product, (WHI)

Kathmandu to Delhi 1 days, departing 06 Dec 2016
A misty boat ride on the way to Chitwan National Park, Nepal Bhaktapur Square in Kathmandu A view over Durbar Square, Kathmandu The Lahore Gate at the front of the Red Fort, Delhi

Trip Overview

Trip Style: Overlanding
Route: Kathmandu to Delhi
Duration: 1 days
Transport: Overland expedition vehicle, Private bus, Tuk-tuk, Boat
Physical Rating:

EASY HARD


Suitable for most fitness levels.
Accommodation:

20%80%

Hotels, Campsites

Route Map

Countries Visited

India

India has shared so much of its incredible culture with the rest of the world, so a visit to this diverse and eclectic country is a chance to experience where it all began. India has so much to offer, from the beautiful landscapes of the Himalayas, the amazing temples and coastlines, the rich culture, the chaotic cities and of course the amazing food!

India's highlights include its stunning historical treasures such as the ancient cities of Fatehpur Sikri and Hampi, the Humayun's Tomb and Qutub Minar in Delhi, the phenomenal caves of Ellora and Ajanta, the stunning Shore Temples of Mahabalipuram, and of course the world-famous Taj Mahal. There are some incredible religious sites, such as the Hindu temples of Tirumala, Madurai and Karmi Mata, and the Buddhist sites of Sikkim. There are some wonderful natural areas such as the vast deserts of Jaisalmer, the cool tea plantations of Wayanad and Darjeeling, the mountains of Gangtok, and the incredible beaches of Varkala and Goa.

Foremost a visit to India is probably best remembered by the welcome you are likely to receive. This, combined with India's unique atmosphere and the seemingly endless variety of the culture and the sights, is what brings travellers returning time and time again.

Nepal

Wrapped around the Himalayan mountain range is the remarkable country of Nepal. It is the birthplace of Buddha and is a land of fabled legend and incredible beauty. Within its narrow confines, Nepal contains an utterly spectacular variety of culture and landscapes. As well as its stunning natural beauty, Nepal has a simple charm, a wonderful atmosphere, and is brimming with amazing culture and history.

Situated on the banks of the Bagmati River, Kathmandu is the hub of life in Nepal, and a traveller's paradise. A small medieval city, it's highlights are the historic Durbar Square, the Temple of the Living Goddess, the Royal Palace, the Pashupatinath Hindu temple, Boudhanath Buddhist stupa, and the Swayambunath Monkey temple - all set against the magnificent Himalayan backdrop.

Outside of the buzzing capital, Nepal has an incredible diversity of landscape and climate - from the high Himalayan mountains of the Annapurna range and Kodari, to the delightful foothills of Dhulikhel and Pokhara, to the humid lowland rainforests of Chitwan National Park. There is an equally varied number of activities, from wildlife-spotting in Chitwan, to trekking in the incredible countryside, to white water rafting, to scenic flights over Mount Everest!

With traditional culture, diverse landscapes, and the friendly atmosphere, Nepal is an incredibly memorable place to visit!

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Daily Itinerary

A misty boat ride on the way to Chitwan National Park, Nepal
At boat on the Ganges at sunset, near Varanasi
A colourful pilgrim at the holy Hindu city of Varanasi in northern India
Local street traders in Agra
The incredible Mughal mausoleum of the Taj Mahal in Agra
Local man in Agra, India
The Lahore Gate at the front of the Red Fort, Delhi
The India Gate in New Delhi, India
The ancient minaret of Qutab Minar, Delhi
Humayun's Tomb in Delhi
A young monkey in the Rajasthani city of Jaipur
The mighty Hawa Mahal Palace of the Winds in Jaipur, India
The serene gardens inside the Amber Fort of Jaipur, India
The amazing Amber Fort in Jaipur at night
Kathakali puppets in Jaipur
In the Hawa Mahal Palace in Jaipur, India
Jaipur Palace at sunset, India
Bhaktapur Square in Kathmandu
A view over Durbar Square, Kathmandu
The beautiful Durbar Square, Kathmandu
The ancient Bouddhanath stupa in Kathmandu at sunrise
The ancient Bouddhanath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal
The narrow streets of Thamel district, Kathmandu
The phenomenal stonework on the 10th-centry temples of Khajuraho
The stunning Khajuraho temples, India
The immense 10th-century Khajuraho Erotic Temples, India
Erotic scenes sculpted into the Khajuraho temples, India
The incredible architecture of the Erotic Temples of Khajuraho, India
Washing clothes in the Ganges in Varanasi
A candle on the ghats of Varanasi
Devout Hindus on the ghats in the holy city of Varanasi, India
The ghats on the shore of the Ganges, Varanasi
A colourful pilgrim at the holy Hindu city of Varanasi in northern India
A Hindu pilgrim on the ghats of Varanasi, the holiest city in Hinduism
Ornate arches in the ancient city of Fatehpur Sikri, India
Dragoman group in Fatehpur Sikri, India
The Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri, India
Fatehpur Sikri, India
Wooden canoes parked in Chitwan National Park
An elephant enjoying a mud bath in Chitwan National Park
A rhino taking a swin in Chitwan National Park, Nepal
On a wooden canoe ride through the rivers of Chitwan National Park
Asiatic rhinos spotted in Chitwan National Park, Nepal
The stunning forests of Chitwan National Park, Nepal
The iconic Taj Mahal, built in the 16th century in Agra
A local boy takes a swim in front of the famous Taj Mahal
The iconic Taj Mahal, built in the 16th century in Agra
The Taj Mahal, a world-famous symbol of India
The busy streets of Gorokphur, India
Cycle-rickshaws navigating the streets of Gorokphur, India

Day 1: Kathmandu

( Tue 06 Dec )

Border Information: Welcome to Kathmandu! If you are joining the trip in Kathmandu, you will most likely enter Nepal at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport.

Wrapped around the Himalayan mountain range is the remarkable country of Nepal. It is the birthplace of the Buddha and is a land of legend and beauty. Within its narrow confines Nepal contains an utterly spectacular variety of culture and landscapes. Nepal has a stunning natural beauty and a simple charm.

There is an important group meeting at 6:00pm. Your leader will leave a note at reception telling you where and when this important meeting will take place.

In Kathmandu we stay in a good quality hotel.

Hotel for the night: Hotel Tibet

Hotel Tibet

Lazimpat Road

Kathmandu 44600

Nepal

Tel - +977 1442 9085

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the nearby medieval square of Patan Durbar and it's many beautiful temples

NPR 250

Freely explore the incredible ancient Tibetan Buddhist stupa of Boudanath, its origins stretching back to the 5th century

NPR 100

Walk through the winding streets of Thamel and visit the famous Swayumbuthnath Monkey Temple overlooking Kathmandu

NPR 200

Freely explore the famous Kathmandu Durbar Square, the heart of the Nepalese capital

NPR 750

Take a trip out to visit the incredible Hindu temple of Changu Narayan, the oldest temple in Nepal

NPR 250

Visit the former royal palace of Narayanhiti and see the crown jewels of Nepal

NPR 500

Visit the sacred Hindu Pashupatinath Temple, dedicated to Nepal's unofficial national deity

NPR 1000
Get out of the city and explore the nearby national park of Sundarijal, and see its idyllic waterfalls and rock formations NPR 250
Visit the beautiful and tranquil Durbar Square in the nearby medieval town of Bhaktapur, and visit its nearby museums NPR 750
About Kathmandu:

Kathmandu is the magnificent and evocative capital of Nepal - situated on the shores of the Bagmati river, it's a lively, bustling place where ancient collides with modern to create an exhilarating melting pot of sights, sounds and smells. Today's modern jumble of concrete buildings and busy streets has built up around the medieval old town, where wandering through the winding alleyways is like taking a step back in time.

The heart of the old city is the magnificent Durbar Square, where Nepalese Royalty used to be crowned, and today it's a good spot to sit and watch the world go by. The buildings here date from the 17th and 18th Centuries, although many of the original structures were even older and many suffered from earthquake damage over the last few centuries.

Other sights worth visiting are the Temple of the Living Goddess, the Royal Palace, the Pashupatinath Hindu temple, Boudhanath Buddhist stupa and Swayambunath (the Monkey Temple), all of which are set against the magnificent Himalayan backdrop. When all the sightseeing gets a bit too much, you can kick back and relax in the numerous cafes and bars around the tourist areas of Thamel and ‘Freak Street'.

Day 2: Chitwan National Park

( Wed 07 Dec )

Today we will leave Kathmandu after breakfast, driving 200kms through stunning scenery down to the Terai grasslands. Our destination is Chitwan National Park, where we will stay for the next 2 nights.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours (please note that all drive times given here are the approximate number of hours that the truck will be in motion only, and does not include any time taken for coffee or lunch stops, border crossings, photo stops, activities en route, comfort breaks, shopping stops, toilet stops, etc. The times given are approximate estimates only and whilst given with the best of intentions, the drive times are heavily dependent on traffic, road conditions, weather, police roadblocks, and many other factors - flexibility is essential on any overland trip!).

If we arrive in good time we will make a visit to Bis Hajaar Tal, also known as 20,000 Lakes, which is a wetland area near the Royal Chitwan National Park. Here we will get the opportunity to see peacocks, wild boars, deer and there is also a slim chance of seeing tigers and rhinos. If we cannot visit 20,000 Lakes today we will make our visit tomorrow.

In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge.

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the village of Chitwan on a tour by traditional ox and cart Included in Kitty
Explore the heart of the incredible Chitwan National Park on a jeep safari (alternative to the 20,000 Lake excursion) NPR 3500

Canoe through the rivers of the Chitwan National Park, and explore the area on a walking safari in search of rhino and other wildlife

Included in Kitty

Take a jeep safari around the stunning wetland area of 20,000 Lakes

Included in Kitty
Witness the fascinating and impressive local tradition of Tharu stick dancing Included in Kitty
About Chitwan National Park:

Chitwan National Park is situated in the central Nepali Terai, a huge nature reserve protecting hundreds of square kilometres of grassland and marshes. Home to over 700 species of animals in total, it's a fantastic place to look for wildlife - if you're very lucky then you may spot a heavily-armoured Asiatic Rhino, as well as sloth bears and even tigers! You can go on walking safaris, boat trips or travel by jeep in the National Park.

Day 3: Chitwan National Park

( Thu 08 Dec )

Today we'll spend the day exploring the national park by canoe and on foot, and there is the option to take a jeep safari! There will be an opportunity to see a traditional Nepali dance demonstration in the evening.

Overnight in lodge in village.

Day 4: Chitwan National Park

( Fri 09 Dec )

Today we'll spend the day exploring the national park by canoe and on foot, and there is the option to take a jeep safari! There will be an opportunity to see a traditional Nepali dance demonstration in the evening.

In Chitwan we will stay in a local guest lodge.

Activity Approximate Cost
Explore the village of Chitwan on a tour by traditional ox and cart Included in Kitty
Explore the heart of the incredible Chitwan National Park on a jeep safari (alternative to the 20,000 Lake excursion) NPR 3500

Canoe through the rivers of the Chitwan National Park, and explore the area on a walking safari in search of rhino and other wildlife

Included in Kitty

Take a jeep safari around the stunning wetland area of 20,000 Lakes

Included in Kitty
Witness the fascinating and impressive local tradition of Tharu stick dancing Included in Kitty

Day 5: Gorakhpur

( Sat 10 Dec )

Border Information: Exit Nepal at Belhiya, enter India at Sonauli.

Today we enter India. India has so much to offer: from the beautiful landscapes of the Himalayas, to the amazing temples and coastlines, rich culture, and of course the food!

This morning we have a fairly relaxed start to the day before packing up and driving to the border. We will cross the border to India and continue on a short drive to the town of Gorokphur.

We will stay in a local hotel in Gorokphur.

Estimated Drive Time - 10 hours (including the border crossing).

Day 6 to 7: Varanasi

( Sun 11 Dec to Mon 12 Dec )

Today we will continue driving and reach the holy city of Varanasi in the evening.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the following day we will get up very early for a boat trip down the Ganges. This is a magical time of day to see the Ghats and watch the morning rituals of the thousands of people who come here to purify themselves in the holy river. We will have auto-rickshaws for the rest of he day to explore the rest of the city - we will have the opportunity to use them to visit a traditional silk workshop and the Mother India temple.

In Varanasi we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Drift down the holy River Ganges in Varanasi by boat, explore the city's famous ghats, and witness the dawn spectacle of up to 60,000 devout Hindus bathing at the start of the day

Included in Kitty

Freely explore the sacred Sankat Mochan Temple dedicated to the Hindu deity of Hanuman - watch out for the hundreds of resident monkeys!

Free
Visit the Mughal-era mosque of Gyanvapi in Varanasi Free
Visit the ancient site of Isipatana and the museum in the town of Sarnath, one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the world and where many Buddhist nations have built temples in their national styles USD 5
About Varanasi:

Set on the banks of the river Ganges, Varanasi (formerly known as Benares) is the holiest place in the Hindu religion. Hindu pilgrims travel here from all over the world come here to wash away their sins in the blessed river water of the Ganges, and to cremate their loved ones who have passed away. In Hindu mythology, to die in the city of Varanasi will result in instant "moksha", a release from the cycle of death and reincarnation. Varanasi is also the birthplace of Buddhism, as the Buddha is said to have given his first ever sermon at the nearby site of Sarnath in 528 BCE. 

Dawn is probably the best time of day to experience the city - by floating down the river on a boat, you can witness thousands of worshippers coming to the river's ghats to purify themselves in their morning rituals. You will also be able to see the burning ghats, where the bodies of the faithful are cremated and their ashes strewn out over the waters. To the Hindu people, Varanasi is a very special and spritual place, and it has a very evocative and sometimes other-wordly atmosphere, although being so close to the intimate rituals of life and death can sometimes leave you feeling a little overwhelmed. 

Day 8 to 10: Khajuraho

( Tue 13 Dec to Thu 15 Dec )

Today we will drive to the town of Khajuraho, having some free time to relax at our treehouse campsite when we arrive.

Estimated Drive Time - 9-10 hours.

On the next day we will head out for an included guided visit to the Khajuraho Erotic Temples.

The next day is free to explore the area, relax on the banks of the river, or take an optional jeep safari to the nearby Panna National Park in search of wildlife.

In Khajuraho we will stay in a campsite with good facilities.

Activity Approximate Cost

Explore the beautiful Panna Game Reserve on a jeep safari, in search of the wealth of wildlife that resides there

INR 1500

See the famous erotic sculptures at the incredible 11th-century temples at Khajuraho

Included in Kitty
About Khajuraho:

Khajuraho was once the capital of the Chandelas of Jejakabhukti between the 10th-13th Centuries CE, a small Rajput kingdom. Rajput kingdoms were small local dynasties that dominated political life across northern and central India between the 6th Century BCE and the 20th Century CE. The Chandelas of Jejakabhukti ruled over much of the modern-day region of Bundelkhand, and built the magnificent Hindu and Jain temples in Khajuraho in around 1000 CE.

Considered to be "one of the seven wonders of India", the temples are in three geographic groups - western, eastern and southern. Because they were built in quite a remote and inaccessible location, the western group of temples have been almost perfectly preserved. Set in peaceful, well-kept gardens, the temples are magnificently decorated and covered in some very graphic carvings depicting all sorts of erotic acts!

Day 11 to 12: Agra, Taj Mahal

( Fri 16 Dec to Sat 17 Dec )

After breakfast we leave our campsite and head 400kms to Agra. Most of today will be spent travelling and we will arrive in the evening.

Estimated Drive Time - 11-12 hours.

On the following day we will have an included day tour of the major sites of Agra, starting with sunrise at the world-famous iconic mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, followed by a visit to the Agra Fort.

In Agra we will stay in a local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

See the world-famous Taj Mahal, a stunning icon of India

Included in Kitty

Visit the exquisite Mughal architecture within the Agra Red Fort

Included in Kitty
Explore the peaceful grounds of the Itmad Ud Daulah mausoleum, often described as a 'draft' of the Taj Mahal INR 100
About Agra:

Of course the main highlight of Agra is the iconic Taj Mahal, but this means that it is all too easy to overlook some of the city's other magnificient sites. 

Agra (then known as Akhbarabad) was the capital of the Mughal empire under Shahs Akhbar, Jahangir, and Jahan, before Shah Jahan moved it to Shahjahanabad (modern-day Delhi) in 1648 CE. The heritage of the Mughals is still evident, not just with the stunning Taj Mahal, but with the spectacular Red Fort and wonderful Itmad-ud-Daulah tomb (sometimes known as the 'Baby Taj'). The city is also a good place for shopping, particularly jewellery, textiles and other arts and crafts.

About Taj Mahal:

The Taj Mahal is by far the most recognisable icon of India. One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, coming face-to-face with this magnificent building never disappoints.

Built between 1632-1653 CE by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, the spectacular building was a mausoleum in memory of his second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died while giving birth to their 14th child. Because of this origin, the building is often described as a "monument to love".

It took over 20,000 labourers and skilled craftsmen to built it, some of whom were brought in from all over India, Central Asia and even Europe to work on the marble inlay work and complex decorations. The site has been described by UNESCO as being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage".

The Taj Mahal is fantastic to explore at any time of the day, but the early mornings are the best - sitting quietly and watching as the iridescent white marble takes on a soft morning glow is a memory you will never forget.

Day 13 to 14: Jaipur, Fatehpur Sikri

( Sun 18 Dec to Mon 19 Dec )

We leave Agra today and head 230kms overland to the pink city of Jaipur, stopping en route at Fatehpur Sikri (the old capital of the Mughal Empire).

Estimated Drive Time - 6-8 hours (depending on the time spent at Fatehpur Sikri).

On the following day we will have a full day exploring the sites of Jaipur on the truck with our local guide. Whilst in Jaipur there will also be the option for an early morning or late afternoon hot air balloon ride over the city.

In Jaipur we will stay in a comfortable local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Freely explore the unique and arresting complex of palaces, pavilions, gardens and temples at the Jaipur City Palace, including the iconic Palace of the Winds

Included in Kitty

Take an unforgettable sunrise or sunset balloon ride over the forts and palaces of Jaipur

USD 250
See a traditional outdoor Rajasthani Kathputli puppet show in Jaipur INR 100
Explore the fascinating 18th-century astronomical observatory of Jantar Mantar Included in Kitty

Visit the ancient citadel of the Amber Palace, a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture

Included in Kitty
Head out to see a Bollywood movie at the Raj Mandir, one of India's most famous and elegant cinemas INR 80

Discover the perfectly-preserved 16th-century Mughal capital of Fatehpur Sikri, and its beautiful temples and monuments

Included in Kitty
About Jaipur:

The city of Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan, and named after its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II who moved his capital here from nearby Amer in the 18th Century due to population growth. It is known as the "Pink City", as all the buildings within the walls of the old town are painted a dusky rose pink - the story goes that Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh ordered that all the buildings should be painted in this colour to welcome the visiting Prince of Wales (who later became Edward VII) to the city in 1876, and the buildings have remained the same colour ever since.

Jaipur is busy and bustling, with chaotic streets full of traffic, but it is also home to some incredible architecture and colourful history. The Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal) in the city centre is the most famous building, with storey after storey of intricately carved honeycomb windows - and the impressive City Palace should not be missed.

Other sites of interest include the old Jantar Mantar Observatory and the Iswari Minar Swarga Sal minaret. It's also a great city for people-watching, set out on foot and you will find yourself surrounded by tall, proud Rajasthanis. Many of the men sport magnificent handlebar moustaches and huge brightly coloured turbans whilst the women are equally colourful in their mirrored skirts and chunky jewellery.

About Fatehpur Sikri:

Fatehpur Sikri is the site of the perfectly preserved but deserted capital built by Akbar, the third Emperor of the Mughal Empire. In 1569 CE, Akbar founded the new city to honour the Sufi holy man Salim Chishti, who had previously blessed him and foretold the birth of Akbar’s only son. Akbar proclaimed the city as the new Mughal capital in 1571, only for it to be abandoned in 1585 due to the drying up of the only water source. After briefly declaring Lahore as the new capital, it was once again returned to the nearby city of Agra.

There is little left of the wider orignal city, but much of the magnificent imperial complex, protective walls and wonderful old mosque remain almost intact, a testament to the might and power of  Akbar and the Mughal Empire.

Day 15 to 16: Delhi

( Tue 20 Dec to Wed 21 Dec )

Today we leave Jaipur and travel 245kms to arrive in Delhi in the afternoon.

Estimated Drive Time - 7 hours.

The following morning we will have an included guided tour of Old Delhi, heading to the Mughal Jama Masjid mosque, a local tea-maker, a Sikh temple, and the local spice markets. We will also have some free time to freely explore the sights of Delhi in the afternoon. 

In Delhi we will stay in a friendly local hotel.

Activity Approximate Cost

Take a walking tour through some of the back streets and narrow alleyways of Old Delhi, discovering the hidden side of the city

Included in Kitty

Freely explore the colossal Mughal Red Fort in Old Delhi, built by the emporer Shah Jahan in 1648 upon moving the capital there

INR 250

Visit the stunning Mughal-era mosque of Jama Masjid in Old Delhi, and climb its iconic minarets for an unrivalled view of the old city

INR 400

See some of the incredible artifacts and antiquities in the National Museum in Delhi

INR 600

Visit the Indira Gandhi Museum in Delhi, dedicated to the former Prime Minister who was assassinated by her own bodyguards in 1984

INR 100

Discover the fascinating modern displays and buildings of the Swaminarayan Akshardham Hindu Temple, reportedly the largest Hindu building in the world

INR 200

See the ground-breaking modern architecture of the Delhi Baha'i Temple, known as the Lotus Temple due to its unique shape

Free
Explore the Sanjay Colony 'slum' area of Delhi on a guided tour to see the micro-industries, schools and residential life there INR 600

See the India Gate at the end of Delhi's ceremonial axis, built to commemorate all Indians who have died in various wars

Free

Discover the phenomenal 13th Century Qutab Minar and Mehrauli Archaeological Park in the south of Delhi, an intricately-carved pillar built during the Sultanate era of Indian history

INR 250

Explore the site of Humayun’s Tomb, a phenomenal early Mughal tomb that is said to be a major inspiration for the Taj Mahal

INR 250
About Delhi:

Delhi is the bustling and thriving Indian capital, and the third largest urban area in the world (behind Tokyo and Jakarta). 

The Delhi area has been continuously inhabited since at least the 6th century BCE and has served as the a capital of various kingdoms and empires throughout the last three millennia, most prominantly by the Afghan and Turkic Sultanates of the medieval period, and the Mughal Empire between the 16th and 18th Centuries. The city was taken by British colonial forces in 1858 and made the capital in 1911, a status which was kept when India gained its independence in 1947.

Delhi has many incredible sights spanning all eras of its history. The Lok Sabha (parliament building), President’s Palace, India Gate and the Rajpath are impressive reminders of the old British Indian Empire, while a trip on the metro to Qutab Minar will let you discover this intricately carved tower built during the Afghan Sultanate period. To surround yourself in the phenomenal Mughal-era architecture, take a visit to Humayan's Tomb (allegedly a forerunner of the Taj Mahal), and the magnificent Red Fort and Jama Masjid in the area known as 'Old Delhi'.

Bustling Delhi is also a great place to indulge in shopping and people-watching. In the old town you'll find Chandni Chowk, a colourful shopping bazaar and fascinating market. The market is one of the most popular in India, taking it's name from the words meaning "moonlight square".

Day 17: Delhi

( Thu 22 Dec )

Border Information: If finishing your trip in Delhi, you will likely exit India at Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Today is a free for you to explore Delhi at your leisure. Please note that if you are leaving the trip in Delhi, there is no accommodation included for tonight.

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Important Notes

The routes, activities and places visited described in these trip notes are intentions and are meant as a rough guide only.

These trip notes have been compiled to help you prepare for your journey once you have booked. They include the full itinerary and dates, and information about kit lists, meeting hotels, insurance, vaccinations, visas, and other information that will help you get ready for your trip.

We update these notes regularly, so please ensure you have an up-to-date version of these trip notes.

We intend to follow the planned route but exact night stops and inclusions cannot be guaranteed. It sometimes happens that we decide to make a change to our planned itinerary. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, road or bureaucratic conditions may demand it. By their very nature, overland itineraries need to be flexible and the regions that we are travelling through are often unpredictable. We run adventure journeys in off the beaten track areas, which often have poor infrastructure. You should expect that some of these areas do not adhere to 'Western' safety standards.

Physical Preparation

Physical preparation for Asia Itineraries

In Asia you will need to be healthy enough to cope with extremes of climates from the hot deserts through to the colds of the high mountains. There are some high altitudes in places and many places where walking around for several hours is the only way to explore (e.g. The Great Wall of China, walking tours in Uzbekistan, exploring the historical sites of India, etc.).

Overland travelling can be demanding - long, rough travel days, dusty conditions can be challenging to some. You will need to be fit enough to help every day with the camp chores (cooking, washing up, general camp set up) as well as putting up and taking down your own tent. There are some long driving days and some early morning starts.

The step up into the overland vehicle, while not overly high, can become tiring and you need to judge yourself to be physically fit enough to haul yourself up and down the step at least 8-10 times a day. By and large, our Asia trips have a good range of hotel accommodation mixed up with camping so that life is not too rough.

We will be travelling to areas in remote locations where medical assistance will not be available. If you have a medical condition such as a heart condition that would put you at risk, we would suggest that this is not the trip for you. Also, please be aware that should an emergency occur, there is likely to be a considerable delay in accessing medical care, and by joining our trip you accept this risk.

Visa Information

Many countries that we visit on our travels will require visas to enter. Some are best obtained before you leave home, and others can be obtained en-route. Whilst the ultimate responsibility for obtaining visas is yours, we will endeavour to assist you wherever possible.

The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. The information provided is given in good faith and we do try to keep the visa information as up to date as possible. Please read the information very carefully to make sure everything is clear and you aware of what you need to do. Please also be aware that rules surrounding visas do change, often suddenly, and without prior warning. This is why it is important that you also double-check the information we provide for yourself.

For visas that are needed in advance, you may wish to submit the applications directly to the relevant embassy or consulate. If you require any supporting documentation for your visa applications, Dragoman will obtain this on your behalf as part of your trip price - we will contact you to request additional information in order to make this application for you.

However, for trips that involve multiple visas, you may find it beneficial to use a specialist visa agency to assist you with your applications. While this does sometimes increase the cost, it usually makes the process much easier for you. We have a long-running partnership with The Visa Machine, a specialist visa agent who we recommend to help you apply for your visas (especially if you are applying for several countries at the same time).

As you will often need to submit your passport together with your applications, we recommend that you avoid making any travel plans in the weeks leading up to your departure.

Most countries require that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your entry into the country.

For trips that are not yet guaranteed, you may find yourself in the position whereby you will need to start the visa application process prior to your trip being guaranteed - in this situation we still advise you not to purchase flights until your trip is guaranteed. However, you can start your visa application process, ensuring that when applying for your visas or letters of invitation that you allow several days before and after your entry into the country to allow for delays, availability of flights, etc. 

Nepal 

Citizens of all countries (except India) will need a visa to enter Nepal as a tourist for up to 90 days.

The easiest way to get a visa is to obtain it on arrival. This is available for almost all nationalities at all land borders and airports into Nepal. At the time of writing (2015), the cost of a single-entry visa is USD25 for 15 days, USD40 for 30 days, or USD100 for 90 days – these costs are the same for all nationalities.

You will need to provide one passport photo (this can be obtained at Kathmandu Tribhuvan International Airport for those joining the trip in Kathmandu).

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

India 

Citizens of all countries will need a visa to enter India as a tourist for up to 180 days.

Most Dragoman passengers will need to obtain their visa in advance. It is highly recommended to do this in your country of residence; although it should be possible to obtain the visa in any Indian Embassy, there is a higher likelihood of delays and refusals if you are not in your home country.

You can apply directly at your closest Indian Consulate or Embassy. For UK residents, please go to the website - http://www.vfsglobal.com/India/UK/ - to fill in the online visa form and book an appointment to complete the application.

Alternatively you can apply via a specialist visa agency who can put the application in for you.

Please be aware that the photos that you bring to the appointment must be 50mm x 50mm, or your application will be rejected (this is a unique square-shaped photo). The photos must be in colour and have a plain white background, and computer generated photos will be rejected. Please paste one photo to the front of your application and leave the other one loose. You must sign under the photo on page one and the declaration on page two.

Visas issued in the UK are valid for 6 months from the date of issue (by which time you have to have exited the country). Please note that you cannot extend any tourist visas once within India.

If you are asked to provide an address in India on your visa form, please use the joining hotel for your trip or the address below:

Hotel Supreme,

4 Panday Road,

Colaba,

Mumbai,

India

Tel +91 22 2218 5608

 

If you are asked to provide a referee in India on your visa form, please use the details below:

Eugene Pram,
Pram Tours,
436 Barkat Nagar,
Tonk Phatak,
Jaipur,
302015,
India
Tel: +91 14 1259 4205

 

Please bring 10 photocopies of your passport and Indian visa (on the same page). These may need to be used for hotel check-ins. Please also bring 2 passport photos in case these are needed.

If travelling to Sikkim, your Sikkim permits will be arranged in Kolkata with your tour leader - please bring several passport photos for this permit.

IMPORTANT NOTE - If you are travelling on the Chennai-Kolkata leg - please note that all permits for the Odisha region must be arranged before you arrive in Chennai. Dragoman will arrange the permits on your behalf but it is very important that you send us a high quality scan or photo of your passport photo page when you book and of your India visa as soon as you obtain it. We will need these scans 10 days before the trip starts in Chennai, at the very latest. If we do not receive these scans in time we will be unable to take you on the trip through the Odisha region. Please also bring an additional 2 passport photos on the trip.

If you are travelling to Bhutan - please send Dragoman a scan of your passport photo page when you book as this is important for arranging the Bhutan group visa.

As of November 2014, there is an e-visa option (visa on arrival) available to selected nationalities. There are many restrictions, including a maximum non-extendable stay of 30 days and only being able to enter at major airports; as such we are not recommending this option until the restrictions are relaxed. If you are joining the trip in Chennai and take the e-visa option, we will need a copy of your receipt as soon as you have applied for it - if we do not have this in advance, we will not be able to obtain your permits for the Odisha region (see above).

If you are travelling on the Mumbai-Chennai leg or the Kolkata-Kathmandu leg - please send Dragoman a scan of your passport photo page when you book, as this is important for arranging train tickets on these legs. In some cases (late bookings) we may also require a copy of your Indian visa (or receipt of an e-visa if you plan to take this option).

A valid yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers coming from areas with risk of yellow fever transmission (including transiting through an airport in an area of risk).

Personal Spending

Personal Spending - Asia

Based on the range that previous travellers have spent on this trip, we recommend you allow between USD15-30 per day for Central Asia, China and Burma and between USD10-USD20 per day for India, Nepal and South East Asia.

This will cover individual expenses such as drinks, meals whilst out and also when staying in hotels, souvenirs, tips, and personal permits.

For trips in Southern India that occur over Christmas and New Year please allow approximately USD160 extra on the kitty for seasonal increases in accommodation costs.

Asia Currencies and Cash

It is not really worth trying to buy local currencies before you travel. Do also bear in mind that many countries have strict regulations about the amount of their own local currency you are allowed to import - if you are found with amounts in excess of the allowed amounts, it may well be confiscated!

Bringing a sensible mix of cash and ATM cards is the best way to bring money out, but it's always a good idea to bring plenty of cash that you can change (USD and EUR are commonly changed throughout Asia) rather than relying on cards. Apart from the convenience of being able to change money in many more places, you will sometimes get a much better exchange rate for cash. ATMs are available in most areas but are not always reliable. Credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are accepted in some major cities, but be prepared for very high commission charges

Banks and moneychangers in most countries in Asia will now only accept bills with a metallic strip running top to bottom of the bill and which are no more than 8 years old. You should not take worn or damaged notes, or any that have been written on. Please also bring a mixture of small and large denominations - you may get a better rate for changing larger denomination bills, but in more remote areas it can be difficult to change amounts over USD50.

Please note that due to restrictions on currency conversion for foreigners in many Asian countries, it may not be possible to change leftover local currency back into USD after your trip, so please plan your budget well by withdrawing/exchanging what you need as you go.

What else you need to know

Overland Lifestyle and Trip Suitability

Dragoman was founded in 1981, and has had many years of experience of leading overland trips across 4 continents. Overlanding is all about sharing a great travelling experience with like-minded people. On your trip you’ll travel in one of Dragoman’s purpose-built iconic expedition vehicles on an off the beaten track adventure along rugged roads, experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of the world up-close. Your journey will be overland, sometimes across vast distances, so some long days spent driving are inevitable - but these will be interspersed with breaks of a day or two at a destination or activity. On an overland journey, you are more than just a passenger and everyone gets involved setting up camp - we supply the tent but it’s up to you to pitch it! As part of your trip, you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting firewood or water, luggage loading, organising food, stores, etc.

Like all great adventures, the more you put in the more you'll get out!

We are looking forward to welcoming you on one of our overland journeys, but before we do there are a few things we would like to draw to your attention.

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Who Travels with Dragoman?

Our groups are made up of people from around the world, and are always an interesting mix of nationalities and ages. On average there is a pretty even split between males to females, and between solo travellers, couples and small groups of friends. We believe that overlanding should be open to as many people as possible, and so although we have a minimum age limit of 18 (or 7 on our Family Trips), as long as you are fit, healthy and passionate about travel, we are happy to take you, whatever your age is. One of the wonderful aspects of group travel is the camaraderie and friendships that are formed along the way, and the variety of people that you will meet.

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Group Size

The maximum group size we take on our overland journeys ranges from 19 to 22 depending on the geographical location; however the average number of passengers is more likely to be around 16.

Please note that there is an overlap of 2 trips in Cuzco and during the Inca Treks. This means a group starting a trip in Cuzco will embark on the Inca Trail at the same time as a group finishing in or travelling through Cuzco. In practical terms this means there could be more than 22 group members in Cuzco and on the Inca Trail at the same time.

Please note that there is also an overlap of 2 trips in Zanzibar. This means a group starting a trip in Nairobi, for example, will visit Zanzibar at the same time as a group starting their trip there. In practical terms this means there could be more than 22 group members in Zanzibar at the same time.

Please also note that on some departures there may be more than one truck doing the same route. This means that you will be in the same hotel or campsite as another Dragoman group on some days. To ensure that you are not always at the same place at the same time as another group, your itinerary will most likely be slightly altered from the itinerary advertised in these trip notes.

Our Crew and Guides

Our crew are passionate about travel and are always up for adventure. It takes someone special to become a Dragoman leader. Our crew undergo the most intensive training program of all the overland companies, spending 8 weeks learning the ropes at our base in Suffolk, UK, and then up to 6 months on the road as a trainee. Our crew are trained to manage and operate the trip safely and efficiently and their duties include: planning the trip according to the itinerary, driving and maintaining the truck, securing services of local guides, general logistics, health and safety, liaising with bureaucracy, dealing with issues where needed and offering advice and support to our customers. In addition they have a basic knowledge of the places visited and will be able to offer suggestions of things to do and see. Dragoman endeavours to provide the services of experienced crew, however, due to the seasonality of travel, situations may arise where your tour leader is new to a particular region or training other crew, new to the area.

On all Dragoman overlanding trips, we usually have 2 western crew. However on our trips in East and Southern Africa we either have 2 western crew or 1 western crew and 1 local driver. On trips south of Nairobi in East and Southern Africa we will also have an African camp master/cook who is in charge of running the camp and organising all of the meals. Their knowledge of the local produce makes shopping at the markets great fun and you will learn how to prepare and cook some unusual dishes.

In the rest of Africa, the Americas, India and Turkey, in addition to our crew we will employ local guides in specific locations of interest (for just a few hours up to a few days).

On the majority of our trips in Central Asia, China and South East Asia, in addition to our crew we will have a local guide on board who will travel with us for the entire duration of our time within one country. In these cases, the local guide becomes a third crew member and is able to offer their local knowledge as well as an insight into their country and the lives of the local people.

Your crew have a duty of care to all members of the group and therefore they have the authority to ask you to leave the trip if you require serious medical assistance, you are behaving in an anti-social manner or refuse to comply with local laws and customs. In all matters relating to the trip, the leader's decision will be final and we appreciate your respect of this.

Accommodation on Tour

Dragoman's overland trips are designed for shared accommodation, whether camping or staying in hotels or hostels, and therefore do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers will share with people of the same sex for the duration of the trip and whilst our crew will do their best to accommodate couples travelling together in twin rooms, all our travellers should expect to stay in multi-share accommodation from time to time.

The type, variety and standard of accommodation will vary greatly depending on what options are available at the time; hotels can vary from very basic rooms without electricity or running water to high standard hotels with good facilities! Generally in hotels most rooms will be twin-share, but in South America many rooms are triple-share. Hostels, gers and yurts are nearly always multi-share.

The campsites will range from rather basic to those with excellent facilities, including swimming pools, restaurants and bars. In some cases it may also be possible to upgrade locally to bungalows, lodges or even tree-houses. One of the highlights of overlanding is that in more remote areas we wild camp away from the tourist crowds. Occasionally on some of our trips we are able to stay in villages or local homestays allowing us to get close to the indigenous population and ensuring that our money stays within the local community.

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The Kitty

In addition to the trip price on our overlanding trips, you will also be required to pay a kitty specified for your trip (please note that there is no kitty on our Family Trips). The kitty is payable in installments at the start of each section of the trip for combination trips, and in full at the start of the trip for individual trips. Each customer joining a trip pays their kitty into a central fund. The fund is managed by the Dragoman crew and the kitty accounts can be viewed by all throughout the trip.

The kitty covers all things that the whole group does, such as:

• Hotel accommodation and campsite fees

• Meals whilst camping (not whilst staying in hotels)

• Activities listed as included (e.g. National Park or historical site entrances, excursions, etc.).

The kitty system is very unique to overlanding and we believe it allows us to have flexibility and transparency on our trips. You can see exactly how your money is being spent and ensure that you are getting the best value by buying locally. It also helps to keep the costs competitive and save on administration costs so that we can pass the saving on to you. Dragoman makes NO PROFIT on kitties, as they are the group's fund. We constantly update the kitty prices on our website and the kitty advertised in the brochure is an estimate at the time of printing. Prices can go up or down with no notice, and exchange rate fluctuations will affect costs. If there is money left in the kitty at the end of your trip, then this is divided between the group and you receive a refund.

Once you book your trip it is very important that you check our website on a regular basis and just before departure for any changes to the kitty amount.

The kitty is payable in full at the start of your trip (in installments at the start of each individual trip on combination trips). Alternatively you can pay in advance via a bank transfer 3-4 weeks before the start of your trip - please see http://www.dragoman.com/files/Kitty_doc_v6.pdf for more details - this letter will also be sent in your booking confirmation upon booking a trip. Please also note that this option is not available for our trips to West Africa or Iran.

If you are bringing the kitty out in cash, please try to pay in the specified currency on the website (usually in US Dollars). Your tour leader will be able to accept some of the kitty in local currency if needed, and they will let you know the exchange rate locally - in most destinations you can withdraw local currencies from ATM machines, using either a cash passport or a credit/debit card. Please bear in mind that most cards have a maximum withdrawal amount per day, local ATMs may run out of cash, and your bank could block the card despite you warning them of your travel plans, so it could be impractical to try to get the entire kitty out from an ATM.

Traveller's cheques are becoming increasingly impossible to change around the world, with passengers and our leaders having experienced frustration and numerous hours spent trying to find a bank which will change them. For this reason we cannot accept traveller's cheques on our trips.

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Meals and Group Participation

On an overland journey you are more than just an individual passenger - you're part of the team. You are expected to pitch in to set up camp, shop for food, cook and generally help out. As part of your trip you will be assigned a truck job which could be collecting water and firewood, sweeping out the truck, loading the back locker, etc. While camping on overland journeys, the meals are included in the kitty. This means that you will have to work together to cook for everyone in your group. You will be divided into smaller units of 3-4 people and take it in turns to cook for the whole group according to a rota system. When it is your group's turn to cook you will have to plan the meal, shop for the ingredients in local markets or supermarkets and then prepare the meal for the whole group. The secret to cooking for 20+ people using a basic camping kitchen is to keep it simple! (On trips south of Nairobi we have a cook on board the truck; however you will still be required to help them to prepare meals).

An example of a typical camp breakfast might be toast with spreads, fruit and cereal as well as tea and coffee. When time allows it will also be possible to serve something hot such as eggs or pancakes. Lunch is almost always a sandwich heaped high with healthy salad and assorted fillings, with fruit to follow. Dinner might be a BBQ, risotto or pasta dish and there is always the chance to try some local cooking. Generally our passengers find the more they put into a trip, the more they benefit from it.

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Dietary Requirements

If you have any dietary requirements please tell us at the time of booking and also remind your crew at your welcome meeting. Our crew will try to cater for any particular dietary requirement or food intolerance whenever possible. However, it must be remembered that it may not always be possible and the variety of dishes may be severely limited in comparison to those available to others. If there is anything in particular you require in your diet, that you would miss from home, or because of an allergy would miss out on, it would be best to bring this with you. Depending on your particular requirements, you may need to allow yourself some extra spending money to allow you to purchase extra food items.

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Itineraries

Our itineraries are developed and published with the best of intentions, however travel in more remote areas of the world is unpredictable – borders can close, there can be extreme adverse weather, strikes or maybe mechanical issues that affect the running of your trip, but equally due to the nature of our trips we can often spontaneously include a local festival or event into the itinerary. This being said, the safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a priority for Dragoman. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. By the very nature of the adventure travel that we take, there are risks and hazards that are inherent in our itineraries. Dragoman makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources:

• The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice

• Reports from other travel companies and local suppliers

• Leaders reports from off the road

• Local contacts we have built up over many years of experience.

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British Foreign Office Travel Advice and Warnings

Dragoman follows the British Foreign Office Travel advice when deciding where and where we are unable to travel. We will base our decisions on itineraries and alterations to published routes based on their advice rather than the advice of other governments.

However, we recommend you check the latest travel advisories from your own government for the country you are travelling to before you book and prior to departure. If there are any travel warnings present for the region you will travel to, as well as considering whether you are happy to travel despite the warning you must also check to ensure that it is not invalidating your travel insurance. Here are a few useful addresses:

UK -  www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

Australia - http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/

New Zealand - http://www.safetravel.govt.nz/

United States - http://travel.state.gov/travel/travel_1744.html

Canada - http://www.voyage.gc.ca/countries_pays/menu-eng.asp

Dragoman has also teamed up with the UK Foreign and commonwealth office (FCO) in their 'Know before you go campaign' www.gov.uk/knowbeforeyougo. This website offers straightforward travel advice, top tips, and up-to-date country information to help you plan a safe trip. We recommend you check this out before you travel. We will advise you of any significant changes in advice before travel or whilst you are overseas.

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Health

You need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully in our trips. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assessed your ability to cope with our style of travel. To help you assess if this trip is suitable, please refer to the physical rating. The ratings for each trip are a good indication of how challenging they are and in some cases you should be prepared for some long driving days and possibly limited facilities. We are always happy to give extra advice if you have additional concerns. Please note that if, in the opinion of our leader, you are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to yourself and/or the rest of the group, Dragoman reserves the right to exclude you from all or part of the trip without a refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information prior to travel, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition. We also advise you to declare any pre-existing medical conditions to your travel insurers upon purchase.

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Altitude

Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude; please discuss these options with your doctor. For trips that travel to areas of high altitude, the tour leader will issue you with a self-assessment altitude questionnaire which allows you to monitor how you are coping with the altitude and informs you of danger signals so that you can reports these as soon as possible, either to the tour leader or a medical professional.

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Yellow Fever

A valid international certificate of vaccination against Yellow Fever is required in many countries. You may need to present this on arrival at the airport or border crossing. Some countries will refuse entry if you are unable to present your certificate. It's also quite common for your home country to request a Yellow Fever certificate on your arrival back home.

It is your responsibility to check with your doctor well in advance of leaving home about the Yellow Fever requirements for the countries you'll be visiting.

Malaria & other mosquito-borne diseases

Some areas that we travel to have a risk of contracting malaria. If you will travel through these areas, it's always best to get expert advice before travelling about the types of malaria pills available, whether they are recommended, and take any that are prescribed as instructed. Consult your GP or travel clinic for the most up-to-date requirements.

Other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and Zika are continuing to spread and are becoming a bigger problem around the world. Mosquito bite prevention is vital to avoid contracting any of these diseases, as there are no vaccines or specific treatments available. Health professionals have issued warnings for pregnant women travelling to areas affected by the Zika virus - please see more information here.

The mosquito usually bites between the hours of dusk and dawn, so covering up by wearing long-legged and long-sleeved clothing, preferably light-coloured and buttoned at the wrists, can help. Do not sleep without closing your windows, tent door, etc. and use a mosquito net in hotels or if sleeping outside where there are mosquitos present. Use mosquito repellent applied directly to your skin or soaked into your clothing.

Treating clothes and mosquito nets with a Permetherin solution provides significant protection. It should be available at most travel stores. Mosquito coils are useful on still nights and in hotel rooms, but cannot be used inside the tents.

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Vaccinations

Recommended vaccinations and other health protections vary according to different regions and recent bulletins issued by health authorities. It is essential to get the latest specific health advice on the regions and countries you are planning to travel in, so please check with either your doctor or travel clinic in good time before you travel. The following websites are also a helpful resource: www.nathnac.org and www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk

In the UK, we have been working with Nomad Travel for many years and their website has comprehensive, up-to-date vaccination and health information. You will receive a 10% discount off all vaccinations given at Nomad Travel clinics.

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Safety & Security

At Dragoman your safety is of paramount importance and we will do our best to ensure that your travel with us is safe and trouble-free, but we do ask that you take that little bit of extra care whilst you are away and to understand about the nature of this style of travel.

Of course we want you to have an enjoyable time, but you must also remember that part of the enjoyment of travel is experiencing a different way of life and cultures. This may also mean experiencing different safety and hygiene standards than those you are normally used to.

Therefore, please take note of the following safety tips and follow any local safety advice or briefings delivered by our crew or any third-party suppliers we use during your trip.

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Transport Safety

• Our own vehicles have fully-fitted seat belts; make sure you always belt up.

• If you find a safety belt inoperable or missing on one of our vehicles, please inform the crew immediately.

• Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that other vehicles we may use or recommend in some countries will be fitted with seat belts on every seat as it is not a legal requirement in much of the world.

• Please remain seated on board vehicles at all times when the vehicle is in motion.

• Never place luggage in the aisles or foot wells.

• Ensure you know where your nearest Emergency exit is; this may be a designated emergency exit, a window, a door, or a roof hatch.

• Check the location of the fire extinguisher and first aid kit.

• Follow any safety instructions provided by the crew/driver.

• Our vehicles are fitted with roof seats which can be used in certain conditions, such as when driving at low speeds, off main tarmac roads, etc. They can only be used with the express permission of the crew and you must never sit in them without seat belts.

Road Safety

• Traffic in some countries travels on the opposite side of the road to what you may be used to, so ensure you look both ways before crossing the road.

• In many countries vehicles do not automatically stop at crossings and driving styles may be very unpredictable, so please remain very vigilant when near roads and vehicles.

• Crash helmets are often not provided with mopeds and motorbikes overseas – we do not recommend you hire these vehicles.

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Fire & Other Safety – Hostels/Hotels/Homestays

• Ensure you know where your nearest fire exit is and check to ensure that it is operative.

• Check the location of the nearest fire extinguisher.

• Study the fire instructions in your room if available.

• Identify how to raise the alarm if a fire occurs.

• If a fire occurs, leave immediately; do not stop to collect your effects.

• Proceed to an assembly point well away from the building.

• Electrics in hotels in many of the places that we visit will not be up to the same standards as at home. Please ensure that you check rooms, especially bathrooms and are aware of any issues that look unsafe. If in doubt inform the crew who will endeavour to sort the situation out if possible.

• Staircases and stairwells are often built to a very different design than under western building standards. There may be no guard rails, be excessively steep, have dangerous gaps between the stairs and the wall, etc. At all times be aware and take appropriate and prudent care.

• We often stay in homestays and farmstays. These may range from a traditional yurt through to a tree house or a town house. As these are traditional homes, they may well not adhere to our western standards of safety and so it is important that you make yourself aware of potential risks.

• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with the hotels/hostels or homestays.

Fire Safety – Campsites

• Ensure you know where the nearest source of water or fire extinguisher is.

• Know how to raise the alarm.

• Extinguish all camping fires fully before retiring to bed.

• Observe any regulations regarding fires and bushfires in dry conditions.

• Identify how to raise the alarm if a fire occurs.

• If a fire occurs, leave immediately; do not stop to collect your effects.

• Proceed to an assembly point away from the tented accommodation/affected campsite.

Other Campsite Safety & Security

• Familiarise yourself with the campsite and any known hazards.

• Group the tents around our vehicle wherever possible.

• No open flames, smoking or flammable liquids in or near the tents.

• Ensure the cooking area is well away from the tents.

• Ensure all water for cooking and drinking is purified first.

• Ensure any soil toilets are a minimum of 50m away from the tents and the cooking area.

• All food waste should be burned or buried a minimum of 100m away from the site.

• Ensure local advice is followed concerning any wildlife in the area.

• Keep valuables locked in the vehicle.

• Be aware of any local security issues that might be important.

• Do not set out tents close to perimeter fences which may be a security risk.

• Be aware of the security arrangements and local guards for campsite and if in doubt ask them where and where not to pitch tents.

• If in doubt please inform the crew of any safety issues with campsite.

• When wild camping, ensure that you do not wander away from the camp alone. If you do leave camp, ensure that you have notified the leader or other members of the group.

Food Safety

• Make sure your food has been thoroughly cooked.

• Hot food should be hot, cold food should be cold.

• Avoid any uncooked food, except fruit and vegetables (notably those you can peel or shell yourself).

• In many countries you should only drink bottled water or purified water and ensure any seal is intact when purchasing bottles.

• On the Dragoman vehicles we have a tank of drinking water that is kept purified by the crew.

• Avoid ice in drinks as this can cause upset stomachs in hot climates.

• Make sure you wash your hands in antibacterial product when preparing and/or eating food.

• Many of the restaurants that you will eat in, either as a group or as individuals, will NOT have the same standards of food hygiene as we have in the western world. Unfortunately this is a reality of life in these regions. Therefore please think carefully about where you eat, what food you order and be aware of the risks.

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Personal Safety
 

One of the real advantages of overland travel is that the vehicle provides a very real level of security when travelling. There is no doubt that a properly-equipped overland vehicle, with safes, fully lockable doors and windows is an obvious advantage when travelling in much of the world. Generally speaking, you will not be travelling on local public transport and will have the added security of travelling in a group with experienced crew on-hand to offer advice. We have come up with a few pointers that we recommend you follow:

• Follow the crew’s specific safety advice in each destination.

• Always remain aware and vigilant, and stay away from situations where you do not feel comfortable.

• Avoid carrying too much money.

• Always avoid carrying your passport, driving licence, air tickets, and other valuable items around with you unless this is essential. Instead, keep valuables such as this locked away in the truck's safe, or the safety deposit box in the room or reception of the hotel/hostel.

• If you are carrying cash, cards or valuables, use a money belt or neck wallet which are more easily concealed and more difficult to pickpocket.

• Do not take any valuable jewellery, watches, etc. away with you in the first place.

• Avoid walking in poorly lit areas.

• If possible avoid walking around on your own; it is always safer to explore with others.

• Always try to walk with confidence and purpose, which will help you avoid looking like a lost tourist!

• Take special care when walking to avoid spraining or twisting your ankle on potholes, cobbles and uneven ground. 

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Activity Safety & Optional Activities

You will have the opportunity to take part in many exciting activities and excursions, some of which are included (e.g. hiking the Inca Trail, trekking to see Mountain Gorillas, visiting the Taj Mahal, etc.), whilst others are optional (e.g. white water rafting in Uganda, zip-lining in Costa Rica, etc.). Some of these activities require a certain level of fitness, so it’s important that you read through the trip notes thoroughly and make your own conclusions as to whether you feel that you are fit and healthy enough to enjoy this trip and its activities to their fullest.

Some activities may have higher risks than you are used to and you must judge whether or not you wish, or have the physical ability, to take part.

Optional activities mentioned by Dragoman are not included in the trip price or kitty, and do not form part of your contract with Dragoman. As such you accept that any assistance given by Dragoman crew members or local representatives in arranging optional activities does not render us liable for them in any way. The Dragoman crew are assisting you in arranging these activities for your added enjoyment whilst on your trip. The operators of these services and optional extras are local suppliers who contract directly with the client ‘on the road’, subject to and in accordance with their own terms and conditions. Dragoman accepts no liability for any action or activity undertaken by the client which is arranged independently of Dragoman while on tour. Crew may take part in an optional activity but do so as private individuals and not as company representatives.

Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time.

Ensure that you use the appropriate equipment on optional activities, including life jackets, helmets, etc. This is especially important on activities such as horse riding, white-water rafting, etc.

Always ensure that your travel medical insurance covers you for all included and optional activities that you wish to participate in.

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Included Activities

Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not necessarily be refunded; this is something you will need to check with your leader.

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Optional Activities

A selection of optional activities is listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This list is designed to be a helpful guide as to what is commonly available in each location, and is neither an exhaustive list, a guarantee that the activity is available, or an endorsement or recommendation. Please note that certain activities may not be available on your particular visit if they are overbooked, underbooked, out of season, or for any other reason - the list of activities is made according to our latest information and in the best faith, but please be aware that things may change between our last visit and your arrival. Please also note that it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, and it is recommended to give yourself extra time in your joining or ending city if you would like to participate in some optional activities there. 

Prices listed are for entrance only and do not include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated - again, these prices are displayed according to our latest information and in the best faith, but prices do fluctuate due to exchange rates, season, numbers of participants, and simple increases from the operator - any prices listed are a guide only and certainly cannot be guaranteed. 

Optional activities are not necessarily endorsed or recommended by Dragoman nor included in the price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and does not form part of your contract with Dragoman. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or optional activity form for some optional activities.

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Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have comprehensive travel insurance. Without evidence of valid travel insurance you will not be allowed to start the trip.

We recommend that any policy has a minimum medical (including repatriation) cover of £5,000,000. We recommend that any policy also has a minimum level of cover for Personal Liability of £2,000,000 and for Cancellation and Curtailment of £5,000 (or the full cost of your trip). Cover for loss of baggage, personal effects, money and other inclusions are down to personal choice although please bear in mind that personal effects are more likely to go missing whilst travelling and you should ensure that your policy is adequate to cover the value of your personal effects e.g. cameras, tablets, phones, ipods, etc. Please note that Dragoman is not responsible for your personal effects and is not insured for their loss. Please note that you should be insured for trip postponment or cancellation purposes immediately upon paying a deposit.

Whatever policy you choose, you must ensure that it is designed for adventure/overland travel and make sure it covers any activity that you intend to undertake (whether included or optional). As such it must cover you for adventure activities such as white water rafting, trekking, horse-riding, etc., and that the 24-hour Emergency Assistance Company must be experienced in handling situations in developing countries - for example, that they have the ability to arrange repatriation from remote areas such as the Sahara or if you were trekking in the Andes. On activities or side trips that are not recommended by us, please ensure you are happy with the safety of the activity before participating.

Please double check if you have annual travel and/or credit card policies to ensure they have the cover you require, as many of these policies are not able to cope with adventure travel to remote areas. Many credit card medical insurance policies are not valid for travelling outside your country of residence or outside the EU.

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Our Liability Insurance

Dragoman has comprehensive passenger vehicle liability protection and tour operator insurance. These policies have total indemnities of £5,000,000 and £10,000,000 per incident respectively. This is in addition to local vehicle insurance and your personal travel insurance.

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Emergency Contact

We have a dedicated 24-hour telephone number which should only be used once you have left your home country to start the trip and in the event of a real emergency. Should you need to call the number, we will do what we can to help but please bear in mind that real progress or action may not be possible until normal office hours.

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, please let us know and then make your way to the joining hotel as instructed in these trip notes. If you cannot get through leave a message and a contact number as these will be regularly checked and the crew informed if necessary.

Emergency Number: +44 (0) 7985 106564

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Luggage & Kit List

Although you will not have to carry your main bag for long distances, you will need to help load and unload them onto the truck. For this reason we recommend that you use a backpack or soft bag rather than a heavy suitcase. During your trip your main luggage will be kept in the truck's back locker which will be inaccessible during a drive day, so you will also need a small daypack. This can be used to carry your camera, water bottle and other personal effects for daily use. Please be aware that due to the constant dust and vibrations your luggage bag will be subject to extreme wear and tear.

The size of baggage that can be brought on this tour is limited by the locker space on the truck. Different trucks have different-sized lockers, however to be safe we recommend that your bag be no larger than a large rucksack with a capacity of about 80 litres (approximately 70cm high, 40cm wide, and 40cm deep). The weight limit for luggage on all trucks is a maximum of 20kg. Backpacks should not have an external frame unless it can be easily removed and stored separately to avoid damaging other people's luggage.

Your clothes and equipment should be appropriate for the conditions you are travelling in, which will vary depending on which part of the world you're heading to. On overland trips, Dragoman will provide all camping equipment apart from sleeping bags and ground mats, so you'll need to bring those with you*.

Think about the climate and altitude of the areas you'll be travelling to - there's nothing worse than being cold at night so it's worth investing in a decent sleeping bag if it's likely to get cold. And remember that even when it's warm during the day, it can often get cold at night, particularly in desert regions.

For a general idea of what you need, this list provides a guide:

• Sleeping bag* - check the expected climate en route. Nights in desert, mountain and high-altitude regions and Patagonia can be very cold, especially in winter months.

• Sleeping bag liner* (or sheet folded and sewn up on 2 sides) - this will help keep your sleeping bag clean, provide extra insulation on cold nights, and can be used on its own on warm nights.

• Ground mat or compressed foam*.

• A day pack is useful for short hikes in the countryside, wandering around cities, etc., and also for keeping inside the vehicle for items used during the day.

• 2 sets of comfortable travelling clothes (light, easily washable cotton clothes are best).

• 1 set of casual but smart clothes for evenings out. Men should bring a pair of trousers that covers al their legs and women should bring a skirt that covers their knees and a scarf for visiting places of worship.

• 2 pairs of shorts.

• Sun hat or warm hat if trekking.

• 1 pair of sunglasses.

• Warm sweater/fleeces.

• 1 waterproof jacket with hood.

• 1 pair of comfortable walking shoes/boots (or ankle height canvas jungle boots).

• 1 pair of sandals or flip-flops.

• Underwear and socks  - thermals are also a good idea if you are travelling to altitude, Patagonia or to the desert, as it can get very cold at night.

• Swimwear.

• 2 small towels.

• Washing kit, including a small mirror.

• Clothes washing detergent, small scrubbing brush and washing line (just a length of cord).

• Head torch/flashlight with spare batteries and bulbs - only the 3 standard sizes of round 1.5V batteries are widely available en route.

• Passport photos - at least 4, and more if you are applying for visas en route.

• Good water bottle - at least 1 litre capacity.

• A pouch or money belt to be worn inside your clothing, or an unobtrusive pocket sewn into the inside of a pair of loose fitting trousers.

• Alarm clock.

• Pocket calculator - useful when exchanging money.

• Writing materials and notebook/diary.

• Multi purpose knife.

• Mosquito net - the tents supplied by us have mosquito netting and you will only need a net if you think you will sleep out under the stars a lot of the time.

• "Wet Wipes" (moistened tissues) and hand gel.

• Toilet paper - this can be purchased almost everywhere en-route, but one roll may be worth packing.

• Assorted sized plastic bags - protects clothing and equipment from dust and damp.

• Extra batteries for your camera, etc., as there may are only limited opportunities to recharge them en route.

For a comprehensive kit list, take a look at the Dragoman kit list that Nomad Travel has created. Dragoman customers can receive a 10% discount on all equipment purchased either online or in store. Click here to see the kit list - http://www.nomadtravel.co.uk/c/381/Overland

*For trips with camping nights.

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Personal Medical Kit

All of our trucks have a standard motorist's first aid kit on board for use in emergency situations only. The first aid kit is in compliance with UK standards for first aid provision within motor vehicles, and contain supplies to treat road side injuries. We do not carry prescription medications, therefore in addition to this we recommend that you purchase your own personal medical kit.

In the UK we have teamed up with Nomad Travel Stores and Clinics to produce travel medical kits. They have been designed in conjunction with the truck kits and contain everything you would need for any minor incidents and health issues. For more details please visit their website:

Overlander kit (including painkillers) - www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p/2910/Overlander-Medical-Kit-(P)

Independent kit (including painkillers and antibiotics) - www.nomadtravel.co.uk/p/2909/Independent-Medical-Kit-(POM)

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Passports

Check that your passport will still be valid for 6 months after the end of your trip - this is important as some countries WILL refuse entry to anyone whose passport is due to expire. A temporary or 'visitor's' passport is not valid on our trips. You will need to provide us with your passport details prior to departing for your trip. If you change your passport, please remember to inform us as soon as possible - however, please be aware that changing your passport can cause big problems if you need to apply for visas or permits (such as the Inca Trail or Gorilla Trekking) in advance.

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Pre and Post Trip Accommodation and Connecting Flights

At Dragoman we believe you should make the most of the places you visit, so if you would like to see more of the joining or finishing point cities, why not book additional accommodation to extend your stay? Dragoman can take away the hassle of time zones and language barriers by making the booking for you. This accommodation is only available at the joining or finishing city of your trip, immediately before or after the trip you are travelling on.

While Dragoman is happy to assist with booking your pre and post trip accommodation, it is important that you understand that you may be able to book your own room at a cheaper rate directly through the hotel or on the internet. Our additional accommodation prices are based on the hotel’s rate plus an administration fee. Please note our rates do not reflect last minute walk-in rates or internet specials.

We can also book arrival airport transfers for you as long as we have your flight arrival details. These are normally payable in cash upon arrival; however we do have pre-paid transfers in a few destinations.

Please contact our reservations team for details of the accommodation and transfers that we can offer, as not all hotels offer this service.

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Continuing Your Trip

Having an amazing trip and met a great group of people? Having too much fun to go home yet? If you're on one of our trips and decide that you would like to continue with us, then why not speak to your trip leader who can advise you of the cost and availability of continuing your journey.

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Contingency Emergency Fund

Sometimes, civil or political unrest, or reasons beyond Dragoman's control (e.g. a natural disaster), can mean that an itinerary is disrupted and we have to make a contingency plan. This may involve hiring alternate transport or even the whole group flying over an area. Although Dragoman will help organise travel arrangements, in circumstances outside Dragoman's control you will be required to contribute the additional costs involved and therefore we ask you to bring along a 'Contingency Fund' of USD400. In almost all cases trips run smoothly and this fund is therefore never used. We also recommend that you take along an internationally recognised credit or charge card with a decent limit in case of emergencies, such as medical treatment en route, or even the need to be repatriated; though these occurrences are rare. Remember that travel insurance policies usually only refund you for expenses after you have already paid out.

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Responsible Tourism

Dragoman is committed to ensuring that we have a positive impact on local communities and that we implement policies to minimise any negative impact on the local environment. We are dedicated to making sure that we adopt a responsible attitude to the areas through which we travel and believe that our trips should benefit the local people and their environment. Dragoman recognises that we are guests of local communities and strive to make these communities our partners, so that they benefit directly from our visit. You can find full details of Dragoman’s Responsible Tourism policy from the link below:

www.dragoman.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/our-commitment

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Water

The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in the bottle, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.

Please avoid the purchase of bottled water by using the chemically sterilised water stored in the purpose-built storage tank on your overland vehicle. You are free to refill your bottle as many times a day as you like. You are helping the environment and your pocket!

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Electrical Equipment

Your vehicle will be usually equipped with a 12-Volt socket, so to charge your iPod, MP3 player, camera, laptop and mobile phone you will need a DC 12V adapter - the type that can be used from a cigarette lighter in your car. Please be aware that only one piece of equipment can be charged at a time and it will not be allowed if there is a risk of running the vehicle’s batteries low. Batteries may also be recharged from hotel room wall sockets and the majority of the campsites we stay at have electricity points, so please bring along your normal charging adapters as well. You will need to ensure that you have the correct country adapter for your specific charger.

For mobile phones, please note that most countries in the Americas operate at 850 MHz and 1900 MHz which is not the same frequencies used in Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Most modern tri-band and quad-band mobile phones will be able to operate on these frequencies but please check your mobile phone specifications before travelling to ensure that you'll be able to use your phone in the Americas.

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A Few Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs is not only against the law, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Dragoman groups.

It is one of our core values to treat all people we encounter with respect which of course includes all the local people who make our destinations so special. The exploitation of prostitutes or children is completely contrary to this philosophy.

Equally Dragoman will not tolerate any violence or threat of violence towards local people, other group members or any member of our staff. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession, if they use prostitutes, abuse children, use violence or threaten violence, without a refund of the trip price.

We expect you to obey all the laws of the countries through which we pass. This particularly applies to the smuggling of contraband and possession of narcotic drugs (as above), firearms, antiquities and ivory. Any customer found contravening such laws or customs will be required to leave the trip immediately with no refund of the trip price.

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Issues on the Trip

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local partner straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction. If this is the case please contact our customer relations department on

customer-relations@dragoman.co.uk.

You may also choose to provide details in your feedback questionnaire which we ask you to complete at the end of your trip, but we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

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Tipping

Tipping is entirely voluntary. The Dragoman crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it.

On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own Dragoman crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD 1 to USD 4 per person per day, but check with your crew for an appropriate amount.

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Our Community

At any time before or after you book, you can join our community - Dragoland. This is a great place to ask questions before you travel and to catch up with your fellow travellers once your trip has finished. You can share photos, videos and stories and you can also download a selection of free travel apps. See the home page to sign in - it's free and easy. We also have a Facebook page where travellers regularly swap info with each other, as well as other presence on other social media platforms.

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Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us to understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better, and it allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

Country Specific Notes

Southern India Note

For trips in Southern India that occur over Christmas and New Year please allow approximately USD160 extra on the kitty for seasonal increases in accommodation costs.

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