North India cultural tour

“Bargain 22 day tour skimming off the cultural cream of the crop from the Golden Triangle, Rajasthan, Ganges and Thar Desert. Chill holiday? No. Cheap thrills? Definitely.”

Highlights

Delhi | Jaisalmer and Thar Desert | Jaisalmer/Thar Desert | Udaipur | Pushkar | Jaipur | Bharatpur | Agra and the Taj Mahal | Varanasi and River Ganges | Sleeper train journeys

Description of North India cultural tour

Preparing to embark on a 22 day north India tour is not as extreme as you might first envisage. All you need is a healthy sense of adventure alongside a lust for all things cultural as from the monuments of the Maharaja to the sand dunes of the Thar Desert - this is one north India tour that packs it all in.

The highlights of the Golden Triangle will leave you agog with magical memories however, itís often the hidden secrets and spiritual surprises that may well leave the more lasting impressions.

Camel rides, railway journeys, auto rickshaws and optional hikes to see the sunrise over hillside temples, thereís a reason why north India tours are a must for cultural travellers so be brave and rest assured that youíll never even think of looking back.

Take note for 2017:

From the 1st of January 2017 - Day 15 of this north India tour will swap Abhaneri for Bharatpur alongside the trip title changing from North India Cultural Tour to North India Revealed.

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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28 Dec 2016
£ 795
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30 Dec 2016
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11 Jan 2017
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28 Sep 2018
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Our top tip:
Pack lightly - essentials are multiuse scarf/sarong, jumper and socks for cold mornings, pillow and rain poncho. And a sense of humour for the ride.
Trip type:
Small group tour, max. 12 people.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Surcharge for single rooms.
Accomm:
17 nights in basic hotels/guesthouses, 1 night camping, 3 nights sleeper trains,
Included:
Accommodation, transport excl. flights and airport transfers, most activities, tour guide.
Meals:
1 breakfast and 1 dinner included. Budget £300 for meals.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are travelling on your own, with a partner or with friends, a small group trip is a fantastic way to see the world. You'll travel on a fixed itinerary that has been designed to help you discover the best of region. From the known highlights, the hidden gems that you won't find in the guidebooks.

Itineraries run on set departure dates, accompanied every step of the way by an English speaking local group leader. You chose the itinerary and the date that suits you best and you book on.

Why travel on a small group adventure?
Small groups allow us to explore where larger tour groups can't. Our maximum group size of 16 travellers allows us to use local transport to get from A to B, to visit rural villages, spend time with the locals and even stay at a local home overnight, and it allows us to give our travellers genuine, real life experiences of the countries we are visiting; what you'll be doing and how you'll travel depends entirely on your chosen itinerary.

Is an adventure right for me?
The word adventure means something different to everyone, and our range of trips reflects that. Whether you want to explore local markets, visit out of the way temples and meet local people or go on an early morning safari drive searching for the 'big five', we'll have a trip for you. If you are looking for a physical challenge such trekking the Kokoda Track or summiting Kilimanjaro, we can help with that too.

So what can I expect on this trip?
This is one of our Basix trips, designed specifically for budget travellers who still want the security of group travel without lots of added inclusions. These trips don't have many included activities and meals are rarely included in the price, giving you the opportunity to search out local restaurants and sample regional specialities to your heart's content. The amount of free time in these itineraries means that the Basix trips often appeal to younger travellers looking to explore independently and tailor the trip to your own interests. You often won't spend too many days in any one place and you'll pack lots of different locations into your holiday.

As you might expect, accommodation on a Basix trip will be fairly basic! We'll stay in 1-2 star accommodation, often including homestays and there may be nights where the group stays somewhere multi-share / in a dormitory-style. Most accommodation however will be twin share; with solo travellers automatically roomed with a fellow group member of the same sex, this means that there are no single supplements on Basix trips.

On camping trips you will be expected to help out around the camp; putting up and taking down your own tent, helping with meals and other camp duties. We often find the nights where we are without a few creature comforts are those that are most amazing; wild bush camping in Serengeti anyone?! We'll use local transport where ever possible which is a great way of seeing the country and meeting locals as we travel.

Can I book my flights with you?
Yes! We are a fully ATOL bonded tour operator meaning that we can book flights from the UK as part of your holiday package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your enquiry.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: North India cultural tour

Local Leaders
You will be accompanied by local leaders on this trip who will take you into temples, mosques, shrines and Gurudwaras where appropriate, and are able to teach the group about the etiquette and customs specific to the places visited, enabling a deeper understanding for the group of the communities and cultures encountered in India. In a country where so many ethnic communities live together, itís important to respect individual religious beliefs. Our company wants to promote this understanding through insight into religious and cultural practices. Local leaders are the cultural ambassadors, know multiple dialects of the sub-continent and can easily facilitate local interaction giving enriching experience to the passengers.

Transportation
Where possible we will travel on local bus or on the Indian Railways minimizing our demand for special tourist vehicles and fuel while giving you plenty of opportunity to meet and interact with local people/communities.

Accommodation
We try and utilise local hotel owners and small businesses through our trips. We help locals set up home stays, hotels or small lodges and try and motivate them to cater to our groups. This mutual support is beneficial in the form of economic support from our passengers and a great way to witness and interact with real local people.

India Responsible Travel Bags
We give our passengers a simple cotton bag that reads "Say no to plastic" in English and local regional dialect depending on where you're travelling. These bags in the north are made by Karm Marg, an organisation who helps the less privileged children by providing vocational training. Our south Indian bags are made by Nesamani Women self-help groups - a group of widows who primarily stitch bags and do embroidery.

© Copyright images: Anthony Begovic; Elio De Souza Martins; Hamish Cattell; Grahame Smith; Alison Agnew; Jan Kostal

Reviews of North India cultural tour

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 14 Mar 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The unexpected parts are always the best and we had a few of those! We had a backroads tour through the countryside of India due to roadblocks, which was very exciting!
On the actual itinerary - Varanasi was an experience, Pushkar and Udaipur great for just wandering, Jaisalmer staying in the grounds of the fort glorious unsets!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Book it! Go with it, if stuff changes then well it's more the real Indian experience! We expected very basic hotels/hostels but were pleasantly surprised with the level of accommodation :) Mostly hot showers, big rooms, mostly with windows,
some TLC required in places but clean and friendly and much better than expected at the price :)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, where possible local transport used, local guides, local businesses supported.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


A fantastic taster of a small section of Northern India - you do travel a fair amount, but that's part of the experience too ;)

Reviewed on 14 Feb 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The guide and the group.
The variety & pace was incredible.
The street vendor who called " give me a chance to rip you off!".

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you buy something ready made in Udaipur, haggle hard.
Avoid buying souvenirs until you are in Puskar.
Sleeping bag useful, but travel as light as possible.
Tripadvisor is good, but the guide is better.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, yes, yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


One of the best adventures you could go on. Challenging, life affirming, and a desire to go on more

Reviewed on 15 Nov 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Varanasi, Udaipur was beautiful, but for me Varanasi was my Indian dream. The Ghats, boat trip to watch the Aarti, the market and the Bollywood dance class we organised, just perfect!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Travel light!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Just by paying foreign fares for visiting places I felt we were helping conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Great holiday overall!

Reviewed on 23 Jan 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Being exposed to a completely different world that seems to follow a completely different logic than what I'm used to. The contrast of a croweded public transportation and the beauty of moghul architecture and art.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for the cold in January and make sure to have warm, functional clothes and a sleeping bag.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I felt that tourism is a key income resource for the region, so while spending money, the trip helped local people. Our group was environmentally friendly by using lots of public transportation and being attentive to litter.

The tour organiser could support local people to become more professional in service (esp. hotels). I've observed that (younger) Indians were very keen to learn. Therefore, I could very well imagine that they would welcome "advice" on how to lift the level of professionalism, e.g., clean bathrooms, hot water, synchronizing servings more, etc.



4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Holiday was a great to help me see my own culture with completely new eyes and become more aware of things that I have taken for granted in the past.

Reviewed on 20 Apr 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Varanasi. The camaraderie of group members and our group leader. Seeing India in action.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be aware that you will be seeing quite a bit of northern India in a short period of time. There is quite a bit of travel time.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Our trip did benefit some local people - local hotels and guest houses, trains and other transportation, shopping in local
stores that supported local craftspeople.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was very interesting and created some good memories.
The disadvantages (frequent bus and train rides) were part of the trip.
Our group leader, Anant Singh, was excellent.
A very good trip.

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


I am in my 50s and I found the pace excellent - no more than 3 nights anywhere - arrive - shower/rest - orientation walk then choose your activities and what a great diversity of activities. I found it stimulating and fun. The guide took all the hassle out of it. He gave us guidelines on costs, he showed us the best value for money places to eat in the location and doing activities as a group meant not only was it sociable, but we got good deals. I enjoyed spending time with people from all over the world.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Read the blurb. Travel on public transport is likely to mean no air con on buses. If you don't like being in a group don't choose this type of holiday. Go with an open heart.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. Our tour guide encouraged us to use all forms of transport, to eat in different places to spread our business and talked a lot about the politics and culture. As foreigners pay more to visit sites we also contribute to preserving India's fantastic heritage for future generations.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We travelled at the end of the monsoon season so sometimes it was very wet and overcast, but the plus was that there were fewer tourists. You can opt out of activities so there was nothing I didn't enjoy. I thought it was excellent value for money. I felt I saw the real India and I plan to travel with your company and on this type of holiday again.

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Family holiday to India, sightseeing and safari

Family holiday to India, sightseeing and safari

Taj Mahal in Agra to the Palace of the Winds in Jaipur

From £1319 - £1460 11 days including UK flights

Tiger tour in India, land of the Tiger tour

Tiger tour in India, land of the Tiger tour

Wildlife tour through India

From £2399 - £2899 16 days including UK flights

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