Mountains, Temples & Hill Stations

15 days
from
£1,249
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Traveller ratings
4.6 / 5 from 18 reviews >
Leisurely
Learn more
Trip code: 
AIQ
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cultural Wonders
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

Journey from Amritsar's Golden Temple to the British Raj hill station of Shimla

India boasts enormous cultural and geographical diversity, particularly in the north where the plains meet the Himalaya. Here India's history is perhaps at its most complex, manifested in the profusion of religions and landscapes. We visit Amritsar's Golden Temple, the most revered of all Sikh temples, as well as Pragpur, a heritage village, and McLeod Ganj, home to Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. We end with Shimla, the former 'summer capital' of the British Raj and a sunrise visit of the exquisite Taj Mahal.

Highlights

  • Visit the serene Golden Temple in Amritsar
  • Immerse yourself in Tibetan culture
  • Explore British Raj hill stations

Key information

  • 14 nights hotels, all rooms en suite
  • Group normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16yrs
  • Travel by air-conditioned private bus and train

What's included

  • All breakfasts and 2 lunches
  • All accommodation
  • Transfer for group flights

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Single supplement
Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

Amritsar
to
Delhi
  • Day 1

    Start Amritsar; evening visit to the Golden Temple.

    We start in Amritsar and transfer to our hotel, Mrs Bhandari's Guesthouse, with its fascinating Art Deco interior. The afternoon is at leisure to explore or just recover from the flight. Those on Land Only arrangements will meet us at the hotel during the day. In the evening we pay our first visit to the Golden Temple to experience the impressive evening ceremony.
    Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Early morning visit to the Golden Temple; drive towards the Heritage Village of Pragpur in the Kangra Valley.

    This morning we head for the fabled Golden Temple that stands in the heart of this ancient city. The temple was built in the late sixteenth century and is as sacred to Sikhs as Mecca is to Muslims. Heavily gilded and beautifully decorated, the famous Hari Mandir is surrounded by a sacred pool and reached by a white marble causeway. We spend time enjoying the beauty and serenity of this very welcoming temple before wandering through the surrounding streets, admiring the variety of shops selling local ware, from Sikh weapons, instruments and local garments. We also pay a visit to Jallianwalla Bhag, the site of the infamous massacre in 1919 which became the focus of the independence struggle. We then set off by road towards the Heritage Village of Pragpur. The village is set on the southern edge of the Kangra Valley and is a wonderful place to explore and sample local rural life. Here we stay in a Heritage Hotel in either Pragpur itself, or in the nearby Heritage Village of Garli. The drive will take approx. 5-6 hrs.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    A full day to explore the remarkable village of Pragpur, with its elegant havelis, mansions, Italianate buildings and traditional mud and slate houses along cobbled streets.

    Today we have a full day to relax and explore the fascinating village of Pragpur with its history and architecture, people and local crafts. In the evening we can go down to a remarkable Hindu temple by the river to watch the sunset.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    By road to Dharamsala and McLeod Ganj; afternoon orientation tour.

    This morning we set out by road, climbing steadily through sub tropical vegetation and terraced fields, towards pine covered mountains and the small town of McLeod Ganj. On the way we will stop to view the Pong Dam wetland wild bird sanctuary and picnic at the ancient rock temple of Masroor. Just before reaching McLeod Ganj, we drop in at the historic church of St John in the Wilderness. We will then have a quick orientation walk, leaving time to explore this lively market village in the evening. The total driving time today is approx. 3.5 hrs.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 5

    Sightseeing in and around McLeod Ganj.

    We spend the morning exploring the main Tibetan settlement of McLeod Ganj. The Dalai Lama settled here in 1960 after fleeing Tibet. Since then a Government in Exile has been created and schools, craft workshops and many monasteries have been built in and around the town. For those who wish, in the afternoon we can take a walk up out of the village, taking in the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts on the way, through the forest, enjoying stunning views of the mountain range, to the Tibetan Children's Village School, which is home to over 2,000 refugee children.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Explore the Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Culture.

    Today we visit and spend the night by the Norbulingka Institute of Tibetan Culture, a registered trust dedicated to preserving Tibetan literary and artistic culture. We can watch thangka painting, statue making and wood carving taking place in the Institute's workshops, and we can learn something of Tibetan Buddhism through the wall paintings in the beautiful temple. In the afternoon we take a short walk up the hill to visit Dolma Ling Nunnery in its beautiful rural setting.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Drive to Andretta, a small village tucked away in the folds of the hills.

    Leaving Norbulingka this morning we head east following the mountain range, through the tea gardens to Andretta, a small village tucked away in the folds of the hills, far from the tourist trail. The drive is approx. 1.5 hrs. Andretta is a tranquil place famous as a settlement of artists and craftspeople. Here we will visit the pottery set up by Sadar Gurcharan Singh, the first studio potter in India. Following a leisurely lunch we take a stroll around the village and those who wish can even try their hand at the wheel.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    To Mandi; explore the old trading town.

    Travelling by road, we head out through picturesque countryside and drive for 4 hrs towards the little visited town of Mandi. Situated on the Beas River at the foot of the beautiful Kulu Valley, this unusual town was once a halting point on the salt route to Tibet. Overlooked by most visitors, Mandi is a fascinating place with over 80 temples and shrines including some impressive sixteenth century Nagari style temples. After a short walk through the town and lunch at the Raja's palace we drive up above the town to visit Rewalsar, where a charming hilltop lake is revered by Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists, who have each built their temples on its banks. We return to Mandi for the night.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    To Shimla; afternoon visit to The Ridge, Christ Church and Scandal Point.

    We continue our journey to Shimla, India's largest and most famous hill station. Set deep in the foothills of the Himalaya, the route climbs steadily past steep river valleys, pine forests, terraced fields and orchards. At an altitude of 2159m, the Shimla ridge is a cool airy place offering an impressive vista across the countryside to the snowy peaks of the Great Himalaya. We spend the afternoon exploring the main areas of the town including The Mall, Christ Church, the Gaiety Theatre and Scandal Point.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Explore Shimla, walk along the Mall and visit the former Viceregal Lodge.

    A full day to enjoy this historic town, the summer capital of British India. We start the day by walking the length of the Mall to Shimla's most impressive monument, the former Viceregal Lodge. This one time seat of imperial power was also the location for crucial talks prior to Independence. From its location on Observatory Hill, we have fine views across the region. Next we visit the excellent State Museum nearby, housed in a colonial mansion. The museum has a varied and well-displayed collection of contemporary and ancient art. Of prime interests are the Pahari (or Hill) miniatures, fine examples of the last Hindu art form to flourish in North India. There are also examples of local wood carvings, ancient sculptures, deity masks from Kulu and temple bronzes. After lunch we are free to explore the warren of bazaars that cling to the hillside, where Shimla is at its most vibrant.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Take the Viceroy's 'Toy Train' to Kalka; short drive to Pinjore Mughal Gardens where we stay.

    We leave Shimla by a different route - the Viceroy's Toy Train. Completed in 1897 under the instruction of Lord Curzon, this 96km line with 103 tunnels and 24 bridges was a massive undertaking created to ease the previously arduous journey. The journey is truly memorable as the train steadily rattles its way through the stunning scenery. Although it is not the quickest option (5.5 hrs) it is undoubtedly the most romantic. We leave the train at Kalka and take the short drive to Pinjore where we spend the night.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Early morning train to Delhi; drive to Agra visiting Sikandra on arrival.

    An early start this morning with a 4 hr train journey to Delhi, followed by the drive to Agra. Once the capital of Mughal India, Agra is well known for its architecture, most famously the exquisite Taj Mahal. Since arrangements to visit the Taj have recently changed we will save it until last for a special viewing early on our final morning. As we enter Agra we will visit Sikandra, the emperor Akbar's mausoleum and, if time, the Itimad-ud-Daulah. These are both early Mughal monuments that allow us to see the developing skills and techniques that eventually produced the incomparable Taj.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Explore Itmad-Ud-Daulah, Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort.

    A day of Mughal history. In the morning we visit the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri, built on a rock ridge between 1569 and 1585 by the great Mughal emperor, Akbar. It has lain empty for 400 years, deserted in 1600CE when Akbar's attention was diverted to Lahore. It is perfectly preserved and highlights this extraordinary Emperor's unorthodox architectural traditions and religious interests. After lunch we return to visit the impressive Agra Fort, another of Akbar's creations that dominates the Yamuna River and gives us our first magical glimpse of the Taj at sunset. Built in the shape of a half moon, the fort became the seat of the Mughal Empire for successive generations.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Visit Taj Mahal at dawn before returning to Delhi; afternoon free.

    Rising early, we will finally make our long awaited visit to the Taj, undoubtedly the jewel in the crown of the Mughal dynasty. The Taj was built by Shah Jahan as a memorial to enshrine the body of his favourite wife, Mumtaz. Seen in the gentle early morning light it is at its best, and the gardens are quiet and free of the crowds who will arrive later in the day. After breakfast we travel either by road or rail to New Delhi where we will have some free time for picking up those last minute souvenirs.
    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Delhi.

    Those on the flight inclusive package will depart for London this morning for the daytime flight back to London; Land Only arrangements will finish after check-out from the hotel.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Vaccinations

India

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Some of our India trips spend time at altitude. In regions over approx. 2000m, there is low to no risk of mosquito-borne diseases. For trips going to altitudes of over 3000m there is a risk of being affected by Acute Mountain Sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable everyone to acclimatise to these altitudes, but you should be aware that it is still possible for you to be affected. Please see the TRIP NOTES for further information.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 2 lunches included.

You should allow at least £12 (US$16) per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in India, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants you will spend more than the suggested amount. In a lot of towns there is a choice of restaurants and a choice between Indian and Western style food however please note that this is not always the case. If you are a vegetarian, India is probably one of the best destinations to travel to. Tea and soft drinks are very cheap. A (large!) bottle of beer is approximately £3 (US$5). Mineral water is widely available.

Weather

Is this trip for you?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely). The roads are generally pretty good throughout, but road conditions can vary and are obviously very different from those in the west. Local traffic and/or road damage after the monsoon can sometimes slow us down. We travel mainly on comparatively quiet roads for at least half of the journey. The tour is not overly demanding, but the bustle of Delhi, Agra and Amritsar can be a little overwhelming at first. This trip provides an excellent introduction to the north of the country and includes a great range of experiences and sights, from walking in the Himalayan foothills to visiting the world renowned Taj Mahal. The route we take involves both train and road travel and although we attempt to minimise journey times, you must be prepared for some longer drives. Please note that hotel facilities in Himachal Pradesh tend to be simpler than other regions in India, but the hotels we use meet 2-3-star (local rating) standards.

Please note that the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) are responsible for the conservation of many monuments in India (including the Taj Mahal) and very occasionally this may mean that work is taking place at sites visited on this trip. The ASI’s schedule is never published so it is not possible to forewarn our clients of when work will be taking place.

Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will spend 14 nights in en suite hotel rooms. The hotels we stay in are classed as standard hotels, where properties are chosen for their location and value. Facilities in Himachal Pradesh are generally simpler than other parts of India, and meet 2/3-star standards (local rating).

Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call us on
+47-22 41 30 30
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed April 2017
    Roslyn Hayles

    Mountains,Temples and Mystics

    A fantastic trip which covered so many religions, landscapes and local rituals. An off the beaten yrack tour with a lot to offer.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Definitely The Golden Temple in Amritsar closely followed by the Delai Lamas temple in McCleod Ganj.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phillippa was fantastic. Her knowledge of the area was outstanding. She was always helpful and organised.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do this trip. You won't regret it.6
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Jim Clarke

    A tour of contrasts

    A tour of northern India which really offers you two very contrasting experiences of this amazing country. Starting in the Punjab at Amritsar with the Golden Temple you get to sense the devotion and frenetic energy this place creates; moving up to the mountains you experience a totally different way of life as seen through the lives of the different communities, contrasting completely with the tourist hotspot that is Agra and all its sights to end with.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The major tourist sights do not disappoint, living up to expectations and not being spoilt by seeing some of them again after 30 years but it was the mountain sections of this trip that really inspired me. The rural villages and shrines that we spent time in on the way up to McLeod Ganj and Dharamsala showed a way of life that had not changed; the Tibetan communities we spent time with revealled an insight to their nature and aspirations - the opportunity to attend an audience with the Dalai Lama was an unexpected bonus, the more because it is not available generally. Shimla was a gem, if cold at night and the descent to the Plains an experience to savour on the 'Toy Train'.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jeremy, Philippa's husband, was a real find. Stepping in to cover the trip he revealled a depth of knowledge and understanding of India that rivalled that of Mark Tully! The perfect guide, he negotiated the difficulties encountered on the trip with consimate ease and when faced with a real crisis created by the government decision to demonitarise the large currency notes at 3 hours notice, his experience of living in India for so long proved invaluable in easing our way through the remainder of the trip. A true scholar and a gent as well as a brilliant travelling companion.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    In November bear in mind that the mountains are cold at night though quite warm in the day so layers are in order. Many of the hotels have their own quirky hot water systems so make sure the porter who brings your bags to the room shows you how to turn on the boiler if it is room based - sink plugs are also not to be relied on so bring a travel plug!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    An excellent trip that gives a real insight into the India that is away from the tourist route but also incorporates major sights, a superb balance of an itinery that needs to be experienced.
  • Reviewed April 2016
    Kevin Edgington

    Truly epic trip through the holy places of Northern India... "Indeed"

    This was a truly spectacular trip introducing us to some utterly enchanting, captivating and magical places. It really felt as if we were off the beaten track until the last couple of days when we arrived in Delhi and Agra. We visited many small, beautiful, authentic Indian villages where the only tourists that were ever seen were probably on this trip! We visited many temples from various faiths, some of the tiny Hindu temples were amazing, including the rock cut temple at Masroor. But others were just as spectacular including the Tibetan temples in McLeod Ganj, and we finished in Agra to visit the Mughul monuments including the spectacular Taj Mahal. Visiting so many small places off the beaten track really allowed us to experience the amazing, beautiful, open hearted people of India, which was one of the highlights for me. The Viceroy's Toy Train from Shimla to Kalka was also a amazing experience. A highly recommended trip , and a perfect introduction to an awesome country away from the hassle and chaos of the tourist hot spots.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The most amazing part of the trip for me were the visits to The Golden Temple at Amritsar on the very first night and subsequent first morning. It is a spectacular place, a fabulous building but it is the people that really made it come alive! Thousands of beautiful friendly, colourful, happy Sikhs undertaking their pilgrimage to their holiest temple. They were so welcoming, and it was an extraordinary introduction to the colour, warmth and joy of India. We were befriended by so many people, and found ourselves regularly asked to be in photographs with other visitors. The kitchens were also amazing, hundreds of volunteers helping out, absolute chaos and noise in total synchronisation as everything was cooked and cleaned up in no time for sittings every 15 minutes or so. It was the perfect way to start the trip on a high! I will never forget this wonderful place and its wonderful people.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Philippa was absolutely amazing. As a long term resident of McLeod Ganj she knew the various cultures inside and out, introduced us to some wonderful intimate places off the usual tourist trail. We visited the Tibetan Nunnery, and a local health centre doing great things, both places where Philippa herself worked and volunteered. She had a amazing knowledge of Buddhism as a practitioner and also the other faiths that added real depth to our visits to the many temples and holy places. A fabulous tour leader. Can't thank her enough.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It's not an arduous trip in terms of physical exertion but there is a fair amount of travelling on quite small roads in the north of the country, short distances can take quite a while to cover, some days we were travelling for 5/6 hours although there were regular breaks. The food was fantastic and there were few issues in the group with upset stomachs. Some of the hotels were less than spectacular but the worst is likely to be changed!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was a brilliant trip, with an amazing leader, and a great group of people. A highly recommended to introduction to India, that has only fuelled my desire to return! Soon!
  • Reviewed November 2015
    Jane Spooner

    Mountains, Temples & Hill Stations

    An excellent trip providing an insight into north western India. When we reached McLeod Ganj it was as though we'd crossed the border into Tibet. We met very few western tourists until Shimla and Agra. The Toy Train from Shimla is superb. This tour was exceptional due to Philippa's in depth knowledge and contacts.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our first magical glimpse of The Golden Temple at Amritsar at night sparkling in the lake

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Philippa was an excellent leader. Having lived in India for 30 years, her knowledge and insight into the country was exceptional. She also introduced us to many of her interesting friends which provided experiences we wouldn't have had on a standard tour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    You can get a better exchange rate at money changers rather than at Delhi or Amritsar airport. Many of the hotels don't have heating in the bedrooms so take warm clothing if travelling during the winter months.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Sarah Clachan

    Quart into a pint pot

    This holiday of 2 weeks fitted so much in, we felt we had been on at least 4 separate trips. Even for experienced Indian travellers, this group tour is recommended as you just would not know about all the amazing places visited along the way.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to the Golden Temple at night was extremely moving, it was very peaceful and visitors were welcomed without question.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent tour leading from Philippa Russell. She is very generous in spirit and a mine of information.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take mosquito repellent.
  • Reviewed October 2015
    Rob Alleway

    Fascinating tour

    This was a fascinating tour which had something every day which was special. The trip takes you to places less travelled by tourists, and gives insight into Indian and Tibetan life. The tour moves at some pace and there is a lot to take in. The scenery in places is breathtaking, rubbing along with Indian life was always interesting.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were memorable moments every day of this trip. On the first evening in India we were taken to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Turning a corner and catching a glimpse of it at night was breathtaking

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phillipa is a bit of a special lady. We felt very blessed to have her lead the trip. She has an encyclopedic knowledge of Indian culture, Phillipa guided us gently through this tour and was a joy to have as company.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the flow, take decent walking shoes.
  • Reviewed April 2015
    Susan Barnes

    Mountains, temples and hill stations.

    A fascinating trip . Busy, very well organised, but certainly not leisurely.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Golden Temple . Visiting McLeod Ganj. Seeing the snow capped peaks.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Philippa Russell was brilliant. She has a deep knowledge and a great love for all things Tibetan , for Buddhism, other religions, history and life itself. She was happy to share her knowledge with us, never tiring of explaining events in a most interesting way. Her patience and enthusiasm shone through and we felt extremely privileged to have had her as our leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a fascinating journey through a part of India that is 'off the beaten track'. Be prepared for longish drives on poor roads in part, but fantastic scenery along the way.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I do not think this is a usual tour for a 'first timer' to India. We had all been to Agra before, some of us more than once!! I would not want the trip to be shortened. I would suggest a second night at The Mirage in Andretta and another night at Norbulingka or McLeod Ganj so a day trek into the foothills could be arranged. Return to Delhi as in the programme and fly home from there.
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous

    Mountains, Temples and Hiil Stations

    A great trip with wonderful experiences accompanied by a wonderful leader

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the Dalai Lama

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Philippa Russell was an excellent, caring , knowledgeable leader - she took the time to get to know us as individuals. Her organisational skills were second to none and her local knowledge and experience ensured we gained the most from our trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go with the flow ! - Carry and use hand washing gel. A busy trip with some long journeys on some poor roads but worth it all.
  • Reviewed November 2014
    Anonymous

    The fabulous foothills of India

    Other than the mayhem of the Golden Temple in Amritsar, this trip is gentle, relatively cool, green and uncrowded.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Meeting the Dali Lama!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Phillipa has lived in India most of her adult life and fits right in. Being confronted with the crowds at the Golden Temple made me wish she were a little taller or were wearing a fluoro scarf so we could find her in the crush. But she managed to gather us up somehow. She's a lovely lady with a heart of gold.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It was cold and raining in Shimla, but that was only 2 days so don't overdo the cold weather gear. A lot of the places are very basic so take anything you might need from a pharmacy. I had anti fungal cream and needed it for tinea after walking through the "cleansing" water at the Golden Temple after a thousand Indians had been before me.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There are a lot of group dinners, often because there is nowhere else to eat other than what Phillipa organises. Sometimes you have to eat in the hotel because of the size of the group so researching a good restaurant in a town would give you a break from the group. Carry a bit of food as some meals end up quite late.
  • Reviewed July 2014
    Janet Robertson

    Mountains, Temples and Hill Stations

    Oh my word, where to begin. I am an India aficionado and have travelled the length and breadth of the country. My two weeks on this tour were totally incredible, the journey indescribable. Our tour guide, Philippa, was a constant fountain of information, such a knowledgeable, caring asset to the company and her charges. The tour took me to new places with rewarding experiences, all of which were splendid. Philippa introduced me to a Nun practicing in one area who recommended ayurvedic medicine for me, extremely worthwhile.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting the Tibetan Children's Village - the work being carried out there and the determination of those involved to improve the lives of their charges and educate their beautiful minds is indescribable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    First class and who was continually introducing the group to new experiences.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This was my first tour with Exodus and it most definitely will not be my last.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The group consisted of a cross section of ages, who interacted throughout the tour. Naturally we all had one important factor in common, we were seasoned travellers.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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