Travelling from Australia to India for the first time? We’ve got you covered.
Luckily for you, you can get into the country with just an e-visa! Check out our dedicated blog post on the subject and get your documents in order in no time. Remember, this doesn’t work like a visa-on-arrival, so you have to start working on it in advance. It also doesn’t allow for multiple entry. If you’re planning on adding Sri Lanka or Nepal to your trip, we’d recommend a regular visa. It also works a only 16 designated points of entry into the country. If you’re planning on entering from elsewhere, you’ll have to skip the e-TV.
Once you land, make sure you have a copy of your visa stored in a separate bag from the original, in case one gets lost or stolen.
Vaccination requirements for Australian nationals are stipulated by the Indian Embassy rather than the Australian. However, they only specify that if you are arriving from a Yellow Fever endemic area, you must provide a vaccination certificate for the same.
We’d also strongly recommend making sure you’re up to date on any vaccines and boosters that are required in your own country. Carry a course of anti-malarial tablets as well. If you’re on any prescription drugs, carry a sufficient amount to last you the trip, along with the prescription for them as well. It’ll help if you know the generic names of these drugs, in case you misplace them and have to restock with local equivalents.
While in India, stick to bottled water, and carry iodine tablets to purify regular water in a fix. Eat hot and well-cooked food. Make sure you have a good stock of any prescription medication you’re on.
Flights out of Melbourne and Sydney, one-way, can go for as low as AUD 700 between September and December. Avoid May, when prices skyrocket and it’s just too hot to be in India anyway.
Non-direct fights cost about the same, but take longer.
September to December is a great time to visit since India’s just coming out of a long monsoon and everywhere you look will be lush and green without the inconvenience of the actual rain. Prices also dip between June and August, the monsoon months in India.
DIFFERENCES IN CUSTOMS
- Criminal penalties, especially for consumption or possession of narcotics and extending your stay beyond your visa are harsh, and include up to 10 years of jail time. While your government will do what they can to help you under the Consular Services Charter, they cannot actually spring you from jail.
- If you see a line of shoes outside a store, home or temple, leave yours as well.
- Dress conservatively and be respectful of local sentiments while visiting sites of religious significance.
- Think twice before engaging in anything more than holding hands in public, the laws on public decency are quite open to interpretation.
- Feet are considered unclean by many, so if you step on something, or accidentally touch someone with your feet, always apologise. The same goes for the left hand, avoid touching food or money with it.
- Personal space is a myth in India, so don’t be offended if someone openly stares or brushes up against you. That said, please avoid crowded places if this makes you uncomfortable. If you feel unsafe, ask for help, preferably from a member of the police.
- You may come to India expecting to hear English on the streets, and you will, but you probably won’t recognize it at first. Indian-English has it’s own rich flavour borrowed from local languages in each state.
- Delays in travel are common and to be expected.Smaller commercial boats and buses rarely carry safety equipment.
DIFFERENCES IN LAWS
- Homosexual activity is a criminal offence in India. While police are unlikely to break into your bedroom, you might be subject to blackmail or harassment by strangers.
- Photography of airports and military areas is strictly prohibited.
- Legal drinking ages vary from 18 to 25 across states and drinking is completely banned in a few.
- Deliberate killing or maiming of a cow is a nationwide offence, and consumption or possession of beef is a criminal offence in some states.
- Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, child sex tourism, and commercial surrogacy, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
We’d recommend a minimum of a 14 day stay, especially if its your first trip. You can cover one, or maybe two regions in the time since it’s such a huge country chock-full of experiences. Here are a few sample routes you can look at, and if you have something else in mind, just drop us a line and we’ll get it done!