Border Information: If you are joining the trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely enter Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA code: KTM).Wrapped around the Himalayan mountain range is the remarkable country of Nepal. It is the birthplace of the Buddha and is a land of legend and beauty. Within its narrow confines Nepal contains an utterly spectacular variety of culture and landscapes. Nepal has a stunning natural beauty and a simple charm.There is an important group meeting at 6:00pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place.Please note that many of the optional activities listed will only be possible for those with extra time in Kathmandu before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kathmandu.
Today our journey begins with a drive to the historic village of Nuwakot, one of Nepal's hidden gems nestled in the central hills of the country. Full of ancient temples and palaces, Nuwakot has a beautifully serene atmosphere and rustic ambience - perfect for getting a taste of the calm pace of rural Nepalese life.
Today is a free day to explore the stunning village of Nuwakot and its surroundings.
Today we will depart Nuwakot and make our way to Nepal's second city - the adventure town of Pokhara!
Today we will have a free day in the fantastic city of Pokhara. The area is famous for its myriad of spectacular waterfalls surrounded by fertile forests and towering mountains, for its fantastic choice of yoga and meditation retreats, and for its overwhelming choice of adventure activities from trekking to rafting to zip-lining to mountain biking!
This morning we take a short drive out of Pokhara to the small village of Dhampus, where we start our 3-hour trek to our Annapurna eco-lodge. The lodge is dramatically located in the foothills of the mountains of Annapurna and Manaslu, and is a paradise for taking walks through the stunning Nepalese countryside.The trek is approximately 3 hours in total, and is relatively easy but is mainly uphill. The trek can be skipped by any individual if need be.
Today we will explore the area around our eco-lodge, meet many of the locals, and get into the heart of the community. We will hopefully visit a local school and give something back to the local community by helping to maintain their ingenious water systems.
Today we will make our way back down to the town of Pokhara. If people are feeling energetic there is an option to walk down to another village and meet the jeeps there giving people a chance to take in more incredible views of Annapurna and Machhapuchhare mountains. We will stop at a small village for lunch and then take the steep downhill trail to rejoin our overland truck on the main road. From there, we will drive to the delightful town of Bandipur.
Today we will have free time to relax and explore the local surroundings.
Today we will drive through stunning scenery down to the lowlands of Nepal and the Terai grasslands. Our destination is Chitwan National Park, where we will stay for the next 2 nights.If we arrive in good time we will make a visit to Bis Hajaar Tal, also known as 20,000 Lakes, which is a wetland area near the Royal Chitwan National Park. Here we will get the opportunity to see peacocks, wild boars, deer and there is also a slim chance of seeing tigers and rhinos. If we cannot visit the 20,000 Lakes area today we will make our visit tomorrow.
Today we'll spend the day exploring the National Park by canoe and on foot, and there is the option to take a jeep safari! There will be an opportunity to see a traditional Nepali dance demonstration in the evening.In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge.
Border Information: Exit Nepal at Belhiya, enter India at Sonauli.Today we enter the legendary country of India. India has so much to offer, from the beautiful landscapes of the Himalayas, to the amazing temples and coastlines, rich culture, and of course the food!This morning we have a fairly relaxed start to the day before packing up and driving to the border. We will cross the border to India and continue on a short drive to the town of Gorakhpur
Today we will continue driving and reach the holy city of Varanasi in the evening.
Today we will get up very early for an included boat trip down the Ganges. This is a magical time of day to see the famous ghats and watch the morning rituals of the thousands of people who come here to purify themselves in the holy river. We will have auto-rickshaws for the rest of the day to explore the rest of the city - we will have the opportunity to use them to visit a traditional silk workshop and the Mother India temple.
Today we will have a full days drive to the town of Khajuraho.On arrival we will set up camp before settling in for the evening.
Today we will head out for an included guided visit to the Khajuraho Erotic Temples. In the afternoon we will have some free time to explore the town or relax back at camp.
Today is free to explore the area, relax on the banks of the river, or take an optional jeep safari to the nearby Panna National Park in search of wildlife.
After breakfast we leave our campsite and head to the city of Agra. Most of today will be spent travelling and we will arrive in the evening.
Today we will have an included day tour of the major sites of Agra, starting with sunrise at the world-famous iconic mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, followed by a visit to the Agra Fort.
We leave Agra today and head overland to the pink city of Jaipur, stopping en route at Fatehpur Sikri (the old capital of the Mughal Empire).
Today we will have a full day exploring the sites of Jaipur on rickshaws with our local guide. Whilst in Jaipur there will also be the option for an early morning or late afternoon hot air balloon ride over the city.
Today we leave Jaipur and travel to the chaotic Indian capital of Delhi.
Today we will have an included guided tour of Old Delhi, heading to the Mughal Jama Masjid mosque, a local tea-maker, a Sikh temple, and the local spice markets. We will also have some free time to freely explore the sights of Delhi in the afternoon.
Border Information: If joining the trip in Delhi, you will most likely enter India at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (IATA code: DEL).Today is a free day to explore Delhi. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Delhi before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Delhi.
Today we start our journey with a full day drive to the city of Bikaner.In Bikaner we will either stay in a local hotel or camp at an eco-lodge a short distance outside the city.
Today we continue our journey with a drive to the ancient Rajasthani city of Jaisalmer, stopping at the Karni Mata (Rat Temple) for an included visit en route.
We will have free time this morning to explore the sights of Jaisalmer. In the late afternoon we will head out on an included camel safari into the Thar Desert - exploring the desert with local Rajasthani camel drivers is the most authentic way to experience the area!Tonight we will camp out on the outskirts of the desert, sleeping under the stars.
This morning we will return to Jaisalmer from our camel safari. The rest of the day will be free to relax or explore more of Jaisalmer and the surrounding area.
This morning we will drive from Jaisalmer to another famous Rajasthani city, Jodhpur. En route to Jodhpur we will make an included visit to the Sambhali Trust project (a charitable project that works for the empowerment of women and girls in Rajasthan), where we will learn about the efforts of the project and make a group donation from the kitty.After our visit we will make our way to our accommodation, rooms that have been set up by local families in their own homes for visitors. We will be splitting up into 2 or 3 small groups for our community guesthouses.
After breakfast we will have an included visit to the Mehrangarh Fort and palace. The afternoon is then free to explore this wonderful city independently.
After breakfast we set off for our drive to Udaipur, visiting the Jain Temple at Ranakpur en route. We will have 3 nights in Udaipur, giving us plenty of time to discover this amazing, romantic Rajasthani city.
On these 2 days we will have free time to explore the sites in and around Udaipur, take part in some optional activities, and relax on one of the many roof-top terraces in the city.
We have a 2nd full day in Udaipur to give us plenty of time to discover this amazing, romantic Rajasthan city and relax on one of the many roof-top terraces
Leaving Udaipur, we will be joined by a local cook who will accompany us during the next few days as we travel through Ajanta and Ellora.Today will mostly be spent travelling to Mandu via the backroads of rural Rajasthan. We will be off the tourist trail here and tonight we will camp or stay in a local hotel.
Today we will visit Mandu, an extensive and largely abandoned hill-top fort from the Mughal era. We will then spend the afternoon driving to our camping spot near Kharwand Dam, en route towards Ajanta.
Today we complete the drive to Ajanta, arriving in the afternoon. We will visit the complex of 29 ancient Buddhist temples cut into the rock face. We will find a basic camp nearby or continue onto Ellora depending on time.
Today we will drive a short distance to Ellora where we will have an included visit to the ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Jain caves - a set of a small temples in the rock face dating from the 6th to 11th Centuries CE. We will camp in the grounds of a hotel tonight.
Setting off early today, we will say goodbye to our local cook and drive to the bustling city of Mumbai.
Border Information: If joining the trip in Mumbai, you will most likely enter India from Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (IATA code: BOM).There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm at the joining hotel in Mumbai - please look out at the reception for a note from you tour leader with further details about this meeting. Otherwise, today is free to explore the sights and sounds of Mumbai.
Today will be a free day to explore this amazing city. This is also an opportunity to take a tour of the Dharavi slum areas of Mumbai.
We will start our journey by taking the train along the coast to Goa. We will stay for 2 nights at the relaxed beaches of Vagator in the northern part of Goa. Estimated Journey Time (on train) - 11-12 hours.
We will have a 2nd night in North Goa tonight. Most travellers are drawn to Vagator for the stunning sunsets, the laid-back atmosphere and the proximity of some other quieter beaches in the area such as Arambol and Anjuna.
After our 2 nights on the northern beaches of Goa, we head off in the truck to the southern end of Goa. En route we will stop off at the site of Old Goa to spend some time independently exploring the area's colonial buildings.
We will stay for a 2nd night on either the stunning beach of Agonda or Palolem, these beaches are the perfect places to sit back and watch the fishing boats landing their catch or sample the delicious local cuisine.
Leaving the beaches of Goa behind us, we set off on a full day drive into the state of Karnataka and to the village of Hampi. The village is located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the ancient Vijayanagara Empire.
Today we will have a guided tour of the historical sites around Hampi by rickshaw and on foot.
From Hampi we will have another full day drive to the city of Mysore, one of India's most attractive towns.
On our 2nd day we will have free time in Mysore to independently explore the city's beautiful gardens, palaces, and the Shir Chamarajendra art gallery.
Today we travel up into the cool highlands and head to the hill-station of Wayanad, a small settlement surrounded by tea and coffee plantations.Whilst in Wayanad we stay as guests of local families at a local guesthouse.
There are many optional actvities available in Wayanad which we will have time to do today, from hiking up Chembra Peak, visiting local waterfalls and tea plantations, or the chance to visit the nearby Muthanga Wildlife Sanctuary.
Today we will continue our journey with a full day drive to the coastal city of Kochi.
This morning we will take a local boat to Fort Cochin and have free time to explore and visit various sites including the Jewish Quarter, St Francis Church and the iconic Chinese fishing nets. In the evening we will be able to see a performance from the famous Kathakali dancers, India's most spectacular dance drama.
Leaving the bustle of Kochi behind, today we embark on our included overnight houseboat cruise on the tranquil Keralan backwaters of Alleppey. We will often split into smaller groups to board our traditional 'Kettuvallom' boats which will take us around the scenic rivers and spend the night aboard.
After our fantastic overnight cruise along the Keralan backwaters, we continue our journey with a short drive to the beach resort of Varkala.
Today we have free time to explore the surrounding areas and relax on the beautiful beaches.
Our final day in Varkala today, spend more time relaxing the beautiful beaches or why not sample the justifyably-famous Keralan cuisine at one of the great local restaurants.
Today we will have a morning drive to Kanyakumari (also known as Cape Comorin), the very southern point of India. Here we will have free time to explore the Vivekananda Rock and the surrounding sites.
This morning we have the option to get up early to watch the sunrise from the southern tip of India with thousands of locals, what can be an incredible experience! From Kanyakumari we then start heading back north again, and drive to the holy city of Madurai. In the afternoon we will have an included visit to the Sri Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.
Today we head to the French-influenced town of Pondicherry, and will have a free time on arrival in the afternoon.
On our 2nd day why not spend the day relaxing and soak up the atmosphere or explore the town and its beautiful colonial architechture.
Today we have a short drive to the ancient city of Mahabalipuram, once the capital of the Pallava Dynasty in the 7th Century CE. On arrival we will have an included visit to the incredible Shore Temples and other monuments around the town ( time permitted ).In the afternoon we will finish the short drive to the bustling coastal city of Chennai.
Border Information: If you are joining in Chennai, you will most likely enter India in Chennai International Airport (IATA code: MAA).Today is a free day to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of Chennai. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Chennai before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Chennai.*Important note* - if you are joining the trip in Chennai, please make sure that you send us a scan of your Indian visa as soon as you have obtained it. If you plan to take the e-visa option, please make sure you arrange this well in advance and send us a copy of your receipt as soon as possible. If we do not receive this in advance, then we will not have enough time to get your permits for the Odisha Region and you will not be able to visit this area.We will also need these to purchase your train tickets.
Today we start our journey with a drive to the bustling town of Tirupati. In the afternoon there will be an optional visit to the Sri Venkateswara holy temple in the nearby town of Tirumala. ( Please note if you wish to visit the temple there is a dress code of Dhoti with upper cloth for men and saree or half-saree with blouse or churidar with pyjama and upper cloth for women. It is also quite difficult to get tickets to visit the temple due to the high numbers of pilgrims visiting the temple during this time, if we can not get any tickets available we will visit Srikalahasteeswara temple instead ).
Leaving Tirupati, we will spend the next few days overlanding through Andhra Pradesh, one of the least developed states in India. This is real off-the-beaten-track overlanding, and we will arrive in the small city of Vijayawada this evening.
Today we continue our journey and drive through the back roads of Andra Pradesh. Our final destination tonight is the costal town of Visakhapatnam.
Today we will begin our guided tour through the rarely-visited Odisha Tribal Regions, which we will comprehensively visit over the next 6 days. In these regions the itinerary has to be kept fairly flexible, allowing us the freedom to alter things slightly if we hear of any special events or market days in particular villages. However, we will generally follow the plan below:This morning we will have an early start from Visakhapatnam to arrive in a small village called Goudaguda in time to visit the Monday markets. Beautiful earthen pottery is skillfully produced in this area and you may even get the chance to try this for yourself.
Today we will have a guided walk in the morning through the countryside around Goudaguda, visiting the neighbouring Mahali and Kondh tribal villages. This evening we will return to our guesthouse in Goudaguda for the night.
After breakfast at our guesthouse we will drive to the lively Chatikona Market, which is a weekly highlight for the Dongria Kondh tribe. We will then continue on and travel through the hills to the village of Muniguda, our destination for tonight.
Today we will continue our journey north driving through a well known Elephant Range. We will then have a chance to stretch our legs and walk into the Desia Kondh indigenous community. They are distinguished by the unique facial tattoos of the women. After a village visit and picnic lunch we will continue to Baliguda.
Today we are going to continue on to the fascinating fishing town of Gopalpur, a once major port for the East India Company which has an interesting decaying charm. We will have plenty of free time here to be able to explore this fascinating town.
Our tour of the Odisha tribal areas comes to an end today as we drive on to the small town of Puri.Puri is one of the holiest pilgrimage places in India, and has a wonderful long sandy beach. On arrival we will explore the old pilgrim route by cycle-rickshaw, taking in ashrams, Hindu monasteries, a palm leaf manuscript library and the awesome Jagannath temple.
Our first full day here in Puri, we plan to take a short drive back to visit Chilika Lake and explore the lake by boat and take a walk through some of the surrounding fisherman's villages.
Today we will begin with a cycle ride through rice paddies and rural hamlets, meeting local craftsmen and women and watching them demonstrate their unique crafts. In the afternoon we will have a guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Konark Sun Temple.
It will be an early start today as we will travel by train to Kolkata, the largest city in India. We will have free time today and tomorrow to explore this remarkable city, or take an optional photographic tour.Estimated Journey Time (by train) - 7-8 hours.
Border Information: If you are joining the trip in Kolkata, you will most likely enter India at Kolkata Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport (IATA code: CCU).Today is a free day to explore the sights, sounds and flavours of the incredible city of Kolkata. There will be an important group meeting at 6:00pm - please look for a note from your tour leader when you arrive at the hotel giving more details about this meeting.Please note that many of the options listed below will only be possible for those with extra time in Kolkata before the start of your trip with us - please contact the Sales team if you would like to book pre-tour accommodation with us to have extra time exploring Kolkata.
During the day we will have free time to explore Kolkata, and we have the opportunity to take an optional photographical tour of the city.Whilst in Kolkata, your leader will assist you in arranging your Sikkim permit (you will need to bring passport photos and a photocopy of your passport photo page).We will meet in the evening to head to the train station and board our overnight train to Siliguri - accommodation tonight will be on the train, where there are basic bunk beds with sheets provided.
We will arrive into Siliguri at around 9:00am this morning, meeting our jeeps and drivers at the station for our onward journey through the narrow winding roads to Darjeeling. The town of Darjeeling is really more a collection of villages situated on a high ridge, linked by a series of steps and winding lanes and surrounded by rice and tea terraces.Jeeps are used in this region rather than our overland truck as they are perfect for the narrow, steep and winding roads of the area. We will continue with the jeeps all the way until the trip returns to Siliguri (after Gangtok).
Today is a free day to explore Darjeeling. Perhaps take a scenic train ride through the Darjeeling foothills or visit the museum at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute.
We have another day here in Darjeeling to relax and take in the sites of Darjeeling and its surrounds.
Today we will have one last free morning to explore Darjeeling. After lunch we will leave in our jeeps for Karmi Farm, a tea plantation located in a remote rural area nearby.
During our stay at Karmi Farm we will have plenty of free time to enjoy some fantastic hikes around the region.
If we haven't already we can visit the Karmi Farm Clinic charitable project this morning. In the afternoon why not spend the afternoon relaxing and take in the stunning views from the lodge.
After breakfast we will leave Karmi Farm in our jeeps and continue to Gangtok, the hilltop capital of Sikkim.
Today we will have an included visit of the nearby Rumtek Dharma Monastery in the morning, leaving the afternoon free for you to explore Gangtok.
Border Information: Exit India at Kakarbhitta, enter Nepal at Kakarbhitta.Today we travel in our jeeps back to Siliguri, where we will finally join our overland truck! We will then drive over the border into Nepal and continue onto Koshi National Park Wildlife Reserve.
After a good breakfast to set us up for the day our guide will take us through the options of what you can do today. There will be the chance for bird watching, jeep safaris or simply exploring the local villages.
Today we will leave the plains of the Terrai behind and head towards Chitwan National Park.
This morning there will be time to do a safari around the national park and after lunch we will journey to Khatauti Khola, home to the Royal Beach Camp eco-adventure camp in the Nepalese mountains. There are several optional activities on offer here such as kayaking, rafting, hiking and mountain bikings or simply relax in the quiet surroundings.
This morning we will spend some free time at the Royal Beach Camp to give us more time to take part in the optional adventure activities there, then after lunch we will drive the last stretch up to Kathmandu, the evocative capital of Nepal.
Border Information: If you are finishing your trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely exit Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport (IATA code: KTM).Today is the end day for passengers finishing their trip in Kathmandu. Please note there is no accommodation included on the trip tonight - please contact your sales agent if you are interested in booking extra nights of accommodation in order to fully explore and take part in some of the optional activities listed below.