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India/Nepal

Step right into the history books, where maharajas reigned and gods were born. Visit colorful Rajasthan, the holy city of Varanasi and enjoy the natural wonder of Nepal, ‘roof of the world’. This is an incredible journey of unsurpassed natural beauty and spirituality.


Itinerary

July 21 : Delhi

Arrive in Delhi at any time. The group will meet around 5 or 6 PM for an orientation/overview. Group dinner to follow.

July 22 : Delhi

Full day city tour of Delhi including visits to the India Gate, Old Delhi Chandani Chowk area, Jama Masjid Mosque, Raj Ghat Ghandi Memorial and the Qutab Minar Complex. (Itinerary may vary due to traffic and opening hours)

July 23 to July 24: Jaipur

Travel to the 'Pink City'. Visit to Palace of the Winds and Amber Fort. Opt to watch a Bollywood film.

July 25 : Agra

Travel to Agra. Visit the Agra Fort and then the world famous Taj Mahal, icon of Mughal architecture.

July 26 to July 27: Orchha

Travel to picturesque Orchha and spend time enjoying the peaceful rural charm of this riverside town. Visit Hindu temples and possibly take an optional cooking class.

July 28 to July 29: Varanasi

Arrive in Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city. Walk the narrow twisting alleys, poke around some of the literally thousands of temples and shrines, and experience the dawn rituals of bathing along the ghats.

July 30 : Butwa

Leaving Varanasi we travel by private vehicle (approx 7 hrs) to the Nepalese border.

After completing the immigration formalities in both India and Nepal, we will drive for an hour to reach Butwal. You will have free time to do your own thing and relax

July 31 : Lumbini/Chitwan National Park (1D)

Morning drive (1 hour) to reach Lumbini Garden – Birth place of Lord Buddha. Then drive to Chitwan National Park. If you’re lucky, you might see a Bengal tiger or a one-horned rhino.

August 1 to August 2: Pokhara

Set eyes on the beautiful scenery, including the Annapurna Range, in Pokhara. Take a Sarangkot sunrise excursion.

August 3 to August 4: Kathmandu (1L)

Drive to Kathmandu, visiting Swayambhunath the Monkey Temple, en route. Visit the Sisterhood of Survivors Project, a grassroots organization that trains survivors of human-trafficking to become certified paralegals. Meet some beneficiaries of the program and learn how to make Nepalese momos (dumplings) with some of the women before enjoying an authentic local lunch.

August 5 : Depart Kathmandu

Depart Kathmandu at any time, although if your flight is before 2 pm you will not have time for the optional Everest flight in the morning.

Detailed Itinerary

July 21 : Delhi

Arrive in Delhi at any time, there are no planned activities until the late afternoon, so check into the hotel (check-in time is 12:00 PM) and enjoy the city. At 5 or 6 PM we will have a group meeting at the hotel where you will meet your fellow group members (Check the notice board in hotel lobby to confirm time and place) to go over the details of your trip. The group will then get an optional dinner together.

New Delhi, the capital of India is one of the most historic capitals in the world and three of its monuments- the Qutab Minar, Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb - have been declared World Heritage Sites. It offers a multitude of interesting places and attractions to the visitor, so much so that it becomes difficult to decide from where to begin exploring the city. We cover some of the city's highlights on the second day of this trip, but we are just scratching the surface of Delhi during this trip so you can come on the trip early if you would like to see more. Just beware, Delhi is chaotic and intimidating for seasoned and unseasoned travelers alike.

In Old Delhi, there are attractions like mosques, forts, markets and other monuments depicting India’s Muslim history. New Delhi, on the other hand, is a modern city designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker. Tree covered wide streets with many roundabouts are notable in New Delhi. Home to many government buildings and embassies, as well as Rashtrapati Bhawan, the one-time imperial residence of the British viceroys; India Gate, a memorial raised in honor of the Indian soldiers martyred during the Afghan war. Further out in the southern suburbs you will discover more history including Humayun’s Tomb, said to be the forerunner of the Taj Mahal at Agra; the Purana Quila, built by Humayun, with later-day modifications by Sher Shah Suri; Qutab Minar, built by Qutb-ud-din Aybak of the Slave Dynasty; and the incredible lotus-shaped Bahá’í House of Worship.

There are a number of outstanding museums worth visiting including the Craft Museum, National Gallery and Birla House (Ghandi Smirti) and Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum. (Note many museums are closed on Monday).

There are so many options for dining, from age-old eateries in the by lanes of the Old Walled City to glitzy, specialty restaurants in five-star hotels, Delhi is a movable feast. Restaurants and bars cater to all tastes and budgets.

The best of Mughlai cuisine can be enjoyed at Karims, (both in Jama Masjid and Nizamuddin) where recipes, dating from the times o the Mughals have been the closely guarded secret of generations of chefs. The finest Frontier cuisine is available at the Bukhara, recently voted as the best Indian restaurant in the world!! And at the other end of the scale there are the many popular roadside eateries where kebabs, naan and rotis (Indian breads) and dosa (South Indian pancakes) are the order of the day.

A delightful outlet offering a range of Indian cuisines are the food stalls at Dilli Haat. Here, the cuisine of different states is made available. Set in the midst of a spacious crafts bazaar these cafes are a very pleasant place to enjoy food.

July 22 : Delhi

Today you will get to see the sights of Delhi with a full day guided tour with a local guide. You will ride an air-conditioned bus, although there will be ample walking around and taking a rickshaw. Itinerary will include: India Gate and the surroundings, Old Delhi Chandani Chowk area, Jama Masjid Mosque, Raj Ghat Ghandi Memorial and the Qutab Minar Complex. Keep in mind Delhi traffic is unpredictable so plans may need to be adjusted.

NOTE: Qutab Minar's entrance fee isn't included. Participants will pay 250 INR locally (Roughly $5 USD). Raj Ghat is occasionally closed to the public for official ceremonies.

July 23 to July 24: Jaipur

Leaving the chaos of the capital New Delhi, we board our early morning air-conditioned bus to Jaipur, known as the Pink City (approx 6 hrs). Jaipur was first painted terracotta pink by Maharajah Sawai Ram Singh in 1853, to celebrate the visit of Prince Albert.

During our stay in Jaipur we visit the Amber Fort clinging to the surrounding hills. We walk up to the fort. We also visit the amazing City Palace with its fine collection of textiles and costumes as well as the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds. This famous building is in fact only an elaborately carved facade built to enable the purdah ladies in the zenana to watch the goings-on in the street below without being seen.

There are so many things to do in Jaipur you will enjoy some free time. You may want to head out to the nearby village of Sanganer to see blue pottery, hand made paper or hand block printing. Or you may want to discover more of the wisdom and history of the Mughals by wandering around the Jantar Mantar, an observatory built in the 1700's. Or you may just want to sip a cocktail in any of the luxuriously converted palaces, now operating as 5 star hotels. And of course a visit to a Bollywood film is a must and there is no better place than the spectacular Art deco film house - the Raj Mandir.

Jaipur is one of the most important centers in the world for gems and jewelry and cutting of small diamonds and also a great place to buy block printed textiles, blue pottery and hand made paper. There are many shops selling these items and some wonderful markets in the Old City selling more traditional items such as mojari, Rajasthani slippers. If buying gems or jewelry please take caution as there have been several instances of scams where fake jewelry has been passed off as real.

July 25 : Agra

Travel by early morning train or bus (approx 5 hrs) to the Muslim city of Agra, site of India’s most famous landmark, the Taj Mahal as well as the beautiful Agra Fort. Visit this icon of Mughal architecture either early in the morning or late afternoon for the best light.

The Taj Mahal was constructed between 1631 and 1654 by a workforce of 22 000. It was built by the Muslim Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Arjumand Bano Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal. Mumtaz had already borne the emperor fourteen children when she died in childbirth, and it is the romantic origin of the Taj as much as its architectural splendor that has led to its fame worldwide. Actually an integrated complex of many structures, the Taj Mahal is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, itself a combination of Islamic, Hindu, Persian and Turkish elements.

The walled palatial city of the Agra Fort, was first taken over by the Moghuls, at that time led by Akbar the Great, in the late 16th century. Akbar liked to build from red sandstone, often inlaid with white marble and intricate decorations, and it was during his reign that the fort began changing into more of a royal estate.

However, it was only during the reign of Akbar’s grandson, Shah Jahan (who would eventually build the Taj Mahal) that the site finally took on its current state. Unlike his grandfather, Shah Jahan preferred buildings made from white marble, often inlaid with gold or semi-precious gems, and he destroyed some earlier buildings inside the fort in order to build others in his own style. At the end of his life Shah Jahan was imprisoned in the fort by his son, Aurangzeb. It is said that Shah Jahan died in Muasamman Burj, a tower with a marble balcony with an excellent view of the Taj Mahal.

The fort was also a site of one of the most important battles of the Indian rebellion of 1857, which caused the end of the British East India Company’s rule in India, leading to a century of direct rule of India by Britain.

Time permitting, you can make an optional visit to I’timad-ud-Daulah, also known as the ‘Baby Taj’ - it was built before the Taj Mahal by Nur Jahan, queen of Jehangir, for her parents and was the first Mughal building to be faced with white marble and where ‘pietra dura’, (precious stones inlaid into marble) was first used.

July 26 to July 27: Orchha

Today we travel by train from Agra to Jhansi before jumping in a tempo, a large type of auto rickshaw to the picturesque town of Orchha (approx 4 hrs). We spend two days enjoying the peaceful rural charm of this riverside town. Sitting on the banks of the Betwa River, Orchha is the perfect antidote to the chaos of India’s cities. Experience a piece of the ‘real’ India, one that will likely change your image of this diverse country. While here, opt to visit a local family for a cooking class and lunch in their home. This home-cooked meal is a real highlight and recommended by past participants!

A typical, small Indian town, Orchha owes its popularity to an architectural heritage bequeathed it, by its history as the oldest and highest in rank of all the Bundela states. Orchha dates back to the 16th century when it was founded by the Bundela chief Rudra Pratap. In the early 17th century, Raja Jujhar Singh rebelled against the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, whose armies devastated the state and occupied Orchha from 1635 to 1641. Orchha was the only Bundela state not subjugated by the Marathas in the 18th century. Hamir Singh, who ruled from 1848 to 1874, was elevated to Maharaja in 1865. Maharaja Pratap Singh (born 1854, died 1930), who succeeded to the throne in 1874, devoted himself entirely to the development of his state, himself designing most of the engineering and irrigation works executed during his reign.

In 1901, the state had an area of over 2000 sq. mi, and population of over 300 000, warranted a 15-gun salute, and its Maharajas bore the hereditary title of First of the Princes of Bundelkhand, all hard to believe as you wander the sleepy town as it appears today. Eventually, Vir Singh, Pratap Singh’s successor, merged his state with the Union of India on January 1, 1950.

With our local guide, we explore some of the many Hindu temples and palaces spread along the river and surrounding countryside, including the town’s imposing 17th century fort, Chaturbhuj temple built on a vast platform of stone, and the numerous cenotaphs that dot the landscape.

We also visit Tarragram, a unique paper making plant, set up to assist tribal women from the area. All the paper is made from recycled clothing and wood pulp.

On the evening of Day 7 we return to Jhansi and take the overnight train to Varanasi (approx 13 hrs). See our FAQ to learn more about the overnight train, which is an essential Indian experience and a great way to see the landscape.

July 28 to July 29: Varanasi

We arrive in the morning into Varanasi, the quintessential Indian holy city where millions of Hindu travel, for pilgrimage, to worship, to mourn or to die. Walk the narrow twisting alleys, poke around some of the literally hundreds of temples and shrines, and experience the energy of the dawn rituals of bathing and burnings as you float past the numerous ghats of the River Ganges.

The legends, myths and aura surrounding Varanasi led Mark Twain to famously remark. "Benaras is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together".

Sitting on the banks of the River Ganges, you can contemplate what it means to be in Varanasi, the oldest continually inhabited city in the world, dating back thousands of years. The culture of Varanasi is deeply associated with the river Ganges, its reigning deity Lord Shiva and its religious importance; the city has been a cultural and religious center in northern India for thousands of years. Or wander through the Old City with its maze of narrow alleyways full of small shops and stalls. Perhaps you could visit the monasteries and ruins of nearby Sarnath, the site of Buddha's first sermon.

During our stay we take boats out onto the sacred Ganges River, both for sunrise and sunset. For the evening boat journey we enjoy a candle flower ceremony.

Note: Varanasi can be a difficult city to visit, even for an experienced traveler. Varanasi requires patience and an open mind, but it is worth it!

July 30 : Butwa

Leaving Varanasi we travel by private vehicle (approx 7 hrs) to the Nepalese border.

It is possible to get a Nepalese visa at the border, but you will need at least one passport size photograph and $25 USD. Nepal is 15 minutes ahead of India.

After completing the immigration formalities in both India and Nepal, we will drive for an hour to reach Butwal. You will have free time to do your own thing and relax.

July 31 : Lumbini/Chitwan National Park (1D)

This morning we drive to Lumbini, the historical birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, who lived between approximately 563 and 483 BCE. Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located 25kms east of the municipality of Kapilavastu, the place where the Buddha grew up and lived up to the age of 29.

After breakfast, we will drive for another 3 hours to reach another UNESCO World Heritage site, Chitwan National Park. We will be welcomed by indigenous tribal group of Chitwan – The Tharus. After the welcome ceremony, we will be received by our local host. We will Walk in their village and learn about their daily life style. Then we will be taking a Jeep drive deep into the Chitwan National Park. While on the jeep safari, we will be trying to see wild animals in their natural habitat such as One horned Rhinos, deers, crocodiles, and if lucky the Bengal Tigers as well.

In the evening we interact with the local Tharu community and experience their cultural through dance and song along with a traditional meal. The Tharu's are an indigenous community of the Terai belt of Nepal and work toward living self sufficiently. They live in eco-friendly homes made of mud, straw and material found in abundance in the region. They also produce and farm all their own food.

Please note: Our accommodation in Chitiwan does not take credit cards. Be prepared to pay in cash for meals, drinks excursion, etc. It also does not have Air Conditioning, but last year's group said it wasn't too hot at night to sleep.

Keep in mind that sometimes the wildlife is hard to spot so keep your expectations low.

August 1 to August 2: Pokhara

Travel from the plains to the mountains by bus (approx 5 hrs). Nestled in a tranquil valley at an altitude of 827m, Pokhara is a place of natural beauty. The serenity of Phewa Lake and the magnificence of the fish-tailed summit of Machhapuchhre (6977m) rising behind it create an ambiance of peace and tranquility.

Pokhara lies on a once vibrant trade route extending between India and Tibet. To this day, mule trains can be seen camped on the outskirts of the town, bringing goods to trade from remote regions of the Himalaya. The enchanting city has several beautiful lakes and offers stunning panoramic views of Himalayan peaks - creating the ambience that has made it such a popular place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. Relax in a café, hire a boat and float around the lake, or shop for Nepali and Tibetan souvenirs in the endless stalls and shops.

Clearly the most stunning of Pokhara’s sights is the spectacular panorama of the Annapurna range. We travel out to Sarangkot (1592m) only 5 kms north east of Pokhara for a spectacular sunrise of the surrounding mountains (weather permitting). The walk back down through farms and forest to Pokhara is wonderful and takes between 2-2 1/2 hours.

August 3 to August 4: Kathmandu (1L)

Travelling the last leg of the trip through the wild, rugged Himalayan landscape to Nepal’s magical capital and largest city, Kathmandu. For many, simply the name alone is sufficient to conjure up images of temple pagodas, long-haired saddhus in butts of hashish smoke and the ever-present Himalayas. Kathmandu is all this and more. Sitting in a bowl-like valley surrounded on all sides by some of the highest mountains on earth, Kathmandu has been a crossroads of cultures since hundreds of years before Christ, a tradition very much alive today.

We visit Swayambhunath before reaching Kathmandu, the monkey temple, sitting high above Kathmandu city.

Swayambhunath is the most ancient and enigmatic of all the holy shrines in Kathmandu valley. Its lofty white dome and glittering golden spire are visible for many miles. On each of the four sides of the main stupa there are a pair of big eyes. These eyes are symbolic of God's all-seeing perspective. There is no nose between the eyes but rather a representation of the number one in the Nepali alphabet, signifying that the single way to enlightenment is through the Buddhist path. Above each pair of eyes is another eye, the third eye, signifying the wisdom of looking within. No ears are shown because it is said the Buddha is not interested in hearing prayers in praise of him. To reach Swayambhunath you can climb 365 steps that lead up the hill and the area surrounding the stupa is filled with temples, painted images of deities and numerous other religious objects.

Arrive by bus late in the afternoon and we will have a short orientation walk. Highlights in Kathmandu include world-famous Durbar Square, the King’s Palace, the burning ghats at Pashupatinath and Boudhanath Stupa. We recommend exploring the area of the city known as Thamel, which is near your accommodation. We also highly recommend you visit nearby Bhaktapur, an ancient town 13 km from Kathmandu. Your tour leader can help you figure out how to get to these places as well as arrange your onward travel to get back home.

Visit The Sisterhood of Survivors Project a grassroots organization that trains survivors of human-trafficking to become certified paralegals. We will be greeted by some of the beneficiaries of this program and learn about traditional Nepali food, learning how to make traditional Nepalese momos (dumplings) with some of the survivors, and then enjoying an authentic local lunch.

PLEASE NOTE: If the weather is good individuals should have the option of paying an extra fee to fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara instead of driving by bus. The cost is roughly $90 USD and many people from last year's group recommend paying the extra money so you save yourself a bumpy, slow ride and have more time to explore Kathmandu. You cannot book this before arriving in India. Just ask your tour leader about this option at the start of your trip and they will make the arrangements. Each person can choose to take the group transfer to Kathmandu by bus or take the flight. Your tour leader will stay with the group taking the bus.

August 5 : Depart Kathmandu

Our tour ends today. You are free to depart any time today, though your accommodation is only till noon. You may want to spend an extra day or two in Kathmandu.

FYI about Mountain flight:
Regular flights are conducted daily from Kathmandu towards the Himalayan Range in the North and East of Kathmandu. The flight generally takes off in the morning and lasts for one full hour. It cost roughly $175. This is the quickest way to get a close look at Mt. Everest, the highest mountains in the world. Other mountains that can be viewed at close range are Nuptse (7879 M), Lhotse (8501 M), Cho Oyu (8000M), Makalu (8475 M) and Kanchenjunga (8584 M). Keep in mind these flights are weather dependent and can often be canceled in the summer due. If you want to do this optional activity, you need to tell your guide in advance, and you need to make sure you do not plan to leave Kathmandu until the afternoon.

Stuff You Need to Know

Terms and Conditions

It is very important for you to visit our Terms and Conditions page before signing up for this program.

Trip Notes

India is a country which is very different to anything you will have experienced before. Although this means it is not the easiest place to travel, this is also what makes it so special. Pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this large and wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way.

In India there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. Trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and power will often just vanish. Optimistic menus turn out to have only one dish available and everyone, just everyone, will want to know your name. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a healthy sense of humor, then we know that you - like all of us - will be captivated by what India has to offer.

If the weather is good individuals should have the option of paying an extra fee to fly to Kathmandu from Pokhara instead of driving by bus. The cost is roughly $90 USD and many people from last year's group recommend paying the extra money so you save yourself a bumpy, slow ride and have more time to explore Kathmandu. You cannot book this before arriving in India. Just ask your tour leader about this option at the start of your trip and they will make the arrangements. Each person can choose to take the group transfer to Kathmandu by bus or take the flight. Your tour leader will stay with the group taking the bus.

In 2015 we will be upgrading the accommodation on this program. We will still have an overnight train and the deluxe air conditioned tents in Chitiwan, so not all of the accommodation has been upgraded.

Service Level

Upgraded India/Nepal:

Step out of the normal tourist mind-set and truly experience the world. We use handpicked, character-rich accommodations with upgraded amenities services. We don't take away any adventure however as you will be staying in a sleeper train and an air conditioned tent camp. Transportation will be a combination of public transport, private buses and some private vehicles.

Physical Grading

2:

Light walking and hiking that is suitable for most fitness levels.

Minimum/Maximum Group Size

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

Group Leader Description

All GEEO/G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of G Adventure's group leaders, which they refer to as Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They 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. Our itineraries often have plenty of free time to explore on your own.

While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Packing List

You will be on the move a lot, so our advice is to pack as lightly as possible. We highly recommend using a large multi-day backpack, plus a small daypack, like a messenger bag or purse. There are lots of different backpacks out there, but in general you want a bag that has a capacity of around 50 to 80 cubic liters. For an example click here. (Please email jesse@geeo.org if that link does not work)

You must be prepared to carry your own bags and be comfortable carrying them between transport and hotels (max. 15-20 mins walking), hopping on and off trains and public buses and up and down stairs. Luggage space on public transport is limited so again, smaller is better.

Suggested Checklist

•Clothes for temples – long pants or sarongs
•Day pack for daily personal items
•Lock for all bags
•Wet wipes / Moist towelettes
•Alarm clock
•Flashlight
•Sun hat, Sun block, Sunglasses
•Insect Repellent
•Small towel and swim wear (many of our hotels have pools)
•Toiletries (biodegradable preferred)
•Sturdy walking shoes/Sneakers (closed toe is a good idea)
•Money belt
•Shorts
•Long trousers
•Hiking pants/track pants
•Personal clothing for hot weather (We recommend packing 8 or 9 days of outfits so you only have to do laundry once)
•Umbrella or waterproof jacket.
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry.
•First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, bandaids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, insect repellent, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Optional Checklist

•Travel pillow (This one is great)
•Dramamine
•Money belt
•Water bottle
•Phone/Tablet for internet (Most hotels have WiFi)
•Chargers for electronics as well converters/adaptors if needed (See FAQ)
•Light fleece top (Just for the flight)
•Packing cubes (These are awesome)
•Flip-flops/Sandals
•Ear Plugs (These are a life-saver if you have a snoring roommate)
•Snacks (Packing a few granola bars is a good idea. You can buy snacks when you get there too, so don't go crazy here.)
•Ziplock bags for wet clothing
•Washcloth (Most hotels don’t have them and some people like having a washcloth)
•Reading/writing material
•Binoculars
•Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry
•Hand Sanitizer/Baby wipes

Document Checklist

•Passport (with photocopies)
•Travel insurance (with photocopies)
•Airline tickets (with photocopies)
•Credit and/or debit card (see personal spending money)
•G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
•Any entry visas, additional passport photos or vaccination certificates required (Check our FAQ to see if you need them)
•GEEO Classroom action plans for your group (This is sent 10-30 days before departure)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Single Travellers

We believe single travelers should not have to pay more to travel so our trips are designed for shared accommodation. Single travelers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Most of our trips have the option for a "My Own Room" which is an extra fee that will allow you to have a room to yourself.

Money

Spending Money

Every traveler is different and therefore spending requirements will vary. Some travelers may drink more than others while other travelers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

We recommend checking www.xe.com for the current exchange rate. There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and Mastercard but these are limited to major cities.

Medical Forms

GEEO travel programs bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, at minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travelers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage. Travelers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travelers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our tour leaders work hard to ensure that all our travelers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings above for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at: www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

Optional Activities

Please note: All optional activities are booked and paid for locally in the local currency. You do not have to decide in advance which activities you would like to sign up for. The prices listed are based on the latest information we have received from our participants and G Adventures. They are not guaranteed to be accurate. Please feel free to use them as a guide for budgeting your trip.

Please keep in mind some activities are weather dependent, such as hot air ballooning Everest flights, paragliding, etc. Please understand that the weather may not cooperate and some of these activities may become unavailable.

Delhi

Red Fort - INR100
Qutab Minar - INR250
Humayuns Tomb - INR250

Agra

I’timad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj) – INR100
Akbar’s Mausoleum - INR235
Nature Park – INR50
Mehtab Bagh - INR100

Jaipur

Raj Mandir Cinema - INR90
Jantar Mantar - INR100
Elpehant ride to Amber Fort - INR960 per elephant (max 2 persons)

Orchha

Village Safari - INR150
Cooking class with a local family lunch - INR500

Varanasi

Sarnarth Deer Park - INR230
Ram Nagar Fort - INR10

Pokhara

Mountain Museum - NPR400
Devi's Fall - NPR20
Optional flight to Kathmandu from Pokhara - USD90

Kathmandu

Kathmandu Day Tour - approx. 40USD for the day to hire a car and see some of the highlights of Delhi. Entrance fees would be additional.
Durbar Square – USD10
Patan – USD10
Mountain Flight 1 hour (from) – USD 182

Costs

Please keep in mind this trip is designed to give you the freedom to do whatever interests you. Make sure you look over all of the optional activities and keep in mind these additional costs when deciding whether you can afford this program. No meals are included in this trip, giving you the opportunity to eat on your own budget. The prices below are in US dollars and are rough estimates so you can budget your trip.

Tour Company Fee

$1649 USD

Non-Educator Fee

$100 USD (Educators do not have to pay this fee)

Optional Activities

We suggest you bring along $100 USD for additional sightseeing. See itinerary to create your budget.

International Airfare from USA

International airfare from USA: (Arrive in Delhi, Depart from Kathmandu): Roughly $1,400-$2,000 USD

Insurance

$42-$200 USD
Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers for both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. We also strongly recommend purchasing an all inclusive plan that covers cancellation/interruption insurance as well.
See our FAQ for advice on Travel Insurance.

Tipping

We recommend $40-$60 USD for your G Adventures tour leader if you feel they did a good job. Budget another $50 to tip other local guides. These tips will be made in rupees in small denominations, typically about 30 rupees per guide per day.

Meals Not Listed in the Itinerary

$215-$280 USD

Laundry, Drinks, Phone Calls, etc.

(Make sure you budget for these types of expenses)

Airport and Departure Taxes

International Departure tax is 1695 Nepalese Rupees or 1300NPR if travelling to SAARC Countries (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka)

Airport Transfers

Prepaid taxi -INR200-300 + tip INR30-50.

Vaccines

$0-$300 USD (Check with your doctor to see what you will need and what is covered by your insurance)

Visa

$75 USD for the Indian Visa for Americans. You must get the Indian visa in advance. In Nepal you can get the visa at the border and it should be about $25 USD. For both visas, check with your local embassy if you are not American.

Souvenirs

$0-???

FAQ

What mind set should I have if I am going to India and Nepal?

Of all of GEEO's programs this is probably the one that causes the most culture shock. India and Nepal, are thick with history, wonders, smells, colors, dirt and bureaucracy the likes of which even experienced travelers have never encountered. It is amazing and at the same time overwhelming. You will see poverty. You will feel uncomfortable. You will almost certainly get diarrhea. India takes some getting used to for most people and the sooner you mentally adjust to the environment the sooner you will be able to enjoy yourself.

In India there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. Trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and power will often just vanish. Optimistic menus turn out to have only one dish available and everyone, just everyone, will want to know your name. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a healthy sense of humour, then we know that you will be captivated by what India has to offer.

What should be my expectations for this GEEO program?

Before you decide on travelling with GEEO it is important that you read all of the information about the program you are considering. To summarize, our programs are quite adventurous.

• We will be using upgraded hotels during for this program. However, this is India so keep your expectations low as service level and amenities are often different than Western standards. The purpose of the accommodation is to provide a safe place for you to sleep. Sometimes you will be pleasantly surprised, but do not expect luxury.

• The same goes for transportation. We use a mix of transportation that gets our guests from location to location safely. Sometimes you will have full days and nights of transportation as our trips tend to cover a lot of ground. The transportation will often be an adventure in itself.

• You must be able to easily carry or roll your luggage, so do not over-pack. We recommend using a large backpack along with a smaller daypack, which is typically the most comfortable way to carry your possessions.

• Many of our programs occur in locations where it is very hot during the day. Please make sure you have thoroughly read the itinerary and can handle the group activities, which sometime include day hikes with your daypacks.

• We recommend always carrying snacks with you because sometimes meals can be far apart.

• Please make sure you understand the role of your tour leader on this trip as they are not the traditional “guide” you may be expecting. While our trips are educational, they aren’t study/lecture trips. We want you to learn through exploring and much of your experience will be based on how active you choose to be in acquiring knowledge and interacting with locals.

• We try to set up a school visit on each program, but these sometimes fall through due to complications. Please understand they are not a guaranteed part of the program.

Hopefully this is the kind of adventure you are interested in!

Do I need a Passport? Do I need a visa?

All GEEO trips require that the participant have a valid passport. If you have a U.S. passport, but it will expire before or during your trip, click here for information on how to get it renewed. If you have never been issued a passport or have lost your passport, please click here. Processing time for US Passports is 4-6 weeks so please start this process immediately.

As with all of our trips, we try to provide the most accurate information we can, but governments sometimes change visa rules. It is your responsibility to double check the information we provide below by searching here.

Americans need to purchase a visa in advance for travel to India. The Visa costs roughly $73. The Indian embassy seems to change which company they are outsourcing their visas to every few months and each company they have chosen have been incompetent. As of May 21st 2014 they are working with Cox and Kings, which you can find through this link: https://www.indianembassy.org/pages.php?id=18. You do not have to use the official company that the Indian embassy outsources to, but it will be more expensive and possibly be more of a hassle to use a different company. A visa company that we have had a good track record with is VisaHQ, which can be found at this website.

An Indian Tourist Visa is only valid for six months after it's issue date. Please wait until March to apply for your visa. Unless you have some wild criminal/espionage past, you will have no problem getting a tourist visa.

When applying for the visa make sure you state the the purpose of your trip is "tourism". If you write "educational" or anything that makes you stand-out as a non-tourist they may confuse you for either a student needing an study visa or a teacher requiring a work visa.

For the visa you will need our tour companies contact details in India:

Contact Name-
Prabhat Verma

Contact Address-
Tower B, Delta Square
M.G. Road, Sector - 25
Gurgaon- 122001,
National Capital Region of Delhi
Haryana, INDIA
Tel: +91 124 4703400

If you are returning to India to fly home after your time in Nepal you will need to get special re-entry authorization when you apply for your visa. You will need to provide Cox and Kings or whichever visa company you use supporting documents which includes airline tickets and your itinerary. If need be you can get this re-entry authorization while in India or Nepal, but it is bureaucratic headache and much easier if done in advance.

For Nepal you will get your visa at the border. You will need a valid passport and two passport size photos. A single entry 15 day tourist visa can be obtained by paying US $25 and will require you to have at least one open page in your passport.

Where do I meet the group? What happens when I arrive at the airport?

Our groups meet at the hotel we use for the first night of the trip. Your tour leader will leave a note for you at the hotel's front desk with the introductory meeting time and location.

When you arrive at the airport you can either take a taxi to the first hotel or book an airport transfer. For an airport transfer you will be greeted at the airport by someone with a sign with your name on it. Some people find this comforting when getting off a long flight in an unfamiliar environment. Typically an airport transfer will cost about twice as much as a taxi would. If we have multiple participants on the same flight we can group those people together to share an airport transfer and save money. We cannot group people together if they are on different flights, even if those flights are scheduled to arrive within minutes of each other.

Please email groups@gadventures.com if you wish to book the airport transfer. They will need your name and the name of the GEEO trip you are on.

Is it OK if I am traveling alone? Do I have to have a roommate?

Half of the people that travel with us are traveling by themselves so please don’t worry if you have no one who wants to join you on our trip. Our pricing is based on double occupancy, in other words, two people to a room. If you do not have someone that you are traveling with that you would like to room with GEEO will find you a roommate of the same gender. You never have to pay for a single room unless you want one. If you want to room alone, there is a "My Own Room" fee of $349 USD.

Please note that if you have booked the "My Own Room" option for this tour, you will receive your own single room for all night stops, with the following exceptions:
Night 5, Orchha; Night 6, Sleeper Train

What is group travel like?

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 across the US and beyond and are likely to be of a variety of ages 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.

How long have we been running this program?

GEEO was founded in 2007 and our inaugural trips were run to Peru and India in the summer of 2008. We have run an India trip every year since 2008, but in 2011 ran our new India/Nepal program for the first time. In 2015 we will be upgrading the accommodation for this program to a higher level. G Adventures, who actually handle the logistics of the trip have been running this India/Nepal itinerary for many years so you can have faith that your trip will be safe and well run.

Will I be eating on my own? With the group? Why aren't all meals included?

Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with GEEO you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is affordable. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your group leader will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Who travels with GEEO?

GEEO participants are mostly made up of American K-12 teachers. Each group tends to have a good mix of educators in their 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. About half of our participants are coming alone and do not know anyone in the group prior to the trip. We group single travelers of the same gender together as roommates, unless a participant prefers to pay an additional fee for their own room. If we have an odd amount of one gender we will rotate the single room for free among the participants.

GEEO trips are open to all Kindergarten to University teachers, school staff, school administrators, and soon-to-be teachers pursuing their teaching certificate. Our programs are also open to retired educators. Non-American educators are welcome on our trips.

Participants in our programs are permitted to bring friends or family members on their trip. You must be at least 18 years old to participate and of adequate fitness level for your chosen trip.

Is it possible to get references for GEEO?

Over 1000 educators have traveled with GEEO since we ran our first programs in 2008. We have had an overwhelmingly positive response to the quality and value of the life changing experiences that we provide.

To read comments from past travelers, please feel free to visit a website that reviews non-profit organizations called Great Non-profits. Please click here for those reviews.

Please contact us if you would like to communicate with some of our former participants for a reference.

What cities/airports should I book my flight in and out of?

Please double check our itinerary for the date on which you must arrive in Delhi by, which would usually mean departing the USA one or two days prior. You can arrive at anytime you choose.

Your trip ends in Kathmandu, although most flights to the US will return via Delhi. You have a few options:

You could book a multi-leg flight that arrives in Delhi at the start of your trip and returns from Kathmandu at the end. Or, for about $100 you can take a short flight from Kathmandu to Delhi. In that case you buy a round trip from your home city to Delhi. I would look up both options and see which is cheaper.

Is the itinerary exactly as described on this website?

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described on our website, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The information on our website is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Where can I purchase flights?

We recommend using www.kayak.com to see what is out there in terms of flights. G Adventures also has a wonderful air department, which can be reached at 1-800-708-7761.

You may also want to take a look at the prices at www.flyforgood.com or call 1-877-359-4466 to speak to a person. They get humanitarian rates from airlines and GEEO is registered with Fly for Good as a non-profit. If you purchase a humanitarian rate flight, you will need a supporting document from GEEO. Please request this from us after you purchase the tickets. Note that humanitarian rates are not available for all flights to GEEO destinations, and are sometimes higher than tickets found on on kayak, travelocity, orbitz, etc. Often the layovers are long and sometimes impossible to navigate. Look very carefully at the offer before purchasing your ticket.

When should I purchase my flights?

You must wait until this trip is confirmed with the minimum amount of required participants before you book your flights. Typically we reach the minimum amount needed at least 60 days before departure, which often happens to be when you can find the best prices for purchasing flights. GEEO and G Adventures bear no responsibility for any flights purchased before the trip is confirmed.

Where can I purchase travel insurance?

Please note it is mandatory for all of our travelers to have Emergency Medical insurance that covers both emergency evacuation and repatriation to the sum of $200,000 USD. Regular health insurance plans almost never include emergency evacuation and repatriation insurance, so you will need to purchase a separate TRAVEL health insurance plan.

You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you like. You must bring some proof of this insurance to your introduction meeting on the first day of the trip. If you do not have travel health insurance at that time, you will be forced to purchase insurance on the spot, which will be pricier than purchasing it in advance.

One of the least expensive options is the "International Volunteer Card." They have a $42 card (Plus Plan) that includes the amount of travel medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance you need for our trip, plus other trip insurance benefits. DO NOT get the Basic Plan that they offer as it does not have enough coverage for our programs.

To sign up for the card you can follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/geeo.html.

We recommend purchasing cancellation insurance too, which the IVC offers as an additional option. Trip Cancellation insurance costs 5% of up to the total cost of your trip. For example, if you chose to insure $1000 of your trip cost, Trip Cancellation would cost $50. You can call them at 1-877-359-4466, ext. 7663 to ask for details on the cancellation plan or follow this link:

http://www.volunteercard.com/trip-cancellation-insurance/.

Another option is purchasing the insurance plan that G Adventures offers. Their comprehensive plan offers both health and cancellation insurance.

Can GEEO book extra hotel nights for me?

You may want to stay longer in both Delhi and Kathmandu so feel free to arrive a few days early or depart a few days later.

We can book your extra hotel nights for you if you wish. Just send a request by email to groups@gadventures.com with the dates you would like at least 30 days before departure.

Why are some activities included in the price of the trip and others are not?

We have found paying locally for activities allows our participants to save money. Not every activity is appealing to everyone and we don't want you to pay for services you might not use. Perhaps you feel sick one day and would prefer to rest. This allows you to decide on the spot what you want to do each day with your free time and at the same time control your budget.

What vaccinations do I need for this trip?

We legally cannot give you any medical advice. It is very important to consult your doctor or a travel clinic about which vaccinations you will need for your trip. GEEO recommends contacting Passport Health, (http://www.passporthealthusa.com/) who have travel clinics throughout the US. Please take this seriously!

Do you have advice on tipping?

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your tour leader will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from USD1-2 per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your tour leader for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures tour leader did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD 20-30 per person, per week can be used.

Is there any safety advice we should know about?

The overall security situation in Nepal after the political turmoil has improved in the past years however; travelers should be aware that the security situation remains uncertain and could deteriorate quickly with little or no advanced notice. We recommend that you please check your government's advice for their latest travel information before both booking this trip and leaving home, as we want you to travel fully informed.

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 jewelry at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is G Adventure's policy not to allow our tour leaders to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

What are the emergency contact numbers for this trip?

Should you need to contact G Adventures during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call their local office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Delhi)
G Adventures South Asia Manager, Rishab (Delhi, India)
Emergency number:
From outside of India: +91 99 7179 5447
From within Delhi: 99 7179 5447
From within India, but outside Delhi: 099 7179 5447

G Adventures Asia Office in Bangkok (If for some reason you can't reach any of India emergency numbers)
8am-6pm CST (GMT +7)
Tel: +66 2 252 6642

If you are unable for any reason to contact their local office, they have a toll-free line for North America, which will connect you directly with their Toronto office. In the event that you cannot get through, you can reach a member of their Operations department at the mobile number below.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local transfer providers directly at:

Dipesh
From outside India: +91 9958 690755
From within Delhi: 9958 690755
From outside Delhi: 09958 690755

Manish Singh
From outside India: +91 9958 690753
From within Delhi: 9958 690753
From outside Delhi: 09958 690753

Do I need plugs and current converters for my electronic devices?

There are two components to provide external power to your device: adapters and transformers. The adapter is the plug, adapting the prongs on a standard U.S. two to three-pronged power cord to match the prongs required by the local outlets. The transformer changes the local voltage to that required by your device.

India and Nepal use 230V, 50 Hz C & D type plugs. The C has two circular prongs, the D has three circular. The voltage in these countries is 230 Volts. U.S. outlets are 120V. Most new devices (phones and laptops) can handle the different voltage rates, but some devices only work on the U.S. standard of 120V. Check your device to see what voltage range it handles. Most transformer blocks will have an "Input" line that defines its voltage capacity. For example, "Input: 100 - 240V" means that it will work on voltages from 100V to 240V. If your transformer can't handle the different voltage, you'll need to purchase a voltage converter. You can find world regional voltage converters power packs at various vendors.

What should I expect in terms of school visits?

GEEO tries to include a school visit on each of our programs; however these visits are never a guaranteed part of our programming. School visits can be very tricky.

• In many of the countries we visit, schools will be closed for vacation over the summer. In that case we try to arrange an informal meeting with local teachers or a visit to a summer school.

• Some of our shorter programs are so packed with activities and places to see that we feel a school visit would mean the group would have to miss out on something important. In that case a school visit may not be scheduled.

• Many times we spend hours setting up a visit only for the school to cancel on us at the last minute.

• Often arranging school visits is easier if done in person with short notice. Your tour leader will try to schedule ad hoc school visits for your group when possible.

• Each school visit is different. We aim for you to get a tour of the school, sit in on a class and have a Q and A session with some of the staff.

• If we do schedule a school visit it is important that the entire group attend.

• Over time we try to establish long term relationships with schools so we can have more predictable, immersive visits that are rewarding for both our guests and the schools themselves.

Should I bring school supplies with me to donate to a school?

You can if you wish. Please keep in mind it is important for you to pack light for your trip and school supplies can take up a lot of space. Sometimes school visits are at the end of the trip so you may be carrying the supplies for the entire trip. Sometimes we aren't able to arrange a school visit at all so you would then have to figure out a way to give them out yourself.

Our advice is to bring little if any supplies with you and instead buy supplies locally when your tour leader tells you a school visit is planned. They can help the group pool money and purchase supplies such as books, athletic equipment, pencils and paper. This will allow you to give an appropriate gift, save room in your pack and also help the local economy. We encourage you to establish relationships with the schools that we visit. In the past some of our participants have run fundraisers for needy schools and have mailed supplies to the schools.

Is the water safe to drink?

Unless your tour leader tells you differently, only bottled water should be drunk, and this is readily available for purchase. Fruit and vegetables should be peeled, washed in boiled water and in the case of the latter, well cooked. Meat and fish should also be fresh, well-cooked and hot, to avoid possible infection.

Although it is not recommended that you buy street food, it is recommended that when in restaurants, you try to enjoy Indian food. It is delicious! Drink bottled water only and ALWAYS check the seal. It is not uncommon for bottled to be tampered with. Because of high heat, dehydration can become an issue. Bring along something that you can add to your water bottle that provides you with electrolytes and potassium.

Is there Internet access? Should I bring a computer? Mobile phone?

Many of the hotels we use have WiFi (often free, sometime not). There are internet cafes in most of the places we visit and many of the hotels also have computers that can be used. Expect to be able to check your email every two to three days. You can also bring along your mobile phone if you choose. Make sure you check with your phone company before you leave to find out the rates for calling back to the US and if they have any special international plans that are worth taking advantage of. International roaming rates can be extremely high, so you don’t want to be surprised. You can bring a laptop/tablet/smart phone if you wish, but remember, GEEO and G Adventures are not responsible for the damage or theft of your valued items.

What is the weather like?

This trip takes place at the tail end of the monsoon season. It is hot and it will rain, but all of the trips we have run in the past at this time of year have for the most part gone smoothly weather-wise.

Is there clothing that is considered inappropriate that I should not bring?

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting small rural communities or visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites as this may restrict your entry.

India is very conservative and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline shoulders and knees should be covered at all times. The wearing of shorts is not allowed as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential.

Is there advice that past participants would like to pass onto you?

Quotes from past participants:
"This trip is fast paced and you will have to wake up early on several mornings. It's great because we see a lot, but know this isn't exactly a relaxing vacation."

"You can't change Nepalese Rupees into Indian Rupees or US Dollars at the airport. Make sure you spend or convert all of you Nepalese Rupees before you leave Nepal."

"Pack lightly. You will be stressed out if you can't carry all your luggage at once for 5 minute intervals at a time."

"Bring enough Emergence-C or vitamin powder packs to put in your water every day. You will miss fresh vegetables, and this assures you at least get some vitamins. Plus, the electrolytes are essential for keeping dehydration at bay."

"Bring anti-constipation pills, or a bag of dried figs, as you will need them after you take Imodium. In some cases, you go back and forth between stopping yourself up (sometimes intentionally before a day on a bus/train) and wanting to "get it all out." It's a tough balancing act, but you'll want all the appropriate meds."

"Be well prepared for the vendors persistance and the poverty."

"Make sure people have extra passport pictures for the Nepalese visa."

"Pack lightly with clothes that are easy to wash and bring shower slippers and a wash cloth with a few bars of soap."

"The ride from Varanasi to the Nepalese boarder is very long, like ten hours."

"This is India so the hotels are not necessarily clean. They are safe, but some are borderline unclean, so be ready for anything, especially in Varanasi. If you have low expectations, you can then be pleasantly surprised. Also, July seems to be when all Indian hotels do construction, so you can expect to be next to empty rooms where there is hammering, paint smells, etc. Some hotels will move you from those rooms, but others will not. If you are unhappy with your hotel room, don't be shy, ask the hotel to change your room as sometimes there are big differences from one room to another. If you know this in advance, you'll be less shocked upon arrival."

"Being sick happens to everyone. Some of the best things to bring with you are what works best for you. Just about everyone had a day or two of an intestinal issue. Over the counter pills, perscription, rehydration packs (that can be mixed with water), worked for most people. We had one that had to consult a dr, but it was a rare case. Others of us had a cough/cold due to the increased level of pollution. I would have loved to have known to get a medical mask or have a scarf with me at all times. Cough drops, airbourne (to mix in drinks), and vitamins would also be good things to bring."

"Do NOT bringing small US bills to India if you are bringing cash. A lot of the banks would only change $50 or $100 bills. The hotels would change money for you with NO charge and no crazy paperwork. (as compared to money exchange places, or banks).

Do not bring Indian bills into Nepal bigger than 500 india rupees. The same would go in reverse for coming back to India. The airport would only take 1000 nepalese rupee notes. I didnt have time to see if anywhere in Delhi would take nepalese rupees, but it didnt seem like an easy task.

ATMs were plentiful and our tour leader was able to guide us to take out a certain amount if one was not available for a few days. I used one in Pochara which charged a 400 nepalese rupee charge, (no big deal), but everyone on our trip seemed to use ATMs just fine."

"This trip went far beyond what I expected! that said, here are some things everyone should know: Always have a role of toilet paper and had sanitizer handy. Be prepared for the lights to go out. Bring plenty of stuff to help with the indigestion issues. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to bring something of the prescription variety along. Immodium worked for me, but some people needed the prescription stuff. Bring along plenty of clothes, as most places it is easy and cheap to get them washed. I had 6 shirts and 5 pairs of capris/shorts. In India, I went through 2 sets of clothes a day due to the heat and humidity. Plan on being damp most of the time. Nepal was much warmer than I thought it would be. Bring plenty of bug spray and use it frequently."

""Bring your smart phone or ipad. I bought a data plan from my phone company which I didn't end up using. Buy an unlimited plan from Skype ($2.99/month) and use with wifi, which was available in every hotel. This will allow you to make all the calls you want to people back home. Wifi is available only in the lobby of the hotels, so no privacy. I wish I had brought my ipad as well but I was worried about security, in hind site I would've brought it to upload photos and for video calling."

"You will NOT have to carry you own bag, porters are everywhere and they charge $1-$2 to carry your bags. (I'm not encouraging overpacking however!)"

"Don't worry about dressing to cover your shoulders and knees unless visiting a temple (our guide let us know ahead of time). We all wore knee length shorts and skirts, short sleeved shirts, basically what we wear at home. "

"You will not be able to read or write on the van/bus trips. The roads are too bumpy!"

"Take a plastic coffee can along on the bus in case the next bathroom is a bush."

"Take less......washing clothing is possible in the hotel rooms and sending clothing out to be washed was also possible and not expensive."

"I can't think how you could have people understand how HOT it will be in India........I would take only one pair of capris, one pair of light weight pants, one longer skirt and several very, very light weight tops with short sleeves that cover the shoulders and upper arms. Socks are needed at Chitwan."

"One cannot stress the summer heat of India enough. I am from Florida and still it took my breath away. Everyone should bring prescription meds. I did and used them for the first time overseas. My KEEN H2O sandals that I paid $100 were worth millions. Protected toes, took them into the shower at night to scrub. When I went through customs at JFK, they wanted to see the bottom of my shoes because I had come from India and wanted to know if my suitcase contained dirty laundry. "

"Prepare for the heat by being out in the heat where ever they live. Buy an umbrella in India. Not everyone gets sick."

"I kept having to withdraw money from the ATM so I would tell people to withdraw approx. 10,000 rupees in India, and about 10,000 rupees in Nepal which does not include souvenirs. Many of these ATM's charge a $5.00 fee for withdrawing so the fewer times you do it, the less charges you incur. I would tell people that India/Nepal is a cash country and very few places take credit cards. Sometimes it would be wiser to make large purchases with US dollars instead of by credit card because the vendor will charge 4% in addition to the charges made by the credit card company."

"Currency in small denominations is sometimes scarce. If possible, get it in the US ahead of time by ordering it through your bank."

"My wife shipped some merchandise from India via Federal Express. We were not here to sign for the package and it was destroyed. Now we are out the purchase price. We should have shipped signature not required."

"We exchanged money prior to the trip and asked for small bills. Rupee bills for 10 and 20 rupees are not the correct denomination. If we would have known we should have had 100 and 500 rupee denominations."

"I wish I had realized that I did not need to worry so much about this trip as I did. In talking to others in the group, we all realized that we were more worried about this trip than any others we had taken. Maybe because of how exotic the places would be and how we had to plan so much for medical issues. Comments about being so uncomfortable on this trip made me almost wonder about going. Please reassure people that they will be safe and adjust to the changes. Yes, it is different but not as bad as we had been told."

"I think going to the Central Cottage Industries Emporium in New Delhi is worthwhile. All products had prices marked. It's cheesy, but it was the only place I saw in northern India to buy a ready made turban in the men's clothing section. Also, seeing handmade cloth for sale by the yard was was a real treat. As well as the crafts the national tend to buy (fancy tea services).

It is located at Jawahar Vyapar Bhawan, Janpath, New Delhi, Delhi 110001 Tolstoy Rd, HC Mathur Lane, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India"

"I do not recommend swimming in any of the hotel pools. I believe that is how I got sick, along with another traveler, water through ears maybe gave us some sort of bacterial infection- I was so sick for two days, almost missed the Taj!"

"We recommend an extra day in Delhi at trip's start to visit the National Museum, the Crafts Museum, and the Gandhi Smirti. Likewise, we added one extra day in Kathmandu. We hired a car and driver one day and went to the other two main cities in the valley, Bharatpur and Patan. These were real highlights for us as was a stop at Paliputra on the way back to Kathmandu."

"Availability of laundry service should be emphasized. We have traveled enough that we pack light, but could have gone even lighter if we had appreciated how convenient and cheap the laundry service was throughout the trip."

"I would just remind the new travelers to pack the appropriate clothing. I had a number of short pants and tops that I wanted to wear but I felt that no women wear short pants or tops without having the shoulders covered. It was not appropriate in the streets and much less in temples."

"I was sooo glad that I arranged a driver via G Adventures when I arrived in Delhi! I was by myself, 3:00 am, and in a country I had never been. In addition I was incredibly tired from the long flights. I made me feel more at ease knowing I would be getting to my hotel safely and without being ripped off. "

"I wish I had brought an umbrella to shield from the rain and sun. I also wish I had packed a few dryer sheets to keep my clothes smelling fresh."

"Bring shorts and more casual, light weight clothes. There are many days when the trip is very casual - on a bus all day, an train overnight, dugout canoe, jeep safari, climbing down a mountain.
Two pair of black tights to wear under the Indian tops. We bought colorful tops at Delhi Hart and in Jaipur and wore them the entire trip. They needed tights."

Where can we get a list of hotels for this trip?

Other than the first hotel, our partner G Adventures does not provide hotel lists for any of their trips.

The reason for this is sometimes hotels change at the last minute. G Adventures does not want to give out incorrect information because in an emergency that can only cause more issues. Instead we give you 24-hour emergency phone numbers where you and your family can reach staff in the country that you are travelling to or in Canada at G Adventure's headquarters. This way at anytime your loved ones can call the emergency contact who can immediately put them in touch with your tour leader no matter how plans have changed.

What are the overnight trains like?

The best way to see India is at ground level on the railway system. In fact, no visit to India would be complete without the experience of traveling on a train and negotiating the busy railway stations. The chaos in the Indian Railway stations is a replica of the life in India. Indian trains are not merely a conveyance they are an odyssey so sit back relax, be patient and enjoy the show.

G Adventures uses a combination of AC 2 tier, AC 3 tier and sleeper class (for overnight journeys) and AC Chair car or second class seats for day journeys.

There are no restaurant or buffet cars on Indian Railways, but on long distance trains an attendant will appear in your coach and ask you if you would like to order food. Regular stops are made at stations where food is also available and on some trains many vendors board the train selling chai, cold drinks and crisps and biscuits.

Don't expect pristine western standards anywhere in India, but you'll find AC2, AC3 and AC Chair class fairly clean by Indian standards, with both western-style and squat toilets usually in a reasonably sanitary condition. Sleeper Class and 2nd class toilets may be a different matter! Bring your own toilet paper and hand wash soap or liquid.

Indian trains are quite safe to travel on, even for families or women traveling alone, and you are unlikely to have any problems. Having said that, theft of luggage, although rare is not unheard of, so just for peace of mind you might like to take along a chain and padlock to secure your bags (readily available at all Indian stations).

Generally, Indian Railways are very efficient, but Indian trains do run late, and sometimes it's hours rather than minutes. Make sure you have something to occupy your time – a good book, music, a magazine or photos of your home country and family to show the Indian travelers also waiting for the train. You should also have snacks and water for the journey.

From a recent traveler:

"Arriving to the train station, you will most likely sees hundreds of Indians crowded in front of the station. Most will be traveling in the cheapest of accommodations. They will be sitting and sleeping on the ground surrounded by garbage. The train station, inside and out will be filled with strong odors. It will not be unusual to see people going to the bathroom in public.

Once on the train, the sleeping quarters are very crowded. You need to make sure you are traveling with luggage that is easy to carry and store. Less is better. You will be provided with a blanket and sheet and pillow, but it is recommended that you bring along a travel sheet (like a sleeping bag, but just made of cotton or silk). It will make sleeping on the train more comfortable because you won't have to worry about germs and bugs. There is no food or water on the train so be certain to bring PLENTY of water and snacks. It is a 12 hour train ride and after you leave the train there is still quite a bit of travel until you will have an opportunity to eat a full meal.

Although initially the train may feel unsafe, once you get settled in, you will realize that everyone is just wanting to sleep and get to their destination. Don't be surprised if you are in a sleeping quarters of 6 with people who are not in your group. They fill all the beds, which are arranged in bunk bed style stacked 3 high, and they will have men and women sleeping in the same compartment. You do need to have some strength to get up into the top bunk."

What are the roads like in India?

Traveling by road in India or Nepal is certainly not what people are use to in Western countries. Rules are not always followed, drivers appear to speed, do not stay in their lanes, overtake in seemingly dangerous situations, rarely use their mirrors or driving lights at night time. The horn however is used very frequently and can range from the latest Bollywood tune to Lady Gaga! In India, although the government is investing large sums of money improving the road infrastructure, there is a lot more to be done. As a result, in both India and Nepal, some of the roads are poorly maintained, pot holed and uneven. This gets even more pronounced particularly during and after the monsoon. Travel time covering relatively short distances is very long in comparison to Western countries.

What is the accommodation like?

We have upgraded the hotels throughout this trip, however we ask you to keep your your expectations low. These can vary in terms of service, efficiency and cleanliness. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home. Power cuts can and are a regular occurrence in many places, especially throughout North and Central India. Although a number of hotels have generators there may be times when these won’t work. It is also recommended when you are in your room to lock the door, as staff will sometime enter without reason.

Will there be local guides other than my tour leader? Will they be taking me shopping more than I like?

While your tour leader will be with you throughout the trip, you will also have local guides for many of the cities we visit. They can provide a great deal of local insight that will enrich your experience. While it's great to have them, you should know we are required to use them because of the Indian tourism union. Tour companies in India are forced to hire local guides so that more people in the tourism industry will be employed. Keep in mind when you are brought to a store by a local guide or driver there is a decent chance they will be getting a kickback from that store. It's a part of Indian tourism that is difficult to avoid. On the bright side, typically you will be taken to a shop with high quality goods, so you are less likely to be ripped off with poor quality crafts. You should never feel preasure to buy anything. Most of these shops will demonstrate how a certain craft is made, which can be very educational.

What is the poverty in India like?

From a recent traveler:

"Even though you may be a seasoned traveler, you need to keep in mind that a trip to India is unlike most places in the world. Most people know that India is a poor country, but it can be a shock to all your senses when you arrive and experience poverty on a more intimate level. People, in massive numbers, are all over the place. You will see people sleeping on the street and children are out begging almost every step of the way. Women need to be mindful as they navigate on foot. In the cities, men are not as respectful to women and will sometimes grab and grope. There are "women only" sections on trains, which should be used. As you navigate through the country on foot, tuck-tuck, bus or train, you will often be accompanied by cows and goats and pigs, who use the streets to relieve themselves, along with humans. Garbage is everywhere. When you are walking, you might want to wear closed shoes because along with garbage, you will most likely be walking through animal and human wastes."

Do people speak English in these countries?

In India and Nepal English is widely spoken.

Is there any advice for finding funding for this program?

The first thing we recommend you do is speak to your school's principal and/or professional development coordinator. They may know of grants that your school district or state offers. Often schools reimburse teachers for professional development expenses. You can also try contacting your school's PTA or professional organizations that you belong to.

We also recommend applying for a Fund for Teachers grant, www.fundforteachers.org. These grants can be used on GEEO trips. If you want advice on applying for an FFT grant, please email us and we will send you a document that you will find helpful.

What is expected from me from an educational stand point?

Please take a look at the "Sharing your Adventure section of our website by clicking here.

How much money in US cash should I bring? Should I exchange local currency in advance?

This is entirely up to you, but we think it is critical for you to bring along $250 USD in cash for emergencies. This is what GEEO's executive director Jesse does in regards to money while traveling:

"I do not exchange any money before travelling to a country but instead bring somewhere between $250-300 US in cash. I go to a bank before I leave the US and take out the cash there rather than an ATM. I make sure each bill is in great condition with no rips or tears. I like to have mostly 20's, but in some countries you are better off with 50's and 100's. In some countries it is also good to have about 20 singles for when you have no small bills in local currency. I divide this money between a money belt and my main backpack and my daypack.

I also bring an ATM card and a credit card. Before I leave the country I call the bank and credit card companies to let them know I am traveling abroad so they don't think the foreign transactions are fraudulent and cancel my cards when I am most reliant on them. Having a second bank account and bank card is pretty handy so that just in case one card doesn't work at an ATM or is lost, you always have a back up account. It's also important to check with your credit card to see if there is an international transaction fee. Some cards charge up to 4% extra for any transactions made out of the US. My Capital One visa card doesn't have any international transaction fee. I just use this card for traveling so if it gets stolen and I have to cancel it I won't have to worry about recurring automated payments. I like to split up my cards between my money belt, wallet and one emergency one hidden in my main bag.

When I arrive at the airport I make sure to go to an ATM before leaving the airport and typically take out the equivalent of $150 USD in the local currency. I find that ATMs give the best exchange rate so throughout the trip I will use the ATM card to draw out my spending cash. I will ask our tour leader for an estimate on how much I will need if I am close to leaving a country so this way I do not draw out too much money.

I try not to use the US cash I brought with me so that I can use it in an emergency. Typically I will come back to the US with most of that US cash unspent. On a recent trip I lost my ATM card and was able to get cash by paying for our group dinners with my credit card and having people pay me their share in local currency. I NEVER take cash advances on my credit card as they charge you an arm and a leg.

I also never use travelers checks, but have heard good things about AAA ATM cards that you can load up with money instead of using travelers checks."

What is the relationship between G Adventures and GEEO? Who is running this trip?

GEEO is an independent non-profit organization that helps teachers travel. GEEO negotiates with tour companies to get great deals for teachers. GEEO customizes these trips for teachers. GEEO provides educational materials to teachers before and after the trip to help bring the participating teacher's experience into the classroom. GEEO markets these programs to convince teachers to explore the world. For more about GEEO, please see our mission statement.

G Adventures is a tour company that GEEO has partnered with to run our trips. For over 20 years G Adventures has been sending hundreds of thousands of people abroad and today they are the largest adventure travel company in the world. They design the trips, provide expert tour leaders, ground logistics and work hard to make sure you have an excellent experience.

What happens if it becomes unsafe to travel on this trip?

Your safety is our utmost priority and we will cancel a trip if we do not feel our participants will be safe. If GEEO or G Adventures cancels your trip we will issue a full refund of any payments you have made including the deposit. If YOU decide to cancel your trip you will have to abide by the rules of our terms and conditions.

What happens if GEEO doesn't reach the minimum number of participants needed for this trip?

Typically we reach the minimum number for our groups in the month of April. If we do not have the minimum number of participants needed we will re-price the trip for the amount of people signed up, adding on a surcharge. It will be up to each individual whether they still wish to travel with the group at the new rate. If they choose to withdraw from the program at that time they will be issued a full refund. If need be we will cancel a trip and issue the entire group a full refund. It is important that you do not book your flights before a group is confirmed! It is pretty rare for us to have to cancel trips.

What is the GEEO book club and which books have been selected for this program?

GEEO's book club is a way for you and your fellow participants to learn through literature about the places you will be traveling. For each trip we have selected four books, two fiction and two non-fiction. It is completely up to you whether you choose to read them as the GEEO book club is not required for our participants. We hope you will enjoy the books we have selected and they will enhance your experience. We welcome feedback on our selections so we can develop and improve the list for the following summer.

For your convenience we have a hot-linked each of the selected books to amazon.com. If you purchase this book through the link, Amazon will share some of the proceeds from the sale with GEEO, helping to fund our operations. You should hopefully be able to find most of our selections through your library system as well.

For this program we have selected the following books:

Fiction:
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan

Non-Fiction:
India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
A History of Nepal by John Whelpton

For those looking for more suggestions, here are some other books you may want to consider:

INDIA
The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy, first published in 1997
The Space Between Us, by Thrity Umrigar, first published in 2006
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, first published in 2003
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, first published in 2008
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, first published in 1988
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
India: A Portrait by Patrick French
Darsan: Seeing the Divine Image in India by Diana Eck
The Wonder That Was India: A Survey of the History and Culture of the Indian Sub-Continent before the coming of the Muslims by A.L. Basham
India: A Million Mutinies Now by V.S. Naipaul
Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater

NEPAL

The Snow Leopard, by Peter Matthiessen, first published in 1978
Touching My Father’s Soul: A Sherpa’s Journey to the top of Mt Everest by Jamling Tenzing Norgay, first published in 2001
Traveler’s Tales Nepal by Rajendra S. Khadka
Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Connor Grennan, first published in 2011
Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur's Odyssey to Educate the World's Children by John Wood
Bones of the Tiger by Hemanta Mishra


Save an extra 5% off the price below if you book this program before 10/13/14.

1649.00 USD

International Airfare not included

Availability: +7

This program requires a minimum of 6 participants to run and will have a maximum of 15 participants.

What's Included

  • Delhi Day tour, India Gate and Connaught Place visit (Delhi). Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal tour (Jaipur). Taj Mahal and I’timad-ud-Daulah (Baby Taj) entrance. Red Fort entrance and guided tour. Orchha Palace complex visit. River Ganges boat trips at sunrise and sunset, including candle flower ceremony (Varanasi). Varanasi orientation walk along the ghats and old city. Buddha's birthplace visit (Lumbini). Chitwan National Park jeep safari. Sarangkot sunrise excursion (Pokhara). Kathmandu orientation walk. Swayambhunath (Monkey Temple) visit.

  • G Adventures Tour leader throughout, local guides.

  • Train, metro, local bus, charter bus, private van, auto-rickshaw, cycle-rickshaw, tempo, jeep, riverboat.

  • Upgraded hotels (13 nts), Sleeper train (1 nt), Deluxe air-conditioned tents (1 nt).

  • 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner (Recommended budget of $215-$300 for your meals)

What's Not Included

  • International air

  • Incidentals

  • Insurance

  • Applicable visas

  • Airport Taxes

  • Tips or gratuities

  • Beverages

  • Meals not mentioned above

  • Optional Tours or optional admissions