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Travel tips

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Melbourne, Australia
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Travel tips


I have heard that Varanasi is quite dirty with animal poop ling the streets and can be quite smelly.

I was hoping to get some feedback on people that have been there before on what shoes are best to wear and if i should bring a face mask.


Cologne, Germany
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1. Re: Travel tips

Varanasi is like the most cities in India. Easy to walk around with flip-flops, just mind your step.

Fresh air is no available in the bigger Indian cities, but traffic smog is not too bad in Varanasi, in the old town there is less traffic. If you have problems with smoke an the smell of burning bodies stay away from the burning ghats. A face mask is only worn by Japanese tourists I thought, looks ridiculous.

Edited: 15 February 2013, 07:47
Muelheim an der...
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2. Re: Travel tips

I agree with pzinken. Varanasi is dirty, but also very beautiful. In my opinion, Agra was worse regarding smog.

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3. Re: Travel tips

It's the sights and smells of Varanasi that make it unique, yes it is very dirty but not any more so than other places in India, cows don't only roam around freely in Varanasi, they're all over India.

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4. Re: Travel tips

Just back from Varanasi and it is indeed one of the dirtiest but most amazing (Indian) places i have ever been to. It's not just the cow's, that's the least bothersome, there is such a lot of rubbish everywhere and it doesn't seem to get cleared away ever.

BUT, it's nothing you can't deal with and right now the smells were not too bad as the temperatures are still low.

I wore closed shoes (Converse), maybe it's best to wear shoes you can wash or throw away afterwards.

I would not have missed Varanasi for anything, dirt and all.

P.S. i was more apprehensive about eating as i read that Varanasi was famous for getting food poisoning. We ate at basic places and never encountered any stomach problems.

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Travel tips

Bring a flashlight lol!! Be it a traditional one or built into your smartphone (like I had). Not only will it help you to navigate the minefield of poop when the light is poor, but will also help you when the power goes out at night.

By the grace of god, I was able avoid stepping in poop during my 3-day stay haha.

Wear close-toe shoes or boots. Short rain boots/wellies are a good choice for easy clean-up. Slip on/off easily for temple visits too.

Wear a scarf to protect your hair/face if you plan to take an auto-rick to Sarnath or BHU...actually wear a scarf for any rickshaw ride in India. Dust is crazy.

Maybe I'm weird, but I didn't find Varanasi to be overly smelly...except the passageway that takes you past one of the public urinals. That was puke worthy. Many businesses burn incense to keep the flies away - so that may have helped.

I ate at a few street stalls without any problems. Upon the advice of my walking tour guide -> as long as it is boiled (tea or snacks), you should be aok. Just select snacks that are "right off of the grill" (not the ones that have been sitting out). Also, keep it veg if you can!

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Travel tips

Thanks Garnet_stone.. very helpful :)

7. Re: Travel tips

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