Last Modified: 22 Nov 2014
Trip code: HHSA
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Travel across Gujarat, taking in the clash of sights, cities and cultures that make this colourful country famous. Explore holy Buddhist caves in Porbandar, marvel at the wildlife in Sasan Gir Wildlife Santuary and chill by the beach in Dwarka, all the while meeting friendly locals and indulging in spicy delights. From the Dhobi ghats of Mumbai to archeological sites, this adventure will create amazing memories to last a lifetime.
Warning - this is a new trip for us!
While we have thoroughly researched this area to put together this trip, it still must be remembered that this is a relatively new trip for us. To be frank, we expect some things to go wrong. When we head to new destinations, we usually find there are more pleasant surprises in store than unpleasant ones, but the warning is sincere. If it concerns you then we recommend that you wait for a year until we get any bugs ironed out.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Days 1-2 Mumbai
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1pm 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.
Known as Bombay until its recent name change, Mumbai is India's commercial capital.
Take a short walk through the heritage quarter of Mumbai and head for the nearby Gateway of India and the famous Taj Hotel.
Take a taxi to Chowpatty Beach for a sunset stroll. An evening promenade here is a must so you can try the local delicacies on offer at the many street stalls. Prepare to be offered everything from a neck massage to fresh coconuts!
Leave Mumbai late on Day 2 by overnight train heading for Ahmedabad (approx 8 hours).
- Mumbai - Heritage Quarter and Chowpatty Beach Walking Tour
- Mumbai - Bollywood tour with Lunch - INR1100
- Guided Dhavari Slum tour - USD10
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Day 3 Ahmedabad
Arrive in Ahmedabad, Gujarat's major city.
Ahmedabad is the home of the famous Sabarmati Ashram, set up by Gandhi in 1915. The city was at the forefront of the Indian independence movement in the first half of the 20th century.
We visit the Sabarmati Ashram as part of our city tour to discover the often hidden charms within this metropolis. View the startling streetscapes from the Bhadra Fort and Teen Darwaja (Triple Gateway) which were built immediately after the founding of the city. Learn about the Jain religion, which is particularly strong in Gujarat at the Hathi Singh Temple just outside of the Old Town. The graceful Rani Sipri Mosque showcases some lovely minarets and the Jama Masjid, the biggest in the city, ranks as one of India's most stunning.
Some other things to do during your time here include Ahmedabad's quirky museums such as the Textile Museum, Shreyas Folk Museum, Utensils Museum & Kite Museum.
- Ahmedabad - Teen Darwaza, Jama Masjid, Hathi Singh Temple, Rani Sipri Mosque, Sabarmati Ashram
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Bhavnagar
Head out of Ahmedabad and stop in at the Lothal archaeological site on the way to Bhavnagar (total drive time approx 6 hours).
Only discovered in 1954, the site is the remains of a city that was once one of the most important in the Indus Valley and while no whole structures remain, excavations have revealed many treasures of a long gone civilisation.
Bhavnagar is the Gateway for excursions into some of Gujarat's most intriguing national parks, so we have a brief overnight stop here.
Wander the old city early evening to experience local street life or settle in for a huge all you can eat Gujarati thali meal.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 5-6 Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary
Mingle with pilgrims at one of the Jain religion's holiest sights today at Palitana, just outside of Bhavnagar.
The fantastical hilltop temple complex of Shatrunjaya is your reward after a steep climb up the 300m (but 3300 steps!) path. We leave early to make the climb before the day gets too hot. For those with a reasonable level of fitness the ascent takes around 90 min to achieve and is well worth it for the spectacular views alone. Spend some time meandering between shrines, admiring the ornate carving and watching worshippers before returning back to ground level and journeying onward to Sasan Gir.
Total travel time today is approx 7 hours.
On Day 6 we make our way into Sasan Gir Wildlife Sanctuary on a guided jeep safari.
Sasan Gir is home to Asia's largest population of wild lions as well as numerous other species such as spotted and sambar deer, nilgai antelope, crocodiles and abundant bird life. Not every trip will be lucky enough to see a lion, however the drive through the dense, old growth forests is a highlight in itself.
- Palitana - Shatrunjaya Jain temple complex
- Sasan Gir - Wildlife Sanctuary jeep safari
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 7 Porbandar
On our way to Porbandar (total journey time approx 5 1/2 hours) we stop at the little visited town of Junagadh.
Besieged multiple times since its founding over 2000 years ago, Uparkot Fort offers great views over the surrounding city and the distant Ginar Hill. The fort also contains a mosque and some excellent example of step wells, deep enough to shelter in during long battles and accessible via a spiralling staircase.
Nearby the fort are a series of Buddhist caves honed out of the rock and once used as monks quarters and includes a central hall with worn but still visible ancient carvings.
The port town of Porbandar is the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi and we will visit some of the sights associated with this great man on Day 8.
- Junagadh - Buddhist caves
- Junagadh - Uparkot Fort
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Dwarka
Stop in at Gandhi's ancestral home, a 220 year old mansion, and pay homage to the great man at the nearby memorial - Kirti Mandir.
Visit the fascinating Bharat Mandir just on the outskirts of the city. This modern building contains a to-scale 3D map of India and displays on all of India's key saints and political leaders. Don't be surprised if the visiting school children find you even more interesting than the exhibits!
Continue our drive to seaside Dwarka (approx 3 hours).
We have 2 nights here to spend enjoying this part of Gujarat which is seldom visited by foreign travellers.
Gape at the heights of the towering spire at the Dwarkadhish Temple, one of the holiest Hindu pilgrimage sights in the country and where Krishna is said to have established one of his capitals.
Enter a working lighthouse - an important landmark of the town and one of the most treasured local historical monuments and meet the lighthouse keeper.
During our stay here we will also have time to relax on the lovely beaches such as at Okhamadhi or Shivrapur where swimming and water activities are possible.
- Porbandar - Bharat Mandir
- Porbandar - Gandhi's birthplace & Kirti Mandir
- Dwarka - Dwarkadhish & Rukmini Temples
- Dwarka - Lighthouse
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 10 Jamnagar
After a free morning, we drive to Jamnagar (approx 3 hours).
This little city is famous for its colourful tie-dyed cloth, made using a process over 500 years old, and on display at many of the stalls at the bazaar.
If you have a chance, visit the Gujarat Ayurved University campus, the worlds first university teaching traditional medicine, yoga and naturopathy according to ayurvedic principles.
Take your time walking the streets of the old city discovering the Jain temples, colonial and traditional buildings, shops and markets.
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 11-12 Bhuj
Welcome to Bhuj, capital of the intriguing Karchchh region. Plagued by earthquakes in recent years, this area has resiliently rebuilt and its unique geography and welcoming villages make it one of India's best kept secrets.
The small city of Bhuj is crammed with bazaars selling fantastical handicrafts and textiles and a wealth of sights to see.
Learn about Kachchh culture at the museum, Gujarat's oldest, which is crammed full of artefacts, weapons and displays on local tribes.
Explore Darbargadh - the old walled citadel, which is still being restored after the earthquake of 2001. Peek into stunning buildings like the former royal residences from the 17th and 19th centuries and the highlight of them all, the gorgeous Aina Mahal (Old Palace).
Get to know some of the local communities on a day tour out of Bhuj to the Banni grasslands. Depending on the season, we may have the chance to visit Jat, Ahir, Harijan or Rabari villages which each have strong artisan and handicraft traditions. Witness pit loom weavers in action, admire distinctive delicate embroidery, patchwork, tie dying, block printing, wood carving and many other crafts at cooperatives and grass-roots organisations working to preserve the region's artistic heritage. It goes without saying that you'll want to stock up on souvenirs today!
- Bhuj - Kachchh Museum
- Bhuj - Darbargadh complex
- Bhuj - Banni villages tour
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 13 Dasada
Today we journey to the Little Rann, a harsh desert landscape which is home to the world's last remaining wild population of Indian wild donkeys.
Travel on a jeep safari into the Wild Ass Sanctuary to witness some of these remarkable creatures in their natural habitat.
We stay overnight in a safari camp just outside of the sanctuary near the village of Bajana.
- Dasada - Wild Ass Sanctuary jeep safari
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 14-15 Ahmedabad
Conclude our Gujarat journey by returning to Ahmedabad (approx 5 hours total) but not before seeing some final sights unique to this part of India.
Nothing we have seen so far compares to the astonishing and beautifully built Rani-ki-Vav step-well with its multiple levels of parading sculptures.
For such a small town, Patan has a multitude of Jain temples (over 100!), the most prominent of which - Panchasara Parshvanath features painstakingly created silk textile decoration.
The magnificent Sun Temple at Modhera is a monument to former rulers of the area who were thought to be descended from the sun itself. Designed so that the central sun god image is lit up by the morning sun during mid summer, its an impressive sight. Look out for the erotic sculptures decorating the main hall and climb down into the step-well crammed with shrines.
Enjoy an optional final night group dinner on arrival in Ahmedabad for our last taste of gujarati cuisine, ensuring you don't leave the state before sampling some sensational sweet treats like panaki or malpuva crepes, hand churned ice cream or sherbet.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
- Modhera - Sun Temple
- Patan - Panchasara Parshvanath Jain temple & Rani-ki-Vav step-well
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- HHSA Single Supplement (HHSA)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Real Food Adventure - India (HHZM)
- Mountains & Mystics (HHSF)
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. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
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 comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
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.
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.
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.
While traveller's cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels/establishments.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
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:
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-INR150 per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a half day city tour we suggest INR50 per day. For a full day city tour we suggest INR100 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.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
FESTIVALS IN INDIA
Please note travelling during major festivals such as Holi and Diwali can, at times, cause disruption the the published itinerary. Please see the 'Safety' section for more details.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
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.
Hotel (13 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
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.
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.
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. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage where food / snacks / meals are available.
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.
6 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Train, Taxi, Car
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
Sleeper trains in India have berths on both sides of the carriage, with some also having 4-6 berth compartments (dependent on seasonality and the journey). The carriages are multishare, with bunk beds and curtains that close over the beds. Most compartments are air-conditioned. Due to the complex nature of booking train travel in India, Intrepid cannot always guarantee that the group will travel always together in the same compartment or carriage. We have contingencies in place in these cases. Your tour leader is the best guide in these situations.
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.
Hotel Krishna Palace
96/98. Sleater Road
Phone: +91 02266293333
Joining point description
Located in the Nana Chowk area, surrounded by a mix of local shops and restaurants. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Mumbai Colaba. 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.
Joining point instructions
Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport is approximately 24 km from Nana Chowk. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage.
The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotel takes approx 1 hour and costs between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths).
IMPORTANT: Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers.
Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre-arranged transfer service option. Enquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer please exit gate.
If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
+91 9560 849 444
Failing the above please take a taxi to the hotel (using the instructions above) and advise your group leader.
Check in time at hotel is 12 midday.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Le Grande Residency Hotel
Old Sharda Mandir X Rds, B/h Gujarat College
Finish point description
Located in the Old Sharda Mandir Rd, Le Grande, being located in the heart of city is close to the places of tourist interest. 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.
Finish 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.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport is approximately 14 km from Old Sharda Mandir Rd.
The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotel takes approx 1 hour and costs between INR 400 - 500 (prepaid traffic police booths).
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.
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, 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.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Yes - in advance
The Indian Government has advised that from December 2014, all visa applicants will need to be physically present at a visa application centre, by appointment, to submit their applications and biometric data, including fingerprints and facial imagery). ALL Australian travellers to India will need to personally attend their nearest consulate to complete their visa formalities.
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance OR on arrival*
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
There is NO visa on arrival in India for most nationalities. Indian visas can NOT be obtained 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.
*Visa on arrival is available for select nationalities, including New Zealanders provided that specific criteria can be met. See link below for more information.
Issues on your trip
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.
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 and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (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.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. 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. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for 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.
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.
Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
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.
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. 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 group 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 group 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 the Holi festival, a lunar festival next held in March 6 2015, (in 2016 it is held on 23 March). and generally held in March each year, can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader/guide will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader/guide in high risk situation.
Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (a lunar festival next held on 11 November, 2015, (30 October 2016) and generally held from mid October to mid November every year) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the 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 any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.
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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 group 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.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
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:
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.
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.
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$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in India include:
* 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.
* Deepalaya is focused on building a better future for India's street children. They have assisted more than 44,000 underprivileged children through the provision of food and board, health care, meaningful education and vocational training, counselling and career guidance, understanding, friendship, and warmth and solace.
* GOONJ channels vital resources to rural India through the distribution of used items such as clothes and household goods. Their school-to-school program of channelling resources like uniforms, shoes, stationery, lunch boxes etc from urban schools to rural schools will benefit more than 35,000 children in its first phase.
Any donations you'd like to make can be given to your group leader in Delhi ONLY, they can then arrange for it to be passed on to GOONJ who will distribute these items to rural villages and people in need. You might like to consider taking over some clothes or other things you no longer require: woollens, footwear, bed sheets, blankets, utensils, first aid items, books, toys and school items - notebooks, pencils, pens, old uniforms or school bags - are all useful.
Carbon Offset C02-e 303.00 kgs per pax.
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