Edits: Bazaars & Backwaters in India Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
India
Programmes:
Exodus Edits
Trip Code:
EIA
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

13 Days Land only
Ages: 30s and 40s

Trip Overview

Brace yourself. This two-week extravaganza explores one of the world’s most magnificent lands. A whirlwind tour of the Golden Triangle in the north sees you checking out the highlights in style, with sunrise yoga at the Taj Mahal and a night in a palatial fort. Then head south to Kerala for adventures through the spice-scented countryside and glorious backwaters. You’ll see remarkable wildlife, mingle with the locals and taste extraordinary flavours. To experience the spirituality, history, traditions, cuisine and culture of India, you have to dive right in.

If this Edits trip isn’t for you then please take a look at our alternative version Highlights of Portugal trip, or view our full range of Edits trips here.

At a Glance

  • Eleven nights 3-5 star hotels, one-night houseboat
  • Airport transfers

Trip Highlights

  • See some of India’s most famous spectacles , including the Taj Mahal
  • Go bamboo rafting in the lush Periyar National Park
  • Work alongside locals in a village outside Jaipur

Is This Trip for You?

  • This trip is suitable for anyone with a normal level of fitness
  • For bamboo rafting it is important to be able to swim and feel comfortable on the water. Life-jackets are provided

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Min group size:
6
Max group size:
16

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Delhi
End City:
Cochin

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Arrive in vibrant Delhi

    On arrival in Delhi, you’ll transfer to a hotel in the popular Karol Bagh area, known for its eclectic and colourful market. Depending on your arrival time, you may have a little while to start to explore this cacophonous place.

    Hotel: Jivitesh 

  • Day 2

    Get under the skin of Old Delhi

    This morning is dedicated to exploring the sights and sounds of Delhi in ways that support local communities and charities. First there’s an off-the-grid walking tour, exploring Old Delhi with true experts – ex-street children. They’ll show you a side of Old Delhi not seen on standard tours. Curious and enthusiastic, they’re just as likely to ask questions as to answer them as you make your way around the hectic streets and bustling alleyways.

    Next, you’ll visit the kitchens of a Sikh Temple to meet the people who serve food to thousands of Delhi’s most impoverished citizens every day.  You’ll eat alongside the diners before leaving Delhi and taking the expressway to Agra, home of the alluring Taj Mahal. 

    Hotel: Howard Plaza Fern

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch
  • Day 3

    Sunrise yoga at the Taj Mahal

    A yoga class at dawn, with the Taj Mahal bathed in the morning light as your backdrop, will surely be a seminal moment of your trip. Breakfast is back at the hotel before you return to the Taj Mahal for a tour of this beautiful and majestic building.

    Later, you’ll put your dancing shoes on for a lesson in the most energetic moves on the planet -- Bollywood style.  

    Hotel: Howard Plaza Fern

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    On to Jaipur for a bazaar and street food tour

    Today you’ll travel to the enthralling city of Jaipur, stopping at Abhaneri Stepwell en route.  Not your ordinary water well, this architectural gem is a real marvel and is one of the oldest and deepest stepwells in Rajasthan.

    You’ll arrive in Jaipur with plenty of time to explore the colourful bazaars with your tour leader on a foodie walking tour, feasting on delicious pre-dinner street food snacks. 

    Hotel: KK Royal

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    A day with locals

    This morning you’ll visit Amber Fort, a magnificent complex crafted from yellow and pink sandstone. Then it’s on to a Dhula village to meet local families and artisans such as potters and bangle makers. You’ll have the opportunity to get hands-on, helping farmers milk cows or plough fields and genuinely experience rural life.  

    In the evening, there’s time to explore exotic Jaipur and the chaotic streets that thrum with camels, buses and motorbikes.

    Hotel: KK Royal

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Feel like royalty at a Fort Palace stay

    Today you’ll head to the glorious 15th-century Neemrana Fort-Palace, now a spectacular hotel. It’s a sprawling resort that extends over nine palace wings. But before you wander the Fort-Palace’s hanging gardens or , swim in the pools that look out over the hillsides, you’ll take a dromedary (an Arabian camel) for an unforgettable ride around the local area.

    Then, as the sun sets, enjoy the magical atmosphere as hundreds of fairy lights sparkle across the resort.

    Hotel:  Neemrana Fort Palace Hotel 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 7

    Fly south to Kerala

    Leaving your palatial surroundings behind, head to Delhi airport for a flight south to Cochin (or Kochi as it’s otherwise known) in Kerala. There’s a wild mix of history and culture here, curated from the influences of over 600 years of traders and travellers. The Cochin of today is a centre of Keralan arts and wandering the quaint lanes lined with cafes, galleries and handicraft shops give you a sense of this traditional and contemporary art scene. Dinner this evening is on a pier at a waterfront restaurant, serving seafood specialities.  

    Hotel: No 18 Fort Cochin

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Cycle around historic Fort Cochin

    Arguably the best way to see Fort Cochin is by bike. So today you’ll take a leisurely cycle ride, stopping to try your hand at working the Chinese Fishing Nets, the imposing cantilevered contraptions that are a legacy of ancient traders.  After, the time is your own to continue exploring Cochin. This evening there’s a private sundowner cruise to enjoy another blazing Indian sunset with drinks and snacks.

    Hotel: No 18 Fort Cochin

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Explore a spice plantation

    Today head inland to the misty, spice-scented valleys of Periyar National Park. There’s time to settle into the hotel after the journey before joining a local specialist on a spice garden walking tour to learn how spices grow, smell and taste. This evening there’s a mesmerising martial arts performance and dinner. 

    Hotel: Cardamon County 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Dinner
  • Day 10

    Hike and raft through Periyar National Park

    After breakfast, you’ll explore Periyar National Park. As you walk through the forest, your ranger will point out animal tracks, perhaps from bison, sambar, wild boar or elephants. Although elusive, there are tigers here too. Next, take to the lake on a bamboo raft for a serene and reflective look at the majesty of the park.  There’s a picnic for lunch, and then the afternoon is free to indulge in the hotel’s spa and wellness facilities.

    Hotel: Cardamom County

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 11

    Stay on a houseboat in Alleppey

    Transfer to the glorious water-world of Alleppey. It’s the centre of Kerala’s backwaters and a maze of waterways. The houseboats here are a famous feature and you’ll stay onboard one of these basic but beautiful vessels tonight. Boarding in time for lunch you will see local village life unfold as we pass through green paddy fields and verdant countryside. Tonight, your houseboat crew will prepare a traditional Keralan dinner.

    Kerala Houseboat

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 12

    Kick back on Cherai Beach

    Leaving your houseboat in Alleppey behind, you’re bound for Cherai Beach on Vypeen Island. The pace here is decidedly unhurried (a world away from your city experiences) and the day is yours to relax on the beach, lapped by the Arabian Sea. If you’re looking for more adventure, there are plenty of watersports to try. Or simply kick back and enjoy the sound of the waves as a fitting farewell to your Indian immersion.

    Hotel:  Sea Lagoon

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 13

    A final breakfast

    Your Indian adventure comes to an end after breakfast when you can join the free transfer to Cochin airport. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels and Houseboat

Jivitesh, Delhi

Comfortable and well-equipped rooms within easy reach of local shops and entertainment.

Howard Plaza - The Fern, Agra

This hotel is close to the iconic Taj Mahal. Along with comfortable rooms and excellent facilities, it’s got top eco-credentials.

KK Royal, Jaipur

Close to Amer’s palaces, the KK Royal has spacious and elegant rooms with views of the forts and hills.

Neemrana Fort, Neemrana

An exceptional and experiential place to stay, this medieval Fort-Palace is now a spectacular hotel with grandly furnished rooms.

No 18 Fort Kochi, Cochin

Smartly finished guestrooms fill this colonial building in the heart of Fort Kochi.

Cardamom County, Thekkady

A glorious nature resort nestled in the verdant Keralan landscape. Its various facilities include a butterfly garden, Ayurveda and spa.

Houseboats, Alleppey

Stay on-board a simple and authentic crewed houseboat to journey through the waterways of Alleppey. 

Sea Lagoon Health Resort, Cherai Beach

Occupying a sublime spot between the Arabian Sea and the serene backwaters, this is the ultimate resort for unwinding.

Where a solo room is available, paying for a solo room only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for solo occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a solo room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a solo room.

Solo supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

  • All breakfasts, three lunches and four dinners are included
  •  If you are a vegetarian, India is an easy destination to travel through

Where meals are not included, our tour leaders always encourage people to try local restaurants and will arrange a group dinner for those who would like to meet up with their fellow travellers. 

Joining Instructions

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Arrival Transfers in Delhi

Exodus Edits provide FREE airport arrival transfers for any flight for this trip. The transfer will be to the Exodus Edits start (or pre-tour) hotel and from the end hotel (or post-tour) hotel, and will be on the date on which the tour starts/ends; transfers to other hotels in the same city and/or on different dates may attract an extra charge. Transfers may be shared with other Exodus Edits customers on the same flight, oir on a flight with similar arrival times. All those taking advantage of the free airport transfers must provide full flight details for both arrival and departure in advance.

We know that the unexpected can happen. Your plane my get delayed, or things just don't go to plan. If you miss your tour departures, check with the hotel to see if your tour leader has left you a message with details of how to catch up with your group. If not, call our emergency number (you will find it on the final joining instructions) and our team will help you. Don't forget that you are responsible for any extra travelling expenses incurred if you miss your tour departure.

Departure transfers in Cochin

One transfer time from Cherai Beach to Cochin International Airport is available if you would like to join it free of charge.  Please contact us for details.

Flights

Remember, flights aren't automatically included in your trip. If you'd like the Exodus Edits team to help you find some good options, give us a call on +44020 8772 3837.

Location start:
Delhi
Location end:
Cherai Beach

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Warm sweater/fleece for evenings in winter
  • Torch
  • Refillable water bottle (water available on our bus)
  • Trainers/walking shoes
  • Insect repellent
  • Small personal first aid kit
  • Socks for entering temples
  • Clothing should cover shoulders and be on or below the knee (It’s highly recommended that dress is conservative throughout this trip)

Please note:

As of November 2019 the Indian government has announced a ban on e-cigarettes and related products.  You will be unable to buy e-cigarettes in India or bring them into the country. Please ensure you do not pack these in your luggage.

 

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment

Sanitising hand gel

Internal Flights Weight Limit

Please note that a domestic flight is taken on this trip and the limit is 15 kg so you need to ensure your total luggage weight does not exceed this.  If it does you will required to pay extra weight prices at the domestic checkin for the flight from Delhi to Cochin.

Practical Information

Passport

India

All nationalities require a full passport which must be machine readable, with 2 blank pages for your visa and valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of your visa  application. However, the guidelines regarding passport validity on arrival in India are unclear. To avoid possible problems at immigration, make sure your passport is valid for a minimum of 180 days at the time of entry into India.  It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

India

Visas are required if you are British and for most other nationalities. For UK residents full details of the visa process can be found here. Other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies.

If your trip visits Ladakh, in the very north of India, or Sikkim in the northeast, do not mention this on your Indian visa application. This can sometimes slow down or even cause the embassy to reject your visa.

When you reach immigration, you are required to pick up an immigration form. If you have an e-visa, ensure you stand in the correct queue - please follow the signs to the e-visa booth (in Delhi this is at the back of the immigration hall). You will need to fill out an additional form at the booth - please make sure that you have the details of your start hotel ready (these details can be found on your Final Joining Instructions).

 

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Exodus Edits

Local Time

India's Timezone:
Asia/Kolkata IST (GMT +05:30)

Electricity

India's Electricity:

In India the voltage is 230/240 volts AC, 50 Hz.

Power plugs and sockets are of type C, D and M. It varies greatly which is used in different locations. M is the least used. There are recharging facilities at all the hotels, though the electricity supply is not 100% reliable but it is usually only off for short periods of time.

Money

India's Currency

The national currency of India is the Indian Rupee (INR), with an exchange rates at the time of publication (September 2019) GBP£1 - 88 INR, CAN$1 - 54 INR, US$1 - 71 INR, AUS$1 - 48 INR.

It is illegal to import or export rupees. Do not accept torn or (very) dirty Indian banknotes from banks or in change as they will almost certainly not be accepted as legal tender in India. Please ask for low denomination notes of 100 and 500 Rupees as the new 2000 Rupee notes can be difficult to use out of Delhi. You can change money back from Rupees into Pounds or Dollars at Delhi airport (before going through security), but you must produce an exchange receipt showing that you changed money in India.

ATM Availability

Even though ATMs are available in the larger cities in India we cannot guarantee that your card will be easily accepted even if you have advised your bank of your travels.  So we suggest you don't rely on this 100% and carry cash that you can exchange to ensure you are not caught out.  Some larger shops and restaurants in larger cities may take credit/debit cards.  

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

  • To cover any additional costs, including meals not listed in the itinerary, we recommend a spending budget of approximately GBP 400, USD 500, CAD 670, and AUD 745.

Tipping

  • If you wish to tip your group leader in appreciation of their help and friendliness, we recommend around 275-350 INR per person, per day. (GBP 3-4, USD 4-5, CAD 6-7, AUD 6-7 at time of publication)
  • For your driver and the other staff who will provide assistance during the trip we recommend a total of around 2,500 INR per person which will then be shared between all staff.  (GBP 27, USD 35, CAD 46, AUD 51 at time of publication) 

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

Learn more about what sustainable travel means to Exodus Edits here…

Live Adventure, Give Adventure.

Each time you book an adventure with Edits, we’ll contribute £15 to the Inspiration Project. That’s enough money to fund a day trip for a local child. Since 2017, our guides have been taking disadvantaged children to see their country’s famous sights and you’ll help us do this more in 2021.

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Important Notes

In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country,  please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions

For this trip the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.

Internal flight   £75 / US$98 / AU$143 / €83 / CA$143
Accommodation   £233 / US$303 / AU$443 / €48 / CA$443

Costs are accurate at time of writing in September 2020

If you need to cancel your trip because you or a member of your party is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has received a request from the Government to self-isolate, you will receive a full refund less these irrecoverable costs.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.