Mountains & Mystics Trip Notes

Mountains & Mystics

Last Modified: 13 May 2016
Mountains & Mystics
Trip code: HHSF
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Take a tour of India and be introduced to the Mountains and Mystics of this incredible country. This is a journey of the body and spirit as we travel through the foothills of the world's highest mountains. These mystical lands look and feel very different from the rest of India - from the food and clothes to the crisp, clean mountain air and spiritual sway of the inhabitants. Discover the complex diversity of India and be enchanted by a land balanced between physical and spiritual worlds.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point description
ThemesAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeJoining point instructionsFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip involves some long train rides, which can be tiresome but offer a quintessential Indian experience. The journey from Delhi to Shimla takes nearly a full day of train travel and you’ll also be taking a ten-hour overnight sleeper train from Amritsar to Haridwar.
- Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned and a great way to travel long distances while still getting maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing with locals of the same or opposite gender.
- We’ll be taking a local bus between Mandi and Dharmsala. The road through the mountains is rough and bumpy, but the scenery, adventure and opportunity to mingle with locals will distract you from any discomfort.
- In Dharmsala, our vehicle can’t get all the way to the hotel so some walking (500 m) with your luggage will be required.
- As Rishikesh is a sacred town, no alcohol is permitted.
- This trip travels into the Himalayas, where temperatures can get very low. We don’t run the trip in winter, but ensure that you’re well prepared for cold weather at any time of the year. The sun can also be strong at higher altitudes, so make sure you bring a hat, sunscreen and any other relevant sun protection.
- We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
Why we love it
- Explore Old Delhi by foot and cycle rickshaw, where ancient temples stand against extravagant billboards advertising Bollywood films
- The colonial charm of Shimla Hill Station offers a great introduction to the Himalayas, and the World Heritage-listed ‘toy-train’ is a great way to get there
- As the home of the Dalai Lama, tranquil Dharmasala is the ideal place for an enlightening experience of Tibetan spirituality, culture and history
- Learn about Sikhism on a visit to the faith’s most sacred monument, the luminous Golden Temple in Amritsar
- Breeze through the self-proclaimed ‘Yoga Capital of the World’ in Rishikesh and camp along the banks of the holy Ganges River
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 New Delhi
Welcome to India’s capital. Join your group and guide for a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception.
If you arrive into Delhi early, there are plenty of things to see and do. Perhaps pay a visit to the 12th-century Qutub Minar or the World Heritage-listed Humayun's Tomb. As the former residence of royal families and British soldiers, the Red Fort plays a vital part in Delhi’s history and is a must-see. Sampling spicy street food or trying your hand at haggling in the city’s bazaars are other great introductions to India.
Notes: 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).
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
    Accommodation
    (1 nt)
    Day 2 New Delhi
    This morning, join the group for a guided walking tour around Old Delhi, which has been an important city in India for over 2,000 years. Climb aboard a traditional cycle rickshaw and be driven through the colour and chaos of Delhi’s traffic. In the afternoon learn about the Sikh religion at the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) and visit the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest and India’s largest mosque.
    Included Activities
    • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
    • Delhi - Jama Masjid
    • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
      Accommodation
      (1 nt)
      Day 3 Shimla

      Depart Delhi by train for the 4-5 hour journey across the state of Punjab to Kalka. From Kalka, board the World Heritage-listed 'toy train' and enjoy the six-hour climb through villages, tunnels and mountain passes. It's a long day of travelling, but Shimla's faded colonial charm will make up for it. On arrival in the evening, explore the town on an orientation walk.
      Included Activities
      • Shimla - Walking tour
        Accommodation
        (1 nt)
        Day 4 Shimla
        Head out and explore Mall Road, Shimla's most popular shopping stretch. A nearby viewpoint also offers fantastic views of the Himalayas. Join the group for a visit to the Viceregal Lodge to witness where the partition agreement that separated India from Pakistan and Bangladesh was drawn up.
        If you like, join the hoards of monkeys milling about Jakhu Temple or stock up on souvenirs and specialty wooden crafts at Lakkar Bazaar. Set among rolling hills, Shimla also offers an array of nature walks that range from gentle to challenging. In the evening, enjoy an optional trip to the cinema and bop along to a Bollywood blockbuster.
        Included Activities
        • Shimla - Viceregal Lodge
          Optional Activities
          • Shimla - Cinema - INR100
          • Shimla - Jakhu Temple - Free
          • Shimla - Lakkhar Bazar - Free
            Accommodation
            (1 nt)
            Day 5 Mandi
            Travel by jeep to the small town of Mandi. Situated on the Beas River, Mandi has a rich cultural heritage of both historical and theological significance. Once part of the salt route to Tibet, today it's the gateway to the Kullu Valley. Head into town for an orientation walk and explore a huge sunken shopping centre - the only one like it in India and the focal point of entertainment in Mandi. You can also spend time at the bathing ghats along the river or hike to hilltop temples just outside of town. In the evening, join the group for dinner and then stay in the former palace of the Raja of Mandi, which today has basic amenities.
            Included Activities
            • Mandi - Walking tour
              Accommodation
              (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 dinner
              Day 6 Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj
              The journey up to the mountains of India is an adventure in itself. Join locals on a public bus for the six-hour drive along bumpy roads to Dharamsala. Strung with prayer flags and busy with robed monks strolling between monasteries, this hilltop retreat is home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile. Spend the afternoon wandering the peaceful streets, which are set to the backdrop of the Himalayas. There’s a lot to gain here from talking to locals and learning about the many facets of Tibetan Buddhism.
              Accommodation
              (1 nt)
              Day 7 Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj
              Today visit the fascinating Norbulingka Institute, developed to train Tibetan refugees in skills needed to preserve the traditional arts and crafts of Tibet. Its grounds feature a beautiful temple and several workshops where you can witness woodcarving, painting and needlework in action. Then make your way to the Tsuglag Khang complex to see the Dalai Lama’s temple.
              You may also like to visit the Losel Doll Museum, which is a great way to learn about the daily lives and customs of people all over Tibet. Finally, treat yourself to a massage or try your hand at making traditional Tibetan momos (dumplings) in a cooking class. Please check with your leader for availability.
              Included Activities
              • Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj - Norbulingka Institute guided tour
              • Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj - Dalai Lama Temple
                Optional Activities
                • Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj - Cooking Class - INR400
                • Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj - Massage - INR1000
                • Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj - Losel Doll Museum - INR20
                  Accommodation
                  (1 nt)
                  Day 8 Amritsar
                  Take a local train down to Amritsar, situated in the heart of the fertile plain known as India's ‘breadbasket’ and the centre of Sikhism in India. Tour the sights and weave your way through the rambling streets and bazaars of the Old City in a cycle rickshaw. Explore the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib), which sits in the middle of a sacred lake. Listen to the soothing sounds of the devout chanting verses from the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib.
                  Included Activities
                  • Amritsar - Golden Temple
                    Accommodation
                    (1 nt)
                    Day 9 Amritsar/Overnight Train
                    Visit Jallianwala Bagh, the site of the infamous 1919 massacre that played a vital role in India's independence. Then head out to the India-Pakistan border to witness the pomp and circumstance of the daily flag ceremony, a military practice that the security forces of India and Pakistan have followed since 1959. Tonight take an overnight sleeper train from Amritsar to Haridwar. Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing with locals of the same or opposite gender.
                    Included Activities
                    • Amritsar - Jallianwallah Bagh
                    • Amritsar - Wagah Border visit and flag ceremony
                      Accommodation
                      Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                      Day 10 Rishikesh
                      After pulling into Haridwar in the morning, there’s an hour drive to Rishikesh. Check in to your hotel before going on an orientation walk. Aptly named the 'Yoga Capital of the World', Rishikesh is a great place to relax and seek a little enlightenment. In the evening, take a stroll along the holy Ganges River as temple bells ring and the nightly fire ritual of Ganga Aarti begins. Being sacred, Rishikesh is a dry town and alcohol is prohibited.
                      Included Activities
                      • Rishikesh - Walking tour
                        Optional Activities
                        • Rishikesh - Yoga Class - INR600
                          Accommodation
                          (1 nt)
                          Day 11 Rishikesh/Rajaji National Park
                          The morning is yours to roam around Rishikesh. Perhaps tuck into a masala dosa for breakfast before walking it off on one of the trails along the Ganges. In the afternoon, reunite with your group for a walk through the jungle to nearby waterfalls and caves. Tonight, experience the magic of sleeping under the stars on the banks of the Ganges in the Rajaji National Park. Just outside of Rishikesh, you’ll be staying in a fixed campsite with twin-shared tents and western-style toilets.
                          Included Activities
                          • Rishikesh - Rajaji National Park
                            Optional Activities
                            • Rishikesh - Cycle Hire - INR300
                              Accommodation
                              (1 nt)
                              Meals
                              1 lunch, 1 dinner
                              Day 12 Train/New Delhi
                              Bid farewell to Rishikesh and take the train back to Delhi (approx 7-9 hours). You’ll be transferred to your hotel on arrival. Use any free time to explore a bit more of Delhi or relax after your journey. In the evening, perhaps share stories and a final meal with your leader and fellow travellers before saying goodbye.
                              Accommodation
                              (1 nt)
                              Meals
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 13 New Delhi
                              There are no activities planned for today, so you’re free to depart the accommodation at any time.
                              Itinerary disclaimer
                              ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                              OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                              Physical rating

                              Included activities
                              Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
                              Delhi - Jama Masjid
                              Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
                              Shimla - Walking tour
                              Shimla - Viceregal Lodge
                              Mandi - Walking tour
                              Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj - Norbulingka Institute guided tour
                              Dharamsala/McLeod Ganj - Dalai Lama Temple
                              Amritsar - Golden Temple
                              Amritsar - Jallianwallah Bagh
                              Amritsar - Wagah Border visit and flag ceremony
                              Rishikesh - Walking tour
                              Rishikesh - Rajaji National Park
                              Important notes
                              A single supplement is available on this trip.


                              Group size
                              Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                              Your fellow travellers
                              GROUP TRAVEL
                              As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                              SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                              Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

                              A Single Supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information. On the following nights the Single Supplement is not available:
                              - Day 9 Overnight train
                              - Day 11 Camping (with basic facilities)
                              Accommodation
                              Camping (with basic facilities) (1nt), Hotel (10nt), Overnight sleeper train (1nt)
                              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.

                              SLEEPER TRAINS IN INDIA:
                              Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (fan-cooled at times), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths, sheets, pillow and blanket are provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There are basic toilet facilities at the end of 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. There are also plenty of vendors selling tea, coffee, water and snacks during the journey.
                              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
                              1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 2 dinners
                              Transport
                              Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Steam train, Train, Van

                              There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
                              Money matters
                              The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).

                              The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.

                              Look for Bank of India or ICICI ATM's. Our experience has shown they are the most reliable ATM's to use for withdrawals. Your tour leader should be able to direct you to these banks.

                              Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.

                              The use of credit cards can be restricted, mainly to major hotels, shops and establishments.

                              SPENDING MONEY
                              When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                              Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.

                              If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.

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

                              Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest INR20. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                              Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest INR100 per day for local guides.

                              Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your leader. We suggest INR50 per day for porters.

                              Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of INR100-INR150 per day is generally appropriate.

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

                              Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 5-7 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

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

                              Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                              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 (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                              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.
                              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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                              We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                              Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                              For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

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

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

                              For further information and advice, visit:
                              www.gov.uk/government/policies/supporting-british-nationals-overseas/supporting-pages/advice-for-women-travellers
                              www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/women.html

                              FESTIVALS - HOLI & DIWALI:
                              Travelling in India and Nepal during Holi can at times be unsafe - drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on the day.
                              It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day.

                              Diwali (a lunar festival generally held from mid October to mid November every year) is celebrated by local people letting off fireworks in the street. It can be very noisy for several days with extra pollution caused by fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately.
                              During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid large crowds gathering and using fireworks.

                              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.

                              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.

                              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 your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                              PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                              While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
                              Joining point
                              Hotel Pooja Palace
                              15A/11 WEA Puja Park
                              Karol Bagh
                              New Delhi
                              110005
                              INDIA
                              Phone: +91 1125745275
                              Joining point description
                              Located in the Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. Rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone. There is a restaurant and 24 hour room service. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                              www.hotelpoojapalace.com
                              Joining 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 and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage.

                              The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotel takes approx 1 hour and costs between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths).
                              IMPORTANT: Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers.

                              The Delhi metro is another option from the airport. Trains depart between approx 5am and 11:30pm, the trip takes approx. 45 mins and costs around INR100. Please refer to the metro map for lines, changes and directions to Karol Bagh where most of our hotels are located. http://delhimetrorail.info/delhi-metro-map

                              Intrepid offer a pre-arranged transfer service option. Enquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met in the arrivals hall after clearing customs, your representative with sign board will be standing near the Costa Coffee next to gate no 5.

                              Please do not exit the gates, Costa coffee is just before the exit gate no.5.

                              If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
                              +91 9911 972 636
                              +91 9999 916 229

                              If you do not have a mobile phone, there are public phones next to Costa Coffee. Calls cost 1 rupee per minute

                              Failing the above please take a taxi to the hotel (using the instructions below) and advise your group leader. When you walk out of the exit door, you will easily be able to spot popular metered taxi counters such as Meru Cabs/Mega Cabs or Easy Cabs, show them your drop location and pay them as per the meter once you get to your hotel.

                              Check in time at hotel is 12 midday.
                              Finish point
                              Hotel Pooja Palace
                              15A/11 WEA Puja Park
                              Karol Bagh
                              New Delhi
                              110005
                              INDIA
                              Phone: +91 1125745275
                              Finish point description
                              Located in the Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. Rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone. There is a restaurant and 24 hour room service. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                              www.hotelpoojapalace.com
                              Finishing 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 airport takes about 1 hour and should cost between 450 -500INR. Hotel reception or your leader can help you arrange a taxi.

                              A local social enterprise, Sakha Wings, runs an all-women taxi service which provides extra peace of mind and security for solo women travellers. To book at taxi with them, call +927 870 8888 or register on their website http://sakhaconsultingwings.com/hire-a-cab.php

                              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
                              For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

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

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

                              While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                              We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                              You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                              INTREPID EMERGENCY CONTACT: +91 9599 914 852 ; +91 9999 005 019
                              Visas
                              Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                              INDIA:

                              An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) Facility is available for holders of a passport for a number of countries. This facility allows travellers to pre-register and pay for their visa prior to travel to India. The Visa is collected upon arrival at one of 16 designated airports in India. Please note strict guidelines on the below website.

                              https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

                              An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) visa on arrival is available for select nationalities including but not limited to the following

                              Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, German, UK and USA passports.

                              Passport holders from these countries can apply for an E-Tourist Visa (eVT) to have their visa issued upon arrival at 16 major airports in India.

                              Please follow the instructions at - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html and complete the application for your E-Tourist Visa.

                              - Please be aware of strict conditions regarding application and travel (check under ELIGIBILITY section).

                              - E-visas are only available for entry of up to 30 days. If you plan to be in India longer you will need to apply for a tourist visa at an Indian visa application centre in your home country.

                              - Please note that travellers entering India overland from Nepal are required to apply for a visa in advance their home country. Visas will not be issued on the Nepal/Indian border.

                              - The E-Tourist Visa DOES NOT apply to travellers entering India overland. Please check your trip notes if you are crossing a border between India and Nepal.

                              - Indian visas are difficult and time consuming to obtain in Nepal.

                              Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.

                              For your visa application you need to include the following information under the local contact section towards the end of the application. :

                              PEAK India
                              25/3 East Patel Nagar
                              New Delhi 110008
                              Phone: +91 11 4500 6400

                              Please note that this information can change at any time. Please always refer to https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html . This is the official visa online site. There have been reports of other non-official websites that travellers should be aware of.
                              What to take
                              What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                              Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                              Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                              TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT
                              It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary that your luggage gets stowed separately (and unattended). The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas inside the bus or your cabin. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.

                              LUGGAGE STORAGE
                              Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage during included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.

                              SLEEPING BAG:
                              While a sleeping bag is not compulsory for this tour, many travellers have found one useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, particularly during the winter months of Dec/Jan when temperatures are low.

                              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.

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

                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                              A couple of rules
                              Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                              Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                              Responsible Travel
                              We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.

                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                              LOCAL DRESS:
                              Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                              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:

                              http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                              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.
                              pollinateenergy.org

                              * 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.
                              ashakajharna.org/

                              For more information, or to make a donation please visit: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=india

                              Feedback
                              After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback

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