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India & Nepal on a shoestring

is it karma that you should take this trip? - Trip for singles

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GROUP SIZE: 4-24 | 22 DAYS

India & Nepal on a shoestring

Here you can find the day-to-day description for India & Nepal on a shoestring


There's plenty to do in this beautiful region. Select below or on the map opposite, the highlight you want to read more information about. Read through carefully and then go directly to the tour description.
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A visit of the Jama Masjid, the great mosque in Delhi, is definitely worth a visit. |India



Visit Jaipur, also known as the pink city! |India



Admire the Taj Mahal in Agra! The Taj is a mausoleum, built by Shai Jahan for his loved wife Mumtaz.|India



Varanasi, the holy city for the Indians, is a place not to be missed during your holiday! |India



Lumbini is the birth place of Buddha and is of great historical importance for Nepal. This place is always buzzing with many Buddhist pilgrims of the whole world. |Nepal

Chitwan NP

Chitwan NP

Chitwan is mainly known for the Asian rhino that lives here. |Nepal



Pokhara is a picturesque town at the shores of the blue-green Phewa mountain lake. Here, relaxing is made easy in one of the many garden cafés. |Nepal



Bhaktapur is the most picturesque of the three royal cities of Nepal. This is the place to buy wooden carvings and Nepalese puppets. |Nepal



The tour to Nagarkot leads through a forest area, over hills, along rice fields and small villages.



Spread all over Kathmandu you'll find many temples with lingams that are covered with offerings for the god Shiva. |Nepal

Day to Day description

Transport Route Overnight stay
1 Delhi Delhi
2 Delhi Delhi
3 Delhi Delhi
4 Bus Delhi - Jaipur Jaipur
5 Jaipur Jaipur
6 Jaipur Jaipur
7 Bus Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra Agra
8 Train Agra - Varanasi Night train Agra - Varanasi
9 Varanasi Varanasi
10 Varanasi Varanasi
11 Bus Varanasi - Lumbini Lumbini
12 Bus Lumbini - Chitwan National Park Chitwan
13 Chitwan National Park Chitwan
14 Bus Chitwan - Pokhara Pokhara
15 Pokhara Pokhara
16 Pokhara Pokhara
17 Bus Pokhara - Bhaktapur Bhaktapur
18 Bus Bhaktapur - Nagarkot Nagarkot
19 Bus, Walk Nagarkot - Bhaktapur - Kathmandu Kathmandu
20 Kathmandu Kathmandu
21 Kathmandu Kathmandu
22 Kathmandu End of tour


Day 1: Delhi

Welcome to India!

Your tour starts in Delhi, where you can use your hotel room from check in time (12.00 hrs at noon) on day 1. Most of your travel companions will arrive later in the evening of day 1 or early morning of day 2, the exact time will be depending on their flight schedule. You will meet your English speaking tour leader at 8.00 a.m. tomorrow morning, when you can begin to construct your plan for the day.

Make yourself comfortable in your new surroundings and take it easy as you begin to adapt to a fascinating destination full of new sights, smells, sounds and traditions!

Day 2: Delhi

Delhi has a history that stretches back over three millennia. There is an old area (Old Delhi) and a new area (New Delhi), designed at the start of the 20th century as the jewel in the British Empire’s crown. The contrast between Old and New Delhi is huge. The old region is a cramped, colourful, ‘ant colony’ full of narrow alleyways, temples and mosques. The Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, the biggest and most elegant mosque in the land, are situated here. 

The new region is a spatially constructed metropolis with long, broad, straight avenues, pavilions and parks. To the East is the sacred River Yamuna, to the South the stately homes and important military buildings, and to the North and West is where most of the population lives. If you have time you should shop for souvenirs at the many markets and shops in the area.

Day 3: Delhi

Free day. Heading into New Delhi you immediately notice the India Gate standing tall at the eastern end of the Rajpath (Royal Avenue) where the eternal flame burns for the lost soldiers. Not far from here is the Lotus Temple of the Bahai religion, made in the form of a giant water lily and built of white marble. You can also visit the Sikh temple Bangla Sahib and a visit to the Qutab Minar complex should not be missed. Here you will find the famous 73-meter-high minaret amidst beautifully landscaped gardens and unique architecture. Fancy a coffee? At Connaught Place you will find the CCD (Cafe Coffee Day), the Indian equivalent of Starbucks.

Day 4: Delhi - Jaipur

You will stay for 3 nights in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur. Explore at your leisure the North of the city that is surrounded by hills dotted with forts and palaces. One of the most elegant of which is the Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace). Roam the bustling streets filled with Rajasthani men, in their huge turbans and equally large moustaches, and women, decked in jewellery over the most colourful saris in India.

You can also go on an excursion out of the city to see the famous Amber Fort standing at the top of a hill surrounded in all directions by other hills, upon which smaller fortifications are also built. There are many marble statues and mosaics to admire up here and the views from the top are simply stunning. 

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Day 5: Jaipur

The Pink City is partially encircled by a crenellated, battle-scarred wall, and the major gates of Chandpol, Ajmer and Sanganeri have been carefully restored. The entire city is a feat of town planning; the Old City is still loosely divided into traditional artisans' quarters.

How green can you go? TIP

In the evening you can enjoy one of Jaipur´s specialties. In northern India people like spicy food and Dal Batti, Churma, Mawa Kachori, Ghewar and Mirchi Bada are the favorite regional dishes.

Day 6: Jaipur

Our final day in Jaipur where we can take the time to explore any palaces or forts we have yet to discover.

Day 7: Jaipur - Fatehpur Sikri - Agra

We leave early in the morning and visit Fatehpur Sikri, an abandoned imperial city situated not far from Agra. Here, the emperor Akbar ruled between 1571 and 1585 but the glory of Fatehpur Sikri was short-lived due to the insufficient water supplies and soon after Akbar’s death, the city was abandoned. Fortunately, the remains still paint a picture of the wealth of the city’s heyday and consist of a number of well restored and maintained palaces, the most impressive of which are the breathtaking Jama Masjid (Great Mosque) and the Buland Darwaza, reputed to be the largest gateway in all of Asia. The architecture of this impressive mosque displays both clear Christian and Hindu influences besides the most prevalent Muslim influence. The entry fee for Fatehpur Sikri is not included in the price of your holiday.

At the end of the afternoon we arrive in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, just in time to watch the sun set behind this world-famous monument.

Day 8: Agra - Varanasi

During the day you will have time to explore Agra and a visit to the world famous Taj Mahal is a must. However, besides this architectural wonder, Agra also has a series of other interesting sights. Once one of the three most important Moghul cities, the old area to the west of the Red Fort is multi-coloured and hectic, while the region in which most of the hotels are situated is spacious and green. The gigantic Red Fort, the residence of Indian Emperors of old and the colourful bazaars in the city are a treat for the eyes and great for finding some beautiful souvenirs.

How green can you go? TIP

In the evening we board the night train to Varanasi, the most sacred city in the whole of this immense land. We travel in third class sleeper cars with air conditioning.

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Sustainable travel means taking into account the people, nature and culture so that travel remains possible in the future. The negative effects of tourism are increasingly palpable. 'So what can I do?', you may ask. Shoestring gives you 10 tips. Read More

Day 9: Varanasi

According to legend Varanasi is the holiest city in India and the oldest city in the world. It is also known as Benares or Kashi and is the city of Shiva, the most powerful of the Hindu gods. The city itself is dusty and hectic and the number of buffalo and sacred cows on the streets is higher than in any other city in the country, making life very difficult for the bicycle rickshaws, people pulling hand carts and freight lorries.

Outside the centre countless narrow alleys and streets lead to the very soul of India, Mother Ganges. In this sacred river, thousands of people wash their sins away every day, ashes of the dead are scattered and leaves carrying candles float by as offerings to the river. The Ganges itself has left its mark on the buildings and ghats through flooding and it has also undermined building foundations throughout the centuries, which have simply been restored with infinite patience. A boat trip along the river is highly memorable, especially at sunrise.

Please note that during monsoon season in India (especially in August) the water level of the Ganges is high and thus the flow is dangerous. For this reason, it is prohibited under Indian law to sail on the Ganges. This information is subject to change.

Day 10: Varanasi

You should also visit Sarnath, a holy Buddhist site where Buddha founded his eightfold path to nirvana. Another interesting attraction is the Archaeological Museum which contains an exquisite collection of Buddhist and Hindu art. The monasteries and temples here are also very attractive, built by Buddhist pilgrims coming from many different countries. The Chinese, Japanese and Tibetan temples are especially worth visiting.

Day 11: Varanasi - Lumbini

We leave India today and after a long bus ride we cross the border into Nepal to Lumbini. Once part of India and famous for being the Buddha’s birthplace, we will stay here overnight before travelling on to Chitwan National Park the following day.

Day 12: Lumbini - Chitwan National Park

How green can you go? TIP

Today we travel to the renowned Chitwan National Park, where you can spot Indian rhinos and other wildlife. Chitwan is the most popular nature reserve in Nepal and is reputed for its vastly varied terrain, its bird life and its Indian rhinos. There are deciduous forests, grassy plains, rivers, lakes and subtropical forest which attract an equally varied array of wildlife including more than 40 different species of mammal. Tigers and panthers are the most intriguing predators, although the chances of spotting them are relatively low but you are more likely to spot a powerful Indian rhinoceros, Indian bison, wild oxen and many types of deer. There are also apes, crocodiles, monitor lizards and snakes within the park. You can explore by canoe or on foot.

Day 13: Chitwan National Park

Make the most of this second day in the park and try an alternative method of watching the wildlife. Chitwan is a paradise for bird lovers too, with more than 400 different species present. Herons, cranes, storks and numerous species of cormorant and ibis all make their homes here. Hornbills are also in Chitwan but they are rare. If you do get lucky, their loud calls and typical manner of flying will clearly indicate when a couple of them are nearby.

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As a responsible company our mission is to increase and improve sustainability in our business. Find out more about the measures that we currently take as well as our further plans to ensure we achieve our green ambitions. Read More

Day 14: Chitwan - Pokhara

Travelling along winding roads, through the spectacular Himalayas we arrive in Pokhara, set in a sub-tropical valley where the mountains rise straight up to the highest peaks in the world. In the middle of this spectacle of rock, ice and snow is the Machapuchare, the steepest mountain in the Himalayas, which from the side resembles a giant fish tail. No man has ever reached the summit of this mountain though, in the 1950s, a French expedition nearly managed it. But when in sight of victory, the sherpas became intensely fearful of divine revenge should humans reach the summit and they turned back. It is now forbidden to climb the mountain.

Once a hippie paradise, Pokhara is situated in a picturesque location on a mountain lake, where you can swim, row or enjoy the stunning panoramic view from one of the tea gardens.

Day 15: Pokhara

Visit Lakeside, a popular shopping area of Pokhara where you can spend a day or afternoon browsing through the many shops and check out what the street vendors are selling, including a number of Tibetan refugees selling their handicrafts. If you see an item of interest thats commonly sold then take up the chance to do a bit of bargaining to see the best price achievable!

How green can you go? TIP

We also recommend going for a walk to the viewpoint at Sarangkot and then walking back down to the lake through the forests and rice fields. Along the way you will meet some of the friendly people living in the mountains.

Day 16: Pokhara

Enjoy one last full day in Pokhara. One of the finest examples of nature in this area is the Seti gorge, which over the millennia has been worn to a depth of 45 m by the river. The gorge in some places is only 4.5 m wide. From Mahendra bridge in Pokhara you have a nice view of the gorge.

How green can you go? TIP

It is also possible to rent a bike here. This is an easy way to visit the Hindu and Buddhist temples and the Devi waterfalls.

Day 17: Pokhara - Bhaktapur

We’ll travel by bus to Bhaktapur, which is the smallest of the three royal cities in the Kathmandu Valley. It is surrounded by rice fields, brick houses, temples and squares, winding streets and alleys. Bhaktapur retains a very medieval atmosphere, with an absence of cars and a penchant for tending to their cattle, pottery and rituals in the many temples. Around sunset, the elder residents chat while the youths stroll around and the young children play around them. The timeless Bhaktapur is much quieter in comparison to the busier cities of Patan and Kathmandu and most tour guides recommend staying a night here. Bhaktapur is also the best place to buy wood carvings and Nepalese dolls. The entrance fee for Bhaktapur is included.

Day 18: Bhaktapur - Nagarkot

Today you have more time to explore Bhaktapur before travelling during the day to the mountain village of Nagarkot.

Nagarkot represents a fantastic opportunity to get a look over the peaks of the Himalayas, such as the Ganesh Himal and Lhotse. The endless views of these giants are particularly stunning at sunrise, (weather conditions permitting).

Day 19: Nagarkot - Bhaktapur - Kathmandu

This morning we will walk back to Bhaktapur passing through charming small villages along the way and enjoying some spectacular views. The walk is mainly downhill and will take between 4 and 5 hours. It is not challenging and suitable for beginners. Your main luggage will be taken on to Bhaktapur, so you need only take a day-pack for today. If you would rather not walk, the group bus will be available later to take you to Bhaktapur (at no extra cost).

We then make the short trip to Kathmandu where you have a free day. The temples in the Kathmandu Valley were built between the 16th and the 19th century, when there was an architectural battle between the three royal cities of Nepal (Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan). Each one wanted to outdo the other. This resulted in the construction of a large number of temples, which you now enjoy.

Day 20: Kathmandu

Much of daily life in Kathmandu continues almost as if the 20th century is still to come as the native folk appear as if out of the middle ages, especially in the older part of the city. A mile and a half to the west you will find the large and extremely beautiful stupa (traditional Buddhist monument) of Swayambunath which is definitely worth a visit, if only to see the many monkeys which hang around the area, giving the stupa the nickname ‘Monkey Temple’. An even bigger stupa is situated a little further outside Kathmandu, in Bodnath and on the way we pass Pashupatinath, the sacred Tibetan Hindu site, where Nepalese and Indians bathe in the Bagmati River.

Day 21: Kathmandu

Enjoy another day in Nepals' capital city. Kathmandu, despite being quite crowded remains a fascinating city with beautiful temples and ancient buildings that will vie for your attention with a vibrant colourful population, especially in the old town. Some visitors will easily spend a day sitting on the steps of one of the temples on the central Durbar Square, where they will simply take in all that goes on around them. This square and the old neighborhoods to the north and south of it are particularly interesting.

Day 22: Kathmandu

The last day of your tour. You can use your hotel room in Kathmandu until check out time (most times at 12.00 hrs noon). We wish you a comfortable journey home and are sure you will take with you some wonderful memories of India and Nepal.

Your personal ‘my.shoestring’ page on our website is the perfect way to make contact with other travellers before and after your trip. You can read and create journals from trips and upload your photos onto the photo gallery. Visit my shoestring today.

When booking your tour, please check to see whether you need any post-tour nights, bearing in mind that accommodation for the night of the final day of the tour (day 22) is not included.


On the trip departing on March 16, 2019 visit the Holi Festival in Jaipur

On the trip departing on July 30, 2019 visit the Teej Festival in Jaipur

Note: The travel routes during festival tours may be adapted. If this is the case you can find information under the 'News' section. For more information about the festivals themselves, check under 'More info' and then 'Festivals'.
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