The first time you go on vacation in India can feel like an odyssey into the unknown. This vast country is an inspiring destination, full of color, noise and excitement. It can be overwhelming at first but some tips from those who have gone before you should help you make the most of your Indian adventure.
Avoid culture shock by doing some research into the local customs in the area you are traveling to so you are prepared to immerse yourself in new experiences.
Before you start exploring the bustling cities and stunning countryside in India, ensure you have a valid passport and secure a valid Indian visa to enter and exit the country.
If you are visiting India as a tourist and plan to stay no longer than 30 days then you can apply for electronic travel authorization on an Indian government’s website. Make your application at least four days before you travel. It makes sense to carry photocopies of the bio-data page of your US passport and the pages containing the Indian visa and Indian immigration stamps. If you need to replace a lost visa for any reason then this information can speed things along.
Whether you are planning for a city based visit to the India or you are embarking on an excursion into the parks, jungles and mountains, make sure to get vaccinated for hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid. A health care professional can offer advice on other health related preparations that should be considered depending on the specific regions you will be visiting.
Must See Locations
India is one of the most diverse countries you could choose to visit. Language, culture, food, landscape, lifestyle, climate and architecture – India is a contrasting canvas of exciting destinations, from the soaring Himalayan mountains of the north to the beautiful beaches and tea fields in the south. Some of the most popular parts of India for tourists include:
A former Portuguese colony on India’s west coast, Goa attracts visitors from all over the world looking for spiritual enlightenment or a beach vacation in the sun. Goa can be reached by Dabolim airport or there are rail and bus links to Mumbai, Mangalore and Bangalore.
The largest city in India, Mumbai is a sprawling, modern metropolis which can be reached by booking a flight to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Explore here to find ancient Hindu and Buddhist temples, the distinctive Gateway of India monument at the waterfront and the Zaveri Bazaar which is filled with jewelry shops.
The state that dominates India’s tropical Malabar Coast, tourists explore the spice and tea plantations of the inland mountains or take a houseboat on the backwaters for views of unspoiled palm-lined countryside.
This city in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradech is home to the Taj Mahal, the most famous building in India. Constructed by Shah Jehan of the Mughal empire as a mausoleum for his wife, the ornately decorated white marble structure is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
Travelers fly to Agra’s Kheria Airport – alternatively you can fly to Delhi or Jaipur and continue your journey to Agra by road or by train.
As you journey around India you will discover that regional dishes rely on different ingredients and spices. If you are enthusiastic fans of hot chilli-infused cooking then you are in for a treat.
Traditional thalis are vegetarian mixed plates that are often served at roadside cafes or in restaurants in the north of the country. Kerela, with its historic spice port, has a food tradition based around coconut milk and fiery fish stews. Further north on the west coast you can enjoy daal flour dosa pancakes, soft steamed rice cakes and a dazzling displays of local fruits served on banana leaves.
First-time travelers in India should remember to careful when consuming street food and to drink bottled water rather than tap water. If you are staying in the city prepare for noisy streets full of life and constant traffic. When you have adjusted to the new and exhilarating sights and sounds, its easy to fall in love with India.