What do foreigners hate the most about India?
I’d like to share my experience. And what I am about to tell might offend some Indians but this is what I feel.
I’m from the beautiful island of New Zealand. Me and my hubby were on a two week tour to India. The overall experience was amazing! There are some breathtaking views in Simla, Rishikesh, Manali and of course there was the serene beauty of Taj Mahal.
But there were some unpleasant experiences during the whole tour. Most of it happened in the country’s capital.
Hate is a strong word. I’m pretty sure that no country is perfect.
Now that i have written countless answers about what i love about india, here is my first answer regarding what displeases me about it. Note that, India is still my favorite country despite all the shortcomings and minor flaws. This answer depicts what i dislike in not just india, but any other country. This answer is meant to enlighten others about the situations I’ve faced in India and how you can overcome the situation or avoid it. Read it with a pinch of salt. Thank you.
Location: Just outside Delhi airport
Situation: I requested to go to Paharganj area from Delhi airport. It was around Rs.470. I handed over the Rs.500 note. The cashier was an overweight guy in his mid 40s with spectacles who took the money. He returned Rs.100 to me saying that its Rs.500 and not Rs.100. He insisted that i had given him Rs.100. I remembered clearly that i have given him Rs.500. I was fumed. I spoke clearly in English that he was trying to hoodwink me because I gave him Rs.500 and he should be returning the balance, Rs.30 to me. I made a huge deal and told the people behind me that i was being tricked. Some people stood up for me and started abusing the man in hindi. He sulked and returned the balance to me.
Location: Delhi airport
Situation: A good smaritan told me that i should avoid buying sim cards in airport. Why? Because it costs Rs.1000 which is way higher that the normal rate that you would find elsewhere. Vodafone and airtel are some simcards in India with good network.
Situation: I couldn’t specify since I’ve faced this issue during several circumstances. But i was overcharged at hotels (implying that GST isn’t included and made to pay more or double charging foreigners because we don’t know the price rate). By roadside tea vendors who charged me double for a cup of chai (tea). Some tuk tuk driver who asked me few hundred rupees extra. I made sure to google locations and calculate the average rate they should ask based on distance. If you don’t know, ask a local. They would always help.
‘This is awkward. My dear indian men, why are you staring at me?’ I asked a group of people in the metro. They smiled and shrugged it off. But they continued to stare.
Is it what i wore? I was wearing a traditional kurti with pretty little flowers embroidered on it.
Or maybe it’s because of my skin tone?
The language i speak?
My reddish ginger hair ?
All three perhaps?
It was awkward. I was more curious of what tempts indian men to stare at a white woman travelling alone during broad daylight in a crowded metro. There could be several factors. Or maybe they are more curious since I look different. I am after all, an outsider. That might intrigue them enough to stare. It was slightly uncomfortable, although it did no harm.
Location: Connaught place, Delhi.
Situation: I was standing on a queue in front of a famous south indian restaurant chain (it gets crowded at late evenings) and i was approached by a little boy no older than five selling pens. He looked dirty with tattered clothes. Pitying him, I bought one pen and offered him Rs.200. ‘Keep the change, I told him. Upon buying it, I was approached by another kid selling pen. I politely declined. The boy kept bugging me to buy the pen for more than 20 minutes. I had enough and gave him a smaller amount of Rs.100 and took another pen. Unbeknownst to me, I end up inviting myself to a huge trouble. I was approached by four more boys all demanding to buy a pen from them for Rs.100 too. They pulled my sleeve and harassed me. Panicking, I ran into the McDonalds which was a few feet away from the restaurant to hide. The boys followed me around. I left McDonalds and the boys were waiting outside to grab me again. I ended up taking a cab hurriedly and fleeing the place. I didn’t go to connaught place again after that fearing the pen selling boys.
This is hard. Very hard. I can handle situation 1–3 but food poisoning is what you have to watch out for most. Almost all Americans i know have faced this issue at least once while travelling to India. The main reason for food poising is due to contaminated water and food prepared from water which wasn't filtered.
I had several occasions of food poisoning in India. For that reason, I seldom eat out at unhygienic eateries or try out street food. It made me sad that i couldn't try out any street food in india without risking myself to food poisoning. Such a shame indeed, since indian street food are the best. I had my first pani puri in a fine dining restaurant which turned out to be good. I usually dine at clean restautant or eat at my hotel, which cuts the risk of food poisoning. And some places are more clean than roadside stalls. Which is why you should always be extra picky when eating out in india.
Pollution in metropolitan cities like Delhi and Chennai, Agra is very bad, especially if you have existing sinus problems, Delhi will aggravate it more. Speaking from personal experience.
If you are visiting in summers, wear plenty of sunscreen, carry water bottles and umbrella or hat. Skip the make up in summer, go make up free. My foundation turned cakey due to the heat, caused break out on my skin and pollution+ thick make up made my skin very dry. Ditch the make ups if you’re visiting in summers.
Its always a good idea to be cautious when you are a woman travelling to India. But fear not, you will meet plenty of kind people who goes all the way to help you out and make you feel safe in their city. Helping hands are plenty. However, do not compromise upon your safety. Stay at good hotels (not motels/ lodge). Say no when someone asks you out for a drink at late night. Avoid drinking if possible. And never roam the city late at night after 7 pm when its dark, no matter how safe you think it is.
That saying, give India a shot. You might be surprised at the outcome. Visit india and see for yourself. Perhaps, write your own story too.
Nikita Tsekhanovich, Been to 7 citites in India. Visited twice:in 2017 and 2018.
Don’t mean regular beggars on the street. Problem is regular tip beggars everywhere. Indian tip beggars dont understand that this tip should be deserved. It is not granted that if you do some job to white man, for which you had been already paid, he also owes you a tip. Just understand, you have to do your job good for that.
One Delhi cab driver, who was supposed to take me to the airport during prepaid hotel airport shuttle, was late for 30 minutes.After he finally took me to the airport, he started begging for tip. I gave him some, but he begged for more, because ‘it was night time’. It completely pissed me off (it was third such incident that day) and I told him that I am calling hotel reception. Only after that he left me alone.
One Mumbai driver didn’t know path from Colaba to my hotel in Kurla West. He was asking everybody around how to get to the place, and our way took 3 hours instead of 1. No matter, he begged for tip also. This man didnt understand it his fault he doesn’t know how to drive to the place. Why should I pay for this?
I ve noticed that some Indians think that if person is white, he obliged to him his every penny.
It happens in cheap hotels and some restaraunts. Everybody calling you ‘sir’ every second, opening doors in front of you. One guy from UK told me that he once entered public toilet and Indian guy opened toilet cabine door and put down toilet seat for him.
These kind of things makes us feel weird. People dont like being helped like they are handicapped or physically challenged. We only start to suspect you want a tip or cheating at us.
Delhi is number 1 again. People pay no respect to each other. When train stops, people outside dont wait when insiders come out. They just run into the train as whole crowd, like next train never comes. Not always, but seen that several times.
You have wonderful National Zoological Park in Delhi. Our Russian zoos are no way like yours. We have likely 30% species presented in Delhi zoo, due to cold weather and mostly all of them are in heated cells. You have wonderful oppurtunity to observe animals in big open spaces like in nature. Was very inspired seeing animals like hippos, rhinos, black swans, African elephants first time in my life. Indian Government installed security check points so that people cannot bring food and restricted items into the zoo. Somehow people take it through the gate . I saw young men throwing empty Sprite soda cans to a zoo monkey. Monkey ripped it off to get acess to some liquid, operating with its hands and tongue. It looked like it hurt itself, with sharp metallic edges of this can. These people came away just laughing at it.
Even in Indian villages people seem to have much better manners and respect to people around than in your capital.
While in Delhi, people like to visit Connaught place, right? Deadly place for foreign tourists. Every 2 minute some guy runs in front of you to start ‘random’ conversation. He says he is doing nothing, just wasting his time. After short conversation, he suggest you to come to some good shop. He will just show path and go away. Do you think we are idiots, hah? You will get your percent from our spendings in the place.
Spent 10 days in Delhi. Connaught place was annoying me more and more. Last day i came to central park to sit on the grass and have sunbath, like other Indians seeking for privacy. Minute after some guy ran in front of me, shouting loudly to visit his friend travel agency. I was not in mood and told him to leave me alone. He got angry and started yelling at me “You are in my India! I do whatever I want”. I just went away, completely lost hope to find silent corner in Delhi.
P.S. I also met kind and wonderful Indian people in India. In Mumbai, Varanasi, Rajkot, few in New Delhi. I want to come back for Gujarat Sassan Gir, one day for sure.
Anil Farmhouse hotel, Sassan Gir, Gujarat
I am not generalizing, but some things really push foreigner tourists away from visiting India, despite huge government effort to make your country more tourist friendly.
Just imagine, if foreign tourist see this stuff in your capital, what will he expect from other Indian places?
Gulam Husain, lives in Metro Manila, Philippines (2017-present)
They think we're dirty and unhygienic people!
I'm currently a medical student in philippines. People here think INDIANS as a very dirty people and roaming with lots of diseases with them.
So on my second day in philippines i was going to my hostel room. Since i live on 9th floor so i had to use elevator.
As soon as i stood near the elevator to wait for it. Other Filipino looked at me and stepped back from me. I didn't understand as i was new in this country.
One day me and my friends had to go for money exchange by bus. We went inside and found three seater place where window seat and the seat beside it was empty and the other seat was occupied by a Filipino we two friends sat there.
The moment we sat there, that guy immediately went ahead and was standing there as no seat was available and he was pointing at us and talking to one other passenger something in their language. That time also we coudn't understand what is going on
We reached our destination and we were about to aboard the bus then i saw while moving ahead 2– 3 people covered their nose either by handkerchief or by their T shirt and as soon as we came out i saw them from the transparent window of the bus ,they removed their handkerchief from nose and was laughing at us
This time we understood a little that they don't like us being around them or something
We asked our seniors then we got to know that they think we are dirty and have poor hygiene
Now this irritated me a lot!
Time for me to take revenge now whenever i come around Filipino closely i first cover my nose and get aside from them
I have two motives now
1.To complete my MBBS here
2.To change the INDIAN image in their mindset
Ivana Perkovic, Professional Travel Vlogger (2013-present)
Let me start by stating that India is the country of my dreams and I absolutely adore 99% of everything it has to offer. I also have dark hair so when wearing Indian clothes I can pass for an Indian girl. So I don’t deal with the general issues most foreigners deal with.
With that being said I’m here to answer the question and I also talked about this in my recent ‘Life in India’ update vlog. If you’d like to see me talk about that you can watch the video but here’s the typed answer:
The #1 thing that I hate in India…
The distinction Indians make amongst themselves to feel superior to other INDIANS. North feels better than South, people from a certain State will feel better than people from their neighbor State, my language is better than yours etc. I’m not even talking about the caste system, this is just general environmental factors people use to lift their ego. It’s absolutely maddening to constantly witness this competition among people who ALL share something so beautiful with each other: being Indian.
Coming from a culture that’s not even mildly competitive compared to Indian culture (I grew up in the Netherlands), it just boggles my mind why people would derive any self esteem from for instance speaking a certain language.
I’ve gotten some pretty good answers and understand that it has to do with a long history of people trying to divide and conquer by differentiating between kingdoms. But seriously I can’t even express how much I want to shout ‘WHO CARES!!!’ when I see someone displaying arrogance just because they’re from a certain State. It’s a birthplace and doesn’t make you an any better Indian than your neighbor.
The second thing I hate in India…
Ola drivers calling me to ask a drop location to determine if they want to cancel the ride or not. I’ve heard some pretty sad stories about why they do this. But it’s absolutely maddening having a conversation with someone who’s trying to speak English the best way they can, and then cancel on me when I’m in a rush. I just stopped answering the calls because I can’t handle it.
The last thing I hate in India…
Indian people asking a foreigner what they hate about India. It’s like they’re just waiting to hear something bad or offensive and then start defending their country. Indians have this crazy urge to compensate everything bad the (inter)national media says about India.
Honestly this is me being very Dutch. Dutch people usually couldn’t give two shits if you talk bad stuff about them. They wouldn’t even ask you what you hate. EVER. Simply because they just don’t care what you think.
For instance: everybody thinks Dutch people smoke weed all day everyday in Amsterdam, just because it’s legal. Obviously we don’t. A lot of people, like me, don’t even smoke at all. Whenever anybody mentions this, we just roll our eyes and dismiss the person as ignorant in our mind.
Indian people on the other hand, having a passionate soul and DNA, go batshit crazy whenever somebody mentions rape in India. They start pulling out all the statistics if they’re on the mild side or start calling the other person bad words if they’re in a really bad state of mind.
This sense of personal attack seriously reaches another level when you start asking other people about what they hate in your country. Again me being very Dutch, but I’m just like: WHY.DO.YOU.CARE? Because you want a fight? Because you feel changing my opinion will change the opinion of the world about India? Do you feel like a bad host because your guest doesn’t understand your culture and doesn’t want to adapt?
Yes international and national media talk shit about India. But let me tell you a secret: they talk shit about every country in the world because negativity sells. Yes some foreigners complain about staring, littering, poor people, corruption etc in India. Honestly unless their country is perfect, they don’t have the right to complain about any of India’s flaws. These are just rude guests and you shouldn’t give them the credits they don’t deserve.
India is an absolutely phenomenal country and has so much more good things to offer than bad things. Obviously it has it’s struggles but every single country has them. Indian should really start caring a lot less about what the rest of the world thinks of them. Trust me, you don’t need that validation.
Sagnik Majumder, lives in Kolkata, West Bengal, India
They know that wherever they go, whatever they do, there would be a scumbag scammer waiting to scam them.
One day, while watching Zee News, I came upon this -
His name is Karl Rock. He is an expat from New Zealand currently living in Delhi. He makes videos about his adventures and experiences in India and posts them on Youtube, where his channel has over 200k subscribers. On Zee News, he was talking about the various times he was scammed and he gave some tips on how to avoid these scammers. He had also mentioned about his Youtube channel, so I got curious and checked it, and man wasn't I shocked and disgusted!!
He has an entire playlist of 14 videos where he showed how people tried to scam him in various places .
I’ll just give a few screenshots from his videos of where he got scammed, just to show how serious this matter really is.
Like for example this;
where these men tried to scam him in buying railway tickets from them for way higher prices, lying that the office was a government office. He then showed where the actual Indian tourism office was and bewared all the viewers about such scams.
In the same video he then showed this,
where he was charged 10 times the price of a real pashmina.
these people tried to charge him 5 times the real price for a pre paid taxi. When he refused, they started to abuse him in Hindi.
now this one is extremely funny. The guy on the left tried to scam him by taking him to an overpriced shop. But after he realised that Karl knows about such scams, he just accepted that he has a commission there and then started requesting him to go to the shop with him. Eventually Karl bought him an ice cream and walked away XD.
these 3 men are charging him nearly 3 times the actual cost of the auto-rickshaw ride.
theres this video about scams that take place in temples, which we all know and hate.
Now I can go on and on. There are endless videos on Youtube about these people who would scam foreigners. But I hope I have cleared the fact that how filthy this scammers are and why foreigners hate this about India.
Because of people like this, India is getting a bad name. I strongly believe that it’s high time for our government to take some serious actions against this.
For anyone, if you are reading this, and have been scammed like this on your visit to India, we Indians are extremely embarrassed and sorry.
Anna Stepanova, Bibliophile | Translator | Indian in previous life
Since last month I have been using Hyderabad metro several times per week. Metro trains are still new to the city and every day I see people taking the train for the first time. So far, my experience has been the following:
Every time I come to the platform I see every head turning in my direction and looking at me for a few seconds, including the people who work at the metro and meet me every day. Often, people start giggling and pointing at me.
When people take selfies on the platform or in the train, some of them try to pose with me in the background, or they secretly take my photo.
Every day I try to get into the “ladies only” coach. Nevertheless, a couple of times every week, there would be a middle-aged gentlemen making his way to the seat next to me and trying to start a conversation with rather annoying “Which country?!”
A few days ago I was waiting for my friend at Starbucks. A guy came with his drink, put his chair right opposite to mine, looked at me for a good ten minutes, then finally asked: “Are you a student?” (because I was reading a book)
On my recent visit to Shilparamam (a souvenir market in Hyderabad), I was sitting on a bench, checking something on my phone, and I heard a few voices screaming “Russian, Russian, she is Russian!”… A big Indian family was coming towards me, shouting and making literally everyone around look at my direction.
These have been just a few incidents in last two weeks. This is my daily life in India. I love this country dearly but I hate this. I hate that too many people seem to forget when they see me that I might be busy, I might be uncomfortable talking to them, that I might be tired and wishing to be left alone. I understand that it's exciting to see a foreigner but sometimes I wish one thing to be understood as well: just because I'm a foreigner it doesn't mean that it's OK to stare and disturb me or even click my pictures without permission. It might be a nice touristy experience for some guests in the country, but for those who have been living here for years, it feels more like harassment than hospitality.
Rick Cormier, Retired Licensed Psychotherapist
I’m in love with India.
What would I like to see improved? That’s another question.
1.Young people should have a CHOICE of arranged marriage vs love marriage. I’ve listened to too many stories of couples in love having to separate because parents didn’t see an economic advantage, or they felt that a partner of the same religion but from a different state would never work out, or because they thought a non-veg partner and a veg partner would not be compatible. Etc, etc.
2.Dowries are a thing of the past! …But they have been replaced by ridiculously extravagant gifts for the couple and, often, for the parents of the groom. The underlying message is still, “We’ll pay you to take our daughter.” They just don’t call them dowries anymore.
3.I understand that competition for jobs is tough and no one wants to see their offspring selling flowers in traffic, but the expectation seems to be that all Indian young people should be doctors, engineers, IT experts, or chartered accountants. As rich as Indian culture is, a young person who wants to be an artist, musician, or writer is cause for heartache and shame in many families.
4.If an Indian husband and wife should split up, the husband can find another wife and remarry. No problem. But the woman is tainted. Even if the husband was an abusive monster, the woman is considered tainted. Indian women are better off than in many middle-eastern countries, but they still have a long, long way to go before dropping the traditional yoke of second-class citizenship.
7/9/2017 NOTE: So many Indians spoke up in total defense of arranged marriages, I modified my first comment. If it works for you, who am I to judge? My opinions are based on what I’ve learned from my close Indian friends.
Shivani Kumari, studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Vellore Institute of Technology, Vellore
THE LOCAL SHOPKEEPERS
An ordinary Samosa (a snack made out of flour and potatoes) is sold at Rs. 10 to the locals while is sold at Rs. 100 to a foreigner.
I was once travelling in a train to Varanasi, A foreign couple was also present in the same coach as mine . A boy came chanting-
“Samosa !Samosa lelo Samosa!”
“Come and buy Samosa!”
A few people were buying the Samosas he was selling. As he reached near the berth of the foreign couple, and chanted the above song, they asked him to give them 2 samosas. He replied upon being asked the price to be paid:
“Two Hundred Rupees ,Madam.”
The couple , without even a thought handed over the money to him.
The money which that boy would have made after selling 20 samosas was made just by selling two samosas.
This was fraud, he was taking advantage of the couple,being foreigners.
Although, it took less than 5 minutes for a man sitting in adjacent berth to interrupt the boy and tell the couple that they have been charged more. The boy had to return the excess money back.
But the incident would have presented the local Indian vendors, in a bad light to the tourists.
Shopkeepers take delight in fooling the tourists and earning extra money. If the tourist has little knowledge about the prices, he/she becomes an easy prey to exaggerated prices by some vendors/small shops. This hypocrisy of vendors is what tourists detest and dislike about India.
Sindhu Satish, Traveled to 34 countries. Lived in 3.
Interestingly, nothing. At least the ones from where I live. Luxembourg.
Also forget hate, whenever I mention to people that I am from India, it lights up their faces. You don’t know how happy it makes me as an Indian to see people loving India so much. Some have been there, some haven’t.
My hairstylist is from Slovakia and she has a 7 year old daughter whose dream it is to visit India. She says she has already started saving up for her trip (The Daughter) that she will undertake when she turns 16.
There is a British colleague of husband who went on a 2 week holiday to India as it had been a childhood dream, and loved every bit of her stay in Kerala and Mumbai.
There is another Korean colleague of my husband who just flew to India last night for a wedding. The other day she was home, and I gave her some of my Indian outfits to wear for the wedding alone with some jewellery, and she told me how badly she has been wanting to visit India. After all, Indian cuisine is her favorite too.
Another friend of ours is French. He is a stylist. He believes that Indian women are gorgeous and have a very elegant sense of style, and that it is his dream to style someone in India someday.
Now all these people that I am talking about of course know that there is a lot of pollution, traffic, and other problems in India. But they choose to look at the bigger picture, and soak in the beauty, the nature, and the culture that India has to offer.
As an Indian, that makes me really happy!
And as we discuss India, here are some beautiful pictures for you!
Credit: Outlook India
Credit: Travel Triangle
Credit: Summer is Calling: Flee to These 5 Gorgeous Hill Stations in Kerala! – I am Aileen
Credit: Umaid Bhavan