Touring the Taj Mahal in India

India - Best Tours & Trips 2019

India is often described as being an assault on the senses -- an explosion of sights, sounds and smells that can be exotic, spicy, colorful, chaotic and overwhelming, all at the same time. Whether exploring Mumbai or old Delhi, relaxing on a canal boat in Kerala, riding a mountain train to Darjeeling, waking up for an early morning bathing ritual in Varanasi, attending the Camel Fair in Pushkar, or marveling at the sheer perfection of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India is an experience not to be missed,
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Trip Type Trip Type Classic Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Guided Experiences Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ocean Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Tour Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Independent Package A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ocean Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Tour Styles

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 0 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

Travelers Age

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Top India Experiences and Attractions

India Trip Reviews

1,629 India Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend

4.7 out of 5
Excellent 1,200
Great 355
Average 51
Disappointing 17
Terrible 6
Value
4.7
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.7
Lodging
4.7
Transportation
4.7
Meals
4.7

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Exploring these Hidden Kingdoms was delightful!

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Stride Travel site helped me find the exact trip of my dreams. I put in the places I wanted to visit and many tours came up. I could easily research each tour - the difficulty, pace and most importantly price. The site was easy to use and great benefit as it shows proven and reliable operators and I felt confident in their choice as all the reviews and information was right there.
I would definitely use Stride as my search engine as they simplified the process and gave access to all the necessary information I needed.

From there I compared and chose Inside Hidden Kingdoms offered by EXPLORE. The tour company was great…I actually talked to a person in North America re the trip. Questions were answered promptly by phone or email. Prices were as stated.
The tour itself was amazing. Our guide Udaya was affable and responsive to requests and needs of the group. …he was one of us - a guiding light with a great sense of humour. On the tough climbs he stayed with the slowest and encouraged us all. The tour was everything I could hope for from 2 relaxing days touring the Sunderbans by boat something I wanted to experience close up. Our travels to North Bengal including train and bus were amazing and informative. The local guides chosen by EXPLORE were flexible and receptive to questions, queries and planning. Every guide from the Sunderbans to Darjeeling to Bhutan was excellent, local and well chosen
We had some tough drives through construction in Sikkim and our drivers couldn’t have been better…we always felt safe on all our mountain drives with our competent drivers chosen.
The variety and pace was also fun - We camped, stayed in cabins and hotels - some were especially beautiful. The information noted it would be full on and it was but not so much to exhaust. We were up at dawn to see the sun rise over the mountain…relaxed in a boat in the Sunderbans, experienced Kolkata and Katmandu, were in traffic jams in hectic Gangtok and experienced tea estates and rice fields, highlands and valleys, jungles on our many travel days. We enjoyed Darjeeling and the toy train, Sikkim’s many faces but I think we really enjoyed the Hidden Kingdom of Bhutan…a small interesting newly opening country. Our guides here were full of stories, history, and characters. We walked through rice fields freshly harvested, climbed Tigers Nest with very patient guides and camped by the Mochu River.
The food throughout the trip was tasty and filling. The breakfasts provided were very substantial for our busy days.
There were no surprises as from the beginning we knew we had many long travel days up and down the valleys and mountains which I loved to see. Throughout we had the steady guidance of Uddaya as plans progressed or changed according to the weather, season, traffic or festival in progress.
Food, lodging, pace were exactly as stated but what is impossible to write is the experience itself full of wonderful people, fun things to try or taste, challenges met and experiences galore.
Stride brought me to Explore and Explore fulfilled its promise…..
Thank you for a trip of a life through West Bengal and these Hidden Kingdoms

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Operator Explore!

TAKE THIS TRIP!!! Unbelievable!

5.0
Zegrahms Expeditions Company Reviews
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Sunday, 22 July... SVALBARD, Norway. Halfway between the top of continental Norway & the North Pole!

We disembarked & are now back to civilization! WOW!
What a FANTASTIC adventure on the ship Ocean Adventurer!

Once again, Zegrahm delivered! Cruise Director & Expedition Leader executed an unforgettable adventure! SUPERB lectures on ship & field trips from the guest experts in their fields... history of polar explorations... geology... birds... polar bears & other animals!

We saw several polar bears, groups of walrus, one very photogenic seal, reindeer, Arctic fox, a BLUE WHALE (largest of ALL whales!)... & a gazillion birds!

Our small ship was indeed able to circumnavigate the Svalbard (Spitsbergen) archipelago... 3 cheers to our Russian captain! The staff on board were FANTASTIC! And the best food I've had on any ship!

Mostly great weather... quite fortunate! Out on the Zodiacs (rubber rafts), I wore almost everything in my suitcase, in layers all at once, hoping to stay warm & dry... followed by VERY LONG hot showers once back on the ship, while I thawed out!

If you have an interest in polar adventure, TAKE THIS TRIP!!! Unbelievable!

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Operator Zegrahms Expeditions

I absolutely loved everything about the tour

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

We were well looked after from stepping off the plane to re boarding. Accomodation was excellent everywhere we stayed. Our stay at the Exotic Marigold was magical. Our guide Sammi was the best, nothing was too much trouble and he organised a few extra things we showed interest in. He has a very good knowledge of the Indian history. Thank you for a most memorable trip.

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Operator On The Go Tours

Looking fwd for more camps...

5.0
Trailblazer tours India Company Reviews
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

My daughter had gone to bhandardara near nasik with the trailblazer team...she had a very nice time..and it was first time I had send her ...so looking fwd for more camps...

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Operator Trailblazer tours India

Every aspect of this trip was brilliant. Seeing snow leopards in the wild has been a long-held ambition of my wife and me and this trip delivered big time, with no less than four separate sightings. Expectations were low given the difficulties involved an

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Everything was awesome but if we had to single anything out it would be our homestay in Rumbak - a delightful family in a great community and with accommodation that was a privilege to be able to share with them. We heard that the Indian govt is considering a ban on continued residence in the National Park and we think that would be a real shame, and counter-productive from a conservancy point of view.

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Operator Tribes

Very helpful

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Myths and Mountains local guide, Achi, was perfect and so sweet. Very helpful on so many occasions and always smiling. I warmly recommend her.

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Operator Myths and Mountains

India Tours and Travel Guide

India Attractions & Landmarks Guide

India is often described as being an assault on the senses -- an explosion of sights, sounds and smells that can be exotic, spicy, colorful, chaotic and overwhelming, all at the same time. Whether exploring Mumbai or old Delhi, relaxing on a canal boat in Kerala, riding a mountain train to Darjeeling, waking up for an early morning bathing ritual in Varanasi, attending the Camel Fair in Pushkar, or marveling at the sheer perfection of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India is an experience not to be missed.

This vast country is home to vibrant cities, golden deserts, architectural wonders, serene beaches, cultural celebrations, and gigantic mountains. A visitor could spend years in this immense and diverse land and still find new experiences to uncover each day.

Cities

Indian cities are chaotic. An array of honking vehicles weave along dusty roads, stopping for the occasional crossing cow. Crowds of people in colorful clothes squeeze their way through even more colorful marketplaces. The air is filled with the smells of spices and the sounds of temple bells. Embrace this chaos and you'll find that these cities are some of the most vibrant and lively places on earth. Flag down a tuk tuk or a cycle rickshaw and hold on for the rollercoaster journey. Visit a temple to attend a puja (religious ceremony), and receive a smear of red on your forehead. Get lost in a market trying to find the perfect scarf or henna tattoo. And, of course, when the spicy aromas start to make your mouth water, stop for a tasty curry.

New Delhi, the country's capital, is a common first stop for visitors, and offers quite a modern, cosmopolitan Indian experience. Mumbai is the place to go to sample the Bollywood scene. Kolkata can be quite jarring at first, but provides visitors with a rich cultural experience. Jodhpur, Jaipur and Jaisalmer all boast impressive historic buildings and forts, and are the starting points for desert treks. The city of Varanasi hosts unique religious events, such as bathing in the Ganges or burning bodies on the riverbank. In the south, Trivandrum boasts beautiful palaces and beaches, while the northerly mountain cities of Manali (in the northwest) and Darjeeling (in the northeast) are rich in Nepalese and Tibetan culture.

Desert   

The Thar Desert, in Northwest India, covers an impressive 120,000 square miles, most of which is located in the state of Rajasthan. The golden sand dunes, blue skies and lush oases are the perfect setting for a camel trek. Rocking back and forth on a camel, stopping to sample fresh goats milk at an oasis, followed by a night spent underneath the stars makes for an unforgettable experience.

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is a major tourist attraction in India, and it's easy to see why. This stunning white marble memorial from Shah Jahan to his late wife Mumtaz Mahal is a must see. Strolling through the picturesque gardens and marveling at the ethereal structure is well worth the journey to Agra (and the early morning start to beat the crowds).

Mountains

The Northern tips of India are dominated by the Himalayas. Here, the culture is largely influenced by neighboring Nepal, and Nepali is the dominant language in many areas. The Himalayan region is also rich in Tibetan culture, and many towns are centered around Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. The cities here move at a far slower pace to their more southerly counterparts, and the surrounding towns and villages make for a relaxing break. Don't get too relaxed though, as the mountains are also home to adventure activities such as paragliding and rafting.

Food

Indian cuisine is world famous. The flavorful dishes here are unlike anywhere else. It is also the perfect place for vegetarian and vegan dining. Be warned, however, that curries here are far spicier than their western imitators.

Despite the concern of catching the infamous "Delhi belly", food in India is generally perfectly safe to eat. Digestive difficulty usually comes from drinking contaminated water. Drink purified water only, don't put ice in your drinks, and avoid uncooked vegetables, and you should have no problems.

Trains

Trains are the preferred method of long distance travel across the massive subcontinent, and this in itself is a draw for many visitors. Many routes offer scenic window views. In the Goan region, the Vasco de Gama- Londa route takes in postcard beaches and picturesque mountains, before passing by the immense Dudhsagar waterfalls. The relatively short journey from Jaipur to Jaisalmer takes in a beautiful desert landscape. Darjeeling and its surrounds are home to the UNESCO protected "toy train"- the highest railway in the world, winding its way through cloud covered mountains and tea plantations.

Overnight trains are perfectly comfortable to sleep on. A first class ticket will usually get you a private cabin, while second class will get you a fold-out bunk bed in a shared carriage. Third class is hard wooden seats only, definitley not a good option for the comfort traveler!

Wildlife

High on every visitors wildlife check list is undoubtedly a glimpse of a tiger. While this is far from guaranteed, tiger reserves such as Kanha and Tadoba-Andhari offer the best chances. Even if the tigers remain elusive, there's a good chance of spotting wild dogs, sloths, and deer, as well as an abundance of exotic birds.

While riding an elephant is an essential bucket list experience for many, be very careful where you go. Many tour operators have eliminated elephant rides from their itineraries in the interest of animal welfare. Try to find an elephant sanctuary where they are well looked after. And of course, let's not forget the monkeys that can be found in the mountains, cities, temples, roads, and, well, just about anywhere.

Related Guides

Continent:             

Asia

Local Attraction:  

Taj Mahal, Kerala (Backwaters), Varanasi, Jaisalmer, Goa, Ajanta and Ellora caves, and Many More

Top Activities:      

Explore CultureHistory Sightseeing & Train Tour

Similar Destinations:                    

Nepal, Malaysia

Top India Travel Companies

All India tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.7 for all India trips.

573 trips from 138 tour companies with 1,629 reviews

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