India is a
vast sub-continent with a climate and customs all of its own.
So before you embark on your holiday it is as well to check out
a few facts to make your stay there as comfortable as possible.
The temperatures in India vary greatly, depending on the time
of year and area. During the summer months of May and June the
lower plains of the South, and the desert areas of the North are
very hot and either dry in the north or humid in the south with
temperatures around 40c(1OOF), while the hills and mountain areas
provide a cool sanctuary. After the monsoons between June and
October, the climate is extremely pleasant right through the autumn,
winter and into early spring. North India is extremely cold in
winter, but quite lovely in autumn and spring.
WEAR: If you want to keep your cool in the Indian sun, a good
supply of cotton clothing is essential along with a comfortable
pair of open sandals. An effective pair of sunglasses and a wide
brimmed hat will protect you against the deceptively strong rays.
Do remember to pack winter clothing if your trip takes you to
the mountain regions.
ADVICE: There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to
India, although we strongly recommend that you protect yourself
against Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A and Malaria,
which is taken in tablet form. Certain passengers may also be
advised to have a Meningitis injection. Also ensure you have a
good mosquito repellent. We strongly advise that you contact your
doctor or Travel Clinics allowing at least three weeks before
the date of travel, for all medical advice.
Indian cities are bustling and exiting, and in most areas, quite
safe. There is little danger of being mugged on the streets here,
but don't be offended if the locals stare at you - the Indians
are friendly and hospitable people and just curious. Almost all
city-dwellers speak and understand English, and you will find
all the street and shop signs in English as well. Should you get
lost, the local people are so obliging that often you'll find
they will not only give you directions, but walk you all the way
to your destination!
TEMPLES: When visiting places of worship and mausoleums there
are certain religious customs to be observed. As a token of respect,
it is customary to remove your footwear before entering all temples.
India is a kaleidoscope of color just waiting to be photographed,
so wherever you travel be sure to carry your camera and an ample
supply of color film. With the exception of inside the Taj Mahal,
the airports, and other restricted areas, you may photograph to
your heart's content.
CAR HIRE: The majority of hired cars are chauffeured - driven
in India. Hiring a taxi is no problem and quite reliable. To avoid
any confusion over cost, settle the fare before you set off.
Avoid eating spicy foods when you first arrive in India, however
tempting. Allow your system at least a day or two to get used
to them, introducing one Indian dish with each meal for the first
couple of days. After that it is best to stick with cooked foods,
and remember to peel fruit before eating it. The best drinks to
enjoy with your meals or to quench your thirst are the bottled
mineral waters, other bottled drinks, coffee and tea. Indian beer
is very good, along with Indian gin and vodka. The whisky needs
an acquired taste, and the imported Scotch whisky is very expensive
as is the wine.
If service is not included in the bill, 10% is usually the accepted
amount. Hotel porters expect about 50 rupees for one piece of
luggage and about 100 rupees for a trolley full. At the end of
your stay if you wish to tip your sightseeing guide and driver,
an acceptable amount would be approximately 300 rupees.
MONEY: It is advisable to change your money through authorized
banks and hotels. Always keep your receipts as you will need them
at the end of your trip if you wish to convert your rupees back
to your own currency. The units of Indian currency are the rupee
and the paise. There are 100 paise in the rupee. Paper money comes
in the denominations of 1,2,5,10,20,50, 100, and 500 rupees and
coins are available in 5,10,20,25,50 paise and in rupee coins
of 1 and 2. All major credit cards are accepted in most hotels
and restaurants and government and hotel shops, as are travelers
India is a shopper's paradise with the promise of some excellent
buys. For general shopping we recommend the Government Emporiums,
and the shops in the hotels. You will find a huge choice of goods,
from fashion bags and shoes in every color, to Indian silks and
handicrafts. Finally do not forget that any item that is more
than 100 years old is banned from export out of the country, as
is ivory, crocodile skin and other wildlife products.
TAX: When you leave India, there is currently a statutory
departure tax of 500 rupees. This has to be paid in Indian currency
at the airport. In view of this, it is wise to keep this amount
handy when you leave for the airport. In some cases this may be
included in the Cost of your booking so please check your invoice
for confirmation of this.
AND VISITS: All non-Indian Passport holders require visas
for India and Nepal.
INSURANCE: We strongly recommend that you take purchase insurance
to cover all eventualities while you are traveling abroad, including
cancellation for medical or any other reasons, as significant
penalties will apply.
The above information is correct to the best of our knowledge
and belief. It is current at the time of going to press. We regret
we cannot accept any responsibility for any changes on advice
or information given. The advice given is a genuine effort on
our part to make your stay as pleasant as possible.