Last Modified: 01 Oct 2014
Real Food Adventure - India
Trip code: HHZM
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Spend two fabulous weeks discovering the sights, sounds and flavours of India. From Delhi to Goa and via the ethereal beauty of Rajasthan, experience the best street food in Delhi, the beautiful sight of the Taj Mahal in Agra, the delightful taste of Rajasthan’s traditional cuisine in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur, the colours of India’s markets and bazaars and how to cook up delicious regional Indian dishes in a number of inspiring cooking classes. Relax on Goa’s beaches, see Jaipur’s breathtaking Palace of the Wind, explore the vibrant food scene of Mumbai and spend time in rural Rajasthan living it up in a 17th-century fort. This unforgettable journey into the cultural and gastronomic heart of India will satisfy every appetite.
Table of Contents
- Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Days 1-2 Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
After the welcome meeting we head to dinner at a family-run establishment which can trace it's bloodlines back to the royal court of the Mughal Kings.
This morning we venture out to Old Delhi, the historic city also known as Shahjanabad. This is where some of Delhi's best-known local food joints are found.
Wander through narrow alleyways and enjoy an authentic Delhi street food-style breakfast. Keep your eye out for the local chaiwala (tea maker), who is well known not just for his delicious milky tea but also for the technique with which he makes the tea. Tea juggling will be new to most travellers – but not this man, who has been tea juggling for decades.
Next, jump on the city's modern metro system and head to Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings.
While Hinduism is the dominant religion in Delhi, there is a significant Sikh population. Get an insight into the food traditions of Delhi’s Sikh residents over lunch at a local Sikh temple.
We then take a tour of Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Visit the large spice warehouses in the back alleys of Khari Baoli, Asia's largest wholesale spice market. Here you will have a unique opportunity to view the whole process: from the loading, carrying and unloading of these huge sacks of produce, to watching the busy shop keepers dealing with customers purchasing large quantities of these items. We’ll also meet a spice seller to hear him talk about how he mixes the spices for retailing.
Visit the Gali Paranthe Wali (lane of parathas), which has been in operation at Chadni Chowk since the 1870s. Parathas are one of the most popular unleavened flat breads in Punjabi North Indian cuisine. You’ll have the opportunity to taste a number of variations – the parathas come stuffed with fillings including potatoes, cauliflower, radish and cottage cheese.
For those who are still hungry for more, take a late afternoon metro to Haus Khaz Village in New Delhi. This is a taste of New Delhi’s funkier side. HKV is home to many of the capital’s cutting edge fashion designers, cafés and bars, you may also want to stay and have dinner at one of the area’s hip restaurants.
Alternatively, why not visit a local family for a home-cooked meal. Our host will give a hands-on lesson and we will then sit down to enjoy all that has been prepared.
- Delhi - Welcome dinner
- Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
- Delhi - Street Food Breakfast
- Delhi - Jama Masjid
- Delhi - Lunch at a Sikh Temple
- Delhi - Metro to Haus Kauz Village - INR16
- Delhi - Dinner with local family - INR3000
Hotel Sunstar Grand or similar (2 nts)
Day 3 Agra
Take one of India's faster air-conditioned trains to the Mughal city of Agra (approx. 3 hours)
Famed for the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, Agra is a city with a fascinating history and is rich in Mughal heritage, lush gardens and exquisite buildings and temples.
Visit the Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, this 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (as it was described by writer Rabindranath Tagore) lives up to all expectations.
Visit Agra Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time and eventually became his prison after he lost power in 1658.
As the former capital of the Mughal empire, Agra still celebrates the culinary traditions and cooking techniques of Mughlai royal cuisine, with its Turkic and Persian influences. Late in the afternoon, we will head to the lawn of a nearby restaurant where the chef will give us a demonstration of some of the most prized royal dishes, followed by our own royal feast.
- Agra - Agra Fort
- Agra - Taj Mahal
- Agra - Cooking Demonstration and Dinner
Siris 18 Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 4-5 Jaipur
If there is time and you wish to visit the Taj Mahal again for sunrise this morning, please let your leader know the day before so this can be organised for you.
Leave Agra in our private vehicle heading to Jaipur, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri along the way (approx. 7 hrs).
The magnificent deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, but was abandoned after 15 years due to the scarcity of water. A highlight of the settlement is Jama Masjid, a striking mosque featuring elements of both Persian and Hindu design. The main entrance of the mosque is the impressive 54-metre high Buland Darwaza, the Gate of Victory, constructed to commemorate Akbar's military victory in Gujarat.
For lunch we will visit a family run restaurant a short walk from Fatehphur. Serving traditional vegetarian Thali you get a chance to not only taste the local fair and but also have a chat to the owner and his family.
After lunch we continue on our journey to Jaipur.
The cuisine of Rajasthan is intrinsically linked with its desert landscape. Due to the scarcity of water, milk, buttermilk and curd are often used to add moisture and leafy greens are replaced with a focus on lentils, indigenous beans and other cereals. Dominant spices include turmeric, fenugreek, mustard seeds and coriander.
A friendly, busy town crammed with palaces and bazaars full of jewellery, textiles and folk-based arts, Jaipur is a firm favourite with travellers.
Make a photos stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'.
Discover the extravagance of a Bollywood blockbuster, with all the Hollywood-style elements of action, romance, drama and music (sometimes all rolled into one), at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.
Don’t forget to check out the Indian take on movie snacks!
This evening is free for your own real food adventure. For something different, and a little more high end, you may wish to dine at one of Jaipur's finest hotels, the Rambagh Palace. Set in beautiful surrounds you have the choice of dining indoors or under a star-lit sky.
Travel out to the old capital of Amber and explore the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. Set in stunning surroundings on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture. One of its most spectacular buildings is the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors). With its walls completely covered with tiny mirrors, the hall becomes a dazzling fantasy with the light of a single match.
For lunch we try a local favourite, Kachori. Kachori's are deep fried bread stuffed with vegetables and lentils and are one of the most sought after snacks in north India. If sweets are your thing, try the Mawa Kachori, a dried fruit and mawa (milk solids) stuffed kachori, deep fried and coated in sugar syrup.
In the late afternoon we will have a truly unique opportunity to learn the secrets of Rajasthani cuisine in a cooking class with an Indian celebrity chef, who will impart his wisdom on famous and traditional Rajasthani dishes in this special hands-on class at his personal residence. We will then sit down to enjoy the feast we have prepared for dinner.
- Fatehpur Sikri
- Jaipur - Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema
- Jaipur - Amber Fort
- Jaipur - traditional Kachori lunch
- Jaipur - Cooking Demonstration & Dinner
- Agra - Additional entries to Taj Mahal - INR750
Wall Street Hotel or similar (2 nts)
Day 6 Jodhpur
Travel to Jodhpur (approx. 5-6 hours)
Along the way, we will pass through agricultural lands, getting an insight on the lives of the agrarian society of India.
India's enigmatic 'Blue City', Jodhpur, has a captivating Old Town with palaces, heritage buildings, colourful streets and the Mehrangarh Fort shining like a jewel high above the city.
Explore the colossal Mehrangarh Fort and take in the great views from its ramparts, which dominate the city's skyline.
Enjoy a guided tour of Sardar Market, which includes a tasting of the world-famous Makhaniya Lassi, a yoghurt drink spiced with cardamom and butter. This is often referred to as the best lassi in India.
- Jodhpur - Meherangarh Fort
- Jodhpur - Sardar Market visit
Heritage Stay (1 nt)
Day 7 Heritage Stay
We head towards our heritage stay by private vehicle (approx 2 hours).
Over the next 24 hours we are immersed in rural village life in the Aravalli Mountains. Meet local craftsmen and producers and discover what life is like for the people of Rajhasthan outside of the cities. Today we will also learn the Indian technique of eating with our hands – an art that takes some practice to master!
After our day out at the village, we will return to our stunning heritage stay, where the chef will demonstrate the techniques behind some of the most well-known desert dishes including Rajasthani desert beans (ker sangria), gatta curry, lamb curry called lal maas and bajre ki roti (millet flour flatbread). Dinner will be served in the Dining Hall where ceremonies of the royal family once took place.
- Heritage Stay - Rajasthani Desert Cooking Demonstration
Heritage Property (1 nt)
Days 8-9 Udaipur
Today we continue to Udaipur (approx. 3.5 hours).
On the way, we stop at the village of Ranakpur, home to one of the country’s most impressive Jain temples. Jainism is a minority religion in India and is considered among the most rigorous spiritually motivated diets on the Indian subcontinent. Jain cuisine is strictly vegetarian, aligning with the Jain principal of non-violence, and even excludes the eating of root vegetables such as carrots, onion and garlic as it is believed that uprooting the plant kills it and the micro-organisms around the roots. Food must be prepared daily, as keeping cooked food overnight is forbidden.
Experience authentic Jain cuisine when we visit the common dining area at the temple, where Jain food is served to all the visitors.
On arrival in Udaipur, take a walk around town to help gather your bearings. Explore Udaipur's twisting alleys filled with silver, shoes, bags, leather goods and miniature paintings.
Tonight you have a free evening for dinner. With a strong influence of Jainism and Vaishnaism, the preferred food in Udaipur is vegetarian. Udaipur has numerous rooftop restaurants so climb some stairs, settle in and watch the sun set over a lake while dining on scrumptious local cuisine.
Start at the local market to collect ingredients for today’s cooking class, where we learn how to prepare a traditional north Indian thali meal. A thali comprises of numerous dishes, which will vary regionally depending on where the thali is prepared. As we are in Udaipur, we will be making a vegetarian thali. Typical dishes include rice, dahl, vegetables, roti, papad (deep-fried flat bread), curd (yoghurt), small amounts of chutney or pickle, and a sweet dish to top it off. After all our cooking, we enjoy our handmade thali for lunch.
If time, visit City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India, and check out the unbelievable treasures within - from vivid murals to antiques and royal utensils.
- Udaipur - Jain Temple Visit and Lunch
- Udaipur - Thali cooking class and lunch
- Udaipur - City Palace guided tour
Hotel Udai Garh or similar (2 nts)
Days 10-11 Mumbai
Take a flight to Mumbai (approx 1.5 hrs).
Known as Bombay until its recent name change, Mumbai is India's commercial capital. Some would say that Mumbai is also the eating capital of India. This is the heart of Mangalorean cuisine, however you will find huge culinary diversity celebrating regional cuisines from across the country.
In the early evening we wander down Marine Drive to Chowpatty Beach and enjoy the sunset and snack on bhel puri, followed by a street-food crawl.
For anyone who still has room, we will also stop past a popular kebab and roll stand serving roomali rotis. This bustling stand located behind the Taj Hotel, is a favourite among locals and open until the wee hours of the morning.
After breakfast the following day, we stop off at the remarkable Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat, an open air laundry (dhobi is the name given to the washers and ghat the name of a series of steps leading down to a river). At 140 years of age it is Mumbai's oldest laundry and with over a 1,000 troughs it is also the worlds largest open air, human-powered laundry. Another Mumbai landmark is the World Heritage Site and historic railway station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (previously known as Victoria Terminus and now commonly abbreviated to CST). The building is a striking combination of gothic and traditional Mughal architecture. Designed and constructed in the 19th century, it took over 10 years to complete and is now ranked as India's busiest railway station.
For lunch, we seek out a restaurant known for serving Parsi cuisine. The Parsis are descendants of Zoroastrians who are believed to have immigrated to India from Persia in the 10th century. Today the Parsi community is largely concentrated in Mumbai.
Drop past Mumbai’s bustling Crawford Markets. South Indian food is very different to that of the north. While wheat is a northern mainstay ingredient, seen in the plethora of breads which accompany the meal, rice is paramount in the south. As we explore the markets we'll find out about the various varieties of rice available and their preferred uses.
For those in need of refreshment, we'll also drop into the Tea Centre at Churchgate – a great place to try out some of India's premium teas.
The rest of the afternoon is free for shopping, sightseeing and soaking up the atmosphere of this incredible metropolis.
Catch an overnight train to Goa (approx 13 hrs). Our sleeper train is clean and air-conditioned, a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage where food/snacks/meals are available.
Please note that for the 25 December 2014 departure, the overnight train from Mumbai to Goa will be replaced with a nights accommodation in Mumbai followed by a flight to Goa on day 12.
- Mumbai - Chowpatti Beach Street Food Crawl
- Mumbai - Late night snack at Bademiya
Hotel Krishna Palace or similar (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 12-14 Goa
Famous for the sandy beaches that line its coast, Goa is a fascinating and distinctive region in India's southwest. Brimming with Portuguese influences and bursting with fresh food, this region has earned its idyllic badge.
Following our arrival, we visit a local fish and vegetable market and shop for the best catch. Here you will also be introduced to spices that are typical of this region. The most important of Goan spices, the chilli, was introduced to Goa by the Portuguese.
Goa is renowned for its seafood and variations of the fish curry, laced with coconut and served with rice, has become a regional classic. We return to our hotel for a demonstration of a Goan fish curry, as well as other typical southern-style dishes.
The afternoon and evening are free to relax and explore.
Join your leader on a tour of Old Goa, and see the Portuguese influence in the churches and basilica lining the streets.
Visit a local spice farm. Goa's dense forested areas and favourable climatic conditions make it a perfect location to grow the spices liberally used in its cuisine. All the spice farms use organic methods of cultivation. Go on a guided tour of a plantation and enjoy a mouth-watering Goan buffet lunch. Lunch incudes a tasting of feni, a spirit made from either coconut or the juice of the cashew apple, which is made in the state of Goa.
The afternoon is free for final shopping, sightseeing and relaxing.
Tonight, we choose a restaurant where we will share our final Indian meal together to celebrate the end of this Real Food Adventure.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
- Goa - Cooking class with dinner
- Goa - Spice Farm visit and lunch
- Goa - Tour of Old Goa
Aldeia Santa Rita Hotel or Similar (2 nts)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
- HHZM Single Supplement (HHZM)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
- Unforgettable India (HHSU)
- Gujarat Adventure (HHSA)
- Gujarat Adventure (HHSA)
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. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
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.
Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A number of activities on this itinerary may have an alcohol component. Relevant local laws governing the legal age for consumption of alcohol apply to this trip. If you are below the local drinking legal age, you will not be able to participate in any trip activities involving alcohol. No refund will be offered for those 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.
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.
Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.
While traveller's cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels/establishments.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest INR20. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest INR100 per day for local guides.
Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your leader. We suggest INR50 per day for porters.
Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of INR100-INR150 per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a half day city tour we suggest INR50 per day. For a full day city tour we suggest INR100 per day.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
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.
Please note that for the 25 December 2014 departure, the overnight train from Mumbai to Goa will be replaced with a nights accommodation in Mumbai followed by a flight to Goa on day 12.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
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 11 Overnight Train
Hotel Sunstar Grand or similar (2 nts), Wall Street Hotel or similar (2 nts), Hotel Udai Garh or similar (2 nts), Aldeia Santa Rita Hotel or Similar (2 nts), Siris 18 Hotel or similar (1 nt), Heritage Stay (1 nt), Heritage Property (1 nt), Hotel Krishna Palace or similar (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
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.
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.
While travelling with us you'll experience a vast array of dishes, beverages, dining experiences, ingredients and produce.
To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, the trip price does not include all meals. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility – whether you wish to partake in budget, mid-range or high-end dining options. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. Generally, our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company, however there's no obligation to do this.
For travellers wanting to eat at a particular high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurant, there will be specified free nights in certain locations where you can make your own restaurant reservations. It is recommended you make reservations for high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurants well in advance of your departure, as there can be long lead times for booking in some instances.
12 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. These instances will be indicated in the ‘trip notes’ itinerary. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.
For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
Car, Metro, Shuttle Bus, Bus, Private vehicle, Train, Cycle rickshaw, Plane
LONG TRAVEL DAYS
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
Sleeper trains in India are typically four to six berth compartments (dependant on seasonality and the journey). Privacy is mainly kept using curtains, and most compartments are air-conditioned
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. You can expect your Intrepid Food Adventures group leader to be passionate about the local food scene and keen to share their insider knowledge on the best authentic local food and drink experiences throughout your trip.
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.
Hotel Metro View
Phone: 011 48811111
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
317/C, Baman Vaddo, Candolim Bardez - 403515
Phone: +91 9899097955
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Yes - in advance
The Indian Government has advised that from December 2014, all visa applicants will need to be physically present at a visa application centre, by appointment, to submit their applications and biometric data, including fingerprints and facial imagery). ALL Australian travellers to India will need to personally attend their nearest consulate to complete their visa formalities.
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance OR on arrival*
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
There is NO visa on arrival in India for most nationalities. Indian visas can NOT be obtained in Nepal. Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.
*Visa on arrival is available for select nationalities, including New Zealanders provided that specific criteria can be met. See link below for more information.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes).
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. 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. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for 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.
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.
Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FESTIVALS - HOLI & DIWALI:
Travelling in India and Nepal during the Holi festival, a lunar festival next held in March 6 2015, (in 2016 it is held on 23 March). and generally held in March each year, can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader/guide will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader/guide in high risk situation.
Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (a lunar festival next held on 11 November, 2015, (30 October 2016) and generally held from mid October to mid November every year) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the 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 any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.
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.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
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!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
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.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
When travelling on a group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
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:
Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in India include:
* Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) provides services to disabled children and adults. They run three special schools, currently assisting around 160 children, and an old-age home for the short-stay of elderly people. AJK also provides vocational training, participates in diagnostic camps and distributes aids and appliances to physically disabled persons.
* Deepalaya is focused on building a better future for India's street children. They have assisted more than 44,000 underprivileged children through the provision of food and board, health care, meaningful education and vocational training, counselling and career guidance, understanding, friendship, and warmth and solace.
* GOONJ channels vital resources to rural India through the distribution of used items such as clothes and household goods. Their school-to-school program of channelling resources like uniforms, shoes, stationery, lunch boxes etc from urban schools to rural schools will benefit more than 35,000 children in its first phase.
Any donations you'd like to make can be given to your group leader in Delhi ONLY, they can then arrange for it to be passed on to GOONJ who will distribute these items to rural villages and people in need. You might like to consider taking over some clothes or other things you no longer require: woollens, footwear, bed sheets, blankets, utensils, first aid items, books, toys and school items - notebooks, pencils, pens, old uniforms or school bags - are all useful.
Carbon Offset C02-e 686.00 kgs per pax.
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.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.