Yes. You can swim in Kovalam, the popular beach resort in India. Goa has many hotels and resorts with swimming pools and beaches. Kerala also has some of India's best coastal resorts.
Yes you can pre book transfers (arrival only) and extra nights with Shoestring.You can add these on to your booking form.
Entry requirements will vary. For example for UK citizens a single entry visa is required for India. You are responsible for having a valid passport and visa when you travel. Please check with your local Indian embassy to see if you need a visa for India. You can also check here for the current situation. Make sure you inquire at least a month before departure so that you do not run into time problems.
It is now also possible for nationals of a number of countries to apply online for their India visa, in advance of travel using the E-Visa facility. Please check the following website for further information and online visa application: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
Vegetarians are well catered for in India. Thalis are served in many restaurants and there is always a choice between veg and non-veg dishes. Indians also prepare a good deal of delicious dishes using only vegetables (and sometimes eggs). Traditionally, both Hindus and Buddhists were vegetarian. Even now, a large part of the population is strictly vegetarian. Indeed, even in meat dishes the amount of meat used is minimal compared to what Europeans are used to.
The international access code for India is +91. The outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code. Area codes are used for Delhi e.g. (0)11. International calls can be quite expensive and there are often high surcharges on calls made from hotels; it is cheaper to use a calling card. Alternatively, there are telephone agencies in most towns which are identifiable by the letters STD for long distance internal calls and ISD for international communication. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main cities and resorts.
If you book alone you will share your room with a fellow traveller ( from the same sex when possible ) unless you have booked a single room.
In many ways, India is a safe country. Mugging and other forms of physical violence against tourists occur only sporadically. Still, in the eyes of the local population, each ‘white nose’ is a millionaire and those who come into contact with you will make numerous efforts to share in your infinite wealth in some way. In almost all cases this will take the form of begging. This relative security does not mean, however, that you can afford to be careless with money, valuables and luggage. Cash and travel documents are best worn underneath your clothing. Do not leave anything valuable in your hotel room: it is better not to invite theft. In each hotel, you can leave your valuables at reception in exchange for a token.
There are many festivals in India. Here are a few examples of the best festivals:
February: Shivaratri is the festival held in honour of Shivam during full moon in the month of phalgun.
February/March: Holi is a popular festival, especially amongst the lower castes. During Holi, everybody splashes each other with water and colourful powder paint. Holi marks the beginning of the spring.
August: Onam is celebrated with spectacular boat races in Allepey on the second Saturday in August. The long narrow boats carry dragonheads and are manned by hundreds of oarsmen.
End of October/beginning of November: Diwali, the Festival of Light, is celebrated. It is marked by the illumination of thousands of lights, fireworks, baking cakes and making sand patterns outside the front door of each home.
Accommodation will be provided in 2 star hotels in twin rooms with en-suite facilities .
Please click here to check what voltage and plugs are used in India. You may also consider taking a universal electric plug.
The currency in India is the Indian Rupee (INR), which is divided into 100 paise (singular paisa). Major currencies can be changed at banks and authorised bureaux de change. It is currently impossible to obtain rupees outside India but no matter what time you arrive in India there will be an exchange office open at the airport. Major credit cards are widely accepted, particularly in tourist orientated establishments. ATMs are widely available.
Please check the world clock in order to find out the exact time difference.
In India men should wear long trousers and a shirt and women should wear tops with covered shoulders and a skirt that at the very least covers the knees. A coat and a good pair of shoes and flip flops, good hiking socks, underwear, a pair of long trousers, shirts, a windcheater, a rucksack, a waterproof jacket, a cap as protection from the sun, sunglasses, sun cream, toiletries, plasters, a hand towel, soap, toilet paper, a small emergency food supply, a first-aid kit, any prescription medicine, a (video) camera with enough film, spare batteries, a torch, a pen knife, a lighter, an alarm clock, writing equipment, books, your passport and visa, copies of your passport and visa, all necessary travel insurance documents and details, a set of passport photos, a diary with important contact numbers/addresses and the booking papers for this trip, binoculars and maps.
Here you have some points to take into account:
- Yes or No: Maybe the most confusing cultural difference is the use of yes and no in India. No is a word Indians do not like to say too often.
- Courtesy rules: Indians traditionally greet with a namasté: palms pressed together and held upright in front of the face. The higher you hold your hands, the more respect you express.
- Left and right: The right hand is used to eat. Do not eat or touch anyone with your left hand.
- Dress: Adult men wearing shorts are seen as ridiculous by Indians, and women wearing shorts as outrageous. Swimming naked or topless is prohibited.
- Privacy: staring is not perceived as impolite and most Indians do not have a sense of personal space as we know it.
- Men and women: contact between the two sexes is governed by very different rules to what we are used to.
If you want to take a travel guide or map, we suggest you click on Lonely Planet.