India Survival Guide (Quick-Start Safety Guide)

Introduction to Travelling Safely in India

Incredible India. That’s the best way I’ve found to describe this great country. Around every street corner is a sight that blows your senses and leaves you in disbelief.

Scroll down to the table of contents to start.

The PDF version is available here.

Yup, this is India! Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

You’re sitting in Subway and outside an elephant walks past on the road (Jaipur, Rajasthan). You stumble upon a quiet old relic from the past that rivals The Taj Mahal in size and beauty (Safdarjung’s Tomb, New Delhi, Delhi).

Or you decide to visit a strange place called The Rock Garden with no expectations and come out amazed at one man’s passion for building a massive jungle made of rock and water (Chandigarh, Punjab).

Every day you’ll discover something incredible in India. That’s what makes this country so magic and enjoyable to travel.

The second best way I’ve found to describe India is ‘organised chaos.’ When tourists compare India to Western countries, this is usually their first impression upon arriving outside the bustling Mumbai or New Delhi airports. The number of people and the number of pushy touts trying to convince you that you don’t know what you’re doing and that you need to get in their taxi immediately disorients you. How can you tell who to trust? It’s a shock to the system.

Amongst that chaos, tourists encounter some problems that affect their trip: scams, pollution, hygiene, and safety. But the good news is that this chaos can be learned, and therefore, it becomes organised chaos or just normal life in India.

I was lucky when I first arrived in India in 2013. I had an excellent Indian friend who met me at the airport and taught me the ropes to survive. Since then, I’ve travelled to every state in India! Plus, India before partition, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Karl Rock on Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep, India
Me on the stunning Minicoy Island, Lakshadweep, India.

Now, I’m your new best friend. My name is Karl. I’m originally from Auckland, New Zealand, but now I live in New Delhi, India, with my Wife, Manisha Malik, and my parents-in-law, Prem & Sunita Malik.

This is me loving every second on India’s Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
Meet my wife and learn about vitiligo.

I will prepare you to handle the problems that will arise during your trip. I will help you save money, avoid scams, stay safe, and avoid getting sick.

Let’s get you ready to explore and experience incredible India!

India Survival Guide Table of Contents

Karl Rock's India Survival Guide (Quick-Start Safety Guide) Cover
India Survival Guide (Quick-Start Safety Guide) Cover
  1. Introduction
  2. Travel Essentials: Before You Travel to India
  3. Arriving in India: Getting to Your Hotel & Airport Amenities
  4. Tourist Scams to Avoid in India
  5. Avoiding Fake Money & Ripped Notes in India
  6. Avoiding Bad Accommodation
  7. How to Bargain, Get Refunds, and How Much Rickshaws Cost
  8. Avoiding Counterfeit Souvenirs in India
  9. How to Be Street Smart in India
  10. Buses and Trains in India Explained
  11. Food and Drink Safety for Travellers
  12. What to Do If You Get Sick in India
  13. How to Deal with Air Pollution in India

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54 replies on “India Survival Guide (Quick-Start Safety Guide)”

You are a god, Karl! THANK YOU! India is such a beautiful country, and Indian people are absolutely the nicest people in the world. But for foreigners, it can be so bewildering. That’s such a shame. India should be paying you as an ambassador!

Karl Rock, I have a dream to become a vlogger one day and record it with you. I’m right now 15 years old, love to take a vlogging video with your in India some day.

By. Arthur

Appreciate your YouTube posts and it brought me here.
Recommending your posts to other people. Useful also for Indian people!
Be safe and continue your excellent work. I am now Canadian (and Indian), born Indian, currently in India.

Thank you soo much Karl! your videos and this travel guide are second to none! I Truly Appreciate all you do. Best wishes to you and your Family!

Hey Karl, I’ve just watched your videos for a month and I’m now addicted to your videos. It was fun and helpful. I hope you can get back to India as soon as possible. Salam dari Indonesia!

Your book /guide should be part of the visa to India. It will help so many people with what to expect, when you get to India.

Hey Karl we are thinking about visiting India in March. Which hotels would you recommend in Delhi?
Greetings from Germany

Hi. Thank you so much for the video and article. I checked your video and land me here. More peoples should watch this.

Hey Karl i been watching your content for about a year now from USA And I think its about time to buy the guide Where Can I Buy?

Hello Karl I’ve just watched some of your videos and they are great full of great advice thank you mate take care Derrick from England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 👍🏼

Mate, you are a legend, I love your Videos and I hope this book will help me out next month in India!

-Greetings from Germany

Hey Karl, just found your channel and love it. Can you please tell me what camera you are using that people don’t even realize what it is . I’m quite small and am looking for something easy for me to manage. Thanks Bethann

Thank you so much Karl for you videos, I’m watching them all as I will be in India soon for a yogic travel but now I’m little be scared especially for the days in Delhi, do you have any hotel to recommend ? I’ve just seen from your videos which area avoid and to try to stay to South Delhi. Thank you Namaste

Hi Silvia. That sounds like a lot of fun. You’re going to enjoy it. I haven’t found any standout hotels that I would recommend. I do quite like hostels like Zostel though. They do private rooms too. Or you could always look at Airbnb and stay with a local family, which has many advantages – especially if you’re travelling alone. Else, just check reviews on as they’re all real reviews and not fake. Enjoy your trip.

i’m traveling to india next year for few weeks and i really want to buy it, there is e-book version available ?, btw i love your channel (:

hello Karl, Absolutely brilliant! I will be traveling thru India at the end of the year, this guide and your blogs have been so helpful. Just wondering if there is a way to download the book, to keep handy whilst traveling?
Thanks so much Sam

Hi Karl! Thank you for the great info about India. I found you from your youtube channel. Btw, I am going to Tamil Nadu soon, 6th Dec 2022. I will enter India at Chennai International Airport. May I know, where is the best place to change my money to rupee?Is’t in the airport or is they any money changer that u can recommend to me?

Hey Faizal! Thank you. Sorry, I don’t know about money changers. Just check the rate online and check the rates of 2 or 3 money lenders. Usually, there’s 1 at the airport, but I don’t know about Chennai. Enjoy your trip.

Hello Mr. Faisal, my experience in India is the best place to exchange foreign currency into Rupees is the exchange booth at the airport, which you arrive, so Chennai Airport will the best place to exchange foreign currency into Rupees.
Have a nice safe trip.

Il pourrait changer son argent dans son propre pays avant de partir, je suis que ce serait plus sécuritaire. Il faut aller dans une AGENCE DE CHANGE pas chez des “prêteurs” qui sont des escrocs avec très fort taux d’intérêt.
Merci beaucoup pour vos très bonnes vidéos. Et je vais maintenant lire votre “GUIDE DE SURVIE EN INDES”.

Oui, on peut changer de l’argent dans votre propre pays, une fois que tous les bureaux de change à New York. nous n’avons plus de roupies indiennes, un ami indien m’a dit d’échanger de l’argent à l’aéroport de New Delhi, quand j’arrive en Inde, alors je l’ai fait et j’ai obtenu un TAUX BIEN MEILLEUR QU’À NYC.

I’m a class 10th student. Sir this is a great thing. I’m thankful to you that you made it. It will help a lot of tourist. Although I’m Indian but I know what is happening. One thing I know foringers are the major victim of scams but such things are also happening with Indians. Thank You Sir 🩵.
आइए ना हमरा बिहार में।
– Your Subscriber From Bihar

Hey bud! By FAR the most useful collection of advice and wise words when considering travelling to India. I’m retiring this year and will be travelling around India for a few months. I’m confident that your India Survival Guide will prove to be an invaluable life tool. Thanks Karl! 👍

Hello Karl
My name is John Stefan. I am from London But I Live in Peterborough. But anyway I must admit I am very much pleased with your survival Guide. It is very well written. I have seen your videos and I am a big fan of yours. Just a suggestion from me would be to add to this guide something about the temples in India too.

kind regards John Stefan

Hello John Stefan
Go for it, India is the most exotic country, I’ve ever seen.
I can’t hardly wait to go back.
You’ll love it.
Have a safe trip.
Brian Oliver.

someday i hope to take my boyfriend here! and it’s good to have a guide and it being from a reputable source for free, thank you, you’ve changed how i used to view india in many ways

Hey, I want to say I really appreciate how accessible you make all of this information, its incredible. I’m Indian myself but I’ve lived in the western world basically my entire life; I’m planning on visiting Gujarat for several months on a work placement this summer and your content is helping me so much I have learned a lot. I don’t know how put it into words. Thank you!!

Thank you for the reply !
Is there a possibility of it become a pdf ?

(btw you might see one more of my comments of this , you can ignore it as I have sent the question accidentally again – just thought to let you know)

Hey Karl!! Just got your video recommended to me by Youtube. Its was indeed hilarious and informative, even for me.. Would you be able to make similar content from my state of Odisha.. it is a beautiful state pretty much unexplored and your visit would put it on the map. Peace! Jay

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