Real Food Adventure - India Trip Notes

Real Food Adventure - India

Last Modified: 25 May 2016
Real Food Adventure - India
Trip code: HHZM
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
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 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
StyleAccommodationEmergency contact
ThemesAccommodation NotesVisas
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionWhat to take
Why we love itMealsClimate and seasonal information
MapTransportHealth
ItineraryMoney mattersTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical ratingSafetyResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining pointThe Intrepid Foundation
Important notesJoining point descriptionFeedback
Group sizeFinish point
Your fellow travellersFinish point description
Style
Original
Themes
Food
Is this trip right for you?
- There are some long travel days on this departure, which can be tiresome but offer a quintessential Indian experience.
- This trip travels by overnight train from Udaipur to Mumbai. This is a great way to travel long distances while still getting maximum time in each place. Entertaining chaiwalas, food vendors and conversations with locals make this a rewarding journey.
- This trip stays in a mix of accommodation to experience a variety of Indian life. Standards can vary though – there can be hot water in most but not all hotels.
- The climate in India can vary in the different states – be prepared for hot sticky days and cooler evenings. Layers are the best way to tackle this disparity in weather.
Why we love it
- Get a real taste of some of India's most famous culinary traditions – Mughal, Rajasthani, and the Portuguese-tinged flavours of Goa – while feasting with locals in family-run restaurants, rural homes, or in temples
- Discover how food forms part of the daily ritual from cities to rural villages, and learn the secrets of regional cuisines in many local cooking classes
- Get in touch with an amazing array of street food on eye-opening and adventurous cuisine crawls
- Be surrounded by India’s incredible culture, from streets filled with life to a Bollywood movie theatre, or the incredible architecture of the Taj Mahal and beyond
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to India. Delhi is an excitingly chaotic capital city – filled with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars, there’s plenty to see, do, and eat. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting so please ensure you have these for your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. After the welcome meeting it’s time to celebrate the beginning of a wonderful culinary adventure. Start with a traditional dinner at a family-run establishment that can trace its bloodlines back to the royal court of the Mughal Kings.
Included Activities
  • Real Food Adventure Welcome Dinner
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Meals
    1 dinner
    Day 2 Delhi
    This morning venture out to Old Delhi, the historic city also known as Shahjanabad, where some of Delhi's best-known local food joints are found. Here you’ll wander through narrow alleyways and enjoy an authentic Delhi street food-style breakfast. Keep your eye out for the local chaiwala (tea maker), well known not just for his delicious milky tea but also for his theatrical tea-making technique. 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 also a significant Sikh population – so continue the religious theme with an insight into the food traditions of Delhi’s Sikh residents over a vegetarian lunch at a local Sikh temple. After lunch, tour Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Visit the spice warehouses in the back alleys of Khari Baoli, Asia's largest wholesale spice market. See the spice selling process from truck to table, and meet a spice seller to hear him talk about how he mixes the spices for retailing. Next visit the Gali Paranthe Wali (lane of parathas), which has been in operation since the 1870s. Parathas are one of the most popular unleavened flat breads in Punjabi North Indian cuisine. Taste a number of delicious variations stuffed with fillings including potatoes, cauliflower, radish and cottage cheese. This evening, perhaps take the unique opportunity to visit a local family for a home-cooked meal – get an insight into the day-to-day life of Delhites and enjoy a delicious dinner. Jot down some secret home recipes, get involved in the preparations, or simply enjoy a chat around the kitchen table with warm and welcoming hosts.
    Included Activities
    • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
    • Delhi - Street Food Breakfast
    • Delhi - Jama Masjid
    • Delhi - Lunch at a Sikh Temple
      Optional Activities
      • Delhi - Dinner with local family - INR3000
        Accommodation
        Hotel (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
        Day 3 Agra
        Get your first experience of Indian rail travel with an air-conditioned express train to the Mughal city of Agra (approximately 3 hours). Famed for the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, Agra is a city with a fascinating history, rich in Mughal heritage, lush gardens and exquisite buildings and temples. Here you’ll visit the spectacular and iconic Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century white marble Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, it lives up to all expectations. Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. Enter the dark red sandstone stronghold of Agra Fort – part fortress, part palace and part prison – and search through throne rooms and tiny but incredibly decorated mosques. For dinner, jump on a chaat crawl in the city thought to serve up the country’s best. Chaat are savoury snacks (like friend potatoes or samosa broken into pieces with chutney) typically served roadside from stalls or carts in India and Bangladesh – the Indian equivalent to fast food. With its origins in Uttar Pradesh, chaat have become immensely popular in the rest of India and the Indian sub-continent.
        Included Activities
        • Agra - Agra Fort
        • Agra - Taj Mahal
        • Agra - Chaat Crawl
          Accommodation
          Hotel (1 nt)
          Meals
          1 breakfast
          Day 4 Karauli
          Before leaving Agra, there’s a chance to enjoy a memorable sunrise over the Taj Mahal. Then you’ll drive to eastern Rajasthan to Karauli (approximately 4 hours), said to be founded by descendants of the Hindu deity Lord Krishna. A small town by India's standards, Karauli is not often visited by travellers and so retains a lovely rural feel alongside its impressive palaces and heritage buildings. Take a walk around the Old Quarter, interact with the friendly locals and learn about rural Indian life off the tourist trail. Explore the marketplace with its stalls selling everything from lacquered bangles and silver, to wooden utensils and other locally manufactured kitchen items. Along the way, be sure to taste some of the local sweets made of ingredients including pumpkin (petha), jaggery, peanuts (peanut brittle) and sesame seeds (gazak), to name but a few. These sweets are seasonal and their consumption is often linked with Hindu festivals. For the next two nights you'll stay in an atmospheric palace built as a royal residence for the ruler of Karauli in 1938. The palace also has a huge farm house and an adjoining dairy, producing much of its own vegetable and grains. Enter the kitchens and learn how to prepare the famous masala chai (spiced tea) along with other local specialities, all using ingredients sourced from the farm. 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.
          Included Activities
          • Karauli - Village Walk
          • Karauli - Cooking Demonstration
            Optional Activities
            • Agra - Additional entries to Taj Mahal - INR750
              Accommodation
              Heritage Property (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast, 1 dinner
              Day 5 Jaipur
              Today drive to the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur (approximately 5 hours). Jaipur was designed by royalty and has delighted visitors for centuries with its pink-hued buildings, wonderful bazaars, and rainbow of bright colours dancing along hectic streets. Jaipur, like Delhi, has both old and new parts, although you’ll concentrate on the old. The streets are busy with camels and bullock-carts, monkeys climb overhead, and you’ll pass traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches. Visit the City Palace, once the home of the Maharaja, before seeing the 18th century Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built by the city’s founder Jai Singh. Stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds’; here royal maidens once watched the streets below through the fabulous jali (lattice screens) which hid them from prying male eyes. Today snake charmers and fortune-tellers ply their trade below the same hideaway. Along the way, check out some of the city's best markets and bazaars. Visit the oldest chaiwala in the city, a favourite of the Maharaja, cool down with a delicious kulfi (ice cream dessert) and marvel at the sheer breadth of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, pickles, tea and spices on display. 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.
              Included Activities
              • Jaipur - Movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Meals
                1 breakfast
                Day 6 Jaipur
                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 opulent palace is the legacy of a fallen empire and a superb example of Rajput architecture packed with elaborate rooms of lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. 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 try a local favourite, Kachori. Kachoris 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 you will learn the secrets of Rajasthani cuisine in a cooking class, then sit down to enjoy for dinner the feast you prepared.
                Included Activities
                • Jaipur - Amber Fort
                • Jaipur - traditional Kachori lunch
                • Jaipur - Cooking Demonstration & Dinner
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                  Day 7 Heritage Stay
                  Today you’ll leave the city behind and visit a small village for a true insight into rural Rajasthani life. You’ll drive approzimately 6 hours to a Heritage Stay located in the Vindhyanchal Hills, stopping en route to enjoy lunch with a local family. When you arrive in Bijaipur you will stay in the 16th-century Castle Bijaipur, now a heritage hotel with attractive dome, arched windows and doorways, all within the original fortified walls. Enjoy the palace’s blend of colonial and Mughal architecture as you relax by the pool or in the gardens, pampered by the Mewar hospitality of the hotel’s owners. Spend the rest of the day relaxing in your magnificent surrounds. Perhaps take a dip in the pool or take a walk around the grounds.
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                  Day 8 Heritage Stay
                  Today you’ll jump in a jeep and explore the surrounding farming communities. This is a major agricultural area and, depending on the season, you will pass through fields growing wheat, corn, maize, a variety of lentils, aubergine, spinach, fenugreek, okra, green chilies, tomatoes, potatoes, bottle gourd, sponge gourd, onion and garlic. Some of the spices such as turmeric, cumin are also grown here. In the late afternoon, return to your stunning heritage stay and learn how the ingredients you saw today are used in the local cuisine. The accommodation’s chef will demonstrate the techniques behind some of the most well-known desert curry dishes, including Rajasthani beans (ker sangria), gatta curry, lal maas (lamb curry) and bajre ki roti (millet flour flatbread). Master the Indian technique of eating with your hand – an art that takes some practice to master.
                  Included Activities
                  • Heritage Stay - Village Jeep Safari
                  • Castle Bijaipur - Rajasthani Desert Cuisine Cooking Demonstration
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                    Day 9 Udaipur
                    Travel to the ‘City of Lakes’ Udaipur (approximately 4 hours drive) today, the beautiful city built around the shores of Lake Pichola and full of fascinating temples, ornate palaces and impressive 'havelis' (merchant homes). On arrival, take a walk around town to help get your bearings. Explore Udaipur's twisting alleys filled with traditional Rajasthani wares – 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 shimmering lake while dining on scrumptious local cuisine.
                    Accommodation
                    Hotel (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 breakfast
                    Day 10 Udaipur
                    Begin today at the local market to collect ingredients for a cooking class, where you will learn how to prepare a traditional north Indian thali meal. A thali comprises of numerous dishes, which vary depending on which region the thali is prepared in. As you’re in Udaipur, you will make 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 that cooking, enjoy your handmade thali for lunch. Visit the 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. Tonight you’ll board an overnight train, bound for India's capital – captivating Mumbai (approximately 16 hours). The train will depart late evening and arrive after midday the following day.

                    Notes: Your sleeper train is clean and air-conditioned, and is 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.
                    Included Activities
                    • Udaipur - City Palace
                    • Udaipur - Thali Cooking Class
                      Accommodation
                      Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                      Day 11 Mumbai
                      Arrive in Mumbai after your overnight train. Known as Bombay until its recent name change, Mumbai is India's commercial capital. Some would say that Mumbai is also the food capital of India. This is the heart of Marathi cuisine, however you will also find huge culinary diversity that celebrates regional cuisines from across the country. Make your way into Mumbai via the remarkable Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat. At 140 years old it's Mumbai's oldest laundry and, with over a 1,000 troughs, it is also the worlds largest open air, human-powered one. You’ll take an orientation walk of Mumbai, taking in some of the key landmarks including the impressive World Heritage Site and historic railway station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus – a striking combination of gothic and traditional Mughal architecture. For lunch, seek out a restaurant known for serving Parsi cuisine, whose community is largely concentrated in Mumbai. The Parsis are descendants of Zoroastrians who are believed to have immigrated to India from Persia in the 10th century. Drop past Mumbai’s bustling Crawford Markets and see the difference between north and south Indian cuisine. While wheat (in breads) is a northern mainstay ingredient, rice is paramount in the south – find out about the various varieties of rice available and their preferred uses. In the early evening 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, you’ll 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.
                      Included Activities
                      • Mumbai - Heritage Quarter and Chowpatty Beach Walking Tour
                      • Mumbai - Chowpatti Beach Street Food Crawl
                        Accommodation
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 12 Mumbai
                        Time for sightseeing and soaking up the atmosphere of this incredible metropolis. This city of contrasts can be hard to get your head around – poverty standing side-by-side with prolific consumerism; a city of slums that’s also the financial capital of the sub-continent and has the shopping centres, bars and restaurants to match. Wander the streets and discover some of the beautiful old colonial architecture and Art Deco buildings, treat yourself to a meal in one of the country's best restaurants, and shop until you drop in the bazaars. In the afternoon, treat yourself to a throwback to India's colonial past – traditional high tea at one of the city's iconic hotels. With the music of a pianist in the background, sit down to your elegant table setting and enjoy the sandwiches, pasties, scones, and versions of Indian street food. This evening is free for you to seek out your own culinary interests.
                        Included Activities
                        • Mumbai - High Tea at The Taj Mahal Palace
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Meals
                          1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                          Day 13 Goa
                          Take a flight from Mumbai to Goa (approximately 1 hour), arriving in the early afternoon. Tinged with a Portuguese flavour, the state of Goa is blessed with lovely beaches, rich traditions, mouth-watering cuisine, World Heritage buildings and a wealth of attractions. 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 fish and vegetable market and shop for the best catch. Here you will also be introduced to the spices that are typical of this region. The most important of Goan spices, the chilli, was introduced to Goa by the Portuguese. The locals say that time moves more slowly in Goa, so if nothing else it's a brilliant stop for a few days, a great chance to enjoy a bit of tranquility in an often frenetic country. Goa is also renowned for its seafood, and variations of the fish curry, laced with coconut and served with rice, has become a regional classic. This is the perfect place to give it a try.

                          Note: The Goa fish markets are closed in the months of June, July and August due to the wet season.
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Meals
                          1 breakfast
                          Day 14 Goa
                          Get an insight into what makes the local food tick with a visit to 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. Go on a guided tour of a plantation that uses organic methods of cultivation, 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, and made in the state of Goa. The afternoon is free for final shopping, sightseeing, or simply relaxing on the beach. Tonight, savour a final group meal of local seafood and spicy curry and farewell this epic Real Food Adventure.
                          Included Activities
                          • Goa - Spice Farm visit and lunch
                          • Goa - Tour of Old Goa
                            Accommodation
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            Meals
                            1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                            Day 15 Goa
                            Your Real Food Adventure India comes to an end today. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                            Itinerary disclaimer
                            ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

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

                            Included activities
                            Real Food Adventure Welcome Dinner
                            Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
                            Delhi - Street Food Breakfast
                            Delhi - Jama Masjid
                            Delhi - Lunch at a Sikh Temple
                            Agra - Agra Fort
                            Agra - Taj Mahal
                            Agra - Chaat Crawl
                            Karauli - Village Walk
                            Karauli - Cooking Demonstration
                            Jaipur - Movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema
                            Jaipur - Amber Fort
                            Jaipur - traditional Kachori lunch
                            Jaipur - Cooking Demonstration & Dinner
                            Heritage Stay - Village Jeep Safari
                            Castle Bijaipur - Rajasthani Desert Cuisine Cooking Demonstration
                            Udaipur - City Palace
                            Udaipur - Thali Cooking Class
                            Mumbai - Heritage Quarter and Chowpatty Beach Walking Tour
                            Mumbai - Chowpatti Beach Street Food Crawl
                            Mumbai - High Tea at The Taj Mahal Palace
                            Goa - Spice Farm visit and lunch
                            Goa - Tour of Old Goa
                            Important notes
                            LUGGAGE LIMITS
                            Please note, there is a strict luggage limit of 15kgs checked in plus 7kgs carry on for the flights on this trip. No exceptions can be made.
                            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.

                            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 Overnight Train
                            Accommodation
                            Heritage Property (3nt), Hotel (10nt), 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.
                            Meals introduction
                            While we will endeavour to cater to dietary requirements where possible, please note that many meals and food activities on Real Food Adventures are set in advance in order to deliver a well-rounded experience of a country’s cuisine. In many countries, dietary restrictions are uncommon and not well understood. If you have dietary requirements and are concerned about whether this may impact on your ability to participate fully in all food-related activities on this trip, please contact your agent at time of booking for further information. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, you must notify your booking agent prior to departure so it can be determined whether your dietary requirements can be met.

                            Indian cuisine caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section on the menu. If in doubt please check with your tour leader.
                            Meals
                            13 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners
                            Transport
                            Car, Metro, Plane, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Taxi, Train

                            OVERNIGHT TRAINS
                            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
                            LONG TRAVEL DAYS
                            There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
                            Money matters
                            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).

                            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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

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

                            EMERGENCY FUNDS
                            Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
                            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. 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.
                            Safety
                            Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

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

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

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

                            http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

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

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

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

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

                            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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                            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 Surya International
                            4/33 WEA Saraswati Marg
                            Karol Bagh
                            New Delhi
                            110005
                            INDIA
                            Phone: +91 999 966 3111
                            Joining point description
                            Located in the heart of the city in Karol Bagh just minutes away from the Metro station. The rooms are equipped with a mini bar, cable TV, tea/coffee maker, air conditioning, 24 hour room service, safe and Wi-Fi.
                            Finish point
                            Sukhmantra Resort
                            317/C, Baman Vaddo, Candolim Bardez - 403515
                            Goa
                            Goa
                            403515
                            INDIA
                            Phone: +91 9899097955
                            Finish point description
                            This hotel is located walking distance from Candolim beach and a 20 minute drive from Panjim. Calangute & Baga beaches are also only a 10 minute drive away. All rooms at this hotel have TVs, satellite cable connection, tea/coffee maker, minibar, hair dryer and a personal safe. The hotel is also equipped with 2 restaurants and a swimming pool.
                            Emergency contact
                            For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

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

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

                            For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

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

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

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

                            PEAK India: +91 9560849444
                            Visas
                            Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                            INDIA:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

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

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

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

                            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.

                            LUGGAGE LIMITS
                            Please note, there is a strict luggage limit of 15kgs checked in plus 7kgs carry on for the flights on this trip. No exceptions can be made.
                            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.

                            HOT WEATHER:
                            Heat and humidity during summer (Apr-Jun) in India can be particularly oppressive with temperatures reaching 45 degrees C/113 degrees F.

                            PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR:
                            The Pushkar Camel Fair is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant festivals in India, and can be a true highlight, but please note the fair is based on the lunar calendar, so the fair dates can vary and it can be hard to confirm the exact festival date although it usually falls in November each year.

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

                            MONSOONS:
                            Travel in rural areas during the monsoon season can be hazardous. Monsoon rains cause flooding and landslides that can cut off some towns and villages for days. It is not unusual for trains to be delayed or cancelled resulting in itinerary changes or for activities in towns near to rivers and lakes (ie Varanasi) to need to be changed during this time of year.
                            Health
                            All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                            http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

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

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

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

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

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

                            http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback

                            Was this page helpful?