• dry day in india

This is India! 48

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 a blast in Indonesia with some fellow bloggers checking out Bandung and the Asian African conference.. more on that later, but I’ve been posting lots of pics on my  and .
  • So, the blog has been mentioned on a few things over the past two weeks but I won’t always be sharing that anymore because I’ve come to realize some people link to blogs in order to get them to link back! Weird blogging logic… but unless it’s something really cool, it won’t be on here :)
  • I’m back in Goa for a week then off to Hawaii next week. Ben has a job out there so I am tagging along and going to explore Maui while he works. If you have tips, please shoot them over. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t googled it at all and am completely winging it!

Now your story,

Have you ever heard of a “dry day”? I was familiar with some alcohol laws in the US because I used to be a cashier at a grocery store. If I remember correctly, on Sunday you can’t buy alcohol before 12 noon in Ohio.

In India there are many alcohol laws. They keep trying to make it banned in Kerala, a state which has a very high rate of alcoholism. In Kerala, they don’t allow sales of booze on the 1st of the month because people will blow their whole paycheck… or as least I’ve heard that’s the logic.

Most or all holidays are “dry days” and it’s taken very seriously. Actually even restaurants like Thalassa clear the bar and take away all the alcohol on these days. In supermarkets, there will be a blanket over the booze with a sign explaining it’s a dry day.

Alcohol is prohibited in some states like Gujarat, Manipur, Nagaland, and Lakshwadeep (an island). Technically, you’re supposed to be 25 to drink liquor in Mumbai, but I think you’re allowed wine with a meal or something like this. But, to be fair I have never seen someone be carded EVER in India. The age varies state to state. I told what happened when I went to a wine shop in Kerala as a female!

The last time they tried an alcohol ban in Kerala that I can remember, they said liquor can only be sold in 5 star resorts. A clever Indian saw around this and put a sign that said “5 star hotel” on his little street side shack, but I can’t find the photo online anywhere!

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. Ryan Biddulph May 1, 2015 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    That Indian was beyond clever Rachel ;) Sounds super shrewd, smart and prospering, and yep, I would expect that from the dude lol. Love it. We are dry folks so never noticed the drinking situation when we visited Kerala. We heard from friends that many Muslims in the area – Kovalam Beach – try to enforce some laws in their communities but that in the same vein, folks actually eat meat/cows in this region. First place I ever saw a hamburger on the menu, at least in all of the small town areas I visited in Southern India.


    • Rachel Jones May 28, 2015 at 12:27 pm - Reply

      Yes and actually some of my muslim friends from kovalam sneak and drink when they go on vacation :)

  2. Lissa May 1, 2015 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    I did not know that about parts of India having alcohol restrictions. That must be interesting to see so many people in India sober the first of the month. In Utah, supermarkets can sell beer, but not wine, and no spirits. If you want hard liquor, you have to go to the liquor store and of course there is a police car parked out front. They do everything to keep people from drinking. Great article.

  3. ciki May 1, 2015 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Yes I did enjoy this post! LOL! Anywayz was great meeting you in Bandung.. Don’t forget to exchange links with me k? :D take care babe:)

  4. Krystle May 1, 2015 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    Those alcohol laws in India seem very strict. I live in Utah currently and thought that THEY had strict liquor laws. ;-)

    Maui is one of my favorite islands! Do you know what part of the island you are staying on? Some of my favorite beaches are Napili Beach, Ka’anapali Beach, and Palauea beach. If you’re staying near Napili, you can rent a paddleboard for the day from 808 boards, and the best part is that they will deliver it right to your location. I love exploring the Road to Hana and of course you can’t go to Maui without diving, or at least doing a little snorkeling. :) I have a lot of information on the blog about Maui, but feel free to email me if you have any questions. Aloha! ;-)

  5. Justine May 2, 2015 at 10:45 am - Reply

    Haha, that’s hilarious! I don’t know if there are complete dry days in Indonesia. Although Ramadan is coming up in June (I think) and I highly doubt there will be any booze, anywhere for an entire month. Actually, the alcohol situation on Java is pretty weird. Alcohol is really heavily taxed and ridiculously expensive. They also recently passed a law that convenience stores can no longer sell beer. So trying to find any alcoholic beverages outside of bars and restaurants is pretty tough here. Ha, but the people I order water from sell beer on the sly. I almost died laughing when I received a mysterious text from them showing a fridge full of Bintang beer. At first I was like, why the hell are they texting me this? And then I realized they were capitalizing on the beer ban! Ah, the quirks of being an expat ;)

  6. Wow enjoy Maui!!!

  7. Amber May 3, 2015 at 2:24 am - Reply

    In Oregon you can buy beer and wine in grocery stores, seven days a week. Spirits are only available through liquor stores. I remember traveling to California as a child and feeling shock at the hard alcohol being sold in the grocery stores! ha!

    Maui?! Lucky you! It’s my favorite Hawaiian Island. Try the Loco Moco at Da Kitchen for a local dish. So ono(delicious), we had it twice on our last trip. They have locations in Kahului and Kihei. The road to Hana is gorgeous, make sure to stop at the Black Sand beach, stop for the banana bread sold along the road, and don’t miss the cheap and delicious fruit available at the road-side stands. Bring mosquito repellant if you plan to hike inland. And drive up to Haleakala if you have the chance. Have a great trip!

    • Rachel Jones May 28, 2015 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      thanks for the tip! my boyfriend had a work meeting at da kitchen but i didnt have time :(

  8. Elenors May 3, 2015 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Last year I stayed at Mount Abu -a beautiful hill station in Rajastan. This is on the border with Gujarat. Every night the main street was full of drunks from that state, who drove across the border to have alcohol. They drank themselves stupid and somehow went back home. If people want to have alcohol, they will find a way.

  9. Hannah May 5, 2015 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Hahaha, clever guy! The only dry days I’ve had travelling is when there’s a Buddhist day in Thailand, everything literally shuts down and you can’t get anything anywhere, they do the same thing where they cover up the alcohol with a sheet saying that it can’t be sold.

  10. rebecca October 18, 2015 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Love the way they get around things in India

  11. Ishani May 10, 2016 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Rachel
    It’s fun reading your blog. Am an Indian girl and I am not at all brave enough to go backpacking alone in India. I think there are good and bad sides to India and when there are 1 billion people there has to be a certain percentage who are bad. I don’t know whether you have finished touring India since i just discovered your blog.All I would like to say is stay safe and trust people but then never ignore your intuition or gut feeling.
    And all those who want to visit India have an open mind about everything… thats the easiest way to get through India. Don’t have preconceived notions about things. Experience it yourself but never doubt your intuition under any circumstances. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
    Love and light to all.

    • Rachel Jones May 10, 2016 at 11:37 pm - Reply

      HI Ishani, I haven’t finished yet. Living in Goa and still touring around. You’re right never ignore your gut – if you can get that right then you will do so well traveling!

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