India Standard Time is 5.5 hours (5 hours 30 minutes) ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+5.5). The time difference with the French speaking countries (France, Switzerlandand Belgium) is + 4:30 hours during the winter, from November to March and + 3:30 hours in summer, from April to October. The time difference with Canada is + 10:30 + 9:30 winter and summer respectively.
Local Opening Times
The opening hours of shops varies from one region to another, but most of them open around 10:00 and close at 19:00 every day except Sunday. Banks are generally open Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00 and on Saturday from 10:00 to 12:00.
During the holidays, monuments are usually closed, except for religious monuments.
Generally the voltage in India is 220 volts. The electricity outlets are generally European style, but for some less modern hotels it is advised to bring an adapter. In India, power cuts are still frequent in selected cities and remote villages.
Equipment and personal belongings
Kindly refer to the Checklist page, in order to know all that you could carry in your bag.
Post and Communication
Indian Postal Service: While this may seem surprising at first, India Post is generally effective.
For international shipments, it takes a minimum of 10 days, standard shipment to Europe. Regarding the opening hours of post offices varies from city to city. The opening and closing hours of the offices are usually 08:30 or 9:00 am to 5:30 or 6pm.
Telephone: For calling India, you have to dial 0091 (India’s county code) + code of the state without the first 0 + local number of your correspondent.
From India to UK, dial 0044 (UK country code) + local phone number (without dialling 0).
GSM coverage: Before you visit India, you might want to ask your service operator to do the necessary for better connectivity. This will allow you to receive calls or make calls from your country to India and vice versa.
It is best to use the STD ISD shops that are found everywhere in Leh and in most villages in the Indus Valley. However, it is impossible to call from the Rupshu or Zanskar. In hotels you will have to pay more taxes, sometimes higher!
Internet: Internet access is available in major cities. But there are chances that connections are slow and power failures frequently occur in the moutains.
The currency of India is the rupee divided into 100 paise. The Indian rupee is different from the Nepalese rupee, and it is forbidden for a non-Indian to transport Indian rupees towards Nepal and vice-versa.
Currency : INR 1 INR = 0,017 Euro
Rate of Exchange :
Currency exists in divisions of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000. Make sure you carry pounds/dollars, travelers cheques and cash when you come to India. As for the bank notes that you take, make sure they are in very good condition: Indians do not accept damaged banknotes.
You can change your currency at airports, but rather change them in hotels where rates are often more interesting. On the contrary it is best to avoid changing your money in banks: there are very long queues and the opening hours are unreliable
For your payments, credit cards are accepted in major hotels and most shops and stores: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Dinner’s Club. Keep at least one exchange slip to convert your rupees on leaving India.
You can also withdraw cash with your credit card (ATMs) in most Indian cities and even in Leh-Ladakh!
BASIC RULES OF HYGIENE
Wash your hands regularly, and specifically before meals because you may be asked to eat with your hands. We recommend that you carry hand sanitizers in your luggage that can be a substitute to antimicrobial solutions without rinsing. Also make sure of a good personal hygiene and care of skin wounds to avoid any kind of infection. Do not drink tap water because it is not drinkable. It can be drunk after boiling for 30 minutes and then filtered.
If the roadside vendors don’t look clean, do not consume drinks such as fruit juices or “lassis”. Meat and fish / shellfish should be thoroughly cookedbefore being eaten, and raw vegetables preferably washed with drinking water.
Vaccinations aren’t compulsory before leaving to Ladakh, although some are recommended. For more information, visit French government site for travel tips
In Ladakh, there is no risk of diseases transmitted by mosquitoes such as malaria, Chikungunya or Dengue. If you are traveling elsewhere in India, to prevent these diseases, use of personal protective repellent such as sprays, creams etc. are strongly recommended.
ACUTE MOUNTAIN SICKNESS
Trekking in the Himalayan states such as Ladakh necessitates equipment, physical preparation and the observance of strict rules. One should be aware of the fact that for a trek to be successful, it should be a hiking trip in the hills and not a sports endeavour from which one comes back completely exhausted. For information about acute mountain sickness, thank you refer to our suggestion/advice guide.
In restaurants, hotels or guest houses, tips tend to be general and are about 10% of the amount payable.
With travel and adventure trekking, the accompanying staff consists of several people (guide, cook, porters, boatmen, drivers…). Depending on the number of participants, provide for all the accompanying staff. There is a hierarchy to follow, in general the guide takes 50%, the cook 30% and the porters 20% :
Of course, this is not a fixed rule. Everyone is free to do as they please.