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Traveller Tips
 
Clothing
 
Travel as light as possible. Clothing and laundry are both quite inexpensive.
Its better for women to avoid tank tops or short skirts/shorts. The best outfit, especially during the hot summers, is a T-shirt worn with loose cotton trousers. You can purchase them anywhere in India, at very reasonable rates, at any of the shops. Adventurous ladies can try wearing the Indian 'salwar-kameez'. It is comfortable and free sized.
 
Social Interaction
 
If you give the impression of being from a different country, chances are that you might be stared at, especially in the smaller towns. Don't be offended - they mean no harm, it is just curiosity.
 
Toilets
 
In India, public toilet facilities are few and far between. Take every opportunity you can to use a clean toilet in places such as hotels and restaurants. Make this a habit wherever you go.
 
Beggars
 
Do not let them hassle you, and do not encourage them by giving them money.
 
Food and Drink
 
• Drink only bottled water. Many popular brands are available. In restaurants insist that they bring a sealed bottle to your table.
• Beef is not served in many parts of India. Pork is also not easily available.
• Eat non-vegetarian food only in good restaurants. The meat in cheaper and smaller places can be of dubious quality.
• Good quality vegetarian food is easily available.
• Curd or yoghurt is served with most meals. It is a natural aid to digestion and helps temper the spicy food.
 
Shopping
 
• Try to shop only in government handicraft shops. There the prices are fixed and the quality is certified. If that is not an option, check the prices at a few shops before making a choice. Bargaining is standard in most places and is enjoyed by all.
• Get used to the fact that you will probably be charged more than the locals. If possible, take a local along when you go shopping.
 
Tipping
 
• In hotels and restaurants, tips are not normally included in the bill.
• Some hotels include service charges on their bills. In such cases tipping is not necessary.
• The standard tip is 10%.
• In hotels, porters and room service attendants are normally tipped at the end of the stay, though an early tip is likely to get you better service.
• Tipping of taxi drivers is not customary.
 
Sightseeing
 
• Dress codes for religious places can include covering your head, being barefoot etc. Ask, so that you don't unwittingly give offence.
• Some temples do not permit any leather articles at all on their premises.
• Certain temples are not open to Non-Hindus. Please check with the local tourist information office.
• Most museums in India are closed on Mondays and Site Museums, those near archaeological monuments, on Fridays.
• The dry summer heat can drain you completely. Drink lots of water and fluids.
• The sun is strong. Remember to use sunscreen on exposed parts of the body. Wear sunglasses to screen out harmful rays.
• Photography is not always permissible, and at many places it is permitted only at a fee. There is usually a higher fee for using a video camera.
• Smoking is not allowed at public places. All properties of the Indian Railways including trains and railway stations are strictly non smoking zones with stiff penalties for violations.
• English is spoken at almost all tourist centers, but you can also request Government-trained and approved guides who also speak German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian or Russian.
 
Health Precautions
 
• Always drink bottled water.
• For the first few days it might be advisable to clean your teeth in bottled water.
• Eat fruit you can peel.
• Always wash fruit well before eating it.
• Wash your hands before and after eating.
• Always keep a tube of mosquito repellent with you.
• Always carry a kit of the basic emergency medicines you might need for diarrhoea, fever, etc. Also, band aids and an antiseptic ointment.
• If you do catch a bug, do not panic. It will go away in a few days - but try the following tips to keep it down:
• Drink lassi - a yoghurt drink. It will help tone down the bacteria.
• Eat plain rice, or try a simple khichdi - an easily digestible mixture of rice and lentils.
• Drink plenty of coconut water. It's cooling, and naturally sterilized!
• Drink plenty of fluids and take some electrolyte salts if the bug persists.
 
Time
 
• Everything in India takes time - longer than in most places. So always give yourself extra time for whatever you may have to do - even it is just a visit to the Post Office or changing money.
• Indians joke about the concept of "Indian Stretchable Time" (IST). Certainly, if you're a super-punctual sort, India can be frustrating. Make allowances for this.
 
Others
 

• Keep extra photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport. This will be required for Indian permits. Also, keep extra photographs of yourselves. These will be required for permits, filling out forms, etc.
• Taxi and auto-rickshaw fares keep changing, and therefore do not always conform to readings on meters. Insist on seeing the latest rate card (available with the driver) and pay accordingly.
• Insist on the taxi/auto meter being flagged down in your presence. As much as possible, especially from the airport or railroad station insist on using the pre paid services which are available at most important places.
• In cities you can change most major foreign currencies and brands of travellers' cheques - but you'll widen your options and save yourself hassles if you stick to US dollars or pounds sterling, and either Thomas Cook or American Express travellers cheques.
• Most big cities have ATMs which accept both Visa and Mastercard as well as American Express. The ATM network is ever expanding and in some states, you can find them even in some smaller towns

 
Do's and Dont's
 
All foreign nationals must pay hotels bills in foreign currency (cash or travellers' cheques). This can be paid in Rupees if the visitor has a hank receipt as proof of currency exchange.
 
Do's
 

• It is advisable to avail pre taxis/autorikshaws (three wheeler taxis), wherever available at the airports and railway stations. For metered taxis insist on paying by meter or ask a fare chart.
• Shop at Government emporia/fixed price shops as far as possible. This ensures good quality products at reasonable prices. Insist on proper receipts/bills of purchase.
• Keep your valuables in hotel lockers/safe deposit vaults.
• Indiatourism has a system of approving travel agents/tours who conform to prescribed standards of service and quality. Always books your tours through such agencies. A list of approved travel agents/tour operators is available at the local Indiatourism office/State Government tourist office.
• For guiding services, hire a Government approved tourist guide who always carries an identity card issued by Indiatourism and Archaeological Survey of India.
• Change money only at authorized foreign exchange outlets/banks/hotels/ and insist on proper receipt.
• Contact the nearest Indiatourism office/State Government Tourist Office for authentic information. All offices supply guide maps/brochures free of cost/at a nominal cost.
• Confirm/re-confirm hotel bookings yourself.
• Buy train tickets from Railway Booking Counters or through authorized Travel Agents.

 
DON'Ts
 

• Don't fall for tempting exchange rates offered by unauthorized people.
• Don't allow any unauthorized person to act on your behalf.
• Don't purchase air/bus/train tickets through strangers, touts and unauthorized travel agencies.
• Don't accept lavish hospitality extended by strangers/unknown persons especially while shopping for jewellery and expensive items.
• Don't travel in Taxi carrying any person other than the driver.
• Don't deal with unauthorized person. Stay away from touts.

 
A FEW HINDI PHRASES
 
Hello/goodbye namaste
Excuse me maaf kijiyeh
Please kripaya
Yes/no haan/nahin
Big barra
Small chhota
Today aaj
Day din
Night raat
Week haftah
Month mahina
Year saal
medicine dava-ee
ice

baraf

egg

aanda

fruit

phal

vegetables

sabzi

sugar

chini

butter

makkhan

rice

chaaval

water

paani

tea

chai

coffee

kaafi

milk

dudh

 
Do you understand English?

Kya aap angrezi samajhte hain?

I don't understand

meri samajh men nahin aaya

Where is the hotel?

hotal kahan hai?

How far is….?

Kitni duur hai?

How much? Kitneh paiseh?
This is expensive yeh bahut mehnga hai
Show me the menu mujheh minu dikhaiyeh
The bill please bill de dijiyeh
What is your name? aapka shubh naam kya hain?
What is the time?

Kitneh bajeh hain?

How are you?

App Kaiseh hain?

 
Numbers
 

• Whereas Europeans count in tens, hundreds, thousands, millions and billions, the Indian number system goes tens, hundreds, thousands, hundred thousands, ten millions. A hundred thousand is a lakh, and 10 million is a crore.
• These two words are almost always used in place of their English equivalent. Thus you will see 10 lakh rather than one million and one crore rather then 10 million.
• Furthermore, the numerals are generally written that way, too – thus three hundred thousand appears as 3,00,000 not 300,000, and ten million, five hundred thousand would appear numerically as 1,05,00,000 (one crore, five lakh), not 10,500,000. If you say something costs five crore or is worth 10 lakh, it always means ‘of rupees'.
• When counting from 10 to 100 in Hindi, there is no standard formula for compiling numbers – they are all different. Here we've just given you enough to go on with!

 
1 ek
2 do
3 tin
4 char
5 panch
6 chhe
7 saat
8 aath
9 nau
10 das
11 gyaranh
12 baranh
13 teranh
14 chodanh
15 pandranh
16 solanh
17 staranh
18 aatharanh
19 unnis
20 bis
21 ikkis
22 bais
23 teis
24 chobis
25 pachis
26 chhabis
27 sattais
28 athais
29 unnattis
30 tis
35 paintis
40 chalis
45 Paintalis
50 panchas
55 pachpan
60 saath
65 painsath
75 pachhattar
80 assi
85 pachasi
90 nabbe
95 pachanabbe
100 so
200 do so
1000 ek hazzar
2000 do hazzar
100,000 lakh
10,000,000 crore
 
 
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