I love traveling seeing new places. So I was sitting and thinking like I always do and suddenly drifted… now that I’m planning to go to Thailand, what suggestions I would give to someone who is traveling to India. And then I thought why is it unsafe to backpack in India. Like Europe, India has various beautiful places to go to. Here is what I think we can do –
– We’ve already made it easier to book train tickets, we need to make them a little more hygienic and less crowded. I have some thoughts on how to achieve this. A check at every major junction to clean the toilets. May be just promoting the AC 3 tier coaches for tourist and keeping the cleanliness higher in them. The advantage there is that the AC 3 tiers already have the basic facilities like beddings which are not bad and a service person which shows Indian hospitality. They are not as crowded as the sleepers so the only effort is in the promotion of AC 3 tiers among tourists.
– A cleaner waiting room would be an add on as that would make it comfortable for backpackers to wait while interacting with other backpackers. The current state of waiting room is not hygenic at most of the cities making it very difficult to wait for trains. Cleaner places attract more tourist and with more backpackers, they would feel safer than with all local non English speaking crowd.
– Providing Maps and tourist information fliers at major junctions. Most of the fliers already exist but we end up selling maps instead of providing them for free. Giving them for free will make it comfortable for them to visit more places which would mean a longer stay and better revenue. An add on here would be a hiring a guide to provide tourists with information
– Another little difficult but a very good thing to do for tourist safety would be to come up with a very reliable recommendation system for hotels and inns. This can be provided by the Tourist Information centers. There would need to be very high standards to recommend these hotels and these hotels will need to own up the safety of the tourists.
I’m sure we already have these Tourist Information centers, we need to take them out of the 5 star hotels. We need to make them work like they are supposed to and pull up the standards.
With more and more expats moving to big cities in India, we need to go international. Also, backpacking in India needs to be made as comfortable as it is in a country like Thailand. We have the entire variety of cultures and place – mountains, deserts and beaches. I see safety as the biggest detterent which is offset by connectivity.
Trains would be the way to go, like it is in Europe. It provides good connectivity across India. It also gives a better glimpse of cultures than what air travel to big cities would.