Frequently Asked Questions
An FAQ page can be useful when you travel for the first time to an unknown country...
Identifying the questions that may arise can reduce the anxiety caused by a journey into the unknown...
We have listed some of these questions to help you prepare for your future journey to India.
Your first journey to India will undoubtedly raise many questions not just about the trip itself, but also about preparations, travel documents and the new environment in which you are going to find yourself, where all your bearings might be lost.
Functional as well as more emotional aspects related to our own fears can arise when we are confronted with the unknown.
To help you feel more confident and have a better idea of the steps to be taken towards the organization of your journey so you can look forward to it in all serenity, we have listed for you a number of the most frequently asked questions.
Travel in India
Why should you visit India ?
Just because "Incredible India" :-)
• Affordability – India is considered one of the top 15 most affordable destinations in the world. • People – Indians are very friendly and enjoy engaging with foreigners.
•Ease of Communication – Most Indians can speak at least conversational English and internet/Wi-Fi/cell service is widely available.
• Food - Perhaps no other country can offer the range of cuisine that India does. There’s no such thing as typical Indian food; from Kerala to Kolkata there’s a smorgasbord of fabulous regional dishes to be discovered, beyond the familiar favourites of chicken tikka masala, rogan josh, malai kofta and tandoori butter naan, which can often be harder to find in India than in the UK.
• The treat to all your senses (sound, smells, taste, sight and feel)
• Bizarre events – Wagah border ceremony, cremation at Varanasi etc
• Resurgent Art & craft of India • Something for Everyone – India offers history, culture, architecture, adventure, Yoga, Ayurveda, cuisine, beaches,deserts, Himalayas, wildlife, backwaters, shopping, festivals, music, dancing, religion, and spirituality – just to name a few! • Really incredible – discover yourself
Is a visa required to visit India ?
Yes, a visa is required to visit India.
Choose the e-visa option : convenient, fast and cheap !
Yes. India offers an electronic tourist visa on arrival (TVoA). Applicants of the eligible countries may apply online a minimum of four days in advance of the date of arrival with a window of 30 days. Example: If applying on 1st Sept, you can select an arrival date from 5th Sept to 4th Oct. The cost is $60 and the TVoA is valid for entry at nine designated airports: Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Trivandrum. Please note this process is only valid for single entry and the visa validity will be 30 days from the date of arrival in India. For more information, please visit the India Electronic Travel Authorization.
What should I pack ?
It will depend essentially on your destination and the season of your departure ;-)
It all depends on your destination and season of travel. Much of India has a patchy climate: warmer in the days and cooler in the evenings. A light jacket or layering is best to accommodate the varying temperatures. Also, we suggest shoes that are comfortable for walking, including sandals and tennis shoes. A head cover may be required for women and men at certain sacred sites and places of worship.
Time to travel
When is the best time to travel ?
It will depend on your destination, the season and the activities you have chosen :-)
It really depends on your destination, activities and season of travel. In much of Northern and Central India, the favored time to visit is from October – March, when the weather is most mild. In Southern and Eastern India, it is contingent on the monsoon season. Our destination specialists will recommend certain travel times after learning more about your preferences.
Are vaccinations required ?
No vaccine is required to go to India ;-)
Immunizations are not required to visit India. (Exception: if you are traveling from an area infected with Yellow Fever, you must have a certificate.) Depending on the season and region of travel, certain vaccinations and/ or medications are suggested and we will recommend preventative measures. We do encourage all travelers to be current on routine immunizations. Also, we recommend the Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccine. For detailed information, please contact your physician or visit the CDC website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/
Do I need travel insurance ?
Yes. Traveling "responsible" means also getting good insurances before leaving !
It is highly recommended to go for appropriate insurance
Régions to visit
I have never been to India and have no idea where to start. What do you recommend ?
India is a vast country..
Where can I go for my first trip to India ?
How about discovering the Golden Triangle in Rajasthan ?
Ultimately, what do you hope to see and experience during your trip? Our destination specialists will make recommendations based on your travel preferences. The Golden Triangle itinerary – Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur is the most sort after for the first time traveller.
How many days in advance should my travel booking be?
Book early !
You will be better served and at a better price !
Your travel bookings should be made at least 08 months well in advance, especially if you are traveling between October- March (high tourist season) and May - June, the Indian holiday season. As Travel infrastructure in India has its limitation in comparison to the high season demand, therefore, we highly recommend booking your tour in advance.
How to visit
How to experience India at it's best ?
Traveling in India, perhaps it is not useless to use another grid of reading than the one we use in the West.
In this perspective, we strongly recommend that you discover it in the presence of a guide.
We suggest you to consider rural India while planning your trip, ask us to combine your trip during an Indian Festival which will make your trip a great experience. At each city you visit our guides will tell you about the cultural or other activities taking place that might be of your interest.
Food and drinks
What is advisable to eat and drink in India ?
Drink bottled water and avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables !
If you respect these two recommendations, taste everything in India !
The food is tasty and wonderfully varied.
We advice our guest to drink bottled water, bottled drinks. Coffee Tea should be taken hot. As hotels have their own water filter functions the water in the hotels can be used for cleaning the tooth and body but avoid drinking this water. Avoid eating spicy at least at the start of your journey to India. If you are traveling without a guide in India you may ask the waiter not to put any chilies to the ordered dish. It is suggested to stick to only cooked foods and to eat fresh fruits after removing their skin. After taking the above precautions you will realize that India has a wonderful cuisine and rarely any other place meet the verities of the vegetable as in India.
Places of worship
Is there anything important to know while visiting temples and mosques in India ?
If you visit temples and mosques, do not forget to take off your shoes !
In the mosques, scarves will be available to cover your hair.
Do remember to remove your shoes and sandals while visiting a place of worship or mausoleum. Also some temples do not allow leather articles in their premises.
Are there any restrictions for the Photography in India ?
Indians love to take pictures and photograph themselves !
Do not forget your camera !
Photography is a great fun in India as you will have enough sunlight most of the time. We suggest you to bring enough films with you though most of the films of international brands are also available in India. In some of the monuments one has to pay fee for the photography. Our guide will suggest you where it is worth to photograph and where not. At some of the locations photography is not allowed. Do not photograph these objects otherwise your film can be confiscated.
Should I give some money to the beggars in India ?
India has 1,3 billion inhabitants ! It's a lot of people !
During your visit, you will often meet beggars who will not hesitate to ask you for some money..
At most of the places organizations and homes are run for poor people to protect them. Yet, it is lucrative for some of the beggars family to earn handsome amount through begging the foreigners. Unfortunately, the Indian government has not been successful to stop begging on the street from organized and professional beggars. If you want to do something good there are many serious institutes in every city where you can help the people who need them actually. Traveling with India & You, you travel responsively; we restitute CHF 50.- on the organisation of each trip to support the social cause in India.
Is India a safe country ?
Proportionally to its high number of inhabitants, India is a very safe country !
For its size, India has a very low crime rate and is generally a safe country. However, as with any international travel, please be aware of your surroundings. Especially to our female guests we recommend not be alone on the road after late evening just to be on the safer side. In case help needed you can call the police at 100 and Ambulance at 102.Always make sure your purse is zipped and wallets are in sealed pockets. In the markets, be vigilant of pick-pockets and distraction scams. Additionally, at the train/bus stations and airports, monitor your luggage at all times.
How much should I give as tipping while traveling in India ?
Do not be surprised; tips are part of the way the system works in India !
They helped supplement the low salaries still found in many sectors of activity.
Without a doubt, slowly, things are changing.
In the meantime, a big thank you for all of you for "playing" the game !
Tipping is expected by most of the people involved in the tourism in India. In big hotels services charges are included in the bills so tipping is not necessary but can still be done to help because the salaries are very low. Otherwise 7%-10% of the amount of the billing is normal as tipping.
If traveling with a group the tipping can be reduced to 5% of the total bill. For the porters in the hotels, Rs.50 for a single baggage and in the case of a group Rs.20 per baggage is customary. For tour guides and escorts we recommend, 4 to 5 USD per day per person and same is also for the driver accompanying you during your India tour. However, the mentioned amounts are just to give travelers an idea. There is no must or compulsion of tipping in India. We advise you to measure the quality of services of particular person or establishment before thinking of tipping!
Which currency is used in India ?
The currency used in India is the Indian rupee.
1 CHF = 65 INR (approximately)
The units of Indian currency are the Rupee and Paisa (100 Paisa equal 1 Rupee). Paper money is in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Coins are in denominations of Rupees 1, 2, 5 & 10. There are no restrictions on the amount of foreign currency or travelers checks that can be brought by a tourist to India. However, a Declaration form is filled (only for the amount which is more than USD 10,000) on the arrival at the Indian airport. By filling up this form you can also get your money exchanged back in the original currency without any problem. Any kind of money exchange should be done only through authorized money- changers. You may ask our guides and they will tell you the right center or place to get the money exchanged. Please note that no Indian currency can be imported or exported, except for Rupee travelers checks. There are 24- hour exchange facilities available at Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta and Chennai international airports.
Furthermore, please note that you can easily get some money at any ATM (bancomat). Apart from your credit card, and most likely its even easier and less expensive, you can choose to use a TRAVEL CASH Card which is easy to use in any ATM.
Can I pay in CHF, Euros, USD or through credit cards in India ?
Forget the swiss francs but you can easily change your euros and your US dollars in rupees in India.
The easiest way is however to regularly get some rupees at an ATM (bancomat) to always have some cash on you.
To do this, the TRAVEL CASH Card works well. For all other payments, in restaurants, hotels or department stores, the credit cards works well.
All the major currencies including Euro and US $ are accepted in India. Also all the major credit cards (Visa, Masters and American Express) are accepted in the Indian subcontinent.
Shopping in India ;-)
India...it's paradise for shopping !
India is a shoppers paradise. Shopping is recommended from Government Emporiums. We can forward you the details for that. Most of the large stores will ship your purchases for you, though, for convenience and to avoid postal delays, it is advisable to carry your shopping with you or to book it as baggage. If you have any specific items you want you may contact us we will provide you the needed information.
Restrictions on export
Are there any restrictions on the export from India ?
In India, you will find many beautiful objects or extraordinary fabrics that you will probably want to take home; for that, you will not encounter any problem.
On the other hand, and quite rightly, the authorities have put a number of restrictions for everything that concerns objects made with animal components (or even vegetable components) in order to stop maltreatment and to protect species.
The Government has put restrictions on the export of all wild animals indigenous to the country and articles made from such listed animals like skins, pelts, furs, ivory, rhino horns, trophies, etc. have been totally banned. These include all forms of wild animals including their parts and products, except peacock feathers and handicrafts made from them and those made from articles and shavings of Antler, Cheetals and Sambars which are subject to conditions specified. Export of exotic birds is also not allowed. This ban also includes wood sand wood products including logs, timber, stumps, roots bark, chip, powder, flakes dust, pulp and charcoal. However, sawn timber made exclusively out of imported logs teak/ timber are exempted subject to conditions. Also, export of sandalwood in any form, excluding finished handicrafts and machine-finished products is prohibited. Export of furs of domestic animals, excluding lamb fur, hides and skins is prohibited.
Restrictions on export for antiques
Is there any restrictions on the export of the Antiques from India ?
Everything will depend on how old will the object purchased be.
Antiquities which include sculpture, painting or other works of arts or crafts, illustrative of science, art, craft, religion of bygone ages and of historical interest which are older than hundred years may not be exported from India. Manuscripts or other documents of scientific, historical, literary or aesthetic older than seventy five years also can not be exported out of India.
Post office hours and administration
What are the timings of the post office and other administrative offices in India ?
Post Office :
From 10:00 to 16:30hrs, Monday through Friday, from 09:30 to 12:30 hrs on Saturdays.
Administrative Services :
From 09:30 to 17:00hrs, Monday through Friday, from 09:30 to 12:30 hrs on Saturdays.
English in India
Do the Indians speak English ?
Yes, English is commonly spoken throughout India. In fact, most children, particularly in the cities, learn English first in school. It is the most important language for commercial, national, and political status. Hindi is the national language and primary tongue for 40% of Indians. However, there are 21 other official languages, including Gujarati, Malyalam,Tamil, Punjabi and Bengali etc.