With just over a week to go to our adventure in India, many of you might be thinking about changing sterling to rupees. Our advice is not to buy rupees in the UK, the rates are poor compared to India, and you can change money when you are in India. There are ATM’s throughout big cities, and often Delhi has the better exchange rates compared to other parts of the country, so it might be best to change a larger amount there – although post Brexit, exchange rates are changing daily. We hope this helps.
Whilst travelling abroad, many like to keep up with the news, so we’ve looked at which sites are best for you.
http://www.aljazeera.com Based in the Middle East, the site offers a sober tone of world news and tends to focus news stories near its geographical area – North Africa and the Middle East as well as US based stories.
www.cnn.com an American and London based site, it’s very much based on US led stories or those issues that have a US impact.
http://news.sky.com/world is popular and presents a good overall perspective, particularly for UK readers.
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world provides a good all round package focussing on the West and European/US readers
www.bbc.com suitable for younger readers (it’s sponsored by a backpacker guide) expect an equal measure of ‘what’s happening with the Kardashian’s’ to a lighter view of selected news.
www.reuters.com is politically based with an American bias. It has some good political commentary and analysis as well as sophisticated coverage.
Other sites are available from your favourite newspapers, we hope this helps
Thanks to all travellers who’ve booked our epic journey across the desert state of Rajasthan, India (28th Oct – 19th Nov, 2016). We’re flattered so many signed up for this exploratory trip, with little more than a list of places we might visit; no definite plan or itinerary. It’s a testament that people trust the authentic way of ‘Angel’ travelling.
Many of you have been with us to Nepal, Peru or Cambodia & Laos, and if you may like to join too, please read on. The trip cost is just £1,490 for over 3 weeks (based 2 sharing) plus flights which we help you find. We’ve now got some more detail to the trip with some very interesting surprises, not least we’re off to the Exotic Marigold Hotel.
Our journey will begin in Delhi with a short tour of the city, followed by a drive into the desert frontier town of Mandawa; here we’ll stay in an old ‘haveli’ trader’s house (all en-suite) for an unusual night. The next day we ride camels out into the desert, for a night’s camping under the stars by campfire.
Next we reach the desert city of Bikaner. Here we’ll stay in a classic hotel, Maharaja style. This is home to a cousin of the Maharaja of the city, a friend of Angel Holidays. From here, we’ll take you to a camel breeding farm to see herds of camels coming in, in the late day sun, as well as Karni Mata – a unique temple devoted to thousands of live rats featured on the BBC (entrance is optional).
We then head into the desert again, this time near the town of Phalodi, and largely in the middle of nowhere. Our accommodation will be a mixture of Swiss tents (luxury tents where you can stand & en-suite) or comfortable bungalows. We’ll come here to witness an unusual phenomenon. Each morning, nature permitting, 25,000 demoiselle cranes fly in on migration from the Himalaya, to this small village in a ‘huge cloud of birds’ to be fed by the locals. This striking spectacle has also been filmed on the BBC.
From here we move to the far west of the Thar desert, around 200 miles from the Pakistan border to the magical citadel of Jaisalmer; rising out of the sand like something from ‘Arabian Nights.’ You’ll enjoy free time and rest here in this magical location. We’ll then drive south, to the blue city of Jodhpur and take you to explore its bazaars, show you the opulence of the city’s Maharaja or you can even zip-line around its fortresses’ walls (something that London Major Boris Johnson boasted about).
After this we’ve added something special to the trip; a visit to the annual Puskhar camel festival: the largest collection of livestock on earth. Here, you’ll be staying in Maharaja styled tents for two nights (with en-suite) and enjoy free time at this once in a lifetime event. Traders, herdsman and tribes people come together to trade and celebrate desert culture.
From Pushkar we move south; to the most romantic city in India: Udaipur – with its rooftop restaurants and palaces in this stunning lake location. Angel Holidays has become friends with the owner of the ‘Exotic Marigold Hotel’; the hotel used for the two movies with Judy Dench, Richard Gere etc. We’ve arranged a visit to this hotel and lunch on its grounds - all complementary on us. We’ll also take you on a fascinating walk to a nearby village, unspoilt by time, where old herders drink opium and people still live in traditional Rajasthani ways.
On to Udaipur, a beautiful place, so we’ve allowed 3 nights here. Time to rest, wander, shop or simply enjoy being here. There are many outdoor rooftop restaurants where you can enjoy dinner in the desert over looking its palaces and lake. From Udaipur we take a train journey, Indian style, right across the desert and to the pink city of Jaipur; the capital of Rajasthan.
It’s here we’ve our second ‘Marigold’ connection. An old mansion in the city, owned by Brigadier Singh, a friend of Angel Holidays, was used for the BBC documentary ‘The Real Marigold Hotel’ with Bobby George, Wayne Sleep, Jan Leaming etc. Here they lived for 3 weeks exploring what it might be like to retire in the city. If you might like to go there for dinner on its rooftop one evening, let us know and we can arrange this.
At this point we’ve added another surprise to the journey: a visit to Ranthambhore National Park, where we’ll take you on safari into the Indian bush in search of tigers. This is a stunning park, once a hunting ground for British royals and Maharajas, and we’ll take you on two game drives. Finally, we move to Agra, to crown our journey with a visit to the magnificent Taj Mahal. After this we return to Delhi.
We hope you’ll agree this is a fantastic holiday. We’ve added some meals that weren’t in the original plan; full board in Pushkar and Ranthambhore for example. Other nights you’ll be able to enjoy some fantastic meals from romantic rooftops to ‘al fresco’ dining out Indian style.
As with all our trips, we’ve allowed some free time for you to explore and savour these stunning locations at your own pace. You’ll also enjoy the support of being in a friendly group, and can rest whenever you want to, you don’t have to come on all our day trips. We’ve a private bus and will enlist the help of local guides in some locations. Some hotels will have swimming pools to enjoy the winter sun!
If you may want to join this trip, please let us know. We just need a deposit of £190. We can provide a detailed itinerary shortly. As with all our journeys, a concise dedicated guide book will be given to all travellers on this trip. A shorter, two week version of this holiday is planned for 2017.
We look forward to hearing from you. Angel Holidays
On Prince Harry’s recent trip to Nepal you would have seen how wonderful the country is. Harry was very kind in his remarks, please see the attached slide. We’re sure that those of you who would have traveled with us to Nepal before would agree. If you might like to follow in his footsteps, why not join us on our tour in 2017 - simple click ‘Holiday in Detail’ on our site.
We’ll visit many of the places on Harry’s tour, plus others; noticeably a flight around Everest, the birthplace of the Buddha, ancient cities and Pokhara in the Himalaya. Already our 2016 tours are now sold, but we’re currently taking bookings for our holiday in the Autumn of 2017. Led by broadcaster Steve Carver and at just £1,095 this is wonderful opportunity to do something different.
For all those booked on our journey to Peru this August (departing 6th) we hope you are looking forward to the experience. Along our journey, we’ll be venturing far from the tourist trail and staying in the Andes, at 11,000 feet above sea level. With no light pollution and near Colca canyon (twice the depth of the Grand Canyon) together with an active volcano in the background, our stay here will be dramatic.
At this altitude the air, being so thin and clear, has become popular with astronomers. Our hotel has been chosen as it has an observatory and powerful telescope.
We’ll take you inside the tower where on clear nights you can see Saturn and its rings, as well as, quite spectacularly, Mars with the naked eye. The next day we’ll take you to walk inside Colca Canyon. Here you’ll be surrounded by the flights of condors.
In November this year we’re planning a three week exploratory trip to the desert state of Rajasthan, India. This will be used to develop a fixed Angel Holidays tour for the future. We’ll visit some unusual locations, some used for documentary making, and have experiences beyond that of ordinary tourism. If you like adventure and are a flexible traveller you may want to join this trip.
Unlike a usual tour, the specific itinerary will not be available until shortly before departure. However, starting in Delhi our route will take us past the ancient traders’ town of Mandawa, colourful Birkener on the edge of the desert, the evocative citadel of Jaisalmer on the far west of the Thar desert, the ‘blue city’ of Jodpur, the romantic lake city of Udaipur and Agra home of the Taj Mahal. This itinerary is flexible and we may add some other locations on the way.
Without a specific itinerary or duration for each stay, this may be better suited to previous Angel Holidays’ travellers who know what to expect from our less superficial way of travel. Others are welcome too if they have an adventurous spirit. In some locations we’ll enlist the help of local guides, in others you’ll be given free time to relax and explore.
There will be varied accommodation; from rudimentary (but clean) guest houses to old palaces, comfortable hotels and a nights’ camping in the desert. Expect a few surprises too that you usually see with the ‘Angel travel experience.’
The trip cost will be competitive; around £1,490 for three weeks which includes all accommodation and transport. Return flights to Delhi are not included but start at around £390 - which we help you find. This is a wonderful opportunity for a comprehensive, authentic experience of the region, at a competitive price.
Needless to say, you need to be a flexible and positive traveller. All you need is to book your return flights to Delhi and we’ll pick you up from the airport and do the rest.
If you would like to join our mail list for further information, please email us on the ‘How to book’ page of this website. This promises to be a really fabulous experience. We look forward to hearing from you.
David Beckham visited Nepal today and played football in Bhaktapur, an old town 10 miles from Kathmandu. Despite being a remote part of the world, some young people did recognise the name and the kids loved playing football with him. David’s visit to Nepal, was watched by those on holiday to Nepal too, much to their delight.
After savouring the delights of the jungle, we have now moved on, via the old Tibetan trading post of Bandipur and to Pokhara - up in the Annapurna region of the Himalaya. Those willing from our group went on a half day trek today into the lower Himalaya. Tomorrow, on our holiday to Nepal, an adventurous few from our group will be paragliding on the warm thermals over the Himalaya - whilst others will be shopping, dinning, enjoying spas or meditating. The weather is pleasantly warm here in Pokhara!
An old man sits in one of Kathmandu’s ancient squares trying to sell Nepalese flags. Yet no one is coming.
Behind him, among the crowds of colourfully dressed people; the rickshaw drivers, traders bent heavy carrying loads, monks and religious devotees, incense and bells; a set of steps lead upwards to what is known, rather crudely, as the ‘Hippy temple.’ This, in the 1960’s, marked the end of the Hippy Trail and on the temple’s upper reaches, flaxen haired foreigners would have sat smoking ganja. Yet today the steps lead to nothing. A earthquake lasting just seventy three seconds took it away. The steps look upwards to Kathmandu’s clear blue sky.
However, the overwhelming number of temples, not just here but across Nepal, still remain. This beautiful palace square, like others in the neighbouring UNESCO city of Patan for example, have remained largely intact. Walking through, is still the same as ever; an experience as if stepping back in time. The ancient pagoda architecture, in this country cut off from the rest of the world until the late 1950’s, remains. Coming here now, without many tourists, you can be forgiven for feeling like a Victorian explorer – perhaps there has never been a better time to visit.
There has been devastation in areas. The earthquake’s epicentre was 80kms from Kathmandu. Villages have seen awful damage as well as the city of Bhaktapur. The earthquake has struck four out of Nepal’s fourteen districts, but the world’s press has been less discriminate. Its generalistic approach suggesting earthquake has conquered all of Nepal has caused even more damage to its tourist industry. Traveller areas such as the jungle in Chitwan, Lumbini the birthplace of the Bhudda and the lakeside town Pokhara have seen no damage at all. A majority of ancient monuments are intact, roads are clear; hotels, restaurants open, but few travellers are coming.
Most traveller services in the country such as hotels, transport, restaurants and excursions are run by small family businesses, not multinational chains. For them, hardly damaged by the earthquake, the generalistic approach of the world’s press could not have been more devastating. And today the press shows little interest in Nepal. We contacted the travel editors of the Guardian and Telegraph for example, but neither expressed interest.
The truth is that visitors who come here now will have a unique experience.
In some areas they’ll see evidence of earthquake damage, not on a television screen but for themselves; something few witness in a lifetime. This is a very friendly country too, whose citizens still address each other as ‘brother or sister.’ In the aftermath of the earthquake not one single shop was looted, this tells you something about the decency of the people of Nepal. Pioneering travellers coming today can expect a terrific welcome.
Yet for now the old man still sits in Kathmandu square trying to sell his flags. The sun shines, the ancient architecture stands majestic around him. Yet few visitors are coming.
Angel Holidays will be taking a group to Nepal this October to give them this unique experience of Nepal. By visiting you will also be helping Nepal’s tourist industry. If you might like to join the adventure; visiting ancient cities, the jungle, the birthplace of the Buddha and staying Pokhara in full view of the Himalaya, please contact us. To crown the trip, you’ll also have the chance to fly around Everest.
A special thanks
Angel Holidays would like to thank previous ‘Angel travellers’ who have given generously in time and money to help the people of Nepal. There’s been events such as marathons and garden parties to raise money, as well as generous donations. Your help has been delivered directly to those in need. We’d also like to thank the selfless work of Pabitra, our first organiser with Angel Holidays, who’s delivered blankets, medicine and shelters to remote villages from donations from Angel Travellers.
Thank you for your affection to Angel Holidays and to Nepal. For those booked on our October trip this year, and for those thinking of coming, a very warm welcome awaits. Angel Holidays.
an old man selling flags in Kathmandu’s Durbar Sqaure.
Patan city three months after the earthquake
We’re excited to announce that Angel Holidays will be operating its first tour to Bangkok, Laos & Cambodia on 14th November this year (2015). We’ll be experiencing exciting cities, jungle river trips to some remote corners of the world, as well as the exotic - it’ll also be a lot of fun. As with all our Angel tours there’ll be free time to explore too. If you’d like to know more, already the trip is half subscribed, please contact us with your email address and we can send full information. Note too, our second exciting tour to Peru will take place in August 2016 and we’re developing a new trip into India’s Rajasthan (a desert state) for 2016; hopefully we might see you on one of our future adventures! This photo is a glimpse of one of our locations in Laos.
In a few days Nepal will come alive with a celebration of Holi - known as the festival of colour: this celebrates the coming of Spring. Here is a picture of what it’s like, where a Sadhu (a holy man) participates - even the Sadhus in Nepal are a very friendly bunch - and like to laugh. Hindu calenders are Luna and Holi will coincide with the full moon. Coloured powders made from turmeric to tie dye - purples, yellows, oranges, blues and so on, are thrown over everything and everyone. Driving your motorbike through Kathmandu is a game where you ride as quickly and as irrationally as possible to avoid children throwing colour over you. They’ve got clever this year and set up road blocks where they wait excitedly around corners. Such are the delights of a holiday in Nepal.
No matter who you are friendly with, we’d like to wish you a very happy Valentines day from Nepal. We’d like to announce our new tours too. Firstly there’s the combined Bangkok/Laos & Cambodia adventure - the first one planned for November this year, as well as our second tour to Peru in August 2016. An inaugural trip to the desert state of Rajasthan is planned in 2016 too. So please let us know if you might be interested in any of these. For those booked on our holiday to Nepal this October, get ready for a wonderful and very colourful trip! If you’re thinking of coming, why not take the plunge and follow in the footsteps of many of our enthralled previous travellers! Our holiday to Nepal is one of the most unique holidays you’ll experience.
New year in Nepal is officially in April where the country is 57 years ahead of the Gregorian Calender so it will be 2072 (did you know the name ‘Gregorian’ comes from Pope Gregory who invented it?) However new year Western style will also be celebrated on the 31st plus we have several other new years including a Buddhist one. Nepal is always a little different. Wherever you are we wish you a nice celebration and a good new year. Parties involve dancing and costumes. Here are some ladies from last year up in the Himalaya. Happy holiday in Nepal!
We’d like to wish all our followers a very merry Christmas; especially those who enjoyed our holiday to Nepal in years past, and those who will be on a Nepal holiday with us in 2015! In November 2015 we will hopefully operate our first trip to Rajasthan too, (open to all previous Angel travellers, please contact us if you might be interested) and our second trip to Peru will take place in August 2016 (a long way off but already we have lots of enquiries). Basil Pao (Michael Palin’s photographer on all his BBC trips) will be joining the Angel team in 2016 so we’re looking forward to that too. The Nepalese will be dancing as we celebrate the Christmas spirit too. Bless you all. Angel Holidays.
Despite it being a largely Hindu and Buddhist nation, Nepal - fondly known locally as the acronym: ‘Never Ending Peace And Love’ has
entered the Christmas spirit. Over the next two weeks there’s carol services and good cheer, all without the shopping! It’s traditional. Many may not know what Christmas really means, but they will celebrate its spirit - Never Ending Peace & Love. People will call out ‘Merry Christmas!’ and that’s good enough. From up here in the Himalaya, with carol singers, people in good cheer and not one Turkey in the whole country, people don’t even know what a turkeys is, we wish you good preparations for Christmas in your country. Our Easter holiday 2015 to Nepal is already sold out, so we’re looking forward to taking a nice group around this friendly country! For those who came before - we miss you and hope you miss Nepal. Here’s a local choir singing, celebrating Christmas. It goes to show, Christmas is for everyone.