Mountains & Plains Trip Notes
Trip code: GIMP
Trip valid from: 31/08/2009
Trip valid until: 30/09/2011
Trip length: 20 days
Trip starts in: Kathmandu
Trip ends in: Delhi
Maximum group size: 16
- Train Travel - A Quintessentially Indian Experience
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed Taj Mahal
- Visit The Birthplace Of Buddhism, Lumbini
- Jaipur’s Amber Fort
- The Wildlife Of Chitwan National Park
- Ride A Rickshaw, Kathmandu
- The Cultural And Physical Diversity Of Nepal's Annapurna Region
- Bodhnath Stupa Of Kathmandu - One Of The Biggest Buddhist Shrines In The World
- Kathmandu’s Hidden Old Town
- Pokhara's Lake And Panoramic Views
From the Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal down on to the great plains of India and out across to the colourful far reaches of Rajasthan, this journey will constantly amaze. It is a fantastic overland adventure which provides opportunities to meet local people and witness first-hand life in this unique part of the world. Sometimes the going can be tough, but India and Nepal will get into our blood and provide incredible memories to take back home with us of this incredibly colourful and diverse region.
KathmanduToday is an arrival day and no activities are planned, so you may arrive at any time. If you are arriving early in Kathmandu you may wish to wander down to Durbar Square, which is the spiritual heart of the city located only 10 minutes walk from our hotel. Please ask at the hotel reception for suggestions of things to see and do in Kathmandu. A pre-departure meeting for the first (Nepal) part of your tour takes place this evening at the hotel. Please also check the noticeboard for details of this meeting and for any other messages from your tour leader. Please also bring your passport and travel insurance documents to the meeting. Afterwards we have the opportunity to go out for an optional group dinner.
KathmanduToday we visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world, where we observe Buddhist monks in prayer in the monasteries surrounding the stupa. We also visit Pashupatinath, the most famous Hindu temple in the country, located on the banks of the holy Bagmati River. Here we see Hindu holy men (sadhus) meditating, pilgrims bathing and occasionally funeral pyres burning on the ghats. The rest of our time in Kathmandu is free for further sightseeing and exploration. You may wish to wander back into the centre of town, scour the shops in Thamel or just relax in the hotel gardens. Alternatively you may wish to arrange for a taxi to take you out to Bhaktapur, probably the most fascinating of the medieval towns in the Kathmandu Valley.
PokharaThis morning we drive out over the rim of the Kathmandu Valley before descending to follow the Trisuli River Valley. On a clear morning, views of the Ganesh, Manaslu and Annapurna ranges can be seen as we head west to the town of Pokhara. After a driving journey of six hours, we arrive in the early afternoon and check into our hotel. The rest of the afternoon is free to wander around the shops or relax in one of the cafes by the lakeside. Alternatively there is the option of a boat ride out on to the lake.
Ghandruk(Walking time: approx 5 hours) We catch a bus for the fairly short drive to the village of Naya Phul. In clear conditions, there are fine views of Annapurna peaks and the famous fishtail peak Machhapuchhare along the way. We commence our short Annapurna trek and for the first hour we follow a dirt track road along the banks of the Modi Khola River to the villages of Birethanti and Shyauli. From Syauli we then ascend above the valley floor on a stone staircase. To the north, there are again superb views of the Annapurna Mountains. A short but steep section leads to Kimche (1630m) where we take lunch before following a wide and well-defined path of stone flags that contours through fields of wheat and millet to the largest village in the region, Ghandruk, which is the site of our overnight lodge. There are great views of the Annapurnas from here.
Tolkha(Walking time: approx 5 hours) We are now over 600 metres above the Modi Khola and we can look east across the valley to Landruk, the next major village on the trek. Close as it may seem, this requires a steep descent down to the river and then a steady climb back up the other side. The scenery is fabulous on this section and more than makes up for the effort of the walk down and the climb up the other side. We take lunch at Landruk, a neat Gurung village, before contouring around the valley and ascending to the small village of Tolka (1780m)
Dhampus(Walking time: approx 4 hours) After breakfast we continue the climb uphill to the pass at Bhichok Deorali. Here, after a welcome break, we descend through forest of oak and rhododendron to Pothana for lunch. In the afternoon we descend gradually following the crest of the ridge, through pretty forest of oak and rhododendron to the village of Dhampus and our overnight halt. From here there are superb panoramic views including the 8000-metre peak of Manaslu to the east and we will have the opportunity of enjoying both sunset and sunrise from our lodge.
Pokhara(Walking time: approx 2 hours) After breakfast and enjoying the views of the Annapurna range we pass through the village and descend steeply into the Yamdi Khola river valley to Phedi. Here we catch our transport to our hotel in Pokhara. We arrive in time for lunch and the rest of the afternoon is free to unwind. We have time to explore the lake and to enjoy the many excellent restaurants and cafes in this beautiful lakeside town.
Seti River Whitewater RaftingWe leave Pokhara after breakfast for the short drive to the start of our rafting adventure on the Seti River. After introductions to our rafting crew we then put on jackets and helmets, have a short safety briefing before taking to the water. This river is an ideal and gentle introduction to whitewater rafting. Over the next two days we raft for approximately 30 kilometres through beautiful countryside, with plenty of small fun rapids. Lunch is taken on one of the many pristine white beaches and there are plenty of opportunities to swim in the warm waters. In the afternoon we continue our gentle pace down the river to reach our camp by mid-afternoon and enjoy free time before our cook serves a hearty evening meal. After dinner we relax and enjoy reliving the thrills of the day’s rafting. (L, D)
Chitwan National ParkIn the morning, whilst we enjoy breakfast, the guides break camp and load the rafts. Then it’s off on the water for a pleasant combination of bouncing rapids and magnificent scenery before we reach the confluence of the Trisuli River at Gai Ghat, where we transfer by bus to Chitwan National Park. During our lodge stay we ride elephants into the jungle and, accompanied by a wildlife guide, go in search of Indian rhinoceros, sloth bear, deer and a multitude of different birds. Tiger sightings are very rare these days; however, luck may be on our side! We also have time at for some optional activities such as jeep and canoe safaris. (B)
LumbiniIn the early morning we leave Chitwan National Park by private vehicle and travel across the plains to Lumbini, the birthplace of Prince Siddharta Gautama - founder of the Buddhist religion. We visit the various temple complexes that have been constructed by Buddhists from Japan, China and Myanmar, as well as the ancient Ashoka Pillar and Maya Devi Temple. We spend the night in a lovely jungle camp - a great base for a walk or bike ride.
Varanasi - overnight trainIn the morning we cross into India. After customs and immigration formalities are completed, our Nepalese tour leader will bid us farewell and hand us over to his Indian counterpart. We then continue our journey to Varanasi. It’s a long day of travelling (approximately 8 hours), but done in the relative comfort of our own vehicles with several rest stops made along the way. On arrival in Varanasi, there is another tour briefing, this time on information relevant to the Indian sector of our tour. Please bring along your passport and travel insurance documents. Regarded as the spiritual heart of India, Varanasi is the city of Shiva built on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. Thousands of pilgrims flock to the great ghats to bathe in the holy waters - a ritual that is believed to wash away all sins. The city claims to be one of the oldest in the world and it’s a magical place where we are able to witness the rituals of life and death on the ghats, on an early morning boat ride. Our tour leader also takes us for a walk through the back lanes and crowded alleyways of this timeless city. After our time in Varanasi we board our overnight sleeper train and head westward to Agra.
AgraAgra is home to India’s most famous site - the majestic Taj Mahal. After settling in we visit this amazing 17th century marble mausoleum, built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife who died giving birth. Started in 1631 the project was completed in 1648 and employed a workforce of over 20,000 people. Construction materials were brought from all over India with the marble from Rajasthan transported by over 1000 elephants. Our tour leader can also help us arrange an optional visit to Agra Fort.
Tordi GarhOne of the features of a Imaginative Traveller’s trip through Rajasthan is visits to small, out of the way villages. Tordi Garh is a small town that we have identified is a true ‘off the beaten track’ experience. After a 4 hour bus trip from Agra, we are met by jeeps and drive a couple of hours through beautiful countryside to Tordi. Very few travelers have even heard of Tordi and even fewer visit it, because it’s hard to get to on your own. We explore the village, meeting potters, visiting an old village temple, walking though markets and meeting families on the way. Ruined temples and a fortress lie further afield and we enjoy a visit to these sites. Our host is the owner of the palace at Tordi. He is a direct descendant of the feudal lord who built the palace in the 16th century. The accommodation has unforgettable ambience and charm and really makes the visit to Tordi a special highlight.
JaipurThis morning we travel by jeep to Jaipur - the vibrant and colourful capital of Rajasthan. Here, traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches make their way through crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks and bicycles. On our second day in Jaipur we travel 11 kilometres out to the stunning medieval Amber Fort. This fort was built in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh and is a superb example of Rajput architecture. Several hours are needed to explore this huge fortification and we include the services of a local guide for our tour. Our tour leader also takes us to an area known as the Old Bazaar where the Hawa Mahal, better known as The Palace of the Winds, is situated. This five-storey façade with its pink, honeycombed sandstone windows is one of Jaipur's best-known landmarks. We also have ample free time in Jaipur and there are many interesting things to see and do; our tour leader will be happy to assist us with getting to some of these places.
DelhiWe return to Delhi by bus and are transferred to our hotel. Our tour leader then takes us into the old city's market area known as Chandni Chowk as well as Connaught Place - the commercial heart of New Delhi. The rest of the day is free for relaxing or doing some further sightseeing on our own. Red Fort and the impressive Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) are two of the city's most notable landmarks, whilst Raj Ghat is a monument that marks the spot where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. In the final evening we have the opportunity to head out for a final group dinner (optional) before saying our goodbyes.
DelhiOur trip ends today around breakfast time. If you wish to stay on in Delhi, please pre-book your post-tour accommodation before you commence your travels. Delhi has many interesting museums and monuments. If you are interested in historical and cultural matters, it is recommended that you to extend your stay and visit some of these places. Humayun's Tomb and Safdarjang's Tomb are other great examples of Mughal architecture and design. Hauz Khas Village is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown - a chic artistic enclave set right next to the remnants of a historical site.
Itinerary VariationWhile the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Whether you’re taking in man’s greatest works at places like Petra or Angkor Wat, experiencing grand set-pieces like the Trans-Mongolian Railway or trying your hand at regional specialities like tango in Buenos Aires, getting to grips with local cultures is what travel’s all about. A few tips from a local guide and a sense of adventure are pretty much all you need. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get the lowdown on high Tibet among Lhasa’s magisterial temples; follow up Delhi’s eye-popping bustle with a fix of its fiery food; and mix manic markets and Incan masterpieces in Peru.
Think about the feeling you get after completing one of the world’s great treks: seeing Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate after gruelling days on the Inca Trail; looking down on Africa from its summit, Kilimanjaro; relaxing by Pokhara’s perfect lake after tackling Annapurna’s rugged tracks. The legs might ache but the feeling of pride in your achievements is overwhelming. More than that though, trekking gets you up close and personal with the world’s finest landscapes and many interesting cultures. Walk through remote jungle to visit the tribes of northern Thailand and Vietnam, or explore China’s iconic Tiger Leaping Gorge by foot, and you’ll find the country opens up in a whole new way, the slow pace all the better for appreciating the surroundings. It’s definitely better to travel than to arrive – particularly when the travel’s all on your own steam.
Take your pick: hunt for tigers in northern India, listen to monkey chatter and birdsong in the jungles of Costa Rica and Peru or gawp at the Galapagos’ diversity. And of course, there's the big one: Africa. The names alone evoke images of wildlife: the Serengeti, Masai Mara, Kruger. And the reality’s even better. Africa’s got the lot, so go beyond the Big Five by hiking to close encounters with gorillas in Uganda’s forests, walking with lions at Zimbabwe’s Antelope Park, or canoeing past crocs on the Okavango Delta. From the Cape’s loveable penguins to Egypt’s loping camels, Africa’s animals await.
A reasonable level of fitness is required for this holiday and you should be in good health. You can expect to walk for up to six hours per day whilst on trek in the Annapurnas, at times on steep paths with ups and downs. You will also be asked to help paddle your raft – so any physical preparation will be a definite advantage.
River Rafting - It is a requirement that you are able to swim in order to participate in the whitewater rafting section of this tour.
Note: In the unlikely event that water levels are considered too dangerous for rafting on the Trisuli River, it may be necessary to arrange an alternative rafting program on the Seti River.
• Gecko's expert English-speaking local tour leaders throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites.
• 4 day trek in the Annapurna region with experienced trekking staff, porterage, Gecko's Kit Bag and twin-share lodge accommodation, generally in rooms with sleeping mattresses.
• 2 day white-water rafting adventure on the Seti River including specialist rafting guides, safety equipment, a cook and a night of camping.
• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where applicable): Kathmandu, Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi and Delhi.
• Royal Chitwan National Park entrance fee and elephant ride with a wildlife guide.
• Sightseeing of Lumbini temple complexes, the ancient Ashoka Pillar and Maya Devi Temple, with a night at a jungle camp.
• Jeep safari to Tordi village with an overnight stay at a 16th Century palace.
• Overnight sleeper train from Varanasi to Agra (two sheets, a blanket and a pillow provided per person).
International flights, arrival and departure transfers, airport/departure taxes, visas, pre or post tour accommodation, most meals, optional tours sightseeing or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature, laundry and flights unless specified.
1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
1 night Camping,1 night Historic hotel,3 nights Jungle lodge,4 nights Trekking lodge,10 nights Hotels/guesthouses
Single room supplementMost of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.
Bicycle rickshaw,Boat,Bus,Elephant,Jeep,Private vehicle,Sleeper train,Taxi,Whitewater raft
*prices below are guide onlyAgra - Agra Fort entrance
- - US$8
- - US$11 (per person)
- - US$18 (per person)
- - US$9
- - US$170/entrance fees US$18 & US$8
- - US$50 per car / US$20 entrance fee
- - US$5
- - US$40 per car/entrance US$5
- - US$50 per car/entrances US$15.
- - US$40 per car/entrance US$3.
- - US$15
- - US$30 approx
- - approx US$185
- - US$4
- - US$1.20 (per hour/per boat)
- - US$10-15 depending on number of participants
- - US$40 per car
- - US$40 per car/entrance US$4
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & Gecko's Adventures This trip is operated by our partner company, Gecko's Adventures. Gecko's is an Australia based company with more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a code shared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Gecko's travellers on your trip.
Last updated: 25/10/2011