Last month me and my three friends was traveling to India. And this article will cover what is needed for traveling to India as tourist.
Plan the trip
India is big country and it isn’t easy to plan where to go in India. It really depends how long and where do you planing to stay in the India.
We decided to visit Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Baga in Goa.
Our recommendation is stay in the Delhi just few days (ideally 3-4 days). In few days you can cover all basics and all interesting sightseeings. Use your time wisely and fly to other part of this huge country. After Delhi go to the Jaipur first. Reason for it is that this direction of travel provide chronological guidance of events before construction the Taj Mahal. Stay in Jaipur for one day. And then go to Agra. Before the Agra stop in Fatehpur Sikri the for a few hours. It is worthwhile to see this location. And then do to Agra, stay there at least for one day and night.
Plan to see Taj Mahal in the mornings. And keep in mind that Taj Mahal isn’t open on the Fridays. Our tourist guide told us that on Friday, is cleaning day and only muslims are allowed to go to the Taj Mahal to pray.
Our next destination was Goa. This is smallest Indian state and it really depends what do you planing to do there. We was there 8 days. And for us, this days was only enough for traveling around the North Goa. We manage to visit some of well-known North Goa beaches, such us Baga, Calagute, Anjuna, Miramar and we visited Old Goa and Panaji city.
So we booked on Airbnb four nights at Delhi so that we can travel around Jaipur and Agra and back to Delhi without our big baggage. This trip is most famous round trip and people call it Indian Golden Triangle. Our plan was to use public transport for this Golden Triangle. But later we have changed this plan and we hired private driver in one tourist agency.
Three important tips:
- Don’t expect superb locations when you booking on the Airbnb in India. Apartments look good on the images, but reality is a bit different.
- If you are traveling to Agra, we are recommending to book your stay at Pearl of Taj.
- If you planing to travel in North Goa, for example Calangute or Baga area, we recommend to check the Vila Goesa beach resort. If you ask why, just check our private path to beach:
Before you go:
A machine-readable passport (biometric) valid for at least 180 days and with at least two blank pages is required for all EU citizens.
All EU citizens which travel to India must obtain a visa from an Indian diplomatic mission or by Indian online visa portal. Luckily all EU citizens can apply for visa by eVisa portal. And eVisa fee is 80 USD (except the UK).
After applying for eVisa and paying the fee over the internet you will receive response in next 72h on provided email (email which you proved in the eVisa form). Then go again to eVisa web site and open the Print Registered Application section. This pepper you will need to show on the airport immigration check.
We manage to find affordable tickets via Turkish Airlines. Flight was from Belgrade to Istanbul and then to New Delhi. But if you choose some other company with better prices, good for you.
We warmly advise for you all is to use Delhi like starting and ending point:
- Delhi have huge hub for domestic flights. So when you travel inside the India, it is easy to fine some flight to go further and see more.
- If you planing to see Taj Mahal, Jaipur and go to Safari in Rajasthan, then Delhi is excellent base.
We wanted to see east coast, our goal was Goa and Kerela. And our recommendation is to use airlines when traveling between different states in India. It is much more faster and less stressful. In India operate few low-cost airlines. Ticket prices are similar between companies. In most cases flights are between 50 and 100 Euros. We’ve selected IndiGo mostly because flight schedules.
Euro are more then welcome in India. But you need to exchange them to Indian rupees. The most common cases you can get 81 INR for 1 EUR. But keep in mind that on airport you will get less for your euro (~76 INR). On the airport you basically have one or two exchange offices and you don’t have a lot of to think.
Let me just to give you some insights regarding prices for drinks, food etc.
Meals in good restaurant are from 5 EUR to 10 EUR per person. And we recommend you to search for restaurants in advance. For example use TripAdvisor for this purposes. Don’t just sit in first restaurant that you see on street.
Bottle of water in store is ~20 euro cents and in restaurants they will charge you in most cases between 1 and 1.20 EUR.
Entrance to Taj Mahal is around 20 EUR.
Entrance to other monuments in most cases is between 5 and 10 EUR.
For the end, in India everyone expect tips.
When you arrive to India
In Delhi you will landed to Indira Gandhi Airport, terminal T3. T3 terminal is for international flights and some domestic flights. This is important if you planing to travel with domestic flights also.
Domestic flights in most cases depart and arrive to the terminal T2.
First, you need to pass passport and eVisa check. Found the counters for eVisa. Before the approaching the counters. You need to fill in small additional immigration paper form with information such us first and last name etc. Then with that paper, passport and eVisa application approach the eVisa migration counters. The officers at counters will take your fingerprints and picture of your face. If everything is ok you will that pass security checks, and you can proceed to baggage pick up area.
Taxi and public transport
You will need taxi from airport to the city. Our recommendation that you search for airport prepaid taxi. You will find the outside the Airport in the unsightly metal box office. We have asked for taxi on few places and this was the cheapest option. Drive to city was around 10 euros for us. But that part depends where you have accommodation in the city.
There is lot of different transports options such us buses, cycle-rickshaws, autorickshaws, and urban trains etc.
Costs for public transport vary from town to town. So agree (bargain) on the price before you start your journey and make sure that it covers your luggage and every passenger.
Even where meters exist, drivers may refuse to use them, demanding an elevated ‘fixed’ fare; bargain hard. Fares usually increase at night (by up to 100%) and some drivers charge a few rupees extra for luggage.
Carry plenty of small bills for taxi and rickshaw fares as drivers rarely have change. In some places, taxi/autorickshaw drivers are involved in the commission racket.
The risks to health whilst travelling will vary between individuals and many issues need to be taken into account, e.g. activities abroad, length of stay and general health of the traveller. It is recommended that you consult with your General Practitioner or Practice Nurse. They will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and /or antimalarial tablets. Malaria risk varies with the season. In winter, there is a very low risk over most of the country however, the use of antimalarials is advised in that states of Assam and Orissa and some areas of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh where the risk is higher.
We also recommend to equip with a lot of vitamin C and active carbon tablets in order to keep your digestion in-check.
A lot of people ask us if we do any vaccines before the trip, the answer is NO. And everything was just fine on our trip. We returned without health issues.
If you need some kind of medicine in the India, just go to the nearest medical store and buy what you need. The medicine in India is really affordable and they quite good and effective.
P.S. in our case we also bring with us rakia (traditional strong alcoholic drink) which we used almost after every meal in order to perform internal disinfection and to stay healthy 🙂
You will probably hear some not so good information about India and in most cases it will be related to adultery, rape, scams and drugs.
If you traveling with somebody, you are probably ok and you will not have problems. But still, keep eye on safety of you, your friends and your belongs.
If you are alone, try not to travel late in night. At night stay in your accommodation. Especially when you are in Delhi.
Be prepared and good luck! 🙂