Guide to India
I am sure that you are brimming with questions before your trip to India. This section contains some basic information, however, further detailed information can be found in your Information Pack which is available for downloading at your convenience.
I have found the Indian people to be the friendliest and most helpful people you will ever encounter. They are always willing to help and are mostly fascinated as to the reasons why you are visiting their country. They are happy to approach you and ask your name and where you are from. They may offer you their mobile number so as you can remain friends and you will be expected to offer the same in return. Don’t be suspicious, they truly mean their friendship towards you. You will on many occasions be invited to the homes of people you have just met to meet and dine with their families. This is the greatest honour that can be bestowed upon you. Indians truly love their country and are the most patriotic people I have had the good fortune to meet. When they stare at you they are not being rude, they are just curious. Raise a big smile to them and just watch their faces light up in return.
In south India the sun always shines and the average daily temperature is around 30 degrees.
North India (Himalayas) is cooler than the south with daily average temperatures coming in at around 20 degrees.
We run our adventures in Rajasthan from October until March at which time the average daily temperature is around 25 degrees, bright sunshine and there is virtually no chance of rain. It can be quite cool in the mornings and evenings.
You can find further information regarding the climate of your particular adventure by downloading the Information Pack from the trip page you have chosen.
Again the food varies from the north to the south however there are no crazy hot curries as you might expect. Real Indian food is nothing like you will find in restaurants in the Uk for example.The food is reasonably spicy however you can generally get a mild dish if you require one. The dishes range from fish, chicken, mutton and a full range of vegetables are available at most meals. Rice and chapattis are the mainstay of Indian cuisine however western dishes are available at most hotels. I find most of the food to be of an excellent standard and also very healthy.
I advise that you drink only bottled water which is completely safe and is available throughout all our trips. Always check the seal on the bottle when you are buying. If you are not sure then ask for it to be changed.
The accommodation we stay at on the trips varies from top quality hotels to camp sites. We only choose the best places available however even if they seem basic they are always clean, have good food, clean comfortable bedding and good toilet facilities. On most occasions we will all be sharing two people to a room or a tent when camping. The tents we stay in whilst camping are mostly spacious Arabian style tents with beds and attached bathrooms.
The Indian currency is the Rupee. ATM’s are commonplace throughout India and money is easily drawn at most of them. It’s a good idea to draw around 20,000INR (around 200.00GBP} from an ATM when you first arrive at the airport and then draw more if and when required. It’s a good idea to let your bank know in advance that you will be travelling in India so as you don’t encounter any issues when withdrawing cash.
The national language is Hindi however a large percentage of the Indian population speak very good English. India has many different local languages and dialects however the first Hindi word you need to learn is simply “Namaste” (Hello).
You will be required to have a current valid Passport before you can enter India. You need to make sure that it has a minimum of 6 months left to run when applying for your visa.
Visas for India are easy to get and are not expensive. Most people opt for a tourist visa which can be applied for online. Depending on which country you are travelling from some can be gained upon entry to India however please check your particular visa requirements well in advance of your travel as each country has different requirements.
You will need to have a current full drivers licence. If you are driving a car you will need a full car driving licence. If you are riding a motorcycle then you will need a full motorcycle licence.
When riding a motorcycle on our adventure trips safety is paramount therefore you must wear a crash helmet, body armour or protective jacket, motorcycle riding boots and gloves at all times. More detailed information is available in our KIT LIST section of our website and can be found on the specific trips page. This information is also available when you download your Information Pack from the trip page you have chosen.
RIDING AND DRIVING CONDITIONS
India is a vastly diverse country and the terrain varies from the rugged roads and tracks of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks to the smooth winding tarmac coastal routes that adorn the sun drenched beaches of the south. The riding and driving conditions vary greatly however whatever adventure experience you are looking for India has it. If you are a competent motorcycle rider then the adventure will be no problem for you. A full briefing is given every day so you know what to expect.
All the major airlines operate in and out of India. www.SkyScanner.net has always been found a great place to check prices.
It’s essential that you have adequate travel insurance when travelling to India. It’s always a good idea to check with your insurance company before you travel with us just to make sure. IMPORTANT: When participating in one of our motorcycle adventures you must have specific cover to ride a motorcycle in India. We will require details of your insurance policy for the trip. The specific motorcycle policies are readily available through most travel insurance companies and are not expensive.
MEDICATION AND MEDICAL CONDITIONS
If you are taking any kind of medication it’s advisable that you bring a supply with you. Medication is fairly easy to get here in India over the counter and you may find that many prescription drugs are available in this manner also. You must inform us prior to your trip of any medical conditions or allergies that you have. These are treated in the strictest of confidence and are only given to our travelling medic/doctor. You will find further details in your Information Pack.
You may or may not require vaccinations for India depending on the vaccinations you already have. Regardless of whether you have vaccinations or not it’s essential that you consult with your doctor or GP before travelling to India. It’s likely they will ask which area in India you are travelling and at which time of year you are travelling. This information is available in your Information Pack.
We travel with a full and extensive medical kit.
You can bring your mobile phone with you and it should work within the network coverage areas. Please ensure that you have notified your provider in advance of your trip so as you have international roaming. Please be aware that data roaming and downloading can be expensive when in India so please check before travelling or you could end up with an expensive mobile bill when you get home. You can obtain a pay as you go mobile in India however you need sufficient ID (Passport) and need to provide 2 passport size photographs.
India works on a 240 volt system and your standard 2 pin travel adaptor should work in most cases.
TIPPING AND BELL BOYS
Most of the hotel and hospitality workers are not particularly highly paid so tipping has become a fairly standard practice if you are happy with the service. When in restaurants the normal tip is around 10% of the bill. If someone is carrying your bags to and from your room I would suggest that you need to pay no more than 50INR. 20INR would be the norm so it’s really up to you.
TAXIS AND GETTING AROUND
You can order a taxi from your hotel however do expect to pay slightly more and ask for the price in advance. For me the best way is to go out into the street and flag down one of the local “tuk tuk’s” These are the little 3 wheeler auto taxis you will see everywhere in India. It’s a fantastic experience and the drivers are the best for obtaining local knowledge. You can agree a rate by which they will run you around all day and take the time to share a chai (sweet Indian tea) with them at one of the many dhabas (roadside cafes).
Due to the unpredictable nature of India your adventure itinerary can change at short notice. This can be caused by road closures, local workers strikes or adverse weather conditions. There is always something new pops up in every adventure. Those tend to be the most memorable days as we all pull together as one big team. It can be one of the many things that make your adventure special, the unpredictability of India. It is after all an adventure not just a holiday.