM
Thank you very much indeed - this is most helpful and I will have a closer look at your hotel suggestions!!

yakshaver
6th March 2009, 01:01 AM
I am pretty sure you need a visa obtained in advance to get out of the airport into Delhi. It is not like Sigapore, Bangkok, KL, etc.

I have staid in Karol Bagh, there are some reasonable hotels there. But for such a short time, maybe you want to stay near Connaught Place, more central.
Go with the recommendations, else you can end up in some real dump. Even with the recommendations there's a bit of a risk.

Pre paid taxis from the airport are the best obtion, as kolobar says.
For the rest, make sure you agree some price in advance. Or make sure they go by meter.

It would be interesting to find out what you think of Delhi after Thamel. I thougth Thamel and Katmandu in general was a nice picnic in the park compared to Delhi. But I like both, nonetheless.

Doppelwhipper
6th March 2009, 05:01 AM
Stay as close as possible to the airport in the best place you can find and rock up for the night. I found Delhi to be the worst place I have ever visited and I've done a considerable amount of travel at this stage. A night on the town won't exactly blow your mind either since the bars are crap and they close early anyway. Seriously, save yourself the hassle and avoid visiting the city.

I know that's insanely negative but I ended up in Delhi three times (don't ask) during my trip to India and had nothing but hassle and stress every time. One of the worst places in India for dickheads lying to you through their teeth and trying to rip you off.

If you do decide to go further in then book a good hotel in advance and arrange for them to pick you up. We had a total disaster with our prepaid taxi driver trying to herd us into a stupid tourist office and eventually dropping us off in the middle of nowhere.

FYI, here's the list of the dirtiest hotels in India according to reviews by tripadvisor users (note that nearly all of them are in Delhi!). Can't seem to find the link so hopefully you can take my word for it:

1.Centaur Hotel, IGI Airport, New Delhi, India
2.Hotel Regent Continental, New Delhi, India
3.Ashok Hotel, New Delhi, India
4.Marina Hotel New Delhi, New Delhi, India
5.Jupiter Spa & Resort, Salcette, India
6.Ajanta Hotel, New Delhi, India
7.The Connaught, New Delhi, India
8.Hotel Janpath Ashok, New Delhi, India
9.Hotel Welcome Palace, New Delhi, India
10.Hotel Yamuna View, Agra, India

You've been warned! Rant over.

I actually thought Thamel was fantastic and worlds apart from Delhi. Great buzz and pretty minimal hassle.

marcy
6th March 2009, 07:53 AM
I would recommend pre-paid taxi from the airport (or have pre-booked hotel send taxi) and go stay in town. I've never had a problem with pre-paid taxi from the airport.

I enjoyed Cottage Yes Please when I stayed there and also the Jyoti Mahal which is essentially down the street and arround the corner.
http://www.jyotimahal.net/. Both are in pajar ganj, but both relatively clean, nice and well run for india. There are a couple of nicer, quieter hotels and pricier hotels farther out in Carol Bagh, but not worth the 15-20 minutes extra to get into town if you're only there for a day.

When you're ready to do site-seeing you can just grab a nearby autorickshaw, negotiate with a taxi for a day of siteseeing, or just have your hotel book you a car for however many hours... all depending on what level of dealing with bargains and haggles you feel like putting up with.

You will have time to choose a couple of sites to wander around. My favorite place to get away from the noise,crowds and hassle is the complex at Humayan's tomb. Very lovely and surrounded by lovely quiet park.
Also Red fort and Quitab Minur (sp?) also make for both good-siteseeing for early morning before the crowds arrive.

Lars
6th March 2009, 11:44 AM
How well you fare in Delhi depends very much on yourself, whether you are a fat tourist expecting the third world to be very much like California, or if you are more of a real traveller who visit other countries and cultures to experience their own peculiarities. And rest assured that the Indians who have made it their business to deal with foreigners can tell the difference.

I have probably been 25 times to Delhi and have never experienced it as a horrible place at all. It is not my favourite city in India, that would be Mumbai or Calcutta, but Delhi is quite interesting nevertheless.

I have stayed at Ajanta, in Pahar Ganj, and found it fairly good.
India is not a clean country, that is for sure. But Indians are very good at separating clean from dirty. It is not unusual that floor and walls are grimy even in a restaurant, but the food is still perfectly healthy.

The Indians are some of the nicest, frendliest and most honest people I have ever met, and I love them. When in London or otherwise where there is a substantial Indian population, I always seek them out. I try to sit near them on subways and I go to their shops even when i don't plan to buy anything there, only to be near them, to hear what they are up to. Indians are also very curious and inquisitive. When you visit them, they feel part of it too, and want to have some memories from it as well. Try to make it a good one!

22 hours in Delhi is a godsend opportunity to have an Indian experience of your own. Even if you end up not liking it, then at least it will be from your own experience.

Some friends of mine, engineering students, and a bit prone to dismiss anything that is not scientifical and exact, was going to Australia to windsurf for three months. The flight included a weeks stopover in Bombay. After one day they were back at the airline office pleading to leave sooner, but it was not possible. Before the week was over they were back again at the airline, this time to cancel the rest of their flight.
They spent their whole three months in india, and have been back several times since. Allow yourself this chance for a glimpse of a world entirely different from any other. If you are lucky you may even find yourself in there, as so many others have.

By all means take a prepaid taxi. Since you arrive at a convenient hour I say this is better than having to find the hotel taxi guy. There are ATM's at the airport where you can draw rupees.

Lars, with 11 India trips under my belt, totalling more than 40 months.
Koh Chang

kolobar
6th March 2009, 12:43 PM
The question of visa did not arise so far but yakshaver is right. You definitelly need a transit visa to get out of the airport which you have to arrange in your homecountry. Be carefule about dates since transit visa is valid for only 2 weeks. If you need one for your return trip, you can get it fast&cheep in Kathmandu. If you wait for your flight in transit zone of Delhi airport you dont need a transit (or any other) visa.
I disagree with the idea to stay near the airport with so much time on dispose and I completely agree with Lars. Even if you will not like it (as many people dont) it will be your own experience.
If you stay in Main Bazar i.e. Paharganj, on the first evening you can have a pleasant dinner on Metropolis terrace. Next morning you can combine a visit to Old Delhi and a stroll around Connaught before returning to the airport. The crowded alleys of Old Delhi are interesting by itself. Beside Red Fort and Jamia Masjid which are main attractions of Delhi you can have interesting experiences if you visit Sikh gurdwara and Jain temple on Chandni Chawk the main "avenue" of Old Delhi. Karim restaurant nead Jamia Masjid is the main gastronomical attraction of Delhi if you can stand spicy food.
Since your daytime in Delhi is limited and if you can afford it, it might be a good idea to rent a car with a driver, leave hotel early with all your luggage and after a visit to the city drive directly to the airport.
Hotel pick up is better than prepaid taxi. Lately prepaid taxis are better controlled and they are no more involved in hassels with tourist agents, drivers can be quite often ignorant about hotels&places in Delhi. Most of the time I have to direct them to the place I want to go. Even business card of the hotel does not help.

Per
6th March 2009, 03:47 PM
- is it far into Delhi from the airport and is it worth staying in a hotel in the city and having a night out in town instead of staying close to the airport?


The hotels near the airport are not intersting, just like airport hotels anywhere. I would go into the city and stay near Connaught Circle. We always enjoyed Dehli, though it is a bit of an aquired taste, try the Idly Sambar at the United Coffee House.

Mr Mani
6th March 2009, 03:59 PM
How well you fare in Delhi depends very much on yourself, whether you are a fat tourist expecting the third world to be very much like California, or if you are more of a real traveller who visit other countries and cultures to experience their own peculiarities. And rest assured that the Indians who have made it their business to deal with foreigners can tell the difference.

Lars, with 11 India trips under my belt, totalling more than 40 months.


I had hoped that if I was to find myself whilst travelling somewhere like India that this would mean that I might drop my ego, not be so judgemental of people that I do not know and not resort to thinly veiled insults. It seems that seasoned travellers can do just that as long as they can underwrite it with "I've done a lot more trips than you - therefore I am a real traveller." Starts to make fat travellers from California appear to be much better company than the well travelled. Fortunately I have found seasoned travellers excellent company, sadly there seem to be some notable exceptions. Sometimes we just cannot see ourselves and hear how we come across. Or perhaps we do but just don't care. Makes me wonder why some people go anywhere to "see the real place and culture" when they have to take this conceited baggage with them.

And the irony of pointing out to everyone else that they are doing it wrong and there are much better ways to travel whilst sneering at them seems like you missed out when you tried to find yourself.

Doppelwhipper
6th March 2009, 06:42 PM
I had hoped that if I was to find myself whilst travelling somewhere like India that this would mean that I might drop my ego, not be so judgemental of people that I do not know and not resort to thinly veiled insults. It seems that seasoned travellers can do just that as long as they can underwrite it with "I've done a lot more trips than you - therefore I am a real traveller." Starts to make fat travellers from California appear to be much better company than the well travelled. Fortunately I have found seasoned travellers excellent company, sadly there seem to be some notable exceptions. Sometimes we just cannot see ourselves and hear how we come across. Or perhaps we do but just don't care. Makes me wonder why some people go anywhere to "see the real place and culture" when they have to take this conceited baggage with them.

And the irony of pointing out to everyone else that they are doing it wrong and there are much better ways to travel whilst sneering at them seems like you missed out when you tried to find yourself.
Sounds like someone hasn;t been to Delhi.

Mr Mani
6th March 2009, 08:12 PM
Sounds like someone hasn;t been to Delhi.

I am confused. My post was not directed at you, I was in fact trying to back you up.

Doppelwhipper
6th March 2009, 10:56 PM
I am confused. My post was not directed at you, I was in fact trying to back you up.
Fair enough, I didn't understand, sorry.

Lars did you seriously like Delhi?

yakshaver
7th March 2009, 06:44 AM
I had hoped that if I was to find myself whilst travelling somewhere like India that this would mean that I might drop my ego, not be so judgemental of people that I do not know and not resort to thinly veiled insults. It seems that seasoned travellers can do just that as long as they can underwrite it with "I've done a lot more trips than you - therefore I am a real traveller." Starts to make fat travellers from California appear to be much better company than the well travelled. Fortunately I have found seasoned travellers excellent company, sadly there seem to be some notable exceptions. Sometimes we just cannot see ourselves and hear how we come across. Or perhaps we do but just don't care. Makes me wonder why some people go anywhere to "see the real place and culture" when they have to take this conceited baggage with them.


Sorry Mr.Mani, we get to express opinions here, sometimes with a bit of posturing, certaintly with a lot of experience, and that's ok. Most people here have indeed travelled a lot, and experienced a lot. Some of them have indeed studied various cultures in the area, on the ground in an anthropological/and academic way (Per for example). Knowing Lars, I assume that "fat travellers from California" is a well researched technical term. Based on my extensive travel experience, but with a lot less academic/research backround in Social Travel Anthropology I am almost inclined to agree with Lars, as I have met what I think is the authentic specimen in question (they could be "fat travellers from anywhere", actually, not just California. I believe being overweight is the main issue, not just being from California. But it is my personal, and I stress amateur, opinion.) . Though I can also see your point.

The difference Lars is talking about, which I am sure you may have experienced as well, is for me very pragmatic. The "natives" suss you out immediately, and the difference in the prices the charge, or the tips they expect, is noticeable.

marcy
7th March 2009, 09:52 AM
hmmm. I am definitely fat, definitely a traveller, and from California..... could we choose a different whipping boy please to describe people who aren't culturally sensitive travelers who get along well in different environments such as delhi

yakshaver
7th March 2009, 11:49 AM
hmmm. I am definitely fat, definitely a traveller, and from California..... could we choose a different whipping boy please to describe people who aren't culturally sensitive travelers who get along well in different environments such as delhi

I am also a bit "chubby", but not from California. That is why I said we should not limit the negative stereotype to that particular geographical location ;)...

I love the subcontinent by the way, love travelling there. Not, hopefully, in a one eyed way. There are some things extremely irritating for me there. But overall, it is an amazing place, all I wait usually is for the next oportunity to travel there.

jules21
7th March 2009, 12:14 PM
The Indians are some of the nicest, frendliest and most honest people I have ever met, and I love them.

i loved delhi and india. delhi is a city to behold, totally unlike anything you will ever experience in the western world.

i also loved indians, for their gentle and welcoming nature. having said that, i don't think i've ever been lied to as much as when i visited delhi. the constant barrages of people trying to direct you to the shop for which they would receive a commission from, to the point where i was often given blatantly false directions (to steer me to their shop instead of where i was trying to go) was a bit much.

you quickly become wise and hardened to it. of course i would go back in a heartbeat.

Per
7th March 2009, 04:34 PM
I have spent plenty of time in Delhi, and I feel rather ambivalent about the place. It is splendid for a shopping spree, almost everything India has on offer is easily available, and there are some decent resturants. On the other hand I find it an annoying slightly dangerous city. It is a town where I always feel that I have an obligation to escort my wife, as sexual harrasment and worse (!!!) is quite common. It is just fine to spend a couple of days shopping, arranging tickets, visas, etc., but I rather not hang around for long.

In the distant past I often stayed out in Chandni Chowk. The last thirty years or so I have preferred Jan Path, as it is close to Connaught circus where the best shops and resturants are. There is also a good connection to the airport with the "ex-service menīs bus service" (or whatever).

Landfall38
7th March 2009, 07:55 PM
hmmm, I read "fat" as meaning "well-off" (relatively), not necessarily about carrying extra weight. (I don't think the weight issue is the relevant question) -- it is all about attitude.

On a somewhat related topic: I am always amazed at how so much easier it is to travel in Nepal compared to India. (This doesn't make India not good to travel to/in -- it is just a comparison of the "ease" of travel).

One friend's response to my "ease of travel" comparison is that if it was easy, India wouldn't be so fascinating....

Per
8th March 2009, 12:29 AM
I am always amazed at how so much easier it is to travel in Nepal compared to India.

Yes, there are never ever any bandhs in Nepal, and there are plenty of AC-trains, and reliable AC express buses, and the local food is never cooked with mustard oil; instead they use ghee or vanaspati and there is plenty of stops with tandori roti right from the owen and alu ghobi.

No, seriously, I find it a lot easier to travel in India. Food is better, unless you are into the stuff they cook up for tourists in Kathmandu (I am not), transport is almost always better. The only advantage I can see for Nepal is that they are more used to women, so you get less of those desperate black frustrated stares if you travel with a woman. That goes for going by road or train or by plane.

When it comes to trekking it is generally speaking easier to trek in Nepal as there is a bunch of well developed tea house trekking routes where the locals cater really well for you, though it seems to be going down the drain by the building of roads and not least the activities of TAAN.

There is some easy trekking in India too, with everything available, particularly along the yatra trails, but most trekking in India takes a bit more logistics as you often have to camp and bring your own food along. In a sense it is comparable to leaving a Nepalese tea house trail.

Doppelwhipper
8th March 2009, 08:00 AM
While the infrastructure in India is unquestionably superior to Nepal, I would agree that travel is "easier" in Nepal because there is much less hassle and deviance on a day to day basis. Sure you get loads of guys in Thamel trying to pedal treks, guest houses, hash etc. but they never follow you down the road harassing you. This made a huge difference for me.

yakshaver
8th March 2009, 09:46 AM
No. Only in India and China did I get pedlers walking with ne for 10-15 minutes, and pressuring me to buy, even though I firmly told them to get lost. I had to scream, to the extent that people turned around to see if I am attacked or something... In Thamel a firm No will sufice. I almost hit the Indian guy near the Red fort. Same with the chap who walked with me from Tiananmen Square to the China World hotel for a quarter of an hour.
The funny thing was to see them fleeing after I screamed and feigned hitting them. They must have sensed the aggressive sense of desperation and frustration in evidenty in my wild crazed lookn and attitude. A lesson in cultural sensitivity and differences. Next time I eill scream and really hit them after 10 or 15 seconds. No more waiting for 10 minutes for my blood to boil, and risk a corronary.

I agree with Per on the food though. You have to be careful what you order in Nepal, once on trek. Some places in the large willages of Namche or Manang are pretty good. But places like Yak Kharka, or Dole, they really suck. I places like those I order boiled potatoes. I also order separate non-mustard oil. And also, sometimes I am lucky that they have limes, which they call lemons. I then make a beautiful potatoe salad, which I share with my grateful fellow tourists.

Lars
8th March 2009, 01:25 PM
Next time I will scream and really hit them after 10 or 15 seconds. No more waiting for 10 minutes for my blood to boil, and risk a corronary.
I would seriously recommend that you don't hit anyone. Indians have quite
had it with foreigners hitting them on their own turf. They are likely to turn
into a mob and then you would be in big trouble.

What I really meant to say in my previous post is that India is not for
everyone. One problem with a board like this is that we mostly know very
little of the person posting, as we would if we met face to face.
I have no idea if "Nille" is a retired American doctor or a well travelled
25 year old packpacker. One would not mind spending 100 dollars on a
hotel and the other may think that anything over 10 Euros is too much,
and would rather rough it out sleeping on the floor at a train station.

Even lately I often find that when I have come straight from home, and
look quite fresh I am being approached very differently than if I have
been on the road for some time, I am tanned and my clothes have
acquired a bit of patina.

Shouting at Indian touts just inspires them to make fun of you. It is far
better to say a polite no thank you, and maybe even explain why you
are not intrested. Most of the time it is enough to leave you alone.

And, I did not mean fat as in overweight, I meant as in "Fat Cat", ie rich.

The lying the shop touts do is not much different than the lying we are
constantly submitted to in adverising. We are just more used to it.

Lars
Koh Chang

Per
8th March 2009, 03:52 PM
I would seriously recommend that you don't hit anyone. Indians have quite
had it with foreigners hitting them on their own turf. They are likely to turn
into a mob and then you would be in big trouble.



Yes, it could get rapidly get extremely dangerous.

We do not have the hassles you report. The first rule is to ignore the hasslers and touts 100 per cent. We never talk to them, we do not even see them, never get even the slightest upset, it is a kind of well practiced rudeness to act as if they do not exist at all, and never have any problems with them.

On the other hand, occasionally, they come in handy, e.g., if you arrive after midnight in Manali from Spiti you are darn happy that there are some guys waiting for your bus to arrive to offer to take you to a reasonably priced hotel.

jules21
8th March 2009, 05:12 PM
The first rule is to ignore the hasslers and touts 100 per cent. We never talk to them, we do not even see them, never get even the slightest upset, it is a kind of well practiced rudeness to act as if they do not exist at all, and never have any problems with them.

this is not so easy. they do not wear signs saying "i'm a tout", but invariably strike up a friendly conversation which inevitably degenerates into the "you should come to my uncle's shop" routine.

while it is fairly simple to predict who is likely to be a tout, namely everyone who strikes up a conversation with you on the street, ignoring everyone who attempts to speak to you would, in my opinion, be rude.

Doppelwhipper
8th March 2009, 06:45 PM
this is not so easy. they do not wear signs saying "i'm a tout", but invariably strike up a friendly conversation which inevitably degenerates into the "you should come to my uncle's shop" routine.

while it is fairly simple to predict who is likely to be a tout, namely everyone who strikes up a conversation with you on the street, ignoring everyone who attempts to speak to you would, in my opinion, be rude.

In my experience, about 99% of the people who try to strike up a conversation with you in the street are trying to sell you something. So ignoring them all would probably be a very good idea.

Landfall38
8th March 2009, 10:14 PM
Call me crazy, but I LOVE travelling in Asia!

yakshaver
9th March 2009, 02:41 AM
Call me crazy, but I LOVE travelling in Asia!

I am not going to call you crazy (or maybe I am crazy too...). I also love to travel in Asia, and especially Nepal and India (I have been to India only twice for short periods, I want to go and spend a lot longer there).

I guess we're just whinging about minor stuff now. It may seem annoying at the time, but in the grand scheme of things we laugh about it later talking to friends. Which is ok, as far as it goes. No major drama.

marcy
9th March 2009, 05:26 AM
When I don't want to deal with touts, I generally follow the no eye-contact, no speak rule -- since saying a polite "no thank you" just encourages them to follow you and keep trying.

However, on my last trip to Rajasathan, a local taught me "chalo"... at first I wouldnt use it ... afraid it might be very rude like "F... off" or something. But I finally asked someone else what it meant and was told it means "lets go"... I guess it must have some colloquial meaning like "run along now."

I tried it, and, much to my surprise, it actually worked like a magic incantation making even the most persistant touts go away without saying anything further... including one annoyingly persistent zipper wallah at the train station.. It even seemed to sometimes work with the more persistent Thamel touts in kathmandu.

Note: In cambodia I got tired of dehumanizing tout kids by ignoring them and instead decided to play back by jokingly trying to sell them my old guide books, used film cannisters and so forth using the exact same spiels they used... and following them around as they walked away just the way the followed me it was great fun watching them just flabbergasted by a tourist turning the tables on them. But the best was when I dealt with a young girl who just wouldnt go away by trying to sell her my motorcycle driver ... I would give her special discount just for you, first sale of the morning lucky money if she only wanted to buy him for older brother... He thought it was quite the jest and jokingly told me he was disappointed I had only asked $500 for him.

Per
9th March 2009, 01:01 PM
while it is fairly simple to predict who is likely to be a tout, namely everyone who strikes up a conversation with you on the street, ignoring everyone who attempts to speak to you would, in my opinion, be rude.

Not really, touts and hasslers tend to be heavily concentrated in a few areas: e.g., Thamel, Connaught Circus, train stations and bus stations, the Boulevard in Srinagar, etc. Once you left these areas, hopefully without them having tricked you into something that will affect your whole journey, they are rare and far between.

If you go to the US or Europe you donīt expect to befriend someone that is hanging around Times Square, or lurking at some German Hauptbanhof.

India consists of millions of niches. The trick is to find the nice ones and avoid those are that annoying.

jules21
10th March 2009, 08:21 AM
Not really, touts and hasslers tend to be heavily concentrated in a few areas: e.g., Thamel, Connaught Circus, train stations and bus stations, the Boulevard in Srinagar, etc. Once you left these areas, hopefully without them having tricked you into something that will affect your whole journey, they are rare and far between.

i agree, but i was referring specifically to Delhi. Connaught Circus is utterly infested with touts, which is strange because unlike Paris or Times Square in NY, it isn't overrun with tourists. which means you get swarmed.

other areas of india, to varying degrees, were freer of touts. but in my view, you shouldn't avoid seeing the big cities, like Delhi.

jules21
10th March 2009, 08:24 AM
However, on my last trip to Rajasathan, a local taught me "chalo"...

chalo is a good one, they understand it.

Note: In cambodia I got tired of dehumanizing tout kids by ignoring them and instead decided to play back by jokingly trying to sell them my old guide books, used film cannisters and so forth using the exact same spiels they used... and following them around as they walked away just the way the followed me it was great fun watching them just flabbergasted by a tourist turning the tables on them.

i also used that tactic in India with good effect. although i suspect it was not the irony of turning the tables that served to rid me of the tout, but rather the general confusion it caused.

another one was when they ask where you are from. i said France and we had an utterly incomprehensible conversation in their stunted french and my pigeon french. they walked off in the end.

Per
10th March 2009, 01:51 PM
i agree, but i was referring specifically to Delhi. Connaught Circus is utterly infested with touts, which is strange because unlike Paris or Times Square in NY, it isn't overrun with tourists. which means you get swarmed.


— I think it is overrun with tourists, most of them are Indian though. The touts go for Indian visistors to the capital as much as they go for foreigners. We simply ignore them all together, at the same time we appear purposeful so they get the message that they would just be wasting their breath and time. Then, they leave you alone.

But sure, we had our share of hassles in Delhi too, once when we had just arrived and were going for breakfast at Nirulas, two guys accosted us offering shoepolishing as we went through a tunnel. We ignored them, but when we came up on the other side they pointed out that I had what looked like a bit of shit on my right shoe and offered to clean my shoes again. We told them to get lost, but afterwards I regretted that I did not let him clean off whatever he had put on the shoe, when he would have been done I would have refused to pay.

other areas of india, to varying degrees, were freer of touts. but in my view, you shouldn't avoid seeing the big cities, like Delhi.

Generally, they are found in places where there is a lot of coming and going, e.g., bus stations and railway stations, and a few other places where there are a lot of visitors that they can earn something from. As I wrote above, if you arrive late in a place you do not know their services can be really useful.

To say "chalo" is bad hindi, means "go", and gives a taste of unfriendly intent and rudeness, it is generally better to ignore them all together, that makes them the unfriendly part. If one is going to be cognizant of them at all it often better to say something friendly like, "e bhai (brother) I am not going to buy anything so you will just waste your time." Most of these hangarounds are rational guys, what they do essentially, is to make commision by taking people to shops or what ever. Let one of them show you to a shop and he will get at least ten percent commision on everything you buy. If you are taken to a hotel he will generally get what you pay for the first night, etc.

Suginami
10th March 2009, 05:07 PM
its a car and driver place. my driver picks me up every day and takes me around and protects me mostly. just talk gibberish to all the touts. its very hard to not let them get under your skin. I often employ a tout for a few hours to get me things and they chase off the opposition. pick them before they pick you. I love it when they call me ' my darling' it always cracks me up.

Lars
13th March 2009, 02:13 AM
Lars did you seriously like Delhi?
Not like as in going to stay in Delhi alone. But it is often a convenient entry
point when coming from from Europe.

I guess it is a bit like Washington DC. Not the most charming place, but if you
have been a few times you have found out some good places to eat or where
to hang out around dusk etc.

If a fairy would wave her magic wand over my head and transpond me to Delhi
I know exactly where I would go for some terrific Paneer Butter Masala, and
later pop in to Nirula's for some of the worlds best ice cream.

But then again I would rather be in Calcutta, or Benares.

Per
13th March 2009, 03:43 AM
Not like as in going to stay in Delhi alone. But it is often a convenient entry
point when coming from from Europe.

Yes, and it is excellent for a shopping spree.

[QUOTE]I guess it is a bit like Washington DC. Not the most charming place, but if you
have been a few times you have found out some good places to eat or where
to hang out around dusk etc.

We had a lot of fun, hanging out at Madams Organ.

But then again I would rather be in Calcutta, or Benares.

I enjoyed Calcutta, but i never managed to appreciate Benares, it is place people go to to die, been through three times, always found it hot, crowded, noisy, and overwhelming. In fact I do my best to avoid the town.

Lars
14th March 2009, 12:26 AM
I never managed to appreciate Benares, it is place people go to to die
Benares is not only about dying. Right there among the burning bodies there
are also marriages, and kids playing cricket and flying kites, there is laughter
and smiles. It is India after all!

Since some ten years or so there is a ceremony at the Dasaswamedh Ghat
every evening around sunset. They have some platforms down on the Ghat
where five Hindu priests perform ceremonies with incense sticks and oil lamps
while Bajans are played in a nearby temple. Lots of Indians come there and
sing along. Kids sell little "boats" made from leaves and filled with colored rice
and and a candle. I bought a couple and set them drifting down the river.

I must admit I don't really know exactly what the ceremonies are for. But
when I asked a German guy at my guest house if he did not want to come
and see it, he said that he "was not a hindu", and that it did not seem right
to go there and "celebrate some Hindu god". I asked him if he ever felt
happy to be alive and to experience all the things he had seen while
traveling.
He said he was indeed very happy to be alive, so I suggested he should come
with me and bow down to the river and say a silent thank you to whatever
it was that had taken him this far, no need to name names.
He came along and said afterwards that he was very pleased that he had.

http://w1.844.telia.com/~u84406120/images/benares.jpg

I like rivers.

Per
14th March 2009, 03:01 PM
I must admit I don't really know exactly what the ceremonies are for.

I think it is known as Ganga-aarti.

I did not mean to condemn Benares. I have met a lot of people that has enjoyed it tremendously, they stayed at houseboats etc. The thing is that every time I have been there, it has been hot, it has been in August, May and October. I did not hate the place, but I cannot say that I enjoyed it. It would certainly be better in winter when it is cooler.

As for Hindu pilgrimage spots there is a whole bunch that I enjoy much more than Benares: e.g., Amarnath, Badrinath, Rishikesh, Puri, Rameshwaram. The ones I have liked least have been Benares and Kanyakomari. The major pilgrimage city I have enjoyed most is Madurai.

Some photos from Amarnath here http://www.lowdin.nu/Treks/Zanskar85/Warwan.html

Andrew
12th April 2009, 12:30 AM
Got another Delhi question:

we will be there for 3 days the end of May before our Kailash trek. I read on several websites including cdc.gov that Malaria prophylaxe is recommended even for Delhi. What do you guys think?

Per
12th April 2009, 01:46 PM
I read on several websites including cdc.gov that Malaria prophylaxe is recommended even for Delhi. What do you guys think?

If you are really scrounging it, spending your nights on the pavement next to pools of standing water it makes some sense, though from what I understand dengue (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dengue_fever) should be a larger concern. If you are not going to sleep in the streets, but indoors in a reasonable hotel with fan or AC forget about it.

zemmo
12th February 2010, 07:58 PM
There is a hotel on the airport itself next to domestic terminal.
There are few hotels on the main road from Delhi to airport about 10 minutes by taxi from the airport. The price should be about 50usd minimum. But the area doas not offer much beside a night in a bed. I dont use either of them but should not be difficult to find out about it browsing.
It might me worth going further to the city (approx.45 minutes by taxi). but it depends on how much time you have. Coming out of the airport takes more than an hour, another 45 min. drive to the city. You have to be back 1,5h before the flight which including the drive will take 2 more hours. Also mind that there can be considerable difference if you drive in/out of Delhi in the middle of the night (30minutes) or during traffic congestion.
Also there is not much fun in Delhi after 11pm beside going to fancy&pricy hotels for drink.
Common areas to stay in Delhi are Main Bazar, Connaught Place or Karol Bagh. Main Bazar is a sort of Thamel (much noisier), Connaught is the center with plenty of shops, restaurants, Karol Bagh (Channa Market) is quiet but has some good restaurants.

We have an 11 hour layover in Delhi on the way to KTM. Does anyone know anything about the in-airport hotel (rates), mentioned above, or will we be better off hanging at the airport. Where's the best place to sleep in the Delhi airport these days.

BTW, how's the air quality in Delhi now? I was last there around 1996, but I've heard it's much better now. TIA, Alan.