Capital City: Wellington
Currency: New Zealand dollars (NZD)
Population: Approximately 5,028,900 made up of Maori, New Zealand European, Samoan, Tongan, Korean, Chinese, Australian, Pakistanis, Italian, Indians and many more.
Official Language: English, Maori, New Zealand sign Language.
New Zealand is an Island country located in the South Western Pacific Ocean. It comprises of two main islands- the North island and the South Island with numerous other small islands situated within hundred miles from the main group. Having incredible scenery, New Zealand’s geography is breathtaking from active volcanoes, spectacular caves, gigantic glacier lakes, boiling hot springs and amazing wildlife.
The climate of New Zealand is varied due to the country’s diverse landscape. The far North has subtropical weather during summer, while inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10 degrees in winter. However, most of the country lies close to the coast which means mild temperatures year-round.
New Zealand climate has four distinct seasons. Summer between the months December to February, Autumn between March to May, Winter between June to August and Spring between September to November.
New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to see the sunrise. It is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).
During Summer, New Zealand moves one hour ahead with its own daylight savings (GMT+13) that begins on the last Sunday in September and ends on the first Sunday of the following year in April.
New Zealanders also referred to as Kiwis and are friendly, down to earth people who embrace the spirit of manaakitanga, or hospitality. The country’s population is made up of people from various racial backgrounds including Europeans, Indigenous Maori, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Australians.
New Zealand’s national identity comes from the Maori culture and the Kiwi bird. As members of this unique and multi-cultural society, kiwi’s have wholeheartedly embraced urban living, café culture and an appreciation for new culinary tastes, fashion, and art.
When arriving into New Zealand, visitors should ensure that their passport is valid at least six months beyond their intended departure date, and if required, have a valid New Zealand visa. Additionally, visitors from visa-waiver countries must request an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) prior to coming to New Zealand. You can check here for more details.
Travelling to New Zealand is easy as there are several airports that visitors can fly into, with Auckland being the most common international airport. There are various airlines available, with Air New Zealand being the Flag carrier of the nation. Christchurch, Wellington, Queenstown and Dunedin are some of the other international airports. Cruising is another popular way to get into the country and explore New Zealand. Most cruises to New Zealand depart from Australia and other Pacific island countries that voyage on round the world journey.
Accommodation options in New Zealand are diverse, with something to suit every level of comfort and budget. From luxury lodges and hotels to nature camping in the most stunning locations makes your journey extra special. Visitors can also live like a local for a real kiwi experience in a holiday home, an opportunity to experience a deeper insight into local culture.
Travelling within New Zealand is easy with various transportation methods available.
Domestic flights are extensively available for visitors that need to travel within the country at a less time frame and its highly recommended that flights be booked in advance for better and reasonable airfares.
Trains operate in some cities and there are a range of scenic and world class train journeys available for tourist’s convenience.
Passenger ferries between Wellington and Picton connects the North island and South Island with an estimated three and a half hours journey, enabling visitors to explore the scenery as they arrive at their next destination.
Self- drive is also an option for many visitors that wish to explore New Zealand by road. With varied landscapes and dramatic geographical features, visitors are sure to have an amazing experience on their road trip. For New Zealand road rules and driving conditions visit nzta.govt.nz
New Zealand is a mountainous island nation and so the weather tends to be unpredictable. Which also means that visiting anytime of the year visitors would still get to experience glorious days.
Many tourists prefer visiting New Zealand during summer that is between the months of December to February to be able to enjoy all the outdoor activities that the country has to offer. However, there are many winter activities that are worth enjoying too.
New Zealand has three official languages that is English, Te Reo Maori and New Zealand Sign Language.
Even though English is the main language, 4% of the population speak Te Reo Maori.
Below are a few key words that will help you while touring New Zealand
|Hello (More Formal)||Tena Koe|
|Hello to Two people||Kia ora korua|
|Hello Everyone||Kia ora tatou|
|Greetings to you||Tena koutou|
|Welcome||Nau mai, haere mai|
|How’s it going?||kei te pehea koe?|
|Good||kei te pai|
|Really good||Tino pai|
|See you later||Ka kite ano|
|Thank you||Tena Koe|
New Zealand’s country code is +64. The country is well serviced by local mobile networks including Vodafone, Spark and 2Degrees.You can also arrange roaming status before travelling to the country or even on arrival. Internet access and email is available in most part of New Zealand as well as internet café and information centers.
New Zealand uses three prong angled power sockets at 230/240 volts, identical to Fiji and Australia. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 11v shavers, hair dryers and other electrical appliances. However, you may want to carry your own universal adapters.
New Zealand does not require any vaccination in specific, before entering the country, however, tourists are recommended to check latest country- specific health advice at least eight weeks prior to their travel.
Health insurance is essential for all travellers while health care in New Zealand is of a high quality and not overly expensive by international standards, considerable costs can be built up and repatriation is pricey.
The 24- hour Healthline offers health advice throughout NZ (free from local mobile phones or landlines). For more details, see www.health.govt.nz
New Zealand cuisine is strongly influenced by Europe, Asia and Polynesia and described as the Pacific Rim. This blend of influences has created a mouth- watering range of flavors and food in cafes and restaurants across New Zealand. The country is spoilt for their choice of fresh produce of wines allowing you to choose a world class sauvignon blanc or chardonnay from one of New Zealand’s 376 wineries and have the perfect complement.
For a true taste of New Zealand, the smoky flavor of the traditional Maori Hangi (Pronounced as Hung-ee) is an essential culinary experience. It is cooked underground with red- hot stones and covered with vegetation. The variety of food- chicken, pork, lamb, potatoes and so much more, are left to steam for several hours. This is usually prepared for special occasions and is found prepared for tourists in Rotorua in the North Island.
Food festival held every year in Hokitika, is something visitors would not want to miss and is about celebrating New Zealand’s wild foods. Various food stalls show all types of odd but interesting dishes, everything from sheep’s eye, curried Hoki Tikka, pesto ice cream and many more.
Tipping in New Zealand is not a common practice, but it is only necessary to tip at restaurants, bars, hotels and even taxi, if the service exceeds all expectations.
Employees in New Zealand typically earn a decent wage, so tipping is in fact a true sign of job well done.
All goods and services sold in New Zealand are subjected to a 15% Goods and Services Tax (GST) included in the display price.
New Zealand is a country that does not offer tourists Goods and Service Tax (GST) refunds unlike other countries. Therefore, tourists travelling and spending on goods and services inclusive of GST tax, are not eligible to get a refund.
The New Zealand Dollar is the official currency of New Zealand and is available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes. Coins are 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. NZD $1 is equivalent to $0.67 US approximately. Normal banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm
All major credit cards can be used in New Zealand, with Visa and MasterCard accepted widely. There is a 24-hour currency exchange service at the arrival’s concourse at all international Airports with ATMs available across the country.
When entering New Zealand, visitors are entitled to a personal goods concession excluding alcohol and tobacco products obtained overseas and/ or purchased duty free in New Zealand which have a total combined value of NZ$700.
Visitors above the age of 17 are entitled to bring the following quantities of alcohol products duty free:
Cigarettes, Cigars, Tobacco: 50 Cigarettes, or 50 grams of cigars or 50 grams of Tobacco products.
Alcoholic Beverages: Up to six bottles (4.5 litres) of wine, champagne, port or sherry; or up to 12 cans (4.5 litres) of beer; or 3 bottles containing not more than 1125ml of spirits, liqueur or spirituous beverages.
Contact New Zealand custom for more information at www.customs.govt.nz
New Zealand has extremely strict biosecurity procedures at their international borders to prevent the introduction of harmful pests and diseases. All risk goods must be declared at the airport or disposed in marked amnesty bins. If unsure, it is wiser to declare.
Currency: AUD (Australian Dollars)
Population: Approximately 25,535,329 made up of Australian, Chinese, Indians, Italians, Europeans, and other South Pacific islanders.
Official Languages: English is regarded as the de facto national language.
Located in South Pacific, Australia is one of the largest countries on earth, with 6 states and 2 territories. Known as the land of dreams. Australia has amazing natural wonders and unique wildlife throughout the country.
Australia is a country of all seasons. It varies greatly throughout the eight states and territories, while Northern and Tropical Queensland experience a ‘wet season’ (November to April) and a ‘dry season’ (May to October) . Australia experiences 4 distinct seasons with summer from December to February, Autumn from March to May, Winter during June to August and Spring from September to November.
The Australian government’s reciprocal healthcare agreements with several countries entitles travelers to certain subsidized health services in the country. However, it is highly recommended that travelers purchase travel insurance that covers them from theft, loss, accidents, and medical problems before they leave home.
No special immunization or vaccinations are required to travel to Australia, unless the traveler has visited a yellow fever affected country within six days of their arrival into Australia.
Prescribed medication brought into Australia for personal use is subject to controls and must be declared on arrival.
Australia is home to many deadly species and travelers should ensure they are adequately prepared before their journey.
Shark attacks are rare in Australia, but visitors are highly recommended to further reduce the risk by swimming between the flags on patrolled beaches. When travelling near crocodile habitats, observe safety signs and do not swim in rivers, estuaries, deep pools, or mangrove shores. Likewise, for bushwalking and hiking, always wear protective footwear and if bitten by poisonous animals, seek immediate medical attention by phoning 000 from anywhere in Australia.
Australian cuisine is what Australians define as ‘our shared identity’. Locals dine on fried rice, Thai curries, Mediterranean cuisine and many more which makes it a part of Australia’s multicultural melting pot.
Nothing is more Aussie than getting friends or family together for a barbeque.
The Lamington is often referred to as the ‘National Cake of Australia’ and is the pride of many mother’s kitchen. This sponge cake is coated in a layer of chocolate icing and desiccated coconut and usually comes in two halves with a layer of cream or jam.
You’re not Australian unless you have eaten a meat pie. It’s on menu at every house party you attend, sporting venue and morning after a big night. Likewise, for sausage rolls, which is the lunch choice for many Australians. However, with the onset of globalization, you will also find a number of vegetarian and vegan options easily available.
You will find many retail outlets here, suitable for traditional tourist shopping-curio and aboriginal handicraft vendors at local night or day markets, Multicultural merchandise, and specialty gift stores. Most prices are generally fixed; however, a little bit of bargaining always is a part of the experience. So, go ahead and give it a shot! A lot of times, you will be pleasantly surprised!
Australia’s country code is +61. Australia is well serviced by local mobile networks including Vodafone Australia Limited, Telstra and Optus. You can also arrange roaming status before travelling here as well as on arrival.
Internet access and email is available in most parts of Australia and internet cafes and Information centers are available in major cities and towns.
Emergency contact: 000 anywhere in Australia.
The electric current in Australia is 240 Volts AC 50Hz. Australia has three- pin power outlets, identical to New Zealand and Fiji. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 11v shavers, hair dryers and other electrical appliances. However, you may want to carry your own universal adapters
A 10% Government Value Added Tax (VAT) is applicable to all goods and services in Australia. As a tourist you can claim GST or VAT refund under the tourist refund scheme administered by the Department of Home Affairs. The scheme applies to goods and services purchased at prices that include GST or VAT from a retailer with an ABN and GST Registration.
Most personal items such as new clothing, footwear and articles for personal hygiene and grooming (excluding fur and perfume concentrates) may be brought into Australia in your accompanied baggage free from duty and tax.
Travelers aged 18 years and over can bring up to AUD900 worth of general goods in Australia duty free. While travelers below the age of 18 years have a limit of AUD 450.
There are no duty-free concessions on tobacco or alcohol for travellers aged under 18 years
Australia has three standard time zones:
Western Standard Time (AWST) covers Western Australia and time difference is Greenwich Mean Time plus 8 (GMT +8)
Australian Central standard time (ACST) covers the state of south Australia, New South Wales, and Northern Territory. Time difference is Greenwich Mean Time plus 9 and a half hours. (GMT +9:30 hrs.)
Eastern Standard time (AEST): covers eastern states of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and Australia Capital Territory. Time difference is equal to Greenwich Meantime plus 10 hours. (GMT +10)
Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia do not observe daylight saving time during summer months while the rest of the state and regions observe daylight saving from the first Sunday in October through first Sunday in April.
New Zealand passport holders can apply for a visa upon arrival in the country while all other passport holders must apply for a visa before entering Australia. Some countries are eligible to apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) which provides authorization to travel to and enter Australia for short term stays for tourism or business visitor activities. You can check countries eligible for an ETA here: https://www.eta.homeaffairs.gov.au/
All you need is a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay.
Australia may seem far away, nestled in the middle of South Pacific Ocean, however getting here is easy. Qantas airways and Virgin Australia have direct flights from many international destinations like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu in USA and Hongkong, Singapore, Seoul, India and other countries in Asia as well as Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand. There are various points of entry into Australia with Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane being the top 3 International airports in the country. Besides Qantas and Virgin Australia, there are other airlines that have flights to Australia, like Jetstar, Air New Zealand, Korean air, Pacific Blue, Air Niugini, Air Vanuatu, Fiji Airways, Air Caledonia and so many more that fly regularly to Australia.
Travelling around in Australia is relatively safe and easy but planning will save time and the hassle while you’re on your journey. The domestic airlines offer reliable, comfortable, and comprehensive range of schedules to connect from one state to the other.
Public buses and trains in Australia offer cheap travels from suburb to suburb and even journeys around Australia. Usually public transport operates with electronic payment methods of tap on and tap off cards such as Opal card used in Sydney and Mykie used in Melbourne. Taxi, ubers and ferries are available to travel within
Australia for a faster mode of transportation and have a basic fee of $3.60 and $2.19 per kilometer. Hiring a rental is the best way to explore Australia, perfect for road trips and longer travelling journeys. Besides this, Australia has sea planes, helicopter transfers within Australia. One can also charter a boat or small plane to get between destinations. Yachting and cruising are few great ways of exploring the country as well.
Australia is a diverse, multiethnic nation with people from all over the world settling in Australia alongside indigenous inhabitants. Although Australia is predominantly a Christian country, there is no official state religion. People in Australia are free to practice any religion they choose if they are not breaking the law. Religions from all over the world are practiced in the country, demonstrating its cultural diversity and quirky cultural attractions.
Australia’s first people- known as Aboriginal Australians have a rich, living culture stretching more than 50,000 years. Aboriginal people across the country are waiting to tell their stories and share meaning of their culture and way of life as retaining their culture is seen as a struggle today with only about 3% of Australia’s population holding aboriginal heritage.
People in Australia do not expect a tip in traditional service industries as they receive sufficient pay, however you can always offer extra payment for exceptional service if you wish to.
The Australian dollar is the basic unit of currency, available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 notes. Coins come in 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, 1 dollar and 2 dollars.
AUD 1 dollar is equivalent to approximately USD 72 cents.
Normal banking hours are from Monday to Thursday 9:30am- 4:00pm and 9:30am- 5:00pm on Fridays. There is a 24hrs currency exchange service at the arrival concourse at every International airport in Australia and have ATMs available around the country and nearest shopping centers.
Australia has very strict biosecurity procedures at their international borders to help prevent the introduction of harmful pests and diseases. Certain food items brought into Australia, even a small amount or ingredients for cooking need to be declared.
While almost everyone in Australia speaks English, there is often an element of humor in their speech. Aussies often use colorful language that may be unthinkable in other countries.
|G’day||hello||good or cool||Gucci|
|Barbeque||Barbie||Angry or bitter||Salty|
|Very full||Chockers||Have a fight||Have a blue|
|Very busy||Flat Out||Genuine Australian||True Blue|
|No problem||No drama||Food||Tucker|
Name: India, Bharat (long form Republic of India)
Capital: New Delhi
Currency: Indian Rupees (INR)
Population: Approximately 1.2 billion made up of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists Parsis
Official languages: Hindi, English and 21 other state languages
India is part of the continent of Asia. Most of India forms a peninsula, which means it is surrounded by water on three sides. The world’s highest mountain range, the Himalaya, rises in the north. The southeast is bordered by the Bay of Bengal, and the south and southwest is bordered by the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea respectively. India’s terrain varies widely, from the Thar Desert in the west to jungles in the northeast. A fertile area called the Ganges Plain covers much of northern India. The countries that border India are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China, Nepal and Pakistan.
India’s climate is also varied but is tropical in the south and mainly temperate in the north. The country also has a pronounced monsoon season from June to September in its western and southern portion.
The climate of India differs from North to South and East to West, thereby making India an all round destination, choosing the right region to be in at the right time. If you are visiting in the months of April-June, head up North to the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh where the weather is pleasant as the snow from the winter months melts. If you are visiting from October – March, you could visit any part of India as the weather all over is good. This is peak season in India. June- September is usually the monsoon season in India.
High Season (Dec–Mar)
- Pleasant weather – warm days, cool nights.
- December and January bring chilly nights in the north and pleasant weather in the rest of India
- Temperatures climb steadily from February.
Shoulder Season (Jul–Nov)
- Passes to Ladakh and the high Himalaya open from July to September.
- Monsoon rain-showers persist through to September.
- The southeast coast and southern Kerala see heavy rain from October to early December.
Low Season (Apr–Jun)
- April is hot; May and June are scorching.
- From June, the monsoon sweeps from south to north, bringing draining humidity.
- Beat the heat by heading to the hill stations in the northern part of India.
Foreign nationals wishing to travel to India are required to possess a valid passport of their country and a valid Indian visa. However, nationals of Nepal and Bhutan do not require visa to enter India and nationals of Maldives do not require visa for entry in India for a period up to 90 days. A 6 month tourist Visa can be applied for at your country of residence through the Indian Embassy/High Commission/Consulate. Some specific countries like Cambodia, Finland, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Luxembourg, Myanmar, New Zealand, Phillipines, Singapore, South Korea and Vietnam can obtain visa on arrival in India for upto 30 days provided they are not of Bangladeshi or Pakistani origin. Visa on arrival is available only at 4 major airports namely Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkatta.
Getting around India is easy and cheap. The domestic airlines offer reliable, comfortable and comprehensive range of schedules to connect one city to the other. Besides that, India has a huge railway network which is accessible and easy to travel by. There’s a good network of buses that offer cheap travel, however these are generally quite crowded. Taxis and auto rickshaws / cycle rickshaws are available in all cities for travelling within the city. One can also hire cars to travel within a city or between cities.
India is a multi-cultural nation with many religious beliefs. The culture of India is a tapestry of Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Zorastrians, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and other nationalities. It is important to dress modestly when away from hotels and resorts especially when visiting the smaller cities in India and religious places.
India is very famous world-wide for its love for the arts and fine arts. Indian Dance forms, Art, Cinema, Music and Literature are very crucial parts of India from very early times.
The art of India is inextricably intertwined with the country’s cultural history, religions and philosophies, with the production and patronage of art being linked to social and cultural contexts. Right from sculptures from the Chola dynasty to cliff paintings from the 2nd century BC, pottery painting, paper art, metalwork, folk and tribal art, Mughal Art , Art during the British rule, Post Independence art to the contemporary modern art, India has a rich collection of art and artists who are world famous.
Said to be one of the oldest unbroken musical traditions in the world, Indian classical music has its origins in the Vedas (ancient scriptures of the Hindus). The system of Indian music is based on raag and taal with the former being the melodic form and the latter, the rhythmic.The different interpretations of the raag and the taal led to the distinction of two major traditions of classical music: Hindustani sangeet of the north and Carnatic sangeet of the south. Instruments typically used in Hindustani music include the sitar, sarod, surbahar, tanpura, bansuri, shehnai, sarangi, santoor, pakhavaj and tabla. Instruments typically used in Carnatic music include venu, gottuvadyam, harmonium, veena, mridangam, kanjira, ghatam and violin.
Bargaining and haggling are common in India, and the locals will expect you to negotiate their prices as per their custom. Shopkeepers tend to price their items higher for tourists than for locals, so it is important to become comfortable with haggling so you don’t pay too much.
India’s country code is +91. India is well serviced by local mobile networks including Vodafone, Airtel, Idea, Reliance, Aircel, BSNL, MTNL, Jio etc. You can also arrange roaming status before travelling here as well as on arrival.
Internet access and email is available in most parts of India and internet cafes are abundant in major cities and towns.
Emergency contacts: 100 (police), 101 (fire) , 102 (ambulance)
India uses 230 Volts, 50 Hz alternating current as the power source. Plugs and sockets have either grounded / earthed 3 Pin connections or ungrounded 2 pin connections . The two pin plug is also called the Europlug. It has two round 4 mm (0.157 in) pins. Electrical sockets (outlets) in India usually supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts AC. If you’re plugging in an appliance that was built for 220-240 volt electrical input, or an appliance that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for electrical appliances. However, you may want to carry your own universal adapters.
As a tourist, you can claim GST spent on purchases. Though the procedure for tourists to claim GST refund is not well laid out yet, it would be streamlined as GST law has mentioned a standardised procedure for processing a GST refund claim across India. On filing a GST refund application, an acknowledgement for refund application would be provided within 14 days if the refund application is acceptable. Also, on receiving a GST refund request, the concerned Officer would have to convey the status of the application within 14 days. If there are any deficiencies in the application, the GST refund request would be sent back to the applicant along with the list of deficiencies and the applicant can refile the application. If there are no errors or deficiencies, the GST refund claim, if in order must be sanctioned within a period of 60 days from the date of receipt of the claim. Officers are not allowed to issue deficiencies memo after the 14 day period.
While quite a large number of people in India speak English, knowing a few key words and phrases in Hindi, which is the country’s official language is not only polite but will endear you to the already warm and welcoming Indian people. Below are a few key words that will help you while touring India.
|Hello||namaste / namaskar||morning||su prabhat|
|Bye||alvida||Excuse me||kshama keejiye|
|How much is this?||yeh kitne ka hai?||Man||aadmi|
|It’s for ….||yeh ….. ka hai||Woman||mahila|
|How are you?||Aap kaise hai?||Coconut||nariyal|
|I am fine||Mai acchha hoon||Eat||khana|
|Two||doe||Please help||kripaya madad keejiye|
|No worries||koi baat nahi||Sorry||Maaf karna|
Indian Standard Time (IST) is the time observed throughout India and Sri Lanka, with a time offset of UTC+05:30. India does not observe daylight saving time (DSTu) or other seasonal adjustments.
Approximately 1.2 billion made up of Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. The majority of the population is Hindu.
India is free from yellow fever. One requires inoculations only if travelling from an infected area. You need a yellow fever certificate for travel to India if you are arriving from a yellow fever country. India has an effective medical system in place with government and privately run hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, dental service and pharmacies available.
India is very accessible from all around the world. India has many international airports in major cities where the air connectivity is high. Various airline networks operate in and out of India. So, whether you are coming from North or South America or Canada, you have ample connections with airlines like British Airways, American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines etc that have connections into India. If you are travelling from Europe, almost all European carriers have connectivity into India. Airlines like Lufthansa, Swiss Air, British Airways, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Aeroflot, Air France, etc have their base in India. Similarly, if you are arriving from Middle East or Africa , airlines like Emirates, Etihaad, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Kuwait Airways, Gulf Airways, etc have regular, direct flights to and from many cities within India. Similarly, airlines like Thai Airways, Singapore airlines, Cathay Pacific, All Nippon airways etc connect India with the Far East. For connections from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji Islands, airlines like Qantas, Jet airways and Fiji Airways operate. Thus, India is connected very well to every country in the world.
India being such a diverse country, the cuisine differs from one region to another. The South of India consists of states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Chennai as well as the union territory Lakshadweep and Pondicherry which has an indo-french influence. South Indian cuisine like dosas, idlis, medu wada and sambhar are very popular. Also, Hyderabadi Biryani is famous world-wide. Rice is a staple for most people in South India. The North of India consists of states like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar as well as union territories of Delhi and Chandigarh. The North of India is popular for assorted parathas, butter chicken and lassi, a drink made with yoghurt. Kawa is famous in Kashmir and is a type of tea. Lucknowi kebabs, biryani and Moghlai cuisine are other popular North Indian foods. The West of India consisting of states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Goa as well as union territories like Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu are popular for Gujarati, Marwari, Konkan and Maharashtrian food. Coconut milk and seafood are used in a lot of Goan dishes which has a Portuguese influence. Gujarati and Marwari cuisine is purely vegetarian. Maharashtrian food is overall spicy. The East of India consists of states like West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Sikkim and the 7 sisters consisting of Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura as well as the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Island. West Bengal is famous for its Bengali sweets. East Indian cuisine differs from state to state and has some influence from Chinese and Tibetan cuisine.
Different parts of India are famous for different dance forms. For eg Kathak is famous in North India, Manipuri, Chhau and Odissi are from East India. Kathakali, Bharat Natyam, Kuchipudi and Mohiniattam are famous South Indian dance forms. Besides these classical dance forms, India has various folk and tribal dances specific to each state which are an expression of joy. Folk dances are performed on every possible occasion, to celebrate the arrival of seasons, birth of a child, a wedding and festivals. The dances are simple in terms of steps or movements but burst with verve and vitality. Men and women perform some dances exclusively, while in some performances men and women dance together. Each form of dance has a specific costume. Most costumes are flamboyant with extensive jewellery.
The Dandiya from Gujarat, Bhangra from Punjab and the bamboo dance from Mizoram are some such examples.
India is the world’s largest producer of films, with as many as 1,000 films in various Indian dialects being produced annually. The Indian film industry dates back to 1913 when the first commercial, silent film was produced. From then onwards it has been a long journey and Indian cinema has grown from strength to strength. Since Indians are all over the world, indian films are screened in a lot of countries as well as DVDs being available of the latest movies.
The earliest works of Indian literature were orally transmitted. The Rig Veda, a collection of sacred hymns (1500–1200 BC), and epics Ramayana and Mahabharata composed towards the end of the first millennium BC, form a part of India’s impressive repository of literary works. Examples of Classical Sanskrit literature include Shakuntala and Meghadoot, two plays written by Kalidas, Chanakya’s Arthashastra and Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra are all examples of India’s exemplary literature.Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore became India’s first Nobel Laureate in literature in early 20th century.
Tipping in India is not customary, but it is expected from tourists. In restaurants, a good rule of thumb is to pay a tip of 5-10% of the total of your bill. In your hotel, you are expected to pay a tip of 5-10% of your tariff each day, and hotel staff, such as bell boys and cleaners, will often wait near your door for a tip after performing tasks. A small tip is sufficient for their services.
The Indian rupee and paisa is the basic unit of currency, available in denominations of Rs.10, Rs.20, Rs.50, Rs.100, Rs.200, Rs.500 and Rs.1000. Coins are 25p, 50p, 1, 2, 5 and 10. Normal banking hours are from Mon-Fri: 9:30am to 4:00pm and Sat: 9:00am to 1:00pm at some selected banks. ATMs are available around the country at various locations.
India follows right-hand drive like Fiji and United Kingdom. One can hire cars and explore parts of the country by opting for self-drive. However, the traffic in some parts of the country are very heavy and driving there can be quite difficult if not used to it. Road conditions in the main cities are of a fair standard, but when one moves off the main roads, some of the roads can become poorly-maintained with pot holes. India recognizes the international driving license and one can drive on that license for a short duration. If you intend to stay longer in India, then one needs to apply for an Indian driving license. The driving in India is done on the left side of the road.
Every adult passenger can bring into India the following goods duty free, provided they are accompanied and not for sale. Cigarettes not exceeding 200 sticks or cigars not exceeding 50 sticks or tobacco not exceeding 250gms. Alcoholic liquors or wines upto 2 litres is permissible.
Currency: Fijian dollar
Population: Approximately 900,000 made up of Fijians, Indians, Chinese, Europeans and other South Pacific islanders
Official languages: English, Fijian, Fiji Hindi
Fiji is a land of blue-green lagoons, lush rainforests, pine forests, mountains and 1666 kilometers of white sandy beaches. There are over 320 tropical islands scattered across 709,660 square kilometers of ocean.
Fiji has tropical weather throughout the year with two seasons. From May to November, the weather is cooler and ranges from 18 degrees to 29 degrees. From December to April, the temperature ranges from 22 degrees to 33 degrees.
Fiji is free from yellow fever, malaria and major tropical diseases. One requires inoculations only if travelling from an infected area. Fiji has an effective medical system in place with government and privately run hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, dental service and pharmacies available.
Fijian, Chinese and Indian styles of cooking are popular in Fiji. Kokoda is considered the national dish and is made of raw fish marinated in coconut cream and lime. Other popular foods are rourou (dalo leaves) with boiled cassava(tapioca) and taro. The national drink is called Kava. It is usually prepared by pounding the roots of the Kava plant and then mixing it with cold water and consumed as soon as possible. It is usually consumed to relax as it has sedating effects. On special occasions a “lovo” is made which involves cooking all the food underground for 2–3 hours. A “lovo” is commonly made during special events such as funerals, weddings, Christmas or birthdays. It is a very healthy meal because no oil is used in cooking and tastes very much like a smoked or BBQ style dinner.
You’ll find many retail outlets here, suitable for traditional tourist shopping-curio and handicraft vendors, indian merchandise and speciality gift stores. Most prices are generally fixed, however a little bit of bargaining always is a part of the experience. So, go ahead and give it a shot! A lot of times, you will be pleasantly surprised!
Fiji’s country code is +679. Fiji is well serviced by local mobile networks including Vodafone Fiji Limited, Digicel and Inkk Mobile. You can also arrange roaming status before travelling here as well as on arrival.
Internet access and email is available in most parts of Fiji and internet cafes are abundant in major cities and towns.
The electric current is 240 volts AC 50Hz. Fiji has three-pin power outlets, identical to Australia and New Zealand. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 11v shavers, hair dryers and other electrical appliances. However, you may want to carry your own universal adapters.
A 9% Government Value Added Tax (VAT) is applicable to all goods and services in Fiji. Visitors staying in hotels and resorts are subject to 10% Hotel Turnover Tax (HTT) and Environment Levy of 6%.
Every passenger 17 years and over can bring into Fiji the following goods duty and VAT free, provided they are accompanied and not for sale. Cigarettes not exceeding 250 sticks or cigars not exceeding 250gms or tobacco not exceeding 250gms or a combination of all three provided the total net weight does ot exceed 250gms. Spirits up to 2.25liters or wines/beer up to 4.5liters or a combination of both provided it does not exceed the permissible limit.
The climate of Fiji being tropical, there is only a slight variation of seasonal temperatures, which makes Fiji an all year round destination for all outdoor activities that this country offers, such as scenic boat trips, water sports, hiking, observing wildlife, and surfing, scuba diving etc. Occasionally between November to April, hurricanes can occur, but not always, Peak travel months include Apr–May and Dec–Jan.
|High / Low temperatures||83°||81°||79°||79°||80°||82°||84°||85°||87°||87°||87°||85°|
|Chance of precipitation||59%||57%||54%||57%||54%||61%||65%||62%||61%||62%||63%||64%|
While almost everyone in Fiji speaks English, which is the country’s official language, knowing a few key phrases in the Fijian language is not only polite but will endear you to the already warm and welcoming Fijian people. One word you will hear constantly is the infectious “Bula!” which means “hello” or “welcome.” Below are a few key words that will help you while touring Fiji islands.
|Bye||moce (mo-they)||Excuse me||Tolou (too low)|
|Yes||Io (ee-o)||Thank you||Vinaka (vee-nahka)|
|No||Sega (senga)||House||bure (burey)|
|What is this?||A cava oqo? (ah thava ongo)||Man||tagane (tahng-ahney)|
|It’s a…||E dua na… (ey do-ah nah…)||Woman||marama (mah-rah-mah)|
|How are you?||Vacava tiko? (vadava teeko)||Coconut||Niu (new)|
|I am fine||Sa bulabula vinaka tiko||Eat||Kana (karna)|
|Village||Koro (ko ro)||Drink||Gunu (goo noo)|
|Shop||Sitoa (seetoah)||Quickly||Vaka totolo (vaka toe-toe-lo)|
|Church||Lotu||Slowly||Vaka malua (vaka mar lua)|
|Toilet||Vale lailai (valey lie lie)||Small||lailai (lie-lie)|
|One||Dua (ndu a)||Big||levu (leyvu)|
|Two||Rua (ru a)||Please help||Kere kere (kay ray kay ray)|
|No worries||Seganaleqa (Senga na lenga)||Sorry||vosota sara|
Fiji is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and 6.5hrs ahead of India.
However, from November to February, Fiji moves one hour ahead with its own daylight savings.
Fiji may seem far away, nestled in the middle of the South Pacific ocean, however, getting here is fairly easy. Fiji Airways, Fiji’s national carrier has regular, direct flights to and from many international destinations like Los Angeles, Sanfranscisco and Honolulu in United States of America, Hongkong, Singapore and Seoul in the Far East, Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney in Australia and Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington in New Zealand. Nadi International Airport (NAN) is Fiji’s main international airport. Suva airport also has some international flights. Besides, Fiji Airways there are other airlines that have flights into Fiji like Jetstar, Air New Zealand, Korean Air, Pacific Blue, Virgin Australia, Air Niugini, Air Vanuatu, Air Caledonie and others that also fly regularly to Fiji.
Getting around Fiji is easy and cheap. The domestic airlines offer reliable, comfortable and comprehensive range of schedules to connect from one island to another. There’s a good network of buses that offer cheap, often windowless travel which is a very friendly and true way to enjoy a Fijian experience. Taxis and ferries are available to travel within Fiji’s main islands. Hiring a car is a good way to explore the two largest islands. Besides this, seaplanes and helicopter transfers from island to island are also available. One can also charter a boat or small plane to get between islands. Sea plane options are available straight from Nadi airport to the various islands. Yachting and cruising are also great ways to explore the country.
Fiji is a multi-cultural nation with many religious beliefs. The culture of Fiji is a tapestry of indigenous Fijian, Indian, European, Chinese, and other nationalities. It is important to dress modestly when away from hotels and resorts and particularly when visiting a Fijian village. Avoid wearing a hat in a village as it is considered an insult to the village chief. It is also insulting to touch someone’s head. It’s best to not wear shoes if visiting someone’s house.
Modern Fiji’s national dress is the sulu, which resembles a skirt. It is commonly worn by both men and women.Women usually wear a multi-layered Tapa cloth on formal occasions or may be dressed in a chamba, a sulu with a specially crafted matching top.Fridays are generally “Bula dressing” which is the western equivalent to “casual dressing”. Men wear bula shirts which are tropical colourful shirts.
People in Fiji don’t expect a tip, however you can always offer extra payment for exceptional service if you wish to.
The Fijian dollar is the basic unit of currency, available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. FJD 1 is equivalent to approxmitely INR 30. Normal banking hours are from Mon-Fri: 9:30am to 4:00pm and Sat: 9:00am to 1:00pm at some selected banks. There is a 24 hour currency exchange service at the arrivals concourse at Nadi Airport. ATMs are available around the country and at larger resorts and hotels.
Fiji is very particular in maintaining the eco-system and therefore prohibits the entry of any foreign plant and animal pests and diseases without the permission from the Ministry of agriculture, fisheries and forests. So ensure that you are not carrying any food items that can be restrictive under quarantine.
As a tourist, you can claim VAT spent on purchases above FJD500. In order to claim refund, you need to ensure that you ask for the refund form and tax invoice from the licensed retailer for goods purchased over FJD500. Your purchase needs to be taken out of Fiji within two months as check-in baggage or hand luggage for verification at Nadi International Airport or Suva Wharf as the final port of departure to a foreign destination.