16 Day Southern India, A Spiritual Culture
Air & Land
Click a Date to Book Online
Click a Date to Book Online
|2023 Dates & Prices Single Supplement: $750|
|Hotel||Dates||Embark||Tour Starts||Ship||Land Only||Air & Land|
Optional tours and gratuities.
Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.
Is This Trip Right for You?
- Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
- Flights New York-Chennai, Kochi-New York
Other departure cities available. Please click on date of departure for selection and prices
- Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
- 14 nights accommodations
- 2 nights Chennai
- 2 nights Mahabalipuram
- 1 night Pondicherry
- 2 nights Thanjavur
- 2 nights Madurai
- 2 nights Periyar National Park
- 3 nights Kochi
- Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
- Hotel porterage
- All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
- 30 meals: 14 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 7 dinners with wine♦
- Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
- Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
- Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
- Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
- Active itinerary with unique cultural features
♦Due to regional laws, hotels and restaurants will not serve alcoholic beverages on the first day of the month and certain holidays. On these days, no wine or beer will be included with dinner
Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.
- Visit the UNESCO site of Mahabalipuram, an ancient archaeological wonder rising on a rocky outcrop
- In Kanchipuram, "City of a Thousand Temples," tour the Ekambareswarar and Kailasanathar Temples
- Exclusive visit to a traditional silk weaving factory - meet with artists and learn how to drape and wear a sari
- Journey to enchanting Pondicherry, a former French settlement that retains its carefree French atmosphere
- At serene Auroville, visit the Meditation Center inspired by the teachings of the Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo
- Witness pilgrims immersing themselves in a ritual bath at Amma Mandapam on the banks of the river
- Tour the spectacular Maratha Palace with its priceless collections of Chola bronzes and stone carvings
- View the impressive UNESCO listed Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple, a magnificent architectural achievement
- In vibrant Madurai on the banks of the Vaigai River, view the 1000-year old Meenakshi Temple
- Visit the Gandhi Museum dedicated to this remarkable man lovingly called the "Father of the Nation"
- Spend two nights at Periyar National Park, the best-known sanctuary in South India, home to Bengal tigers
- Attend a colorful Kathakali Dance performance that combines storytelling with music and physical strength
- Visit the Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India
- Specially arranged cooking class in Kochi reveals some of the secrets of Indian cuisine
- In Alleppey, board a houseboat that cruises along the intricate network of canals, lakes, lagoons and rivers
Is This Trip Right for You?
This is an active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day. Expect to spend three to four hours on your feet during tours and four to seven hours driving between cities. Some of the tours require walking over uneven surfaces or up and down steep slopes. There are many early mornings. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking. Air pollution is a problem in many of India's major cities. Please see the CDC website and/or consult with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations. The use of a bandana or light scarf may help screen out some of the pollutants in the air. A variety of airfare options are available for this program, including some low-cost fares which may exclude complimentary checked luggage and advance seat assignments. Please read each offering to ensure you choose the option that best fits your wishes. During this tour, you may come into proximity of wild animals whose actions can be unpredictable. Certain inherent risks are involved which should be considered at your own discretion. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.
Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
This first class hotel is located in the T. Nagar neighborhood of Chennai.Hotel Details
This superior first class resort overlooks the Bay of Bengal.Hotel Details
This first class hotel is located in the city of Pondicherry.Hotel Details
This first class hotel is located in White Town district of Pondicherry.Hotel Details
This tourist class hotel is situated in the city of Thanjavur.Hotel Details
This tourist class hotel is a ten minute drive from the Meenakshi Amman Temple.Hotel Details
- Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
- Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
- Save your cash. Credit card processing may not be possible locally
- Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
- Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
- The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week
Take an early morning walk through the narrow alleys of Madurai, the oldest city in South India, to get an up-close glimpse of everyday life. Discovering the morning rituals and daily activities in this ancient temple town is a fascinating and memorable experience. Witness people milking cows, cooking, and women cleaning and decorating their doorsteps with beautifully detailed Kolams (drawings) to welcome guests. Visit the local markets as they open, drink your morning tea in the twenty-four hour tea shop and enjoy sampling local snacks, including a Vada (savory doughnut). For a unique perspective into the local economy, interact with street vendors, visit the fruit and flower markets, and see a roadside hair salon.
Approximate tour duration is 2 hours.
|Day #10||01 Sep 2022 - 31 Aug 2023||$30.00|
Tonight, treat yourself to a Kalaripayattu martial art show. The martial art form of Kerala, dating back to almost 2000 years, is regarded as the oldest of its kind in the world. It derives its name from two words, 'kalari' which means combat arena and 'payattu' which means practice. Following preparation with an oil massage, the performers will execute the art, using weapons such as bow and arrow, swords, spears, and maces. Afterwards for dinner, travel to Spice Village, set in 15 acres of spice gardens and resembling a traditional tribal community. At the restaurant, enjoy the timelessness of the place with its antique rosewood furniture and old-world atmosphere. Savor delicious South Indian cuisine flavored by local spices, prepared with fresh ingredients from the organic farm on site.
Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.
|Day #11||01 Oct 2021 - 31 May 2024||$38.00|
|Know Before You Go|
|Although most of the planning and preparation is taken care of for you, there are still a few things you should know and some details you should take care of to ensure your comfort, safety and peace of mind. Please review the following information before your departure to ensure that any surprises along the way will only be pleasant ones.|
|Getting Ready to Go|
|Traveling to India and Nepal - Traveling to India and Nepal should be a rewarding and exciting experience. To improve your experience, it is helpful to understand these unique countries. While India may be known for high-tech entrepreneurs and Bollywood films, it is still a developing country with over 450 million people that eke out a meager existence on less than $1 per day. Based on the World Bank's figures, more than one third of the world's poor live in India. As a country of over 1 billion citizens, the cities in India, which were built to hold a fraction of their current population, are often crowded, noisy, dirty and smelly. Air pollution is a problem in many of India’s major cities. Please see the CDC website and/or consult with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations. Some passengers find that using a bandanna or light scarf screens out some of the pollutants in the air. Many Western visitors are unprepared for the level of poverty that they may witness. Getting around in India & Nepal can be challenging, and sometimes involves walking through narrow streets with busy traffic to reach some tour locations. Despite these realities, traveling to India & Nepal offers many rewards and we are pleased to introduce you to the people, history, and culture of these incredible countries. |
|Passports and Visas|
|It is each traveler's responsibility to have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the dates of travel and a visa if required. Please check the information at www.gate1travel.com/visas.aspx for the specific country/region you are visiting for more details. IMPORTANT: Passengers who are not U.S. citizens must check with the respective consulate or a visa agency to determine what personal identification is required. Passengers who enter, leave and then re-enter the same country on their itinerary should check if they require a double-entry visa. Passport applications are available at most U.S. Post Offices, as well as at regional Passport Agencies. Passengers requiring visas, whether obtained in advance or locally upon arrival, should ensure that their passport has blank pages.
|A little pre-planning can make your trip go a lot smoother. Several weeks before your trip, make a list of what you will need to take with you. Make sure your personal documents (passports, visas, driver's license) are in order. Make sure also that you have enough prescription medications to last through the trip and carry them with you in case your luggage is delayed. Bring a change of clothes in your carry-on bag in the event that your luggage is delayed or lost. Lost luggage is common. We strongly urge you to consider carry-ons instead of checked bags when possible, and when checking a bag is necessary, choose a bag color and identification that stands out. We suggest that you make photocopies of passports, visas, personal ID and any other important travel documents and pack them separately from the originals. You may also make a digital copy of your passport to keep a clear picture with the important details in your cell phone or digital camera photos. If you lose the originals while traveling, you'll have copies for easier reporting and replacement. Pack a list of medications including dosage and generic names. You may consider bringing a small supply of over the counter medications for headaches and/or anti-diarrhea pills (especially when traveling outside of the USA and Western Europe). We recommend that you pack a portable alarm clock. Due to security reasons, many museums have restrictions on the size of bags that can be taken inside and backpacks, carry-on bags or large purses may not be permitted. It is recommended to bring a small shoulder bag or purse to use in these situations instead. Avoid placing valuables such as cameras in your checked luggage. Airplane pressure can cause similar pressure in your body, most notably in ears, as well as liquid tubes and bottles. Your physician can suggest medication for decongestion. We suggest that you place liquid containers into Ziploc bags to catch any leaks. |
|Travel Safety Advice: The safety of our guests is Gate 1’s #1 concern. Before making the decision to reserve your vacation, we want you to be aware of potential situations which may impact your holiday. While most of the time our programs run precisely according to plans, on rare occasion force majeure events including weather, transportation mechanical issues, or uninhabitable accommodation, civil unrest and even criminal or terrorist activities will present themselves unexpectedly and with little or no notice. Gate 1 will make the decision to cancel a tour only after receiving verifiable government issued information. We are otherwise obliged to comply with contractual airline and vendor agreements and carry out the tour until or unless we are advised otherwise. In the event of such an occurrence anytime after your date of departure, Gate 1 and the local destination ground staff, in coordination with government advisories, airlines, hotels, cruise ships and other vendors, will make decisions with regard to your safety first. We strongly recommend that tour participants review the destination country's specific information at https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html. |
|Even the best-planned trips can be impacted by the unexpected. And that is why we recommend that you help protect yourself and your investment by purchasing Travel Protection for your Gate 1 trip. Travel Protection can help with medical coverage for illness or injury, trip cancellation and/or interruption, baggage loss, medical evacuation, and more. At any time before you complete Final Payment, you may choose to purchase Travel Protection. The protection plan premium is non-refundable after a 10-day review period. In addition, you must be medically able to travel at the time the premium is paid. For a summary of the plan details on coverages, benefits, limitations and exclusions, please refer to the Description of Coverage by visiting www.gate1travel.com/insurance/. |
Cancel for Any Reason Waiver Benefit (CFAR) is a non-insurance feature that allows you to cancel up to 72 hours before your scheduled departure for any reason not otherwise covered in the Travel Protection Plan. CFAR must be purchased at the same time as the Travel Protection Plan as well as within 21 days of the original booking date. Independent or escorted tour reservations will be eligible for a future travel credit equal to the full cost of your trip, less the cost of initial deposit, airline-assessed fees, amendment fees, and insurance premium. Sea or river cruise reservations will be eligible for a future travel credit equal to 50% of the cost of your trip, less the cost of initial trip deposit, airline-assessed fees, amendment fees, and insurance premium. All CFAR credits are valid for a period of two years from the original date of travel. CFAR Credits have no cash value and are not transferrable. Airline-assessed fees are generally $300 per person, but may be as much as fully non-refundable. Some non-refundable airline tickets may retain value, less airline-assessed fees. Your future air credit must be used to book with the same airline. Deadlines to rebook and complete travel vary by airline and may be as early as 12 months from when the tickets were originally issued (not the date of travel). For details, www.gate1travel.com/insurance/.
This program does not apply to custom groups and Antarctica cruises. Residents of New York, Missouri & Minnesota may purchase this Cancel for Any Reason Waiver Benefit separate from Travel Protection. Call to speak with a reservation agent for details. This Cancel for any Reason Wavier Benefit is not insurance and is provided by Gate 1 Travel.
|Cell Phones & Calling Cards|
|You may wish to carry a cell phone while traveling. Check with your cell phone provider if your phone will work in the destination(s) you are visiting. If you can access the Internet as you travel, you can take advantage of email or a Skype Internet telephone (VOIP) account for the best value. Additionally, if your phone can connect to WiFi you may be able to make voice and video calls free of charge. Please contact your cell phone provider for further details. Alternatively, you may investigate renting a cell phone before you leave or buying an inexpensive phone locally. When calling the U.S. from a foreign country, you may also use a prepaid calling card; normally, the only additional charge (besides the prepaid long distance charges) is a local fee of a few cents and possibly a connection fee if you are using your card at your hotel. It is best to check with the hotel's reception desk prior to making phone calls to avoid unexpected charges. Please note that we are unable to provide compensation for phone calls regardless of reason. |
|Making Telephone Calls from One Country to Another|
|When dialing a number from one country to another, you should proceed as follows: dial your country's Exit Code (often indicated with a “+” sign), then the destination Country Code, then the Phone Number. For most countries, the exit code is 00. Exceptions include the USA and Canada (011), Hong Kong and Cambodia (001), Australia (0011), and Russia (8 Pause 10*). For Brazil, please consult with the local telephone company. If you are dialing from a mobile phone, you can enter a “+” instead of the international Exit Code (011, 001, 0011 or 00) by pressing and holding the 0 key. For most countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and South Pacific, if you are calling from a local phone to a number within the same country, you should drop both the exit and country codes and then add a leading 0 (zero). Exceptions include Spain, Italy, Hungary and Malta (no additional zero needed to dial locally). |
To dial the following number in Germany (as listed on your voucher): +(49) 0555-555
From USA or your US cell phone: 011-49-555-555
From another country in Europe: 00-49-555-555
From a German phone within Germany: 0555-555
|WiFi access has improved. Free or inexpensive WiFi internet is accessible at coffee shops, airports, restaurants, libraries and on some trains and buses. WiFi access in hotels and cruise lines often involves a fee, determined by that property. Signal strength is subject to local conditions and not guaranteed. Availability on cruises is also dependent upon its location while sailing through multiple countries. Please note that WiFi can be extremely slow, unreliable and sometimes nonexistent in developing countries or, on moving conveyances such as buses and cruise ships. |
|Staying Healthy While Traveling|
|All travelers should familiarize themselves with local conditions, such as high altitude or required immunizations, which could affect their health. We recommend you consult with your personal healthcare provider, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) and/or the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/en/) for their recommendations. |
There are several easy steps you can take to stay healthy while traveling which may help prevent contracting an illness while away from home.
|Notice on Aircraft Cabin Insecticide Treatment - Please note that some countries may require aircraft cabin insecticide treatment for in-bound foreign flights. A list of such countries is available at:
|India and Nepal - No inoculations are required. However, some inoculations are recommended. Please consult your physician before traveling to India. Also, please be aware that authentic Indian cuisine can be difficult to digest for those who are not accustomed to it. |
|Consideration for Tour Participants (Escorted Tours)|
For the benefit of all tour participants, we ask tour members to be considerate of their fellow travelers in the following ways: |
|Climate & Clothing|
|India and Nepal - Bring comfortable walking shoes, a sweater, clothes you can layer and an all-weather jacket. Some religious sites may require modest dress to enter: No shorts or short skirts, knees must be covered by long pants or a long skirt. No sleeveless tops, shoulders must be covered and a shawl or scarf is frequently not accepted as a cover. A good pair of sunglasses is highly recommended. |
India has three seasons. November through March is generally pleasant, with warm, sunny days. It is hot in May and June. Monsoon season usually begins around June on the west coast and slightly later elsewhere. Southern India receives rainfall between mid-October and December. Nepal has four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. During periods of high heat in the summer months, the order of sightseeing might be altered. Details will be provided locally by your Tour Manager.
India Average Temperatures: https://www.gate1travel.com/weather/asia-pacific/#india-nepal-weather
Nepal Average Temperatures: https://www.gate1travel.com/weather/asia-pacific/#india-nepal-weather
|Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or “drone” technology has quickly become affordable and is increasingly popular with recreational users. While some countries have clear, established drone laws, others do not, or existing regulations are undergoing review and change. Travelers who wish to bring a drone on their trip are responsible to research and abide by the laws and regulations of the countries they are visiting, as well as to check with their airline(s) regarding their rules for transporting drones. Please note that tours are unable to extend the length of scheduled visits and stops to accommodate use of drones. |
|Book & Film Recommendations|
|Many of our guests enjoy reading about their destination - either in advance of their trip or while traveling - as a way of adding context to their visit. Whether reading a traditional guide book, learning about the history and culture, or simply enjoying a fictional novel set in the destination, a good book can add greatly to your experience. Similarly, a good movie set in your destination helps set the mood before you travel. We asked our Tour Managers and staff to recommend books and films which past guests may have enjoyed. The following does not constitute an endorsement of any authors, books or films listed, it is merely a collection of guests' recommendations. |
|INDIA: Books |
The Holy Cow and Other India Stories by Tarun Chopra
A Princess Remembers by Gayatri Devi
The Last Mughal by Willam Dalrymple
The Discovery Of India by Jawaharlal Nehru
No Full Stops in India by Mark Tully
City of Djinns by William Dalrymple
Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins
Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors
India: An Introduction by Khushwant Singh
Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
|Preparing for Your Trip|
| As a courtesy service, complimentary airline seat assignments are requested on your behalf and, when available, are displayed in order of Passenger #1, #2 and so on. Assignments reflect the best available seats at the time of booking. Some airlines and/or fare types do not allow for pre-seating and require this be done at airport check-in only; in which case the display shows “N/A”. Seats are subject to change by your airline(s) including, for example, when there is a schedule change or equipment change after your initial booking; this may cause seat assignments to be changed or even cancelled. Some airlines offer preferred seating for an additional fee; these seats may only be purchased directly from the airline. You will need your family name and the 6-digit airline “Record Locator” which is displayed with the flight details on your reservation. In the event that you change seat assignments directly with your airline, changes will not be reflected on your invoice or documents. At the time that Gate 1 travel documents are issued, the currently assigned seats will be listed based on the assignments stored in your airline reservation at that time. Should you have questions regarding your assignments, please write to us at www.gate1travel.com/contactus. |
|Luggage & Packing|
|Checked bags are typically limited to a total dimension of 62 inches by adding length + width + height (example: 26"+26"+10" = 62”), and a maximum weight of 50 lbs (23kg). Smart Bags with a USB charging port, GPS tracking device and other high-tech features are prohibited as checked or carry-on baggage unless the bag is made with removable batteries and the batteries are removed and stored separately. Many airlines charge for checked bags including flights which begin and end within the USA. The most inexpensive airfare options commonly known as Basic Economy airfares do not include any checked bags nor seat assignments before the day of departure. However, for some airlines, other airfare categories also do not include checked baggage. This will be clearly displayed in our airfare selection and on your invoice. Where available, we highly recommend selecting airfares which include at least 1 piece of checked baggage. Gate 1 Travel is not responsible for checked bag fees, excess luggage or weight charges levied by an airline. Checked baggage allowances displayed on reservation details and invoices reflect the applicable allowance at the time of booking but are subject to change by your airline(s). For your airline’s requirements and fees, visit www.gate1travel.com/baggagefees.aspx. For important baggage information, visit www.gate1travel.com/luggage.aspx. Avoid placing valuables in your checked luggage. Federal law forbids the carriage of hazardous materials aboard the aircraft in your luggage, your carry-on or on your person. A violation can result in five years’ imprisonment and penalties of $250,000 or more (49 U.S.C. 5124). Hazardous materials include explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and solids, oxidizers, poisons, corrosives and radioactive materials. Examples: Paints, lighter fluid, fireworks, tear gases, oxygen bottles, and radio-pharmaceuticals. There are special exceptions for small quantities (up to 70 ounces total) of medicinal and toilet articles carried in your luggage and certain smoking materials carried on your person. Check the Transportation and Safety Administration (TSA) website www.tsa.gov to find out the current list of acceptable items you may bring on a plane before packing. We recommend that you use brightly colored luggage tags, straps or other identifiers to help you locate you luggage upon arrival or to describe it in the event that it is lost. |
|India - Flights within India and between India & Nepal have a weight restriction for luggage of 44 lbs. per piece of luggage with a limit of one piece of checked luggage per person. This differs from international flight luggage limits and should be taken into account when preparing for your trip. |
|Day of Departure|
|Airports in India require passengers to show a copy of their ticket or other documents showing the name of the guest, date of departure & flight number. Please keep a copy of your itinerary handy when heading to the airport.
|What to do if You Need Assistance|
Whether you purchased your airfare from Gate 1 Travel or from the airline directly, please bear in mind that Gate 1 Travel does not own nor operate the airline(s), nor the airport facilities where they operate. At times, flying can be a frustrating experience, especially when things do not go exactly as planned, and airline explanations can be confusing or even misleading. Should you face a problem, remain calm and seek assistance either from the airline directly or from Gate 1. Please be aware that in most cases, on the day of your flight(s), airlines pass responsibility for your reservation to their staff at the airport and it is not always possible for Gate 1 Travel to intervene on your behalf, either through our reservations system or directly with your airline.
|Arrival & Departure|
|Upon arrival, please complete immigration formalities if necessary and claim your luggage. If your program includes airport arrival transfers, check your voucher for specific instructions, as they vary with every destination. In most cases, you will be met after collecting your luggage or passing through Customs by the local representative who will be holding a Gate 1 Travel sign and/or a sign with your name on it. In some instances you will be instructed to walk a short distance to a transportation counter. The company's name and location will be printed on your voucher. If for any reason you do not connect with the Gate 1 transfer personnel, go to the Tourist Information Desk and ask them to page the Gate 1 Travel representative or phone the number on your voucher. If you are delayed due to lost luggage, phone the number on the voucher or have a companion exit the Customs Area to advise the transfer representative. |
|What To Do When Your Flight Is Delayed|
|Airlines do not share flight manifest information. Therefore, the only way we may learn of a delay or schedule change while you are traveling is from you, the traveler. The sooner you are able to contact one of our offices, the better we can respond. Please refer to the Emergency Assistance instructions on this same document. Gate 1 Travel is only able to guarantee pre-reserved arrival transfers for up to one hour from the scheduled time, no matter the cause. In case you are delayed for any reason, and are unable to follow the instructions on your voucher, please make independent transfer arrangements and retain your receipts. Unused tour services, including transfers and hotel nights are not refundable. Upon you return home you will need to contact your airline and/or insurance carrier to investigate the possibility of reimbursement for any unused tour services. |
|If your program includes departure transfers, instructions will be stated on your voucher or provided locally. |
|Due to local traffic and other extenuating circumstances, we ask that you allow 30 minutes from your scheduled transfer time for our representative to arrive. This includes hotel, airport and cruise transfers. Such possible delays are taken into consideration in scheduling transfers and you should therefore have no concerns about arriving late for your tour, flight or cruise. For transfers from a hotel, let the hotel reception desk or concierge know that you are waiting for a transfer. In the case of a missed transfer, reimbursement for your out-of-pocket expenses will be considered provided you obtain a written statement from the hotel's front desk verifying the length of time you waited, and the time you left the hotel, and a receipt for your transportation with time and date. |
The cost of a transfer is more expensive than hiring a taxi, as a Gate 1 transfer necessarily includes round trip service, or 'dead-leg'. Often the places of call (airports, seaports, hotels) demand entrance and parking fees, where drivers may have to wait for up to an hour. Passengers comfortable hiring a taxi on their own and do not require assistance will save money.
|About Your Accommodations|
|Gate 1 Travel has carefully selected each hotel based on overall quality, location, price, food, service, and cleanliness. All rooms are standard twin-bedded (two single beds) rooms with private facilities. Special requests such as bed types, smoking preference and connecting rooms are subject to availability. Room selection in all cases, unless otherwise reserved, is strictly at the discretion of the hotel's management on a run-of-house basis. Triple rooms consist of standard twin beds or one double bed plus a sofa/folding bed or cot for third person except in the U.S. and Canada, where triple rooms often consist of two double/queen beds for three persons; where available, a fee may be charged by the hotel for the addition of a cot/rollaway. The number of persons accommodated does not dictate the room size. Although available at most 4 and 5 star hotels, the use of air-conditioning abroad differs greatly from the United States, and is often shut down at night and from the end until the start of the summer months. Some lodges and accommodations in remote regions may not have all of the amenities, such as hairdryer, alarm clock and room service, that you might find in a larger hotel located in a city center. |
|India Hotels - Passports - You may be required to present your passport or a copy of your passport information, upon arrival, at each of the hotels. This is required for security reasons. |
|Hotel Check-in/ Check-out|
|Hotel check-in time is generally not before 4:00 p.m. and check-out time is prior to noon. If you will be arriving early in the day or departing in the evening, hotels will usually allow you to store your luggage in their luggage room. Ask at the front desk if the hotel can check you in earlier, or let you stay later. |
|At Your Destination|
|Eco & Sustainable Tourism|
|We support global efforts to create a more eco-friendly world, intolerant of any forms of cruelty, abuse and intentional environmental destruction. To that end we ask that our clients maintain a watchful eye as they travel, and report any abuses they may encounter. One of the many benefits of tourism is the shared cultural knowledge and ultimate elimination of negative behavior through education. We rely on your good feedback to enable this element of symbiosis. As you travel and learn about foreign cultures, we ask first and foremost that you practice tolerance and respect for local customs. |
|Tipping is always a matter of personal discretion. For your convenience, please use the summary below as a guideline for recommended gratuity amounts. Gratuities may be paid in local currency or US dollar equivalent where accepted. Please be aware that tipping is considered by many locals to be a part of their normal remuneration and some may approach you for additional "compensation." There is no need to be intimidated by the request, nor should you feel pressured to pay more than recommended. If you become uncomfortable by any behavior you encounter, please advise your tour manager or phone our local office. Numbers are provided in your documents for your convenience. |
|Suggested Tipping: India, Nepal, Bhutan & Sri Lanka|
Tour Manager (Coordinator; may or may not act as a guide): US $8 per person per day
Driver (Provides chauffeur services and limited assistance with luggage) : US $2 per person per day, $1 per half day
Driver’s Assistant: US $1 per person per day
Local Guide (Offers in-depth information at specific locations. There may be one or many guides along a tour program): US $2 per person per day of sightseeing, US $1 per half day
Hotel porters and wait staff: Included
|About Your Sightseeing|
|To ensure a pleasant and fair experience for passengers on our escorted tours, there is a mandatory seat rotation policy on our motor coaches which will be organized by your Tour Manager. Some buses are equipped with toilet facility, however they are strictly intended for emergency use only and often require the vehicle to stop for safety reasons before use. When travel dates coincide with religious holidays and national celebrations, some monuments and sites may be closed, sometimes without prior notice. On these occasions, escorted touring itineraries may be amended to reflect these closures. Occasionally, during holidays and certain periods, and/or due to other unforeseen circumstances including weather conditions, there may be last-minute changes, sometimes after arrival, which may affect the sequence of the tour and locations visited. National monuments and tourist sites regularly undergo renovations, which can obscure the monument's view. No tour will be canceled due to renovations, however Gate 1 will decide based on the conditions whether to amend an itinerary. To respect the privacy of all tour participants, your tour manager will not organize a group photo or collect passenger email addresses for a group list. |
|India, Nepal and Bhutan|
|Some days involve long distances driving in the coach. The drive between Delhi and Agra is approximately 5 hours. The drive between Delhi and Jaipur is approximately 6 hours. The drive between Agra and Jaipur is approximately 7 hours. The drive between Chitwan and Pokhara is about 6 hours. Roads are generally not up to Western standards and may be very rough in some areas. For coaches, general driving speed is low due to poor road conditions and heavy traffic. There are no emergency bathrooms or curtains on the windows on the coaches in India. Getting around in these countries can be challenging, and sometimes involves walking through narrow streets with busy traffic to reach some tour locations. |
|Land Only Passengers (Escorted Tours)|
|Your tour manager will contact you after your arrival at your hotel. Passengers who have not purchased arrival transfers from Gate 1 Travel should proceed directly to the hotel for check-in. The details of the hotel can be found in your documents. |
|Purchasing Tours Locally|
| On escorted tours, the guides will generally sell optional tours to passengers who have not pre-purchased them. Payment can be made by cash or credit card, unless otherwise noted below. This does not apply to Independent packages. Please see Gate 1 Terms & Conditions for more information. https://www.gate1travel.com/terms.aspx#optional |
|Independent Activities - Gate 1 itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently and with due consideration. Gate 1 is not responsible for any activities not expressly included in its programs. Caution should be exercised when selecting certain activities that may require physical strength, coordination or exertion. Particular care should be taken when considering animal rides, such as on camels, mules or horses |
|India and Nepal - The Indian Rupee is the currency of India. The Nepalese Rupee is the currency of Nepal. |
Passengers traveling to India are not allowed to bring Rupees into the country. We recommend taking out a small amount of currency upon arrival.
It is recommended to carry cash in small denominations in local currency or in US $1 bills to make tipping and minor expenses easier.
|India - India does not support the technology of magnetic strip cards. If you wish to use a credit card in location it must be a chip card. |
|Most people enjoy bringing home at least one souvenir from the countries they visit. However, some find any amount of shopping to be too much while others never find enough opportunities. |
We have built into our Escorted itineraries a few shopping stops at recommended spots. These stops are designed to enhance your experience by providing an opportunity to see first-hand quality locally crafted merchandise which you may not be able to find on your own. Shops are checked to ensure the quality and authenticity of the products they offer, and we limit guides from visiting other locations. In some cases, we plan these stops to provide an opportunity to use clean bathrooms and to stretch your legs. All shops want your satisfaction, and therefore in case of any misunderstanding they ask that you kindly submit your claim to us within one week of the item's receipt. Claims submitted later will be subject to each store’s policies.
While shopping independently, we advise you to exercise care and common sense when making any purchase. Always get a formal receipt. And remember that, just like in this country, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
About Tax-Free Shopping
Tax-Free Shopping allows shoppers to reclaim the VAT (Value-Added Tax) or GST (Goods and Services Tax) they have paid on their purchases in some foreign countries in accordance with restrictions and procedures as dictated by each country. Refund eligibility varies by country, but may require presenting a scanned copy of your passport at the time of purchase, a minimum amount spent, or providing original store receipts. For more details, check the respective country’s online website, with the shop salesperson, with your tour manager or at www.globalblue.com for specific country regulations and airport operation hours. Please keep in mind that you must apply for VAT refund in the airport of the country the items were purchased and allow enough time prior to your flight for the application.
U.S. Customs & Shipping Charges
You may carry items with a fair retail value totaling $800 into the U.S. Taxes may be applied to the next $1,000 worth of merchandise. U.S. Customs determines the value of your items, often honoring a genuine sales receipt. Items which are shipped home are always subject to duty when received in the U.S. (in addition to shipping charges). Some shops may offer to include shipping and duties in the price but this typically means shipping only to the customs facility closest to you and payment only of the export duties; you would still need to collect the item and pay U.S. import duties. Please be aware that it is illegal to import products made from endangered animal species. U.S. Customs & Border Protection will seize these items, as well as most furs, coral, tortoise shell, reptile skins, feathers, plants, and items made from animal skins.
|India and Nepal - Local handicrafts and artwork, carpet, jewelry, semi-precious stones, inlay marble stone work, pashmina wool, silks, custom 24-hour tailoring are among the most popular items. |
|Your Safety is Very Important|
Prior to your trip, if you are traveling overseas, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the U.S. Department of State at www.travel.state.gov, specifically the section which addresses International Travel. You should read the tips for foreign travel and travel warnings for the country or countries that you plan to visit. |
It is also important that you do not allow your common sense to take a vacation while on your trip. Here are several tips which, if followed, will save much potential hardship:
If you've purchased an escorted tour program, your travel documents will include telephone numbers of local Gate 1 Travel representatives who will do their utmost to assist you in the event of an emergency. The numbers are printed on your Gate 1 Travel vouchers. Please copy the numbers. Once you relinquish the voucher, you will not have this information. Passengers traveling independently should employ the services of hotel concierges and local authorities.
|Tourist Street Scams|
Pickpockets and thieves can destroy an otherwise wonderful holiday. Be mindful of these precautions to help avoid being scammed or robbed: |
|Local Emergency Phone Numbers|
|India and Nepal - Language and dialect varies by region. English is generally spoken in tourist areas. |
|Please note: The U.S. uses 120 volts and you can purchase a converter and transformer at most hardware stores for your 120V appliances. |
|India and Nepal - The voltage used is 220 volts. |
|Code of Conduct|
|India and Nepal - Shaking hands is generally an appropriate greeting. Refrain from public displays of affection, as this can be seen as rude. In the event that you encounter people begging for alms, it is suggested that you do not give, as this often attracts the attention of many other alms-seekers. Many Indians are extremely friendly and may want to engage you in conversation. There are two sensitive topics it is generally recommended to avoid: any perceived negative economic conditions in the country and the issue of Pakistan. |
|Food and Meals|
|As specified in each itinerary. Meals are based on the hotel's or restaurant's buffet or set menu. In general, beverages are not included, unless specifically stated. Although Gate 1 cannot make guarantees, every effort will be made to honor special dietary requests submitted in writing at least 72 hours prior to departure at www.gate1travel.com/contactus. Terminology for dietary requests can vary from country to country and options may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you make your wishes known to your tour manager upon arrival, and at each hotel/restaurant. |
|India and Nepal - Food in India and Nepal differs greatly from the typical American diet. It is recommended to eat fully cooked meats, fruits and vegetables. Accordingly care should be taken to avoid undercooked meat and uncooked fruits and vegetables. The warm climate and reduced use of refrigeration, combined with the use of salt and spices for instance in curry, may not be palatable to every taste and may result in stomach ailments. Advise us in advance if you prefer less pungent flavors and we will do our best to comply. It is also recommended to pack digestive aids like antidiarrheal or anti-bloat medications and antacids. Because tap water is not potable, visitors should only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled and filtered. Avoid ice, as it is usually made from tap water. |
|On public holidays, there may be reduced public transportation, as well as limited hours or closures of attractions, shops and restaurants. |
|Holidays - India|
Jan 1: New Year's Day
Jan 14: Makar Sakranti
Jan 26: Republic Day
Mar 18: Holi
Apr 15: Good Friday
Apr 17: Easter Day
Apr 14: Mahavir Jayanti
May 3: Eid-ul-Fitar
May 7: Birthday of Ravidranath
May 16: Buddha Purnima Vesak
Aug 11: Raksha Bandhan
Aug 15: Independence day
Oct 2: Mahatma Gandhi Birthday
Oct 2-4: Maha Saptami
Oct 24: Diwali/Deepavali
Nov 30: Guru Nanak
Dec 25: Christmas Day
Dec 26: Boxing Day
Dec 31: New Year's Eve
Jan 1: New Year's Day
Jan 15: Makar Sakranti
Jan 26: Republic Day
Mar 8: Holi
Apr 4: Mahavir Jayanti
Apr 7: Good Friday
Apr 9: Easter Day
Apr 14: Vaisakhi
Apr 22: Eid-ul-Fitar
May 5: Buddha Purnima Vesak
May 9: Birthday of Ravidranath
Jun 29: Eid ul-Adha
Aug 15: Independence day
Aug 30: Raksha Bandhan
Aug 15: Independence day
Sep 7: Janmashtami
Oct 2: Mahatma Gandhi Birthday
Oct 21: Maha Saptami
Nov 12: Diwali/Deepavali
Nov 27: Guru Nanak
Dec 25: Christmas Day
Dec 31: New Year's Eve
This was one of the best Gate 1 Discovery tours we've taken. Our tour guide was wonderful! One of the best we've had! His knowledge of the country visited and his ability to communicate and mesh with the group was excellent! The food was universally excellent and the accommodations and special stops and meals were just fantastic! Well done!!!Robert W.
My trip was amazing! In India our tour guide was Kapil and in Nepal our tour guide was Avash. Both were incredible fun. Very professional and knowledgeable about history and current events of the cities. I truly enjoyed the experience and by talking with other tour participants they did as well. Thank you very much, I will recommend Gate1 to anybody interested in traveling the world!Ada F.
We recently got back from the Sri Lanka trip and I wanted to say it was an excellent trip. We loved the variety of sites and activities. The pace was very good and every day there was a new interesting discovery. The tour director Shaem was excellent. He kept things very interesting and moving at the right pace. He really brought his country alive to us. The driver and assistant were very excellent. The hotels were great. All in all another great trip. Thanks.Halyna B.
The trip was fabulous. Went off without a hitch. I’ve been on several Gate 1 tours and I’d rate Raj as the best guide I’ve encountered. His energy, enthusiasm and flexibility made the trip a pleasure.Kathleen M. Hopkinton, NH
The trip was great! The guide was very professional and the driver and assistant were all very helpful. India is amazing. Thanks to Gate 1 !Hsiao-Ju C. Dural, Australia
My trip was wonderful! Jay was a great tour leader and gave such breath and scope to the experience. India is an incredible country to explore and the Small Group Spiritual Tour of Southern India was a perfect introduction to this vast and complex country. I don’t think my senses have ever been so stimulated. I look forward to booking another tour to explore the northern part of the country and Nepal.Myra A. Newton, MA
It was great! Sri Lanka and her people welcomed us with open arms. Our tour guide, Heshan, along with our driver, Susantha, and his assistant, Thilina, were all excellent. Well done!!!Joanne J. Los Angeles, California
It was a great trip.. really enjoyed our group, our leader, Srini, and the sights and the Indian people. They were so friendly and always wanted to have their pictures taken with us. And they didn’t mind if we took pictures of them. The temples were unbelievable, and the stops we made along the way, on driving days, were great. Visited rubber farm, coconut fiber rope family business, batik making, spice garden, cashew roasting, paper making factory,... I could go on and on.. waiting for a good sale to book another trip in 2021..Michele K. St. Charles, IL
Amazing....Radhika was an exceptional tour leader. Great accommodations and food throughout the trip. Good weather and well traveled people to make this a great experience.Susie M. Phoenix, AZ
The trip was great! Our expectations were exceeded! Our tour managers, Aparna in India, Neraj in Nepal, and Sangay in Bhutan were fabulous. All did an extraordinary job and are very well informed. This was our second trip with Gate 1. We would recommend Gate 1 to anyone!Charles L. Fresno, CA
Trip was great. Our guide Avash was also great. One of the best tour managers' we have ever had. Really made the trip amazing.William H. Sheridan, WY
I had an amazing trip in India. Rajesh ( Raj ) the tour guide was exceptional, knowledgeable, and fun. He was very patient, and professional with the group. He made the tour interesting and enjoyable. Siva the bus driver was fantastic, we all felt very safe with him. Bala the assistant was so helpful, making sure all of our needs were met with a smile every day. The hotels were first rate, and the food was delicious. This was my first trip with Gate 1, and I could not have imagined a better experience. With warm regards from a happy, and satisfied traveler. Can’t wait for my next trip with Gate 1.Raynell C. Dunedin, FL
The trip was wonderful. Our tour manager Shyam was excellent. His caring, knowledge of the country and attention to detail enhanced a wonderful experience.Betty G. Fair Lawn, NJ
It was great. I enjoyed it very much. I would recommend to anyone who is going to travel abroad for a two-week vacation. Our tourist guide was very knowledgeable and energetic. I dare to say one of the best among all the best guides in Gate 1 family.Branda K. Edmonton, Alberta
We had a great time, Bhutan was a wonderful experience. Our tour director, Leki, was well organized with regard our daily schedule of activities and seat rotation. It was an interesting and educational tour.Susanna M. Alexandria, VA
It was the best trip I ever took, only the Patagonia trip was comparable! Bhutan is such a special place and I have only superlatives to say about it, the whole world should see it! Gate 1 did a great job with the itinerary, the pace, the hotels; very smart how the hikes were placed in the program and how we had the time to acclimatize; the tour directors, both Anup and Sangay were awesome (which I have to say, is always the case with Gate 1). Looking forward to our next adventure with Discovery!Anca T. Maplewood, MN
Seeing the Taj Mahal has been on my bucket list for years. My gate one tour manager Sandeep, made India come alive for me. He provided history of the area and many stories at each site we visited which made you feel more connected. He set the stage for our visit to the Taj Mahal with the moving story of its construction. Experiencing the Taj Mahal was magical and something I will never forget thanks to Sandeep. This trip was just a taste of India but made me want to see more of the country. Thank you Gate one and Sandeep for a magical week in India.Patricia P. Hitchcock, TX
It was a great trip. Southern India was fantastic, with such a small, intimate group, great accommodations, and fabulous guide, all went brilliantly.Cedric R. Fredericksburg, VA
Terrific, as usual! We’re now in double digits with traveling with Gate 1! Shyam, our guide, was superb. He conveyed his love of country, gave a good explanation of each day’s activities, and made sure everyone in the group was satisfied. He’s a gem. Also, his helper, Rohan, was great, and the driver did a terrific job. We were very pleased with the hotel selections and the itinerary. We have 2 more tours scheduled with Gate 1 this year. Keep up the good work!Ronald R. Chicago, IL
One of the best trips of my entire life! Thank you for everything Gate 1, a truly lovely experience.Dan H. Chicago, IL
Our trip was wonderful! We loved Sri Lanka. Our guide Shyam was the best. He handled everything, and made the trip very informative and fun. Gate 1 is a great company. We’ll be back!Gail E. Sacramento, CA
As usual, Gate 1 did not disappoint. Sri Lanka was fabulous... with an abundance of friendly people, fabulous landscape and micro climates. It was rich in history and spirituality (Budha and Hindu temples everywhere) make this island very interesting to discover. I would be interested in expanding my exploration into the Northern part of Sri Lanka sometime in the future. I need to find out where in the world I will travel to in 2020...Tamara R. Citrus Heights, CA
We had a great time in Sri Lanka! We enjoyed all the activities and learned a lot about the history and culture of the country. We look forward to our next Gate 1 trip in March.Elizabeth H. Kingwood, TX
It was a fantastic trip. Heshan our guide was knowledgeable and nice. Fantastic food and wonderful country.Douwe D. Flagstaff Hill, Australia
We had a very nice holiday in Sri Lanka. This was our first trip with Gate 1 and we are 100% satisfied with the superior standard of hotels you chose for us. The itinerary was varied and interesting, changing between nature and culture. Our guide, Heshan, was excellent, very helpful and very knowledgeable about the history, flora and fauna. The coach was always clean and fresh flowers were put on our seats daily. The couch driver and the assistant were excellent, and worked well as a team to get us safely through the chaotic traffic in Sri Lanka cities. Overall, very memorable and positive experience. We will definitely use your company in the future and recommend you to our friends.Jessica L. Queensland, Australia
We had a great trip. Everything went perfect. The guides were excellent. Some of the best we’ve experienced. Don’t let them get away. Transportation, hotels and food were all great!Richard M. Bettendorf, IA