Delhi was the last stop on our India trip, and by this point, we were hot, exhausted, and ready to move on. It didn't help that our train arrived into town at 5:30am, at which point the hassling started.
We managed to get a fair price from the rickshaw at Sarai Rohilla station, but when we arrived at our hotel, they tried to charge us US$20 extra to check in early, despite the room being empty and us leaving early the next morning.
After finding another hotel, we checked in, showered, and hit the streets. Here are the highlights of our time in Delhi, as well as the attractions and places not worth your time.
What to See and Do
Take a stroll at Lodi Garden
Abandoned tombs, locals who don't hassle you, and the sound of 1000s of birds make Lodi Garden a must! Plus, there's no admission charge.
Indulge in non-Indian food
Mom was the only one who could still stomach curry, but Rob and I were on a mediterranean kick. Our meal at Lodi Garden Restaurant was a highlight, with a huge cheese plate, nice wine by the glass, and a delicious river trout for me. The outdoor decor was outstanding.
Relax at Sisganj Gurdwara
This Sikh temple in Old Delhi welcomes visitors and even offers a free explanatory introduction. They have live chanting and musicians throughout the day, so take a seat on the carpet and enjoy the performance.
Wander the ruins at Humayun's Tomb
See the building that inspired the Taj Mahal and learn about the Mughal empire in this complex full of elaborate tombs. Few touts and good informative signs made the heat more bearable.
Rickshaw down Rajpath
Take the subway to Central Secretariat and check out the impressive Secretariat buildings and President's House. Then pay 10INR for a rickshaw down to India Gate.
Get dizzy at Connaught Place
This circular colonnade offers shops, restaurants, and bars and lounges galore. Check out how the 1% of Indians live by strolling its circles.
Window-shop at Khan Market
With clothing and home decor boutiques galore, Khan Market offers another glimpse into Indian's moneyed set. There are some nice restaurants and cafes in the back of the market worth checking out as well.
What to Skip
Overpriced and not very interesting, this fort was the least impressive one we saw in India. Unless you're not planning on any other forts, this one's worth skipping.
A 300INR charge for a camera, 100INR to climb the minaret for lackluster views, and "attendants" who insist on tips for giving you a robe and "watching" your shoes. Not worth your time or money.
The sushi buffet at the Oberoi
We'd heard great things about the lunchtime sushi buffet at the Oberoi, but we weren't impressed with the increased price (2550INR) and the stale-looking building. The interior was nice, but it didn't surpass nice restaurants in the US, and the prices were super high (about US$15 for a sushi roll).
Old Delhi's bazaars
Worth it if you're not checking out the bazaars in other cities, but otherwise it's a hot, crowded, and dusty experience.
We stayed in the Paharganj area, which was sort of a dump. Its biggest benefit was proximity to the New Delhi Railway Station, but getting to the metro was a challenge unless you walked to R K Ashram Marg.
Hotel Le Roi was the one that refused to let us in early, although they dropped the charge by 75% when we told them we were leaving. At that point, we were too annoyed to accept.
Yatri International on Arakashan Road was where we spent the night, but they tried to rip us off the next morning by claiming the room was 500INR more than we agreed to. The AC was horribly loud and hardly worked and the towels were super dirty.
Hotel City Star stored our bags for free and even let us shower before we left. Prices are around $33-46 on hotels.com, but you can probably call and negotiate a slightly better rate. The rooms were modern and clean, and the staff was efficient and professional.
Delhi's metro was a nice change of pace from the rickety rides in rickshaws. It operates on a token system, so just walk in and buy a token to your destination. Nowhere we went cost more than 12INR.
If your destination is far from the metro stop, you can hail a rickshaw once exiting the metro. These are much less likely to rip you off or try to take you "shopping," since they're mostly there for local commuters.
Interested in seeing Humayun's Tomb and the Red Fort without paying for a plane ticket? Check out our Delhi photo tour.
You can also share your tips for backpacking in Delhi by leaving a comment!