Getting Delhi Belly in India - VeganTravel

The joys of travelling. The new experiences, beach bumming, vibrant cultures, diversity, cheap hotels, and the food.

Oh the food! But sometimes, it’s more like “ughhh the food”. Cody and I arrived in Delhi strong and healthy on October 13th. We explored the markets, ate the spicy food, and absorbed all of the scents, and sights around us.

The same can be said for Leh, and Amritsar, and then we arrived in Agra.

Our train pulled in at about 6pm, we hopped into an auto rickshaw, and it whizzed us to our hotel. Feeling hungry, we left our hotel to find something to eat, and there was much to choose from.

We decided on an all veg place and ordered our meals. The food was good. It tasted fresh.

About 2 days later we felt the wrath of Delhi Belly. “Oh shit,” I thought. Literally. We were in the same boat with only one toilet. And for some reason we kept returning to that same pure veg restaurant in Agra.

I don’t know what we were thinking. I’m pretty sure I thought it had to have been the food from our last destination. After 3 days in Agra, we made our way by train to Udaipur, but not without several visits to the toilet.

Udaipur was a refreshing change from Agra in that we found western vegan food, and it is a lovely relaxed city surrounded by lakes. A nice place to recover.

Or so we thought. But this was just the beginning of it all. Cody and I specifically travelled to Udaipur to spend 7 days volunteering at Animal Aid India, but with so many frequent trips to the bathroom, and my light headedness, we only managed to spend 4 days volunteering in total. (Make sure to read our blog about Volunteering at Animal Aid India).

Delhi Belly can be horrible. We drank our oral rehydration salts, downed our activated charcoal tablets, and obsessively asked the restaurant we ate at almost everyday to make sure our food was properly washed.

And to add insult to injury, Cody woke up one morning with kidney stones!
But the dogs must have been looking down on us, because after a full day of dull pain, he passed them. Hallelujah!

After 7 days, the two of us were in the clear and we were off to Goa to spend 4 nights at the incredible Bean Me Up (check out our full blog on Bean Me Up).

What we didn’t realize was that we both had very little appetites. We could feel that our bodies were hungry, but we could have gone days without eating. But we ate. How could we not when the food at Bean Me Up was so incredibly delicious? So with no appetites, we weren’t really in the clear.

3 days into our stay in Goa, Cody was feeling very weak. My diarrhea was gone, but Cody was still suffering from constant visits to the toilet.

He was also dealing with pretty bad headaches. I had suggested he visit a clinic but he was convinced it would all pass. By the time we arrived at our second location in Goa, Cody was incredibly ill and he finally went to see a doctor.

His results came back positive for a bacterial infection, he received a prescription for antibiotics, and he was on his way back to health.

Our next stop was Bangalore where we were very excited to explore all of the parks and vegan friendly options in the city, but Cody was bed ridden for the whole 5 days. He wasn’t getting better. I was getting worried.

We both thought it was a bad idea to head to the Andaman Islands in India, so we cancelled our flights there, and also cancelled our flights to Nepal, and Malaysia.

We agreed that although India has some great hospitals-especially in the bigger cities, that it was a good idea to leave the country and the food behind, and head to another country close by with completely different food that has world class healthcare, an abundance of fruits and veggies, and inexpensive accommodation.

So we flew to Bangkok, Thailand, rented a condo with a kitchen, and checked Cody into a hospital.

The bacteria infecting Cody’s body grew immune to the meds prescribed to him in India, which explains why he increasingly got worst.

In Bangkok, Cody had a colonoscopy, and a cultured stool test. His colonoscopy cleared him of anything really serious. His blood test in India was clean so he didn’t need one in Thailand. It was determined that he had a very bad bacterial infection, and it would just take some time for him to recover.

It certainly took time.

Delhi Belly

We spent 2 weeks in Bangkok. We bought whole grains, fruits, and veggies and I cooked at home.

In the mornings, Cody would have energy after breakfast, we would go for a walk and he would crash. All of the colour would drain out of his face, and he would have to walk very slowly.

This was what I was most concerned with because it lasted almost up to the very end of his illness. In the evenings he would have a high fever and be sweating.

Alternatively, he would have to get under the comforter because he was shivering; so much so, that his teeth would chatter.


All from a glorified stomach flu!

After 12 days of taking meds, Cody finally started to get his strength back.

I am so relieved that Cody is finally doing better, and that it was nothing more than a bacterial infection. We are now in Chiang Mai still taking it easy for a couple of weeks before heading out to explore a new destination. We need to be sure that Cody is strong and feeling his best before we leave Thailand.

When you travel frequently, getting sick is bound to happen.

40% of travellers in India come down with some form of Delhi belly. It really is hard to avoid, unless you purchase all of your own food and wash it yourself, and even then, you are still susceptible. It is important to carry rehydration salts with you, as well as activated charcoal tablets. And if you have diarrhea (Delhi Belly) for more than a week, go see a doctor!


Be grateful for your health. It is easy to take it for granted in our busy everyday lives. You don’t really think about how essential good health is until you are suffering, and hoping for it to return.

  1. Samantha Reynolds 7 years ago

    Hi 🙂
    So happy you guys are better! My b’friend and I had a similar experience last year in India. We cruised through Delhi and Rishikesh feeling great. Then we hit Dharamshala. I was actually super excited at the thought of finally getting to eat Western and Tibetan vegan food after weeks in india as I HATE spicy food and just can’t tolerate it. As a conscientious vegan traveller 🙂 I had researched what to eat in Dharamshala and felt spoilt for choice. Wanting to ‘play it safe’ as first and longing for some milder food, we ate dinner at a hippy hangout (still Indian owned) that was super popular on Tripadvisor and was filled with interesting people from all over the world including Tibetan Buddhist monks! We enthusiastically ordered the Tofu Burger with chips. It was huge and tasted delicious. We were so full we didn’t order drinks. We stayed many hours chatting to other travellers before walking back to our guest house. On the way, after a 5 minute walk, my partner literally got diarrhea! it was so quick and severe he didnt even make it home 🙁 We went to the guest house and I fell asleep and he cleaned up and had a few more trips to the loo. He took charcoal tablets and some olive leaf to boost his immunity. At 3 am I woke up suddenly feeling very nauseous and proceeded to vomit for the next 17 hours! (including the charcoal tablets.) His diarrhea continued (yip, same bathroom!) It took me a few days to recover, bed ridden before eating some Tibetan veg broth and boiled rice. He was in bed for the next 5 days. He experienced only 2 days in Dharamshala and we had to cancel hikes as we were too weak. We had a 5 hour taxi ride booked to our next location and the thought of sitting in a small car navigating extremely windy, steep roads at brake neck speed made me feel quite horrified. We arrived shaken at our ashram who had wonderful medical facilities and took care of my b’friend who was still ill. Apparently, tofu is one of the worst things to eat in India as it is soaked for days in water that is not clean, absorbing it all and not refrigerated (electricity is very expensive in India.) So there I thought we were playing it safe with a nice western tofu burger! Thankfully we were not severely ill like Cody! It definitely brings you closer!

  2. Jenn 7 years ago

    This is one of my worst travel nightmares, mostly because I travel solo most of the time. Glad you two had each other to get through it!

    • Author
      Giselle Correia 7 years ago

      @jenns Couldn’t even imagine having to go through any of this alone.
      Cody made sure to remind me how lucky he was to have me there <3

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