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Joe Meredith

India travel advice

Considering a holiday to India? This article provides the latest guidance for UK visitors on India’s visa rules, as well as other essential information ahead of travel – from when to go to what to pack

India is a nation close to the heart and history of Cox & Kings. Our India tours combine the serenity of its hill stations, hushed mangroves and tiger-roamed forests, with the bustle of its city streets and spice markets. For an escape from the everyday, it is an excellent choice of holiday destination.

Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions about visiting India.

Question: Do I need a visa to visit India?

Answer: UK passport holders will need to arrange a visa ahead of their holiday to India. We recommend applying for a 12-month visa, just in case your plans change.

Please note: entry and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your responsibility to ensure you are in possession of the appropriate visa ahead of travel.

Q: How do I apply for a visa to visit India?

A: You can apply for a visa via the E Visa scheme which can be found here

Q: What documents and fees do I need to provide for an India visa?

A: For an India tourist visa, British nationals are required to provide:

A scanned bio-page of your passport showing the photograph and details

Machine-readable passport

Full visa fee. Fees are listed on the Visa Website.

A digital photograph meeting the specifications outlined on the Visa Website under “Instructions for Applicant”

The reference number of India visa you have held in the past five years

Q: What are the current Covid-19 restrictions for entry to India?

A: There are no Covid-19 entry restrictions for India; however, we recommend that you check the FCO website here as Covid restrictions can change at short notice.

Q: What other vaccinations do I need for India?

A: There are no compulsory inoculations required for entry into India, although protection against diphtheria, hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid is advised.

If you travel to India from the UK, transiting through Europe or the Middle East, and you have not been in a South American or African country in the previous week, a yellow fever vaccination certificate is not required.

Hepatitis B and rabies precautions are also advisable. Please contact your doctor or travel clinic for further advice before departure.

Q: Is it safe to travel to India?

A: Yes, it is safe to travel to India. The country may be overwhelming at times, but with Cox & Kings, you are in good hands. We recommend a sensible amount of caution, as when travelling anywhere – look out for pickpockets, touting and scams, and be alert to your surroundings.

You can see the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s current advice for travel to India here.

Q: When is the best time to visit India?

A: The best time to go to India depends on which regions you plan to visit. Factors to consider when timing your holiday include the local climate, festival dates, and budget.

September to March – India’s winter – promises the best weather conditions for exploring much of the country. Because of its cooler climate, the Indian Himalaya is an exception, and best visited from March to June, or September to October.

March is the month of the Holi festival, when colourful celebrations mark the arrival of spring. It’s also a great month for exploring the tropical, tranquil south of India, thanks to lower-than-usual temperatures.

April is a good choice for wildlife enthusiasts wishing to explore the national parks of north and central India, perhaps on a Bengal tiger safari. This is thanks to the dry conditions drawing animals out from shelter in search of water.

July to August and into September is the monsoon period, when much of the country receives high rainfall. We generally recommend avoiding visiting during this time.

October and November is great for visiting northern India, including Rajasthan and the famed Golden Triangle of Agra, Delhi, and Jaipur. This is when the weather is at its coolest and driest. This also when the country celebrates Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

Q: What are the best things to see and do in India?

A: India is a vast and ancient country with much to offer visitors. There are 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to explore, including the romantic Taj Mahal; 106 national parks promising unforgettable safaris; royal palaces-turned-hotels where you can live like a maharaja; and the most mouth-watering regional delicacies to sample kerb-side.

To provide you with a comprehensive overview of the best things to do in India, we have written this dedicated article. Alternatively, for a break down of the best places to visit in India, read this article.

Q: How long does it take to fly to India from the UK?

A: A direct flight from London to Delhi or Mumbai usually takes around 8-9 hours. London to Kochi is around 13 hours via the Middle East.

Q: What should I pack for an India holiday?

Light, loose-fitting layers are recommended as they stave off the heat of the sun, and long sleeves are appropriate for visiting temples

Don’t wear tight-fitting clothes – you’ll just sweat more. Long skirts and loose trousers will keep you far more comfortable

Don’t take expensive sandals – often you will be asked to remove them before you visit a temple and leave them at the entrance. Take dark coloured trainers for walking around cities. You may wish to take a nail brush to scrub your feet at the end of the day

When you visit temples, cover your shoulders and knees. This applies to men and women. A pashmina or light scarf is useful for these visits

India’s cities are noisy. If you are easily disturbed at night, take ear plugs and a sleep mask

Take an ointment such as Vicks VapoRub or Tiger Balm to apply under your nose – it will assist with any congestion you experience from air pollution, while helping to conceal any strong smells as you explore the cities

Mosquito repellent and suncream

A light waterproof jacket and/or umbrella – India is hot but the climate can occasionally be unpredictable

 

Q: Why explore India with Cox & Kings?

A: The world’s longest established travel company, Cox & Kings has been operating in India for more than 80 years. Our travel specialists and guides on the ground know the country like the backs of their hands, and are experts in creating exceptional small-group tours.

Our holidays to India always feature Signature Experiences – unusual and engaging activities that are the hallmarks of a Cox & Kings tour. These range from a visit to the Mehtab Bagh (‘Moonlight Garden’) to watch the sun set over the Taj Mahal, to a safari on foot in Satpura, the only place in India where this is possible.

Still have unanswered questions about visiting India, or ready to begin planning your adventure? Call us or enquire online to speak to one of our India travel specialists.