Nothing to worry about. If you choose three classes of one particular craft and then find it really isn’t for you, we will happily make changes for you providing we can accommodate your alternate preference. One way or another, we will work something out to ensure you get the most from your holiday with us 🙂
Food – we will provide a list of recommended restaurants with your travel documents. These are tried and true places that we can recommend from experience as places that have good food and good hygiene standards.
Generally food in India is spicy, but it is possible to order Indian food that is not overly spicy. You just have to remember that to a local, a little spicy may be more spicy than it means to you, so we suggest you err on the side of caution for the first few days until you can gauge for yourself how spicy you want your food to be!
There are ample restaurants that serve Western style food for those not wanting to eat Indian food for every meal.
Drink – First rule – do not drink the tap water! Bottled water will be provided when you are at your workshop, or out on a day tour. If you want to reduce the amount of plastic you use, you can bring a refillable bottle from home, or even buy one when you arrive. Bottled water is available everywhere. Any of the restaurants we recommend will serve filtered water which is safe to drink also. Best thing is, if in doubt, always ask first. No matter what time of the year you come to India, it is imperative to stay hydrated so expect to drink lots of water. Our favourite thing is to have a tender coconut at every opportunity, or at least once a day. They are available everywhere, on almost every corner and have lots of natural electrolytes to keep you hydrated, not to mention tasting great.
Alcohol – Bangalore is a big, cosmopolitan city and as such bars and clubs are easy to find. Mysore is a smaller, more conservative city, so the options are less. In saying this, we will give you a list of places you can go for a drink if you would like to, but Mysore doesn’t really have much of a nightlife to speak of! There are a few restaurants that serve alcohol if you like a drink with your dinner, but in general most don’t. Of course, any major hotel will have a bar, and also serve drinks in their restaurants. We have some favourite places we’ll let you know about in your travel documents.
As with most destinations, you will be given an arrival card to complete on your inbound flight. Please ensure you have the name of the hotel and address as provided in your travel documents on hand as you will need this to complete this form. They also ask for a contact person here in India, which is also provided in your travel documents.
When you proceed to collect your luggage, you will no doubt be approached by someone to assist you. They will require payment, and more than likely charge you more than they would charge a local! Free luggage carts are available.
Duty free on arrival in Bangalore is quite limited so don’t expect a huge shopping experience. The usual alcohol, cigarettes and perfumes are certainly available and duty free is charged in USD.
I have arrived in Bangalore 10 times or more and have always cleared Immigration relatively quickly. They will take a photo of you on arrival and some of your fingerprints. This is standard procedure so don’t be alarmed. Of course they’ll want to see you visa too.
Anyone travelling on an e-tourist visa look out for the counter as soon as you come into the Immigration area as they have a separate counter for e-tourist visa holders.
We recommend purchasing a local SIM card which we will help you arrange on arrival in Mysore. If you decide to stay in Bangalore for sometime before coming to Mysore, our representative in Bangalore will assist you. It is inexpensive for local calls/sms/data, so unless your provider at home can offer you a great Global Roaming deal this is the way to go. Our preferred provider in India is Airtel and they will issue a “Tourist Prepaid SIM” valid for 30 days. Recharge is readily available.
For calling home, we recommend downloading an app such as Whatsapp or Viber. Whatsapp is very popular in India, so the one we recommend most as it’s useful if you wish to communicate with any of the locals you meet. Make sure you get those you want to be in touch with at home to download it too!
You will have free WiFi available at your accommodation. Some restaurants offer free WiFi, but rather than rely on that, if you really want to be connected (and have access to Google Maps which is a huge help for the modern day traveller!) we recommend purchasing some data on your local SIM card for back up when WiFi is not available.
We are often asked if tipping is customary in India.
The general rule of thumb is:
Restaurants – it is customary to tip 10%
Auto drivers/Taxi Drivers/Uber – rounding up is ok if just short trip. If you have a driver for a half day, or full day, then we would recommend tipping more – starting from INR100 or so, and more if they’ve been really helpful and pleasant. It really is up to you as tipping is not compulsory.
Guides – while we ensure that all our guides are paid a fair wage, everyone likes to be recognised for their work, so if you feel they did a great job you can guarantee a tip will be most welcome. Anything starting around INR100 depending on the tour. If it is one of our short 1.5-2 hours, INR100 would be acceptable. If you are thinking of tipping someone, for example your Tour Director, who has been with you every day, then at the end of your stay you could consider something a little more generous if you feel they have earned it.
Artisans – while we believe most people will welcome a tip, something else to consider when thinking of tipping your artisans, is to buy some of their wares from them instead. This is a great way to show your appreciation of their art. Or, of course you could do both!
If unsure when you are on tour, please don’t hesitate to ask us.
India uses both two and a three round pin plugs and the power supply is 220-240v. Three pin plugs are common in hotels, but if you are travelling extensively in India, you may come across some power points that will only take the two pin variety.
We recommend you bring an adaptor along with you. There are lots of adaptors available, and with the number of electronic devices we carry these days, one with multiple USB connections is a great idea and the most compact option. You can also get one that comes with several plugs so that you can change it from a two pin to a three pin if needed.
We suggest check your local travel supply store.