Nepal & India Overland Trip Notes

    • 82
    • HDOLC
    • Trip Price tool tip
      USD $4,324
      CAD $4,414
      AUD $4,504
      EUR €3,294
      GBP £2,695
      NZD $5,341
      ZAR R40,999
      CHF FR3,861
    • Kitty tool tip
      USD $1,970
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $6,294*
      CAD $6,511*
      AUD $6,682*
      EUR €4,809*
      GBP £4,000*
      NZD $7,923*
      ZAR R60,821*
      CHF FR5,728*
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    • Overland
    • Basix
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‡ As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only - please click here to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
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Last Modified: 25 Jun 2014
Nepal & India Overland
Trip code: HDOLC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2015
Journey Overland through the amazing lands of Nepal and India, taking in the colourful cultures, impressive icons and stunning sights along the way. Experience the very best of these two countries – from the busy cities filled with animated people, crowded bazaars and commercial enterprise, to the small, remote villages where a slow-paced rural life endures. Be awed by the immense beauty of the Taj Mahal, the warm glow of a Goan sunset and the displays of faith around every corner in Varanasi. Escape the heat in the cool climate of Darjeeling plantations, cruise the backwaters of Kerala, try to spot tigers and elephants in national parks and embark on an exciting safari into the desert. Mix with local children, pilgrims, market traders, tribal people and farmers, and see the heart and soul of India and Nepal in these proud people. This adventure delivers many moments of breathtaking beauty and thrilling fun – don't miss the chance to see the very best of Nepal and India.
This trip is operated by our experienced local partners Dragoman Overland. Dragoman shares Intrepid's ethos for adventure travel and has many years' expertise in overlanding.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency funds
ThemesGroup sizeVisas
ItineraryYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
We also recommendSingle travellersWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerAccommodationHealth
Culture shock rating Meals introductionSafety
Physical ratingMealsTravel insurance
Physical preparationTransportResponsible Travel
Included activitiesGroup leaderA couple of rules
KittyJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel projects
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsCarbon offset
Spending moneyFinish point Feedback
TippingFinish point description
Departure taxEmergency contact
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Basix
  • The best value journeys on the planet! On a Basix trip you can expect amazing experiences, but none of the inclusions that you may not want. Which means budget (1-2 star) accommodation, plenty of free time, activities that are optional and the freedom to choose meals to suit your budget. On some trips you may be camping and required to set up your own tent. You'll also have access to a group leader to offer advice and help you uncover the region's hidden gems. On a Basix journey, the way you travel is all a part of the adventure. Depending on the destination and the itinerary, you could find yourself travelling on anything from a donkey to a bus or a private safari vehicle. These trips are ideal for first-time travellers seeking fun and independence with the support of a group leader. They're also ideal for independent travellers looking to make the most of their travel time with minimum hassle and maximum experiences.
Themes
Overland
Itinerary
Day 1 Kathmandu
Namaste! Welcome to Nepal.
Border Information: Welcome to Kathmandu! If you are joining the trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely enter Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport.
Wrapped around the Himalayan mountain range is the remarkable country of Nepal. It is the birthplace of the Buddha and is a land of legend and beauty. Within its narrow confines Nepal contains an utterly spectacular variety of culture and landscapes. Nepal has a stunning natural beauty and a simple charm.
There is an important group meeting at 6:00pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place.
Hotel for the night: Hotel Tibet
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Chitwan National Park
On Day 2, we will leave Kathmandu after breakfast, we drive 200kms through stunning scenery down to the Terai grasslands. Our destination is Chitwan National Park, where we will stay for the next 2 nights.
Drive time - 7 hours (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!).
If we arrive in good time we will make a visit to Bis Hajaar Tal, also known as 20,000 Lakes, which is a wetland area near the Royal Chitwan National Park. Here we will get the opportunity to see peacocks, wild boars, deer and there is also a slim chance of seeing tigers and rhinos. If we cannot visit 20,000 lakes today we will make our visit tomorrow.
On Day 3 we'll spend the day exploring the national park by canoe and on foot, and there is the option to take a jeep safari! There will be an opportunity to see a traditional Nepali dance demonstration in the evening.
In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Day 4 Gorokphur
Border Information: Exit Nepal at Belhiya, enter India at Sonauli.
Today we enter India. India has so much to offer: from the beautiful landscapes of the Himalayas, to the amazing temples and coastlines, rich culture, and of course the food!
This morning we have a fairly relaxed start to the day before packing up and driving to the border. We will cross the border to India and continue on a short drive to the town of Gorokphur.
We will stay in a local hotel in Gorokphur.
Drive time - 10 hours (including the border crossing).
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 5-6 Varanasi
On Day 5 we will continue driving and reach the holy city of Varanasi in the evening.
Drive time - 9-10 hours.
On Day 6 we will get up very early for a boat trip down the Ganges. This is a magical time of day to see the Ghats and watch the morning rituals of the thousands of people who come here to purify themselves in the holy river. We will have auto-rickshaws for the rest of he day to explore the rest of the city - we will have the opportunity to use them to visit a traditional silk workshop and the Mother India temple.
In Varanasi we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Bandhavgarh National Park
Today we will spend most of the day travelling as we journey 350kms overland from Varanasi to Bandhavgarh National Park, famous for its tigers!
Drive time - 11-12 hours.
On Day 8 we will go on a half-day jeep safari in search of tigers and other wildlife. There will also be some time to relax around the lodge campsite. Please note that the jeep safari could be morning or afternoon.
In Bandhavgarh National Park we will camp in the grounds of a forest lodge.
(NB - Trips travelling in India before 1st October will not be able to visit Bandhavgarh NP due to the park being closed. Instead, the itinerary will spend longer in Chitwan NP in Nepal and spend time at the Royal Beach Camp activity centre in the Himalayas. We will also visit the deserted palaces and temples in Orchha).
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 9-10 Khajuraho
Today we will drive 210kms from Bandhavgarh to Khajuraho. In the afternoon we will have a guided visit of the erotic temples followed by a very short drive to our treehouse campsite.
Drive time - 9-10 hours.
On Day 10 there is the option to head into Panna National Park in search of wildlife on a jeep safari, or you might prefer to explore the local area or just relax on the banks of the river at our campsite.
We will stay on a camp site in Khajuraho.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (2 nts)
Days 11-12 Agra
After breakfast we leave our campsite and head 400kms to Agra. Most of today will be spent travelling and we will arrive in the evening.
Drive time - 11-12 hours.
On Day 12 we spend the day exploring Agra by rickshaw, starting with sunrise at the Taj Mahal, followed by a visit to the Agra Fort.
We will stay in a local hotel in Agra.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 13-14 Jaipur
We leave Agra today and head 230kms overland to the pink city of Jaipur, stopping en route at Fatehpur Sikri (the old capital of the Mughal Empire).
Drive time - 6-8 hours (depending on the time spent at Fatehpur Sikri).
On Day 14 we will have a full day exploring the sites of Jaipur on the truck with our local guide. Whilst in Jaipur there will also be the option for an early morning or late afternoon hot air balloon ride over the city.
In Jaipur we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 15-16 Delhi
Today we leave Jaipur and travel 245kms to arrive in Delhi in the afternoon.
Drive time - 7 hours.
Whilst in Delhi we stay in a friendly local hotel.
Border Information: If joining the trip in Delhi, you will likely enter India at Delhi Indira Ghandi International Airport.
Today is a free day to explore Delhi. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.
In Delhi we will stay in a local hotel.
Hotel for the night: Florence Inn
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 17 Bikaner
Today we start our journey with a 400km drive to Bikaner. The drive will take us most of the day, stopping en route for lunch.
In Bikaner we will either stay in a local hotel or camp at an eco-lodge a short distance outside the city.
Drive time - 10 hours (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!).
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 18-20 Jaisalmer/Camel Safari
Today we continue our journey with a drive of 385kms to ancient Rajasthani city of Jaisalmer, stopping at the Karni Mata (Rat Temple) en-route.
We base ourselves in Jaisalmer for the next 3 nights, staying in a comfortable local hotel.
Drive time - 5-7 hours, depending on the length of the visit to Karmi Mata.
This morning is free time to to explore more of Jaisalmer. In the late afternoon we wil head out on an included camel safari into the Thar Desert - exploring the desert with local Rajasthani camel drivers is the most authentic way to experience the area!
Tonight we camp out in the desert, sleeping under the stars.
This morning we will return from the our camel safari. The rest of the day if free to relax or explore more of Jaisalmer and the surrounding area.
Tonight we return to our hotel in Jaisalmer.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Days 21-22 Jodhpur
This morning we will drive 285kms from Jaisalmer to another famous Rajasthani city, Jodphur. En route to Jodphur we will make our visit to the Sambhali Trust project (a charitable project that works for the empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan), where we will learn about the efforts of the project and make a group donation from the kitty.
After our visit we will make our way to our local guest house in Jodphur where will spend the night.
Drive time - 5-7 hours, depending on the length of the visit to the Sambhali Trust.
On Day 7 we will be in and around Jodphur. In the morning we will visit the Meherangarh Fort and Palace, before splitting up into 2 or 3 small groups for our homestays.
The second night here will be spent in accommodation that has been set up by local families in their own homes for visitors.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Homestay (1 nt)
Days 23-25 Udaipur
After breakfast we set off for a 260km drive to Udaipur, visiting the Jain Temple at Ranakpur en route. We will have 3 nights in Udaipur, giving us plenty of time to discover this amazing, romantic Rajasthani city.
In Udaipur we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Drive time - 6-7 hours, depending on the length of the visit to Ranakpur Temple.
We will have 2 free days for exploration of the sites of Udaipur and relaxing on one of the many roof-top terraces in the city.
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 26 Mandu
Leaving Udaipur, we will be joined by a local cook who will accompany us during the next few days whilst we are wild camping.
Today will mostly be spent travelling the 220kms to Mandu, via the backroads of rural Rajasthan. We are well off the tourist trail here and tonight we will wildcamp, perhaps on the edge of a local village.
Drive time - 8 hours
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 27-28 Ajanta
Today we will visit Mandu, an extensive and largely abandoned hill-top fort from the Mughal era. We will then spend the afternoon driving to our wild camp spot near Kharwand Dam, en route towards Ajanta.
Drive time - 5 hours.
The next day we complete the drive to Ajanta, arriving in the afternoon. We will visit the complex of 29 ancient Buddhist temples cut into the rock face, and then head to our camping spot in Ajanta (camping in the grounds of a local hotel).
Drive time - 5-6 hours.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt), Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 29 Ellora
Today we will drive a short distance to Ellora, where we will visit the ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves - a set of a small temples in the rock face dating from the 6th to 11th centuries.
In Ellora we will camp in the grounds of a local hotel.
Drive time - 2 hours.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 30-32 Mumbai
Setting off early, we will say goodbye to our local cook and drive 400kms to Mumbai, arriving late afternoon.
Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel.
Drive time - 9 hours.
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.
On Day 2, there will be another 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
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 33-34 North 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.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 35-36 South 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.
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!).
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 37-38 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.
Drive time - 10 hours.
On Day 8 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.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 39-40 Mysore
From Hampi we have another long drive of 480kms to Mysore, where we will stay for 2 nights.
Drive time - 11-12 hours.
On Day 10 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.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Days 41-42 Wayanad
Today we travel 150kms up into the hills, heading for the hillstation of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations.
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.
Accommodation
Homestay (2 nts)
Days 43-44 Kochi
Today we will continue our journey 260kms to Kochi.
Drive time - 10 hours.
On Day 14 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 Kochi we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 45 Allepey
Leaving the bustle of Kochi behind today we embark on our overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan back waters to Allepey.
Accommodation
Houseboat (1 nt)
Days 46-48 Varkala
Leaving the backwaters behind us, we continue 120kms to the beach resort of Varkala.
Drive time - 3-4 hours.
We will have 3 nights here with free time to explore the surrounding areas and relax on the beautiful beaches. Varkala is well known for its beaches, and there are also lots of great local restaurants where you can sample the justifiably famous Keralan cuisine.
In Varkala we will stay at a beach resort.
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 49 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.
Drive time - 4-5 hours.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 50 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 Shree Menakshi Temple in Madurai.
In Madurai we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Drive time - 4-5 hours.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 51 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.
Drive time - 7-8 hours.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 52 Mahabalipuram
A short drive brings us to Mahabalipuram (Approx. 100 km).
Here we make a visit to the unusual shore temples and pagodas.
Tonight we stay in a comfortable hotel.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 53-54 Chennai
We make a short journey to Chennai, the fourth largest city in India (approx. 55 km) stopping at a snake & crocodile farm en-route.
In Chennai we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Drive time - 2 hours.
Border Information: If you are leaving the trip in Chennai, you will most likely exit India from Chennai International Airport.
Day 24 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)
Day 55 Tirupathi
Today we start our journey with a 145kms drive to the bustling town of Tirupati. In the afternoon we will visit the Sri Venkateswara holy temple in the nearby town of Tirumalai.
In Tirupati we will stay in a friendly local hotel.
Drive time - 5 hours (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!).
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 56 Vijayawada
Leaving Tirupati, we will spend the next few days overlanding through Andhra Pradesh, one of the least developed states in India. This is real off-the-beaten-track overlanding and we will aim to cover 420kms today to reach the small city of Vijayawada.
In Vijayawada we will stay in a basic local hotel.
Drive time - 10 hours.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 57 Visakhapatnam
Today we continue our journey and drive 370kms through the back roads of Andra Pradesh. Our final destination tonight is the costal town on Visakhapatnam.
In Visakhapatnam we will stay in a local hotel on the sea front.
Drive time - 8-9 hours.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 58-62 Odisha Tribal Area
Today we begin our guided tour through the rarely-visited Odisha Tribal Regions, which we will comprehensively visit over the next 6 days. In these regions the itinerary has to be kept fairly flexible, allowing us the freedom to alter things slightly if we hear of any special events or market days in particular villages. However, we will generally follow the plan below:
On day 5 we will have an early start from Viaskhapatnam to arrive in a small village called Goudaguda in time to visit the Monday markets. Beautiful earthen pottery is skillfully produced in this area and you may even get the chance to try this for yourself. In Goudaguda we will stay in a local guesthouse which has been styled on local tribal houses. Drive time - 6 hours.
On day 6 we will have a full-day guided walk through the countryside around Goudaguda, visiting the neighbouring Mali and Kondh tribal villages. We will return to our guesthouse in Goudaguda for the night.
On day 7 we will drive to the lively Chatikona Market, a weekly highlight for the Dongria Kondh tribe. We then roll through the hills to Muniguda, our destination for tonight. On arrival we will be welcomed by the New Hope Charitable Trust (a local NGO helping to uplift the poor and disadvantaged); in the afternoon we will have a cooking demonstration and spend some time with the children and the elderly people of the New Hope Trust. We will stay in basic rooms in the grounds of the charitable trust tonight. Drive time - 6-7 hours depending on the length of the visit to the Chatikona Market.
On day 8 we will drive to a small village called Taptapani, where on arrival we will visit the temple hot springs. We will stay in a basic local hotel for the night. Drive time - 8 hours.
On day 9 we will drive to the fascinating fishing town of Gopalpur, a once major port for the East India Company which has an interesting decaying charm. We will have a free afternoon to explore the town. In Gopalpur we will stay in a local hotel. Drive time - 5-6 hours.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (3 nts), Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 63-65 Puri
Today our tour of the tribal areas comes to an end and we drive on to the small town of Puri. Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India, and has a wonderful long sandy beach. On arrival we will explore the old pilgrim route by Cycle Rickshaw, taking in ashrams, Hindu monasteries, a palm leaf manuscript library and the awesome Jagannath temple.
Drive time - 7-8 hours.
We will spend 3 nights in Puri. On the first full day here, we will take a short drive back to visit Chilika Lake and explore the lake on bamboo-pole-driven canoes. There may also be the opportunity to visit the Ushti Children's Foundation in the town.
On the second full day, we will begin with a cycle ride through rice paddies and rural hamlets, meeting local craftsmen and women and watching them demonstrate their unique crafts. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Konark Sun Temple.
In Puri we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts), Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 66-68 Kolkata
Today we will travel by train to Kolkata, the largest city in India. We will have time today and tomorrow to explore this remarkable city and to take an incredible photographic tour.
In Kolkata we will stay in a comfortable hotel.
Journey time (by train) - 7 hours.
Border Information: If finishing your trip in Kolkata, you will most likely exit India at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
Day 14 is free time to explore Kolkata.
Please note that if your are leaving the trip in Kolkata, there is no accommodation included tonight.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 69-71 Darjeeling
We will arrive into Siliguri at around 9:00am this morning and go on to meet our jeeps and drivers for the 90km journey to Darjeeling, a town that is really more a collection of villages situated on a high ridge, linked by a series of steps and winding lanes and surrounded by rice and tea terraces.
Jeeps are used here due to the narrow, steep and winding roads of the area. We will continue with the jeeps all the way until the trip returns to Siliguri (after Gangtok).
Drive time (in jeeps) - 3-4 hours (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!).
We will spend 3 nights in Darjeeling, giving us plenty of time to relax and enjoy the surrounding area.
In Darjeeling we will stay in a local hotel.
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Days 72-74 Karmi Farm
Today we will have free morning in Darjeeling. After lunch we will leave in our jeeps for Karmi Farm, a tea plantation located in a remote rural area nearby.
Drive time (in jeeps) - 3 hours.
We will stay at Karmi Farm for 3 nights, which gives us lots of free time to enjoy some fantastic hikes around the region, visit the Karmi Farm Clinic charitable project, go bird watching and to relax and take in the stunning views from the lodge.
In Karmi Farm we will stay in a guest lodge.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (3 nts)
Days 75-77 Gangtok
After breakfast, we leave Karmi Farm in our jeeps to continue 200kms to Gangtok, the hilltop capital of Sikkim, where we will stay for 3 nights.
Drive time (in jeeps) - 7 hours, depending on how long the border crossing into Sikkim takes.
On our first full day in Gangtok we will take an included guided visit of the nearby Rumtek Dharma Monastery in the morning, leaving the afternoon free for you to explore Gangtok.
Our second full day here is a free day to further explore the surrounding area, take an optional trip to Tsomgo Lake, or just relax and take it easy.
In Gangtok we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 78 Barhara
Border Information: Exit India at Kakarbhitta, enter Nepal at Kakarbhitta.
Today we travel in our jeeps back to Siliguri, where we will finally join our Dragoman overland truck! We will then drive over the border into Nepal and continue as far as we can.
Tonight we will aim to wildcamp in the Himalayan foothills, possibly near to Barhara.
Drive time - 3-4 hours in the jeeps, 6 hours on the truck.
Accommodation
Bush camp (no facilities) (1 nt)
Day 79 Chitwan
Today we continue our drive to reach our campsite in Chitwan, where we have the opportunity to take an evening nature walk and see a Tharu culture show.
In Chitwan we will camp in the grounds of a lodge.
Drive time - 7-8 hours.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 80 Khatauti Khola
This morning we drive 165kms uphill to Khatauti Khola, home to the Royal Beach Camp eco-adventure camp in the Nepalese mountains.
There are all sorts of optional activities on offer here for the afternoon such as kayaking, rafting, hiking and mountain biking.
In Khatauti Khola we will camp at the Royal Beach Camp.
Drive time - 4 hours.
Accommodation
Camping (with facilities) (1 nt)
Days 81-82 Kathmandu
This morning we have free time at the Royal Beach Camp to give more time for the optional adventure activities there, then after lunch we drive the last 85kms to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
In Kathmandu we stay in a comfortable local hotel.
Drive time - 2 hours.
Border Information: If you are finishing your trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely exit Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport.
On Day 16 you will have free time to explore the fascinating and evocative city of Kathmandu.
Please note that if you are leaving the trip in Kathmandu, there is no accommodation included tonight.
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
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    Itinerary disclaimer
    We must emphasise that the routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only. We intend following the route detailed but exact night stops cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our basic planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. Or it may be because we find a better, more interesting route. While actually en route, unexpected hospitality, a local festival or a great place to chill out can determine our exact route and itinerary on any given trip.
    Overnight stops and driving distances each day may vary to best suit the needs of the group.
    Culture shock rating

    The comforts of home are more of a rarity. English isn't common and the food will be quite different to home. It's important to observe some of the local customs to not cause offence. Many of the locals’ standard of living may be confronting.
    Physical rating

    This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
    Physical preparation
    In these parts of the world you'll need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climate; from hot deserts through to the cold of high mountain areas.
    Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days and dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You'll need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up, and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts. The step-up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high, can become tiring. You need to judge if you are physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Kitty
    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.
    As our kitty is flexible the indicated amount is indicative only. Follow the link below to view the kitty amount for your departure date.
    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.
    India has very good opportunities for shopping, especially for locally made goods, and during your trip it is highly likely that your local guides will take you to emporiums as well as workshops where these goods are made. Many people find this a great opportunity to buy local handicrafts, silk, jewellery and carpets. Guides will often assume that visitors will want to go shopping, it is very much part of the culture, but if you do not wish to go please make this clear to your local guide at the time.
    Money Exchange
    The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali Rupee (NPR).
    ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bhaktapur. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur.
    The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.
    While travellers' cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high (up to 10%) and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. If you choose to bring travellers' cheques, make sure they are a major brand and major currency.
    Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.
    The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).
    The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.
    Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.
    While traveller's cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels/establishments.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    Tipping
    If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
    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.
    Departure tax
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
    Important notes
    CHANGE TO ITINERARY:
    With increasing concerns about tourists embarking on tribal safaris, the government of Orissa has imposed strict rules for trips to areas inhabited by tribal groups. As a result, the Orissa part of our itinerary has changed and we will now stay in hotels, lodges, or campgrounds associated with local NGOs rather than bushcamping in villages. We will also travel with a local guide for the duration of the visit to the tribal area and have more meals and activities included. This has all resulted in a significant increase in the kitty for this trip compared to what has previously been advertised.
    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.
    MINIMUM AGE:
    The minimum age for this trip is 18 years old and bookings for minors, even if accompanied by a parent, cannot be accepted.
    SCANNED PASSPORT COPY:
    In order to confirm your place on this trip we will need a clear scanned copy of your passport, passport photo and your Indian visa as soon as possible after booking.
    NEPAL STRIKES:
    Snap bandhs (strikes) can occur at any time in Nepal with very little notice, resulting in your itinerary having to be revised. Although we will endeavour to minimise any additional costs incurred there may be occasions where the traveller will need to cover trip changes, including flights, of which you will need to use your emergency funds and then claim the money on your travel insurance.
    HOT WEATHER:
    Heat and humidity during summer (Apr-Jun) in India can be particularly oppressive with temperatures reaching 45 degrees C/113 degrees F.
    MONSOON SEASON ITINERARY:
    Trips travelling in India during the monsoon season (between July and October), will not be able to visit Bandhavgarh NP. Instead they will spend longer in Chitwan NP in Nepal and spend time at the Royal Beach Camp activity centre in the Himalayas. They will also visit the deserted palaces and temples Orchha.
    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.
    Group size
    Maximum of 21 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
    Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own 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
    Hotel (45 nts), Camping (with facilities) (12 nts), Guesthouse (12 nts), Bush camp (no facilities) (4 nts), Homestay (3 nts), Houseboat (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
    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
    All meals when camping
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    USD 1250.00
    Transport
    4x4, Overland vehicle, Train, Overnight sleeper train, Camel
    Group leader
    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. In East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes. In the rest of Africa, South America and the majority of Central Asia and China we 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.
    Joining point
    Hotel Tibet
    Lazimpath
    Kathmandu
    NEPAL
    Joining point description
    Hotel Tibet is located close to the Royal Palace and walking distance to all major embassies, airline offices, banks, immigration office and the famous shopping centres of Thamel. It is only 8km from the Tribhuvan International Airport and has a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding hills. Hotel Tibet is renowned for its hospitality and homey environment.
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    Please also make sure have a copy of the local operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
    Finish point
    Hotel Tibet
    Lazimpath
    Kathmandu
    NEPAL
    Finish point description
    Hotel Tibet is located close to the Royal Palace and walking distance to all major embassies, airline offices, banks, immigration office and the famous shopping centres of Thamel. It is only 8km from the Tribhuvan International Airport and has a panoramic view of the Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding hills. Hotel Tibet is renowned for its hospitality and homey environment.
    Emergency contact
    We 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
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    NEPAL:
    Australia: Yes - on arrival
    Belgium: Yes - on arrival
    Canada: Yes - on arrival
    Germany: Yes - on arrival
    Ireland: Yes - on arrival
    Netherlands: Yes - on arrival
    New Zealand: Yes - on arrival
    South Africa: Yes - on arrival
    Switzerland: Yes - on arrival
    United Kingdom: Yes - on arrival
    USA: Yes - on arrival
    Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad or on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport. If getting the visa at the airport be prepared for long queues. There have been instances when passengers were asked to show return flight tickets. You will also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars cash only: multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$25, multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$40, multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$100.
    ***Please note if you are staying in Nepal for less than 24 hours while in transit a transit visa can be issued on presentation of your international flight ticket, there is a nominal charge of US$5 and two photos are required.
    INDIA:
    Australia: Yes - in advance
    Belgium: Yes - in advance
    Canada: Yes - in advance
    Germany: Yes - in advance
    Ireland: Yes - in advance
    Netherlands: Yes - in advance
    New Zealand: Yes - in advance OR on arrival*
    South Africa: Yes - in advance
    Switzerland: Yes - in advance
    United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
    USA: Yes - in advance
    There is NO visa on arrival in India for most nationalities. Indian visas can NOT be obtained in Nepal. Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.
    *Visa on arrival is available for select nationalities, including New Zealanders provided that specific criteria can be met. See link below for more information.
    http://india.gov.in/spotlight/encouraging-inbound-tourism-tourist-visa-arrival-tvoa-scheme
    Issues on your trip
    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
    We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
    You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    LOCKER SPACE:
    The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different sized lockers however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than: length 20 inches, height 9.5 inches and depth 26.5 inches. You will need to bring your own lock for your locker. We recommend a 20-30mm sized padlock with a long shackle.The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is maximum 20kg. Backpacks shouldn't have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.
    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.
    VALUABLES:
    Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe and the safe on the overland truck to store the bulk of your money, passport, and airline tickets. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden.
    We strongly recommend that you photocopy all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.
    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 end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilized water stored in the purpose-built storage tank or in water jerry cans in your overland vehicle. You're free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like.
    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.
    DRINKING WATER:
    As a rule we recommend you don't drink tap water, even in hotels, as it contains much higher levels of different minerals than the water you may have at home. For local people this is not a problem as their bodies are used to this and can cope, but for visitors drinking the tap water can result in illness. Generally this isn't serious, an upset stomach being the only symptom, but it's enough to spoil a day or two of your holiday. Bottled water is widely available and your leader can recommend safe alternatives when available. Water consumption should be about 3 litres a day. Rehydration salts, motion sickness tablets, and diarrhoea blockers are available from many pharmacies.
    Safety
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    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:
    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.
    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    The vehicle has fully lockable doors and windows, which is an obvious advantage, but it will probably be necessary to guard it at times and everyone should be prepared to share in this responsibility.
    In most areas there is very little to fear from the point of view of violence. But in all areas 'tourists' are a tempting target for pickpockets and con-men. Always be aware of this and be especially careful when leaving banks or money-changers, in any crowded areas, etc. NEVER leave things lying around - they will almost certainly get stolen. We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to always be security conscious and to take all necessary precautions. Great inconvenience and distress can be caused by having your documents or possessions stolen.
    A few of our past group members have had the unhappy experience of having their belongings stolen before the trip starts. Beware of carrying your passport and other valuables around with you in cities. We strongly suggest you deposit your valuables in your hotel safe on arrival.
    SEAT BELTS:
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
    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 group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    LOCAL DRESS:
    Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Responsible Travel projects
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in India include:
    * Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) provides services to disabled children and adults. They run three special schools, currently assisting around 160 children, and an old-age home for the short-stay of elderly people. AJK also provides vocational training, participates in diagnostic camps and distributes aids and appliances to physically disabled persons.
    * Deepalaya is focused on building a better future for India's street children. They have assisted more than 44,000 underprivileged children through the provision of food and board, health care, meaningful education and vocational training, counselling and career guidance, understanding, friendship, and warmth and solace.
    * GOONJ channels vital resources to rural India through the distribution of used items such as clothes and household goods. Their school-to-school program of channelling resources like uniforms, shoes, stationery, lunch boxes etc from urban schools to rural schools will benefit more than 35,000 children in its first phase.
    Any donations you'd like to make can be given to your group leader in Delhi ONLY, they can then arrange for it to be passed on to GOONJ who will distribute these items to rural villages and people in need. You might like to consider taking over some clothes or other things you no longer require: woollens, footwear, bed sheets, blankets, utensils, first aid items, books, toys and school items - notebooks, pencils, pens, old uniforms or school bags - are all useful.
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Nepal include:
    * The Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) promotes positive impact tourism and minimum impact trekking through information services for travellers and locals. They also provide vocational training in hospitality, ecotourism, conservation, first aid and English to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal.
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 2509.00 kgs per pax.
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