Nuts-and-bolts information to plan your trip, plus a checklist of essentials to include when you pack and a list of links to local media

Planning

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens need a valid passport to enter India. Visas are mandatory, with six-month multiple-entry tourist visas routinely issued.

Security: Theft can be a problem in a big city like Delhi, especially in crowded areas such as bazaars and transport hubs. It’s wise to keep your money and important documents, such as your passport and air ticket, in a secure money-belt that can be worn underneath clothing. Don’t keep wallets in back pockets or carry valuables in shoulder bags, as these can easily be snatched. Never leave valuables in your hotel room unless it has a reliable safe.

Time: Indian Standard Time (IST) is ten-and-a-half hours ahead of U.S. eastern standard time.

Money: Delhi’s currency is the Indian rupee (Rs). For current conversion rates see OANDA Currency Converter: www.oanda.com/convert/classic

Phone Calls: Delhi’s area code is (0)11. For calls to Delhi from within India dial 011 local phone number. For calls from outside India, dial your country’s international access code 91 11 local phone number.

When to Go: The most pleasant time to visit is November to mid-February when maximum day temperatures average 72°F (22.2°C). The monsoon hits Delhi from around mid-to-late June, with the heaviest rainfall in July and August, diminishing through September. May and June are uncomfortably hot with average maximum temperatures of 100.4°F (38°C).

Getting There: Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) is a major northern gateway for international flights; served by several dozen airlines. The international terminal (Terminal 2) is about 14 miles (23 kilometers) southwest of Connaught Place. To avoid being overcharged, catch a prepaid taxi from the airport.

Getting Around: Driving is on the left-hand side of the road. Taxis and auto-rickshaws (negotiate fares in advance) are recommended over the crowded buses. Several phases, including routes via Connaught Place and Old Delhi, of the Metro underground train service are operational.

Checklist

Immunizations: Health officials recommend certain immunizations for anyone planning to travel to India. Be aware that some immunizations may need to be given over a few weeks, so it pays to seek medical advice well ahead of your trip.

Toiletries: Apart from the top-end hotels, few Delhi hotel bathrooms have shower caps and sink plugs. Budget and mid-range hotels usually only provide soap and toilet paper. Shampoo and conditioner are widely available in the city’s pharmacies and general stores but imported brands can be expensive. Sanitary pads are easily found, however fewer shops stock tampons.

Clothing: Non-revealing clothing will not only win you a warmer reception from Delhiites, it is mandatory when visiting places of worship such as temples and mosques. Women should avoid wearing shorts, mini-skirts, and singlet tops.

Mosquito Protection: During Delhi’s rainy season (from mid-to-late June to late September) malarial mosquitoes can pose a risk. Bring high-protection repellent (doctors recommend repellents containing DEET) and consider bringing a mosquito net if you’re staying at a budget hotel.

Sun Protection: The sun can pack a punch at any time of the year so don’t forget to bring high SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat.

Flip-Flops (thongs): Flip-flops are recommended for budget hotel bathrooms and hotels with communal bathroom facilities.

Ear Plugs: Street noise can be irksome (day and night) so to snooze soundly, pack good ear plugs.

Flashlight: Power outages can be a problem, especially during Delhi’s warmer months. If you’re staying at a budget hotel, a flashlight is especially recommended, as most places lack back-up power generators. Flashlights also come in handy for dark side streets.

Web Links

Delhi City Guide

Useful Delhi details: from tourist sites, festivals, shopping and hotels, to hospitals, foreign embassies, and weather forecasts. www.exploredelhi.com

Delhigate.com

Free online advice in addition to information about Delhi’s hotels, restaurants, transport, weather, and much more. www.delhigate.com

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation

All you need to know about Delhi’s Metro underground train service: route map, stations, fares, schedules, and other pertinent information. www.delhimetrorail.com

Images of India (Delhi)

Photographs of iconic Delhi monuments such as Humayun’s Tomb, India Gate, Qutub Minar, and the Red Fort, as well as people and street shots. www.travel-images.com/india.html

Incredible India

This Ministry of Tourism site offers travel planning tips and gives Delhi-related information including festivals, museums, shopping, and places of worship. www.incredibleindia.org

New Delhi City Guide

Delhi-specific portal: hotels, restaurants, entertainment, shops, travel agents, health and beauty centers, current events (festivals, gallery exhibitions, etc.), and much more. Useful Delhi business directory. http://www.delhicapital.com/

Time Out Delhi

Has its finger on Delhi’s entertainment pulse, from hot tips on where to eat, drink, and dance, to the latest theatrical productions and art exhibitions. www.timeoutdelhi.net

Local Media

Delhi Diary

Small-format weekly magazine highlighting what to do and see in the city. Useful travel tips and a directory of museums, hotels, restaurants, meditation/yoga centers, entertainment venues, foreign embassies, and much more.

First City

Monthly magazine with excellent coverage of Delhi’s arts, books, dining, and entertainment scene, as well as city-specific feature articles, columns, and a useful listings section. www.firstcitydelhi.com

Hindustan Times

English-language daily newspaper with an information-packed Delhi edition that includes news, sport, entertainment, lifestyle, business, and lots more. www.hindustantimes.com

Outlook India

Known for its investigative reporting. In addition to current affairs, Outlook branches into arts and entertainment, sports, business, and travel. www.outlookindia.com

The Indian Express

Widely-read English-language daily newspaper (Delhi edition) that covers a broad spectrum, from domestic and foreign news to cricket scandals and travel trends. www.indianexpress.com

The Times of India

Major English-language daily newspaper (Delhi edition) spotlighting everything from news and finance to sport and entertainment. www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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