Connections with this trip
If you are planning longer holidays, you can either head to Rajastan to explore the ‘land of the Kings’ or to Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges
Getting from Singapore to Delhi
Fly from Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) to Delhi (DEL)
Getting there: Air India – 9:15 AM – 12.30 PM (5.5 h flight)
Coming back: Air India- 11 PM – 07:20 AM.
Return ticket from SGD 525.
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Getting from the airport to Delhi city center
The airport is located 16 km from the city center of Delhi. You have several options to get to the city:
- Prepaid taxi: from Rs 200 to Rs 250 depending on where you go in the city – our recommended option. Look for the counter at the exit and pay the taxi fare at the counter. Take the receipt and keep it with you until you have reached your destination. Give it to the taxi driver only once you have reached your destination (the driver will need the receipt to get paid).
- Bus: Buses run from the airport to Connaught Place via New Delhi Railway Station. From every 30 minutes during peak times to every hour off peak. The journey will cost you Rs 50. They are operated by EATS and DTC.
- Hotel pickup: some hotels will arrange airport pickup (usually for Rs 400 to Rs 700)
- Subway: from 5AM to 11PM, approx. Rs 80 / pax)
Where to stay in Delhi?
In Agra you’ll find all kind of accommodation from the backpacker guesthouse to the luxury hotel. If you decide to visit the Taj Mahal early morning, try to get a hotel nearby, if possible with a rooftop to admire the sunset on the Taj Mahal.
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To see & to do in Delhi & Agra
To get from one place to another, you can either take an auto rickshaw for short distance if the traffic is not too bad (and if you are not scared of air pollution), a taxi for long distance or you can take the metro which is clean and well organized.
Old Delhi, the crowded historical city
- Jama Masjid: This is the largest mosque in India, the courtyard has a capacity to host up to 250,000 prayers! Don’t forget to cover your shoulders. Plan approx. 30min to visit the Mosque. Located in Old Delhi near ‘Chawri Bazaar’ metro station (not far from the Red Fort), opened daily from dawn to dusk, it is free unless you have a camera (if so they will charge you Rs 300).
- Gurudwara Shish Ganj: This is a Sikh temple, which architecture is not outstanding but it is worth visiting this place to learn a little about the Sikh religion. Sikhs are very welcoming and will be happy to answer your questions. Free entrance, take off your shoes before entering.
- Red Fort: Quite similar to the one in Agra, it is recommended to visit either one or the other. The Red sandstone walls rise above Old Delhi, keeping out from the turmoil of the city. The full visit can take up to 2h. Located near ‘Chandni Chowk’ metro station, open daily except Mondays, from sunrise to sunset, Rs 250/ pax. There is a sound & light show in English at 7:30 PM ( Rs 80 / pax).
- Chandni Chowk market: If you have not felt yet that Delhi streets are overcrowded, spend some time wandering in this market. On Saturdays the life is going in full swing!
New Delhi, the spacious contemporary city
Not the most genuine part of the city, as it is more the financial district with new places and buildings. However worth to cross this part of the city either by foot or by taxi and have a look (at least from the outside) at the presidential palace Rastrapati Bhavan, the Embassies district, Connaught Place, India Gate,…
- Connaught place: This is one of the largest financial, commercial and business centers in Delhi. If there would be a central point in Delhi, this huge circle place would be it.
- President Palace – Ceremonial Changing of Guard: This ceremony is held every Saturday morning, from 8am to 8:40 AM (March 15th – August 14th), from 9AM to 9:40 AM (August 15th – November 14th), from 10AM to 10:40 AM (November 15th to March 14th). Access via ‘South Avenue’ metro station, not too far from the India Gate.
- India Gate: It is the national monument of India; it looks like the ‘Arc de Triomphe’ located in Paris. After the Independance of India, it has become the Indian Army’s Unknown Soldier’s tomb.
- Paharganj: Located not far from Connaught place, this is the backpacker district. You’ll find many cafés, tourist souvenir shops, and a lively atmosphere.
- Qutub Minar: This Minaret dates back to the 12th century and is among the tallest in the world (230 feet high). ‘Qutab Minar’ metro station, Open daily, Rs 250/ pax. Plan about 40 min for the visit.
- Lodhi gardens: This garden is considered the most pleasant green area in Delhi, if you need a green break from the buzzing city, go there and wander across the 32 acres and the architectural buildings which host the tombs of Mohammed Shah, Sikander Lodi,…
Ordered by Humayun’s widow in 1565, Humayun’s tomb architecture represents the glory of Mughal Empire in India. Don’t miss it and try to visit it in the early morning or by the end of the day, you may need approx. 45min to explore it. Located near JLN Stadium metro station (in the South part of Delhi), opened daily from 6AM to 6PM, Rs 250/ pax.
Khari Baoli – Spices market
The bustling wholesale spice market starts from the street running from the the Fatehpuri Mosque (near the Red Fort, Old Delhi) to the western part of the old city. Be prepared for an olfactory journey as you’ll see and smell all kind of spices, herbs, nuts, rice, pickles, tea, and other things…
Agra and surroundings (Uttar Pradesh)
Agra is about 215 Km South from Delhi. There are several options to get there:
- Private Car: from 2h30 to 3h30 drive depending on the traffic on a nice highway, it can be a day trip from Delhi (though it would be a long day) or you can decide to sleep over one night in Agra to enjoy the Taj Mahal at sunrise. Recommended travel car agency: Aerotrek Agency (firstname.lastname@example.org), they can customize your itinerary, provide cars or mini bus with driver and provide English speaking guides.
- Train: You can book your ticket via an agency. (for instance this agency: Shanti Travel email@example.com). There are many trains running all day long. Be aware that if you try to buy your tickets directly at the railway station you might get trapped in by well-organized agents that will tell you the ticket office is closed and will propose to buy it via an agency, once there they will tell you that the trains are fully booked and will then offer you a private car service. This is a very common scam in Delhi. You’re warned.
It is almost the same travel duration to get to Agra by Private Car or Train, the Private car enables you to leave your stuff inside while you visit and also to make a detour to Fatehpur Sikri. If you are short in time, you can visit Agra (Taj Mahal and the Fort) and Fatehpur Sikri within a day from Delhi.
You may have seen thousands of pictures of the Taj Mahal but standing in front of it is just an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere is simply majestic. The earlier you’ll be there the fewer tourists you will see. It is worth getting up at dawn, enter the Taj Mahal garden and admire the impressive building. Don’t forget to eat and drink before entering the site as it is strictly forbidden to bring any food or drink inside. The tickets are expensive but you don’t want to miss the Taj Mahal. Visiting hours from Sunrise to Sunset. It’s closed on Fridays! Rs 750/pax.
This Red Fort of Agra is a UNESCO World Heritage site located about 3Km northwest of the Taj Mahal. If you have not been to Delhi’s Red Fort it is a must see. Opened daily from sunrise to sunset, Rs 250/pax
It is a fascinating city built in the 16th century, located 40 km West from Agra, as the icon monument of the area, it is made of red sandstone. Fatehpur Sikri Mosque has nice marble carvings, with its Persian and Hindu architecture, it is said to be a copy of the mosque in Mecca. Definitely worth a stop! Open daily, Rs 250 / pax. You can get there by train if you don’t have a private driver.
The town of Vrindavan stands on the banks of the Yamuna river where the Hindu deity Krishna spent his childhood. It is a pilgrimage destination for Hindus hosting as many as 5,000 temples. It is located 150 km South Delhi and 70 km North Agra, a perfect stop on the way to Agra or to Delhi. Entry to the temples is free however, have some coins ready to pay the shoe handlers at the entrance of each temple.
More info to prepare your trip
You can easily find internet access in guesthouses (not Wifi but PC connected to the Internet) or Wifi in high-end hotels.
What to pack for Delhi
Your main bag
That’s the one you leave at the hotel. Ideally you want to avoid checking in your luggage when flying. So check the weight and dimensions for hand carry luggage with your airlines (some airlines will allow only 7kg, some will allow up to 10kg). From head to toes.
- Short sleeves tops: your main outfit. Everybody will see them on all your pictures. You really want to take that old Mickey Mouse T-shirt? Be mindful that you will be in a different environment so it might be a good idea to adjust your wardrobe.
- Long sleeves tops: to protect yourself from the sun (if you’ve stayed for 5 hours on a motorbike with short sleeves you know what I mean) or to enter religious buildings or to protect yourself from mosquitoes in the evening.
- Pullover. Yes I know, you’re going to a country where the temperature never goes down below 25 degrees and you need to pack a pullover? You will thank us when you’re back. Remember that flight during which you were freezing? Or this museum where the aircon is set to the “polar bear” temperature?
- Short/skirt (you should be able to chose the appropriate one by yourself).
- Trousers for the same reasons you need to take long sleeves tops. Jeans are usually not a good option. They are heavy and keep you too warm.
- Underwear: well, you know. If you plan to walk or ride motorbikes for long hours, take something comfortable as the combination heat + friction can make you regret this sophisticated silk underwear. Cotton is good.
- Shoes: one pair of flip flap and one pair of confortable shoes. Remember that you are going to spend most of the time on your feet. Forget about high heels and leave your Westons at home.
- Swimsuit: even if you don’t plan to go to the beach, you never know. A nice river, a swimming pool, a heavy rain? Always have one with you.
- Raincoat and protection for your bag. Even if you are visiting the country during the “best season”, you never know what the sky will be like.
- Torch: take a pocket torch with you if you visit countries where the power is not reliable… Can come very handy when stuck in the dark in your room.
- Toilet bag: Shampoo, soap, toothbrush & toothpath, deodorant, sun screen, tiger balm. Ideally, all these in miniature formats.
- Sleeping bag liner (if you plan to stay in very cheap or dirty places, not required if you are staying in a 5-star hotel…)
- Your IT stuff: iPad, eBook, laptop, chargers, memory card, batteries, etc.
- Dryer sheets: they will help keep a fresh smell in your bag.
Your small bag
That’s the one you keep with you, all the time. Hence, a backpack is the best option.
- Your passport, cash, credit cards and other life saving items like your insurance card with emergency contact details. Not a bad idea to put them in a zip-lock bag in case it rains. It will keep your documents dry.
- Your driver’s licence if you plan to rent a car or a motorbike (some countries are quite particular about this so take it with you in case you are not sure, even for a motorbike rental).
- Your emergency medical kit: painkillers, mosquitoes repellent, dressing/plaster, disinfectant, anti diarrhea, eyewash
- Tissues and toilet paper (you will thank me later). Remember that in a lot of countries, you will not be provided napkins when having a meal.
- Water – plastic bottles are a good option as they are lighter than a gourd/flask.
- Biscuits (always buy some before you go when you are not sure what you will find. Always have “emergency” biscuit and water in case you cannot find food around and need to recharge batteries)
- Sunglasses: you’ll need them. Take them even if it’s raining. Weather can change very fast in the region.
- Scarf (krama, or any kind of fabric that you can use to put around your neck, put on your head to protect it from the sun, cover your shoulders in temples, dry your sweat, etc). Can come very handy in some situation. It will not stay clean for long so it’s wise to pick a dark color…
- Camera and its protection.
- Language: One of the hundreds of local dialects and English in most places in India
- Time zone: GMT + 5:30 anywhere in India. India is 2h30 behind Singapore.
- Currency: India Rupee (INR) or (Rs)
- Phone: + 91
- Electricity: 230V 50 Hz
Immigration and airport taxes on arrival
You must apply for a Visa before going to India. A tourist visa is valid for 6 months and the duration begins on the first day of issuance. Fees depends on your citizenship, from USD 13 to USD 93, take a look here for details.
National Public Holidays in India (Uttar Pradesh – Agra) 2015
|Monday||January 26||Republic Day|
|Tuesday||February 17||Maha Shivratri|
|Saturday||March 28||Ram Navami|
|Thursday||April 02||Mahavir Jayanti|
|Friday||April 03||Good Friday|
|Tuesday||April 14||Dr Ambedkar Jayanti|
|Monday||April 20||Parashurama Jayanti|
|Sunday||May 03||Hazrat Alis Birthday|
|Monday||May 04||Buddha Purnima|
|Saturday||August 15||Independence Day|
|Saturday||August 29||Raksha Bandhan|
|Thursday||September 24||Idul Juha|
|Friday||October 02||Mahatma Gandhi Birthday|
|Saturday||October 24||Muharram (10th Day)|
|Wednesday||November 25||Guru Nanak Birthday|
|Friday||December 25||Christmas Day|
* check the exact date as it varies from one year to another. Please check out this link.