19 Things Canadians Travelling to India Should Know
Whether your dream is to catch the sunrise at the Taj Mahal or hike through the Himalayas, India offers some of the world’s most rewarding—and intense—travel experiences. Having lived in India for the past 30 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand the disorientation first-time visitors can experience mere moments after touching down. But exactly why is this culture shock so common for Canadians travelling to India? Let’s look at a few facts that set the stage.
Canada’s landmass encompasses almost 10-million square kilometres, making it, geographically speaking, the second largest country in the world. India is roughly a third of that size. Canada has roughly 35.5-million citizens. India packs that same number into two cities alone—Mumbai and New Delhi—and boasts a total population that’s a full billion stronger than Canada’s. They’re older, too (at least historically speaking). The entire Indian subcontinent has been inhabited—and has been a significant player in global civilization and economy—for several thousand years.
With that in mind, things happen differently in India. Very differently. The good news is, a bit of preparation can help you overcome that initial sense of being overwhelmed, and lay the groundwork for a trip that’s truly life-changing. Here are some of the things Canadians travelling to India for the first time should keep in mind.
1. Canadians travelling to India need a visa.
Canadians need more than just a passport to be granted entry into India. A travel visa must be obtained prior to your arrival, accompanied by a passport that’s valid for a further 180 days. The good news is, applying for an Indian travel visa is fairly easy (it can be done online), and visas can be granted within a matter of days.
This is the Most Powerful Passport in the World (No, It’s Not Canadian)!
2. See a doctor before you go.
The quality of health care services in India varies widely across the country, although it tends to be more reliable in urban centres than in rural regions. That said, ensuring you’re fully immunized now could save you serious health care headaches after your departure. (Here are 8 of the Most Common Travel Illnesses, and How to Prevent Them.) Your doctor will likely recommend you get vaccinated for hepatitis A and B, and may offer a prescription for anti-malarial medication. You’ll also want to ensure, of course, that you’re up-to-date with your standard vaccinations for the likes of typhoid and rabies, and that you consult the Government of Canada’s website for any travel health notices.