India is considered the seventh largest country by area and the second most populous in the world. It shares diverse and colorful stories of people, religious beliefs, and ancient structures that make it more interesting.

India Travel Guide for First-Time Travelers
Ladakh, India

Excited for your next trip? Here’s a comprehensive travel guide to India for first-time travelers, backpackers, and more!

Visa Requirements to India

Almost all nationalities need a visa in advance before they can visit India. The only visa-exempt countries are Bhutan, The Maldives, and Nepal. South Korean and Japanese citizens are eligible to get a visa on arrival provided that he/she arrives at the international airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, and Hyderabad.

All other nationalities can secure a visa at the Indian Embassy in their home country or get an eVisa online at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html.

A delivery man in Jaipur, India | Photo by Clive Moss under creative commons

How to get to India?

India can be reached by air, land or sea. The most popular options to get to India are by taking a flight and by crossing the borders from Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan.

By Air: International Airports in Bangalore, Goa, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kerala, Kolkata, and Mumbai are well connected to major cities in the world. You can also connect to the Middle East if there is no direct flight from your city.

India’s national flag carrier is Air India and it has direct flights across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Australia, and North America. You can check and book cheap flights to India now.

By Land: You can cross the border from Nepal, Bangladesh, and China. Make sure you possess a valid visa as you cannot get a visa at the border.

When is the best time to visit India

For sun worshippers, the best time to visit India is anytime from October to February. February to May are a lot more humid but are also great months to visit. Since the country is vast, you will be surprised that the climate varies by region.

  • Delhi and the Golden Triangle are best visited on February and March, October and November for its tolerable and calm temperature.
  • Goa, the most popular beach destination in India, is best visited in mid-November to mid-February when the skies are clear and the temperature’s warm.
  • The best time to visit Kerala is anytime from December to February during the cool and dry season.
  • Lastly, the Himalayas is best to travel from March to June and September to November. You should also avoid months from December to February when the roads are closed due to the snow. 
Camels in India | Photo by Clive Moss under creative commons

How to get to the city from New Delhi Airport

There are four modes of transportation to get to the city from New Delhi Airport. The top option is the New Delhi Airport Metro Express with a travel time of 20-30 minutes. It is air-conditioned, cheap, and reliable for locals and tourists. 

The train comes every 10 minutes during peak seasons and every 15 minutes during non-peak seasons. The fare to Delhi Aerocity is 50 RS, and 60 RS (less than 1 USD) to Terminal 3. You can also try their Ride-sharing apps like Ola and Uber, or hop into a Taxi or a Bus.

How to get to the city from Mumbai Airport

From Mumbai Airport, the most convenient form of transportation is by riding a taxi. You can choose from normal metered, which can be distinguished by its yellow and black exteriors, or pre-paid taxis. A pre-paid taxi is more recommended for you to get the right rate. The average fare is around 500 to 600 RS (approximately 8 to 9 USD) for pre-paid, and 625 to 700 RS (approximately 9 to 10 USD) for metered taxis with 25 minutes to two hours travel time.

Apart from that, you can also get into a bus, Uber and Ola cabs, or auto rickshaws.

How to get to the city from Kochi Airport

To get to the city proper, riding a bus first to Airport Junction is a great option since there is usually no bus that travels directly to the city. Once you reach the junction, you can now ride an auto rickshaw or taxi on the way to the city. You can always ride with your friends on the bus to save money. The travel cost is usually 20 to 50 Indian Rupees (less than 1 USD).

How to get to the city from Kolkata Airport

The most convenient mode of traveling from Kolkata to the city is through taxi. All you have to do is line up the prepaid counter and pay for the cab. Price varies depending on your destination, but fare won’t exceed 500 RS (8 USD). Journey time lasts 30 minutes during light traffic and one hour and a half during heavy traffic.

Connecting to the internet in India

Most airports in India have free Wifi that works. A lot of hotels and cafes also have free wifi so you can easily connect to the internet. If you plan to get a local sim, it’s better to buy from the airport when you arrive in India. Most international airports have a counter where you can buy sim. If you land in Amritsar, there is no counter to buy a local sim. Buying a sim in the city is possible but not always a guarantee. Most shops will not allow you to buy a sim if you do not have an Indian passport or an electoral (voter’s ID).

Where to exchange currency in New Delhi

The local currency in India is Indian Rupee (RS). One US Dollar is around 0.015 RS. There are available currency exchange centers in the airport so you may exchange your USD to RS. There are also ATMs you can use if you prefer to withdraw cash from the bank.

How to get around in India?

India has a number of budget airlines so flying from one state to another state is quite cheap. Full-service airlines also offer competitive rates so it’s really easy to avail domestic flights. The key here is to book a flight in advance to score a cheaper fare.

Another popular mode of transport around India are local and inter-state trains. The train fare is cheap, especially in the lower class. If you plan of availing a reserved seat for a comfortable journey, you can book here in advance. We highly suggest you buy a ticket in advance as it gets fully booked especially in long haul journeys.

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If you want to rent a car and drive your way around India, you can book here.

Where to stay in New Delhi, India?

India offers relatively cheaper hotel accommodations, of course depending on your preference. Here are our suggested places you can stay while you are in New Delhi.

For an amazing experience, we highly suggest you stay at The Oberoi New Delhi. The room rates here start at around USD220. You can book now online via Booking.com.

If you are looking for a mid-range hotel with a nice look and feel, we recommend The LaLiT New Delhi. It is an affordable top-rated hotel within the city center of New Delhi.

Budget travelers and backpackers can stay at Hotel Hari Piorko for around USD25 a night. This budget hotel is within a walking distance to Delhi Metro and New Delhi Railway Station. Book now to reserve a room.

Where to stay in Agra?

If you are looking for a luxury hotel, you should stay at The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra. It’s one of the most gorgeous hotels in Agra with a perfect view of Taj Mahal.

For a mid-range accommodation with a good view of Taj Mahal, You can stay at Crystal Sarovar Premiere Agra. It’s one of the top-rated hotels in Agra.

For budget travelers and backpackers, we recommend you stay at Sai Palace Agra. It’s a few minutes walk to the Taj Mahal and it has a nice roof deck restaurant with a view of Taj.

View of Taj Mahal from The Oberoi Amarvilas Agra | Photo js42 by under creative commons

Must-try Food in India

Food is something you that should enjoy and savour while you are in India. Here are some of the Indian dishes that you should try:

  • Butter Chicken – a traditional Indian chicken dish with mildly spiced tomato sauce. You can try it at Moti Mahal Restaurant in New Delhi.
  • Indian Thali – feast on an assortment of different Indian dishes on a single platter.
  • Chicken or Vegetable Biryani – a rice dish with chicken or vegetable plus lots of spices.
Indian Thali | Photo by Franx’ under creative commons

10 Top Tourist Attractions in India

India is a vast country that will never run out of incredible sites to visit. There is the Himalayas in the north, beaches on the east, deserts on the west, and some undiscovered tribal territories in the south. Here are the 10 Top Tourist Attractions in India that should be in your bucket list:

Taj Mahal

The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan ordered the construction of the Taj Mahal to symbolize his love to his wife, Arjumand Banu Begum. 

The temple’s name, Taj Mahal, was inspired by the emperor’s name for her wife: Mumtaz Mahal which means ‘Beloved Ornament of the Palace’ or ‘Chosen One of the Palace’. Taj Mahal was built with a combination of Indian, Persian, and Islamic style, so expect the structure to be beautiful and extravagant! It even includes intrinsic floral wall designs made of rare and precious stones from far-flung areas in India. Get a Taj Mahal Fast Track Entry Ticket now.

Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal, India

Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal, or known as the Place of the Winds, is astoundingly built in the shape of Krishna’s crown. It is a five-story structure that is intended for Royal women to have a view of everyday life and public gatherings. Visiting the place is literally being in the same place as them! For the best experience, you should also visit the temple early morning to see the golden sun lights. It’s one of the Top Tourist Attractions in India you should see. Buy a Jaipur Sightseeing Tour ticket.

Hawa Mahal | Photo by SE-AsiaTravel.com under creative commons

Kanha National Park

The park is considered one of the most beautiful wildlife parks in the world. It is a Tiger reserve that also protects various species of reptiles, insects, and birds. A tour to this dense forest park offers a magnificent experience to travelers, especially to nature lovers! Imagine having a view of Barasingha, the swamp deer that is known as the ‘Jewel of Kanha’! What more could you ask for?

Kanha National Park
Kanha National Park | Photo by Kandukuru Nagarjun under creative commons

Humayun’s Tomb

Humayun’s Tomb is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the first ever garden tomb in the India subcontinent. After Humayun’s death, his eldest wife Bega Begum initiated the building of the tomb to honor him. It is made of red sandstone in the middle of a square garden. Also, it has a shallow water fountain in the middle that reflects the beautiful structure in the morning. Buy a Humayun’s Tomb Fast-Track Entry Tickets in Delhi here.

Humayun’s Tomb
Humayun’s Tomb

Varanasi

Varanasi, also known as Benaras, is one of the oldest cities in India but still the most visited today. It is a significant place for locals and foreign tourists for being a pilgrimage spot of Hindus during Ganga Aarti, a spiritually uplifting ceremony to honor the Goddess river Ganga. Numerous stores set up on the street to sell food and traditional Indian clothes. You can even find musicians performing everywhere in the city and yoga masters to hire if you need one.  Join a Varanasi Heritage City Tour.

Varanasi
Varanasi | Photo by Magda & Maciej under creative commons

Ladakh

Ladakh is located in the Himalayan range of Kashmir and Jammu. It is a highland with crystal sands of varying colors like brown, orange, red, gray, and green. It’s a heaven for travelers who are into photography and those who appreciate the scenic environment. Apart from that, Ladakh is known for the pink tea, momos, and thukpas so you shouldn’t miss trying them as you visit the place. Avail a full-day Leh, Ladakh Tour.

Ladakh, India
Ladakh, India

Jaipur 

Jaipur, as part of the Golden Triangle, is one of the most romantic sites in India. Elephant and hot air balloon rides are common to Jaipur which adds up to the place’s adventures. The land is also bubbling with eccentric yet fashionable crafts, arts, and clothing, so you shouldn’t miss out shopping in this bustling city. Join a Jaipur Walking Tour!

Top tourist attractions in india
Jaipur| Photo by Jesse Rapczak under creative commons

Amritsar

The small village of Amritsar is the chosen one of the Sikh leader Guru Amar Das to serve as the holy shrine location of the Sikh. It houses the Golden Temple which attracts thousands of pilgrims every year to offer flowers to Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture, and walk in the chamber to chant their prayers. The Golden Temple is incredibly beautiful! It illuminates at night with the illusion of floating in its surrounding waters. Book an Amritsar Day Tour!

The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India
The Golden Temple in Amritsar, India

Kerala

We always envision India’s streets as loud and crowded because of the honking cars and endless traffic. But Kerala isn’t the same as this! Instead, it’s more laid back and serene. It has stunning waterfalls, long coastlines, and well-preserved tea fields. It is generally green and lush, which makes it a perfect destination if you love outdoors!

Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India | Photo by Saurabh Chatterjee under creative commons

Goa 

Apart from the waters religious symbolism, Goa is also popular for travelers who want to try kayaking, scuba diving, dolphin spotting, paragliding, cruising, and more. You will never run out of things to do in Goa for its lively and tropical atmosphere. You can even laze around the sandy shore and still have the best time!

Taj Aguada Beach Resort in Goa
Taj Aguada Beach Resort in Goa | Photo by Ravikiran Rao under creative commons

Top Tours and Activities to Do in India

Taj Mahal and Fort Agra Private Tour from Delhi

Enjoy a private tour to one of the seven wonders of the world – Taj Mahal! In this tour, you will explore two of the iconic UNESCO heritage sites in India – the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Perfect day tour from New Delhi! Book now!

Delhi Hop On Hop Off Sightseeing Bus Tour

Get a chance to visit over 20 famous Delhi attractions including World Heritage monuments, museums, and more in this Hop on Hop Off Sightseeing bus tour in New Delhi. You can opt to get a one or two-day pass. You can book now online

New & Old Delhi Day Tour

Experience the amazing tourist attractions in New and Old Delhi in a private full day tour. Learn about India’s history while you visit famous historical sites, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and more! Book a discounted ticket!

Basic and Helpful Phrases in Hindi

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