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 booking
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|
|HHKS||Saturday 14 Sep 2013||Saturday 28 Sep 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 21 Sep 2013||Saturday 05 Oct 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 28 Sep 2013||Saturday 12 Oct 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 05 Oct 2013||Saturday 19 Oct 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 12 Oct 2013||Saturday 26 Oct 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 19 Oct 2013||Saturday 02 Nov 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 26 Oct 2013||Saturday 09 Nov 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 02 Nov 2013||Saturday 16 Nov 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 16 Nov 2013||Saturday 30 Nov 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 23 Nov 2013||Saturday 07 Dec 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 30 Nov 2013||Saturday 14 Dec 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 07 Dec 2013||Saturday 21 Dec 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 14 Dec 2013||Saturday 28 Dec 2013|
|HHKS||Saturday 21 Dec 2013||Saturday 04 Jan 2014|
|HHKS||Thursday 26 Dec 2013||Thursday 09 Jan 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 28 Dec 2013||Saturday 11 Jan 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 04 Jan 2014||Saturday 18 Jan 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 11 Jan 2014||Saturday 25 Jan 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 18 Jan 2014||Saturday 01 Feb 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 25 Jan 2014||Saturday 08 Feb 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 01 Feb 2014||Saturday 15 Feb 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 08 Feb 2014||Saturday 22 Feb 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 15 Feb 2014||Saturday 01 Mar 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 22 Feb 2014||Saturday 08 Mar 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 01 Mar 2014||Saturday 15 Mar 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 08 Mar 2014||Saturday 22 Mar 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 15 Mar 2014||Saturday 29 Mar 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 22 Mar 2014||Saturday 05 Apr 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 29 Mar 2014||Saturday 12 Apr 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 05 Apr 2014||Saturday 19 Apr 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 12 Apr 2014||Saturday 26 Apr 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 19 Apr 2014||Saturday 03 May 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 20 Sep 2014||Saturday 04 Oct 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 27 Sep 2014||Saturday 11 Oct 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 04 Oct 2014||Saturday 18 Oct 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 11 Oct 2014||Saturday 25 Oct 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 18 Oct 2014||Saturday 01 Nov 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 25 Oct 2014||Saturday 08 Nov 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 01 Nov 2014||Saturday 15 Nov 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 08 Nov 2014||Saturday 22 Nov 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 15 Nov 2014||Saturday 29 Nov 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 22 Nov 2014||Saturday 06 Dec 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 29 Nov 2014||Saturday 13 Dec 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 06 Dec 2014||Saturday 20 Dec 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 13 Dec 2014||Saturday 27 Dec 2014|
|HHKS||Saturday 20 Dec 2014||Saturday 03 Jan 2015|
|HHKS||Saturday 27 Dec 2014||Saturday 10 Jan 2015|
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.
Located in India's Bay of Bengal, Chennai is a Tamil cultural centre and home to India's second largest film industry, known as Kollywood.
An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel (note - we may not be able confirm request made within 15 days of travel). Once you have provided your details a transfer representative will be booked to meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.
At the group meeting we will be collecting your insurance details and emergency contact information, so please ensure you have all details on hand to provide to your leader. After the meeting, there is the option of joining your fellow travellers for dinner. If your flight is scheduled to arrive late we recommend that you consider booking a night's accommodation prior to the trip so you can ensure you are able to attend the important group meeting.
•Chennai - Government Museum
•Chennai - Kapileshwar Temple
•Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Hotel (2 nts)
Mamallapuram (also Mahabalipuram) is a town with ancient origins. It has nice beaches, good restaurants and the intricately carved Shore Temple, still standing from the 9th century.
A former French colony, Pondicherry (now Puducherry) has a distinct French feel while retaining its Indian roots, making it one of India's more surprising and delightful cities.
We travel by private vehicle to Pondicherry, stopping at Auroville along the way (approx 3 hours). Auroville is an amazing experiment in international living. Made up of 80 rural settlements and home to over 1,500 residents, more than half of whom are foreign nationals, this living project dedicated to human unity also houses the world's largest solid crystal.
Take a walking tour and visit the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, the local temples and the old French quarter.
•Pondicherry - Walking tour and Sri Aurobindo Ashram
Hotel (1 nt)
With incredible temple complexes and a recorded history going back to the 3rd century BC, Madurai has some wonderful buildings and heritage sights to discover.
Board an afternoon train to Madurai (approx 6 hours). The train is air-conditioned, with a dining carriage and western toilets.
With incredible temple complexes and a recorded history going back to the 3rd century BC, Madurai has some wonderful buildings and heritage sights to discover.
Wander the bazaars and the tailors' market.
Visit the Sri Meenakshi Temple, which lies at the heart of the city. This ancient, still active temple is a labyrinth of lamp-lit corridors which lead to shrines where some mysterious and interesting rituals are performed.
Pay a visit to the National Gandhi Museum, and learn more about the 'Father of the Nation'.
•Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
•Madurai walking tour
•Madurai - Gandhi Museum, Madurai - INR200.00
Hotel (2 nts)
The emerald-green hills, tranquil tea plantations, misty valleys and gushing rivers of Munnar are a world away from the busy cities of India.
We travel to Munnar by private vehicle (approx 4 hrs). This old British hill station is at a height of 1,525m (4,575 ft). As it is generally much cooler than the lower altitudes so it's wise to bring sufficient warm clothing.
Drive to the nearby tea garden and spend some time in the lush greenery. Depending on its erratic schedule, we'll also visit the tea museum.
Head out to Mattupetti Dam. Situated at an altitude of 1700m above sea level, approximately 13 km from Munnar, it's famous for the Indo-Swiss livestock project.
•Munnar - Tea Musuem
•Munnar - Town Walk
•Munnar - Mattupati Dam, Munnar - Free
Hotel (2 nts)
Periyar is an area of Kerala famed for its spice plantations and wildlife sanctuary, which is home to tigers and elephants, among other creatures, and beautiful scenery.
Our drive through lush pineapple and rubber plantations to Periyar takes approx 4 hrs.
Set high in the ranges of the Western Ghats is the Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve. This wildlife sanctuary surrounds a picturesque lake, formed by the building of a dam in 1895, which meanders around the contours of the wooded hills and provides a permanent source of water for the local wildlife. Though it's a tiger reserve, tourists come here to view the Indian elephants in the act of ablution and playfulness by the lake.
In the evening, enjoy a tour around a local spice plantation and a delicious meal prepared by the owner's family.
Venture into the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary for a guided nature walk in the hope of glimpsing sambar, bison, elephant, spotted deer, tiger and leopard.
•Periyar - National Park wildlife walk
•Periyar - Spice farm tour & dinner
Hotel (2 nts)
With numerous canals linking the countryside and being the gateway to the gorgeous Kerala backwaters, life in Alleppey centres around the water.
Our drive downhill towards the backwaters of Kerala takes approx 3 hrs.
Alleppey's sleepy, palm-shaded backwaters are Kerala's hidden treasure. Once an important trading port and now famous for its August 'snake boat' races, Alleppey is the starting point for most journeys into the backwaters and also hosts a mid-December musical festival.
Take a leisurely boat ride around the lake and enjoy the outstanding scenery.
Enjoy a walk through nearby villages, strolling under palm trees and weaving in between the rice fields that cover the island, discovering the local lifestyles.
Experience the rejuvenating bliss of an ayurvedic massage.
•Kerala - Ayurvedic massage
•Kerala - Boat Ride
Heritage Property (1 nt)
As a centre for the spice trade for centuries, cosmopolitan Kochi has an intriguing mix of cultural influences from both the Indian continent and overseas.
Our drive in private vehicles to Kochi takes approx 2 hours.
Spread over several islands, Kochi is a fascinating place full of Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and English influences.
Head out to explore the major sights of Fort Cochin and visit the spice bazaars and antique shops. The best way to get around the islands is by using the ferry network.
Be part of a Kathakali dance performance. This classical dance is a highly charged and powerful drama that combines devotion and physical virtuosity with symbolic storytelling to produce one of the most impressive and vibrant forms of theatre in the world. It requires lengthy and rigorous training to attain complete control of the body and sensitivity to emotion so as to be able to render all its nuances through facial expressions and hand gestures.
Take an excursion to Vypeen Island - one of the group of islands that form part of Kochi.
Visit the Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century. It was taken over by the Dutch in 1663, who added some improvements before presenting it to the Rajas of Cochin.
We catch ferries to visit the spice bazaars, streets lined with antique shops and the beautifully restored Mattancherry Palace.
Go to the Jewish synagogue. Built in 1568, it's one of the oldest existing synagogues in India.
•Fort Kochi sightseeing
•Kochi - Dutch Palace
•Kochi - Jewish Synagogue
•Kochi - Kathakali dance show
•Visit to Vypeen Island, Kochi - INR20.00
Hotel (2 nts)
Incredibly, the history of Trivandrum (now Thiruvananthapuram) dates back to 1000BC, and its lovely coastline and quaint town centre are fascinating places to explore. With three lovely beaches, Kovalam is a little slice of Indian paradise with coconut trees swaying in the breeze and cerulean waters lapping the shores.
We take the train for the journey to Trivandrum (approx 4 hours). Our carriage is comfortable, with air conditioning. Upon arrival at the train station, we have a short drive in private vehicles to Kovalam (approx 1 hour).
About 30 years ago, Kovalam was a sleepy coastal village mainly producing coconuts and fresh fish, today it's one of the most sought after beaches in India.
See Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, one of the ancient temples of south India and popularly described as 'Sabarimala of the Women', as women form the major portion of devotees.
Visit Anchuthengu Fort. Constructed in the 17th century, it's a brilliant symbol of British architectural elegance.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.
•Kovalam - Attukal Temple
•Kovalam - Anchuthengu Fort, Kovalam - INR50.00
•Kovalam - Koyikkal Palace, Kovalam - INR50.00
Hotel (1 nt)
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. 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 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.
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. 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, please ask your booking agent for more information.
Hotel (13 nts), Heritage Property (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.
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.
The hotel accommodation on this trip has 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.
14 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch, 2 Dinners
Train, Boat, Private vehicle
All Imaginative Traveller 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. 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.
For trips departing on the following dates, use this joining point.
19 Jan 2013 (HHKS130119), 26 Jan 2013 (HHKS130126), 02 Feb 2013 (HHKS130202), 09 Feb 2013 (HHKS130209), 16 Feb 2013 (HHKS130216), 23 Feb 2013 (HHKS130223), 02 Mar 2013 (HHKS130302), 09 Mar 2013 (HHKS130309), 16 Mar 2013 (HHKS130316), 23 Mar 2013 (HHKS130323), 30 Mar 2013 (HHKS130330), 06 Apr 2013 (HHKS130406), 13 Apr 2013 (HHKS130413), 07 Sep 2013 (HHKS130907), 14 Sep 2013 (HHKS130914), 21 Sep 2013 (HHKS130921), 28 Sep 2013 (HHKS130928), 05 Oct 2013 (HHKS131005), 12 Oct 2013 (HHKS131012), 19 Oct 2013 (HHKS131019), 26 Oct 2013 (HHKS131026), 02 Nov 2013 (HHKS131102), 09 Nov 2013 (HHKS131109), 16 Nov 2013 (HHKS131116), 23 Nov 2013 (HHKS131123), 30 Nov 2013 (HHKS131130), 07 Dec 2013 (HHKS131207), 14 Dec 2013 (HHKS131214), 21 Dec 2013 (HHKS131221), 28 Dec 2013 (HHKS131228), 04 Jan 2014 (HHKS140104), 11 Jan 2014 (HHKS140111), 18 Jan 2014 (HHKS140118), 25 Jan 2014 (HHKS140125), 01 Feb 2014 (HHKS140201), 08 Feb 2014 (HHKS140208), 15 Feb 2014 (HHKS140215), 22 Feb 2014 (HHKS140222), 01 Mar 2014 (HHKS140301), 08 Mar 2014 (HHKS140308), 15 Mar 2014 (HHKS140315), 22 Mar 2014 (HHKS140322), 29 Mar 2014 (HHKS140329), 05 Apr 2014 (HHKS140405), 12 Apr 2014 (HHKS140412), 19 Apr 2014 (HHKS140419)
216 E V R Periyar Salai, Poonamallee High Road
Located near the city centre of Chennai, each room has air conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and an electronic safe.
A complimentary arrival transfer from the airport is available if arranged at the time of booking. Transfers cannot be arranged on arrival. 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. Imaginative Traveller provides one complimentary arrival transfer per booking even if clients are arriving at different times.
The taxi ride from the airport to our starting point hotel should cost between INR 500 - 600 (prepaid traffic police booths) depending on your arrival time and whether it is at the Domestic or International airport.
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.
Sagara Beach Resort
Light House Road
Sagara Beach Resort facilities include laundry, doctor on call, currency exchange and safe deposit. The hotel also has an Ayurvedic Centre, swimming pool and a restaurant on the roof.
A departure transfer is available - please enquire at time of booking.
A taxi to Trivandrum airport takes about 45 minutes and should cost between INR600-800. Hotel reception or your leader can help you arrange a taxi.
Normal check out time 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 local 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 to 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.
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.
When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day
While trekking, boiled or safe water is available for drinking. However, you should also carry a water purification method. Options include:
- purification tablets available from camping stores or pharmacies eg. Micropur.
- 2% tincture of iodine, available from pharmacies, used at 4 drops per litre of water and left for at least 20 minutes - longer in very cold weather.
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 Imaginative Traveller 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It's about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
• It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
• We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
• Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
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 email@example.com
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 488.00 kgs per pax.
Our tailor made adventure holidays will truly inspire and delight the senses and will live in your memory for ever.more info
Join us on one of our worldwide adventures coming up over the next few months - all guaranteed to depart, all at 20% off.more info