Arriving in Delhi – Delhi Travel Guide
Arriving in Delhi for anyone is going to be a culture shock. It’s one of the busiest places on earth. You’ve got rickshaws, taxis, cows, dogs, scams… there’s a lot going on.
In this blog, I’m going to (try) to break you in a bit before you arrive … We almost got scammed at the airport the minute we landed … so we want this blog to help you out so you’re more prepared than we were.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck in.
Arriving at Delhi airport
When you get to Delhi airport the first thing you will want to do is get the quickest and easiest form of transport to your accommodation. You have 3 options.
You can get the metro (pretty good system but not really what you want after a long flight) … This is the cheapest option. If you want to do this, make sure you already have the route needed saved on your phone so you have offline access to it. The wifi at Delhi airport wasn’t connecting for either of us. We were trying for at least an hour so that we could order a Ola but it never worked, so online taxis are out of the window, as well as searching for a metro route when you’re there.
The second is getting a taxi from the airport. These are called ‘prepaid taxi’s’. You would think they are pretty safe and not ‘scamable’, but they still are. Our story is that our drivers’ friend got in the car along with the driver, I asked him to ring our homestay owner and he pretended and got someone else on the phone. I clocked on straight away, confronted him and he got out on the highway, in the middle of nowhere, and we continued without him. That full scam would have been that the man he had on the phone would have tried to make us change hotel, paying more for a taxi and more for a hotel, luckily got out of that one.
The third way, which is the most expensive, but by far the best … Get your homestay or hotel to sort you out a driver so there’s one waiting with your name on a board. I say this is the most expensive but no doubt still over half the price you would pay in your own country.
A tip when arriving in Delhi. Try not to land in the middle of the night UNLESS you have sorted out transport with your hotel… Even so, be wary. Most scams go on in the middle of the night as that’s when we are most vulnerable, especially after a day of travelling.
Side note: another well-known scam is that taxi drivers at the airport say Delhi is closed and get someone on the phone to convince you, and then they drive you to Agra… Like a 3 hour journey. Delhi is a city… What cities do you know that ‘close’? … Follow your gut.
When you get to India, whether it’s a week or a month… I strongly suggest getting a sim card. NOT FROM THE AIRPORT. India is the cheapest place in the world for data, our sim cards cost about £8.50 for the month which gives you 1.5gb data per day & calls and texts are included. Bargain. (Since writing this I have met people who got the same sim cards for 300rs – like £4 *sighs*).
If you are travelling to the Kashmir region… You’ll need to get postpaid sim cards instead of pre-paid (which are the ones we have). Postpaid will work up north however pre-paid don’t. When we went to the office in Leh to get them to change it, they refused because we are foreign. Some hotel hosts may be able to help you as you need a permanent address in India, however, I’m sure you’re able to get them as a tourist outside the Kashmir area. Otherwise, you’ll have the worst wi-fi connections to try and get you through. (If you don’t mind that for a week then stick to the ones we got, prepaid). The best companies are Airtel and Jio.
Apps you need
Download maps.me before arriving, so you have a rough idea of where your hotel is and you can make sure the taxi at the airport isn’t going a long way or different direction.
Google maps – to help with the metros
Ola – taxi app – install this before arriving so you can verify the app.
Getting around Delhi
The metro system is pretty great. Google maps tell you exactly what lines you need and what platform etc so it’s super easy and mega cheap. We spent about an hour getting to old Delhi and it cost about 50p.
The second best option is Ola use the code ‘0M9KY5U’ you’ll get $10 towards your first trips! Ola is an Indian version of Uber (Uber is also available but Ola is cheaper and more popular). You can order rickshaws on Ola which are ridiculously cheap. We travelled for an hour and it cost £2. Plus Ola is extremely trusted. Getting in a random rickshaw for an hour could set you back £8/£9 or even more if you’re not careful. Still sounds cheap but you’ll be doing a fair bit of getting around and it will soon add up. You can also order cars for slightly more, but they have aircon and are a bit comfier.
Where to stay
In Delhi, you have 2 options… New Delhi or Old Delhi. Old Delhi is pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s underdeveloped, a lot of poverty, slums etc… But is a great place to explore and to get a real Indian, cultured experience. The Spice markets there are incredible, and you can watch the cute monkeys playing.
New Delhi is probably where I would recommend staying. It’s much more developed, more options, and you can get away from the chaos for a bit. It’s also home to some great places which I’ll go on to shortly. New Delhi is a lot closer to the places you’ll want to visit, so definitely a more preferable area. It doesn’t really matter where you stay in the city, just make sure you’re near to a metro line.
These guys asked us for a selfie, so we asked them for one too! ha
If you’re looking for a place to stay, we’d definitely recommend contacting Abhi from Tripo Fans. He has a great homestay in Delhi called Chopra’s Castle. You can book with him directly, just let him know the Pair of Plodders recommended you and he’ll look after you for sure! He will go to the ends of the earth to make sure you enjoy your time in Delhi!
Things to do
In Delhi, there are a lot of things to do, here are some of the best…
Old Delhi – about an hour away on the metro. You’ll need a good 3/4 hours exploring while you’re there. Head to Chandni Chowk Station, that is literally in the center of Old Delhi.
The Red fort – located in Old Delhi.
Akshardham temple. On par with the Taj Mahal but not as popular. This temple is the most beautiful temple we have ever seen. Opens at 9:30am – no cameras allowed but they will take a photo for you when you’re in there for 50 rupees. To enter is completely free.
The Lotus temple – a beautiful temple in the shape of a lotus flower.
The India gate – a replica of the one in Paris.
The Lohdi gardens – lovely gardens with a really old temple to see.
The Humayun’s Tomb – beautiful old temple/tomb with a lot of history behind it.
Delhi Haat Market – Also known as Dilli Haat Market. There are plenty of amazing markets around Delhi, this one has been voted one of the best!
There are A LOT of things to do in Delhi. It will be hard to fit it all in but have a research and decide what you’d most like to do. The 2 that really stood out for us was Akshardham Temple and Old Delhi.
All of the places in Delhi to see are easiest getting to and from by metro or for a quicker/comfier ride, Ola.
Overall, Delhi was an experience. It was chaotic, to say the least, but great to see real India and the beautiful monuments and temples it has around the city.
If it gets a bit much, have a chilled few days, it will definitely help.
We hope this blog helps you out, please leave us a comment below if you enjoyed it!
Lozza & Sam