Essential Nepal and India Trip Notes

Trip Overview

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Discover the iconic natural beauty and ancient wonders on the 15-day Essential Nepal & India. Embark on an exotic adventure from  Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan filled with untouched temples, unspoiled nature, unforgettable scenery and trekking adventures. Then fly to Delhi in comfort and witness the diverse India culture at its home. Hop aboard for the Golden Triangle, visiting the most important sites of Jaipur and Agra, including the most-iconic Taj Mahal.

Duration : 15 Days

Destination : India / Nepal

Start/Ends in : Kathmandu / Delhi

Group Size : 13-35 People

Age Req. : 18+

Trip Theme : Classic, Overland

Hotels : 4 & 3 Star

Departs : All Year Round

Why you will love this tour

  • * Trek through the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, visit Asia’s largest wildlife park, and explore the incredible sights of India’s Golden Triangle on this 15-day adventure!
  • * An international flight from Kathmandu to Delhi, plus all airport transfers and all breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners are included in this tour package.
  • * Kickstart your trip to Nepal’s capital with plenty of time to explore Kathmandu Valley and the surrounding temples before heading to Pokhara for a night by lake city.
  • * Spend three days trekking through the Himalayan Mountains. Soak in breath-taking scenery and mountain panoramas by day and relax at local lodges by night.
  • * Follow your local guide as you visit Old Delhi’s unmissable spots including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid Mosque. Then, hop onboard a traditional rickshaw and ride into the chaotic city of New Delhi – where old and new seamlessly thrive.

  • * Explore the extraordinary wealth of culture and history in India, visiting sites like the Taj Mahal, as you travel through India’s Golden Triangle – from Delhi to Agra and Jaipur!
  • * Visit a local Indian family for tea in their home, play cricket with the locals or check out the organic dairy farm during a night’s stay at an Organic Retreat in Dausa.

Arrival Details

The group welcome meeting with your guide and other travelers is held around 18:30 at the hotel lobby on Day 1 of your tour unless otherwise notified.

Meeting Point:

The meeting point for the tour is :

Truly Asia Boutique Hotel – Kathmandu – 3 Star

Address: J P Marg, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

Phone :+91 11 4966 4966

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 208 099 75 36

Airport Transfers

A complimentary airport transfer from Kathmandu airport to the Travel Talk Hotel will be provided on Day 1 of the tour (the arrival day of the tour) between 07:00 am & 22:00 pm and a departure transfer from the Travel Talk hotel to airports on the departure day of the tour. Please note your accommodation starts at 13.00 on Day 1 and so early arrivals will be required to book pre-tour accommodation if early check-in is required.

To arrange your airport transfer please email us the following information at least 2 weeks before your departure date. [email protected]

Highlights

Agra: Agra is the city of the Taj Mahal and has three UNESCO World Heritage sites; the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort in the city, and Fatehpur Sikri.

Dausa: Dausa is a small ancient town named after a Sanskrit word Dhau-sa meaning Beautiful like Heaven. Also referred as Deva Nagri,located around 55 km from Jaipur.

Delhi: Delhi, city and national capital of India. The city of Delhi actually consists of two components, Old Delhi, in the north, the historic city; and New Delhi, in the south.

Jaipur: The capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan.Located 260 km from New Delhi and forms a part of the Golden Triangle tourist circuit along with Agra .

Kathmandu: The capital of Nepal, Kathmandu is the historic, cultural, and artistic center of the country as well as the traveler’s launchpad to the Himalayas.

Pokhara: Pokhara is the second city of Nepal, casually sprawling on the shore of the dazzling Phewa Lake. It is a tourist attraction with spectacular views of the Annapurna.

Chitwan: Chitwan National Park is listed as a World Heritage Site and consists of a diversity of ecosystems including the Churia hills, Ox-bow lakes, and the flood plains of the Rapti.

Itinerary

Please note that the itinerary may be subject to small changes depending on the conditions during the tour. Alternative accommodation of similar standards may be used depending on the group size and hotel availability.

Welcome to Nepal! At the terminal keep your eyes open for the Travel Talk sign, as we pick you up from the airport and take you to our Kathmandu hotel. Meet in the hotel lobby at 6:30pm for an informal meeting with tour guide and group. After the meeting, you can join us for an optional group dinner.

Accommodation : Truly Asia Boutique Hotel – 3 Star

Included Activities : Welcome Meeting

Optional Activities :  Group Dinner

We start the day by exploring Kathmandu City, Swyambhunath and Patan. Our first stop will be Swayambhunath, an ancient religious architecture atop a hill in the Kathmandu Valley where the Buddhist stupa is said to be more than 2000 years old. This hill also has a mosaic of small Chaityas and Pagoda temples. Our second stop will be Kathmandu City known as Kantipur. Here you will visit the temple of the Living Goddess, who acknowledges the greetings of the devotees from the balcony of her temple residence, Kasthamandap temple, the source of the name Kathmandu and the Durbar Square, which has an array of temples overlooked by the Hanuman Dhoka Palace, the ancient place of the Ex Nepalese Royalty. In the afternoon we visit the ancient city of Patan, once a kingdom in itself. Patan Durbar Square offers the finest display of Newari urban architecture in Nepal and there are temples devoted to Shiva, Krishna, Ganesh and Vishnu all actively visited.

Accommodation : Truly Asia Boutique Hotel – 3 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Sightseeing of Kathmandu

Sightseeing of Swayambhunath

Sightseeing of Kantipur

Sightseeing of Patan

Optional Activities : Group Dinner

Entrance Fees :

Kathmandu Durbarsquire – USD 11
Patan Durbar Squire – USD 8

Today, we drive for about 6 hours to reach the Pokhara which is the second largest city in Nepal. Once we’ve reached Pokhara you’ll be able to wander around the beautiful lake city known for its superb mountain views. It is an enchanting city nestled beneath the snow-crested Annapurna Massif in a tranquil valley and is the starting point for many of Nepal’s most popular trekking destinations. The atmosphere on the shore of Phewa Lake is one of excited vitality as backpackers crowd the many bars and restaurants. At an elevation lower than Kathmandu and generally a few degrees warmer, Pokhara has a tropical feel to it and has the diversity of beautiful subtropical flora.

Accommodation : Ustab Himalaya Hotel – 3 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Optional Activities :  Group Dinner

It is the first day of our trekking adventure where we start our journey by private transport to Nayapul to reach the Australian Camp. This camp offers a spectacular view of the snow-clad mountains of the Annapuran ranges, Hiunchuli, Fish Tail, Lamjung Himal and Manasla. We gradually descend up to Pothana then will stop at Deurali where we have lunch. After lunch, we progressively incline to Tolka where we stop for the night and stay in a local lodge. Here, you’ll see a spectacular view of Annapurna South and Himchuli mountains.

Accommodation : Local Lodge

Meals Included : Breakfast, Dinner

Included Activities : Trekking to Tolka

Today, the trek begins downhill and offers views of the Annapurna mountain range. You will pass more Gurung villages allowing you to see the huge farming communities in which they live in. Passing on, you will reach the villages of Pothana and Dhampus. Dhampus is one of the most famous touristic villages of western Nepal and offers visitors breath-taking panoramic views the Annapurna and Manaslu Himalayan mountain ranges. Tonight you’ll have dinner and stay overnight at a local lodge.

Accommodation : Local Lodge

Meals Included : Breakfast, Dinner

Included Activities : Trekking to Dhampus

It’s an early morning start so you can enjoy the colourful sunrise over the Himalayas and then you’ll take an easy downhill trek to Phedi where you will pass rice fields and small cottages. When you reach the village of Phedi our vehicle will be waiting to take you back to Pokhara and then to continue our drive to Chitwan.

Accommodation : Hotel Wildlife Camp – 3 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast, Dinner

Included Activities : Trekking to Phedi

We have full day of exciting jungle activities today. The best way to reach the national park is by a safari where you’ll end up at Chitwan National Park. This is considered one of the richest wildlife areas in Asia and boasts the last and largest remaining area of tall grassland habitat. Not to be compared with the wide open spaces of Africa, the intimacy of the search and discovery of Asian wildlife in its dense habitat is considered by many travellers to be equally rewarding and exciting.

Accommodation : Hotel Wildlife Camp – 3 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Included Activities : Visit of Chitwan National Park

After breakfast, we drive back to Kathmandu and transfer to airport for our flight to Delhi. Enjoy some personal leisure time and get ready for the second leg of your discovery!

Accommodation : Mantra Amaltas Hotel – 4 Star

Included Meals : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Sightseeing of Bharat Mata Temple

Sightseeing of Tulsi Manas Temple

Get ready for a big day ahead on your first day of tour exploring the bustling city of Delhi! We’ll begin the day by visiting Old Delhi, marvelling at the impressive Red Fort and The Raj Ghat, India’s largest mosque. Then get ready for some chaotic fun as we visit the jam-packed lanes of Chandni Chowk by rickshaw. Experience the busiest commercial area of the city and atmosphere of an oriental bazaar. In the afternoon we will head to the modern New Delhi, where you’ll find many historic monuments such as the 12th Century Qutab Minar and Humayuns’ Tomb, and in contrast wander the colourful and modern Lakshimi Narayan Temple.

Accommodation : Mantra Amaltas Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Sightseeing of Delhi

Sightseeing of Red Fort

Sightseeing of Qutab Minar

Sightseeing of Humayun’s Tomb

Entrance Fees :

Humayun’s Tomb – USD 8

Qutab Minar – USD 8

Red Fort – USD 8

Hit the road and depart Delhi in the morning to drive 6 hours to Jaipur, also known as the ‘Pink City’ due to the vibrant peachy colours of the buildings. Offering incredible architecture and raw natural beauty, Jaipur is a vibrant and bustling city spread out over the old and new, and is almost equidistant from Delhi and Agra forming part of the famed Golden Triangle. In the evening, prepare to be mesmerised by a traditional Hindu prayer ritual, Aarti at Birla Temple.

Accommodation : Golden Tulip Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities : Visit of Birla Temple

Begin the day by exploring all Jaipur has to offer with a city tour. Check out India’s second most visited site, Hawa Mahal or ‘Palace of the Winds’ followed by Amber Fort where you’ll be able to explore this traditional Rajasthani Fort. In the afternoon, stop by City Palace, a huge sprawling complex which is still home to the former royal family who live in one section. Check off another UNESCO World Heritage site from your list at Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory featuring the world’s largest stone sundial.

Accommodation : Golden Tulip Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Sightseeing of Jaipur

Sightseeing of Amber Fort

Sightseeing of City Palace

Sightseeing of Hawa Mahal

Entrance Fees :

Jantar Mantar – USD 3

Amber Fort – USD 8

City Palace – USD 8

Hawa Mahal – USD 3

Journey on to Dausa after breakfast and visit Galta Temple, also known as Monkey Temple and Abhaneri Stepwell, an impressive 9th century well. After checking into the hotel, get active with either a bit of kite flying or a cricket match with hotel staff. Followed by a visit to the hotel’s organic farm and gaining some inspo from their cooking demonstration. 

Accommodation : Umaid Lake Palace – 3 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities : Visit to Organic Farm

The Golden Triangle journey continues as we head to Agra. Enroute we will stop at the 16th Century ghost town of Fatehpur Sikri, where you’ll find a complex of beautiful red sandstone monuments, temples and tombs. In the afternoon, explore the walls of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Agra Fort. Then be sure to get your cameras ready! We’re heading to the iconic Taj Mahal for sunset! A trip to India isn’t complete without visiting this beautiful marble monument and learning why Emperor Shah Jahan laboured for over 22 years to build this impressive masterpiece.

Accommodation : Golden Tulip Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

Included Activities :

Sightseeing of Jaipur

Sightseeing of Amber Fort

Sightseeing of City Palace

Sightseeing of Hawa Mahal

Entrance Fees :

Agra Fort – USD 8

Taj Mahal – USD 23

Sikandra – USD 3

Enjoy a free morning to explore the bustling city of Agra at your own pace and try the variety of tasty food the city has to offer. Freshen up before you get ready for a drive to Delhi for the final night, time to finish up on shopping and visit any additional sights you wish to see.

Accommodation : Mantra Amaltas Hotel – 4 Star

Meals Included : Breakfast

What a trip! Enjoy your last breakfast and start seeing off your new-found friends before checkout at 11am. Luckily it’s not a final goodbye, but only until next time! Don’t forget to arrange your departure transfer to the airport with your guide. Time to start counting down the days until your next Travel Talk adventure.

Meals : Breakfast

Inclusions & Exclusions

The tour price covers the following services:

Accomodation : 4 and 3 star hotels and local lodge during trekking in Nepal

Airport Transfer : Arrival and Departure transfers on first and last day of the trip

Meals : 12 breakfasts, drinking water supply in vehicle

Transportation : A/C coach or mini-bus, Jeep ride at Amber Fort, flight from Kathmandu to Delhi

Guide : Services of experienced Travel Talk local guides licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, trekking guide, naturalist in jungle activities in Chitwan.

Sightseeing : Swayambhunath, Kantipur, Patan, Tolka, Dhampus & Phedi, Chitwan, National Park, Red Fort, Qutab Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Amber Fort, City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Galta Temple, Fatehpur Sikri, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort

What is NOT included in the tour price?

  • Any flights not mentioned above
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not stated above
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Tips & gestures
  • Entrance fees to the sights and museums
  • Optional activities
  • Other services not stated in the itinerary

Hotels & Accommodation

Please find below the 4 Star hotels used on our India trips. All accommodation is carefully hand-selected to satisfy our standards in terms of quality, authenticity, and location for you to enjoy a comfortable and unforgettable holiday.

MANTRA AMALTAS – DELHI – 4 STAR

Mantra Amaltas is an exclusive boutique hotel. With air-conditioned rooms at the hotel and tea and coffee making facilities are included. The airport is only 22 km away.

HOWARD PLAZA HOTEL -AGRA – 4 STAR

Howard Plaza is a 4-star hotel. The Taj Mahal is 700 m away from the hotel and a 10-minute drive from the hotel to Delhi Gate and Ramnagar.

GOLDEN TULIP – JAIPUR – 4 STAR

Golden Tulip Jaipur Hotel is an excellent facility with its proximity to the center of the Pink City.

TRULY ASIA BOUTIQUE HOTEL – KATHMANDU – 3 STAR

The hotel is an excellent accommodation located in the sprawling city center of Thamel. It is very close to the famous Kathmandu Durbar Square.

USTAB HIMALAYA HOTEL – POKHARA – 4 STAR

Ustab Himalaya Hotel offers breathtaking views of the Annapurna Mountains from its upper viewing platform. The accommodation offers daily housekeeping and free Wi-Fi in all rooms.

LOCAL LODGE TREK

When you need to take a break after a long day of trekking, local trekking lodges are all you need. These are places where you can cool down, get some rest, and relax before you start hiking again with your companions.

HOTEL WILDLIFE CAMP – CHITWAN – 3 STAR

The Hotel Wildlife Camp is located in Sauraha Village close to Chitwan National Park. Every room has air conditioners or fans and a private bath fitted with running hot and cold water.

Distances

Please find below the distances between the sites visited in India and the approximate driving times. We will always strive to take a short break every few hours to enable passengers to stretch their legs, purchase snacks and use wash facilities during long drives.

– Delhi to Jaipur: 280 km – 4 hr 45 min
– Dausa to Agra: 180 km – 3 hr 10 min
– Agra to Delhi: 220 km – 3 hr

– Agra to Varanasi: Overnight train ~ 11 hr

– Kathmandu-Pokhara : 4,5 hours

– Pokhara-Annapurna: 4 hours

– Kathmandu-Lumbini: 5,5 hours

– Chitwan-Pokhara: 2 hours

Budgeting

Please note that entrance fees to sights and optional activities are not included in the tour price.

India

Entrance Fees

Humayun’s Tomb — USD 8

Qutab Minar — USD 8

Red Fort — USD 8

Jantar Mantar — USD 3

Amber Fort — USD 8

City Palace — USD 8

Hawa Mahal — USD 3

Agra Fort — USD 8

Taj Mahal — USD 23

Sikandra — USD 3

Personal Spending

Here you will find the average cost for a meal or drink and advice on best practices in tipping.

Meals

Lunch at a restaurant — US$ 4-7

Dinner at a restaurant — US$ 8-10

Tali — US$ 1-2

Drinks

Bottle of water — US$ 0.5

Coffee — US$ 1-2

Bottle of beer — US$ 2-3

Tipping

Tips are a common reward for service staff in India. Your tour guide and crew will be especially appreciative and honored with this kind of traditional gratitude at the end of your tour.

Nepal

Entrance Fees

Kathmandu Durbarsquire — USD 11

Patan Durbar Squire — USD 8

Boudth Nath Stupas — USD 2

Pashupati NathTemple — USD 11

Syambhu Nath Stupas — USD 2

Pokhara Entry fee with boating — USD 14

Cable Car Ride Pokhara — USD 20

Panauti — USD 3

Bhaktapur Durbar Square — USD 16

Optional Activities

Mountain Flight Over Everest — USD 200

Paragliding in Pokhara — USD 145

Nepali Dinner — USD 15

Shopping

India is a shopper’s haven with fantastic quality products that come with a small price tag meaning that you’ll score plenty of bargains. You’ll find anything from jewellery to ceramics, clothes to tea, and metal work to linen. The country has plenty of shops that come in markets, boutiques, bazaars, and modern malls where you’re bound to find the perfect souvenirs.

In Nepal, shop till you drop” should be your motto during your stay as Kathmandu is a shoppers’ paradise. Funky, fashionable, chic, and sleek; shopping in Kathmandu is an experience like no other. Kathmandu offers everything from luxury boutiques and shopping centers to bargain outlets and local markets. It’s the experience that goes with making your purchases that make people want to return again and again. Shopping can be very rewarding and exciting in Kathmandu.

There are numerous tourist shops on the main streets and in the hotel arcades brimming with tempting jewellery, statues, and other typical Nepalese handicraft. Each place has its specialty product which is unique. Bhaktapur, for instance, is the place to buy pottery. The Traditional Craftsman’s Colony in Patan is a famous center for Nepalese handicrafts. You may get carved wooden items while at Patan. For a complete variety of products and brands in all price ranges, Kathmandu offers a unique shopping experience.

From glitzy malls to trendy boutiques, you can find almost anything and everything that caters to your shopping list. For premium brands and high fashion, Durbar Marg is a consumers’ Mecca. It has all the high-end fashion requirements. For fashionistas, there is no alternative to Durbar Marg. The Thamel area, in particular, is popular for souvenirs and handicrafts. Kupondole, Lazimpat, and Dillibazaar are famous for their popular boutiques. From affordable to extravagant design, all that is needed to achieve the traditional look is here. New Road caters to the budget-conscious shoppers, Jhamsikhel fulfils the gastronomical, whereas shopping malls like Civil Mall, NLIC City Center, Bluebird Mall, Times Square Mall, Kathmandu Mall, and UWTC make their locations famous because of their presence.

Essential Information: India & Nepal

Passport & Visas

India

Most travellers require a tourist visa for entry into India, which must be obtained online at least 4 days prior to arrival in India. Passport holders of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, America and Canada can benefit from India’s e-visa online service. This service enables visitors to pay for their visa prior to arrival. For information about the e-Tourist Visa and to apply, https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/.

Passport validity entry requirements: Travellers entering India must also carry a passport or travel document valid for at least 6 months from your arrival date. The passport must also have two blank pages for stamping by immigration officers

This information is provided only as a guidance, we strongly advise that you check with the consulate or embassy as this information can change at any time and with little notice. It is your responsibility to make sure that all the required travel documents are ready when travelling.

Nepal

Please ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the last day of your trip as some countries may refuse entry if there is any less. All foreign nationals, except Indian citizens, are required to have a valid visa to enter Nepal. Visas can be obtained at your nearest Nepal Embassy or Diplomatic Mission. Most citizens can also be granted a visa on arrival at multiple border entry points. For up-to-date regulations, please check the link: http://www.nepalimmigration.gov.np/ content/tourist-visa.html

Travel Advice

We are closely monitoring the latest travel updates to India and Nepal, and following the advice of the UK Foreign Office (FCDO). For the latest travel advice from the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, please visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/india and https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/nepal

We recommend all travellers to check their Government National Travel Advisory prior to their departure:

Australia – https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

Canada – https://travel.gc.ca/

New Zealand – https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

USA – https://travel.state.gov/

Travel Insurance

All passengers travelling with Travel Talk are required to have personal travel insurance before participating in any of our tours. Your guide will collect your travel insurance details on the first day of your trip. It is your responsibility to make sure you have an adequate and suitable travel insurance for you in place, you may read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/travel-insurance

Health & Safety

The health and safety of our passengers, staff and communities visited is of utmost priority. As we monitor and comply with the official advice from the UK Foreign Office, as well as World Health Organization and government authorities regularly, we have implemented several policies and precautions on our tours for your wellbeing. You may find our Safe Travels Protocols at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels

Travel Talk Adventures has received the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which allows travellers to recognise companies around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols – so consumers canexperience ‘Safe Travels’.

Please make sure to regularly check your Government’s travel advice before travelling and be well-informed of any requirements. Your tour guide will also notify you of the regulations and protocols to follow throughout your trip with us.

Please note that if any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary or possess a potential risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to remove them from all or part of a trip.

Please consult with your doctor for the latest medical travel information and any vaccinations you may need. We recommend that you bring any personal medical requirements and medications with you as these may be difficult to obtain while on tour.

Weather

India’s climate is generally defined by three seasons; the hot, the wet (monsoon) and the cool. However, the climatic conditions in the far North of India have little relation to those in the South. The most pleasant time to visit India is between October and March, when the weather is most likely to be warm, dry and sunny. The weather in India varies depending on the region. The far north of India is most accessible between June and September, when the rest of the country experiences monsoon season. While the best time to visit India’s southern states is from November onward, once the monsoon season has ended. By November and December, the rains begin to ease and temperatures are cool enough for sightseeing, but warm enough for relaxing on the beach. December marks the beginning of peak season, when the crowds begin to arrive, so November may be a good bet for a more relaxed holiday.

Check out our weather guide for the best time to visit India.

Nepal has typical monsoonal conditions with two seasons a year. October-November marks the start of the dry season, which in many ways is the best time of the year in Nepal. With the monsoon only recently finished the countryside is green, lush, and beautiful. At this time of the year, the air is sparkling clean, views of the Himalayas are as near as perfect and the weather is not too hot, nor too cold. For obvious reasons, this is also the peak tourist season. December and January are also good months to visit but it can get cold at high altitudes. From February to April, the weather is warmer, and flowers are blooming but the visibility isn’t as good. May and the early part of June are not ideal months to visit Nepal as the country is extremely hot and dusty. From June to September it is the wet season and the least popular time to visit Nepal. For more, check out our Nepal weather guide.

Monsoon Season in North of India: Please be aware of monsoon season take
place around the 15th of June to the 15th of September in North of India and the peak months are July and August. Monsoons are a weather phenomenon that brings a lot of rain with them. During this time rains are frequent and result in water logging, traffic jams, etc. and it’s quite difficult to visit a monument if rains are heavy moreover it makes it difficult to take photographs.

Money Matters

The official currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR or ₹). The currency can be divided into 100paise (p). Banknotes are available in the denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 and Rupee coins come in 1, 2, 5, 100 and 1,000. Major credit and debit cards can be used in large-scale hotels, shopping malls or higher-end establishments. However, the most convenient and cheapest method is cash, which can be obtained via ATMs located in most major towns. Please note that foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be difficult to exchange. If looking to exchange foreign currency, Travel Talk recommends you do not exchange bulk sums of money at the airport, as the exchange rates are usually more favourable in the major cities. Your tour leader will be happy to help if you need any assistance.

Nepali Rupee notes come in Rs. 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 25, 50, 100, 500, 1000 denominations. Coins come 5p, 10p, 25p, Rs. 1, 2, 5 denominations. Foreign currencies must be exchanged only through banks or authorized foreign exchange dealers. The receipts from such transactions are to be obtained and retained. Visitors can exchange foreign currency at the foreign exchange counter at the airport upon arrival, a good idea to keep everything safe.

Please remember that everyone has different spending habits, some prefer to spend more on souvenirs, some on experiences and others on a night out! Make sure to budget your trip to your spending habits for shopping, drinking, and tipping.

While tipping in India isn’t necessarily a cultural tradition, it can be expected at touristic sites and is an appropriate way to recognise great service while travelling. Rounding up your bill or leaving a small tip is a small gesture that is greatly appreciated across the country. In restaurants, a 10% service charge is often included in the bill, so it’s best to check whether or not it’s been added. For street food, no tipping is required. For local taxis or TukTuk, we recommend rounding your bill to the nearest ₹10 or ₹20. Your local guide and driver would also appreciate tipping as a sign of your gratuity for their service.

Tips are a common reward for service staff in Nepal. Your tour guide and crew will be especially appreciative and honored with this kind of traditional gratitude at the end of your tour.

Eating & Drinking

Indian food has a richly deserved reputation as one of the world’s great cuisines. Many of the spices we now take for granted – pepper, cardamom and turmeric – hail from India’s plains and jungles. Rice is the foundation of Indian cooking with many kinds of bread from flat chapattis to roasted naan. Travellers visiting India have become familiar with the term ‘Delhi Belly’, used to describe an upset stomach while travelling India. If you are not a big spice eater, Travel Talk recommends going easy on spices for the first few days as you become accustomed to the effects they can have on your body. For this reason, we also recommend avoiding road stalls, unless ordering from a renowned ‘Dhabas’ (a small, generally roadside shop) or other vendors recommended by your local guide. Eating out in India is not very expensive however searching for unique and authentic dishes can often be overwhelming if you’re not a local, so here’s a few must-try dishes to get you started in India. For more, check out our India food guide.

Masala Dosa: A crispy crepe stuffed with spiced potato mash potatoes, this dish is generally served with coconut chutney and sambar (a form of lentil).

Bhelpuri: Made with puffed rice, tomatoes, peanuts, green chillies and a tangy tamarind sauce, this savoury dish is a classic street food sold everywhere across India. It can be eaten directly or served in flatbreads.

Butter Chicken: Originally from Delhi, this dish is iconic to Indian cuisine. The curry sauce is made of tomatoes, butter and cream while the chicken is marinated overnight with yogurt, ginger, garlic paste and red chilli powder. The name comes from the chunk of butter that goes into the sauce, making for a mouthwatering explosion of flavour.

Tandoori Chicken: Marinated in a spicy yogurt marinade, the chicken in this famous Indian dish is roasted in a cylindrical clay oven. The sauce is seasoned with spices and other aromatic inclusions such as bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon.

Dal Tadka: A very popular dish that was originally made with burnt charcoal to give it a smoky flavour. Dal Tadka consists of cooked lentils which are tempered with oil, fried spices and herbs.

Rogan Josh: An aromatic lamb curry made with an array of spices, tomatoes, ginger and garlic.

Samosa: Popular snack in India served at tea time or at street food vendors. Samosas are fried or baked triangular pastry packages made from potato stuffing containing onions and peas. The snack is frequently served with mint or tomato chutney.

Chaats: This savoury snack is a mainstay of Indian street food, originating from North India. The original Chaat is a mixture of potato pieces, crisp fried bread, chickpea and tangy-salty spices.

Kulfi: A traditional Indian ice cream made from slowly simmered whole milk to create a delicious nutty, caramelized flavour. Kulfi is usually flavoured with traditional Indian ingredients such as rose water, saffron or pistachio.

There are wide selections of popular drinks in India that are both unique and refreshing. According to Indian ethnic culture, there are only a few alcoholic, traditional drinks that are prepared with locally available ingredients. Indian beverages are often referred to as sherbets and are non-alcoholic, prepared to combat the heat of the sultry Indian summer. Some of these drinks include Aam Panna, Jal Jeera, Thandai, Lassi, Chhanch, and Nimbu Paani. In the winter, warmer drinks like tea and filtered coffee are more standard. Tea and Chai tea is exceptionally popular and the most common form of drink in India, especially in the north.

Nepal is a very diverse country when it comes to ethnicity and culture. One of the outcomes of this is that there is an impressive array of local cuisine. Nepalese food has been strongly influenced by both India and Tibet, and in places like Kathmandu, there is a growing interest in western dishes. Most of the local cuisine (particularly from the Himalayan region) can taste a bit bland if people are used to spicy or savoury food, but the diet in Nepal receives a good deal of praise for its health factors.

The nearest thing to a national dish in Nepal would be Dal bhat. The meal consist of steamed rice and a lentil soup. This is a staple meal in Nepal and many Nepalese will eat Dal bhat twice a day. There are many different versions of this meal, but the most popular is Dal Bhat Tarkari which is served with vegetables and sometimes with a yoghurt or curry sauce. Modern Kathmandu is home to many ethnic groups, but the indigenous people of the Kathmandu valley are the Newar (Newa). The
Newar has their own cuisine which is said to consist of about 200 dishes, with a Tibet and Chinese influence evident in their cooking. They also have foods that are similar to western dishes such as Chataamari. Chataamari is a popular snack and is a rice crepe, served similarly to pizza. For more, check out our Nepal food guide.

Essentials to Bring & Internet

-Face mask/cover and hand sanitiser enough for your personal use throughout the trip – See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/

-Travel Documents: Passport, Visa (if required), flight or transport ticket (and photocopies)

-Travel Talk Tour Voucher (printed or digital)Travel Insurance Policy (and photocopy)

-Personal medical kit and medicine

-Money (cash, credit card, travellers’ cheques)

-Power Adapter

-Reusable water bottle

-Ear plugs and eye mask

-Sun protection – hat, sunglasses, sunscreen

-Comfortable, closed walking shoes

-Wind/water proof jacket

-Warm clothes, hat, and gloves for cold weather

-Sandals, swimwear, shorts for warm weather

Internet Access

Internet access is good across India and many cafes, hotels and restaurants in cities of India provide free WiFi, but the connection may be spotty or slow. India has a relatively widespread communication infrastructure and internet usage in major cities. WiFi coverage may be limited in remote areas. If you wish to use your own 3G/4G Data, be sure to enable data roaming on your mobile. Purchasing a Indian SIM card for the duration of your tour may be a cost-effective alternative. Make sure that your phone is unlocked before you leave home so a local SIM will be compatible. Your local guide will be able to provide advice on where to purchase data SIMs in India.

Culture and Traditions

With over 1.3 billion people speaking over 122 languages across 28 states and seven territories, it’s difficult to describe one unified culture or tradition for India. Put simply, the culture and traditions of the nation can vary quite substantially from city to city. However, India’s culture is among the world’s oldest with civilization beginning about 4,500 years ago. Today, India is a very diverse country and sees a large number of festivals and cultural traditions across the calendar year, mainly because of the prevalence of diverse religions and groups. Some of the nation’s largest festivals include Holi (Festival of Colour), Diwali (Festival of Lights) and Gujarat Kite Festival. The concept of arranged marriage in India traces its origin to as early as the Vedic times, and still remains an integral part of ‘Indian Traditions’. In many parts of India, it is common to find three or four generations living together. The concept of family extends beyond the typical nuclear unit
to encompass the wider family circle. These multigenerational families are sometimes essential to providing economic security to an individual, through work opportunities for example. However, the growth of urbanisation and migration has seen younger generations challenging these perceptions and traditions, with family networks spreading further across regions and occupations.

Religion, Etiquette, and How to Dress

While travelling to other nations as a foreigner, it is important to understand the traditions, cultures and religious beliefs of the populations and regions you visit. India is known for its vast diversity of religious beliefs in practices throughout the country, and is the home to four of the world’s major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. While the majority of the population is Hindu, a considerable minority follows Islam. While your guide will be able to provide further knowledge about these throughout your tour, here are a few important notes to remember.

It is common to remove your shoes as a sign or respect before entering a temple and indeed before entering into someone’s home. Temperatures can soar past 35 degrees celsius in India, but it’s not appropriate to walk around in skimpy clothing. Travel Talk strongly recommends all visitors dress respectfully while in India with shorts or skirts that cover past the knee and shirts or blouses which cover the shoulders and chest region. Try to appear friendly and be open to have authentic interactions with the locals, though it’s always smart to keep your valuables safe and covered while travelling.

Solo Travellers

We have many solo travellers joining our tours. Solo travellers will be roomed with another traveller of the same gender. If you would like a private solo room, please contact us. You may see out solo travels page for more details.

Rules to Follow

We are committed to ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. We do not tolerate any form of violence (physical or verbal), bullying or harassment involving customers, partners, Travel Talk staff or locals. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a passenger are forbidden.

We will not tolerate any illegal activity, including but not limited to: use and possession of illegal drugs, trespassing, and disrupting public order. If you consume alcohol, please ensure that you drink responsibly and follow the local laws and regulations.

You must follow the advice of your tour leader and local officials regarding health and safety measures. We operate all tours under Safe Travels protocols for the wellbeing of our passengers, staff and communities visited. Please ensure that you have read the https://www.traveltalktours.com/safe-travels/ and are fully prepared for your trip.

If someone is acting inappropriately regarding these matters, please notify your tour leader immediately or contact us on the emergency contact number provided below.

Your tour leader has the right to remove from the group anyone not abiding by these rules, with no right of compensation or refund. See more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/booking-terms/

Please remember that our travellers come from different parts of the world and will have various needs and preferences. Be understanding and patient with your fellow travellers, and always strive to be on time.

Responsible Travel

We believe that travel is a force for good and show our support through various initiatives and charity organizations, as well as keeping the principals of responsible and sustainable travel at the core of our ethos. These values are engrained in our business culture and the design of our trips just the same. Together with you, we strive to make a positive impact on local people and economies, respecting the local culture, environment, social fabric and customs; encouraging respectful and meaningful cross-cultural exchange. Read more at https://www.traveltalktours.com/responsible-travel/

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Saturday: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: Closed
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