India offers a well-maintained and modern infrastructure and it will amaze you with its size, clamour, hospitality and diversity. The experience of travelling to India can be a Travel Advisors thrilling and most enjoyable job, but one need to have extra patience and consideration. Do make all your travel arrangements well in advance especially during the winter season (October to March), which is the high tourist season in the country. Here are some of the useful travel tips for you to keep in mind. For more information, please feel free to contact one of our Inbound Travel advisors.
Fast Fact :-
Full Name: Republic of India
Capital: New Delhi
Time: GMT + 5:30 hours.
Population : 1,065,070,607
Electricity : 220 / 240V, 50Hz.
Emergency contact : Police 100,Fire Brigade 101, Ambulance 102
Local Currency Rupee : (1USD=64 INR approx)
Religions : Hindu 80%, Muslim14%, Christian 2.4%, Sikh 2%, Buddhist 0.7%, Jains 0.5, Others 0.4%
Country Dialling Code : ++91
Neighbouring countries : Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, China, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka
Passport and Visa
All foreigners (except nationals of Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal) require a valid passport and Indian Passport Visa to enter and exit the country. Visa can be obtained from Indian Embassies or Consulate abroad (if require, please ask our office to send you the contact details of Indian Embassy or High Commission in your region). As such there is no provision for Visa on arrival in India and those arriving in India without a valid Visa are subject to immediate deportation. Please also take a note that a tourist visa does not permit the visitor to do business/academic/research/religious activities in the country. If you want to make a quick move to neighbouring countries from India, please remember to obtain a multiple entry Visa.
If required, extension to tourist visa can be granted by the FRO (Foreign Registration Officer) upon submitting a written request along with the applicable fee. If you are staying in India for more than 90days, you must register yourself with the FRO (or Superintendent of Police) within a week after your arrival in the country.
To visit Restricted and Protected Areas in the country, foreign tourists need to obtain a permit from the concerned authorities. To check the list of Restricted and Protected Areas, please click here. Permits are available at foreign registration offices, immigration offices, and Indian Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions.
For the most current information on above, we suggest to contact the Embassy of India in your region.
Medical Insurance : Health care facilities in India are very limited and can be expensive as well. We suggest all foreigner travellers to consult with their medical insurance company and check whether their policy applies overseas and it cover emergency expenses. While travelling to India, carrying a good medical insurance policy is essential such as medical evolution.
Vaccination : When travelling to India no vaccinations are legally required but we recommend you to have a Meningitis, Typhoid and Hepatitis injections before visiting India. It is also advisable to be up to date with tetanus boosters as well. To avoid malaria and dengue, carry mosquito repellents, nets and sprays. For the tourist entering to India from African and South American countries except Yellow fever vaccination, no vaccinations are essential.
Food and Drink
It is advisable to drink only mineral water and bottled drinks from reliable and clean source (Bislery, Aqua Fina, Kinlay, Himalaya or any other good sealed water is fine). If you cannot find or if you cannot lay hands on branded water, using chlorine/iodine tablets in your drinking water is advisable. Please avoid eating food from street-side vendor and always take balanced and healthy meals. If you need any medicine, please bring it with you since in India medicines are manufactured locally and may not be of the same brand as you may require. During the journey, if you need a doctor, please ask for a good hospital/clinic or ask your hotel to call a good doctor for you.
There are 18 recognized languages and more than 1600 minor languages and dialects in India. Hindi is the official language, widely understood and spoken in most of the parts of the country. Elementary English is also commonly spoken and understood in most of the part of the country as it is taught in most schools and colleges.
Currency and Regulation
There is no such restriction for the foreign clients to import foreign currency in India. A declaration certificate may be obtained from the customs upon arrival at the airport which helps you for the exchange of your currency to local currency and also facilitate you to export your unspent currency back with you while leaving the country. However, it is required to declare the currency upon arrival in case you are carrying Cash/Cheques/Drafts/Travellers Cheque equivalent to or more than 5,000 (Five thousand) US Dollars. Exchange of money should be done only with authorized banks and money changers and a currency exchange certificate must be obtained from the bank/money changer for equivalent amount by your name. Exchanging money from unauthorized sources without money exchange certificate is an offence in India.
Weather and clothing
Climate : India has three major seasons winter, summer and monsoon but in general it is a country with hot tropical weather and variations from region to region. In the plains, from December to February the weather is cool with sunny days. From March end to June the weather is really hot, dry and dusty. Monsoon showers bring relief from the hot days during the month of June/July and it continues till the end of September. While you travel to the hills it is advisable to be equipped suitably as the weather can change rapidly.
Carrying light woollen during December-March is advisable. During the rest of the period light cotton clothes will be fine. If you are travelling to hills, please do check about the weather with your local travel agent and pack your stuff accordingly
Tipping is a matter of personal discretion and in India more often it is money paid to get things done well. Local taxis and small restaurants normally do not expect to be tipped. However, hotel and airport porters should be tipped around 20-50 Rupees (depending on your wish and comfort). The drivers and tour guides should be tipped around Rs. 100per day. In fancy restaurants and good hotels waiters, room service boy, housekeeping, porters, doormen will expect tips. Paying few rupees to the people like snake charmer, camel rider, cart puller, shoe-keeper is also fine. As you see you need to tip quite often, it is advisable to carry small notes / change of local currency.
General Tips/ Dos and Dont's
Please always carry a copy of your passport, travel visa, air tickets, travel insurance, credit cards, driving license (or some other identity proof) with photo and other travel documents.
Follow the safety rules while travelling anywhere. Keep your luggage with you and do not leave them unattended or do not handover the same to any unknown person or unidentified porters and guides. While going to public places, keep the valuables in your hotel. Hotel lockers may be used.
Do not carry a lot of money and valuables while walking on the streets or shopping in the local markets. Men are advised not to keep a traditional wallet and women are advised to avoid keeping valuables/jewellery etc in a purse, which can easily be snatched off their shoulder. Using "Interior wallet" is rather safer.
It is advisable to use taxies from only known and authorized sources and fix up the rate before the use of the taxi. Do not accept offer to share the taxi from unknown person and ladies are advised to not to travel alone in the unknown / unauthorized taxies especially during the night times.
Do wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.
Please do fix up a price for airport/railway station porters, before taking his services. For a not-so-heavy bag, Rs. 5 - 10 per bag is fine. Yet much depends on the weight.
Do carry sun glasses, sun screen and a hat.
Do respect religious shrines and places of worship always and visit holy places in a decent dress code. Please do not wear / take your shoes/slippers inside the religious shrines as it is prohibited.
If you wish to change the currency, please use only authorized money changers and asks for a money changing certificate for equivalent amount with your name and passport no. on it, you may require this document at the time of departure to re-exchange the currency
While in India, please mind photography at the airports, railway stations, military areas and other places where it is prohibited.
Restricted and prohibited areas
Certain parts of the country need special entry permits before they can be visited.
Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland: These Sates/Union Territories have been designated as protected areas and foreigners cannot enter these areas without special permits. These permits are issued by Under-Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Foreigner Division, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi -110003 at least 4 weeks before the date of the expected visit in some instance by Indian Mission, consulates near your home. Advisable to check before leaving.
Certain areas of Sikkim like Gangtok, Rumtek, Phodang and Zongri in West Sikkim and Pamayangtse have been excluded from the inner line and declared as Restricted Areas. Individual tourists are permitted to visit Gangtok, Rumtek and Phodang. Group tourists are permitted to visit Zongri and Pamayangtse. The duration of stay has been raised from 7 to15 days. Permits can be issued by all Indian missions abroad, all FRRO-Immigration officers at Airports of Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai and New Delhi Chief Secretary, Govt. of Sikkim, Secretary, Hotel Department Govt. of Sikkim, L.G. Police, Govt. of Sikkim, Siliguri, Dy. Director Tourism, Government of Sikkim, New Delhi, Resident Commissioner, Govt. of Sikkim, New Delhi Calcutta, Dy Commissioner of Darjeeling and Dy Secretary, Home department, Govt. Of West Bengal.
Manipur has also been opened for foreign tourists. Permits can be issued by all missions abroad, all FRRO, Home Commissioner, Manipur, Imphal. The duration of stay has been raised from 3 to 5 days.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Individual foreign tourists can visit Port Blair municipal area, Have lock Island, Long Island, Neil Island, Mayabunder, Diglipur, Rangat, where a night halt is allowed and Jolly Buoy, South Cinque, Red Skin, Mount Harriet, Madhurban where only day visits are allowed. Prior permit is necessary. Individual tourists are permitted 30 days allowed.
This only Bangaram, Agatti and Suheli Islands are open to foreign tourists. Permits are required, obtainable from the Lakshadeep Administration, Wellington Island, Harbour Road, Cochin-3. However foreign tourists travelling in organised groups may obtain permits in advance from the administrator at Cochin through a recognized Travel Agent / Tour Operator.
Max Holidays have tried to provide the best available and accurate information to the visitor; but it neither give its confirmation for the sole accuracy of the contents above, nor it takes any responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience caused to anyone resulting from this information. Please do verify the critical information (importantly for visas, health and safety, customs and transportation etc) with the relevant authorities before you travel to India. You may ask for the most current information from the Indian Embassy or high Commissions in your region.