Passport and Visa
All Australian and New Zealand citizens travelling to India require a full passport and must be valid for at least six months after the date of your scheduled return home date. If you are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen, other regulations may apply to you and you should check with the nearest embassy of the country you intend to visit.
Etourist Visa 30 days - entry www.indianvisaonline.gov.in
VFS handle Visas for longer and multiple entries
Additionally if you are visiting a restricted area - Sikkim, Andaman and Nicobar Islands etc., the visa must include permission to visit these places. Please check with your Travel Agent if your trip includes visits to restricted areas.
If your trip includes a visit to Nepal, Bhutan or Sri Lanka and requires you to return to India to take your international flight home, you would have to apply for a double/multiple entry Indian visa.
It is imperative that every traveller arrives on tour with the proper documentation. Please be aware that it's the traveller's responsibility to obtain all correct documentation prior to arrival in India.
Medical and Health Information
We recommend you see your doctor at least six weeks prior to travel for advice and to allow time for any necessary vaccinations. Please remember to take your itinerary with you. Vaccinations may be required when travelling to India. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.
Yellow Fever: If you are arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic (Africa except South Africa and most parts of South America) you are required to have yellow fever vaccination which must be taken at least ten days before your arrival in the country. If your trip requires you take the vaccination, you must ask your doctor to provide you with an "International Certificate of Vaccination" which should be carried with you at all times. If proof of vaccination is required and you do not have it, entrance into the country will be denied.
Malaria: It is recommended that you take anti malarial medication especially if visiting India during the months of July to September in Northern India, and November and December in Southern India In addition to anti-malarial medication, personal protection measures such as wearing long sleeves and long pants should be taken to avoid mosquito bites, especially between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
If you do have any known food restrictions, allergies or medical conditions or physical disabilities, which need special care, you should ensure that your travel agent is made aware of these.
A copy of your health insurance should be available with your travel agent.
Arrival and Custom Information
Please be advised that regulation at most international points of arrival do not permit passengers to be met inside secured passenger areas (such as the immigration and customs areas). Our representative will meet you on arrival immediately after you have passed through the passenger areas.
Security in Indian airports is very stringent and all hand baggage is x-rayed and sometimes physically searched prior to boarding flights. Domestic airlines do not permit any dry cell batteries, sharp implements and inflammable items to be carried in cabin baggage. Therefore please ensure that camera batteries, scissors, razors etc. are packed in your checked baggage.
There are several different sets of baggage allowance regulations in effect for international and regional flights. Baggage allowance varies depending on type of aircraft and class of service. You should check the exact baggage regulations pertaining to your specific itinerary with your travel agent.
Any baggage in excess of airline limitations may be subject to excess baggage charges. These charges are the responsibility of the traveller.
Every piece of checked baggage should be locked and contain identification both inside and outside. In addition do not pack valuable items, such as camera and jewellery in checked baggage. While every precaution will be taken with your baggage, we cannot be held responsible for any damaged, lost or stolen baggage or personal property and we strongly recommend the purchase of adequate baggage insurance by each traveller.
Departure Tax Information
Indian departure taxes are now always included in the purchase price of international airline tickets. In the event the departure tax has not been included in the purchase price of your ticket, it must be paid at the airport prior to departure in local currency. If you are traveling to Nepal from India then departure tax of Rs 150 has to be paid prior to checking in. Please check the exact amount for the tax, as these are liable to change at short notice.
Time & Weather
ESDT - 5.5 Hours behind Sydney
EST - 4.5 Hours behind Sydney
Although India has primarily a tropical climate, the weather varies widely all over the sub continent.
Winter - October to March
Summer - April to June
Monsoon - July to September showers short and heavy
Ideally, the best time to visit is generally October to March
Clothing and Accessories
While traveling in India it is best to dress in layers, as even in winter the sun tends to be very hot. During the winter months in North India, especially from the end of November onwards, you will require sweaters, sweatshirts and a heavy jacket. While sightseeing it is best to dress in layers as the day gets warmer as the sun rises. It is advisable to also carry cotton clothing and other lightweight material of natural "breathable" fabric. Comfortable walking shoes are essential.
Skirts, long shorts and slacks are acceptable in India for women. When visiting temples it is advisable to wear either skirts or slacks. Although dress code at restaurants are relaxed and formal dress is not absolutely necessary, you may want to pack one formal set of clothing for the trip. Sunglasses, a sun hat, and sun block are recommended. If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, we recommend that you bring an extra pair of glasses as well as a copy of the prescription. While visiting monuments you might have to take off your shoes, we recommend you keep an extra pair of socks in your handbag for the purpose.
You should carry along an adequate supply of any prescribed medication you may require while traveling. Prescription medicines should always be carried in your hand luggage, in the original, labelled containers.
When travelling it's important to get the right power adaptor, voltage in India is 230 volts.
Most of the hotels used will have local and international dialling facilities available from the phone in your room. Most chain hotels also have in-house facilities for sending fax and emails. One can also find small ISD/STD pay phone booths in the busy market areas of virtually every city in India. Cyber cafes have also mushroomed in all major city market places, as well as in many smaller towns.
You can use most mobiles in India by either buying a pre paid sim (check your phone is unlocked) or a voice and data package from your telco. Be careful about just using your mobile without these packs as international calls and data download can be expensive.
Food and Drink
Most hotels used serve a variety of international cuisine, with some of them having an excellent reputation for fine dining. When traveling in some of the smaller cities, choices maybe restricted, and sometimes it is advisable to stay with local cuisine rather than requesting European menus, though these can be arranged. Food in all hotels is undoubtedly safe and hygienically stored and cooked; however, it is suggested that in the smaller towns and cities, you avoid raw pre peeled fruit and vegetables and yogurt.
Tap water in India is not safe to drink and we strongly recommend that you always drink bottled water. Bottled water is available in all hotels and always kept in the transport arranged by our representative. When buying bottled water, always ensure that the bottle is sealed when you receive it. Additionally, you will find a wide range of soft drinks, beer and coffee and tea, which are all safe to drink. A word of caution: Imported alcoholic beverages are expensive in comparison to the Indian alcoholic beverages. While traveling in India at any time of the year, it is important to keep yourself well hydrated.
The Indian currency is called the "Rupee" and the coins are known as "paisa". 100 paisa make 1 Rupee Coins are issued in denominations of 25 and 50 paisa as well as one, two and five rupees. Paper notes are issued in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100. And 500 and 1000 denomination notes have already been discontinued. Your currency exchange receipts must be saved as you may be asked to produce them upon your departure from India, or if you need to reconvert rupees into foreign currency upon departure. We suggest that money is only exchanged at authorized dealers and banks and hotel desks. Generally all cities, large and small, have facilities to change money. Please be aware that most game parks and reserves don't have currency exchange facilities.
Major credit cards and traveller's checks are generally accepted at all hotel and stores and all major cities and most small towns have ATM's.
India is a shopper's delight, and the range of items is astonishing. Do not purchase antiques, carpets or jewellery unless you are absolutely sure of what you are buying. Price is not always an indication of value and authenticity. Bargaining is very much part of the Indian shopping experience especially when shopping in local markets. You should be aware that unless it is a government emporium where prices are fixed, you would always be quoted prices much higher than the value of the goods.
Always take time to read the charge slips for credit card purchases before you sign them. You should know that for any purchase returned against a credit card payment, refunds could take up to six months to process.
For purchases, which are, being hand carried all sales receipts must be retained with you to produce for customs on arrival at your destination.
When photographing people, always ask permission and offer a small fee for taking their picture. Your tour guide or escort will advise you. The exception is when taking a general picture of crowds and scenes. Photography at airports is strictly forbidden.
While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, Exercise the same safety precautions throughout your travels as you would at home. Avoid walking around at night and keep all valuables in the hotel locker as far as possible. It is important to keep photocopies of you passport and other travel documents handy. Below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling;
Tipping in India is not compulsory but generally expected. The amount is determined by your satisfaction of the services provided. The welcome letter given to you on arrival gives you guidelines about the amount to give should you wish to leave a tip.
English is widely understood and sometimes spoken, if not correctly, definitely passably. Your guide or escort will assist you to communicate with people who don't speak English at all.