North India Unplugged Trip Notes

North India Unplugged

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 15 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 16 December 2016 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 07 Oct 2016
North India Unplugged
Trip code: HHRR
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 15 Dec 2016
Visit northern India and join a far-flung adventure to one of the planet's most exotic destinations. See towering fortresses above a city square, vibrant colours in a busy bazaar, pilgrims praying on river ghats, Maharaja mementos in a ghostly palace and camels silhouetted on a desert landscape - welcome to a land of magic and life. Discover well-known sites and hidden secrets, from the beating heart of Delhi to the holy city of Varanasi - this is chaotic and inspiring India. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017: From 1st January 2017 this trip will visit Abhaneri and its phenomenal step well (day15) and replaces the night in Bharatpur and optional bird sanctuary visit. There are no other major itinerary changes. The trip name will change to North India Revealed
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
ThemesMeals introductionVisas
Is this trip right for you?MealsWhat to take
Why we love itTransportClimate and seasonal information
MapMoney mattersCommunications
ItineraryGroup leaderHealth
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyTravel insurance
Physical ratingJoining pointA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point description
AccommodationFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip involves some long bus and train rides, which can be tiresome but offer a quintessential Indian experience. You’ll be taking a few overnight trains, including a 19-hour trip from Delhi to Jaisalmer, a 12-hour tip from Agra to Varanasi and a 15-hour trip from Varanasi to Delhi.
- Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned and a great way to travel long distances while still getting maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing with locals of the same or opposite gender. For your own security, take a lock for your hand luggage.
- We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
- Depending on the time of year, temperatures in northern India can get very hot and very cold. Please bring layers and a range of adequate clothing, including thermals and sun protection.
- When camping in the Thar Desert, you’re truly in the middle of nature, so conditions are basic and there are no toilet facilities. Please bring water, face wipes, hand sanitizer and any other supplies you may need.
Why we love it
- Experience old and new India in the bustling streets of Delhi, where ancient temples stand against billboards advertising Bollywood films
- Discover the ancient forts, lake palaces, rural villages and colourful cities of Rajasthan: sandy red Jaisalmer, blue Jodhpur, white Udaipur and pink Jaipur
- Ride out into the Thar Desert on a camel safari. Feast on Rajasthani cuisine at sunset before bunking down to camp between the sand dunes
- The world famous Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary is home to hundreds of bird species. Share in the delight and knowledge of local amateur bird-watchers, as you’re pedalled around the park in a cycle rickshaw
- The Taj Mahal in Agra may be one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, but its poetic history and beauty have the power to surprise even the most jaded travellers
- Pushkar and Varanasi are among the holiest cities in India. Climb to hilltop temples at sunrise, dodge cows in the street, and observe pilgrims praying and bathing along the ghats of the sacred Ganges River during a boat cruise

Day 1 Delhi
Namaste and welcome to Delhi, India. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Your leader will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. If you arrive into Delhi with time to spare, perhaps pay a visit to the World Heritage-listed Humayun's Tomb or the 12th-century Qutub Minar. As the former residence of royal families and British soldiers, the Red Fort plays a vital part in Delhi’s history.
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR4000
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Delhi
    In the morning, set off with the group by metro to Old Delhi and explore on a guided walking tour. Experience the chaos of an Indian traffic jam, as you inch your way through the streets around Chandni Chowk marketplace in a traditional cycle rickshaw. Visit the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest and India’s largest mosque, and then stop by the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion. Tonight transfer to the railway station and board a 19-hour/750 km overnight train to Jaisalmer. Local vendors will board the train at various stops to sell snacks, but it’s advised that you bring some of your own food for the journey.
    Included Activities
    • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
    • Delhi - Jama Masjid
    • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
      Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
      Day 3 Jaisalmer/Thar Desert
      If there are no train delays, you should arrive into Jaisalmer around midday. Pack a small overnight bag and leave the rest of your luggage at the hotel. Embark on a camel safari into the sand dunes of the Thar Desert. Drive by jeep to the starting point, where you’ll meet your guides and set off through the desert for the three-hour ride to the camping ground. The campsite is very basic with a wind break and up against a sand dune.

      Your guides will get a campfire going and cook a traditional Rajasthani dinner while you relax and watch the sunset. Water and soft drinks are available for purchase. Sleep under the open sky on a camp style cot with a pillow, sheets, mattress and blankets provided. There are no structured bathroom facilities so please bring toiletries with you, including hand sanitiser. Toilets are simple long drop style.

      Notes: During the winter months (December and January), temperatures in the desert can drop below zero. Your leader will monitor the weather forecast to decide whether this activity will be able to go ahead. If not, you’ll take a day trip to the Thar Desert instead of the overnight stay. Some travellers also like to bring a sleeping bag and base layers for camping in the colder months.
      Included Activities
      • Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp
        Overnight Camel Safari (1 nt)
        1 dinner
        Day 4 Jaisalmer
        Rise early to enjoy the sunrise over the sand dunes before having a simple breakfast. The ride back to the drop off point from the desert takes around 90 minutes. Return to the city by jeep, where you can take an optional trip to the Folklore Museum. This small museum displays printing blocks, musical instruments, religious artefacts and camel decorations, offering insights into the cultural heritage of Jaisalmer.
        Optional Activities
        • Jaisalmer - Folklore Museum - INR10
          Guesthouse (1 nt)
          1 breakfast
          Day 5 Jaisalmer
          Today is a free day to explore Jaisalmer. This old fortress city has long been a centre for nomadic tribespeople who come to trade in the twisting alleys and markets inside the walls. Perhaps visit the Jain temples, do some shopping or admire the ornate havelis (traditional Indian houses) found throughout the city.
          Guesthouse (1 nt)
          Day 6 Jodhpur
          Take a private bus to the railway station and then a six-hour train ride (approx 300km/3rd Class AC train) across the desert to the blue city of Jodhpur. Enjoy a walk to see the sights, including a visit to one of the oldest markets in India, the Sadar Bazaar. Haggle over Bollywood soundtracks, bangles, leather shoes and colourful saris, or simply soak up the energy of a typical Indian market. Jodhpur is home to the best lassi in India, so make sure you try one.
          Included Activities
          • Jodhpur - City walk
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Day 7 Jodhpur
            You have the option to visit the colossal Mehrangarh Fort today. The fort is one of the largest in India and is still run by the Jodhpur royal family. Explore the palaces, galleries and artillery inside the fortress walls and admire great views over the city. Today’s other option is to take a tour of the nearby Bishnoi villages. Take a glimpse into rural Rajasthani life and learn about the rich cultural traditions of these peaceful, nature-loving tribespeople.
            Optional Activities
            • Jodhpur - Village Day Trip - INR700
            • Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort - INR600
              Hotel (1 nt)
              Day 8 Udaipur
              Take auto rickshaws from our hotel to the bus station this morning board a local bus for the eight-hour/300km journey to Udaipur. Known as the ‘Venice of the East’, this white city is often regarded as the most romantic in India. Set amid the Aravalli Hills, Udaipur curls around a huge lake. On arrival, take an orientation walk to gather your bearings. Explore twisting alleyways filled with shops and bazaars selling things like silver jewellery, shoes, bags, leather goods and miniature paintings.
              Guesthouse (1 nt)
              Day 9 Udaipur
              Enjoy a free day to explore the sights of Udaipur. Perhaps take a short boat ride on the famous Lake Pichola and see the palaces of Jag Mandir and Jag Niwas rise out of the water of their own reflections (season depending). Take a guided tour of the lakeside City Palace complex, the largest palace in Rajasthan. While inside, check out vivid murals and royal antiques, and pop into the impressive Jagdish Temple that’s dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. Alternatively, learn the secrets behind making the perfect Indian thali during a half-day cooking class at the Spice Box school.
              Optional Activities
              • Udaipur - Lake Pichola Boat Ride - INR300
              • Udaipur - City Palace - INR250
              • Udaipur - Cooking Class - INR500
                Guesthouse (1 nt)
                Day 10 Udaipur
                Today’s options include a visit to Sajjan Garh (Monsoon Palace). Perched atop a hill overlooking Lake Pichola and built it in 1884, the palace was named after Maharana Sajjan Singh of the Mewar Dynasty. You might like to join a trip to the nearby rural arts and crafts village of Shilpgram, where mud huts, artistic performances and traditional rural ways of life can be observed. Back in Udaipur, enjoy a concert combining seven traditional Rajasthani folk dances.
                Optional Activities
                • Udaipur - Cultural dance show - INR150
                • Udaipur - Monsoon Palace - INR300
                • Udaipur - Shilpgram craft village - INR25
                  Guesthouse (1 nt)
                  Day 11 Pushkar
                  Transfer to the station and travel by train for around seven hours/300km to the city of Ajmer (AC seated carriage). From here, it’s a 45-minute/30km drive by private vehicle to our hotel in Pushkar. Pushkar is one of the India's holiest towns and a market centre for the surrounding villages. Head out to explore the town on a walking tour, exploring the main bazaar along the way. Take a walk around Pushkar’s lake and past the bustling ghats and temples, observing the devout as they worship at the holy waters.
                  Included Activities
                  • Pushkar - Walking Tour
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Day 12 Pushkar
                    Early morning risers can hike up the hill to the Savitri Temple for sunrise views over the town. If the chai man is there enjoy a steaming cup of tea at the top. Later in the day pay a visit to the colourful Brahma Temple, which is dedicated to the Hindu god, Brahma. If you’re lucky enough to be in town for the Pushkar Camel Fair, experience one of India’s most famous festivals.

                    Notes: The Pushkar Camel Fair is held in November each year. The 28th October 2016 and 4th November 2016 departures will be in Pushkar during the Camel Fair. We will do all we can to ensure that travellers booked with a trip to coincide with the fair will get an opportunity to see the best of the festival, but we cannot take responsibility if the dates of the fair change. Pushkar hotels raise their rates considerably during the festival, so departures across this period may be at a higher price. Although we make bookings months in advance, accommodation in Pushkar tends to overbook at this time. That’s why we ask for a flexible approach from people travelling at this time as accommodation, order of activities and type of transport may need to change.
                    Optional Activities
                    • Pushkar - Brahma Temple - Free
                    • Pushkar - Savitri Temple - Free
                      Hotel (1 nt)
                      Day 13 Jaipur
                      Transfer back to Ajmer and then travel by local bus to the 'Pink City' of Jaipur today (approximately four hours/150 km). On arrival take auto rickshaws to our hotel, then explore Rajasthan’s capital on a walking tour. See the beehive-like structure of the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal), built so that women of the royal family could observe street festivities unseen. Your evening is then free.
                      Included Activities
                      • Jaipur - Walking Tour
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Day 14 Jaipur
                        Today is yours for optional activities.
                        For many travellers, a hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of Jaipur. Ballooning can be done over the city early in the morning between September and June. For additional information, please see the ‘Important Notes’ section of the trip notes. In the afternoon, visit the Amber Fort. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is an excellent example of Rajput architecture. Entering the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) is a particularly memorable experience. Explore Jaipur’s Royal City Palace and get among the crowds of the city’s bazaars to shop for artisan goods and semi-precious stones. A true local experience is to immerse yourself in Bollywood culture with a movie at a classic cinema.
                        Optional Activities
                        • Jaipur - Amber Fort - INR500
                        • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop - INR200
                        • Jaipur - City Palace - INR400
                        • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie - Raj Mandir Cinema - INR400
                        • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD250
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Day 15 Bharatpur
                          In the morning, head to Bharatpur on a public bus (approximately five hours/200km).
                          Bharatpur is home to the famous Keoladeo National Park. Once the domain of royal duck shooters, this World Heritage-listed park is home to over 350 species of bird. Explore the sanctuary in cycle rickshaws that are pedalled by local amateur bird-enthusiasts. The forests and wetlands in the area are a welcome respite from the noise and chaos of Indian cities.
                          Optional Activities
                          • Bharatpur - Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary - INR500
                          • Bharatpur - Cycle Rickshaw Hire (3 hours) - INR750
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            Day 16 Agra
                            Head east by private transport for the two to three hour/60km journey to Agra via Fatehpur Sikri. Rich in Mughal heritage, Agra is a city of gardens, temples and open rooftops. No doubt everyone will be keen to visit the Taj Mahal, a white marble mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz. The building is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and attracts over three million visitors each year. The rest of the day is free to explore.
                            Optional Activities
                            • Agra - Taj Mahal - INR1000
                              Hotel (1 nt)
                              Day 17 Agra
                              Today perhaps return to the Taj Mahal at sunrise, then explore the spectacular Red Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the fort was originally designed to be a military structure. If you have extra time, you may like to continue onto Akbar's Mausoleum to pay your respects to the great emperor.
                              An amazing local social enterprise, Sheroes Hangout, an initiative by the Stop Acid Attacks campaign and staffed by survivors, is located about 10 mins walk from the Taj Mahal and is an excellent place to stop for a cold drink, coffee or light meal while you are here.
                              In the evening, take a 12-hour/700km overnight train to Varanasi (3 AC class).
                              Optional Activities
                              • Agra - Agra Fort - INR550
                              • Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum - INR210
                                Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                                Day 18 Varanasi
                                On arrival in the morning transfer by auto rickshaw to our hotel and check in. Then wander through narrow alleyways on a walking tour of the Old City. At sunset, a great experience is to take a boat cruise down the Ganges, releasing an offering of floating candles and flowers into the river. Every evening at 7 pm, priests perform a ganga aarti (fire ceremony) at the Dashashwamedh Ghat. Each year thousands of Hindu pilgrims come to the holy city of Varanasi to pray along the banks of the sacred Ganges River and to cremate the dead in open-air funeral ceremonies. It may not be the cleanest city, but it’s one of India’s most amazing.
                                Included Activities
                                • Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
                                  Optional Activities
                                  • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony - INR120
                                    Hotel (1 nt)
                                    Day 19 Varanasi
                                    We highly recommend starting very early with a sunrise boat trip along the Ganges, passing pilgrims bathing and praying along the colourful ghats. See dhobi-wallahs (washerwomen and men) drying clothes along the riverbank. Make sure you keep an eye out for the sinking Vishnu temple near the Manikarnika Ghat. The rest of the day is free for you to do as you please. Perhaps take a trip out to Sarnath, where Buddha gave his first speech after finding enlightenment. The Dhamekh Stupa dominates the landscape of this holy site.
                                    Optional Activities
                                    • Varanasi - Sarnath day trip (entry only) - INR250
                                    • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat cruise - INR60
                                      Hotel (1 nt)
                                      Day 20 Varanasi
                                      In the morning, you have some free time to explore more of Varanasi. Perhaps visit the Vishwanath Temple, which is laden with 800 kg of gold plating. Slow down your pace with a visit to the Kriti Gallery, which displays the work of local Indian artists. In the afternoon, board our final 15-hour/800km overnight train to Delhi.
                                      Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                                      Day 21 Delhi
                                      Arrive into Delhi late in the morning from your overnight train and taxi to the hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to relax or explore the city. Your leader will be able to give you some suggestions - our Urban Adventures are highly recommended!
                                      Hotel (1 nt)
                                      Day 22 New Delhi
                                      Your North India adventure comes to an end today. There are no more activities planned and you’re free to depart the accommodation at any time.
                                      Itinerary disclaimer
                                      ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

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

                                      Included activities
                                      Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
                                      Delhi - Jama Masjid
                                      Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
                                      Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp
                                      Jodhpur - City walk
                                      Pushkar - Walking Tour
                                      Jaipur - Walking Tour
                                      Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
                                      Important notes
                                      1. A single supplement is available on this trip. The single supplement is available for all nights with the exception of overnight sleeper trains on nights 2, 17 and 20 as well as night 3 in the Thar desert camp. Please see under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.
                                      2. Mid November see's departures for Pushkar Camel fair in 2016, please see further important notes in trip notes

                                      JAIPUR HOT AIR BALLOON FLIGHTS
                                      Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate mornings from September to June and morning and evening from September to March.
                                      Morning flights depart around sunrise and evening flights late afternoon and last 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost.
                                      You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip.
                                      Payment must be made by cash in either INR/AUD/USD/GBP only and is USD$250pp (subject to change)
                                      Flights are subject to weather conditions and tickets are fully refundable in case of poor weather..

                                      Group size
                                      Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
                                      Your fellow travellers
                                      GROUP TRAVEL
                                      As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

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

                                      A single supplement is available on this trip. On the following nights a single room is not available:
                                      Day 2 Overnight train
                                      Day 5 Camping (with basic facilities)
                                      Day 17 Overnight train
                                      Day 20 Overnight train
                                      Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Guesthouse (5 nights), Hotel (12 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights)
                                      Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. We use a mixture of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms.

                                      OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
                                      The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                                      TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
                                      Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

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

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

                                      SLEEPER TRAINS IN INDIA:
                                      Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (fan-cooled at times), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths, sheets, pillow and blanket are provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There are basic toilet facilities at the end of each carriage, but no showers available on overnight trains. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage or a food/snack cart that is brought through the carriages. There are also plenty of vendors selling tea, coffee, water and snacks during the journey.
                                      Meals introduction
                                      While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

                                      Food is a way of life in India. You can snack for a bargain or dine in the finest Indian restaurants.  

                                      Generally you can eat very cheaply in India. There is a huge choice of restaurants and street stalls serving traditional and local Indian food. In bigger restaurants in areas frequented by more tourists there is a choice between Indian, Chinese and Western style food.

                                      India caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg and pure veg section of the menu. If in doubt please check with your tour leader.

                                      Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly 

                                      Some tips that will help you stay well when eating in India include.

                                      - Stick to restaurants and street stalls busy with locals - local families eating there are a good bet.
                                      - Wash your hands before eating (most restaurants will have a hand basin or bathroom)  or use a sanitising hand gel
                                      - give yourself a few days to get used to local food, especially spicy food.
                                      - if in doubt,  stick to the veg meal
                                      - avoid salads and peel fruit to avoid eating skin that may be washed in local water
                                      - steer clear of ice unless in higher end restaurants
                                      - fresh lime and soda is an excellent (and cheap) drink for hot days
                                      - drink more chai

                                      Please note that service in restaurants can be quite slow so patience is a must.
                                      1 breakfast, 1 dinner
                                      Auto rickshaw, Bus, Camel, Car, Cycle rickshaw, Local bus, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Taxi, Train

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                      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.

                                      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:

                                      Your Group Leader: You may 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.

                                      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 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.

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

                                      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.

                                      Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier.

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

                                      Budget for meals not included: 180.00

                                      EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                                      We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.
                                      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.
                                      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:


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

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

                                      For further information and advice, visit:

                                      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.

                                      TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
                                      Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!

                                      SEAT BELTS:
                                      Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                                      PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                                      While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                      CAMEL SAFARI:
                                      Please note that helmets and professional riding equipment can't be provided on the camel safari.

                                      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.
                                      Joining point
                                      Hotel Perfect
                                      16A/2 WEA Near Karol Bagh Metro Station
                                      Karol Bagh
                                      New Delhi
                                      Phone: +91 1142502294
                                      Joining point description
                                      Located in the intriguing Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minutes ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. The hotel features a restaurant and room service, and rooms are equipped with AC, TV & phone. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                                      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.

                                      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 Perfect
                                      16A/2 WEA Near Karol Bagh Metro Station
                                      Karol Bagh
                                      New Delhi
                                      Phone: +91 1142502294
                                      Finish point description
                                      Located in the intriguing Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minutes ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. The hotel features a restaurant and room service, and rooms are equipped with AC, TV & phone. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                                      Finishing point instructions
                                      A pre-booked departure transfer to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

                                      Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic.

                                      A taxi to the airport takes about 1 hour and should cost between 450 -500INR. Hotel reception or your leader can help you arrange a taxi.

                                      Before check in you must have your check in luggage x-rayed and sealed. Also ensure at check in that your hand luggage is tagged. (This is a mandatory in order to clear security.)

                                      Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
                                      Emergency contact
                                      For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at

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

                                      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.
                                      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.


                                      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.


                                      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 - 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 . 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:


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

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

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

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

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

                                      PASSPORT COPY:
                                      Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.

                                      WARM CLOTHING:
                                      It comes as a surprise to many travellers that India can be cold (ie. below zero!) during winter (particularly Dec/Jan), even in some cities and even when not at high altitudes. Make sure you are prepared for the weather during these months by bringing adequately warm clothes with you, including thermal underclothes and an appropriate jacket. Many hotels in India do not have central heating, so a warmer set of clothes to sleep in has also been recommended by our past travellers.
                                      Climate and seasonal information
                                      PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR:
                                      The Pushkar Camel Fair is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant festivals in India, and can be a true highlight, but please note the fair is based on the lunar calendar, so the fair dates can vary and it can be hard to confirm the exact festival date although it usually falls in November each year.

                                      The 28th October 2016 and 4th November 2016 departures are due to be in Pushkar during the Camel Fair. We will do all we can to ensure that travellers booked with a trip to coincide with the fair will get an opportunity to see the best of the festival, but we cannot take responsibility if the dates of the fair change. Pushkar hotels raise their rates considerably during the festival, so departures across this period may be at a higher price. Although we make bookings months in advance, accommodation in Pushkar tends to overbook at this time. That’s why we ask for a flexible approach from people travelling at this time as accommodation, order of activities and type of transport may need to change.

                                      FESTIVALS IN INDIA
                                      Please note travelling during major festivals such as Holi and Diwali can, at times, cause disruption the the published itinerary. Please see the 'Safety' section for more details.

                                      The following departures will be in India during these festivals in 2016:
                                      HHRR160304 - Holi
                                      HHRR160311 - Holi
                                      HHRR160318 - Holi
                                      HHRR160323 - Holi
                                      HHRR161014 - Diwali
                                      HHRR161021 - Diwali
                                      HHRR161026 - Diwali
                                      HHRR161028 - Diwal

                                      Travel in rural areas during the monsoon season can be hazardous. Monsoon rains cause flooding and landslides that can cut off some towns and villages for days. It is not unusual for trains to be delayed or cancelled resulting in itinerary changes or for activities in towns near to rivers and lakes (ie Varanasi) to need to be changed during this time of year.

                                      DESERT CAMPING:
                                      Please note that during winter months (Dec/Jan) temperatures in the desert can drop below zero. Your leader will monitor the weather forecast to decide whether this activity will be able to go ahead. Should weather conditions prohibit us from camping, we will take a day trip to the Thar Desert for our camel ride instead of the overnight stay. Some travellers have also preferred to being sleeping bags for camping in winter months.

                                      HOT WATER:
                                      Provision of hot water for showers in some destinations visited on this itinerary can be sporadic at best. While some hotels may promise hot water in the hope that they can deliver it, whether it is actually available is often beyond their (and our!) control. If a daily hot shower (especially in winter) is essential for your enjoyment of travel then you will struggle on this Basix tour and we suggest that you look at our Comfort style tours in India.
                                      Internet cafes are widespread in India and connections are usually reasonably fast, except in more remote areas. Wifi access is widely available; it's usually free in public areas of hotels but some properties will charge for in room use.

                                      Public phones are rare with the exception of airports. Private STD/ISD/PCO call booths do the same job, offering inexpensive local, interstate and international calls at lower prices than calls made from hotel rooms.

                                      Calling internationally from India: dial 00 (the international access code), then the country code of the country you’re calling, then the area code (without the initial zero) and the local number.

                                      Posting airmail letters to anywhere overseas costs ₹25/15.
                                      International airmail postcards cost around ₹12.
                                      For postcards, stick on the stamps before writing on them, as post offices can give you as many as four stamps per card.

                                      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.

                                      Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.

                                      Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.

                                      Travel Vaccinations: While the food and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid will apply to most of our travellers, other travel vaccines such as hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera may apply to select travellers, especially long-term travel. Travel health experts can advise on what is required and also what is not required!

                                      It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. To find out which, if any, vaccinations are mandatory or recommended for your destination contact your local doctor, immunisation centre or medical centre for up-to-date information. If you need to arrange vaccinations or a supply of preventative medicine (e.g. malaria tablets), you should contact your doctor at least two months before you depart. Some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer the full course.

                                      For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
                             Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

                                      Carry Your Certificate
                                      You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.

                                      Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in the tropical areas. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. We prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.
                                      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.

                                      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.


                                      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.

                                      ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
                                      While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:


                                      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:


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

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

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

                                      For more information, or to make a donation please visit:

                                      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.