17 Things That Make You Realise Travelling India Is NOT The Same As South East Asia

It’s almost like crossing a different part of the world. Well, technically it is. India is not SE Asia, but is only 3 hours away from capitals in Myanmar and Thailand. I had travelled 7 months of SE Asia before I got to India. I had decided 4 months into my trip I was going, and wanted some time to prepare.


These are 17 differences in India compared to SE Asia. To help people who have travelled South East Asia, India is a whole different ball game.

  1. The size of India is huge. You think Bangkok to the islands is bad at 12 hours of bus and boat? Try Mumbai to Rajastan. It seems a similar distance on the map, but its near enough 2 days to get there. Best thing to do is stop off inbetween. Travel takes time.
  2. The trains are not as luxurious as in SE Asia. The train beds are just plastic mattresses. This creates the beauty of it really but its fairly rough to what you can find in SE Asia.
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  4. The food is more volatile in India. Street food especially, you need to be careful. Hygiene rules aren’t as up to date in SE Asia and they aren’t alot really.
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  6. Apart from Goa, theres no Koh Phangan or Sihonoukvilles. Goa has a matured sense to it, more trance lovers, more alternative and less glowsticks and trashy beaches. If you go to India, you are going for India.
  7. Its cheaper than SE Asia. When I visited it was 83 Rupee to the sterling pound, I believe its 100 to the pound now.
  8. Everyone local stares at you in India. Its a bigger place, less groups of travellers together, bound to be more singled out. Keep your head down is best way.
  9. The drivers just seem a little bit more carefree. Which is worrying. I got off a nightbus before as I was that bothered by a drivers driving and his lack of carelessness. We were all over the road. Fingers crossed all the time.
  10. More locals want a picture with you. .
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  12. India is India, it hasn’t been overrun by western traits. Even Delhi, its everything India. From transport, to shop designs, to clothing, to alleyways, to pottery, to advertisement boards, everything is just a pure wonder. My Album on India, every picture was so interesting with colour and its distinctiveness.
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  14. Poverty is more rife in India. Its more harder on the eyes to see vast amounts of people just looking to survive
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  16. The local women are alot more reserved than in SE Asia. They will be curious but there won’t be alot of advances to you
  17. Beach towns aren’t really destined for tourist. They are hard to come by but even if you did reach one, it isn’t going to be Railay Beach for example.
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  19. The heat in India seems way more intense. Especially from the centre to the North, beats anything in Asia where I’ve been.
  20. Meat in the North West of India is prohibited, so you’ll have to stick to cheese momo’s or stuffed tomato curry. Vegetarians are spoilt for choice.
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  22. Party hostels don’t really exist. You’ll find yourself in more Guesthouses and hotels than anything else.
  23. Haggling is alot more common in India. From market food to tour trips to accommodation prices, always be prepared to have your negotiation face on.
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  25. India is more accomodatin to locals rather than tourists. Thats why its amazing, its a different world From street designs to available foods to the shape of everyday objects, it is Indian and they keep to their traditions and orginiality of their culture.
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