India - Frequently Asked Questions
Table of contents
- When is the best time to go?
- Do you need a visa?
- How can I get there?
- What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
- What is there to see and do?
- Is it safe to drink the tap water?
- What is the time difference between the UK and India?
- Do I need any vaccinations ahead of travel?
When is the best time to go?
India has various climatic regions, which means the best time to travel will depend on where it is you'd like to visit. Generally speaking, India's weather is divided into three seasons - summer, winter and the monsoon. Typically, winter (November to February) is the preferred time for many travellers to visit, although the Himalayas and hill stations are best explored during the summer months (March to May). The monsoon season brings rainy, unsettled weather nationwide and lasts from June to October. Travelling around the country at this time of the year can be difficult.
Do you need a visa?
You need to apply for a visa before you travel to India, with tourist visas valid for three months, six months or a year, depending on the sort of visa you apply for. It's worth noting that Indian visas are valid from their date of issue, not the date you arrive in the country.
How can I get there?
There are numerous direct flights to India from the UK, although their frequency and the duration of the flight will depend on which of the country's airports you are planning to fly into. There are direct flights from the London to cities like Delhi and Mumbai serviced by Jet Airways, Air India and British Airways. Non-direct flights from the UK to other popular Indian cities, like Goa, Chennai and Hyderabad are also available with a stopover in Delhi or Mumbai. Flight times vary between eight-and-a-half hours and 12 hours depending on which part of India you are visiting.
What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
The Indian rupee is the local currency, although it's usually best to exchange your currency once you arrive in India. Euros, sterling and US dollars are all easy to change for rupees at local banks and exchange bureaus, while most major credit and debit cards are widely accepted at the ATMs found throughout the country as well as by some shops, hotels and restaurants in urban or tourist areas.
What is there to see and do?
India's attractions are varied and diverse, from its famous monuments and historical sites like the Taj Mahal, Delhi's Red Fort, Mysore's Maharaja's Palace and the Jaisalmer Fort, to the stunning beaches in Goa and the wildlife reserves like Ranthambore where you can spot tigers and many other exotic creatures. In the country's northern regions you can explore hill stations and visit the Himalayas, while in the south you can sun yourself on glorious beaches and try water sports like scuba diving and windsurfing. Simply spending time in one of India's vibrant cities is an experience in itself, with the hustle and bustle of the busy streets, the pungent aromas coming from the street vendors' food stalls and the bright and colourful saris worn by the women . they all combine to create a real feast for the senses.
Is it safe to drink the tap water?
The tap water in India isn't considered to be safe to drink. It's strongly recommended that you stick to bottled water during your trip.
What is the time difference between the UK and India?
India is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT, although this reduces to 4.5 hours during British Summer Time.
Do I need any vaccinations ahead of travel?
There are no compulsory vaccinations before travelling to India, although if you are coming from a country where yellow fever is present, you will need proof that you've been vaccinated against this illness. It is, however, recommended that you are vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria, polio, tetanus, TB, rabies and Japanese encephalitis.
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