Are you new to Bangalore? Does the move increasingly seem like an uncoordinated cultural shock? Are you looking for a house to rent, property to buy? Are you seeking the most reliable information about resources such as utilities, hospitals, schools, Govt. regulations and a million other things that an expat like you must consider essential? If yes, read on…
Bangalore is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Considered the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India, Bangalore is India’s leading IT exporter and is proudly listed as one amongst the TOP – 8 Tech Innovation cities in the World. Bangalore also offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle that will help you feel at home here and the warm and friendly people will further help in the transition.
We have compiled a list of queries that you as an expat will be pondering about. You can contact us to know more.
How safe is it living in Bangalore?
Generally, Bangalore is a safe, family friendly city. However, just as in other large metros, specific areas and pockets of the city must be avoided owing to the type of neighborhood that might be politically charged, close to slum dwellings or heavy industries. Also, petty crime is a real problem. Thus, observe the following precautions while in Bangalore-
- Do not carry large amounts of cash.
- Be cautious and attentive to people around you, especially when withdrawing cash at an ATM.
- Avoid travelling alone, especially at night.
- Wear minimal jewelry. Do not attract attention onto yourself when using public transportation or commuting by foot.
- Secure your belongings and other valuables when staying in hotels or temporary accommodations.
Bangalorean roads can be over-congested, and some of them may lack lane-markings. Common traffic could include- cars, auto rickshaws, motorbikes, hawkers, pedestrians, and trucks. Be cautious when crossing the road, cross at traffic lights or use over-passes. Sidewalks aren’t maintained well or properly lit, so be watchful when using those. Congestion on the sidewalks on weekends and holidays can restrict movement due to the increased density of pedestrians.
Safety at Home
Here are some tips to keep yourself and your valuables safe at home-
- Keep all your valuables (jewellery, documents etc) safe under lock and key. It’s a good idea to procure a bank safety locker and transfer all these valuables there for added protection.
- Be careful when hiring domestic help, maid, watchmen or other members of your domestic staff. Obtain their addresses, a recent photograph and conduct a background check with their previous employer.
- If you are travelling, cancel all daily deliverables like newspapers, milk cartons etc before embarking on your extended journey. Do not advertise to everyone as to how long you will be away.
- It is advisable to always lock your doors and windows when heading outside your home, even for a short while. Be aware of strangers lurking around your house and intimate the suitable authorities about any suspicious activity.
- All your personal belongings must be insured.
Documentation Needed for Registration As Residents
This document is issued by the Foreigners Regional Registration Office, Bangalore.
Kindly click on the PDF document listed above to consult a comprehensive list of documents required to get you established as residents in Bangalore.
Settling into your New Home
Setting up a home in a new place could seem daunting but it may not necessarily end up being so. While in Bangalore, follow these simple instructions to make your transition as comfortable as possible
Get a Realtor who understands your specific requirements
Simple, that’s us here at Hamilton Realtors. You can Contact Us and we can put our speciality in Expat Relocation into good use.
In Bangalore, the convention states that the payment of utility charges such as electricity and water will be borne by the tenant. Often, this payment is part of the monthly rent or paid separately.
The electric power available through the wall socket is 220V AC, 50 cycles. The commonly used plugs are Euro (Continental) and Schuko. Load shedding is often implemented by the KPTCL (Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited) to take some stress off the overloaded power grids. It’s a good idea to purchase a surge protector, a UPS for your computer, an emergency lamp, and some candles to help to minimise the damage and inconvenience of fluctuating electricity levels. If you are from the US, purchase some transformers if you are bringing your electrical appliances along.
Bangalore receives its municipal water supply from the famed Kaveri River. The supply is fairly reliable but the water quality could be hard and not suitable for internal consumption. Installing a rooftop reservoir tank will ensure a more reliable source of water and water filter/purifier will provide a safe source for drinkable water. You can also purchase the commonly available 20 litre cans of packaged drinking water that can be used with a dispenser. Installing hot water geysers in your bathroom and kitchen is a good idea as the winter months are particularly chilly here in Bangalore. However, you might need your landlord’s permission before installing the same.
Make sure that the house you are moving into is already equipped with a telephone line as applying for a new connection is often a very lengthy process. Generally, procuring a mobile phone connection is easier. Data connections, modem etc can be easily procured from private telecommunication players like Airtel, Vodafone, Idea etc.
Ideally, your new home should include a gas connection. The connection comes with 2 gas cylinders. If you do not have one, speak to your landlord about procuring a connection.
Furniture and Furnishings
If you are thinking of bringing along your own furniture, curtains and paintings, consider the hot, humid and dusty Bangalorean climate. Window treatments aren’t a granted facility in most rented homes- however; it’s very easy to have custom window treatments made at a reasonable price.
Shopping for the necessary home appliances is the natural next step after setting up home here in Bangalore. A number of reputable Indian companies produce reliable home appliances (sometimes in joint ventures with international brands) that can be easily procured at any of the following listed outlets,
Bangalore is a noisy city irrespective of the time of the day. Thus, if you are easily harassed by prolonged durations of loud vocal activity, ensure that your new home isn’t located immediately close to mosques, temples, shops, convention halls or large playgrounds.
Banking and Currency Exchange
‘Rupees’ is the Indian currency . 1 Rupee equals to 100 paise (pronounced Pi-saa). The currency is circulated in the denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 rupees. There are also coins in the denomination of 1, 2, 5 and 10 rupees coins. The paise include 25 and 50 paise coins (though these aren’t in popular circulation anymore). While large stores, malls and shopping outlets will easily accept a large denomination like a 500 or 1000 rupees notes, smaller shops in Bangalore will usually demand the exact change. When travelling in public transportation like a bus or rickshaw, do carry the exact change. Outlets like petrol stations and banks could break your big note into smaller denominations.
Opening a bank account in India is a simple process that however, can take its own sweet time to accomplish. To open an account, you will need atleast two copies of the following documentation-
- Passport with valid visa
- Resident’s permit
- Passport sized photographs (2 nos.)
- Completed account registration form (obtain this from the bank)
- Initial deposit (this amount varies from bank to bank)
- Optional- Proof of employment with your Company in India
- Optional- Copy of House Lease
Ideally, your company will setup a salary account for you, but having a personal account of your own is highly advisable. Also remember that, if you are still continuing with your bank from back home (say a multinational bank like HSBC, Standard Chartered and Citi bank etc.) you might not get the seamless connectivity with your existing setup as before. It’s better to go as ‘Indian’ as possible with your banking.
You can access your account using your ATM/Debit Card that is issued by the bank. Banks also forward you Credit Cards upon request and eligibility that could be used for banking and purchases at shopping outlets.
The following banks have a good coverage and are generally preferred by the expat community-
Axis Bank | Citibank India | Deutsche Bank | HDFC | HSBC India | ICICI | Standard Chartered | State Bank of India | Yes Bank
If you have moved to Bangalore after being hired by a locally based Company, you will most likely receive a Health Insurance package as part of your benefits. Otherwise, you must procure health insurance on your own to stay safe and ensure the safety of your family (ideally enroll with an insurance service that covers the entire family). Here are some suggestions for health insurers who provide you and your family the International coverage as required.
- Aetna International www.aetnainternational.com
- Allianz www.allianzworldwidecare.com
- AXA PPP www.axapppinternational.com
- Cigna www.cigna.com
- IHI Danmark/IHI Bupa www.ihi.com
Some Indian Companies offering health insurance are,
Transportation in Bangalore
Bangalore is infamous for its traffic situation. At rush hours, the roads can turn into long queues that could stretch on for kilometres and gobble up hours at end. First tip- always build additional time into all your travel plans to account for the unpredictable Bangalore traffic.
- As a newcomer, it’s advisable that you hire a cab service to ferry you around the city. Lots of very reliable and efficient cab services are available on call, 24×7. However, if you are driving yourself, take care of the following points-
- In India, driving is on the left side of the road. Vehicles are all right-hand drives.
- Peak traffic hours are 8am-10am & 5pm-9pm; however these are just relative figures. Traffic can congest in minutes especially through the weekends.
- Cows are commonly found on the road. They are considered sacred and any ill treatment meted out to them can have serious repercussions from the general public.
- As a Foreigner, you require an International driver’s license to drive on Indian roads. To acquire an Indian driving license, you must pass a driving test and a verbal examination.
- Compared to roads abroad, Indian roads are highly unpredictable- uneven, unlit and distractive.
- Avoid night driving as much as possible, especially in rural areas.
- Documents pertaining to your Vehicle Insurance, Emission Testing and other registrations must always be present in your vehicle to be produced when demanded by a traffic policeman.
- In Bangalore, road accidents are commonplace. In case of an accident, don’t get involved in a confrontation as matters can get out of hand very quickly. It is advisable to leave the scene of the accident and report the matter at the nearest police station. Ensure personal safety at all times.
Popular modes of Transportation in Bangalore
Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) runs comfortable public transportation buses that connect all locations across Bangalore. The bus services are very prompt and numerous, thus you can afford to ignore an overcrowded bus and wait for the next one. The front section is usually reserved for women and the conductors are pretty strict about this rule. BMTC also operates AC Volvo and Mercedes buses to select locations across the city- offering a more comfortable and quicker ride (though slightly on the expensive side).
These number by the thousands in Bangalore and are a quick, zero fuss transport medium from point A to B. However, Bangalorean Rickshaws are notorious for over-charging, rash driving and very argumentative drivers, though exceptions exist for this rule. Ensure that the Rickshaw driver runs the meter the moment you get on-board or makes his charges clear to you. Rickshaws charge extra (double the meter, a costly fixed amount) after about 8pm and can be easily found everywhere. Take care that the rickshaw sports the current rates and the driver’s permit prominently and official numbers wherein you can report any problems that you might face.
Bangalore does not have colour-coded taxis which can be hailed on the streets. Most private taxis are white in colour and can either be found at private stands or hotels. You can also call some of the larger taxi services to make a reservation. Ensure that you book ahead of time to avoid problems as there are a limited number of taxis available, particularly at peak times. Taxis are ideal for travelling between the Airport and the place of your stay.
The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (BMRCL) operates the Bangalore Metro Rail system. Currently the system is in its nascent stage but is rapidly gathering a sizable fan following. Efficient, cost effective, time saving and safe- some of the terms that describe the Bangalore Metro. Also, the thrill of seeing the city course by from a good vantage point as you cruze on the rails is not one to be missed.
Driver Services– If you own a car, but need a driver on short notice, hiring a driver for the stipulated duration is a good idea. Rates for such drivers for hire are very reasonable. Hire with enough buffer time to avoid last minute surprises. The following services should be helpful,
- EZi Drive (T- 080 4240 0000, www.ezidrive.in )
- Goodman Driver Service (M-95350 08833)
Places to See in Bangalore
Bangalore is filled with interesting places to visit. Promising wholesome fun for the entire family, any of these destinations offer a chance to enjoy a relaxing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life,
- Bangalore Palace (Palace Road, between Jayamahal and Sadashivanagar)
- Bull Temple (Bull Temple Road, Basavangudi)
- Cubbon Park (Kasturba Road)
- The Fort (KR Road, near Victoria Hospital)
- Government Museum (Kasturba Road, Cubbon Park)
- HAL Heritage Centre and Aerospace Museum (Old Airport Road)
- Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain (T Chowdaiah Road)
- ISKCON Temple (Hare Krishna Hill, Chord Road, Rajaji Nagar)
- Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium (T Chowdaiah Road)
- Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath (Kumara Krupa Road, www.karnatakachitrakalaparishath.com )
- Lalbagh Botanical Gardens
- Visveshvaraya Industrial and Technical Museum (Kasturba Road, Cubbon Park- www.vismuseum.org.in )
- Venkatappa Art Gallery (Kasturba Road, Cubbon Park)
Activities for Children
While you may be able to adjust to your new surroundings rather quickly, your kids might have a harder time adjusting to the different culture, people and locations. It is advised that you pay particular attention to your kids through the initial days of your stay in Bangalore. While the following list isn’t exhaustive, it should suggest you some fun things to do with your kids to help them adjust to Bangalore better,
Amoeba Bowling – Enjoy Bowling, arcade games and food!
Bangalore Walks – Walk through interesting places in Bangalore to get the firsthand feel of the city. Attend a walking tour or book a special group tour. (www.bangalorewalks.com )
Bannerghatta National Park, Zoo and Butterfly Park – Kids will enjoy taking a tour here and looking at all the exhibited animals, including tigers, lions, elephants etc. (21 kms from Bangalore, regular bus services).
Cubbon Park– Located in the heart of the city at Kasturba Road, ideal for evening retreats.
Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain – Half hour musical fountain shows are organized each day at 7 and 8.30pm (closed on Mondays and second Tuesday of each month). A hidden treasure of Bangalore!!
Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium – Features both Indian and European astronomy with shows, workshops and special events- www.taralaya.org
Karnataka Government Museum (Kasturba Road, next to Cubbon Park) – This museum is a colorful kaleidoscope of India- from prehistoric times to the present age. Hours of mesmerizing enjoyment assured!
Skate Zone (Mantri Mall, Sampige Road, Malleshwaram) – Ecological ice-skating rink with artificial ice. This is a good spot to host birthday parties.
Torq03 Karting Track (E-Zone Club, Outer Ring Road, Marathalli) – A really good gokarting track!
Visveshvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum – Everything from space to engines, science puzzles to human genetics, if it’s got a scientific angle, you will find it here. Great fun for kids and parents alike!
Wonder La (28kms from downtown Bangalore, Mysore Road, www.wonderla.com ) – A very popular amusement and water park. Included is a resort hotel and separate pools for women and girls.
Schools & Kindergartens in Bangalore
Kindergartens & Nurseries:
Gintara – 2 locations
384 4th Main 2nd Block
Tel: 2354 7277
32 Satish Kumar Layout
Shub Enclave (off Sarjapur Road)
Tel: 2354 7277
WeCare – 2 locations
Plot no.1, N.R Enclave, E.P.I.P
Tel: 3242 8895/4152 2335
No. 19 & 14, Prestige Pagasus, (Next to Total Mall)
Tel: 3202 0772 / 4203 9797
Artefacts, handicrafts and Gifts
Bangalore is a very cosmopolitan city with its distinct cultural leanings. The following shops will help you to unearth some classical pieces of artefacts, handicrafts and choice gifting items. From the traditional jali work furniture (wooden furniture inlaid with fancy iron pieces) to an assortment of trinkets can be found here,
- The Ants (2286, 1st Cross, 14th A Main, HAL 2nd Stage, Indiranagar- www.theantsstore.
- Arastan (23 Nandidurga Road (opp. Airtel), Jayamahal- www.arastan.com )
- Cauvery Emporium (49 MG Road- www.cauverycrafts.com )
- Central Cottage Industries (144 MG Road- www.cottageemporium.in )
- Good Earth (UB City, Vittal Mallaya Road- www.goodearth.in )
- Industree Crafts (Garuda Mall)
- Mother Earth (Mantri Mall, Malleshwaram)
- Raintree (4 Sankey Road, Highgrounds opposite ITC Windsor)