All visitors to India require a valid Tourist Visa, which may be obtained from your nearest Indian consulate. Depending on which country you reside in, you may be required to present two Indian referrals in your application. When you book your holiday in India with us, we will send you this information.
Health & Insurance
Most popular tourist areas of India are extremely safe for international travelers and health risks are relatively low. However, it is advisable to check the latest travel health advisories from your national health centers before travel to India. The US government for instance does not specify any required vaccines for travel to India, but recommends the following: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Malaria (anti-malaria drug), Rabies, Typhoid and booster doses for Tetanus-diphtheria. We advise you to carry mosquito repellant on your trip to India.
We highly encourage you to purchase travel insurance for your trip.
What To Pack
As a rule of thumb, visitors to the larger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, or Bangalore will find that Western clothing is acceptable and is worn by many young Indians. However, in many popular tourist destinations like Rajasthan modesty in dress is strongly encouraged. Long skirts, long sleeves, a shawl/scarf to cover the head in holy places, higher necklines, and pants for men are all recommended items to pack.
In most regions, you’ll find that India has warm to very hot weather. Northern India has pleasant weather from October to March. The winter months will require light woolens.
The dry hot weather is from April through mid July before monsoon begins. Light cotton will be ideal during this period. The Central, Eastern, and Southern Indian states have a warm and humid climate and are more comfortable during September through February. Light cottons or even light woolens (for areas closer to the Western Ghats, e.g. Ooty and Kodaikanal) are ideal.
If you plan to go on a jeep safari in India, it is definitely worth bringing warm clothing as early mornings can be very cold.
Out & About
Please carry a couple of bottles of water while sight-seeing. Be mindful of your time in the sun and apply sunscreen lotion, as the weather can get hot during the summer months.
Don’t give to street beggars, no matter how hard it might be. Criminal mafias who profit from their misery enslave most beggars. If you want to give, a registered charity is the best choice.
Avoid buying souvenirs and gift items from ‘touts’ in and around monuments. In case you do like something, please ask your tour guide to help you bargain and pay the right amount.
Faith & Religion
Although India is the largest secular democracy in the world, the spiritual life of her residents permeates both public and private spaces. Respect for others beliefs – whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist or other – is shown by speaking with tact and sensitivity on these subjects and by observing codes of dress such as removing shoes and covering the head in places of worship.
Keep in mind that modest behavior will also be appreciated as public displays of affection, even between spouses are considered bad taste in much of the country.
Take your shoes off when entering someone’s house or any place of worship.
Don’t touch people’s heads, point your feet at holy objects or honored people while sitting, or use your left hand to give gifts, food, or other important items.
Be prepared to answer a lot of personal questions and be stared at – Indians are naturally curious people, and it is not considered rude to ask what might be thought of as nosy questions.
Drinking & Smoking
In the large cities and in the higher end hotels and restaurants, the attitudes about smoking and drinking are very similar to the West. However in most of India, for example on a tour through Rajasthan, you will find different standards for men and women when it comes to these activities. In the more conservative areas of India, a woman indulging in these activities would attract negative attention.
It is best to avoid public restrooms in India, to always carry toilet paper or tissues and hand sanitizer with you, and to visit five-star hotels to use their facilities even if you are not staying there.
It is difficult to pin down the best time to visit India weather-wise because of the wide range of climatic factors.
Broadly speaking September to April is the most pleasant time over much of the country. In the south, October to March is more pleasant, whereas the mountainous regions in the North are best accessed between April and September. Northeast India is best between November and May. The deserts of Rajasthan are best between August and April. The monsoon season from June to September is usually wet in the hills and coastal areas of South India, but offers a unique and beautiful experience throughout most of India except the Northeast which is largely inaccessible during this time.
Your Travel Consultant can provide you with more detailed weather information depending on the season and the specific destinations you choose to visit.
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR) and we suggest you use a currency converter to for the most up to date exchange rates. The Rupee is linked to a basket of currencies and its value is generally stable. The following list gives a brief description of different modes of transaction.
Inform your bank that you are traveling to India to avoid any trouble accessing money using your credit/debit cards when you are abroad.
Modern 24-hour ATMs are found in most large towns and cities. The most commonly accepted cards are Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus. Credit cards are accepted at growing numbers of shops, up-market restaurants, and mid- range and top-end hotels.
Away from major towns, always carry cash or travelers checks as backup. Always check in advance whether your card can access banking networks in India and ask for details of charges.
Always keep the emergency lost-and-stolen numbers for your credit/debit cards in a safe place, separate from your cards, and report any loss or theft immediately.
Major currencies such as US Dollar, British Pound and Euros are easy to change throughout India. Whenever changing money, check every note. Do not accept any ripped notes, as these may not be accepted as payment. Remember, you must present your passport whenever you change currency or travelers checks. Commission fees for foreign exchange are becoming increasingly rare; if they are charged, the fee is nominal. Make an effort to keep a good amount of small notes (10, 20 rupees) on hand, as they can make smaller, street vendor transactions much easier. We can assist you with this.
International transfers can be received via moneychangers affiliated with Moneygram or Western Union. Please note that a hefty fee is often added to the transaction. To collect cash, you will need your passport and the name and reference number of the person who sent the funds
All major brands are accepted in India, but some banks may only accept checks from Amex and Thomas Cook. Charges for changing travelers checks vary from place to place and bank to bank. Always keep a record of the checks’ serial numbers separate from your checks, along with the proof-of-purchase slips, and encashment vouchers. To replace lost travelers checks, you need the proof-of-purchase slip and the numbers of the missing checks (some places require a photocopy of the police report and a passport photo).
The standardized voltage used in India is 230V, 50 Hz with a tolerance varying from 216V to 253V. The electrical sockets conform to British norms. European and American plugs will not work in the sockets in India and therefore, it is advisable to buy a converter or adaptor.
Mobile telephone communication in India has skyrocketed in the recent years and you can expect mobile phone coverage, except in very remote rural areas. Internet cafes abound in urban areas and many modern/business hotels offer wi-fi services to their guests.
India’s country code is +91.
If you wish to use a local mobile phone / SIM card for use in India, you can request this from your Trip Coordinator once you have booked your India trip with us . S/he will arrange for a cell phone for you and your chauffeur, or tour guide will take you to a mobile phone shop selling prepaid SIM cards.
These are readily available and usually take 24- 48 hours to activate from the time you arrive in India. You will need to bring a photocopy of your passport to get a SIM card in India. It is advisable to purchase a SIM card on the first day of your arrival as this will make it easier for you to communicate with us during your trip. Note: You would need to carry two passport size photographs along with a copy of your passport for procuring the SIM card.
Did you know?
Since ancient times, India has welcomed visitors with a unique approach to hospitality, summed up in the Sanskrit phrase “Athihi Devo Bhava” or “the Guest is a reflection of God.”
More detailed information and advice is available in our electronic India Travel Guide that you will receive from us when you book your Enchanting-India holiday.