Every week, I speak to several foreign nationals who want to trek in the Indian Himalayas. They ask me quite a few questions related to travel, food and currency. As a foreign national, you might have the same questions. To answer them, I have put down some useful points. They will surely help you plan your trek better.
The documents you require
- If you’re a foreign national entering India, please ensure you possess a valid international travel document in the form of a national passport with a valid visa from an Indian Mission or Post abroad.
- There are two types of tourist visa that you can apply for:-
> Regular tourist visa through India Mission ( validity of 6 months)
> E- tourist visa, which is an online Visa portal (valid for 30 days)
E- visa ( your best option )
- You can apply for the E-tourist visa even 4-5 days prior to your arrival in India.
- The E-tourist Visa is granted electronically and your bio metric will be done once you arrive at the designated airports.
- Visit the following link to access the portal for the E-tourist visa: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html
- The portal has all the information required along with a helpline number, which you can phone in case you need more assistance.
For most treks, Indiahikes organises transport to the base camp from a pick-up point. These pick-up points are centrally located. They are usually busy train stations or airports that are easy to access. Any trek that you choose will have detailed instructions on how to get to the base camp. Here’s an example. Most of them involve travelling by train or bus.
Train travel within India and how Indiahikes can help
- Booking a train in India is a cumbersome process for foreign nationals. To help you out, Indiahikes will take care of your train ticket booking.
- The cost for the ticket have to be borne by you. You pay the amount to Indiahikes through a credit card.
- To make it easier for us to book your train tickets, please mention your dates of arrival and departure clearly in an email. Please do this after you register and confirm your trek participation.
- The train ticket we book will only be for the journey up to the pick up point mentioned in the trek itinenary, as well as return.
Bus travel within India
- It is quite easy to book a bus ticket in India. It can be done from anywhere in the world.
- There are multiple websites and mobile applications to book bus tickets. A popular website that we recommend is Redbus.
- If you need any other information regarding how to book bus tickets, you can always call or email us.
Using international credit cards in India
Please note that in most places around your trek itinerary, foreign credit cards will not be accepted. You have two options.
- Carry Indian rupees in cash. This will be your best option.
- Request your bank to make your credit card internationally acceptable.
A note about food served on Indiahikes treks
We serve typical North Indian cuisine on our treks. If any of the dishes appear to be spicy, you can request our cooks to change it slightly and they’ll be more than happy to help you. If you have any food allergies or health issues, please inform us beforehand so that we can tweak our menu accordingly. Here are a few examples of the dishes that are usually served on our treks:
Breakfast – Cold sandwich, Boiled Eggs, Rice based dishes, Corn flakes, Milk, Tea and Coffee.
Lunch – Rice, Indian Bread (Roti), Pulse curry (such as Dal or Rajma), Papad, Indian pickle, Boiled vegetables.
Snacks – Indian Fritters/Noodles/Momos along with Soup and Tea.
Dinner – Indian Bread(Roti), Vegetable curry, Rice, Pulse curry, Dessert (sweet dishes such as Halwa).
The menu mentioned above is very generic. The food that is served changes according to the trek and time of the year. Most trekkers believe that the food we serve is finger-licking good! I’m sure you’ll feel the same way about it.
Do write to me if you have any queries on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you think your question is something that other foreign nationals may have, type it in the comments below so other trekkers can find it useful as well. I’ll respond immediately.