You might have visited several destinations in the world and probably toured most of it in a few days or maximum a week. But when it comes to India, you might have to agree that you may have not even see 1% of it. The reason being, India is one of the most largest & diverse countries in the world, with 29 different states, each offering a different perspective of the country. Every state follows its own language, different food style and of course altogether different culture. When you visit the country, you don’t just visit the temples, beaches, mountains and other touristy places. You actually get to experience something new, a different way of life. Hence this India travel guide to give you a direction of where to look for.
Travelling in India can be a bit tricky. It’s not as straightforward as you might imagine. You need to decide whether you want to cover the North, South, East or West. Each section of the country has several cities you could visit and making an ideal plan is crucial.
Despite one of the most highly networked countries in the world with trains, buses and flights from every city to another, getting a ticket in one of these is not easy and proves to be expensive, if not booked earlier. So being a local and having extensively travelled to all parts of India, here’s an informative India travel guide for travel tips to India.
India Travel Guide – India’s Top Tourist Destinations by Region
As I had mentioned earlier, India is a vast country and you need to sit down and decide what kind of places you want to visit.
- North : Do you want to see the beautiful Himalayas/Manali up north, coupled along with the national capital, Delhi for a week?
- West: Head west to check out the fast paced life of the fashion & Bollywood capital, Mumbai and probably head to Goa for some awesome beach action.
- South: Else do you want to go down south, check out the backwaters of Allepey in Kerala, stay in houseboats, visit the temple town of Madurai in Tamil Nadu and head to Chennai, for a grandeur experience of food & culture. You also get to see the second longest beach in the world, Marina Beach.
- East: The east part of India offers yet another perspective of India, including Kolkata (famous for its Victorian style buildings, Rasagollas and of course a unique Bengali culture). You may also head further east to see Darjeeling (West Bengal) and Gangtok (Sikkim) and have a glimpse of the world’s tallest mountains Mount Everest and Kanchenjunga.
Each of the above destinations can vary anywhere between min 4 days to a week. So plan extremely well to cover a lot.
Flights To & Within India
- Travel To India : The top carriers that flies to India include
- Travel within India :
The broad categories involved in planning your trip : Accomodation, Transport, Food , Shopping
- India has more no of hotels than probably any other country in the world, in all price categories from Hostels to 3 star hotels to deluxe 5 star hotels. Of course, you also have couch-surfing, AirBnB’s and other homestay options. But with school holiday seasons, you might find most of the good ones sold out.
- So once you get to know the exact dates, login to one of the hotel booking sites and get your accommodation done. Rather than booking through Hotels.Com or Booking.com, go for the regional sites that offer better options with almost 50% of the price . These include Agoda.com and Cleartrip.com.
- The best way to travel within cities is trains. Nothing beats the comfort and quality of a train journey. They run on time, have fixed schedules . But booking a train ticket can be tricky as you need an Indian mobile number to do a booking. Else you have to book it offline, directly in a train ticket counter.
- However there are plenty of travel agencies who can get this done for you. But while booking, be specific about which train and time you are taking to coordinate with your travel plans.
- This is the official link to check trains between stations : http://www.indianrail.gov.in/between_Imp_Stations.html.
- Cabs & Uber
- It’s usually advisable to take a local city operator to show you around several places in 1-2 days. This will be cheaper and saves a lot of time. For the rest of your exploration, it’s extremely advisable to take an Uber (which is available in 20+ cities in India) and always cheaper than an Auto.
- Uber in India allows you to pay in Cash after your trip, so you don’t need to charge it to your credit card. Of course it saves the headache of haggling with autorickshaw (Tuk-Tuk) drivers, who might charge you 1.5 times the price, if you seem to be an outsider.
- Of course, this applies to any city in the world, be it Paris, London or New York. Keep your purse, passport and mobile safely. Carry a very limited amount of money every time you head out and leave the rest in your hotel locker.
- Local Food
- Irrespective of which state or city you are in, try out the local delicacies, instead of the boring star hotel buffets. Be it a Biryani in Hyderabad, Fish in Kerala, Idly/Dosa/Poori/Filter Coffee in Chennai or Parathas in Delhi, you just can’t miss out on eating them.
- A popular food blogger called “Food Ranger” has some awesome recommendations on the different kinds of food available in each city. You can check it out to get a better idea.
- India is famous for its clothes,gold,handicrafts and of course souvenirs from it’s million street markets.
- Except for branded showrooms and malls, try to bargain by atleast 50% to their asking price, and you might find yourself a good deal.
- Indian rupees is preferred in street markets and they don’t accept credit cards unless it’s a showroom
- Learning the skill of bargaining is a crucial thing while on a trip to India.