• travel guide
  • Travel Guides
  • Apps & eBooks
  • Community
  • Publish Apps
Travel Guide > Asia > India

India Getting in & out

  
Click for larger image
Upload Photo     Upload Video

By plane

The major points of entry are Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai & Bangalore. The airports at these cities are either new or undergoing development. Delhi has unveiled its brand new international Terminal 3 in time for the 2010 Commonwealth Games & Bangalore launched its new airport in 2008. There are many nonstop, direct & connecting choices to these cities from Europe, North America, Middle East & Australia. Africa is also connected to Delhi & Mumbai.

For secondary points of entry to India, consider Hyderabad, Goa, Kolkata or the Malabar coast. There are many connections to the Malabar coast region to cities like Kochi, Kozhikode & Thiruvananthapuram from the Middle East. Most of the major Middle Eastern carriers offer one stop connections to the coast from their Gulf hubs. Hyderabad recently inaugurated its new airport, Rajiv Gandhi International & is currently served by major airlines British Airways, Emirates, Etihad, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways & Thai Airways. Goa is a favourite European tourist destination & thus is connected by many European charter operators like Condor, Edelweiss, Monarch Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines & Thomson Airways. Kolkata is currently served by Emirates, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines & Thai Airways.

India has homegrown international airlines like Air India (the merged airline formed by merging Air India and Indian Airlines). These provide good connectivity within the country. In recent years, the government has allowed Indian private airlines like Jet Airways and Kingfisher to go international. There are daily flights to major hubs around the world from Delhi & Mumbai.

Air India often offers the lowest rates for long haul flights to India. In recent years, it has steadily improved and has even been invited to join the Star Alliance, but there is still some ways to go until it can be considered world-class. Air India suffers from inconsistent customer service & its online booking / telephone reservations facilities are sub-standard.

From the United States, Continental Airlines offers nonstop daily service from Newark Airport to Delhi and Mumbai; Air India offers daily non-stop service to Mumbai and Delhi from JFK. The same service now extends itself by having a final leg at Hyderabad as well; and American Airlines offers nonstop daily service from Chicago to Delhi. Various European airlines offer connecting service through their European hubs from most major US cities and various Asian airlines offer connecting service from West Coast cities to India through their Asian hubs. Jet Airways also flies from New York to Delhi and Mumbai via Brussels and from San Francisco to Mumbai via Shanghai.

Entries from Europe and Northern America are possible using many European airlines such as Lufthansa Finnair British Airways KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Air France For long-term visitors (3-12 months), Swiss airlines often have good deals from Switzerland with connecting flights from major European and some American cities as well.

To save on tickets, consider connecting via Gulf countries, by Air Arabia (Sharjah-based low cost carrier having some connections in Europe), Etihad (especially if you need one-way ticket or going back to Europe from another Asian country) via Abu Dhabi, as well as Emirates via Dubai or Qatar airways via Doha. Obviously, these airlines are also the easiest way to come from the Gulf countries themselves, along with Air India and Air India Express.

From East Asia and Australia, Singapore (which is served by Air India, it's low-cost subsidiary Air India Express Jet Airways, as well as Singapore Airlines it's subsidiary Silk Air and low-cost subsidiary Tiger Airways has arguably the best connections to India with flights to all the major cities and many smaller ones. As about the cheap way from South-East Asia or vice versa, Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia is usually the best choice (if booked well in advance, one-way ticket price is normally below $100, sometimes being less than $50, they have connections from China, Australia and most of South-East Asian countries). They fly from Kuala Lumpur into New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Tiruchirapalli. One can also fly directly out of Penang to Chennai. If you're going from/to Thailand, Air India Express flies from Chennai and Kolkata to Bangkok. Jet Airways, Air India and Thai Airways fly from there to the wider range of Indian cities also. Most Recently, Silk Air started its direct flights from Singapore to Hyderabad as well.

By boat

India has several international ports on its peninsula. Kochi, Mumbai, Goa and Chennai are the main ones handling passenger traffic, while the rest mainly handle cargo. However, due to the profusion of cheap flights, there no longer appear to be any scheduled ferry services from India to the Middle East.

Some cruise lines that travel to India include Indian Oceans Eden II and Grand Voyage Seychelles-Dubai.

By train

There are two links from Pakistan. The Samjhauta Express runs from Lahore to Attari near Amritsar in Punjab. The Thar Express, restarted in February 2006 after 40 years out of service, runs from Munabao in the Indian state of Rajasthan to Khokrapar in Pakistan's Sindh province; however, this crossing is not open to foreign tourists. Neither train is the fastest, safest or the most practical way to go between India and Pakistan due to the long delay to clear customs and immigration (although the trains are sights in their own right and make for a fascinating trip). Ths Samjhauta express was the victim of a terrorist strike in February 2007, when they set off bombs that killed many people. Should you want to get from one country to the other as quickly as possible, walk across at Attari/Wagah.

From Nepal, trains run between Khajuri in Dhanusa district of Nepal and Jaynagar in Bihar, operated by Nepal Railways. Neither is of much interest for travelers and there are no onward connections into Nepal, so most travelers opt for the bus or plane instead.

Train services from Bangladesh were suspended for 42 years, but the Moitree Express started running again between Dhaka to Kolkata in April 2008. The service is biweekly: A Bangledeshi train leaves Dhaka every Saturday, returning on Sunday, while an Indian train leaves Kolkata on Saturdays and returns the next day.

By car

From Pakistan the only land crossing is from Lahore to Amritsar via the Attari/Wagah border crossing. See Istanbul to New Delhi over land. You will need a Carnet de Passage if crossing with your own vehicle. The process is not particularly lengthy - crossing with your own vehicle from/to Pakistan should take a maximum of 3 hours to clear both borders for you and your vehicle. There are also crossing points with Bangladesh and Nepal.

By bus

From Nepal

From Nepal buses cross the border daily, usually with connections to New Delhi, Lucknow, Patna and Varanasi. However, it's cheaper and more reliable to take one bus to the border crossing and another from there on. The border crossings are (India/Nepal side) Sunauli/Bhairawa from Varanasi, Raxaul/Birganj from Patna, Kolkata, Kakarbhitta from Darjeeling, and Mahendrenagar-Banbassa from Delhi.

From Bhutan

The Royal Bhutanese Government runs a service to/from Phuentsholing. These buses depart from Kolkata's Esplanade bus station at 7PM on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and from the Phuentsholing Bhutan Post office at 3PM on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The journey takes around 18 hours and costs 300Rps/Nu. The buses are comfortable, but because much of the highway to Kolkata is like the surface of the moon, don't bank on getting much sleep on the way.

There is frequent service between Siliguri and Phuentsholing.

From Pakistan

From Pakistan the only land crossing is from Lahore to Amritsar via the Attari/Wagah border crossing. Despite tensions between the two countries, there is a steady trickle of travellers passing this way. The immigration procedures are fairly straightforward, but note that neither Pakistan nor India issue visas at the border. Expect to take most of the day to go between Lahore and Amritsar on local buses. Normally it's possible to get a direct bus from Amritsar to the border, walk to the other side and catch a direct bus to Lahore, although you may need to change at some point on route. Amritsar and Lahore are both fairly close to the border (about 30-40 minutes drive), so taxis are a faster and easier option.

The direct Delhi-Lahore service has restarted, though it is far more costly than local buses/trains, not any faster, and would mean you miss seeing Amritsar. You will also be stuck at the border for much longer while the bus is searched and all of the passengers go through immigration.

There is now a bus service across the 'Line of control' between Indian and Pakistani Kashmir, however it is not open to foreign tourists.

From Bangladesh

From Bangladesh there are a number of land entry points to India. The most common way is the regular air-conditioned and comfortable bus services from Dhaka to Kolkata via Haridaspur (India)/Benapole (Bangladesh) border post. Bus companies 'Shyamoli', 'Shohag', 'Green Line', and others operate daily bus services under the label of the state owned West Bengal Surface Transport Service Corporation (WBSTSC) and the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC). From Kolkata 2 buses leave every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday while from Dhaka they leave on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The journey usually takes around 12 hours with a one-way fare of Rs. 400-450 or BDT600-800, roughly $8-10.

Another daily bus service by 'Shyamoli' and others under the BRTC label from Dhaka connects Siliguri, but the buses in this route do not cross the Changrabanda/Burimari or Burungamari border post. Rather, passengers reaching the border have to clear customs, walk a few hundred yards to cross the border and board the awaiting connecting buses on the other end for the final destination. Ticket for Dhaka-Siliguri-Dhaka route costs BDT 1600, roughly $20-25 depending on conversion rates. Tickets are purchased either in Dhaka or in Siliguri.

There is also a regular bus service between Dhaka and Agartala, capital of the Indian state of Tripura . Two BRTC buses daily from Dhaka and the Tripura Road Transport Corporation plying its vehicles six days a week with a round fare costing USD 10 connect the two cities. There is only one halt at Ashuganj in Bangladesh during the journey.

Other entry points from Bangladesh are Hili, Chilahati/Haldibari, Banglaband border posts for entry to West Bengal; Tamabil border post for a route to Shillong in Meghalaya, and some others with lesser known routes to north-eastern Indian regions.

Transport Hubs in India

 




Users for India Getting in & out
1 0 0
Make it Happen!

Our service for you - your travel checklist:

  1. Read our online guides
  2. Find a cheap flight
  3. Book a nice hotel
  4. Get travel insurance
    - even during your trip -

...and have fun!