Tantalise the taste buds on these culinary tours through some of the world’s most delicious cuisine. Learn the secrets of traditional dishes in cookery classes, indulge in the local liquors & sample numerous different produce whilst touring the classic sights of a country.
Namaste! Welcome to India.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6:00pm on Day 1.
You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
After the welcome meeting we head to dinner at Moti Mahal. This is a very famous restaurant in India; Gordon Ramsay claimed it had the best food in India but you can judge for yourself. The first Moti Mahal opened in Delhi in the 1920s and this family business now has other restaurants as far away as Mumbai. Be sure to try the butter chicken, it’s their most famous dish. There are no reservations, so you’ll need to go and wait, and while the décor may be very basic, the food is simply delicious!
This morning we venture out to Old Delhi, the historic city also known as Shahjanabad. This is where some of Delhi's best-known local food joints are found.
We start off on foot, walking through narrow alleyways and enjoying an authentic street food-style breakfast. Keep your eye out for the local chaiwala (tea maker), who is well known not just for his delicious milky tea but also for the technique with which he makes the tea. Tea juggling will be new to most travellers – but not this man, who has been tea juggling for decades.
Along the way, we'll also taste the typical northern Indian breakfast of the masses – poori bhaji. The deep-fried chapatis are called poori, and bhaji is a side dish made of potatoes or chickpeas.
Next, jump on the city's modern metro system and head to Jama Masjid, Delhi's oldest mosque and one of its most impressive buildings.
Visit the Gali Paranthe Wali (lane of parathas), which has been in operation at Chadni Chowk since the 1870s. Parathas are one of the most popular unleavened flat breads in Punjabi North Indian cuisine, typically enjoyed for breakfast. You’ll have the opportunity to taste a number of variations – the parathas come stuffed with fillings including potatoes, cauliflower, radish and cottage cheese.
Later in the day, there is an opportunity to learn how to make parathas with a local family.
Explore the mighty Red Fort of Delhi. Part palace and part fort, it plays an integral part in the history of the city with former residents ranging from royal families to British soldiers.
Get an insight into the food traditions of Delhi’s Sikh residents over lunch at a local Sikh temple. While Hinduism is the dominant religion in Delhi, there is a significant Sikh population. Join some representatives from this temple for a cooking demonstration followed by lunch.
We then take a tour of Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest and busiest markets in Old Delhi. Visit the large spice warehouses in the back alleys of Khari Baoli, Asia's largest wholesale spice market. Here you will have a unique opportunity to view the whole process: from the loading, carrying and unloading of these huge sacks of produce, to watching the busy shop keepers dealing with customers purchasing large quantities of these items. Here we’ll meet a spice seller to hear him talk about how he mixes the spices for retailing.
Have a rest in the afternoon or take the metro to Haus Khaz Village in New Delhi. This is a taste of New Delhi’s funkier side. HKV is home to many of the capital’s cutting edge fashion designers, cafés, bars and restaurants. Spend the rest of the afternoon poking around cafés and artist studios. You may also want to stay and have dinner at one of the area’s hip restaurants.
Alternatively, why not visit a local family for a home-cooked meal. Our host will give a hands-on lesson on making alloo paratha and we will then sit down to enjoy all that has been prepared.
Hotel (2 nts)
Take one of India's faster air-conditioned trains to the Mughal city of Agra (approx. 3 hours)
Famed for the awe-inspiring Taj Mahal, Agra is a city with a fascinating history and is rich in Mughal heritage, lush gardens and exquisite buildings and temples.
Visit the Taj Mahal - a masterpiece of shimmering white marble set amid beautiful formal gardens. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife Mumtaz, this 'teardrop on the face of eternity' (as it was described by writer Rabindranath Tagore) lives up to all expectations.
For lunch, you will have the opportunity to sample some of the city’s famous chaat.
Chaats are savoury snacks, typically served at roadside tracks from stalls or carts in India and Bangladesh – India’s equivalent to fast food! With its origins in Uttar Pradesh, chaat has become immensely popular in the rest of India and the Indian sub-continent.
We’ll also sample local sweets such as pathe, a translucent candy made from ash gourde (white pumpkin) and gajak, a dry candy made from sugar syrup and sesame seeds.
Visit Agra Fort on the banks of the Yamuna River. Built in 1565 by Emperor Akbar, the fort was originally designed to be a military structure. It was converted to a palace in Emperor Shah Jahan's time and eventually became his prison after he lost power in 1658.
As the former capital of the Mughal empire, Agra still celebrates the culinary traditions and cooking techniques of Mughlai royal cuisine, with its Turkic and Persian influences. Late in the afternoon, we will head to the lawn of a nearby restaurant where the chef will give us a demonstration of some of the most prized royal dishes, followed by our own royal feast.
Hotel (1 nt)
If there is time and you wish to visit the Taj Mahal again for sunrise this morning, please let your leader know the day before so this can be organised for you.
Before departing, why not try a traditional Agra breakfast of bedai and jalebi, a spicy potato-curry-and-fried bread affair followed up by a sugary, sticky-sweet dessert.
Leave Agra in our private vehicle heading to Jaipur, stopping at Fatehpur Sikri along the way (approx. 7 hrs).
The magnificent deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri was built by Emperor Akbar in 1569, but was abandoned after 15 years due to the scarcity of water. A highlight of the settlement is Jama Masjid, a striking mosque featuring elements of both Persian and Hindu design. The main entrance of the mosque is the impressive 54-metre high Buland Darwaza, the Gate of Victory, constructed to commemorate Akbar's military victory in Gujarat.
The cuisine of Rajasthan is intrinsically linked with its desert landscape. Due to the scarcity of water, milk, buttermilk and curd are often used to add moisture and leafy greens are replaced with a focus on lentils, indigenous beans and other cereals. Dominant spices include turmeric, fenugreek, mustard seeds and coriander.
Some of the best Rajasthani fare can be found at dhabas (or roadside restaurants) – dishes are served from handis, traditional, thick-bottomed clay pots with narrow tops that allow for lengthy simmering to produce rich, deeply spiced flavours. On our way to Jaipur, we will join the locals for lunch at a roadside dhaba.
A friendly, busy town crammed with palaces and bazaars full of jewellery, textiles and folk-based arts, Jaipur is a firm favourite with travellers.
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.
Don’t forget to check out the Indian take on movie snacks!
This evening is free for your own real food adventure. You may wish to stop past Anokhi Café, where fresh, organic salads, stir fries, pizza and chocolate cake just might be a sight for sore eyes for some. Your tour leader will have plenty of suggestions for all tastes and budgets.
Make a stop at India's most photographed building after the Taj Mahal, the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'.
Travel out to the old capital of Amber and explore the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. Set in stunning surroundings on a hilltop overlooking Maota Lake, the fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture. One of its most spectacular buildings is the Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors). With its walls completely covered with tiny mirrors, the hall becomes a dazzling fantasy with the light of a single match.
We head to lunch at Rawat Kachori. Kachoris are deep fried bread stuffed with vegetables and lentils and are one of the most sought after snacks in north India. Rawat Kachori is not only famous for its kachori but is also a mithai (sweet) shop. They have at least 50 varieties of Indian sweets ‐ laddoos, barfis and bengali mithai. Here we taste their renowned kachoris as well as learning more about India’s insatiable ‘sweet tooth’.
This afternoon is free for you to explore the markets, enjoy some shopping or just relax.
In the late afternoon we will have a truly unique opportunity to learn the secrets of Rajasthani cuisine in a cooking class with an Indian celebrity chef, who will impart his wisdom on famous and traditional Rajasthani dishes in this special hands-on class at his personal residence. We will then sit down to enjoy the feast we have prepared for dinner.
Hotel (2 nts)
Travel to Jodhpur (approx. 5-6 hours)
Along the way, we will pass through agricultural lands, getting an insight on the lives of the agrarian society of India.
India's enigmatic 'Blue City', Jodhpur, has a captivating Old Town with palaces, heritage buildings, colourful streets and the Mehrangarh Fort shining like a jewel high above the city.
Explore the colossal Mehrangarh Fort and take in the great views from its ramparts, which dominate the city's skyline.
Enjoy a guided tour of Sardar Market, which includes a tasting of the world-famous Makhaniya Lassi, a yoghurt drink spiced with cardamom and butter. This is often referred to as the best lassi in India.
Heritage Property (1 nt)
We head towards our heritage stay by private vehicle (approx 2 hours).
Over the next 24 hours we are immersed in rural village life in the Aravalli Mountains. Meet local craftsmen and producers and discover what life is like for the people of Rajhasthan outside of the cities. Today we will also learn the Indian technique of eating with our hands – an art that takes some practice to master!
After our day out at the village, we will return to our stunning heritage stay, where the chef will demonstrate the techniques behind some of the most well-known desert dishes including Rajasthani desert beans (ker sangria), gatta curry, lamb curry called lal maas and bajre ki roti (millet flour flatbread). Dinner will be served in the Dining Hall where ceremonies of the royal family once took place.
Heritage Property (1 nt)
Today we continue to Udaipur (approx. 3.5 hours).
On the way, we stop at the village of Ranakpur, home to one of the country’s most impressive Jain temples. Jainism is a minority religion in India and is considered among the most rigorous spiritually motivated diets on the Indian subcontinent. Jain cuisine is strictly vegetarian, aligning with the Jain principal of non-violence, and even excludes the eating of root vegetables such as carrots, onion and garlic as it is believed that uprooting the plant kills it and the micro-organisms around the roots. Food must be prepared daily, as keeping cooked food overnight is forbidden.
Experience authentic Jain cuisine when we visit the common dining area at the temple, where Jain food is served to all the visitors.
On arrival in Udaipur, take a walk around town to help gather your bearings. Explore Udaipur's twisting alleys filled with silver, shoes, bags, leather goods and miniature paintings.
Tonight you have a free evening for dinner. With a strong influence of Jainism and Vaishnaism, the preferred food in Udaipur is vegetarian. Udaipur has numerous rooftop restaurants so climb some stairs, settle in and watch the sun set over a lake while dining on scrumptious local cuisine.
Start at the local market to collect ingredients for today’s cooking class, where we learn how to prepare a traditional north Indian thali meal. A thali comprises of numerous dishes, which will vary regionally depending on where the thali is prepared. As we are in Udaipur, we will be making a vegetarian thali. Typical dishes include rice, dahl, vegetables, roti, papad (deep-fried flat bread), curd (yoghurt), small amounts of chutney or pickle, and a sweet dish to top it off. After all our cooking, we enjoy our handmade thali for lunch.
Visit City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India, and check out the unbelievable treasures within - from vivid murals to antiques and royal utensils.
Hotel (2 nts)
Take a flight to Mumbai (approx 1.5 hrs).
Known as Bombay until its recent name change, Mumbai is India's commercial capital. Some would say that Mumbai is also the eating capital of India. This is the heart of Mangalorean cuisine, however you will find huge culinary diversity celebrating regional cuisines from across the country.
In the early evening we wander down Marine Drive to Chowpatty Beach and enjoy the sunset and snack on bhel puri, followed by a street-food crawl along Marine Drive.
For anyone who still has room, we will also stop past a popular kebab and roll stand serving roomali rotis. This bustling stand located behind the Taj Hotel, is a favourite among locals and open until the wee hours of the morning.
Start the day with a Parsi breakfast. The Parsis are descendants of Zoroastrians who are believed to have immigrated to India from Persia in the 10th century. Today the Parsi community is largely concentrated in Mumbai. This morning we visit a popular Parsi institution, Britannia Café, where we can sample eeda (egg) dishes, which are a popular Parsi breakfast staple.
After breakfast, we stop off at the remarkable dhobi ghat and marvel at Victoria Terminus. Now referred to as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, this building is a striking combination of gothic and traditional Indian palace architecture. Designed and constructed in the 19th century, it took over 10 years to complete.
In addition to food, Mumbai is famous for Bollywood. Next, we head for a tour of one of the studios.
For lunch we seek out one of Mumbai’s best loved cafes for a taste of marvelous typical south Indian fare, including dosa, idli and vadas. After lunch we stop past a traditional Indian coffee house to try the local brew.
Drop past Mumbai’s bustling Crawford Markets. South Indian food is very different to that of the north. While wheat is a northern mainstay ingredient, seen in the plethora of breads which accompany the meal, rice is paramount in the south. As we explore the markets we'll find out about the various varieties of rice available and their preferred uses.
For those in need of refreshment, we'll also drop into the Tea Centre at Churchgate – a great place to try out some of India's premium teas.
The rest of the afternoon is free for shopping, sightseeing and soaking up the atmosphere of this incredible metropolis. Don’t forget to grab some dinner before we depart.
Catch an overnight train to Goa (approx 13 hrs). Our sleeper train is clean and air-conditioned, a great way to travel long distances and still get maximum time in each place. Beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided but some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet. Please note you may be sharing with locals in a same gender/mixed gender situation. Most trains have a dining carriage where food/snacks/meals are available.
Overnight sleeper train (1 nt), Hotel (1 nt)
Famous for the sandy beaches that line its coast, Goa is a fascinating and distinctive region in India's southwest. Brimming with Portuguese influences and bursting with fresh food, this region has earned its idyllic badge.
Following our arrival, we visit a local fish and vegetable market and shop for the best catch. Here you will also be introduced to spices that are typical of this region. The most important of Goan spices, the chilli, was introduced to Goa by the Portuguese.
Goa is renowned for its seafood and variations of the fish curry, laced with coconut and served with rice, has become a regional classic. We return to our hotel for a hands-on lesson in the preparation of Goan fish curries, as well as other typical southern-style dishes.
The afternoon is free for further exploration or simply to relax on the beach.
The evening is free for your own Goa real food adventure. Just ask your tour leader if you are looking for ideas.
Join your leader on a tour of Old Goa, and see the Portuguese influence in the churches and basilica lining the streets.
Visit a local spice farm. Goa's dense forested areas and favourable climatic conditions make it a perfect location to grow the spices liberally used in its cuisine. All the spice farms use organic methods of cultivation. Go on a guided tour of a plantation and enjoy a mouth-watering Goan buffet lunch. Lunch incudes a tasting of feni, a spirit made from either coconut or the juice of the cashew apple, which is made in the state of Goa.
The afternoon is free for final shopping, sightseeing and relaxing.
Tonight, we choose a restaurant where we will share our final Indian meal together to celebrate the end of this Real Food Adventure.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
Hotel (2 nts)
Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. 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.
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 number of activities on this itinerary may have an alcohol component. Relevant local laws governing the legal age for consumption of alcohol apply to this trip. If you are below the local drinking legal age, you will not be able to participate in any trip activities involving alcohol. No refund will be offered for those activities.
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 Intrepid 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 Intrepid. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.
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 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.
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
FESTIVALS IN INDIA: Please note travelling during major festivals such as Holi and Diwali can, at times, cause disruption the the published itinerary. Please see the 'Safety' section for more details.
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.
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. On a selection of our trips, 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. On the following nights a single room is not available:
- Day 11 Overnight Train
Hotel (10 nts), Heritage Property (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid 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.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
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.
While travelling with us you'll experience a vast array of dishes, beverages, dining experiences, ingredients and produce.
To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, the trip price does not include all meals. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility – whether you wish to partake in budget, mid-range or high-end dining options. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. Generally, our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company, however there's no obligation to do this.
For travellers wanting to eat at a particular high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurant, there will be specified free nights in certain locations where you can make your own restaurant reservations. It is recommended you make reservations for high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurants well in advance of your departure, as there can be long lead times for booking in some instances.
12 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
Your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. These instances will be indicated in the ‘trip notes’ itinerary. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.
For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
Metro, Private vehicle, Train, Shuttle Bus, Cycle rickshaw, Plane, Overnight sleeper train, Bus, Car
LONG TRAVEL DAYS
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
Sleeper trains in India are typically four to six berth compartments (dependant on seasonality and the journey). Privacy is mainly kept using curtains, and most compartments are air-conditioned
All 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. You can expect your Food Adventures group leader to be passionate about the local food scene and keen to share their insider knowledge on the best authentic local food and drink experiences throughout your trip.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Imaginative Traveller 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.
Hotel Sunstar Grand
7A/17 WEA Channa Market
Phone: +91 1142502117
Joining point description
Located in the Karol Bagh market areal surrounded by a mix of local stalls, shops and restaurants. It is only a 25 minute ride by auto rickshaw (INR70-80 with bargaining) to get to the heart of Delhi, Connaught Place. The hotel features a restaurant and 24 hour room service, and rooms are equipped with AC, TV, fridge and telephone.
Joining point instructions
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 arrival airport transfer is available at time of booking. 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 Intrepid.
If you have pre-booked your airport arrival transfer please exit by doors 4 & 5 and you will be met in the arrivals hall. If you cannot find your representative, please look for him at Costa coffee.
If you have any problems and cannot locate our representative, or if your flight is delayed please call the following 24 hour numbers:
+91 9911 972 636
+91 9560 849 444
Failing the above please take a taxi to the hotel and advise your group leader. 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.
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.
Aldeia Santa Rita
Sinquerim, Bardez, Goa
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency Intrepid's India office can be reached on +91 1145 006 400 during business hours (9.30am to 6pm) or after hours on +91 9999 916 229.
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 to speak to their direct manager.
You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
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.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
TRAVELLING ON LOCAL TRANSPORT:
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 Intrepid 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.
IMAGES FROM HOME:
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 travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid 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 Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid 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.
FESTIVALS - HOLI & DIWALI:
Travelling in India and Nepal during the Holi festival, a lunar festival next held in March 17, 2014 and generally held in March each 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 next held on 03 November, 2013 and 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.
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.
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.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
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!
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
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.
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 group trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
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.
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 Intrepid travellers. Intrepid'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 686.00 kgs per pax.
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