VISA AND OTHER PROCEDURES
Portuguese citizens (and also Brazilians) need to apply for a visa before arriving in the country. More information at Embassy of India in Lisbon.
There is a moderate to high risk of contracting malaria throughout the year in the northeast of the country, including Assam and Orissa. on the islands Andaman and Nicobar, in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the risk does not justify taking anti-malaria pills for most travelers, except for longer stays in rural areas. Protect yourself from mosquito bites too to avoid getting Dengue fever.
For more information on traveling health, see the Health Portal of the Ministry of Health and Tropical and Traveler Medicine Clinic. In FitForTravel find country-specific health and disease prevention advice (in English).
TRIP TO INDIA
Fly to Mumbai or New Delhi on a single stopover with Air India, for from €750.
They are the most practical and fastest way to change the scene in the vast Asian subcontinent. The routes are constantly increasing and increasingly serve the four corners of the country at prices that compete with a series of new ones. low-cost made it very affordable.
The main airlines are:
Air India (the national company); Go Air; IndiGo Airlines; Jet Airways; SpiceJet
You can find plane tickets up to €10 but these are discounted prices for limited seats that sell out in a flash. The longer you buy in advance, the more you'll be able to save. Please note that some airlines charge more for tickets to foreign passengers. Others do not accept foreign credit cards.
Introduced in 1853 by English settlers, they developed into one of the densest railroad networks on Earth. The system is functional, not necessarily punctual. Traveling by train in India quickly proves to be a true ethnic and cultural experience and still allows you to enjoy the country's exotic scenery with relative tranquility. Indian trains give visitors the choice of the level of comfort they want for their journeys, from the pure refinement of luxury trains to the wooden seats in filthy and overcrowded carriages of conventional trains.
The classes of Indian trains are several, gradually distinct and also identified in English, which facilitates the purchase of tickets by foreign passengers. You won't find all the ones listed below in a single train:
Long Distances: AC First (1A); AC 2 Tier (2A); AC 3 Tier (3A); First Class (FC); Sleeper Class (SL)
Short Distances: AC Chair Car (CC); Second Class Chair Car (2S)
No reservation: General compartments (GS)
India has 1.300 billion inhabitants. So don't be surprised if the train you plan to travel on the next day is already full. Fortunately, as a rule, the day before a train departs, a quota of available tickets, the Tatkal tickets, is posted. Sales for that train open at 12am. In this way, some tourists were able to buy tickets little by little, paying agents an additional amount that gave them priority. In 2012, however, authorities responded to this scheme and decreed that agents could only start purchasing tickets 2 hours after sales began.
It is supposed to be possible to purchase tickets for this quota online at IRCTC. However, the huge influx of potential buyers to the site causes the site to become dysfunctional during sales hours.
In conclusion, if you cannot find an agency to guarantee the purchase of tickets or buy them online, the only solution will be to dispute them patiently at the ticket offices of Indian railway stations. Or choose to buy a pass IndRail.
Consider this option to reach places not covered by the vast Indian rail network. Keep in mind, however, that in terms of peace of mind, bus travel has little to do with train travel. Drivers often drive at high speed and make countless seemingly suicidal overtakings in one trip. It is also common to honk almost all the way, sometimes with deafening horns. Popular buses also fail to circulate too often overcrowded and the total lack of comfort. The main advantage of being subjected to possible railway tortures of this type is the very low cost of travel. A journey of 5 or 6 hours can cost as little as €2.
Some Indian companies try to solve the quality road travel gap with modern and comfortable buses. These include: Raj National Express and KPN.
Partly because of what is described in the field above about bus drivers, but mainly because traffic is chaotic in cities and extremely dangerous on rural roads. It is not at all safe or advisable to explore India by rental car.
Although there are some highways, roads in regions further away from cities are often unpaved or paved but cratered and drastically muddy during monsoons after prolonged rains. Even some city roads can have these same problems.
That said, few visitors dare to drive their own car. Instead, the most common practice is to hire a car with a driver/guide. You might even want the car to be an Ambassador, the elegant 1958 classic model inspired by the British model Morris Oxford III. If you succeed, your trip will have an additional strong Indian charm.
For shorter distances you can also use taxis and rickshaws, three-wheel motor vehicles, with a separation between the driver's station and the passenger cabin. Rickshaws are noisier and quite possibly more polluting than most cars, but they are also cheaper than taxis. Expect to pay €0,20 for the first km of the journey. From then on, the normal thing will be to pay €0,15 per next km.
Many rickshaw and taxi drivers claim that their meters are not working in order to try to profit more from the journey. When it happens to you, you have two choices: either you are uncompromising and look for another one, or you negotiate as best you can with the driver before leaving.
Ferries with a regular service connect different ports in India – for example, Chennai and Calcutta – to Port Blair, the main city of the Andaman Islands. The trip takes around 60 hours. From October to May, there is also a ferry service that connects Cochin to the Lakshadweep Islands in around 20 hours.
The Indian sub-continent is vast and has substantial climatic fluctuations from north to south and east to west. Generally speaking, there are three well-demarcated seasons: the hot, the rainy and the less hot. From June to mid-October, monsoons take over most of India, with greater or lesser intensity from year to year. As a rule, a large part of the country is under cloudy conditions and intense humidity and, as such, the sun only appears very rarely or not at all and it can rain heavily for days on end.
By November, the monsoons have completely dissipated and temperatures remain lower until mid-February. Thereafter, the heat gradually intensifies until May or June and “pulls” the monsoon winds back to the area.
The ideal area of India to avoid the effect of the monsoons is Rajasthan, in the semi-desert northwestern tip of the country. The areas that allow you to escape the usual torrid sun from mid-February to May are the highlands on the slopes of the Himalayas. The same applies to monsoons but only to the north of the first slopes of the mountain range. During the monsoons, many villages on the first south-facing slopes of the mountain range – for example Darjeeling – are under the first impact of clouds against the Himalayas and are hit by incessant rains.
The Indian currency is the Indian Rupee (INR). ATMs that allow withdrawals with international cards are common in cities. Credit card payment is increasingly accepted in more sophisticated establishments which, by the way, remain an exception in vast traditionalist India. India is one of the least expensive countries in the world.
You can find everything in India, with prices normally regulated from below. The hotels and guest houses Humblers abound in big cities and can charge as little as €5 a night – or even less for a double room. Note that many of the places that charge these prices are perfectly clean and dignified.
Medium-sized hotels, including some of the chain, have prices in the order of €12 to €45 per night, per double room.
At the opposite end of the scale are luxury hotels and resorts, usually located in modernized urban business centers in major cities or in Indian areas with greater tourist value. Often managed by international groups, their prices have little to do with India's economic reality. Expect to pay from €250 per night in exchange for comfort and refinement.
Indian food is a lot of what we are used to finding in Indian restaurants in Europe but much, much more. Each region has its own gastronomic touches that alter, in a more or less subtle way, national dishes. But they also generate other completely different dishes. As is understandable, the food in the villages on the slopes of the Himalayas is abysmally different from that of Goa or Kerala. In general, if you are not used to the strong and spicy flavors of Indian food, let us know in English that you prefer food “non spicy" to the employee. As a rule, it's enough.
The logic of accommodation applies equally to meals. You can get nutritious, great-tasting meals at prices you didn't think were possible. For example, a full individual lunch or dinner for €1 or €2 at a market, how can you pay €7 to €15 for a full meal in a restaurant in a tourist place, the interior of Jaisalmer fort, center of Panjim etc. You can also pay €50 to €200 if you order the best specialties at resorts such as the Oberoi or Aman.
If you do not have access at your own hotel or guest house, be aware that internet cafes are absolutely everywhere in India and charge €0,25 to €0,50 per hour of browsing. Hotspots are rare and unreliable. If you own a smartphone ou tablets unlocked or have a laptop and prefer to always have internet with you, buy or rent a SIM card or mini-modem from companies such as Reliance, Airtel (GSM) and Tata DoCoMo. Prices range from €3 per monthly use of 3G with a network limited to certain cities to €20 for 10GB of traffic on a network with much more national coverage. You may have to hand in copies of your passport and hotel bill to make one of these purchases or service hire possible.