Exploring Kolkata, India – My first international journey

Since I started to planning international tour, it was little bit hard to get foreign country visa in your blank passport. So I planned to go to India first to kick the pain of blank passport. And here it is how I achieved and explored Kolkata, India. I had a very good relationship with United Consultancy & Tours who arrange your India Visa Application with e-Token and prepare papers for other country visa as well.

Recent days it takes a bit longer time to get e-token for Indian Visa Interview due to their technical limitations and over loaded e-token application. That’s why I submitted my papers to that consultancy to manage an e-token for me and after 2 weeks they provided me e-token. And after 7 days it was my interview date (papers submission with physical presence) in Indian Visa Application Center (IVAC). I chose Dhanmondi IVAC because it was only 5 mins away from my home. I prepared all the original papers with passport and went to that IVAC to submit passport and show legal papers so visa officer can verify all those information are correct. It tooks two hours to get in due to large queue (approx. 200 people in my same schedule) and I made that. They gave me a token to collect passport and I was very excited to have my first international visa. But sometimes to get Indian visa is a hardest thing if all of your papers, spellings are little mismatch. But after six days I went IVAC to collect my passport and I got the visa. Hurrreeee! It’s time to plan my tour.

When I started planning my Indian Visa, I started to look for Air Ticket, Hotel Ticket to fix my budgets and planning. Now it’s time to really purchase Air ticket and Hotel ticket. I am a smart boy and that’s why I didn’t go to any tourist consultancy office to purchase any package or tickets cause their price always little bit high. I spent 3-4 hours in Internet to find the best place and best air and I found Jet Airways and The Park Hotel, Kolkata. I purchased Jet Airways with $200 (return ticket) and purchased The Park Hotel for $300 by my international card. There are so many deals you can chose for your flight for India. Jet Airways has a very fantastic Privilege card so next time your boarding will be much quicker and they will serve you priority basis if you register for their Privilege card I applied for that and got approved.

I chose The Park Hotel because of it’s my first tour and tour to relax and that’s why I spent little much to be at 5 star hotel in Kolkata and it’s located in the center of The Park Street (heart of Kolkata city). You can also book The Park Hotel from here directly.

So it’s 21 November, time to fly. I enjoyed flight several times inside country but this will be my first international flight and I arrived at Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka 2 hours prior to departure. First finish airport security checks for my baggage, then collected Boarding pass from Jet Airways counter and finished writing departure card (for Bangladesh Immigration). After taking boarding pass, I went to clear my simple Bangladeshi immigration desk to take a pass (that allows you to leave country for few days). Immigration officer checked my Passport, Visa and took a picture and gave a seal and I went for another security check to enter inside Airport lounge. I have more 1 hour to wait till my flight. It’s my first time inside Airport lobby so I explored the place a bit but it’s very large. I sat down in a coffee shop and started using their Wi-Fi and having tea. And after 30 minutes, according to screen I saw that Jet Airways in Gate # 9 and I went there and at last inside flight. Flying above the sky and it took 25 mins to land in Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, India. I just finished their immigration check by filling out their arrival card, then custom clearence card to take my luggage and then I was looking for a mobile connection store to purchase a prepaid-sim card and I found one but I didn’t find Airtel (cheap call rates) and I purchased Vodafone (call rates higher) with 1GB internet package. New sim costs me 800 INR, 251 INR for internet and 35 INR to activate a package to talk to Bangladesh phone (it was good for me). To purchase new SIM you just need your 1 copy photograph and photocopy of your passport. They knew Bengali so everything went smooth. After I came out from Airport, there are plenty of Taxi waiting outside airport and I picked one to go to Kolkata Park Street, The Park Hotel. It took 350 INR but I didn’t bargain with driver repeatedly to arrive soon at hotel. It was 7 PM already. Driver told me if I pay 400 INR to him so he can arrive hotel via a short cut and I took that deal. Now I am in India.


After exploring Indian street, lighting I arrived at hotel. Hotel executives are so awesome. They welcomed me and they confirmed my booking by taking my passport photocopy. I got my room digital card. I went to room. It was amazing. Totally amazing. Temperature control, LED TV, nice bath, fabulous bed, desk, sofa, tea/coffee maker, and everything. Now it’s time to relax.

Note: Please keep 1 pen when you will be at airport to fill up departure and arrival card. It’s odd to ask pen from anybody else. Also keep 1 thin pin to change your SIM card from your smart phone if needed. Otherwise you will have to spend so far 20 mins of waiting to get another person’s pen and pin. 🙂

Shaharia is a professional software engineer with more than 10 years of experience in the relevant fields. Digital ad certified, cloud platform architect, Big data enthusiasts, tech early adopters.

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