Kolkata to Goa by Rail

· in India · about Escorted or Guided Tour

Kolkata to Goa by Rail

in India · about Escorted or Guided Tour

This trip is a cornerstone of our Rail offerings, and for good reason. Skip the traditional backpacking route and hop on board a few trains – you’ll get just as much of an Indian education and adventure, but with a unique look at the country via rail. From touring the Taj Mahal to enjoying a local lunch in Kalimpong to visiting the seaside town of Goa, this train trip hits many of India’s highlights with plenty of time to disembark and get to know your surroundings. If you need an escape from the everyday, India is the perfect destination. Come aboard and explore it.

What's Included

Kolkata city tour. MacFarlane Memorial Church visit (Kalimpong). Cactus nursery visit. Lepcha Museum visit. Gangtok orientation tour. Rumtek Monastery day trip. Darjeeling orientation tour. Local lunch with cooking demonstration. Tiger Hill sunrise visit. Tea estate visit. Mahakal Temple visit. Tibetan refugee camp visit. Peace Pagoda visit. Toy Train to Kurseong. Akshardham visit (Siliguri). Evening ghats visit (Varanasi). Sunrise boat trip on the Ganges. Sarnath visit. Lucknow orientation tour. Bara Imambara visit. Taj Mahal visit (Agra). Agra Fort visit. Jaipur orientation walk. Amber Fort visit. Udaipur orientation walk. Jagdish Temple and City Palace visit. Rajasthani cultural show. Bundi Fort and stepwells visit. Colaba area walking tour (Mumbai). Gateway of India visit. Beach time in Goa. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Ride a toy train in Darjeeling, get spiritual in Varanasi, marvel at the iconic Taj Mahal, wander the Rajasthani streets of Jaipur and Udaipur, savour the cuisine of seaside Goa.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Important Notes

1. CULTURE
India is a country which is very different to anything you will have experienced before. Although this means it is not the easiest place to travel, this is also what makes it so special. Pollution, poverty and the crowds can result in initial culture shock but should be seen as an exciting new challenge. During our time here we have come to love this large and wonderfully different country but we know that we should always expect to encounter some difficulties along the way.

In India there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. Trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and power will often just vanish. Optimistic menus turn out to have only one dish available and everyone, just everyone, will want to know your name. If you are able to travel with a lot of patience and a healthy sense of humor, then we know that you – like all of us – will be captivated by what India has to offer.

2. COMBO TRIP
Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been travelling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.

3. RAMADAN
Depending on the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between June 7th and July 7th, 2016. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. Only about 20% of Indians are Muslim, but it is important to note that there may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan. Generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-muslims throughout the day. It is important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan in predominately Muslim areas of India. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can’t at that time.

Group Leader Description

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting – we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 15, avg 12

Meals

Eating is a big part of travelling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other’s company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Vegetarians will be able to find a huge range of different foods – India is vegetarian heaven. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.

Transport

Train (seats), train (beds), toy train, private van, walking

About our Transportation

TRAINS
The best way to see India is at ground level on the railway system. In fact, no visit to India would be complete without the experience of tavelling on a train and negotiating the busy railway stations. The chaos in the Indian Railway stations is a replica of the life in India. Indian trains are not merely a conveyance they are an odyssey so sit back relax, be patient and enjoy the show.

G Adventures uses a combination of AC 2 tier, AC 3 tier and sleeper class (for overnight journeys) and AC Chair car or second class seats for day journeys.

There are no restaurant or buffet cars on Indian Railways, but on long distance trains an attendant will appear in your coach and ask you if you would like to order food. Regular stops are made at stations where food is also available and on some trains many vendors board the train selling chai, cold drinks and crisps and biscuits.

Don’t expect pristine western standards anywhere in India, but you’ll find AC2, AC3 and AC Chair class fairly clean by Indian standards, with both western-style and squat toilets usually in a reasonably sanitary condition. Sleeper Class and 2nd class toilets may be a different matter! Bring your own toilet paper and hand wash soap or antibacterial lotion.

Indian trains are quite safe to travel on, even for families or women travelling alone, and you are unlikely to have any problems. Having said that, theft of luggage, although rare is not unheard of, so just for peace of mind you might like to take along a chain and padlock to secure your bags (readily available at all Indian stations).

Generally, Indian Railways are very efficient, but Indian trains do run late particularly in winter time when fog is heavy, and sometimes it’s hours rather than minutes. Make sure you have something to occupy your time – a good book, music, a magazine or photos of your home country and family to show the Indian travellers also waiting for the train. You should also have snacks and water for the journey.

ROAD
Traveling by road in India is certainly not what people are use to in Western countries. Rules are not always followed, drivers appear to speed, do not stay in their lanes, overtake in seemingly dangerous situations, rarely use their mirrors or driving lights at night time. The horn however is used very frequently and can range from the latest Bollywood tune to Britney Spears! In India, although the government is investing large sums of money improving the road infrastructure, there is a lot more to be done. As a result, in India, some of the roads are poorly maintained, pot holed and uneven. This gets even more pronounced particularly during and after the monsoon. Travel time covering relatively short distances is very long in comparison to Western countries.

Solo Travellers

Accommodation

Hotels/guesthouses (19 nts), sleeper train (4 nt).

About Accommodation

A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used in India. These can vary in terms of service, efficiency and cleanliness. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home. Power cuts can and are a regular occurrence in many places, especially throughout North and Central India. Although a number of hotels have generators there may be times when these won’t work. It is also recommended when you are in your room to lock the door, as staff will sometime enter without reason.

Joining Hotel

Hotel Lytton
14 & 14/1, Sudder Street
Kolkata
West Bengal
India
332249187

Arrival Complications

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:

Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

If your call is specifically concerning Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer providers directly at:
Kolkata International Airport:
+91 9830 046618

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
During office hours, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm:
From outside India: +91 11 4342 4342
From within India: 011 4342 4342

Out of office hours
From outside India: +91 99 5869 0753
From within India: 099 5869 0753

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Local Office (Delhi)
G Adventures South Asia Manager, Rishab (Delhi, India)
Emergency number:
From outside of India: +91 99 7179 5447
From within Delhi: 99 7179 5447
From within India, but outside Delhi: 099 7179 5447

G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time): +66-02-3815574

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as you are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bag which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travellers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) as they need to fit under the beds when travelling on sleeper trains. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones. If your trip involves overnights in home stays, villages or camping then you usually have the opportunity to rent sleeping bags if need be instead of bringing them with you.

Checklist

-Passport (with photocopies)
-Travel insurance (with photocopies)
-Airline tickets (with photocopies)
-Debit or credit card
-Cash in USD
-G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and – Required visas or vaccination certificates
-Day pack for daily personal items
-Locks for bags
-Wet wipes
-Sunblock/Sun hat
-Sunglasses
-Alarm Clock
-Insect Repellent
-Flashlight
-Toiletries
-Reusable water bottle
-Ear plugs
-Small towel
-Money belt
-Shirts/T-shirts
-Shorts
-Sturdy walking shoes/Sport sandals
-Hiking pants/track pants
-Camera
-Waterproof backpack cover
-Umbrella
-Rain jacket or poncho
-Reading/writing material
-First-aid kit
-Binoculars
-Pocketknife
-Rehydration powder
-Long pants/jeans
-Long-sleeved shirts or sweater
-Thermal base layer

  • Note: During the colder months (Oct-Apr) the mountains can be very cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes.

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

Please note that visas for India are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your governments foreign ministry website or with you travel agent as rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself. For most travellers there will probably have an embassy and consulate in the country that you live in.

Standard Indian tourist visas are good for 6 months with multiple entry and exits. VISA IS NOT AVAILABLE AT PORT OF ENTRY AND must be obtained in advance.

For nationals of Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan and Bangladesh if you are planning on entering India multiple times in a two month period will need to get special authorization.

a) If you are already in India you must register with FRRO (Foreign Regional Registration office).

b) If you are still outside of India you must advise consulate or embassy at time of visa application of your plans. You will need to provide supporting documents which includes airline tickets.

Spending Money

Money Exchange

As currency exchange rates in Asia fluctuate often we ask that you refer to the following website for daily exchange rates: www.xe.com As of Feb 2012 the exchange rate for INDIA was 1 USD = 49.00 INR (Indian Rupees). There are many ATM machines that accept both Visa and Mastercard but these are limited to major cities. Major credit cards are accepted in most shops but they may charge a 2-4% transaction fee.

Emergency Fund

Departure Tax

All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

Tipping

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from USD1-2 per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however as a guideline USD20-30 per person, per week can be used.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Safety and Security

Trip Specific Safety

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage

Medical Form

A Couple of Rules

Travel Insurance

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Local Dress

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting small rural communities or visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites as this may restrict your entry.

India is very conservative and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline shoulders and knees should be covered at all times. The wearing of shorts is not allowed as it will restrict your entry into buildings of a religious nature and family homes. A light water and windproof jacket is useful and a hat essential.
NB: WE STRESS THAT IT CAN BE VERY COLD IN THE HILLS DURING THE MONTHS FROM DECEMBER TO FEBRUARY.

NB: During our trip there will be many opportunities for you to meet and “talk” with locals. One way to start any conversation is with pictures. We recommend that you bring some photos/postcards of your family, home, city or country where you live, animals peculiar to your country etc.

Feedback

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Max Pax

15

Group Leader

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, local guides.

Meal Budget

Allow USD540-705 for meals not included.

Meals Included

1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

PRODUCT_LINE: AHGR, ID: 24329

Itinerary

Day 1: Kolkata

Arrive at any time.

Included Activities:
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

Day 2: Kolkata/Jalpāiguri

Visit the Victoria Memorial, New Market and take a ferry on the Ganges. In the evening, board an overnight New Jalpaiguri Kamrup Express train to New Jalpaiguri.

Transport:
Overnight train (beds) (13.00 hour(s))

Day 3: Jalpāiguri/Kalimpong, Крукети

Arrive to New Jalpaiguri in the morning and continue by van to Kalimpong.

Explore MacFarlane Memorial Church and visit a cactus and orchid nursery and the Lepcha Museum, dedicated to preserving the dwindling culture of the indigenous Lepcha tribe.

Included Activities:
MacFarlane Memorial Church Visit
Cactus Nursery Visit
Lepcha Museum Visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))

Day 4: Kalimpong, Крукети/Gangtok

Continue by private van to Gangtok and take an orientation tour of the town.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

Transport:
Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s))

Day 5: Gangtok

Enjoy a day trip to Rumtek Monastery.

Included Activities:
Rumtek Monastery Visit

Transport:
Travel roughly 24km to the monastery and back.
Private Vehicle (24km)

Day 6: Gangtok/Darjeeling

Head to Darjeeling by private van and take an orientation tour of the town.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk

Transport:
Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours)

Day 7: Darjeeling (1L)

Watch the sunrise at Tiger Hill, visit a tea estate, explore the Mahakal Temple, and meet Tibetans at a Refugee Camp. After, visit the Peace Pagoda. Enjoy a cooking demonstration at a local, family-run restaurant.

Additional Notes:
Please note that occasionally the cooking demonstration may be moved to Varanasi to better suit the day’s schedule.

Included Activities:
Tiger Hill Sunrise Visit
Tea Estate Visit
Mahakal Temple Visit
Peace Pagoda Visit
Refugee Camp Visit

Day 8: Darjeeling/Mughal Sarāi

In the morning take the World Heritage Himalayan Toy Train ride. Then drive to Siliguri to catch an overnight sleeper train to Mughal Sarai.

Included Activities:
Akshardham Visit

Transport:
Toy train
Private Vehicle (2.00 hour(s))
Enjoy an air-conditioned train with linens provided.
Overnight train (beds) (14.00 hour(s))

Day 9: Mughal Sarāi/Varanasi

Arrive to Mughal Sarai in the morning and continue by van to Varanasi. Enjoy an evening visit to the ghats.

Included Activities:
Ghats Visit

Transport:
Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))

Day 10: Varanasi

Take a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore Sarnath and the city of Varanasi.

Included Activities:
Morning Ganges Boat Tour

Day 11: Varanasi/Lucknow

Take a morning Varanasi-Lucknow Intercity train. In the afternoon, visit the Bara Imambara.

Included Activities:
Bara Imambara Visit

Transport:
Train (6.00 hour(s))

Day 12: Lucknow/Delhi (1D)

Spend most of the day exploring Lucknow. In the afternoon, board the Swarna Shatabdi Express train to Delhi, with dinner provided on board. Enjoy the night in the bustle of Delhi.

Transport:
Train (6.00 hour(s))

Day 13: Delhi

Enjoy a free day in Delhi.

Day 14: Delhi/Āgra (1B)

Take the Shatabdi Express train to Agra, with breakfast served on board. Enjoy a guided tour of the impressive Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Time permitting, opt to visit the Baby Taj.

Included Activities:
Taj Mahal Guided Tour
Agra Fort Guided Tour

Transport:
Train (2.00-3.00 hours)

Day 15: Āgra/Jaipur

Hop a Shatabdi Express train in the evening to Jaipur.

Transport:
Train (4.00-4.50 hours)

Day 16: Jaipur

Take an orientation walk around town. Take a photo of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) and visit the Amber Fort. Walk around the Old City and markets and opt to visit the City Palace. With free time, choose to visit local artisans in a nearby village, wander the Jantar Mantar, or check out a Bollywood film at the spectacular Art Deco film house, the Raj Mandir.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Amber Fort Visit

Day 17: Jaipur/Udaipur

In the afternoon, continue your travels on the Udaipur Express train.

Transport:
Train (7.00-7.50 hours)

Day 18: Udaipur

Enjoy an orientation walk, including a visit to the Jagdish Temple and the City Palace, one of the largest royal palaces in India. Attend a Rajasthani cultural show on Gangaur Ghat.

Included Activities:
Orientation Walk
Jagdish Temple Visit
City Palace Visit
Rajasthani Cultural Show

Day 19: Udaipur/Būndi

With free time in Udaipur, opt to check out the many beautiful lakes, take a boat ride, visit the Monsoon Palace for some excellent views, or take an Indian cooking class.

Transport:
Train (4.50 hour(s))

Day 20: Būndi/Mumbai (1D)

Explore the Bundi Fort and stepwells before an overnight trip on the Mumbai Rajdhani Express, with dinner on board.

Included Activities:
Bundi Fort and Stepwells Visit

Transport:
Train (1.00 hour(s))
Overnight train (beds) (12.00 hour(s))

Day 21: Mumbai

Arrive in the morning at bustling Mumbai, home to 20 million people. Take a walking tour of the Colaba area and see the Gateway of India.

Included Activities:
Colaba Walking Tour
Gateway of India Visit

Day 22: Mumbai/Goa

Spend the day exploring more of Mumbai before an overnight ride on the Konkan Kanya Express train to Goa.

Transport:
Overnight train (beds) (11.50 hour(s))

Day 23: Goa

Opt to visit the many Portuguese-built monuments, wander around the churches of Old Goa (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), or discover Panjim, the capital of the state. Don’t forget to indulge in Goan cuisine.

Day 24: Goa

Depart at any time.

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