Useful Stuff to Know About India
TRAVEL INSURANCE
It is a requirement for all our travellers to have a comprehensive travel insurance policy with full medical cover. There are a wide variety of policies available and your travel agent will be able to make recommendations.
VISA
You will require a Tourist Visa to travel in India. After you have booked in, we can advise you about the visa application process or you can consult with your travel agent. Please remember to allow at least two weeks to have your visa processed.
CLIMATE
The Indian subcontinent ranges widely in temperature from the Himalayas to the tropical south. November to January is the coolest time. Monsoon season is generally July to September.
CLOTHING
Women: best to avoid shorts, short dresses, etc. and to cover shoulders. Indian clothing is very comfortable and practical. Take walking shoes that go with most outfits.
CUSTOMS
It is considered an insult to 'point' the soles of your feet at others. Feet and shoes should not touch other people, as they are considered unclean. Shoes are usually left outside homes and temples. The head and ears are sacred. Never pat a child on the head. Do not point your fingers at a sacred object — this is considered rude. Indians point with a jerk of the chin, or with an open hand facing upwards.
TIME
There is Western Time and there is Indian Time. Discover the latter and you will learn to develop qualities of patience. Slowness and queues are a fact of life.
FOOD
Vegetarian food is highly recommended. Many western constitutions cannot tolerate too much chili or spicy food at once, i.e. pace yourself. Be wary of food, which has been lying around on street side cafes. If it is freshly cooked in front of you, then that is usually best. Fruit you can peel is generally safe. If afflicted with an upset stomach, try a little boiled rice and plain toast once you are ready to try food again. If in doubt order plain dhal and boiled rice and ask for all food to be prepared with 'no chili and no spice'.
DRINK
Bottled water is recommended. Check to see that seals have not been tampered with. Avoid local water and ice at all costs, even in restaurants. Some travellers avoid salads that may have been washed with local water. The exception to this rule is "Aquaguard" water, which has been passed through a good quality filter. This is becoming increasingly available and is a good alternative to generating more plastic waste with bottled water. In some tourist areas, enterprising eco businesses are selling boiled and filtered water... also a good option.
HEALTH
Check with your local G.P. about any immunisations and prescriptions that you may need. It is worthwhile planning ahead as some medical treatments can cause side effects.
MONEY
Before leaving Australia, it is useful to exchange some money at your local bank or foreign exchange bureau; Indian Rupees may need to be ordered so plan ahead. However as you’ll be met at the airport, we can facilitate changing money for you very easily. Try to obtain smaller denominations for tips, rickshaw fares, etc. Use a secure money belt for the bulk of your cash and travel documents.
TELEPHONES/INTERNET
We have found International SIM cards purchased in Australia are not reliable. SIM cards in India can be purchased, however we have a mobile phone available to you to call home in any urgency.
Internet and WIFI is available in most hotels and cafes.