Useful Travel Tips for India & Nepal
During your visit to India and Nepal, given below tips will help you to have a safe and comfortable tour:
Visiting India and Nepal is totally different experience from Europe or USA. The lifestyle and culture of these two countries is entirely different and first time visitor may need to understand and know some basic dos and don'ts for a pleasurable tour.
- VISA: Proper valid VISA is required to enter and stay in India & Nepal.
- INSURANCE: It is advisable to cover yourself with travel insurance for thefts, loss and medical claim.
- While changing money always ask for encashment certificate and retain during your travel to show at times of paying in Indian currency for services such as hotel charges/domestic air ticket/ shopping etc.
- Use strong suitcases/baggage to protect your personal belongings etc from mishandling at airports/stations.
- It is always better to arrive one hour before scheduled departure at the train station and one and half hour before any domestic flight.
- Generally signages are displayed for cities/monuments but suggested to keep proper maps of the places proposed to visit in India/Nepal.
- If traveling on your own, suggested to reach a destination for halt during daytime. Travel through reliable travel agent who provides services of hotel, travel, taxi, sight seeing or take assistance upon arrival of Government Tourist Assistance Desk situated at airports/railway stations/ bus stations.
- Women traveling alone should avoid walking at odd hours in certain deserted places.
- In Monsoon period avoid night stay in the desert during camel safari.
- Don't tip unreasonably and unnecessarily during stay at hotel.
- Do not encourage beggars.
- Don't trust strangers at any point during your travel as well do not accept any eatables from fellow travelers unless you know him/her personally. Avoid even taking a single biscuit from a fellow traveler during travel in train/bus as it might be contaminated.
- Be careful about your luggage while traveling in train/bus.
- Always chain and lock your luggage under your berth in train. Don't keep anything valuable near the window. Always carry plenty of water, fruits during train travel.
- Lone woman traveler may request to be accommodated near other women travelers.
- Don't eat anything offered by fellow travelers on train or road travels.
- Offering or accepting bribe is an offence. Do not get influenced with any advice for giving bribe to any person for getting your work done quickly.
- English is not the mother tongue of this country. People speak English as per their local dialects/ accents, therefore, try and understand the feeling of the person speaking English to help you out on your query.
- At the time of check out from hotel check your bills properly. If you find some unreasonable charges, report at report to the management before paying the bill charges.
TRANSPORTATION FOR TRAVEL
- Taxi car is the best and safest way to travel in India for a tour less than a month
- Hire taxi from a reputed and trusted travel company and ensure that your driver can speak and understand basic English as well he has valid driver license.
- Avoid driving in night from city to city as traffic is heavy
- Avoid self driving in India unless you are accustomed to India road driving conditions.
- Check the speed of driver as recommended on highways/city road. At times you can ask him to drive in prescribed speed limit.
- India and Nepal has various religions. If you are really keen in religion, take help of reliable person of Trust/Mission/Board to know further details of the religious place.
- Know the traditions to pay respect to a religious place whether it is temple, mosque, tomb, dargah or Gurudwara (sikh temple) where you need to cover your head with a handkerchief/scarf as well putt off shoes before entering the place. Be gentle in wearing clothes and avoid short dresses.
DRINKING WATER / FOOD
- Recommended not to use tap water for drinking as the contents of mineral etc chages from place to place and may affect your stomach. Safe drinking water is available in hotels/restaurants in bottles. In hotel/restaurant, ask first regarding drinking water safety.
- Avoid eating at road side small food outlets. Though food may be tasty but may not suit to your digestive system.
- To have Indian Food taste, try it out in decent restaurant having fixed rates.
- Don't buy antiques more than 100 years old. Selling and buying "shahtoosh" shawls is a crime as well as ivory and wildlife trophies.
- Buy from a genuine shop only. Government Emporia and some well renowned Show rooms/malls have fixed price. While doing street shopping suggested to bargain and arrive at mutually agreed price.
- Do not trust on emporia advice to carry a packet to a destination and in lieu offers you some money/gift. Get proper receipt for every expensive shopping.
- Do get influenced from the touts/campaigners roaming around monuments and suggest to visit particular shop/emporia.
- If buying some herbal medicine / antique, better check from the seller as to whether it can be taken out of India or nor as per the law.
SOCIETY & TRENDS
- There is no single rule for cultural and social sensitivities of the regions the best way is to observe and follow.
- Wear proper dress while visiting a family or social function.
- "Namastay" with folded hand is the traditional way of greeting. Ladies generally do not shake hands but changing trend has inspired them to greet a foreigner with shaking hands.
- Don't photograph women without permission.
- Indian weddings are one of the most famous social ceremonies and if gets chance must participate to know the traditions of Indian marriage.
RESTRICTED & UNSAFE AREAS
- Visiting to restricted and unsafe areas, please ensure to have proper permission/enquiry other wise you may be in trouble.
DREAM PLACES IN INDIA
- Rajasthan, Kerala and Goa are the preferred destinations in India
- Spending night in a house boat in Kerala back waters
- A night in The Thar Desert with camel safari
- Aravali ranges night halt in a tent after horse safari
- A night spent in Agra with visit to Taj Mahal
- Holy night at the bank side of river Ganges at Varanasi
- Most impressive stay with a visit to Golden Temple, Amritsar
- Festive nights during the fairs/festivals such as Pushkar Cattle Fair, Ajmer, Rajasthan