Important Information

Important Information

Indian Visa, Safety Tips, What to Pack, Important Documents, Food, Currency

GENERAL INFORMATIONS FOR A TOURIST ON INDIA TRAVEL

ESSENTIAL LIST OF EQUIPMENT AND DOCUMENTATION

  • Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts
  • Colour photocopy of main passport pages, visa, travel insurance and air tickets Spare passport photos
  • Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card, Money belt, Small padlocks
  • A mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers
  • Smart clothes for dinner in bigger cities
  • Clothing that covers arms and pants/skirts that go past the knee for entry into local temples
  • Raincoat
  • Head scarf for women (for when entering temples or mosques)
  • When travelling in cooler climates - Wind and waterproof jacket.
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks.
  • Camera/Phone
  • Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm
  • Personal medical kit - Such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent
  • Water bottle
  • Padlocks to keep your luggage safe and secure.
  • Ear plugs/eye mask
  • Travel wipes
  • Small hand towel
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required) 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)

AIRPORT TRANSFERS

 Our representative would remain present at the arrival lounge of the airport and would be holding a placard in your name. He will also assist you during your hotel check in. The same procedure will be followed whenever you make an internal connection by air or rail and again on your final departure from India.

IMMUNIZATIONS

Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before. Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.

INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE OF VACCINATION BOOKLET

Carry Your Certificate You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.

PASSPORT & VISA

You must carry a valid passport and have obtained all of the appropriate visas, permits and certificates for the countries which you will visit during your trip.

Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

All visitors (apart from citizens of Nepal and Bhutan) require a visa to enter India. Nationals of Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand and Singapore will be granted a visa on arrival; all other nationalities are required to obtain a visa in advance. Tourist visas are issued for six months from the date of issue (not entry). Note that anyone leaving India on a tourist visa will not be allowed to re-enter within two months, although exceptions are made in certain cases – these need to be arranged in advance.

An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) Facility is available for holders of a passport for a number of countries. This facility allows travellers to pre-register and pay for their visa prior to travel to India. The Visa is collected upon arrival at one of 16 designated airports in India. Please note strict guidelines on the website  https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

To get a visa you’ll need to apply at  https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html

In your Visa application your India cintact will be:

India Contact

Name: Mr Sarvjeet Sankrit

Address: Ghum India Ghum, 609, 6th Floor, Sethi Bhawan, Rajender Place, Delhi-110008, India

Mobile: +918860139194

An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) visa on arrival is available for select nationalities including but not limited to the following: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, UK & USA. Passport holders from these countries can apply for an ETourist Visa (eVT) to have their visa issued upon arrival at 16 major airports in India.

Please be aware of strict conditions regarding application and travel (check under ELIGIBILITY section). - E-visas are only available for entry of up to 60 days. If you plan to be in India longer you will need to apply for a tourist visa at an Indian visa application centre in your home country.

Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.

Tourist visas cannot be extended; you must leave the country and re-enter on a new one two months later. It may be difficult to apply for a new visa from neighbouring countries. Five-year visas are also issued to businessmen and students. In addition to visas, special permits are required for certain areas, while other areas are out of bounds to foreigners altogether.

Please note that this information can change at any time. Please always refer to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html This is the only official visa online site. There have been reports of other non-official websites that travellers should be aware of.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Travel insurance is mandatory for all our travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking.  Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide your travel insurance policy number and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number 15 days before the tour starts. You will not be able to join the trip without these details.  If you have travel insurance connected to your credit card or bank account please ensure you have details of the participating insurer, the insurance policy number and emergency contact number with you rather than the bank's name and credit card details.

PROBLEMS AND EMERGENCY CONTACT INFORMATION

We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information 15 days before the tour starts, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader.

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, transfer or accommodation issues, you can reach our local India office on their 24 hour number: Emergency contacts:

India Contact

Name: Mr Sarvjeet Sankrit

Address: Ghum India Ghum, 609, 6th Floor, Sethi Bhawan, Rajender Place, Delhi-110008, India

Mobile: +918860139194

 

Australia Contact

Name: Karam Singh

Mobile: +61416301790

MONEY

The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR). It's symbol is ₹ The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via ATMs, which are readily available in most towns. Cash shortages at ATMs can be a problem in rural areas. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.

With regards to the exchange currency, it is recommendable to carry adequate US dollars. US dollars are widely accepted and would be hassle free to get it changed. It is also advisable to carry adequate local currency i.e. Indian Rupees while travelling in India especially in small towns, remote and wildlife destinations as you will find no ATM there.

 Credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops, but not usually in hotels in the wildlife parks. Do not allow your credit card to be taken out of your sight in restaurants and shops. ATMs are available in major cities and towns.

SPENDING MONEY

When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier.

CONTINGENCY FUNDS

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra money for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

TIPPING

On this trip, we have not included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. Tipping is not compulsory but it is customary to tip your driver/tour leader for outstanding service provided throughout your trip. We suggest around $A5-7 per day. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.

THINGS TO CARRY/PACKING FOR INDIA TRAVEL

Hotels provide a fast, reliable laundry service. So, it is unnecessary to pack a large amount of clothing. We recommend checking local weather advisory websites before departing to get a better understanding of what to expect and how best to pack. Bringing extra layers and a beanie could improve your overall experience. The standard allowance permitted by most Indian domestic airlines is 15 Kg plus hand baggage. A medical kit, toiletries and camera should be brought. All clothing is economical throughout India and much of it of excellent to good quality, particularly in the large towns.

DAY PACK

A day pack for carrying essentials when exploring destinations as well as for short overnight stays will be useful. On overnight trains packing this with the essentials you need to access during the trip will also be very useful.

MAIN LUGGAGE

What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances including up and down stairs and in busy places. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Small, wheeled suitcases that can also easily be picked up and carried are the best for travel in this part of the world, although if you prefer, a back pack is also fine.

VALUABLES

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy/scan all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals.

WIFI

WiFi access is widely available; it's usually free in public areas of hotels but some properties will charge for in room use. Please ask your tour leader or the specific hotel reception upon check in. Many restaurants and cafes (especially in tourist areas) offer customers free WiFi. Ask for the password when ordering. Internet cafes are widespread in India and connections are usually reasonably fast, except in more remote areas.

MOBILE

You can purchase a SIM at the airport (or at kiosks everywhere) for use while travelling in India. Airtel or Vodaphone are a good bet. SIMs are relatively cheap. You will need to usually provide 2 passport sized photos and a copy of your passport will be made.

MAIL

Posting airmail letters to anywhere overseas costs ₹25/15. International airmail postcards cost around ₹12. For postcards, stick the stamps on before writing, as the post office can give you as many as four stamps per card. The post office is always a fun adventure in India!

CLIMATE

India's climate can be conveniently divided into three zones – the north, the south and the hill regions – and into three distinctive seasons: the winter, the summer and monsoon.

Deciding when to travel to India can be complicated, due to its extremely varied weather. India’s seasons are split into the wet, humid monsoon season, and the dry, cool season.

The monsoon season takes place from May until September. It has a huge influence over travelling in India as it works its way northeast through the country, from the Keralan coast. During this time, the south still has a couple of months of cloud, rain and humidity.

North India

April - June: Hot, dry, and dusty with temperature 35-42 degree centigrade

July - August: Hot, Humid, and rainy

Sep - Mar: Pleasant days and could get cooler in the night

South India

April/May & Aug/Sep: Hot and Humid with average temperature 38 degree centigrade

June/July/Oct/Nov: Hot and Heavy rains

Dec - Mar: Hot but less humid

Himalayas

If you’re looking to experience the Himalayas, the best time to go is from March onwards, with peak hiking season in August and September - the rest of the country at this time is very wet.

Therefore, the best time to visit India is November to March, when the majority of the country is at a comfortable temperature.

SAFETY

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and we make no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

WOMEN'S SAFETY

Women should exercise caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling: - Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home - Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day - Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night - If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers - If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off. -When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (i.e. going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you. www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/women.html

PERSONAL BELONGINGS

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

FESTIVALS

Travelling in India during Holi can at times be unsafe - drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on this day. It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day. Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid-October to mid-November every year) is celebrated by local people letting off fireworks in the street. It can be very noisy for several days with extra pollution caused by fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid large crowds gathering and using fireworks.

PERSONAL SAFETY

While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

SCAMS

Scams involving ATM and credit cards, train tickets, taxis, temple donations and tourist guides operate throughout India. If you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to the nearest police station. Even though they may not be able to get your money or goods back, they can issue you with an official loss report for insurance purposes.

AIR POLLUTION

The high levels of air pollution in New Delhi (and across urbanised India) may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these types of medical conditions. You can check the pollution index levels for many cities on the following website: http://safar.tropmet.res.in/ Our tour leaders have a supply of masks for sale at the joining meeting should you wish to purchase one.

VERY IMPORTANT RULES

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. Patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader/driver or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

FOOD

Western food is available in larger hotels. Indian food is delicious and varied, and vegetarian food is widely available. In hotels the spicing is often milder to suit Western tastes. It is recommendable to eat hot and freshly cooked food and to avoid salads, cut fruit, any food which is not cooked. Avoid yogurt and lassi unless milk has been boiled. Ice cream is only safe if produced using a heat treatment method. Rice which is not freshly cooked is a common cause of food poisoning. Hotel buffets can cause problems if food is left standing for a long time (if in doubt, order freshly prepared food from the a la carte menu).

If you have any dietary requirements, please check with the hotel or restaurant before ordering. Its always recommended to double check with staff or manager of eatery about your requirements. We don’t take any responsibility of any health or other issues arising because of wrong food is served. Whole responsibility is upon customer and eatery.

EATING OUT

In some locations we will recommend restaurants you may like to try. Food is often excellent but service can be variable. Delays are not unusual, and the component parts of a meal do not invariably arrive together! In some hotels staffs are local people, who may be shy and inexperienced. Even in five star properties staffing may occasionally be unequal to the challenge. Elsewhere you may find service over-attentive, often understood as good service locally! Patience and a sense of humour will help you enjoy your meals.

WATER

Dehydration is a common and serious problem in hot climates, especially in children; make sure you drink plenty of water. Tap water is not safe to drink. You should drink only bottled mineral water, which is widely available. You should also use mineral water when brushing your teeth. Ice is not safe unless made with boiled or mineral water, which is rarely the case, so is best avoided.

INTESTINAL UPSETS

Most of our guests experience no problem during their tour. A mild upset can sometimes be simply the result of a change of diet, so go easy for the first few days if you are unused to spicy foods. Bring a supply of ORS (oral rehydration salts) and if you do experience any symptoms, take these immediately, rest and drink plenty of water. Seek medical advice for any severe or persistent symptoms. It is useful to bring Loperamide, but this should not be taken unless absolutely necessary. Ciprofloxacin is a good antibiotic for bacterial diarrhea but is not effective against other types so is best taken under medical advice. ‘Preventative’ antibiotics are not effective.

PHOTOGRAPHY

Most temples and monuments charge a fee for a camera permit, which is included in the package. Special permits may be needed for tripods and lights. It is not permitted to photograph statues of the deity in temples. Always ask permission before photographing people – the moment may be lost, but photography without consent may cause offence.

BEGGARS

At the religious sites you may find lot of beggars. However please don’t get intimidated. The best thing is to avoid them completely and be firm. In India normally, if you make an eye contact it is considered to be a sign of acceptance or consideration so you may avoid making eye contact with the beggars. Please don’t offer them money, food or any other gift.

DRESS CODE AT RELIGIOUS SITES

We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees so we can be respectful and comfortable.

One should avoid wearing skimpy clothes like half pants or sleeveless dress during visiting a religious site. Full trousers, jeans, skirt or any other outfit with an appropriate top, t-shirt or shirt is well suggested. Wearing black dress should also be avoided. At many temples leather objects are also not allowed. One should cover his head especially while visiting a mosque or a Gurudwara (Sikh temple). Photographing people is generally welcomed though one should not forget taking permission before clicking a picture. Photographing the deity may not be allowed so please take permission before doing that.

There is specific time of visiting temples so please find it out with your guide or driver before visiting any temple. In South India most of the temples remain open from 0630 hours till 1230 noon and from 1630 hours till 2030 hours. In most of the South Indian temple’s foreigners are not allowed in the sanctum. 

In temple premises shoes, sandals or any other footwear is not allowed. For your convenience you may wear sleepers or sandals and may leave them outside while visiting the temple.

If you don’t have a guide you may check if any of the local priests could act as guide. Normally there are no guide charges but it is better to find out the same before using a local priest. Depending upon your satisfaction a tip of 50 to 150 Indian Rupees should remain appropriate. Kindly note tipping is not obligatory at all.