Karnataka has a temperate climate, making it suitable all year round. There's a monsoon from June to September, but it's mild compared to the monsoon in other parts of India and brings beautifully verdant landscapes. For most of the year temperatures range between 20-30 degrees, rising up to 35 degrees in April and May.
NB, please do not rely solely on this information for your travel planning.
From the UK: direct flights with British Airways. There are also services via the Middle East with Emirates, Oman Air, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.
From Europe: direct flights with Air France and Lufthansa. Or fly to Delhi, Mumbai or Chennai with Finnair, Alitalia, KLM and Swiss International Airlines and change.
From within India: with Air India, IndiGo, SpiceJet.
Via Goa or Kerala:
Many people visit Karnataka by way of Goa or Kerala. Click for further information on:
> Getting to Goa
> Getting to Kerala
BY TRAIN: India has a good rail network - check out Indian Rail for timetables or visit Seat 61 for a beginner's guide.
BY BUS: Travelling by bus is a cheap way to get around, but they can be very overcrowded and uncomfortable. They link all towns and cities, and you can always pick up a rickshaw at the bus stop for short hops to your hotel.
BY TAXI: There are taxi-cars, with or without air conditioning, and a large number of auto-rickshaws on the roads. Fares are cheap with various small extras. Some drivers try to stop off at shops where they get commissions on your purchases, while others fend off all touts and take you straight to your destination.
Almost every non-Indian needs a tourist visa from their embassy or consulate. There are 3- and 6-month multiple-entry and single-entry visas (the cost is the same), and they can no longer be issued the same day - so plan ahead! Note you may need a permit and a guide to visit nature reserves and national parks; these are normally available locally.
The most common health problems for visitors are diarrhoea and sun-related problems. It's important to drink a lot of bottled water (tap water isn't safe to drink) and protect yourself from the sun. Also be aware of what, and where, you are eating. Choose fruits that you can peel and avoid fresh salads (or wash them yourself with purified water) and ice made from tap water. Be cautious of ice cream, cold milk and undercooked fish or meat. If you experience diarrhoea it's very important to replace lost fluids and, in the case of severe diarrhoea, lost minerals and salts (it’s a good idea to go prepared with some oral rehydration salts). If you become ill your hotel should be able to recommend a good local doctor or clinic. You may want to consider carrying an emergency treatment pack including needles and syringes.
It's important to seek medical advice at least 6 weeks before departure as some vaccinations may require more than one injection. Make sure you're up to date with vaccinations for diphtheria, tetanus and polio. Vaccinations for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid are also advisable (note that the current vaccine against cholera offers very low protection and isn't usually recommended). Consider vaccinations against rabies and Japanese B encephalitis if you're planning to stay longer than a couple of weeks. Malaria is present in some areas - your doctor will be able to advise you on the risks of malaria and appropriate medication. Insect repellent is essential; use one containing DEET.
Many staff are paid very low salaries and expect to be tipped. In hotels and restaurants, 10% is normal. In other situations, where there is no bill, a few rupees will suffice.