Indian Getaway Trip Notes

Indian Getaway

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2015 to 31 December 2015. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2016 - 31 December 2016

Last Modified: 19 Nov 2015
Indian Getaway
Trip code: HHRI
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
See beautiful henna hands, chow down on some chivda (a crunchy cereal snack), lose yourself in the labyrinth of lanes, but whatever you do don’t disrespect a cow – these are the rules of India. In a country of 1.2 billion, prepare for an overwhelming face slap of culture and diversity that is sure to stir the soul. Cities contrast between the rich and poor, old and new, good and bad. It may seem difficult at first, but the people, food and culture make it an utterly captivating destination. Plunge head first into an experience like no other.
Table of Contents
StyleGroup sizeEmergency funds
ThemesYour fellow travellersVisas
MapSingle travellersIssues on your trip
ItineraryAccommodationWhat to take
Also available to purchaseMeals introductionHealth
We also recommendMealsSafety
Itinerary disclaimerTransportTravel insurance
Culture shock rating Group leaderResponsible Travel
Physical ratingJoining point A couple of rules
Included activitiesAlternate Joining point The Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeFinish point Carbon offset
TippingAlternate Finish point Feedback
Departure taxAlternate Finish point instructions
Important notesEmergency contact
  • Our Basix style trips are designed for travellers who want exceptional value, plenty of free time and having the flexibility to choose where and how their time and money is spent. By working plenty of free time into the itineraries and keeping many of the activities optional, we aim to make travel possible for those on even the most slender of budgets. After all, why pay for an activity or excursion you wouldn’t otherwise be interested in? Or a level of comfort you don’t require? As a wise person probably once said, a bed's just a bed when there's exploring to be done.
Indian Getaway
Days 1-2 Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Get your haggling hat on. Mind the cows. And keep your hands and feet inside the tuk-tuk at all times.
Take off your watch because you're on India time now.
Pre-departure group meeting at 6pm as well as an optional group dinner.
Visit Chandni Chowk and Connaught Place on a walking tour - the commercial heart of New Delhi.
Get some sightseeing done during free time.
Board an overnight sleeper train bound for Varanasi (approx 13 hours).
Included Activities
  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
Hotel Perfect or similar (1 nt), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
Days 3-5 Varanasi
When we get down to the Ganges, buy a little candle boat from one of the many stores. When we're on our sunrise boat ride you can send it floating down the holy river. Say a few words for someone back home (mum, dad, Aunty Kath etc).
Witness the rituals of life and death during a sunrise Ganges boat cruise.
Tale a guided tour through Varanasi's back lanes and crowded alleyways.
Board another sleeper train and journey back towards Agra (approx 13 hours).
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Old city walking tour
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat ride
Hotel Surya or similar (2 nts), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
Day 6 Agra
We can't even make a joke here. The Taj is simply that good. Do your best Princess Di pose on the benches as crowds of locals scramble to take your photo (yes, this will happen).
Guided tour of the Taj Mahal.
Optional visit to Agra Fort.
Included Activities
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
Royale Residency or similar (1 nt)
Day 7 Tordi Garh
No auto rickshaws, no touts, no hurry, no worry...Tordi's just that kind of place. Scramble onto a camel cart for a village tour and say Namaste to the shy but friendly locals. Did you spot the horse with the blue eyes?
Drive through beautiful countryside to Tordi Garh, a village that few travellers venture to. It will take us a while to get here by public bus (180km, approx 5 hours) and then jeep (150km, approx 3 hours) but it's worth it. Trust us.
Meet locals, see the old village temple and wander through the markets.
Visit ruined temples and a nearby fortress.
Stay overnight in the palace at Tordi.
Tordi Heritage stay or similar (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Jaipur
On Day 8 we travel by jeep to Jaipur - Rajasthan's colourful capital (100km, approx 3 hours).
On Day 9 enjoy a guided tour of the medieval Amber Fort.
Take a tour through the Old Bazaar and The Palace of the Winds.
Free time to explore Jaipur on your own.
For many travellers a hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of Jaipur. Ballooning can be done over Jaipur on the morning of day 9 between Sep & Jun. For additional information please see the important notes section of your trip notes.
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Walking tour
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD250
Utsav Niwas Heritage Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Delhi
Take a local public bus back to Delhi (265km, approx 6 hours).
We reckon you should put down the camera and spend your last few days trying to take in the overwhelming, crazy, colourful madness of India.
Perhaps indulge in a final group meal in the evening.
The trip ends on Day 11, but Delhi has a lot going on for those who wish to stay longer. Try one of our Urban Adventures!
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Culture Vulture Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2050
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl - INR3000
Hotel Perfect or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • HHRI India Getaway - Single Supplement (HHRI)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • North India Unplugged (HHRR)
  • Classic Rajasthan (HHSC)
  • North India Unplugged (HHRR)
  • Classic Rajasthan (HHSC)
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. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
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

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
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 approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
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.
Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.
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
Heat and humidity during summer (Apr-Jun) in India can be particularly oppressive with temperatures reaching 45 degrees C/113 degrees F.
Please note travelling during major festivals such as Holi and Diwali can, at times, cause disruption the the published itinerary. Please see the 'Safety' section for more details.
Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate mornings from September to June and morning and evening from September to March.
Morning flights depart around sunrise and evening flights late afternoon and last 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost.
You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip.
Payment must be made by cash in either INR/AUD/USD/GBP only and is USD$250pp (subject to change)
Flights are subject to weather conditions and tickets are fully refundable in case of poor weather.
Group size
Maximum of 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.
Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Please note, if you have purchased a single supplement, it will not be applicable on overnight train sectors, at home stays or when camping.
Hotel Perfect or similar (2 nts), Hotel Surya or similar (2 nts), Overnight Sleeper Train (2 nts), Utsav Niwas Heritage Hotel or similar (2 nts), Tordi Heritage stay or similar (1 nt), Royale Residency or similar (1 nt)
Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (fan-cooled at times), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths, sheets, pillow and blanket are provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There are basic toilet facilities in each carriage, but no showers available on overnight trains. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage or a food/snack cart that is brought through the carriages.
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.
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
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.
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. 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.
No meals included
Budget for meals not included:
USD 220.00
Cycle Rickshaw- Old Delhi, Metro, Auto rickshaw, Overnight sleeper train, Cycle rickshaw, Train Jaipur to Delhi, Cycle Rickshaws to Hawa Mahal
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
Sleeper trains in India are typically four to six berth compartments (dependant on seasonality and the journey). Privacy is mainly kept using curtains, and 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
Hotel Perfect
16A/2 WEA Near Karol Bagh Metro Station
Karol Bagh
New Delhi
Phone: +91 1142502294
Alternate Joining point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
28 Dec 2015 (HHRI151228)
Hotel Rockwell Plaza
5/14, W.E.A., Ajmal Khan Road,
Karol Bagh
New Delhi
Phone: +91 1145608457
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Hotel Perfect
16A/2 WEA Near Karol Bagh Metro Station
Karol Bagh
New Delhi
Phone: +91 1142502294
Alternate Finish point
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
28 Dec 2015 (HHRI151228)
Hotel Rockwell Plaza
5/14, W.E.A., Ajmal Khan Road,
Karol Bagh
New Delhi
Phone: +91 1145608457
Alternate 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.
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 9599 914 852 or +91 9999 005 019
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$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action 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.
e-Tourist Visa Facility is available for holders of passport of following countries/territories
Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, AUSTRALIA, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, CANADA, Cayman Island,Chile, China, China- SAR Hong Kong, China- SAR Macau, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, FRANCE, Georgia, GERMANY, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, IRELAND, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Laos, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nauru, NETHERLANDS, NEW ZEALAND, Nicaragua, Niue Island, Norway, Oman, Palau, Palestine, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Macedonia, Russia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Turks & Caicos Island, Tuvalu, UAE, Ukraine, UNITED KINGDOM, USA, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City-Holy See, Venezuela, Vietnam.
Visa on arrival is available for select nationalities (upon arrival at selected airports as below.)
including. Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, German, UK and USA passport holders.
Please note - The Indian Government has advised that passport holders from these countries can now apply for an e-Tourist Visa to have their visa issued upon arrival at 16 major airports in India.
Travellers entering India overland from Nepal will still need to apply for a visa in their home country.
Visas will not be issued on the Nepal/Indian border. The e-Tourist Visa does not apply to travellers entering India overland. Please check your trip notes for if you are crossing a border between India and Nepal vv
Indian visas CANNOT be obtained in Nepal.
Please visit and follow the instructions at - to complete the application for your e-Tourist Visa.
Please be aware of strict conditions regarding application and travel (check under ELIGIBILITY section).
E-visas are only available for entries of up to 30 days. If you plan to be in India longer you will need to apply through an Indian visa application centre in your home country.
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.
PEAK India
25/3 East Patel Nagar
New Delhi 110008
Phone: +91 11 4500 6400
*Important note* - if you are joining a trip in Chennai, please do NOT plan to obtain your e-Tourist Visa at Chennai airport. Dragoman require a scan of your India visa well in advance for obtaining permits to the Odisha Region; if you enter India on an e-Tourist Visa in Chennai Dragoman will not have enough time to purchase permits. You will not be able to visit the Odisha Region.
If you are joining the trip in Chennai, please always obtain your visa in advance and send a scan to Dragoman at least 21 days before departure.
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, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
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.
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.
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.
While a sleeping bag is not compulsory for this tour, many travellers have found one useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec/Jan when temperatures are low.
Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
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.
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. 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.
It comes as a surprise to many travellers that India can be cold (ie. below zero!) during winter (particularly Dec/Jan), even in some cities and even when not at high altitudes. Make sure you are prepared for the weather during these months by bringing adequately warm clothes with you, including thermal underclothes and an appropriate jacket. Many hotels in India do not have central heating, so a warmer set of clothes to sleep in has also been recommended by our past travellers.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with 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 our local representative 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:
Travelling in India and Nepal during the Holi festival, a lunar festival next held in March 6 2015, (in 2016 it is held on 23 March). and generally held in March each year, can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader/guide will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader/guide in high risk situation.
Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (a lunar festival next held on 11 November, 2015, (30 October 2016) and generally held from mid October to mid November every year) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.
On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses - these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally their staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved in their original state.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
Women should exercise caution when travelling in India. Reported cases of sexual assault against women are increasing; recent sexual attacks against female visitors in tourist areas and cities show that foreign women are also at risk. While the risk of an incident occurring on your trip is very low, below are some things you can do for your safety and peace of mind when travelling:
- Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home
- Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day
- Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night
- If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers
- If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off.
- When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (ie. going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you where possible
For further information and advice, visit:
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
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:
Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in India include:
* Pollinate Energy is a social business with a simple mission – to improve the lives of India’s urban poor by giving them access to affordable, clean energy products. Pollinate identifies and trains local people, their Pollinators, who have provided solar lights and cook stoves to over 8,000 families and counting.
* Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) provides services to disabled children and adults. They run three special schools, currently assisting around 160 children, and an old-age home for the short-stay of elderly people. AJK also provides vocational training, participates in diagnostic camps and distributes aids and appliances to physically disabled persons.
For more information, or to make a donation please visit:
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 178.00 kgs per pax.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.