Author Topic: Work Trip to India - Help  (Read 1922 times)

Unique User

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Work Trip to India - Help
« on: October 07, 2019, 10:14:42 AM »
I'm headed to Bangalore in 30 days for a two week work trip.  My company has set up the hotel and transportation, I have my visa and am set on vaccinations etc, but I have little questions.

Do I need to bring shampoo and soap or will a Hilton have that in the room?  Is is safe to assume if there is a washer/dryer in my room, that they will have laundry soap? 

What is the standard for tips for the driver (hired by my company, not from the hotel) and in the hotel? 

My hotel is on Embassy Golf Links Road, across from the Karnataka Golf Association and it looks like offices for JP Morgan, IBM, Microsoft, PwC, etc are nearby.  As a female traveling solo, will it be safe to walk around to get some exercise in the middle of the day?  I'll be working UK hours so won't go into the office until around 2pm India time. 

I'll have two free Sunday afternoons, any can't miss places or tours?  I'd really like to do a couple walking tours to learn more about the culture and see the city. 

What do you wish you knew before you went?  I won't be bringing any shorts or short sleeve shirts (luckily Nov is the least hot month) and was going to bring a scarf in case I go into any temples.  Anything I should be aware of, tips, etc? 


Dave1442397

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2019, 11:12:28 AM »
A friend who travels to India regularly says you should avoid salads, as many vegetables are washed in tap water, which can cause intestinal issues with visitors. He prefers eating street food to hotel food, but not everyone is comfortable with that.

The western-style hotels have all the amenities you would find in the US or UK. His company pays for laundry, so he uses the hotel's laundry service.


meghan88

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2019, 12:03:52 PM »
First - congrats!  Bangalore is a fascinating city.  They've modernized the local airport since I was there in 2006.  Back then, there were only a couple of gates, long lines, no place to sit, and general pandemonium.  I've heard it's much larger and better now.

The Hilton you're staying at should have shampoo, soap etc. so you don't need to bring any.  Not sure about in-suite laundry though?  They probably just have laundry service.  I usually get by with washing essentials in the sink using a bit of soap or shampoo.

Vaccinations:  Same as if you were going to any other tropical place.  Do you have your vaccinations?  All routine vaccinations (e.g., Tetanus) plus Hep A and Hep B.  If you're mindful of what you eat, you can avoid shots for Typhoid and Cholera.

Like Dave said, avoid salads and anything washed in tap water.  Only drink water from sealed bottles.

Avoid street food, and anything coming from a kitchen that looks unclean.

As a female traveling alone, you will likely get a few marriage proposals.  Basically, a play for sponsorship to emigrate.

For exercise, I'd stick to the hotel gym.  For your days off, see if your company's driver would like to earn a few extra $ to take you around on the weekends.

Tipping:  I think anything would be appreciated.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 12:58:38 PM by meghan88 »

namasteyall

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namasteyall

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2019, 11:46:11 PM »
Dear Unique User

I have lived in the US and India for years. India is far far safer than most places, including the US.

Food: I will not eat off the streets as I am a fusspot. The Hilton will have all you want! Maybe you could carry a packed lunch/snacks daily. I dislike water in plastic bottles, so I ask the hotel to give for filtered water in glass ones. Carry around if you wish. Drink plenty of water: you are in a hot area. If you like yogurt, eat some daily to get good local bacteria.

Hotels do provide shampoo, soap and conditioner. Also toothpaste or brushes or razors occasionally if you ask housekeeping. Not seen detergent. Dry cleaning, like everywhere, can be hit or miss.
Spas/salons are excellent.

Safety: India has MILLIONS of women walking alone, on public transport, in restaurants and driving around all hours. It is really safe, most of the time and mostly everywhere. A lot of the media is nonsensical, scoring points against whichever govt.

If out late, e.g after 9. 30 pm in quiet/lonely areas, ask for the hotel car to drop and pick you. Leave word where you are and who you went with, if unknown. No flashy jewellery, getting into lifts alone, (like true for females anywhere), if out late.

Medical care is excellent: ask colleagues for recommendations.

Clothes: loose, cotton and light, mixed blends should be fine. Slip-on tennis shoes are useful.

Loose long pants and a long scarf are useful everywhere and considered modest.



Carry Rs.100 and tens: useful for tipping if desired.

soopy

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2019, 01:38:32 PM »
Do the Bangalore walks. They do a fantastic walking tour.

Hangout in Church Street, Indra Nagar and Koramnagala.

Watch movies, go to temples in Hampi, beaches in Muradeshwar which are all nearby.

You will be safe since an armed security guard will be in the cab with you when you leave work. This is more of a stunt but hey why take chances.

Don't exercise. Seriously. Work off the extra pounds once you are stateside. You don't want to get an asthma attack since the air feels like Los Angeles in the 70s. Get a pollution face mask.
Walk around the office buildings if you are insistent on exercise.

The food is kickass. Stick to bottled water and cooked food. Salads aren't thing and the one's available taste like cardboard. So you are better of eating Indian food. If you crave American look for places that serve English breakfast. Use the app called Zomato.

If you are drinking alcohol, stick to the swankiest places like Toit, Arbor brewing and so on.   

Medical facilities are top notch if you can afford it. (Anybody from USA will be able to afford it). Even Arab Sheikhs who shit in golden toilets get treated here.

Don't drive and avoid auto rickshaws except for a couple of novelty ride. You don't wanna play the haggling game. It can get on most people's nerves.

Traffic is bad. So look both sides before you cross the road.

Eat with your right hand only or else politely ask for silverware. Don't put your feet up. Its downright disrespectful.

Tip 5-10% if you want to. Carry cash. 1000-2000 Rupees at all times.

Carry toilet paper rolls but toss them in the bin. Don't flush them.

If you need a clean toilet find a Coffee Day which is like Starbucks or look for a shopping mall.

Hope your stay goes well.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 01:49:10 PM by soopy »

Lucky Recardito

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2019, 02:25:34 PM »
I spent some time in India for work as a female traveling solo. I had fun... so will you!

My number-one take-away: plan your wardrobe to be comfortable & conservative. Think loose, drapey, and long. Loose pants w/ a top that covers your upper arms is a good go-to outfit. I traveled with my "normal" work wardrobe which included a bunch of knee-length skirts, and I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb.

Get a Lonely Planet or other travel guide for the area you'll be in, and think like a tourist some of the time. I was in Delhi, and found that my corporate apartment/office routine was pretty bland, and didn't take me to the neighborhoods I wanted to see. Go to dinner and spend your weekends outside of the "multinational corporation" bubble.

Definitely go to the movies -- tons of fun. Eat local food; veer vegetarian if you can (I found that meat dishes often weren't very good, unless I was at a kebab place or something). Skip the American/Western food unless you get really homesick -- it's not great. Be wary of your friendly, trying-to-be-helpful Indian co-workers taking you to Pizza Hut for lunch every day. (Seriously... so much well-intentioned Pizza Hut.)

I'm pro-rickshaw (see "think like a tourist some of the time") -- but I found it useful to have a co-worker hail one down and haggle the price for me before setting off.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2019, 02:28:34 PM »
I'm headed to Bangalore in 30 days for a two week work trip.  My company has set up the hotel and transportation, I have my visa and am set on vaccinations etc, but I have little questions.

Congratulations. First of all, the name is Bengaluru. Bangalore was the corruption of the name by the English. So, a lot of Indian cities are reverting back to their original names. Both names are commonly used. I would use Bangalore when I spoke English, but Bengaluru when I spoke in Kannada (the language of the state of Karnataka).

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Do I need to bring shampoo and soap or will a Hilton have that in the room?  Is is safe to assume if there is a washer/dryer in my room, that they will have laundry soap? 
Nope. Just like any hotel, you will have soap/shampoo, etc. I believe that the service in an Indian Hilton will be much better than any in the US. I stayed at the Leela Palace and the Windsor in Bengaluru and the service was awesome.
I have never seen a washer/dryer in any hotel room. I'm sure they have a laundry service. Can you google the hotel and check the amenities?

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My hotel is on Embassy Golf Links Road, across from the Karnataka Golf Association and it looks like offices for JP Morgan, IBM, Microsoft, PwC, etc are nearby.  As a female traveling solo, will it be safe to walk around to get some exercise in the middle of the day?  I'll be working UK hours so won't go into the office until around 2pm India time. 
Bengaluru is very safe. I would ask you not to walk around in the middle of the night (like any other city around the world).
The sun will be intense around noon, so use a hat. If you are fair skinned, please use sunscreen.
Watch out for the traffic as you walk. Keep to the sidwalks or the gardens.

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I'll have two free Sunday afternoons, any can't miss places or tours?  I'd really like to do a couple walking tours to learn more about the culture and see the city. 
Try to make a trip to Mysuru (old name, Mysore) which is about 80 miles away. The palace is lit up between 7-8pm on Sundays (Please verify). Beautiful town, but I am a bit biased since my parents are from Mysore. This is only possible if you have at least a day or more.

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What do you wish you knew before you went?  I won't be bringing any shorts or short sleeve shirts (luckily Nov is the least hot month) and was going to bring a scarf in case I go into any temples.  Anything I should be aware of, tips, etc?
Be aware that November is cool by Indian standards. Probably still as warm as your English summer, or warmer (high of 82F or 27C and a low of 64F or 18C) Suggest you do not wear short skirts or revealing clothes. It is not as humid as Mumbai or Chennai (coastal cities) and is cooler since it is at an altitude of 3000feet.

As others have said, water is a dangerous thing. So, no salads, no chutneys, no cold foods. You should be good at the  Hilton, but I am talking about other places.

Traffic is horrendous. 10km might take a hour or so.

@soopy  and @namasteyall both have great points. Also @meghan88, except for the marriage proposals.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 03:53:02 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2019, 02:33:09 PM »
As a female traveling alone, you will likely get a few marriage proposals.  Basically, a play for sponsorship to emigrate.

Seriously? I have to disagree with you on this point.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2019, 02:34:34 PM »
https://www.quora.com/As-a-foreigner-how-impressed-are-you-with-India

You just outed yourself!

BTW, I liked your post on Quora when it showed up in my feed a few weeks ago. Great writing.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2019, 03:13:05 PM »
@Unique User , we would love to get a trip report and photos when you get back. Tell us how wrong (or right) we were!

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2019, 03:37:19 PM »
The main palace in Mysuru lit up on Sunday evening. One of 7 palaces in Mysuru.
 I took these photos about 10 years ago.

Expect a lot of crowds, especially if there is a school holiday or a religious holiday.

« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 03:40:14 PM by CowboyAndIndian »

jamesbond007

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2019, 03:35:27 PM »
You don't need a scarf to go to a temple, by the way. But having it doesn't hurt either. Basically nobody cares.

Zamboni

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2019, 04:04:28 PM »
^Regarding a scarf: no one cares until the one guy guarding the temple door actually does care. To be fair, this has only happened to me once in the past 5 years, but I think just having a light weight scarf in your bag is a good call.

Unique User

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2019, 12:17:19 PM »
Thanks so much for all the replies!

@meghan88 - I'm staying at an Embassy Suites and they advertise washer/dryer in room.  I plan on only bringing clothes for 7-8 days, so I guess I will find out when I get there!

@namasteyall - Thanks for the details.  I'll be working 2pm to 11pm, but have a service that will take me back to the hotel after I finish.  I wasn't planning on bringing any jewelry at all, I'm there for work after all. 

@soopy - Thanks for the recommendations and advice, I didn't think about air quality.  Our offices are nine floors, I'll just take the stairs a lot.  :)

@Lucky Recardito - I'm re-looking at my wardrobe, thanks. 

@CowboyAndIndian - thanks for the recommendation on Mysore.  If I can make it on my last day, I will, it looks like a great trip.  My flight leaves at 2am, as long as I get back in time to make it to the airport, I'm good. 

I appreciate all advice as well as the food, water and alcohol warnings!  The more I hear, the more I plan to be a teetotalling vegetarian while I am there.  I'm flying business class on Air France to get there, so will have my last wine in the air.   

soupcxan

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2019, 01:25:24 PM »
I don't care how careful you are, $1 says you have some GI distress if you've never been to India before.

Gremlin

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2019, 06:00:45 PM »
Can I recommend eating dosa?  Preferably from somewhere reputable.  They are just about my favourite food now (although my attempts to recreate them at home are somewhere between "horrific" and "inedible").

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2019, 06:34:00 PM »
^Regarding a scarf: no one cares until the one guy guarding the temple door actually does care. To be fair, this has only happened to me once in the past 5 years, but I think just having a light weight scarf in your bag is a good call.

Really weird. Unless you go to a Gurdwara (which is a temple for Sikhs), no one cares if you have a scarf on or not.

cerat0n1a

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2019, 05:59:34 AM »
Nope. Just like any hotel, you will have soap/shampoo, etc. I believe that the service in an Indian Hilton will be much better than any in the US. I stayed at the Leela Palace and the Windsor in Bengaluru and the service was awesome.

Leela Palace in Bengaluru is the best hotel I ever stayed in, by some distance, in ~25 years of business travel around the world.

If you just stick to the airport/ hotel/ office/ company provided car & driver, Bangalore really isn't much different to a trip to a first world country, other than the traffic and the things you're looking at out of your windows. Everything in these kind of enclaves is clean, safe, works well etc. I've never had any stomach problems on a visit to India (that said, I'm vegetarian and eat Indian food when I'm there and only stuff that's been cooked.) Each time I go back, the place just seems bigger and bigger and the levels of wealth just keep going up a notch too. The traffic doesn't get any better though. Other Indian cities I've been to (Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi etc.) don't give you the option of that kind of westernised bubble.

For the weekend, I'd second the suggestion of Mysore. Nandi Hills are pretty close to the city and quite beautiful.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2019, 06:31:49 AM »
^Regarding a scarf: no one cares until the one guy guarding the temple door actually does care. To be fair, this has only happened to me once in the past 5 years, but I think just having a light weight scarf in your bag is a good call.

Ok, looks like there is confusion about this one.

Women cover their heads in a Hindu temple in North India, not in South India. This is an influence of the Islamic invasions, which North India suffered under. Bengaluru is in South India.

In a gurudwara (Sikh temple), everyone who visits covers their head. Men who do not have a turban (most Sikhs men have a turban) will put a cap. I have even used a handkerchief on top of my head when I visited one. Women will also cover their heads, usually with their saree or Dupatta (part of the salwar Kameez which most Sikh women wear).

One thing I would suggest is to wear footwear which is easy to remove and wear since you will not be wearing footwear inside the temple.


namasteyall

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2019, 02:49:30 AM »
^Regarding a scarf: no one cares until the one guy guarding the temple door actually does care. To be fair, this has only happened to me once in the past 5 years, but I think just having a lightweight scarf in your bag is a good call.
Head covering usually required by Islam and Sikhs, not Hindus. However the sun certainly may require it!

namasteyall

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2019, 02:55:02 AM »
Grover Zampa Red Reserve is a superb wine.... 25 international awards. Bengaluru has wine vineyards....Nandi, Myra, etc.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #22 on: October 16, 2019, 06:00:00 AM »
Grover Zampa Red Reserve is a superb wine.... 25 international awards. Bengaluru has wine vineyards....Nandi, Myra, etc.

Yeah, no need to be a teetotaller during your visit. Good call @namasteyall, I need to try out the Grover wine the next time I'm there.

They have started making wines in India in the last 10-15 years. They just flip the seasons. Instead of harvesting in May/June like in the west, they harvest the grapes in Jan/Feb. So, vintners from Europe who waiting for their harvest can visit and help.

newtothis

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2019, 11:23:44 AM »
I am an American women  and traveled in Delhi and northern india for 6 weeks 8 years ago with two other women. I am sure many people have had wonderful experiences (I did too for the most part while I was there), but from my experience, I would advise you be very cautious when outside your hotel and by yourself. In the area I was in, I was groped in public and strangers took pictures of me often, a driver took us to a fake store (one meant to look like the more well know tourist shop, but crudely set up to scam tourists), and my female travelling companions got really sick a few times (stomach bugs). I WAS treated differently during the parts of my trip where I had American men accompanying me. I also had amazing experiences of hospitality and seeing different sites. And the clothes are colorful and amazing. I know people will brush off or dismiss this, but from my experience, I recommend you be very cautious and try to be with others when out and about if at all possible.

Tass

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2019, 01:39:53 PM »
Like Dave said, avoid salads and anything washed in tap water.  Only drink water from sealed bottles.

This also applies to fresh fruit - often washed in tap water. Anything you eat should be either sealed or cooked to boiling. But don't let it scare you off the food - this is perfectly achievable at local restaurants. I was served with bottled water everywhere I went.

Still, @soupcxan is right - a bout of traveler's diarrhea is to be expected. Strongly consider bringing or buying pepto-bismol before you need it.

jamesbond007

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2019, 02:42:27 PM »
Buy Odomos cream (mosquito repellant) and Eldopar (Loperamide) which is an anti-diarrheal. You can buy those at any medical shop (pharmacy) in India as soon as you hit the road.

Unique User

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2019, 01:28:35 PM »
Thanks for all the additional advice, I appreciate all of it!  One more question, one of my colleagues insisted on being my tour guide on one of the Sundays.  He has a 9 month old daughter, so I purchased a couple infant toys to give to him for her, but I'd also like to maybe bring something for his wife?  Any suggestions?   

For the traveler's diarrhea, has anyone had good results with charcoal tablets?

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Re: Work Trip to India - Help
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2019, 05:05:14 PM »
Thanks for all the additional advice, I appreciate all of it!  One more question, one of my colleagues insisted on being my tour guide on one of the Sundays.  He has a 9 month old daughter, so I purchased a couple infant toys to give to him for her, but I'd also like to maybe bring something for his wife?  Any suggestions?   

For the traveler's diarrhea, has anyone had good results with charcoal tablets?

Just buy loperamide at a local pharmacy or take some with you. That's bullet proof for diarrhea.

As far as gift, getting something for the kids is great. No need to buy anything for his wife. If you want to buy, then it's fine but it is not necessary.