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The Road to Kathmandu
Delhi to Kathmandu
Duration: 13 days
Tour code: GIRK

Highlights

  • New Delhi is all kinds of delhi-ciousness – wash down the beautiful street chaos with a fresh fruit beer and some delectable street food
  • You might think you’ve seen the Taj Mahal, but you ain’t seen nothing yet until you’ve checked out this teardrop in the morning light
  • Ditch your alarm, there’s only one way to wake up in this world and that’s with a sunrise sail along the Ganges
  • Rhino? It’ll be Rhi-YES when you check out these single-horned beasts in Chitwan National Park

Head from bustling Delhi to remote Tordi, get down and dirty with the best street food, gape at the Taj, cruise down the holy Ganges in Varanasi, hang in Buddha’s hometown (Lumbini), search for sloth bears and rhinos at Chitwan and finish up in Kathmandu. Got a sweet tooth? India's got the cure. Take one soft, fluffy ball of buffalo milk dough. Deep fry until it's the texture of a donut. Drop into sugar syrup flavoured with cardamom powder, rose essence and saffron. Eat. Repeat.

What's included?

Meals

Dinner

Transport

Bicycle rickshaw , Boat , Private vehicle , Public bus , Overnight sleeper train , Taxi

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights), Lodge (2 nights), Heritage Property (3 nights), Overnight train (1 night)

Included activities

  • Jaipur - Walking tour
  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop
  • Agra - Taj Mahal
  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
  • Varanasi - Old City tour
  • Lumbini - Heritage Park
  • Chitwan NP - Park entry

Itinerary

Day 1
Delhi
This Himalaya adventure kicks things off in Delhi. Before your Welcome Meeting this evening at 6pm today, wander the streets, sip on your first chai and try to decipher that famous Indian head wobble. Does it mean yes? Does it mean no? And why aren’t they saying anything? Mull it over with your new travel mates at an optional group meal in the evening.

Optional activities:

  • Delhi - Culture Vulture Urban Adventure ($2500)
  • Delhi - City Food Crawl Urban Adventure ($3500)
  • Delhi - Gandhi's Delhi Urban Adventure ($2700)
  • Delhi - Humayun's Tomb ($500)
  • Delhi - Qutub Minar ($500)
  • Delhi - Red Fort ($500)
  • Delhi - Home-Cooked Experience Urban Adventure ($4000)

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 2
Tordi
Keep this one quiet. Your next destination takes a bit of work to get to, but that’s because it’s our little secret! You will journey through picturesque countryside by train, first to Jaipur and then onwards by private vehicle to Tordi. (approximately 7 hours) Tordi is a remote, rarely visited village. The real Rajasthan. We stumbled across this tiny village years ago, and everyone loved it so much we put it on the itinerary. The locals will feed you and you'll sleep in a 16th century palace with its owner as your host. As you take a walk around the village you might think it's polite to let the local kids beat you at cricket. Don't bother. They're ruthless, bloodthirsty and out to win. Lick your wounds on a walk to the ruined temple and fortress. Enjoy an included dinner tonight.

Stay: Heritage Property (1 night)

Meals: dinner

Day 3
Jaipur
Head off for Jaipur (approximately 2.5 hours). Your free time here in the friendly, busy ‘Pink City’ is perfect for haggling to your heart's content, the bazaars and backstreets filled with textiles, precious and semi-precious gems, and blue pottery. You can also drop by one of India’s finest palaces – the Royal City Palace – where the guards’ moustaches are almost as impressive as the building itself. You can also hit the streets for raj kachori chaat – a big fluffy chaat served with chutney, yoghurt, chilli and potato. Then cool off with a lassi from Lassiwala on MI road, Jaipur's oldest and most famous lassi shop.

Included activities: Jaipur - Walking tour

Optional activities: Jaipur - City Palace ($500)

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 4
Jaipur
For anyone that wants to see the Pink City a bit differently this morning there’s the option to drift high over Jaipur in a hot air balloon, a highlight for many visitors. For more information please see the important notes section of your trip notes. Later in the morning you’ll drop by Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), the impressive five-storey façade with pink, honeycombed windows making it the most photographed building in the country after Taj Mahal. Then it’s out to the old capital of Amber and an exploration of the hilltop fort complex known as the Amber Fort. The rest of the day is free for you to use as you like.

Included activities:

  • Jaipur - Amber Fort
  • Jaipur - Hawa Mahal photo stop

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 5
Agra
Say hi to the locals as you join them on a public bus to Agra today (approximately 5 hours). Agra might not be the prettiest city in the world, but the minute you check out its top-notch sites that won’t matter one bit.

Included activities: Agra - Taj Mahal

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 6
Agra - Overnight train
This is a bucket-list day. For some reason local families find it more interesting to take photos of you than the actual Taj Mahal. But none of it matters, you'll be too busy standing there with your mouth gaping open to notice. If you’ve got the energy there’s the option to head out to Agra Fort and stroll the palatial gardens of this red sandstone stronghold with cheeky monkeys in tow. Next stop Varanasi! Tonight it’s time for a unique slice of Indian life aboard an overnight sleeper train (approximately 12 hours).

Stay: Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night)

Day 7
Varanasi
Alight in one of holiest cities around, the ultimate destination for Hindu pilgrims who travel from far and wide to experience this spiritual city. Overflowing with temples, shrines and devotees, Varanasi might not be one of the world's cleanest cities but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most amazing. Maybe take the chance the chance to perfect your yoga in this most chakra-balancing of places.

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 8
Varanasi
Today’s an early start, but it’s totally worth it as you take a boat ride on the Ganges at sunrise. Even if you're not the spiritual sort, you can't help but get goosebumps. You’ll pass the many ghats (stairs leading to the water) and temples along the river, and watch thousands of Hindu pilgrims cleanse their sins in the holy water. Then you’ll set off by auto rickshaw to visit the oldest part of the city, with its maze of narrow alleyways packed full of small shops, stalls and huge, lumbering cows. See pilgrims performing rituals and ceremonies unchanged for hundreds of years and pass temples full of bell chimes and the smell of incense.

Included activities:

  • Varanasi - Sunrise boat trip
  • Varanasi - Old City tour

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 9
India/Nepal border crossing - Lumbini
Today it’s wave goodbye and say Namaste, as you leave India and travel to the border (cross at Sunauli border crossing) and then into Nepal and the town of Lumbini. That means it’s time to charge up your music and fish out your book as there’s a long day of travelling ahead (approximately 8-10 hours including stops). This is no ordinary border town, but the birthplace of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and one of his four holy places of pilgrimage. You’ll check out the beautiful Ashoka Pillars and hop on cycle rickshaws to the Maya Devi Temple, the actual site where Lord Buddha is thought to have been born. Today you'll bunk down in a jungle camp for the night.

Included activities: Lumbini - Heritage Park

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 10
Chitwan National Park
Take off you religious hat and pop on your safari one as you drive to Chitwan National Park by private vehicle (approximately 5 hours). UNESCO (who know at thing or two about this kind of stuff) declared it a World Heritage site in 1984, and it offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Asia. Kind of the Jungle Book come to life, there's rhino, deer, monkeys and a wide array of birdlife including Nepalese wild chickens all here.

Stay: Lodge (1 night)

Day 11
Chitwan National Park
This morning you’ll hop aboard a jeep and take a safari drive through Chitwan National Park. If you’re a very lucky person then you might catch a glimpse of one of the 100-or-so Bengal Tigers that call the park home. There are also a number of optional activities available through your accommodation, including biking, bird watching, cultural performances, canoe rides and village tours.

Included activities: Chitwan NP - Park entry

Stay: Lodge (1 night)

Day 12
Kathmandu
On to your final destination of the Nepalese patchouli–scented capital, Kathmandu (approximately 7 hours). Maybe book in for a massage or a yoga session when you get there to ease those body kinks. With the rest of your free time, perhaps visit the giant Buddhist Stupa at Bodnath, head out into the narrow streets – home to holy men, monks, bicycles, and sacred cows – and buy last-minute souvenirs or chill out with cool drink. Why not goodbye to your new travelling pals over one last dinner.

Optional activities:

  • Kathmandu - Early Morning Everest Scenic Flight ($220)
  • Kathmandu - Durbar Square ($1000)
  • Kathmandu - Swayambhunath Temple ($200)

Stay: Hotel (1 night)

Day 13
Kathmandu
Your trip ends after breakfast. Check out the great range of Urban Adventures on offer in Kathmandu. 

Optional activities:

  • Kathmandu - Rickshaw Night Explorer Urban Adventure ($68)
  • Kathmandu - Path to a Hidden Monastery Urban Adventure ($57)
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu by Bike Urban Adventure ($100)
  • Kathmandu - Spiritual Nepal Urban Adventure ($80)
  • Kathmandu - Kathmandu Living Urban Adventure ($66)

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