Kolkata is one of India’s largest cities, and is served by the busiest airport on the eastern coast, the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (CCU). Passengers can find amenities such as access to WiFi, bureau de change counters, ATMs, Internet cafes, WiFi, a few duty-free outlets, and a good range of restaurant you can pick up food in.
There are several ways into the city centre, via rail, Metro, buses, and taxis. The approximate taxi fare in the city should come to around about 250INR ($5) to travel the 18km, but be aware this price is subject to traffic conditions.
You can fly to Kolkata with Air India, Singapore Airlines, Silkair, Dragonair, Thai Airways, Qantas, Air Niugini, Malaysia Airlines, and Cathay Pacific.
Why visit Kolkata?
Kolkata, once called Calcutta, is the second largest city in India, and combines its grit with majesty. It is a city that is monumental in its country’s history, having once been the centre of the independence movement that saw India finally secede from the British. You’ll find this Bengali city littered with colonial buildings, churches and government buildings that share space with the frenetic part of the city that is home to markets, hawkers, tuk-tuks, restaurants, hotels, and ghats. Come to Kolkata, the cultural capital of India.
Things to do in Kolkata
The first stop on your itinerary should be the remarkable Indian Museum, the oldest in the country having been established in 1814, and hosts artefacts from both India and all over the world – an absolute must-see. Then there is the Victoria Memorial, originally built for Queen Victoria, this building is now a museum with over 20 galleries that focuses more on the history of Kolkata itself. There is a dedicated children’s museum too for those travelling with family, called the Nehru Children’s Museum.
For shopping, you must go to the joyful madness of Chowringhee, where you can shop, enjoy entertainment venues, and delve into the local cuisine in one of the many restaurants. Then if you’d like to find a little peace and serenity, drop by the Archarya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, where you can amble through over 100 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens.
You can also see some important religious landmarks, from the Hindu Pareshwanath Temple, to the Muslim Nakhoda Mosque, and the Christian St. Paul’s Cathedral, you can see the architecture and similarities of these three prominent global religions, and how they’ve impacted Kolkata.
Best time to visit Kolkata
· From October through to March you will find the weather in Kolkata is at its best. The days are dry and crisp at around 9-14°C, but sightseeing around this time is very pleasant.
· April to May can be horrendously hot, with rising temperatures up to 40°C. These months are then followed by the monsoon, when the days are humid, and very wet.
Arriving in Kolkata by plane
· Only one stop is generally required when travelling to Kolkata, and this is usually via Delhi (DEL), Singapore (SIN), or Hong Kong (HKG).
· Indian Rupee (INR).
· India now allows travellers to apply for an online visa if they are intending to travel in the country for 30 days or less. Go to the Indian High Commission website for instructions and information, or to the Smart Traveller advice page on India.
Please note that information is correct as of December 2016
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