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  • What will the weather be like?
    In late September and early October, Northern India sees temperatures of around 28-32° and throughout October the temperature starts to reduce to but is consistently in the high 20s. For Southern India, the best time to visit is between November and February when the temperatures will be around 28-32° - that's a South Indian winter! It's hot year-round in Southern India. In Northern India, the temperature is really pleasant in March (high 20s) but starts to get hotter in April.
  • What are the trains like?
    For the Northern India tour, we'll take 3x trains during the day. We'll travel either by 'chair car' class or in an AC sleeper. 'Chair car' class is not too dissimilar to the trains you're used to in the UK. AC sleeper has berths that can be sat on or converted into beds. That means that you can sit or lie as you prefer, if you're sleepy you can lie down for a nap! I love travelling by train, you can have a good read, play card games, chat to the people around you, watch the world go by, or have a snooze. It's nice to travel by train because it means you can walk around and stretch your legs, and use the facilities as you wish. Trains always have squatter toilets, but of the 8 toilets in each coach, there will always be one western-style loo. For the Rajasthan tour, we will mainly travel by private mini-bus but from Jaisalmer to Delhi we will travel by train. The train ride is 18 hours, but it is not as long as it sounds! We'll board the train at night so we can settle and go to sleep straight away. No need to worry about waking up in the morning (a huge plus!) and then spend the morning and afternoon reading/snoozing/relaxing until we eventually arrive in Delhi. The longest train ride I did was 48 hours, so 18 hours is a breeze 😜For overnight sleeper trains, I would much prefer the train to be longer so that I can have a good sleep!
  • Who will I be travelling with?
    So far, all three Bhavana Experiences tour groups have held their own identity! Everyone is welcome. We've had people from early 20s to early 70s joining our tours and it's always worked out perfectly. Long-lasting friendships have been from our previous tours 😇 I should also add that Paul and I will be accompanying you on the whole trip. Paul is our Indian tour guide and planner. He's from Kochi in Kerala but he speaks Hindi and knows Northern India well.
  • What is our accommodation like?
    We stay in 3* hotels throughout the trip. Clean but basic, comfortable, well-located hotels. Some hotels have pools so make sure you bring swimwear!
  • Is there Wifi?
    All the hotels have WiFi, the campsites have WiFi and some restaurants have WiFi. If you want a sim card let me know and I will get you one before you arrive. It costs £5 and you'll get 1.5GB per day. Make sure you turn off data roaming before you fly. Even if your phone connects to your UK sim momentarily, it'll cost quite a lot!
  • Is there anywhere to have a drink?
    Most of the hotels have a bar, with the exception of Rishikesh and Pushkar which are dry cities, due to the spiritual nature of both places. In Delhi, we are just across the road from a pub. In a hotel, a 500ml bottle of beer will cost 300 rupees (£3).
  • Are stray dogs and monkeys safe?
    Be prepared to see lots of stray dogs and monkeys in Rishikesh and Puskar. If you have any food when you walk near monkeys, make sure you put it out of sight inside your backpack. Don't look monkeys in the eye, and don't go too close to them. Some of them can be very aggressive.
  • What's included on your tours?
    All activities on the itineraries are included in the cost, as well as all accommodation, transport, guides, and entrance fees. Most, but not all meals are included. An itinerary will be provided closer to the time of travel that specifies which meals are included for each tour. Flights, visas, travel insurance, tips, drinks, covid-related expenses and some meals are not included.
  • How much do flights to India cost?
    When booked well ahead of time flights from Manchester/London to Delhi come in at around £500 return. Once the cheapest tickets have gone, the prices range from around £500-700 return.
  • Do I need a visa for India?
    Yes! Visitors from the UK need a visa to enter India. For British citizens, you can get a tourist visa from Indian consulates in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bradford, Edinburgh, or Cardiff. It takes around two weeks for your visa to be processed. A 30-day tourist visa costs £28.50. You can apply for a visa up to 4 months before you travel, but 1-2 months before your trip is ideal. I'll give step-by-step details on how to apply closer to the time of travel.
  • When is the final balance due?
    After you have paid a £100 deposit to secure your place, the remaining balance is due in full 4 weeks before the trip starts. I will send you an invoice for this closer to the time. Northern India: 28th August 2022 / Rajasthan: 10th September 2022
  • How much spending money do I need?
    Given that almost everything is included in the price, you won't need much spending money. It really depends on how much shopping you'll be doing and how much you'll spend on food, drinks, and optional activities. £150-200 should be plenty.
  • How do I get Indian rupees?
    ALL YOUR EXPENSES WILL BE IN CASH. I've capitalised this because having been in India non-stop for the last two years, I've been shocked by how cashless the UK is now😂 You can either bring cash ($/£/€) which can be converted to Indian Rupees at the airport. Or bring a credit/debit card and withdraw money when you land. There are ATMs in the luggage and arrival halls. I highly recommend that you organise your money before you leave the airport. It's safe and convenient to do this here. For cash withdrawals, I highly recommend using Monzo, a mobile banking app. You can withdraw from ATMs abroad without paying any commission or withdrawal fees. You are given the market exchange rate at the time of withdrawal. There is a monthly limit of £200 per month for ATM withdrawals, so if you think you'll spend more than that you may need to bring cash as well. If you use this link to open your Monzo account, you and I will both get a £5 reward! Other cards that I recommend for withdrawing money abroad without fees are Revolut and Starling. Starling does not have an ATM withdrawal limit, unlike Monzo and Revolut. If you have rupees left over at the end of the tour, I am happy to buy them off you as I’ll be staying in India. I can transfer you the GBP equivalent to your UK bank account.
  • How much do things cost?
    - Bottle of water 20 rupees (likely more in hotels) - Beer in a hotel approx 300 rupees - Roll of toilet paper 60 rupees - Meal in a restaurant in Rishikesh 200-500 rupees for a lot of food - Cheapest (and really good) restaurant in Rishikesh 100 rupees for a curry and 2 chapatis! - Cup of tea in Rishikesh cafes 50 rupees - Cup of tea on the train 10 rupees - Rafting 800-1500 rupees depending on the length of journey and number of people - Cooking class 2000ish depending on the number of people - One hour massage for 800-2000 rupees - Astrology reading 2500 rupees - Pair of baggy trousers/elephant pants 200-300 rupees - T-shirt 300 rupees - Silver jewellery 1000 rupees and up depending on the level of detail
  • Should I give money to beggars?
    This is entirely up to you. I have noticed that many people in India tend to give beggars 10 rupees (around 10p). When I see children begging, I prefer to give food than money but again, it is up to you.
  • Do I need a covid vaccine to enter India?
    To enter India, you need a covid vaccination certificate OR a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before the time of travel.
  • Do I need any other vaccinations?
    There are no vaccinations needed specifically to enter India, though it's a good idea to book an appointment with a nurse to ensure that you're up to date with all your vaccines/boosters. The NHS fit for travel website is a good place for more information.
  • Do I need to take malaria tablets?
    No, there is only a few small areas in India that have malaria. We will not visit those areas, so you don't need to take preventative malaria medicine.
  • Will I get Delhi belly?
    Hopefully not, but I can't guarantee not I'm afraid 😫😂You must have heard of people getting sick or getting Delhi belly whilst in India. A lot of people will experience some degree of upset stomach whilst in India. Even when food is not hot and spicy, it is spicy (i.e. it contains spice). The array of spices in the food can be an irritant for some people. With that being said, it really depends on how sensitive your stomach is. The best thing you can do between now and your arrival in India is to start eating Indian food often! Why not have a curry once a week? Start getting your stomach used to the spices. My number one advice to avoid any stomach upset once you arrive in India is to EAT LESS. I won't enforce this! I want you to eat all the deliciousness to your heart's content. But in my experience, if there's something my body doesn't like, the discomfort will pass more quickly if my stomach is not full to bust. Moving forward, I will be including fewer meals on my tours to give your stomachs the rest they need to digest all that Indian food goodness! On days where dinner is not included, I invite you to have something light for dinners like a cup of tea and biscuits, toast, and nuts - easy to digest and your body is already used to. These kinds of snacks can be bought easily in our hotels or shops close by, but if you have a favourite snack – bring it! There are a few supplements that you can take to prevent getting the dreaded Delhi belly: Probiotics – Probiotics are thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your gut so they could be helpful in preventing an upset stomach. Usually, probiotic tablets need to be refrigerated but these ones don’t need to be. If you decide to use probiotics, start taking them one week before departure (with a meal, preferably breakfast). Take them every day that we are away and continue for one week once you get home. Another thing you might want to carry with you is rehydration sachets, such as Dioralyte. At the first hint of not feeling good, you can add a sachet to a glass of water to ensure that you are staying hydrated. And lastly, if you do get struck by the old Delhi belly, then you’ll want to have some Imodium handy!
  • What if I get sick?
    If you get sick during the trip, it's really important that you listen to your body and take rest when needed. If you feel seriously ill, we will be able to get a doctor to visit you in the hotel.
  • Do I need travel insurance?
    YES! Please make sure that you have valid travel insurance to cover you for the duration of the trip. The earlier you get insured, the better! Your travel insurance should always include the following cover: medical expenses and cover for getting you home if you're injured or fall ill abroad personal injury and cover for accidents or damage caused by you cover for lost or damaged items cover for lost or delayed baggage cover for cancellation or missed departure.
  • Can I drink tap water?
    No! In some parts of India, locals will drink tap water but it is not advisable when visiting from abroad. I never travel in India without my trust water filter bottle. I've drunk from rivers, lakes, bathrooms and kitchen taps. I never have to worry about buying water or wasting plastic bottles. I highly recommend investing in a Water To Go filter bottle for the trip. It's less than £20 and you won't spend a penny on water bottles in India. These water filter bottles clean 99.9% of Viruses, Bacteria, Chlorine, Fluoride and Heavy Metals such as Lead. One filter is included with the bottle which will last about two months. Water To Go comes in a 500ml or 750ml bottle. Another option is the Life Straw bottle which I have now switched to as I prefer the drinking straw but it's twice the price at around £38.
  • Do I have to travel with a backpack?
    No! You can travel with a backpack or suitcase - whichever feels more comfortable for you. I just ask that if you bring a suitcase, you bring a medium case, not a large! Large suitcases will be really difficult to fit in the minibus and on trains. On the trains, luggage is stored either under the seats (on sleeper trains) or in overhead storage. The maximum dimension of your luggage should be 66x48x28cm.
  • What should I pack?
    Ideally, you'll travel with just 2 pieces of luggage: a medium backpack or suitcase and a day pack. The day pack will be really useful for everyday use. For your clothes, it's going to be mostly hot so loose light fitting clothing. Not too revealing, with scarves or t-shirts to cover your shoulders when visiting temples. You can get laundry done at the hotel if needed, probably best done in Rishikesh (Northern Tour) or Pushkar (Rajasthan tour) where we will be staying for a few days. Check out our packing list here.
  • Do I need walking shoes?
    In Rishikesh, there is one optional trek. It's mainly downhill and it is steep and treacherous in parts. If you want to do this trekking, proper walking shoes are advised! Aside from that, comfortable shoes/trainers will be fine. We will be on our feet a lot, so do make sure that your footwear is comfortable. For temples, it is nice to wear sandals or shoes that slip on and off easily as you will need to remove your shoes before you can enter.
  • Do I need to bring warm clothes?
    You'll need some warm clothes for the AC on the train! On the Northern India tour, you'll also need warm clothes for the sunrise at the temple. We will be leaving whilst it's still dark so it'll be cool.
  • Should I bring swimwear?
    Yes! Some of the hotels have swimming pools and there will be the opportunity to have a swim at the waterfalls in Rishikesh (Northern tour). For waterfall swimming, there are likely to be lots of eyes on you! For women, you may feel more comfortable in a swimming costume rather than a bikini.
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