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Tourist in India and cash situation / demonetisation

India,tourist,tourism,cash,demonetisation,rupees,new notesSeveral people have asked my opinion on how to travel in India right now because of the currency situation, here is my humble advice: come with patience!

If you have booked with a tour operator or directly from not-too-bad-hotels, you can pay by card and keep your small change (which is worth gold) to buy a bottle of water, a chai, a rickshaw fare etc.

But since it is still handy to have some cash with you (especially in India), here are some ideas to get rupees:

1. Exchange:

Legally, foreigners are allowed to exchange only 5,000 rupees a week – which is enough pocket money if you pay for lodging, transport (bus/plane/train) and beers by card. Technically, no one can check how much you exchange per week unless you go to the exchange bureau of a chain.

2. ATM:

The other possibility is to withdraw in an ATM, within the limits of 2,500 rupees a day (although apparently the limit has been increased to 4,500). The exercise here is to identify the ATMs that have the cash. The following site can help locating them: 

3. Bank counter:

There is the option to go directly to the counter at the bank. Here again you must find the Bank that has cahs and it’s not easy easy. Then wait in line. And with a little luck you can withdraw 24,000 rupees (per week, wherever you withdraw, at the counter or the ATM).

4. Indian SIM and apps:

Finally you can take an Indian SIM that will last 3 months. It is not always the easiest experience, but it does get you into the swing... (Apparently in September the Government agreed that all the tourists with an e-visa will automatically receive a SIM card but I can't seem to find out whether it has actually been implemented). You need to come ready with a photocopy of the passport, your visa and a photo. Plan to activate a card with roaming (if you change State) and data to have wifi. And if you get that far and you have previously downloaded the app PAYTM (and recharged your account) you should be able to make a lot of payments with your phone! Uber or Ola app can also be useful.

Good luck!


Coz India is a beautiful country!


50 less traveled places to discover India!

A nice article came up on (PDF version) with 50 places to visit in India – in “less travelled” places. I am half the way down the list and got good new ideas for next year trips (in bold)!!

1.     Camping in The Arid Desert of Rajasthan

2.     Eat at Chokhi Dhani and Take an Elephant Safari in Jaipur (Rajasthan) – Done!

3.     Rajasthan Trip on Bullet bike

4.     Jodhpur to Jaisalmer on Truck/Tractor trip (Rajasthan)

5.     Experience Sunburn in Goa – Done!

6.     Trek to Markha Valley (Ladakh) – Done!

7.     Experience Rann of Kutch and Gir Forest (Gujarat) – Done!

8.     Boat Trip to Andaman & Scuba diving – Done!

9.     Sikkim Sightseeing Trip – Done!

10.   Kolkata Trip – Done!

11.   Sunderbans Boat Ride (West Bengal) – Done!

12.   Munnar, Periyar and Thekkady wildlife Trip (Kerala)

13.   Rafting and Camping in Rishikesh – Done!

14.   Orissa Konark Temple – Done!

15.   Go to Gokarna and Do Nothing (Karnataka) – Done!

16.   Visit Coorg, Scotland of India (Karnataka) – Done!

17.   Visit Temples and Boulders at Hampi (Karnataka) – Done!

18.   Dasara in Mysore (Karnataka) – Done! 

19.   Experience Local Trains, Mumbai – Done! 

20.   Visit Varanasi to Experience Chaos (Uttar Pradesh) – Done! 

21.   Yak Safari in Ladakh – Done! 

22.   Wildlife Adventure Trip at Corbett (Uttarakhand) or tiger spotting in Kanha (Madhya Pradesh) – Done! 

23.   Travel in a Toy Train (Darjeeling, Matheran, Ooty and Shimla) – Done! 

24.   Spiti Valley Trip (Himachal Pradesh) – Done! 

25.   Dhuandhar Falls, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh) 

26.   Sandakphu Trek (West Bengal) 

27.   Trek to Dudhsagar Falls (Goa) 

28.   Experience Konkan Railways (Maharashtra to Goa) 

29.   Bombay to Goa road Trips 

30.   Vaishno Devi Temple (Jammu and Kashmir) 

31.   Roopkund Trek, Himalayas 

32.   Trek to Kudremukh (Karnataka) 

33.   Drive Through Forest of Bandipur (Karnataka) 

34.   Trek to Valley of Flowers (Uttarakhand) – between mid-July and mid-August 

35.   Skiing in Auli (Uttarakhand) or Gulmarg (Jammu) 

36.   Paragliding in Solang (Himachal Pradesh) 

37.   Visit Golden Temple in Amritsar & Wagah Border (Amritsar, Punjab)  

38.   Cycling in Nilgiris, Ooty (Tamil Nadu) – Done! With blue flowers that blossom every 12 years (August-September 2014 in Munnar (Kerala)!) 

39.   Backpack Across Northeast & Visit Cherrapunji, Tread on Living Root Bridges (Meghalaya) 

40.   Manali to Leh on Bike 

41.   Srinagar to Leh Bus/Truck Ride 

42.   Holi at Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh) 


My additions: 


43.   Road trip in Maheshwar region (Madhya Pradesh) – Done! 

44.   Kumbha Mela in Haridwar (Uttarakhand) or any of the other 3 holy places – Done! 

45.   Elephant Safari in Kaziranga national park (with Rhinoceros) and trip to Majuli islands (Assam) – Done! 

46.   Helicopter ride from Gangtok (Sikkim) to Bagdogra Airport (West Bengal) – Done! 

47.   Visit a haveli in Shekhawati region (Rajasthan) – Done! 

48.   Houseboat on Dal Lake (Srinagar, Jammu)  

49.   Trek and stay in Shakti Lekti 360 (Kumaon village, Uttarakhand) 

50.   Hot air ballooning in Pushkar during the camel fair (Rajasthan) in November 


Bonus: rat temple (Karni Mata near Bikaner, Rajasthan) (done!); snake temple (Mannarasala, Kerala). 


My photos: here and there and also there. 


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