Visit India and Nepal on an adventure from Delhi to Kathmandu

Travel from India to Nepal on an overland trip from Delhi to Kathmandu. From reminders of the Mughal dynasty in northern India to the snow-capped Himalayas of Nepal, this trip will truly inspire. Witness the colour and contrast between the bazaars of Delhi, the jungle in Orchha and the sacred Ganges. Be awed by the Taj Mahal and see sunrise over the holy city of Varanasi. Come face-to-face with pilgrims, villagers, holy men and shopkeepers. For those wanting to travel by land between these two very different neighbours, this is the perfect journey.


Start
New Delhi, India
Finish
Kathmandu, Nepal
Countries
India, Nepal
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer
Code
HHSK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why we love this trip

  • Explore Old Delhi by foot and cycle rickshaw, where ancient temples stand against extravagant billboards advertising Bollywood films

  • Discover how the Taj Mahal, one of the most recognisable buildings in the world, still has the power to surprise even the most experienced travellers

  • Forget about setting an alarm, there’s only one way to wake up in this world and that’s with a sunrise sail along the Ganges

  • The chance to come face-to-face with black-horned rhinos in Chitwan National Park

  • Fall in love with Nepal, prayer flags and spicy chai in stunning Kathmandu

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip includes several long travel days including the overnight sleeper train in the evening of day 5 (approx. 15 hrs) and Varanasi to Lumbini (Nepal) on day 9 (approx. 10 hours) Some patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment here. Sit back, relax, watch the scenery go by, and embrace travelling like a local.

  • This trip crosses the India-Nepal border on Day 9.

  • Long distance and overnight trains can often be delayed and occasionally cancelled due to heavy fog between Dec-Feb. Please see the transport section of the essential trip information.

  • It does get cold in winter in the north of India and Nepal. Please keep this in mind when packing.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to India. This adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 1pm on Day 1. 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, maybe arrive a day early so you're able to attend. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. At the meeting have your insurance details and next of kin information ready for collection. In Delhi, watch one of the world's greatest shows unfold as people, traffic, cows and kids all work together in a kind of organised chaos around historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars. This afternoon 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 an optional 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. This evening, maybe grab a chai, put your feet up and let it all soak in.

Notes: With just one day in Delhi on this tour, perhaps arrive a few days early to more fully explore the city. Perhaps visit the World Heritage-listed Mughal masterpiece of Humayun's Tomb, the first garden tomb in India, built in 1570. Wonder at the tall brick minaret of Qutub Minar, which was started all the way back in the 12th century, or explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it played an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR500
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR500
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Agra might not be the prettiest city in the world, but the minute you see its iconic sites that won’t matter one bit. After arriving into the city today by one of India's faster air-conditioned trains (approximately 3 hours) you’ll head straight to the most recognisable sight in India. It doesn’t matter who you are, the Taj Mahal will exceed all your expectations with the morning light shimmering off its white marble surface. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century Taj is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture, surrounded by trimmed English gardens. The highlights keep coming as you take a motorised rickshaw tour, a truly fun and Intrepid way to see the monuments of Agra. Later, you'll also visit Akbar's Mausoleum – a beautiful sandstone and marble tomb built for the greatest of the Mughal emperors.
Included Activities
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. This morning you’ll enter the dark red sandstone stronghold of Agra Fort - part fortress, part palace and part prison - and search through throne rooms and tiny but incredibly decorated mosques. Later, travel by air-conditioned train from Agra to Jhansi (approximately 3 hrs). Upon arrival in Jhansi, travel through traditional rural Indian landscapes to reach the beautiful town of Orchha on the banks of the Betwa River (approximately 45 minutes). Here you’ll have the opportunity to uncover a very different side of India. Initially a hunting area, Orchha has changed very little over the centuries. Despite its small size it is filled with many beautiful temples and palaces, build here in the 16th century by the ruling Bundelas clan. When you arrive, take an orientation walk in rural areas untouched by modern life and meet the very friendly locals. This evening witness the Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony at the shrine at the heart of the city.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orchha - Orientation walk
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
  • Agra Fort - Agra
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you'll visit the stunning Orchha Palace, built by Bir Sing Deo for his friend Jehangir, the great Mughal ruler. Take note of the grand Iwans (domes) that were built large enough to allow the movement of war elephants. You’ll also make a stop at Taragram, one of our Responsible Tourism projects. Taragram is a paper making factory that enables local tribal women to work outside the realm usually afforded to them. The paper is crafted from wood pulp and recycled clothing.
Accommodation
  • Heritage Property (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you'll get to soak up the unique atmosphere of Orchha, and excitingly you'll get to soak up the local flavours too. Learn about the local cuisine, it's ingredients and how it's prepared, in a cooking demonstration with our local friends. Taste the unforgettable results. This evening you’ll return to Jhansi and board an overnight train to Allahabad (approximately 9 hours), the starting point for your Ganges boat trip.

Notes: Sleeper trains are usually comfortable and air-conditioned (sometimes fan-cooled), and are a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Most of the time sheets, pillow and blanket are 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.
Accommodation
  • Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Arrive in Allahabad and visit Anand Bhavan - the ancestral home of the Nehru family - which witnessed several history-making events during the Indian freedom struggle. You'll then experience the sacred River Ganges, lifeblood of millions of Indian people, with a boat cruise through the heart of rural India. Transfer to the Ganges (approximately 2 hours) by small riverboats for the sailing trip. A support crew will be on hand as you sail down this iconic waterway, passing village communities and viewing river life as it goes on around you. The boats are equipped with life jackets, the deck has mattresses and cushions to relax on, and it’s all covered with a cloth roof for sun protection. Arrive at your campsite and relax riverside, read a book or play some cricket. Watch the sun go down and eat a delicious vegetarian meal prepared by the boatmen.

Notes: Tents are twin share with mattresses and blankets provided. It gets cold in winter, so a sleeping bag is recommended if travelling at this time. There is a squat toilet tent, and no showers available. Lunch, dinner and breakfast are provided during you time camping. Water and soft drinks are available to purchase, but no alcohol is allowed here, as the Ganges is a sacred place. Please note that due to high water levels on the River Ganges and the associated safety concerns, the boat trip won't operate during the monsoon or other times of heavy rainfall. Departures affected by such safety concerns will be communicated during the trip by your leader – it's difficult to know well in advance how much rain there's likely to be at any point in time. In these cases, an extra night will be spent in Varanasi including a visit to the temple complex of Sarnath, the place where Lord Buddha gave his first sermon.
Accommodation
  • Ganges camping safari (1 night)
Included Activities
  • River Ganges - Overnight Boat Trip
  • Allahabad - Anand Bhavan (Nehru House)
Meals Included
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Leaving your boats at Chunar, transfer by private vehicle to Varanasi (approximately 2 hours). This is one of holiest cities around, the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Overflowing with temples, shrines and devotees, Varanasi might not be one of the world's cleanest cities but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most amazing. Set off on a walking tour of the oldest part of the city, bustling with tourists and priests, and see different rituals being performed. Wander through the Old City with its maze of narrow alleyways packed full of small shops and stalls, and lumbering cows. See pilgrims bathing and performing rituals and ceremonies unchanged for hundreds of years; temples full of bell chimes and the smell of incense; the dhobi wallahs and the burning ghats. This evening soak up the unique magical atmosphere of a candle flower ceremony as the sun sets.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
  • Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river as you pass. The rest of the day is free for you to use as you like. There’s an option to take a trip to nearby Sarnath, one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Or perhaps visit Ram Nagar Fort, a crumbling 17th century fort and palace on the eastern bank of the Ganges, that’s the ancestral home of the Maharaja of Banaras. Alternatively the day can be spent exploring the laneways and alleys behind the ghats, picking up some examples of the excellent local silk industry, or perfecting yoga in this most chakra-balancing of places.
Included Activities
  • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat cruise
Optional Activities
  • Varanasi - Ram Nagar Fort - INR150
  • Varanasi - Sarnath day trip (entry only) - INR250
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today it’s wave goodbye and say Namaste, as you leave India and cross the border into Neapl. Travel from Varanasi to the Nepalese border, via Gorakhpur. Though there’s always something to look at out the windows, it’s a good idea to have some other entertainment on hand for the long day of travelling ahead (approximately 8-10 hours including stops). For groups of less than 5 you will travel by car and for bigger groups by bus. On entering Nepal, take a private bus to your hotel in Lumbini (approximately 1 hour). This is no ordinary border town, but the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and one of his four holy places of pilgrimage. It's said in the Parinibbana Sutta that Buddha identified the sites as those of his birth, enlightenment, first discourse and death. You’ll visit the beautiful Ashoka Pillars and hop on cycle rickshaws to the Maya Devi Temple, the actual site where Lord Buddha is thought to have been born.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Lumbini - Ashoka Pillars, Maya Devi Temple & Heritage Park
Meals Included
  • Lunch
Continue your journey by private vehicle through the Terai to Chitwan National Park (approx 5 hours), which sits at the base of the Himalayas. UNESCO declared the area a World Heritage site in 1984, and it offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Asia, with rhino, deer, monkeys and a wide array of birdlife including the infamous Nepalese wild chickens all here. Arrive and settle in to your accommodation before jumping on a bike to explore a local village. In the evening, prepare for tomorrow’s exploration of the park with a presentation on the park's history, flora and fauna.

Notes: Please be aware that due to safety concerns we have suspended all wildlife jungle walks within Chitwan National Park.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chitwan - Village Bike Tour
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today after breakfast, take a walk to the Rapti river from where you’ll be taken by boat to Ghagtai village (approximately 3.5 hours). On foot, enjoy exploring the village full of friendly locals, and some brilliantly-coloured-bird watching along the Rapti river, which shelters about a quarter of the world's remaining gharial population. This fish-eating crocodile has long been hunted for the supposed aphrodisiac qualities of its snout. Learn more about them when you drop by the crocodile breeding centre. Spend the night in a lodge with a view of the river in Ghagtai tonight.

Notes: From October (to June) when jeep safaris resume you will boat part of the way before meeting drivers and touring the national park by vehicle (approximately 3-4 hours), finishing in Ghatgai in the late afternoon. Your accommodation in Ghatgai is simple with basic facilities and food, but plenty of jungle ambience. Toilet and bathroom facilities are shared.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Today you’ll return to your base in Chitwan National Park via Twenty Thousand Lakes (Bis Hajaar Tal). Nepal’s second largest natural wetland, this beautiful reserve area is a maze of small lakes that teems with wildlife. Home to numerous crocodiles, this is one of the park’s best areas for birdwatching, with hundreds of species using it as a migratory route stop. If you’re lucky you might catch some more sights of the Indian Rhino. You’ll return to your accommodation in the afternoon, when there’ll be time to relax, or to take part in a number of optional activities – including biking, bird watching, cultural performances, canoe rides, or village tours.

Notes: Elephant Performances & Elephant Riding. While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures.
Accommodation
  • Lodge (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today you'll journey by bus from Chitwan to Nepal's capital, Kathmandu (approximately 6 hrs). This is a ride that takes in all the sights that define Nepal: iridescent rice terraces, deep gorges, fast-flowing rivers and looming mountains. Kathmandu is a mixture of ancient architecture and modern development and, with its rich artistic and cultural heritage, it remains the legendary destination it has been for decades. Crowded markets and bazaars are the centre of Nepali life and the narrow streets are home to holy men, monks, bicycles, incense, goats and sacred cows. Perhaps head out into Durbar Square, in front of the old royal palace and home to numerous beautiful temples, and browse the stalls of merchant's wares.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Durbar Square - NPR1000
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll head out to the ancient Swayambhunath stupa, known to tourists as the Monkey Temple and Kathmandu's most important Buddhist shrine. The sleepy, all-seeing Buddha eyes that stare out from the top have become the quintessential symbol of Nepal. You’ll also join the pilgrims at Bodhnath Stupa – the largest stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It's the centre of Tibetan culture in Kathmandu, rich in Buddhist symbolism, and you can observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. You will also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here you will see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing, and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. There are also a number of optional activities to take advantage of if you have the time. Perhaps explore Patan's Durbar Square. The square and its surroundings – including the Royal Palace of Patan and a series of temples – are good specimens of ancient Newari architecture. Bhaktapur, located about 20 km east of Kathmandu, is known as the 'City of Devotees' and is Nepal's cultural gem. It’s filled with monuments, palaces and temples of elaborate carvings, gilded roofs and open courtyards. Maybe take-off on a flight from Kathmandu airport to see some spectacular mountain scenery. Those who don't have the opportunity to go trekking can get panoramic views of the Himalayas in just an hour.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Early Morning Everest Scenic Flight - USD220
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your adventure through Nepal and India ends today and you're free to leave the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu by Bike Urban Adventure - USD89
  • Kathmandu - Rickshaw Night Explorer Urban Adventure - USD68
  • Kathmandu - Path to a Hidden Monastery Urban Adventure - USD83
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu Living Urban Adventure - USD80
  • Kathmandu - Exploring Patan & Bhaktapur Urban Adventure - USD141
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.

Meals

3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners

Transport

Auto rickshaw, Canoe, Cycle rickshaw, Jeep, Metro, Overnight sleeper train, Private vehicle, Shuttle Bus, Train

Accommodation

Camping (with basic facilities) (1 night), Guesthouse (1 night), Heritage Property (2 nights), Hotel (7 nights), Lodge (2 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Delhi - Old Delhi Walking Tour
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Akbar's Mausoleum
  • Orchha - Orientation walk
  • Orchha - Ram Raja Temple puja (prayer) ceremony
  • Agra Fort - Agra
  • Orchha - Orchha Palace
  • Orchha - Taragram visit
  • Orchha - Cooking demonstration
  • River Ganges - Overnight Boat Trip
  • Allahabad - Anand Bhavan (Nehru House)
  • Varanasi - Sunset Candle Flower Ceremony
  • Varanasi - Old City Walking Tour
  • Varanasi - Sunrise Boat cruise
  • Lumbini - Ashoka Pillars, Maya Devi Temple & Heritage Park
  • Chitwan - Village Bike Tour
  • Chitwan - Canoe safari, Bird Watching walk or Jeep safari
  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple
  • Kathmandu - Bodhnath Stupa
  • Kathmandu - Pashupatinath Temple

Dates & availability

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Important notes

IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
Indian authorities have announced that all 500 and 1,000 rupee banknotes will be withdrawn from circulation.
Until new notes are issued, you should not accept any denomination higher than 100 rupees (around AUD 2)
Please ensure you receive change from any purchases in 100 rupee notes or smaller.
We suggest you carry cash from your home country to exchange locally and withdraw India Rupees from ATM's at the airport

This trip starts in Delhi on day one at 1pm.
A single supplement is available on this trip and is applicable for all nights with the exception of night 5 on the overnight train. See under the Single Traveller section of your Trip Notes for more information.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

Reviews

Our Delhi to Kathmandu trips score an average of 4.9 out of 5 based on 117 reviews in the last year.

Delhi to Kathmandu, November 2016

Jon Williams

Delhi to Kathmandu, November 2016

Erin Fredericks