• sleeping at indian train stations

This is India! 23

Welcome back to This is India! I always have funny/weird stories about India to share with friends or family when I talk to them. This is just meant to be an honest portrayal about my life in India through short anecdotes. I also share here what I’ve been up to online outside Werkenntwen.

What I was up to other than here:

  • I have been traveling with little to no internet this week, the last loop of the goMowgli tour- can’t wait to share all my Karnataka information with you. I will be back in Goa relaxing (and catching up on work) later today!
  • I have a question for you guys: My parents are coming to India for the first time about Christmas and before they fly down to Goa, they have the day in Bombay, about 10 hours. I’m going to go meet them there. Other than wandering Colaba, Taj for tea, riding the slow local, and seeing gateway of India, what do you recommend? I don’t think they’ll be enough time for the caves. We’ll definitely try street food though of some of the 10 best places to eat in Bombay that Nikki shared on here.

Now your story/ just me rambling this time,

One thing you’ll notice in Airports all around the world are the occasional lumps of people sleeping on the floor, hugging their backpacks.

People will curve around to make sure not to go near these “homeless looking” backpackers! I mean, how gross that they sleep on the floor… little do they know how tired we are, who knows- maybe haven’t had a bed in days!

What you’ll notice in India is this happens on every train station floor overnight while waiting for bus switches and everyone does it! Not just the poor or backpackers.. it’s just the norm.

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Sleeping at indian train stations its just practical during long waits. It’s great that families and strangers huddle up and keep each other’s things safe. It’s not surprising either since India is a bit dirty (litter, grime, etc) and people who are here a long time are used to that. They also don’t have as much regard for personal space. For example, 4 people may share a sleeper seat to save money, but others may share just to be close! Friends here hold hands and in Goa during siesta people (not homeless) nap on the street. It’s really cool/interesting.

Why do other nationalities think they’re too good for sleeping on dirty floors?! ha, but seriously- I’m happy to live somewhere I can curl up and sleep anywhere because in the U.S. I was starting to get weird looks ;)

This is India!

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About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Emily November 7, 2014 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    I remember feeling a bit overwhelmed at our first Indian train station (Chennai) what with the floor being so covered with people you could hardly get around. Now we’re used to it ;)

  2. Elora November 7, 2014 at 11:23 pm - Reply

    This one was interesting! Ha, I can imagine my mom’s face if I told her I slept on the floor of a train station in India. That would be worth the telling. ;)

  3. Justine November 8, 2014 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Ha, I’m always the person sitting on the floor in airports, even in the US. I don’t know why people are so weird about sitting on the floor. I kinda like that in Indonesia (and apparently in India) this sort of behavior is the norm! Sleeping on the floor is definitely taking it to another level, but we’ve all been there, right? Your photo is hilarious. I wonder what your parents are going to think of all this!!

    • Rachel Jones November 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Lol yes we’ve all been there ;) I just met a girl who slept on the floor of a local overnight bus because she was so sick. I told her we all had that ONE low that just sucked!

  4. Andrea Anastasiou November 8, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    One of India’s many quirks! I’m going to miss this place when we leave next week!

    • Rachel Jones November 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      There are so many quirks lol. You’re Dubai post was just published :)

  5. Tim | UrbanDuniya November 9, 2014 at 8:20 am - Reply

    Hahahahahhaa this reminds me of having to hop over people to get to the ticket counter at Chennai Central station!!!

  6. Rebecca Williams November 10, 2014 at 11:27 am - Reply

    This article made me smile because people sleep on the floors in Chinese railway stations too, and the first time I saw people scattered about on the floor like in your picture, I remember thinking it looked like a scene in the zombie film 28 Days Later and got a little freaked out! Thanks for the read x

  7. Nikhil November 11, 2014 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel,

    The 2nd Rachel i know who is on a break (1st from the sit com Friends;-P) It was great reading your blog, your views and your good and not s0 good experiences :-) You are doing India right – that is with a loooot of Patience. Coming from a middle class family myself, i can tell you we have our hearts in the right place but not having enough money for 60 years after independence can mess people up i guess. Not an excuse or an explanation, just saying….

    I could relate to your experience with men, my wife has had some of the odd experience herself and I scream in my head loudly when getting in and out of buses, train and flights. We are changing slowly but yes we certainly are for the better i assure you….

    Thanks a lot for portraying India positively here, we could use a lot of positive reviews about India and hope you feel at home as long as you are here, have fun.

    • Rachel Jones November 11, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

      HI Nikhil, thanks for taking the time to comment! :)

  8. Glamourous Journeyler November 13, 2014 at 7:14 am - Reply

    I was definitely surprised to see it happen when I was in Bombay, but then shrugged and thought, “meh, this is India. Probably normal over here”

    I did have to sleep at the train station once in Vienna. It was cold and very unpleasant. I kept worrying the crowd of drunken teenagers not too far off was going to mug me. Brings new meaning to the term sleeping with one eye open

    • Rachel Jones November 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      haah I feel ya there! I sleep with one eye open on the trains lol

  9. Yogesh January 12, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Hey Rachel,
    How can you do this amazing things. If I can sleep with one eye open it will secure my tour when I’ll wait for train or buses or travelling in it. lol

  10. rakesh April 11, 2016 at 4:23 am - Reply

    nice post …but i think some people here in the comment section who is looking down and making fun of those poor people is not cool.

  11. Khushi June 17, 2016 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    Why do you think India is dirty and grime

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