Looking to travel to India? Get all the information you need to have a safe, enjoyable andunforgettable trip while there, courtesy of GoBear Malaysia. We’ll present you with things you need
to keep it mind before and during your time there, especially the need to get travel insurance for India.
About ancient India
India is located on the Indian subcontinent, and along with China, can be considered the birthplace ofEastern civilisation. It is the second most populous country and largest democracy in the world, and is the origin of two significant world religions (Hinduism and Buddhism). Despite this, it also has two Christian-majority states (Mizoram and Nagaland). Its capital city is New Delhi.
Despite its size, India officially observes a single time zone – India Standard Time (UTC+5:30). India is mostly tropical or sub-tropical, and most of the country is strongly affected by the monsoons; check the climate before booking your travel there. Provided you take the appropriate precautions, it’s a relatively safe place, so most Malaysian travel insurance policies include India in Area 1 (usually the cheapest band), but you should check your specific plan to make sure you’re covered if you decide to go. Its currency is the Indian rupee (INR).
India was part of the British Raj, so English is widely spoken (especially in the cities). India is also home to many, many other languages, including Hindi (the most spoken Indian language), Bengali, Tamil and Telugu. Language-wise, unless you’re outside the urban areas, you should not have major difficulties in contacting the emergency services concierge provided by your travel insurance in India.
Two major distinct cuisines are present in India; Northern Indian (think tandoori or nasi briyani) and Southern Indian (think banana-leaf rice). However, each region – even each state – has its own specialities and food. In the major cities, Western and other Asian cuisines are also available. Indian food is mostly vegetarian, with an emphasis on grains, cereals and legumes as staples. As
much of India is Hindu-influenced, beef is not often seen (substituted with goat or lamb instead).
Pork is also not a major feature in Indian cuisines. Food safety standards are generally quite high in hotels and upscale restaurants here; elsewhere, GoBear Malaysia recommends travel insurance for India.
What to buy when in India
From the air-conditioned shopping malls to the street bazaars, there’s a lot of shopping to be done in India. Tea, cooking spices, sarees, handicrafts, cosmetics – all these and more should be on your shopping list while on your India travels. If travelling in Goa, inquire about GST refunds in-store; you might be eligible depending on how much you spent and when you’re leaving. GoBear Malaysia recommends checking whether your credit card covers lost or stolen purchases while overseas, or you can buy travel insurance for your India shopping spree.
Things to do when in India
India is full of fascinating sights – Taj Mahal is only one of them. There are many spectacular beaches throughout India, or you can climb the second-highest peak in the world (K2), or visit the Ganges River. GoBear Malaysia does recommend getting travel insurance for India that covers you for all the things you intend to do, if you’re the outdoors type, though.
India travel advisory
Have a hassle-free trip! International travel, especially to India, has its own set of issues that you should prepare for, so that you can properly enjoy your holiday overseas. Aside from travel insurance for India, GoBear Malaysia recommends you consider the following:
Passport & visa requirements for India
Make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity after the dates you intend to go; you may not be allowed to travel if your passport is too close to expiry. India does not issue Visa-On- Arrival except to Japanese citizens; it uses instead the Electronic Tourist Visa (eTV). You may only apply online (the fee is USD48 for Malaysians in 2016). eTVs are single entry visas (you can apply for 2 in any calendar year), with a 1-year validity period, and allow you to stay for tourism or business visits for up to 30 days each entry.
In the event that your passport or other travel documents are lost or stolen, make sure you know the emergency contact details for your travel insurance concierge in India, so that you can be assisted as quickly as possible.
Electricity & water supply in India
While Malaysia uses the Type G power socket, you will instead see Type C, Type D and Type M sockets in India. This means that you will need a universal travel adapter. However, its 230V/50Hz
electrical system is close enough to Malaysia’s that you can otherwise simply plug in your electrical items. If you have many items to plug in, just bring a Malaysian extension board and plug that into the travel adapter. GoBear Malaysia recommends sticking to bottled water all throughout your India travels, even in the cities.
Indian telecommunications & Internet coverage
The telecommunications network in India covers most of the urban and suburban areas, with strong mobile network coverage throughout those areas. In fact, India has one of the strongest mobile
network subscription rates in the world. Mobile phones bought in Malaysia should work seamlessly with Indian pre-paid SIMs, but do check the specific frequencies your phone uses against the ones your preferred Indian telco supports. Wi-Fi is widely available everywhere you go in the cities, and 4G
LTE is planned to be more available as well. The emergency number is 100 for police, 101 for fire and 102 for medical from fixed lines and mobile phones alike. Starting from 1 st January 2017, this will become 112 from all fixed and mobile phone lines.
Healthcare & medical facilities in India
India’s private healthcare system is very well-developed when compared to its public healthcare system, and in the urban areas, meets or surpasses international standards. However, healthcare facilities are far more limited in rural regions. In any case, you will need to pay for healthcare costs upfront, so GoBear Malaysia recommends travel insurance while in India with emergency medical repatriation coverage.
Indian credit card facilities
India has its own payment network known as RuPay, which was launched in 2012. International credit card networks that are present in India include Visa, MasterCard, and American Express (to a smaller degree). UnionPay is not yet available in India, although that is set to change in the future. Credit cards are accepted by larger retailer and food outlets, but much of India remains a cash- preferred society.
Ready to start planning your Indian travels? Stay safe and protected while overseas! Try out GoBear Malaysia’s travel insurance comparison services for a quick, comprehensive and easy-to- use look atall the insurers and the travel insurance policies they offer for India.
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