Mumbai to Chennai Trip Notes

Mumbai to Chennai

Last Modified: 13 May 2016
Mumbai to Chennai
Trip code: HDOB
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2016
Tour India from Mumbai to Chennai. This trip is the perfect combination of adventure and relaxation. For starters you've got Mumbai, India's most cosmopolitan city. Then travel overland through the Western Ghats for a stay on the stunning beaches of Goa and head into the hills for a homestay in the tea and coffee plantations of Wayanad. Back on the coast, explore the lush waterways of Kerala's backwaters by boat, rounding the southernmost tip of India en route to the magnificent temples of Madurai. Finally, travelling through Tamil Nadu, pass through a part of the country many travellers never get to see before ending our Indian adventure in the bustling city of Chennai.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
ThemesMeals introductionVisas
Why we love itMealsWhat to take
MapTransportClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Important notesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Group sizeJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersFinish pointFeedback
AccommodationFinish point description
Style
Basix
Themes
Overland
Why we love it
- Meet the locals over a chai in Kerala
- Learn of the stories behind the Kathakali dances
- Discover Gallic influences in Pondicherry
- Look out over the Indian Ocean from the sub-continent's southernmost point
- Kick back on Goa's beaches
- Experience the bizarre and the beautiful in India
- Imagine the royal life in the Maharaja's Palace
- Take up the challenge of a fiery fish curry
Map

Itinerary
Day 1-2 Mumbai
Border Information:
If joining the trip in Mumbai, you will most likely enter India from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel in Mumbai - please look out at the reception for a note from you tour leader with further details about this meeting. Otherwise, today is free to explore the sights and sounds of Mumbai. The following day will be a free day to explore the city. This is also an opportunity to take a tour of the Dharavi slum areas of the city.

In Mumbai we stay in a good quality hotel.
Hotel for the night: Hotel Supreme

Hotel Supreme
4 Panday Road
Cuffe Parade, Colaba
Mumbai 400039
India
Tel - +91 222 218 5608


Activity Approximate Cost

Take a guided tour of the backstreets, shops and schools INR 1200
of the Dhavari district, to experience a slice of the real
Mumbai

Take a Bollywood dance class in one of Mumbai's premier INR 500
dance studios

Discover the marvellous collection of historical objects INR 300
and art at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu
Sangrahalaya Museum, one of India's premier museums

Explore the labyrinth of cave-temples on Elephanta Island INR 250
near Mumbai, some of the most impressive rock carvings
in all of India


About Mumbai:
Mumbai is on the west coast of India and is probably the most cosmopolitan cityin the country. It's also home to the largest film industry in the world,Bollywood. So if you've never seen an Indian movie before, this is the place for it. Full of high-drama, romance, suspense, music and dancing, Bollywood films are all-singing, all-dancing extravaganzas. It's pure, straightforward andunadulterated entertainment and escapism, so even if you can't understand thelanguage, they still make an interesting spectacle. Combine India's version of LAwith a hefty dose of traffic, busy streets, lively bazaars, briefcase clutching businessmen cutting international deals in soaring skyscrapers and someimpressive colonial architecture, and there you have Mumbai. The city is a mad mixture of horrific poverty standing side-by-side with prolific consumerism; this is the financial capital of the sub-continent and it has the shopping centres,bars and restaurants to match - but more than half the inhabitants live in theslums.Mumbai can be a bit of a shock to the system and an assault on the senses. But once you get your head around it, you'll begin to appreciate all the city has tooffer. There's tons to do here, wander the streets and discover some of the beautiful old colonial architecture and Art Deco buildings, treat yourself to a meal in one of the country's best restaurants, and shop until you drop in the bazaars. In the evening, you can visit Chowpatty beach where colourful crowds of people mill about in the cooler evening air. Palmists, balloon sellers, magicians and acrobats all compete for your attention, vying to show you themagic of Mumbai.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nt)
Day 3-4 Goa
We will start our journey by taking the train along the coast to Goa. We will stay for two nights at the relaxed beaches of Vagator in the North. Most travellers are drawn to Vagator for the stunning sunsets, the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of some other quieter beaches in the area such as Arambol and Anjuna. We will stay in a comfortable hotel with good facilities close to the beach. Journey time (on train) - 11 hours.

About Goa:
To many people, Goa is all about the beaches; and it's fair to say that the soft white sand and sparkling blue water of the Arabian Sea are definitely one of the main attractions here. But this is also an area rich in history and culture. The coastal state retains much of it's old Portuguese colonial architecture, traditions, religion, and lifestyle, particularly in the old capital of Old Goa, where there are several churches, a cathedral and lots of great local markets all well worth exploring. Relax under a palm tree on the beach, watch the dhows sailing out into the sunset and see the fishing boats landing their catch, or wander around the local spice plantations revelling in their heady scent, there's something here for all kinds of different travellers. The locals say that
time moves more slowly in Goa, so if nothing else it's a brilliant stop for a few days, a great chance to enjoy a bit of tranquility in an often frenetic country. Goa is also home to some fantastic cuisine, including many fish-based curries, classic Goan pork vindaloo and Feni, a local spirit made from coconut and cashew nuts.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nt)
Day 5-6 Old Goa
After our 2 nights on the northern beaches of Goa, we head off in the truck to the southern beaches, visiting the site of Old Goa en route.We will stay for 2 nights in beautiful beach huts on the stunning beach of Agonda, which is a perfect place to sit back and watch the fishing boats landing their catch, sample the delicious local cuisine, or visit the nearby beach of Palolem with its many bars and restaurants. Estimated Drive Time - 5-6 hours, depending on the length of your visit to Old Goa (please note that all drive times given here are approximate estimates only and are given with the best intentions - however please be aware that the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, borders and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).
About Old Goa:
Old Goa is a historical city in North Goa district in the Indian state of Goa. The city was constructed by the Bijapur Sultanate in the 15th century, and served as capital of Portuguese India from the 16th century until its abandonment in the 18th century due to plague. The remains of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The population was roughly 200,000 by 1543. Malaria and cholera epidemics ravaged the city in the 17th century and it was largely abandoned; only having a remaining population of 1,500 in 1775. It was then that the viceroy moved to Panjim. It continued to be the de jure capital of Goa until 1843, when the capital was then shifted to Panjim. The abandoned city came to be known as "Velha Goa" (in Portuguese, 'Old Goa'), to distinguish it from the new capital Nova Goa (Panjim). Velha Goa was incorporated into the Republic of India in 1961, together with the rest of Goa. Old Goa contains various churches, including the Se Cathedral (the seat of the Archbishop of Goa), the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the Church of St. Caetano, and notably, the Basilica of Bom Jesus which contains the relics of St. Francis Xavier.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nt)
Day 7-8 Hampi
Leaving the beaches of Goa behind us, we set off on a long 400km drive into the state of Karnataka to the village of Hampi. The village is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours. On the following day we will have a guided tour of the historical sites around Hampi by rickshaw and on foot. In Hampi we will stay in a comfortable local guesthouse.
About Hampi:
The city of Hampi bears exceptional testimony to the vanished civilization of the kingdom of Vijayanagar, which reached its apogee under the reign of Krishna Deva Raya (1509-30). The type of structure illustrates a significant historical situation: that of the kingdoms of South India which, menaced by the Muslims, were occasionally allied with the Portuguese of Goa. The grand site of Hampi was the last capital of the last great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar. Its fabulously rich princes built Dravidian temples and palaces which won the admiration of travellers between the 14th and 16th centuries.Conquered by the Deccan Muslim confederacy in 1565, the city was pillaged over a period of six months before being abandoned.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nt)
Day 9-10 Mysore
From Hampi we have another long drive of 480kms to Mysore, where we will stay for 2 nights. Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours. On the following day we will have a free day in Mysore, one of India's most attractive towns, to explore the city's beautiful gardens, palaces, and the Shri Chamarajendra art gallery. In Mysore we will stay in a comfortable hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the amazing and elaborate Mysore Palace Included in Kitty

Climb the 1000 steps to the summit of Chamundi Hill, to INR 100
visit the famous Sri Chamundeshwari Temple and take in
the views of the city below
About Mysore:

Mysore is one of India's most attractive towns. Unlike some of India's biggest cities it feels quite manageable in size, and it's beautiful buildings are packed full of history, and the Maharajah’s Palace, the Lalitha Mahal (Summer Palace) and Shri Chamarajendra art gallery are all definitely worth a visit. Historically the town was the capital of the mighty Maharaja kingdom of Mysore, ruled by the same family from 1399 until 1947. There was a brief period where the throne was usurped by one of the most colourful of Indian rulers, Hyder Ali and then by his famous son Tipu Sultan. Today the city is the state capital and one of the centres of the silk trade. It's well laid out with wide streets and many gardens, making it a pleasant place to wander around. It is also one of the major incense manufacturers in India - some call it "The Sandalwood City" and you will find yourself enveloped by the aromas of sandalwood, jasmine, rose and musk.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nt)
Day 11-12 Wayanad
Today we travel 150kms up into the hills, heading for the hillstation of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations. Estimated Drive Time - 4 hours. Over the 2 days we have in Wayanad we will have the chance to hike up Chembra Peak, visit local waterfalls and tea plantations, visit the petroglyphs at the Edakkal Caves and to visit the nearby Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary. Whilst in Wayanad we stay as guests of local families at a homestay, where they have set up accommodation for visitors in their homes.
Activity Approximate Cost

See the 7000-year-old Neolithic petroglyphs at the Included in Kitty
Edakkal caves en route

Enjoy genuine Indian hospitality at a community
homestay guesthouse amongst the hills of Wayanad Included in Kitty

Take a strenuous day-hike up the 2100m Chembra Peak, INR 1000
the highest peak in the Wayanad area

Take a walk through the scenic Wayanad countryside to INR 60
visit the Meenmutty or Kanthanppara waterfalls

Take a short jeep safari through the Muthanga Wildlife INR 800
Sanctuary near Wayanad

About Wayanad:

The lush hill station district of Wayanad is nestled at the foot of the Western Ghats. Rolling green hillsides, surrounded by misty-clad peaks and dotted with luxurious tea, coffee and spice plantations, the small communities here are the perfect place for a spot of rest and relaxation - the area is famous with locals for it's spectacular natural beauty. Part of the region is designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary in order to protect the many animals that live here and it's possible to trek through the forest reserves. This is one of the few places in India where you're almost guaranteed to see wild elephants, and if you're lucky you may also be able to spot deer, bison and langur monkeys.
Accommodation
Homestay (2 nt)
Day 13-14 Kochi
Today we will continue our journey 260kms to Cochin. Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours.On the following day we will take a local boat to Fort Cochin and have free time to explore and visit various sites including the Jewish Quarter, St Francis. Church and the Chinese fishing nets. In the evening we will watch the famous Kathakali dancers, India's most spectacular dance drama. In Cochin we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Activity Approximate Cost

See an evening performance of the classical Indian Included in Kitty
dance-drama of Kathakali, a signature tradition of Kerala

About Cochin:
Cochin in Kerala is a town split between the mainland and a group of islands just off the coast, so a boat-trip is the best way to tour the main sights, which include the oldest church in India and Vasco de Gama's final resting place. Opposite Fort Cochin you can watch fishermen working their cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, typical to this region. Interestingly the town is also home to a dying Jewish community that has roots going back as far as 1000 AD and there is a synagogue here that was built in the sixteenth century. This is also the home of Kathakali dancing, India's most spectacular dance drama. The hundreds of different arrangements are based on stories from the Ramayan and Mahabharata - the two epic stories of Indian mythology.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nt)
Day 15 Allepey
Leaving the bustle of Cochin behind, today we embark on our overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan backwaters of Allepey.
Activity Approximate Cost

Travel through the serene Kerala Backwaters on an
overnight trip aboard a beautiful traditional 'kettuvallam' Included in Kitty
house-boat

About Alleppey:

Alleppey is the gateway to the Keralan backwaters. The network of waterways here extends over hundreds of miles, not surprising then that Alleppey is sometimes described as "The Venice of the East". The backwaters are best explored by boat as life revolves around the water here, children often learn to swim before they can walk and they row boats before they ride a bike. Jump on board a typical Keralan houseboat and meander down the waterways, try your hand at fishing and just lay back and enjoy this unique landscape.
Accommodation
Houseboat (1 nt)
Day 16-18 Varkala
Leaving the backwaters behind us, we continue 120kms to the beach resort of Varkala.Estimated Drive Time - 3-4 hours.We will have 3 nights here with free time to explore the surrounding areas andrelax on the beautiful beaches. Varkala is well known for its beaches, and thereare also lots of great local restaurants where you can sample the justifiablyfamous Keralan cuisine.

In Varkala we will stay at a beach resort.
Activity Approximate Cost

Get a traditional Ayurvedic massage in the Keralan town INR 1200
of Varkala

Head out for an evening performance of traditional INR 300
Keralan Kathakali dancing

About Varkala:

Varkala sits on India's Keralan coast and is home to some of the whitest and most pristine beaches in the whole country. The sandy bay here is protected by soaring cliffs, the beach sits below the rock face, whilst the town itself sits prettily along the cliff edge abov, a string of laid-back bars, restaurants, guesthouses and hotels. It's a great place to just kick back and relax, but there are plenty of activities to involve yourself in, including yoga, boat rides, massages and cooking classes. Sitting on the sand and watching the sun dipbelow the horizon is the perfect way to end a day here.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (3 nt)
Day 19 Kanyakumari
Today we will have a 140km drive to Kanyakamuri (Cape Comorin), the very southern point of India, where we will have free time to explore the Vivekananda Rock and the surrounding sites. In Kanyakamuri we will stay in a local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost

Take the ferry over to Vivekananda Rock and explore the INR 150
memorial to the Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda

About Kanyakumari: Kanyakumari is a town in the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is also sometimes referred to asCape Comorin. Located at the southernmost tip of theIndianPeninsula, it is the geographical end of the Indian mainland.Kanyakumari takes its name from the Kumari Amman orKanyakumari Temple, situated in the town, on the sea-shore, the very confluence of the three water- bodies – the Arabian Sea, theBay of Bengaland theIndian Ocean
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 20 Madurai
This morning we can get up early to watch the sunrise from the southern tip with thousands of locals! From Kanyakamuri we start heading back north with a morning drive of 240kms to Madurai. In the afternoon we visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.

In Madurai we will stay in a comfortable local hotel. Estimated Drive Time - 4-5 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the historical Meenakshi Amman Temple, one of the Included in Kitty
most impressive and colourful Hindu temples in all of
India

About Madurai:

Madurai is Tamil Nadu's second largest town and ancient capital. Madurai is recognised as the centres of Dravidian culture with its main attraction the famous Shree Meenakshi Temple in the heart of the old town. Its many gopurams are covered with profusions of multicoloured images of gods, goddesses, animals and mythical figures. The city is a huge non-stop bazaar full of shops, street markets, temples and small industries. It is one of southern India’s liveliest cities, yet small enough not to be overwhelming. The views from one of the temple towers are breathtaking.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 21 Pondicherry
Today we head 320kms to the French-influenced Pondicherry, and will have a free afternoon to explore the town. In Pondicherry we will stay in guest-house accommodation.

Estimated Drive Time - 7-8 hours.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 22 Mahabalipuram
Take a class in Indian cooking, Ayurvedic massage, Bollywood dancing or Tajavur painting - just some of thepossibilities at the SITA Cultural Centre INR 500
About Pondicherry:

The united territories of Pondicherry are unmistakeably and charmingly French, complete with a Hotel de Ville, French consulate and police who wear red "kepis" hats and belts. Pondicherry is also the home of the famous Sri Aurobind Ashram and its offshoot Auroville. The Ashram, founded by Sri Aurobindo in 1926, is one of the most popular in India amongst Westerners, and also one of the most affluent. The town enjoys duty free status and is known for its leather goods and hand-made paper products. With its French influence, many of the shops have a distinctly European feel. Today we have a short drive of 100kms to Mahabalipuram. Here we will make a visit to the unusual shore temples and pagodas. In Mahabalipuram we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Estimated Drive Time - 2-3 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the incredible 8th-century Shore Temples and Included in Kitty
Pagodas of Mahabalipuram, built from huge granite
blocks on a promontory in the Bay of Bengal

Explore the fascinating cave temples of Mahabalipuram, INR 100
chiselled into the rock over 1300 years ago

Visit the Madras Crocodile Bank Trust near INR 90
Mahabalipuram, a conservation and research project for
crocodiles, snakes and turtles

See the curious '7-D cinema' show of the Chronicles of INR 300
India, and learn all about the history of the Pallava
Kingdom while experiencing an array of sounds, smells
and sensations!

About Mahabalipuram:
Mahabalipuram is the second capital and seaport of the Pallava Kings of Kanchipuram. It is famous for its shore temple and the ‘Descent of Ganges’, a relief carved on a vast rock surface. Mahabalipuram is a small, but very pleasant and easy-going village, consisting mainly of two main streets. It stands at the foot of a low lying, boulder-strewn hill where most of the temples and rock carvings are located. Stone carving is still very much a living craft in Mahabalipuram and the school of sculpture would be an interesting place to visit.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 23 Chennai
Today we have a short drive of 55kms to Chennai, the fourth largest city in India, stopping at a crocodile farm en-route.In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable hotel.Estimated Drive Time - 2 hours.
Activity Approximate Cost

Visit the Fort St. George, the site of the East India INR 100
Company's first trading station in 1640, and the first
British fort in India

Visit the Chennai Government Museum, and its incredible INR 250
selection of antiquities including Roman artefacts and
coins from all eras of India's past
About Chennai:

Chennai (previously known as Madras) was the site of the first major settlement of the East India Company in 1639, and is now the fourth largest city in India. The town grew up around the Fort St George and along Mount Road and some interesting historic buildings can be seen here. It's true that it is busy, noisy and often extremely hot, but in many ways it is a surprisingly efficient and orderly place by Indian standards. The Government Museum is worth a visit if you're interested in the history of the city, and for Motorcycle enthusiasts the Enfield Factory tour is a must - though it only runs on certain days of the week, so check days and times before you make the journey. You might prefer to just wander the streets and soak up the atmosphere, exploring the many temples and bustling local markets.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 24 Chennai
Border Information:
If you are leaving the trip in Chennai, you will most likely exit India from Chennai International Airport. Today is a free day to explore Chennai. Please note that if you are leaving the trip in Chennai, there is no accommodation included tonight.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
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

Important notes
1. Please note that this trip requires minimum numbers to depart, and may be cancelled up until 56 days prior to departure. The places showing on the dates and availability page are an indication only so please contact Intrepid to check if your preferred date will depart before making any final arrangements, such as booking non-changeable flights.
2. For trips in Southern India that occur over Christmas and New Year please allow approximately $130USD extra on the kitty for seasonal increases in accommodation costs.
3. Local Partner: Please note this Intrepid trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Your departure will be run in a Dragoman vehicle with a Dragoman crew.

Group size
Maximum of 22 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.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (6nt), Homestay (2nt), Hotel (15nt), Houseboat (1nt)
The type and variety of accommodation is determined by conditions on each of our routes. Each route is different - on some we use a mixture of campsites and wild camps; on others we also use hotels.

In Asia it is not practical to camp when staying in towns and cities so we use hotel accommodation and eat out in local restaurants.

The frequency and regularity of hotel stops depends on the route and area. There may be the occasional night stop, when staying in the grounds of a hotel, or at a campsite which may also have cabins available, when there is a choice of camping or taking a room. This doesn't mean that every week is the same. Some areas demand longer stretches without hotels than others.

Standards of hotels will obviously be different to those of western countries and in Asia a 3 star hotel is more likely to be comparable with a European 1 star.

Nights spent camping can be in a recognised campsite, in the grounds of a hotel, or wild camping in the countryside. For these days, the duties rota system is adopted when all members share in general camp duties - cooking, shopping, washing up, collecting firewood, etc.

Campsites do have facilities, but are usually not to the same standard as you would find in western countries. Wild camps obviously have no facilities at all.

Whether we wild camp or stay in a campsite, again obviously depends on the area and there is no regularity to the choice.

You will need to bring some camping equipment with you - a sleeping mat, sleeping bag and pillow as these items are not provided.
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
No meals included
Transport
Overland vehicle, Train

Roads in Asia can be very rough which makes for long, slow travel days. It is however all worth it for the spectacular scenery and novelty of truck travel!

The step up into the overland truck, while not overly high can become tiring and you need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down at least 8-10 times a day, as can the constant setting and packing up of camp.
Money matters
On this trip it's compulsory to contribute to a kitty. The kitty is an on-ground payment put into a central fund and overseen by travellers and the crew. It helps fund accommodation, camp meals and all included activities. Kitty amounts are subject to change to reflect local price increases.This Kitty price indicated on the trip notes below is indicative only. Please refer to the 'Check availability' page on the website for the up-to-date amount 48 hours prior to your trip commencement.

Your kitty will be collected when you arrive for your trip, either on day 1 or, if on a combination trip, in stages throughout your trip.

You may pay your kitty in a mixture of US Dollars cash and the rest in local currency (amount and type of currency to be agreed by the leader at the start of the trip). Most of our travellers chose to bring a cash passport with them for withdrawing local currency (you can visit www.cashpassport.com for further information on these). This is a very secure way of carrying your money whilst travelling. You treat them exactly like an ATM card and draw out local currency from an ATM to give to your leader within each country.

If you do choose to pay part in local currency your trip leader will confirm the current exchange rates with you so you will know exactly how much to hand over.

Travellers cheques have become increasingly difficult to change around the world with passengers and our leaders experiencing huge frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change travellers cheques. For this reason we no longer accept them on our trips.

Kitty does not cover food while staying in hotels and hostels.

KITTY CHANGES:
We constantly monitor local price changes and exchange rate fluctuations that could affect kitty expenses. Final kitty contributions are likely to be different from those quoted in the brochure or at the time of booking so you must check the final amount just before departure.

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).

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.

Tipping is entirely voluntary. The Dragoman crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it. On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own Dragoman crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD10 to USD15 per person.

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.

Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

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
DRAGOMAN OVERLAND

On all of our Dragoman-operated Overlanding trips you will be accompanied by two Western crew members who are responsible for the group and the overall organisation of the trip.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad knowledge of the places visited and to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman trips use local guides who may stay with us for just a few hours or will actually travel with us for some or all of the journey. In these cases they become a third crew member and are able to offer their local knowledge as well as a real insight into the lives of the local people. Our crew are chosen for their leadership skills, and most importantly have a passion for the region and its people.

We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader and crew; however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders

On any Overland trip, there are a number of tasks that need to be done. Our overland trip leaders will organise the group into smaller groups of two or three who will take turns in the daily shopping and cooking, vehicle cleaning, disposing of rubbish, etc. There are also a number of other jobs that need doing e.g. collecting water and firewood, luggage loading, supervising the kitty and food stores, which may be assigned to particular people or on a rota system according to group size, make-up, and so on. You must come prepared to 'pull your weight' and share in these duties; you will become very unpopular with other group members if they have to do your share. The more you put into a trip, the more you'll benefit.
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

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.

BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

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.

TRAVEL ADVISORY:
Where we use a local partner to fully operate one of our itineraries, we use the travel advisory of the country where that operator is based rather than the Australian DFAT advisory. This itinerary is operated by our local partners Dragoman, and as such will follow the British Government (FCO) Travel Advice. To view these travel advisories please log on to:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travelling-and-living-overseas/travel-advice-by-country
Joining point
Hotel Supreme
4, Panday Road,Opp. President Hotel,Cuffe Parade, Colaba
Colaba
Mumbai
Maharashtra
400 005
INDIA
Phone: +91 2222185608
Joining point description
Located in the Colaba near to Gateway of India, Hotel Supreme offers handsomely appointed superior rooms, deluxe rooms and standard rooms with all modern amenities – air-conditioning, refrigerator, colour television with CCTV, direct dialing, 24 hrs hot & cold water, and much more.
Finish point
Hotel Pandian
No. 9 Kennet Lane
Egmore
Chennai
Tamil Nadu
600008
INDIA
Finish point description
The hotel is located in the main tourist hub of Chennai, close to Egmore Railway Station. Rooms have en suite bathrooms with European-style toilet. Safe deposit boxes are available. Only some rooms are air-conditioned.
Emergency contact
Dragoman have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left home and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564

For further contact details please use the following page:

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

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.

Dragoman: +44 (0) 1728 86222
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:

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.

CAMPING EQUIPMENT:
Please bring a sleeping bag (4-season is recommended - check that the weather will be like over the dates you are travelling), sleeping mat and a pillow as these items are not provided.

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

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.
Climate and seasonal information
SEASONAL KITTIES:
For trips in Southern India that occur over Christmas and New Year please allow approximately $130USD extra on the kitty for seasonal increases in accommodation costs.
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 or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
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:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia 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/

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