India Travel Tips
Many years of my
work as a professional tourist taxi driver in India and Nepal
I drove more then one million km. without accident, during all
this time I always discover and collect information from other
places which is useful for any western tourist during there
India travel. Here below is the list which will help you lot
if you careful about all this:-
GENERAL TIPS FOR INDIA & NEPAL TRAVEL
- A proper VISA
to enter and stay in India & Nepal is a must. There are
reported cases when travelers are advised non-requirement of
Indian/Nepal VISA by their travel agents. Practically every
foreign national requires VISA to enter these countries.
- Do not
- Don't trust
strangers with money. Trust your hotel, but not people you
may bump into on the streets.
- Don't offer
bribes to get any job done. Bribe-taking and bribe-giving
are a common practice in India but they are intended to
speed up things or win a favor that you are not entitled to.
Plan well in advance. Use consultants or trade and industry
associations. If you expect favors, let them come free or
not at all. Warn anyone (even in government) who asks you
for a bribe that you would report him to the Anti-Corruption
Bureau or the nearest police-station. If he persists, do it
discreetly so that he can be caught red-handed.
- Indian English
has its own delights especially to foreigners of English
nativity. Don't show amusement at the different Indian
accents and choice of words. This does not take away from
the fact that many Indians speak and write better English
than many native English speakers.
- It is
advisable to cover yourself with travel insurance for
thefts, loss and medi-claim.
- Carry proper
maps of the places proposed to visit in India/Nepal, as
signboards are often absent. Try to reach a station during
daytime if traveling on your own. In any case avoid
persistent touts and taxi-drivers at airport/stations/bus
stand to help you find your hotel. Always use tourist
assistance desk for proper advice.
traveling alone in certain deserted places should avoid
walking at odd hours.
- While changing
money, insist on getting encashment certificate.
- Do not
checkout of the hotel in hurry. While checking out it has
been noticed in some hotels, the extras are unreasonably
charged which the guest hurriedly pays without
- Do not leave
your cash and valuables in your hotel rooms. Keep your cash
divided in different pockets.
- Take care of
proper disposal of your rubbish always whether you are
exploring desert, or Himalayas or beaches or anywhere else.
- Don't accept
offers of visiting anyone's home unless you are confident of
- Use licensed
guides for sightseeing.
- Always use
strong suitcases/baggage, as mishandling is common at
- Don't tip
unreasonably and unnecessarily in a hotel. The NEWS soon
spreads in the hotel and by the time you checkout there will
be a group of them saluting you to expect something.
- In Monsoon
time avoid night stay in the desert while you do camel
- Most of the
monuments give very good discount for students from all over
the world. They must carry there valid school identity card.
TRAVELING IN TRAINS, BUSSES & FLIGHTS
Often train’s and
flights are get delayed and can be cancelled at the last
moment without any prior notice. Yesterday (25.3.08) it
happens with one of my client from USA and they phone me
about this situation from Jodhpur town at 9.00pm and there
connecting flight to States was just after three hours, It
was horrible situation for both us. So it is always better
to arrive one day before to your departure destination to
catch your International flight.
don't act confused. Keep a posture of a person known to the
If you are
traveling in the trains then you may have to reserve your
seats in advance, last time it will be not so easy to get
confirm seat reservation.
Buses are not as
comfortable as trains.
Trains and buses
are the best and cheapest option if you are traveling for
more then one month holidays.
Be careful about
your luggage while you travel in train or in bus.
Khajuraho to Varanasi is often over booked so try to get
boarding pass as soon as possible otherwise they will
provide you car for to go Varanasi.
It is always
better to arrive one hour before scheduled departure at the
train station and one and half hour before any domestic
Always chain and
lock your luggage under your berth in a train. Don't keep
anything valuable near the window. Always carry plenty of
water, fruits in trains. Alone woman traveler may request to
be accommodated near other women travelers.
Don't eat anything
offered by fellow travelers on train or road travels. It
might have sleeping pills. Always travel reserved class in
CAR - PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION FOR TRAVEL
Cars are one of
the best and safest way to travel in India, if you are not
traveling for months in India.
Make sure that
your driver is trained for defensive driving and speak basic
As a driver you
always have one person with you to help you and your luggage
is always safe.
driving at night on Indian highways, It is not recommended.
Avoid self driving
in India unless you have been trained on Indian roads.
If you feel not
comfortable by the driving or he drives fast is always
better to tell him to drive slow.
Do not visit
places which encourage orthodoxy, social injustice and
inhuman practices (like visiting a sati temple).
Politics can be
freely discussed in India and most people will have an
opinion which they will not mind being contradicted. But
avoid discussing religion.
Avoid offers of
spiritual salvation and magic remedies from saints, god men
and quacks. There may be some spiritually elevated people in
India, but there is no way you can distinguish the genuine
ones from the crooks. If you are seriously interested in
these aspects of India, take help from someone you know or
visit one of the respected spiritual organizations in India.
Don't ever enter a
temple, mosque, tomb, dargah or Gurudwara ( Sikh Temple)
with shoes on and/or scantily dressed. One should cover
his/her head with a cloth while in a Gurudwara or Dargah.
Parikrama or walking around the sanctum sanctorum should
always be in clockwise direction. Also should use your full
FOOD & WATER
Take care of
contamination of water and food problem. Always drink safe
mineral water and take well-cooked food.
water only. Even many Indians who have lived out of India
for a few years sometimes suffer stomach upsets on drinking
local tap water. If there is no alternative to tap water,
ensure it is boiled. Most famous brand is Bislery, Aqua Fina
buffet meals, even in expensive hotels. The food may become
contaminated due to over-exposure
If you are buying
from roadside stalls or hawkers, bargain you must. Start by
offering half the price they ask for and settle for 70 - 80
per cent. Don't bargain in proper shops especially those
that display "Fixed Price" signs: that will be seen as bad
Never buy food
from roadside stalls or mobile canteens. Not that they are
bad, but your system may not be accustomed to such
delicacies and you might end up spending more time in the
loo than normal.
Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Tikka, Chicken Curry, Malai Kofta
and Naan these are the most famous dishes eaten by western
people and they like them very much.
King fisher Lager
bear is one of the most general alcoholic drinks taken by
any western tourist.
Lassi & water is
one of the most general non alcoholic drinks taken by any
Not only drink
bottled water also brush teeth with it.
- If driving
between cities, have your hotel pack a lunch for the road.
SOCIETY & TRENDS
Participating in a
social occasion or visiting a home requires conservative
dress codes. Do not shake hands with ladies. Always pick up
a thing and eat with your right hand. Take only as much as
you can eat, do not leave anything uneaten over the dish.
Do not point your
finger at any person. It is taken as a sign of annoyance.
Be careful of
cultural and social sensitivities of the regions. There is
no single rule for that, the best way is to observe and
The “NAMASTAY” is
a local form of greeting. It involves the joining of your
palms as during prayer in church – well, not exactly, but it
can pass (in church, the two thumbs are crossed, in the
Indian “NAMASTAY” , the thumbs join but remain parallel to
each other: this is only for information as the difference
is not visible to the person in front of you).
If you find the
lady is not extending a hand shake, go for the “NAMASTAY” ,
Even with men, the “NAMASTAY” can be an excellent little PR
gimmick! Follow it up with a “AAP KAISE HAIN” (how are you?)
and you have broken the first block of ice if one there was!
If somebody has
invited you home for dinner, carry with you a box of sweets
or at least a chocolate bar for the kid.
Many Indians are
in the habit of shaking their head in the course of
conversation or taking instructions. Don't show amusement if
you witness this.
women without permission.
are one of the most famous social ceremony liked by western
TERRORISM & UNSAFE AREAS TO TRAVEL
Kashmir in the extreme north as well as areas in the extreme
north-east. Foreigners, especially West Europeans ands
Americans, are at risk to hostage-taking by terrorists in
those areas. The rest of India is safe haven for everybody.
strongly with anybody.
You should not
become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for
possession of narcotic substances can be severe. There is a
minimum sentence of six months for possession of small
amounts for personal consumption only.
VISA, INSURANCE & OTHER DOCUMENTS
You should keep a photocopy of your passport, Indian visa and
flight ticket separate from the originals when travelling.
This will save you much inconvenience and time if your
documents are lost or stolen. We strongly recommend that you
obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before
travelling. You should check any exclusion, and that your
policy covers you for all the activities you want to
undertake. See the General (Insurance) section of this advice
and Travel Insurance for more details.
CUSTOMS & AIRPORT’S AUTHORITY OF INDIA
- Indian Customs
department at the airport stop one client of mine from
Spain, Her name was Lionor Mendoza, because they were
carrying some Auer Vedic Medicines ( Herbal), which they
bought from one of the Aurveda Message resort from South of
India. So if anyone buy such kind of things must ask and be
sure if they can carry with them or not to their home.
- You are not
allowed to take following things while visiting “TAJ MAHAL”
because os security reasons, like cigarettes, hand bags, any
eatable things, matches box, litre, Mobile phones, torch,
knife, gun and many other related small things which can
harmful for Taj, people or environment.
- By mistake if
you are having any of these items then they have the locker
facility just out side the gate you have to deposit those
things in the locker before to get in but often it is
inconvenient for western people so better to leave all the
things in the hotel or in the car with our driver.
DREAM PLACES IN INDIA
Majority of the
people think that to spend night in a house boat in Karela
Back Waters is one of the most memorable moments of their
Jaisalmer ( The
Thar desert) is considered as one of the most beautiful and
peaceful places of India.
"Taj Mahal" at
Agra is one of the most visiting place in India.
Amritsar is one of the most impressive monuments after "Taj
is one of the towns which give you most strongest feeling.
& Goa are one of the most organized states for tourism.
- To go Varanasi
to Kathmandu ( Nepal):- Often flights are full from Varanasi
to Nepal so to find out new possibility I wend to Nepal by
road from India.
- I already been
many times with my car but it was always from Varanasi, this
time I start from Jaipur (Rajasthan). It was beautiful trip.
- People can go
by road to Nepal from Varanasi it’s quite easy.
- Varanasi to
Sanouli Border (Nepal) via Gorakhpur is around 300km 7hours
- To start early
morning is recommended to avoid busy traffic hours.
- Just after get
in Nepal you can sleep in Lumbini or Chitvan National park
or if you have enough energy then be continue till Pokhara,
just 160 km more through the Himalaya Mountains 4-5hours
- This drive
between Nepal Border to Pokhara is one of the most beautiful
drive on the Himalaya mountains.
Kathmandu is 300km from Nepal border by road.