From Taipei to India – What you need to know

If you happen to be living in Taiwan and want to travel onwards to India or if you are stopping in Taiwan on your way along a much bigger trek, there are a few things you need to know beforehand.

First, you will need a visa to get into India. The fees for this are different depending on the country you are from but pretty much every single nation across the globe is required to have a visa upon arrival to India customs. Landing visas are not issued. If you happen to be in Taipei or another city in Taiwan there are some options for this, which are mainly limited to hiring a broker to act as the liaison between you and the visa center. For me I choose Whose Travel, which is located in Taiwan’s central city of Taizhong. Simply get in contact with their office and let them know you will be sending your passport along with photos/application form. Once they confirm they will send credit information in which you can pay by credit card or a wire transfer. The service usually takes less than 10 days to complete and you can apply for either a single entry or multiple-entry visa. I was told a multiple one was not guaranteed, although I did get it in the end.

What was frustrating about this process was that I was expected to have my entire itinerary booked in advance in order for the Indian embassy to verify my itinerary. It seemed a bit much, as I had never done this before when going to other nations since I like to wing it a bit, but the travel agency was very persistent about it. As a result I had to book my hotels in advance along with all flights, which ended up putting a strain on my travels a bit once in India since I decided to stay longer/shorter in some areas. This wasn’t a severe scenario but just an annoying one, as it resulted in increased fees due to flight changes and cancellations.

For flight bookings I almost exclusively did a generic Google Flights search to find the best results. Going to India from Taipei I got a good deal with China Southern, which transferred in Guangzhou China but there were also options to transfer in Bangkok and Hong Kong. Due to the time frame I was leaving (Chinese New Year) the one to China was the cheapest so I went with that. However, if I were to go at another time I would choose another place and probably extend my stay there a couple of days to knock out a couple of cities under one price ticket. This usually works for the same costs or slightly higher in some cases.

When preparing money from Taipei to India I exchanged NTD for USD and then once in India exchanged USD for Rupees. All of the major banks in Taiwan do not exchange Indian currency, including the Bank of Taiwan, which at times advertises it. I still can’t figure out why this is the case but this happened to me when wanting to change Vietnamese Dong, which the Bank of Taiwan advertised as having but upon going to the bank only to find out this was not the case. Oh how that is so Taiwan…

You are better off getting a SIM card upon arrival in India as opposed to trying to find one in Taiwan before hand, as they are hard to come by. But one thing you should load up in Taiwan before leaving is medicine, as it is cheap to buy drugs related to digestive issues. I would also recommend getting travel insurance in Taiwan to India as well. I typically do not buy this but in India all and everything can go wrong, including Delhi Belly, which I got, so be prepared.

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