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India & Nepal on a shoestring

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

Book From   € 899,-
GROUP SIZE: 4-24 | 22 DAYS

India & Nepal on a shoestring

Always wished to see two of the most fascinating countries in the world, but it was just too expensive? We have compiled an interesting tour for you, making it cheaper than ever to see these great countries together. The magnificent Taj Mahal, the mysterious Ganges, the snowy Himalayas, the valley of Kathmandu and the hectic city of Delhi, they are certainly all on the program. A well-priced tour of 22 days, taking you to see the best sights of India and Nepal.

Travel documents

Travelling with the correct travel documentation is your own responsibility. Please ensure your passport is valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond the finish date of your trip.

For both India and Nepal, a visa is required for many nationalities in order to gain entry. Please check visa information in good time before your trip commences as this information is always subject to change. You can check this information through a site such as this one. To arrange your visa, you should either contact your nearest Indian/Nepalese embassy or use an agency such as CIBT.

It is now also possible for nationals of a number of countries to apply online for their India visa, in advance of travel using the E-Visa facility. Please check the following website for further information and online visa application: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html


Accommodation and transport

Transport
During this India & Nepal 'on a Shoestring' trip we have access to a private bus (which in the summer months only - from March to October is air conditioned), so we can stop at beautiful spots along the way. The transfers to and from the airport are not included. This is a real budget trip, so be prepared for long distances and a high-tempo travel speed.

Additionally, you will use the public night train in India from Agra to Varanasi (MTJP Express). These trains give you a bed in a second-class car with air conditioning (three beds,one above the other, six per section). This means you'll have little privacy and that you should pay attention to your luggage. It is advisable to - like the Indians themselves - stow your luggage on specially made hooks under the benches. The train will stop several times at stations en route. It is sometimes possible to leave the train to buy a cup of tea or just to look around on the platform. However, please note that the train sometimes starts up again unannounced! Sufficient bed linen is not always provided, so keep your sleeping bag liner at your fingertips.

Travel Distances on this trip:
Delhi to Jaipur: 240 km / 7 hours
Jaipur to Agra: 250 km / 8 hours
Agra to Varanasi: 600 km / 12 hours (night train)
Varanasi to Lumbini: 365 km / 11 hours
Lumbini to Chitwan: 180 km / 4 to 5 hours
Chitwan to Pokhara 200 km / 5 to 6 hours
Pokhara to Bhaktapur: 215 km / 7 hours
Bhaktapur to Nagarkot: 14 km / 30 mins
Nagarkot to Bhaktapur :16 km trekking 4-5 hours  

Note: The above time given is the minimum amount per day and is highly dependent on traffic, road conditions, border formalities and weather.

Accommodation
During the tour we stay in simple but comfortable mid-range hotels in 2-person rooms with private bathroom. Typically there is no air conditioning in the rooms but there is a fan or a cooling system. In hotels if air conditioning in the rooms is available, sometimes an extra fee is asked for using it. Most hotels have their own restaurant and usually a garden or terrace. The check-in time at the hotels is usually 12.00, so it may happen that (for early arrivals) your room is not quite ready.

The planned hotels in Agra and Varanasi have a pool. In exceptional cases it may happen that there is another hotel used that has no pool. If this occurs we will try to find a suitable alternative.

Participants who register individually share a room with another participant. We keep in mind of course to try to pair you with someone of the same sex. If you would like a room for the whole trip for yourself, it could in principle be arranged. You will then need to pay the single room supplement (at time of booking). In the night trains no single rooms are possible as each car is shared by six people.

Festivals


HOLI PHAGWA FESTIVAL - WHOLE OF INDIA

The Holi feast of Phagwa or Holi is a colourful Hindu festival that is celebrated annually throughout India (and Nepal). This spring festival is the sign of the beginning of a new season and is known also as the harvest festival. It is also considered a victory party: the victory of good over evil.

The old Hindu story around the festival is about Narasimha, an incarnation of the great Vishnu killing Hiranyakashipu, the great demon king. On the eve of the Holi the scene of burning Holika is re-enacted all over India. Wood fires are lit and a living object such as a plant is given up. Rice is thrown into the fire, which is considered a symbolic expulsion of evil. The ceremony also includes prayer, music and singing.

The next day Hindus return to the scene of their fire and smear themselves with the ash. Then in the afternoon they sprinkle one another with scents, perfumes and dyes with different colours having different significances.

During these holidays there is an atmosphere of freedom and happiness. Make sure you bring some old clothes, because most likely you will not be spared and you too will end up buried under coloured powders!

TEEJ FESTIVAL - JAIPUR

Rajasthan is India's most colourful and exotic state. The fairy-tale palaces, the massive forts and ornate clothing of the population are a feast for the eyes. Rajasthan evokes the image of classical India. The land where time stands still, the country where Hinduism still survives strongly in its traditional form. During the Teej Festival married women pray for a happy and long marriage to Parvati and Shiva. The festival is celebrated all over Rajasthan but is the most colourful in Jaipur. Joohlas (swings) are hung in trees with leaves and flowers. In Jaipur, a statue of the goddess Parvati is shown in a kilometer-long procession accompanied by decorated elephants, horses, camels, floats and more. There is music and dancing. A truly unique festival to attend.


Tour leader

Our tours are led by trained, local English speaking tour leaders. We know that our travellers appreciate being accompanied by these local tour leaders who, compared to their counterparts (living outside of the destination) have more detailed knowledge of their country. He/she knows the area well, can provide background information and ensure that the trip goes smoothly. He/she knows what to do if something were to go wrong, but is not a "walking encyclopedia". Therefore we would like to refer you to study a good travel guide (book) in advance of travel.

Your tour leader understandably expects a tip at the end, if she/he has completed the job well. Shoestring pay the tour guides a wage which is higher than that of most adventurous travel companies. Our guideline for tipping is between € 1, - and € 2, - per passenger per day (the equivalent thereof).

Trip rating

This tour is classified as Category B.

The difficulty of our travels varies greatly. Added to this is the fact that travel difficulty is a very personal perception. To give an indication of the difficulty of a particular holiday, we have developed the following classification system:

Category A: Light travel for everyone to do. Short distances, good hotels, travel at a slow pace.
Category B: For everyone to do as well. Sometimes long distances. Good hotels and camping facilities, sometimes an adventurous overnight experience, travel at a normal pace.
Category C: Good to do for anyone who prepares themself well and is flexible. There are tougher parts of the journey, such as longer distances or walking tours. Several nights can be spent in basic accommodation.
Category D: A relatively difficult journey, travelling long distances, often primitive accommodation or tents, and challenging walking tours.

The India and Nepal Adventure is a Category B tour. It can be made by any reasonably healthy individual. In the summer the trip is considerably more difficult than during the rest of the year. Although in the cities we stay in simple medium-priced hotels, remember that you are travelling in a developing country with much lower living standards than you are used to at home. Also, roads may be temporarily blocked because of the weather or owing to their state of repair, in which case a detour is unavoidable. A flexible and positive attitude is just as important as a good physical condition.

Nature of the trip
Have you always wanted to experience these two fascinating nations at once, but the cost was too high? We have put together a special offer that will take you to these countries for less money than ever before. A 22-day long tour, where you will see the most spectacular sights that these countries have to offer. This hugely varied trip takes you first around the beauty of northern India and then through the Himalayas along many steep and winding roads before arriving in Nepal. You will visit the four most famous cities in India and still have plenty of time to explore the Kathmandu Valley. The majority of the journeys will be made by bus, although we will make use of Indian night trains a couple of times. An unforgettable experience for anyone.

Sustainability

We know that travelling to remote corners of this planet has its effects. At Shoestring we really try to make an effort to keep our impact to a minimum. We try to avoid the use of plastic water bottles on our treks through Nepal and we do not dump our litter during our trips through Africa. All of our staff have been trained to take special care to ensure we make as little impact on the environment as possible. 

Furthermore we support a lot of local projects which are mostly related to clean drinking water or making sure that children get vaccinated against illnesses such as tuberculosis. On most tours you will be able to visit some of the projects we support through our local agents. Find out more about the different projects Shoestring are involved with, how you can make a difference and our environmental policies here

Insurance

Travel insurance, including medical repatriation insurance, is mandatory. It is not included with our packages and it is your responsibility to purchase suitable travel insurance. Make sure that it covers all the activities that you are likely to undertake, such as rafting and trekking. Many ‘free’ insurances that come with banking packages, credit cards etc, are quite often inadequate to cover you on our tours, so make sure you check the policy before you travel. You should enter your travel insurance details via your my.shoestring account and you are required to give a copy of your insurance policy to your tour leader upon arrival. Without proper insurance like this, you will not be allowed to join the tour as we will not be able to respond adequately in case of an emergency if you do not have the right insurance.

Address

Shoestring International
Entrada 223
1114 AA Amsterdam-Duivendrecht, The Netherlands.
www.shoestring.com                    

You can call us on number +31 20 6850203 or +44 (0)1306 744797 and email us at info@shoestring.com           

Opening hours Monday to Saturday 10 AM to 5 PM (Local times in Netherlands).

Country information

More country information about INDIA

More country information about NEPAL

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions about INDIA

Frequently asked questions about NEPAL

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