When you travel to India, the sights, sounds and smells are more colourful and intense than anything you will have experienced before. This exciting, vibrant country is one of the most diverse holiday destinations in the world, and an absolute delight to experience because it’s so extraordinary.
There are so many beautiful places in India to see, from the north – home to the Himalayas and the deserts of Rajasthan – to the south, with its tea plantations, lush landscapes, spice gardens and bustling modern cities. No matter which area you choose to explore on your India tour, you will soon find out it is one of the most unique and beautiful destinations on earth. You can’t visit just once – there’s too much to experience in this fascinating part of the world.
Why we love India
- The kaleidoscope of colours is intoxicating. Richly coloured spices, glittering temples and jewelled outfits form a vivid tapestry that must be seen to be believed.
- It’s home to incredible wonders and fascinating tourist attractions, including the magnificent Taj Mahal in Agra.
- It boasts one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, Varanasi.
- You can soak up the sun on some of the most magnificent beaches in Goa.
- Its history dates back to the 11th century.
- No other country offers such a diverse range of stunning cuisines.
- You can go on safari to view incredible wild animals, including tigers and elephants.
- Life is unchanged in parts of the country – and you can step back in time to experience it.
- Its people are warm, friendly and hospitable.
- It’s home to the world’s holiest river, the Ganges River.
Whether you’re travelling with your partner, friends or family, you’re guaranteed an exceptional holiday in India. Book a holiday package to India with Thompsons Holidays and begin your adventure today.
India is one of the most diverse and exotic holiday destinations in the world. For first-time visitors, the famous Golden Triangle offers an intoxicating snapshot of India. It includes renowned tourist destinations like the bustling capital, Delhi as well as the legendary Taj Mahal in Agra and the magnificent Pink City of Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan.
Perhaps you are keen to combine your India tour with a yoga retreat? You also have your choice of Buddhist temples, sacred sites and exquisite beaches to explore. Take a trip to Bollywood, spend time in a traditional tea plantation, go shopping for trinkets in a local market, and dine out on traditional Indian food – no doubt the best you’ll ever taste.
Tourist attractions and things to do in India
- Go on safari to see tigers and leopards.
- Visit Agra Fort to see the Hall of Public Audience and Royal Pavilions.
- In Mumbai, visit Mani Bhavan, one-time home of Mahatma Gandhi.
- Explore Jama Masjid, one of Asia’s largest mosques, in Delhi.
- Spend time in the 16th-century Amber Fort on top of a cliff in Jaipur.
- Laze on a beautiful golden beach in Goa.
- Cruise the tranquil canals in Allepey on a rice barge.
- Visit a vibrant nightclub in Chennai.
- Discover the beautiful Golden Temple in Amritsar.
- View ornate, intricate architecture in Udaipur, the city of Sunrise.
These suggestions are just a small sample of what you can see, experience and discover on holiday in India. So, let Thompsons Holidays take you on your first trip to this exciting place and discover the magic of India. We guarantee you’ll return time and again.
When is the best time to visit?
- India has 3 distinct seasons: summer (May to October), winter (November to March) and monsoon season (June to September).
- Summers are very hot and humid.
Getting there & getting around
- There are regular flights from South Africa to India.
- Flight duration from South Africa to Mumbai: 10 hours, 30 minutes.
- Taxis, buses and metro rail services are the most common forms of transport in India’s cities.
Do I need a visa?
- South African passport holders do require a visa to enter India.
- You can apply for a visa through the Consulate General of India in South Africa or online through Indian Visa Online.
What time is it?
- India is 3 hours & 30 minutes ahead of South Africa.
- Currency in India: Rupee (INR).
- Credit cards are accepted in city hotels, shops and restaurants. In more remote areas, cash payments are only accepted.
- Don’t accept old paper money that is torn, dirty or marked. The only place you could exchange those is at a major bank.
- No Indian currency can be exported or imported. Convert your Rupees back into another currency before leaving.
- Tipping is not an Indian custom, but you have to pay for all services, even if you ask for directions. Where tipping is at your discretion, 10% is acceptable.
- Ask tour guides upfront on what they expect to be paid.
- Most hotels include a service charge.
Language & phrases
- India has 22 official languages. Hindu is the most spoken language (it’s also the fourth most spoken language in the world!).
- English is widely spoken.
Culture & religion
- Almost 80% of the Indian population practices Hinduism.
- Other religions include Islam, Christianity and Sikh.
- Drinking water is not safe in India. Only drink bottled water.
- Check with your travel clinic about recommended vaccinations.
- Bring lightweight clothing like loose-fitting pants and ankle-length skirts. Choose modest clothing, like t-shirts, tunics and blouses with high necklines and long or short sleeves.
- Pack a lightweight scarf to wear around your neck for extra modesty and to cover your head when visiting temples and mosques.
- Comfortable walking shoes are a must—flip-flop sandals for the beach, in the shower and around your hotel. Don’t go barefoot in India.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Indian food is rich and spicy, and if you are not used to it, we recommend packing charcoal tablets.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Support the local economy.
- Plastic is a problem all over the world, and you’ll especially notice it in India. Carry a reusable water bottle and take fabric shopping bags with you.
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.