Traveling alone in India
by Amanda/Backpacking Tips Asia
I just got back from a trip in India. It lasted for 7 weeks. I traveled alone for 3,5 weeks in total. Traveling in India is amazing, but never perfect or effortless ;-)
First I was skeptic about traveling alone (again) because of all the harassment female travelers seem to face during their travels. And traveling alone in India is not exactly the same as traveling alone as female in say, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.
It's totally different. I do not dare to say if it's a culture-thing or not.
Well, here's my report:
Did I experience any groping during those 7 weeks? - Nope! ;-)
BUT my fellow students did experience groping two times during their 2-month travel. I don't know if it's caused by their fair appearance or not, but they got harassed.
We took the metro in Delhi. And since it was our first time taking the metro we didn't know there were own compartments for ladies, so we got stuck in a compartment full of ONLY men (our fault though that we ended there).
As we approached our destination, one of my friends felt that someone was touching her thighs. The hands seemed to crawl upwards towards her sacred part... Just as we were about to step out of the metro, he grabbed her down there! She freaked out and was screaming when we got out of the metro.
Another experience: Three of my fellow students were sunbathing on Alleppey beach in Kerala. One man was standing behind them for a long time, maybe 3-4 meters from where they were laying.
Suddenly he took out his "long-man" and jerked off while they were still there! They got so shocked that they didn't know what to do. It was VERY disgusting and quite disturbing.
Another uncomfortable thing about traveling alone (it also applies when you are not traveling alone) is Indians taking photos of you - they are not even trying to hide it. They can stand there with a camera in their hands, right up in your face.
That's kind how it is - foreigners are exotic animals abroad. It's annoying, but you get used to it over time.
As a female traveler, you will also notice that India is dominated by men. Many of the Indians (male and female Indians) I talked to in Trivandrum and Alleppey said that girls should not be on the streets when it gets dark, because some locals start drinking then. Not even Indian women go alone late at night. It's rare, they said.
Well my opinion is that you CAN go out at night, but you should be careful. In touristy places like Goa, Varkala, Kovalam, Fort Kochi and Pushkar I walked alone in the streets after 8pm. NO PROBLEMS. Lots of (solo) travelers do the same.
As long as you're walking in public places, you most likely won't face any problems.
Traveled in India from: Feb 5 to March 27, 2011
Posted: April 5, 2011
Last updated: Oct 25, 2012