Beijing to Delhi Trip Notes

Beijing to Delhi

Last Modified: 13 May 2016
Beijing to Delhi
Trip code: CBSXC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Satisfy your sense of adventure and spiritual curiosity on this true overland odyssey. From the great capital of China, travel across the vast Tibetan Plateau, through remote villages and the mountain kingdom of Nepal, and into the heady chaos of India. Ride the world's highest railway all the way to Lhasa and witness the intense spirituality of the Tibetan people in their remote monasteries, traditional homes and colourful marketplaces. Spot exotic creatures, explore temples and palaces, and view icons such as Mt Everest, the Great Wall and the Taj Mahal on this epic travel experience rich in history, spirituality, culture and local interaction. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016: As a result of the Nepal earthquake that occurred in April 2015, the Kathmandu-Tibet highway near Lamosanghu remains closed. Unfortunately word from our local suppliers and authorities is that this road will remain closed for the majority of the 2016 season. This means that no overland travel between these two countries is possible in 2016. All CBSXC trips will be re-routed to fly between Lhasa to Kathmandu resulting in an increase in cost. Trip Notes have been updated to reflect the new itinerary. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017: From 1st January 2017 this trip will be dropped due to the China/Nepal border remaining closed for the foreseeable future preventing overland travel between the two countries. If you are interested in travelling this region please check our website in coming months for some new itineraries. If you are currently booked on this tour for 2017 we will be in contact with you to discuss your options once 2017 itineraries are confirmed.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersFinish point description
ThemesAccommodationFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Accommodation NotesEmergency contact
Why we love itMeals introductionVisas
MapMealsWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip includes one or more overnight stays over 3500 metres/11500ft, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).
- We have some long train journeys on this trip, but the scenery is spectacular! The train to the roof of the world on Day 3 takes place at high altitude, including the Tanggula Pass (5072m), Fenghuahan tunnel (4095m). Altogether over 80% of the section between Golmud to Lhasa is at elevations of over 4000m.
- We visit many Monastery's and Temples on this itinerary, some travellers find that they get 'templed out' quickly as there's just so much information to take in. We suggest to take your time, and ease into it.
Why we love it
- Travel on the highest railway in the world, traversing some incredibly mountainous and remote terrain.
- Visit the incredible Great Wall of China, enjoy a couple of hours here exploring this mighty wall.
- Explore Lhasa and the former home of the Dalai Lama.
- See monks, temples and cliff side Monastery's where the scenery will quite literally leave you breathless.
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Beijing
Nimen Hao! Welcome to China.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
The capital of the most populous country on earth, Beijing is quickly shedding its historical face in favour of modernity. However, there are still plenty of places to go that will give you a great insight into the nation's ancient past as well as sights that showcase China's contemporary culture.
We suggest arriving a few days early to enjoy more of what Beijing has to offer such as:
Marvel at Tiananmen Square - apparently the largest down town square in the world. Framed by the Gate of Heavenly Peace with its Mao portrait, Mao's Mausoleum, the Great Hall of the People and the National Museum it's a place of pilgrimage for Chinese tourists who consider it the heart of their nation.
Enter the imposing Forbidden City, former home to China's imperial rulers and filled with palaces, gardens and seemingly never-ending grand courtyards.
The Temple of Heaven Park is one of the most popular in Beijing and at any time of the day is full of people of all ages taking part in traditional pastimes such as tai chi, fan dancing, diablo, kite flying, water calligraphy and more.
A trip to the 798 Art District on a Beijing Art and Architecture tour will give you a taste of where art is heading in today's China as you wander the multitude of galleries housed in this old factory complex.
A metro ride can take you to the Summer Palace, once an imperial residence and the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China.
The fantastic "The Legend of Kung Fu" is said to be a must-see production in Beijing for Kung Fu lovers.
Visit beautiful Yonghegong, or Lama Temple, which was built in 1694 and is the largest and best-preserved Tibetan style monastery building in Beijing.
Included Activities
  • Informal Chinese language lesson
    Optional Activities
    • Beijing - Forbidden City - CNY60
    • Beijing - Beijing by Bike Urban Adventure - CNY530
    • Beijing - Kungfu Show - CNY180
    • Beijing - Lama Temple - CNY25
    • Beijing - Summer Palace - CNY40
    • Beijing - Beijing Foodie Walk Urban Adventure - CNY360
    • Beijing - Temple of Heaven - CNY40
      Accommodation
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 2 Beijing - Great Wall
      Today we take an early morning trip to the Mutianyu Great Wall (approx 2 hrs drive from Beijing). An incredible piece of engineering, it stretches 6,000 km westwards from the mountain ridges north of Beijing. It was originally constructed to protect Chinese empires from the 'barbarians' of the north and even though it failed in this purpose, it is still without a doubt one of the country's most remarkable achievements, and an iconic destination. It's a 30 minute climb up some steep steps to the wall itself but well worth the effort! There is also the option of taking a chair lift or cable car to the top and back if you are after a more leisurely experience and great views. We'll have a few hours to explore the winding wall before heading back to the city for the afternoon. Please note that the wall is quite steep in places so make sure you have some appropriate footwear for this activity.
      This evening we take taxis to the Beijing West railway station, one of the biggest and busiest in the world, to board our train to Lhasa (approx 45 hrs).
      Included Activities
      • Great Wall - Mutianyu Section
        Accommodation
        Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
        Day 3 Train to the Roof of the World
        The train to Lhasa is truly one of China's greatest engineering feats in recent years. It's the highest railway in the world, traversing some incredibly mountainous and remote terrain. Our journey takes us through the major cities of Xi'an, Lanzhou and Xining, and across the Qinghai Plateau before arriving in Lhasa.
        WARNING:
        This trip includes one or more overnight stays over 3500 metres/11500ft, where there is a genuine risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). If left untreated AMS can be life-threatening. We would expect the majority of a group to notice the effects of being at high altitude, and while most will only feel discomfort, it is not uncommon for a small number of people to need extra care which will be provided by our leaders and local staff. All our trips that spend time at High Altitude follow our standard altitude safety measures.

        A number of medical conditions or medications can also reduce your body's ability to acclimatise, and thus will affect your performance at altitude and make you more susceptible to AMS. If you are worried about any pre-existing condition (e.g. heart problems), or unsure of your physical ability, you must seek medical advice prior to booking. You may also wish to discuss medication such as Diamox that may help aid acclimatisation.

        Please note that while we endeavour to assist all our clients in achieving their goals, there may be times your leader makes the decision to either delay or stop your ascent based on your medical conditions and AMS symptoms.

        Much of the train journey takes place at high altitude, including the Tanggula Pass (5072m), Fenghuahan tunnel (4095m). Altogether over 80% of the section between Golmud to Lhasa is at elevations of over 4000m.

        Compartments have oxygen supply for each passenger and there is a doctor on board each train in case medical assistance is required.

        Train travel in China/Tibet may not be entirely luxurious but it's certainly one of the best ways to come face to face with the country and its people as it's a major form of transport for locals. The Beijing - Lhasa train is one of the newest and best in China. We use hard sleeper class trains for our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound - compartments are open-plan, clean, with padded three-tiered berths (6 to a compartment). Sheets, pillows and a blanket are provided. We recommend bringing your own sleeping sheet as the quality/cleanliness of sheets may not be what you are used to. Safe hot drinking water is always available for making coffee, tea or instant meals. We recommend bringing a mug, spoon, knife and fork if you will be preparing your own hot drinks or food on the train (as these are not provided in cabins) The train has a dining car although meals are of better quality on the first day as by the second day we are travelling at altitude which makes cooking difficult! You may wish to purchase extra snacks of your choice before the journey to supplement food available on the train.

        Basic bathroom facilities are situated at the end of each carriage with toilets and washbasins. As toilet paper isn't always available it's advised to carry some of your own, keep in mind general train cleanliness may not be to the same standards you are accustomed to. While we always try to have our groups staying together, there may be times where due to ticket availability the group will be staying in different compartments and carriages, and possibly sharing with passengers who are not part of the group.

        On rare occasions it may be possible to upgrade to a different carriage class once on the train itself for an additional cost paid to the train conductor but this can not be guaranteed and and should not be relied on as an option.
        Accommodation
        Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
        Day 4 Lhasa
        Elevation: 3940m
        Colourful and historic, the holy city of Lhasa is situated in a small valley. For many years it was a mysterious place, virtually unknown to the outside world with even the most adventurous and hardy of explorers rarely reaching the city without being turned away, either by the treacherous terrain or the fierce warrior monks that protected Tibetan territory from intruders. While now welcoming tourists and much modernized, Lhasa remains an intriguing city with deeply fascinating culture, sights and stories.
        Due to Chinese government regulations, all foreign tour groups in Tibet must be accompanied by an official licensed Tibetan guide. Depending on the departure, you will either have a Tibetan Intrepid leader from Beijing to the Chinese border and a Nepalese Intrepid leader after making the crossing (as Tibetans are not permitted to travel outside of China) or a Chinese Intrepid leader for the duration of the trip and be accompanied by a local Tibetan guide during your time in Tibet. In this case, while we try to request experienced guides with a good level of English, please note that we often have no control over which guides are assigned to our groups and some may be very new to guiding or have limited English communication skills.
        We've allowed five days here to allow for appropriate acclimatisation.
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Day 5 Lhasa
        Today we will explore Jokhang Temple, which is often regarded as the spiritual heart of Tibet and one of the region's most active religious sites. Before this we will take part in a Tibetan lesson to learn some basic greetings, numbers and phrases from our Tibetan guide.
        Please note that inside many of Tibet's monasteries and temples, including the Potala Palace, photography is not permitted. In buildings where it is permitted, often this requires the purchase of a photo permit. Your guide can obtain this photo permit for you for an additional fee.
        In your free time you may like to:
        Shuffle along with the throngs of pilgrims around the Barkhor pilgrim circuit, stopping to shop for souvenirs at some of the many market stalls.
        Explore Lhasa's quaint backstreet craft workshops, bakeries, tea shops and tiny alley ways as you wander the Old Town.
        Relax with a traditional Tibetan massage.
        Included Activities
        • Lhasa - Tibetan language lesson
        • Lhasa - Jokhang Temple
          Optional Activities
          • Tibetan Massage - CNY120
            Accommodation
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Day 6 Lhasa
            Today we will visit the Sera Monastery where the monks hold dramatic daily debating sessions. The monastery was named Sera which means wild rose in the Tibetan language, because the hill behind it was covered with wild roses in bloom when it was built.
            After Sera Monastery as a group we will learn how to make momos (steamed dumplings), one of the staples of Tibetan cuisine, in a cooking demonstration/lesson.
            Included Activities
            • Lhasa - Potala Palace
              Accommodation
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 lunch
              Day 7
              Today we tour the incredible Potala Palace, former home of the Dalai Lama. Although we're not free to explore the Potala Palace on our own and must stick to a strict schedule of viewing the exhibits and buildings with our guide, this in no way lessens the impact of seeing what is truly a wonder of the architectural world. Please note this is the most popular attraction in Lhasa, especially among Chinese tour groups, so it can be very crowded and tickets are for a limited time period only.
              Deepen your perspective of Lhasa's holy sites with a trip to Ganden or Drepung Monasteries. Alternatively, perhaps visit the Norbulingka, the Summer Palace of Dalai Lamas.
              As the majority of the cultural and historical sites in Tibet are temples and monasteries we advise choosing carefully which activities you do in your free time and pacing yourself in order to enjoy the sites we visit as a group as much as possible. Tibetan Buddhism is certainly a fascinating part of the region's culture, however some travellers find that they get 'templed out' quickly as there's just so much information to take in. Take your time, ask our local guide about what interests you most and if you would rather have time on your own instead of joining the group to explore a monastery or temple please let your leader know.
              Included Activities
              • Lhasa - Sera Monastery
              • Lhasa - Momo (Tibetan dumplings) Cooking Class
                Optional Activities
                • Drepung Monastery - CNY60
                • Ganden Monastery - CNY145
                • Norbulingka - CNY60
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Day 8 Lhasa
                  Today we visit the Drak Yerpa Monastery, situated around 30 kilometers to the north east of Lhasa. What's unique about the Drak Yerpa Monastery is the large number of meditation caves in the surrounding hills. Some of the caves even date back to ancient times. Located in the Yerpa valley, overlooking the Kyichu River, the limestone ridges have formed caves that housed sacred mountain retreats, some even possibly predating Buddhism. Monks have begun to return to Yerpa but numbers are strictly controlled by the government, which carries out regular patriotic study sessions. Pack your camera as the views looking out from the Monastery are simply spectacular.
                  Included Activities
                  • Lhasa - Drak Yerpa Monastery
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Day 9 Samye
                    Elevation: 3700m
                    Today we begin our overland journey which will take us all the way from Lhasa to Kathmandu. For the Tibetan part of the tour we must be accompanied by a local guide according to the local laws. As foreigners are not permitted to travel by public transport in this region, we will have a private van and driver for the journey.

                    Driving times will vary and any times listed here are approximate only. While much of the infrastructure in Tibet has been improved in recent years it still lacks regular maintenance and travel time will rely heavily on weather and road conditions. The distances that we travel are immense, police speed checks have been implemented to ensure safety of tourist vehicles and most days are long travel days. As we have our own vehicle it may be possible to make some stops along the way for photos, meals or to chat with locals however we need to aim to complete our drives before nightfall for safety reasons.
                    Our journey to Samye will take at least 5 hours.
                    Samye sits at over 3600m and is home to the oldest and one of the most enchanting monasteries in Tibet. This is where Buddhism was established and the monastery has withstood centuries of invasion and other threats to remain standing, imposing and immense beside the river.
                    Explore the magical structures that make up the Samye Monastery with our local guide giving some explanations about the complicated religious symbolism and rituals. Go through the assembly hall with its statues and the Jowo Khang inner chapel. Some of the murals here are amazingly vivid and detailed, although you'll need to purchase a permit to take photos. The entire Samye complex is huge so we'll have some time to explore here on our own or you can continue to walk with our guide. In the afternoon we can make the 30 minute climb to the top of Hepo Ri Hill with prayer flags and a spectacular view.
                    Stay in the Samye Hotel with private bathroom facilities, please note that hot water is available, but only at certain times.

                    Accommodation in Tibet outside of Lhasa can be of a very basic standard and with limited options. The region is still hurting from the riots in 2008 which lead to tourism practically being halted for over a year and many hotels and other businesses are still struggling with the financial loss and unable to pay for regular maintenance or sufficient staff to keep things in good condition. Hot water, when available, can be sporadic and in some destinations hot water and showers are not available at all. Many hotels have shared bathroom facilities and unreliable plumbing. Most places we stay will have twin-share rooms although on occasion we'll stay in multishare rooms on a same gender basis.
                    Included Activities
                    • Samye - Samye Monastery
                      Accommodation
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      Day 10 Gyantse
                      Elevation: 3980m
                      The long drive to Gyantse today is spectacular, with unforgettable views of the turquoise coloured Yamdrok Tso Lake from the top of the soaring Kambala Pass (4794m). The road takes us along the lake shore, stopping at the town of Nangartse for lunch before climbing again for more views of glaciers and peaks, including crossing the Karola Pass (4960m). We aim to arrive in Gyantse by late afternoon.
                      Gyantse is a small agricultural town set at 3950m above sea level, famed for its wool carpets. It has a very traditional feel to it and everyday Tibetan rural life continues here much as it has done for centuries. There are a number of interesting buildings in the town, including the Pelkhor Chode Temple complex, a unique structure built in 1414, with five stories representing the five steps to enlightenment.
                      As well as many religious sites, Gyantse is a great place to see contemporary Tibetan life in the backstreets where pilgrims, pop music, cows, "cowboys" on motorbikes, kids and monks all mingle in a lively mix of cultures.
                      Optional Activities
                      • Tibetan Family Visit - CNY10
                        Accommodation
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Day 11 Shigatse
                        Elevation: 3850m
                        Spend time in the unique Gyantse Kumbum, a layered stupa designed as a kind of 3 dimensional mandala and model of the Buddhist universe, each storey representing a step to enlightenment. If you have a head for heights you can wind your way up the pilgrim circuit, the passages steadily getting narrower as you get higher and the air becoming more and more intoxicating with incense and smoke from yak butter lamps.
                        Drive to Tibet's second-largest city, Shigatse (90 km, at least 2 hrs).
                        Shigatse is a busy, buzzing and dusty city that's rapidly modernising.
                        Included Activities
                        • Shigatse - Tashilhunpo Monastery
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Day 12 Sakya
                          Travel to Sakya today, (approximately 3-4 hours 150km, elevation: 4280m)
                          Sakya's monastery and town buildings are quite unique. The monastery is built in medieval 'Mongolian' style and rather than whitewashed, the secular buildings are painted in red and while stripes. With its high imposing walls, the monastery is sometimes nicknamed the "Great Wall of Tibet".
                          Explore inside the Sakya monastery. At first the halls may seem similar to other monasteries we've visited, but spend some time here and soak in the atmosphere and you'll soon realise that Sakya has a subtle ancient beauty that is unlike any other.
                          After the monastery tour you can choose to climb the hill through the Tibetan Village to see what's left of the original monastery complex. Make sure you pick your way through the ruins and remaining buildings in a clockwise direction as this is a kora route. You can also hike a little further to visit the friendly nuns at the Nunnery high on the hill overlooking the town.
                          Tonight for dinner, why not try some spicy food at one of the little restaurants run by Sichuanese immigrants.
                          Included Activities
                          • Sakya - Sakya Monastery
                            Accommodation
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            Day 13 Everest National Park
                            With an early start today we travel to Everest National Park, (approximately 5-6 hours, 210km, elevation: 5150m)
                            Our journey brings us to Rongphu Monastery.
                            We'll cross the spectacular 5050m Pangla Pass on the way from where on a clear day we have giddy views of the Everest range.
                            Rongphu Monastery is the highest in the world. On a clear day you may even get a photo of the monastery's chorten against the backdrop of mighty Everest, or Qomolangma as it is called in Tibetan.
                            A relatively modern monastery by Tibetan standards, Rongphu was built in the early 1900s and originally housed more than 500 monks. Today around 50 monks and nuns remain. Unusually, they share the same prayer hall although they have separate residences. We are received very warmly by the monks and nuns here and it's often possible to join them for their evening prayers.
                            Stretch our legs and our lungs on the gentle two hour return hike up to Everest Base Camp. Follow the prayer flags up the slope, hope for a clear sunny sky for amazing photos and even text a friend back home when you reach the camp. Yes, there's mobile reception even here!
                            In the summer months we stay nearby Rongphu in the Tent City that is sent up along the road that leads to Everest Base Camp. Accommodation here is in nomad-style tents. Tents sleep up to seven people with basic mattresses and bedding provided but we recommend using a sleep sheet and preparing some warm clothes as it can get quite cool in the evenings. There are basic pit toilets nearby. For heating there is a yak dung stove in the central open area of each tent. At such close proximity to the tallest mountains in the world the surroundings more than make up for the basic sleeping conditions.
                            In colder months when the Tent City is not operational we stay in the monastery guesthouse or in a nearby town. Rooms here are quad-share with very simple, shared facilities.
                            Please note Everest Base Camp can close without any prior notice because of Political issues and/or bad weather. We will always try and give our passengers prior notice where possible, but please prepare yourself that this can happen without any notice. In these cases passengers will stay in Old Tingri where passengers will still get a view of Everest on a clear day.
                            Included Activities
                            • Everest NP - Rongphu Monastery
                            • Everest NP - Base Camp visit
                              Accommodation
                              Camping/Guesthouse (1 nt)
                              Day 14 Old Tingri
                              Today we travel to Old Tingri (Approximately 3.5 hours, 150km, elevation 4,300m).
                              Old Tingri is often used as a base by mountain climbers preparing to ascend Mount Everest. We will have free time here once we arrive. The town is known for its spectacular views of Mount Everest, Mount Lhotse, Mount Makalu, and Cho Oyu, which comprise four of the six highest mountains in the world. Get your cameras ready and hope for a clear day!
                              Accommodation
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 15 Shigatse
                              Today we return to bustling Shigatse, approximately 7-8 hours drive, 260km, elevation: 3850m.
                              Today will be a long traveling day but the scenery will make the journey worthwhile. Plenty of stops along the way for photo opportunities.
                              Accommodation
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 16 Lhasa
                              Today will be another driving day as we journey back to Lhasa. Driving time will be approximately 6-7 hours, 260km.
                              Enjoy the spectacular scenery on this drive, with stops along the way for Lunch and to get those last photos of the mountains.
                              Accommodation
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 17 Kathmandu
                              Fly from Lhasa to Kathmandu today. Enjoy an orientation walking tour of this amazing city with your Leader.
                              Kathmandu is a mixture of ancient architecture and modern development and, with its rich artistic and cultural heritage, it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows.
                              As there's not much free time in Kathmandu on this trip we highly recommend you stay a few extra days to explore. Some great ways to spend your time here include:
                              Check out Durbar Square, the vast plaza opposite the old Royal Palaces chock full of Newari architecture.
                              See the ancient Swayambhunath Stupa (known to tourists as the Monkey Temple) - Kathmandu's most important Buddhist shrine. The sleepy, all-seeing Buddha eyes that stare out from the top have become the quintessential symbol of Nepal.
                              Join the pilgrims at Bodhnath Stupa - the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's the centre of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism.
                              Head to Pashupatinath - a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, a village 3 km north-west of Kathmandu. It's dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals).
                              Optional Activities
                              • Kathmandu - Path to a Hidden Monastery Urban Adventure - USD83
                              • Kathmandu - Rickshaw Night Explorer Urban Adventure - USD68
                              • Kathmandu - Kathmandu Valley's Other Kingdoms Urban Adventure - USD124
                              • Kathmandu - Kathmandu by Bike Urban Adventure - USD89
                              • Kathmandu - Kathmandu Living Urban Adventure - USD80
                                Accommodation
                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                Day 18 Kathmandu
                                As this is a combination trip, the composition of your group as well as you leader may change on Day 18.
                                Today enjoy a free day to further explore Kathmandu. For the travellers joining the trip in Kathmandu there will be a group meeting at 6pm to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
                                Included Activities
                                • Welcome Meeting
                                  Day 19 Kathmandu
                                  Today you’ll head out to the ancient Swayambhunath stupa, known to tourists as the Monkey Temple and Kathmandu's most important Buddhist shrine. The sleepy, all-seeing Buddha eyes that stare out from the top have become the quintessential symbol of Nepal. You’ll also join the pilgrims at Bodhnath Stupa – the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's the centre of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu and rich in Buddhist symbolism. Continue on to Pashupatinath – a Hindu temple on the banks of the Bagmati River in Deopatan, a village 3 km north-west of Kathmandu. It's dedicated to a manifestation of Shiva called Pashupati (Lord of Animals). There are also a number of optional activities to take advantage of if you have the time. Perhaps explore Patan's Durbar Square. The square and its surroundings – including the Royal Palace of Patan and a series of temples – are good specimens of ancient Newari architecture. There's also Bhaktapur, located about 20 km east of Kathmandu, known as the 'City of Devotees' and Nepal's cultural gem. It’s filled with monuments, palaces and temples of elaborate carvings, gilded roofs and open courtyards. Maybe take-off on a flight from Kathmandu airport to see some spectacular mountain scenery. Those who don't have the opportunity to go trekking can get panoramic views of the Himalayas in just an hour.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple
                                  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
                                  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
                                    Optional Activities
                                    • Kathmandu - Day trip to Patan - NPR500
                                    • Kathmandu - Day trip to Bhaktapur - NPR1500
                                    • Kathmandu - Early Morning Everest Scenic Flight - USD220
                                      Accommodation
                                      (1 nt)
                                      Day 20 Chitwan National Park
                                      This morning you’ll take a local bus across to Chitwan National Park (approximately 6 hours), which sits at the base of the Himalayas. UNESCO declared the area a World Heritage site in 1984, and it offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Asia, with rhino, deer, monkeys and a wide array of birdlife including the infamous Nepalese wild chickens all here. Arrive and settle in to your accommodation before jumping on a bike to explore a local village. In the evening, prepare for tomorrow’s exploration of the park with a presentation on the park's history, flora and fauna.

                                      Notes: Please be aware that due to safety concerns we have suspended all wildlife jungle walks within Chitwan National Park.
                                      Accommodation
                                      (1 nt)
                                      Day 21 Chitwan National Park
                                      Today after breakfast, take a walk to the Rapti river from where you’ll be taken by boat to Ghagtai village (approximately 3.5 hours). On foot, enjoy exploring the village full of friendly locals and them some brilliantly coloured bird watching along the Rapti river, which shelters about a quarter of the world's remaining gharial population. This fish-eating crocodile has long been hunted for the supposed aphrodisiac qualities of its snout. Spend the night in a lodge with a view of the river in Ghagtai tonight.

                                      Notes: From October (to June) when jeep safaris resume you will boat part of the way before meeting drivers and touring the national park by vehicle (approximately 3-4 hours), finishing in Ghatgai in the late afternoon. Your accommodation in Ghatgai is simple with basic facilities and food, but plenty of jungle ambience. Toilet and bathroom facilities are shared.
                                      Included Activities
                                      • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
                                        Accommodation
                                        (1 nt)
                                        Meals
                                        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                                        Day 22 Chitwan National Park
                                        Today you’ll return to your base in Chitwan National Park via Twenty Thousand Lakes (Bis Hajaar Tal). Nepal’s second largest natural wetland, this beautiful reserve area is a maze of small lakes that teems with wildlife. Home to numerous crocodiles, this is one of the park’s best areas for birdwatching, with hundreds of species using it as a migratory route stop. If you’re lucky you might catch some more sights of the Indian Rhino. You’ll return to your accommodation in the afternoon, dropping by the crocodile breeding centre on the way. Then there’ll be time to relax, or to take part in a number of optional activities – including biking, bird watching, cultural performances, canoe rides, or village tours.

                                        Notes: Elephant Performances & Elephant Riding. While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures.
                                        Accommodation
                                        (1 nt)
                                        Day 23 Lumbini
                                        Leave Chitwan this morning for your final stop in Nepal. Travel by private vehicle to the Nepalese border town of Lumbini (approximately 5 hours). This is no ordinary border town, but the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and one of his four holy places of pilgrimage. It's said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha identified the sites as those of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse and death. You’ll visit the beautiful Ashoka Pillars and hop on cycle rickshaws to the Maya Devi Temple, the actual site where Lord Buddha is thought to have been born.
                                        Included Activities
                                        • Lumbini - Ashoka Pillars, Maya Devi Temple & Heritage Park
                                          Accommodation
                                          (1 nt)
                                          Meals
                                          1 breakfast
                                          Day 24 Varanasi
                                          Today it’s wave goodbye and say Namaste, as you leave Nepal and cross the border into India. Though there’s always something to look at out the windows, it’s a good idea to have some other entertainment on hand for the long day of travelling ahead (approximately 8-10 hours including stops). You will cross at Sunauli and head for Varanasi. The change of scenery from Nepal to India is immediate. Enter Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, and be greeted by holy cows ambling along the highway. This is one of holiest cities around, the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Overflowing with temples, shrines and devotees, Varanasi might not be one of the world's cleanest cities but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most amazing.
                                          Accommodation
                                          (1 nt)
                                          Day 25 River Ganges Boat Trip
                                          Today you’ll experience the sacred River Ganges, lifeblood of millions of Indian people, with a boat cruise through the heart of rural India. Transfer to the Ganges (approximately 2 hours) by small riverboats for the sailing trip. A support crew will be on hand as you sail down this iconic waterway, passing village communities and viewing river life as it goes on around you. The boats are equipped with life jackets, the deck has mattresses and cushions to relax on, and it’s all covered with a cloth roof for sun protection. Arrive at your campsite and relax riverside, read a book or play some cricket. Watch the sun go down and eat a delicious vegetarian meal prepared by the boatmen.

                                          Notes: Tents are twin share with mattresses and blankets provided. It gets cold in winter, so a sleeping bag is recommended if travelling at this time. There is a squat toilet tent, and no showers available. Lunch, dinner and breakfast are provided during you time camping. Water and soft drinks are available to purchase, but no alcohol is allowed here, as the Ganges is a sacred place. Please note that due to high water levels on the River Ganges and the associated safety concerns, the boat trip won't operate during the monsoon or other times of heavy rainfall. Departures affected by such safety concerns will be communicated during the trip by your leader – it's difficult to know well in advance how much rain there's likely to be at any point in time. In these cases, an extra night will be spent in Varanasi including a visit to the temple complex of Sarnath, the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon.
                                          Included Activities
                                          • River Ganges - Overnight Boat Trip
                                            Accommodation
                                            (1 nt)
                                            Meals
                                            1 lunch, 1 dinner
                                            Day 26 Varanasi
                                            After your Ganges camping adventures, sail back in to Varanasi. Set off by cycle rickshaw to visit the oldest part of the city, bustling with tourists and priests, and see different rituals being performed. Wander through the Old City with its maze of narrow alleyways packed full of small shops and stalls, and lumbering cows. See pilgrims bathing and performing rituals and ceremonies unchanged for hundreds of years; temples full of bell chimes and the smell of incense; the dhobi wallahs and the burning ghats. There’s an option to take a trip to nearby Sarnath, one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Or perhaps visit Ram Nagar Fort, a crumbling 17th century fort and palace on the eastern bank of the Ganges, that’s the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras. This evening soak up the unique magical atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony as the sun sets.
                                            Included Activities
                                            • Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
                                            • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
                                              Optional Activities
                                              • Varanasi - Ram Nagar Fort - INR150
                                              • Varanasi - Sarnath day trip (entry only) - INR250
                                                Accommodation
                                                (1 nt)
                                                Meals
                                                1 breakfast
                                                Day 27 Varanasi
                                                Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river as you pass. The rest of the day is free for you to use as you like. You can explore the laneways and alleys behind the ghats, picking up some examples of the excellent local silk industry, or perfecting yoga in this most chakra-balancing of places. This evening you’ll board an overnight train for Jhansi, the nearest junction to Orchha (approximately 15 hours).

                                                Notes: Sleeper trains are usually comfortable and air-conditioned (sometimes fan-cooled), and are a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Most of the time sheets, pillow and blanket are provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation.
                                                Included Activities
                                                • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
                                                  Accommodation
                                                  (1 nt)
                                                  Day 28 Orchha
                                                  Upon arrival in Jhansi, travel by auto rickshaw through traditional rural Indian landscapes to reach the beautiful town of Orchha on the banks of the Betwa River (approximately 45 minutes). Here you’ll have the opportunity to uncover a very different side of India. Initially a hunting area, Orchha has changed very little over the centuries. Despite its small size it is filled with many beautiful temples and palaces, built here in the 16th century by the ruling Bundelas clan. Here you'll explore the palaces and temples scattered across the peaceful countryside, starting with an orientation walk in rural areas untouched by modern life and meet the very friendly locals. This evening witness the Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony at the shrine at the heart of the city.
                                                  Included Activities
                                                  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
                                                    Accommodation
                                                    (1 nt)
                                                    Day 29 Orchha
                                                    After breakfast you will visit the stunning Orchha Palace, built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, the great Mughal ruler. Take note of the grand Iwans (domes) that were built large enough to allow the movement of war elephants. Later today you’ll get a closer experience of local flavours at a cooking demonstration by our local friends. You’ll also make a stop at Taragram, one of our Responsible Tourism projects. Taragram is a paper making factory that enables local tribal women to work outside the realm usually afforded to them. The paper is crafted from wood pulp and recycled clothing.
                                                    Included Activities
                                                    • Orchha - Orchha Palace
                                                    • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
                                                    • Orchha - Taragram visit
                                                      Accommodation
                                                      (1 nt)
                                                      Meals
                                                      1 dinner
                                                      Day 30 Agra
                                                      Agra might not be the prettiest city in the world, but the minute you see its iconic sites that won’t matter one bit. After arriving early into the city this morning by train (approximately 5 hours) you’ll head straight to the most recognisable sight in India. It doesn’t matter who you are, the Taj Mahal will exceed all your expectations with the morning light shimmering off its white marble surface. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. The highlights keep coming as you take a motorised rickshaw tour, a truly fun and Intrepid way to see the monuments of Agra. The city is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. you’ll enter the dark red sandstone stronghold of Agra Fort - part fortress, part palace and part prison - and search through throne rooms and tiny but incredibly decorated mosques. Later, if you’ve got the energy, you can also visit Akbar's Mausoleum – a beautiful sandstone and marble tomb built for the greatest of the Mughal emperors.
                                                      Included Activities
                                                      • Agra - Taj Mahal
                                                      • Agra - Agra Fort
                                                        Optional Activities
                                                        • Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum - INR125
                                                          Accommodation
                                                          (1 nt)
                                                          Day 31 Delhi
                                                          It’s back on the rails today as you take a day train to India’s capital (approximately 4 hours), sharing the journey with locals as the chai wallahs make their way down the carriages. In Delhi, watch one of the world's greatest shows unfold as people, traffic, cows and kids all work together in a kind of organised chaos around historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars. This is the place to grab a chai, put your feet up and let it all soak in. Please note that due to train arrival times there may not be any free time in Delhi at the end of this tour.

                                                          Notes: We advise booking additional accommodation to extend your stay. If you stay a couple of extra days there are plenty of things to see and do. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, or to the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb, the first garden tomb in India, built in 1570. You could wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started all back in the 12th century, or explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it played an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
                                                          Optional Activities
                                                          • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
                                                          • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
                                                          • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
                                                            Accommodation
                                                            (1 nt)
                                                            Day 32 Delhi
                                                            Your adventure through India and Nepal ends after breakfast this morning and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time. If you'd prefer to stay on in Delhi a little bit longer, then additional accommodation can be booked prior to travel (subject to availability). An Urban Adventure is a perfect way to finish your time here.
                                                            Optional Activities
                                                            • Culture Vulture Delhi Urban Adventure - INR3000
                                                            • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
                                                            • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR4000
                                                              Itinerary disclaimer
                                                              ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                                                              OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                                                              Physical rating

                                                              You will be expected to carry your own luggage, including moving about busy public transport hubs, up stairs and escalators and on and off buses and trains. Although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage, you are expected to be able to walk and handle your own luggage for up to 30 minutes. Good general fitness and mobility plays a big part in making your trip more enjoyable In some locations it may be possible to hire porters. Please ask your trip leader for help to arrange this if possible but be prepared to manage your own luggage.
                                                              Included activities
                                                              Informal Chinese language lesson
                                                              Great Wall - Mutianyu Section
                                                              Lhasa - Tibetan language lesson
                                                              Lhasa - Jokhang Temple
                                                              Lhasa - Potala Palace
                                                              Lhasa - Sera Monastery
                                                              Lhasa - Momo (Tibetan dumplings) Cooking Class
                                                              Lhasa - Drak Yerpa Monastery
                                                              Samye - Samye Monastery
                                                              Shigatse - Tashilhunpo Monastery
                                                              Sakya - Sakya Monastery
                                                              Everest NP - Rongphu Monastery
                                                              Everest NP - Base Camp visit
                                                              Welcome Meeting
                                                              Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple
                                                              Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
                                                              Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
                                                              Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
                                                              Lumbini - Ashoka Pillars, Maya Devi Temple & Heritage Park
                                                              River Ganges - Overnight Boat Trip
                                                              Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
                                                              Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
                                                              Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
                                                              Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
                                                              Orchha - Orchha Palace
                                                              Orchha - Cooking demonstration
                                                              Orchha - Taragram visit
                                                              Agra - Taj Mahal
                                                              Agra - Agra Fort
                                                              Important notes
                                                              1. In order for us to apply for your Tibet entry permit and purchase your train ticket to Lhasa you must provide a scanned, colour copy of the personal details page of your passport and Chinese visa to your booking agent no later than 30 days prior to the start date of your trip.
                                                              2. Please be aware that in recent years there have been times when restrictions on nationalities being able to travel on specific departures have been implemented or Tibet has been closed to foreign tourists without any prior warning.
                                                              3. Due to the demands of travelling at high altitudes a Passenger Self Assessment Form is required for this trip.
                                                              4. Please make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                                                              5. Overnight train accommodation on this tour is in 6-berth ‘hard-sleeper’ class. Bedding is provided and wash basins and toilet facilities (usually one with a toilet seat and one squat-style in each compartment) are available on all trains, but there are no showers or baths.
                                                              6. Please note while traveling through mainland China you will not be able to access some popular internet websites.
                                                              It’s important to let your family and friends know that you might not be able to stay in touch over your usual methods, be it – social media or email. Or let them know if you have set up a new email address in which you can access in mainland China.
                                                              The Chinese Government control and restrict certain websites. Websites on the blocked list could change at any time, any site could be restricted at any moment. Here are some of the most popular websites around the world that are blocked in China: Google, Dropbox, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, WordPress, LinkedIn,Yahoo Hong Kong, Yahoo Taiwan, Wikipedia and many more.
                                                              7. NEPAL STRIKES:
                                                              Kathmandu Valley-wide transport bandhs (strikes) can be called at very short notice. When these bandhs are in place the Nepal Tourism Board and the Nepal Tourist Police run Shuttle Bus Services between various hotels in Kathmandu and the domestic and international airports; this service costs approx. 300 rupees person.
                                                              8. ** IMPORTANT ITINERARY CHANGE FOR 2016 TRIPS **
                                                              As a result of the Nepal earthquake that occurred in April 2015, the Kathmandu-Tibet highway near Lamosanghu remains closed. Unfortunately word from our local suppliers and authorities is that this road will remain closed for the majority of the 2016 season. This means that no overland travel between these two countries is possible in 2016. All CBSXC trips will be re-routed to fly between Lhasa to Kathmandu resulting in an increase in cost. Trip Notes have been updated to reflect the new itinerary.

                                                              Group size
                                                              Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                                                              Your fellow travellers
                                                              GROUP TRAVEL
                                                              As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                                                              SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                                                              Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                                                              Accommodation
                                                              Guesthouse (4 nights), Hotel (18 nights), Overnight Sleeper Train (3 nights), Permanent Tented Camp (3 nights), Lodge (2 nights), Basic Camping (1 night)
                                                              OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
                                                              The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                                                              TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                                                              Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

                                                              CHECK-IN TIME
                                                              Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                                                              PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
                                                              If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

                                                              Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. We use a mixture of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms.

                                                              BEDS AND ROOMS:
                                                              Some travellers have reported that hotels/accommodation in this region tend to have harder bed mattresses than those they are used to at home. Passengers that require a soft bed should consider bringing an inflatable camping mattress or sleeping mat.

                                                              Smoking is prevalent in China and hotels generally do not offer specific non smoking rooms. Larger hotels with central air conditioning will sometimes transport the smell of smoke between rooms. While we ask our hotels to ensure our rooms are ventilated well before occupation in some cases this is not possible.

                                                              WIFI, in room, or in public areas of accommodation is not as common as travellers may be used to in other regions.

                                                              SLEEPER TRAINS IN INDIA:
                                                              Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (fan-cooled at times), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths, sheets, pillow and blanket are provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There are basic toilet facilities at the end of each carriage, but no showers available on overnight trains. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage or a food/snack cart that is brought through the carriages. There are also plenty of vendors selling tea, coffee, water and snacks during the journey.

                                                              HARD SLEEPER TRAINS CHINA:
                                                              We use hard sleeper class trains for most of our overnight train journeys. These are not as rough as they sound - compartments are open-plan, clean, with padded berths (6 to a compartment), sheets, a blanket and hot water available. We recommend bringing your own sleeping sheet as the quality/cleanliness of sheets may not be what you are used to. Most trains have a dining carriage where meals or snacks are available. While we always try to have our groups staying together there may be times where due to ticket availability the group will be staying in different compartments and carriages. While railway services are rapidly being modernised in China, some train journeys in particular between less visited destinations may use older rolling stock and the carriages of a more basic standard.
                                                              Meals introduction
                                                              While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                                                              Meals
                                                              3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
                                                              Money matters
                                                              The official currency in China is the Yuan or Renminbi (CNY). 1 renminbi (yuan) = 10 jiao (mao).

                                                              We strongly advise against bringing travellers cheques as in China they can be extremely difficult or impossible to change.

                                                              ATMs are widespread, so the easiest way to access cash on your trip is to bring a credit card. Please check with your bank about overseas withdrawal fees before you depart. Some banks will allow a cash advance against a major credit card which will incur a service charge of 5% or more.

                                                              Currency exchange is available at major banks and some hotels. The easiest foreign currencies to exchange are USD and EUR, however please be aware of the security risk of carrying large amounts of cash. In any case, some money should be taken as cash in case of emergencies - we recommend around US$400 per person. Commission is sometimes charged for currency exchange. Check the rate before you exchange and carefully check the amount you are given and ask for a receipt.

                                                              Please note that due to restrictions on currency conversion for foreigners in China it may not be possible to change left over CNY back into foreign currency, so please plan your budget and spending money well by withdrawing/exchanging what you need as you go.

                                                              The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali Rupee (NPR).

                                                              ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bhaktapur. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur.

                                                              The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.

                                                              While travellers' cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. If you choose to bring travellers' cheques, make sure they are a major brand and major currency.

                                                              Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.

                                                              The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).

                                                              The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.

                                                              Look for Bank of India or ICICI ATM's. Our experience has shown they are the most reliable ATM's to use for withdrawals. Your tour leader should be able to direct you to these banks.

                                                              Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.

                                                              The use of credit cards can be restricted, mainly to major hotels, shops and establishments.

                                                              SPENDING MONEY
                                                              When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                                              If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips.

                                                              In China specifically, tipping is not compulsory, but is expected in the travel industry and is considered a way of showing appreciation for great service.

                                                              The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
                                                              Restaurants, markets, and taxi drivers - tipping is not customary and is not expected by the locals.
                                                              Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$5 per day for local guides depending on their service and their involvement with the group.

                                                              Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$2-US$4 per day for drivers.

                                                              Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$4-US$6 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                                                              At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.

                                                              NEPAL:
                                                              Please don't tip with coins or notes of or less than NPR1, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.

                                                              Hotels: Service charges have been introduced in Nepal. Hence there is no need for tipping; except for porters, for whom NPR20-30 is adequate.

                                                              Restaurants: Please check the bill and if there’s an addition of 10% service charge, there’s no requirement for tipping. Otherwise, 5-10% of the total bill amount is appropriate.

                                                              Local guides: US$1-2 per person, per day for local guides. (Including city tour guides, jungle guides, rafting guides, assistant trek guides).

                                                              Porters: US$1-2 per person, per day, per porter.

                                                              Drivers: US$1-2 per person, per day is generally appropriate.

                                                              Local transport: For a city tour we suggest US$1 per person, per day.

                                                              INDIA:
                                                              Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest INR20. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                                                              Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest INR100 per day for local guides.

                                                              Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your leader. We suggest INR50 per day for porters.

                                                              Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of INR100 per day is generally appropriate.

                                                              Local transport: For a city tour we suggest INR50 per day.

                                                              Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                                                              Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                                                              EMERGENCY FUNDS
                                                              Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                                                              Group leader
                                                              All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                                                              Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                                                              Safety
                                                              Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                                                              We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                                                              Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                                                              For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                                                              FESTIVALS - HOLI & DIWALI:
                                                              Travelling in India and Nepal during Holi can at times be unsafe - drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on the day.
                                                              It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day.

                                                              Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid October to mid November every year) is celebrated by local people letting off fireworks in the street. It can be very noisy for several days with extra pollution caused by fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately.
                                                              During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid large crowds gathering and using fireworks.

                                                              PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                                                              While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                                              TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
                                                              Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                                                              SEAT BELTS:
                                                              Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                                                              FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                                                              Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                                                              BALCONIES:
                                                              Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

                                                              SWIMMING POOLS:
                                                              You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

                                                              LIFE JACKETS:
                                                              While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.

                                                              SCAMS IN CHINA
                                                              While China is generally very safe to travel around, there are a couple of scams to avoid, especially in major tourist cities. If any young people (usually in couples) around tourist sites claim to be Art Students and want to take you to their "special exhibition", they may end up aggressively selling overpriced prints in their 'showroom'. Also, if you find you are approached by young people who say they want to practice their English, be wary if they suggest going to a Chinese tea ceremony or go for a drink, where a few small cups of tea/coffee/beer may end up costing you several hundred US$. Always ask the prices before agreeing to any service. And if you are to refuse, just say no gently and firmly, avoid eye contact and walk away.
                                                              Joining point
                                                              King Parkview Hotel (Huayu Hotel) 北京华育宾馆
                                                              55 Shatan Hou Street 地址:北京东城区沙滩后街 55号 (近五四 大街,在景山公园东门对面的胡同里)
                                                              Dong Cheng District
                                                              Beijing
                                                              100009
                                                              CHINA
                                                              Phone: +86 (010)58757888
                                                              Joining point description
                                                              King Parkview Hotel is centrally located in Beijing, close to many historical and cultural landmarks, including Jinshan Park, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and the National Art Museum, and the hutong areaThe hotel offers comfortable rooms including en-suite bathroom, TV & AC. Hotel rooms may include a vanity pack which are not complimentary. You will be charged at checkout if you open or use the vanity pack.

                                                              For more information, please go to http://pephotel.com/en
                                                              Finish point
                                                              Hotel Pooja Palace
                                                              15A/11 WEA Puja Park
                                                              Karol Bagh
                                                              New Delhi
                                                              110005
                                                              INDIA
                                                              Phone: +91 1125745275
                                                              Finish point description
                                                              Located in the Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. Rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone. There is a restaurant and 24 hour room service. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                                                              www.hotelpoojapalace.com
                                                              Finishing point instructions
                                                              A pre-booked departure transfer to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

                                                              Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic.

                                                              A taxi to the airport takes about 1 hour and should cost between 450 -500INR. Hotel reception or your leader can help you arrange a taxi.

                                                              A local social enterprise, Sakha Wings, runs an all-women taxi service which provides extra peace of mind and security for solo women travellers. To book at taxi with them, call +927 870 8888 or register on their website http://sakhaconsultingwings.com/hire-a-cab.php

                                                              Before check in you must have your check in luggage x-rayed and sealed. Also ensure at check in that your hand luggage is tagged. (This is a mandatory in order to clear security.)

                                                              Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
                                                              Emergency contact
                                                              While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                                                              We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                                                              You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                                                              For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

                                                              In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

                                                              Intrepid emergency contact: +91 9599 914 852 ; +91 9999 005 019

                                                              Intrepid's Local Beijing Office: +861064067328
                                                              Visas
                                                              Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                                              CHINA - TIBET

                                                              CHINA & HONG KONG:
                                                              Most nationalities require a visa for mainland China. You must obtain your Chinese visa in advance. It is not possible to get a visa on arrival. You may be able to apply for your visa in Hong Kong If you have time here before your trip departs. You will need a Single Entry Tourist for your trip valid for 30 days. Hong Kong is not considered part of mainland China for immigration purposes and most nationalities do not require a visa. Please check with an embassy for specific requirements. Tibet is is a province of mainland China.

                                                              INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
                                                              Itinerary:
                                                              Please list the destinations you will visit in China in chronological order on your application form. Do not mention Tibet anywhere on your application form. While these areas are not off limits to travellers, they are considered politically sensitive, so including these on your visa application could lead to significant delays or your visa being denied.

                                                              Name of Host/Inviting Organisation:
                                                              Intrepid Travel Beijing Co. Ltd.
                                                              606 InterChina Commercial Building
                                                              33 Dengshikou Street
                                                              Dongcheng District
                                                              Beijing 100006
                                                              +86 10 6406 8022

                                                              DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR VISA APPLICATION:
                                                              * Hotel List - this will be sent to you by Intrepid or your travel agent at time of booking. If you do not receive this please email us with your booking number and trip details. Please tick the hotels in all destinations that the provided itinerary indicates your trip visits
                                                              * Official invitation from licensed Chinese tourism company - this will be provided together with the Hotel List to all travellers regardless of whether it is required by the embassy or not
                                                              * Itinerary - this forms part of the Hotel List document from our office in China. Please note that this itinerary may not reflect your actual journey, but is for the purposes of obtaining the visa only, not an indication of where you must travel in China
                                                              * Photocopy of your passport
                                                              * Passport size photo (up to 4 may be required)
                                                              * Please check with the embassy for any other specific requirements

                                                              DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR TIBET PERMIT & TRAIN TICKET BOOKINGS
                                                              Tibet permits are be arranged en-route with the help of our local partners. If you are travelling on an itinerary that visits Tibet you will need to email the following documents to us as soon as possible after booking and no later than 30 days before departure:
                                                              * Clear, colour scanned copy of the personal details page of your passport
                                                              * Clear, colour scanned copy of your Chinese visa

                                                              Please make sure that this copy is of the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport after booking please notify us as soon as you have a new passport number and bring your old passport with you on your trip as well. This may also cause significant delays in obtaining your Tibet permit so please plan ahead. If we do not receive these documents from you in time, your name and passport details will not be listed on the group permit and you will not be able to board the train to travel to Lhasa with the group.

                                                              WARNING – TRAVEL TO TIBET
                                                              Please be aware that this is a politically sensitive area of China which has in the past been closed to foreign travellers without warning. A change in the political situation can also lead to unforeseen delays in issuing visas and permits. We aim to keep our travellers as up to date as possible with any changes, however these are often made without any official announcement by authorities and as such are out of our control.

                                                              IMPORTANT - TIBET PERMIT:
                                                              Once you have obtained your Chinese visa you must provide a clear colour copy of your passport page and Chinese visa to your booking agent. This should be in JPEG format and Intrepid must receive this at least 30 days prior to travel in order to apply for your group's Tibet permit. Please make sure that this copy is for the passport that you will be travelling on. If you have to renew your passport please bring your old passport with you as well. If we do not receive these documents from you by this time your name and passport details will not be listed on the group permit and you will not be able to board the train to travel to Lhasa with the group.

                                                              Due to the political sensitivity of this region it is important to understand that there are sometimes unexpected difficulties in obtaining Tibetan permits which are out of Intrepid's control. Three times during 2011 and 2012, and without official announcement by the government authorities controlling permit issue, the region of Tibet has been closed to visitors, or permits denied. It is impossible to predict when or if these sudden changes will occur again in the future. Of course Intrepid and our local ground teams will do everything we can to obtain permits or warn our travellers if they will be affected by last minute closures.

                                                              NEPAL - FROM TIBET
                                                              Australia: Yes - on arrival
                                                              Belgium: Yes - on arrival
                                                              Canada: Yes - on arrival
                                                              Germany: Yes - on arrival
                                                              Ireland: Yes - on arrival
                                                              Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
                                                              New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
                                                              South Africa: Yes - on arrival
                                                              Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
                                                              United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
                                                              USA: Yes - on arrival

                                                              VISA EN-ROUTE
                                                              Most nationalities can apply for the visa on arrival at the land border crossing from Tibet to Nepal. Please check with your embassy to ensure that this applies to you. Current cost of visa on arrival is US$30, depending on your nationality. You will need 2 passport photos for your application. You may need to know your exact departure date in order to apply for the correct length Single Entry Tourist Visa.

                                                              INDIA:

                                                              An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) Facility is available for holders of a passport for a number of countries. This facility allows travellers to pre-register and pay for their visa prior to travel to India. The Visa is collected upon arrival at one of 16 designated airports in India. Please note strict guidelines on the below website.

                                                              https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

                                                              An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) visa on arrival is available for select nationalities including but not limited to the following

                                                              Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, German, UK and USA passports.

                                                              Passport holders from these countries can apply for an E-Tourist Visa (eVT) to have their visa issued upon arrival at 16 major airports in India.

                                                              Please follow the instructions at - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and complete the application for your E-Tourist Visa.

                                                              - Please be aware of strict conditions regarding application and travel (check under ELIGIBILITY section).

                                                              - E-visas are only available for entry of up to 30 days. If you plan to be in India longer you will need to apply for a tourist visa at an Indian visa application centre in your home country.

                                                              - Please note that travellers entering India overland from Nepal are required to apply for a visa in advance their home country. Visas will not be issued on the Nepal/Indian border.

                                                              - The E-Tourist Visa DOES NOT apply to travellers entering India overland. Please check your trip notes if you are crossing a border between India and Nepal.

                                                              - Indian visas are difficult and time consuming to obtain in Nepal.

                                                              Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.

                                                              For your visa application you need to include the following information under the local contact section towards the end of the application. :

                                                              PEAK India
                                                              25/3 East Patel Nagar
                                                              New Delhi 110008
                                                              Phone: +91 11 4500 6400

                                                              Please note that this information can change at any time. Please always refer to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html . This is the official visa online site. There have been reports of other non-official websites that travellers should be aware of.
                                                              What to take
                                                              What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                                                              Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                                                              Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                                                              TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
                                                              It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas inside the bus or your cabin. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

                                                              LUGGAGE STORAGE
                                                              Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage during included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.

                                                              SLEEPING BAG:
                                                              While a sleeping bag is not compulsory for this tour, many travellers have found one useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec/Jan when temperatures are low.

                                                              WATER BOTTLE:
                                                              Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

                                                              IMAGES FROM HOME:
                                                              During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
                                                              Health
                                                              All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                                                              You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                                                              ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
                                                              Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

                                                              Before your trip:
                                                              Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

                                                              During your trip.
                                                              While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly.

                                                              Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:

                                                              http://d3oxn90f3yphmd.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/file_attach/52735_product_altitude-sickness.pdf

                                                              CHINA POLLUTION
                                                              The high levels of air pollution in major urban and industrialised areas in China may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. Please ensure you bring the required medication with you if you have any of these type of medical conditions.
                                                              You can check the pollution index levels for many cities on the following website: http://aqicn.org/city/beijing
                                                              Travel insurance
                                                              Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                                                              When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                                                              If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
                                                              A couple of rules
                                                              Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                                                              Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                                                              Responsible Travel
                                                              We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                                              ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
                                                              While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:

                                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/rt/51033_Elephant_Welfare.pdf

                                                              LOCAL DRESS:
                                                              When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees for men and women.

                                                              The Intrepid Foundation
                                                              Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                                                              The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                                                              http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                                              Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Tibet include:

                                                              * Braille without Borders was Tibet's first blind rehabilitation and training centre. With four major project areas, it aims to implement a blind preparatory school, produce educational materials, facilitate social reintegration programs and conduct vocational training to enable the integration and acceptance of the blind in Tibetan society.

                                                              Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Nepal include:

                                                              *just-one
                                                              just-one targets disadvantaged children living in dangerous and vulnerable situations on the streets and provides them with training and educational opportunities that bring greater economic security to themselves and their families. Your support through The Intrepid Foundation will assist them in developing their current facilities to include an activity centre and library at their rehab home, and help them build capacity to reach an even greater number of disadvantaged children.
                                                              www.just-one.org

                                                              *Seven Women works to economically and socially empower marginalised women in Nepal through literacy programs, skills training and income generation.
                                                              www.sevenwomen.org

                                                              *The Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal (HRA) provides much needed medical and emergency evacuation assistance and treats many cases of severe mountain sickness.
                                                              www.himalayanrescue.org

                                                              For more information on our projects in Nepal, or to make a donation, visit: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=nepal

                                                              Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in India include:

                                                              * Pollinate Energy is a social business with a simple mission – to improve the lives of India’s urban poor by giving them access to affordable, clean energy products. Pollinate identifies and trains local people, their Pollinators, who have provided solar lights and cook stoves to over 8,000 families and counting.
                                                              pollinateenergy.org

                                                              * Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) provides services to disabled children and adults. They run three special schools, currently assisting around 160 children, and an old-age home for the short-stay of elderly people. AJK also provides vocational training, participates in diagnostic camps and distributes aids and appliances to physically disabled persons.
                                                              ashakajharna.org/

                                                              For more information, or to make a donation please visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=india

                                                              Feedback
                                                              After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback