North India Highlights Trip Notes

North India Highlights

Last Modified: 01 Jun 2016
North India Highlights
Trip code: HHKH
Validity: 01 May 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Visit India and explore the highlights of the north on this adventure tour from Delhi to Varanasi. Discover the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, witness the Mughal splendours of Delhi and Agra, and soak up the ambience of holy Varanasi. This wonderful introduction to the magic of India includes lavish palaces, vibrant bazaars, Kama Sutra temple carvings, Bollywood blockbusters and the incomparable Taj Mahal. Packed with highlights and hidden gems, take time to discover the beating heart of India.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersFinishing point instructions
ThemesAccommodationEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Accommodation NotesVisas
Why we love itMeals introductionWhat to take
MapMealsHealth
ItineraryMoney mattersTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingSafetyResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesJoining point instructionsFeedback
Group sizeFinish point
Style
Comfort
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- Between December and February flights and trains can be delayed due to fog, (but this just adds to the country’s atmospheric vistas).
- In the summer months Rajasthan can get very hot. Be sure to drink lots of water, pack light cotton clothing and use adequate skin protection.
- Please note there are several early mornings on this trip, allowing you to see more of the country in the captivating morning light.
Why we love it
- Discover the man-made beauty that lies across the north of India – from Jaipur’s ‘Palace of the Winds’ and Royal City Palace, Agra’s Red Fort and iconic Taj Mahal, to the palaces of Orchha and the carved steps leading down to the river in Varanasi
- Be immersed in the spirituality of India – the Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi, the ghats of Varanasi, Kama Sutra carved temples and Buddhist pilgrimage sites; evening prayer ceremonies, ancient bathing rituals and candle flower ceremonies on the Ganges
- Feel the magic of India that runs through everything, from a throbbing bazaar to a packed cinema showing a Bollywood blockbuster
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 New Delhi
Welcome to India. You adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting in the hotel at 6pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. You can use any free time before the meeting to explore this excitingly chaotic capital city. Filled with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars, there’s much to see and you will be briefed on sightseeing options.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
    Accommodation
    Taj Princess Hotel or similar (1 nt)
    Day 2 New Delhi
    This morning join your group leader on an excursion into the sights and sounds of Old Delhi. Set off on the city's modern metro system, then get a taste of India's famed public transport with an optional cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets, such as the famous Chandni Chowk. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then visit the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion. The rest of the day is free for further exploration or maybe to join an Urban Adventure (booked locally). Perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb, the first garden tomb in India, built in 1570. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started all the way back in the 12th century, or explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it played an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
    Included Activities
    • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
    • Delhi - Jama Masjid
    • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
      Optional Activities
      • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
      • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
      • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
        Accommodation
        Taj Princess Hotel or similar (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 3 Jaipur
        Today you’ll get your first experience of Indian rail travel with an express train into Rajasthan and on to its capital, Jaipur (approximately 5 hours). Then you'll take a walking tour through the crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks, and bicycles, past traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches. Walk to the city's crowded bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and the local specialty of semi-precious stones. Make a photo stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'. You'll also visit Jantar Mantar; not a series of elaborate sculptures but actually an observatory filled with instruments to track the stars, built by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Jai Singh. This evening continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema - a vivid combination of action romance, drama and music.
        Included Activities
        • Jaipur - Walking Tour
        • Jaipur - Movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema
        • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop
        • Jaipur - Jantar Mantar Observatory
          Accommodation
          (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 4 Jaipur
          Drifting high over the pink city while it’s bathed in early morning sunlight is a highlight for many visitors to Jaipur, and so there’s the option to take a hot air balloon experience this morning. For additional information please see the important notes section of your trip notes. Later, climb the twisting roads of the Aravalli Hills and round the final bend to see the massive Amber Fort loom into view. The legacy of a fallen empire, the opulent palace is a superb example of Rajput architecture and is packed with elaborate rooms of lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. Don’t miss the sparkling Mirror Palace, covered floor-to-ceiling in thousands of reflective tiles, the hall becomes a dazzling fantasy with the light of a single match. The rest of the day is free to explore more of Jaipur that you might have missed yesterday.
          Included Activities
          • Jaipur - Amber Fort
            Optional Activities
            • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD250
            • Jaipur - City Palace - INR400
              Accommodation
              (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Day 5 Agra
              This morning you will leave Jaipur and journey across the plains of Rajasthan by private vehicle to reach Agra (approximately 6 hours). Agra is home to one of the world's most recognisable monuments. You’ll visit the spectacular and iconic Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. Enter the dark red sandstone stronghold of Agra Fort - part fortress, part palace and part prison - and search through throne rooms and tiny but incredibly decorated mosques. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you please. You might take this opportunity to try some local dishes.
              Included Activities
              • Agra - Taj Mahal
              • Agra - Agra Fort
                Accommodation
                (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 6 Orchha
                Leaving the majestic Taj behind you, travel south by express train to the state of Madhya Pradesh (approximately 3.5 hours). Upon arrival in Jhansi, you will be met by private vehicles and carried through traditional rural Indian landscapes to reach the beautiful town of Orchha (approximately 45 minutes). Here you will have the opportunity to uncover a very different side of India. En route you will make a stop at Taragram, one of our Responsible Tourism projects. Taragram is a paper making factory that enables local tribal women to work outside the realm usually afforded to them. The paper is crafted from wood pulp and recycled clothing. Continue on to Orchha, a lovely town on the banks of the Betwa River. Initially a hunting area, Orchha has changed very little over the centuries. Despite its small size it is filled with many beautiful temples and palaces, build here in the 16th century by the ruling Bundelas clan. Visit the stunning Orchha Palace, built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, the great Mughal ruler. Take note of the grand Iwans (domes) that were built large enough to allow the movement of war elephants.
                Included Activities
                • Orchha - Taragram visit
                • Orchha - Orientation walk
                • Orchha - Orchha Palace
                  Accommodation
                  (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                  Day 7 Orchha
                  Enjoy the laid back, relaxed, and hassle-free atmosphere of the town. Later today you’ll get a closer experience of the district's flavours at a cooking demonstration by the town’s local people. This evening witness the Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony at the shrine at the heart of the city.
                  Included Activities
                  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
                  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
                    Accommodation
                    (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 8 Khajuraho
                    Travel south to Khajuraho (approximately 3 hours) a place famed for its incredible 1000-year-old temples, untouched by foreign invaders for centuries thanks to Khajuraho’s remote location, far from any major historical or modern centres. These temples are especially reputed for their explicit carvings that illustrate the entire Kama Sutra. The reason behind their existence and more interestingly, the inspiration for the intricate, erotic carvings is open to wide interpretation. Some argue that the carvings, all located on the exterior of the temples, signified the act of leaving sexual desires behind upon entering the holy temples, while others think them descriptive learning tools for young boys in the area about life beyond religion. You will discover more about these buildings, built during the Chandela Dynasty, on a tour of the western temple complex. Later, watch a traditional performance at the famous classical dance festival that occurs here. Before leaving the town, visit the home of a local Hindu family, where you will enjoy a home-cooked meal and be immersed in the life of middle-class Indians.
                    Included Activities
                    • Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
                    • Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance
                    • Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
                      Accommodation
                      (1 nt)
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                      Day 9 Varanasi
                      Continue your immersion in the spirituality of India with a short flight from Khajuraho to the holy centre of Varanasi (approximately 1 hour). Varanasi is awash with shrines and temples, and the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Varanasi is not known for its cleanliness, but it is recognised as one of India’s most inspiring cities. Take a walking tour of the old city, through narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, past the dhobi wallahs, burning ghats, and the endless temples that echo with bells and the pungent aroma of incense. This evening soak up the unique atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony.

                      Important Information: Please note that due to ongoing construction works at Khajuraho Airport, many airlines have reduced the number of flights into and out of this airport. As a result we have had to reroute some trips between Khajuraho and Varanasi to an overnight train replacing the flight. Please be aware that while we will continue to do all we can to secure tickets on the limited flights available, this change may need to be made last minute to your itinerary. Your leader will notify you at the Group Meeting of any changes. All activities will continue to be included.
                      Included Activities
                      • Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
                      • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
                        Accommodation
                        (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 10 Varanasi
                        Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river as you pass. There is an option to take a trip to nearby Sarnath, one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Alternatively the day can be spent exploring the laneways and alleys behind the ghats, or picking up some examples of the excellent local silk industry. Perhaps witness pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies as your time in this sacred city comes to an end.
                        Included Activities
                        • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
                          Optional Activities
                          • Varanasi - Sarnath day trip (entry only) - INR250
                            Accommodation
                            (1 nt)
                            Meals
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 11 Varanasi/New Delhi
                            This morning will be free for you to soak up the atmosphere of Varanasi during your final time here. Maybe do some last minute shopping in the incredible bazaars or merely wander through the ghats. Then you will return to Delhi by plane (approximately 1.5 hours). This evening there will be an (optional) group farewell dinner organised for those interested.
                            Accommodation
                            (1 nt)
                            Meals
                            1 breakfast
                            Day 12 New Delhi
                            Your journey comes to an end after breakfast. There are no other activities planned for the day and you can leave the accommodation at any time. For those who wish to stay on in Delhi to further explore the city, we are happy to help in booking accommodation (subject to availability). If you have time, Hauz Khas village is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown Delhi - a chic artistic enclave set right next to the remnants of a historical site. Or maybe pre-book an Urban Adventure and see Delhi with a knowledgeable local.
                            Optional Activities
                            • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
                            • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
                            • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
                              Meals
                              1 breakfast
                              Itinerary disclaimer
                              ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

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

                              Included activities
                              Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
                              Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
                              Delhi - Jama Masjid
                              Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
                              Jaipur - Walking Tour
                              Jaipur - Movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema
                              Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop
                              Jaipur - Jantar Mantar Observatory
                              Jaipur - Amber Fort
                              Agra - Taj Mahal
                              Agra - Agra Fort
                              Orchha - Taragram visit
                              Orchha - Orientation walk
                              Orchha - Orchha Palace
                              Orchha - Cooking demonstration
                              Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
                              Khajuraho - Kama Sutra temples
                              Khajuraho - Traditional dance performance
                              Khajuraho - Home-cooked lunch & family visit
                              Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
                              Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
                              Varanasi - Sunrise Boat Ride
                              Important notes
                              1. A single supplement is available on this trip. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
                              2. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.

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

                              SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                              Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
                              Accommodation
                              Heritage Property (2nt), Hotel (9nt)
                              The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                              Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                              If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.


                              The hotel accommodation on this trip has air-conditioned rooms.
                              Meals introduction
                              While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                              Meals
                              11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                              Money matters
                              The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                              EMERGENCY FUNDS
                              Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.

                              COMMISSION:
                              The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Indian tourism industry.
                              In an effort to best control and monitor shopping and activities with an aim for the best experience possible, Intrepid has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences and activities based on positive feedbacks from our previous travellers. On occasion these will be as part of included walking tours or outside of included activities in free time. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.
                              Intrepid have set up a centralised system of receiving payments from these recommended suppliers, of which are then distributed towards local Responsible Travel projects (such as 'say no to plastic' cotton bags for our travellers and drinking water refilling stations), traveller information packs, and leader bonuses. Further details of these arrangements can be provided by your group leader on request.
                              While Intrepid endeavours to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travellers feedback and experiences and Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveller is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
                              Group leader
                              All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                              Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                              Safety
                              Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

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

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

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

                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety

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

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

                              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.

                              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!

                              HERITAGE HOTELS:
                              On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses - these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally their staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved in their original state.

                              FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                              Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

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

                              SWIMMING POOLS:
                              You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

                              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.

                              LIFE JACKETS:
                              While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
                              Joining point
                              Hotel Taj Princess
                              15 A/25 WEA Ajmal Khan Road Opposite Jesa Ram Hospital
                              Karol Bagh
                              New Delhi
                              110005
                              INDIA
                              Phone: +91 11 2574220
                              Joining point instructions
                              Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage.

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

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

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

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

                              If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
                              +91 9911 972 636
                              +91 9999 005 019

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

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

                              Check in time at hotel is 12 midday
                              Finish point
                              Hotel Taj Princess
                              15 A/25 WEA Ajmal Khan Road Opposite Jesa Ram Hospital
                              Karol Bagh
                              New Delhi
                              110005
                              INDIA
                              Phone: +91 11 2574220
                              Finishing point instructions
                              Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage.

                              The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotel takes approx 1 hour and costs between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths).

                              IMPORTANT: Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers.

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

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

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

                              If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
                              +91 9911 972 636
                              +91 9999 005 019

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

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

                              Check in time at hotel is 12 midday
                              Emergency contact
                              For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

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

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

                              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.

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

                              INDIA:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

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

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

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

                              WARM CLOTHING:
                              Temperatures can be low in the winter months, especially at altitude, so bring a set of warmer clothes including thermal underclothes and a fleece jacket.

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

                              WATER BOTTLE
                              Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

                              IMAGES FROM HOME:
                              During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.

                              PASSPORT COPY:
                              Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
                              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 Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                              You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
                              Travel insurance
                              Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                              When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                              If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

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

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

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

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

                              The Intrepid Foundation
                              Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                              The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:

                              http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                              Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in India include:

                              * Pollinate Energy is a social business with a simple mission – to improve the lives of India’s urban poor by giving them access to affordable, clean energy products. Pollinate identifies and trains local people, their Pollinators, who have provided solar lights and cook stoves to over 8,000 families and counting.
                              pollinateenergy.org

                              * Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) provides services to disabled children and adults. They run three special schools, currently assisting around 160 children, and an old-age home for the short-stay of elderly people. AJK also provides vocational training, participates in diagnostic camps and distributes aids and appliances to physically disabled persons.
                              ashakajharna.org/

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

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

                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback