Useful information before travelling to/from South Asia
• Practical information (currency converter, time zones, weather, maps, calendars, online translator, etc.)
• Health and Malaria situation
• South Asian Telephone Directories
• South Asian Hotel Portal
• Travel advice from the Swedish Foreign Office
• Travel advice from the British Foreign Office
• Schengen Visa
• Swedish Embassies in South Asia
• South Asian Embassies in Sweden, or closest representation
• South Asian Airlines & Railways
• Swedish Travel agencies on South Asia
• Lonely Planet Online, and
• Survival Guide to Kabul
• Official Tourist boards
• Friendship societies
• Cross-cultural training/Language training
• Currency Converter, between all curriencies of the World.
• Time around the World, showing the exact time in each Country right now.
• Weather forecasts for South Asian nations is offered by the World Meteorological Organization, based in Geneva:
(No forecasts available for Bangladesh and Bhutan)
• Asian Maps, from the Perry-Castañeda Map Collection, at University of Texas, Austin
• Maps of India offers a large variety of Indian maps. It is run by Compare Infobase Pvt. Ltd in New Delhi. There are maps of all kinds: overviews, political, tricolor, outline, physical, dynamic, clickable, zonal, topographic, reference, geographical, demographic, historical, economic, social/cultural , parliamentary constituency, scientific, industrial, statewise, districtwise. Maps of Indian states and cities are also available, as well as transport network maps, airways and railway maps, and many other things.
Maps of India also sells an updated cd-rom containing 5.000 most useful maps of India. It is sold for INR 995 or USD 50. More information about the cd-rom.
• MapmyIndia is a unique New Delhi-based service, providing dynamic, interactive, searchable and highly detailed maps over India, including routes between any two major locations and viewing various tourist and business locations instantaneously on the map. It is an interactive and intelligence based web site, bringing about a paradigm shift in the way people in India have been looking at maps.
• Maps of Afghanistan (political and military maps, city maps, regional overviews, on the security and humanitarian situation, etc.), by GlobalSecurity.org.
|Bugun Liocichla (Liocichla bugunorum) was discovered near Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, India by Ramana Athreya in 2006.|
• Indien.nu is a new web site developed by Yvette Ekblom Kenttä and Henric Carlsson in Örebro. It offers (in Swedish only) lots of useful information about travelling to India.
• Kolkatabirds.com. Extensive ornithologists web site, presenting more than 950 species of Indian birds with colour photos. Edited by Bill Harvey, closely associated with the Northern India Bird Network; Bikram Grewal, author of several best-selling guides to Indian birds; and K. S. Gopi Sundar, one of the top field scientists working in India.
• Tea Centre, Stockholm. Tea from Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka (and other countries) available in Sweden through mail order.
WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, based in New Delhi, offers information and statistics on the malaria situation in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.
MD Travel Health.com gives information on the malaria situation, as well as facts on vaccinations and other medical advice before travelling to Pakistan.
Information on vaccinations, from Resemedicin.com (in Swedish).
Business guide to Bangladesh yellow pages. White page to follow soon.
Indian Telephone Directories on the Web. Available for Andhra Pradesh; Bhopal and other cities in Madhya Pradesh; Chandigarh; Delhi; Goa; Kolkata (West Bengal); Maharashtra – including Mumbai; and Tamil Nadu – including Chennai.
Besides yellow pages are available for all over India.
Searchable database of telephone codes (STD codes) of cities and towns in India.
Maldivian yellow pages. Searchable directory.
Telephone Directory for Pakistan. Free service offered bt KalDirectory/Phonepk.com.
Pakistan: Cheap Hotels is the Pakistani hotel comparison portal that helps visitors to find hotels in Bhurban, Gwadar, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Muzaffarabad, Peshawar, and Rawalpindi. Browse the portal.
Recommendations about travelling to different countries. At present (January 2013) the Swedish Foreign Office
advises against all travel to Afghanistan,
advises against all travel to the provinces of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan, plus the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan
and all non-essential travelling to:
• Other parts of Pakistan; and
• Jammu och Kashmir State in India
(except for travelling to the Ladakh region by air to Leh, or by road via Manali, Himachal Pradesh)
Travel Advice for Swedish travellers to India and Sri Lanka (Info from the Swedish Foreign Office)
Travel Advice for Swedish travellers to Nepal (Info from the Swedish Foreign Office)
Visa rules for Swedish citizens intending to visit foreign countries
Visa rules for foreigners intending to visit Sweden
It is possible to subscribe for updated e-mail alerts on the security situation in any given country, directly from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Go to FCO’s registration page.
British Foreign Office:
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office gives detailed advice on safety aspects on travelling to all countries. The British advise as follows:
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office strongly advises against all but essential travel to Kabul and the surrounding urban area, because of ongoing terrorist activity and the high risk of kidnap, violent crime and suicide attacks. The main supply routes and principle roads have a particular heightened threat of road side bombs and ambush.
It also strongly advises the following travel restrictions according to provincial regions:
• against all travel to the Surobi, Paghman, Musayhi, Khak-e Jabbar and Chahar Asyab Districts of the Kabul province.
• against all but essential travel to other parts of Kabul province.
• against all travel to Balkh, Kunduz, Badakhshan and the Baghlan-e Jadid District of Baghlan.
• against all but essential travel to Takhar, Faryab, Jawzjan, Samangan, Sari Pul and the remainder of Baghlan.
• against all travel to Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Pakitka, Wardak and Paktya.
• against all but essential travel to Bamiyan, Parwan, and Panjshir.
• against all travel to Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz, Uruzgan and Zabul.
• against all travel to Badghis, Farah, and the Shindand and Gozarah Districts of Herat province.
• against all but essential travel to Dai Kundi, Ghor and remaining districts in Herat.
• use caution. There is a high threat from terrorism and specific methods of attack are evolving and increasing in sophistication. There is a high threat of kidnapping throughout the country.
As insurgents attempt to destabilise the ongoing transition of security to Afghan National Security Forces it is likely that attacks across Afghanistan will continue. If you travel to Afghanistan you should have adequate and continuous professional close security arrangements and review them regularly.
There may be an increased risk of anti-western sentiment linked to the possibility of military action in Syria. Keep up to date with developments, be vigilant and avoid any protests or demonstrations.
In March 2012 an Afghan government-controlled security force, the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF), took over provision of most commercial security services in Afghanistan from private security companies. Only embassies and other accredited diplomatic missions are now allowed to use private security companies.
Read FCO’s more detailed travel advise report about Afghanistan.
• against non-essential travelling to the Chittagong Hill Tracts (this does not include the city of Chittagong). If you propose to visit the Chittagong Hill Tracts you are required to give the Bangladeshi authorities ten days' notice of your travel plans.
• use caution. Demonstrations and protests are frequent, and can occur without notice. Serious violent disorder has claimed hundreds of lives across the country since 28 February. Travel in the cities and around the country can be severely disrupted.
There are regular enforced strikes, known locally as hartals. These can quickly turn violent and may include burning buses, attacks on property, road blocks and confrontation with the police. Hundreds of lives have been lost in politically-related disorder since the end of February 2013.
The Opposition 18-Party Alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party has announced a 131 hour nationwide blockade of roads, rail and waterways starting from 6am on Saturday 30 November and ending on Thursday 5 December at 5pm in protest at government policy.
The BNP led 18 Party Alliance has called a fresh countrywide 72 hour road, rail and waterway blockade from 6am Saturday 7 December to 6am Tuesday 10 December.
Reports suggest there were at least twenty deaths connected with a similar blockade between Tuesday 26 November and Friday 29 November.
If you’re intending to travel to Bangladesh, even if you’re a regular visitor with family or business links, you should be aware that disruption to normal life has become frequent. You should follow developments in the news media and consult FCO Travel Advice regularly.
Read FCO’s more detailed travel advise report about Bangladesh.
• There is a low threat from terrorism. But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
Read FCO’s more detailed travel advise report about Bhutan.
• against all travelling to or through rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir state (with the exception of the region of Ladakh).
• against all travelling in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan, other than travel across the international border at Wagah.
• also against all travelling to the North-Eastern state of Manipur (except Imphal by air).
• against non-essential travelling to Imphal, capital of Manipur.
• against non-essential travelling to Srinagar, capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
• use caution. Pro and anti Telangana protests are expected in Hyderabad from 7 September 2013 onwards. Areas most likely to be affected are around the Secretariat, Khairatabad, Tank Bund, Indira Park, Osmania University and LB Stadium. There could be some violence. Take care, monitor local media and avoid all demonstrations.
There is a high threat from terrorism throughout India. Recent attacks have targeted public places including those visited by foreigners.
Read FCO’s more detailed travel advise report about India.
• use caution. The Presidential elections in Maldives have now taken place. There have been political demonstrations in the capital island of Malé, and on some non-resort islands. Previous demonstrations have led to violence, arrests, and attacks on private and commercial property, including arson. The situation is currently calm.
If you intend to travel to the capital Malé, you should take care, seek up to date information, and keep away from any demonstrations. There is no indication at present that any political unrest will affect tourist resorts. If you have any concerns you should check with your airline, hotel or tour operator.
Read FCO’s more detailed travel advise report about Maldives.
• use caution. Nepal faces some disruption from protests and strikes (bandh) called by political parties opposing elections scheduled for 19 November 2013. A number of tourist buses were attacked on 13 November for defying the bandh. Some local transport (micro vans) and private vehicles have been targeted with petroleum bombs. British nationals travelling to Nepal should exercise extra caution and coordinate with their tour operators. You should avoid unnecessary movement and be extra vigilant while moving out in public places. The Nepal/India land border will be closed on 18 and 19 November.
Read FCO’s more detailed travel advise report about Nepal.
• against all travelling to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
• against all travelling to the districts of Charsadda, Kohat, Tank, Bannu, Lakki, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat, Buner and Lower Dir in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
• against all travelling to the city of Peshawar and districts south of the city, including travel on the Peshawar to Chitral road via the Lowari Pass
• against all travelling to northern and western Balochistan
• against all travelling on the Karakoram Highway between Islamabad and Gilgit
• against non essential travel to the Kalesh Valley, the Bamoboret Valley and Arandu District
to the south and west of Chitral in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
• against non essential travel to the city of Nawabshah in Sindh Province, and to parts of Interior Sindh
to the north of Nawabshah.
• against non essential travel to the city of Quetta
• against non essential travel to Gilgit/Baltistan
• use caution. There is a high threat from terrorism, kidnap and sectarian violence throughout Pakistan.
There may be an increased risk of anti-western sentiment linked to the possibility of military action in Syria. Keep up to date with developments, be vigilant and avoid any protests or demonstrations.
Following unrest in Rawalpindi over the weekend of 16/17 November security forces remain deployed in large numbers in the Islamabad and Rawalpindi areas where further demonstrations and heightened tensions are expected from 22 November. As a precaution Rawalpindi may be locked down from the evening of Thursday 21 November possibly extending over the weekend. The central ‘red zone’ of Islamabad may also be locked down. Travel in and around Islamabad and Rawalpindi may therefore be subject to disruption and restrictions. Take particular care to avoid large crowds and gatherings and where necessary seek advice on alternative travel routes.
Read FCO’s more detailed travel advise report about Pakistan.
• use caution. Visas are required to enter Sri Lanka. As of 1 January 2012, foreigners should obtain short stay visas to Sri Lanka through an online visa application process, the Electronic Travel Authority (ETA), and pay the appropriate processing fee. Further details can be obtained from the ETA official website of the Department of Immigration and Emigration.
All other visas, including for those undertaking voluntary activity and paid or unpaid work, should be obtained at a Sri Lankan High Commission or Embassy before you travel.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is scheduled to take place in Colombo during the week of 11-17 November 2013. Commonwealth events are also scheduled to take place in Hambantota. There may be high levels of travel disruption around that time, like frequent road closures, high security at airports and difficulties in booking hotel rooms.
The Government of Sri Lanka has announced that foreign nationals, with the exception of foreign media crews, no longer need to have permission from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence before travelling to the northern districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaittivu and Vavuniya.
Political rallies in Sri Lanka have sometimes turned violent. You should avoid any political gatherings or rallies.
There is an underlying threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriate and foreign travellers.
The military conflict between the Government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, commonly known as ‘the Tamil Tigers’) ended in May 2009. The last reported terrorist incident was in July 2009 in Kirankulam near Batticaloa. In 2011 the State of Emergency and the Emergency Regulations were lifted, but there remains a heightened level of security in some parts of the country.
You should be vigilant. Avoid military areas and High Security Zones. Always carry formal photographic identification with you. Stop and show your ID when asked to do so. The Sri Lankan Prevention of Terrorism Act permits prolonged detention without charge or trial.
The majority of visits are incident free, although there are an increasing number of incidents of credit card fraud, road accidents and drownings.
Read FCO’s more detailed travel advise report about Sri Lanka.
Sweden and 24 other European countries issue so called Schengen visas, valid for travel in all the countries. Besides Sweden the Schengen countries comprise of all European Union countries (except United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus, Rumania and Bulgaria), plus three non-EU countries, namely Iceland, Norway and Switzerland. More information on the Schengen Visa regulations.
‡ In order to improve the services to applicants and facilitate visa processing, the Embassy of Sweden in India has commissioned a private company, VFS Global Services, to operate the Swedish Visa Application Centre (VAC) in New Delhi from 15 October 2008. The VFS Swedish Visa Application Centre located at No. 5, S-1 Level, E-Block, International Trade Tower, Nehru Place, New Delhi-110019, will accept visa applications from all country nationals who wish to travel to Sweden. VFS shall accept applications for Tourist, Relative/Friend, Business, Conference, and Transit Visa categories maximum of 90 days duration in a six months period. Processing time will be of five working days (including day of submission at VFS) for Business/Conference and Transit visas and eight Working days (including day of submission at VFS) for Tourists, Visiting Friends and Relatives. Those who wish to submit their visa applications at the Embassy, should note that the processing time will be 10 working days for Business/Conference and Transit Visas and 15 working days for Tourists, Visiting Friends and Relatives. Applications for stay in Sweden exceeding 90 days, or Residence and/or Work Permit, still need to be submitted at the Embassy in New Delhi or Consulates in Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai. More information.
• Embassy of Sweden in Kabul, Afghanistan
• Embassy of Sweden in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Closed down on 4 March 2010. The Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi has taken over the responsibility for Sri Lanka. Sweden now has a Honorary Consulate General in Sri Lanka.
• Embassy of Sweden in Dhaka, Bangladesh. On Thursday 7 October 2010, the newly appointed Ambassador of Sweden to the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, H.E. Ms. Anneli Lindahl Kenny presented her credentials to the Honourable President Md. Zillur Rahman at a ceremony at Bangabhaban Presidential Palace in Dhaka.
• Consulate of Sweden in Thimphu, Bhutan. The consulate was opened in August 2011 and the Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi appointed Mrs. Phub Zam as a honorary consular in Bhutan. This is the first diplomat in the country to represent Sweden. The visiting address of the consulate is Consulate of Sweden, Yarkay Complex, 4th flo, Clock Tower, Norzin Lam, Thimphu, Bhutan.
• Embassy of Sweden in Islamabad, Pakistan (photo to the right)
• Embassy of Sweden in New Delhi, India (also for Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives)
– Swedish Consulates in other Indian cities/Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai
– Sweden in Bhutan/Liaison Office of Denmark in Thimpu
• Embassy of India, Stockholm. Visa forms are readily available.
– From Monday 1 December 2008, the Embassy of India in Stockholm has contracted the private company TT Services AB to handle visa applications to India at a new ”Indian Visa Application Center” located at Kungsgatan 36 (2nd floor) in Stockholm. More information about TT Services AB.
• Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Stockholm
• Embassy of Sri Lanka, Stockholm.
Closest diplomatic representation outside Sweden:
• Embassy of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Oslo, Norway (the ambassador is non-resident envoy also to Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland). Visa forms are readily available.
• Embassy of the Maldives, London, United Kingdom
• Embassy of Nepal, Copenhagen, Denmark
• Aero Lanka, Sri Lanka (formerly Serendib Air)
• Air Deccan, India
|• Air Sahara, India||• Ariana Afghan Airlines, Afghanistan||• Biman Bangladesh Airlines|
|• Druk Air, Bhutan||• Expo Aviation, Sri Lanka||
GO Airlines, India
|GMG Airlines, Bangladesh|
• Island Aviation, Maldives
• Jet Airways, India
Kingfisher Air, India
• Lion Air, Sri Lanka (e-mail)
|• PIA, Pakistan International|
|• Shaheen Air, Pakistan||• SpiceJet, India||• Sri Lankan Airlines||• IndiGo, India|
– Informative article about train journeys in India, ”Train Travel in India: Important Tips and Advice From a Local”, published by BotsnAll in 2009.
• Kolkata Metro Railway, the first underground system in India
• Albatros Travel, Copenhagen
• GetAway Resor, Stockholm
• Gränslösa Resor, Vingåker
• Himalaya Bike Tours, Själevad
• Himalaya Jeep Tours, Själevad
• Indcen Resor, Stockholm
• Indienresor (formerly Samuel Travel), Stockholm
• Metropolresor, Stockholm
• Nygren & Lind Resebyrå (Nandi Travels)
• Out of the Box Travel, Stockholm
• Pilgrim Travels, Kovland
• Rosa Bussarna, Stockholm
• Simmy Travels, Malmö
• Swed–Asia Travels, Strängnäs
• Tant Gröns Resor, Borlänge
• Tranås resebyrå. Specialised on tickets for non-commercial customers, especially working with development projects. Member of the Raptim chain. Offers travel insurances at very advantageous rates (35 SEK/day), for foreign visitors to Sweden, if they are related to aid or other non-commercial actvivities.
• Vanakkam Tours/Little India, Nyköping
• Volontärresor, Stockholm
• Världens Resor, Stockholm
The Australian book publisher Lonely Planet offers exhaustive and updated information on all aspects of travelling in the countries of South Asia. The information is provided by Lonely Planet readers round the Globe.
|The Maldives||Nepal||Pakistan||Sri Lanka|
Advices for people travelling to Afghanistan
• Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (National Tourism Organisation)
• Afghanistansolidaritet, established in September 2002, working against all foreign intervention in the war-ravaged country
• Swedish Indians Federation (SIA)/Svensk Indiska Förbundet, organisation for people with Indian and Srilankan origin living in Sweden. Runs a Google discussion group.
• Swedish Bhutan Society (Svensk-Bhutanesiska Föreningen)
• Sweden Nepal Society (Sverige Nepalföreningen)
• Sweden-Pakistan Friendship Society (SVEPAK)
• Global Adjustments, with head office in Chennai, offers relocation service for families coming to India and cross-cultural training for Indian professionals going overseas. Courses are also offered for multinational firms working in India. Global Adjustments publish a monthly cultural magazine, called ”At A Glance – Understanding India”.