SPECIALIST INTEREST TOURS

At Palaces and Tigers we pride ourselves on being able to create the perfect itinerary for you. Whatever your interests or passions, we will create a tailor made trip that will fulfil all your desires.

We specialise in Father’s Footsteps Tours. The historical links between the countries of the Indian subcontinent and the United Kingdom go back many centuries. With his own military connections in both Nepal and India, Murray Jones is uniquely placed to help you trace your own roots and he can guide you to those places of personal interest including Battle Sites, Cemeteries, and Hill Stations.

We also arrange tailor made tours on Bird Watching and Food & Cookery. We will be delighted to discuss any of these or other suggestions you may have.

TRAVEL ADVICE CHECKLIST

Passports and Visas – All travellers to the Indian subcontinent need a current full passport valid for at least six months from departure date. It is important to check with the relevant Embassies for visa requirements.

Flight tickets – Confirmation of flights is essential at least 72 hours before departure otherwise the seat may not be held.

Health – It is advisable to travel with a first aid kit including tablets for nausea and diarrhoea. Check with your doctor for any vaccinations that might be required. Don’t forget sunblock.

Water – Do not drink any water that has not been boiled, filtered or bottled. Check for broken seals as this may indicate that a bottle has been refilled. You can purchase water sterilisation tablets as a precaution.

Insurance – Make sure you take out travel insurance before setting off.

Security – It is always a good idea to have photocopies of your passport details and details of travellers’ cheques numbers and any other documentation that may be useful. Keep this information in a separate place. Leave details with friends or family.

Dress – It is important to dress appropriately. This means that shoulders should be covered and respect should be shown particularly in religious places. Avoid wearing synthetics as humidity is generally high. The evenings can be quite cool in comparison with the daytime temperatures so light sweaters and long trousers/skirts are advisable. And don’t forget sunglasses and sun hats!

WEATHER ADVICE

The main tourist months are September to December and February to April as the monsoon rains make travel very difficult. For an idea of the average rainfall and temperatures throughout the year click the button below.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Our tours start from as little as USD $1,000 per person. This price includes a meet and greet service, a personal government-appointed guide and private vehicle, luxury accommodation, internal travel and transfers and entrance prices where applicable.

Please note that all prices are quoted in US dollars. You will be responsible for your international flights to and from your chosen destination together with any visas.

Anyone anywhere in the world interested in independent travel to the Indian subcontinent: India, Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal and Sri Lanka. I will arrange a unique tour to suit your requirements and interests. We work in conjunction with locally-based operators so you can be assured that you will be looked after every step of the way. We arrange all of the transportation within the countries you will be visiting, but not flights to and from your country.

We arrange all of the hotel rooms, private transport, sightseeing and guides as well as tickets for the local trains. I will also advise on itineraries, suggesting off-the-beaten track sights as well as the well-known ones. I can suggest parks and reserves for wildlife enthusiasts and I can organise tours for special interests: history, bird watching, painting, fishing (fly and coarse), and Father’s Footsteps (finding the places where parents or ancestors might have lived during colonial times).

I normally quote 4 or 5 star hotels, and where possible, former royal palaces. I can of course arrange accommodation in hotels which are specifically named but I do not make recommendations for any that are less than 4-star. Palaces come under the ‘Heritage’ category and with no two palaces the same, these properties create a vast and interesting variation.

Not unless you would wish to create your own group. I can arrange an itinerary for a group of any size, should that be required but that of course means that some of the smaller palaces would be unable to accommodate you. As I create unique itineraries for all of my clients, I work closely with you from the initial planning stages. You can call me or send me an email using the contact page of this site.

If you are going for a specific purpose (conference, friends and family), we can arrange an itinerary around the dates without penalty. I can also arrange group travel, conference activities and special events if required.

We arrange local government approved guides wherever you go. They are for your exclusive use so you can arrange your itinerary with them should you wish to make changes. You may decide to relax by the pool for an afternoon rather than go sightseeing!

From the information that you supply, I offer an itinerary that will match your requirements. We then agree on the pace of the tour and I obtain a costing. If there are adjustments to make, I may suggest suitable alternatives until we agree on the total itinerary. You will be invoiced from the host country for payment, normally 50% on booking, and the balance wherever possible, six weeks prior to arrival. Most hotels will only confirm a booking after the deposit has been placed with them. Some will even require the full amount. For bookings with less than three months’ notice, full payment will be required as some hotels require full payment by this stage.

I have excellent contacts with reputable inbound operators in all of the respective countries and have known and worked with them all for many years. These companies have arrangements with local operators at all of the major places and all of the sightseeing guides provided are government-approved.

For India, yes, for most nationalities. The Indian Government has relaxed their rules recently so that tourists from some countries can obtain visas on arrival, otherwise a visa must be obtained prior to travel. All of the Indian Embassies and High Commissions have details and downloadable application forms on their websites. Note that passports must be valid for at least six months at the time of travel.

In Nepal, visas are available on arrival. They are normally for 14 days, but can be extended to 28 days. Nepal Embassies also issue visas. It is recommended you obtain your visa prior to arrival by land.

For Bhutan, Agents in Kathmandu can arrange visas in a couple of days.

For Sri Lanka, certain nationals may visit for 30 days, obtaining a free visa on arrival.

For Tibet, our agents in Kathmandu can obtain China-Tibet visas if you are travelling from Nepal. You will need to spend a couple of days in Kathmandu while the visa is being obtained.

In all cases, it is always advisable to check with the relevant embassy.

See our advice pages for further information but it is advisable to take malaria precautions especially from June to October. And don’t drink the water! Make sure you only have boiled, filter, or bottled mineral water.

In India, all transactions made by foreigners to do with tourism are to be paid with hard currency. This is law. There are an increasing number of ATM cash points throughout the region though if you are in the countryside, they are still rare. It is best to carry Travellers’ Cheques in any of the hard currencies. Keep a record of the numbers, together with a photocopy of the personal information page of your passport. All exchanges should be made through licensed currency exchangers.

In India and Nepal an increasing number of airlines are emerging but there can be delays towards the end of the day as many of the local airports are unable to deal with this increase in traffic. The standard of service on the flights is similar to other domestic ‘no frills’ services. In Sri Lanka there are air taxis which link the main areas of interest.

I advise that on the last day of your tour, you do not rely upon flying late in the day to catch an international flight.

Yes, mostly. You will have a few problems getting around with English as it is very widely spoken.

These are very poor countries and there are many people begging on the streets. Although it is natural to want to help them, it is best to ignore them but clearly this is your decision. Be aware, however, that there are also many professional beggars.

The main tourist months are September to December and February to April when the temperatures are not as high. The monsoon months are June to September. However, because of the size of the area, there is something to see comfortably throughout the year.