Let your senses run wild and visit magical India
Journey through the highlights of northern India. Discover why the Taj Mahal in Agra might just be the most romantic place on earth. Experience exotic rituals in Varanasi and take a trip down the holy Ganges river. You’ll pass by fairy-tale-like forts and palaces in Rajasthan. Nature lovers can spot wild animals in Ranthambore National Park. In the south, you can board a traditional houseboat for an unforgettable passage over the backwaters of Kerala. If you travel more centrally, you can hike through vast tea plantations. You can also travel by train, which is an adventure in itself. And let’s not forget curry! In India you’ll taste the best curries of your life. Need some time to recover from all these impressions? Then relax on the tropical beaches of Goa. All the more reason to visit India!
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Why visit India?
North India: the golden triangle
The north of India has the most beautiful cultural attractions of the country. In Agra you’ll find one of the 7 modern World Wonders: the Taj Mahal, a white monument that captures the imagination. In the north, you’ll also find the holy pilgrimage town of Varanasi, the ancient Red Fort, the pink city of Jaipur and the capital Delhi with its impressive mosques and cozy bazaars. Witness the spectacular sacrificial rituals on the Ganges. Here the dead are cremated and scattered over the holy river. You should not miss a visit to the desert region of Rajasthan. Stay in Chandelao, an old fort that has been converted into a small hotel. The owner takes you along traditional villages where you can get acquainted with the local residents.
South India: backwaters and tea plantations
In the colourful south of India, board a traditional houseboat for a trip across the endless lagoons in the backwaters of Kerala. In the historic town of Kochi, you will see highlights, such as the Chinese fishing nets, the Dutch Palace and a traditional Kathakali dance performance. Travel to Ooty and Meppadi and stroll through rolling hills and green mountains. In Thattekad, visit tea plantations and stay in the middle of a vanilla and coffee plantation. In Kodaikanal, spend the night in Elephant Valley along the migratory route of wild elephants. Relax at the end of your trip on the beautiful beach of Marari.
The tastiest food during your India travel
Indian cuisine is just as varied as the country itself. In the north it’s all about hearty curries and extensive thalis, which is a large platter with small trays filled with various dishes from Rajasthan. In the south you can enjoy a real dosa, or delicious light pancake with vegetables and herbs that can easily become the highlight of your trip. In Mumbai take a tour along the best street food and experience the Sadya, a feast typical of the state of Kerala, where up to 20 different dishes are served on a large banana leaf.
Tropical paradise in Goa
Did you know that India also has tropical paradises? The state of Goa is located on the west coast of the country and is the place to enjoy extensive beaches with overhanging palm trees. In the surrounding villages and towns there is plenty to do to during your stay.
Religion and heritage
Everywhere in India you can see remnants of ancient civilizations that once reigned here, from fairy-tale palaces of maharajas and their hosts of women to the ruins of shrines built centuries ago to please the gods. Visit the ornate temples and mosques of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Muslims. India is a cultural treasure with endless things to discover.
Know Before you Go
General Information and Insider Tips
Residents of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand need a visa for travel to India. You can get an electronic visa for this. For other countries, check visa requirements here.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months prior to arrival in India. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of valid and correct travel documentation.
There are no particular requirements for India, but make sure all routine vaccinations are up to date (MMR, polio, tetanus, etc.). Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended. We recommend all vaccines be completed at least six weeks prior to travel.
If traveling from a country that has yellow fever, you will be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
It is generally safe to travel in India. The border area between India and Pakistan is not safe and should not be visited. We also advise against travelling to the state of Jammu. Some parts of Kashmir also pose security risks.
The safety of our clients is of the utmost importance to us, and our local experts are always well-informed about the current situation in India. For up-to-date information about safety, security and travel warnings, please refer to the US State Department, UK Foreign Travel Advice, or your local government resource.
Sockets use the grounded three-pronged (Type D) or ungrounded two-pronged (Type C) plugs. Electricity in remote eco-lodges may not be reliable, so bring a flashlight/torch. You may also want to consider a portable USB charger for your electronics.
At Better Places Travel, you book your own international flights. Your travel expert will gladly advise you on the best option. Read here for more information and tips.
When to go
India is a large country and has many different climate. Between November and March is the best time to visit India. Temperatures are moderate and there is hardly any rain. From April to June it is especially hot in the north of India. The rainy season spans from July to September. In Kerala it rains especially in October and November. Read more about the best time to travel here.
The official national language is Hindu, but there are over 100 different languages throughout India. Each state has it’s own main language. English is also used in some areas, particularly in business and politics. Here are some useful Hindi words to learn:
Hello = Namaste (नमस्ते)
Goodbye = Namaste (नमस्ते) / phir milenge (फिर मिलेंगे)
Thank you = Dhanyavād (धन्यवाद) / ābhārī hōṅ (आभारी हुँ)
Excuse Me = Kṣama kījie (क्षमा कीजिए)
In India, you’ll find amazing cultural diversity throughout the whole country. The south, north, and northeast all have their own distinct cultures and most states have developed their own unique regional cultures. This vast country also has a variety of geographical features and historical heritage. Home to some of the most ancient civilizations, including four major world religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, it is full of cultural and religious history.
The local currency is Indian Rupees (INR).
The exchange rate fluctuates, so check the most current price before departure. There are plenty of ATM machines in major cities that accept Cirrus / Maestro and credit cards. If you visit smaller villages, it is wise to bring enough cash. In many hotels and more upscale restaurants you can pay with your credit card. It is important that you activate worldwide use of your debit cards with your bank in advance.
- Restaurants – A service charge may be added to your bill. If one isn’t included, is is customary to tip 10% in high-end places.
- Cabs – Drivers and guides will appreciate a tip, but taxis and rickshaws will likely already have included the tip in the price.
- Hotels – You can tip bellboys 20-30 rupees per bag, depending on the level of the hotel.
Read more about tipping in India here.
What you pack for your trip will depend on when you will visit India and which part of India. With its many different seasons, you’ll want to pack the right clothes for the right season. Think rain jackets for rainy season, warmer jackets for winter in the north and light, airy clothes further south and in summer.
- Small bottles of hand sanitizing gel and small tissue packets
- Mosquito repellent
- Water bottle
- Headlamp or good-quality small flashlight
- Trail shoes or running shoes for trekking
- Water shoes or sturdy sandals for walking and water sports
- Flip-flops for the beach
- Lightweight sweater or jacket for cool evenings
- Heavier jacket or fleece for higher elevations
- Light rain jacket or umbrella—even in the dry season it can rain
- Modest clothing
- Daypack for trekking
- Binoculars for wildlife spotting
- Sunglasses and hat
- Microfiber towel or sarong for beach-going
- Dry bags if taking electronics into the jungle/river raft
- Simple medical kit with over-the-counter drugs and first aid (including anti-diarrheal and stomach meds)
- Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
- All prescriptions
- Flashlight/torch for possible power outages
Insider Tip: Read more packing tips here.
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