Rajasthan Adventure Trip Notes

Rajasthan Adventure

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

Last Modified: 29 Sep 2016
Rajasthan Adventure
Trip code: HHSR
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Travel to India and discover the country at its most colourful amid the deserts, bazaars and forts of Rajasthan. This is a land where massive hilltop fortresses loom over cities and where markets are awhirl with locals dressed in the brightest shades of scarlet, gold and rose. Take time out to experience the local traditions of remote villages. From the whirlwind of heady Delhi, to a night under the stars on a desert camel safari, to the beauty of sunrise at the Taj Mahal - this journey through Rajasthan promises to be a true adventure.
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 train journeys and an overnight train, which can be tiresome. Entertaining chaiwalas (tea vendors), food vendors and conversations with the locals make this a rewarding experience. For your own security, take a lock for your hand luggage on the sleeper train journey.
- The local train between Bikaner and Jaisalmer is a quintessential Indian adventure (don’t be surprised to share a samosa with a local), but conditions are basic with no air conditioning or reserved seats. The overnight train from Jodhpur to Delhi is long, but should allow you to catch up on some sleep at the end of your trip.
- If you decide to spend the night camping in the desert, be aware that there are no structured toilet or shower facilities. Please bring along water, face wipes, hand sanitizer or other essentials you feel you may need.
- It’s important to prepare for hot sticky temperatures during the day and cooler climates in the evening, particularly in the desert. Layers are the best way to tackle this disparity in weather.
- We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
Why we love it
- The Taj Mahal is one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, with its poetic history and beauty having the power to surprise even the most jaded travellers
- The world famous Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary is home to hundreds of bird species. Share in the delight and knowledge of local amateur bird watchers, you’re pedalled around the park in a cycle rickshaw
- Discover the rich history and architecture of the Amber Fort, with the expertise of a local guide. The kaleidoscopic magic of the Hall of Mirrors is unforgettable
- The Rat Temple in Bikaner is a place even the squeamish will appreciate. If brave, pay homage to the goddess of the temple but beware that rodents will probably run across your feet
- India is famous for its great sleeper trains and you’ll be tucked up nicely in your own padded bunk
- The Thar Desert is a vast space, but the locals treat it as their own back garden. Have the chance to take a guided camel ride into the sunset and sleep under the stars
- A hot air balloon experience above Jaipur is extraordinary. Float high over the spectacular palaces and forts with the ultimate bird’s eye view

Day 1 New Delhi
Namaste. Welcome to Delhi. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. When you arrive for the welcome meeting, please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you have time, perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Humayun's Tomb, the 12th-century Qutub Minar or the Red Fort. India's capital is an exciting city with abundant historical sites, museums and bazaars.

Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time for the meeting, 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. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 New Delhi
    In the morning, set off on the city’s modern metro system to explore the sights and sounds of Old Delhi 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 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.
    Included Activities
    • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
    • Delhi - Jama Masjid
    • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 3 Agra
      Board one of India's faster air-conditioned trains to Agra (approximately three hours). Rich in Mughal heritage, Agra is a city of gardens, temples and open rooftops. Visit the Taj Mahal, a white marble mausoleum built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz. Zip around Agra in a motorised rickshaw and explore the spectacular Red Fort, whose sandstone walls were built to enclose the imperial city of the Mughal rulers in the 16th century. If you like, continue on to Akbar's Mausoleum to pay your respects to the great emperor.
      Included Activities
      • Cycle rickshaw tour
      • Agra - Taj Mahal
      • Agra - Agra Fort
        Optional Activities
        • Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum - INR210
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Day 4 Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary
          Travel by private vehicle for two hours to Fatehpur Sikri, which is a fortified city built by Emperor Akbar in 1569. A highlight of the settlement is Jama Masjid, a striking mosque featuring elements of both Persian and Hindu design. Afterwards, drive to Bharatpur by private vehicle to visit to Keoladeo National Park (approximately two hours). 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 pedalled by local amateur bird-spotters.
          Included Activities
          • Bharatpur - Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary
          • Fatehpur Sikri
            Hotel (1 nt)
            Day 5 Jaipur
            Take a local bus to Jaipur. The journey can take between five and six hours, and the reclining seating is comfortable enough to relax and enjoy the passing scenery. Once you arrive, be treated to an orientation tour of Jaipur, known as the ‘Pink City’. A highlight of the walk is seeing the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal). Get among the crowds of the city’s bazaars to shop for artisan goods and semi-precious stones. In the evening, perhaps sit back and enjoy the extravagance of a Bollywood blockbuster at the iconic Raj Mandir Cinema.
            Included Activities
            • Jaipur - Walking Tour
            • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop
              Optional Activities
              • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie - Raj Mandir Cinema - INR400
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 6 Jaipur
                For many travellers, a hot air balloon experience is one of the highlights of Jaipur. Ballooning can be done over the city on the morning of day six between September and June. For additional information, please see the important notes section of the Essential Trip Information. Visit Jaipur's Royal City Palace and/or one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. Later this afternoon, we’ll visit the Amber Fort. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture. Entering the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) is also a particularly memorable experience.
                Included Activities
                • Jaipur - Amber Fort
                  Optional Activities
                  • Jaipur - City Palace - INR400
                  • Jaipur - Observatory - INR200
                  • Jaipur - Balloon Safari - USD250
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Day 7 Mandawa
                    In the morning, head to Fatehpur by local bus (approximately 3.5 hours). We then travel further by private vehicle to Mandawa (2 hours) A remote town in the centre of the Shekhawati region, this was once a trading outpost on the ancient caravan routes from China and the Middle East. Enjoy a guided tour of Mandawa's ornate havelis (private residences), with some of them crumbling at the foundations and others well preserved. There’s plenty of time to explore this thriving market town and its surrounds before spending the night in a beautifully restored haveli.
                    Included Activities
                    • Mandawa - Haveli tour
                      Mandawa Haveli or similar (1 nt)
                      Day 8 Bikaner
                      Take the four-hour journey to Bikaner via a combination of private jeeps and buses. Once an important staging post on the great caravan routes, the city still contains many bazaars, palaces and a historic fort within its impressive walls. Visit Junagarh Fort, which was built by Raja Rai Singh, the sixth ruler of Bikaner (AD1571 to 1612). In the evening, travel to a nearby farmhouse and enjoy an evening of traditional Rajasthani food, music and dance.
                      Included Activities
                      • Bikaner - Junagarh Fort
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        1 dinner
                        Day 9 Bikaner
                        After an early morning walking tour of Bikaner, spend free time exploring bazaars before visiting the city’s famous ‘Rat Temple’. Travel out to the 600-year-old rat kingdom of Karni Mata Temple, which is believed to be home to the reincarnated followers of the Hindu goddess, Durga. Locals believe that it's particularly favourable if one of these rats takes a shine to you and scurries over your bare feet. For the squeamish, just stand still or view from afar.
                        Included Activities
                        • Bikaner - Karni Mata Rat Temple
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Day 10 Jaisalmer
                          Catch an early morning local train from Bikaner to Jaisalmer, which may take up to six hours. We travel in general class, where seating is unallocated and carriages are fan-cooled only. Stock up on plenty of food and water beforehand, as temperatures can get fairly warm on this long trip. The standard of the train is pretty basic, but it can be a fantastic way of meeting the locals and like-minded travellers. Once there perhaps explore the markets, ornately carved houses and museum before the sun goes down.
                          Included Activities
                          • Jaisalmer - City Walk
                            Heritage Property (1 nt)
                            1 dinner
                            Day 11 Jaisalmer Camel Safari
                            To get a taste of nomadic life, take a three-hour camel ride into the desert to watch the sunset behind sand dunes.

                            While here we visit a Hindu Temple, a Jain temple, step wells, a small rural market and the sand dunes. In the evening local musicians will join us at the campsite for a performance. Dinner & breakfast are included during our stay here.

                            Notes: During the winter, this experience may be changed due to weather conditions; however, we’ll still ride camels into the desert, but will ride back to Jaisalmer to sleep.
                            Included Activities
                            • Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp
                              Desert Camping or similar (1 nt)
                              1 breakfast
                              Day 12 Jaisalmer
                              Head back into Jaisalmer by camel in the morning and enjoy a free day. The city is one of the oldest Rajasthan capitals and dates as far back as AD1156, so it’s teeming with history. Perhaps explore the Jain Temple, the Jaisalmer havelis or Folklore Museum. With imposing parapets and towers at every turn, the Old Town is full of intricate stonewalls that lead to the havelis. These private mansions once homed Jaisalmer’s nobility and resemble small palaces. Tonight we sleep in a haveli-converted hotel; a comfortable base after a long day.
                              Optional Activities
                              • Jaisalmer - Folklore Museum - INR10
                              • Jaisalmer Haveli Entrance - INR150
                              • Jain Temple-Jaisalmer - INR30
                                Heritage Property (1 nt)
                                Day 13 Jodhpur
                                In the morning, travel to Jodhpur byrail (approximately 6 hours). The city is known for its antique shops and the best lassi in India. Enjoy an orientation walking tour around the ‘Old City’ and visit Sadar Bazaar, one of the oldest markets in India. It’s built around a clock tower amid spice and vegetable markets, juice sellers and sari materials. This is a great place to test your haggling skills. The evening is then free to do as you wish.
                                Included Activities
                                • Jodhpur - City walk
                                  Heritage Property (1 nt)
                                  Day 14 Jodhpur
                                  This morning explore the colossal Mehrangarh Fort and take in the views from its ramparts, which dominate the city's skyline. Afterwards, possibly visit the nearby Bishnoi villages where you’ll find a welcoming, nature-loving community. Perhaps take a village safari tour, where you’ll come across wildlife and learn why the Bishnoi are so protective of their land. This evening, board an overnight train to Delhi for a comfortable trip of around 11 hours.

                                  Notes: Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and are a great way to travel long distances so maximum time can be spent in each place. Beds are padded berths and sheets, pillow and a blanket are provided, but you may prefer to bring your own sleeping sheet. Please be aware that you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort
                                    Optional Activities
                                    • Jodhpur - Village Day Trip - INR700
                                    • Jaswanthada - Jodhpur Entrance - INR30
                                      Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                                      Day 15 Delhi
                                      Arrive at the Delhi train station early in the morning. There are no activities planned for today and you’re free to depart once we’ve arrived. Train delays can occur so please don’t be surprised if we’re late. Due to potential delays, we recommend booking any international flights for after 2 pm today.
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure - INR2500
                                      • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR3500
                                        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

                                        Throughout the trip there are more adventurous optional activities that require some consideration regarding your physical abilities to complete the activity.
                                        Included activities
                                        Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
                                        Delhi - Jama Masjid
                                        Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
                                        Cycle rickshaw tour
                                        Agra - Taj Mahal
                                        Agra - Agra Fort
                                        Bharatpur - Keoladeo Bird Sanctuary
                                        Fatehpur Sikri
                                        Jaipur - Walking Tour
                                        Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop
                                        Jaipur - Amber Fort
                                        Mandawa - Haveli tour
                                        Bikaner - Junagarh Fort
                                        Bikaner - Karni Mata Rat Temple
                                        Jaisalmer - City Walk
                                        Jaisalmer - Camel safari & overnight desert camp
                                        Jodhpur - City walk
                                        Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort
                                        Important notes
                                        1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip. The single supplement is available for all nights on trip with the exception of night 11 Desert Camel Safari and night 14 overnight train.
                                        2. This trip finishes in Delhi in the morning of Day 15. No accommodation is included on this day.

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

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

                                        A single supplement is available on this trip. On the following nights a single room is not available:
                                        - Day 10 Camel Safari
                                        - Day 14 Overnight Train to Delhi
                                        Camping (with basic facilities) (1nt), Heritage Property (4nt), Hotel (8nt), Overnight sleeper train (1nt)
                                        OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
                                        The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

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

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

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

                                        Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. We use a mixture of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms.

                                        SLEEPER TRAINS IN INDIA:
                                        Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (fan-cooled at times), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths, sheets, pillow and blanket are provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There are basic toilet facilities at the end of each carriage, but no showers available on overnight trains. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage or a food/snack cart that is brought through the carriages. There are also plenty of vendors selling tea, coffee, water and snacks during the journey.
                                        Meals introduction
                                        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, 2 dinners
                                        Bus, Camel, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, 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.

                                        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.

                                        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.
                                        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.

                                        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.

                                        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.
                                        Joining point
                                        Hotel Pooja Palace
                                        15A/11 WEA Puja Park
                                        Karol Bagh
                                        New Delhi
                                        Phone: +91 1125745275
                                        Joining point description
                                        Located in the Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. Rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone. There is a restaurant and 24 hour room service. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                                        Joining point instructions
                                        Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                        Check in time at hotel is 12 midday.
                                        Finish point
                                        Hotel Pooja Palace
                                        15A/11 WEA Puja Park
                                        Karol Bagh
                                        New Delhi
                                        Phone: +91 1125745275
                                        Finish point description
                                        Located in the Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. Rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone. There is a restaurant and 24 hour room service. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
                                        Finishing point instructions
                                        A pre-booked departure transfer to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 15 days prior to your trip start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                        Intrepid Emergency contacts: +91 9599 914 852 ; +91 9999 005 019
                                        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 - 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:


                                        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
                                        December to March
                                        Pleasant weather – warm days, cool nights.
                                        December and January bring chilly nights in the north.
                                        Temperatures climb steadily from February.

                                        April to June
                                        April is hot; May and June are really hot and dry.
                                        From June, the monsoon sweeps from south to north, bring high temperatures and humidity
                                        Cooler in the hill and mountains across the country

                                        July to November
                                        Monsoon begins until November.
                                        The southeast coast and southern Kerala see heavy rain from October to early December.
                                        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.
                                        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.

                                        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: www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/?projectcountry=india

                                        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.