WHAT TO EXPECT
India is uniquely exciting and very different to other countries.
With its diverse mix of people, scenery, weather patterns, religions, traditions and cultural influences; it can be inspiring, moving and, even at times, frustrating.
In order to gain maximum enjoyment from your tour, we suggest that you go with an open mind and sense of adventure, and try not to compare India with any other destination.
WHY TRAVEL WITH TIMELESS INDIA JOURNEYS?
We are a small, boutique company offering unparalleled expertise, ease and attention-to-detail:
• We focus on quality of service rather than quantity of customers.
• Whilst we love luxury, we are not bound to it at the expense of “experience”. We believe that striking a balance between culture and luxury is key.
• We are region experts: specialising exclusively on the Indian Subcontinent, and surrounds, and we pride ourselves on providing thoroughly researched and beautifully delivered trips to these destinations.
• We also understand that people are different and we design itineraries accordingly. Every holiday is unique and individually tailored to our clients’ interests and needs.
• We have an intimate knowledge of the accommodation and activities in our portfolio. We personally visit all the hotels and locations we recommend and can provide you with first-hand information and opinions on them and all the surrounding activities.
• Our team has travelled, lived and worked extensively throughout India and have a well-trusted network of contacts.
• You will be looked after by one consultant from your initial enquiry until your safe return home from holiday.
• We personally answer all phone calls (during office working hours). All our clients also receive our personal mobile numbers, which they are welcome to use outside working hours.
• Above all we offer a personalised, passionate service, based on our own love of travel.
WHAT SERVICES DO WE PROVIDE?
We create fully customised holidays for any size of group, from romantic occasions to family getaways, spa to beach holidays, city breaks to wildlife safaris, cultural excursions to historical sightseeing.
Our services include:
• Travel advice, inspiration and planning.
• Booking of flights, accommodation, guides and activities.
• A personalised day-by-day itinerary, prior to travel, along with a document including personalised tips and suggestions, such as favourite restaurants, shops and markets – with specific tips on personal interests where appropriate.
• We provide round-the-clock support throughout your holiday and are on call in the case of an emergency.
DO WE ADD COST TO YOUR HOLIDAY?
You may pay a little more than you would if you booked directly but your experience will be far richer.
Our expert advice, local knowledge, contacts and exceptional customer care, all add to the value of a booking through Timeless India Journeys.
India is a vast and very complex country and our insider knowledge and understanding as well as our research and extensive past experience will add far more than the financial cost of your trip.
HOW DO I BOOK WITH TIMELESS INDIA JOURNEYS?
We specialise in personally tailored journeys and there is no better way to get to know your individual preferences than discussing the various options with you:
Please call us on +27 21 461 9001
Or email us on [email protected]
Once we have an idea of the perfect holiday for you, you will receive a quote and a suggested journey from your personal consultant. This can be tweaked and restructured as required until we have created your ideal itinerary. When you’re ready to confirm the arrangements, we will need a signed copy of our booking form together with a deposit payment. Our booking form will be sent together with our terms and conditions and these should be carefully read.
We look forward to hearing from you.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL TO INDIA?
There are greatly differing climates within India, so it depends greatly on the destinations you plan to visit:
mid-October to mid-March
Most of India is beautiful during the winter season (except for the colder mountain regions). In Northern India it will be warm in the day and cooler at night. In Southern India, the weather will be warmer in the evening but still pleasantly balmy.
mid-March to mid-October
Summer is the perfect time to visit the cool mountains, and for going on wildlife safaris and tiger spotting.
• Monsoon season:
June to September
Rajasthan is beautiful during the Monsoon season and Ladakh is also a great mid-Monsoon destination. Some areas of India (such as the desert) receive less monsoon rain, and some (such as Leh and Ladakh) don’t receive any monsoon rain at all. Places such as Goa and the Valley of Flowers National Park are particularly green and beautiful during the monsoon, and are top destinations for monsoon travel in India.
Apart from the weather, the timing of certain festivals or special events may also influence when you wish to visit. Have a look at our Events Calendar to see some of the highlights through the year.
WHERE SHOULD I GO FOR MY FIRST TRIP TO INDIA?
Destinations like Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Rajasthan in Northern India make a fantastic first-time journey as they offer the romance, colour and vibrancy that most people associate with India.
• Visit the magnificent Taj Mahal at sunrise, the beautiful forts and palaces found in the state of Rajasthan and marvel at the spectacular reminders of its colourful royal past.
• Jaipur is a favourite among travellers with its many forts and palaces gracing hilltops and framing the teeming city streets. This walled city harks back to the glorious past of the maharajas with its majestic monuments, manicured parks and ancient, medieval style bazaars.
• Ranthambore National Park contains many overgrown remnants of the temples and summer palaces from times gone by, as well as offering a chance to catch a rare glimpse of the Bengal Tiger.
• The city of Jodhpur boasts the spectacular Meherangarh Fort that lies at the base of a sheer rocky cliff and presides over the aptly named Blue City.
• Udaipur, known as the city of lakes, is adorned with exquisite gardens and marble palaces in the middle of lakes.
No matter what you like to see or do, India is bound to have places that will bedazzle and amaze you. We recommend that you discuss it with one of our team, as at Timeless India Journeys, we specialise in tailoring tours around your personal likes and interests.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE IN INDIA?
A Timeless India Journeys representative will assist you to make all your transfers:
• You will be met at the airport by one of our professional team carrying Timeless India Journeys placard.
• You will be chaperoned by a member of the team whenever you make an internal connection by air or rail and again on your final departure from India.
DO I NEED A VISA?
• All non-residents of India require visas, which must be obtained before you travel to India. We advise that you apply for your visa at least 1 month before you leave.
• Passports MUST be valid for at least six months from your intended return date. We recommend a validity of nine months to prevent any problems.
• There must be at least three blank VISA pages in the passport (these do not include endorsement pages). The authorities have been known to be strict about this rule.
• Please note that Timeless India Journeys does not process visas. It is the traveller’s own responsibility to secure visas before departure.
DO I NEED TO HAVE ANY VACCINATIONS?
• We advise you to consult your personal doctor or a travel clinic, as to what vaccinations are necessary before travelling to India – for the most up-to-date recommendations.
• The yellow fever inoculation is not necessary to get into India.
• Travel clinics usually recommend: Hepatitis A, Diphtheria, Typhoid and boosters for Tetanus and Polio.
• If you are entering a malaria area, please advise your consulting medical professional and they will advise you of the various options.
• Detailed health advice for various countries is available at the links below:
www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk, www.masta.org, www.nathnac.org, www.sastm.org.za
DO I NEED TO BRING ANY MEDICINE WITH ME?
• Although most hotels are equipped with a First Aid kit and have medical staff on call, we suggest that you bring basic personal articles, such as: plasters, travel sickness tablets, antiseptic cream, antihistamine cream, pain-relieving tablets, indigestion tablets, eye drops, medication for upset stomachs, sunscreen and after-sun moisturiser.
• We remind travellers who have any allergies such as insect stings, or any pre-existing conditions requiring medication, to pack the relevant medication.
DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?
• We view it as imperative and strongly recommend that guests take out comprehensive travel insurance: covering for personal effects, personal accident, medical and emergency travel expenses, cancellation and curtailment.
• Most insurance offered by credit cards does not provide sufficient cover – please check before you travel that you are fully covered.
WHAT IS THE LOCAL TIME?
• India is 5 1/2 hours ahead of GMT
WHAT IS THE DOMESTIC FLIGHT WEIGHT LIMIT?
• 15kg to 20kg weight restrictions for Economy class, depending on the airline
• 25kg to 30kg weight restrictions for Business class, depending on the airline
• Most airlines charge approx. INR250 per kg overweight
• Check in is a minimum of 1 hour before domestic flights and a minimum of 2 hours before international flights
• Please note that domestic flights are sometimes delayed
WILL I GET DELHI BELLY?
If you follow a few basic tips while in India, it will be unlikely that you will get a stomach bug (colloquially dubbed Delhi Belly). The most common cause is eating fresh fruit and vegetables that have been transported long distances. We advise the following:
• Avoid salads, uncooked vegetables and fruit (unless you peel or wash them yourself) even in 5-star hotels.
• Drink only bottled water (from sealed bottles). Sometimes ice can be made from tap water, avoid where possible, or ask first.
• Indian food is diverse, complex and exciting. In most restaurants, you can request less spice or chili.
• Wash your hands before and after eating.
• Avoid roadside/ street food if you have a sensitive stomach.
• If you do get sick, we recommend taking a prescribed antibiotic from your doctor. Drink plenty of fluids and electrolyte salts.
WHAT SHOULD I WEAR IN INDIA?
• In the larger cities and areas where there are lots of tourists (Goa, Kerala, Agra), you can generally dress less conservatively. For women, baring your shoulders and knees is okay but not much more than that.
• Bathing suits are acceptable at the beach.
• In small villages, holy sites and any destination outside the cities, dress conservatively. No shorts or short skirts. Keep your shoulders and knees covered.
• Avoid white clothes because of dust and dirt in some areas.
IS INDIA SAFE?
When you travel with Timeless India Journeys, you will be accompanied by your driver, guide or city representative at most times. Even though India is generally a safe place, it is always wise to take precautions and be alert when travelling. All hotel rooms have secure locks and safes. For air and train travel, we advise that your bag be securely locked. A useful travel tip is to carry a photocopy of your documentation: passport, visa and tickets and the serial numbers of your Traveller’s Cheques, in a separate bag.
DO I NEED ADAPTERS/ CONVERTERS FOR ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES?
• The local voltage is 220 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second.
• If you’re coming from countries with 230 Volt appliances (RSA, Australia, Europe, UK), you will only require a plug adapter.
• If you wish to use any electronic devices from the US, or any country with 110 Volt appliances, you’ll need a voltage converter and plug adapter.
IS THERE A LOT OF BEGGING IN INDIA?
Sadly, despite the rapid development in recent years, poverty is still a significant problem in India. Begging prevails in touristy areas, including historical monuments, stations, religious and spiritual sites, and shopping destinations. In big cities, beggars are often at major traffic intersections as well. We recommend that you give some advance thought as to how to react to begging in India. The sight of people in such poverty, some often severely disabled, can be distressing for visitors and the beggars can be quite persistent. There are many charity organisations that are tackling the problem as a whole and some visitors choose to make contributions to formal organisations rather than individuals.
HOW DO I GET AROUND INDIA?
By road: The best way to see India is by road, which provides opportunities to stop, engage and interact with local people as you journey through cities, towns, villages and rural landscapes.
• Travel averages around 40km/hr and we minimise travel to no more than 6 hours driving in any one day, unless it is unavoidable.
• Your pace of travel is best not to be rushed as we believe that you will see far more by taking the time to properly explore India.
• Our professional drivers are always available to assist you. (Please note that it is usual for drivers to sleep in the car. They get an overnight allowance but most often choose to sleep in the vehicle rather than take a room as they feel it is good security for the vehicle.)
• Most travel in India runs smoothly and with a minimum of hassle and a lot of fun. In the unlikely event of problems occurring, our drivers have quick access to communication with any of our offices to solve any unforeseen issues and allow you to relax and enjoy your holiday.
By air: There are regular flights between all the major places of interest, which allows you to explore distant parts of the country in a shorter timeframe – easily and affordably.
By rail: Train travel is another wonderful option for part of your journey through the country: from the famous Nilgiri mountain railway in Tamil Nadu to the Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan, there is a diversity of rail options.