Top 10 DELHI Do’s & Don’ts : A First-timer’s Guide

by Benjamin Lewis

All travellers know that there are a few cardinal rules that you must follow whenever you visit a new country.  Some involve personal safety, others have to do with health, and still others relate to cultural norms.  And, if you find yourself planning an exciting Delhi sightseeing vacation, then you’ve probably already done a bit of research on the topic.  But, it’s good to reinforce the following Delhi Do’s & Don’ts because the chaos on the ground can easily cause you to forget everything and lose your bearings:


Do Avoid the Street Food

Avoiding the Delhi street food represents one of the most difficult DELHI Do’s & Don’ts to follow.  As you walk around the city, the enticing aromas of samosas, puri, omelettes, and other tasty dishes will suck you in.  But, if you’re enjoying a relatively short stay in Delhi and don’t plan on fully acclimating to the various bugs you can catch, then just stay away.

delhi do's & don'ts-first-timer's-guide-city

delhi do's & don'ts-first-timer's-guide-city


Don’t Drink Unfiltered Tap Water

Sometimes it’s safe and sometimes it’s not.  And, that goes for unfiltered drinking water throughout the Indian subcontinent.  Exercising caution when choosing which water to drink serves as one of the perennial Delhi Do’s & Don’ts for a reason.  Avoid the worst stomach cramps of your life by only drinking bottled water.  And, check to make sure said bottled water remains factory sealed before you open it.

Do Wear a Facemask in September and October

Delhi receives plenty of attention for its considerable smog.  And, some Delhi locals wear facemasks year-round.  Depending on your level of sensitivity and the time of year, a facemask may or may not suit your particular needs.  But, in September and October, when the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana burn upwards of 35 million tons of crop waste, do yourself a favour and buy a mask.

delhi do's & don'ts-first-timer's-guide-city

delhi do's & don'ts-first-timer's-guide-city

Don’t Walk Alone Late at Night

Honestly, this is a “don’t” for just about everywhere in the world nowadays.  But, walking alone late at night in Delhi brings some increased danger, especially for females.  So, if you find yourself out on the streets during the wee hours of the morning, just take a reputable taxi to wherever you plan to go.  It’s a good way to mitigate the chances of running into trouble during your Delhi trip.

Do Dress Conservatively

If you’re not ethnically Indian, you will get stared at quite a lot during your Delhi sightseeing tour.  And, how you should respond sort of depends on the situation.  But, regardless, you can avoid a lot of unwanted attention by dressing conservatively while checking out the top Delhi attractions.  If you show too much skin and respond in any way to a catcall, that’s seen as consent to further conversation by locals.

delhi do's & don'ts-first-timer's-guide-city-dress-conservatively

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Don’t Take the Metro during Rush Hour

All of the world’s big cities suffer from the crush of rush hour traffic.  But, in Delhi, the crush is literal.  On the metro system, there’s only so many trains running and far too many commuters trying to get on and off in a hurry.  This often results in a stampede of hundreds of impatient, elbowing locals fighting for a spot on the train.  If that sounds less than ideal, then sit at a café for a couple of hours before traveling.

Do Haggle for the Best Price on Everything

Although many of the merchants in Delhi would like to have you think otherwise, the prices for all goods and services are negotiable.  All over India, you’ll see a Maximum Retail Price (MRP) printed on most packaged goods.  And, while most foreigners happily pay this price, you can bet that the local customers do not.  Simply put, you should ask for a discount and flash a smile when buying anything.

delhi do's & don'ts-first-timer's-guide-city-haggling

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Don’t Convert Rupees to Dollars in your Head

The best way to get ripped off and pay more than you should on an item is to convert the stated price from rupees into your home currency.  You might purchase something and feel like you got a great deal because it only cost you 50% of what you would have paid back home.  That is, until you later find out that you just paid five times what locals pay.  Learn to think in rupees!


Hi there!  Got the inside scoop on important Delhi Do’s & Don’ts ?  Let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the list during our next update!

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1 comment

TaxGoal January 10, 2021 - 9:37 am

Such an informative post you shared with us.


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