Indian Subcontinent FAQ thread
Replies: 201 - Last Post: May 1, 2013 9:59 PM Last Post By: edwardseco
Sep 20, 2012 1:49 AM
180Pointers on being more independent while traveling in India
Key issues that i face when traveling in India is having to depend on unreliable drivers/ guides/ shopkeepers for my experiences. However, in major hubs now (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad) things are much better as a lot of new organised professional companies have sprung up providing much needed respite from touts and exploitative individuals who target vulnerable tourists. Where possible, i use them. Where not, i follow some basic principles which have served me well so far. Following are some pointers which have helped me and i hope it helps others.
1. In India, especially in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai, now, there are professional organised taxi companies with fixed rates. You can book their services and they are pretty reliable. You can try the services of companies such as meru cabs and ola cabs. There is no tipping or bargaining involved with these companies, and prices are reasonable, as they mostly serve local customers.
2. If you engage some other independent drivers/ guides, agree with them an ALL INCLUSIVE rate. Be firm with them and say this is what i am going to pay for everything at the end.
3. There might be exceptions, when you agreed on a rate, but you are so happy with their services, you can give them some extra money as tips. There is no fixed rule on this. This is completely discretionary. Nevertheless, should you insist on guidelines, Rs. 50 ($1) or less for 1/2 day work, Rs. 100 ($2) for full day work, purely as tip is acceptable. Tips cannot replace salaries/ statutory payments.
4. When i use public autos (tuk tuks) or taxis, i find out how many kms i need to travel. Usually i check this from the hotel/ hostel concierge/ receptionist. Then i find out what the going rate per km in that city is. Usually it is around Rs.8-12 per km. I offer the auto/ taxi the exact amount as a take it or leave it offer. It usually works. I am perfectly comfortable leaving 3-4 autos/ taxis until some driver agrees. If not, i bump up by Rs.10-20 if i am in a rush. That way i minimize my losses. Of course, i only do this when the auto/ taxi does not use a meter and goes by it. Mumbai is the only city where i've seen public transport going by meter.
4. Tip only at the end of the entire journey/ engagement. Do not tip every day on a multiple days trip. This might work either way - if it's less than their expectation, they might treat you bad the next day. If it is more, they'll try and extract more out of you. You'll be in a lose-lose situation.
5. Exercise usual caution during shopping. Shop ONLY at government emporiums (Eg. Le Pakshi in Andhra etc.). They are mandated to take the fixed price from everyone. Usually guides/ drivers do not want to take you there. Do your home work, and tell them the location of these places and go there. If you end up at some other shop, do not purchase anything for more than $5-10. Surely you'll be getting conned. You're better off shopping online (such as craftsvilla.com) and having things delivered to your hotel - you can even pay cash on delivery to them.
6. As far as sightseeing is concerned, there are plenty of self-guided tour options available now - you won't necessarily need a guide at monuments and heritage sites. Just search for 'india gps tour' or 'india tour' or 'india audio tour' on Google Play / Apple App Store you'll find quite a few apps you can download and use during your visits. Some of them (Eg. my indieye, audio compass) will provide you navigation via gps plus a comprehensive tour of the monument. So you don't have to rely on someone taking you around.
There are a lot of options in India now to enable you to travel independently. The experience is much better. Of course, you have to do your research! :) Hope i've been of help! Enjoy your travels!
Oct 13, 2012 2:27 AM
Oct 13, 2012 2:52 AM
Oct 24, 2012 2:53 PM
Oct 24, 2012 11:25 PM
Oct 27, 2012 3:21 AM
185Does anyone have up-to-date info about Ooty (Udhagamandalam) re places to stay this December? All the ones I've seen online look touristy, impersonal and expensive (well not under 2000 Rs/ £20 per night), as well as being booked up. I'm going in mid-late December as a kind of pilgrimage as my Dad was born there in 1924 and thought Dec would be a quieter time to go, less bustling and crowded.
Any tips welcome!
Oct 27, 2012 3:29 AM
186THIS IS NOT THE PLACE TO ASK QUESTIONS!!!
You will not get a reply to your question here.
HERE is the place to ask your question. Click on the green 'Post new topic' button.
Oct 27, 2012 3:40 AM
Oct 27, 2012 4:07 AM
188It is customary to ' lurk ' on new forums for a bit to get the hang of things. Then you stand a chance of seeing that FAQ is a place where questions are answered, not asked.
This link will start your new topic on the Indian subcontinent branch. Make sure you give it a meaningful title in the Subject: field and choose a country from the drop-down, This post is (mostly) about:, box.
Nov 24, 2012 1:16 PM
Dec 20, 2012 3:06 AM
190Just obtained a visa for India in Amman, Jordan.
Visa is a three month single entry non-extendable tourist type.
Obtained from VFS Global, Building 142, 1st floor, Arar Street, Amman. tel +962 6 4610 322.
Took with me passport, two normal passport photos (normal in that some places want a 2x2in photo, mine weren't), photocopy of passport. Passport needs to be valid for a further 6 months and have two adjacent blank pages.
Needed is a bank statement showing at least $1000 or credit card to be shown with photocopy of both sides.
Confirmed return air ticket - I printed off the internet booking.
Not asked for but I also gave a print out of a random hotel in Delhi to show where I was staying.
You fill out the required form on site giving two referees in home country (which I gave one) plus two referees in India - I left this blank.
Cost was 56 Jordanian Dinar which includes a 'correspondence fee' to check you out, the agency fee and the visa fee. Try and use correct money.
Takes up to 7 days.
If you are a resident of Jordan it can be done the same day.
Jan 18, 2013 1:25 PM
i have just spent 6 months traveling all around india and have made a few short film.
you can watch them on youtube http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCprfkWyP0z-RqxZU-UQWcuw
Jan 19, 2013 11:53 AM
Jan 19, 2013 12:38 PM
Jan 20, 2013 3:20 AM
(3 star Hotel)
From US$147.65 per night
(2 star Hotel)
From US$39.73 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$74.16 per night