Special offer

Celebrate 20 years of epic adventures with Charity Challenge!

Get 20% off your registration fee for 20 days.*

Use code CELEBRATE20 when booking.

*offer applies only to selected expeditions, valid only on for new bookings, sale runs 17 June - 6 July 2019, not valid in conjunction with any other offers. 

Thu 03 Oct - Sun 13 Oct 2019

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

ESSENTIAL INFO

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Typical day

Safety

Responsible Tourism

Extension

Flights

Visa

Insurance

Vaccinations & medication

Climate & Terrain

Training

Training weekends

Luggage allowance and valuables

Leadership

Group Size

Clothing and equipment

Accommodation & Toilets

Food & Drink

Money

Phone and WiFi

Emergencies

Level of Difficulty

The Dalai Lama Himalayan Trek challenge is graded as Challenging. A "challenging" trip will test someone who is relatively fit and has a spirit of adventure. You may have had some previous experience, but this is not necessary as long as the correct training is undertaken. A "challenging" trip may involve some altitude, but this will be compensated by easier terrain and trekking conditions.. You could tell your supporters that during the Dalai Lama Himalayan Trek Challenge you will be:

  • Trekking an average of 15km-20km per day.
  • Going to high altitude, and reaching a maximum altitude of 3000 metres above sea level.
  • Trekking through unique remote areas in which you will see no other tourists or trekkers
  • Staying in lodges with very basic facilities, or camping

Typical day

You will wake early (around sunrise) in time for a light breakfast. Walking days will last 5–8 hours. Trekking on your challenge will take place on mountain paths.  Most days will involve around 1-3 steep ascents and descents with time to stop and take it at your own pace. Packed lunch will be provided and usually served around noon. You will arrive at camp before sunset in order to wash before it gets dark. Supper will be prepared and you can relax as the stars come out.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of its participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up an advanced and thorough safety management system. In a nutshell, Our Challenge Safe brand formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the activity itself. Your welfare is paramount.

In terms of your Dalai Lama Himalayan Trek Challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You will be trekking to high altitude, which has its own risks
  • You will be taking an overnight train in 4 berth public carriages to get to Dharamsala and back to Delhi.
  • When temperatures are hot, the risk of becoming dehydrated and succumbing to sunstroke are particularly high. You should be drinking over 2L of water per day during the trekking and using sunscreen continuously.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment. In addition to taking these practical steps to ensure that our challenges are sustainable, we also make a contribution each year to a number of local community projects, so as to give something back directly to the communities that we visit. Since 2000 we have donated almost £200,000 to such projects, supporting a range of initiatives, including schooling for children in Africa, shelter for street children in Brazil, and Orang-utan conservation in Indonesia. We recommend that any gifts brought over for children are given to the UK challenge leader and distributed where needed by them and our local Ground Agent. If you wish to do more, you should consider buying drinks, postcards and souvenirs from the local vendors. For many, it is their sole source of income. For more information, please visit our Responsible Tourism pages, where you will be able to view a list of the projects that we currently support.

Extension

The Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri and Keoladeo National Park

Come and marvel at the beauty of the Taj Mahal by taking the opportunity to explore this modern wonder of the world at sunset. During your stay, you will also visit the inner citadel of Fatehpur Sikri, which boasts some of India’s best Mughal architecture including temples, monuments and a huge mosque. Complete your adventure with a bird-watching safari in Keoladeo National park.

Day 1: Keoladeo National Park and Bird Sanctuary

Today you transfer by train from Delhi to Agra on the luxury early morning fast train. The next destination is Keoladeo National Park which boasts 10,000 nests and 400 varieties of birds including spoonbills, kingfishers and painted storks. Exploring the park by cycle or rickshaw, you will also spot mammals like the sambhar, Nilgai and fishing cat roaming freely. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the star of the show, the National Bird of India, the peacock. After absorbing all the knowledge from the specialist nature guide, you will head to the Kadamb Kunj Resort on the outskirts of the park where you can make full use of their swimming facilities. 

Day 2: Fatehpur Sikri and The Taj Mahal at Sunset

Today you can enjoy a more leisurely breakfast before heading out to the fascinating Fatehpur Sikri. This magnificent city was the capital of the Mughal Empire in 1571 before it was dramatically abandoned just 14 years later. Despite the desertion by its inhabitants, the city is perfectly preserved and the heart of the citadel remains very much alive. 
Next you head to the Taj Mahal, the marbled mausoleum of Emperor Shah Jahan’s favorite wife. Having been described as ‘the tear-drop on the cheek of time’, it is no surprise that the Taj Mahal was declared one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the world’ in 2007. You will watch the sun set over this impressive monument, marking the end of a fantastic trip. 
Later, you will take the fast train back to Delhi where you will stay overnight. 

Day 3: Departure to the UK

It’s time to head back to the airport for your flight to the UK, taking with you cherished memories and new experiences to share with friends and family at home.

Inclusions and Exclusions

 

Included:

•           Taj Mahal entrance fees

•           Safari National Park Fees

•           Services of qualified English-speaking driver/guide

•           2 nights accommodation on a twin share on a full board basis

Excluded:

•           Personal expenses (ie: gifts, extra soft drinks or alcohol, laundry etc)

•           Tips for local team (we recommend you allow $6 per person for tipping your guide)

Please note that this extension is subject to a minimum of 4 people and flight availability and should be booked no later than 10 weeks prior to departure. Occasionally, a surcharge may need to be applied in which case we will inform you prior to confirming your booking. Full payment must be received no later than 8 weeks prior to departure or your place on the extension may be cancelled. All bookings will be confirmed no later than 6 weeks prior to departure.

The advertised costs for this extension are per person on twin sharing basis. If you are a solo passenger, we will try to accommodate you in a room with someone of the same gender. If this is not possible, you will be charged a single supplement of £85

* Please note that we reserve the right to change accommodation. Where this is necessary, alternative accommodation will be of an equal or better standard.

Flights

You will be flying from London to Delhi. The flying time is approx. 8 hours if flying non-stop. Your flight information can also be found in your Account Area under 'Flights'. Your flight tickets will be emailed to you before departure.   

If you choose to book your own flights please confirm with the Charity Challenge office prior to booking any flights, otherwise, you may be liable for your included group flight cost. Contact flights@charitychallenge.com for any further info or intent of booking your own flights. For any general flights questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.  

Please note: Timings of the group flights are subject to change. Please take this into consideration when booking additional services, such as internal transfers to departure airports. 

Visa

If your expedition ventures to a country which requires a visa, this information will be uploaded to your online account area 3 months prior to departure. The visa information is per the FCO website where a link will be provided together with a link to the visa office for that country.
All foreign nationals require a visa to enter India. Please note that British Citizens are now eligible to get an online visa before arrival to India.

Important note: British passport holders of Pakistani origin may have difficulty in obtaining a visa for India. If the visa is granted it will certainly take much longer than for other UK nationals, and there is a chance that you may not receive it in time to depart on your challenge. Charity Challenge's cancellation terms will apply in all circumstances.

Insurance

It is a condition of travelling with Charity Challenge that you have a suitable travel insurance policy which covers you for your entire challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. 
If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you must complete and return to Charity Challenge prior to travel.

For more travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page or for any specific queries, please contact us at bookings@charitychallenge.com.

Vaccinations & medication

Vaccinations
For up to date vaccination information please check the Travel Health Pro website: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries
Charity Challenge team are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements. Your GP may ask questions about the specific locations that you are visiting so it may be useful to take a copy of your itinerary with you.

Medication
•    Carry medicines (including those bought over the counter) in their correctly labelled container, as issued by the pharmacist, in hand luggage
•    Consider packing a spare supply of medication in the hold luggage in case of loss of hand luggage
•    A letter from the prescriber detailing the medicines with the generic names for the medications can be helpful for border control checks, and in case medicines have to be replaced or medical help is required
•    Carry a note from the prescribing physician on letterhead stationery for controlled substances and injection medications
•    Take out an appropriate level of travel health insurance including repatriation and specific cover for any pre-existing illnesses
N.B.  Some medications are banned abroad so please check you can find further information at https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/factsheet/43/medicines-abroad

It may be necessary to take precautions against malaria in Delhi. This includes wearing long-sleeved shirts, long trousers and socks at dawn and dusk. You should also wear plenty of insect repellent.

 

Climate & Terrain

Climate

March/April – In the Himalayas, the temperatures in the day can vary; minimum is probably around 7c and maximum 28c, with an average of 22c. It is likely to drop below 0c in the evenings, however, so you should come fully prepared for cold nights. You will have campfires and eat inside the dining tent. As a general rule it is t-shirt weather in the day and fleece & jacket weather at night. In Delhi it will be humid and around 28-30c, but remember to bring appropriate attire for visiting religious sites.

August/September - In the Himalayas, the average daytime temperature is 20c but this can vary. The rainy season is petering off but you may still experience some rain so good waterproofs are essential. In the evenings it will be cooler (approx 5c); however, you will have campfires and eat inside the dining tent.

October/November - In the Himalayas, the average daytime temperature is 15c but this can vary. There is little rain (average 7mm) at this time of year but you may well still experience some rain so waterproofs are optional. It is likely to drop below 0c in the evenings, and so you should come fully prepared for cold nights.

Terrain

The terrain is mountainous throughout, you will be trekking on mountain paths. Taking on some treks within the UK will be excellent training for this terrain. Expect cold weather and basic conditions.

Training

Training and fitness is definitely required. It is important that you work specifically on your stamina, leg and joint strength, and balance in order to get as much out of the challenge as possible. The trek takes place in a mountainous environment, so the best training advice is to get outdoors into some of the mountains of the UK to familiarise yourself with walking on rugged terrain, while carrying weight in your daypack. You need to be able to sustain around 4-7 hours of trekking for 5 continuous days. If you can then replicating this over a weekend would be fantastic training. You can also look to join one of our training weekends.

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends help you become physically prepared for the challenge. Our experienced instructors and leaders will also talk you through your clothing and equipment, health and wellbeing, trekking skills and teamwork. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out the information in your online account area or here.

Luggage allowance and valuables

The luggage allowance will depend on the airline we are using for your challenge, but in general it will be one piece of checked baggage at 20kg. Try to keep luggage to an absolute minimum – details of what to pack are provided in your kit list.

Each trekking day, your personal kit will be transported to the next stop by a support vehicle. You will carry a daypack for your daily needs such as sun cream, lunch, water, camera and lightweight waterproofs.

We will do everything to provide adequate safety for the group and security for your possessions. The general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. This includes jewellery, necklaces, rings and even watches. Carry your passport with you and make sure you have a photocopy of your documents (travel insurance, passport, visa etc.) in case they get lost or damaged

Leadership

There will be an English-speaking challenge leader who will be responsible for the logistics and co-ordination of your challenge. There will also be numerous local support guides and staff to assist them. The challenge leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Group Size

Each group is intended to be 16 people minimum in order to run and a maximum of approx. 25 people. We will be able to run this challenge for 10 to 15 people by charging a small group supplement of £75 which will be added to your final balance invoice (self funders) or charged to your charity (minimum sponsorship or flexi).

Clothing and equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. The benefits of a comfortable day sack cannot be underestimated, so make sure that you train with this. Other essentials are a high quality Gore-Tex waterproof jacket and technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts. Walking poles are also highly recommended, as the sections of this challenge are very tough on even the fittest knees, and descents can be tricky. We strongly recommend training with these prior to your trek. A full kit list for this challenge can be found on the website, and once you book you will have access to kit discounts with our partners Outdoorhire and Cotswold Outdoor.

Accommodation & Toilets

Accommodation

While trekking, you will be staying in two-person tents. The hunting lodge on days 7 and 8 is used as a camp area. Usually, you will still camp in a two-person tent in the grounds of the lodge however, sometimes camp beds and mattresses are set up within the lodge.  At the beginning and end of the challenge, you will be staying in slightly more comfortable hotel accommodation. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with please let Charity Challenge know in advance.

Toilets

At every campsite, a dug-in toilet will be improvised in a separate tent. This will be located at some distance from the campsite. Please bring anti-bacterial hand gel and spare tissues. At the hunting lodge there will be basic bathrooms and washing facilities. Along the trekking route, toilet facilities will be limited to the great outdoors!

Food & Drink

You will be served a variety of European and Indian food. All meals are healthy, nourishing and plentiful. Please let Charity Challenge know prior to departure if you have any specific dietary requirements or allergies.

Money

Currency: The currency is the Rupee, abbreviated as Rs. This is a 'closed currency', which means that you cannot import or export Rupees. For up to date currency exchange, go to: http://www.xe.com/

Credit Cards: A growing number of hotels, restaurants and shops in the major cities are beginning to accept credit cards. Credit cards are not the most convenient form of payment or method for withdrawing cash. However, we recommend having a credit card with you in case of emergencies.

ATMs: Please note that ATMs are not always available and that when they are they do not always work. It is best to ensure that you have enough cash with you prior to starting the challenge.

How much to bring: You will not need large amounts of money during this challenge Other than at the start and end of the trip, you will be in the mountains away from any foreign exchanges or banks. You will only need money for tips, additional food & drink, gifts & souvenirs and for any additional activities. On average, we recommend around £200 in cash, plus a credit card for emergencies. Keep in mind that you will not be able to buy Rupees before entering India, and so you are advised to take a sufficient amount of cash that you can change at the airport or in Delhi. 

Tipping: Tipping is personal and at your sole discretion. We recommend approx. US$10 per person per challenge-day. This should be given to the challenge leader who will distribute it among the support team, including guides, assistant guides, cooks and porters.

Phone and WiFi

Apart from in Delhi, the internet and phone reception will be limited throughout the challenge. You will not have WiFi in the basic accommodation during the trekking days, and phone reception in the mountains will be sporadic at best. You should look on this challenge as an opportunity to get away from the stresses of daily life!

Emergencies

The event is not run as a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking abilities. This is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. In the event of an emergency on your trek, all guides and leaders are maintaining contact via radio.

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ATOL protected

We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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