A Taste of India Trip Notes

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Last Modified: 14 Nov 2012
A Taste of India
Trip code: HHKCC
Validity: 01 Jan 2012 to 31 Dec 2012
Travel in style as we journey into the markets and restaurants of India for a gastronomic adventure. From the fascinating and often dramatic sights of the north to the laid-back charm of the south, this trip discovers the authentic flavours of India. Sample local cuisine at roadside eateries, peek inside a royal kitchen and perfect Rajasthani delicacies at a cooking school. Add the best of museums, monuments, backstreets and beaches - and this is truly a grand adventure through India.
PLEASE NOTE: This tour has been discontinued for 2013.
Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxVisas
ThemesGroup sizeIssues on your trip
MapYour fellow travellersWhat to take
ItinerarySingle travellersHealth
Also available to purchaseAccommodationSafety
We also recommendMeals introductionTravel insurance
Itinerary disclaimerMealsResponsible Travel
Culture shock rating TransportA couple of rules
Physical ratingGroup leaderThe Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel projects
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyEmergency contact
TippingEmergency funds
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Comfort
  • Comfort is your style of travel if you want the whole grassroots experience with more inclusions, meals and creature comforts. While accommodation is predominantly tourist class (3-4 star), on some itineraries there is the opportunity to stay with a local family, spend the night on a train or camp out in exotic places (without putting up your own tent of course). Along the way, you'll really experience the destination up close. You'll mingle with locals, enjoy a taste of their way of life and gain special insights from your leader. This is not luxury travel, but real world experiences - just with a softer landing!
Themes
Explorer
Map
A Taste of India
Itinerary
Days 1-2 Delhi
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
You'll be met on arrival at Delhi airport and transferred to your hotel. Please advise flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
India's capital is an exciting, busy, and often chaotic city but it's also one of the most interesting in the world with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars!
There are plenty of things to see and do in free time. Visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb. This was the first garden tomb in India, built way back in 1570. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started back in the 1100s. Explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it plays an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
Join your group leader on an excursion into the sights and sounds of Old Delhi! Set off on the city's modern metro system, then get a taste of India's famed public transport with a cycle rickshaw ride through chaotic streets, such as the famous Chandni Chowk. Make a visit to the Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings, then visit the Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple) to learn about the Sikh religion.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
  • Delhi - Old Delhi walking tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR250
  • Delhi - Qutb Minar - INR250
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR250
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 3 Agra
Take one of India's faster air-conditioned trains to the Mughal city of Agra (approx. 3 hours)
Agra is home to one of the world's most recognisable monuments, the Taj Mahal.
Hop on to your motorised rickshaw for a tour of the city - a truly fun and Intrepid way to see the monuments of Agra.
Visit the Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, this 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (as it was described by writer Rabindranath Tagore) lives up to all expectations.
Visit Agra Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time and eventually became his prison after he lost power in 1658.
See Akbar's Mausoleum - a beautiful sandstone and marble tomb built for the greatest of the Mughal emperors.
Included Activities
  • Agra - Motorised rickshaw tour
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Red Fort
Optional Activities
  • Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum - INR125
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 4 Karauli
Drive from Agra to Karauli via Fatehpur Sikri (approx 5 hrs).
The magnificent deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, but was abandoned after 15 years due to the scarcity of water. A highlight of the settlement is Jama Masjid, a striking mosque featuring elements of both Persian and Hindu design. The main entrance of the mosque is the impressive 54-metre high Buland Darwaza, the Gate of Victory, constructed to commemorate Akbar's military victory in Gujarat.
Founded in 1348 by Raja Arjun Pal, Karauli is a delightful town packed with rural ambience.
Take a walk around the village, interact with the friendly locals and learn about rural Indian life - a fascinating way to witness life off the tourist trail.
Take part in a cooking demonstration showing how to make the famous masala chai (spiced tea) along with other Indian specialities.
Stay at a palace which was built as a royal residence for the ruler of Karauli in 1938.
Included Activities
  • Fatehpur Sikri
  • Rural heritage stay - Village walk
  • Cooking class
Accommodation
Heritage Property (1 nt)
Days 5-6 Jaipur
Travel by private vehicles from Karauli to Jaipur (approx 5 hrs).
A friendly, busy town crammed with palaces and bazaars full of jewellery, textiles and folk-based arts, Jaipur is a firm favourite with travellers.
Travel out to the old capital of Amber and explore the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort.
Make a stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'.
Take a walk to the city's crowded and colourful bazaars, which sell a wide variety of artisan goods. Semi-precious stones are the local speciality - be sure to wander by the stalls at least once.
Go to Jaipur's Royal City Palace - one of India's finest - and spend time exploring the various rooms and apartments.
Visit one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur.
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.
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort guided tour
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - City Palace - INR300
  • Jaipur - Observatory - INR200
  • Jaipur - Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir Cinema - INR300
Accommodation
Heritage Property (2 nts)
Days 7-8 Bijaipur
Travelling by private vehicle, head to Parsoli (approx 7 hrs) a remote region in Rajasthan.
Located deep in rural India, Parsoli provides an insight into the life and customs of the Rajasthan people often missed in the bigger cities.
During our stay, take a cooking lesson from the chef and know more about the culinary style of Rajasthan.
Take jeeps to explore the surrounding villages and interact with the locals.
Included Activities
  • Cooking demo and dinner
  • Heritage Stay - Village jeep safari
Accommodation
Heritage Property (2 nts)
Days 9-10 Udaipur
Take private vehicles to the "Romantic City" of Udaipur (approx 4 hrs).
Udaipur undoubtedly lives up to its reputation as India's most romantic city. Rolling hills, white marble palaces and lakes come together appealingly and it's a centre for artists, dancers and musicians. The shopping is also superb, with miniature paintings being the speciality.
On arrival in Udaipur, take a walk around town to help gather your bearings. Explore Udaipur's twisting alleys filled with silver, shoes, bags, leather goods and miniature paintings.
Enjoy a half hour boat ride on the famous Lake Pichola and see marvels like Lake Palace and Jag Mandir Island (seasonal depending on the water level in the lake).
Visit City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India, and check out the unbelievable treasures within - from vivid murals to antiques and royal utensils.
Join the famous Spice Box cooking school and spend a half day learning the secrets of Indian cuisine. With lessons on preparation and cooking, you'll be able to whip up a full Indian meal in no time.
Be part of a musical concert combining seven traditional Rajasthani folk dances.
Included Activities
  • Udaipur - Lake boat ride
  • Udaipur - City Palace guided tour
  • Udaipur - Thali cooking class and lunch
Optional Activities
  • Udaipur - Cultural dance show - INR100
Accommodation
Heritage Property (2 nts)
Days 11-12 Mumbai
Take a flight to Mumbai (approx 1.5 hrs).
Known as Bombay until its recent name change, Mumbai is India's commercial capital.
Take a short walk through the heritage quarter of Mumbai and head for the nearby Gateway of India and the famous Taj Hotel.
Visit Elephanta Island. Easily accessible by ferry from Mumbai, it's about 10 km from the south-east coast of the island city. Boats leave daily from the Gateway of India, taking about an hour each way.
Day rooms will be available on our last day here to freshen up and store our luggage until departing for the railway station.
Catch an overnight train to Goa (approx 13 hrs). Our sleeper train is clean and air-conditioned, a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage where food/snacks/meals are available.
Included Activities
  • Mumbai - Walking tour of Heritage quarter & Chowpatty beach
Optional Activities
  • Mumbai - Elephanta Island - INR460
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 13-15 Goa
Famous for the sandy beaches that line its coast, Goa is a fascinating and distinctive region in India's southwest. Brimming with Portuguese influences and bursting with fresh food, this region has earned its idyllic badge.
See the churches of Old Goa - these opulent buildings, which have been accorded World Heritage status by Unesco, still recall the grandeur of a bygone era.
Visit a local spice farm. Goa's dense forested areas and favourable climatic conditions make it a perfect location to grow the spices liberally used in its cuisine. All the spice farms use organic methods of cultivation. Go on a guided tour of a plantation and enjoy a mouth-watering Goan buffet lunch.
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Included Activities
  • Old Goa sightseeing
  • Goa - Spice Farm visit and lunch
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Accommodation
Hotel (3 nts)
Day 16 Udupi
Take an express air-conditioned train to the city of Udupi (approx 4 hrs).
This is where masala dosa originated - enrich your experience by taking part in a dosa making demonstration.
Visit the famous Krishna Temple and discover its unique feature - Lord Krishna is worshipped only through an exquisitely carved window with nine holes called the Navagraha Kitiki.
Visit the popular Ananteshwar Temple, also known as the 'The Temple of 18 Towns'.
Included Activities
  • Dosa making demonstration
  • Krishna Temple
Optional Activities
  • Ananteshwar Temple - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 17 Chikmagalur
Take private vehicles and head towards the scenic surroundings of Chikmagalur (approx 4 hrs).
A quaint hill station popular for its coffee and tea plantations, Chikmagalur is a major attraction for its unpolluted ambience and scenic locales.
Visit one of the local coffee plantations and learn more about how the world-renowned arabica and robusta beans are grown. It was in the Chikmagalur district that coffee was first cultivated in India in 1670 by Baba Budan, a Muslim saint who brought coffee seeds from Yemen. The legacy was carried on by European planters and coffee production has since been Chikmagalur's mainstay.
Included Activities
  • Coffee plantation tour and home-cooked meal
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 18-19 Mysore
Travel to Mysore by private vehicle.
Stop en route to visit the important town site of Shravanabelagola, where you can see a large statue of Bahu Bali dating back to 978 AD.
Mysore is an easygoing town with a pleasant climate, perfect for wandering around on foot.
Your leader will take you out to get your bearings.
A visit to Mysore isn't complete without a look around Mysore Palace. One of the most ornate palaces in India, its interior is a riot of colour, mosaics and mirrors.
Our local friend, Raju Bhai, hosts us at his place for a cooking lesson on his very popular biryani.
Visit the Keshava Temple in Somnathpur - a stunning example of Hoysala temple architecture (approx 1 hr from Mysore).
You have plenty of time to explore the surrounding countryside, so head out and climb Chamundi Hill - site of the Sri Chamundeswari Temple, which is dedicated to Goddess Durga.
Take an overnight train to Chennai. Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same/mixed gender situation.
Included Activities
  • Mysore - Maharaja's Palace
  • Shravanbegalola Temple
  • Biryani cooking class
Optional Activities
  • Mysore - Keshava Temple - INR100
  • Mysore - Chamundi Hill temple - INR40
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 20-21 Mammallapuram/Pondicherry
Travel from Chennai to Mamallapuram by private vehicle.
Mamallapuram is a scenic fishing village.
We'll make a visit to the famous Shore Temple.
Drive down to the town of Pondicherry.
Once a French colony, there are still reminders of French influence in Pondicherry's architecture, the wide town squares and even in the policemen's uniforms.
Take a walking tour and visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the local temples and the old French quarter.
Included Activities
  • Mamallapuram - Shore Temple
  • Pondicherry - Walking tour and Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Optional Activities
  • Pondicherry - Auroville - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 22 Thanjavur
Drive to Thanjavur, historically known as Tanjore (approx 4 hrs).
The historic capital of the Chola dynasty, Thanjavur is known as a city of arts and architecture.
Visit the World Heritage-listed Brihadeeswarar Temple, one of the most prized from an artistic and architectural standpoint and among the tallest of its kind.
Included Activities
  • Brihadeeswara Temple
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 23 Karaikudi
Drive to Karaikudi, the biggest town in the Chettinadu district (approx 3 hrs).
The mystical city of Karaikudi is well known for its cuisine and architecture. No visit is complete without a inspecting the famous architecture of the local houses.
Visit the popular Chettinad Palace and experience the rich culture of the Chettiars (original inhabitants of Chettinadu).
Take a Chettinad-style cooking class and learn the secret recipes of Chettinadu.
Included Activities
  • Chettinad Palace
  • Chettinad-style cooking class
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Day 24 Madurai
Heading deeper into Tamil Nadu, drive to the temple town of Madurai (approx 3 hrs).
Crammed full of bazaars, pilgrims, cycle-rickshaws, beggars and street markets, Madurai showcases southern India at its colourful and lively best.
Visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple, which lies at the heart of the city. This ancient, still active temple is a labyrinth of lamp-lit corridors which lead to shrines where some mysterious and interesting rituals are performed.
Visit the moving Gandhi Memorial Museum, which displays the blood-stained dhoti he wore when he was assassinated, along with an impressive and detailed account of the country's struggle for independence.
Included Activities
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
Optional Activities
  • Madurai - Gandhi Museum - Free
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 25-26 Periyar
A 4-5 hour drive along winding roads, through lush green forest will take us to the spice town of Periyar.
In the evening, enjoy a tour around a local spice plantation and a delicious meal prepared by the owner's family.
Venture into the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for a guided nature walk in the hope of glimpsing sambar, bison, elephant, spotted deer, tiger and leopard.
Included Activities
  • Periyar - Spice farm tour & dinner
  • Periyar - Guided National Park wildlife walk
Optional Activities
  • Leech Socks - INR25
  • Periyar - Lake boat tour - INR650
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 27 Kerala backwaters
We drive all the way downhill in the morning for approx 5 hours to reach the hidden treasure of Kerala Backwaters.
Allepey is the gateway to the Keralan backwaters. The network of waterways here extends over hundreds of miles; not surprising then that Allepey is sometimes described as "The Venice of the East". The backwaters are best explored by boat as life revolves around the water here, children often learn to swim before they can walk and they row boats before they ride a bike.
Take a leisurely boat ride around the backwaters to take in the outstanding scenery.
Explore the backwaters with a local guide to observe the different facets of local life - this is a great chance to meet and talk with the people who live here. Strolling under palm trees and weaving in between the rice fields that cover the island, learn about their lifestyles.
Included Activities
  • Boat tour
  • Backwaters - Village walk
Accommodation
Heritage Property (1 nt)
Days 28-29 Kochi
Drive south to the city of Kochi.
Spread over several islands, Kochi is a fascinating place full of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influences.
Head out to explore the major sights of Fort Cochin and visit the spice bazaars and antique shops. The best way to get around the islands is by using the ferry network.
Visit the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century. It was taken over by the Dutch in 1663, who added some improvements before presenting it to the Rajas of Cochin.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Included Activities
  • Kochi - Fort Kochi sightseeing
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • HHKCC Single supplement (HHKCC)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • A Taste of South India (HHKF)
Itinerary disclaimer
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
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 for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
Money Exchange
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are readily available in most towns.
Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small denominations are most useful.
While traveller's cheques have security advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high and they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels/establishments.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping
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 per day is generally appropriate.
Local transport: For a city tour we suggest INR50 per day.
Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Group size
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part.
Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit:
www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
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 room (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, please ask your booking agent for more information. On the following nights the Single Supplement is not available:
- Day 12 Overnight train to Goa
Accommodation
Hotel (18 nts), Heritage Property (8 nts), Overnight sleeper train (2 nts)
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.
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.
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.
The hotel accommodation on this trip has air-conditioned rooms.
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
28 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 9 Dinners
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.
USD 350.00
Transport
Auto rickshaw, Taxi, Train, Overnight sleeper train, Plane, Minibus, Cycle rickshaw
OVERNIGHT TRAINS
Sleeper trains in India have berths on both sides of the carriage, with some also having 4-6 berth compartments (dependant on seasonality and the journey). The carriages are multishare, with bunk beds and curtains that close over the beds. Most compartments are air-conditioned.
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.
Joining point description
Located in the Karol Bagh market areal surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. The hotel features a restaurant and 24 hour room service, and rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone.
Joining point instructions
Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25 km from Karol Bagh. One if the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage.
For those who have pre-booked your airport arrival transfer please exit by doors 4 & 5 and your representative who will be waiting in the arrival hall holding a placard bearing our company logo. If you cannot find your representative, please look for him at Costa coffee. If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
+91 9911 972 636
+91 9560 849 444
Failing the above please take a taxi to the hotel and advise your group leader.
A taxi will take about 1 hour and cost between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths). IMPORTANT: Please AVOID taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers.
Check in time at hotel is 12 midday.
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
Emergency contact
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency Intrepid's India office can be reached on +91 1145 006 400 during business hours (9.30am to 6pm) or after hours on +91 9999 916 229.
For all other enquiries please contact our reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week. For further contact details please use the following page:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
INDIA:
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
There is NO visa on arrival in India. Indian visas can NOT be obtained in Nepal. Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.
Issues on your trip
While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.
We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Intrepid covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
WARM CLOTHING:
Temperatures can be low in the winter months, especially at altitude, so bring a set of warmer clothes including thermal underclothes and a fleece jacket.
WATER BOTTLE:
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
IMAGES FROM HOME:
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
PASSPORT COPY:
Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
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.
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. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
FESTIVALS - HOLI & DIWALI:
Travelling in India and Nepal during the Holi festival, a lunar festival next held in March 17, 2014 and generally held in March each year, can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader/guide will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader/guide in high risk situation.
Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (a lunar festival next held on 03 November, 2013 and generally held from mid October to mid November every year) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the fireworks. As there are no restrictions on buying fireworks in India there are often injuries caused by people exploding them inappropriately. During this festival your leader/guide may be required to alter your itinerary to avoid any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.
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.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
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 the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
LIFE JACKETS:
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
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.
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 group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
Responsible Travel
We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
LOCAL DRESS:
Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. 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.
LOCAL DRESS:
When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
A couple of rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
The Intrepid Foundation
Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
Responsible Travel projects
Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in India include:
* Asha Ka Jharna (AKJ) provides services to disabled children and adults. They run three special schools, currently assisting around 160 children, and an old-age home for the short-stay of elderly people. AJK also provides vocational training, participates in diagnostic camps and distributes aids and appliances to physically disabled persons.
* Deepalaya is focused on building a better future for India's street children. They have assisted more than 44,000 underprivileged children through the provision of food and board, health care, meaningful education and vocational training, counselling and career guidance, understanding, friendship, and warmth and solace.
* GOONJ channels vital resources to rural India through the distribution of used items such as clothes and household goods. Their school-to-school program of channelling resources like uniforms, shoes, stationery, lunch boxes etc from urban schools to rural schools will benefit more than 35,000 children in its first phase.
Any donations you'd like to make can be given to your group leader in Delhi ONLY, they can then arrange for it to be passed on to GOONJ who will distribute these items to rural villages and people in need. You might like to consider taking over some clothes or other things you no longer require: woollens, footwear, bed sheets, blankets, utensils, first aid items, books, toys and school items - notebooks, pencils, pens, old uniforms or school bags - are all useful.
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 1086.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
After your travels, we want to hear from you! This is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next trip if your feedback is completed online within 4 weeks of finishing your trip.