Frequently Asked Questions
1. Am I permitted to bring alcohol and tobacco by customs ?
You are permitted to bring up to one litre of alcohol or wine, 200 cigarettes and a reasonable quantity of perfume into the country for personal use. International brands of alcohol are generally expensive, though good Indian beer such as Kingfisher and UB Export Lager are widely available and reasonably priced. Indian interpretations of foreign made alcoholic drinks are known as Indian made Foreign Liquor (IMFL). Locally produced Whiskey is palatable and worth a try. If you arriving in Delhi, be aware that alcohol is not allowed in the metro at all, so you must take a taxi from the airport if you are bringing some.
2. Can I easily find wifi throughout the country?
All major cities have numerous Internet cafes for email and general surfing. For security purpose, you will have to produce an ID to surf.
3. Do I need to be careful when visiting religious places ?
Please take particular care when attending a religious place (such as a temple). Dress and behave appropriately – don’t wear shorts and sleeveless tops (this applies to men, too), and do not smoke or hold hands. Shoes and western head ware must also be removed. Within the temple or religious place, no carvings or statues of deities must be touched. Photography is prohibited in certain sections of sacred sites. If in doubt, please ask your local guide or tour leader for further information. Please also be aware that some temples may have off-limit sections that prevent entry to tourists.
4. Does the airport have a money exchange facility?
Money exchange counters are available in all terminals at the IGI Airport
5. Does the airport have any medical facility?
Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited has provided the Medical Centre facility, equipped with a 24-hour pharmacy and well-trained doctors and paramedics available round the clock at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, to serve as an emergency treatment centre for passengers/visitors who may develop medical complications while on travel or in the airport premises. The airport also has an Ambulance on standby to cater to any medical emergency.
6. Generally speaking, when is the best time to travel in India?
October through December. Time the travel from North India to South India accordingly.
7. How about the night life in India?
India is not really known for the night life, but yes, there are plenty of discos, night clubs and bars, shopping areas that are open till late, mostly in bigger cities and starred hotels. Laws regarding bars and clubs vary greatly state by state.
8. How clean are the hotels?
Just like anywhere in the world, India offers a very wide variety of hotels. 4 and 5 star hotels live up to the standard upheld globally. Be careful when booking a room, however. Within hotels, the quality can vary greatly between rooms.
9. How covered up should I be, so as to not offend the locals?
It is quite an issue for women. The best option is to stay fairly covered. Baring a lot of skin is unwelcome in smaller towns and men would ogle at you whereas, in bigger towns like Delhi and Mumbai and beach areas like Goa, people are comfortable. Especially when going to religious or historical sites, be mindful of what you are wearing as to not offend anyone.
10. How early should I arrive before my flight ?
It is recommended that you arrive two hours prior to departure for check-in and security screening for domestic flights. For International Flights, please arrive three hours prior to for check-in and security screening. Check in for domestic departures closes 45 minutes before take off…
11. How many terminals does the Delhi airport have?
IGI Airport has the following terminals: Terminal 3 – All international arrivals and departures as well as all domestic full service carriers like kingfisher, Jet airways, Indian airlines and their low cost subsidiaries like Kingfisher red, Jet Lite and Air India Express. Terminal 1D – Domestic departures for low cost carriers which include Indigo, Go Air, SpiceJet and Paramount Airways.
12. How much money should I bring along? ATMs?
As time goes on, this becomes less and less of an issue, as you can use the ever increasing number of ATMs in most of the cities. Smaller towns and villages do not usually have ATMs, so carry extra cash when visiting these areas.
13. How should I carry my money around?
Theft is not a huge problem in India, but playing it safe is always the best idea. Keep valuables in a money belt or in a passport pouch that is carried around the neck. This way it is always in front of you, in your sight.
14. How should I handle beggars?
We discourage begging and suggest you to offer absolutely nothing at all. You may give only to the neediest; the cripple (which are ubiquitous to the point of near overwhelm) and to the very old. Children are often sent out to rake in money for their elders and are part of a larger beggar industry. Giving children candy breaks their whole act, they can’t resist getting candy, and often forget about their duty to bring back the rupees. Children in villages invariably ask for pens.
15. Is a parent allowed to accompany a child through check -in?
Please contact your airline to make arrangements to escort your child to board their flight.
16. Is Goa in India?
Yes, it is very much a part of India, though Portuguese had ruled it for about 451 years, it was handed over to India in 1961/ It has a coastline of 103 km and is situated on the western part of India. Despite a recent boom in foreign tourism, the state has retained it’s unique charm.
17. Is the India Railpass worth it?
Not really as you won’t be travelling that frequently by train. Train travel is relatively cheap within India and the pass will save you neither time nor money. Simply buy your train tickets a couple weeks in advance
18. Is tipping customary?
Yes, the usual rate is 10% at the restaurants. If you feel porters at airports (except metro cities in India), hotel bell boys, private driver, etc did a good job, tipping them would make them more than happy.
19. Is visa required for India?
Yes, actually it is a must. Recently, the government changed the policy on tourist visa. Citizens from a large number of countries can obtain a 30 day tourist visa upon arrival. Prior steps are required, however.
20. Is Wi-Fi facility available at the airport?
The complete airport is wifi enabled. To access internet, the system prompts for the browser to enter the mobile number after which a username and password to access internet is sent to the user. You will need an active sim card in order to receive the internet code.
21. Should I drink the regular tap water?
No! For general prevention, you should stick to drinking mineral water only. Bisleri, Aquafina, Kinley, Baileys, Evian, Himalaya etc. are the most common brands of bottled water on the street. To avoid drinking water from the tampered bottles, we suggest you to take the water bottles from the Bus / Car itself.
22. Should I fly directly to India from the United States or should I stop off on the way?
You should break up your trip. The culture shock of India can be so intense that being burned out from long hours of flying is a recipe for a very unpleasant start of your India travels. There are many great stop overs such as London, Frankfurt or Dubai. On top of that, there are many more options if you decide to have a layover. Direct flights from the US to India are limited.
23. Should I use the train system?
Absolutely. You should take trains between cities at least a couple of times during your time in India. The Indian rail system is an amazing feat of organization, employing something like two million people, the largest single employer in the world. It is a once in a lifetime experience and should not be missed. It is a fascinating experience that will give you better insight into Indian culture. Taking the train gives you quality time with the locals like no other venue. You can make some wonderful connections with the folks, gain valuable information that you can’t get elsewhere, and open the door for some interesting opportunities and adventures.
24. What about photography in India - can I take pictures of people, monuments, wildlife, airports, etc?
In general the people of India like to be photographed with foreign tourists. Generally, you can take photos of public, market, streets, building, etc without any hesitation. However, while shooting ladies or close-ups of people, it is advised to seek permission first. Many of the monuments and wild life preserve require a small “camera fee” in order to shoot photos once inside. If your intention is to make a documentary or movie, special permission is required which has to be obtained from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in advance. Usually, photography is not permitted at airports or railway station
25. What are some of the unusual items to bring along?
Two significant items are candy and pens for child beggars. Toilet paper is also a very useful thing to carry
26. What are the climatic conditions in India?
India is so vast a country that the climatic conditions in the far north bear little relation to those in the extreme south. Indeed, the country is divided into no less than seven climatic regions. However, in simple terms , India has a three- season year known as the hot, the wet and the cool. The coolest time to visit is late September through April. Temperatures during this time are ideal for sightseeing. Following this period is the hot season that runs from around April through July. Conditions are perfect for sightseeing and photography, though Rajasthan can become very hot and dry. July signals the start of the monsoon or wet season that continues until around the end September. Although the weather is humid, the days are punctuated by intermittent rainfall.
27. What are the expectations regarding tipping?
Many restaurant bills contain a service charge, which includes the tip, so check it out. Ordinarily, it’s 10% for restaurants. Tipping is not required for drivers, bell boys or other services, but would be greatly appreciated.
28. What are the Major Religions of India?
The Major Religions of India are Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism.
29. What are the Official Languages of India?
The official language of the Republic of India is Hindi with English as a secondary official language. India is a very linguistically diverse nation with hundreds of widely spoken languages, including: Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil and Urdu.
30. What can I do to make sure my luggage arrives with me at my destination?
When checking bags in at the airport, be sure the airline agent tags them with the correct city code for your destination. And keep the receipts from those tags in a safe place. You will need them to identify your luggage in baggage claim, and you will especially need them if your baggage is delayed or lost. Mark all your luggage with your name and address (use your business address if possible). Put personal I.D. inside your bags, too – sometimes baggage tags get torn off during handling.
31. What class should I travel on in trains?
There are many options on Indian trains. Make sure to choose the AC class. The cars are cool and the accommodation is much more comfortable. For sleepers cars AC 1,2 and 3 are all fine options, simply depending on your preference. If you are not in a group, AC2 or 3 sleepers are fine options.
32. What do I do if I get sick?
Hotels have doctors on call. The quality of healthcare is at par relative to western care in larger cities. There are several hospital chains that are apparently reputable in Delhi and other large cities.
33. What is an Encashment Certificate?
It’s a certificate that allows you to exchange your rupees back into local currency. When you leave India, you can change money back at the airport. They MAY ask to see your encashment certificates, so save them. Alternatively, producing your passport also helps to change your money easily in most cases.
34. What is the currency of India?
It is Rupee, being equal to Rs. 100 paise. The denominations in which it is available are: Rs 2000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10 & 5. Coins are available in Rs 10, 5, 2 & 1 only.
35. What is the National Currency of India?
The Rupee (One Rupee=100 paise) is the national currency of India. Pound sterling, Euro and US dollars can be exchanged into Indian rupees locally, as the rupee is presently exchangeable only in India. The rupee is non-exportable so spend it all before you leave. Exchange facilities are available at major airports and bureau de changes. Request a broad mix of note denominations, as smaller notes will be handy for small purchases and perhaps gratuities/tipping.
36. What is the time difference between India and GMT ?
India is 5 hours and 30 minutes ahead of GMT. India does not observe daylight saving.
37. What kind of shots should I get before going?
You should consult your physician before taking any kind of prescription or non-prescription drug. Almost all the drugs are available in India and are far cheaper than the western world. Ask your physician for the alternates to your regular medicines in case you need them in India. Before leaving, make sure you are up to date with all of your general health vaccinations.
38. What other safety precautions should I take?
Use common sense. India is a relatively safe country. You will never feel in danger, but avoid showcasing your wealth. Just be mindful of what you eat and be alert and aware of your surroundings.
39. What types of clothes are required to be worn at religious places in India?
While visiting temples and mosques, one should preferably have shoulders and head covered with a scarf or handkerchief as well as legs fully covered, especially in case of ladies. Inside of temples, one is usually expected to enter without footwear. At places, non-Hindus may not be permitted at the Sanctum Sanctorum of temples.
40. What voltage is used in India? Is a electrical adapter needed?
Here we have 220 – 250 V electricity supply. In India there are different plug-in pins than in Europe or other countries. Hence it would be a good idea to bring in the multi-plug and dry cells from home country though most of larger hotels do provide them now.
41. Which is the capital of India?
New Delhi. It is also referred to as the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT of Delhi) as the city has outgrown itself to engulf the nearby towns of Faridabad, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Noida.