India is everything. It’s big, filthy, crowded, frustrating, scary, bizarre, colorful, exciting, fun, friendly and the experience of a lifetime.
But it isn’t for everyone. At times it can be excruciatingly difficult to navigate and it’s all too easy to make mistakes.
Once you get the hang of it though, it could be one of the most incredible places you’ll ever visit.
As you get to know India you’ll soon experience things that could happen only here, Only in India, and here are 50 of them:
ONLY IN INDIA…
1) Do you have to watch for trucks, rickshaws, cars, busses and livestock when crossing the road.
2) Will a local in a business suit pretend to be homeless when he catches sight of you.
3) Does your hiking guide offer you a joint.
4) Can you bargain for absolutely everything; hotel, rickshaws, souvenirs, meals…
5) Will you be woken up a sleeper train to someone intentionally sitting on your feet.
6) Do beggars curse you for not giving them money.
7) Can you hitchhike for several hours in a military vehicle (with soldiers who will want your photo at the end of the journey).
Only in India is your only breakfast option a spicy one: Buttered chapati, curry, and spicy beans near Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
8) Will the monkeys attack you if you don’t surrender your food.
9) Will you see a cow and a dog feasting on the same pile of trash.
10) Will you see a butcher sitting on his bloody counter reading a newspaper.
11) Will you have to protect your street food from meandering goats.
12) Will you see a dog napping in the middle of a road full of traffic.
13) A cow might wander into a store.
14) Can you witness a turf war between cows and dogs.
15) Can you ride on top of a bus (but watch out for tree branches)!
Only in India will the monkeys attack if you don’t feed them: Udaipur, Rajasthan.
16) Will you run into travelers you met months before at a bizarre naked dance show.
17) Can you attend a religious festival and see animals get their heads chopped off.
18) Can you crash a wedding and become the guest of honor.
19) Will people plead with you to take photos of them with your camera – just to see how it looks.
20) Can you watch the guards on the Pakistani border do a funny dance as they close the crossing for the night.
21) Will you end up sunbathing next to cows.
22) Will you get covered in rainbow powders at any public festival.
23. Can you eat street food wrapped in discarded newspapers.
24) Can you go from dripping sweat in tropical desert heat to freezing cold in mountainous forests (all in one day).
Only in India can you star in a real-life Bollywood film: Bollywood film-set, Mumbai.
25) Do people sit on luggage racks on trains.
26) Will your seat mate on the train pull your headphones out of your ears to listen to your music.
27) Can you pay five times as much to enter an attraction as a local.
28) Will you find yourself swimming next to dead bodies.
29) Will you find that all your breakfast options are spicy or fried.
30) Could you spend more than 24 hours on a train.
31) Can you blatantly cut most lines just for being a woman and/or a foreigner.
32) Will you be woken up on a sleeper train by a clapping transvestite demanding money.
Only in India do religious festivals involve pink powder fights: temple festival, Udaipur, Rajasthan.
33) Can three dollars get you a night at a decent hotel.
34) Will an Indian show you a book of written recommendations from other tourists to coerce you into buying something.
35) Will you find marijuana growing like weeds by the side of the road.
36) Can you see someone carrying their day’s harvest on their head.
37) Can you catch sight of an entire family (parents, children, grandparents) all on one motorcycle.
38) Will you be told not to worry, chicken curry.
39) Can you look up at anytime to find at least one person taking a photo of you on their phone.
40) Can you have your laundry done by someone beating it against a rock in a river.
Only in India can you go from desert heat to forest freeze in one day: sand dunes in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan.
41) Can you watch an elephant get a sponge bath.
42) Can you cross a river on a canoe filled with people, one of them sitting on his motorcycle.
43) Can you rent a motorbike without a driver’s license for less than two dollars a day.
44) Will you get laughed at when you ask for a helmet.
45) Will a family ask you to hold their baby for a photo.
46) Will you get asked if you are a celebrity that doesn’t look anything like you.
47) Will you be invited to star in a Bollywood film.
48) Does a side-to-side head wobble mean yes, no and maybe.
49) Will you find someone napping on a table in their chai shop.
50) Will you find yourself climbing over sleeping employees to get to your room.
What other Only in India experiences would you add? Let me know in the comments and on Twitter at #onlyinindia.
If you liked this, you might also like: Hampi: the Most Beautiful Place on Earth.