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Summit To Sea Tours
Trekker's hut jungle Tea Garden Varanasi

 

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Traveling In India - General Guidelines

With ancient history, fascinating cultures and the great Himalayas dominating the northern part of this big country, India has become a hot destination for tourists from around the world.

India’s population is extremely diverse. With magnificent mountain vistas and enormous cultural diversity, trekking in India is truly an unique experience. People of the Himalayas are extremely friendly, and their special hospitality in such remote areas is an endearing feature of travel in this culturally diverse region.

India is a developing country. Please bear in mind that traveling in this country and specially in the Himalayan States often throws up unusual or frustrating surprises. Above all, you need to maintain a flexible and tolerant attitude, and view the unpredictability with a good sense of humor and a relaxed approach. The unpredictability in the Himalayas is one of its many fascinating and enduring charms. Whilst we have taken great care to plan a trip of a lifetime for you, this unpredictability means that the best-laid plans are from time to time frustrated. Planes can be cancelled, buses break down, and impromptu strikes occur. If this is something that you cannot accept, you might wish to reconsider your travel plans before booking with us.

Where we have to alter the trip arrangements as a result of these inconveniences, we shall of course consult with the group before making any necessary changes to the itinerary. Any decision of the trip leader as to re-arrangement is final.

Insurance:
You must ensure that you have adequate personal insurance cover for your trip. It is a compulsory requirement for all of our trips in India and it is your responsibility to take out a suitable policy. You will not officially join the group until evidence of your insurance has been provided to the trip leader. This must include personal accident, medical expenses, and repatriation to your home country. For treks in the Himalaya, the policy must include a provision for helicopter rescue. We also recommend that your policy covers cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Please note that free insurance cover offered by some credit cards does not cover repatriation expenses.

Immunisations And Vaccinations:
Please immunize properly before you arrive in India. You should immunize against some of the most common diseases prevalent in India like Meningococcal Malaria, Typhoid, Rabbies, Hepatitis. Consult a doctor in your country for further advice. For more information on vaccines please visit http://www.cdc.gov/travel/indianrg.htm

Visas And Permits:
All nationalities require a visa for India. Visas are obtained from the embassy in your home country. For trekking in certain regions of the Himalayas special permits are required. Some can be obtained from the embassy in your home country and some are obtained after arriving in India. For foreigners entering Sikkim an Inner Line Permit (ILP) is required which can be obtained from the embassy in your home country. This ILP is is issued normally for 15 days and can be renewed for a maximum of another 7 days on request.

Tipping:
We recommend tipping to trek staff, particularly our porters, at the end of the trek as a gesture of goodwill in thanks for their tireless efforts.

General Precautions You Should Take In India:
While out of the hotel, please keep any eye on all your belongings. Keep the important documents such as passport and money physically close to you, e.g., in a fanny pack. Pickpockets often target foreign tourists.
Keep extra photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport separately.
Drink only bottled water. Ask for bottled water at the hotel.
Do not eat fresh fruits or uncooked food (e.g. salads) except at reputable restaurants or having the food washed with drinking water.
Carry a small amount of first-aid (medicated band-aid, moist towel for wiping cuts, Tylenol, etc.)
To communicate, speak slowly in English stressing on the key words such as the destination. If you have to make a transaction with a small vendor, always bargain.

Health And Fitness:
Please bear in mind that despite the best of intentions, standards of hygiene in India are generally lower than we expect in Western Europe or North America. Similarly, medical facilities and methods can often appear to be below the standards we would expect at home. Nonetheless, with the right attitude and careful planning, any health risks are minimized. All of our trek leaders are qualified to administer first aid, and a comprehensive medical kit is carried on every trip. We also recommend that you have a medical and dental check-up before departure, particularly for the remote destinations. Medical treatment is expensive at Western travelers' clinics. Healthcare is poor in most places outside Kathmandu valley and Pokhara. For medical and inoculations advice, contact your GP before travel.

For trekking, the general rule is that you will need to be fit and the more preparation you have done for it, the more you will enjoy it. You will be walking with your day pack, with the possibility of extreme variations in temperature. We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long stair cases with a pack is good preparation. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest.

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