Travel talks over a Chai in Delhi (part 2)

Planning a trip to India might feel overwhelming, especially if it is your first time! So, I absolutely wanted to gather some questions you might have before travelling and what better than a local to answer them!

So let me introduce you to Tuhina – this young lady was born and raised in Delhi, however, she is also a passionate traveller! She studied in Switzerland and started her career in UAE which is actually where we met and worked together. Since then, our friendship never ended and the last time I visited India, she was the sweetest travel companion I could ever have and made my visit to Delhi so special! She knows very well the city and all the iconic places to experience in the capital!

So, it is simply over a Chai that we had a travel talk – I asked her if she could share some tips for those discovering Delhi for the first time – and here are her answers!

When is the best time of the year to visit Delhi?

Winter, is the best time to visit Delhi which starts in November and lasts until March. The weather is pleasant which means you can visit all the amazing outdoor markets and restaurants Delhi has to offer! The worst time to visit the capital is from May to July as summer is on its peak and the temperature goes up to 50°C! 

Do I need a visa? 

Yes, you need to get a Visa before heading to India! The e-tourist visa is very easy to get – you simply need to apply and pay the fees online, and you should get an answer within 48 hours! If the result is “granted” on your Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA), then congratulations, you are entitled to stay in India for 30 days! You will need to print and present your Electronic Travel Authorization while checking-in at the airport and your passport will be stamped by an officer on arrival in India!

Does Delhi is safe for a solo woman traveller?

Yes! I am a woman myself and I can assure you that Delhi is completely safe! You should just follow the basic rules of travel, like any other city in the world.

  • Avoid travelling very late at night, if you absolutely have to, try to take a cab.
  • Always ensure the directions you’re given with google maps.
  • If any person gives you shady vibe, don’t engage in a conversation with them.

If you still have apprehensions in your mind, make all your bookings in advance which would make sure you don’t have to resort to cheaper options at the last minute. Also, try to book only 4 to 5 star hotels to ensure quality and seriousness of the place. Same goes for trains, you can book executive class for a smooth experience. Doing some of these things might help in being mentally satisfied and stress-free during your travels.

What is the best way to move around in Delhi?

The best way to travel around in the capital is through private cabs or taxis! Apps called Ola and Uber are very affordable and safe. I also recommend you to take an auto-ride (also known as auto-rickshaw) through one of the above-mentioned apps while in the city – it is an experience in itself! You will spot them easily in the city as they are all yellow and green!

To run these mobile apps, you need a sim card with an Internet connection. You can buy an Airtel sim card easily from the airport on arrival. Alternatively, you can buy a sim card from any of the operators such as Jio, Idea or Airtel around the city.

What I should wear while visiting the capital?

Delhi is an multicultural city so you will see people wearing all kinds of clothes around. You can choose to wear whatever you feel comfortable in, however, if you are visiting temples, memorials or mosques I recommend you to wear modest clothes which cover your knees and don’t have plunging necklines. Ladies should carry a scarf to cover their head while visiting temples.

Where could I get a henna tattoo for my hands?

Such a great idea! In Delhi, we also name it Mehndi, and I often do them on my hands for special occasions as it brings good luck. You can actually get a beautiful one outside Hanuman Temple, in Connaught Place. 

Please teach me some words I could use during my trip?  

English is a widely spoken language around Delhi, communication won’t be a problem at all. However, some useful words/phrases in Hindi are:

  • Namaste – Hello
  • Shukriya – Thank you
  • Haan – Yes
  • Nahi – No
  • Theek hai – OK
  • Aap kaise hain? – How are you?
  • Ye kitne ka hai? – How much is this for?
  • “Metro station” kahan hai? -Which way is the metro station? (you can replace “metro station” with any word)

Where could I shop for traditional Indian clothes?

Traditional Indian clothes are very detailed and handcrafted. You can spot a spectrum of embroidery, prints and colours. Any area you visit, you will find an Indian clothes shop there.

To name a few, you can visit:

  • Chandni Chowk
  • Karol Bagh
  • Khan Market
  • One of the popular malls in Vasant Kunj

Where could I shop souvenirs? 

You definitely need to get a souvenir from Delhi before heading to another part of India! Located in Connaught Place, Janpath Market is one of the most famous markets for tourists as the whole street is filled with souvenir shops selling beautiful handmade products made in India.  

Otherwise, Dilli Haat is also a beautiful market located in Kidwai Nagar. The ambience is like a rural market – you can see a synthesis of handicrafts, clothes, food and cultural activities from all the 28 states of India. Be ready to use your talent of negociation!

For the food lovers, what are the best places you would recommend to eat in town?

This is the hardest question you can ask a foodie! Delhi’s soul is food – there are just way too many food options to choose from!

You’ll see a lot of food from the northern part of India in Delhi, some of the specialities are Butter Chicken, Rogan Josh, Naan, Stuffed Paranthas, Biryani, Chole Bhature and kababs. You can taste our famous chaat (a kind of street food) which consists of gol gappe, sev puri, kulfi etc. from the street vendors around India Gate. 

  • For a luxurious experience, you can dine at the Indian Accent or Bukhara
  • With a medium budget, you can dine at the iconic Moti Mahal – the birthplace of butter chicken located in Daryaganj or Gulati at Pandara Road market.
  • The budget-friendly travellers can visit the popular Khan Chacha at Khan Market or savour kababs at Rajinder Da Dhaba, Safdarjung.

I have only mentioned the Indian food restaurants but Delhi has every cuisine from around the world which stands authentic to its roots so if you miss your town, you’ll definitely find a piece of home here!

Delhi has a massive young population so nightlife is also huge here! Places such as Dear Donna, Public Affair, The Hong Kong Club, Dragonfly and Playboy are popular among the young locals.

Any hotel recommendation to stay in Delhi?

I would advise you to stay at a 4-star Hotel minimum as the area would automatically be safer. Also, travelling around the city would become much more convenient.

Some of my recommendations are:

Additionally, the area around the airport called Aerocity is gorgeous and has around 20 hotels to choose from.

Thank you for reading us today, I hope it gave you some insights for your next adventure in India! Now, you can also download for free my selection of the best travel apps to plan your trip!