India is a very diverse, beautiful and bountiful land wherein, experiences, events and sensations pile themselves on the tourist at every step. You’ll surely find India among the most stimulating places you’ll ever visit. India has over one hundred airports of which eleven are international airports. National capital New Delhi (car renting in New Delhi) and commercial capital Mumbai (rent a car in Mumbai) has two airports each. The best time to visit India depends on what you are looking for. It is a very vast country with wildly varying topography. Many classify it as a hot tropical country and that is true for the most part except for the northern states of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir in the north and Sikkim in the northeastern hills. Most of the country experiences very hot summers, starting April and continuing till September end. October to March draws maximum tourists. If you want to experience Indian Monsoon you should visit in June-July but for going up the Himalayas April and May are recommended.
Visa & Currency
Online tourist visa facility is available for passport holders of a number of countries. The processing time for visa varies from 5 to 45 days, depending on the country of the applicant. Nationals of many countries can get visa on arrival. You’ll need to check which category you fall into.
The Indian rupee (INR) is the official currency of India.
1 US Dollar= about 63 INR
1 British Pound (GBP) =about 99 INR
ATMs are easily located in most Indian cities except in very small towns. Major international credit cards are widely accepted in all the cities of tourists’ interest. Currency conversion in India, especially in bigger metros, is quite simple with many accredited money changers and most banks also change money. Moneychangers are open 24 hours at the airports and in hotels.
Driving in India
Driving is on left side.
You would need an International Driving License.
Seat belts are mandatory for drivers and passenger on the front seat.
Use of cell phones is not permitted for drivers.
You’ll need to pay tax while crossing from one state to another and toll fees are frequent on highways within the same state.
Car rental in India – where to go?
You won’t find many international car rental in India, though Avis and Hertz started operations recently and the idea seems to be catching on. It won’t be advisable for foreigners to drive in India. For one, you’ll need to get familiar to drive on your left and then, most Indian cars have manual transmission, a few car manufacturers have just introduced automatic transmission system. Even if you are used to mechanical transmissions, the gear level will be on your left. Chaotic traffic and lack of adequate parking facilities, mainly due an ever increasing number of cars on roads of most Indian cities further discourages car rental in India.
Otherwise too, it is quite customary for affluent Indians to hire car drivers. Almost all drivers are given cell phones, enabling them to pick up the passenger even if the car were parked one kilometer away.
Well, driving on your own does have it benefits but the pleasure of being driven in a new country or city is unbeatable. Moreover, you may not find renting a car in Mombasa with driver as expensive as you might have experienced in American and European cities. Such car rentals are easily available even in smaller towns, though charges vary from city to city. Just to give you an idea of car rental in India, you could hire a chauffeur driven mid size sedan for an all inclusive expense of INR 2,000 and travel any distance up to 80 KM in any metro city of India!