Although it is known as the land of color and spice, India is not a country that can be so easily defined. It is a land of chaotic charm that has drawn travelers since 5500 BC, offering a culture which is a pandemonic mix of the modern and ancient worlds.
Travelers visit India for a huge range of reasons; to experience spirituality, culture, and history; for nature, medical tourism, and exotic wildlife.
There are so many different faces of India, that forgetting what you have heard from other travelers is often key to broadening your mind and finding the experience you’ve been looking for.
From spiritual voyages, shopping sprees, new business opportunities to great gourmet experiences, each type of person has a different reason to immerse themselves in the Indian adventure.
Here are 7 types of travelers who visit India – a good guide to the types of personalities and interests the country may suit.
7 Types of Travelers Who Visit India … Is This You?
Solo Female Backpackers
Despite recent concerns on the safety of India re women travelling alone, the country has become a haven for solo female backpackers, and many intrepid women are disproving this myth.
Traveling in India as a solo female backpacker can be very safe, though it’s important to be aware of the realities that you’ll likely face unwanted attention, so will have to take extra precautions (like wearing modest Indian clothing).
Mariellen Ward, who is a Canadian solo female traveler, and has fallen in love with India, says: “The attitude you take when you travel in India will influence your experience, in my opinion. Try and have a positive and confident attitude. Be cautious, use common sense, but try and keep your fear in check.”
Read more of Mariellen’s advice on safety for solo female travelers in India in this interview on Adventurous Kate.
The Adventurous Shopper
Adventurous shoppers are in for a treat in India, and shopping for good-quality products such as colorful textiles, delicious tea or exotic-smelling perfume is an incredible experience.
For avid shoppers, you probably don’t have to pack too many of your own clothes, as there will be plenty of opportunity to buy once you arrive in the country. Wearing typical Indian clothes is not only appropriate, but also a great way to dress modestly.
You can find real bargains and good quality fabric almost anywhere in India, from a salwar kameez, loose trousers and, of course, the dupatta to match. But if you’re shopping in a market, remember never to pay the asking price.
Haggling in India may as well be declared a national sport, and vendors expect that you’ll banter with them over the price. They usually even look forward to it.
Before you shop, it’s a good idea to first research what things should cost. Read up on some haggling etiquette, and aim to get them down by about half of what they’re originally asking.
Make sure you’re not rude though – this exchange is meant to be fun!
The Wildlife Lover
Many of us dream of taking a safari at least once in our lives. And to travel through exotic landscapes and get up close and personal with majestic wildlife really is the experience of a lifetime.
Most people automatically assume they’ll head to Africa to go on safari, but India is so rich in wildlife that it might even put some African countries to shame.
It is here, in India, where snow leopards roam icy peaks, tigers are the king of the forest, and elephants trek across vast plains. From wild elephants to Asiatic lions (yes, lions), each region offers a very distinct wilderness experience, so it’s well worth researching the best park to visit based on what you’re dying to see.
Home to almost half the world’s population of wild tigers, an Indian safari is one of the best opportunities to track them in the wild. There are 39 tiger sanctuaries across India, though tiger territory is the central State of Madhya Pradesh.
The rare one-horned rhino is another big draw to India, found in Kaziranga National Park in the East; you’ve then got jackals, rhesus macaques, langur monkeys, and many species of deer and antelope, as well as an incredibly diverse range of birdlife.
It’s estimated that medical tourism in India could generate more than $9 billion dollars in the country by the end of 2020. But why?
India offers incredibly high standards of medical care, though at prices are much lower than in other, Western, countries. This also includes access to more traditional health practices such as Ayurveda.
The country is known for eye, spine and heart bypass surgeries, and while a number of patients are coming from surrounding countries that offer far less developed health care, western tourists end up saving over 75 – 90% on what the cost would be in their home country.
Other “popular treatments in India include those for fertility, orthopedic, cardiac and oncology problems and organ transplants. According to the Medical Tourism Resource Guide, a heart valve is worth about $15,000, versus $150,000 in the U.S.”
Healthcare in India has become much more accessible since the Indian government implemented visa-free travel for countries like the United States. There are many India visa types, including a specific visa you can apply for if you’re coming into the country for medical care.
Most people don’t know much about Indian cuisine beyond the quintessential curry. But the country has a wide range of regional dishes that will send your taste buds into an absolute frenzy.
A journey beyond the touristy hubs means you’ll have the opportunity to try more authentic native dishes like delicious rava fried fish with its ginger, garlic, and red chili flavor. However, visiting the different regions to discover the vast number of traditional dishes on offer is an eye-opening experience in itself.
In the south you’ll taste spices like ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric along with enjoying fresh fruit like pineapples and papaya that grow on the farm as well.
Sip on Darjeeling tea, salivate on the best Galauti Kebabs in Uttar Pradesh, get a taste of the sea with grilled shrimp in Mizoram or humor your sweet tooth with the delicacies you will find in Raipur.
If you want to go one step further, find a cooking class at every stop to actually pick up on all the inside tips that will make dishes really authentic.
Apart from being a land of multilingual and multi-ethnic communities, India has one more feather in its cap: it’s history.
India is probably the only country to boast of a rich and glorious past that spans for more than a 750 centuries. (Almost since the beginning of time!)
So it won’t come as a surprise that the country has no less than a 100 monuments in each of its 29 states. You can do the math to arrive at that total!
To visit every single monument is, of course, an impossible task. But sites like the Taj Mahal, the Sanchi Stupa, Khajuraho Temples, Ajanta and Ellora Caves, and the Konark Sun Temple are popular historic sites.
India has an incredible natural allure, and travelers who escape the chaos of the city are bound to be awestruck.
From the icy peaks of the Himalayas in the North, to the sun-kissed beaches in the South; from the dry deserts of the west to the wettest place on earth in the east, India is often rightly called the mini world.
If you’re interested in nature, make sure you don’t miss out on a visit to Ladakh. Think vast stretches of sand desert leading up to perennial lakes, forests and stunning snow-covered mountains; this is the most sparsely populated region in Kashmir, often referred to as the “heaven on earth” for its unparalleled natural beauty.
And then you’ve got the Western Ghats. With the world’s longest mountain range in the North and the one of the oldest in the South, this region is a heaven for mountaineers all over the planet.
Find your own reason to visit this wonderful country and create the ideal itinerary for a journey that you will never forget. Any other type of travel personalities you think India suits?
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