About the Tour – Official Matters

 

You will find below all the info you need to know about the tour. I divided it into expanding sections to make it easier to read 🙂

 

Duration

Arrival day: 10th December in Delhi
Departure day: 24th January Kathmandu

There will be no official program on the 10th and 11th December as people tend to be tired and like to rest. However there is often an outing of some sort if people are up to it. You need to arrive at the latest by noon on the 11th as we have an overnight train in the evening.

On the 24th January there is also no program apart from meditation in the morning and breakfast. You can book your return or onward flight any time that day. We normally have a closing ceremony on the 23rd so please do not plan to leave that day.

We prefer you to come for the whole tour, but if you really want to come and due to time constraints you can’t (school/work/family), we may be able to adjust. People who signup for the full tour will have preference and you will be expected to adjust with the group schedules and try to minimize the impact of arriving late and or leaving early. More on that later

Arrival by Plane

Book your ticket so that you arrive in Delhi on the 10th or latest the 11th (noon) December.

We leave Delhi on the 11th in the evening by overnight train to Rishikesh.

Delhi is very polluted, especially at this time of year, so even though it is sometimes cheaper to take an earlier flight, I would still advise you not to arrive before the 10th; the risk of getting sick from the pollution is just not worth it. In case any of you do arrive earlier, one of us will arrange to be there from the 8th or 9th of December. Naturally you will pay all expenses you incur before and after the tour as well as the taxi from the airport to the hotel.

In conclusion: it’s best to arrive on the 10th itself 🙂

Do check that your place on the tour has been confirmed and that it is really going ahead before you book your ticket! If you would like to see other places such as Taj Mahal, keep sufficient days for that. I would highly recommend to do this after the tour when you are a bit more comfortable traveling in India.

Departure

The Tour ends in Kathmandu on the 24th of January. If your return flight is from Delhi you have several options:

1) Fly back to Delhi (cost $80-$120) and if you don’t plan to stay longer, book your return for the 24th late night, or the 25th morning. If you would like to extend your stay in India, be sure to add sufficient days. Most tourist sites, like the Taj Mahal, are closed one day a week, so check it out!

2) In case you want more adventure or to save money, you can go back to India by bus and train. It will take around 36 hours to get to Delhi. The cost will be $25 – $50 depending on the class of sleeper you choose. So be sure to adjust your departure time from Delhi accordingly. Again if you like to visit some other places such as the Taj Mahal leave yourself sufficient days.

3) You may also stay longer in Nepal 🙂 or fly anywhere else.

The organizers will fly back to Delhi on the 24th. If you would like to join us, I can book you on the same flight. Then we can share taxis. In case there is enough interest and you like to join us for an extra holiday, be sure to come on the same flight. The options are on the registration form.

I can only come for Part of the Tour

We really discourage this option. It is a far more powerful experience both for you as well as for everyone else if everyone stays for the full tour. Many previous partisipants thought they would not be able to do that due to work, study or family obligations but found that when they discussed it with their boss, teachers or family members it actually was possible.

That said, we understand there are situations where full participation is an option. In that case we offer you three options:

  1. Just India: From the 10 December till about the 7th January when we continue to Nepal.
  2. From around the 27th December till the 24th January
  3. Other dates: That will require very careful coordination to make sure we can connect.

In case you arrive late it is your own responsibility to catch up with us, though I will be happy to help with local travel arrangements. In case you leave early you’ll have to arrange your own transportation back to Delhi, though again I would be happy to help.

You will be able to select option 1 and 2 on the registration form. In case of option 3 we will have to calculate the cost manually after you register. Discount is proportional to the length of time you join for. Intentionally As the same amount of preparation is involved, if not more, the charge per day rate is higher than the cost of the full tour.

Finally, if you come for a shorter time, you will miss out on visiting some places. We can’t help it! We will not rearrange the itinerary.

Please note: Anyone wanting to do things that are not included in the tour schedule will do them at their own cost.

What's Included in the Price

All accommodation, food, travel, and all collective expenses (such as rafting and a camel safari 🙂 ) for the entire trip. The tour naturally helps to cover the expenses of the organizers. Travel, food, visas and other local expenses back home if needed.

To protect you from individual requests for donations, on behalf of the tour we give donations to the various projects we visit. If you feel inspired you can of course also make an additional personal donation. At some places a tip is expected. It is up to you to decide what to do.

What is Not included in the Price

– Visas for India ($50 – 100) and Nepal ($40),
– Your flight ticket to and from Delhi,
– DMS fee (a program at Ananda Nagar)
– Bottled Water (We have a good water filter for those ready to make a little extra effort)
– Any personal expenses (soap, toothpaste, personal food, special diet, medical, etc)
– Optional activities (such as an elephant ride, para gliding, and any other activies not mentioned in the “What’s included” section

Although we discourage you from doing this as there is a risk of getting an upset stomach, sometimes people like to go to restaurants. If you do this you will pay for the meals. In any case please do follow a satvik diet. It is part of the tour’s program experience to do it for several weeks, so you can see the benefits. (Also while sharing rooms, or meditating together it is unpleasant if someone smells of garlic!)

As things are still relatively cheap in India you can manage your personal expenses with as little as $200. But bring more according to your spending habits… Definitely bring more if you plan to stay longer after the tour, want to do many of the optional activities listed below or if you want to buy lots of presents, personal or commerce items. I have observed that sisters tend to spend a lot more and love all the clothing and other things on offer…

When ever you do things that are not part of the tour, the expenses are your own. For example if you decide not to go trekking but enjoy some quiet time in Pokhara the hotel and food costs are yours; there will be no compensation from money that may have been saved by you not joining the main program.

Also if you can’t or do not want to fast on fasting days (there are four fasting days per month) or only want to fast on the ekadashi days, it is your responsibility to buy your food, cook it and clean up afterwards. Fasting is part of our practices and thus part of our tour. Of course there can be good reasons not to fast and we respect that as long as you respect those who do fast and don’t try to discourage them.

In case you want to visit Agra after the tour, the Taj Mahal entrance fee is around $20, the Agra Ford $20 and Fatipur Sikri $15 the fast train to get there and back to Delhi on the same day is  around $35. We do not visit Agra as part of the tour so if you do want to see it , keep some extra days after the tour before returning home.

In Jaipur it’s possible to do a 20 minute elephant ride for around $20, combined entrance fees to several interesting sites are $15 or so. Bring your student ID; it may give you good discounts! Paragliding in Nepal is around $90 for 30 minutes.

There are places where we can rent jeeps instead of taking buses. The cost of the bus is of course included but if the group prefers they can pay the difference and take a jeep that is a bit faster and more convenient. Sometimes it is not… Always an adventure 🙂

Tour Extension

Additional points to note: As you are probably coming a long way, you may want to consider visiting other countries nearby such as Thailand, Bali etc. You may also want to also consider volunteering at one of our projects either in India or other countries in the area: That can be a wonderful experience. I can recommend a few projects if you are interested. Normally to volunteer you need to commit for at least a month but it depends on the project.

Sometimes, if there is enough interest, we do a 10-14 day extension to the tour and visit places such as Thailand, Singapore and Bali. In that case I help coordinate (book/buy tickets and hotels) but beyond that it is open. We/I will be happy to guide and advise, but will not take responsibility for the program which will be a collective effort. We did it a few times and it was a lot of fun 🙂 If you would be interested let me know well in advance, as we would need at least 2-3 people interested in order to make it happen. Some help towards our travel expenses would be appreciated but not expected.

I have added a section for this on the registration form. The cost would be 500-1000 dollars for flights, hotels, food etc. Where possible we would stay at budged hotels or our own Ananda Marga centres.

 

Cost & Discounts for the full tour (in USD):

  Discount Total Amounts to be paid by:
      15 May 30 June 15 Aug 30 Sep 15 Nov
After 30 September No Discount 2050         2050
Deposit by 30 Sept 50 2000       500 1500
Deposit by 15 August 150 1950     500   1450
Deposit by 30 June 200 1900   500     1400
Deposit by 15 May 250 1800 500       1300

Notes:

  • If you pay the full amount in advance you will receive an extra $50 discount! (It may also save you on transfer costs)
  • If you pay the balance on arrival in India there is a $50 fee for the late payment, unless you have made prior arrangements.
  • If you prefer to pay in another currency, I can also receive Euros and maybe Mexican pesos. Just ask me for the rates
  • In rare cases we can give some further discount or a scholarship to LFTs or other volunteers joining the tour. This is decided individually
  • Minimum participants 3, maximum 8 to 10. Full is full.
  • There is an extra discount of $100 for the first 4 people who register! Use the coupon code: WEBSPECIAL
Further Discounts & Payment Plans:

We would like everyone to be able to come who wants to, so in case the amount is a real problem please ask your acarya to write to me on your behalf so we can see what to do. Exceptions are not always possible and only when really needed. No bargaining please!

We organize this tour for you and not for profit; however we do need to cover our own expenses. There is no special discount for LFTs but in case they really help out, and that means really help as one would expect of an LFT and clearly put in more effort than the other participants, there may be an extra 10% discount in the form of a refund at the end of the tour.

WTs who want to come please contact me. If your help is needed we may be able to cover your local expenses. If it is not needed we would ask you to help cover basic expenses.

In case you have money but can’t have it ready on time we can work out a payment plan. Just contact me.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

– If you cancel before the tour is officially confirmed (normally in June/July) you will get a full refund minus bank fees.

– If you cancel before November and we still have the minimum number of people you will only lose your deposit plus any bank transfer fees. The rest will be refunded. In case the tour is full (9 people) we can give a full refund minus bank fees.

– If you cancel before November but your cancellation results in the tour having less than the minimum number of people (6) you will lose your deposit as well as the rest. However at the end of the tour we will see if we can give back something without getting into trouble ourselves. Last time this happened the refund was $500

– If you cancel once the tour has started there is no refund.

– To protect yourself from any such events you should take a travel insurance that covers cancellation.

– If you can’t go but know someone who wants to take your place we can just change the names. This can be done up to the point the tour starts. The person would then reimburse you for what you paid minus the bank fees and pay the balance (if any) to me.

Travel Insurance

We do not have a group insurance and everyone is responsible for any extra personal expenses such as medical, loss of luggage and needing to cancel due to any reason.

So we strongly encourage you to make arrangements in this regard. As this is not an ‘official’ group tour, you can understand that we are not in a position to take legal responsibility. Naturally we’ll try to do everything to help when anyone is in need, and make minor adjustments to the schedule if someone falls sick.

We will ask you to sign a waiver form and hand this in on arrival.

Inoculations

Participants from Africa and South America as well as those who have traveled through those places in the last 10 days (check with your embassy!) – need to bring proof of an inoculation for Yellow Fever. You may be exempt if you are from one of those countries but have not resided there for some time.

In case you need inoculations you will have to show a Yellow Card with the necessary stamps on it. Again, if in doubt, check with the embassy or travel agency. If you need this card and you don’t have it the Indian immigration will keep you in quarantine in the airport for 10 days! As laws and requirements change it is your responsibility to check if you need these papers even if you are not living in those countries.

 

Congratulations for making it this far 🙂

If you have not been discouraged, please click on the button that takes you to the registration page.