India South & North Trip Notes

This all-encompassing tour of India travels from Kochi to Delhi via cultural and scenic highlights. In a nutshell, explore India's beaches, jungles, deserts and cities.

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Last Modified: 30 Jan 2013
India South & North
Trip code: HHSZC
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
This all-encompassing trip takes in the highlights of India - both north and south - revealing some of the country's wonderful secrets. Revel in the tropical climate, the food, the aromatic spices, the warm waters and the lush green landscapes of the south. Then be dazzled by the kaleidoscopic colours, the Mughal grandeur, the spiritual mysteries and powerful Rajput heritage of the north. Travel from Kochi to Delhi and combine the slower delights of Kerala and Tamil Nadu with the rush and jumble of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan for this incredible adventure.
PLEASE NOTE: A recent decision by the Indian Government to ban all tourist activity within tiger parks has been lifted. Tourists are again allowed into national parks, including Ranthambore National Park and Bandhavgarth National Park, and all game drives will resume as normal.
The Classic Rajasthan itinerary will run as per it’s original itinerary, and this will begin from today, including trips which have already departed.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency funds
ThemesYour fellow travellersVisas
MapSingle travellersIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationWhat to take
Also available to purchaseMeals introductionHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsResponsible Travel projects
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point descriptionFeedback
Departure taxFinish point instructions
Important notesEmergency contact
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • 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.
Themes
Explorer
Map
India South & North
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Kochi
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. 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.
Spread over several islands, Kochi is a fascinating place full of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influences.
Head out to explore the major sights of Fort Cochin and visit the spice bazaars and antique shops. The best way to get around the islands is by using the ferry network.
Visit the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century. It was taken over by the Dutch in 1663, who added some improvements before presenting it to the Rajas of Cochin.
Be part of a Kathakali dance performance. This classical dance is a highly charged and powerful drama that combines devotion and physical virtuosity with symbolic storytelling to produce one of the most impressive and vibrant forms of theatre in the world. It requires lengthy and rigorous training to attain complete control of the body and sensitivity to emotion so as to be able to render all its nuances through facial expressions and hand gestures.
Included Activities
  • Kochi - Fort Kochi sightseeing
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kochi - Kathakali performance
Optional Activities
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue - INR5
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 3-4 Ootacamund
Catch a train to Coimbatore (approx 3.5 hrs).
Travel by private vehicle to Ootacamund (approx 4 hrs).
Ootacamund was the British hill station known as Snooty Ooty and it was here the game of snooker was named, if not invented.
Take a ride on the famous toy train - be sure to get a window seat.
Visit a tea garden in nearby Coonoor.
Stroll around the Botanical Gardens, home to over 650 species of plants and trees.
Included Activities
  • Ooty - Tea factory visit and toy train ride
Optional Activities
  • Ooty - Botanical Gardens - INR30
  • Ooty - Boating on lake - INR150
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 5 Mudumalai National Park
Continue on by private vehicles to Masinagudi (approx 2 hrs).
Set against the picturesque backdrop of the enchanting Nilgiris with their mist-covered peaks, Mudumalai National Park was once the Mysore Maharaja's private hunting ground. It was brought under Project Tiger in 1974 and is one of the best game sanctuaries in India to observe and photograph wildlife in close proximity. Some animals you may see here include tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears, sambars and spotted deer. There's also an amazing variety of birdlife, some of the most notable birds being the heron, stork, egret, kite, falcon, peafowl, woodpecker, drongo and warbler.
On our arrival at the foot of the Nilgiris (Blue Mountains), embark on a short wildlife-spotting safari in the Mudumalai National Park.
Our family-run accommodation in Masinagudi is dormitory style.
Included Activities
  • Madumalai - Wildlife safari
Accommodation
Jungle resort (1 nt)
Days 6-7 Mysore
Travel by private vehicle through the scenic Karnataka plains to Mysore (approx 3 hrs).
Stop en route to enjoy a biryani lunch with our local friend Raju and his family.
Mysore is an easygoing town with a pleasant climate, perfect for wandering around on foot.
Your leader will take you out to get your bearings.
A visit to Mysore isn't complete without a look around Mysore Palace. One of the most ornate palaces in India, its interior is a riot of colour, mosaics and mirrors.
Visit the Keshava Temple in Somnathpur - a stunning example of Hoysala temple architecture (approx 1 hr from Mysore).
You have plenty of time to explore the surrounding countryside, so head out and climb Chamundi Hill - site of the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
Catch an overnight train to Chennai (approx 11 hrs). Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation.
Included Activities
  • Mysore - Home cooked lunch & family visit
  • Mysore - Maharaja's Palace
  • Mysore - Keshava Temple
  • Mysore - Chamundi Hill temple
Optional Activities
  • Mysore - Cinema - INR100
  • Mysore - Palm Reading - INR350
  • Mysore - Tipu Mausoleum - INR500
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Day 8 Mamallapuram
Arrive in Chennai and take private vehicles along the scenic East Coast Road to the laidback beaches of Mamallapuram (approx 2 hrs).
Mamallapuram is a scenic fishing village.
Embark on a bicycle tour, visiting the World Heritage-listed 7th-century Shore Temple and the massive bas-relief rock carving known as Arjuna's Penance.
There's also time to inspect the numerous mandapams (carved pillars in front of temples), watch stone carvers at work, see the fishing fleet or simply relax at a beachside restaurant.
Included Activities
  • Mamallapuram - Cycling tour
  • Mamallapuram - Shore Temple
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 9 Pondicherry
Travel by private vehicle through a landscape of palm trees and rice paddies, visiting Auroville en route to Pondicherry (approx 5 hrs).
Auroville is an amazing experiment in international living. Made up of 80 rural settlements and home to over 1,500 residents, more than half of whom are foreign nationals, this living project dedicated to human unity also houses the world's largest solid crystal.
Once a French colony, there are still reminders of French influence in Pondicherry's architecture, the wide town squares and even in the policemen's uniforms.
Take a walking tour and visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the local temples and the old French quarter.
Included Activities
  • Pondicherry - Auroville
  • Pondicherry - Walking tour and Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 10 Madurai
Take a local taxi to the railway station at Villapuram (approx 40 mins).
Board a train to the temple city of Madurai (approx 6 hrs).
Crammed full of bazaars, pilgrims, cycle-rickshaws, beggars and street markets, Madurai showcases southern India at its colourful and lively best.
Visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple, which lies at the heart of the city. This ancient, still active temple is a labyrinth of lamp-lit corridors which lead to shrines where some mysterious and interesting rituals are performed.
Visit the moving Gandhi Memorial Museum, which displays the blood-stained dhoti he wore when he was assassinated, along with an impressive and detailed account of the country's struggle for independence.
Included Activities
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
Optional Activities
  • Madurai - Gandhi Museum - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 11-12 Periyar National Park
Travel by public bus along a winding road to the spice plantation town of Thekkady and Periyar National Park (approx 5 hrs).
Set high in the ranges of the Western Ghats is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. This wildlife sanctuary surrounds a picturesque lake, formed by the building of a dam in 1895, which meanders around the contours of the wooded hills and provides a permanent source of water for the local wildlife. Though it's a tiger reserve, tourists come here to view the Indian elephants in the act of ablution and playfulness by the lake.
In the evening, enjoy a tour around a local spice plantation and a delicious meal prepared by the owner's family.
Venture into the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for a guided nature walk in the hope of glimpsing sambar, bison, elephant, spotted deer, tiger and leopard.
Included Activities
  • Periyar - Spice farm tour & dinner
  • Periyar - Guided National Park wildlife walk
Optional Activities
  • Periyar - Lake boat tour - INR650
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 13 Kerala Backwaters Homestay
Travelling by private vehicle, head for the backwaters of Kerala (approx 4.5 hrs). It's a great ride through plantations of rubber, tea and coffee to the boarding point for our boats.
Crossing the backwaters, head to an island village to stay with local families (approx 1 hour).
In the late afternoon, we explore the island with a local English-speaking guide or your homestay host to observe the different facets of local life - this is a great chance to meet and talk with the people who live here. Strolling under palm trees and weaving in between the rice fields that cover the island, we have a chance to learn about the lifestyles of the locals.
Take a leisurely pole boat ride around the lake and enjoy the outstanding scenery.
Accommodation is on a multishare basis and all the families live within a few hundred metres of each other, with at least one person in the family speaking a reasonable standard of English. Food is traditional Keralan home cooking.
Included Activities
  • Backwaters - Pole Boat Ride
  • Backwaters - Guided walk
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt)
Day 14 Kochi
Get up early and start your day to the sound of bird songs, before crossing the backwaters by private boat to Alleppey (approx 1.5 hrs), and a local bus to Kochi (approx 2 hrs). The rest of the day is free for some last-minute sightseeing or shopping.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 15-16 Delhi
Fly to Delhi for the second half of your trip. You must arrange your own flight from Kochi to Delhi. This flight is NOT included in the cost of the trip. Please try to arrange your flight for early in the morning as delays are common.
India's capital is an exciting, busy, and often chaotic city but it's also one of the most interesting in the world with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars!
Join your group leader on an excursion into the sights and sounds of Old Delhi! Set off on the city's modern metro system, then get a taste of India's famed public transport with a cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets, such as the famous Chandni Chowk. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then visit the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion.
Included Activities
  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Qutb Minar - INR250
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR250
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR250
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 17 Agra
Take one of India's fastest air-conditioned trains to the Mughal city of Agra (approx 3 hrs).
Hop on to your motorised rickshaw for a tour of the city - a truly fun and Intrepid way to see the monuments of Agra.
Visit the Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, this 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (as it was described by writer Rabindranath Tagore) lives up to all expectations.
Visit Agra Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time and eventually became his prison after he lost power in 1658.
See Akbar's Mausoleum - a beautiful sandstone and marble tomb built for the greatest of the Mughal emperors.
Included Activities
  • Agra - Motorised rickshaw tour
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Red Fort
Optional Activities
  • Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum - INR125
  • Agra - Additional entries to Taj Mahal - INR750
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 18 Rural Rajasthan Heritage Stay
Take a local bus to Bassi, a small town in the middle of rural Rajasthan (approx 4 hrs).
Travel by private jeeps right to the heart of the village where we stay.
On an exploratory walk through the village, you'll see local craftspeople at work and have plenty of opportunity to meet with the villagers.
Stay in a beautiful heritage property that belongs to one of the royal families of Rajasthan.
Included Activities
  • Heritage Stay - Village walk
Accommodation
Heritage Property (1 nt)
Days 19-20 Jaipur
Travel in private vehicles to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, via the Amber Palace (approx 2 hrs).
Stop at the old capital of Amber and explore the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Palace.
A friendly, busy town crammed with palaces and bazaars full of jewellery, textiles and folk-based arts, Jaipur is a firm favourite with travellers.
Make a stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'.
Take a walk to the city's crowded and colourful bazaars, which sell a wide variety of artisan goods. Semi-precious stones are the local speciality - be sure to wander by the stalls at least once.
Go to Jaipur's Royal City Palace - one of India's finest - and spend time exploring the various rooms and apartments.
Visit one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur.
Discover the extravagance of a Bollywood blockbuster, with all the Hollywood-style elements of action, romance, drama and music (sometimes all rolled into one), at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort guided tour
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - City Palace - INR300
  • Jaipur - Observatory - INR200
  • Jaipur - Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema - INR300
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 21 Ranthambore National Park
Travelling by private vehicle, head north-east to Ranthambhore (approx 5 hrs).
Ranthambhore National Park is one of the original Project Tiger reserves, although with its lakes, crags and ruined pavilions, it's well worth a visit in itself.
One of the biggest and most renowned national parks in northern India, Ranthambhore was once a famous hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur - today it's a major wildlife tourist attraction.
Take 4WD safari vehicles and go searching for tigers and other wildlife inside the park.
Explore Ranthambhore Fort. Founded in 944, few of the buildings inside have survived the ravages of war and time, but among the remaining ruins, two pavilions - Badal Mahal and Hammirs Court - give an idea of its old grandeur.
Ranthambhore National Park is closed between 1 July and 30 September each year. On those trips affected, we'll visit nearby Mansingh Sanctuary.
Included Activities
  • Ranthambore - National Park Safari
Optional Activities
  • Ranthambore - Fort tour - INR200
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 22 Bundi
Take private vehicles to the small rural town of Bundi (approx 4 hrs).
A delightful town teeming with Rajasthani life, Bundi's narrow streets are packed with shops of all kinds and the downtown market is an interesting spot to mingle with the local people.
This is a fantastic place to explore on foot and there's plenty of time to visit the baoris (step-wells) and experience local street life down in the bazaars.
Explore Bundi Palace and its famous murals. Built during the 16th and 17th centuries, it's a classic piece of Rajasthani architecture.
Included Activities
  • Bundi - Bundi Palace
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 23-24 Bijaipur
Take a slow but interesting train journey with rural villagers and locals to the small town of Bassi (approx 3 hrs).
Enjoy a drive in open jeeps out into the countryside visiting rural villages - a special and unique experience indeed!
Spend the night camping (in relative luxury!) beside a lake and under the stars. Our tents have attached bathrooms, electricity and hot & cold running water. It gets cool in the months of November & December, but quilts are provided. (no AC or heating)
Please note during the monsoon period (April - September) we do not camp and spend both nights in the heritage stay.
Take jeeps to explore the surrounding villages.
Be treated to a night of luxury in a wonderful heritage stay, a fortified mansion still run by the erstwhile local landlord and his family. It is a perfect place to take a break and immerse yourself in the local culture and lifestyle. The place is warm and people and staff friendly, welcoming all their guests and treating them as part of the family.
Included Activities
  • Heritage Stay - Village jeep safari
Optional Activities
  • Heritage Stay - Henna painting - INR125
Accommodation
Heritage Property (1 nt), Deluxe permanent tent (1 nt)
Days 25-26 Udaipur
A short journey by private vehicle takes us to Udaipur (approx 4 hrs).
Udaipur undoubtedly lives up to its reputation as India's most romantic city. Rolling hills, white marble palaces and lakes come together appealingly and it's a centre for artists, dancers and musicians. The shopping is also superb, with miniature paintings being the speciality.
On arrival in Udaipur, take a walk around town to help gather your bearings. Explore Udaipur's twisting alleys filled with silver, shoes, bags, leather goods and miniature paintings.
Visit City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India, and check out the unbelievable treasures within - from vivid murals to antiques and royal utensils.
Enjoy a half hour boat ride on the famous Lake Pichola and see marvels like Lake Palace and Jag Mandir Island (seasonal depending on the water level in the lake).
Be part of a musical concert combining seven traditional Rajasthani folk dances.
Included Activities
  • Udaipur - City Palace guided tour
Optional Activities
  • Udaipur - Lake boat ride - INR250
  • Udaipur - Cultural performance - INR100
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 27-28 Pushkar/Camel Safari
Depart from Udaipur by air conditioned train to Ajmer (approx 6 hrs).
Take private vehicles from Ajmer to our hotel in Pushkar (approx 45 mins).
Pushkar is one of the India's holiest places. It's also a market centre for many of the local village people and a great place to sit back and relax.
Head out to explore Pushkar's main bazaar and many sidestreets - some great bargains can be had, as some of the cheapest clothes and jewellery in northern India can be found here. Walk around the lake, with its bustling ghats and temples, to watch the devout as they worship at the holy waters. Visit the only Brahma Temple in India.
The highlight of our visit to Pushkar is a camel ride out into the local desert area. For those who don't want to ride a camel, there's a camel cart option.
Early risers can make the sunrise hike up the hill to the Savitri Temple for magical views over the town. There could also be a wonderful steaming glass of chai waiting for you if the chai man is there - certainly well worth the trek.
Board the overnight train to Delhi (approx 9 hrs). Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation.
Included Activities
  • Pushkar - Camel safari
Optional Activities
  • Pushkar - Savitri Temple - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Day 29 Delhi
After arriving in Delhi, transfer to our hotel.
Back at the hotel you can use group day rooms until midday.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
If you're departing India today it's best to book your flight for later in the afternoon as train delays do occur.
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.
  • HHSZC Single supplement (HHSZC)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    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.
    Culture shock rating

    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.
    Physical rating

    Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
    Included activities
    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.
    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 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.
    Money Exchange
    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.
    Spending money
    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.
    Tipping
    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 per day is generally appropriate.
    Local transport: For a city tour we suggest INR50 per day.
    Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    INTERNAL FLIGHT NOT INCLUDED:
    The flight on day 15 from Kochi to Delhi is NOT included in this trip. You must book this ticket yourself. Please try to arrange your flight for early in the morning as delays are common.
    PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR:
    In 2013 the Pushkar camel fair will be held between approx 9 - 17 November.
    In 2014 the Pushkar camel fair will be held between approx 30 October - 6 November.
    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 dates.
    We will do all we can to ensure that travellers booked on departures that coincide with the fair will get an opportunity to see the best of the festival, but due to the uncertain and flexible nature of this festival we cannot take responsibility if the dates of the fair are changed resulting in your visit not coinciding with the fair.
    Pushkar hotels typically raise their rates considerably during the fair so departures across this period will be subject to a surcharge. Unfortunately, although we make bookings months in advance, Pushkar accommodation tend to overbook at this time so we ask for a flexible approach from our travellers who choose to travel at this time.
    PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR DEPARTURES
    The departures on the 26th October and 2nd November 2012 will be in Pushkar during the festival.
    Group size
    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
    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 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. On the following nights a single room is not available:
    Days 1, 2 & 14 - Kochi Lodge (limited rooms)
    Day 7 Overnight Train
    Day 13 Homestay
    Days 25-26 Udaipur (limited rooms)
    Accommodation
    Hotel (21 nts), Overnight sleeper train (2 nts), Heritage Property (2 nts), Jungle resort (1 nt), Homestay (1 nt), Deluxe permanent tent (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.
    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.
    Meals
    6 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    USD 570.00
    Transport
    Auto rickshaw, Ferry, Train, Private vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Overnight sleeper train, Bus, Boat, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Jeep
    LONG TRAVEL DAYS
    There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
    OVERNIGHT TRAINS
    Sleeper trains in India have berths on both sides of the carriage, with some also having 4-6 berth compartments (dependant on seasonality and the journey). The carriages are multishare, with bunk beds and curtains that close over the beds. Most compartments are air-conditioned.
    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.
    Joining point
    Intrepid Kaleeveedu Lodge
    1/387 Pattallam Road (near Police Quarters)
    Kochi
    Kerala
    INDIA
    Phone: +91 4842218980
    Joining point description
    The Intrepid Kaleeveedu Lodge is a traditional 1940's Kerala home located in the heart of Fort Kochi, within walking distance to all of the major attractions, and five minutes from the Basilica Church. The Lodge comprises eight air conditioned rooms with ensuite bathroom and hot water. The property also features a beautiful garden and pond bringing a great escape after a days site-seeing.
    If you experience any problem with your booking please call our local Intrepid representative on +91 9999 916229 or +91 9645 096220
    Check-in time is 12 noon.
    Please note that we do not offer additional accommodation at the lodge due to room limitations and any pre / post accommodation will be booked at the Grand Hotel in Kochi. Be aware you will need to make your own way between these two properties.
    Joining point instructions
    Kochi's (Cochin) International Airport is 50km north east of the city. Taxis are the only available transport, and the journey takes approx. 90minutes. An air conditioned taxi costs approx. INR 1000 from the prepaid taxi booth in the arrivals hall. DO NOT hand your receipt to the driver until you have arrived at the hotel. Ignore any suggestions that "the hotel has burnt down" or "the hotel is full". Rest assured the hotel is there as is your booking.
    An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 30 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
    If you have pre-purchased an arrival transfer look for our local operator that will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name and Intrepid logo.
    Arrival complications
    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
    Centrally located in the Karol Bagh market area, a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. The hotel has 24-hour reception, elevator, luggage storage, and all rooms have AC and security lockers.
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    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.
    Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic.
    A taxi to the Delhi Indira Gandi Airport takes about 1 hour and should cost between 450 -500INR. Hotel reception or your leader can help you arrange a taxi.
    Before check in you must have your check in luggage x-rayed and sealed. Also ensure at check in that your hand luggage is tagged. (This is a mandatory in order to clear security.)
    Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency Intrepid's India office can be reached on +91 1145 006 400 during business hours (9.30am to 6pm) or after hours on +91 9999 916 229.
    For all other enquiries please contact our reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
    Emergency funds
    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
    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.
    INDIA:
    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.
    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.
    WARM CLOTHING:
    Temperatures can be low in the winter months, especially at altitude, so bring a set of warmer clothes including thermal underclothes and a fleece jacket.
    Please make sure you have 'natural' coloured clothing to wear on the jungle walk in Periyar.
    SLEEPING BAG:
    A sleeping bag is very useful for the camping and the overnight train journey during the colder months but in the warmer months a sleeping sheet will suffice. If you prefer, a blanket can be bought locally.
    WATER BOTTLE:
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
    IMAGES FROM HOME:
    During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
    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.
    Health
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    Safety
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. 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.
    CAMEL SAFARI:
    Please note that helmets and professional riding equipment can't be provided on the camel safari.
    HORSE RIDING: Horse riding is an option available to groups on this trip. Please note however that horse riding is usually not covered by your travel insurance and helmets are not always available. If riding without a helmet is a concern then you should bring our own.
    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.
    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.
    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    SEAT BELTS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
    LIFE JACKETS:
    While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
    FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    SWIMMING POOLS:
    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
    BALCONIES:
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
    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 trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
    If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone 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:
    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. 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
    Carbon Offset C02-e 676.00 kgs per pax.
    Feedback
    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.