Classic Rajasthan Trip Notes

Classic Rajasthan

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016
Classic Rajasthan
Trip code: HHSC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
The enchanting northern province of Rajasthan is awash with all the colours of India. On our classic adventure we discover the grisly history of massive forts and the opulence and splendour of Maharajahs' palaces. Stroll bustling markets, search for the elusive Bengal tiger, enjoy a sunset camel safari and soak up the culture of the local people. This is truly the essence of Rajasthan. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2016: From 1st July - 30th September all wildlife zones of Ranthambhore National Park will be closed to visitors. This means that no wildlife safaris in the area are permitted, including in Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary which is our usual alternative for when the main zones of the park are closed annually at this time. The reasons for the closure have not been formally announced, however we believe they have been made in the interest of tiger protection during the wet season. Due to the time of year there are no other opportunities to replace our visit to Ranthambhore with an alternative national park, however we have added the following activities and inclusions to tours that are scheduled to be in Ranthambhore from 1st July - 30th September: Days 5 or 6 – Bollywood Film in Jaipur Day 7 – Rathambhore Fort Excursion. The fort lies within the boundaries of the park and on the way accesses some parts of the jungle. Wildlife spotting opportunities along the way include monkeys, crocodiles, peacocks, a variety of bird species and deer. On occasion tigers have also been sighted here. Day 10 – Additional dinner at Castle Bijaipur Your leader will be able to provide you with further information about these activities at the group welcome meeting.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Accommodation NotesWhat to take
Why we love itMeals introductionClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerMoney mattersTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Included activitiesSafetyResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Is this trip right for you?
- Intrepid requires a copy of your scanned passport bio page at time of booking to complete bookings for Ranthambhore National Park visit.
- There are a number of long travel days on this trip. Some journeys take between six to eight hours, but are a great opportunity to get to know locals, fellow travellers and the diverse scenery.
- It’s important to prepare for hot sticky temperatures during the day and cooler climates in the evening, particularly in the desert. Layers are the one of the best ways to tackle this disparity in weather.
- We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
Why we love it
- Keep your adrenaline charged with a tiger spotting adventure among the lakes and crags of Ranthambhore National Park
- Ride camels through the desert in Pushkar, gaining insight into the life of rural Rajasthan
- Ballooning over Jaipur while the sun rises is an unforgettable experience
- The hills and shimmering lakes of Udaipur make it India’s capital of romance
- A trip to India wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal – a masterpiece of Indian architecture
- Enjoy a variety of accommodation - from a fortified mansion to camping under the stars

Day 1 New Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to India. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you have any free time before the meeting, perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb or the tall brick tower of Qutub Minar.

Note: 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.
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Delhi
    In the morning, navigate the city’s metro system to discover Old Delhi on a guided walking tour. Hitch a ride in a traditional cycle rickshaw through a typical Indian traffic jam in the streets around Chandni Chowk marketplace. Visit Delhi’s oldest mosque of Jama Masjid, which is also India’s largest. Then head to the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion.

    Included Activities
    • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
    • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
    • Delhi - Jama Masjid
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 3 Agra

      Travel to Agra by one of India's faster air-conditioned trains (approx 3 hours/230km). Steeped in Mughal heritage, Agra has a wealth of gardens, temples and open rooftops. Visit the Taj Mahal and learn why Emperor Shah Jahan built it as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz. Buzz around Agra in a motorised rickshaw and explore inside the spectacular sandstone walls of the Red Fort, built to encompass the imperial city of the Mughal rulers in the 16th century. If you have time, move on to Akbar's Mausoleum to honour the great emperor.
      Included Activities
      • Agra - Taj Mahal
      • Agra - Agra Fort
      • Agra - Red Fort local guided tour
        Optional Activities
        • Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum - INR210
        • Agra - Additional entries to Taj Mahal - INR1000
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 4 Rural Heritage Stay
          Take a local bus to Bassi, a small town in the middle of rural Rajasthan (approx 4 hours/210km). Travel by private transport to your accommodation for the night (approx 45 min/20km). On a walk through the village, see craftspeople at work and meet the locals. In the evening, stay in the beautiful heritage property of Fort Madhogarh, which has belonged to one of Rahasthan’s royal families for centuries.
          Included Activities
          • Heritage Stay - Village walk
            Heritage Property (1 nt)
            1 dinner
            Day 5 Jaipur
            Travel by private vehicle to Jaipur (approx 90min/50km). On arrival, take an orientation tour around the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Get among the crowds of the city’s bazaars to shop for artisan goods and semi-precious stones. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, visit the Amber Fort, an excellent example of Rajput architecture. The Sheesh Mahal inside the fort is a must-see. As the walls are completely covered in little mirrors, the hall illuminates with the light of a single match.
            Included Activities
            • Jaipur - Amber Fort
            • Jaipur - Walking Tour
              Hotel (1 nt)
              1 breakfast
              Day 6 Jaipur
              This morning, take an optional hot air balloon ride. Floating across the skyline of Jaipur in a hot air balloon can be a highlight of the trip. Take a cycle rickshaw to Hawa Mahal, also known as the 'Palace of the Winds’. Alternatively, head to Jaipur's Royal City Palace or the observatory of Jantar Mantar to see a collection of astronomical instruments. After a long day of exploration, perhaps head to the Raj Mandir Cinema to experience the glamour of a Bollywood film.

              Note: Ballooning can be done over the city on the morning of day six between September and June. For additional information, please see the important notes section of the Essential Trip Information.
              Optional Activities
              • Jaipur - City Palace - INR400
              • Jaipur - Observatory - INR200
              • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie - Raj Mandir Cinema - INR400
              • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD250
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 7 Ranthambhore National Park
                Travelling by private vehicle, head to Ranthambhore (approximately 5 hours/200km). Ranthambhore National Park was once a famous hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur, and was one of the original Project Tiger reserves. Explore the ruins of the park’s 10th-century fort, and in the evening take a 4WD safari in search of tigers and other wildlife.

                Included Activities
                • Ranthambore National Park - Evening Safari
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Special Information
                  IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Intrepid requires a copy of your scanned passport bio page at time of booking to complete bookings for Ranthambhore National Park visit.

                  The safety of our travellers is our highest concern and your tour leader has the authority to cancel or reschedule the jeep safari if they believe the vehicles available do not meet our safety standards.

                  Day 8 Bundi
                  Travel to Bundi by private vehicle (approx 4 hours/150km). Navigate Bundi's narrow streets on a walking tour. Wander through the downtown market and engage with the locals. Visit intricately carved baoris (step wells) and explore the 16th-century Bundi Palace (be sure to check out its famous murals).
                  Included Activities
                  • Bundi - Stepwell
                  • Bundi - Bundi Palace
                    Heritage Property (1 nt)
                    Day 9 Rural Heritage Stay
                    Take a slow train journey with local villagers to the small town of Bassi (approximately three hours). Head to Castle Bijaipur by jeep, where you’ll spend the night. This fortified mansion is still run by the erstwhile local landlord and his family. Spend the night under the stars camping beside a lake.

                    Note: During the monsoon period (April to September) we do not camp, but spend both nights in a heritage hotel.
                    Included Activities
                    • Heritage Stay - Village Jeep Safari
                      Optional Activities
                      • Heritage Stay - Henna painting - INR150
                        Permanent Tent (1 nt)
                        1 dinner
                        Day 10 Bijaipur
                        Enjoy a drive in an open-top jeep out into the countryside to visit pastoral villages. As the area is teeming with wildlife, your guide should be able to point out some native animals. While in the villages, perhaps get a temporary souvenir in the form of a henna tattoo. Enjoy a group meal of local Bassi cuisine in the evening, and relax in the castle for the rest of the night.
                        Heritage Property (1 nt)
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 11 Udaipur
                        Our next journey by private vehicle takes us to Udaipur (approximately 4 hours/180km). Take a walk to soak up the city’s hills, lakes and white marble palaces, or delve into its twisting alleys and bazaars filled with silver, leather goods and miniature paintings. A popular centre for artists, dancers and musicians, there’s plenty to entertain you in Udaipur.
                        Included Activities
                        • Udaipur - City Palace
                        • Udaipur - City Walk
                          Optional Activities
                          • Udaipur - Lake boat ride - INR250
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 12 Udaipur
                            Visit Udaipur’s City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India. Enjoy an optional boat ride on the famous Lake Pichola (seasonal - depending on the water level in the lake) and marvel at the island palaces off Jag Nivas and Jag Mandir. In the evening, perhaps enjoy a traditional concert that combines seven traditional Rajasthani folk dances.
                            Optional Activities
                            • Udaipur - Cultural performance - INR100
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 13 Pushkar
                              Take a six-hour air-conditioned train to Ajmer and then a private vehicle to your hotel in Pushkar. Enjoy a walking tour to visit the bustling ghats and temples around Pushkar Lake, and watch as the devout worship by the holy water. A highlight of the visit to Pushkar is a camel ride out into the surrounding desert area. For those who don't want to ride a camel, there’s a camel-cart option.
                              Included Activities
                              • Pushkar - Walking Tour
                                Hotel (1 nt)
                                Day 14 Delhi
                                Early risers can hike up to the Savitri Temple for amazing sunrise views over the town this morning. There might even be a steaming glass of chai waiting for you at the top if the chai man is there. You’ll have free time to enjoy the rest of the morning in Pushkar. The Shatabdi Express train departs Ajmer around 2 pm for the trip back to Delhi, arriving at around 10:40 pm.
                                Optional Activities
                                • Pushkar - Savitri Temple - Free
                                  Hotel (1 nt)
                                  Day 15 Delhi
                                  There are no activities planned for the final day and you’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                                  Optional Activities
                                  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
                                  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
                                    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

                                    Included activities
                                    Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
                                    Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
                                    Delhi - Jama Masjid
                                    Agra - Taj Mahal
                                    Agra - Agra Fort
                                    Agra - Red Fort local guided tour
                                    Heritage Stay - Village walk
                                    Jaipur - Amber Fort
                                    Jaipur - Walking Tour
                                    Ranthambore National Park - Evening Safari
                                    Bundi - Stepwell
                                    Bundi - Bundi Palace
                                    Heritage Stay - Village Jeep Safari
                                    Udaipur - City Palace
                                    Udaipur - City Walk
                                    Pushkar - Walking Tour
                                    Important notes
                                    IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Intrepid requires a copy of your scanned passport bio page at time of booking to complete bookings for Ranthambhore National Park visit.

                                    1. This trip travels back to Delhi on the afternoon of day 14 arriving into the Capital around 11pm. Please do not book departure flights out until at least 4am on day 15 to allow for delays
                                    2. A single supplement is available on this trip. A single room is available for all nights of the trip.
                                    3. Pushkar Camel Fair departures usually run in early Nov. More details will follow
                                    4. In 2015 Intrepid returned to Ranthambhore National Park after suspending our visits in 2014 due to vehicle safety concerns. The majority of vehicles have now been assessed and upgraded. Safety of our travellers is our highest concern and your tour leader has the authority to cancel or reschedule the jeep safari if they believe that vehicles available do not meet our safety expectations.
                                    5. Ranthambhore National Park is closed from 1st July - 30th September. Please see Itinerary for changes during this time

                                    JAIPUR HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHTS
                                    Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate mornings from September to June and morning and evening from September to March.
                                    Morning flights depart around sunrise and evening flights late afternoon and last 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost.
                                    You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip.
                                    Payment must be made by cash in either INR/AUD/USD/GBP only and is USD$250pp (subject to change)
                                    Flights are subject to weather conditions and tickets are fully refundable in case of poor weather.

                                    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.
                                    Deluxe permanent tent (1nt), Heritage Property (3nt), Hotel (10nt)
                                    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.
                                    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.

                                    Food is a way of life in India. You can snack for a bargain or dine in the finest Indian restaurants.  

                                    Generally you can eat very cheaply in India. There is a huge choice of restaurants and street stalls serving traditional and local Indian food. In bigger restaurants in areas frequented by more tourists there is a choice between Indian, Chinese and Western style food.

                                    India caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg and pure veg section of the menu. If in doubt please check with your tour leader.

                                    Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly 

                                    Some tips that will help you stay well when eating in India include.

                                    - Stick to restaurants and street stalls busy with locals - local families eating there are a good bet.
                                    - Wash your hands before eating (most restaurants will have a hand basin or bathroom)  or use a sanitising hand gel
                                    - give yourself a few days to get used to local food, especially spicy food.
                                    - if in doubt,  stick to the veg meal
                                    - avoid salads and peel fruit to avoid eating skin that may be washed in local water
                                    - steer clear of ice unless in higher end restaurants
                                    - fresh lime and soda is an excellent (and cheap) drink for hot days
                                    - drink more chai

                                    Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow so patience is a must.
                                    3 breakfasts, 2 dinners
                                    Auto rickshaw, Bus, Camel, Cycle rickshaw, Jeep, Metro, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Taxi, Train, Van

                                    There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
                                    Money matters
                                    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).

                                    Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour 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.

                                    If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is 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. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.

                                    The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                                    Your Group Leader: You may consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 5-7 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.

                                    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-INR150 per day is generally appropriate.

                                    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.

                                    Local transport: For a half day city tour we suggest INR50 per day. For a full day city tour we suggest INR100 per day.

                                    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.

                                    Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier.

                                    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                                    Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                                    EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                                    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

                                    The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Indian tourism industry.
                                    In an effort to best control and monitor shopping and activities with an aim for the best experience possible, Intrepid has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences and activities based on positive feedbacks from our previous travellers. On occasion these will be as part of included walking tours or outside of included activities in free time. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.
                                    Intrepid have set up a centralised system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, of which are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travellers and drinking water refilling stations), traveller information packs, and leader bonuses. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group leader on request.
                                    While Intrepid endeavours to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travellers feedback and experiences and Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveller is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
                                    Group leader
                                    All Intrepid 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. Intrepid endeavours 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. At Intrepid 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.
                                    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:


                                    SAFETY FOR WOMEN TRAVELLERS:
                                    Women should exercise caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling:

                                    - Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home
                                    - Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day
                                    - Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night
                                    - If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers
                                    - If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off.
                                    - When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (ie. going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you where possible

                                    For further information and advice, visit:


                                    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!

                                    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.

                                    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.

                                    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.

                                    CAMEL SAFARI:
                                    Please note that helmets and professional riding equipment can't be provided on the camel safari.

                                    HERITAGE HOTELS:
                                    On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses - these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally their staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved in their original state.
                                    Joining point
                                    Hotel Regent Continental
                                    4/73, Krishna Market, Saraswati Marg
                                    Karol Bagh
                                    New Delhi
                                    Phone: +91 98109 02122
                                    Finish point
                                    Hotel Regent Continental
                                    4/73, Krishna Market, Saraswati Marg
                                    Karol Bagh
                                    New Delhi
                                    Phone: +91 98109 02122
                                    Emergency contact
                                    For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at

                                    For transfers and accommodation issues, Intrepid's India office can be reached on their 24 hour numbers:
                                    +91 9599 914 852 ; +91 9999 005 019

                                    In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on: +91 9599 914 852

                                    For general contact details please use the following page:

                                    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.

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


                                    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.


                                    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 - 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 . This is the official visa online site. There have been reports of other non-official websites that travellers should be aware of.

                                    Safari Bookings - Ranthambore National Park
                                    To ensure your safari booking at Ranthambore National Park, we require a scanned copy of the bio page of your passport at the time of booking.
                                    Your safari arrangements cannot be completed without this information.
                                    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:


                                    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.

                                    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.

                                    PASSPORT COPY:
                                    Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.

                                    WARM CLOTHING:
                                    It comes as a surprise to many travellers that India can be cold (ie. below zero!) during winter (particularly Dec/Jan), even in some cities and even when not at high altitudes. Make sure you are prepared for the weather during these months by bringing adequately warm clothes with you, including thermal underclothes and an appropriate jacket. Many hotels in India do not have central heating, so a warmer set of clothes to sleep in has also been recommended by our past travellers.

                                    What extra's might you need for travelling on a jungle safari?
                                    Climate and seasonal information
                                    PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR:
                                    The Pushkar Camel Fair is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant festivals in India, and can be a true highlight, but please note the fair is based on the lunar calendar, so the fair dates can vary and it can be hard to confirm the exact festival date although it usually falls in November each year.

                                    The 28th October 2016 and 4th November 2016 departures are due to be in Pushkar during the Camel Fair. We will do all we can to ensure that travellers booked with a trip to coincide with the fair will get an opportunity to see the best of the festival, but we cannot take responsibility if the dates of the fair change. Pushkar hotels raise their rates considerably during the festival, so departures across this period may be at a higher price. Although we make bookings months in advance, accommodation in Pushkar tends to overbook at this time. That’s why we ask for a flexible approach from people travelling at this time as accommodation, order of activities and type of transport may need to change.

                                    RANTHAMBHORE NATIONAL PARK
                                    In 2015 Intrepid returned to Ranthambhore National Park after suspending our visits in 2014 due to vehicle safety concerns. The majority of vehicles have now been assessed and upgraded. Safety of our travellers is our highest concern and your tour leader has the authority to cancel or reschedule the jeep safari if they believe that vehicles available do not meet our safety expectations.

                                    December to March
                                    Pleasant weather – warm days, cool nights.
                                    December and January bring chilly nights in the north.
                                    Temperatures climb steadily from February.

                                    April to June
                                    April is hot; May and June are really hot and dry.
                                    From June, the monsoon sweeps from south to north, bring high temperatures and humidity
                                    Cooler in the hill and mountains across the country

                                    July to November
                                    Monsoon begins until November.
                                    The southeast coast and southern Kerala see heavy rain from October to early December.
                                    Internet cafes are widespread in India and connections are usually reasonably fast, except in more remote areas. Wifi access is widely available; it's usually free in public areas of hotels but some properties will charge for in room use.

                                    Public phones are rare with the exception of airports. Private STD/ISD/PCO call booths do the same job, offering inexpensive local, interstate and international calls at lower prices than calls made from hotel rooms.

                                    Calling internationally from India: dial 00 (the international access code), then the country code of the country you’re calling, then the area code (without the initial zero) and the local number.

                                    Posting airmail letters to anywhere overseas costs ₹25/15.
                                    International airmail postcards cost around ₹12.
                                    For postcards, stick on the stamps before writing on them, as post offices can give you as many as four stamps per card.

                                    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 Travel 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.

                                    Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.

                                    Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.

                                    Travel Vaccinations: While the food and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid will apply to most of our travellers, other travel vaccines such as hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera may apply to select travellers, especially long-term travel. Travel health experts can advise on what is required and also what is not required!

                                    It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. To find out which, if any, vaccinations are mandatory or recommended for your destination contact your local doctor, immunisation centre or medical centre for up-to-date information. If you need to arrange vaccinations or a supply of preventative medicine (e.g. malaria tablets), you should contact your doctor at least two months before you depart. Some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer the full course.

                                    For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
                           Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

                                    Carry Your Certificate
                                    You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.

                                    Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in the tropical areas. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. We prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.
                                    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.


                                    LOCAL DRESS:
                                    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 by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                                    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:

                                    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:


                                    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.

                                    * 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.

                                    For more information, or to make a donation please visit:

                                    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.