Chaotic, disorienting, delirious, captivating, intimidating … Because of its immense cultural and geographical diversity, India resists any definition and can only approach with humility and astonishment. You are ready to embark on the great journey: to India for the very first time. How then to prepare for it? Follow our advice to avoid unpleasant surprises and leave serenely to discover this fascinating world.
Choose the right season
You can travel throughout the year in India if you are in the right place at the right time. Over such a vast territory, the climate differs from one end of the country to the other.
Keep in mind that the best time to visit most of the country is between October and March . The rest of the year is ideal for the onslaught of the Himalayas.
Learn about the regional specificities to avoid hot weather or too much rain. When is the best time to see tigers in national parks? When to go rafting on the Ganges? What time to sleep in the dunes of the Thar desert? And for the beach? And for a trekking in Ladakh? And festivals, will I see?
As you can see, this is THE most important question for planning your trip: when to go to India ?
Be careful, we do not go around India in a few weeks. A whole life would not be enough to travel and explore this country-world. One rule: do not want to see everything .
Depending on the seasonality, all you have to do is choose your preferred region. Remember that in India, you rarely drive more than 40 km / h. Everything takes time in this country of more than 1.25 billion people.
Indian trains are not really synonymous with high-speed trains. On the roads, plows, trucks, two wheels, flocks, jobs, religious processions, many unpredictable elements can slow down your run considerably.
The good news is that by taking the time, you will understand a little better what is happening around you, your curiosity will be more stoked. And it will be an opportunity to come back to visit another Indian region next time.
Avoid the crowd
For a first trip to India, you do not have to inflict the most intense, the most difficult and the most tiring: flee the big cities!
Choose a balanced route that offers you moments of respite. Chaining the urban centers of more than one million people can make you quickly allergic to the Indian bazaar.
Instead of visiting the classics, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, go breathe in the Himalayan foothills, even in the middle of winter. Between two major tourist cities, take breaks in your itinerary before returning to confront the urban chaos.
Choose less traveled regions, go to rural India, stay in villages, explore national parks …
Call in on-site experts
For novices, organizing a trip to India can be a real headache.
Local travel agency, acquaintances, friends of friends, Airbnb, Couchsurfing or others, exchange as much as possible with those who have already rubbed shoulders.
Good advice, traps to avoid, must-haves or rare pearls, you will always appreciate a little help to put you on the right path.
Reserve your India visa online, book a train ticket?
Is the Taj Mahal open on Fridays? Which palace to choose in Rajasthan for a dream night? How to book a cruise in Kerala? What to see in Chennai? In which neighborhood to sleep in New Delhi?
Live more than a trip
Going out of classic tours is the best way to immerse yourself in the heart of the country. Do not do like everyone else.
By practicing a responsible tourism in India, one discovers a completely different aspect of the country, far from the usual clichés and prejudices. The curious traveler, who decides to travel differently in India , is certain to live an unforgettable experience.
Take local transport, rub people in their daily lives, attend a festival or a wedding. Get on the subway, take a cooking class, sleep with the locals, rent a bike to discover a neighborhood, learn to play tablas, go see a Bollywood movie, test a yoga class …
Immerse yourself in the intimacy of this endearing people, hoping to decipher this extraordinary world , to finally learn to love India as it really is.
Respect traditions and cultural differences
In a country with strong traditions and an ultra-conservative mentality, modesty is in order . We advise you a correct outfit. Avoid mini skirts and necklines for girls as well as shorts and muscles out for boys. In temples, wear clothes covering the shoulders and legs. At the beach, even in tourist places like Goa, you do not toast.
Outside of some big cities, India is not really a country where one comes to celebrate. The evenings are calm, here no Full Moon Party, we live to the rhythm of the sun.
Do not forget to take off your shoes before entering a temple or place of worship. Do the same when you go to people’s homes and sometimes to the shops. As in many other Eastern countries, when you eat, use your right hand only. Remember that the left hand is reserved for personal hygiene.
If you are traveling as a couple, do not show signs of affection in public. Stay modest and keep your momentum for your moments of intimacy