One Week in India

8 Days from $675

START: Delhi

FINISH: Delhi

AGES: 18 - 29

THEME: 18 to 29s

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Description

From the honking horns of Delhi’s rickshaws, to the glistening beauty of the Taj Mahal and a whole heap of flavoursome food in between, immerse your senses in the colourful chaos on this mind blowing, one-week trip through India. Spot the majestic tiger in Ranthambhore National Park, dance to bhangra bangers at a Bollywood blockbuster, see pink in the fiercely flamboyant city of Jaipur, be mesmerised by the pavilion of mirrors in Amber Fort and tikka-bite out of Delhi’s food scene – from spicy samosas to tongue-tingling tandoori. With all the included highlights and plenty of optional extras, create your own adventure in a country that nowhere else on earth can prepare you for.

Start: Delhi

Finish: Delhi

Ages: 18 - 29

Theme: 18 to 29s

Accommodation: Heritage Property (3 nights), Hotel (4 nights)

Destination: Delhi

Highlights

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The Taj Mahal is the mother of all mausoleums and a big part of Agra’s allure. Capture your best selfie in front of this marble masterpiece on an included visit to this Indian icon.
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With so much going on in the vibrant and chaotic capital of Delhi, a guide should almost be a requirement – let your expert leader navigate you through its busy, bustling and bold streets.
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From survivors to Sheroes, hang out at a cafe run by female acid attack survivors that encourages Indian society to re-evaluate its norms about beauty and appearance.
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Snap pics in front of a slew of ornate pink-hued buildings in the fabulously photogenic Jaipur and check yourself out in the pavilion of mirrors at Amber Fort.
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Ranthambhore National Park is the best location in India to spot the majestic tiger, keep your eyes peeled for these elusive creatures on an included 4WD safari.

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Delhi

Honk-honk! Beep-beep! Welcome to Delhi, a fabulously chaotic capital city that will warm your heart and overwhelm your senses. The air is thick with the smell of spices and the sound of mayhem as vendors whip up masala chai on the side-streets, locals barter at bazaars for the best bargain, bhangra music blasts from the alleyways and the honking horns of cycle-rickshaws resonate through vast crowds of colourful sari-clad women. With no activities planned until your welcome meeting at 6 pm, if you have time, why not go beyond the cliched curry and try some authentic Indian bites on a Delhi Food Walk with Urban Adventures. From homemade ice cream to fruit beer and dumplings, Delhi’s food scene is thriving and surprising, and what better way to tantalise your tastebuds than on a guided tour with a local expert – find out more at urbanadventures.com.

icon check Day 2 : Agra

Escape the Delhi madness this morning and take the 3-hour train ride through rural India to the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, home to the mother of all mausoleums – the Taj Mahal. Considered to be the most beautiful building in the world, you won’t be disappointed! On arrival, join your leader on an included visit to this world-famous monument, and catch your breath as you step through the ornate gates, and set your eyes upon the marble masterpiece that rises above the surrounding landscaped gardens and basks in the hazy Indian sun. Take your time to explore the grounds of this World Heritage Site. Practise your best Princess Di pose with the Taj as your backdrop or ask one of your new travel buddies to take a smashing snap of you that will make your Instagram account explode. After walking away wondering if you’ve ever seen anything quite as epic, head to the one-of-a-kind cafe, Sheroes Hangout. ‘She + heroes = Sheroes’ is a project that promotes social integration, employment and empowerment for women who’ve survived acid attacks, as well as forcing society to re-evaluate its norms about beauty and appearance. Sit down and enjoy a hot cup of masala chai and a soulful snack as you learn the stories behind these strong-willed women.

icon check Day 3 : Jaipur

Jump on a bus this morning and cross over into the colourful and charismatic state of Rajasthan on a journey that takes you through lush green countryside and on to its flamboyantly pink capital – Jaipur. On arrival, stop off for a quick picture at the city’s most distinctive landmark, the Hawa Mahal, an elaborate five-story palace of pink and red sandstone. Continue to your hotel and take the opportunity to freshen up before venturing out on a leader-led walking tour of the old city, stopping for a delicious lassi and some street food at the local market. The rest of the day to explore at your own pace. Perhaps take an optional tour of the City Palace in your spare time, an impressive complex of courtyards, gardens and structures that lies in the heart of Jaipur. This evening, why not try a movie experience like no other and check out the latest Bollywood blockbuster. No one will tell you to ‘shhh’ in this showing – laugh, dance, wolf-whistle – get involved!

icon check Day 4 : Jaipur

Rise and shine for an optional hot air balloon experience above the oh-so-pretty pink landscape of Jaipur (available between September and June). Later in the morning, enjoy a guided tour of the medieval Amber Fort with a local expert. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013, this magnificent fort is a complex of courtyards, palaces, halls and gardens created from an elaborate blend of white marble with pale yellow and pink sandstone. Sitting high on a hill, this architectural fusion of Rajput (Hindu) and Mughal (Islamic) styles has one of the best views over the city and its ornate design detail and beautiful pavilion of mirrors, makes it one of the most well-known forts in India. After your guided visit of Amber Fort, the rest of your day is then free to explore Jaipur at your own pace.

icon check Day 5 : Ranthambhore National Park

Leave the hustle and bustle of the pink city behind and take the 3-hour train ride to rural Rajasthan for your 2-night stay in the stunning Ranthambhore National Park. Once a famous hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur, the National Park is now one of the original Project Tiger reserves – a conservation programme launched by the Indian government. On arrival, check in to your hotel before an included visit to the ancient ruins of Ranthambhore’s 10th-century fort, where you can enjoy beautiful views of the surrounding park. The rest of the day is at your leisure, perhaps find a peaceful spot to relax and enjoy Rajasthan’s juxtaposing quiet.

icon check Day 6 : Ranthambhore National Park

Make sure your phones are fully charged this morning as you head out on an included 4WD drive safari in search of the perfect snap of the elusive tiger. Ranthambhore National Park is one of the best locations in India to see these majestic predators roaming around in their natural habitat, if you’re lucky, you might even spot some cute cubs! Keep your eyes peeled for other wildlife too –such as hyenas, jackals, deer, langurs, marsh crocodiles, wild boars and birds – this is a nature lovers paradise!

icon check Day 7 : Delhi

Watch the world whizz by from the window of your carriage as you roll through rural life and picturesque countryside on an early morning train back to Delhi. This afternoon, check out the sights and sounds of Old Delhi on a leader-led tour of this enchanting quarter of the capital. Take a ride on the city's modern metro system, 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, indulge in all the curries and condiments you can and toast to your amazing Indian adventure with a farewell group dinner.

icon check Day 8 : Delhi

There are no planned activities today, so why not delve into Delhi’s past on an Urban Adventure that honours the enduring legacy of one of India’s most influential figures – Gandhi. Hear stories of his courageous life, pore over artefacts and documents at the museum and walk in the footsteps of this global icon. To find out more about Gandhi’s Delhi, visit urbanadventures.com

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

1 Dinner
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Transport

Auto-rickshaw, Cycle rickshaw, Jeep, Public bus, Private vehicle, Overnight sleeper train, Train
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Accommodation

Heritage Property (3 nights), Hotel (4 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Delhi - Leader-led Old Delhi walking & rickshaw tour

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Hotel Mehar Castle

15 Ajmal Khan Road, Block 15A WEA

Karol Bagh

Delhi

110005

INDIA

Phone: 91 1125814071

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

Hotel Mehar Castle

15 Ajmal Khan Road, Block 15A WEA

Karol Bagh

Delhi

110005

INDIA

Phone: 91 1125814071

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. Intrepid requires a scanned copy of your passport bio page at time of booking to secure a permit for your Ranthambhore National Park visit. Authorities at Ranthambhore NP follow a strict booking process whereby permits are issued on a first come first serve basis. If we do not receive correct passport details in time we cannot guarantee you on the tiger safari.

2. A single supplement is available for purchase on this trip.

3. 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).

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

WOMEN'S SAFETY:

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

- Respect local dress codes and customs, perhaps dressing more conservatively than you do at home

- Avoid isolated areas, including beaches, unlit city streets and village lanes when alone at any time of day

- Avoid travelling alone on public transport, or in taxis or auto-rickshaws, especially at night

- If you have to use a taxi get them from hotel taxi ranks and use pre-paid taxis at airports. Try to avoid hailing taxis on the street. Some cities (including Delhi and Chennai) have special taxi services for women with women drivers

- If you’re being collected at the airport by a driver make sure they have properly identified themselves before you set off.

-When leaving your compartment on overnight trains (ie. going to the bathroom), ask a male travel companion to accompany you where possible

For further information and advice, visit:

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/women-safety-india

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/india-solo-female-traveller-story/

www.gov.uk/government/policies/supporting-british-nationals-overseas/supporting-pages/advice-for-women-travellers

www.smartraveller.gov.au/tips/women.html

PERSONAL BELONGINGS:

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.

FREE TIME:

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. 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.

FESTIVALS:

Travelling in India and Nepal during Holi can at times be unsafe - drinking and drug use is more widespread during this holiday. Your leader/guide will advise your group on what places to avoid on this day.

It may be necessary to alter your itinerary for the day.

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

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.

SCAMS:

Scams involving ATM and credit cards, train tickets, taxis, temple donations and tourist guides operate throughout India. If you are the victim of a scam, report it immediately to the nearest police station. Even though they may not be able to get your money or goods back, they can issue you with an official loss report for insurance purposes.

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!

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

INDIA:

An E-Tourist Visa (eVT) visa on arrival is available for select nationalities including but not limited to the following: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, UK & USA. Passport holders from these countries can apply for an eVT to have their visa issued upon arrival at 16 major airports in India.

Please follow the instructions at - https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html and complete the application for your eVT.

IMPORTANT:

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

- E-Tourist Visas are available for entry of up to 90 days. For residents of USA, UK, Canada and Japan e-Tourist Visas are available for up to 180 days. If you plan to be in India longer you will need to apply for a tourist visa at an Indian visa application centre in your home country.

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

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

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

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

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

PEAK India

25/3 East Patel Nagar

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/evisa/tvoa.html

This is the only official visa online site. There are many other mirror sites that are run by visa service companies or scammers and may not be reliable.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

The Taj Mahal is the mother of all mausoleums and a big part of Agra’s allure. Capture your best selfie in front of this marble masterpiece on an included visit to this Indian icon.

With so much going on in the vibrant and chaotic capital of Delhi, a guide should almost be a requirement – let your expert leader navigate you through its busy, bustling and bold streets.

From survivors to Sheroes, hang out at a cafe run by female acid attack survivors that encourages Indian society to re-evaluate its norms about beauty and appearance.

Snap pics in front of a slew of ornate pink-hued buildings in the fabulously photogenic Jaipur and check yourself out in the pavilion of mirrors at Amber Fort.

Ranthambhore National Park is the best location in India to spot the majestic tiger, keep your eyes peeled for these elusive creatures on an included 4WD safari.

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

As this is a Basix trip, there is plenty of free time built into the itinerary for you to enjoy as you wish in each destination. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk to get your bearings and give you plenty of suggestions, but then what you do next is up to you! Please consider spending money for optional sightseeing that isn't included in the trip cost when budgeting for your journey.

The regions visited on this trip can be extreme in temperature. It’s important to prepare for hot temperatures during the day and cooler climates in the evening. Rajasthan in particular can be very hot, especially in the summer. Layers are the best way to tackle any disparities in weather.

Part of travelling with Intrepid means respecting local cultures and sensibilities. That way you get the most out of your interactions with local people. We visit a lot of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

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)

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

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/

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.

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.

Optional tipping kitty for this trip: 1500 INR per person

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.

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 - Swim wear and small sarong RECOMMENDED: - India can get very cold (ie. below zero!) during winter(Dec to Feb) in the Hill Stations of southern India. Many hotels do not have central heating. Layers are recommended. - 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 in the Hill stations of the south. - Sleep sheet. - Ear plugs/eye mask - A good book, a journal and music player 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 minusClimate and seasonal

INDIA SEASONS:

As a general rule have a look online to check the weather in India just before you are about to travel. This gives you a clearer understanding of what to pack. Here are some general ideas of seasons in India:

December to March:

Pleasant weather – warm days, cool nights.

December and January bring chilly nights in the north.

Fog can delay trains travelling across the north of the country

Temperatures climb steadily from February.

April to June:

April is already hot; May and June are really hot and dry.

From June, the monsoon sweeps from south to north, bringing high temperatures and humidity

Cooler in the hills and mountains across the country

July to November:

Monsoon continues until November.

The southeast coast and southern Kerala see heavy rain from October to early December.

MONSOON:

Travel in rural areas during the monsoon season can be hazardous. Monsoon rains cause flooding and landslides that can cut off some towns and villages for days. It is not unusual for trains to be delayed or cancelled resulting in itinerary changes or for activities in towns near to rivers and lakes (ie Varanasi) to need to be changed during this time of year. During the monsoon, excessive rainfall can see the river Ganges rise to unsafe levels. This may cause the suspension of all water related activities by local government. At this time of year walking along the Ghats can also be dangerous. Your tour leader will be able to advise you locally on any changes.

WINTER:

Winter in India can be colder than you might expect and as this is not peak travel season hotels in some regions may not have adequate heating. In these months you may like to bring thermals for sleeping.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusFeedback

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

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

icon readmoreicon minusEmergency 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:

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

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.

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

LOCAL CUSTOMS

It's always a good idea to learn something about local language and customs before you travel, and visiting India is no exception. Your leader will be on hand to guide you through cultural differences and teach you some basic language. Here are some Hindi phrases to take with you on your trip: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/how-to-sound-like-a-local-in-india/

icon readmoreicon minusAccommodation notes

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.

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.

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.

icon readmoreicon minusItinerary disclaimer

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

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