You are here:
Health & Well-Being
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In planning and preparing for your holiday to India and the sub-continent you will undoubtedly have questions. Here we have listed some questions that are asked regularly. Please also read the website pages covering Tailor-Made Holidays, Accommodation, Responsible Tourism and Financial Security.
Should you have other questions please send them to us via the Contact Us page, and we will answer you directly.
- Do I need a passport?
Yes, all foreign nationals visiting India and the sub-continent require a current passport that is valid for at least 6 months after your proposed entry date.
- Do I require a visa?
All foreign nationals require a visa to visit India and Nepal. Visa’s for Sri Lanka and the Maldives are issued at the port of entry. Visas for Bhutan are applied for prior to arrival through your tour operator. Visa confirmation documents are sent to you. These you present to immigration on arrival, and your visa is issued at that time. (See below for more details).
- Who applies for my visa?
It is your responsibility to obtain the appropriate visa. For India and Nepal you make the application. For Bhutan we assist.
- How do I apply for my visa?
1. India: In the UK an India visa is applied for through V F Services – All information about visa application from - http://in.vsglobal.co.uk.
2. Nepal: Visas are applied for through the Nepal Embassy in London. You can obtain information from – www.nepalembassy.org.uk.
3. Bhutan: Visas are issued to visitors booked with an approved Bhutanese tour operator. We will assist you in making application.
4. Sri Lanka: British and EU citizens do not require a tourist visa in advance of arrival for stays of 30 days or less. A visa will be issued free of charge, for a 30 day stay, on arrival at the point of entry.
5. Maldives: Visas are issued on arrival at the port of entry. You must have a valid passport, a valid return air ticket and a minimum of US$ 30.00 per day or a confirmed hotel reservation for the intended stay.
- How long does it take?
Please contact V S Services for India and the Nepal Embassy for Nepal (see website addresses above) to establish the time needed to process a visa application. For Bhutan we make application for you with the local tour operator after you make your booking. For Sri Lanka and The Maldives visas are issued at the point of entry.
When to Travel Where
- When is the best time to visit the sub-continent?
The answer depends on where you are going. Here is a summary for the different destinations within the sub-continent.
Lowland North India: End September to early April. However, mid-October to mid-March are more reliable for dry heat and moderate temperatures. In January and February the evenings can be cool with fog in the mornings.
Highland North India: April through September for the Himalayan foothills. The season for Ladakh is between July and September.
South India: October through April. Being further south temperatures are a little higher than in the north, as is the humidity.
Nepal: The season for cultural tours and trekking holidays is September to May. However, September to November is the best time with very pleasant weather and fine, clear mountain views. December to February the weather is cooler with cold nights and mornings. March to May is the time for blossom and spring flowers with moderate temperatures and low humidity. There can be some cloud cover over the high mountains.
Bhutan: The most popular times to visit are between March and May and between September and November. During the latter period it is warmer and the skies are clearer following the monsoon. Also many of the most dramatic festivals take place during these months.
Maldives: The Maldive Islands are tropical and you can visit at any time of year. There are two monsoon seasons, between July and August and between November and March. However, showers usually only last between half an hour to two hours and are normally followed by sunshine. The best and most popular time to visit is between November and April.
- Why travel to India during the monsoon season (June, July, August)?
There are 3 answers to this:
1. It is a good time to visit the foothills and mountainous areas in the north. The weather is cooler and less humid than in lowland India. It is the only time to visit Ladakh, when the snows have receded, roads are passable and flight operation is more dependable.
2. It is the only time that you can travel.
3. Hotel and transport prices are generally lower.
Making a Booking
- What is the booking process?
- How far in advance to I need to book my holiday?
There is no specific period, but the further ahead of your departure date that you make your booking the more likely it is that we can secure all the requisite accommodation and transport you have specified. This is particularly important for the Christmas and New Year period.
- Which airlines do you work with?
International: Whether economy, business or first class we have competitive fares with most major airlines flying to the sub-continent. These include British Airways, Air France, Air India, Emirates, Gulf, Jet Airways, KLM, Kingfisher, Virgin and many more.
We can provide flights from originating in the UK. If travelling from another point of origin our clients usually arrange their own international flights.
Domestic: We represent all domestic airlines within the sub-continent and will arrange your flights as part of the itinerary transport.
- Do I need vaccinations?
There are no mandatory requirements for vaccinations, except for yellow fever if you have visited an infected area with the previous 10 days. However there are recommended vaccinations. For the latest information please consult your doctor or a travel vaccination centre.
- What about Malaria?
It is generally recommended that you take a Malaria prophylactic. The recommendation may vary depending on the part of the sub-continent and time of year you are visiting. For the latest information please consult your doctor or a travel vaccination centre.
- What clothing should I take?
This will depend on where your itinerary takes you and when, because weather conditions vary broadly. Mysteries of India provide a suggested clothing list with the pre-departure information pack that is sent to you 8 weeks prior to your departure.
- What will the airline baggage allowance be?
This will vary from airline to airline and depend on the class of travel you have booked. You should check with the airline or booking agent. However, if your itinerary includes domestic flights within the sub-continent the allowance for these will be 20 Kg. In that case it will be best to plan your packing around a 20 Kg allowance, plus hand luggage.
- What is the Currency?
• India: The currency is Indian Rupees (INR). You cannot import or export Rupees. They must be obtained after arrival in the country and a surplus can be exchanged for hard currency on departure.
• Nepal: The currency is the Nepalese Rupee (NRS). You can obtain Rupees from banks, ATM machines, hotels and official exchange shops within Nepal.
• Sri Lanka: The currency is the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR).You can obtain rupees from banks and hotels. The maximum import/export allowance for rupees is 1,000.
• Bhutan: The currency is the Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN).This is pegged to the Indian Rupee at 1:1, and the Indian Rupee can often be used as currency in Bhutan. There are only bank notes, no coins. You can obtain Ngultrum at a bank exchange counter.
• Maldives: The currency is the Rufiyaa (RF). You can obtain Rufiyaa before arriving in the Maldives. Your hotel will exchange Rufiyaa and will also usually accept payment in hard currency (GBP, USD, Euro etc.) and accept credit cards.
- What hard currency should I bring?
The most widely accepted are US Dollars, UK Pounds and Euros.
- How can we pay Mysteries of India?
Mysteries of India accept payment in UK Pounds, US Dollars and Euros. You can pay by bank transfer, debit card and credit card. (Please note that a charge is made for paying by credit card).
- Are credit cards accepted?
Credit cards are accepted in many places in India, Nepal and the Maldives. Bhutan is the exception and although this is likely to change please expect to make payments in cash. Please note that a charge is often made for using credit cards, so ask before you commit to paying by credit card.
Food & Drink
- Is the water safe to drink?
The recommendation is to only drink bottled water, and to check that the seal is still in place before opening the bottle.
- Is alcohol available?
Alcoholic beverages are available in many places. The choice normally includes larger beer, spirits and wine made in India. Imported spirits are often available in top hotels and restaurants but are heavily taxed. There are some dry or restricted areas, like Kerala, where not all hotels and restaurants hold a license to serve alcohol. We can advise on this when you are planning your holiday.
- Do I need travel insurance?
You must be adequately insured to cover your individual needs, including personal and repatriation cover. Mysteries of India can only accept your booking on the basis that you will be adequately insured.