Punjab is known for its excellent scenery and climate all through the year. It has sprawling farmlands, culturally rich religious spots, enticing amazing parks, waterfalls, snowy mountain and deep and silent valleys in and around its vicinity. The pleasant charm of the place is aggravated by the friendly nature of the people of Punjab. These people are very friendly, helping and trustworthy. This place is a hub of all cultural activities and has innumerable traditional fairs and religious activities happening throughout the year. However, the beauty of the place does not take away the importance of tour planning even one bit. Tourists must remember that though they are in one of the most scenic places, in order to make the trip a pleasant experience, they need to plan their agenda and follow some basic tips so that they don’t experience regrets or disappointments later on. Some of the basic travel tips are explained and these take care of almost all necessary things for the tourists like money exchanges, tourist guides, language, transport details, location, airport, restaurants, cuisine etc. All these tips would ensure that Punjab is indeed like a dreamland for the tourists.
Some Travel Tips for Punjab Tour
- Medicines must form an integral part of your luggage. First aid kits and quinine, which prevents occurrence of malaria is very important.
- The months between April and June can be scorching hot. Therefore clothing should be of cotton only. Shorts and clothes of light colours should be kept in your luggage. However during winters between October and February, the temperature can dip down to very low levels, therefore some woollen clothes are very essential.
- You must refrain from carrying too much cash and carry traveller’s cheques instead. There are many money exchange counters like Thomas Cook in Punjab, where these cheques can be encashed.
- You should keep local maps in hand so that you don’t feel stranded at any point in time.
- The Langar (local kitchen) at Gurudwara provides free lunch, so this is a great option for travellers who travel with tight purse strings.
- You must always cover your head with a cloth and remain barefoot while inside the Gurudwara.
- Photography of historical places and architecturally brilliant Gurudwaras should be taken only after ensuring that it is permissible in that particular place. You must be ready to pay heavy penalties if you take photos in places where it is restricted.
- In famous Gurudwaras, there are various helpline centres to help foreigners to guide around the places.
- Before using public transport like cabs and autos, you must be double cautious especially if you are not comfortable with the Punjabi language. It is better you consult with the local people and have an idea about the fare for your journey, so that you are not exploited by the cab and auto drivers.
- You can reach out to the police by calling 100, fire station by calling 101 and ambulance services by calling 102, in cases of emergencies.
Money Exchange in Punjab
The Indian National Rupee is the local currency that is being used in Punjab. Denominations of Rs 1, 2, 5 and 10 are available in notes as well as coins whereas denominations of Rs 20, 50,100, 500 and 1000 are available in notes. While you are travelling inside Punjab, it is highly recommended that you don’t carry too much cash. Instead, you can carry debit cards, credit cards and travellers cheques so that you are not prone to too much of risk. Having said this, it is better to always carry ample amount of smaller denominations so that it comes in handy while using public transport vehicles.
Foreigners too can feel comfortable in Punjab as there are various money exchange counters like Thomas Cook available all throughout the state. Other than this, the luxury hotels and resorts too have exchange facilities for money, to cater to the needs of their foreign guests. There is also the most traditional source of money exchange, the banks. A whole lot of government and private sector banks in Punjab help the tourists in speedy money exchange services.
Shopping in Punjab
A visit to the state of Punjab is incomplete without the shopping experience. Punjab is house to some of the world’s best handloom and handicraft products. The luxury, grandeur and the workmanship of these products are simply the best in the country. Punjab is also the largest manufacturer of handloom, handicraft and hosiery products in the country. It also occupies the prime position in terms of exporting these goods. Considerable revenue for the state is obtained through export of these goods. The goods bought in Punjab are perfect representations of the state’s rich cultural heritage. You must not miss shopping in big cities like Amritsar, Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Pathankot.
Punjab STD Codes
The telecom industry in Punjab is quite impressive as it has deep market penetration even into the rural areas in the state. The entire state of Punjab is connected well with the other places in the country and in the world by excellent telecom facilities. All areas of Punjab have phone connections and all the important cities have exclusive STD codes that need to be dialled before dialling the actual phone number. When you travel to Punjab, it will be a huge help for you , if you carry a list of the important STD codes in the state, so that when trying to dial a particular number, you don’t waste time to search for the code.
When you try to reach out to a number in Punjab, from within India, then you must first dial in the STD code of the particular area where the phone number is connected and then dial in the actual number. For example, for dialling a number in Amritsar, you must dial 0183 first and then the number. When you try to reach out to a number in Punjab, from outside India, then you must first dial the country code of India, that is, 091, then the STD code of a particular area and then the actual number.
The public call booths in Punjab have directories containing the STD codes of all regions within the state and within the country. However, it becomes imperative for you to carry your copy of STD code list while travelling.
Tipping in Punjab
Tipping is a practice of giving some money to waiters at restaurants, room service boys at the hotel, security guards who open and close doors at star hotels, tourist guides etc. It is a small token of saying thanks for the service that they provide and encouraging them to do better in their jobs. Tipping is widely done by people all over the world in the recent times. In Punjab too, it is not uncommon to provide tips for these people who provide satisfactory service for you. Tipping needs to be done in particular way and some tips that you have to consider while tipping the service providers are explained below for your easy reference.
Tipping Guidelines in Punjab
- In the big hotels and restaurants, you must provide tips to the waiters for their service and hospitality. The normal policy is to offer 10% of the total bill amount as tips in these big places. However, in hotels that are small and average, a maximum of Rs 30 can be given as tips amount.
- If you are a tourist who is put up at a hotel, then it would make sense to pay a small amount for the boy who comes for room service and for the security guards, before you vacate the hotel.
- Tips provided to tourist guides depend on the services that they provide. You can pay reasonable amounts if you found full satisfaction and completeness in your trip because of the explanations and places showed by the tourist guides.
- When you are using the public transport vehicles like autos and taxis, you must never pay any tips for the drivers for short journeys. However, if you plan to go on a long journey, then you can pay anywhere till Rs 100 to the drivers for food and refreshment expenses.
- Porters may or may not be given tips. Most of the people do not pay the porters anything extra than the agreed amount. However, if you find they have done a good job, you can pay them slightly extra.
- If you are put up at a guest house or house of your friend or relative and you want to pay some tips for the servant of that house for taking care of your services, then may do so. However, this should be done only after getting permission from your host.
- When you give tips to the service providers, you need to be cheerful and whole-hearted. This makes the tip-takers think that you are paying them for their good services and not because you are compelled to do so.
Tourist Guides in Punjab
- You must choose only Government approved agency-authorised tourist guides to avoid feeling cheated. Sometimes, the hotels where you stay also suggest good choices.
- An advance amount may be paid to the guide provided he insists for it. However, never make the mistake of paying the entire amount in one go, because this will slacken the performance of the guides and you may not be able to enjoy your trip completely.
- You must always negotiate well with the guide and then agree upon a price instead of blindly accepting whatever he quotes. Fix up the price first and then get his services, so that you are not charged anything extra after the trip.
- If you are travelling as family or friends, always be cautious about the guide’s presence. He is nobody to you and therefore do not discuss personal matters about wealth, property etc. before him.
- You must avoid over-dependence on your guide in order to avoid being exploited. You must do your homework and have a basic knowledge about the place before proceeding for your trip. You must always go by your gut instincts only.
There is no need for developing any kind of personal bonding with your guide. He is a service provider and you are paying him for that. Therefore, keep the relationship very polite and business-like.
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