A guide to planning your first visit to India
India is the seventh largest country in the world and is also one of the world’s most beautiful countries, and if it’s not already on your bucket list, it definitely should be.
Many first time visitors to India choose to go for the Golden Triangle, which is made up of Agra, Delhi, and Jaipur, plus a bit of Rajasthan added on, if time permits. However, there is so much more to see in this diverse and spectacular country.
When to go to India
First things first, the main deciding factor regarding your trip should be when to go. November to March is ideal, as the temperature is more pleasant than April-October, when India is at its hottest.
To see Indian culture at its best and for a truly unforgettable experience, why not plan a trip to incredible India during one of the many fabulous and distinct festivals that are held throughout the year. They are a fantastic time to visit as each festival has a colourful story and various rituals attached to them.
Visas for India
You will require an Indian Visa to visit India, (with the exception of citizens of Bhutan and Nepal who do not need a visa). It is essential that you apply for your visa in advance before planning to travel to India.
The best way is to apply for your Indian visa online as it is much faster, cheaper, and for ease, gets emailed to you, so all you have to do is print out your visa.
Where to Go in India
India’s North is so different from the South in a multitude of ways, ranging from the architecture and language to food and landscapes.
If you like more mountainous regions we recommend heading north to the peaks of Himachal Pradesh and the Indian Himalayas in Ladakh.
If you are a beach lover, we recommend heading south to Goa or Kerala. Kerala has a charm and gentleness unlike anywhere else in India. Here you can be as relaxed or as energetic as you wish. There are wonderful beaches to stroll on, beautiful backwaters to explore, cultural experiences by the score, and delicious local cuisine to be savoured. Kerala is the perfect destination to ease yourself into the continent and have a calmer introduction to India.
To experience the Regal side, Rajasthan is hard to beat with its spectacular palaces and forts, and we recommend Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur for a varied experience.
For those seeking something more spiritual, the cities of Rishikesh and Varanasi are perfect and can easily be built into an itinerary.
Wildlife enthusiasts will love the thrill of spotting the Bengal Tiger in national parks such as Ranthambore National Park or Bandhavgarh National Park.
How to Get Around in India
Rickshaws and Ubers
Rickshaws and Ubers are the easiest ways to travel within a city in India, with both being frequent and inexpensive.
If you want to hop between cities, the fastest way is through domestic flights. Be aware of luggage restrictions though.
The Indian Railway is a huge part of the infrastructure of India and we recommend experiencing a rail journey at least once.
Buses are a great option for getting to and from smaller towns that don’t have railway access.
There are also plenty of overnight sleeper buses on longer distance routes which have air-conditioning.
The currency used in India is Rupees and these cannot be purchased or obtained outside of India and also cannot be changed back outside of India, so make sure you don’t take out more than you need, or remember to change it back before you leave India.
Have plenty of small change for tips but as much as possible try to use a credit card for the best exchange rate.
Accommodation in India ranges from budget to ultimate luxury with so many options, such as staying in hostels, havelis and home stays to luxury five star opulent hotels. There is something to suit every budget.
You can even stay in a Maharaja’s Palace if you desire and live it up like royalty!
If you are inspired to to visit Incredible India you can find out more about Somak Holiday’s Itineraries here, or you can request a bespoke one:
Find out more: https://www.somak.com/india