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From the deserts of Rajasthan to the holiest river around, India will blow you away. Cross into Nepal to where Buddha did his thing, before getting active with some rafting and a bit of a trek around the mighty Himalayas. This jam-packed trip covers a bit of everything. We love it, and we think you will to.
Day 1: Delhi
This Himalaya adventure kicks off in Delhi. Meet your tour leader and new travel mates at a 6 pm welcome meeting. If you arrive early, there's plenty to do in this wonderfully chaotic city. Wander the streets, sip on your first chai or practice haggling in one of the many markets. If you prefer some structure, there's a variety of Urban Adventure day tours that offer a great first taste of Delhi.
Day 2: Tordi
Keep this one quiet. Your next destination takes a bit of work to get to, but that’s because it’s our little secret! Journey through picturesque countryside by train, first to Jaipur, and then onwards by private vehicle to Tordi (approximately 7 hours). This remote and rarely visited village offers a fantastic glimpse of the real Rajasthan. We stumbled across it years ago, and everyone loved it so much we put it on the itinerary. The locals will feed you and you'll sleep in a 16th-century palace with its owner as your host. And there's a ruined temple and fortress nearby. Settle in, then savour delicious local flavours at an included dinner of tonight.
Day 3: Jaipur
Kick on to Jaipur (approximately 2.5 hours), India's oh-so-pretty 'Pink City'. You'll have plenty of free time here to haggle to your heart's content at the bazaars and backstreets where vendors sell a variety of textiles, precious and semi-precious gems and stunning blue pottery. Drop by one of India’s finest palaces, the Royal City Palace, where the guards’ moustaches are almost as impressive as the building itself. Foodies will want to hit the streets for raj kachori chaat, a big fluffy chaat served with chutney, yoghurt, chilli and potato. Then cool off with a lassi from Lassiwala on MI road, Jaipur's oldest and most famous lassi shop. Cinema buffs won't want to miss the chance to take in a Bollywood blockbuster at the spectacular Raj Mandir Cinema.
Day 4: Jaipur
If you're keen for a different view of the Pink City, an optional early morning hot air balloon ride is a trip highlight for many visitors. For more information please see the 'Important Notes' section of your trip notes. Later in the morning, you’ll drop by Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), the impressive five-storey facade with pink and honeycombed windows is it the most photographed building in the country after Taj Mahal. Then it’s out to the old capital of Amber and an exploration of the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. The rest of the day is free for you to use as you like.
Day 5: Agra
Take advantage of the chance to rub shoulders with the locals on a five-hour public bus ride to Agra today. Agra might not be the prettiest city in the world, but the minute you check out its top-notch site that won’t matter one bit. Of course, we're talking about the Taj Mahal, India's most enduring symbol and an epic monument to love and loss. For some reason local families find it more interesting to take photos of you than the actual Taj Mahal. But none of it matters, you'll be too busy standing there with your mouth gaping open to notice.
Day 6: Agra - Overnight train
Today is free to explore at your leisure. Agra Fort is a spectacular option where you can stroll the palatial gardens of this red sandstone stronghold and get some great views of the Taj Mahal from afar. Then it's on to the next stop - Varanasi. Tonight, it’s time for a unique slice of Indian life aboard an overnight train (approximately 12 hours).
Day 7: Varanasi
One of holiest cities around, Varanasi is the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Overflowing with temples, shrines and devotees, it might not be one of the world's cleanest cities but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most amazing. Maybe take the chance to perfect your yoga in this epic chakra-balancing place. Otherwise, just chill out and soak in the spiritual surrounds as it's an early start tomorrow.
Day 8: Varanasi
Today’s an early start, but it’s completely worth it - a sunrise boat ride along the sacred Ganges is a revelation. Even if you're not the spiritual sort, you can't help but get goosebumps. Pass the many ghats (stairs leading to the water) and temples along the river, and watch thousands of Hindu pilgrims cleanse their sins in the holy water as the sun bathes the surrounds in glorious shades of amber and orange. Afterwards, set off by auto rickshaw to the oldest part of the city, to explore its maze of narrow alleyways packed full of small shops, stalls and lumbering cows. See pilgrims performing rituals unchanged for hundreds of years and pass chiming temples as wafts of incense fill the air.
Day 9: India/Nepal border crossing - Lumbini
Wave goodbye to India as you travel to the border (Sunauli border crossing) and enter into Nepal, continuing to the town of Lumbini. Make sure to charge up your music and fish out your book as it's a long day of travel (about 8-10 hours including stops). Lumbini is no ordinary border town, but the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and one of his four holy places of pilgrimage. Check out the beautiful Ashoka Pillars and hop on cycle rickshaws to the Maya Devi Temple, the actual site where Lord Buddha is thought to have been born. Later on, bunk down in a jungle camp for the night.
Day 10: Chitwan National Park
Take off you religious hat and pop on your safari one as you drive to Chitwan National Park by private vehicle (approximately 5 hours). UNESCO (who know at thing or two about this kind of stuff) declared it a World Heritage site in 1984, and it offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Asia. Think the Jungle Book come to life with rhinos, deer, monkeys and a wide array of birds, including Nepalese wild chickens, all found here.
Day 11: Chitwan National Park
This morning you’ll hop aboard a jeep, meet your local guide and take a safari drive through Chitwan National Park. Maybe you might catch a glimpse of one of the 100-or-so Bengal Tigers that call the park home. There are also a number of optional activities available through your accommodation, including biking, bird watching, cultural performances, canoe rides and village tours.
Day 12: Kathmandu
On to your final destination of the Nepalese patchouli–scented capital, Kathmandu (approximately 7 hours). Maybe book in for a massage or a yoga session when you get there to ease those body kinks. With the rest of your free time, perhaps visit the giant Buddhist Stupa at Bodnath, head out into the narrow streets – home to holy men, monks, bicycles, and sacred cows – and buy souvenirs or chill out with cool drink.
Day 13: Kathmandu
Today is a free day to explore Kathmandu. Perhaps get to know the city through an Urban Adventure (or two). As this is a combination trip, the make up of your travel group will likely change today. Some travellers will be leaving, while new travel pals with be joining the adventure here. Your tour leader will also change for the next part of the tour. Meet your new leader and crew at a 6 pm meeting, then gear up for the Annapurna's tomorrow.
Day 14: Trisuli River
Enjoy a morning drive over the rim of the Kathmandu Valley and, weather permitting, views of the Ganesh and Lantang ranges. Arrive in Baireni or Galaudi for an exciting whitewater raft on the Trisuli River. Hit the water and enjoy the thrill of the rapids aptly named Ladies Delight, Rock Garden and Snell's Nose. Camp on the beach and enjoy dinner by the river.
Day 15: Trisuli River - Pokhara
Have more fun on the river including negotiating the Monsoon and Upset. Late morning we end rafting at Kurintar and enjoy a light lunch and drive to Pokhara (4hrs). Arrive Pokhara in the afternoon. Chill out at the lakeside cafes.
Day 16: Ghandruk (1950m / 6397ft)
Hope you broke in your boots before the trip, cos this is where the trekking bit starts. There’s a dirt track leading to Birethanti and Shyauli villages. There’s a stone staircase up to Kimche, where you’ll stop for lunch. Then a bunch of stone flags lead you through fields of wheat to Ghandruk. That’s some diverse terrain right there. Stay in our first Nepalese Tea House tonight.
Day 17: Tolkha (1700m / 5577ft)
Look east. That’s Landruk, the next village on the route. Look down. That’s the Modi Kola River 600 metres below. Look around the corner. That’s Tolkha, your base for the night. What, you can’t look around corners? Ok, you’ll just have to trek there instead.
Day 18: Hyenjakot (1530m / 5019ft)
Rhododendron is a tricky word to spell, but super pretty to look at. You’ll see a bunch of these bright pink and purple plants today. Do you know what you won’t see much of? Other people. We’ve picked a pretty remote trail from Dhampus to Hyenjakot, and tonight you get to stay with a local family. Pack your best smile and get an even bigger and better one in return.
Day 19: Pokhara
It's a short descent to Phedi before catching the public bus to Pokhara in time for lunch. Enjoy free time in the afternoon to do all the things you didn’t do the first time round. We can highly recommend taking a rowboat (doonga) out on Phewa Lake. If there’s blue skies you’ll have mountain views for miles. If it’s cloudy just use your imagination. Maybe kick back in a lakeside cafe with some momos (local dumplings).
Day 20: Kathmandu
It’s a long bus back to Kathmandu so bring snacks. Once you’ve arrived back into Kathmandu (approx 3 pm) there’s time to sip a banana lassi and wish you didn’t have to go home. No accommodation is included tonight and you are free to depart any time after our arrival back in Kathmandu.
- Jaipur - Walking & market tour
- Jaipur - Amber Fort
- Jaipur - Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Wind) entry
- Agra - Taj Mahal
- Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
- Varanasi - Old City tour
- Lumbini - Heritage Park
- Chitwan NP - Park entry
- Trisuli River - Rafting
- Trisuli River - Rafting
1 Breakfast(s) Included
1 Lunch(es) Included
2 Dinner(s) Included
Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?
Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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