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The trekking in the foothills of the Annapurnas and the white-water rafting on the Seti (and a splendid night's accommodation on the river); other major moments included the half-day tour in Katmandu, the trip to Chitwan, the Taj at Agra, sunrise and sunset at Varanasi, the Palace of the Winds at Jaipur (an option we made for ourselves) and (after an altogether penitential 4 hour jeep ride) the lovely accommodation and hospitality in Tordi Ghar (a long way for what it gave, but the experience was worth it).
leaders, actually. Our trekking guide was on the ball all the time, and came very well equipped for the disasters that befell several of the party on day 2. The guide we then joined for the last days of the holiday in Nepal was very experienced at getting groups to interact. Our Indian guide may not have appreciated at first how much direction the group needed when it had time off - Varanasi probably needs options to be made clearly available, in your general programme, for day 2 of the group's time there. It may also be useful to alert people to the desirability of a modicum of preparation before they go, so they have some idea of things they can do in their free time. But he certainly knew his stuff, and, especially when he shared with us the love of his professional life, tigers, he was inspiring.
Be prepared for a challenge. You will almost certainly find the length of time it takes to get around the various sites of India exhausting; treat with a pinch of salt the brochure's claims that our various modes of transport are a way of introducing travellers to authentic Indian Experiences (very little happened in the way of interaction between us and Indians on the buses and trains we shared with them). Be well prepared for extreme cold at night in the foothills, and, especially on the second night, for extremely basic accommodation (not sure you can do much about that) and extremely basic and repetitious food while trekking. Bring a towel for the trekking (I don't think your paperwork told us of the need for that).
wonderful/ exhausting introduction to alien cultures/places
Reviewed by Roger Ellis who travelled in February 2012
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