Visa There are two options now. There is a 30 day Indian tourist visa on arrival, which most foreign Nationals can now obtain. It is also called and e-visa and valid for single entry only. It cannot be extended and you can only get two per year. It can be issued at most Indian international airports and costs US$ 80. (approx A$120) For more information or to apply go to: www.indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html.
The second option is a 1 year multiple entry Indian tourist visa in advance. It can be issued for single or multiple entries, takes about 10 days to obtain and costs around A$ 220 It saves time at immigration on arrival, but means filling in forms and sending away your passport. For more information or to apply go to: www.vfsglobal.com/india/australia
Health and hygiene In India, especially in the South, this has improved over the years. Most health problems are no bigger than a stomach upset and diarrhea. The more serious hepatitis A and dysentery affect the intestines and can be prevented by medicines, vaccination and careful selection of food and drinks. Restaurants all have hand washing facilities, usually with soap available.
A proverb goes: “If you can’t peel it, boil it or cook it – forget it” If you stick to that you are on the safe side. Many problems occur in tourist places where an abundance of restaurants has led to low turn-over of food, and frequent power cuts in many places easily lead to spoilage. It is always safer to stick to local Indian food in places with high turn-over. The Indian spices help digestion and preserve the food. Avoid too much of the deep fried variety.
As a rule use only bottled water.
However in recent years most middle and upper class restaurants have installed water filters. Drinking this rather than bottled water does safe a lot of plastic, and so far no-one using it has suffered any ill effects from it. If you are uncertain check out the filter and make sure it’s been serviced regularly, or stick to bottled water.
The best time for travelling in South India is between December and February. Days are dry, sunny and warm, though the hill stations can be chilly at night. In North India meanwhile the best time is March and April, avoiding the extremes of heat and cold, as well as the fog for which the north is known. Fog often leads to delays in air and rail travel during the winter months. South India in May is quite hot, but tempered near the coast by sea breezes. It’s a time of frequent spectacular thunderstorms, which provide a welcome relief from the heat.
Traffic often appears chaotic, but once on the road you notice quickly that a certain order exists. Generally everyone watches out for everyone, you will need a ‘zen mindset’ to ride a motorcycle or bicycle, being fully alert and aware of any potential hazards. The roads are not just used for transport, they are also used to thresh grain and dry certain crops. Potholes and speed bumps in villages and towns are common. Large city roads are often congested, and pollution levels can be high. Due to the low driving speed serious accidents don’t happen often. On overland journeys you can count on covering approximately 30-40 km/hour on average on a motorbike. For driving a valid international driver’s license is required. We prefer to use the more quiet, winding and shady country roads and avoid passing through large cities.
Terms and more
25% deposit is required by 1 October 2019 to reserve a place on any of the tours offered.