Is India a friendly country
Safety while traveling in India
How safe is it to travel to India?
Traveling to India is on the same level of security as traveling to other Asian countries. The FDFA (Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) does not give a general travel warning for India on the website, but recommends some precautionary measures. The Foreign Office of Germany also writes:
“The risk that foreign travelers are exposed to through violent crime is rather low in the tourist areas of India”.
If you are planning a backpacker trip with public transport and simple hotels, then you should read the travel advice carefully. If you book a trip through a well-known tour operator, then they are always well informed about the local situation and you can get advice on this topic at any time.
There are repeated reports in the media about violence against women in India
Unfortunately, violence against women is a global problem. It occurs in every country and in all social classes. In India this problem was taboo for a long time, and it has only been reported in the media in recent years. Some cases have caused a stir around the world and made headlines in the world press. This can be assessed positively, because now there is more discussion about it in India and the situation of women can improve. Indeed, much is being done in India to address violence against women. Criminals don't just get away with it, they are arrested and sentenced to long prison terms. On the other hand, these media reports put India in a completely wrong light. Without trivializing, one can say that objectively speaking, this is not a typical Indian problem. From a statistical point of view, too, there are no more attacks and rape in India than in Switzerland or other countries (number of unreported cases already included). Unfortunately, the media only report the negative news, but there is also a lot of positive news to report about women in India. There are many women in top positions in India (e.g. numerous women politicians, such as the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi). India is the largest democracy in the world; women's suffrage was introduced in India 30 years before Switzerland. In China, women's rights activists were immediately arrested in March 2015 after a protest in Beijing and face jail terms. In contrast to other countries in Asia (such as China, Vietnam, Thailand etc.), there is freedom of the press in India. For this reason, reports from India about violence against women will not be absent in the future, but the impression that traveling through India could be dangerous for women is certainly wrong.
India is a poor country. Isn't it obvious that rich tourists are being robbed?
India is not in and of itself a poor country. It is one of the richest countries in Asia and can boast great economic growth. With a population of 1.2 billion people, around 200 million Indians have a good income, also by European standards, and can afford many consumer goods, including trips to Europe and America. There are also very rich Indians who can afford a lot more than a European tourist on a trip to India. In the 5-star hotels in India you will at times find more Indians than western tourists. In India there is no aversion to western tourists, on the contrary, western visitors are very welcome in India. Crimes against tourists such as robbery or theft, break-ins, etc. are rare. We have been organizing trips to India for over 20 years now - not even one of our customers has had an unpleasant experience in India. However, in train stations and places with many people, you should be careful to keep your money and valuables in a safe place.
Is it safe to travel through India alone as a woman?
Yes - since the hippie era in the 1960s, scantily clad tourists have been traveling alone across India, even on public transport. Traveling alone through India as a woman is no more or less dangerous than traveling through another Asian country. Traveling through India is certainly a lot safer than traveling through parts of Africa and South America. As a woman, you don't have to be scared when traveling around India. Our employees travel alone in India every year and can testify to that. You are welcome to contact us at any time if you have any questions on this topic.
What precautionary measures must women take when traveling to India?
There are no specific rules for traveling to India as a woman. Regardless of whether the trip goes to Thailand, Vietnam, India or another country, a woman should always take certain precautionary measures when traveling. Common sense is important. Better hotels and resorts have many employees and security guards and are therefore safe. During the day, a woman can be alone in cities, markets, temples, on beaches etc. without any problems. At night or in remote areas, it is better to be accompanied. It is better to book airport transfers at night with the tour operator. In all of Asia, backpackers (including men) shouldn't camp wild or spend the night outside. There are areas in India off the usual routes (e.g. border regions etc.) which are considered unsafe. A trip there should be organized through a tour operator.
Are there any rules that women should dress when traveling to India?
There are no regulations on how to dress as a tourist in India, the Indians are very tolerant of tourists. You can dress however you like. In Delhi or Mumbai you can see young Indian women in western clothing shopping. Many tourists travel lightly dressed by Indian standards in India. When visiting temples and traveling to rural areas, we recommend appropriate clothing out of respect for the culture (not because it could be dangerous): long sleeves and trousers or skirts over the knees. Indian clothing is very practical and fashionable for women: Salwar Kameez (long shirt with long trousers and scarf). This can be bought off-the-shelf or made-to-measure in local markets and shopping centers.
Can you travel to India with children?
The Indians are a child-friendly people. If you travel to India as a family with your children, you are very welcome everywhere. As a family, you do not take any greater risk on a trip to India than on any other long-haul trip. The time change in India (3 ½ to 4 ½ hours) is low, so jet lag is less of a problem than when traveling to America or the Far East. Hygiene has improved a lot in India in recent years. In the restaurants and hotels, dishes without Indian spices can also be ordered. Cultural visits are also interesting for children, as there is always something going on in Indian temples. In terms of travel time, the whole year fits depending on the region. We recommend planning a family trip to India well in advance so that we can find cheap airfields. You can find special suggestions for family trips to India on our website.
Do you have any other questions about security in India?
We have known India for over 25 years. We would be happy to advise you personally. Hans Wettstein lived in India for 12 years. Our women in the Insight-Reisen team: Karin Haldimann also lived in India for many years and traveled alone through India for months. Maja Weiss also knows India as a backpacker, where she traveled alone through Kerala, Karnataka and Rajasthan as a woman. Mira Montera spent her childhood in India and has also traveled a lot alone through India. Danila Eiselt worked in Sri Lanka for half a year and made many trips through India alone. Ako Nakano also traveled to remote regions in Bihar alone as a woman as part of ethnological field studies.
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