Top Tips for Surviving Delhi


You’ve seen it on the television or the web, or read about it in the papers.

It is noisy, smelly and completely chaotic, but in some weird way, it just works.

Here are some quick tips to make your visit to Delhi more enjoyable.

tuk tuk in DelhiNoise:

  • When you have a city of over 18.6 million people, you can’t expect it to be quiet and relaxed.
  • Invest in the best pair of ear plugs you can find! From personal experience, ear plugs made from the stiffer, denser foam cut the noise far more efficiently that the soft, squishable ones.
  • Buy a couple of sets and have a pair at the ready when you are heading out into the traffic, and another set by your bedside to muffle the regular Indian weddings energetically partying into the night and the early morning.


  • Tuk tuk and passengers
    Venturing out on our first day in Delhi

    When you have a city of around 10 567 712 registered vehicles (cars, bikes, tuk tuks) and questionable industrial and environmental practices, there is going to be a great pall of exhaust fumes.

  • Before leaving home, visit your local hardware store and purchase a couple of industrial strength, disposable face masks.
  • Yes, you may feel and look a little silly, but that is far better than breathing in all those toxins.
  • You won’t be on your own, if the locals aren’t wearing face masks, they will have a scarf or shawl dragged strategically across their face, protecting their mouth and nose.


  • A typical back street in Delhi
    A typical back street in Delhi

    Like many Asian destinations, footpaths can appear to be an optional extra.Where they do exist, they are often completely blocked by vehicles, becoming an unofficial motorbike parking lot rather than a convenience for humans.

  • Where they are unobstructed, they can be broken and uneven, littered with holes and trip hazards. That becomes a bit of a challenge if, like me, you like to star gaze about at all the sights.
  • On the last night of our tour, I wasn’t paying attention and ended up spread-eagled on the road. No damage done, except to my pride.
  • Wearing flat, or low-heeled, footwear will help manage the terrain, but nothing can replace keeping your eyes open and focussed in front of you.
  • Sometimes it is actually easier to walk on the road and dodge the traffic rather than sticking to the footpaths.
  • Whatever path you choose, take care.

Tuk tuks:

  • mixed transport
    Everyone known form of transport!

    Tuk tuks are a very cost effective and convenient way to move around Delhi.It is possible to travel long distances around the city for around R50 (or AUD$1). A tuk tuk can seat up to three people, so it is ridiculously cheap.

  • Fares are negotiable, so do not accept the first quoted price.
  • Make sure you have your face mask and ear plugs handy as the tuk tuks are open vehicles and you can spend a long time sitting and waiting in idling traffic.
  • Also beware that your driver will be VERY keen to take you to his brother’s shop, his cousin’s market, or a ‘delicious’ restaurant. Unless you have plenty of time to spare, you need to be VERY firm about where you want to go. Tuk tuk drivers receive a kick back from these random destinations and they are not necessarily the best choices or places to be.
  • In our naivety, on our first day in Delhi, our tuk tuk driver took us to a ‘delicious’ restaurant that was way overpriced and way under delicious.


  • Taxis respect women in Delhi
    Taxis respect women too.

    Delhi is blessed with an excellent rail system. For around R30 (about AUD0.70c) you can travel across the city in clean and frequent trains.

  • Female-only carriages exist in each train if you have any concerns about your safety.
  • Be conscious of your pockets and backpacks. Crowded trains are ripe pickings for opportunistic thieves.

Apologies if I have shared only the negatives here. I don’t mean to turn you off Delhi. I’d just like you to be safe and enjoy your visit to this vibrant city.

Do you have any tips to navigate large cities?


The Basics

What: We stayed at Hotel Perfect.

Where: We were based in the Karol Bagh area, Delhi, India.

When: I flew into Delhi in mid-November and out in early December.

Lady on the back of a motor bike in Delhi
Colour amongst the chaos

Why: To start and finish my 22-day North India Intrepid tour.

How: We travelled throughout Delhi on foot, by tuk tuk, taxi, public train and by Uber.

Who: Ten people in my tour – nine women and one brave man.

Related Posts: For tips and tricks on what to pack for a trip to India, have a look at my post where I highlight some of the essential items to throw into your suitcase.

Related Blogs: To a great insight into Delhi and other parts of India, check out BreatheDreamGo.

Read About it: Don’t forget your Lonely Planet Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra, available from Book Depository

#incredibleindia #delhi

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