Last Modified: 11 Jul 2013
India Family - Mountains and Tigers
Trip code: FFH
Validity: 01 Oct 2012 to 31 Dec 2014
India conjures up images of bustling cities, historic forts, delicious food, beautiful countryside, magical wildlife and a kaleidoscope of religions. This family holiday blends all of these classic elements on a well-paced trip that excites the senses. Dust off the family’s spirit of adventure and dive into India’s cultural paradise. Whether seeking enlightenment along the Ganges, being stirred by the sight of the Himalaya mountains or witnessing the heart-stopping moment of a tiger roaming through a national park, it’s impossible not to fall for India’s many charms.
This trip is operated by our trusted local partners, The Adventure Company.
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.
Day 1 Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
After arriving in Delhi and checking into our hotel. You will have free time today giving you the chance to take in the sights and sounds of bustling Delhi. The present metropolis of Delhi is at least the eighth city to have been founded on this site; its predecessors have been largely razed to the ground.
Swati Deluxe Hotel (1 nt)
Day 2 Agra
We set off early today by train to Bharatpur, a journey of nearly three hours. Upon arrival we'll have a birding tour of Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary. Created by the ruling Maharaja in the middle of the 18th century, the sanctuary is now India’s most spectacular bird reserve, having slowly but surely attracted a growing number of migrating species. From early October the first migrants arrive from Central Asia; nest building and egg laying carry on right through until March. Annual visitors include the painted stork, osprey, Siberian crane, night heron and sarus crane. Using cycle rickshaws, you can make your way almost silently across the tree-lined bunds (embankments) - built to allow people to view the birds. The park also supports a variety of mammals, so your time here will undoubtedly prove to be rewarding.
Following our visit we'll take the road leading to Fatehpur Sikri, some 20km (approx. 30 minutes) away. Along the way are the remains of the Kos Minars; wayside markers which survive only as crumbled towers, pointing the way to this city built of rich red sandstone. Akbar the Great built Fatehpur Sikri (the ‘City of Victory’), outside Agra as a tribute to a sage who foretold the birth of his three sons. He duly moved his court to this new capital, only to abandon it after 15 short years because the water supply deteriorated. Today its rose-coloured walls provide the visitor with an unforgettable impression of the majesty of a 16th century royal court.
Finally, we'll make the 35km (approx. 90 minute) drive to Agra, arriving early evening ready for our visit to one of the world’s most famous monuments tomorrow.
- Keoladeo - Bird sanctuary entrance
- Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri
Siris 18 Hotel (1 nt)
Day 3 Taj Mahal
Agra stands on the bank of the River Yamuna and was once the capital of the Moghul Empire. It flourished under Akbar and Shah Jahan added many of the buildings in and around Agra Fort including the Taj Mahal, built as a mausoleum for Shah Jahan’s beloved wife Mumtaz, after she died giving birth to their fourteenth child.
This morning it is possible to rise early and watch the sunrise over this exquisite monument, but it is a beautiful building to admire at any time of day. This must surely be the world’s greatest monument to love. Architects from as far afield as Europe were commissioned to take part in its construction. Its staggering architecture of white marble inlaid with thousands of pieces of coloured and semi-precious stone makes the Taj Mahal one of the world’s most beautiful buildings.
Construction of the nearby Agra Fort was started by Akbar in 1565 and was finally completed four generations later by Aurangzeb. Here we find a fusion of Hindu and Islamic architectural styles, which led to the emergence of a distinctive Indian style.
This afternoon we'll drive back up to Delhi (approx 6hrs) where we'll board the overnight train to Kathgodam, the railhead for Naini Tal.
Nb. During peak seasons, this train journey becomes extremely popular. On rare occasions it is not always possible to obtain seats for the train for the whole group. In these instances, we will charter an overnight sleeper coach to transfer the group from Delhi straight to Naini Tal.
- Agra - Taj Mahal
- Agra Fort
Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Betalghat
Leaving the train, we drive for 36km (approx. 1hr 15mins) along twisting mountain roads and into the hills passing through forests and small villages to the town of Naini Tal, nestling alongside its tal (lake). Here we spend the rest of the morning in and around this pleasant hill station. Once the summer capital of British India’s United Provinces (now mostly Uttar Pradesh) it is just as popular today as it was then; a wonderful escape from the summer heat of the Indian plains.
If time allows (the train can be delayed) we can make a leisurely climb up Naina (Cheena) Peak (2610m) for stunning views of the Himalaya including Nanda Devi (7816m), which was India’s highest peak until Kanchenjunga in the east was absorbed into the country. For the less energetic, time can be passed boating on the lake or strolling The Mall.
Leaving Naini Tal we continue our journey through stunning mountain scenery to the sleepy village of Katami Gajar situated on the banks of the Kosi River. Our lodge sits on the steep mountainside, close to the jungles in which Jim Corbett found his calling. Though comfortable, the lodge is surrounded by nature and, in many ways, is distant from modern technology. The area is renowned for its beauty and a pair of binoculars is really essential as there are many birds to see on our guided nature walk. There are large mahseer fish in the river and in the surrounding forests it is said there are wild boar, leopard, Himalayan black bear, barking deer, sambar and even the elusive tiger, though one would be lucky to have a sighting of any of these animals. Rather, this is a place to relax, walk and enjoy the surroundings in what is a little-visited area of northern India.
- Fishing - INR700
- Night Safari - INR820
Call of the Wildlife Hotel (2 nts)
Days 6-7 Corbett National Park
Set beneath the Himalayas, the jeep ride to Corbett National Park today takes about 2 ½ hours, journeying along winding mountain roads before we gradually head down towards the River Ramganga at the Gangetic plain. Corbett was the first national park to be established in India and remains one of the finest, abounding in flora and fauna. Originally called Hailey National Park, in 1936 it was renamed after Jim Corbett, a man who did much to conserve the wildlife of India. Although seeing tigers can never be guaranteed, the chances here are relatively high. Even if we do not spot a tiger, you may see wild elephant, sambar, chital, hog deer, barking deer and maybe even leopard.
Upon arrival on day seven, we’ll have a guided nature walk for our first chance to spot these animals before taking to jeeps the following day; an excellent way to see wildlife. Rising early we set off into the towering hardwood forest in search of wildlife. Our guides are experienced trackers; they easily spot animals amongst the tall elephant grass and birds hiding in the trees. Whatever the time of year, come prepared for a chilly start to the morning; these are generally cold and misty! Daytime temperatures rise quickly and we rest when it is hottest. As the sun gets lower we enter the park again. The tiger population is static (approx. 120 in 1994) and a sighting is not uncommon though, as ever, a degree of luck is needed.
- Guided nature walk
- Corbett NP Game Drives
Myrica Anand Van Hotel (2 nts)
Day 8 Haridwar
Today the long drive of around seven hours skirts fields of sugar cane and cotton, with villages and a variety of people lining the roadside - rural India at its best. At Haridwar, one of the seven holy towns of India we cross the Ganges, one of seven Indian rivers holy to Hinduism. Known as the ‘Gateway to the Gods’, Haridwar lies at the point where the Ganges passes through its last gorge before its journey across the plains and onwards across the vast landscapes of India. Many pilgrims come here to bathe in the water and we’ll have a chance to wander along the riverbank and maybe visit the main ghat, Hari ki Pairi, where Vishnu is believed to have left a footprint. We’ve also included a visit to the Har Ki Podi Temple and a traditional aarti ceremony.
Hari Ganga Haveli Hotel (1 nt)
Days 9-10 Rishikesh
Today we continue north for 2 ½ hours, following the Ganges to Rishikesh, famous as a centre for yoga, meditation and relaxation. Rishikesh is considered a sacred place, it is believed that meditation here leads to attainment of salvation. Our accommodation for the next two nights is at Shivpuri, 18km from Rishikesh, where we’ll stay on the banks of the River Ganges on the beach. We will camp in good quality tents with twin beds, shower and toilets on the campsite. This location is especially good for children as there’s plenty of space to run around, play games and swim, and for the adults to kick back and relax. It’s also a great base from which to start your Himalayan walk tomorrow. NB – in some months, particularly December and January, the river may be too cold for swimming.
Nb. On occasions where the weather is unsuitable for camping, you will be accommodated in a nearby hotel.
The following day, we'll head into the Himalaya for a full day trek beneath these towering peaks. The route takes us gradually uphill, and generally we will be able to complete the 12km walk in about five or six hours. On a clear day, the views will be amazing. There are a number of different routes; some go through forest, others by the River Ganges; the trek will be tailored to us by our leader. If you don’t want to join the walk you can stay at the camp and simply relax.
- Cycle Hire - INR300
- Yoga Class - INR600
Overnight Camp (2 nts)
Days 11-13 Delhi
Today we spend the day at leisure, either in or around Rishikesh. As it flows through the town, the Ganges is slow moving - very different from upstream, where it is well known for its strong currents and fierce behaviour. A wander between the pilgrimage centres or ashrams to the north of the main town provides a relaxing day. The town is connected by suspension bridges; the pedestrian bridge at Lakshaman Jhula is said to be where Rama’s brother Lakshmana crossed the river on a jute rope. This area is very picturesque, buzzing with life, and provides a pleasant walk back towards the main town. After the activities of the day we drive the short distance to Haridwar and board the evening train back to Delhi; it’ll take about 4 ½ hours and we’ll arrive shortly before 11pm. Dinner is included on the train, so it will be a tray of Indian food – try to buy some snacks before-hand if you don’t fancy this!
The following morning we’ll take a half-day tour exploring the sights of Old and New Delhi. The present metropolis of Delhi is at least the eighth city to have been founded on this site; its predecessors have been largely razed to the ground. Old Delhi is bustling and vibrant; a network of narrow streets and alleys teeming with people. Mosques and temples are squeezed into unlikely places between shops and market stalls. We’ll visit the Jami Masjid, Delhi’s largest mosque. This is not only a place of religious worship, but also a lively meeting place for the city’s Muslims. A fascinating contrast awaits as we head into New Delhi. Its wide boulevards and imposing buildings conjure up images of the British Empire at its zenith.
There may be free time to further explore this fascinating city this afternoon. After a busy day we’ll meet up in the evening for a ‘last supper’ together. You can recount your journey and swap stories about a great trip.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Swati Deluxe Hotel (2 nts)
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.
- FFH - Mountains and Tigers - Single supplement (FFH)
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.
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
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 for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
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.
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.
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. We suggest INR100 per day for local guides.
Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter. We suggest INR50 per day for porters.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of INR100 per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a city tour we suggest INR50 per day.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Heat and humidity during summer (Apr-Jun) in India can be particularly oppressive with temperatures reaching 45 degrees C/113 degrees F.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partner, The Adventure Company.
Age restrictions apply to this trip: minimum age 5. Please note that anyone aged under 18 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.
Maximum of 16 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:
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. On our Family Adventures, single relatives or friends are welcome to travel along with a family. These single travellers share with people of the same gender for the duration of the trip and in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Please note that 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 Comfort and Original style trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (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.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Swati Deluxe Hotel (3 nts), Overnight Camp (2 nts), Call of the Wildlife Hotel (2 nts), Myrica Anand Van Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt), Siris 18 Hotel (1 nt), Hari Ganga Haveli Hotel (1 nt)
Accommodation is clean and simple. You'll mainly stay in small, locally-run, 2-3 star hotels and guesthouses, which reflect the character of the area,generally these will be a twin room with private facilities. Sometimes you'll stay in larger, more comfortable hotels or occasionally rustic accommodation with basic facilities. We use a variety of accommodation on most trips; chosen for their value for money, location and atmosphere. We also try and incorporate unique accommodation experiences, such as a night with a local tribe, or sleeping under the stars in the desert.
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in some places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
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.
12 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 7 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Private Bus, Jeep, Train
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.
Joining point description
Located in the Karol Bagh market areal surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. The hotel features a restaurant and 24 hour room service, and rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone.
Joining point instructions
Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25 km from Karol Bagh. One if the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage.
For those who have pre-booked your airport arrival transfer please exit by doors 4 & 5 and your representative who will be waiting in the arrival hall holding a placard bearing our company logo. If you cannot find your representative, please look for him at Costa coffee. If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
+91 9911 972 636
+91 9560 849 444
Failing the above please take a taxi to the hotel and advise your group leader.
A taxi will take about 1 hour and cost 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.
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.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Finish point description
Located in the Karol Bagh market areal surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. The hotel features a restaurant and 24 hour room service, and rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone.
Finish point instructions
Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic so please leave plenty of time to arrive and check in. On arrival at the airport all check in luggage will be x-rayed and sealed. Also ensure at check in that your hand luggage is tagged. (This is a mandatory in order to clear security.)
A taxi to the Delhi Indira Gandi Airport takes about 1 hour and should cost between INR 450 -500. Hotel reception or your leader can help you arrange a taxi.
A departure transfer from our hotel to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trips start date. If you have pre-booked a departure transfer with us it is vital that you reconfirm your pick-up time from the hotel before departure day. Please ask your leader to contact our transfer provider or alternatively contact them directly on +91 9911 972 636.
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
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
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. 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.
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), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
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.
During the wildlife drives in open jeeps/canter (especially from October to mid March) it can be rather chilly so please pack warm clothing. It may also be a good idea to take a smart casual outfit for an evening out.
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 end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
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.
As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
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 17, 2014 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 03 November, 2013 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.
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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
UNFENCED CAMP SITES:
On some trips you will at times stay in unfenced camp sites within national parks. While this is a fantastic experience, there are a few safety rules to follow. While staying in national parks it's important that you listen to any advice given by your tour leader and the park rangers regarding responsible and safe behaviour.
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:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative and you should dress accordingly. To respect the local culture and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. As a guideline, shoulders and knees at the minimum (and everything in between including midriff and cleavage) should be covered at all times. Wearing shorts and singlet tops is not appropriate and may well restrict your entry into sites of a religious nature, family homes, and will limit your local interaction opportunities in general. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly warm climate.
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.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.