India holidays

India holidays

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If you’re looking to visit a colourful, exciting and diverse destination, then India is just the place. When you’re planning a holiday to India, you’ll find a new adventure in each state. Explore the varied landscapes from bustling cities and pristine beaches to dense mountains and lush, tropical wilderness.

You’ll find that Goa is perfect for relaxing in the sun and having fun in the ocean, with shimmering coastlines for miles. The cosmopolitan city of Mumbai lies further up the coast in the state of Maharashtra, showing off just how a fusion of cultures can create a metropolitan masterpiece.

On your India holidays, every day is different, but whichever part you travel to, you’ll always experience warm welcomes, beaming sunshine and fantastic cuisine.

Things to do

On a holiday to India, you’ll enjoy a trip to the southwest coast.  Stroll down white and gold sand beaches and enjoy laid back resorts. Try your hand at some refreshing water sports or get adventurous and visit the local wildlife reserves. Then, head back to civilization where you can explore beautiful old towns that are hundreds of years old with sights and attractions left over from their incredibly rich history.

Places to stay

Goa is India’s smallest state, best known for its beautiful coastline. Along these golden shores are incredible historic towns, influenced by the region’s past as a Portuguese settlement. If it’s the best of the beaches you’re looking for, Candolim and Baga are two sandy resort towns ideal for lapping up the sun.

The long coastal region is dotted with cities such as Old Goa and the state capital, Panjim. Both are known for their beautiful architecture, and fascinating cultural attractions. Further inland, you’ll find the green jungles of wildlife sanctuaries and the Western Ghats Mountains; stunning locations for viewing the incredible natural beauty of the country.

At the centre of the Goan beaches, the resort of Arpora shows off the signature easy-going attitude Goa is known for. Perfectly located and with the best sandy, palm-lined beaches in the region, it’s also home to the biggest markets in the country and a full calendar of festivities and events.

Further south is Dona Paula, known as the water sports capital of Goa, so when you’re not sunbathing on the white sand, you can surf the waves or try many other sports including scuba diving, kayaking, knee boarding and paddleboarding. Surrounded by lush greenery, and just a coach journey away from the Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, it’s a great location for an active Indian holiday.

What should I pack?

With temperatures that range between 20°C and 40°C, sun cream ought to be top of the list for anyone taking their holiday to India. When it comes to clothing, think light and breathable. Linen and cotton clothes are recommended. Don’t worry if you can’t find any at home; you’ll find plenty of places to buy them in India, from high-end shops to busy market stalls.

It’s worth remembering that India is quite a conservative country and female travellers should be aware of this, especially around holy sites. As a rule of thumb, leave anything skimpy at home. Dresses should be over the knee and your shoulders should always be covered when you’re out in public. A scarf or shawl is also a useful item to pack, particularly if you’re visiting mosques or sites of religious importance, as your head and shoulders should be covered.

And don't forget your visa too!

Map of India

25 ℃

The best time to visit is between October and February for cooler average temperatures.

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9.5 hours

India has multiple domestic and international airports in each state. Visitors may fly to Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi or Goa International Airport in Goa.

India is best for...

Beach lovers: If you’re looking for sun and sand, India’s southwest coast is where you’ll find the beach resorts.

Culture vultures: Visit the historic cities or pick from an exciting year-round calendar of cultural events and festivals.

Adventurers: Explore the rich landscapes of the Western Ghats, teeming with exotic wildlife and flora and fauna.

Fast facts for India

Language: The languages spoken here are Hindi and English.

Currency: The currency used is the Rupee.

Local time: India is 5.5 hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi or Dabolim Airport in Goa. For Goa resorts, the airport is around 1 hour away.

Flight time from the UK: The flight time to India is 9 - 9.5 hours.

Tourist information: Check out India's tourist information site (you can find links to info for the different states there too) and make sure you read up on the UK government's advice for travel to India from the FCDO before you travel – including tips on visas.

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Getting around India

By taxi: Taxis are the best way to travel, especially when you’re going between attractions. It’s essential to negotiate the price before you get in as they won’t always have a meter.

By auto rickshaw: Auto rickshaws are the perfect way to get around a city or town quickly. These can usually be spotted with their bright yellow design. A ride should be cheaper than a taxi, and make sure to agree on the price upfront.

By bus: Taking the bus is the cheapest way to travel with frequent services between the towns and cities. Plus, it’s a great way to see India's more rural and most authentic areas.

Events in India

The festival of colour: Holi is known as the festival of colours and is celebrated all across India to mark the arrival of spring. Join in with the celebration smearing coloured powder over your face, throwing coloured water and dancing.

The festival of lights: Celebrate the start of the Hindu New Year with Diwali, known as the festival of lights. Houses, shops and public places are lit up with hundreds of candles and small oil lamps.

Sunburn festival: If you love music, then a three-day electronic dance festival held in the hills will be perfect for you. With some of the biggest names in electronic dance, you can experience amazing production, lighting and visuals for India’s biggest dance festival. 

India safety and security

Do I need a passport?

India passport requirements vary between states and provinces. To be on the safe side, be sure to keep yours on you wherever you go. For further information on what you need for holidays to India, visit the UK government's travel advice pages.

Do I need a visa?

Yes. It currently has to be an old-school paper visa for travel to India from the UK, and you’ll need to apply in person, so give yourself plenty of time to get it sorted out. You can’t use the e-Visa scheme or apply through an agency. To get the ball rolling, take a look at how to apply for your India tourist visa well before you’re due to head off on holiday.
That said, guidance can change rapidly and without warning, so make sure you check for the most up-to-date information with the High Commission of India in London and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Should I get travel health insurance?

Wherever you’re travelling, it’s always a good idea to have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place. If the unexpected happens, it provides you with the resources to pay for medicines, emergency treatment and, if required, the cost of repatriation back to the UK. Be sure to check exactly what is and isn’t covered in your policy and if you’re undertaking any ‘extreme’ activities on your holiday, make sure they’re included in your cover too.

Any other tips?

  • Be sure to take more than one method of payment with you, such as a credit card plus cash. In addition, make sure you’ve got enough money to cover the cost of any emergencies.
  • Tips are an important source of income to many of those who work in the tourist and service industries in India, so be prepared for that and check up on the recommended rate of tipping before you go.
  • ‘Delhi belly’ is a common complaint for many first-timers to India. To minimise the potential of an upset stomach, try and drink only bottled water, avoid ice and salads, and only eat fruit that is unpeeled.
  • If your mobile phone won’t work in India, you might need a SIM card for local networks. To be sure of getting one that works, buy yours from official offices for networks such as Idea and Airtel.

For up-to-date advice on travelling to India, please visit the FCDO website.

India weather

Expect warm weather all year round. With the summer months reaching high temperatures, you’ll want to visit here for a winter escape. The best time to holiday here is from November to February, when the weather is cooler. If you’re looking to soak up the sun, Goa is the perfect place for tropical beach weather. You’ll even benefit from the cooling sea breeze. On average, temperatures reach up to 31°C in January. If you’re visiting further inland, then it’ll feel more relaxed with highs of 18°C.

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