India Travel Guide
Written by Joeri Van Overloop
Why Visit India?
India, a country steeped in culture, history and beauty, is one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world. With its vibrant cities, stunning natural landscapes and centuries-old temples, it's no wonder more and more people are planning trips to India. This article serves as a comprehensive travel guide to India—including why you should visit this spectacular country, what to see and do while there, and how best to prepare for your trip.
In case you’re still in doubt, here’s a few more reasons to visit India:
Rich Culture and Heritage: India has a rich history, with monuments and temples that reflect its diverse cultural heritage.
Amazing Cuisine: Indian cuisine is renowned for its diversity and flavors, with a range of dishes to suit all tastes.
Natural Beauty: India is home to a range of natural wonders, from the Himalayan mountain range to tropical beaches, forests, and deserts.
Wildlife: India is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including tigers, elephants, and monkeys, which can be seen in its many national parks and wildlife sanctuaries.
Spiritual Significance: India is considered a spiritual hub, with many important religious sites, such as the Taj Mahal and the holy city of Varanasi.
Shopping: India is a shopper's paradise, with a range of markets, bazaars, and street stalls selling everything from textiles to jewelry and spices.
Hospitality: The Indian people are known for their hospitality and warmth, making it a welcoming destination for travelers.
Affordable: Despite its many attractions, India is an affordable destination, with low-cost accommodation and a range of budget-friendly travel options.
In summary, India offers a perfect mix of natural beauty, rich culture, delicious food, and affordability. From the picturesque temples to the historic cities and beautiful beaches, India will deliver a great experience for everyone. Whether you're looking for a relaxing beach holiday, a cultural experience, or an adventure, India is really a great destination for a budget friendly vacation.
Frequently Asked Questions When Travelling To India
What Is A Good Budget For A Trip To India?
The budget for a trip to India depends on various factors such as the duration of the trip, the cities you plan to visit, the mode of transportation, the type of accommodation you prefer, and your spending habits. On average, a budget of around $30 to $50 per day can provide a comfortable experience, but this can vary depending on your individual needs and preferences.
For a budget trip, you can expect to spend around $30 to $40 per day, which would cover food, local transportation, and basic accommodation. For a mid-range trip, you can expect to spend around $50 to $70 per day, and for a luxury trip, you can expect to spend upwards of $100 or more per day, which would cover all expenses including high-end hotels, dining, and experiences.
Accommodation: The cost of accommodation in India varies greatly depending on the location, type of accommodation, and time of year. You can find budget-friendly accommodation in India starting from as low as $5 to $15 per night for a basic room in a budget hotel or guesthouse. For a mid-range experience, you can expect to pay around $20 to $50 per night for a comfortable room in a mid-range hotel or guesthouse. And if you're looking for a more luxurious experience, you can expect to pay upwards of $100 per night for a room in a high-end hotel or resort.
Food and drink: Street food is abundant in India and is one of the most affordable options for dining. You can expect to pay as little as $1 to $3 for a meal from a street vendor. For a meal at a local restaurant or café, you can expect to pay around $3 to $7 for a simple dish, such as a vegetarian thali or a chicken curry. If you're looking for a mid-range dining experience, you can expect to pay around $10 to $20 for a meal at a more upscale restaurant. And for a fine-dining experience, you can expect to pay upwards of $30 or more per meal at a high-end restaurant or hotel.
Transportation: The cost of public transportation in India varies depending on the mode of transportation and the distance traveled. Here are some of the most common forms of public transportation and their approximate costs:
- Local buses are one of the most affordable modes of transportation in India. A one-way ticket typically costs between 5 to 20 rupees ($0.07 to $0.27) depending on the distance traveled.
- Auto-rickshaws are a common form of transportation in India and are typically used for short trips. The cost of a trip in an auto-rickshaw ranges from 50 to 200 rupees ($0.70 to $2.75) depending on the distance traveled.
- Taxis are a convenient option for longer distances. The cost of a taxi trip varies depending on the distance traveled and the time of day, but you can expect to pay anywhere from 300 to 800 rupees ($4.20 to $11) for a full-day trip.
- Trains are a popular mode of transportation in India, especially for longer distances. The cost of a train ticket depends on the class of travel and the distance traveled, but you can expect to pay anywhere from 50 to 500 rupees ($0.70 to $7) for a one-way ticket.
- Domestic flights are available for travel within India, and prices vary depending on the airline, route, and time of booking. One-way ticket prices can range from 1,500 to 8,000 rupees ($21 to $112) depending on the route and time of booking.
Activities and Excursions: The cost of activities and excursions in India varies greatly depending on the type of activity, location, and time of year. Here are some examples of popular activities and their approximate costs:
- Many of India's temples and historic sites are free to visit, while others may charge a nominal fee of around 100 to 200 rupees ($1.50 to $2.75).
- Cultural activities, such as attending a classical dance performance or visiting a traditional bazaar, can cost anywhere from 500 to 2,000 rupees ($7 to $28) depending on the activity.
- Wildlife safaris are popular in India, and prices can range from 2,000 to 10,000 rupees ($28 to $140) depending on the type of safari and the park you visit.
- Adventure sports, such as white-water rafting or trekking, can cost anywhere from 1,500 to 4,000 rupees ($21 to $56) depending on the activity and the location.
- Spa and wellness treatments can range from 500 to 4,000 rupees ($7 to $56) depending on the type of treatment and the location.
- Beaches in India are generally free to visit, although some may have entrance fees or may charge for water sports activities.
In general, activities and excursions in India are relatively affordable, making it possible to experience a variety of cultural and adventure activities on a budget.
How Many Days In India Is Enough?
The number of days needed to visit India depends on your interests and travel style. Here are a few guidelines to help you determine how many days you should spend in India. If you're planning a short trip to India, a week to 10 days is usually enough to see a few of the country's highlights, such as the Taj Mahal, the Golden Temple, and Jaipur.
If you're interested in learning more about India's rich history and culture, two to three weeks is a good amount of time to spend. This will give you the opportunity to visit multiple cities and see a variety of temples, palaces, and museums.
If you're interested in adventure activities, such as wildlife safaris or trekking, a two-week trip will give you enough time to experience a variety of activities. For those who want to see more of India, a month or more is recommended. This will give you the opportunity to explore different regions, including the Himalayan mountains, the southern beaches, and the deserts of Rajasthan.
In general, the more time you have, the more of India you'll be able to see and experience. However, even a short trip to India can be a rich and rewarding experience if you plan carefully and prioritize your interests.
What Is The Best Way To Tour India?
The best way to travel around India depends on your travel style, budget, and the destinations you plan to visit. Here are some popular options for traveling around India:
India has an extensive rail network that covers most of the country, and trains are a popular way to travel long distances. They offer a convenient and affordable way to see the country, and are especially recommended for those traveling on a budget.
Buses are a common mode of transportation in India and offer an affordable way to travel between cities and towns. Some long-distance buses are equipped with air conditioning and other amenities, making them a comfortable option for those who want to travel on a budget.
Domestic flights are available for travel within India and offer a convenient and efficient way to travel between cities. Prices can vary depending on the airline and the time of booking, so it's best to compare prices and book in advance.
Private vehicles, such as rental cars and taxis, are a convenient way to travel around India, especially if you're traveling with a small group. This option allows for more flexibility and independence, but can be more expensive than other forms of transportation.
Local transport, such as auto-rickshaws, taxis, and cycle-rickshaws, are available in most cities and towns. They offer a convenient and affordable way to travel short distances, but can be less convenient and more congested in larger cities.
Ultimately, the best way to travel around India will depend on your personal preferences and budget. Some travelers prefer to mix and match different modes of transportation, while others prefer to stick to one mode of transportation for the entire trip.
What Is The Best Time To Visit India?
The best time of year to visit India depends on your personal preferences and the destinations you plan to visit. Here are some general guidelines to help you determine the best time to visit India. December to February is the winter season in India, and is the best time to visit the country if you want to avoid the heat and humidity. This is a popular time for tourists to visit popular destinations like Jaipur, Agra, and Delhi, as temperatures are mild and comfortable.
March to May is the summer season in India, and temperatures can be extremely hot, especially in northern India. This is not the best time to visit the country, but if you plan to visit the hill stations, such as Darjeeling, Shimla, or Mussoorie, this is a good time to escape the heat.
June to September is the monsoon season in India, and most of the country experiences heavy rainfall. While the monsoon can be a magical time to visit certain destinations, such as the Western Ghats, it can also make travel more difficult in other parts of the country.
October and November are the autumn months in India, and are considered the best time to visit the country. Temperatures are mild, and the rains have generally stopped, making this a great time to explore the country's cultural and natural attractions.
What Are The Dos And Don’ts In India?
India is a vibrant and culturally rich country with its own unique customs and traditions. To help ensure a smooth and respectful visit, here are some dos and don'ts when traveling in India:
- Dress modestly: When visiting religious sites or more conservative areas, it's important to dress modestly and cover your arms and legs.
- Take off your shoes: When entering homes, temples, and some other religious sites, it's customary to take off your shoes.
- Use your right hand: The left hand is considered unclean in India, so it's customary to eat, shake hands, and perform other actions with your right hand.
- Respect personal space: Indians tend to stand close to one another when speaking, but this shouldn't be interpreted as an invitation to invade their personal space.
- Bargain: Bargaining is a common practice when shopping in India, especially in markets and street stalls. It's considered acceptable to bargain for a better price, but be polite and respectful.
- Don't touch someone's head: The head is considered sacred in India, and touching someone's head or pointing with your feet is considered impolite.
- Don't eat with your left hand: As mentioned earlier, the left hand is considered unclean, so it's best to only eat with your right hand.
- Don't point with your feet: The feet are considered the lowest and dirtiest part of the body in India, so pointing with your feet or sitting with your feet pointing at someone is considered impolite.
- Don't touch or sit on books or religious objects: Books and religious objects are considered sacred in India, and touching or sitting on them is considered disrespectful.
- Don't take photos without permission: Always ask permission before taking photos of people, especially in rural areas where they may not be used to being photographed.
By following these dos and don'ts, you can help ensure a smooth and respectful visit to India, and have a more enjoyable and culturally rich experience.
What Are The Visa Requirements For India?
The visa requirements for India vary depending on your country of origin, the purpose of your visit, and the duration of your stay. However, here are some general guidelines for obtaining a visa for India:
- Online application: You can apply for an Indian visa online through the official e-Visa India website. The process is simple and straightforward, and you can pay the visa fee with a credit or debit card.
- Required documents: To apply for an Indian visa, you will need a valid passport, a digital passport-sized photo, and a proof of sufficient funds to support your stay in India. You may also need to provide additional documents depending on the type of visa you are applying for.
- Types of visas: India offers several types of visas, including tourist visas, business visas, medical visas, and student visas. The type of visa you need will depend on the purpose of your visit to India.
- Validity: Indian visas are usually valid for 6 months to 5 years, depending on the type of visa you receive. Some visas, such as the e-Visa, allow multiple entries into India within the validity period.
- Processing time: The processing time for an Indian visa can vary, but it typically takes between 3 to 5 business days. Some visas, such as the e-Visa, can be processed in as little as 24 hours.
It's important to check the latest visa requirements for India before you travel, as these can change from time to time. You can find up-to-date information on the Indian government's e-Visa India website, or by contacting the nearest Indian embassy or consulate.
Do I need Travel Insurance To Visit India?
Yes, it is recommended to have travel insurance when visiting India. Travel insurance can provide valuable protection for your health, personal belongings, and travel arrangements, especially in case of unexpected events such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and loss or theft of personal items.
While India has a relatively low cost of living, medical treatment can be expensive, and having travel insurance can help to ensure that you have access to the best medical care possible if you need it.
It's important to keep in mind that while travel insurance is not a legal requirement in India, it can be a valuable investment to help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.
How To Stay Safe In India?
India is generally considered safe for tourists, however, visitors should take certain precautions to ensure their safety. Like any large and diverse country, India has its own unique set of risks and challenges.
Some areas in India may be more prone to crime or civil unrest, and tourists should exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings when visiting these areas. It's also a good idea to be mindful of pickpocketing and petty theft, especially in busy tourist areas or crowded markets.
When it comes to personal safety, women traveling alone may encounter more challenges in India, and they should take extra precautions and be aware of the cultural attitudes towards women in different parts of the country.
That being said, millions of tourists visit India every year without incident, and the country has a rich cultural heritage and many interesting sights and experiences to offer. If you take the necessary precautions and stay aware of your surroundings, India can be a safe and enjoyable place to travel.
Where To Stay In India?
The Best Booking Resources For India
These are the companies I use predominantly when I travel to India. They offer great customer service and the best value, consistently outperform their competitors, as they always have excellent deals. I rely on them the most, and they are the starting point in my search for travel deals.
Booking.com - This is the best travel partner when it comes to planning your vacation in India. With over 28 million listings in more than 200 countries and territories, you'll have no problem choosing from the world's most comprehensive selection of accommodations - from exotic villas to cozy apartments! Booking.com offers a secure and convenient way to book your next holiday, with unbeatable deals that will make sure you get the best value for your money when travelling to India.
Skyscanner - This is the perfect tool for finding the best flights at the best prices to India. With a comprehensive selection of airlines to choose from, you can compare prices and routes in seconds - saving you time, stress and money. Skyscanner's intuitive search engine makes it easy to find great deals on domestic and international flights. Plus, you can easily customize your search preferences so you get results that fit your budget and destination needs.
Get Your Guide - Are you looking for ways to make your travel experiences more memorable? With GetYourGuide, you can book amazing activities, tours and attractions all over India. Whether it’s a tour of an iconic city landmark or unique experience that’s off the beaten path, GetYourGuide offers something spectacular for any traveler. With thousands of things to do and see in different cities around India, this platform simplifies the search process with user-friendly filters.
More India Travel Resources