From the old city to the new, Delhi has every classic Indian feature you’d imagine. Lose yourself amongst the intricate buildings, spices stalls and teashops, experience history you’ve never heard of, and discover authentic Indian culture. There are endless things to do in Delhi.
Delhi is one of the most exciting and overwhelming cities to kick start your India trip. Follow our step-by-step guide to what to do when you land, and you’ll feel all the more relaxed and ready to explore.
1. Get to the street food market
Spicy, tangy, and with a little bit of bite – the essential features of most Indian dishes. It’s time to find some of the best street food around, kind to a backpacker budget and a hungry stomach.
Dilli Haat is an open-air market with a whole range of stalls offering food from across the country. Pick up some West Bengali fish curry or Nagaland momos, and wash it all down with a Manipur fruit beer.
If, after such a flight, your brain just can’t handle so many decisions, or indeed anything too spicy, Paranthe Wali Gali in the Chandni Chowk area sells the best Indian fried bread for a cheap price.
2. Take a tour to get your bearings
One of the first things you should do on any trip is get your bearings. The sooner you know which way you’re going, the less time you’ll spend getting lost and searching for Wi-Fi to find yourself. There are daily tours for both the new part of the city and the old, just ask your hostel. You’ll quickly pick up the tips you need to make Delhi your own, get great recommendations from locals, and you may even make a new buddy or two along the way.
Next, make sure you hit the hay in a hostel that’s going to help you feel comfortable and meet fellow travellers. The Madpackers Hostel, Zostel, and Jugaad Hostel are all top picks with convenience in location and those all essential friendly vibes.
3. Plan out your week
Definitely a day one job, planning. That means looking at how you’ll be spending your time in Delhi and booking any necessary tickets. That can be for excursions and adventure activities like rafting in Rishikesh, safari-ing in Corbett National Park, or even zorbing in Solang Valley. It can also mean booking transport for outside the city.
Agra is about three hours away and holds one of the Wonders of the World, the famed Taj Mahal. It’s definitely worth making the journey to, as is the Kuchesar Mud Fort in Bulandshahr and the temples of Vrindavan.
4. Find the best spots for photos
You’re here, you’re in Delhi and it’s time to let the world know. That means getting a top snap at one of the most famous Delhi attractions to exercise those bragging rights.
Giving you prime pose-worthy spots are the Red Fort, a famous Mughal Palace with loads of museums inside, Humayun’s tomb, the inspiration behind the Taj Mahal, and Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. All three are beautiful on the outside, have amazing history on the inside, and are a great taster for the culture, history and art to come on your Indian adventure.
5. Get high
What better way to see a new place than to take it all in from above? You can see just how big Delhi is, enjoy the stunning views and get your bearings too. You can do all of that with a traditional glass of sunda kanji, or a little whisky (the Indian way) at Q’bar, Out of the Box, or Imperfect. All are affordable rooftop bars offering great views as well as good drink choices.
If, however, you’ve had enough of the skies for one day, keep it low and relax in the Connaught Place area. This part of New Delhi is known for its boutique shops, restaurants and bars. Quote, My Bar, and Monkey Bar are all great places for having your first Delhi drink, to sit back and take it all in.