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mistygirl Sep 11th, 2010 01:14 PM

Exchanging Money
I have read lots of information on exchanging money when you arrive in India. The importance of doing it in the airport when you arrive and before you exit the airport. I was wondering if any of you experienced India travellers can tell me if it makes any difference if I take Canadian or American money with me to exchange.

I would rather not pay to exchange the funds twice, but if American money will be easier to deal with on arrival, then it will be worth it.


indianapearl Sep 11th, 2010 03:24 PM

Forget exchanging at the airport (which airport?). Just use the ATM machine -- better rates and available at the airport. Who will pick you up when you arrive?

mistygirl Sep 11th, 2010 03:53 PM

Thanks for the advise Indianapearl. We are arriving at the Delhi airport. We have made arrangements with our Bed and Breakfast to pick us up at the airport and take us back the next morning. Our driver is meeting us in Amritsar when we arrive and will be with us for about three weeks.

It's good to know that the rates at the ATM are better. We had planned to do that for the rest of the trip, but though we might get better a better rate to start at the airport.

Thanks again - I found your trip report full of very valuable info...

CaliNurse Sep 11th, 2010 06:21 PM

Agree (as usual) with Indianapearl. Don't even THINK about a money exchange--use ATMs.

The only problem i had with ATM use in Idia had to do with the time difference--i.e. the time in Idia is far ahead of US time.So i had taken a set amount in USA before leaving, and then when i tried in India the day of arrival,i had exceeded my 24 hur limit based on US time. It took a call to Citibank to understand this. Bythe next morning in India, there was no problem.
What B and B in New Delhi?
You are lucky, you will be arriving at the new international arrivals terminal at IGIA.

If you need a referral to a very good guide for Amritsar, both Indiana and I have recommendations (a brother and sister)

Since the driver is getting you in Amritsar--are you heading up to Himachal Pradesh from there?

mistygirl Sep 12th, 2010 12:42 AM

Thanks CaliNurse,

It sounds like the ATM is the way to go and we will keep the daily limit in mind for our travel day. Would never have thought of it.

Ram is meeting us in Amritsar and we will start our trip from there. We head down through the Punjab with a stop in Patiala before going through Delhi and on to Agra. We then head to Rajasthan.

I would love the name of the guide you used in Amritsar. I'm also looking for info on a guide for Calcutta - any suggestions.

We fly to Calcutta from Udaipur (we'll have Ram with us until then). After that it's Varanasi and then to Kathmandu before spending our last few days in Delhi.

Any info or suggestions are really appreciated!!!

indianapearl Sep 12th, 2010 06:29 AM

The time difference in India is, for some strange reason, 10.5 hours ahead of EST (what we have in Indiana). The time is the same throughout India.

We encountered an ATM problem in the domestic airport when we flew to Amritsar, something to do with a chip that was or was not in the credit card. We had no problems with the ATMs elsewhere. We didn't use the ATM in the international airport. You might check with your credit card provider before you leave.

We used Amun ([email protected]) as our guide in Amritsar. Calinurse used her brother whose name I can't remember (I can't remember what I had for breakfast this morning). I arranged for her and a driver through our hotel,
Svaasa. The driver was a wild man, but we didn't know better as we hadn't yet met our wonderful Ram who is a very safe driver.

Do you call your credit card provider before you go on a trip to let them know you'll be using their card overseas? Avoids problems in advance . . .

indianapearl Sep 12th, 2010 06:31 AM

Perhaps Dogster will weigh in on Calcutta. He's the expert. That's my next Indian destination, so I'll also be interested to learn what he has to say.

CaliNurse Sep 12th, 2010 11:39 PM

Our guide was Gurinder Johal Singh. He is the brother of Indianapearl's guide, who was not available, and referred us to her brother. Thank you, Indianapearl, for starting this!!

Gurinder is a serious, thoughtul and thought-filled dignified man who is gently passionate about his home town of Amritsar, and the beauty of his Sikh traditions. He took us to the Wagagh Attari border ceremony, the Golden Temple (both night and the next morning) and the Jallianwallah Bagh Memorial, a very moving place. (If you have seen the film "Gandhi" this place memorializes the tragic massacre portrayed in the film--the well the injured hid in, the bullet holes) .
We also took a brief bicycle cart ride through the market, on the way back to our driver's parking place--great fun! Gurinder pointed out some fantastic buildings in that old part of Amritsar.

Ram and your guide (whomever you chose) will talk beforehand and arrange a pick up point at your lodging, where and when to meet, etc. It's amazing to me how smoothly these things went on our two recent trips to India.

I will write and ask for his direct email address, if you like. Just let me know via this thread.

Below is Gurinder's Facebook link:

thursdaysd Sep 13th, 2010 02:39 PM

I notice that you are planning to visit Nepal and then return to India. Have you read the threads about the new regulations that make that difficult? While it is supposed to still be possible to re-enter India less than two months after you leave, it seems to involve special paperwork and an immigration officer who wants to let you in.

mistygirl Sep 15th, 2010 06:10 PM

Hi thursdaysd,

I have read all the treads on this forum and on indiamike about the new visa regulations. We were a bit worried, but we went in person to apply for our visas. We gave them a copy of our itinerary and copies of our flights to Kathmandu and back to India. I had understood that we would need to apply for an exception to enter before the 2 month, but they told us we didn't. They indicated the number of visits to the country as being 2 and said that was all we need to do.

I must say that we have been left wondering if this information was incorrect, but wasn't sure we could do anything about it, so....I guess we'll just keep our fingers crossed.

I'll post how it went upon our return in January.

thursdaysd Sep 16th, 2010 07:49 AM

mistygirl - thanks for being a guinea pig (even if involuntarily, lol) I'll be very interested to hear how you get on. Bon voyage.

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