All travellers will need a valid visa to enter India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Tibet. For India, most tourist visas are issued for six months and are valid from the date of issue, not from the date that you arrive in India. There is also a new ‘visa on arrival’ in India that is valid for 30 days.
Nepal also has a visa on arrival for 30 days or longer periods.
The Sri Lanka visa is applied for online and is valid for 30 days.
For Tibet, the application is completed manually and needs to be handed in to the Chinese Embassy.
We will email detailed information to help you with the visa applications for all of these countries. Generally, your passport must have at least six months validity after your return home for the Embassy to issue your visa. It is useful to carry a few photocopies of your passport photo/ID and visa pages.
Choosing to be vaccinated is a personal decision. Some people prefer to cover themselves with every possible vaccination, while others choose nothing more than what is absolutely necessary. It is helpful to talk to your health practitioner about your vaccination/immunisation options before travel. This should be done several weeks before you plan to disembark, as some vaccinations require multiple shots over a period of weeks.
The climate in India is generally warm and humid. However, the climatic conditions do vary throughout the country and at different times of the year. In the north, the cooler months from December to February can become quite cold and a woollen jumper and jacket are essential. Even some parts of the generally warmer south can become cool at night and early morning. A light jacket is recommended when travelling in South India.
Most hotels have an efficient and cheap in-house laundry service so you won’t need to bring many sets of clothing. Western style clothing is increasingly easy to find and should you need more clothes, they are often much cheaper to purchase as needed.
It is beneficial for the tour group to blend in with locals as much as possible, and dressing appropriately helps achieve this.
As these countries are quite modest, it is recommended that ladies avoid low-cut or sleeveless tops, brief shorts and see-through material. For men, shorts that reach the knee are recommended, singlets or vests are best avoided.
Most mobile phone companies offer global roaming which may work while you are overseas. If you rely on your phone for important contacts, business reasons etc, it pays to make absolutely sure that this is available as part of your service. Also, be sure of the rates which you will be charged for incoming and outgoing calls as well as for SMS/text messages, as these can blow-out to astronomical figures if you are not careful.
Making calls from a Public Call Office in India is a fun experience. As well as being extremely cheap, these ‘offices’ are everywhere throughout the country and rates are fixed. They can be clearly seen on a digital metre during your call. Wireless internet is very widespread through India and many mid-range hotels and even smaller guesthouses now offer the service. Always check with the hotel whether their wi-fi is free and of not, their connection charges per hour so that you will not get a surprise charge on your bill when checking-out. There are also many internet cafes offering very reasonable rates.
It is essential that you take out adequate travel insurance before you travel to any foreign country. We recommend that you arrange travel insurance as soon as you have made any payment for your Tour or Airfare.
If your itinerary includes one or more internal flights, please note that security in many of these airports is very tight and there are many restrictions on what is permitted as carry-on luggage. It is best to take as little onto the plane as possible. This will ensure smooth travel between regions and minimise the chances of being asked to repack an item into your check-in luggage. Keep in mind that the maximum luggage allowance on most internal flights in India is 15kgs, and in the other countries, mainly 20kgs. You may incur excess baggage charges if you exceed this amount.
As India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tibet are very spiritual /religious, you will notice many different forms of respect demonstrated by people visiting sacred temples and places of reverence. It is important that you respect the customs.
For example, in Buddhist and Hindu shrines it is offensive to sit with your feet pointed at the Buddha or the Deity – especially the soles of your feet, as they are considered unclean.
It is also important to dress modestly on the days you visit temples or shrines. Uncovered upper arms and legs can cause offence. As a rule of thumb, observe how the locals dress and follow their example.
In most cases, it is easiest to change money at your hotel as this provides a more safe and controlled environment. Many travellers now use Automatic Teller Machines with an account linked to a Visa Card or a card with a ‘maestro’ symbol to access their money. ATMs are plentiful in all major tourist towns and cities in both India and Sri Lanka. A few less in Nepal and very few in Tibet.
You will find a wide range of delicious food in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. From multi-cuisine menus in the hotels to all manner of local dishes in smaller restaurants and stalls in the streets, your taste buds can go on an incredible journey.
If you want to sample local food the best advice is to be cautious – don’t rush straight off the plane and into the street for food from the first vendor you see. Allow a few days for your stomach to adjust and then ease yourself into it. Another good tip is to always choose a busy vendor if eating street food. This usually means that the food is fresher and much more trustworthy. As part of the tour, we will guide you on the best places to enjoy food and refreshments.
As soon as you touch down in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, you will see that the country thrives on tipping. From the person who carries your bag to the driver of your taxi, tipping is a way of life and affects nearly all workers.
Many quality hotels are now implementing a ‘centralised’ tipping system. This is a much more equitable way of sharing out the tips, as there are often dozens of staff in a hotel (cooks, gardeners, laundry people etc.) who you never see, meaning that the front office and room staff get the vast majority of tips. Please look out for a ‘tipping box’ on the reception desk at the time you check-in.
It is expected that in India and Nepal, and even Sri Lanka and Tibet, you will find a bargain (or 30!). These countries are famous for their shopping and the experience of shopping with the locals is like no other.
There will be free time in your tour programme to go off exploring the markets and bazaars, which are wonderful places to visit, even if you are not purchasing. The selection of jewellery, silk and other fabrics, bronze statues and paintings is very wide.
One important skill to master is the art of bargaining. Have no doubt that many of the local shopkeepers will know how to get the most out of you for their wares.
Travelling to these countries, especially India, can give you a new understanding of life, it can test you on many levels and also reward you in many ways. In order to get the most from any travel experience it always helps to be prepared both mentally and physically for the journey.
You will get the most out of your time, if you travel with an open heart and an open mind. We will do our best to ensure your time on tour goes smoothly and gives you memories that will sustain you for many years.
We believe your journey will bring more depth and understanding to your life and allow you to see more clearly your own divine purpose.
For more information try out FAQs page or contact us to speak to one of our friendly team members.