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Wonders Of India

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highlights
  • Discover the man-made beauty that lies across the north of India – from Jaipur’s ‘Palace of the Winds’ and Royal City Palace, Agra’s Red Fort and iconic Taj Mahal, to the palaces of Orchha and the carved steps leading down to the river in Varanasi
  • Be immersed in the spirituality of India – the Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi, the ghats of Varanasi, ancient bathing rituals and candle flower ceremonies on the Ganges, Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage sites, and evening prayer ceremonies
  • Experience the many splendours of the south, from spice bazaars and verdant tea plantations to the tranquil waters of the south west coast
  • Join expert local guides out on safari in Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan, and search for tigers in Periyar National Park, nestled high in the Western Ghats
The Wonders of India tour starts in New Delhi and ends in Kovalam. The Wonders of India is a Wildlife Safaris And Game Drives tour that takes 25 days taking you from New Delhi to Kovalam and through other destinations in Asia.

Immerse yourself in the wonders of India on this unforgettable journey from New Delhi down to Kovalam. Discover the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, witness the Mughal splendours of Delhi and Agra, safari through Ranthambhore National Park in search of tigers and soak up the ambience of holy Varanasi. Travel on to Chennai, and to the depths of the lush, tropical south, exploring quaint fishing villages and scented spice plantations. Stroll the French Quarter of Pondicherry, learn Ghandi’s story in Madurai, discover traditional dance in Kochi, cruise the backwaters of Kerala and finish in the beautiful seaside town of Kovalam.
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Welcome to India. On arrival at the airport you’ll be transferred to the hotel. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 15 days prior to travel, to organise the transfer. There will be a Welcome Meeting in the hotel at 6pm on Day 1. Please ask reception to confirm the time and place of your meeting. 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. 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. You can use any free time before the meeting to explore this excitingly chaotic capital city. Filled with historical sites from different eras, museums and galleries, shops and endless bazaars, there’s plenty to see.
Accommodation
  • Jaypee Siddharth Hotel or similar
Get your first experience of Indian rail travel with an express train into Rajasthan and on to its capital, Jaipur (approximately 5 hours). Then take a walking tour through the crowded streets packed with cars, camel carts, rickshaws, trucks and bicycles, past traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and sporting magnificent moustaches. Walk to the city's crowded bazaars filled with handcrafted textiles, folk art, and the local specialty of semi-precious stones, then make a photo stop at India's most photographed building (after the Taj Mahal), the Hawa Mahal or 'Palace of the Winds'. There’s also the option to visit one of India’s finest palaces – Jaipur's Royal City Palace – or the astronomical instrument sculptures of the Observatory. This evening, continue to indulge in the wonders of Indian culture by watching a Bollywood blockbuster.
Accommodation
  • Lemon Tree Premier or similar
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Jantar Mantar Observatory - INR 200
  • Jaipur - City Palace - INR 600
Visit the opulent Amber Fort, the jewel of Jaipur. It is quite a sight, with its soft shades of red sandstone and white marble, and elaborate Hindu style flourishes. Explore the legacy of a fallen empire – ornate rooms of lavish murals, frescoed arches and delicate jali work. After spending some time here, the remainder of the day is free for you to explore parts of Jaipur that you might have missed yesterday.
Accommodation
  • Lemon Tree Premier or similar
Optional Activities
  • Jaipur - Balloon Safari
Drifting high over the pink city while it’s bathed in early morning sunlight is a highlight for many visitors to Jaipur, so consider a hot air balloon ride this morning. This can be done between Septermber and June. For additional information see the Important Notes section of your trip notes. Today you drive to Kanota (approximately 1 hour). Your accommodation here is the beautiful Castle Kanota feature stay. Set on 8 acres and built in 1972, this heritage hotel is one of Rajasthan's finest.
Accommodation
  • Castle Kanota 'feature stay' or similar
Drive from Castle Kanota to Ranthambhore National Park (approximately 5 hours). In the evening enjoy a safari through the park. Ranthambore National Park is one of the original Project Tiger reserves, a place where nature has reclaimed ancient fortresses and temples, and that is teeming with wildlife. In 4WD safari vehicles take game drives to search for animals and the majestic tigers which stalk through the jungle. You may also have the chance to explore the 1000 year old Ranthambore Fort, where two pavilions that have survived the ravages of war and time - Badal Mahal and Hammirs Court - give an idea of its old grandeur.

Notes: Ranthambhore National Park is closed between 1 July and 30 September each year. On those trips affected, we'll visit nearby Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary. Sawai Mansingh Sanctuary is located approx. 16 km from Ranthambhore and, due to its hilly terrain, isn't as affected by the monsoon. Tigers inhabit this area also and spottings are more favourable at this time of year as they move away from flooded areas of Ranthambore.
Accommodation
  • Pugmarks Resort or similar
Awake early for a morning safari, a second chance to spot tigers. Even if the tigers are too stealthy to see, the park is filled with other animals like gazelle, hyenas, sloth bears, crocodiles, jackals, three types of antelope (nilgai, sambar and chital) and leopards to watch out for. Afterwards, enjoy free time at the resort. Later, in the afternoon, spend some time relaxing or take a stroll around town.
Accommodation
  • Pugmarks Resort or similar
Drive to Agra (approximately 5 hours). Here you visit Agra Fort, and India's most famous icon – the spectacular Taj Mahal. Best known as a monument to love and loss, the 17th century Taj was built by Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his second wife and is a beautiful example of Mughal architecture surrounded by trimmed English gardens. Agra is also home to one of the finest looking forts in India. Stop at the nearby Agra Fort, a fortress, palace and prison built of red sandstone by Akbar in 1565 and partially converted into a palace during the time of Shah Jahan.
Accommodation
  • Jaypee Palace or similar
Travel from Agra to Delhi. Explore the bustling city streets on a walking tour. Also travel in the local style, by cycle rickshaw, to get another perspective on this frantic metropolis. Visit the Sisganj Gurudwara, one of the nine historic gurdwaras (Sikh temples) in Delhi, first constructed in 1783. Stop in at the awe-inspiring Red Fort, which is considered to be the peak of Mughal creativity. Also pay a visit to the 73 metre high Qutab Minar and about learn some of its history.
Accommodation
  • Jaypee Siddharth or similar
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - Red Fort - INR 500
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar - INR 500
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb - INR 500
Fly from Delhi to Varanasi. Awash with shrines and temples, this is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience such a spiritual city. Varanasi is not known for its cleanliness, but it is recognised as one of India’s most inspiring cities. Take a walking tour of the old city, through narrow laneways packed with stalls and shops, past the dhobi wallahs, burning ghats, and the endless temples that echo with bells and the pungent aroma of incense. Witness pilgrims performing ancient bathing rituals and ceremonies as your first day in this sacred city comes to an end.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hindustan International or similar
Today starts early with a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges, where you can watch the light gradually illuminate the many ghats and temples along the river as you pass. There is an option to take a trip to nearby Sarnath, one of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The site is where Buddha preached his message of the path to enlightenment and features a number of stupas and museums to explore. Alternatively the day can be spent exploring the laneways and alleys behind the ghats, or picking up some examples of the excellent local silk industry. Perhaps finish the day with an optional Ganges river cruise at sunset.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Hindustan International or similar
Optional Activities
  • Varanasi - Sarnath day trip (entry only)
This morning will be free for you to soak up the atmosphere of Varanasi during your final time here. Maybe do some last minute shopping in the incredible bazaars or merely wander through the ghats. Then you return to Delhi by plane (approximately 1.5 hours). This evening there will be an (optional) group farewell dinner organised for those interested.
Accommodation
  • Jaypee Siddharth Hotel or similar
Optional Activities
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure - INR 3500
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure - INR 4000
Fly to Chennai for the second half of your trip. This flight is included in the cost of the trip. On arrival in Chennai, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Chennai, formerly Madras, is the fourth largest city in India. It was the first major settlement of the East India Company in 1639. With the rest of your free time today, take the chance to walk around India’s fourth largest city and perhaps visit the local marketplaces and temples. In the evening, maybe join your fellow travellers for dinner.
Accommodation
  • Lemon Tree Hotel Guindy or similar
This morning you will leave the city behind and drive along the scenic East Coast Road (approximately 2 hours) to the fishing town of Mamallapuram, home to sprawling, relaxed beaches. Visit the 8th-century Shore Temple and its mandapams (carved pillars) and watch locals pay their respects to the deity Shiva. Later in the afternoon continue the drive to Pondicherry (approximately 3 hours) where your evening is free.
Accommodation
  • The Wildflower Resort & Spa or similar
Today you will visit Auroville, which sits just outside Pondicherry and is an experimental township dedicated to the concept of human unity. With more than 80 rural settlements and home to over 1,500 residents, half of the town’s population are foreign nationals. Auroville is also home to the world’s largest solid crystal, which you can examine. Back in Pondicherry you'll take a walking tour to see local temples, the French Quarter and the spiritual community of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, one of the most affluent and most popular ashrams for tourists and ex-pats alike. You’ll see evidence of French colonial influence in Pondicherry's architecture, sprawling town squares and even in the uniforms of the police. The city is also a duty free zone, reputed for its quality leather and hand crafted paper products. You'll notice the French influence of the area extends to the European feel of the shopping
Accommodation
  • The Windflower Resort & Spa or Similar
Today continue by private a/c vehicle to Madurai. Its a six hour journey and will take up most of the day. there are plenty of bathroom and chai stops along the way. After arriving in the city, maybe head out on a guided orientation walk of the local area. Madurai’s recorded history dates back to third-century BC and has a fascinating story, with your guide being able to help you understand it. Venture out in the evening for some authentic Indian food.
Accommodation
  • Poppy's Hotel or similar
Continue your walking exploration of Madurai today, wandering the tailors markets and bazaars before visiting the Sri Meenakshi Temple in the city’s centre. Still in use today, this ancient temple is a maze of lamp-lit corridors leading to shrines where traditional rituals take place. Take a trip to the National Gandhi Museum, dedicated to the life and achievements of the 'Father of the Nation' and the leader of India's fight for independence. This evening is free for you to use as you wish.
Accommodation
  • Poppy's Hotel or similar
Travel into the countryside this morning as you drive past rubber and pineapple plantations to Thekkady (approximately 4 hours). Thekkady is the gateway to Periyar National Park and Tiger Reserve, perched high in the ranges of the Western Ghats. The sanctuary surrounds a picturesque lake, which was formed as result of a dam that was built in 1895. It ambles through the contours of the wooded hills, and is a permanent source of water for local wildlife. This afternoon, take a tour of a local spice plantation
Accommodation
  • Rangerwood Hotel or similar
This morning, take a guided nature walk in the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Encounters with animals in the wild are never guaranteed, and this is more of a jungle walk than an animal spotting tour, but look out for tiger tracks, spotted deer, Indian elephants or gaur – the world's largest species of buffalo. You are more likely to see Bonnet macaques who are often found near the entrance to the reserve, or the Malabar giant squirrel, a species native to India. In your free time, you can enjoy an ayurvedic massage (optional) or attend an exciting demonstration of Indian martial arts (kalaripayattu) at the Kadathanadan Kalari Centre.
Accommodation
  • Rangerwood Hotel or similar
Optional Activities
  • Periyar NP - Ayurvedic Massage - INR 700
  • Periyar - Kalaripayattu (Indian Martial Art) performance - INR 200
This morning drive north to Munnar (approximately 4 hours), an old British Hill Station cradled in a picturesque valley. At 1,525 metres above sea level, there’s likely to be dramatic drop in temperature here so be sure to pack warm clothing. You'll take a tour of a nearby tea garden where you can soak up the luscious green surrounds and, if its erratic scheduling allows, you will visit the tea museum. Relax for the evening in your accommodation in the mountain resort.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eastend or similar
This morning take a guided walk around the lush hills of Munnar, India’s largest tea-growing region, which still retains some of its colonial charm from when it was a favourite summer retreat of the British. In the afternoon, journey out to the scenic Mattupetty Dam where you can take an optional motorboat ride. The town of Mattupetty is known for its Indo-Swiss livestock project devoted to cattle development. Your evening is then free.
Accommodation
  • Hotel Eastend or similar
In the morning, drive from the tea covered hills to Kochi (approximately 5 hours). Cochin, as it was formerly known, is spread over several islands and is a melting pot of Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese and British influences. On arrival, take some time to relax after a long drive.
In the early evening you will also witness a Kathakali dance performance, a classical, powerful, and dramatic dance style that combines symbolic storytelling with physical technique. It is one of the most vibrant and extraordinary theatre forms in the world, and requires incredible commitment and rigorous training physically, as well as incredible emotional sensitivity to properly express the nuances of expression required.
Accommodation
  • The Grand Hotel (Feature Stay) or similar
Today, you will explore the antique shops and spice bazaars, visit Fort Kochi and see the Chinese fishing nets that line the coast. You will also stop at the Dutch Palace (Mattancherry Palace), which was built in the 16th century by the Portuguese and later claimed by the Dutch in 1663. The Dutch improved upon the existing palace before presenting it to the rajas of Cochin. Continue on to visit the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India, built in 1568.
Maybe ask your tour leader to make a booking at the excellent restaurant at the Grand Hotel.
Accommodation
  • The Grand Hotel (Feature Stay) or similar
Drive to the backwaters of Kerala this morning (approximately 3 hours) and discover Alleppey’s sleepy, palm-shaded waterways. Once a significant trading port, the town is now famed for the long ‘snake boats’ races that take place in August every year. Alleppey is a common starting point for journeys through the backwaters. Tonight, you'll sleep on a traditional Kettuvallam (houseboat). These floating cottages have western toilets, private bedrooms, a dining area and sundeck for you to relax on.
Accommodation
  • Pickadaley Houseboat
A morning drive takes you to Kovalam via the capital of Kerala, Trivandrum (Thiruvananthapuram) (approximately 4 hours). Kovalam was once a quiet coastal village known for its export of fresh fish and coconuts, but is now one of India’s most popular beach resorts. If you have free time, explore the old signalling station of Anchuthengu Fort or the 16th-century Koyikkal Palace. Your evening is then free to do as you wish. Perhaps head out with the group for a farewell meal.
Accommodation
  • Uday Samudra Hotel or similar
Optional Activities
  • Kovalam - Anchuthengu Fort - INR 50
  • Kovalam - Koyikkal Palace - INR 50
No activities are included today and your trip ends after breakfast.
Kovalam is a lovely place to spend some extra days on the beach. Peregrine can organise a departure transfer to the airport in Trivandrum otherwise your leader will assist you in booking a taxi.
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Comfortable Hotel (18 nights), Houseboat (1 night) Kochi Feature stay (1 night), Heritage Property (1 night), Resort (2 nights)
Meals
  • 23 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 4 Dinner
Transport
  • Auto-rickshaw , Bicycle rickshaw , Boat , Plane , Private vehicle , Train
Included Activities
  • Jaipur - Walking & market tour
  • Jaipur - Bollywood Movie at Raj Mandir Cinema
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Ranthambhore National Park - Evening wildlife safari
  • Ranthambore National Park - Morning Safari
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Agra - Agra Fort
  • Delhi - Jama Masjid
  • Delhi - Old Delhi tour
  • Delhi - Sheeshganj Gurudwara (Sikh Temple)
  • Varanasi - Old City tour
  • Varanasi - Sunset candle ceremony
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Mamallapuram - Shore Temple
  • Auroville - Experimental township
  • Puducherry - Walking tour & Sri Aurobindo Ashram
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi 1000 Pillar Entrance
  • Madurai - Sri Meenakshi Temple
  • Madurai - Gandhi Museum
  • Madurai - Walking tour
  • Periyar - Spice plantation visit
  • Periyar - Guided nature walk
  • Munnar - Tea Garden visit
  • Munnar - Mattupetty Dam
  • Munnar - Town Walk
  • Kochi - Fort Kochi walk
  • Kochi - Kathakali performance
  • Tour
  • Kochi - Jewish Synagogue
  • Kochi - Dutch Palace
  • Kovalam - Walking tour
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to New Delhi and from Kovalam are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Wonders of India tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Duration 25 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 12 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends New Delhi/ Kovalam
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Wonders of India
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Good to know
Payment

A deposit of 300 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 55 days before departure. For any departures within 13 August 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Wonders of India tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Wonders of India tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Wonders of India tour. You can cancel the tour up to 56 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 55 days of departure.
Trip Details
  • Last modified (date)

    17 Jun 2019

  • Trip title

    Wonders of India

  • Trip code

    PIWIC

  • Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

  • Introduction

    Immerse yourself in the wonders of India on this unforgettable journey from New Delhi down to Kovalam. Discover the 'Pink City' of Jaipur, witness the Mughal splendours of Delhi and Agra, safari through Ranthambhore National Park in search of tigers and soak up the ambience of holy Varanasi. Travel on to Chennai, and to the depths of the lush, tropical south, exploring quaint fishing villages and scented spice plantations. Stroll the French Quarter of Pondicherry, learn Ghandi’s story in Madurai, discover traditional dance in Kochi, cruise the backwaters of Kerala and finish in the beautiful seaside town of Kovalam.

  • Style

    Peregrine

  • Transport

    Auto-rickshaw,Bicycle rickshaw,Boat,Plane,Private vehicle,Train

  • Physical Rating

    3

  • Joining point description

    This 94 room hotel is a 5-minute walk from the metro stop.
    Modern rooms come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with satellite channels, as well as desks, seating areas, tea and coffeemakers, and minibar. Room service is available.
    Complimentary amenities include parking and breakfast. There's also an upscale restaurant, a 24-hour cafe, a tapas bar and a bakery, plus an outdoor pool, a gym, a spa and a business centre.

  • Group leader

    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. We endeavour 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.

  • Communications

    WIFI
    Generally WiFi is available in most parts of India and at most of the accommodation we use. It's usually free in public areas of hotels but some properties will charge for in room use. Please ask your tour leader or the specific hotel reception upon check in. Many restaurants and cafes (especially in tourist areas) offer customers free WiFi. Ask for the password when ordering.
    Internet cafes are widespread in India and connections are usually reasonably fast, except in more remote areas.

    MOBILE
    You can purchase a SIM at the airport (or at kiosks everywhere) for use while travelling in India. Airtel or vodaphone are a good bet. SIMs are relatively cheap. You will need to usually provide 2 passport sized photos and a copy of your passport will be made.

    MAIL
    Posting airmail letters to anywhere overseas costs ₹25/15. International airmail postcards cost around ₹12. For postcards, stick the stamps on before writing, as the post office can give you as many as four stamps per card. The post office is always a fun adventure in India!

  • Is this trip right for you

    This trip is a combination of two of our most popular India itineraries.

    This is a long trip in India (25 days), and on several days long distances are covered.

    Between December and February, delays are common for trains in North India due to fog.

    The drive to Munnar on Day 20 is on windy roads in the mountains. Motion sickness can be an issue for some, but the scenery is stunning and regular stops will be made to break up your journey.

  • Money matters

    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some  travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than others, others prefer to visit more optional sites. Remember that alcoholic beverages are expensive compared to other foods locally. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities.

    The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in from an ATM, which are readily available in most towns. Look for annex's at banks, usually with a security guard.

    Its a good idea to try and change money into smaller denominations at a money change office or bank. This can save you some hassle when using larger notes for small purchases as quite often the seller may not have much change. Make sure you always count your money when changing and try to avoid ripped or dirty notes and many shops/services will not accept them.

    Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, so please bring clean, new bills. Some money changing agencies will offer differing exchange rates for different denominations.

    COMMISSION:
    The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops, services or activities is ingrained in the culture of the Indian tourism industry.

    In an effort to best control and monitor shopping and activities with an aim for the best experience possible, Intrepid has established a system of carefully selected shopping experiences and activities based on positive feedbacks from our previous travellers. On occasion these will be as part of included walking tours or outside of included activities in free time. Please note that if you feel that you do not wish to join in on these shopping experiences we assure you there is no obligation and if you indicate your desire to not partake your group leader will help to facilitate a suitable alternative during this time.

    While Intrepid endeavours to ensure that these suppliers and services maintain reasonable levels of quality, please note recommended suppliers are chosen based on past travellers feedback and experiences and Intrepid cannot explicitly guarantee the quality of the product. A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of you our traveller is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.


    TIPPING
    On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. Where applicable, this will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides, restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff.

    This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$3-US$5 per person (in local currency), 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.

    You may also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination. Please ask your tour leader for guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.

  • Climate and seasonal

    INDIA SEASONS:
    As a general rule have a look online to check the weather in India just before you are about to travel. This gives you a clearer understanding of what to pack. Here are some general ideas of seasons in India:

    December to March:
    Pleasant weather – warm days, cool nights.
    December and January bring chilly nights in the north.
    Fog can delay trains travelling across the north of the country
    Temperatures climb steadily from February.

    April to June:
    April is already hot; May and June are really hot and dry.
    From June, the monsoon sweeps from south to north, bringing high temperatures and humidity
    Cooler in the hills and mountains across the country

    July to November:
    Monsoon continues until November.
    The southeast coast and southern Kerala see heavy rain from October to early December.

    MONSOON:
    Travel in rural areas during the monsoon season can be hazardous. Monsoon rains cause flooding and landslides that can cut off some towns and villages for days. It is not unusual for trains to be delayed or cancelled resulting in itinerary changes or for activities in towns near to rivers and lakes (ie Varanasi) to need to be changed during this time of year. During the monsoon, excessive rainfall can see the river Ganges rise to unsafe levels. This may cause the suspension of all water related activities by local government. At this time of year walking along the Ghats can also be dangerous. Your tour leader will be able to advise you locally on any changes.

    WINTER:
    Winter in India can be colder than you might expect and as this is not peak travel season hotels in some regions may not have adequate heating. In these months you may like to bring thermals for sleeping.

    Mid July to late August see's heavy monsoonal rainfall in Varanasi. During the monsoon, excessive rainfall can see the river Ganges rise to unsafe levels. This may cause the suspension of all water related activies by local government. At this time of year walking along the Ghats can also be dangerous. Your tour leader will be able to advise you locally when you are in Varanasi.

  • A couple of rules

    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 our travellers. Our 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 or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

  • Responsible travel

    Travelling responsibly is all about making good choices. It's about ensuring you have an incredible trip while also having a positive impact on the local environment, community and economy you're travelling in. How can you be a Responsible Traveller? See our tips below:

    - Choose to travel with a responsible travel company like us! We've already offset the main carbon emissions of your trip, so your footprint is already lighter.
    - Consider offsetting your flights when you book your trip/flights with us or your travel agent.
    - Bring a refillable water bottle and some water purification tablets (or a Steripen) to cut down on plastic bottle waste.
    - Be an animal-friendly traveller. Only go to venues that respect animals by allowing them to live normally in their natural environment. Steer clear of venues that use animals for entertainment or abnormal activities and/or keep animals in poor and unnatural conditions.
    - Eat at local restaurants, buy from regional artists and support social enterprises so you can contribute directly to locals and their economy.
    - Always be respectful of local customs and ask permission if you want to take a photo of someone.
    - Learn a few words of the local language and engage with the people around you.
    - Carry a cloth or re-usable bag so you can avoid plastic bags.
    - Give back by making a donation to a local project via The Intrepid Foundation.

    Share your thoughts with us by completing your feedback form after your trip. This helps us to continue to improve our commitment to responsible travel.

    ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
    While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Peregrine does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for Protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures.

  • Accommodation notes

    Heritage hotels are a wonderful way to experience Indian hospitality harking back to the days of the Maharajah. The properties we choose have previous incarnations as palaces, forts, government houses and more. Each room is unique, the decor is original, the staff and owners friendly and local.

    Please be aware that each room is different and bathrooms have often been retrofitted, some rooms will be bigger than others, some have a different view or outlook. These properties are different from a standard hotel and thus may not have some of the mod cons such as televisions. We choose each hotel based on its unique appeal and location and hope you enjoy staying in them as much as we do. they really are a small slice of Indian history.

    Showers at some hotels only have hot water working at peak times (usually morning and evening) outside of these times you may need to speak to reception to obtain hot water.

    Generally WiFi is available in most parts of India and at most of the accommodation we use. Sometimes its free in the room, other times only available in reception or public areas. A general rule of thumb is the more expensive the accommodation, the higher charge for WiFi access. Your tour leader can assist locally.

    If you have any issues with your room, please speak to the hotel or your tour leader at the time. This way the problem can be addressed immediately.


    FEATURE STAY - GRAND KOCHU HOTEL
    Step back into the 1960's at the Grand Kochi Hotel, the perfect combination of modern comforts and retro chic decor.

  • Transport notes

    TRANSPORT IN INDIA:
    Main roads in India are usually very busy with an assortment of vehicles from the biggest trucks (who always have right of way) down to bikes (and goats, chickens and dogs). Overtaking on blind corners at speed is common as is the total use of the horn as a form of communication. Our leaders have complete authority to remove groups from local transport if the driver is not driving safely. Drivers of our private vehicles are experienced and well trained. if you are uncomfortable with your driver, please always let your tour leader know immediately. Please ensure you wear your seat belt at all times.

    TRAVEL TIMES:
    Distances in India do not reflect the driving time and to cover 100km may take much longer than you would expect at home, even if much of the route is on a highway.

    TRAINS:
    We use first class seated trains on journeys in India. These trains are some of the best and fastest in the country. Water and a snacks may be included in some rail fares. Delays do occur and your tour leader will be on hand to advise if this is the case.

    FLIGHTS:
    Airlines in India are of excellent quality. Airports are becoming more modern (especially in the major and tourist cities). To enter the airport, you must have a copy of your flight ticket and passport. Schedule changes and delays do occur, especially when weather conditions make visibility poor.

  • 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.

  • Your fellow travellers

    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. Sharing a room can be a great way to get to know people quickly and make close friends. It just takes a little effort on your part.

  • Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES:
    Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

  • Accommodation

    Comfortable Hotel (18 nights),Houseboat (1 night) Kochi Feature stay (1 night),Heritage Property (1 night),Resort (2 nights)

  • Important information

    1. A single supplement is available for purchase and is available for all nights of the trip.
    2. Please note that this trip is made up of two of our most popular India trips. As such the make up of your group and your leader may change on day 12 when you fly to Chennai.
    3. The flight from Delhi to Chennai is unaccompanied.
    4. Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz in Jaipur. Flights operate mornings from September to June and morning and evening from September to March. Morning flights depart around sunrise and evening flights late afternoon and last 60 mins. Return transfers, tea and coffee plus light refreshments and a certificate of flight are included in the cost. You can register your interest and pay your tour leader at your joining meeting on day 1 of your trip. Payment must be made in cash - INR/USD/AUD/GBP only please Flights are subject to weather conditions and tickets are fully refundable.

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