General Useful Tips for
India and Nepal
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 encourage
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.
alone in certain deserted places should avoid walking at odd
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 cross-checking.
Do not leave your
cash and valuables in your hotel rooms. Keep your cash divided in
Take care of
proper disposal of your rubbish always whether you are exploring
desert, or Himalayas or beaches or anywhere else.
offers of visiting anyone's home unless you are confident of the
guides for sightseeing.
Always use strong
suitcases/baggage, as mishandling is common at airports/stations.
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 safari.
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.
While traveling, don't
act confused. Keep a posture of a person known to the region.
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.
Flight from 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
It is always better to
arrive one hour before scheduled departure at the train station
and one and half hour before any domestic flight.
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 trains.
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 English.
As a driver you always
have one person with you to help you and your luggage is always
Always avoid 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 pantaloon.
FOOD & WATER
Take care of
contamination of water and food problem. Always drink safe mineral
water and take well-cooked food.
Drink bottled 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 and Himalaya.
Avoid eating 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 manners.
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
Lassi & water is one
of the most general non alcoholic drinks taken by any western
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 follow.
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.
Don't photograph women
Indian weddings are
one of the most famous social ceremony liked by western people.
TERRORISM & UNSAFE AREAS TO TRAVEL
Avoid visiting 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.
Never argue strongly
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
VISA, INSURANCE & OTHER DOCUMENTS
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
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 India Travel.
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 Mahal".
Varanasi (Ganges) is
one of the towns which give you most strongest feeling.
Rajasthan, Kerala &
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.
Sanouli Border (Nepal) via Gorakhpur is around 300km 7hours drive.
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 drive.
This drive between
Nepal Border to Pokhara is one of the most beautiful drive on the
Kathmandu is 300km from Nepal border by road.
Travel consultant & perfect ground work team for India Tourism that
gives you unforgettable Moments of INDIA Tourism.
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