ABOUT THE JOURNEY
What makes this adventure so special? What should I expect?
India is an amazing and intense country. To add to that the food, colours and history is just incredible. If you enjoy food and like to ‘experience’ travel (rather than just visit a new place), then this is the holiday you’ve been waiting for.
We will do all the touristy things that you’d do while in India. But we will learn the amazing stories through the local cuisine, spices and dishes. We will enjoy street food and fine dining in Delhi. We will learn how to cook authentic Indian cuisine at a friend’s house and we will also visit the largest free kitchen in the world. You will see some amazing forts and palaces and also enjoy golden sandy beaches… this trip has it all.
The “Good” in our name stands for the good we do for under privileged kids in India. We support a charity called “Annamrita” which feeds 1.2 million kids their meals in schools daily. For every person who travels with us, we donate money to support 5 kids for their meals for one year!
Besides all the above, you get all the fun, camaraderie, connection with other like-minded Kiwi’s on the tour and also interact and make friends with local people.
What is included in the tour cost?
Our tour cost includes hotel accommodations with breakfast, all transfers, city tours and excursions by private air-conditioned car or minivan. Since this is a culinary tour, we have organised some amazing foodie experiences on tour, which is included in the tour cost. Domestic flights are also included. Please refer to the inclusion and exclusions of the itinerary
What activities and sightseeing attractions should I consider?
We have included some of the best tourist attractions in our itinerary. The itinerary will have all the details listed for your reference. We also understand the need to be spontaneous to encounter memorable experiences during your travels. So you can expect that we may do things not mentioned in the itinerary.
The diverse nature of India and the staggering amount of attractions makes it impossible to cover everything that the country has to offer. So if there is anything specific that you want to do, please let us know. Our chauffeurs, guides and other staff will be more than happy to help you explore various other sides of the country while you are on your holiday.
Do you have experienced guides?
Yes, we have local english speaking guides at every destination. They have a lot of information about the places we will visit and can give a good insight on the story of the place.
If I come across any problem during my trip, how would you help me?
While in India there will be someone to assist you even at all times. We shall provide you list of emergency 24 hours contact numbers for any emergency. Besides, the owner of the tour company will be travelling with you to escort you for the entire duration of the trip. Don’t worry, you are in good hands!
Does Good Food Journeys help customize holidays to India?
Good Food Journeys specialise in culinary tours to India, therefore we do not offer general customised holidays to India at this stage. Our itineraries are planned for a fixed departure date.
However, if you want to explore the same itinerary with your family or group of friends, please let us know and we will arrange it for you for a date that suits you. If you want to add a short stay before or after our planned trip, we are happy to plan that for you as well.
Will I know which hotels I will be staying before I go?
Yes, all hotels are mentioned in the itinerary and have links to the hotel websites.
What star rating are the hotels?
Safety, comfort and cleanliness are our highest priorities. Therefore we provide accommodation in world class hotels belonging to international chains. All hotels will be 5 star or 5 star deluxe. At certain locations we will be staying in old palaces that are converted into heritage hotels.
What are the payment terms to book a tour?
We require 50% deposit at the time of booking and the balance 60 days before departure date. Payment can be made through bank transfer, credit card, cash or cheque. Please refer to our booking conditions.
Is India a safe country?
For its size, India has a very low crime rate and is generally a safe country. However, as with any international travel, please be aware of your surroundings. Always make sure your purse is zipped and wallets are in sealed pockets. In the markets, be vigilant of pick-pockets and distraction scams. Additionally, at the train/bus stations and airports, monitor your luggage at all times. It is best to have a tour guide along with you that will help you identify the safe areas to visit and the most hygienic eateries to explore. International tourists must avoid drinking tap water while in India and it is recommended that you buy only bottled water during your stay here.
What are some of the basic etiquettes for visitors to India?
Here are a few tips:
When you go to someone’s house it is customary to remove shoes before entering. While some hosts might be ok with it, it is mandatory to remove your footwear while entering a temple, mosque or a Gurudwara.
- It is considered rude to address people with their professional title, especially to those who engage in physical nature of work such as drivers, porters, waiters, etc.
- Indians are rather conservative about clothing. Women are expected to dress modestly, with legs and shoulders covered. Trousers are acceptable, but shorts and short skirts are offensive to many. Men are similarly expected to dress appropriately with their legs and head covered. Caps are usually available on loan, often free, for visitors, and sometimes cloth is available to cover up your arms and legs. The culture in big cities is much more liberal. One can be a little more relaxed about these norms when traveling in the cities.
- Though most restaurants offer cutlery, if there is an instance to eat with your hands, make sure that you eat with your right hand only. In India, just like right across Asia, the left hand is for wiping your bottom, cleaning your feet, removing and wearing shoes and therefore considered impure.
- When eating or drinking is that your lips should not touch other people’s food/drink. It is customary to wash your hands before and after eating.
Will I have language problems while in India?
No. English is commonly spoken throughout India. In fact, most children, particularly in the cities, learn English first in school. It is the most important language for commercial, national, and political status. Hindi is the national language and primary tongue for 40% of Indians.
Is the water safe to drink and the food safe to eat?
In India, we do not drink off the tap directly. Bottled or filtered water is recommended and will be supplied while in India.
Food in restaurants and cafes are good and all organised meals are of good quality and safe. In general street food is not the most hygienic. However, when we step put to enjoy street food, we go to select vendors who we know care about hygiene and our health. When you are on your own, be diligent and check where necessary.
PRE DEPARTURE CHECKS
Is a visa required to visit India?
Yes, all foreigners need a visa to enter India. India offers an electronic tourist visa on arrival. To avail e-Tourist Visa (eTV) facility, all applicants must first apply online to obtain the visa. The visa must be applied for at least four (4) days before commencing travel and not more than 30 days before anticipated travel to India. Applications are to be made online at www.indianvisaonline.gov.in.
The visa fee is US$50. E-Visa India Facility is available for passport holder for the 161 countries including nationals of New Zealand and are eligible for a stay up to 60 days in India and the validity of visa will be 120 days. Double entry is permitted on e-Tourist Visa and e-Business Visa. It is important to note that applicant’s passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India. Failing which, entry into India can be denied.
For more information, please visit the High Commission of India in NZ website.
Do I need travel insurance?
Yes, we strongly recommend that you take travel insurance through a provider of your choice.
Are vaccinations required?
Immunizations are not mandatory to visit India. (Exception: if you are traveling from an area infected with Yellow Fever, you must have a certificate.) Depending on the season and region of travel, certain vaccinations and/ or medications are suggested and we will recommend preventative measures. Tetanus and Hepatitis A vaccines are recommended. Please contact your doctor before travel.
PACKING FOR YOUR HOLIDAY
Are there any essentials I should be packing for my trip?
Carry a scarf to cover your head and bring a light jumper in case the nights get a bit chilly. The safest option while dressing for a temple visit in India is to cover your shoulders and knees. A loose fitting dress for ladies or the Indian Salwar Kameez and a simple shirt/t-shirt and jeans/ trousers for men would be ok for most religious places. Also, carry smart casuals as we will be dining in fine dining restaurants as well as five star luxury hotels.
We recommend you travel light as we will travel by domestic flights, trains and by road. At the same time, you want to leave space in your suitcase for the amazing shopping opportunities…
What medicines should I take with me?
You should carry some anti-diarrhea medicine. Anti-allergens and mosquito repellents are a must when travelling to India. If you’re not used to the spiced food and/or have a sensitive tummy, medicines for the same are advisable. We also recommend basic medicines as a precaution or cure for mild fever and headaches, ointments for burns and cuts and a pack of band aids.
What is the electricity supply in India and what plugs are used?
The electricity supply is 230 – 240 volt, with three round pin plugs. New Zealand gadgets will require a wall adaptor.
What is the currency in India & how can I do convert NZD to local currecny?
The Indian currency is the rupee, which is made of 100 paise. Major currencies such as US dollars, British pounds and Euros are easy to exchange throughout India. Most international airports throughout the country will have money exchange counters, as should the larger hotels and resorts.
ATMs linked to international networks are situated in most big cities. There may be a small charge for cash withdrawal. Our recommendation is you exchange some NZD to Indian Rupees before departure.
Any tips on carrying cash in India?
With Good Food Journeys, all major expenses like accommodation, domestic flights, train, most meals are paid for so you don’t need to carry a lot of cash. Carry enough (not too much) Indian currency on you at all times for tipping and small purchases.
Keep heavy cash at safe place (such as lockers in hotel rooms) and do not reveal in public places like airports, railway station, ticket counters, taxi stands etc. Beware of pick pockets.
Spending in India
Use credit cards when you can - Visa and Master card are widely accepted in India. But American Express and Diner’s Club is not. .
Is haggling allowed?
Street vendors in India, like any other country, are notorious for upselling things to foreigners. So, obviously, the known traveller should haggle a bit, before settling down with a price. If you don’t ask for a discount, you won’t get it! There is no haggling in upmarket shopping malls.