Delicacies of North India
Old Delhi walking tour
Jama Masjid + Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
Cycle rickshaw tour in Agra
The Taj Mahal
The Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri + locally-guided village walk
Cooking class in Karauli
Guided tour of Amber Fortat Jaipur
Photo stop at Hawa Mahal
Cooking demo and dinner at Parsoli
Village jeep safari in Parsoli
Lake boat ride at Udaipur + City Palace
Cooking class at the Spice Box Cooking School
Gateway of India and Chowpatty Beach
Old Goa sightseeing tour
Spice Farm visit with lunch at Goa
14 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Hotel (8 nts), Heritage Property (5 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Transport on Tour
International flights + departure taxes
Pre and Post tour Accommodation
Meals and services not mentioned in the itinerary
Items of a personal nature
Spending money Travel Insurance
Visas + Visa fees
Tips and Optional excursions
This tour departs from:
Hotel Marble Arch
8/6 WEA Pusa Lane
Karol Bagh, New Delhi, 1100005
Phone: +91 1140474700
Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25 km from Karol Bagh. One if the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic and can take some time to process your visa and collect your luggage. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through us. If you have pre-booked your airport arrival transfer please exit by doors 4 & 5 and you will be met in the arrivals hall. Or a taxi will take about 1 hour and cost between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths). IMPORTANT: Please AVOID taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport. Previous passengers have complained that they have been charged hefty amount for the transfers. Check in time at hotel is 12 midday.
VISAS / PASSPORTS
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. The following information is as up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: Yes - in advance
Belgium: Yes - in advance
Canada: Yes - in advance
Germany: Yes - in advance
Ireland: Yes - in advance
Netherlands: Yes - in advance
New Zealand: Yes - in advance
South Africa: Yes - in advance
Switzerland: Yes - in advance
United Kingdom: Yes - in advance
USA: Yes - in advance
There is NO visa on arrival in India. Indian visas can NOT be obtained in Nepal. Tourist visas are available in Single and Multiple Entry. Be sure to check the date you require a visa from and the length of time you will need to cover, especially if you change countries during your trip.
Your health can be put at risk due to lack of effective medical treatment facilities and poor sanitation in parts of the Indian subcontinent. Rural areas can have a lack of pharmacies and hospitals so be sure to have any drugs that you regularly take already with you. Pack medications in their original, clearly labelled containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is very useful. If carrying syringes or needles, be sure to have a physician’s letter documenting their medical necessity. If you take any regular medication, bring double your ordinary needs in case of loss or theft. You’ll be able to buy many medications over the counter in India without a doctor’s prescription, but it can be difficult to find some of the newer drugs, particularly the latest antidepressant drugs, blood pressure medications and contraceptive pills. Each traveler is responsible for his or her health. First and foremost make sure that you have travel insurance for your trip. Also, consult your doctor or local travel clinic before departure for the latest information on traveling to India.
Traveller’s Diarrhoea: This is by far the most common problem affecting travelers – up to 70% of people may suffer from it. In over 80% of cases, traveler’s diarrhoea is caused by a bacteria and therefore responds promptly to treatment with antibiotics. Traveler’s diarrhoea is defined as the passage of more than three watery bowel actions within 24 hours, plus at least one other symptom, such as fever, cramps, nausea, vomiting or feeling generally unwell. Treatment consists of staying well hydrated; rehydration solutions like Gastrolyte are the best for this. Antibiotics such as norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin or azithromycin will kill the bacteria quickly. Loperamide is just a ‘stopper’ and doesn’t get to the cause of the problem. It can be helpful, though (eg if you have to go on a long bus ride).
IMMUNIZATIONS / VACCINATIONS
Specialised travel-medicine clinics are your best source of information; they stock all available vaccines and will be able to give specific recommendations for you and your trip. The doctors will take into account factors such as past vaccination history, the length of your trip, activities you may be undertaking and underlying medical conditions, such as pregnancy.
Required vaccinations: The only vaccine required by international regulations is yellow fever. Proof of vaccination will only be required if you have visited a country in the yellow fever zone within the six days prior to entering India.
Recommended Vaccinations: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends these vaccinations for travelers to India (as well as being up to date with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations) :
*Adult diphtheria and tetanus Single booster recommended if none in the previous 10 years. Side effects include sore arm and fever.
*Hepatitis A - Provides almost 100% protection for up to a year; a booster after 12 months provides at least another 20 years’ protection. Mild side effects such as headache and sore arm occur in 5% to 10% of people.
*Hepatitis B - Now considered routine for most travelers. Given as three shots over six months. A rapid schedule is also available, as is a combined vaccination with Hepatitis A. Side effects are mild and uncommon, usually headache and sore arm. In 95% of people lifetime protection results.
*Typhoid - Recommended for all travelers to India, even if you only visit urban areas. The vaccine offers around 70% protection, lasts for two to three years and comes as a single shot. Tablets are also available, however, the injection is usually recommended as it has fewer side effects. Sore arm and fever may occur.
*Rabies - Three injections in all. A booster after one year will then provide 10 years’ protection. Side effects are rare – occasionally headache and sore arm.
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee
The most convenient and cheapest way to
obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), which are
readily available in most towns.
Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or
faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean bills, and small
denominations are most useful.
While traveller's cheques have security
advantages exchanging them can be a lengthy process, commissions can be high and
they can be difficult to change in rural areas, on weekends and public holidays.
The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels/establishments.
Every traveler is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
Tipping - If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest INR20. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest INR100 per day for local guides. Porters: Throughout your trip you may at times have a porter in addition to your leader. We suggest INR50 per day for porters. Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group however a base of INR100 per day is generally appropriate. Local transport: For a city tour we suggest INR50 per day. Your Group Leader: You may also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $US 2-4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
Think of India and its likely that visions of formidable forts, palaces, and temples will come to mind, set against a backdrop of bright colors and history. That's exactly what North India provides. This tour of north India will give you a taste of what the mystical side of India is all about. In a country as diverse and complex as India, it is not surprising to find that people here reflect the rich glories of the past; the culture, traditions and values relative to geographic locations and the numerous distinctive manners, habits and food that will always remain truly Indian.
Experiencing cultural differences is one of the joys of traveling, and it is important that these differences are encouraged and respected. Things in India are done differently to the rest of the world and we ask you to please accept the differences and respect the cultural rules of the areas we travel to. Ethnically Indians speak different languages, follow different religions, eat the most diverse varieties of food all of which add to the rich Indian culture. Home to more than one billion people, the Indian subcontinent bristles with an eclectic mix of ethnic groups which translates into an intoxicating cultural cocktail for the traveler. Love it or loathe it, India promises to get right under your skin, and no matter where you go or what you do, it’s a place you’ll never forget.
India remains a relatively conservative country, especially so when it
comes to the role of women. Despite a long history of erotic art, female
sexuality is hidden away in modern Indian society. Many female
travelers experience sexual harassment in India – predominantly lewd
comments and invasion of privacy, though groping is not uncommon. This
problem barely exists in Buddhist regions like Sikkim and Ladakh. While
there’s no need to be paranoid, you should be aware that your behaviour
and dress code is under scrutiny, and that local men may have a
misguided opinion of how foreign women behave. Getting constantly stared
at is something you’ll have to get used to. Just be thick-skinned and
try to rise above it. It’s best to refrain from returning male stares,
as this may be considered a come-on; dark glasses can help. Other
harassment women have encountered include provocative gestures, jeering,
getting ‘accidentally’ bumped into on the street and being followed.
Women traveling with men or groups are less likely to be harassed.
Ultimately, there are no sure-fire ways of shielding yourself from
sexual harassment, even if you do everything ‘right’ – use your own
judgement and instincts, and err on the side of caution if you are
unsure. These warnings may seem a little daunting, but most men are not
out to bother you and thousands of female travelers rise above these
challenges every year.
Clothing: Warding off sexual harassment is often a matter of adjusting your behaviour to match the prevailing social norms in India. Avoiding culturally inappropriate clothing can help enormously. Steer clear of sleeveless tops, shorts, miniskirts (ankle-length skirts are recommended) and any other skimpy, see-through or tight-fitting clothing. Baggy clothing that hides the contours of your body is the way to go. Take your cues from local women. Most Indian women wear saris, salwar kameez, or long shorts and a T-shirt whenever swimming in public view. Indian dress, when done properly, makes a positive impression and can dramatically cut down the harassment and stares. The salwar kameez is regarded as respectable attire and wearing it will reflect your respect for local dress etiquette. The flowing outfit is also surprisingly cool in the hot weather, and the dupatta (long scarf) worn with it is very handy if you visit a shrine that requires your head to be covered. Going into public wearing a choli (small tight blouse worn under a sari) or a sari petticoat (which many foreign women mistake for a skirt) is rather like strutting around half dressed – don’t do it.
Greetings: When interacting with men on a day-to-day basis, adhere to the local practice of not shaking hands. Instead, say namaste – the traditional, respectful Hindu greeting – and bow slightly with the hands brought together at the chest or head level.
Indian cuisine boasts an immense variety of foods - not restricted to only curry. An authentic Indian curry is an intricate combination of a stir-fried Masala - a mixture of onion, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes; various spices and seasonings with which meat; poultry, vegetables or fish is prepared to produce a stew-type dish. Note: the word Masala also means spice. Food in India is wide ranging in variety, taste and flavour. Being so diverse geographically, each region has its own cuisine and style of preparation. Indian cuisine, renowned for its exotic gravies seems complicated for any newcomer. The Mughlai cuisine of the North differs sharply from the preparations of the south. The Wazwan style of Kashmir is luxurious but the same can be said about Bengal's Macher Jhol, Rajasthan's Dal Bati, Uttar Pradesh's Kebabs and Punjab's Sarson Ka Saag and Makki di Roti. In India, recipes are handed down from generation to generation. The unique and strong flavours in Indian cuisine are derived from spices, seasonings and nutritious ingredients such as leafy vegetables, grains, fruits, and legumes. Most of the spices used in Indian cooking were originally chosen thousands of years ago for their medicinal qualities and not for flavour. Many of them such as turmeric, cloves and cardamoms are very antiseptic, others like ginger, are carminative and good for the digestion. All curries are made using a wide variety of spices. In Indian cuisine, food is categorized into six tastes - sweet, sour, salty, spicy, bitter and astringent. A well-balanced Indian meal contains all six tastes, not always can this be accomplished. This principle explains the use of numerous spice combinations and depth of flavour in Indian recipes. Side dishes and condiments like chutneys, curries, daals and Indian pickles contribute to and add to the overall flavour and texture of a meal and provide balance needed.
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. Throughout the trip we request that the hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if you're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means you won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, you can store your luggage and explore your new destination. The hotel accommodation on this trip has air-conditioned rooms.
This group trip is designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travelers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. You have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask us for more information. On the following nights the Single Supplement is not available: - Day 12 Mumbai Overnight train
Anyone in a reasonable state of health, with an open mind and a sense of adventure should be perfectly able to cope with this tour.
This tour has a maximum of 12 passengers.
The weather in India is very variable.Generally speaking, India’s climate is defined by three seasons – the hot, the wet (monsoon) and the cool, each of which can vary in duration from north to south. The most pleasant time to visit most of the country is during the cooler period of November to around mid-February. In general, the north of India is cooler, the center is hot and dry, and the south has a tropical climate. Indian weather itself is divided into three distinct seasons -- winter, summer, and the monsoon. The best time to visit India is during the winter, when the weather in most places is relatively cool and pleasant. Winter (November to February): The disappearance of the monsoon marks the start of clear sunny skies - as well as the start of the tourist season - for most of India. Daytime winter temperatures are comfortable, although often quite chilly at night. In the south, it never gets cold. This is in complete contrast to the freezing temperatures experienced in India’s far north, around the Himalaya region. India's far south is also best enjoyed in winter, with December to February being the only really good months to travel there. The rest of the time it’s either uncomfortably hot and humid, or wet; apparently, it rains for an astonishing nine months of the year in the state of Kerala. It's also a good idea to travel to the desert state of Rajasthan during the winter, to avoid the searing summer temperatures.