FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Our FAQs has answer to 68 questions which are frequently asked about our tours. Going through of them will give you pretty good idea of what / where / when / how of our tours.
Click on the Questions in the Index to see their Answers
1. My companion is not as enthusiastic about riding as I am - any solutions? 2. Can I ride my own motorcycle on the tour? 3. Do I need to rent a bike to tour with ABoriginal Tours? 4. Are there any restrictions to participate in your tour? 5. How fit do I need to be ? 6. Do I need a motorcycle rider`s license to participate in your tou r? 7. What other documents will I need? 8. Can I join as a pillion rider? 9. Are the seats comfortable enough for riders/pillions? 10. Can a pillion travel in a support vehicle during the tour? 11. Can a rider travel in the support vehicle during the tour? 12. Can my friends or family (non-riders) join me on the tour? 13. Can a person new to motorcycle riding participate in your tours? 14. Do I get time to get accustomed to the motorcycle & riding condi tions? 15. Is riding a motorcycle in India any different? 16. How much risk is involved? 17. Are there any possibilities of these tours getting disrupted? 18. What if there is a medical emergency? 19. What kind of medical or travel Insurance will I need? 20. What about Motorcycle insurance? 21. What if there`s only normal wear & tear of the motorcycle? 22. Which motorcycle will I be riding during the tour? 23. How do I make friends & influence people? 24. How is the weather along the touring route I have chosen? 25. What kind of clothes should I bring? 26. What kind of riding & safety gears I need? 27. Do I have to wear a helmet? 28. Do I need to bring bike saddlebags or panniers? 29. Who will be my tour guide? 30. How many participants will/can there be in a group? 31. Do we ride on every day of the tour? 32. Are all Itineraries "fixed"? 33. How much distance do we have to ride every day? 34. How fast will we be riding? 35. Do you provide transportation for local sight-seeing? 36. What is the type of accommodation you provide? 37. Will I have to share a room? 38. What is High Altitude Illness? 39. Does "ABoriginal Tours" arrange airport transfers? 40. Why does it take 1 million sperm to fertilize one egg? 41. Is international airfare included in the tour price? 42. Do you assist in bookings for extended stay, before/after ? 43. Where do the tours "start" and "end"? 44. When/How should I book my tour? 45. Why are the first two letters in "ABoriginal" spelt in capitals? 46. Will services like internet available throughout the tours? 47. Is electricity available even in the remotest of areas? 48. How long is the duration of your tours? 49. Can you arrange customized or private group tours? 50. Will I need vaccination? 51. What`s the best way to keep milk fresh? 52. Is food included in the price? 53. Why are all meals not included in the trip? 54. What about drinking water? 55. Should I bring a hydration pack/water carrier? 56. What expenses/services are included/not included in the tour pri ce? 57. Can I bring Indian currency to India? 58. What about facilities along the road? 59. Can I use the bike independently of the group? 60. How much luggage can I bring? 61. Do I need Rain Gear? 62. Do I need to bring a sleeping bag? 63. Do I need gloves? 64. During the ride, can I stop to take pictures? 65. How much spending money will I need? 66. Should I bring anything else out from my country? 67. Do you have an office apart from your "registered" place of busi ness? 68. I cannot find answers to some of my questions. What shall I do?
1. My co-rider is not as enthusiastic about riding as I am - any solutions? Our support vehicles follow the group during the tours. If your partner prefers, he or she can join our tour as a passenger in one of these vehicles which range from a SUV to mini-bus. This option is as enjoyable as touring by car and allows both the rider and his or her partner to enjoy the tour and absorb the scenery in comfort. In addition to the great riding on these tours, there are many things to do and places to enjoy. 2. Can I ride my own motorcycle on the tour? ABoriginal Tours does not allow "own motorcycles" on the tours. Also, please note that motorcycle riding on our "organized tours" is done in a sort of "convoy" formation between the ride leader in the front and back-up vehicle(s) with support crew at the rear (as sweeper). No independent riding is allowed during the tour. 3. Do I need to rent a bike to tour with ABoriginal Tours? No. ABoriginal Tours provides motorcycles on the tour, the rent for which is included in the price of the tour. Infact, if you compare our tour prices with others you'll find that the motorcycles are coming virtually free ! 4. Are there any restrictions to participate in your tour? For the Himalayan Tours, please read the "Important Advisory" on theHimalayan Toursweb page. To participate as a rider an individual has to be equal or above the age of 18 years at the time of the tour, holding valid full motorcycle driving license authorizing him/her to ride a 500cc motorcycle, in reasonable health and with at least 3-4 years of any kind of motorcycle riding experience. To participate as a co-rider on the pillion an individual has to be equal or above the age of 12 years at the time of the tour, in reasonable health and with at least some motorcycle co-riding experience. To participate as a passenger in the support vehicle an individual has to be equal or above the age of 05 years at the time of the tour and in reasonable health. (minors will need authorization of adult/guardians). 5. How fit do I need to be ? Reasonably fit. In our opinion if you can go about your daily life (like climbing two flights of stairs) without getting out of breath then you're "reasonably fit". Consult your doctor in case you have any existing medical condition which can hamper a persons ability to participate in an adventure activity before joining the tour. Touring in the Himalayas involves being at very high altitudes and Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can occur in few cases. For the Himalayan Tours, please read the "Important Advisory" on theHimalayan Toursweb page. Touring through Rajasthan presents no such difficulties. 6. Do I need a motorcycle rider's license to participate in your tour? Yes, a valid full motorcycle driver license (authorising you to ride a 500cc motorcycle) and international riding permit are mandatory for riders to take part in our tours; however, they are not required for the co-rider on the pillion or passengers travelling in support vehicles. Also, make sure you obtain the International Driving Permit (IDP) from your country of citizenship since it is not issued to foreigners in India. In due course, you'll require to obtain a travel insurance which covers you for riding a 500cc motorcycle in India, before joining the tour. 7. What other documents will I need? Passport (valid for at least 6 months past the intended period of stay in India). Indian Tourist Visa: Citizens of several countries are now eligible for a e-Tourist Visa which can be obtained online. It is a single entry visa valid for 30 days stay. It should be obtained online before travelling to India. It can be applied for as late as 1 week before intended date of arrival in India (processing time: generally 36-48 hours). (Click here to go to Visa website) However, we suggest that you do not leave this for the last week ! Travel insurance: Should cover you for riding of 500cc motorcycle in India for leisure. 8. Can I join as a pillion rider? We only accept Pillion riders along with a rider. It means if you are an individual looking to join our tour as a co-rider on the pillion you'll need to have a "rider" on our tour who agrees to take you as a pillion. Riders who agree to take a pillion with them should be confident of handling the extra weight (specially on the Himalayan tours) which is actually easier to do on our guided tours since the luggage is being hauled by the support vehicle. For those who want to join the tour but not to ride, it is possible to book a place in a support vehicle as a passenger. 9. Are the seats on the Royal Enfields comfortable enough for riders/pillions? Based on customer feedback, we've had both opinions. Most have found the seats completely fine. But there have been some cases where the riders/pillions felt varying degrees of discomfort on long days. However, there is no doubt in the fact that you will be better off with some kind of "motorcycle seat pads/cushions" like the "AIRHAWK". You need not buy an AIR HAWK seat just for a tour with us as we can provide these for a very reasonable rent for the duration of your tour. 10. If required, can a pillion travel in a support vehicle during the tour? Yes, pillions are most welcome to use the support vehicle. However, it is not possible to accommodate all pillions in the support vehicles at the same time so it is done on a rotational basis. 11. Can a rider travel in the support vehicle during the tour? No. The main purpose of support vehicles is to carry the luggage, gear, support staff and a few accompanying passengers and pillions. Priority shall be given to a participant with an emergency; e.g. sudden and severe illness, road accident, bike breakdown etc. 12. Can my friends or family members (non-riders) join me on the tour? If you want your friends/family to accompany you on the tour, they can reserve a place on the tour as passengers in the support vehicle. However, we urge you to book them on the tour at the time of your booking otherwise we might not be able to offer this facility at a later stage when the available seats are already taken. 13. Can a person new to motorcycle riding participate in your tours? For the Himalayan Tours, please read the "Important Advisory" on theHimalayan Toursweb page. We would prefer if you had at least 3 years of motorcycle riding experience. However, if you are confident enough of your ability to handle a 190 kg bike on Indian roads we will not turn you down even if you had less. Having said that, you need to remember that if you decide at a later stage to opt out of the tour there will be no refund and we might not even be able to accommodate you as a pillion or passenger at that stage. 14. Do I get time to get accustomed to the motorcycle & riding conditions? At ABoriginal Tours we have kept aside half a day at the start of the tour for just that. Our experienced ride leader & support staff will take you on a familiarisation ride on this day before we depart on the actual tour the next day. A 2-3 hour ride later you’d have quite familiarized with the controls and other aspects of riding the motorcycle in Indian conditions. 15. Is riding a motorcycle in India any different? Yes, there are certain factors which make it quite different from other places specially the "west". Firstly, remember that one rides on the left side in India and if you come from a country where the opposite is true then you'll need to get acquainted to it. Secondly, road conditions can be classified anywhere from "ordinary" to "nasty" specially in the higher Himalayas where it's a constant tussle between the road builders and the forces of nature. But that doesn't deter an adventurer looking for the thrills of riding. Thirdly, other riders on the road are a nuisance since traffic laws are lax and most people learn their driving "on the road" with hardly any or no professional training. You'll be learning the "Indian" way of handling that too. 16. How much risk is involved? Needless to say, Motorcycle riding comes with its risks no matter which part of the world you are riding. In fact, any adventure activity has its elements of "danger" but that's what makes it an adventure activity in the first place. Calculating the "risk" involved is quite difficult as it is very subjective. The higher Himalayas is one of the most difficult terrains a motorcyclist will ever come across but "an experience of a lifetime" doesn't come without its "highs". Riding in Rajasthan is relatively easy when compared to the Himalayas. However, tackling big city traffic in India has its own "kicks"! 17. Are there any possibilities of these tours getting disrupted? Yes, although we prepare for almost every contingency with utmost care, certain factors can cause "delays", disruptions and possibly cancellations as well. On the Himalayan (Spiti-Ladakh) tours weather is the biggest adversary and unexpected events (like landslides & road maintenance works) can spoil the best laid plans. Even though we eat & stay at hotels/camps most of the nights during the tour, leaving nothing to chance, we carry high altitude camping gear, fuels, rations & provisions for the entire group to last at least 07 days (just in case). On the Rajasthan tours, since we cross bigger towns & cities, events like "strikes", public protests and political unrest can cause unexpected disruptions to our intended itineraries. Wherever possible, we make every effort to "foresee" & "by-pass" any disruptions but that requires "divine" help among other things hence a flexible attitude is a very essential virtue to carry along on such tours. Every morning of the tour, your ride leader will gather information regarding the "conditions" on the route ahead and take a decision accordingly. 18. What if there is a medical emergency? An adventure activity of any kind carries its risk with it and motorcycle journeys are no exception. A comprehensive medical & first aid kit (including bottled oxygen on the Himalayan yours), a ride leader who is certified in FIRST AID and loads of know-how help in minimizing the possibility of an adversity. However, for an emergency which requires hospital care, we have to rely on the nearest available medical facility in the region, under the circumstances. 19. What kind of medical or travel Insurance will I need? Adequate travel insurance is mandatory at least for the duration of your tour with us and is not included in the price of the tour. If you are a Rider (motorcycle operator) or Co-rider on the pillion the insurance must cover riding motorcycles of 500cc for leisure (not competition). Make sure your travel/holiday insurance also covers you against cancellation charges, unexpected curtailment of the holiday, emergency evacuation expenses, medical expenses arising overseas, loss or damage to luggage & property and personal liability claims against the participant. 20. What about Motorcycle insurance? Please note that, our motorcycles are fully insured for third party damage only. For damage to the motorcycle itself, a deductible deposit of INR 40,500 (maximum liability is set at INR 81,000) is required before the tour departs and will be refunded in full at the completion of the tour provided no damage has occurred to the motorcycle. In case you don't want to make this deposit in cash there is an option of filling & signing a credit card authorization form authorizing ABoriginal Tours to charge your card for any damage to the motorcycle. We also offer a damage waiver option (write to us for details). 21. What if there's only normal wear & tear of the motorcycle? It will be our greatest pleasure to return the entire deposit to you at the completion of your tour if there is only normal wear and tear of the motorcycle. But if there is damage to any part of the motorcycle or its appendages & accessories (including helmets) out of negligence or due to an accident/ fall, the price of repair and replacement part will be deducted from your deposit/or charged to your card. 22. Which motorcycle will I be riding during the tour? You will be riding a Royal Enfield Motorcycle, (apparently the best touring motorcycle available in India). We have an entire fleet of the New Classic 500 EFI model for our tours. Check out ourBikes & Crew page for more details. 23. How do I make friends & influence people? To make new friends - join our tour. To influence people - read the book. 24. How is the weather along the touring route I have chosen? Please visit theEssentialssection on our web site. 25. What kind of clothes should I bring? Please visit theEssentialssection on our web site. 26. What kind of riding & safety gears I need? Proper Protective Riding gear is a must; namely, riding shoes, riding gloves, Knee & Elbow guards (if your Riding jacket/pants do not already include them) & CE protective clothing. Please visit theEssentialssection on our web site. Since the Himalayan tours are certainly going to involve some "creek crossings", water-proof "high-ankle" riding boots provide the necessary protection as well as comfort. 27. Do I have to wear a helmet? Yes, we have a regulation that makes it mandatory for both the rider and pillion to wear helmets during the ride. We prefer & urge participants to bring their own helmets for the tour. 28. Do I need to bring bike saddlebags or panniers? No. We have a support vehicles for hauling your luggage. These vehicles follow the riders and aren't very far behind. However, if there are certain things you want to carry with you which you might need regularly during the ride, you are advised to bring a small back-pack to carry it (like packed lunch, water, rain-gear, wind-breaker, camera etc). 29. Who will be my tour guide? An experienced Ride Leader from ABoriginal Tours will be part of each tour, leading from the front on his own motorcycle. In most cases Atul himself leads the tours. Our ride guides are well versed in English, besides being familiar with the local language, culture, routes and conditions. Besides, ABoriginal Tours ride guides are certified in Emergency First-Aid . 30. How many participants will/can there be in a group? Our ability to organize affordable tours is dependent on numbers. However, we have to keep the numbers manageable (also considering the available resources & logistics of a region like the Himalayas). Therefore, normally, on our Fixed Departure Tours, we prefer min. 6 and max. 18 riders. 31. Do we ride on every day of the tour? Our tours have been carefully designed keeping about 30% "non-riding/ optional riding/ rest days" in a tour where we stay two consecutive nights in the same hotel. This provides an opportunity for rest, relaxation & local sight-seeing. Besides, since we cover relatively shorter distances on most "riding" days, an early start ensures that we are at the next destination in good time. In the Himalayas, bad weather & road blocks/landslides can disrupt our plans and to catch up with our original schedule sometimes you might have to ride longer & harder than the original plan. 32. Are all Itineraries "fixed"? There is no such thing as a "fixed" itinerary when you're touring a country like India that too on a motorcycle. Bad weather, landslides, damaged bridges and similar events beyond the control of the "mortals" can spoil any pre-planned itinerary specially in the Himalayas. Even events well within the control of "mortals" like strikes, political unrest and road blocks can cause their share of snags. Having a flexible attitude is very crucial on such tours. Yes, if everything stays normal then we make every effort to stick to the intended itinerary. 33. How much distance do we have to ride every day? On the Himalayan tours the average distance covered per "riding" day is between 120 to 130 kilometers with 14 riding days in a 21 day tour. On Rajasthan tours the average per day is 185-230 kms with 14 riding days in a 21 day tour. On certain days we might cover only 60 kms and on other days (usually one or two) we may exceed 280 kms per day. Please check the tour Itineraries page on our web site for information on the distances. However, please note that these averages are calculated on the assumption that there are no disruptions to the original plan and the tour progresses as per schedule. 34. How fast will we be riding? In our opinion, taking into account the road conditions in India, anything above 80 km/h could be "suicidal" irrespective of the kind of road. On the narrow single lane mountain routes even 50 km/h is swift. We run the tours at an optimum pace with respect to the terrain, traffic & road conditions. We completely discourage anybody wanting to achieve personal "milestones" pertaining to speed & time from joining our tours. We travel strictly in a convoy formation with ride leader in front and support vehicles in the rear. Our tours are done in a steady yet relaxed manner in the "spirit of camaraderie" which not only ensures safety but also gives ample time for rest, exploration and observation. Any rider who is found to be riding in a manner which seems "dangerous" to either himself or others in the tour will be excluded from the remainder of the tour with no refund. 35. Do you provide Transportation for Local sight-seeing on your tours? Transportation for local sight-seeing on the tours has been included only at selected locations & covering only the popular sights. On most days on which we aren't riding, we organize a sight-seeing tour of the popular places in the city. Sometimes its just a walking tour, sometimes by "tuk-tuks" & sometimes (in big cities) we arrange transport & driver (mini-van or mini-bus, according to the size of the group) and an English guide. 36. What is the type of accommodation you provide? Although we call ourselves a "Affordable Motorcycle Tour Operator", we have carefully selected some good Mid-range hotels at the destinations we visit on our tours. On our Rajasthan tours, many of our previous customers have argued that we have been very modest in our classification of some of these because in their opinion they should easily be classified as "luxury". However, in the Himalayas, at a few places (where options are virtually unavailable) we have to do with some basic accommodation. Accommodations vary widely, but are always the best we can find in the area for a reasonable price. In some places you may be staying in a comfortable & homely guest house set around a lovely garden/courtyard, in others, a basic tented camp. At some places where the location demands we pamper ourselves with some luxury. 37. Will I have to share a room? Not necessarily. Our regular tour prices are on "twin-sharing" basis in which case accommodation will be for 2 persons in a "twin-bedded" room. If you're coming alone for the tour, we'll do our best to bunk you in with an acceptable roommate (of the same sex). If you don't want to share a room, you may buy a single supplementAdd-on.However, if you're the last person to book a certain tour and opted for "twin-share", it's quite likely that you’ll have to take a room on your own and will therefore be liable for the single room supplement whether you wanted or not. In other words, book early or bring your own roommate with you. Or preferably both! We insist you specify any such requirement at the time of booking itself since room availability at many hotels we use is limited during the peak season and we have to book your accommodation some time in advance. 38. What is High Altitude Illness? Altitude illness afflicts healthy men and women who accent rapidly to a higher altitude. It covers a spectrum of illness from the unpleasant, but relatively benign acute mountain sickness (AMS), to the potentially life threatening high altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) and high altitude cerebral oedema (HACE). There are no specific factors such as age, sex, or physical condition that correlate with susceptibility to altitude sickness. Some people get it and some people don't, and some people are more susceptible than others. Most people can go up to 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) with minimal effect. If you haven't been to high altitude before, it's important to be cautious. If you have been at that altitude before with no problem, you can probably return to that altitude without problems as long as you are properly acclimatized. Symptoms of AMS include headache and one or more of dizziness or light headedness, insomnia, loss of appetite or nausea or vomiting and fatigue or weakness in the presence of a recent ascent to altitude. The correct action to take in case of developing AMS is to stay where you are and wait, then to descend if symptoms worsen or fail to improve. 39. Does "ABoriginal Tours" arrange airport transfers at the time of my arrival and departure? Yes, but only if you buy "Meet" & Greet and/or "Farewell"Add-on.Although our tours start and end in New Delhi, the airport/train station pickup and drop is NOT inclusive in the price of the tours. However, you can purchase an "Add-on" for hotel stay on arrival or departure at New Delhi which comes with airport/train station pick-up/drop facility. For details refer to our Add-ons section. 40. Why does it take 1 million sperm to fertilize one egg? They don't stop for directions. 41. Is international airfare included in the tour price on the web site? No, International airfare is NOT included in the price of the tours. We have found that most clients often prefer to arrange their own flights using frequent-flyer miles and are either extending their stay in India before or after the tours. Please note that all regional flights and any other transportation during a tour is included in the price. 42. Do you assist in bookings for extended stay, before or after the tour? Yes, but you need to inform us about your plans at the time of tour booking. ABoriginal Tours is essentially only a "Motorcycle Tour Operator" but we provide certain services which are ancillary to and facilitate the smooth progress of our tours. Such services are included in ourAdd-onssection (like Airport/train station pick-up & drop facility, hotel/guest house booking for stay before & after the tour etc.). Please check with us for the availability and price for these services. 43. Where do the tours "start" and "end"? Principally, the tours start & end in New Delhi, the capital of India. START - You will have to "turn up" at a conveniently assigned location (Railway station/Airport/Hotel in New Delhi) on "Day 1" of the tour which is considered the "commencement" of your tour, before embarking on a Train/Air/Car/MUV/bus journey as per the itinerary of the tour. END - On the last day of your tour you will be transferred to a conveniently assigned location in New Delhi by a Train/Air/Car/MUV/bus journey as per the itinerary of the tour which shall be considered the “end” of your tour. Incase you have purchased a "Meet & Greet" or "Farewell" Add-on you will be transported between the New Delhi Airport/Railway Station and Hotel/Guest House in New Delhi and vice versa (whichever is the case) by an air con Car/MUV. See the Add-ons section for details. 44. When/How should I book my tour? We start taking Booking applications for the tours 12 months prior to the departure date of each tour till about 4 weeks from date of departure (if places are still available). Send us an Email carefully specifying the tour opted & date of its commencement and we will dispatch an email to you with a Tour Registration Form. SeeContact Uspage for more details. 45. Why are the first two letters in "ABoriginal Tours" spelt in capitals? Atul Bhardwaj, along with his wife Shelja, is the owner/conductor of the outfit. The "AB" in ABoriginal Tours is the acronym for Atul Bhardwaj. Incidentally, so it is for "Absolutely Brilliant", "Alleviation of Boredom" and "Audaciously Bizarre"! Read moreAbout Us 46. Will services like Internet & laundry available throughout the tours? On the Rajasthan tours, such facilities are available at all hotels we stay. However, on the Himalayan Tours, on some days where we stay in camps, even basic telephone lines are not available. 47. Is electricity available even in the remotest of areas? It can't be guaranteed. In some places on the Himalayan tours there's no power or the supply is unreliable and power outages are likely. Thus, if it's vital you need electrical power every night, please speak to us before booking. Don't forget a travel adaptor if you need to recharge your electricals. Electric supply in India is 220-240 Volts, 50 Hz. To view plug types, visithttp://electricaloutlet.org/and scroll down the country list to "India". 48. How long is the duration of your tours? In terms of duration, our "fixed departure" tours (pre-designed itineraries) have 2 options. One is 2 weeks and the other 3 weeks. These are available for both Himalayan & Rajasthan regions. 49. Can you arrange customized or private group tours? Yes, we can create and lead custom private group tours by request. However, since our tour calendar is planned more than an year in advance, it is advisable to discuss / plan it with us well in advance so that your preferred dates do not clash with our fixed departure dates. Since we'll be doing such a tour in place of our "fixed departure", we require a min. group of 15 or more. Please book the tours well in advance. SeeCustomized Tourspage for more details. 50. Will I need vaccination? Yes. We advise you to immunize yourself against harmful diseases such as Hepatitis, Typhoid, Malaria, Rabies and Tetanus. There's a list of recommended vaccinations for travel to countries like India available on theEssential Infosection on this web site, however we suggest that you should consult your doctor for country specific advice as there are certain vaccines which are not mandatory if duration of stay is shorter than 1 month. 51. What's the best way to keep milk fresh? Leave it in the cow. 52. Is food included in the price? At all hotels/night stops your dinners & breakfasts will be inclusive. All lunches will have to be paid by you, including packed lunches on riding days (if required). 53. Why are all meals not included in the trip? We understand that local cuisine is an important component of a trip and everybody has different tastes. We have also found that our clients enjoy the spontaneity of discovering restaurants on their own. As a result, we decided to remove the lunches and provide transportation for local sight-seeing instead (owing to popular demand). 54. What about drinking water? In India, availability & reliability of drinking water through normal tap supply is uncertain. Therefore, for all foreign tourists we insist “packaged drinking water” of renowned brands such as Bisleri, Aquafina, Kinley etc which is widely available at most places. 55. Should I bring a hydration pack/water carrier? It is not essential but a suggested article in ourpacking list.Since a hydration pack serves both as a water carrier & a small day pack it will be handy during long drives. Filling up a 2/3 litre pack at the start of the day will ensure that you have enough water for the entire day since availability of "packaged drinking water" can be un-reliable during the ride (on the Himalayan tours). Reminds us of a sign board at a hotel which read - "The manager has personally passed all the water served here"! 56. What services/items/expenses are included/not included in the tour price? We have mentioned "What's Included" and "What's NOT included" sections at the end of the Itinerary section of each tour. 57. Can I bring Indian currency to India? Bringing Indian currency by any foreign national is prohibited. Therefore, we would advice you to bring currency of your respective country/domicile and get it exchanged into Indian Rupees (INR) here. You are authorised to bring foreign currency notes equivalent to USD 5000 (without declaration). If you are carrying debit/credit cards, please note that ATM's & other such facilities will only be available at major cities. Specially on the Himalayan tours, you are best advised to change enough money to last the tour at major cities like New Delhi, Shimla/Leh. You may check the current exchange rate athttp://www.xe.com. 58. What about "facilities" along the roads? In India, conveniences along the road like rest stops with "decent toilets facilities" are either non-existent or few and far between. Levels of cleanliness/hygiene also vary and will be mostly found below acceptable levels. At most stops, riders (Male or female) can "relieve themselves discreetly" in the bushes/wasteland/fields around the road (which is normal practice in India specially away from urban population). Sometimes, wherever possible, we try and make a stop at an "acceptable" restaurants mostly catering to the tourists, where we can use the facilities as well as have a quick cup of tea/coffee. Since such restaurants are hard to find (specially when its about lunch time), we carry refreshments like a small can of juice, energy bars, chips & cookies in the back-up vehicles so that we can enjoy a short break wherever convenient for us. On longer riding days, when we are certain to reach our destination way after lunch time, we suggest riders to get small packed lunches from the hotel (specially on the Himalayan tours). 59. Can I use the bike independently of the group (on the rest days)? No, you can't ride independently of the tour group. At some destinations we do the local sight-seeing on the bikes itself and wherever possible we make arrangements for sight-seeing tours. On the "rest" days, the mechanics work on all the bikes and do general checking & maintenance. 60. How much luggage can I bring? As the space on the support vehicles is tight, we limit the baggage allowance on our tours to 25 Kg. We suggest you pack as lightly and in as compact a form as possible. Read more on theEssential Info 61. Do I need Rain Gear? Yes. On our tours we can't allow rain to spoil our travel plans (unless the rain gods are really angry!). If your riding kit isn't waterproof, then bring some good waterproofs. SeeEssentialsection for more details. 62. Do I need to bring a sleeping bag ? No, its not mandatory. On the Himalayan Tours, we provide sleeping bags in case you choose not to bring your own. We set up our own camp at one location near Chandra Taal where you'll be sleeping in camping tents (tents, mats, sleeping bags are all arranged by us inclusive in the price of the tour). At a couple of other locations we stay at, the accommodation will be in bigger camps (tents with double beds & all) but if you're finicky about sleeping in a "used" sleeping bag, bring your own or bring a liner. 63. Do I need gloves? Proper protective riding gloves are essential for riders/co-riders. Check the packingEssentialfor a comprehensive guide to what you'll need. 64. During the ride, can I stop to take pictures whenever I want ? India offers plenty of sights worth capturing in the camera. Many past customers have mentioned that they wanted to stop every 200 M to take a picture. However, for navigation & other logistic reasons we travel in a "convoy" formation. The back-up vehicle with mechanics & spares is always the last vehicle in the group and stops behind the last rider. It would become a navigational & logistical nightmare if every rider kept stopping to take pictures every few minutes. We urge riders to stop only if it is absolutely necessary. We try to include rest stops at picturesque locations along the way, offering several good photo opportunities. 65. How much spending money will I need? You will need money for "Packaged drinking water", all lunches, expenses of personal nature like laundry, Internet, phone calls, entrance to monuments & other such places, photography, tips etc. Roughly US$ 400-500 per person should be a sufficient amount for a 2 week tour. 66. Should I bring anything else out from my country? There are several things you might miss when you are travelling in India, from your favourite cheese or butter to the soft mattress in your bed. However, practically speaking, we suggest bringing at least your favourite bottle of liquor & coffee. You might find Indian Made Foreign Liquor (oxy-moronic, isn't it?) quite unsavoury. Same goes for coffee. Don't say we didn't warn you later. Check with Customs regarding how much you can carry into India. 67. Do you have an office anywhere apart from your "registered" place of business? Unfortunately, no. In this day and age of Internet & mobile communication, we don't see the benefit to having a brick and mortar office or fancy brochures (which aren't eco-friendly either). All the information is on the web and current, and the cost savings get passed on to you. 68. I cannot find answers to some of my questions. What shall I do? We will be glad to answer any and all questions for you. The fastest way to reach us is by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. To beat an overzealous spam filter add a CC to email@example.com. To catch hold of us in a hurry, you could also reach us over the phone. See theContact uspage for more info.