Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 12
Accommodation: 3 to 4-star hotels and heritage properties
Transport: A/C minivan/minibus and train
Highlights: Old and New Delhi, Jeep & Canter tiger safaris in Ranthambore NP, Pink city of Jaipur, Tordi Garh in rural Rajasthan, Abhaneri Step Well, Keoladeo NP, deserted Fatehpur Sikri, Taj Mahal at sunrise, Red Fort, Heritage & market walk
Extend our popular Incredible India tour itinerary by adding time at Ranthambore National Park searching for tigers and other wildlife inside the park on this 11-day northern India tour.
We start in India's capital with tours of New and Old Delhi before taking a train south to Ranthambore National Park. The park is one of India's most famous, and was declared one of the Project Tiger reserves in 1973. As well as the tigers which are the main attraction for most people, there is a multitude of other wildlife including over 300 species of birds, marsh crocodiles and monitor lizards, and 30 mammals including sloth bear, wild boar, porcupines and jackals, leopards, jungle cats, monkeys and various species of deer and antelope.
Ranthambore also hosts an old fort which is interesting to pass on the way through the park. We take guided safaris through the park both by jeep and by canter (open backed lorry), before the tour continues on to the Pink City of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan. We'll visit some of Jaipur's top attractions, such as the Amber Fort, City Palace and the Jantar Mantar Observatory before exploring the pink city's famous craft and produce markets on foot.
We’ll also explore the ancient Tordi village, residing in a converted palace. Tordi is quite remote and we'll have the opportunity to explore rural Indian life. We'll also visit Chand Baori at Abhaneri, the world's largest step well boasting 3500 steps and 13 stories, before making our way to the Keoladeo Ghana National Park, where we'll experience a guided cycle rickshaw ride to explore is huge variety of birdlife and other wildlife that call it home.
Also on the itinerary is a visit to the strange and deserted city of Fatehpur Sikri before a local villager escorts us on a Mughal Heritage Walk through villages and farmland on the opposite bank of the Yamuna River to the Taj Mahal. The Mughal Heritage walking tour aids the local community with employment and new infrastructure. It also gives us great insight into village life in Agra and offers spectacular views of the Taj Mahal which are not normally seen. A sunrise tour of the Taj then follows, and a visit to Agra's huge Red Fort, before we head back to Delhi. Our final highlight is a visit to the Akshardham temple complex on the edge of the city.
Accommodation is in a comfortable mid-range modern-style hotels in Delhi and Agra, mixed with heritage hotels converted from Havelis and Palaces in Jaipur and Tordi, and resorts on the edge of Ranthambore and Keoladeo National Parks.
After arriving in Delhi, one of our staff members will meet and greet you, before transferring you to your hotel. You'll have some time to settle in, introduce you to the local area and discuss a time to collect you tomorrow.
Extra day in Delhi - pre-tour
Single room supplement (INSGTT)
If you're looking to experience the diversity of India, then the capital city of New Delhi should be right at the top of your list. You'll start with a morning tour of the city, which has been built on the banks of the Yamuna River.
We'll visit the towering India Gate Monument, which is inspired by the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris. India Gate is dedicated to the 82,000 soldiers who participated in the undivided Indian Army.
Since New Delhi is the home of India's government, we'll drive past important buildings such as Parliament, the Bangla Sahab Gurudwara Sikh Temple and Humayun's Tomb - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
After exploring the New Delhi, you'll hop on a metro train to visit Old Delhi as well, exploring its old and busy markets and bazaars such as the Chandni Chowk and the Chawri Bazaar, famous for its brass, copper and paper products.
This afternoon, you'll have a chance to try Delhi's unique street food cuisine, tasting various snacks and delicacies for lunch. Once you're nice and full, your tour continues with a rickshaw ride and a visit to the Jama Masjid Mosque - one of the largest mosques in India.
We'll say goodbye to Delhi and board a train to Sawai Madhopur, the home of the Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. The train ride will last for about five hours, but it's one of the best ways to experience the beauty of India, as you make your way past the rural countryside and farmlands as well as the bustling city life on your way out of Delhi.
Once we arrive in Sawai Madhopur, we'll transfer you to a wildlife lodge close to the entrance of the Ranthambore National Park, which is named after Ranthambore fortress, located within its boundaries. If you're looking to see tigers in the wild, this is the place to be. In 1973, the park was established as a sanctuary for the tigers and to help decrease the fatal interactions that were increasing between humans and tigers.
Get some rest tonight, as we'll explore Ranthambore early tomorrow.
We'll head out on early morning and afternoon game drives, giving you the best opportunity to see India's tigers in their natural habitat, but keep your eyes peeled for other wildlife such as leopards, sloth bears, black bucks, flying foxes, Indian porcupines, striped hyenas, jackals, jungle cats, wild boar, civets, desert cats, macaques, mole rats, and many more species.
We'll be transported through the jungle by jeep and in an open-backed truck, which allows us to travel deep into the park, as we search for India's unique wildlife. We'll also visit the ruined fort located within the boundaries of the park, which is beautifully elevated on a natural hummock, which towers at just over 200 metres high. The ancient ruined fort is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
You'll say your final goodbyes to the wildlife-rich Ranthambore National Park this morning, driving through the narrow roads which passes the farmlands and countryside as we head to the pink city of Jaipur.
On our way there, we'll stop at Amber Fort, also known as Amer Palace. The fort got its name from Amba Mata, the goddess of earth and fertility.
Built in the 16th century by the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber, it's one of the best hilltop forts in India, with its breathtaking architecture and marble palaces enthralling visitors from all corners of the earth. It overlooks the Maota Lake, a water source for the palace.
You also have the chance to try your first authentic lassi on MI Road, which is packed with different restaurants and street food stalls. Lassi is a yogurt-based, sweet or salty drink made with water, spices and sometimes fruit. You'll then head to your accommodation for the night or as an option, you can watch a Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir cinema.
You have an option to embark on a hot air balloon ride this morning, soaring over Jaipur's magnificent palaces and forts as you take in the beauty of the Pink City from above. If you decided not to, your day starts with a sightseeing tour of the city.
You'll visit India's largest astronomical observatory known as the Jantar Mantar Monument, built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II between 1724 and 1730. You'll also make your way to the City Palace created between 1729-1732 AD, which was once the seats of the King of Jaipur and the leader of the renowned Kachwaha Rajput clan.
After lunch, you'll head to Jaipur's famous craft markets, where you can see craftsmen such as jewellers, silversmiths, textile workshops and bangle makers producing some of the most unique creations. You'll also have the chance to browse the fruit, vegetable and spice markets here.
Hot air balloon in Jaipur
Your day starts with a visit to the rural Rajasthan village of Tordi, which was founded in the 16th century by Th. Akhey Singh, a descendant of Khangar Singh who overthrew the regional chief and built a hilltop fortress. All that remains today are ruins, however, the family still lives in the palace and in a fort on the plains below. You'll be accommodated in a wing of the palace which has been created for guests.
After settling in, your afternoon begins with a walk through the village, visiting a temple, a school and a potter's house, before chatting to some of the locals to find out more about their way of life.
You have a few optional activities available to you today, such as camel cart riding, a jeep safari to a 300-year-old-stepwell, visiting a shepherds village and watching the sun go down at the Tordi Sagar Dam. You can also hike to the 400-year-old Tordi Fort for drinks and snacks at sunset or try some horse-riding or henna hand art.
Tordi Garh hotel
Today we'll head to Bharatpur to explore the wildlife-rich Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a birdwatcher's paradise. On our way there, we'll stop at the largest step well in the world: the Abhaneri step well which boasts 3500 steps and is 13 stories deep.
You'll have a chance to settle in at your accommodation before we head out once more, this time on a guided cycle rickshaw ride through Keoladeo, which is home to over 360 species of birds.
Keoladeo, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is strategically located on the Central Asian migratory flyway and is an important destination for wintering water birds, most notably the endangered Siberian crane and its huge heronry which in good years can host more than 20,000 nesting birds of various species.
You won't just find birds here though, other wildlife that you can see include wild boar, black buck, sambar, chital, mongoose, porcupine, several different wild cats, and some huge pythons.
Hotel next to Keoladeo National Park
Say goodbye to Keoladeo as we make our way to the city of Agra, which is home to India's most popular tourist attraction - the towering Taj Mahal.
You'll have time to settle in at your hotel before heading out on a Mughal Heritage Walk, which was designed by a local NGO to create more jobs and better infrastructure of the local community. The walk takes you through the ancient village of Kachhpura and surrounding farmland on the banks of the Yamuna River, giving you spectacular views of the Red Fort and the Taj Mahal.
One of the locals will also give you a tour of the village, showing you their agricultural techniques, how they cook and their unique architecture and places of worship. You'll also be introduced to the local cottage industry for leather shoe making which helps Agra export shoes all over the world.
You'll then explore the Mehtab Bagh Park which is one of 11 parks built by Emperor Babur on the east banks of the Yamuna River, but as the sun goes down this afternoon, you'll be treated to the mesmerising views of the Taj Mahal at sunset - something that cannot be missed.
Tonight, you have an option to join a local Hindu family for a vegetarian cooking lesson and a tasty meal before settling in for the night.
Cook with a Hindu family in Agra
You witnessed the Taj Mahal at sunset, now it's time to take in its beauty at sunrise. Watch how the colours of the Taj Mahal changes as the light of the day gradually gets brighter.
Your day starts with an early morning tour of the Taj, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan over the course of 22 years. Different types of marble from all over the world were used to build this mausoleum. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
After a tasty breakfast, it's time to visit another World Heritage Site, the Agra Fort, which was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty until 1638 when the capital was shifted from Agra to Delhi.
You'll have lunch, before being transported back to Delhi, this time to visit the Swaminarayan Akshardham, a Hindu mandir and a spiritual-cultural campus, home to millennia of traditional Hindu and Indian culture and architecture. Here, we'll be treated to the spectacular Sahaj Anand multimedia water show - which makes use of multicoloured lasers, under-water flames, video projection, and water jets which combine to provide a captivating experience which tells the story of Kena Upanishad - a Vedic Sanskrit text.
You have some free time to buy any gifts for your loved ones back home before we transfer you to the airport to catch your flight back home. Additional half day tours are available this morning if you have a later flight, and extension options are also available.
Goa beach extension
Extra day in Delhi - post-tour
Spinmonkey cycling tour
Restoration of the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal, one of India's most iconic structures, is getting a much need facelift. The almost-four-century-old Taj Mahal is finally showing signs of ageing. Air pollution is unfortunately turning its ivory-white complexion - yellow. Adding to the colouration problems, the Yamuna River, with which the Taj Mahal shares a river bank, is contaminated and the insects that breed in its waters are leaving patches of green residue on its marble. In order to restore the Taj Mahal's glistening white marble, mud-pack therapy is being used. If you're worried that it might affect your India tour, this handy Taj restoration guide will tell you everything you need to know.
This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime from 1st October to 25th June, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
A heritage hotel, Khandela Haveli, is built like a traditional haveli and elegantly decorated. It features a rooftop restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.
A heritage hotel, Khandela Haveli, is built like a traditional haveli and elegantly decorated. It features a rooftop restaurant and an outdoor swimming pool. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property.
Nearby attractions include the large and exotic palaces of Hawa Mahal and City Palace that are within 5 km. Khandela Haveli is located 1.5 km from Jaipur Railway Station and 14 km from Jaipur Airport.
The rooms are tastefully decorated and cooled with air-conditioned. They are equipped with a minibar, sofa and satellite TV. Tea/coffee making facilities are available. The en suite bathrooms include shower.
With a 24-hour front desk, the property provides services like luggage storage, laundry and ironing. A tour desk is available to make travel arrangements. A car can be rented to explore the area. Guests can take a relaxing stroll in the garden.
The in-house restaurant serves local and Indian cuisines. The rooftop bar serves refreshing beverages. Room service option is available.
Almondz Hotel puts you in the center of New Delhi, 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Laxminarayan Temple and 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Art Mall. Highlights at this hotel include 2 bars/lounges, a restaurant, and free buffet breakfast.
Almondz Hotel puts you in the center of New Delhi, 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Laxminarayan Temple and 3.5 km (2.2 mi) from Art Mall. Highlights at this hotel include 2 bars/lounges, a restaurant, and free buffet breakfast.
All 28 soundproofed rooms feature LCD TVs with satellite channels, and you can enjoy free WiFi, sitting areas, and coffee/tea makers. Refrigerators and round-the-clock room service make in-room dining easy, and minibars provide refreshments. Nice touches include bathrobes, slippers, and designer toiletries.
Tordi Garh is one of Rajasthan's famous heritage hotels, and is located in the small village of Tordi in the heart of rural Rajasthan. The ancestral family has converted one wing of the former palace into comfortable guest accommodations.
Tordi Garh is one of Rajasthan's famous heritage hotels, and is located in the small village of Tordi in the heart of rural Rajasthan. The ancestral family has converted one wing of the former palace into comfortable guest accommodations. The family still lives there and will be your hosts during your stay.
The hotel has 23 rooms of various sizes, each with its own ethnic and heritage charm. All are en-suite, well appointed and comfortable, with air conditioning or cooling available in the summer and heating in the winter. Meals served are traditionally Indian and guests are welcome in the kitchen to watch and learn about the intricacies of Indian cooking. Home grown vegetables, dairy products, poultry and supplies from other farmers in the village are used, and the stables host horses, cows, goats and hens. The hotel arranges jeep safaris, camel cart and horse rides, and walks to the nearby sand dunes and fort as well as other local options to help you interact with your surroundings and enjoy your time there to the full.
The Kadamb Kunj Resort is a friendly and comfortable mid-range hotel located on the edge of Keoladeo National Park with open fields and farmland to the other side.
The Kadamb Kunj Resort is a friendly and comfortable mid-range hotel located on the edge of Keoladeo National Park with open fields and farmland to the other side. Well reviewed, it has a swimming pool and pleasant gardens with 45 en-suite rooms surrounding an open air courtyard.
The entrance to Keoladeo National Park is just a couple of kilometres away making this a great base for you visit there before heading onto nearby Agra.
Seven Hills Tower Hotel
Seven Hills Tower is situated in the Taj Ganj district in Agra, 1 miles from Taj Mahal and 1.3 miles from Mehtab Bagh. The hotel has a year-round outdoor pool and views of the city, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant.
Seven Hills Tower is situated in the Taj Ganj district in Agra, 1 miles from Taj Mahal and 1.3 miles from Mehtab Bagh. The hotel has a year-round outdoor pool and views of the city, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant. Free private parking is available on site.
Every room at this hotel is air conditioned and comes with a flat-screen TV. Certain rooms feature a seating area where you can relax. You will find a kettle in the room. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom. Seven Hills Tower features free WiFi throughout the property.
The Ranthambhore Bagh is one of the best known lodges providing access to the National Park. It has an excellent reputation and is popular with international photographers, film crews and naturalists as well as tourists looking to enjoy the wildlife.
The Ranthambhore Bagh is one of the best known lodges providing access to the National Park. It has an excellent reputation and is popular with international photographers, film crews and naturalists as well as tourists looking to enjoy the wildlife of the park with friendly and knowledgeable hosts. The hotel comprises landscaped gardens busy with birdlife, and features 10 twin/double en-suite rooms in the main building with an additional 12 luxury tents (available for a supplement) in one of the gardens. Food is good and variable and served on a buffet basis in the garden.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
We use good quality hotels rated at the Indian 3-star and 4-star level on this tour as well as some heritage properties. These heritage hotels are often converted from former palaces or merchant houses and are full of historical character, though they may feel a little dated. They are often a highlight of your stay. At Ranthambore National Park we select lodges that are close to the park entrance and who have staff as interested in the wildlife of the park as their guests.
The specific hotels listed on our website are our preferred hotels for our small-group tours. However, these may be changed from time to time based on current availability and other logistics. In this event alternative hotels of a similar standard will be used. If you would like to guarantee any particular hotels for your trip, please contact us to request a tailor-made tour.
Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will receive a private double room.Please check the Single Room Supplement option for details on room sharing options and charges for solo travellers on this tour.
Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you're really experiencing the country you're travelling through, but at the same time finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour. Due to the somewhat chaotic nature of Indian roads, we only use private vehicles for all road journeys on this tour.
The tour also features a journey on India's famous railway network. The journey from Delhi to Sawai Madhopur takes around 5 hours and we book 2nd Class AC chair seats. You will be shown to your seat in Delhi station and met on the platform on arrival in Sawai Madhopur. Delays of up to an hour are quite common, especially during the winter season if the weather is foggy. Tickets are issued 120 days before departure. If you book within that time we cannot guarantee that you will be seated with other travellers, though the train stewards are normally very helpful and will arrange seat swaps with other people on the train, who are normally very accommodating.
While in Ranthambore National Park we include one safari by jeep (6 seater), and one by canter (20 seater open backed lorry). During busy periods or if you book late we may need to change this to two jeep or two canter safaris.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.
Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour.Most of our Indian tours start and finish at Delhi airport (DEL).
We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There's no point in us providing great guides if you've got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we won't ever put you in a 50-seater coach with 49 other people and just one guide. Instead, we set our India group departures to have a maximum of 12 travellers. The minimum group size is 2. The safaris in Ranthambore are shared with other guests (max 6 per jeep, 20 per canter).
In India we provide a fully trained, local English-speaking tour leader/driver to accompany our groups. On this tour they will pick you up after your time in Ranthambore National Park and be with you for the rest of the tour. Before that we will provide a specialist guide for the Delhi tours and will show you to your seat on the train. Staff from your wildlife lodge at Ranthambore National Park will then meet you on your arrival in Sawai Madhopur station, take you to their hotel and arrange your safaris before we pick you up for the journey to Jaipur. Further specialist local guides are used for the sightseeing tours and national park activities from then on.
At Encounters Travel we have a policy of aiming to use only local Indian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.
We include two safaris into Ranthambore National Park on this tour; one by jeep (max 6 seats) and one by canter (an open backed lorry with max 20 seats). We do this to provide you with a variety of experience and also to give you the best chance of seeing tigers and other wildlife. Each means of transport has its advantages and disadvantages. Jeeps allow you to travel further and more quietly, while canters provide better visibility as you are considerably higher up.
The park is split into different zones, and the park authorities decide which zones the jeeps and canters will visit each day. While we do our best to provide you with the best wildlife viewing opportunities and use lodges with a good relationship with the park authorities, we are not able to control which zones your safaris will go into.
The tour price does not include entrance fees to the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. This allows for fluctuations in the prices set by the local authorities, which do change from time to time.
You should currently allow approx. US$114 per person to cover these entrance fees (this includes one visit to the Taj Mahal). You will also need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit that are not listed in the main tour itinerary. Your guide will offer to collect the entrance fee cost from everyone at the start of the tour and pay on your behalf, or you can arrange them yourself as you go along.
Haggling is a traditional necessity, so its wise not to pay too much regard to initial prices. Instead fix an items value in your mind then negotiate towards it unhurriedly and don't be afraid to simply walk away if the price isn't right. Once you have offered a price though, you should be prepared to pay it as you may cause offence if you then back out.
While an accepted part of the culture and customs in India, tipping is always optional, and the amounts paid should reflect excellent service. We are often asked for advice on common amounts, and for assistance with tipping. Some suggested guidelines are given below.
Restaurants and taxis: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour guide. We suggest USD 5-10 per person per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, for example if you don't have an extra accompanying guide. However USD 3-6 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Tour Guides: To answer your next question. . . as a guideline for tour guides who accompany you on the entire tour, we suggest you allow around USD 5-10 per person per day, but ultimately, as with all the tipping descrbed above, its up to your satisfaction with their service and your personal budget. You should not feel pressured to tip any particular amount.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
India: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Yellow fever rules for India are quite complicated and lengthy. Please read the WHO guidance.
Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting. In general the north eastern regions of India including Assam and Orissa are considered high risk,while the rest of India is generally considered low enough risk that anti-malarial tablets are not necessary for most travellers doing relatively short tours.
Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary.
Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.
Your passport expiry date must be at least 6 months after your time in India finishes. Do not bring a full or almost expired passport. You must also have a machine-readable passport or you may be denied entry. If you have an old-style manually issued passport you will need to replace this with a new machine-readable passport before you travel.
Most nationalities (including UK, USA, European, Australian, Canadian) will need to arrange their Indian tourist visa in advance. A new online e-visa system is available which makes the process more straightforward than before. You can make your application online here... https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html
Visa requirements for India can and do change regularly and we suggest that you arrange your Indian visa early and re-check your specific visa requirements prior to travel for any changes.
The time in India and Sri Lanka is GMT plus 5 1/2 hours.
The time in Nepal is GMT plus 5 3/4 hours.
The time in Bhutan is GMT plus 6 hours.
The time in Tibet is GMT plus 8 hours.
Daylight saving adjustments are not applied.
In Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, sockets are mainly two round pronged and 230 volts (Type C,D,M). In Bhutan a range of different sockets can be found, including two and three round pronged and three flat pronged (Type D,F,G).
Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard UK-European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are sometimes available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already but cannot be guaranteed.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
Rupee (INR; symbol Rs) = 100 paise. Notes are in denominations of Rs 2,000, 1000, 500, 200, 50, 20, 10 and 1 Coins are in denominations of Rs 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50 paise (Rs 0.5). Note: The import and export of local currency is prohibited. Sometimes smaller vendors will not take bills larger than Rs 500. It is best to carry a range of rupee notes if you are shopping at bazaars and local markets.
Note: You must present your passport whenever you change currency or travellers cheques. Commission for foreign exchange is becoming increasingly rare; if it is charged, the fee is nominal.
Credit cards: In major cities, the full cadre of banks cards are generally accepted including debit cards, American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. However, in smaller towns and villages, choice is generally narrowed to cash or MasterCard and Visa.
ATM: 24 hour ATM machines can be found in all the major cities and most large towns. Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus are amongst the most commonly accepted cards.
Travellers cheques: These are gradually getting less accepted but may still be changed at larger banks and some larger hotels. The most widely accepted currencies include US Dollars and Pounds Sterling. Some banks may refuse to change certain brands of traveller's cheques whilst others may exchange quite happily.
We run small-group departures on this tour between October and June, as Ranthambore National Park is closed to visitors during the monsoon months of July to September. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website (please check the website for up-to-date prices and special offers).
Private and tailor-made tours are available on any dates while the park is open and may be adjusted to fit your personal requirements, available time and budget.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
Financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers for the land portion of your tour.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.
Luggage: Suitcases are fine, though you may find rucksacks or large bags are more practical. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always porters to assist.
Luggage allowances: Most international airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 23kg per person of luggage to go in the hold of the plane. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure about luggage allowances on your tour. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover. Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.
Clothing: The weather is mainly hot most of the year with significant variations from region to region. The coolest weather lasts from around the end of November to the beginning of March, with fresh mornings and evenings, and mostly sunny days. The really hot weather, when it is dry, dusty and unpleasant, is between March and June. Monsoon rains occur in most regions in summer anywhere between June and early October.
NOTE: India is very traditional and some heads will turn if you dress provocatively in public. Short tops, short skirts / shorts, tight or body revealing clothes etc should be avoided. You might invite unwanted attention from certain men who stare and pass comments at women to amuse themselves. More detailed climate information is available on the India Country Guide page on our website.
Suggested List: This is a guide only - there's no problem if you bring more or less with you. Cheap comfortable clothing is also readily available in India and laundry is inexpensive. It is also worth having some smarter clothes for going out. Towels are provided and laundry services are available in all the hotels we use.
Men: Lightweight trousers, shorts, light shirts & t-shirts, Swimwear
Women: Light cotton skirts/dressers, loose-fitting trousers, light shirts or t-shirts, loose shorts, Swimwear
Men & Women: Jumper/sweatshirt/fleece, Long sleeved shirt(s) (for cool nights, protection from the sun & mosquitoes, and visits to religious sites etc), Handkerchiefs, socks & underwear, Comfortable trainers/sandals for daily wear, Other shoes/sandals for evening wear, Sunhat or headscarf (headscarfs come in handy for some sights which require women to cover their heard)
First Aid: Although First Aid and medication is readily available in India, it may be very different to what you are used to so individuals should consider bringing along their own personal kit. Your personal kit might include: Sunscreen, sunblock & aftersun, Insect repellent/relief, Antiseptic cream/spray, Plasters and a bandage, Lomotil or Imodium against diarrhea, Pills against nausea, Aspirin for heat-stroke (or hangovers) Your kit should also include your brief medical history, including allergies, blood group, drug vaccinations etc. We suggest bringing copies of prescriptions if you will be carrying medicines on board your flight.
Toiletries: Razor, soap & box, shampoo, Toothpaste, toothbrush & container, Sanitary items
Note: If you wear contact lenses, you should consider taking or wearing glasses instead, as lenses can be uncomfortable and/or cause infections in hot and humid climates.
Other useful items: Sunglasses, Small Torch, Money belt, Camera and equipment, Toilet paper (this is not always provided in public toilets so it is a good idea to carry some spare tissues in your bag. It should be placed in the basket beside the toilet, not flushed away, for you might block the pipes).
IMPORTANT: As it can get extremely hot in India, and the sun can burn very quickly, it is very important to ensure you are protected from the sun with sun-cream & sun-hats, and do not get dehydrated.