Travel Kit (Basic travel kit to carry along while travelling in West Bengal)
There a number of substances banned in India under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (1985).Please view the list which uses the International Nonproprietary Name (INN) of the drugs but in some cases mentions drugs by their chemical name. Widely known drugs such as ganja, cocaine, heroin etc. are mentioned by those names.
Bengali food consists of a lot of fish, lentils and rice. Breakfast could be milk and rice
flakes eaten with "gur" or "luchi" (fluffy wheat pancake) with "alu dum" (potato mish-mash).
Lunch and dinner are elaborate affairs. The first course is rice and "daal" (lentil curry)
with vegetables, pickled mangos and fresh salad. It is followed by rice and meat and yet
another course of rice and fish. Great fish eaters, the true blue Bengali is the one who can
crunch fish bones without letting them stick in the throat! The "hilsa" fish is a speciality
when cooked in mustard sauce.
Bengalis love sweets. A vast array of milk based "mithai" (sweetmeats) originated in Bengal. The light and spongy Rosogulla, the mouth-watering Sandesh are available all over India, but nowhere do they taste as they do in Kolkata. Sweet shops in other parts of the country just have to call themselves "Bengali Sweet House" and their reputation is established. If in Kolkata do try the delectable Mishti Doi (rich, sweet yoghurt).
Visitors are not to be expected to tip taxi drivers. However, hotel, airport and train station porters should be tipped approximately Rs20/bag. If a service charge is not included, tip guides and drivers approximately Rs200 per day or 10 percent where appropriate. In restaurants, if the service was good, tip anything between approx 5-10% of the bill. Depending on the category of the hotel, and the bill amount. Its not mandatory, you may not leave a tip if you don't want to.
Kolkata is not a highly conservative city. But while travelling in certain places like North Kolkata, it is better to dress conservatively. One should not try to attract a lot of attention towards himself / herself due to his/her dressing style. When entering temples, mosques or buildings of religious importance always check what dress attire is required. In most cases you will be required to cover your head, take off your shoes and be dressed conservatively. It is always a good idea to enquire first at your hotel or with your guide about the dress codes (if any) of the places you will be visiting before you set out. Please keep your mobiles in silent mode when you are visiting such places. Also public display of affection is not recommended. Hugging and kissing in public places is a strict no no.
Smoking is banned in shopping malls, cinema halls, public / private work place, hotels, banquet halls, discotheques, canteen, coffee house, pubs, bars, airport lounge, railway stations. People can smoke on roads or in their homes but not in any other place