Relocation to Bangalore: free tips for a happy life. After living in Bengaluru for nearly three years, I feel comfortable when supporting others during their life-changing moments: relocation to India. Recently, my new friend reached out to me seeking some personal advice for the shift to the capital of Karnataka. It inspired this topic and the post. It is time to write a few suggestions for all who consider or are in the progress of relocation not only to Bangalore but also to India.
What are some of the golden tips I would give to someone relocating to Bangalore in India? What to check in advance, what to pack, or what to avoid when shifting to incredible India? No matter if your relocation is already approved or just part of your daydreaming 🙂 check the tips below! Maybe this article will help you to say: yes, let’s do it, I might not be fully ready, but I know that I will make it!
MY RELOCATION TO BANGALORE
I relocated to India on the 8th of March 2019. It was a relocation and living between two countries at the same time. What do I mean by that? We live in India. That’s where we have our home, where my Better Half works and my Bigger Angel goes to school. We also have our home in Poland, and we continue to travel there very frequently, dedicating a lot of our time to both countries. And, always enjoying one of them and missing the other one!
I feel I am lucky:
- We have two Homes
- We live an interesting life, sharing different cultures and experiencing it all on the daily basis
- I didn’t have to pack all my things when moving to India
- We can travel between the countries when the missing is too much
- I can always plan what to bring next if needed
- My family and friends have great holiday locations 🙂
Before my relocation to India, some of my friends, colleagues, and doctors (as I was pregnant) told me that I was courageous to shift to another continent and so different country and culture. Sometimes I think back and wonder: is it courageous to relocate or maybe to stay in one location all the time?
If we were meant to stay, we’d have roots instead of feet.Rachel Wolchin
Below you can find some practical suggestions on how to relocate a bit more smoothly to Bangalore. Please note that the below tips come from a person relocating from Europe (not domestic within India). Hopefully the below will help in many scenarios, including relocations to other cities in India.
And don’t miss some additional content in my previous posts:
Relocating & living abroad: Your new happy place
My first two years of living in starling India
FREE TIPS FOR A HAPPY LIFE IN BANGALORE
Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.Brian Tracy
BANGALORE IS BANGALORE
Congratulations on your relocation to Bangalore! 🙂 For me, Bangalore is Bangalore. On the one hand, one can compare it to other big cities in India; on the other hand, it is unique. My first highlight is: Bangalore (or rather Bengaluru) has over 12 million habitants. It is massive. It is also a very vast city. You might need 2 hours to cross the city. That’s of course also thanks to its famous traffic! 🙂
Bangalore is a metropolitan city. It is colorful, crowded, and warm. Before, it used to be called a green city. It still has many green areas and beautiful flowering trees. Bangalore is a world-known IT hub. It is an interesting place, many foreigners live here, and the number of activities, shops, and opportunities is very significant.
There are also a lot of great places to visit in Bangalore or outside during weekends. Check the below article!
Bangalore: Business trip or holiday – ideas for the weekend
To enter India and stay here for an extended time (or unlimited), you will need a visa (unless you hold an Indian passport or an OCI card). All the documents need to be finalized before your journey. There is great news! You do not need to be worried if your documents expire during your stay in India or you will need some assistance.
Take a note now: e-FRRO (Foreigners Regional Registration Office). It is a government office that supports foreigners in the country. Many activities can be done online: registration, visa extension, visa conversion, exit permit, etc. Remember that if you visit India on a long-term basis (more than 180 days), you will need to register yourself with the FRRO. It is a very smooth process.
If you need to visit the FRRO office in person in Bangalore, it is here.
WHERE TO LIVE
There are multiple nice areas where to stay in Bangalore. I would recommend city center areas. They are safer and will give you great options for shopping or dining out. Indiranagar, Koramangala, and JP Nagar are great districts to stay. Additionally, consider two options: secured/gated communities or proximity to your work.
There are many beautiful gated communities. You can explore different options, among them: Adarsh Palm Meadows, Adarsh Palm Retreat, Prestige Ozone, or Windmills of Your Mind. Try to find something close to your work. Limiting time spent in the traffic is the key decision on where to stay. Else daily, during pick hours, you might enjoy for even ~3 hours the view of the Bangalorean roads.
How is the weather in Bangalore? I would say it is summer 12 months a year. There are just a few highlights: summer in Bangalore might be very warm (e.g., April-May), mild (December-January), or rainy (July-September). But it is warm, in my view super warm. Many local people call November-January winter time. I wish that in winter in Poland we had 20-26’c! Plus, not a minus! 🙂 That’s why: don’t be surprised to see people wearing a puffer jacket or a winter hat in December with 22’c outside.
I am sure that till now you must have heard about the famous Bangalorean traffic. Yes, it is one of the top ones in the world! And it isn’t about driving only but also about crossing the road. Although, some areas, post Covid, are still less crowded now, but generally it might be one big traffic jam.
When crossing the street do not expect anyone to stop to let you pass, even when carrying a baby, a few bags of shopping or being pregnant. Instead, watch out to your right, left, right (and continue so) till you fully cross the road. Cars passing with the high beams, cows walking in the middle of the road or someone driving against the direction is all you can expect. I say that crossing the road in India is like a video game. There is just one difference: you have only one life. Be careful.
If you are planning to drive yourself, remember:
- It is right side driving
- Not everyone follows the driving rules
- Beep all the time when someone passes close to you with a car / motorbike / truck or walks next
- Do not wait to turn or overtake, just push and join the driving fun… I still have my Polish habits here and sometimes I just end up waiting and waiting 🙂
- If you do not feel comfortable with all the above, hire a driver (it is very affordable) or order Uber or Ola
If you are relocating with your children, this is an important item. Before my travels to India, I didn’t know a lot about the schooling system in India. Back then, I only knew that India is a truly global workforce; with many talented professionals. So the schooling system that is behind it must be good!
Schools in India are both public and private (starting from elementary schools to university). Public schools might be a better fit for the selected groups of the local people. They are not free of cost. There are some fees to be made too.
For your relocation, consider private education. The standard of the private schools can be exceptional, with an international curriculum. There is just one ‘but’. Private schools in India are very expensive, especially compared to the local salaries. Guess in my mind, I am used to the free-of-cost education system in Poland, so the prices were even more surprising for me. There is one more difference looking at the schools and the job market in India. There is a huge competition, driven mainly by the population.
Which schools to consider? There are many great ones, among them:
- Ebenezer International School
- Greenwood High International School
- Indus International School
- KAI Early Years
- Neev Academy
- The International School Bangalore
What do I mean by saying that the schools might be expensive? One year of education in the international school is at the level of 400,000-500,000 INR (4700 – 5850 Euro). However, the top ones might be even double the amount. How about the international preschools? Around 350,000 (4100 Euro) per year.
The healthcare system in Bangalore surprised me a lot during my initial travels.
There is both public and private healthcare sector, but I would recommend (and only) the private one. There are many private hospitals in Bangalore, general ones and specialized ones. When I got food poisoning for the first time in India, I tried to treat it using my local medicine. Don’t count on that. Call the doctor or go to the hospital; you will see the difference.
The visits at the private hospitals are paid, but the prices are very affordable. The queue might vary. Admission to the emergency section is immediate; that’s such a wow for me! In Poland, people need to wait for hours and hours.
I am so confident about the healthcare system in Bangalore that I was happy to deliver our Little One here. An amazing experience.
Which hospitals do I recommend? For children and mothers (including pregnancy/delivery) CloudNine Hospital. For the general and specialized doctor visits, consider (including emergency) Manipal, Sakra World, and Columbia Asia Hospital.
Many vaccinations are advised for travel to India, from malaria to typhoid. When I traveled to India back in 2009, I got vaccinated nearly for every disease. That’s because practically, I knew very little about India. For my second trip, I didn’t get any vaccination. The same applied to all my other travels to India. And believe me, I must have already had 1000 mosquito bites (if not more) and most of them when I was pregnant. I got food poisoning 4 or 5 times. If you travel to Bangalore and other major cities in India, you do not need any additional vaccination. Make sure to follow some basic hygienic standards, e.g., avoid street food, especially not fully cooked or boiled items.
Interestingly, for the Covid vaccine, India doesn’t recognize (I guess ‘yet’) Pfizer. However, in practice, there are no problems with it. I was fully vaccinated in Poland with Pfizer, and the certification is accepted both at the airport and in shopping malls/cinemas.
India is a shopping paradise. Visiting Bangalore you will see streets full of shops: from small push carts to huge shopping malls. The advantage of living in Bangalore is that, next to the local brands, there are also many international ones, like H&M, for example. International products, especially grocery, are pretty expensive (or not available) so I suggest you to bring some with you from your home location.
Many shops in India offer a lot of local products, they might be beautifully hand made items from the local wood or minerals but also a lot of plastic things, lower quality ones.
I discovered a lot of beautiful brands in two ways: in the bigger malls or through Instagram sponsored adds. It is enough to google “birthday cake” and then reopen your Insta. You will get a lot of adds with very modern products.
If you want some specific shopping tips in India and the list of recommended brands, check my two previous articles:
TRAVEL AND SHOPPING: THE TRUTH ABOUT SHOPPING IN INDIA
TRAVEL AND SHOPPING: THE MOST WANTED SOUVENIRS FROM INDIA
I have written about the food in India in multiple posts (a few links below). Are you ready for the colorful and full of spices dishes? If your answer is yes – you will enjoy your relocation to Bangalore a lot. If you are not sure, then don’t worry!
Bangalore has a great variety of different restaurants from around the world. You will be able to find French, Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Burmese (my favorite!), Vietnamese, Japanese, and many other cuisines! Our two favorite spots to enjoy the food in Bangalore are the Indiranagar district and the UBS City area.
How about the daily food? India has very diverse food; you will be able to adjust it as per your liking. The selection of fruits, vegetables, and lentils is wide. I love to follow the local seasons of the fruits, including my favorite: mango (which starts in April).
Which food products are less common in India?
- Bread (French style, let’s call it); in India, you will mainly find toast bread (people refer to it as bread).
- Cheese (like sliced cheese, mozzarella, aged cheese, goat cheese); instead, you will find super yummy paneer cheese (the most famous one in India).
- Coffee (like ground coffee, espresso coffee, coffee capsules, etc.); coffee is very common in India. It is mainly instant coffee; unless you visit a Starbucks or any other coffee bar/restaurant.
- Cold meats (ham, sausages, chicken sliced meat); you will be able to find some (very expensive) in the supermarkets’ meat section
- International food items; might be available but at an increased price.
Initially, I kept on missing my Polish/European food a lot, even if we continued to travel to Poland. Recently, I have changed my mindset! I enjoy the local food, and I am so happy about it! I can always cook something from Polish cuisine and at the same time enjoy Indian delicacies! So no reason to miss the products that aren’t here.
Travel and taste: 15 unique things you must try in India
Travel and taste: Spicy India ~ free guide to spices
Taste of India: Authentic & homemade
Secrets of Indian cuisine: Authentic & easy recipes
TV & PHONE
How about some international TV during your stay in India? Explore Tata Sky, Airtel, or Dish TV. Tata Sky has +600 channels and is the preferred service provider in India. It provides many international channels. Your local programs might be limited due to existing licenses (e.g., only for Europe). What else do we watch on our TV? The list isn’t short: Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Sony Liv.
If you struggle to watch your local TV stations, then remember that the Radio Garden is there! Just download the app and listen to your favorite radio stations anywhere you are, also in Bangalore!
A local sim card is a must-have when relocating to India. The best option is to have a smartphone that can fit two sim cards: Indian and your local one. Just turn off the data on your international sim. Where to buy a sim card? You can buy it at the airport or in any mobile shop. When getting the sim card, the passport and fingerprints are needed. On the copy of your passport, write down (throughout the Xerox) “for sim card purpose only”. When buying it, you can select the mobile package. The biggest telecom service providers are Airtel, Jio, and Vodafone.
For example, we have a family package with Airtel that supports three sim cards. It costs 900 INR for a month for all of us with 60GB of the data package. If the data is not used, it gets accumulated. Why having a lot of data on your mobile is vital in India?
The electricity in India, including Bangalore, is unstable, and it might impact your daily life. Especially if you are not used to it. What does it mean in practice? Throughout the day, there might be a few power cut-offs. They last for 30 min to 2 hours on average. So you might be using your mobile hotspot pretty often.
Also, when renting your apartment or house, check on the option of the power back up. That was one of my conditions to shift to India that my dear Better Half had to fulfill – an upgraded battery back-up! 😀 A good battery backup that can support our fridge and freezer (or rather, all the Polish food that I bring from Poland and store there). However, our backup doesn’t support the oven and microwave. So yes, I might have a pizza ready to keep in the kitchen oven. And then the power goes off, including the backup option for the kitchen oven! 🙂 Fun time!
MUST HAVE APPS
I have written it already in many previous posts: India is the app’s country! 🙂 But this time, let me be more specific.
If you plan to relocate to Bangalore or stay here for an extended period, download the following apps.
Booking a cab on the street is nearly impossible in Bangalore. And if you are lucky, you will pay triple, if not more. Hotel taxis are even more expensive.
Online shopping is a huge thing in India. Traffic and extended working hours encourage people to shop online. It ensures excellent timings, deliveries same day (often free), and great customer service, including returns.
- Amazon India – I love Amazon in India! It has a lot of products at discounted prices, quick deliveries, and very reliable customer support.
- Big Basket – It is one of my fav apps for grocery shopping. It has an excellent variety of products, especially food items (better than Amazon). The only challenge: international credit cards are not accepted.
- Myntra – Great online clothes shopping, many products (more than Amazon) with excellent offers.
- Flipkart – Another website/app with similar products compared to Amazon.
- Swiggy – It is a great food delivery app. It has an option of selected food stores shopping, called Instamart (e.g., The Food Hall – with international food) and Swiggy Genie (which allows you to deliver or receive anything within your city).
- Zomato – It is a popular food delivery app. Zomato is often faster than Swiggy.
- Licious – Discovering Licious changed my life here in Bangalore: fresh meat/fish/seafood/eggs delivery home within 90 minutes.
- Urban Company – All home services in 1! From plumber and electrician to the hairdresser, yoga teacher, or massage. You can book for the same day. All services are done at your home.
- Dunzo – Super useful app for delivering or receiving anything within the city, including your shopping. Bored of traffic? Order Dunzo.
- Porter – It is a truck service for transportation services. Porter is great during relocation or for big items delivery.
- DTDC – DTDC is one of the preferred courier services across India, including Bangalore.
- Book My Show – One-stop shop for booking tickets for movies, concerts, live events, sports, and other activities.
- Events High – A great app to stay up to date with all the events in the city: from the trekking experiences, parties, comedy events to workshops for children. All in 1!
- Bengaluru Attractions – A very good app to discover all the important tourist places, malls, activities and events.
WHAT TO PACK
- Required documents; if traveling with children, take a copy of the birth certificate – sometimes it might be needed during travel
- Typical regional food products that you can’t live without (e.g., I always come to India with a few jars of my favorite mayo)
- Your favorite products that are less common in India (good tip: you can check in advance on Amazon India if they are available or not)
- Your native language books
- For women: light skin makeup!
- Contact lenses (more expensive here)
- Xmas and Easter decorations (there are fewer here, and the common ones are usually made of plastic/paper)
- For children: Lego or magnetic blocks (less choice plus super expensive) and wooden toys (especially Scandinavian-style)
- Your coffee
- Summer clothes
- Swimming costumes (there is less variety for “European style” of swimming costumes; they are more covered and people often swim in the ocean wearing regular clothes)
- Scandinavian-style decoration if you love it. Ikea should open in Bangalore in 2022. The online shop already delivers products within the city, but not everything is available. Additionally, the offer in India is a bit different. You can check it online in advance if needed.
Each time I travel to India, I bring with me also my hair color and my tummy painkillers. Once I even got from Poland a wooden balance bike for our Little One.
WHAT NOT TO PACK
- Warm clothes: unless you plan to travel to the north of India during winter months or abroad, for example to Nepal. I wear a long sleeve a few times a year (usually to the cinema, due to A/C).
- For women: less high heel shoes; unless you go by car, it might be challenging to walk in the high heels in the city (that’s the first tip I got from my manager when traveling to India for the first time).
- Cosmetics: India has a lot of wonderful natural cosmetics; many of them are Ayurvedic. So unless you need your specific products, no need to bring them here. Indian cosmetics are also cheaper.
Tip: whenever you travel back to your home country, you do not need to take it all back with you. In India, many people, for example, your maid or watchman, will be happy to receive used products/clothes. We do ongoing revisions and regularly share what is not needed.
WHAT TO CONSIDER
- Walking alone: there are no problems to walk alone during the day in Bangalore (unless you consider to venture in some unknown areas etc.)
- Evening / night walks: avoid walking in the late evening (usually post 10 PM when the shops close) as it might be less safe, mainly due to the stray dogs
- Stray dogs: usually won’t do anything to people during the day as days are too hectic for the dogs, my tip is to carry something small to eat so in case of any potential trouble it is the best to feed them; dogs gain their freedom and confidence during the night when the city starts to sleep.
The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.Alan Watts
More points for consideration (and some extra smiles) can be found in the below posts
First trip to India: From A to Z (Part 1)
First trip to India: From A to Z (Part 2)
My life in India: Interesting & unique facts
My life in India: More intriguing and unknown facts
Are you planning to relocate to Bangalore? Or maybe considering an extended travel? If yes, what surprised you the most till now? If you live in Bangalore or you have visited already, what would you additionally advice? Share in the comments. Sharing is caring.
Moments that matter, no matter if in Bangalore.
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