Ramsay's Ramble

11 nights, 4 villages

  • Accessible walking, warm hospitality
  • Wildlife Sanctuary, great mountain views
  • Authentic hill-village life

With a balance of walking and village stays in this picturesque wildlife sanctuary, we are re-introducing our first holiday, the Ramsay's Ramble. Walk in the footsteps of Sir Henry Ramsay, immerse yourself in village life and discover what makes Binsar so special.

A firm favourite among our guests

Guests with guide in Binsar, India The Village Ways story began in the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary, in the villages of Dalar, Risal, Kathdhara, Gonap and Satri. The villages of Binsar remain a firm favourite among our guests, with beautiful forest walks, mountain vistas and abundant wildlife, all brought together through fine hospitality and a warm welcome in the village guesthouses.

 

 

Hills, valleys and mountain tops

threshing corn, Binsar, India

Of our five partner villages in the Wildlife Sanctuary, you stay in four of them. Each has great individual charm, whether tucked in the valley or on a ridge top with extensive views of the Himalayan peaks. Discover the local farming methods and help with the harvest if you wish. Enjoy delicious locally-sourced food and pick up some local cooking tips, join in with a game of cricket or relax on the terrace and watch as village life unfolds.

 

Accessible walking, warm hospitality

Binsar village

The guides in Binsar take great pride in showing you their villages and delighting you with local tales. You are warmly greeted everywhere you go, often being invited into people's homes for a cup of chai and you come away feeling part of the community. Walking is along well-used paths through pine and oak forests and across terraced fields, with glimpses of the Himalayan peaks beyond.

 

 

Wonderful wildlife and abundant birds

 This is a wonderful place to discover wildlife. The valleys are alive with birdsong and as you walk you hear the tinkle of goat bells or the cry of the barking deer, alerting to a leopard. Your guide helps you to spot deer, langur monkeys and a variety of birdlife, as well as looking for signs of wild boar, porcupine, pine martens and the elusive leopard.

 

 

Outward Journey

Day 1

Welcome at Delhi airport, transfer to Delhi guesthouse for overnight stay.

Day 2

An early morning transfer from your guesthouse takes you to Old Delhi station to catch the day train into the foothills, to Kathgodam station. A road journey takes you from Kathgodam into the Binsar Wildlife Sanctuary to Khali Estate, a delightful hotel where you stay in a double room garden bungalow.

 Day 3

A second night at Khali Estate gives you time to relax and enjoy the views, taking a day trip to Almora to explore the bazaar if you wish.

 

In the Binsar Sanctuary

Day 4 - Day 9

After breakfast meet your guide to discuss the journey ahead. You visit and stay in four of the Binsar villages, with two nights in two villages. Enjoy gentle walks between the villages, spot abundant wildlife, get to know the local communities and enjoy the tranquil pace of life in the foothill villages.

Day 10

Return to Khali Estate to relax and enjoy another night's stay.

Homeward journey

Day 11

Return by road to Kathgodam to catch the overnight train to Delhi.

Day 12

Transfer from station to Delhi airport for homeward flight.

The village of the Binsar Wildlife Sanctury

With Village Ways you stay in very special village guesthouses - 'village homestays' -  owned and managed by the village committee and benefitting the wider community. Connect with your hosts in a special way and enjoy life at the heart of a village, without feeling that you are intruding in anyone's home.

In Binsar, the guesthouses are simple and comfortable, built in traditional style by the communities of Risal, Dalar, Kathdhara and Gonap. They have a living/dining room, kitchen, four twin bedrooms and shared shower/WCs. You stay in four of the five villages. Each village of Binsar will give you its own special welcome. 

Dalar (1835m)

Surrounded by pine forest and affording beautiful views of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, Kamet and Trishul peaks from the upper parts of the village, Dalar is divided into two hamlets: Valli ("This Side") Dalar and Palli ("That Side") Dalar. It is a relatively thriving village with a school and temple. It is a little more accustomed to visitors than other villages, but you'll be as welcome here as in the most remote corner of Binsar Sanctuary. The village homestay, Minivet House, looks out over the valley, with views of high Himalayan peaks in the distance. 

Risal (1650m)

The secluded village is set on the slopes above a deep valley and is surrounded by beautiful mixed forest of oak, pine and rhododendron. Its little paths afford glimpses of wooded hills and green pastures. The villagers produce vegetables and other crops but many have been damaged by wildlife from the adjacent Sanctuary. The Forest department have since established a fence to protect the crops. Bulbul House homestay is neatly located on a terrace near the main village.

Satri (1584m)

Satri village is remote and secluded, located on a high ridge surrounded by a glorious mountain landscapes, with uninterrupted views to the peaks. The village houses form a beautiful series of dwellings, although some are empty. Just four families now live in Satri. In 2003 the villagers believed that they would have to abandon their village, to let their homes and fields be overtaken by the forest. The arrival of Village Ways was, for them, "the big dream come true" - a dream that has helped Satri to sustain its remaining families. You'll be given a very special welcome here in Pipit House.

Kathdhara (1900m)

Myna House guesthouse nestles amidst terraced fields in the lower part of Kathdara. Enjoy the rhythms of traditional rural life in the foothills in this vibrant farming community. With a name meaning wood (kath) and stream (dhara), this beautiful village boasts extensive terraced fields, orchards and well maintained farms, with views over hills and a wide valley, and glimpses of the awe-inspiring Panchachulli range beyond. The villagers are keen to show guests their farms and let them help with field activities. They have also created a small farming museum.

Gonap (1900m)

The farmhouses of Gonap are set on a hillside among terraced fields and vegetable gardens, with wonderful open views backed by richly forested slopes. Its people joined the Village Ways project with great enthusiasm, led by Prem Singh, starting with the building of a retaining wall for the Barbet House guesthouse site – to become known as "The great wall of Gonap"! Although it is a poor village, it has a primary school: the teacher, children and villagers are eager to meet and get to know their visitors, to show them round and invite them in.

 

Khali Estate

Your stay in Binsar commences at Khali Estate, a small family-run hotel steeped in history and an integral part of Village Ways, while through the forested slopes are scattered the villages and farms of Binsar. Your room is in one of the picturesque stone rondavel cabins set amongst the pine trees, clustered around the British Raj style house that was built by General Sir Henry Ramsay. You can truly relax at Khali - it is peaceful (no TV), with good vegetarian food, attentive service and plenty of short walks. In winter there is a warming log fire in the sitting room.

Tailor-made

The suggested itinerary can be extended if you wish to spend more time exploring the Himalayan foothills, or shortened if your time in India is limited. Our knowledgeable staff will be delighted to help fashion the holiday to suit you.

Flights

We ask our guests to make their own arrangements for international travel to India. For Village Ways holidays in the foothills, the nearest airport is Delhi. Travel information for India, including visa requirements, can be found here.

Humayans Tomb, DelhiStay in Delhi

Delhi is a fascinating and vibrant city. It epitomises the huge leaps forward that India is currently undergowing whilst reflecting the country's great history. A new metro is being built but much is still moved around on overladen cycles and bullock carts. The shopping opportunities are excellent, particularly for textiles. Why not add a night's stay in the city to your holiday?

Guest-house accommodation We work with some very comfortable and hospitable guest-houses in the heart of Delhi. We can arrange overnight stays for you, or a day-room to freshen up after a night flight. We can also arrange an upgrade from a guesthouse to a hotel if you prefer.
Driver & car  One of the best ways to get around and across Delhi is by car. We offer carefully selected drivers to look after you for the day. On call for you, they will be able to take from shops to India Gate to the Red Fort and out to dinner - or wherever you choose.

From Delhi to the hills

Included in your holiday to and from the hills is a journey on the overnight Ranikhet Express from Delhi to Kathgodam. Included accommodation is in 2nd class, air-conditioned carriages - 2 tier, open plan with curtains around groups of berths. Trains open for reservation 3 months before departure. As soon as reservations open we will be able to confirm your rail journey to you.

Upgrade to 1st class You can upgrade to 1st class where the berths are in air-conditioned compartments of four or two. There is only one 1st class carriage which can be get booked very early on.

From Delhi to the hills by car You can also choose to travel up from Delhi (or return at the end of you holiday) by private car.

Extra nights during your holiday

Extra nights at Khali Estate

All holidays to Binsar include at least one night at Khali Estate, a marvelous place to relax and unwind. Many guests have added an extra night here at the beginning or end of their stay in the hills. If your journey here has been by night flight followed by overnight train it could be good idea to catch you breath with a quiet day here.

Extra nights in the Village Guest-houses

You may wish to prolong your exploration of the wonderful hill villages in Binsar. There is so much to learn and appreciate about village life and the host communities would love to keep you for a day longer.

Taj MahalAgra

For many guests, a visit to India would not be complete without a visit to the Taj Mahal, regarded by many as one of the wonders of the world. Whether you wish to make a day trip by train, enjoy an overnight stay with time to explore more of Agra, or whether you wish to be transferred by car, we can arrange a visit to suit you.

Jaipur

Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, hosting some incredible architecture and seeped in history. Not to be missed are the Jantar Mantar observatory and the renowned Amber Fort. Add a visit here to complete the Golden Triangle of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

Contact our bookings team

Our experienced reservations team will be happy to tailor the Ramsay's Ramble holiday to suit you.

From UK or other countries:
+44 (0)1223 750049

From France:
+33 (0)5335 20774

From India:
+ 91 9920882409 or +91 9869005642

Email us at:
info@villageways.com

Booking enquiries: 01223 750049