Essence of India – Women-Only Tour Trip Notes


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Group Size

Minimum 4, Maximum 10

Days

23 days / 22 nights

Starts in

Mumbai

Finishes in

Delhi

Tour inclusions

Arrival and departure transfers
All accommodation as specified
All transportation between overnight stops and to and from included sightseeing
Entrance fees for all sites listed as part of the itinerary
Tips and gratuities for hotel staff, porters, guides and drivers
Meals as specified

Tour exclusions

Visa costs
Meals other than those listed
Drinks, meal tips, laundry and other items of a personal nature
International flights

Accommodation

Guesthouses/hotels (21 nights), Overnight train (1 night)

This tour uses a variety of accommodation. From guesthouses to heritage hotels, we experience a wide range of accommodation styles. Hotel rooms are twin share with private bathrooms with western style toilets. Although most rooms will be air-conditioned, some may be fan-cooled.

Optional single supplement

If you are a single traveller, you are not required to pay a single supplement as we will match you up with other travelers. However if you do not wish to share accommodation, but would like to guarantee your own room throughout the tour a single supplement of USD860 will be payable.

Transport

Train, Private Bus, Boat, Jeep, Auto rickshaw, and Cycle rickshaw. Train travel in India is essential considering it is such an efficient and extensive network, and is also such a part of India’s culture and heritage. For our overnight journey, we travel in air-conditioned sleeper carriages with two levels of berths. They are arranged in door-less sections each of four berths. Broad-gauge sleeping carriages also have a row of two-tier (upper and lower) berths along one side. A conductor ensures that nobody without a reservation gets into the carriage. Each carriage usually has ‘squat’ and ’western’ style toilets at either end. Bedding is supplied and is clean, but for peace of mind you may wish to bring a sleeping sheet. Meals are not included during our overnight train journey, but food is usually available.

Train journeys by day give us an opportunity to experience Indian life by rubbing shoulders with the locals. Travelling locally is always exciting and fascinating – you never know who you will meet. We will be taking private vehicles for our other journeys.

Activities included

The following is a list of included activities on this trip. Other activities are optional and will be at your own expense.
Gateway of India, Dhobi Ghats, Crawford Market, Chowpatty Beach (Mumbai)
City Palace, Cooking class, Market walk, Traditional dance show (Udaipur)
Dilwara Jain Temples, Morning walk/trek (Mount Abu)
Jeep Village Safari (Bhenswara)
Meherangarh Fort, Market walk, Bishnoi Village Safari (Jodhpur)
Camel ride (Jaisalmer)
Amber Palace, Jantar Mantar, Market walk, Bollywood movie (Jaipur)
Taj Mahal, Red Fort, Itimud-ud-Dualah, (Agra)
Palace Complex Tour (Orchha)
Dawn Boat Cruise, Sarnath Visit, River and city walk (Varanasi)
Old Delhi, Humayans Tomb, (Delhi)

Meals included

22 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 2 Dinners

Meals

Traveling with Incredible Indian Tours we ensure that you will experience a vast array of the gustatory treats available in India. Generally, meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options. This allows you to choose where, and what to eat. More often than not however we eat together as a group. Your leader will offer suggestions for favourite restaurants throughout the trip.

Money Matters

Money exchange As at October 2017

AUD1 = 49 INR
CAD1 = 50 INR
EUR1 = 76 INR
GBP1 = 85 INR
NZD1 = 44 INR
USD1 = 64 INR

There are many ATM machines (which accept both Cirrus/Maestro debit cards and Visa and MasterCard) throughout India. This is a safe and convenient way to access money in India, however we suggest that you bring a small amount of money in cash (suggested $300) in case there are times that ATMs are not available. The major currencies, including AUD and CAD are no problem in general to exchange. Travellers cheques are no longer commonly accepted. Visa & MasterCard credit cards are accepted in major shops and restaurants in the bigger cities.

Spending money

Although entrance fees to specified sites are included in the tour price, there are additional sights that you may like to visit. Many sites levy camera fees.

Spending money requirements will differ from one person to the next. You will need to take into consideration your spending habits when allowing for drinks, shopping, and optional activities.

It is recommended you allow enough money for the following:

Meals – USD500 (or equivalent)
Optional Activities – USD100 (or equivalent)
Money for drinks, shopping and incidentals.

Tipping

Tipping is an integral part of Indian life and is essential to a smooth trip. To make things easier we cover tips for hotel room boys, local guides and for drivers of private transport we use. We do NOT cover restaurant tips. You will need to allow approximately 10-15% on top of your restaurant bill.

Physical rating 2/5

You may need to carry your bag/pack up and down railway station and hotel stairs. There will be plenty of walking around towns or sites, which due to the warm to hot weather in India at this time of year will make general sightseeing a little more strenuous.

Culture shock rating 3/5

Conditions in India are not always as comfortable as in other countries. You may need to occasionally deal with a squat toilet, cold showers or power failure.

Travel insurance

Travel Insurance is highly recommended whilst traveling to India and is compulsory for any group tour with Incredible Indian Tours.

Visas

All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Most nationalities can apply for an e-Tourist visa. The Indian Government is in the process of extending this e-Tourist facility to more countries so check this website to find out the latest eligibility details.

https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html

For the e-Tourist visa, you need to apply within 120 days of travel 60 days validity. The visa is issued online and takes up to 3 days.

Regular tourist visas (issued by the Indian Embassy or Consulate) for those nationalities who do not yet have availability of the e-Tourist facility, or for those who require a visa longer than 60 days, are usually issued for 6 or 12 months and are either Single, Double or Multiple Entry. As the validity begins from date of issue, be sure you do not apply for your visa too early. For information, or assistance with obtaining a visa, check out the following websites.

Australia http://www.vfsglobal.com/india/australia/visa_services/index.html
New Zealand https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration

USA https://www.in.ckgs.us/visa/
UK https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/Registration
Canada http://www.blsindia-canada.com/touristvisa.php

Health

We recommend that you consult your doctor for current medical travel information about before departure. Your leader will be carrying a basic first aid kit, but we suggest you bring along your own as well as any personal medical requirements .

The following websites have up-to-date information about health requirements.

Australia https://www.travelvax.com.au/
New Zealand http://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/travelling
USA 
https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

UK http://www.travelhealth.co.uk/
Canada https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/vaccines

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Communications / Keeping in touch

Most of our hotels have Wifi, as do many restaurants and cafes. You can also purchase a local prepaid sim card (for unlocked cell phones) and data sticks (for mobile internet on your laptop) easily and inexpensively in India. Recommended are Vodafone, Airtel and Reliance. You will need extra passport photos for this as well as photocopies of your photo and visa page from your passport.

Your tour manager

Your tour manager is there to organise and streamline your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Whilst they are not a guide per se, they will share their local knowledge, give you suggestions for your free time and manage the day to day running of the tour. They will introduce you to their local friends and recommend great local restaurants and experiences. They will have a broad general knowledge of India, so do feel free to tap into their wisdom. At some sites, local guides may be hired where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting.

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in responsible travel. This includes being respectful to the local culture (ie dressing appropriately, and learning a few basic cultural do’s and don’ts), being mindful of the environment, and leaving a positive image behind. Remember we are ambassadors for our country. Bringing a few photos of your family and home with you is a great way to interact with the locals by giving them a glimpse of your world whilst you visit theirs.

Joining hotel

Fariyas Hotel
25, Off Arthur Bunder Road,
Colaba, Mumbai 400025
Ph: +91 22 6141 6141

Transfer/joining instructions

Your airport transfer pickup will await you holding a sign with your name when you exit the baggage claim area of the arrivals hall. There may be large crowds here so please look carefully for your transfer.

Arriving early

Situated in South Mumbai, our joining hotel is just minutes away from the city’s bustling center. Close to the financial and business district, Colaba is the tourist, shopping and entertainment centre of Mumbai. The Hotel is just minutes away from historical sites like the Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal Hotel, as well as the Jehangir Art Gallery and Prince of Wales Museum.

Early arrival information

If you are arriving earlier than day 1, extra accommodation in Mumbai is available at USD160 Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Please notify us as early as possible if you require extra accommodation as hotels in Mumbai tend to be booked up well in advance.

Finishing hotel

The Hans
15 Barakhamba Road, Connaught Place
ew Delhi 110001
Ph: +91 11 6615 0000

Staying on

If you are staying on in Delhi after the tour, extra accommodation at Hans is available at USD116/122 Single/Double (or equivalent) per night per room. Again, if you will require extra accommodation in Delhi, please advise us as early as possible as rooms tend to get booked out quickly at peak season times.

What to take

We will be on the move a lot, so try to pack as lightly as possible. The smaller your bag in India the better, as the various modes of transport we use tend to have limited storage space. In addition, you will find that your bag probably needs space to expand for all that shopping!

India is very conservative and we ask that you dress accordingly. As a guideline, shoulders and knees should always be covered. The wearing of shorts is looked upon by locals as akin to wearing your underwear and will limit your entry into mosques, temples and other places of worship. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool. Singlets, tank tops and shorts are not suitable attire for India.

Note that some Indian domestic airlines have recently reduced their check-in baggage allowance to 15kg. If you have heavier luggage, you may need to pay the excess at the airport for your internal flights. Excess luggage charges are around Rs300 (USD 5) per kilo.

Laundry

Inexpensive laundry facilities are offered by most hotels we use and are generally available wherever we have a two night stop.

Weather

The weather during our journey should be great. Daytime temperatures will be warm to hot, in the range 25-35oc. Night time temperatures will be comfortable. Rain is not very likely at this time of year, but sun is, so sunblock and a hat are essentials. Blankets are provided on the overnight train journey.

Checklist

Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance (don’t forget your emergency insurance contact details), air tickets.
Photocopy of above documents
Day pack
Health vaccinations/medication
First aid kit
Money: ATM card (widely available and easy to access); credit cards (widely accepted in big cities); cash and travellers cheques (for emergencies)
Money pouch
Alarm clock and torch/flashlight
Mosquito repellent
Ear plugs can be very useful if you are a light sleeper
Lock for your bag or suitcase
We recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt to store your passport, air tickets, credit cards and cash. Avoid bringing valuable jewellery with you. Some hotels we use have safety deposit boxes. A lock and chain are useful for securing your luggage on overnight train journeys.