The Tour Price displayed here is for the tour only and does not include international flights. Our flight prices are very competitive, please ask for a quote when making your bookingAll departures for this trip are guaranteed.
This trip is an overland trip run in an overland truck. In addition to paying for your trip, you're require to make a separate payment to your tour leader at the start of the trip, usually in USD. Kitties are flexible and change as prices are updated. Therefore you should check the latest kitty amount on this website before you depart.
A kitty is a group fund which covers all accommodation, meals while camping (not in hotels) and activities listed as included. It's a system unique to overlanding to provide the maximum flexibility and best value on the road (you get everything at cost price!). The kitty is your money, not ours, so any amount left over is divided among the group as a refund.Close
|Trip Code||Start Date||End Date||Currency||Kitty|
|Saturday 22 Jun 2013||Saturday 29 Jun 2013|
|Saturday 06 Jul 2013||Saturday 13 Jul 2013|
|Saturday 17 Aug 2013||Saturday 24 Aug 2013|
|Saturday 31 Aug 2013||Saturday 07 Sep 2013|
|Saturday 14 Sep 2013||Saturday 21 Sep 2013|
|Saturday 28 Sep 2013||Saturday 05 Oct 2013|
|Saturday 12 Oct 2013||Saturday 19 Oct 2013|
|Saturday 26 Oct 2013||Saturday 02 Nov 2013|
|Saturday 09 Nov 2013||Saturday 16 Nov 2013|
|Saturday 23 Nov 2013||Saturday 30 Nov 2013|
|Saturday 07 Dec 2013||Saturday 14 Dec 2013|
|Saturday 14 Dec 2013||Saturday 21 Dec 2013|
|Saturday 21 Dec 2013||Saturday 28 Dec 2013|
|Saturday 04 Jan 2014||Saturday 11 Jan 2014|
|Saturday 18 Jan 2014||Saturday 25 Jan 2014|
|Saturday 01 Feb 2014||Saturday 08 Feb 2014|
|Saturday 15 Feb 2014||Saturday 22 Feb 2014|
|Saturday 01 Mar 2014||Saturday 08 Mar 2014|
|Saturday 15 Mar 2014||Saturday 22 Mar 2014|
|Saturday 29 Mar 2014||Saturday 05 Apr 2014|
|Saturday 12 Apr 2014||Saturday 19 Apr 2014|
|Saturday 26 Apr 2014||Saturday 03 May 2014|
|Saturday 10 May 2014||Saturday 17 May 2014|
|Saturday 24 May 2014||Saturday 31 May 2014|
|Saturday 07 Jun 2014||Saturday 14 Jun 2014|
|Saturday 21 Jun 2014||Saturday 28 Jun 2014|
India has shared so much of its wonderful culture with the rest of the world, so a visit to this diverse country is a chance to experience where it all began. India has so much to offer: from the beautiful landscapes of the Himalayas, to the amazing temples and coastlines, rich culture, not to mention the food!
Although India might be famous for it's flavours, often the wildlife is forgotten about. India is home to the Asian elephant, Bengal tiger and the Indian rhinoceros. It is also a hot spot for smaller beasts such as the praying mantis.
India's music scene is beautifully crafted, and the range is quite incredible. The range of folk music spreads across the country and it is also the genre which Bangra music falls into. This is possibly the most famous music to come out of the country. Although regions have their own style of music, there are types that bring the country together as a whole. The national anthem of "Jana Gana Mana" translates as "Thou art the ruler of the minds of all people".
New Delhi, the capital is a lively place and hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the idiosyncratic International Mango Festival - where over 500 different types of mangoes are found. Mangoes are only the start of the wonderful taste India has to offer. The blend of herbs, spices and other vegetables can create the aromas known all over the world. Across the country there are different assortments that are associated with each region. In the north, milk is the main ingredient which creates the wonderful bread, and the samosa is popular here. Deep in the south is where rice dictates the main proportion of a meal. Into the east you will find the places where popular Indian desserts are from. Finally, in the west of the country, rice and coconuts are just two of the ingredients that make their dishes so distinct.
Foremost a visit to India is probably best remember by the welcome you are likely to receive this combined with the seemingly endless variety is what brings travellers returning time and time again.
Welcome to India! Kochi is where the South and North adventure gets underway, with a ferry ride to Fort Cochin, the aromatic spice bazaars and the beautifully restored Mattancherry Palace. In the evening, attend a Kathakali dance performance.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Travel to Ootacamund and ride the famous toy train through rolling plantations. Visit a tea garden, soak up the tranquil vibe and appreciate why many Indians choose to holiday in Ooty.
Our journey starts with a train to Coimbatore (approx 3.5 hrs). We then travel by private vehicle to Ootacamund (approx 4 hrs).
Try to spot tigers, elephants and spotted deer on a safari in Mudumalai National Park.
Our journey to Mudumalai is by private vehicle and takes approx 2 hrs.
Travel to Mysore to view the Maharaja's Palace, dine with a local friend of Intrepid and visit the Keshava Temple.
Our journey to Mysore is by private vehicle and takes us through the scenic Karnataka plains (approx 3 hrs). Stop en route to enjoy a biryani lunch with our local friend Raju and his family.
Cycle to the Shore Temple and view incredible carvings.
Our journey to the laidback beaches of Mamallapuram is by private vehicles along the scenic East Coast Road (approx 2 hrs).
Follow the scenic coast of India to Pondicherry and visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
The drive to Pondicherry is approx 5 hrs.
Witness mysterious rituals in the Sri Meenakshi temple in Madurai, a labyrinth of lamp-lit corridors.
Our journey starts with a local taxi to the railway station at Villapuram (approx 40 mins). We then board a train to the temple city of Madurai (approx 6 hrs).
Travel through rubber, tea and coffee plantations and stop at a spice farm. Search for elephants and other wildlife with a guide at the Periyar Sanctuary.
Our journey to Thekkady is by public bus and takes approx 5 hours.
Share a traditional feast with a local family and take a sunset cruise through the backwaters of Kerala.
We travel by private vehicle, to get to the backwaters of Kerala (approx 4.5 hrs). It's a great ride through plantations of rubber, tea and coffee to the boarding point for our boats. Crossing the backwaters, head to an island village to stay with local families (approx 1 hour).
Return to Kochi for a relaxing day of shopping or sightseeing.
Our day starts early to the sound of bird song before we cross the backwaters by private boat, heading for Alleppey (approx 1.5 hrs). We then take a local bus to Kochi (approx 2 hrs).
Arrive in colourful Delhi, a chaotic mixture of museums, bazaars and businessmen. Take a walking tour of the magnificent Old City and visit Jama Masjid.
Arrive in colourful Delhi, a chaotic mixture of museums, bazaars and businessmen. Take a walking tour of the magnificent Old City and visit Jama Masjid.
New Delhi is the India's intriguing capital and is the country's third largest city. Perhaps the best way to get your bearings is by starting with a city tour of Delhi's many historic sites and buildings. The Lok Sabha (parliament building), President’s Palace, India Gate and the Rajpath are a good place to start, impressive reminders of the splendour of the old British Indian Empire. Other sites of interest include Qutab Minar, a soaring tower and fine example of Afghan architecture and Humayan's tomb, an example of Mogul building style and allegedly a forerunner of the Taj Mahal. If you have the time, you may also want to consider visiting the magnificent Red Fort and Jama Masjid, the largest mosque in India.
Bustling and lively Delhi is also a great place to indulge in shopping and people watching. In the old town you'll find Chandni Chowk, a colourful shopping bazaar and fascinating market. The market is one of the most popular in India, taking it's name from the words meaning "moonlight square". Finally, if you're interested in learning more about India's history, The Gandhi Museum is an absolute must, dedicated to the life and work of Mahatma Ghandi.
Be enchanted by the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra and the majestic Red Fort.
Our journey to Agra is on one of India's fastest air-conditioned trains (approx 3 hrs).
Meet villagers and local craftspeople, then sleep in a converted fort in rural Rajasthan.
Our journey today is by local bus to Bassi, a small town in the middle of rural Rajasthan (approx 4 hrs). We then travel by private jeeps right to the heart of the village where we stay in a beautiful heritage property that belongs to one of the royal families of Rajasthan.
Visit Jaipur, the 'Pink City', and explore the halls of the Amber Fort.
We travel to Jaipur in private vehicles via the Amber Palace (approx 4.5 hrs).
Whilst in Jaipur, make sure that you discover the extravagance of a Bollywood blockbuster, with all the Hollywood-style elements of action, romance, drama and music (sometimes all rolled into one), at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.
The city of Jaipur is known as the "pink city", as all the buildings within the walls of the old town are painted a dusky rose pink. The story goes that Maharaja Jai Singh ordered that all the buildings should be painted in this colour to welcome Prince Albert and Queen Elizabeth II to the city in 1876, and the buildings have remained the same colour ever since. Jaipur is busy and bustling, with chaotic streets full of traffic, but it is also home to some incredible architecture and colourful history. The Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) in the city centre is the most famous building, with storey after storey of intricately carved honeycomb windows - and the impressive City Palace should not be missed. Other sites of interest include the old Jantar Mantar Observatory and the Iswari Minar Swarga Sal minaret. It's also a great city for people watching, set out on foot and you will find yourself surrounded by tall, proud Rajasthanis. Many of the men sport magnificent handlebar moustaches and huge brightly coloured turbans whilst the women are equally colourful in their mirrored skirts and chunky jewellery.
Search for Bengal tigers among the lakes and ruined palaces of Ranthambore National Park.
Our journey to Ranthambore is by private vehicle (approx 5 hrs).
See the murals of Bundi Palace.
To get to the small rural town of Bundi we travel by private vehicles (approx 4 hrs). A delightful town teeming with Rajasthani life, Bundi's narrow streets are packed with shops of all kinds and the downtown market is an interesting spot to mingle with the local people. This is a fantastic place to explore on foot and there's plenty of time to visit the baoris (step-wells) and experience local street life down in the bazaars.
Stay in a fortified mansion in Bijaipur and visit tiny villages.
Our journey starts with a slow but interesting train journey with rural villagers and locals to the small town of Bassi (approx 3 hrs). Enjoy a drive in open jeeps out into the countryside visiting rural villages - a special and unique experience indeed!
Visit City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India.
The journey to Udaipur takes approx 4 hrs.
Udaipur is arguably the most romantic city in all of Rajasthan, an evocative and magical place on the shores of Lake Pichola. The city boats several royal palaces, the most spectacular of which is probably the floating Lake Palace, made famous in the Bond film "Octopussy". This palace is now home to a luxury hotel and it's sometimes possible to take a short boat trip out onto the lake to see it. Back in the city itself, the huge City Palace towers over the rest of the buildings here, not surprising seeing as this is the largest palace complex in Rajasthan. Its many balconies, towers and cupolas offer fine views over the lake and city. Now a museum, the City Palace is home to the "Mor Chowk" with its beautiful mosaics of peacocks - a sacred bird not only to the people of Udaipur but also to all Rajasthanis.
Travel through the desert near Pushkar on camelback to watch the sun set over the golden dunes.
Our journey from Udaipur is by air conditioned train to Ajmer (approx 6 hrs). We then take private vehicles from Ajmer to our hotel in Pushkar (approx 45 mins).
Travel back to the bustle of Delhi, India's chaotic capital, where the tour ends.
When we arrive in Delhi we transfer to our hotel. You can use group day rooms until midday.
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. Our brochure is usually released in November each year. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.imaginative-traveller.com
Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route.
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don't include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren't necessarily endorsed or recommended by Imaginative Traveller nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn't form part of your contract with Imaginative Traveller.
The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR).
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 traveller 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.
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 Imaginative Traveller 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.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
The flight between Delhi and Kochi on Day 15 is NOT included in the cost of your trip and you must arrange your own ticket before the trip begins. Please try to arrange your flight for early in the morning as delays are common. Make sure you have a printed copy of your flight itinerary so you can enter the airport.
For departures which are in Pushkar during the annual Camel fair (approx 2-10 Nov 2011). The Pushkar Camel Fair is undoubtedly one of the most vibrant festivals one can attend in India, and we will do our utmost to bring the fair to you in all its glory. However the dates of the Camel fair can often vary within a day or two of the dates provided by the organisers.
Due to the uncertain and flexible nature of festivals in India we cannot take responsibility for the Fair ending earlier than the advertised dates. Also Pushkar hotels take this opportunity to raise their prices triple-fold. Unfortunately they often do this more than a few days before and after the advertised dates of the fair.
Departures that coincide with the fair will be subject to increased prices. These will be applied at time of booking. Please note this does NOT ensure that you will witness the Fair or that accommodation will be at our normal Imaginative Traveller hotel.
Unfortunately, although we make bookings months in advance, Pushkar accommodation tends to overbook themselves at this time so we ask for a flexible approach from our travellers who choose to visit this spectacular event with us.
Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
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.
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 Trip Notes.
A Single Supplement is available on this trip. Please refer to your booking agent for further information. On the following nights the Single Supplement isn't available:
- Days 25-26 Udaipur
Hotel (19 nts), Heritage Property (4 nts), Overnight sleeper train (2 nts), Jungle resort (1 nt), Homestay (1 nt), Deluxe permanent tent (1 nt)
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.
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Imaginative Traveller trips than your own. 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.
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. We use a mixture of air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned rooms.
While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
6 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Budget for meals not included: USD 570.00
Auto rickshaw, Ferry, Train, Private vehicle, 4x4 Safari Vehicle, Overnight sleeper train, Bus, Boat, Cycle rickshaw, Metro, Jeep
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
All our 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. Imaginative Traveller 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. 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.
Imaginative Traveller Kaleeveedu Lodge
1/387 Pattallam Road (near Police Quarters)
Phone: +91 04842218980
The Kaleeveedu Lodge is a traditional 1940's Kerala home located in the heart of Fort Kochi, within walking distance to all of the major attractions, and five minutes from the Basilica Church. The Lodge comprises eight air conditioned rooms with ensuite bathroom and hot water. The property also features a beautiful garden and pond bringing a great escape after a days site-seeing.
If you experience any problem with your booking please call our local Imaginative Traveller representative on +91 9999 916229 or +91 9645 096220
Check-in time is 12 noon.
Please note that we do not offer additional accommodation at the lodge and any pre / post accommodation will be booked at a different hotel - enquire with your agent.
Kochi's (Cochin) International Airport is 50km north east of the city. Taxis are the only available transport, and the journey takes approx. 90minutes. An air conditioned taxi costs approx. INR 1000 from the prepaid taxi booth in the arrivals hall. DO NOT hand your receipt to the driver until you have arrived at the hotel. Ignore any suggestions that "the hotel has burnt down" or "the hotel is full". Rest assured the hotel is there as is your booking.
An arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 30 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 Imaginative Traveller.
If you have pre-purchased an arrival transfer look for our local operator that will be waiting for you holding a sign with your name on it.
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your group trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer (where available) and have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the starting point hotel, following the Joining Instructions in these Trip Notes. Should this occur, please apply to your travel agent for a refund of the transfer cost on your return.
No refund is available on missed transfers or portions of your trip owing to a different flight arrival or delayed flight arrival. Any additional cost incurred in order to meet up with your group is at your own expense.
For trips departing on the following dates, use this finish point.
06 Jan 2012 (IHHSZC120106), 13 Jan 2012 (IHHSZC120113), 27 Jan 2012 (IHHSZC120127), 10 Feb 2012 (IHHSZC120210), 17 Feb 2012 (IHHSZC120217), 24 Feb 2012 (IHHSZC120224), 02 Mar 2012 (IHHSZC120302), 09 Mar 2012 (IHHSZC120309), 16 Mar 2012 (IHHSZC120316)
Hotel Pooja Palace
15A/11 W.E.A. Puja Park
Phone: +91 1125745275
The Hotel Pooja Palace in Delhi is located in the intriguing Karol Bagh market area, surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants, as well as some western shops. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place.
Hotel Pooja Palace room facilities include air-conditioning, TV with cable, fridges and telephone. There is a restaurant and 24 hour room service. Luggage storage and safe deposit facilities are also available at the hotel.
Please check out the folder (ask at reception) for more information and suggestions for what to do in and around Delhi.
A departure transfer from the hotel to the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 30 days prior to your trips start date. If you plan to stay longer, this departure transfer can only be offered in conjunction with post-tour accommodation booked through Imaginative Traveller.
Delhi's Indira Gandhi's International Airport is approximately 25km from Karol Bagh. One of the biggest airports in the world, it can be quite chaotic.
Before check in you must have your check in luggage x-rayed and sealed. Also ensure at check in that your hand luggage is tagged. (This is a mandatory in order to clear security.)
A taxi to the Delhi Indira Gandi Airport takes about 1 hour and should cost between INR 450 -500. Hotel reception or your leader can help you arrange a taxi.
If you have pre-booked a departure transfer with us it is vital that you reconfirm your pick-up time from the hotel before departure day. Please ask your leader to contact our transfer provider or alternatively contact them directly on +91 989 998 0227.
Check-out time from the hotel is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency our India office can be reached on +91 11 4500 6400 during business hours (9.30am to 6pm) or after hours on +91 9999916229.
We also have a dedicated 24 hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left the UK and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.
If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked.
Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985106564
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
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.
We keep the following information 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.
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 if you may speak to their direct manager.
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
It's important that your bags can be locked, as on local transport it may be necessary to store your luggage separately (and unattended) from the group. The smaller your bag the better for you and other passengers, for when it comes to travelling on local buses and trains it's often only the smaller bags that will fit into the storage areas. If your bag does not fit in these areas then often the only place to put it is on your bed or seat. To ensure maximum comfort, try to pack small and light.
Where Imaginative Traveller covers the cost of luggage storage for included day trips, we allow for one bag/backpack only, so it's advisable that you travel lightly and keep luggage to a limit of one item (plus your day pack). Extra luggage storage will be at your own expense.
Temperatures can be low in the winter months, especially at altitude, so bring a set of warmer clothes including thermal underclothes and a fleece jacket.
Please make sure you have 'natural' coloured clothing to wear on the jungle walk in Periyar.
A sleeping bag is very useful for the camping and the overnight train journey during the colder months but in the warmer months a sleeping sheet will suffice. If you prefer, a blanket can be bought locally.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation.
During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and talk with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos / postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.
Please bring a photocopy of your passport main page and airline ticket if you will require airline reconfirmation at the end of your trip.
All our 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, Imaginative Traveller 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 and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
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.
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. While your group leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Imaginative Traveller itinerary, and Imaginative Traveller makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
Travelling in India and Nepal whilst the Holi festival (a lunar festival but generally held in March every year) can at times be dangerous - a lot of locals participate in consumption of intoxicating substances. The day has been associated with physical violence and danger. Your leader/guide will be advising you and your group on what places to avoid on this day and it may even be necessary for us to alter your itinerary for the day to avoid putting you or our group leader/guide in high risk situation.
Travelling during the Hindu festival Diwali (a lunar festival but generally held from mid October to mid November every year) can also be dangerous. During this time there are many displays of fireworks in the streets. It can be very noisy for several days and there is also a lot of pollution caused by the 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 any dangerous areas to avoid putting the group at risk.
Please note that helmets and professional riding equipment can't be provided on the camel safari.
On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses - these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally their staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved in their original state.
While travelling in this part of the world there is 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.
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
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 trip until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by our local representative.
If you have credit card insurance our local representative will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact telephone number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
We highly recommend the Imaginative Traveller travel insurance which is tailored specifically for adventure travel and covers ALL activities featured in any of our tours. For more details please go to http://www.imaginative-traveller.com/travel-insurance
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.
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.
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. Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
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.
Endeavour 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.
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Imaginative Traveller travellers. Imaginative Traveller's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
Carbon Offset C02-e 676.00 kgs per pax.
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