moving to India with family

How to Move to Delhi in 2023: moving guide for Expat Moms

As an expat mom in Delhi, I know first-hand the joys, challenges, and questions of moving to Delhi and living here. So, to help make the transition smoother for you, I’m sharing these 16 answers to some of the most common questions about moving to Delhi with your family.

1. Thinking about moving to Delhi and wondering if you should give it a go?

Delhi is a vibrant city full of life and energy. There is something for everyone, from the bustling street markets to the iconic monuments. So whether you’re a foodie, an adventurer, or a culture enthusiast, Delhi has something to offer you and your family.

Delhi is known for its rich culture and history, making it an ideal destination for those exploring India’s past. There are plenty of opportunities to experience traditional Indian customs and cuisines from all country regions. Plus, with its diverse population, you can find people from all walks of life living in harmony here.

But what makes Delhi truly special is its people – warm, welcoming, and always eager to help out strangers. This unique combination of culture and hospitality makes Delhi a wonderful place to live!

2. What is the climate like in New Delhi?

The climate here can be unpredictable at times. The city experiences boiling-hot, humid summers and chilly winters. The monsoon season brings heavy rains, while winter is usually dry and cold. The change of weather is very sudden too. It’s chilly until mid-February, then seemingly overnight, it is already spring, and a week later- full-on summer. 

February and March are also the best months to visit because of the low pollution levels. The skies are blue, and air purifiers get to rest after the heavily polluted winter months. Unfortunately, Delhi is the third most polluted city in the world after Karachi and Dhaka. So, pollution is a big problem here. It especially worsens after the October Diwali celebrations and lasts through winter. Therefore, you must have air purifiers in every room of your house and wear masks outdoors. 

So if you plan on visiting New Delhi or moving here, pack for any weather and N95 masks!

3. What is the most common language spoken in Delhi?

Delhi is known for its diverse cultures and languages. It is home to people from all over India who speak different languages. But what language do the majority of Delhiites speak?

The most common language spoken in Delhi is Hindi. Hindi is the official language of Delhi, and almost all locals speak it. Other widely spoken languages include Punjabi, Urdu, English, and Bhojpuri. In addition to these, there are also many regional dialects.

4. What are some of the most popular festivals celebrated in Delhi?

New Delhi is a city filled with culture, history, and beauty. The town celebrates various cultural events and festivals that showcase its rich heritage yearly. From traditional festivals like Diwali and Holi to modern events like the International Film Festival of India, there is something for everyone in New Delhi. You can also attend music festivals, art exhibitions, theatre performances, and more – all while enjoying the sights and sounds of this incredible city!

These cultural events are an opportunity to celebrate the city’s diversity and bring people together from all walks of life. As a result, you will discover new flavors, music, and experiences – as you’ve never seen before!⁣⁣

5. Where are the best places to go shopping in Delhi?

Delhi is surprisingly a fantastic place to go shopping, with its wide range of markets and stores. Whether you’re looking for clothes, accessories, electronics, or even souvenirs, there’s something for everyone in Delhi! So if you’re planning a shopping spree, you definitely have options. 

There are plenty of shopping malls across Delhi, like the ones you would find at home. There, you will find all the brands, from H&M to Chanel.

However, what makes Delhi a unique shopping experience is its buzzing markets in Old Delhi.

This experience is out of this world. Like time travel minus a time travel machine. There is something for everyone, from exotic spices to carpets and everything in between. So, for your usual shopping, go to the shopping malls. And if you feel like experiencing something new and exciting- go to markets in Old Delhi. Remember to charge your phone for plenty of photo opportunities! 

6. How safe is it to travel around Delhi?

Delhi is a bustling city with a vibrant culture, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions. With its busy streets, crowded markets, and chaotic traffic, Delhi can be overwhelming for newcomers and travelers who need to become more familiar with the city.

Fortunately, you will stay safe while exploring the city by taking safety measures such as avoiding certain areas at night, being aware of your surroundings, researching the site before you go, and being mindful of pickpockets and scammers.

A saying in the Lithuanian language translates into something like this: If you attempt to protect yourself, God will also protect you. So, basically, be mindful of what you do, whom you speak to, where you go, and when, and you’ll be totally fine. 

7. Is there any public transport system in Delhi?

Delhi is a bustling metropolis. It is home to over 20 million people, making it one of the most populated cities in the world. To keep up with its population, Delhi has an extensive public transport system that makes it easy to get around. From buses and metro trains to auto-rickshaws and taxis, there are plenty of options for commuters in Delhi.

However, for a foreigner coming to Delhi for the first time, I recommend hiring a driver with a car. It’s easy to get one, and it’s cheap. Having a driver with a car in Delhi, especially for a foreigner, is not a luxury. It is a necessity. All the expats either have vehicles with drivers or drive themselves. Not because we are rich or lazy but because the state of the buses, auto rickshaws, and uber cars are appalling.

We took Uber several times; it’s not that the vehicles are super old, but they are so used and not taken care of that you can barely close the door. So, the worst-looking cars on the streets usually are Uber cars. And, of course, here goes the safety concern. Don’t get into a car with a stranger.

When planning your relocation or a trip to Delhi, join Facebook groups such as Delhi Dish. Friendly and helpful expats and local community members will help you find the best transportation option in Delhi and answer any questions.  

8. What healthcare options are available in Delhi for expat families?

Delhi is one of India’s most populated cities and home to a large expatriate community. With the city’s growing population, it has become increasingly important for expats to be aware of their healthcare options.

Healthcare in Delhi can be divided into two main categories: public and private. Public healthcare facilities provide basic medical services at an affordable cost, while private facilities offer more advanced treatments and services at a higher price. Therefore, you should consider your budget and health needs before deciding which option is best for you. 

Additionally, research what type of insurance coverage you have and need before arriving in Delhi.

To my knowledge and (unfortunately) experience, the best option to go with children is Children’s Rainbow Hospital. Emergency number in Delhi: +91 84487 99501

Private ward at Children’s Rainbow Hospital

We had two emergency visits in the middle of the night and spent three nights in a hospital ward. You can stay in a private room for an additional cost. The room is decorated with pictures of Disney characters to make it more appealing for kids. 

MAX hospital is the choice to go for an emergency & trauma for an adult. Ambulance number: +91-11-3065 3030

For non-emergency consultations and diagnostic treatments, go to Max Multi Speciality Centre. It looks more like private clinics in Europe. However, it could be better managed time-wise. You have a specific time slot, but still, ten people are in front of you, although you are on time. 

Doctors are knowledgeable, and the clinic seems to be well-equipped. It’s chaotic, though. You pay for consultation upon entering, then every time before entering a check-up room. So, if I go to the clinic, I must wait to check in and pay for the consultation upfront. Then, once the consultation is over and I have to do a USG, I pay a random staff person in the corridor before being allowed to have the procedure, etc. Although it may be common here, I find it strange. Maybe they don’t trust foreigners and think I’d run away without paying the bill at the counter downstairs? 

9. What are the best neighborhoods in Delhi to move in for expat families?

Delhi is a vibrant city with a variety of neighborhoods. So whether you’re looking for a bustling city center, a quiet suburb, or something in between, there’s sure to be the perfect neighborhood for you!

Each area has unique charm and character, from South Delhi’s posh locales to North Delhi’s historical gems. With many options, deciding which neighborhood in Delhi is best for you to move in can take time. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of the top neighborhoods chosen by expats who move to live in Delhi. In fact, they are not called neighborhoods here. You live in colonies, not neighborhoods, though essentially, it is the same thing. I found it funny initially, like choosing a colony on Mars. But, well, you get used to everything. So, here go the main colonies you, as an expat in India, should consider when moving to Delhi:

Vasant Vihar

West End

Shanti Niketan

Anand Niketan

Defence Colony

Malcha Marg Area

Some are split into blocks, like Vasant Vihar Block A, etc. These colonies are where you will find many embassies and have your colleagues and friends from school as neighbors.  

Google their locations and distances to your schools and offices. Then, choose the colony nearest to these establishments to which you will commute almost daily. Traffic in Delhi can be a headache, so plan accordingly to spend less time stuck among tuk-tuks and holy cows. 

10. What is the cost of living in Delhi? 

Delhi is the capital of India and one of the most populated cities in the world. It is a hub for business, culture, education, and entertainment. It is also home to some of India’s most expensive real estate. Knowing the cost of living in Delhi can help you plan your budget and determine if it is a good fit for you. Living here can be expensive, with the cost of living significantly higher than in other cities in India. Rent and food are two of the most significant expenses, but there are also many additional costs, such as transportation, entertainment, and healthcare. 

However, so many expats love living in Delhi because they can afford lifestyles they can’t enjoy at home. 

For example, I will share how much we pay for certain services and goods. 

In Singapore, we lived in a 100 m2 apartment. With the same budget in Delhi, we rent over a 200 m2 apartment and a private 120 m2 rooftop terrace. In Singapore, I cleaned the apartment myself, did not have a nanny, and used to take MRT (subway in Singapore). In Delhi, I have my driver with a luxury car, a full-time maid, a nanny, and a gardener. 

11. How much does it cost to have house help in Delhi?

House help is very cheap and, as mentioned below, easy to get. 

I will share the approximate salaries you can plan to pay your house help staff in Delhi:

For a full-time (40 hours work week) maid, expect to pay around 200 USD monthly. For a gardener who comes at specific planting times, around 30 USD per month. And for a nanny, also about 200 USD for 40 hours work week. There are options of having house help who live with you. The apartments here come with servant quarters. We chose staff who go to their own home at the end of the day. 

Thea with her nanny Sangeeta at Sunder Nursery

The price of the driver depends on whether you get him via an agency, hire a private person with a car, pay for the fuel, or if your company provides all that for you. For us, the company offers the driver and the vehicle. The car rental agency pays the salary to our driver directly, and I don’t know how much it is. However, I believe it’s not very high, and since we love our driver, we pay him an extra 100 USD monthly. 

12. How easy is it to find house help Delhi?

If you are looking for house help in Delhi, you will be glad to know that it is not as difficult as it seems. With the help of the internet, finding house help in Delhi is super easy! The best way to find reliable and trustworthy house help is through recommendations from other expat families. Expats come and go, and when they leave India, they recommend their staff to expats and local communities in Delhi on Whatsapp and Facebook groups. Also, ask your friends and colleagues if they may know someone they can recommend. 

Honestly, you can replace a person from one day to another. It does not sound nice, but queues are waiting to work for you. You just need to select the right fit. It took us three attempts to get the right driver, and he’s been with us for over two years. We had to replace the maid once because of stealing and lying issues. The current maid came via the recommendation of our nanny. Basically, it is trial and error, but without a doubt, you will get the right people eventually. 

For starters, join the Delhi Dish community page on Facebook. The members of the group will happily help you. 

13. Are there any good international schools in Delhi for expat kids?

Delhi is great for expat families who want to experience a different culture and lifestyle. There are plenty of education options for expat children. The most famous international schools that children go are American Embassy School (AES), the British School, the French School, and the German Embassy School.

AES is probably the best but also the most expensive option. I suggest you research these schools and have calls with them to answer your questions, which will help you decide. 

If you can afford it, AES is the best choice. They have a fantastic campus and programs for the little tots at Pre-K all the way to high school graduates.

14. What are the best places to explore when living in Delhi with kids?

I wasn’t keen to move to Delhi. To be honest, I cried. But to my surprise, Delhi turned out to be a vibrant city full of places to explore with kids. There are so many historical monuments that we have explored and have yet to discover! The parks are gorgeous here, and so many activities keep kids entertained. Actually, I’ve written blog posts about how to enjoy Delhi with kids and the best things and activities in Delhi for kids. Check them out; I am sure you will find some you’ll want to visit. Also, if you move to Delhi with a four-legged furry friend, you’ll be pleased to know that there are many parks here that are dog friendly. 

Read more: Dog-friendly parks in New Delhi

More here: How to enjoy Delhi with kids

Read more: The best things to do in Delhi with kids

15. What type of food can I expect to find in Delhi?

Delhi is a city of diverse cultures and cuisines. From traditional Mughlai dishes to street food, Delhi has something for everyone! So whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a full-course meal, you’ll find it here. From the famous chaat to North Indian delicacies like butter chicken and dal makhani, you won’t be disappointed with the variety of food available here. So if you’re moving to Delhi, try all the delicious dishes it has to offer!

relocating and living Delhi as an expat family with kids

However, if spicy food is not your thing, plenty of restaurants serve and deliver any meal you desire. 

Download food delivery apps, such as Zomato. There are hundreds of restaurants and cuisines to choose from and delivered to your doorstep.  

16. What advice would you give to expat parents moving to Delhi?

Moving to a new city, especially with a family, can be daunting. As an expat parent, you must ensure you have all the necessary information about the city and its culture before you move. Delhi is a vibrant and exciting city with plenty of opportunities for families. Therefore, it is important to research and understand the complex bureaucracy, language barriers, local customs, and traditions to smooth your transition into a new life in Delhi.

For new expat parents moving to Delhi, finding out as much as possible about the education system, healthcare options, housing market, transport options, house help, and other amenities available in the city is essential. It is also helpful to connect with other expats who have already made a move so that they can provide helpful advice on how best to settle down in Delhi.

living in Delhi questions
Lodi Art District

I hope that you found this information helpful. However, if you didn’t find what you were looking for, feel free to ask away any additional questions in the comment section below!

Book a Zoom call with me: Relocation to New Delhi help- answers & advice to expat moms

If you’d like to cover everything in more detail and have additional questions, hop on a Zoom call with me. We’ll spend an hour together online, and I will answer all your questions, give suggestions, and share the right contacts and recommendations, ranging from finding the best area to live in to getting the best pedicures in town. Click here to learn more and to book a session! So let’s make your transition & settling in New Delhi a smooth and positive experience!


What is life in India like: an expat married to an Indian man shares the joys and challenges of living in New Delhi.


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Delhi: Old and New Delhi Private Sightseeing Tour

3 Comments. Leave new

  • mom of two
    July 6, 2023 18:00

    Hi! Thanks for this post! Considering moving to Delhi with two young kids but am worried about the air quality. I know we would have access to all of the mitigation measures available but it still seems scary. How do you think about the risk? How do you find dealing with air quality? Thank you so much for any insight!

    • Vaiva and Thea
      July 7, 2023 11:34

      Hi Jill, air quality gets crazy bad in autumn and winter. My advice is choose an apartment with double glazed, well insulated windows (stops bad air particles getting inside), also buy powerful air purifiers (we use Dyson and Phillips) and place them in every room. Leave the apartment with N95 masks on and have a portable air purifier in your car.
      Now the good news is that it is not always that bad. From end of Feb, the weather clears, the skies are blue, no masks, even air purifiers get to rest after intense autumn/winter months.
      Which school are you considering for your children? I suggest enrolling them to aes – they have super powerful filters in all the buildings on the campus and kids don’t go outdoors when pollution is bad. Basically, your kids will be exposed to pollution only during commute to/from school. Masks and an air purifier in the car helps.
      Do give it a chance though, despite ups and downs I promise you will love Delhi:) I cried when we moved there, but I will cry when we’ll have to move out as well:) Let me know if you have any questions and drop a line when you’re there – let’s have a cup of coffee.

  • Hello dear,
    we ( my 10 year old son and I) will be moving to Delhi in Feb/March 2024. Thank you so much for all the information gathered here!


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