Nepal & India Journey

16 Days from $2,415

START: Kathmandu

FINISH: Delhi

AGES: 15 - 99

THEME: Explorer

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

Take a journey through Nepal and India on a 16-day tour that avoids the tourist crowds in favour of slices of authentic daily life. Look for Bengal tigers in the jungle during two safari excursions in Nepal’s Bardia National Park, Explore the palatial hallway’s and gardens of Lucknow’s Mighal-era buildings and watch a fire ceremony along the holy Ganges River in the spiritual city of Rishikesh, all before exploring the iconic cities that make up India’s famous Golden Triangle – Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, where you’ll experience the history of massive forts, the opulence and splendour of Rajasthan's palaces, the bustle and buzz of markets and bazaars, and the traditions of a heritage stay. Travel through two contrasting lands on an adventure jam-packed with unforgettable highlights.

Start: Kathmandu

Finish: Delhi

Ages: 15 - 99

Theme: Explorer

Accommodation: Heritage Property (1 night), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Hotel (12 nights)

Destination: Delhi

Highlights

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Look for Bengal tigers, one horned rhinos and other wildlife on two safari excursions in Bardia National Park, where recent Nepalese efforts have resulted in tiger populations doubling since 2009.
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Explore the faded beauty and mural-lined corridors of Chaurasi Kutia, more commonly known today as 'The Beatles Ashram' in Rishikesh! Check out the now deserted ashram where they composed some of their hit songs in the 60s
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Watch the nightly Ganga Aarti ceremony unfold along the Ganges River in Rishikesh, gathering with the local community to watch this captivating ritual involving fire and music.
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Discover the delights of under-touristed, hip, and foodie city of Lucknow. From the palatial grounds of the Bara Imambara religious complex to the rich, spice-heavy Awadhi food the city is famous for.
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Float among the clouds over Jaipur and watch an Indian sunrise from the basket of a hot air balloon on an optional balloon safari.
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Visit the monumental Amber Fort – overlooking the picturesque scene of Moata Lake, this is one sight that will forever be under India’s protection.
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Experience authentic Rajasthani luxury with a heritage stay in Karauli, a delightful town packed with rural ambience and traditional temples.

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Kathmandu

Welcome to Kathmandu! Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting. If you arrive with time to spare, you can get under the city’s skin quickly with an Urban Adventure like Cook in Kathmandu, a traditional cooking class full of fun and flavour. If you’d prefer to explore on your own, perhaps head out into the narrow streets – home to holy men, monks, bicycles, and sacred cows – and buy souvenirs or chill out with cool drink. Just remember you’ll have tour the city’s primary sights tomorrow with your leader.

icon check Day 2 : Kathmandu

Hit the streets on a walking tour with your leader. Visit the remarkable temple complex of Pashupatinath, the oldest Hindu temple in Kathmandu. The complex sits on the Bagmati River and it’s possible that while you are here you will encounter local people cremating their loved ones. This can be confronting for some travellers, but it’s undeniably a moving experience and your leader will be on hand to illuminate the practise for you. You will also see the Boddhanath Stupa, a massive stupa (one of the largest in the world) decorated with streams of prayer flags. Explore Swayambhunath (AKA the Monkey Temple), another temple complex that is filled with monkeys considered holy by Buddhist devotees.

icon check Day 3 : Bardia National Park

Take a morning flight to Nepalgunj. If the weather is playing nicely, this is a great chance to check out the Himalayas from a unique vantage point. From Nepalgunj make the 1-hour drive to Bardia National Park. Settle into your riverside lodge and relax until this evening’s safari excursion. Once night falls (when the wildlife is most active) head out on a safari in search of rhinos, deer, monkeys, a wide array of bird life and (drumroll please) Bengal tigers. The World Wildlife Foundation recently announced that Nepal has almost doubled its population of wild tigers since 2010, making this the perfect time to try and spot them among the subtropical forest and grasslands.

icon check Day 4 : Bardia National Park

Rise and shine for another safari, this time in the morning light. Look for elephants and gharial crocodiles on the shore of the river and let your guide point out the incredible array of birdlife and other creatures. After your safari, spend the rest of your day exploring or relaxing at your lodge. Bardia has become an example of how sustainable tourism can benefit both the environment and the people that live there.

icon check Day 5 : Lucknow

Depart Bardia National Park and drive 1 hour to the Nepal—India border. Cross the border and continue to the delightfully named Lucknow (6 hours). On arrival set out with your leader on an orientation tour and get your first glimpses of its parks, mosques, palaces and other monuments – completed in a mixture of architectural styles. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free for you to explore at your own pace. Lucknow is more than just it’s Mughal and colonial-era buildings. Perhaps head out tonight to try some of the famous rich Awadhi food the city is famous for.

icon check Day 6 : Lucknow - Overnight Train

Head to the Bara Imambara, a religious complex for Twelver Shia Muslims that embodies the opulent design of the Moghul era. Spend some time exploring the vast halls, gardens and rooms of the complex. Continue to Sheroes Hangout, a social enterprise café operated by an inspiring female team of acid attack survivors. Sample some included tea and snacks and learn a little more about their stories and perseverance, plus the work they do through the cafe. Then choose whether to join an optional excursion to the Chota Imambara, another Shia Muslim complex with elaborate buildings and intricate design (though less grand than the one visited this morning). In the evening, board an overnight train to Rishikesh, a journey which will take about 13 hours.

icon check Day 7 : Rishikesh

Arrive in Rishikesh in the morning and set out on an orientation walk with your leader. Hugging the snaking Ganges River, Rishikesh is a Hindu pilgrimage town known as the 'Yoga Capital of the World'. With colourful ashrams and temples lining the river, Rishikesh is also a very picturesque place to wander, even if you’re not seeking enlightenment. In the evening, head to the riverside to watch the nightly Ganga Aarti fire ritual unfold. Temple bells will begin to ring to signify the beginning of the captivating ceremony, which is both a form of worship and a chance for community congregation.

icon check Day 8 : Rishikesh

Pay a visit to the faded but mural-lined walls of Chaurasi Kutia, the ashram made internationally famous (long with Rishikesh by association) when the Beatles visited in the 1960s. Explore the crumbling beauty of the former ashram, now covered in graffiti related to the band and counterculture. Then choose whether to hit the waters of the Ganges on an optional whitewater rafting excursion. Unlike elsewhere in India, in Rishikesh the waters of the holy river are clear, clean and safe to swim in. Spend the afternoon and evening doing whatever you please in the city that wears its spirit on its sleeve.

icon check Day 9 : Delhi

Spend a day doing whatever you feel like in Rishikesh. It’s an awesome place to look for souvenirs or take a sitar lesson. If the vibe of the town has got you craving something a little more (inner) peaceful, perhaps choose from one of the many, many yoga or meditation classes on offer. Ask your leader if you want help sorting the fakes from the true devotees. In the evening, board your train to Delhi (approximately 5 hours). Depending on what time you arrive in Delhi, you may have the opportunity to welcome any new travellers joining you on the next stage of your adventure through India.

icon check Day 10 : Delhi

Join your group leader on an excursion through Old Delhi. Ride the city’s metro system, and then hop in a rickshaw to the once water-filled square of Chandni Chowk. Discover the Jama Masjid, Delhi’s oldest mosque, before learning about the history of the Sikh religion at the Sheeshganj Gurudwara.

icon check Day 11 : Jaipur

Travel by private vehicle into Rajasthan and on to its capital, Jaipur (approximately 5 - 6 hours). A friendly, busy city crammed with palaces and bazaars full of jewellery, textiles and folk arts, Jaipur is a favourite for many travellers. Our suggestions are to stop by the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), then head over to Jaipur's Royal City Palace and explore its extravagant rooms and apartments. Later, discover one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur.

icon check Day 12 : Jaipur

Choose to take an early morning hot air balloon experience, often a highlight of visiting Jaipur. Ballooning can be done over Jaipur on the morning of day four between September and June. Mid afternoon visit the Amber Fort. Set on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is an authentic example of Rajput architecture and the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors) is one of its more spectacular buildings.

icon check Day 13 : Karauli

Leave the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur behind and drive to Karauli (approximately 5-6 hours). This delightful town was founded in 1348 and is packed with rural ambience and traditional temples. Take a guided walk around the Old Quarter, interacting with friendly locals and learning about rural Indian life off the tourist trail. Be sure to visit the eclectic market stalls along the way and sample some seasonal local sweets made from Indian ingredients, including petha (pumpkin), jaggery (organic sugar), peanut brittle and gazak (sesame seeds). Stay in a restored heritage property tonight where dinner is included.

icon check Day 14 : Fatehpur Sikri - Agra

On the journey to Agra, stop en route at the one-time capital of the Mughal empire, Fatehpur Sikri (approximately 4 hours). Its stunning mosque displays both Persian and Hindu design and is secured by a 54-metre high entrance. Once in Agra, there’s the option of visiting the marble tomb that was saved for the greatest of the Mughal Emperors, Akbar's Mausoleum. The day then culminates in a visit to the Taj Mahal, built in the 1640s as a memorial to the wife of Emperor Shah Jahan.

icon check Day 15 : Delhi

In the morning, take a guided tour along the banks of the Yamuna River to the iconic Agra Fort. Originally designed by Emperor Akbar in 1565 to be a military structure, it was converted into a palace during Emperor Shah Jahan's reign and later became his prison. Perhaps stop for lunch at Sheroes Hangout, a vegetarian & vegan cafe. This beautiful cafe is a one of kind social enterprise providing employment and opportunities for women who were the victims of acid attacks. In the early afternoon, take the 3-4 hour journey back to Delhi by private bus. Arrive back at the hotel with enough time to freshen up and decide where to enjoy one final dinner with the group.

icon check Day 16 : Delhi

There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart the accommodation at any time. Check out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel. If you decide to stay an extra couple of days, there are plenty of activities in and around the city to enjoy.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

3 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners
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Transport

Plane, Private vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle/Jeep, Overnight sleeper train, Train, Shuttle Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Auto rickshaw, Metro
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Accommodation

Heritage Property (1 night), Jungle Lodge (2 nights), Hotel (12 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Agra - Agra Fort

Availabilityicon readmoreicon minus

Starts
Ends
Price
Availability
Feb 17, 2020
Mar 03, 2020
$2,415
Available
Apr 06, 2020
Apr 21, 2020
$2,415
Available
May 10, 2020
May 25, 2020
$2,415
Available
Sep 14, 2020
Sep 29, 2020
$2,415
Available
Sep 28, 2020
Oct 13, 2020
$2,415
Available
Oct 12, 2020
Oct 27, 2020
$2,415
Available
Oct 26, 2020
Nov 10, 2020
$2,415
Available
Nov 02, 2020
Nov 17, 2020
$2,415
Available
Nov 09, 2020
Nov 24, 2020
$2,415
Available
Nov 23, 2020
Dec 08, 2020
$2,415
Available
Dec 07, 2020
Dec 22, 2020
$2,415
Available
Dec 14, 2020
Dec 29, 2020
$2,415
Available
Dec 21, 2020
Jan 05, 2021
$2,415
Available

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Hotel Moonlight

#16, Paknajol, Thamel, Bagmati, Kathmandu

Kathmandu

NEPAL

Phone: 977 14383566

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Hotel Good Times

8/7, W.E.A. Opposite Ramjas School Pusa Road

Karol Bagh

Delhi

110005

INDIA

Phone: +91 1145144444

icon readmoreicon minusAlternate Finish point

For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.

17 Feb 2020 (HHSTC200217), 06 Apr 2020 (HHSTC200406), 10 May 2020 (HHSTC200510), 14 Sep 2020 (HHSTC200914), 28 Sep 2020 (HHSTC200928), 12 Oct 2020 (HHSTC201012), 26 Oct 2020 (HHSTC201026), 02 Nov 2020 (HHSTC201102), 09 Nov 2020 (HHSTC201109), 23 Nov 2020 (HHSTC201123), 07 Dec 2020 (HHSTC201207), 14 Dec 2020 (HHSTC201214), 21 Dec 2020 (HHSTC201221)

Clarks Inn Kailash Colony

A-1, Kailash Colony Near Metro Station Pillar No. 89

Delhi

INDIA

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. A valid Indian visa is required prior to travel. This trip arrives into India overland from Nepal and e-visas are not valid at land borders.

2. A single supplement is available for this trip and is applicable for all nights with the exception of the overnight train.

2.Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate from September 1st to April 31st and last approximately 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost. You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip. Payment must be made by cash in either INR/AUD/USD/GBP only and is USD$260pp (subject to change). Flights are subject to availability and weather conditions (tickets are fully refundable in case of bad weather).

3. As this is a combination trip, the composition of your group, as well as the group leader, may change on Day 10.

icon readmoreicon minusGroup 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.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

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 trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight 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 or relax and take it easy. 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:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-field

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.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusCommunications

WIFI

Generally WiFi is available in most parts of India and at most of the accommodation we use. It's usually free in public areas of hotels but some properties will charge for in room use. Please ask your tour leader or the specific hotel reception upon check in. Many restaurants and cafes (especially in tourist areas) offer customers free WiFi. Ask for the password when ordering.

Internet cafes are widespread in India and connections are usually reasonably fast, except in more remote areas.

MOBILE

You can purchase a SIM at the airport (or at kiosks everywhere) for use while travelling in India. Airtel or vodaphone are a good bet. SIMs are relatively cheap. You will need to usually provide 2 passport sized photos and a copy of your passport will be made.

MAIL

Posting airmail letters to anywhere overseas costs ₹25/15. International airmail postcards cost around ₹12. For postcards, stick the stamps on before writing, as the post office can give you as many as four stamps per card. The post office is always a fun adventure in India!

WIFI:

Hotels in Kathmandu generally have excellent WiFi connections. Most hotels offer free WiFi in public areas, with some also offering in room WIFI, sometimes for an additional fee. While trekking WiFi may be available in tea houses and lodges for a small cost. The higher you go the more the use of WiFi and internet will cost, and likely the slower the speed. Your tour leader will be able to offer some advice on communications in remote areas of the country. Please note that most teahouses do not have electrical outlets in rooms to charge devices but are shared in the main dining area, for an additional fee. Past travellers have found portable solar chargers to be very useful.

icon readmoreicon minusVisas

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.

NEPAL:

All foreign nationals (except Indian passport holders) require a visa to enter Nepal. Visas are obtainable from embassies abroad, land borders (including borders with India & Tibet) and on arrival at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan Airport.

Getting a visa at the airport or land borders can sometimes take time due to long queues. There have been instances when travellers are asked to show proof of exit from the country, ie flight tickets. You may also need to provide two passport photos and the following fees in US dollars (subject to change, cash only). Other currencies are also accepted although rates may differ. The following costs were correct at time of writing:

- Multi entry visa valid for 15 days - US$30

- Multi entry visa valid for 30 days - US$50

- Multi entry visa valid for 90 days - US$125

Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the website www.timeanddate.com to be very useful.

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:

- 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.

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

- 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/index.html

This is the official visa online site. There have been reports of other non-official websites that travellers should be aware of.

BORDER CROSSINGS:

Your visa application form may require you to state the dates on which you enter and exit that country. Please note we suggest you list your date of entry a few days before, and date of exit a few days after, your intended dates in case you encounter any delays or problems en route. The following are the international / administrative border crossings for this trip:

Day 5 - Exit Nepal at Nepalgunj and enter India at Jamunaha

To help calculate the exact dates of these crossings we have found the following website to be very useful: www.timeanddate.com

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Look for Bengal tigers, one horned rhinos and other wildlife on two safari excursions in Bardia National Park, where recent Nepalese efforts have resulted in tiger populations doubling since 2009.

Explore the faded beauty and mural-lined corridors of Chaurasi Kutia, more commonly known today as 'The Beatles Ashram' in Rishikesh! Check out the now deserted ashram where they composed some of their hit songs in the 60s

Watch the nightly Ganga Aarti ceremony unfold along the Ganges River in Rishikesh, gathering with the local community to watch this captivating ritual involving fire and music.

Discover the delights of under-touristed, hip, and foodie city of Lucknow. From the palatial grounds of the Bara Imambara religious complex to the rich, spice-heavy Awadhi food the city is famous for.

Float among the clouds over Jaipur and watch an Indian sunrise from the basket of a hot air balloon on an optional balloon safari.

Visit the monumental Amber Fort – overlooking the picturesque scene of Moata Lake, this is one sight that will forever be under India’s protection.

Experience authentic Rajasthani luxury with a heritage stay in Karauli, a delightful town packed with rural ambience and traditional temples.

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

You must have an Indian visa in your passport prior to starting this trip. This trip crosses the Nepal—India border on day 7. Indian E-visas are not valid for entering the country at land borders.

Just as a heads up before you book: the first 10 days of this trip is new to our range in 2020. While we have thoroughly researched every detail of the logistics, new destinations can sometimes throw us some unexpected surprises. More often than not, it’ll be a great surprise. But every now and again there might be a hiccup. We like to think that’s what puts the ‘adventure’ in ‘adventure travel’.

Travelling across India wouldn’t be complete without a journey on a sleeper train. With padded bunks and vendors selling chai and samosas, they’re a quintessential Indian experience and perfect for catching up on sleep and getting more daylight hours to explore each destination.

Long distance and overnight trains in India are often delayed and occasionally cancelled due to heavy fog between December and February. Some patience and preparation (like a nice long podcast you downloaded earlier) will go a long way if this occurs.

Nepal and north India can get surprisingly cold in winter and (unsurprisingly) hot in summer. Please make sure you check seasonal weather guides, pick a travel time that suits your comfort level and pack accordingly.

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 so we can be respectful and comfortable during our sightseeing.

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

All 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 before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

MOSQUITO-BORNE ILLNESSES:

Malaria is a risk in many parts of India, including major cities. Cases of dengue fever are reported, especially in the period after the monsoon. Other mosquito-borne diseases (including Japanese encephalitis, chikungunya fever and filariasis) also occur. Take preventative measures such as as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. Consult a medical professional regarding prophylaxis against malaria. For more information, see the World Health Organisation's fact sheets: http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/vector_ecology/mosquito-borne-diseases/en/

ZIKA VIRUS:

India is classified as an ongoing transmission zone for Zika, with confirmed cases in Tamil Nadu and Jaipur.  Basic precautions for protection from mosquito bites should be taken by people traveling to Zika transmission areas, especially pregnant women.

OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES:

Water-borne, food-borne, parasitic and other infectious diseases (including meningitis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, diphtheria and rabies) are common in India. Tap water is not safe to drink. Home-made or unlabelled alcohol can be poisonous. Seek medical attention if you suspect food poisoning, if you have a fever or suffer from diarrhoea.

AIR POLLUTION:

During winter months (October-February), air pollution levels in parts of India can spike to hazardous levels. Severe pollution can increase the risk of respiratory problems. Those with pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart and lung conditions, may be especially affected. Your leader can assist you to obtain a face mask if required.

INFLUENZA

Cases of influenza A(H1N1) are widespread in India during winter with a number of recent cases in Rajasthan. Discuss influenza vaccination requirements with your doctor or a travel health professional before departing and maintain good hygiene practices by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing, and washing your hands regularly. For more information, see the World Health Organisation's fact sheets: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal)

AIR POLLUTION:

During winter months (October-February), air pollution levels in parts of India can spike to hazardous levels. Severe pollution can increase the risk of respiratory problems. Those with pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart and lung conditions, may be especially affected.

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

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.

FOOD IN INDIA:

Food is a way of life in India. You can snack for a bargain or dine in the finest Indian restaurants. Generally you can eat very cheaply in India. There is a huge choice of restaurants and street stalls serving traditional and local Indian food. In bigger restaurants in areas frequented by more tourists there is a choice between Indian, Chinese and Western style food. Here's some ideas of what to try: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/best-food-in-india/

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/foodies-guide-south-india/

Please note that service in restaurants (especially with a group) can be quite slow so patience is a must.

India caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg and pure veg section of the menu. If in doubt please check with your tour leader. See our guide to eating vegan in India here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/india-vegan-food-guide/

Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly. For some more advice on avoiding "Delhi belly", see our article here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/how-to-avoid-delhi-belly-in-india/

FOOD IN NEPAL:

In Kathmandu and Pokhara there are plenty of restaurants and cafes for all tastes and budgets. For a glimpse at what traditional Nepali cuisine entails, check out our guide here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/guide-to-nepali-cuisine/

Nepal caters very well towards vegetarians and vegans with almost all restaurants having a veg section of the menu. Your tour leader will be able to direct you towards restaurants that are known to have better hygiene, especially in tourist areas where they are travelling with our groups regularly.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR). It's symbol is ₹. The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via ATMs, which are readily available in most towns. Look for Bank of India or ICICI ATMs. Our experience has shown they are the most reliable ATMs to use for withdrawals. Cash shortages at ATMs can be a problem in rural areas. 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 higher end establishments.

NEPAL:

The official currency of Nepal is the Nepali rupee (NPR). Its symbol is often displayed as Rs. USD are also widely accepted in Nepal. ATMs can only be found in Kathmandu, Pokhara, and Bhaktapur. Make sure you carry sufficient cash to cover your needs when travelling outside of these cities. Money exchange facilities are available in Kathmandu, Namche, Pokhara, Chitwan (only outside the park) and Bhaktapur. Credit cards are not widely accepted.

The Government of Nepal has banned the import, export and use of 500 and 1000 Indian rupee notes in Nepal. You should ensure you are not carrying these notes on arrival in Nepal as they will be confiscated and you may be fined.

Please note that most establishments in Asia will not accept foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded and they can be very difficult to exchange or extra fees added when exchanging at banks. Please ensure that you have new, clean notes.

Before departing on a trek, make sure you have enough Nepalese currency to purchase meals and drinks, in the smaller denominations where possible, as there are no ATMs and larger notes (such as 1000R) can be difficult to change.

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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 amount to budget for on this trip is INR3500.

Please note that this doesn’t cover a tip for your tour leader.

Your Group Leader: You may 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.

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.

Gratuities aren’t compulsory on your trip, but they can make a big difference to locals employed in the tourism industry. We suggest carrying small notes of local currency around as you go. It’ll make tipping easier.

TIPPING

If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's 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.

Your Tour Leader:

You may consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$3-US$5 per person (in local currency), per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

Commissions:

The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, we have established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. We aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.

Optional Tipping Kitty:

On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

MAIN LUGGAGE What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances including up and down stairs and in busy train stations. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg. Small, wheeled suitcases that can also easily be picked up and carried are the best for travel in this part of the world, although if you prefer, a back pack is also fine. If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. DAY PACK A day pack for carrying essentials when exploring destinations as well as for short overnight stays will be useful. On overnight trains packing this with the essentials you need to access during the trip will also be very useful. Below are some ideas and helpful tips on what you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIALS: - Lightweight clothing. A mixture of lightweight clothing and warm layers. Clothes should be easy to wash and dry. Maybe bring a change of smart clothes for dinner in bigger cities. Clothing that covers arms and pants/skirts that go past the knee for entry into local temples. - Closed-in shoes (to protect from cuts/scratches/insect bites on city and countryside walks) - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses RECOMMENDED: - India and Nepal can get very cold (ie. below zero!) during winter (Dec to Feb). Many hotels in India do not have central heating. a good quality down jacket and layers are recommended at this time of year. - Personal medical kit, we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, Band-Aids and insect repellent. - Water bottle. At least 1.5litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. - Camera with spare batteries. Our trips have access to power to recharge batteries for phones and cameras most days but we recommend you take a spare battery for your camera. - A small chain and padlock for overnight trains is handy to keep your luggage safe and secure. OPTIONAL: - Sleeping bag. Useful for camping, overnight trains and poorly heated hotels, during the winter months of    Dec - Feb - Sleep sheet. - Ear plugs/eye mask  - A good book, a journal and music player - Binoculars for spotting wildlife OTHER USEFUL THINGS TO TAKE - reusable shopping bag for buying supplies for long journeys - slippers or flip flops - torch/flashlight - travel wipes - small towel - head scarf for women (for when entering temples or mosques) OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER - check weather in destinations you are travelling to online a few days before you go to make sure you pack appropriate clothing - laundry facilities may not be available in all destinations, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes to tide you over until your next chance to wash VALUABLES: Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables, and use your hotel safe. It’s also a good idea to purchase a money belt or pouch that is easily hidden. We strongly recommend that you photocopy/scan all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. MORE! If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

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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.

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GENERAL 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.

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

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, transfer or accommodation issues, you can reach our local India Intrepid office on their 24 hour number:

Intrepid Emergency number: +91 9999 005 019

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

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

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 World Animal Protection 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 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. Further information is available on the below link:

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/elephants-welfare

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation notes

ACCOMMODATION:

Some of the accommodation along the way is basic or simple, staying in local guesthouses and homestays. Some may have shared bathroom faciluties with cold water only. We use a mixture of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms. Some areas of India experience daily load shedding. This is where the power may be turned off at certain times of the day and usually occurs for a few hours in early afternoon. Most hotel properties have a restaurant or cafe serving local meals. Many restaurants and hotels do not serve alcohol for religious reasons or due to local laws. 

SHOWERS:

Showers at some hotels only have hot water at peak times (usually morning and evening). Outside of these times you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water.

ROOM ISSUES:

If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel and your tour leader right away rather than your travel agent so that the problem can be addressed without delay.

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 a different Intrepid trip 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 (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

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. Depending on the route, we travel 2AC or 3AC class as not all classes are available on all routes. Due to the complexity of the ticket purchasing system and high demand for tickets, we are unable to offer upgrades to other classes.

Second Class or 2 Tier AC (2AC) carriages have 4 berths in the compartment section and 2 berths in the aisle bay and individual reading lights. Third Class or 3 Tier AC (3AC) has 6 berths in the compartment and 2 in the aisle bay. Both have curtains for privacy. There are no sinks or charging points in these classes. During the day, bunks are folded away and serve as seats. Toilet facilities are located at either end of the carriage. There is usually an Indian style squat toilet at one end and a western style toilet at the other. You will need your own toilet paper or tissues and cleanliness will depend on the number of people using them. 

Beds are padded bunks, with sheets, pillow and blanket provided. Some people prefer to bring and use their own sleeping sheet. Your luggage travels with you on the train, so packing light will make your journey more comfortable.

Many 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, although the hygiene may not be up to standards you are used to at home.

Please note you may be sharing with other members of your group or locals on a mixed gender basis. Tickets are booked on a real name basis using your passport details. We book for all members of the group at the same time, but unfortunately this is no guarantee that we will be accommodated all together on the train. Your leader will do their best to swap with other travellers to allow people who booked together to travel together, but please be aware that this is not always possible. We may at times ask male travellers to swap with solo female travellers for safety considerations.

icon readmoreicon minusTravel 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

icon readmoreicon minusYour 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.

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 Essential Trip Information. 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.

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ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, 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 may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation

Heritage Property (1 night),Jungle Lodge (2 nights),Hotel (12 nights)

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