Here in Belgium, it is incredibly easy to travel to other European countries. What you may not know is how easy it can be to travel to more exotic destinations. We wrote a lot about our travel experiences in India, back in March, but we failed to tell you how we did it. Today we want to show you how we travelled from Belgium to India and how you can get there too.
To those of us in the heart of Europe, exotic India seems a long, and expensive, way off. But last year, we received a tip from our German friends, who travel to Asia on a regular basis. “Watch the Lufthansa website,” they said. ” Early in the year they often run cheap flights to Bangalore.”
It was late January. Andrew and I were working away in our home office. Andrew turned around in his chair and said: “Do you want to go to India in March?” Ten minutes later our tickets were booked. The tickets cost us about €525 each, much less than our annual trip to Canada. It was time to start planning.
Travellers must secure a visa for India before they travel. We hear you groaning at the thought of obtaining more paperwork in Belgium but hang in there. Getting our Indian visas was much easier than we expected.
You can fill out the visa application for India online. However, you do still need to print it out and take it to the Visa Application Centre in person, along with 2 photographs and a cash fee depending on the type of visa you are applying for. There are visa application centres in Brussels and Antwerp.
With our documents in hand, we headed to the Brussels visa application centre on Ave. Louise. We waited for about 20 minutes, handed over our passports, paperwork and cash and were instructed to return in 3 days time.
Three days later, I left our flat, took the tram to Ave. Louise picked up our passports with their shiny new visas and was back home in under an hour. I think that’s a record for securing paperwork in Belgium!
We also made an appointment with our doctor to discuss what vaccines we would need for India. This should be done as far in advance as possible as several of the vaccines require multiple doses over time.
The flight to India was easy too. From Brussels, we flew to Frankfurt and from there, direct to Bangalore’s Bengaluru International Airport. It was the first time we had flown outside of Europe with Lufthansa and the flight was comfortable, we were well (by airline standards anyway) fed and were actually able to sleep a bit on the flight.
The downside to this easy flight was our very late arrival in Bangalore. It was about 2 am when we emerged groggy and bewildered from Bangalore International Airport. The upside of the late hour was avoiding Bangalore’s notorious traffic. Even so, the airport is located well outside the city and as we were travelling across town, it was still over an hour to our final destination.
Most Europeans who travel to India aren’t interested in staying in Bangalore, although we recommend staying a few days in this green city. Air travel in India is surprisingly good. The fares are affordable, the flights are frequent and the customer service is great.
When we travelled internally in India, to Goa and then to Kerala, we flew with Kingfisher Airlines. The Indian airports we visited, were well organised and easily accessible to European travellers. In fact, the only difference we noticed (besides the food on offer) was the separate security lines for men and women. While men are scanned out in the open, like in European airports, the women are scanned in little curtained off rooms, always by female security personnel.
Visiting India can be challenging on an emotional level but getting there from Belgium doesn’t have to be challenging at all. Stay tuned for more detailed posts on how we travel to international destinations from Belgium.
For more general information on travelling from Belgium, check out our article How to Leave Belgium – Travelling from Belgium by Plane, Train or Automobile.
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