This list of information & advises is not exhaustive
It is mandatory to have a valid visa before embarking on a voyage to India. Your passport must be valid at least for six months at the time you apply for a visa. The recent facilities of e visas are available for at least approx 150 countries.
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Please note the general rules for check in to hotels in the Indian subcontinent is 1400hrs. Some hotels still follow the 12 Noon limit. Consult us for more details.
In case of early arrival, we recommend you book your hotel from the previous night to be guaranteed your room on arrival.
Triple rooms: There are mostly no triple rooms in India. Three persons in a room means one double or twin bedded room with a roll away bed in most cases. In smaller hotels, the roll away is replaced by a mattress laid out on the floor. Generally we do not recommend triple sharing except in the case of children below 12 years old. …Read more
When you are booked on Half Board or Full Board basis, the meals are generally buffet or fixed menu and have to be taken at the coffee shop or all day dining restaurants of hotels and hotels decision on this will be final. Meals, if pre-booked, will not be served in the room. Drinks are not included with meals or otherwise.
Drivers are not guides and may not be fluent in English. It is recommended not to speak to the driver while he is driving, which is on the left side of the road in the subcontinent. Only in Sri Lanka does one find chauffer cum guides who are licensed accordingly. These are only available in English.
Are used in each city and their diction, knowledge and cultural background may vary.
If you choose one of the auto tour options, only your hotel and chauffer driven car with fuel and taxes are included. Meals, entrance fees, guides are NOT included in an auto tour. The vehicle is at your disposal from 0800 to 1800hrs each day. Chauffeurs will drop you back after sightseeing to your hotels and are free thereafter to proceed for their personal work. If clients wish to eat at a local restaurant or another hotel, this has to be pre arranged with us, or local transport employed for this purpose. It is not assumed that your chauffeur and guide are at your disposal after 1800hrs approx.
While in a city, you can do 40 kms of local running in half a day or 80 kms in a full day.
Drivers are not guides and their level of English will be rudimentary except in Sri Lanka where driver cum guides in English exist.
It is for you to decide the monuments you wish to visit in a city or en route cities. Entrance fees will have to be paid for directly at the entrance ticket counters.
Drivers cannot be held responsible for halts for meals if not pre booked.
They could however, willingly suggest suitable halts for this should you ask them.
The Itinerary you would have chosen is fixed and cannot be changed and prices depend on Number of days one spends in a city, the cities themselves, and the states through which your vehicle passes. There is no assistance provided at check in and check out during an auto tour.
Car Hire is obligatory with a licensed chauffeur.
Price for such a hire varies depending on the brand and category of vehicles.
Chauffeurs generally are available for 10 hours duties and no more. If you wish to use the driver and the car for a dinner outside the hotel, this as to be pre-sanctioned or else you might find the chauffeur refusing such requests. A small supplement too may be chargeable for this extra service. Chauffeurs do not usually speak fluent English. For all advices on your voyage it is preferable that you discuss this with your Customer Service Agent in Delhi and not with your chauffeur. Our chauffeur is not responsible for your personal goods left in the vehicle. However at time, either due to security reasons, weather or other reasons you might have no choice but to leave your personal affairs in the vehicle in which case you need to make our chauffeur aware of the same. As Chauffeurs do not usually use GPS or other navigation aids, it is common to see chauffeurs asking for directions. We request you not to be alarmed if our chauffeurs ask his way around!
India has one of the largest train networks in the world. Many trains operate only for tourists and amongst them luxury trains where ob travels at bight and does sightseeing in the day on a package price which usually includes all your meals. However should you travel on the Indian railway network on overnight journeys there are certain peculiarities to be noted. Firstly, for convenience sake it is only recommended that you travel by 2nd or 1st class wagons. These are air-conditioned and have a better security system for baggage and passengers. Please however note that computerization has led to seats and berths being allocated for group travel in a random fashion so many times a group does not travel with chronologically assigned seats! Blankets, sheets and pillows are dry-cleaned and given clean to all passengers for such journeys. On Shatabdi or Taj Express trains, sometimes meals are included in the price of the train. Other times food is catered on ordering. It is usually local food and though we encourage you to try as much the local food, we do try to see that you have well eaten before boarding a train if possible. Train journeys in India cannot be booked more than 3 months in advance, except for Maharaja and other Luxury trains which can be booked much more in advance with its own payment and cancellation terms.
Flights quoted at the time of receiving a quotation are subject to change. The local Indian market has seen considerable change with the introduction of low cost airlines which offer no frills but cheaper air tickets than the regular airline. In General, low cost airlines offer 15 kgs of checked in baggage while regular one like Air India, Vistara and JetAirways offer 20 kgs. As security in India has several times been tested, it is generally good but for this, you need to be early to the airport. For Domestic flights at least 1 hour and 30 minutes before the flight and at least 3 hours before international flights is recommended as a result. Most segments can be pre-booked and web check in, usually 24 hours in advance of the flights is very popular especially if one prefers seating of a particular kind and particular place. It costs approx. INR 300 per kilo extra for excess baggage in case of domestic flights. This is off course subject to change. Flights that are dependent of weather conditions are subject often to cancellation and the pilot’s decisions are final and we cannot be held responsible for any cancellation or modification in flight schedules. Such flights usual operate to Dharamshala, Leh, Srinagar, Bhuntar or Jammu. Private planes including helicopters can also be booked in advance if requested.
In Nepal, most airlines are blacklisted by the European Union and your Insurance Policy might not cover you if you take such flights.
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Though some stations and airports have left luggage facilities it is best to check with us before planning to use them. This is one aspect of travel that is still not caught on here. It is always recommended that you carry camera, chargers, medicines etc in your hand baggage. Liquids more than 100 ml are not allowed in the hand bag. Carriage of Dangerous good is not permitted in either the cabin bag or the checked in baggage.
While no vacation is obligatory for travel to the Indian Sub Continent, it is recommended that you consult your family doctor before travelling.
In case you need to take prescribed medicines while on a holiday, it is recommended that you carry the prescription in English with you and most medicines or its equivalent is available in India, Sri Lanka etc should you need to purchase them though it is strongly recommend to carry sufficient quantities from your home countries. If you will visit Leh, please especially consult your doctor as the Delhi Leh flights land at 3500 meters above sea level.
the majority of temples in South India open between 0530 to 1230hrs and from 1600hrs to 2000hrs.
Non Hindus cannot enter the Sanctum Sanctorum of temples
The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays
Elephanta Caves and the Prince of Wales Museum in Mumbai are closed on Mondays.
At the Ranakpur Temples no guides or guiding is allowed. Temples open at 12 noon
It is forbidden to wear short skirts, or leather belts etc. Most temples and other places of worship can only be visited barefoot. Please do note this for on an Indian subcontinent holiday; while it is recommend to cover ones feet, one must also often remove one’s shoes/sandals/footwear.
Principal monuments in Fort Cochin are closed on Fridays, Saturdays.
Photography usually requires you to pay for camera fees at monuments which are never included in our price. Photography with Tripods requires special permissions which need to be applied for well in advance of your visit to India.
Many Festival dates are dependent of the sun or the moon’s sightseeing, the new moon and are subject to change. We cannot be held responsible if the decision to celebrate a festival, taken usually by the priest of a temple etc is changed.
It is not obligatory but in the sub continent, giving tips is very much appreciated and practiced! Please do not give any coins as tips. Usually the duration and quality of the service provided to you decides the amount of tip. As an indication here is an idea of the principal tips
10% of the value of your bill for tips at restaurants
INR 50(Indian Rupees) for baggage services in a hotel
INR 20(Indian Rupees) for shoe services at monuments
Approx INR 500(Indian Rupees) for a local guides, and divided by the number of participants
Approx INR 900(Indian Rupees) per day for an accompanying guide, and divided by the number of participants
Approx INR 450(Indian Rupees) per day for the driver and divided by the number of participants.
Approx INR 200(Indian rupees) per day for the assistant of the chauffeur in a bus and divided by the number of participants.
Finally to show respect and not shock local sentiments it is recommend to avoid wearing short dresses, dresses without sleeves especially when visiting temples and other holy places Visiting local families etc. Even at Hotel swimming pools it is recommended to avoid very revealing bikinis or swimsuits. It is advisable to always carry a scarf with you that be used to cover the head if and when required and can also serve to protect you against strong air conditioning at times. As advised earlier, as you will need to take off your foot wear often, it is recommended that strong occasions or slip ons’ be preferred. As socks are allowed in many places, you would be willing to use one pair that you can discard after the trip! Wet wipes are very useful against perspiration. Please keep always with you( not in the baggage in the Boot of the car or coach) your passport, money and all things valuable,cap,sun glasses, anti mosquito creams,medicines,wetwipes,extra socks,scarf,toilet paper, Kleenex etc.
Must one carry a gift?
It is not recommended that you carry anything from your country as a gift. If you need to gift something, buy it locally.
It is recommended that you always carry toilet paper with you as it may not be available locally at all toilets. Please do advise your driver or guide in case you need to use a toilet in advance so that they can stop appropriately
Please do not take photos of people bathing or washing themselves
Please do not give a tip or pay anyone to photograph them
Real “Sadhus” do not wish to be photographed so those who do could probably be dressed like them only to gain some money. Please do not go after such persons.
It is highly recommended to ask permission from people before you photograph them.
Men should generally avoid photographing women
Do not forget your chargers and rechargeable batteries. Some extra ones too are recommended to be carried.
At some monuments still camera fees or video camera fees are chargeable.
Try only to buy from recommended shops or emporiums that genuinely belong to the state Governments or from such places of high quality. Credit and Debit cards are usually accepted by such establishments. The Indian Rupee cannot be exported as it is not accepted or used anywhere else.
Power cuts can be frequent depending on which part of the sub continent one is visiting. It is therefore advisable to carry a working torch with one’s self always. Do carry International switches as the subcontinent usually followed the 220/240 volts cycle.
Wi Fi is usually payable and not free or included at hotels. You will need to check prices and pay after usage.
It is recommended to leave stamped post cards at the reception of larger hotels
India is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of GMT. So when it is Noon here, it is 0630 hrs in London.
Though India does not follow DST, in Summer the Time difference is reduced by one hour for countries that follow DST( Daylight Saving Time)