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You've seen the pictures, heard the stories, and now you want to experience it for yourself. You're not alone – so many people find themselves drawn to India's colorful culture and vibrant cities.
But before you go, we have a few tips on how to make your trip as safe as possible! Read on for some of our top recommendations and a complete itinerary.
Travel insurance is a must. It is there to protect you against illness, injury, or any other unforeseen emergency. It is also there to get you home in an emergency. First, view our article on whether travel insurance is worth it or not here. Then, if you still need an insurance provider, check out our partner we trust below.
We know that India is a magical place – it has everything you could ever want from a holiday… but there are some pitfalls to be wary of. The most important thing to bear in mind is that every single country and culture across the world is different and should be respected.
Cultures can vary from place to place, meaning that some Indians may not have the same customs as you. Just use your common sense and follow the standard rules of politeness.
What is the best time to travel to India?
The best time to visit India is between October and March when it is dry and not too hot. However, if you're heading to the Andaman Islands or Goa, then December-February is an excellent time for a beach holiday.
You can also go at other times of the year, but be aware of Indian festivals which will affect prices in some cities! Our top tip? Avoid Diwali when hotels are more expensive due to local demand. It's a massive festival, almost like Christmas in America.
Getting Around India
When getting around India, we recommend using an overnight train. It's the most comfortable option and surprisingly cheap! Moreover, you can book it online by yourself. However, if you're not keen on the idea of sleeping in a train berth, then you might want to consider flying. We recommend Indigo or Jet Airways for flights within India – they are both excellent, safe airlines with good food and staff.
For getting around intercity, you can hail auto-rickshaws in almost all cities in the country. Uber, Ola works in the cities as well. You can check the prices to move around and get an idea about it, then try to strike a reasonable deal with the auto-rickshaws.
Where To Stay?
India has everything from luxurious 5-star resorts to simple yet gorgeous beach huts. However, we recommend staying in a "resort" as it is much easier for budget traveling and makes the most of your adventure! Plus, if you stay in a resort, you'll have the opportunity to meet fellow travelers, which is great for building friendships.
Pickpocketing can be an issue in India like it is worldwide. So, make sure your wits are about you at all times. For example, avoid carrying your passport around with you – instead, leave it locked up safely in your room. And beware of scams in major cities that will try to trick you out of money!
Shopkeepers are known to overcharge for their products to foreigners in some circumstances. The best thing to do is simply ignore anyone who approaches you on the street or in a shop – 80% of the time; they are trying to scam you for cash, so don't fall for their tricks.
Finally, pay no attention to the beggars. It's true that many Indians are impoverished but giving them money can do more harm than good as they will often use it for alcohol or gambling instead of their families. If you want to help, you can buy them food instead.
India is pretty safe, but use your common sense and respect the country's customs. If you do that, there is no limit to what you can do here! So, get out there and explore this fantastic, fascinating place full of beautiful people.
India currently has an e-visa system in place, with no need for an actual visa stamp when you enter the country! So, all you have to do is apply online with your photo and passport number before flying out. For more information click on the link below.
Some travelers have come across the words "Visa Refused" at some point. Unfortunately, this is common for some people who think they only need a flight to enter India. However, this isn't always the case!
Don't panic, explain your situation and you may be okay. Sometimes visas can be refused by mistake, but the good news is that you might still be granted entry into India if you can provide valid reasons for wanting to travel there (such as visiting family or friends). The bottom line, make sure you have a valid passport and visa before entering India.
Nightlife in India
Even though India is a developing country, there are still plenty of fun activities that tourists can enjoy. One of these is the nightlife scene in some cities. Be it dinner and dance clubs or just regular pubs with cocktails, you will be able to find something to your taste.
If you like to party hard, then Mumbai is the place for you! This is where locals and foreigners come together for a wild night of fun and drinking. At the same time, Delhi offers both Bollywood dancing and Bhangra parties. Goa is famous worldwide for its party beaches so if you want to have an unforgettable experience, visit there before it's too late!
Staying Safe At Night
If you are a woman traveling alone, India is relatively safe. However, that doesn't mean you should let your guard down. For example, avoid walking alone late at night and always be aware of who's around you. And never get separated from others when you're in a public place.
If you plan to party at night, stay in lighted areas with lots of people around! But this is just common sense, really, so don't worry too much about it!
India is famous for its food, particularly curries. While it might not be to everyone's taste (it can be a bit spicy!), there are plenty of places where you can grab a cheap snack or an evening meal.
For breakfast, you should try some "chai," which is Indian tea that's served with milk and sugar. It's delicious! When it comes to food, if the locals are eating somewhere, then you know it must be good!
So, sit down in any cafe/restaurant that catches your eye and take your pick from the menu. And when in doubt, always go for the local specialty dishes.
Visiting Temples & Holy Sites
If you visit a Hindu temple (which is all over the country and is regarded as holy ground), then PLEASE remember to always take off your shoes before entering. This rule applies to everyone, so don't get offended if someone asks you to remove your footwear!
Remember that temples are just that – places of worship! So, they must be treated with respect at all times. You'll probably see lots of people sleeping in these temples too, but please don't disturb them. And don't take photos of anyone who doesn't want their picture taken.
Travel & Accommodation
Don't be afraid to explore India on your own! It's a fantastic place that does have something for everyone. You can visit towns/cities, take part in adventure sports (rafting, trekking, etc.) or relax by the beach.
There are many accommodation options too, but it's best to book online before you go as this is the easiest way for foreign visitors to get a good price/deal.
The most popular place in India is New Delhi, followed by Mumbai and Agra. However, try cities like Jaisalmer, Jaipur, and Udaipur to avoid typical tourist spots.
The truth is you cannot see all of India in one trip - unless you're packing up your life and shifting to India for good! It's just too big. However, you can see some unique places in India if you have a limited time. You'll need to do your research before going, as there are thousands of options. This guide is to give you an idea of where to start. Just pick one place and give it a go!
Here are some of the best places to visit in India:
Delhi is India's capital city and has some fantastic places to visit. It also boasts having the Akshardham Temple, which is worth seeing, especially if you're into architecture.
You can also see the Qutub Minar (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a great place to take photos! In addition, Delhi has several mosques, including the Jama Masjid, which is well worth visiting.
Raj Ghat is where Mahatma Gandhi's cremation took place, and it now houses his memorial & Samadhi (final resting place). In addition, there are several gardens in Delhi, such as Nehru Park (picturesque) and the Lotus Temple (one of the most popular attractions).
Since New Delhi is the capital of India, there are tons of different lodging options. The prices range from very expensive to very cheap. It can range from 10$ to 400$ per night. So, it all depends on your budget.
Delhi's cuisine is mainly influenced by the Mughal Empire and thus has a lot of North Indian influence. However, you'll still find many South Indian dishes in Delhi as well.
The best dishes to eat are Dahi Vada and Panipuri. They're cheap and delicious street foods that you should try! Other local delicacies include Kachori (fried dumplings), Chole Bhature (Spicy Chickpeas), Aloo Paratha (Stuffed Roti), and Mughlai Paratha.
You can try all of these dishes at the following locations:
Dahi Vada near Chandni Chowk; Panipuri near Jhandewalan Dhaba; Paranthewali Gali, Lajpat Nagar; Chole Bhature in Sadar Bazar; & Mughlai Paratha in Karol Bagh.
There are all kinds of things to do in New Delhi for all people.
Here's a list of activities: Visit Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb, India Gate & Red Fort; Shopping at Sarojini Nagar Market or Khan Market, or walk around Connaught Place and Khan Market for some shopping and people watching.
The Taj Mahal in Agra is, without a doubt, one of the best places to visit in India. It's not only one of the world's seven wonders, but it's also an iconic symbol of India.
Plus, it gives you the chance to see classic Mughal architecture, which is something else to cross off your bucket list! There are several other places to visit in Agra, including the Akbar's Tomb, The Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb, and Fatehpur Sikri. You can also explore several forts nearby, like the Raja Bhoj Fort & Jahaz Mahal.
Jaipur is a popular destination for travelers and backpackers alike. It's called the Pink City because of all the pink buildings - check out the Hawa Mahal.
Some fantastic places to visit in Jaipur will take your breath away. Places like Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar, and Nahargarh Fort. You can also shop 'til you drop at the malls and markets in Jaipur, which makes it an ideal place to buy all the traditional Indian souvenirs to take home.
Most people know that Rajasthan cuisine is spicy and uses a lot of spices. One thing you must try while in Jaipur is Dal Baati Churma. If you don't already know, Baati is round-shaped fried bread made of wheat flour, and Churma is a sweet dish with many variations of ingredients being used. So, you're eating a hot piece of fried bread with a Churma topping!
You must also try the Rajasthani Lassi if you want a break from all the spicy food eaten daily! This drink will help you stay hydrated, so it's great for when you go out to explore Jaipur!
Udaipur is better known as the city of lakes (many lakes surround it) and has plenty of palaces that date back to the 16th century! It's also one of the most romantic cities in India, so if you're traveling with your significant other, then this should be your destination!
What to Eat in Udaipur
You must eat Jalebi while in Udaipur! This sweet dish is made from deep-fried dough, dipped in sugar syrup, and garnished with dried nuts. This dessert is served cold, so you'll have to let it sit for a while before enjoying it but trust me, it's worth the wait!
Since Udaipur was once home to Maharanas (kings) of Mewar, there are plenty of palaces and forts in the city. You can take a guided tour or hire a local guide who will teach you about the history of this place and show you around all the important places to see.
Another thing that we recommend is trying different water sports here, such as kayaking, rowing, speed boating, etc. There are many options for water sports, so explore different places and find out what they offer!
What to See in Udaipur
Lake Pichola, City Palace, Jagdish Temple, Monsoon Palace, Fateh Sagar Lake are some places you must visit while in Udaipur. There are other places such as Iskcon Temple, Jagdish Temple, and many others.
Go on a boat tour of Lake Pichola, followed by dinner at Jagat Niwas Palace Hotel with live music and dance performances. Visit one of the many palaces in town, or chill out by the lake.
Explore the city and visit all the famous places here. You'll love this place because there is no hustle and bustle like you see in Delhi and other cities.
Mumbai is considered the country's central hub because most banks, entertainment industries, and Bollywood are here.
What to Do in Mumbai
One of the things you should visit while in Mumbai is the Elephanta Caves! These caves are located on an island 6 km away from this city. You can get there by boat or bus. The cave has many stone carvings of Hinduism, including gods Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, and Ganesh. If you're feeling adventurous, then climb up the long stairs to reach the base of these caves for better views of them.
Make sure you have enough time when visiting these caves because it takes a long time to explore them all. Explore Nariman Point to see some lovely buildings such as Marine Drive. This place has peacocks roaming around, so it's worth seeing! There's also an aquarium and a museum in this area if you're interested. Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes because this walk will take a while.
You can also visit Haji Ali Dargah, where you'll find marble domes and white minarets. The best time of day to visit this place is at sunset because you'll get a nice view of the Arabian Sea. Another famous place to visit in Mumbai is the Gateway Of India, where you can find Indian Muslim culture, shops, and restaurants.
There are many types of food you can eat in this city! Make sure you try these foods:
Vada Pav looks like a burger, but it's made out of deep-fried potato patties that are then stuffed inside a roll with chutney, garlic, and other spices.
Chai is something else you should drink while in Mumbai! You can get it for cheap just about anywhere, so head on over to one of those restaurant stalls where people are lining up for some chai.
Kheema Pav is another popular dish in this city. Kheema means fried ground meat, while pav refers to bread. So, you can get a sandwich that's made with spicy meat and served on plain bread.
More Notable Places to See in India
These are just a few famous places you can visit when you're in India. But, you haven't visited India if you don't explore the Himalayas, deserts, temples, beaches, and other beautiful places that you can find throughout the country.
Kashmir is a place that you should visit if you're looking for some relief from the hustle and bustle of city life. The landscape here, with its snow-capped mountains and lush green valleys, will take your breath away! Because it's so remote, people come to Kashmir to escape the noise and pollution of cities like Delhi.
In addition to being beautiful, this region also has a rich culture that dates back thousands of years. You can feel it in everything from the music to the food!
Kerala is another place that you should visit if you want to relax. This coastal state has gorgeous backwaters, white sandy beaches, and tropical forests! There are also lots of wildlife in this region, so it's a must-see if you're looking for something different from the typical Indian city life.
Plus, Kerala is home to the Indian Backwaters. These are vast irrigation systems that were created thousands of years ago. You can get around Kerala by houseboat or canoe to fully appreciate the area's natural beauty up close.
North-East India is a group of states tucked away from the rest of India. This means you'll find primarily traditional Indian culture here.
If you're looking for some adventure, then head on to the North-East! This area is filled with waterfalls, mountains, and dense forests. You can also go on elephant safaris or jungle treks here. Plus, there are lots of festivals that take place throughout the year.
Are you into mountaineering? Your trip to India would be incomplete if you don't head to Uttarakhand state to see the Himalayan Mountains! If you want a trip you'll never forget, consider going with an expert guide on an expedition in the mountains! You can find a seasoned-professional tour guide by clicking the link below.
In terms of tourist destinations, Varanasi should be at the top of your bucket list! We saved this excellent spot for last and have dedicated an entire guide to it that you can find here, "Travel to Varanasi, India's Mystical Heart." The city is steeped in rich history and culture with more than 20,000 temples. You could easily spend a week here even if you're in a rush to travel around India.
There are lots of other places in India that you can visit. Our list was by no means exhaustive, but these special mentions should give you a head start on your journey through this vast, diverse and beautiful country! Enjoy your trip, and we'd like to wish you all the best!
Need some assistance for your trip? Send us a message and we will do our best to help you out.
Try to be as detailed as you can with exactly what you need help with so we can best serve you.