Southern India Trip Notes

Southern India

Last Modified: 20 Jul 2016
Southern India
Trip code: HHSS
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Lush and tropical, southern India is inspiring and delightful. Beneath the green shade of a coastal paradise, meet with locals in their fishing villages and tribal homes. Join them in the bazaars, on buses and boats or even on pilgrimage in Madurai. From iconic cultural sights like the Maharaja's Palace in Mysore to French-infused Pondicherry and the vast landscape of Periyar - southern India's spirituality, friendly people and wild animal sanctuaries make it a fascinating part of the country to explore. TRIP CHANGES FOR 2017: From 1st January 2017 this trip will be accommodated in Conoor instead of Ooty. We will continue to include the same activities in this region but will return to Conoor for the night.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinish point description
ThemesAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersHealth
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderTravel insurance
Physical ratingSafetyA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining pointResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeJoining point instructionsFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip involves some long stints of travel, which can be tiresome but offer a quintessential Indian experience. On the third day of the trip you’ll be travelling for 7-8 hours by train and private vehicle. On the seventh night you’ll take an eleven-hour overnight sleeper train from Mysore to Mamallapuram.
- Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and a great way to travel long distances while still getting maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing with locals of the same or opposite gender.
- The hill station of Ooty can be cold at night, especially in winter, so come prepared with warm clothing. You’ll also need warm and waterproof clothing for your visits to Mudumalai and Periyar National Parks.
- We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.
Why we love it
- Known as the ‘Queen of the Arabian Sea’, Kochi is a fascinating blend of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influences, and is best explored by ferry
- Step back in time among the iridescent hills of the very British ‘Snooty Ooty’ - home of snooker and the charming Nilgiri toy train
- Spot tigers, elephants, sloths and birds on safari around two of the best places in India to observe wildlife up close - Mudumalai National Park and Periyar Tiger Reserve
- Feel energy radiate from the world’s largest solid crystal in the experimental city of Auroville
- Experience a unique way of life with a family homestay in the idyllic backwaters of Kerala
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Kochi
Your Southern Indian adventure starts today in Kochi. Attend a welcome meeting at 6 pm with the travel group. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception.
If you arrive into Kochi early, there are plenty of things to see and do. Once an important spice-trading centre, Kochi has been under Portuguese, Dutch and British rule at various times throughout history. Explore with one of our Urban Adventures, or wander down to the shore and seek out the huge Chinese fishing nets dotted along the coast of Fort Cochin.
Notes: 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).
Optional Activities
  • Kochi - Fort Kochi by Bike Urban Adventure - USD62
  • Kochi - Home Cooked Kochi Urban Adventure - USD52
    Accommodation
    (1 nt)
    Day 2 Kochi
    This morning, explore Kochi on an orientation tour. Board a local ferry to Mattancherry and drop by the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in the 16th century before it was renovated and presented to the Rajas of Cochin by the Dutch. Pay an optional visit to Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest active synagogue in the Commonwealth and home to many rare antiques. Then amble around the spice bazaars and antique stores of Fort Cochin. In the evening, experience a Kathakali performance. This Keralan dance is an ornately costumed display of storytelling, requiring complete control of the body.
    Included Activities
    • Kochi - Fort Kochi sightseeing
    • Kochi - Dutch Palace
    • Kochi - Kathakali performance
      Optional Activities
      • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue - INR5
        Accommodation
        (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 3 Ootacamund
        Most of today is spent travelling. Catch a three-and-a-half hour train to Coimbatore, before travelling by private vehicle to Ootacamund (approximately four hours). Often referred to as ‘Snooty Ooty’, it was here that the game of snooker was named and possibly invented. Stretch your legs exploring the town’s Hindu temples or stroll through what almost feels like English countryside. Ooty is pleasantly mild in the summer but can get cold in winter, so make sure you come prepared with adequate clothing.
        Accommodation
        (1 nt)
        Meals
        1 breakfast
        Day 4 Ootacamund
        Today board Ooty’s famous toy train for a ride along the Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Be sure to get a window seat for great views. In nearby Conoor, visit a tea plantation to learn about the history of tea production. Spend the rest of the day exploring Ooty’s Botanical Gardens, which are home to over 650 species of plants and trees. Alternatively, embrace your romantic side with a boat ride on the lake.
        Included Activities
        • Ooty - Nilgiri Mountain Railway & Tea Plantation visit
          Optional Activities
          • Ooty - Botanical Gardens - INR50
          • Ooty - Boat Ride - INR200
            Accommodation
            (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 lunch, 1 dinner
            Day 5 Mudumalai National Park
            Take a private vehicle for the short drive to Masinagudi today. Set against the backdrop of the Nilgiri mountains, Mudumalai National Park was once the Mysore Maharaja's private hunting ground. In 1974 it was brought under Project Tiger and is now one of the best game sanctuaries in India to observe wildlife in close proximity. Embark on a short safari in search of tigers, leopards, elephants, sloth bears, sambars, spotted deer and much more. There's also an amazing variety of birdlife in the park.
            Tonight’s family-run accommodation in Masinagudi is mixed sex dormitory style with a common bathroom. This dorm room is only open to our groups.
            Included Activities
            • Mudumalai NP - Wildlife Safari
              Accommodation
              (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Day 6 Mysore
              Travel by private vehicle across the scenic Karnataka plains to Mysore, stopping to share a biryani lunch with our local friend Raju and his family. Mysore is an easy-going town with a pleasant climate, perfect for wandering around on foot. Your leader will provide an orientation tour for you to get your bearings. A visit to Mysore is incomplete without a look around Mysore Palace. One of the most ornate palaces in India, its interior is full of colour, mosaics and mirrors.
              Included Activities
              • Mysore - Home cooked lunch & family visit
              • Mysore - Maharaja's Palace
              • Mysore - Orientation Walk
                Accommodation
                (1 nt)
                Day 7 Mysore
                This morning head out of Mysore and climb Chamundi Hill to the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Durga. Continue on to the Keshava Temple in the small town of Somnathpur, an excellent example of Hoysala architecture. You’ll also have some time to pay an optional visit to Tipu Sultan’s mausoleum in Srirangapatna, or to return to Mysore for a palm reading or to catch a film at the local cinema.
                Tonight take an eleven-hour overnight sleeper train to Chennai. Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet).
                Note: You’ll be visiting a few temples today, so please ensure that you’re dressed appropriately with legs and shoulders covered. Please also note that on the sleeper train you may be sharing with locals of the same or opposite gender.
                Included Activities
                • Mysore - Keshava Temple
                • Mysore - Chamundi Hill & Temple
                  Optional Activities
                  • Mysore - Cinema - INR100
                  • Mysore - Tipu Sultan's Mausoleum - INR500
                    Accommodation
                    Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 lunch
                    Day 8 Mamallapuram
                    After arriving in Chennai, take a private vehicle along the scenic East Coast Road to Mamallapuram. Explore this ancient seaport town by bicycle, paying a visit to the 7th-century Shore Temple and the enormous bas-relief rock carving known as Arjuna's Penance. There will also be time to inspect the town’s numerous mandapams (pillared temple pavilions), watch stonemasons at work or to relax at a beachside restaurant.
                    Included Activities
                    • Mamallapuram - Cycling tour
                    • Mamallapuram - Shore Temple
                      Accommodation
                      (1 nt)
                      Day 9 Pondicherry
                      Travel by private vehicle for five hours through palm trees and rice paddies to Puducherry (or Pondicherry), with a stopover at Auroville. Comprised of 80 rural settlements and home to over 1,500 residents, more than half of who are foreign nationals, the living project of Auroville is dedicated to unity and also houses the world's largest solid crystal.
                      On arrival in Puducherry, join a group walking tour to see local temples, the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the French Quarter. Once a French colony, you’ll see evidence of French influence in Puducherry's architecture, its wide town squares and even in the uniforms of the police.
                      Included Activities
                      • Pondicherry - Auroville
                      • Pondicherry - Walking Tour & Sri Aurobindo Ashram
                        Accommodation
                        (1 nt)
                        Day 10 Madurai
                        Take a taxi to the railway station at Villapuram and board a train to the temple city of Madurai (approximately six hours). Madurai’s Tamil roots stretch back 2,500 years, making it one of the oldest cities in India. Wander the lamp-lit labyrinth of the Sri Meenakshi Amman Temple, dedicated to the Lord Shiva and goddess Meenakshi.
                        Visit the Gandhi Memorial Museum, which displays a detailed account of India’s struggle for independence along with the bloodstained dhoti the famous leader wore when he was assassinated.
                        Note: Make sure that your shoulders and legs are covered when visiting the temple and please respect the no camera rule.
                        Included Activities
                        • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
                          Optional Activities
                          • Madurai - Gandhi Museum - Free
                            Accommodation
                            (1 nt)
                            Day 11 Periyar National Park
                            This morning, travel by public bus along a winding road to the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. High in the ranges of the Western Ghats, the park is set among stunning scenery and is the most popular wildlife sanctuary in Southern India. In the evening, enjoy a tour of a local spice plantation and a delicious meal prepared by the plantation owner's family.
                            Included Activities
                            • Periyar - Spice farm tour & dinner
                              Accommodation
                              Ambadi Hotel or similar (1 nt)
                              Meals
                              1 dinner
                              Day 12 Periyar National Park
                              Venture back into the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary today for a guided nature walk (you’ll be provided with leech-proof socks). Be on the lookout for bison, wild boar, elephants, spotted deer and tigers. For something extra, opt for a boat tour on the lake, which was artificially formed by the building of a dam in 1895. Now a vital water source for local wildlife, you may see elephants bathing playfully in the shallows if you’re lucky.
                              Included Activities
                              • Periyar - Guided Nature Walk
                                Optional Activities
                                • Periyar - Boat trip - INR650
                                  Accommodation
                                  (1 nt)
                                  Day 13 Kerala Backwaters
                                  Travelling by private vehicle, pass through rubber, tea and coffee plantations on the way to the backwaters of Kerala. Board a boat to cross to the island village where you’ll stay with a local family tonight. In the late afternoon, explore the island with a local English-speaking guide or your homestay host. This is great chance to meet locals and learn more about their unique way of life. Take a leisurely punt boat ride around the waterways and enjoy the scenery. In the evening, share stories and a traditional home-cooked Keralan meal with your host family.

                                  In Kerala a homestay is similar to a local guesthouse where the family usually live on site. Accommodation is twin share, with private bathroom. Meals are cooked in house and are usually locally and delicious.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Kerala Backwaters - Pole Boat Ride
                                  • Kerala Backwaters - Village walk
                                    Accommodation
                                    (1 nt)
                                    Meals
                                    1 lunch, 1 dinner
                                    Day 14 Kochi
                                    Wake early, before crossing the backwaters by private boat to Alleppey. From here, take a two-hour local bus back to Kochi. The rest of the day is free for some last-minute sightseeing or shopping.
                                    Accommodation
                                    (1 nt)
                                    Meals
                                    1 breakfast
                                    Day 15 Kochi
                                    There are no activities planned for the final day. You’re able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                                    Meals
                                    1 breakfast
                                    Itinerary disclaimer
                                    ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

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

                                    Included activities
                                    Kochi - Fort Kochi sightseeing
                                    Kochi - Dutch Palace
                                    Kochi - Kathakali performance
                                    Ooty - Nilgiri Mountain Railway & Tea Plantation visit
                                    Mudumalai NP - Wildlife Safari
                                    Mysore - Home cooked lunch & family visit
                                    Mysore - Maharaja's Palace
                                    Mysore - Orientation Walk
                                    Mysore - Keshava Temple
                                    Mysore - Chamundi Hill & Temple
                                    Mamallapuram - Cycling tour
                                    Mamallapuram - Shore Temple
                                    Pondicherry - Auroville
                                    Pondicherry - Walking Tour & Sri Aurobindo Ashram
                                    Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
                                    Periyar - Spice farm tour & dinner
                                    Periyar - Guided Nature Walk
                                    Kerala Backwaters - Pole Boat Ride
                                    Kerala Backwaters - Village walk
                                    Important notes
                                    1. A single supplement is available on this trip. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.

                                    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 5 Jungle Resort
                                    Day 7 Overnight Train
                                    Accommodation
                                    Homestay (1nt), Hotel (11nt), Jungle resort (1nt), Overnight sleeper train (1nt)
                                    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
                                    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

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

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

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

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

                                    SLEEPER TRAINS IN INDIA:
                                    Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned (fan-cooled at times), a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths, sheets, pillow and blanket are provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. There are basic toilet facilities at the end of each carriage, but no showers available on overnight trains. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage or a food/snack cart that is brought through the carriages. There are also plenty of vendors selling tea, coffee, water and snacks during the journey.
                                    Meals introduction
                                    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                                    Meals
                                    5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
                                    Transport
                                    4x4 Safari Vehicle, Auto rickshaw, Boat, Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Ferry, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Train

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Budget for meals not included: 180.00

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    For further information and advice, visit:
                                    www.gov.uk/government/policies/supporting-british-nationals-overseas/supporting-pages/advice-for-women-travellers
                                    www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/women.html

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

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

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

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

                                    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.

                                    HERITAGE HOTELS:
                                    On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses - these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally their staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved in their original state.
                                    Joining point
                                    Intrepid Kaleeveedu Lodge
                                    1/387 Pattallam Road (near Police Quarters)
                                    Kochi
                                    Kerala
                                    INDIA
                                    Phone: +91 4842218980
                                    Joining point description
                                    The Intrepid Kaleeveedu Lodge is a traditional 1940's Kerala home located in the heart of Fort Kochi, within walking distance to all of the major attractions, and five minutes from the Basilica Church. The Lodge comprises eight air conditioned rooms with ensuite bathroom and hot water. The property also features a beautiful garden and pond bringing a great escape after a days site-seeing.

                                    If you experience any problem with your booking please call our local Intrepid representative on +91 9999 916229 or +91 9645 096220

                                    Check-in time is 12 noon.

                                    Please note that we do not offer additional accommodation at the lodge due to room limitations and any pre / post accommodation will be booked at the White Rose Hotel in Kochi. Please be aware you will need to make your own way between these two properties. The distance is approximately a 5 minute drive, or a 10 minute walk.
                                    Joining point instructions
                                    Kochi's (Cochin) International Airport is 50km north east of the city. Taxis are the only available transport, and the journey takes approx. 90minutes. An air conditioned taxi costs approx. INR 1000 from the prepaid taxi booth in the arrivals hall. DO NOT hand your receipt to the driver until you have arrived at the hotel. Ignore any suggestions that "the hotel has burnt down" or "the hotel is full". Rest assured the hotel is there as is your booking.

                                    An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 30 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.

                                    If you have pre-purchased an arrival transfer look for our local operator that will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name and Intrepid logo.
                                    Finish point
                                    Intrepid Kaleeveedu Lodge
                                    1/387 Pattallam Road (near Police Quarters)
                                    Kochi
                                    Kerala
                                    INDIA
                                    Phone: +91 4842218980
                                    Finish point description
                                    The Intrepid Kaleeveedu Lodge is a traditional 1940's Kerala home located in the heart of Fort Kochi, within walking distance to all of the major attractions, and five minutes from the Basilica Church. The Lodge comprises eight air conditioned rooms with ensuite bathroom and hot water. The property also features a beautiful garden and pond bringing a great escape after a days site-seeing.

                                    If you experience any problem with your booking please call our local Intrepid representative on +91 9999 916229 or +91 9645 096220

                                    Check-in time is 12 noon.

                                    Please note that we do not offer additional accommodation at the lodge due to room limitations and any pre / post accommodation will be booked at the White Rose Hotel in Kochi. Please be aware you will need to make your own way between these two properties. The distance is approximately a 5 minute drive, or a 10 minute walk.
                                    Finishing point instructions
                                    A departure transfer is available - enquire at time of booking.

                                    A taxi to the airport takes approx. 90 minutes and costs approx. 1000 INR for an air conditioned car. Ask the hotel reception to help you arrange a taxi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    Please make sure you have 'natural' coloured clothing to wear on the jungle walk in Periyar.

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

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

                                    WARM CLOTHING:
                                    It comes as a surprise to many travellers that India can be cold (ie. below zero!) during winter (particularly Dec/Jan), even in some cities and even when not at high altitudes. Make sure you are prepared for the weather during these months by bringing adequately warm clothes with you, including thermal underclothes and an appropriate jacket. Many hotels in India do not have central heating, so a warmer set of clothes to sleep in has also been recommended by our past travellers.
                                    Health
                                    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                    http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

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

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

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

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

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

                                    http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback