India is a country of contrasts and extremes. If you want to visit the country, you should bring time, because it is the second largest country in the world in terms of population! With so many places to see, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. This is also true for the preparation, because there are 100000 things to consider and numerous India-guidebooks you should have read 😉
If you don't want to travel the country alone, you can start your trip with a volunteer stay in India, for example. This will give you the opportunity to get to know the country and culture much better and being involved in a project can make the start of your trip easier.
We would like to give you a short summary of the most important tips so that you can find your way around and present places that you should really get to know:
Allow time for arrival and departure
India is a huge country! A very huge country. If you are traveling to India from abroad and plan to book a domestic flight from Delhi or Mumbai with another airline in order to travel to another region as quickly as possible, you should allow enough time for the change of planes. Because once you arrive at the airport, the first thing you have to do is wait. It can easily happen that you have to wait in line for 1-2 hours to get your tourist visa. And then it's just a matter of picking up luggage before walking to the next terminal and catching the domestic flight. This can take time and to have a relaxed start in India, it is recommended to plan more time for the transfer rather than too little.
The Indian sim card
If you are traveling in India, you should definitely get an Indian sim card on the spot. This is available in many stores and makes it much easier to book bus and train tickets, make reservations in hostels etc. In India, a lot of importance is attached to correct registration when buying a sim card. Therefore you need the following documents for the application: copy of your passport (from the page with your personal data and with the Indian visa), a passport photo, hotel address and sometimes also a local contact person with phone number. The activation of the sim card usually takes 24 hours, after that you have 4 GB or more per day available depending on the card you choose.
To make traveling around easier, it is advisable to download the app redBus. The app shows you different bus providers, train connections or flights that take you to your destination. You can even choose the seating plans and thus save a lot of time when planning your trip on the spot, you can pick out the tickets on your own and book your desired route spontaneously.
From time to time it happens in India that ATMs do not accept certain credit cards, ATMs do not work, or only small amounts are paid out. Sometimes the desired amount of money is not available or the ATM is empty. To avoid stress, it is advisable not to withdraw money at the last minute, because in smaller places, for example, you can expect to have to go to 2-5 ATMs before you get the amount you need. It is therefore advisable to always have a small amount of money with you, so that you don't end up empty-handed.
Around Goa – Places that are worth a visit
Temples, ruins and rocks – a magical scenery! Hampi can't be described in words, you have to see Hampi. Even though the trip to the historic site of Hampi in the Indian state of Karnataka often involves a very long journey, it is definitely worth the trip. Since the journey can be a bit exhausting, it is recommended to plan at least 2-3 days in the village, to let the impressions of the ruined city take effect on you. The breathtaking landscape with the magnificent ruins of Hampi, which are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is simply magical. The village as well as the ruins are embedded in an extraordinary rocky landscape between banana plantations and rice fields, which creates an unreal scenery. Our TIP: Plan enough time to relax at the beach and watch the elephants bathing and enjoy the landscape. As it can be quite noisy in the village, Hampi market, you should consider looking for an accommodation on the other side of the river at the rice terraces. The view over the travel fields at sunset is amazing.
Many travelers are drawn to the sea and many dream of Goa, which was once a destination for hippies and dropouts. Meanwhile, however, some stretches of beach are very crowded during the high season and have become party beaches. But if you don't feel like partying and want to spend a few relaxing days on the beach in the region, head to the Hindu pilgrimage site of Gokarna. The place Gokarna is very relaxed and should definitely be on your "places-to-visit" list if you are looking for some nice souvenirs in a relaxed atmosphere. Since the city beach is not very nice, many sun worshippers are attracted to the beach sections that are ca. 2-10 km from Gokarna are located. Am "Om Beach you can watch dolphins, splash in the sea, play frisbee with other travelers or just enjoy a mango lassi under palm trees. Before you know it, 3,4, 5 days on the beach have passed and the recreational batteries are recharged to explore other corners of the country.
Packing list for India- our 5 Must haves!
- Sleeping bag ticking/hut sleeping bag for the bus trips and accommodations
- Passport photos to be able to buy a sim card
- Headlamp for the bus!
- enough space in your backpack for great souvenirs like: Tea, spices, scarves, jewelry and much more 🙂