Wednesday, 2 October 2013

India Travel Questions Answered

With the recent launch of a new Birmingham to Delhi direct flight, operated by Air India, our resident India specialist, Dave Archer, answers your questions in August's edition of the Journal, the Midlands No. 1 Luxury Magazine, about travelling to one of the most culturally rich and interesting countries in the world...

I have been looking at holidays to India but there seems to be so many places to visit where should I start?
Mrs Wright of Barton-under-Needwood

Most first time visitors to India begin with a visit to Northern India and in particular Rajasthan. Home too many of India’s most famous cities, Northern India is the starting point for India’s famous Golden Triangle Tour of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra (and of course to the iconic Taj Mahal). For a standard Golden Triangle Tour you should allow around 7- 9 days and if you have the time the tour can be extended to include places such as the ‘Pink City' of Jaipur, Udaipur the ‘City of Lakes', Jaisalmer the ‘Golden City’ or Jodhpur the ‘Blue City’.

Jaipur, the pink city
If the idea of trying to see a tiger in its own habitat appeals, then you should also consider adding on a visit to Ranthambore, one of India’s most famous wildlife reserves. Alternatively if you prefer some relaxation time, then head to Goa and its beaches or why not experience a stay at Shimla the British summer capital during the days of the Raj.

When is the best time to go and how long is the flight?
Mr Wilson of Burton-on-Trent

Climate in India varies considerably depending where you are visiting but if you are looking to begin your adventure with a visit to the Golden Triangle then generally the best time to visit would be October – March. Early morning and night temperatures in Northern India especially December to early January can be quite low so please make sure you take some warm clothing. Flying time from London to Delhi is approximately 9 hours. If you are looking to fly from a local airport then do remember that Air India started a new service from Birmingham to Delhi (August 2013) which will operate 4 times a week using the new Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner Aircraft.

The Taj Mahal

I don’t like spicy food – will I have a problem?
Mr Simpson of Lichfield

Indian Food is delicious! Very different to the Indian food on offer in the UK – rice still forms the basis but is complimented with delicious breads such as naan, roti or Paratha (a pan fried Indian flatbread).
Curry type dishes in India are not generally hot and have an aromatic and quite a delicate flavour. Much of the food is flavoured with spices such as cinnamon, garlic and cumin, and vegetarian food is extremely popular as many Indians do not eat meat.
Breakfasts are generally buffet style and have a wide range of breads, fruits, cheeses and eggs. There are also American-style fast food outlets, Chinese restaurants and most hotels will also offer continental food.

I hear so many stories of people being over whelmed by India what can I expect on arrival?
Mr Knowles of Logdon

Well there’s the heat, the noise and the smells to contend with plus the chaos that greets you after an 8 and a half hour flight from the UK as you emerge into the sunshine at Delhi Airport. The sheer amount of people, the noise from hundreds of car horns and the shock of seeing live animals in the street are enough to send many people into a state of shock and a wish to return home as quickly as possible. Please don’t panic, as those first feelings quickly evaporate and by the end of your stay you are already planning your next visit to this wonderful country. India can be a little overwhelming at first but by following some simple guidelines and planning your visit through someone who knows the country you will be well prepared for the sights that greet you.


Do you have any tips for a first time visitor?
Mrs Ray of Lichfield

Yes I do and I have listed these below:

  1. Don’t try and cover too much of India in one trip – journeys take much longer than in the UK.
  2. Go with an open mind and be prepared for some amazing sights.
  3. Avoid Tap water and any food that may have been washed in it. Do not have ice, salads and any fruit that you have not peeled yourself.
  4. Don’t try and visit the Taj Mahal on a Friday – it’s closed!
  5. Do see your GP for up to date medical advice.
  6. Beggars – always difficult but best not to give money much better to make a donation through the hotel you are staying at.
  7. Always book through a company which offers specialist advice and read one of the many guide books on offer.
  8. Be prepared to tip and carry a lot of small denomination Indian rupee notes.
  9. Allow time to obtain your visa before you travel and make sure your passport has at least 6 months validity.
  10. Try and schedule your visit so that you can experience one of the many Indian festivals such as Diwali or Holi.
Lights for Diwali

To book your holiday to India call us on 01543 258631 or e-mail

Or if you have a travel question you would like to put to us, e-mail with ‘Journal Travel Question’ as the subject.

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