India Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit India in 2023
Welcome to India
With great outdoors, bustling cities, mouthwatering cuisine, and ancient festivals, it’s tough to summarize everything India has to offer in a single ultimate India travel guide. Anyone who has planned a trip to this fantastic country knows they will need to return several times to get a glimpse of everything that India encompasses.
All that being said, in this India travel guide for 2023, we’ll offer you all the travel advice you need to start planning your next trip to India, from entry and exit requirements to places to see and the best times to travel. We have a lot to cover and not enough time, so let’s get started!
Document checklist for India
Foreign nationals traveling to India will need to have some of these documents:
Health Declaration (Self-declaration form)
Return airline ticket
Essential India travel information
Currency - Indian Rupee (₹ INR) 1$ is equivalent to approx. ₹82.
Daily budget for 1 person - ₹2,611
Languages - Hindi and English
Socket type - Types C, D, and M. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
Time zone - UTC+05:30 (IST)
Top 3 cities to visit - New Dehli, Mumbai, and Varasani.
Top 3 landmarks/monuments - Taj Mahal, Golden Temple, Amber Fort.
Visa information for India
The right visa for your trip will depend on the reasons for your trip and your nationality. Currently, you can apply online for a tourism visa, a business visa, or a medical visa.
India Tourist eVisa
This tourist visa allows travelers from eligible countries to enter India for tourism purposes. You can get the visa entirely online, without ever stepping into an Indian embassy because the visa is electronically linked to your passport.
You can decide which visa suits your travel needs. We have three options: 30-day eVisa India, 1-year eVisa India, and 5-year eVisa India.
The 1-year visa and the 5-year visa allow for 180 days Per Entry as long as the visa remains valid.
India Medical Visa
This travel authorization grants you a 60 days in Total stay in India for medical reasons. You can use it for medical treatment, even if you have pre-existing medical conditions, or to get any type of surgery as long as surgery and recovery doesn’t exceed the 60 days in Total stay. The treatment or procedure needs to be in an authorized hospital or treatment center in the country.
India Business Visa
It is an official document that allows travelers to visit India for business purposes. You can use it for stays of up to 180 days in Total if you're attending a business event, meeting, or training. But the India Business Visa is not an employment visa and cannot be used to seek work or employment in the country.
If you require an employment visa, reach out to the nearest Indian consulate or embassy to obtain it.
Typical costs and budget for India
The final cost of your time in India will depend on how frugal or luxurious you want your trip to be. But here are the averages based on a mid-range traveler, so you can get an idea of how much you would spend on your trip to India.
Daily spending per person - ₹2,611 ($31)
Meals - ₹682 ($8)
Transport - ₹442 ($5)
Hotel - ₹1,135 ($13) in a hotel or hostel for one or ₹2,269 ($27) in a hotel room for two people. On average, a traveler would spend ₹18,278 ($221). A couple would spend ₹36,557 ($442) per week.
Transport and ways to travel around India
India is quite large. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to move around.
International arrivals are usually done by plane, but if you’re visiting several cities in a short time frame, air travel is not your only choice. The extensive rail network available in India will offer you a more immersive experience of the Indian culture and landscape. There are different classes of accommodation so you can travel as comfortably as you choose. Traveling by train will also offer the most breathtaking views of the Indian backcountry.
Lastly, if you want to own your itinerary, bring your international driving permit and rent a car to enjoy the beauty of India at your own pace.
Safety in India
Petty crime is quite common in India, especially in major cities. However, don’t let this deter you from enjoying this wonderful country. There are a few tips you can follow to stay safe in India:
Keep your personal belongings close to you and wear any backpacks or purses on your front, especially in crowded areas like markets and terminals.
Don't accept drinks or food from strangers.
Avoid buying from street vendors that approach you. If you want to get souvenirs from your trip, visit local markets.
Ask for tips and assistance from your host or receptionist at your hotel and hostel. They will give you specific instructions on what to do and avoid during your trip.
If exploring the many mountains and peaks in India, make sure to hire a guide to have the safest experience. Avoid restricted or protected areas and monitor local media to stay updated regarding any alerts. Also bear in mind, that commercial mountain rescue services are available only up to altitudes of 3,000 meters.
In general, during your trip make sure you are familiar with local laws and have the necessary information in case you require emergency assistance like emergency numbers to contact the Indian authorities and your local embassy or consulate contact information.
Weather in India
India has only two seasons, the dry season and the monsoon season. But regardless of the season, it is a predominantly hot country. During the dry season, from mid-October to mid-May, temperatures range between 14°C/57°F and 34°C/93°F. December and January are the cooler months. We recommend visiting this time of the year, especially if you plan to travel around south India.
The monsoon season occurs between mid-May and mid-October. It’s not recommended to visit India during monsoon season. Heavy rain, suffocating heat, and humidity can make your experience uncomfortable.
Regardless of the time of the year you visit India, we recommend that you bring fresh clothing. Avoid tank tops, translucid garments, and shorts. India is a conservative country and you might be denied entry to many attractions because of what you’re wearing.
Popular cities and towns in India
There are so many great cities and towns in India that it’s so difficult to choose only a few. From massive cities home to people from all over the country to small towns popular due to their traditions or religious festivals.
Panaji - Located in the coastal state of Goa, this modern city welcomes hundreds of tourists that explore its Mediterranean-style architecture and bathe in the warm waters of the Arabian Sea.
Mysore - Rich in heritage and history, Mysore is home to some of India’s most impressive sights. The wooden Mysore palace, the Brindavan Gardens, and the Karanji Lake are only a few of the many attractions you can see here.
Jaisalmer - Located in the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, this golden city is an impressive example of ancient cultural exchange. The sandstone buildings have been standing there for centuries, from when this Jaisalmer was a vibrant trading spot for merchants from Arabia, Egypt, and Persia.
Udaipur - Also known as the city of lakes, Udaipur is the perfect romantic destination in India. Walk around the quaint streets and visit the many palaces and temples built with sparkling white marble.
Varanasi - Rising from the banks of the divine Ganges, this city is of great religious importance. Thousands of pilgrims visit the city every year, making it an excellent place for tourists to understand the deep spiritual roots of India.
Must do and see in India
Include these sights on your next trip to India
Jaisalmer Fort, Jaisalmer - Built over 800 years ago, the Jaisalmer Fort is home to a quarter of the population of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Meenakshi Temple, Madurai - Dedicated to the Goddess Meenakshi, Lord Shiva’s consort, this temple is one of India's most renowned artistic and architectural sights.
Mysore Palace, Mysore - Between 1399 and 1950, it served as a residence for the Wodeyards, the royal family of Mysore. It is now a museum that houses many royal artifacts and serves as the venue for the Mysuru Dasara festival.
Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi - Adorned with an 800-kilograms gold plating, this building is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas or temples dedicated to Lord Shiva.
City Palace, Udaipur - Built over 400 years ago, the City Palace is an excellent example of Rajput architecture. The City Palace is a complex housing 11 palaces inside it. Located on the bank of Lake Pichola, the palace offers excellent views of the city.
Typical Indian dishes to try
Biryani - Biryani is an aromatic dish of rice with meat. Traditionally made with basmati rice and meat that was previously marinated in yogurt. Meat and rice are cooked separately, and the magic happens when you mix both things and slow-cook them in the oven. The flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom pop out on this fantastic dish.
Dosa - It’s a crepe made usually with rice and lentils. Dosas are traditionally eaten with chutneys or curries, but sometimes they’re stuffed and eaten as a snack.
Chaat -This is the staple Indian street-food snack. There are many chaats, but the most popular is the papri chaat. It’s made with a samosa-style crust, boiled potatoes, and chickpeas and topped with tamarind chutney.
Vaccine information for India
Before traveling to India, you should be up-to-date with some vaccines, especially if you’re traveling with minors. Please check out other internet sites, like CDC - India Traveler View for vaccine recommendations to travel to India.
Passengers coming from China, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong no longer need a pre-departure test.
There will be random post-arrival testing at the airport on arrival. Children under 12 years of age are exempted from post-arrival random testing.
What’s the Delhi belly?
Delhi Belly is travelers' diarrhea, and it’s pretty common in India, hence the name.
Nobody wants to feel sick when traveling in a new country, so here are some recommendations to avoid getting sick on your next trip to India:
Eat food that is cooked and served hot, and avoid food served at room temperature.
Avoid undercooked meat, runny eggs, raw fruits and vegetables you haven’t cleaned yourself, and food from street vendors.
Drink bottled water from a sealed bottle or water that has been disinfected.
Use ice that has been made with disinfected water.
Bring some over-the-counter medicine for diarrhea with you on your trip in case you get sick.
Follow these recommendations, and you won’t have any issues with Delhi Belly while in India.
Fun facts about India
Here are some fun and interesting facts about India that will help you plan and enjoy your trip:
Cows are considered sacred - So if beef is part of your regular diet, you might want to make some adjustments while you visit the country.
There’s a temple of Rats in Rajasthan - Thousands of rats call the temple home and many pilgrims visit it every year on their journeys.
India has the largest sundial in the world - Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the largest sundial in the world is 27 meters (90 feet) tall and located in Jaipur.
70% of the world's spices come from India - India is by far the largest producer of spices and this explains why Indian cuisine is so diverse and popular worldwide.
Shampoo originates from India - The word “shampoo” comes from the Sanskrit word “champu” which means to massage. The word was used when ground herbs mixed with water were used to clean the hair and scalp.
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