Passport and Visa
When traveling abroad, it’s essential to have your passport ready. Even if you already have one, make sure it has at least 6 months of validity remaining. For a trip to India, you will also need to obtain a visa. Check if your passport has enough blank visa pages for this purpose.
Three Types of Tourist Visas
- Regular Visa: Apply for this at the Indian Embassy in Tokyo or the Indian Consulate in Osaka.
- E-Tourist Visa (E-TV): This visa is issued upon arrival at an Indian airport. Apply at least four days before your departure through a dedicated website and be sure to bring a printed copy of the visa.
- Arrival Visa (Visa on Arrival): No prior application is required for this visa. You can apply for and receive it at the Indian airport upon arrival.
Please note that the requirements may change due to various factors, so check the official website of the Indian Embassy or Consulate for the most up-to-date information.
Climate and Clothing
India has three main seasons: summer (April to June), monsoon (June to September), and winter (October to March). While India is often associated with hot weather, it’s a vast country with varying elevations, so the best season to visit depends on the region and your destination. Prepare your clothing accordingly based on the season and location.
- Summer (April to June)
Temperatures gradually rise from February, and in April and May, the average high temperature can exceed 40°C, sometimes even going above 50°C. To protect yourself from the intense sunlight and hot winds, it’s advisable to wear clothing that covers your skin and carry a scarf or shawl.
- Monsoon (June to September)
During the monsoon season, India experiences the majority of its annual rainfall, and temperatures can exceed 30°C. Given the high humidity, it’s a good idea to wear breathable clothing and carry extra clothes for changes.
- Winter (October to March)
In northern cities like Delhi, daytime temperatures range from 20°C to 30°C. However, nights can get chilly, so you might need sweaters or jackets. In the southern regions, the summer heat subsides, making it a pleasant season for tourism.
Even during seasons with temperatures above 30°C, many places like airports, trains, and hotels are air-conditioned, so it’s a good idea to carry light, long-sleeved clothing.
For touring, comfortable and durable shoes are recommended, as you may do some walking.
What to Bring
- Flight tickets
- Mobile phone
- International cash card or credit card
- Keys for your luggage
- Mobile phone charger
- Plug adapters and voltage converters for your electronic devices
- Face mask
- Lightweight long-sleeved clothing
- Basic medications
- Pocket tissues
- Wet wipes
- Portable hand soap
Items for Economical Hotels and Facilities:
- Toilet paper
- Insect repellent
- Plastic bags
Why is toilet paper necessary?
Indian toilets are similar to squat toilets. After using the toilet, you wash with water. To do this, there’s usually a container or cup for water and a tap on the wall. After washing, you may wipe with toilet paper, which you should carry with you. In public restrooms in airports and cities, you may find Western-style toilets with toilet paper and hand soap, but having your own pocket tissues and portable hand soap can be convenient.
Dealing with Issues
India’s diverse culture and vast geography mean that travelers may encounter various issues. Be prepared and maintain awareness to minimize problems. In India, you might need to adjust to the different sense of time, as delays and traffic are common, even with scheduled transportation. Embrace the leisurely pace of India.
In terms of safety, practice standard precautions to avoid issues. It’s also advisable to have travel insurance for potential health or injury concerns.
Points for Dealing with Issues:
- Drinking Water: India’s water is hard water with high mineral content, which can cause digestive issues in some people. It’s recommended to drink bottled mineral water. Be cautious even with fresh juice and lassis, as tap water might be used. Ice in beverages can also be a concern.
- Heat-Related Illness: During the summer, temperatures can reach around 50°C. To protect yourself from the intense sunlight and hot winds, it’s advisable to wear clothing that covers your skin, and carry a shawl for added protection.
- Diarrhea: Be cautious about what you eat and drink to prevent stomach issues. Raw water, ice, and uncooked food, including salads and raw vegetables, should be treated with caution.
- Malaria: Malaria is a concern from June to August in hot regions. Protect yourself from mosquitoes with repellent and by wearing long, covered clothing. Always use mosquito nets where provided.
- Rabies: Avoid contact with stray dogs, as rabies is a concern in India. If bitten, clean the wound thoroughly and seek medical attention promptly.
- Drug-Related Issues: Possession of drugs is illegal in India and can lead to severe consequences. Refrain from using or carrying drugs.
- Road Accidents: India’s unique traffic conditions mean you should take caution when crossing roads. If involved in an accident, contact emergency services, the police, and your travel insurance company.
- Travel Advisories: Be aware of travel advisories from your government regarding specific regions in India. The situation can change rapidly.
In India, it’s crucial to be aware of the local customs and manners to show respect to the culture.
- Greetings: The common greeting in India is to fold your hands together at chest level and say “Namaste.”
- Left Hand: The left hand is traditionally considered the “unclean” hand in Hindu culture and should not be used for eating or offering handshakes.
- Dining Habits and Restaurants: India has diverse dietary habits influenced by religious beliefs. Hindus avoid beef, Muslims avoid pork, and Jains are vegetarians. Restaurants often have separate sections for vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. Be respectful of these practices when dining out.
- Tipping: Tipping is common in India, and the amount varies based on the quality of service. It’s a good practice to tip service staff in restaurants, hotels, and other service providers.
- Temple Visits: When visiting temples, you’ll typically need to remove your shoes before entering, and it’s essential to dress modestly. In some temples, photography is prohibited, and non-believers may not be allowed inside.
- Caste System: Avoid asking about a person’s caste as it’s a sensitive topic in India.
- Smoking: Smoking is prohibited in indoor public spaces in India. Look for designated smoking areas.
Please note that these guidelines are general in nature, and specific customs and etiquette may vary by region and religion in India. Always be mindful and considerate of the local culture.