India

Northern India sizzles with a colourful vibrancy like no other. The splendour and romance of Rajasthan is evident in the glamorous palaces and forts of the maharajas that have been transformed into luxury hotels. The cool hill stations in the Himalayan foothills and tea plantations sit alongside vibrant and chaotic cities. The tropical southern part of India is vastly different to the north – both in its character, scenery and cuisine. It is renowned for its relaxed, almost spiritual culture, lush scenery, welcoming people, gourmet food and amazing spas and resorts.

When to Visit

India has vast climate changes from the north to the south. The most comfortable time to visit most of India is during the cooler months of October to March. The summer months between April and June are hot with temperatures in central India reaching up to 45 degrees. This would be the ideal time to visit the hill stations such as Shimla and Darjeeling for a cool retreat.

Highlights

DELHI Delhi is sprinkled with glittering gems; captivating ancient monuments, magnificent museums, and some of the subcontinents best places to eat. A vibrant melting pot, Delhi encapsulates two very different worlds, the ‘old’ and the ‘new’.

RANTHAMBORE NATIONAL PARK Ranthambore National Park was used by the Maharaja of Jaipur as a private hunting reserve until it became a national park in 1972. The park is considered the best reserve for sightings of tigers.

VARANASI Few places in India are as colourful or charismatic as Varanasi. The city is the beating heart of the Hindu universe, and the Ganges the river of salvation. Watching the sun rise over the Ganges is a spiritual experience.

HILL STATIONS The cool hill stations of southern India are excellent retreats from the bustling and chaotic cities. Laden with lakes, tea plantations, sanctuaries and national parks, they are perfect for escaping the heat.

KERALA Kerala is a tropical state of backwaters, beaches, house boats and Ayurvedic treatments. An ancient port of call for the Chinese, Arabs, Jews, British, French and Portuguese, this history is reflected in its buildings and local culture.

GOA Beyond the indulgence of the gorgeous palm fringed beaches and celebrated sunsets, Goa is a land rich in cultural history spanning hundreds of years and is a great place to unwind.

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Useful Information

Getting around

Inter-city transport in India may not be the fastest or the most comfortable in the world, but it’s cheap and goes more or less everywhere. You generally have the option of train or bus, sometimes plane, and occasionally even boat. Transport around town comes in even more permutations, ranging in Kolkata, for example, from human-pulled rickshaws to a state-of-the-art metro system.Whether you’re on road or rail, public transport or your own vehicle, India offers the chance to try out some classics: narrow-gauge railways, steam locomotives, the Ambassador car and the Enfield Bullet motorbike – indeed some people come to India for these alone.

Luggage for internal flights
Flight allowances:
Economy Class 15kg

Language

Hindi, English, and 16 other official languages.

Health

The following information is intended as a guide only and in no way should it be used as a substitute for professional medical advice relative to a travellers individual needs and vaccination history. No guarantee is made as to its accuracy or thoroughness. For further information, please contact The Travel Doctor on (+64) 9 373 3531. Vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended for travellers to India. Frequent or long stay travellers should consider vaccination against hepatitis B. Vaccination against rabies (particularly if working with animals), typhoid (particularly when travelling to areas with poor sanitation and hygiene) and meningitis should be considered by travellers to India. Cholera is reported in India but vaccination is generally not recommended. Care with food and beverage selection is far more important. Those spending at least 4 weeks in rural areas of the transmission zone may require vaccination against Japanese Encephalitis. There is a medium risk of malaria in India and dengue fever also occurs, thus insect avoidance measures and anti malarial medication may be necessary depending on your itinerary. Please consult a medical practitioner or contact The Travel Doctor for your specific risk to these preventable diseases and the appropriate avoidance measures. New Zealanders travelling to India should ensure that they have adequate travel insurance to cover the length of their stay. Medications that are legal in New Zealand may be illegal in other countries. 

Electricity

Electrical Plug: Indian Voltage: 220-240 volts (same as New Zealand) Modem Plug: USA (same as New Zealand) Special Tip: While the Indian electrical plug is the official socket type, various other sockets are found throughout India including the similar South African plug and the European plug. Source: Korjo Travel Products. Please view the Korjo adapter guide at www.korjo.com.au for further information on this matter.

Communications

Country Code for India: +91 Offical Travel Advice: Visit www.safetravel.govt.nz Emergency Services: Ambulance: 102 Fire: 101 Police: 100 The emergency numbers apply to New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai, but may not always have English speaking staff. In this case, you should have a local call on your behalf or contact the New Zealand Embassy.

Visa's

Official travel advice regarding visas is available by calling 04 439 8000 or visiting their website www.safetravel.govt.nz

Customs

By and large, India is a very hospitable place to visit. Take care to avoid religious offence, however. In particular, respect all religious faiths: do not touch a holy man, do not pose for photographs on religious statues and remove shoes and socks when entering temples. Try to find out as much as you before you arrive, read about the religion and culture, learn about local rules and values, and even learn some of the language. Be sensitive to cultural difference. Note that kissing and cuddling is regarded as part of sex, so please do so in private. On the whole, remember that patience, friendliness and courtesy are highly valued virtues that will win you the respect and confidence of the Indian people. If you give the impression of being from a different country, the chances are that you might be stared at. This may seem over-familiar to some, but it is merely curiosity and you should not take offence. Indians believe in sharing happiness or sorrow and a festival is never far away.

Shopping

The following business hours should be considered as a guideline as there are regional variations. Government organisations and private businesses are usually open Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 17:30. Some of them may be open on Saturday, but all are closed on Sunday.Shopping hours are generally Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00. Some shopkeepers may take a siesta. Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 17:00, and on Saturday morning until about 12:00. The main post offices may have longer hours. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00, and 10:00 to 12:30 on Saturday. Restaurants are usually open until 23:00, with nightclubs and discos closing much later.

Tipping

It is customary in India to tip service providers such as guides, drivers and waiters. Tipping is expected and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry in India.

Local guides: We recommend tipping your local guide for their outstanding service on your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 2-3 per person, per half day (more for a full day) can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of the guides service quality and the length of your trip.

Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with you or your travelling party however a base of INR 50 – INR 70 per half day (more for a full day) is generally appropriate.

Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest INR 20. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your guide. We suggest INR 50 per day for porters. Other possible tipping levels are INR 2 for bike-watching, INR 10 or INR 15 for train conductors or station porters performing miracles for you, and INR 5 to INR 15 for extra services from hotel staff. Monuments and temples where you are required to remove your shoes will charge a small fee for shoe minding INR 10 is sufficient. You will also find there is always an attendant at toilets where a small tip of INR 2 to INR 5 is also appreciated.

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