Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for Tours to India. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document sent to all tour registrants, whose contents supersedes any information contained here.
TRAVEL TO INDIA: This tour is organized by our British company, Sunbird, and starts and ends in Delhi. Please read the Important Travel Information for Participants on Sunbird Tours.
ENTERING INDIA: United States citizens will need a valid passport and a tourist visa. These can be obtained from the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C. or Consulate in New York. Visas can also be obtained through a visa service, such as CIBT. As a general rule, your passport should be valid for six months after you plan to return from India.
MAPS AND COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can view maps of India in the University of Texas series here. You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information here, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on India here.
Note: To enable us to obtain permission to visit the Desert National Park, a photocopy of your passport with passport number, date and place of issue, full address, date of birth, nationality etc is required. We will also require your visa number when this is available.
HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) currently recommend taking an anti-malarial drug when visiting India. The drug of choice for India is Lariam (mefloquine). Further, the CDC currently recommends the following vaccines: Hepatitis A or immune globulin (IG); typhoid vaccination is particularly important because of the presence of S. typhi strains resistant to multiple antibiotics in this region; and as needed, booster doses for tetanus-diphtheria and measles, and a one-time dose of polio for adults. You can review the latest CDC advisories here.
PACE OF THE TOUR AND DAILY ROUTINE: The tour is not a strenuous one. Our longest walks are at Bharatpur (2-3km) but these are over easy terrain along shady paths, at a leisurely pace - and returning by bicycle rickshaw. Elsewhere we shall never be far from our vehicle (or camel cart or elephant). Breakfasts are usually between 06.00 and 07.30, lunches around 13.00 (usually in our hotel or a restaurant, occasionally picnics), evening meals usually between 19.00 and 20.00. We always allow plenty of time to rest and shower on returning from the field.
CLIMATE: Most days should be very pleasant with temperatures in the 60°F-80°F range, and plenty of sunshine. However, in the early mornings and evenings it will be cool, especially in the desert areas, and a sweater might be needed. Rain is extremely unlikely.
DRESS: Dress is informal throughout.
TRANSPORTATION: Transportation between sites is by bus. At Jaisalmer we will use jeeps to visit the Desert National Park. We will travel from Jodhpur to Delhi on an overnight train, using sleeper coaches, with shared toilet facilities. This train only has basic facilities so don’t expect luxury, but this journey will add an extra element to the tour and will enable us to see another side of Indian life. At Bharatpur we may also use bicycle-rickshaws or one of the park’s 16-seater electric buses to travel around the reserve.
SMOKING: Smoking is not allowed in the vehicle, nor at meal times or when the group is gathered together for checklist. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker you will be asked not to smoke in the room.
ACCOMMODATION: Please remember that facilities in India are not always up to Western standards or expectations. If you come expecting there to be occasional failings with water supply or electricity, then such events won’t come as a shock if they occur. Nevertheless we do try to select the very best available, including former palaces. We stay in a 5-star hotel in Agra which has two restaurants, a coffee shop and swimming pool. In Jaipur our accommodation is the opulent former palace of the maharaja. At Jodphur too we shall be housed in a former palace in a beautiful and bird-filled setting. Our 3-star hotel in Jaisalmer has been built in the traditional style of stone architecture on the outskirts of Jaisalmer and all the rooms have private bathrooms. At Bharatpur we’ll be staying at the Forest Lodge, the only accommodation inside the reserve. The Lodge is a medium-sized hotel and all rooms have private facilities, including showers.
GENERAL INFORMATION & CONDITIONS: Please take a moment to read the WINGS General Information & Conditions. This section contains important information about how we conduct tours, e.g., what is included in the tour price, refund and cancellation policies, pace of the tours and other information that will help you prepare for the tour.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A more complete General Information for India: Birds and History Tours will be sent to each registrant on receipt of their booking. Final information with instructions for meeting the group, hotel addresses, etc., will be mailed about three weeks before trip departure. Other news will be communicated as necessary. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Updated: June 2013