Saturday. Upon arrival into Delhi, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to the hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to relax or independently explore this bustling capital.
This morning, our welcome meeting takes place. An orientation tour of India’s capital includes bustling Old Delhi and more streamlined New Delhi. Highlights of our tour include India Gate, Jama Masjid - India's oldest and largest mosque, Qutab Minar and Raj Ghat - site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation. Tonight, we enjoy a Namaste Dinner at an Indian restaurant.
Overnight: Delhi | Breakfast, Dinner
Delhi - Jaipur. On day 3 we travel by road to Jaipur also known as the Pink City. We enjoy a tour of the City Palace and Jantar Mantar - an old, yet cleverly designed space observatory.
On Day 4, early-risers can opt for a morning hot air balloon ride over Jaipur, and sail over hilltop forts, regal palaces, sleepy villages, and stone carved temples. After we enjoy a stately elephant ride and visit the stunning 16th century Amber Fort. After we stop at a cotton weaving house to see a demonstration of fabric dyeing and block printing before returning to Jaipur, evening at leisure. Tonight, if you would like to head out, keep your eyes peeled for colourful papier mache puppets and traditional jootis - the Rajasthani shoe of choice.
We’ll also visit a cotton trading/tailor shop which specialises in tablecloths and other articles block-printed with traditional Rajasthani designs and a very capable tailoring service where bolts of European-style fabric can be crafted into shirts and other garments meeting your specification. Prices are excellent and your new garb will be delivered to your hotel before we leave
Overnight: Jaipur | Breakfast x 2
Jaipur - Bharatpur via Abhaneri. Departing Jaipur we stop in the village of Abhaneri to see Chand Baori, which is the largest and deepest step well in the world. This incredible well has a staggering 3500 steps and is 13 stories deep. Next, we discover local life, traditions and visit the village school (if open) where we operate our ‘Change for Children’ programme. After hotel check in at Bharatpur and time to freshen up we visit Keoladeo Ghana National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we’ll enjoy a leisurely bicycle rickshaw ride through the park.
Overnight: Bharatpur | Breakfast, Dinner
Bharatpur - Agra. En route to Agra, we explore Fatehpur Sikri, former imperial capital of the great Mughal emperor Akbar. Built between 1569 and 1585, it has been deserted for more than four centuries, by all accounts abandoned in 1600 due to a meagre supply of water.
In Agra, we visit the impressive Agra Fort before touring the legendary Taj Mahal and witnessing a glorious golden sunset. Built by Emperor Shah Jahan in loving memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz, who tragically died in childbirth in 1631, the Taj Mahal in Agra is described as the most extravagant monument ever built for love and remains one of India’s most enduring symbols.
Overnight: Agra | Breakfast
Orchha - Khajuraho. Travelling south-east we arrive in Khajuraho which is renowned for its magnificent Hindu and Jain temples which were built during the Chandela dynasty from 950-1050 AD. The intricate stone carved temples are famous for their erotic sculptures, although why they were built still remains a mystery. In fact the Chandelas appear to have forgotten about the temples soon after they were completed and it wasn't until they were rediscovered by the British that these exquisite masterpieces were fully appreciated in India.
Overnight: Khajuraho | Breakfast
Khajuraho - Varanasi. Early this morning we offer a jeep safari in Panna NP, please see our wildlife safari Panna NP bolt on for details. This afternoon we bid farewell to Khajuraho and fly east to Varanasi. Perhaps the holiest city in India, Varanasi, also known as Benares or the city of Shiva, is also one of the oldest cities on earth. Sitting on the banks of the holy River Ganges, Varanasi has been a centre of learning for more than 2000 years and it's an important Hindu pilgrimage site.
Overnight: Varanasi | Breakfast
This morning, we enjoy a sunrise boat ride on the holy Ganges river where we’ll view the ancient religious tradition of ritual cleansing that takes place on the many riverbank ghats (riverside steps). Later, we embark on a tour of the city. At sunset consider re-visiting the ghats for the evening pilgrimage, which is different to the dawn ritual.
Overnight: Varanasi | Breakfast
Varanasi - Lumbini. Bright and early we drive north and cross the border into neighbouring Nepal. Our destination is Lumbini, where we can visit the birthplace of Lord Buddha in 623BC. The Lumbini Garden is famous for the Ashokan Pillar, which offers epigraphic evidence of Lord Buddha’s birth.
Overnight: Lumbini | Breakfast
Lumbini - Royal Chitwan NP. Leaving Lumbini, we drive to Royal Chitwan National Park. Widely acknowledged as one of the finest national parks in Asia, Chitwan supports a population of a variety of species including Indian one horned rhino, bison, sloth bear, wild boar, deer, leopard and of course the magnificent, if elusive, Bengal tiger. On day 13 we enjoy morning and evening game drives.
Overnight: Chitwan N. P. | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Chitwan NP - Pokhara. Today we drive to Pokhara. Perhaps the most stunning of Pokhara’s sights is the spectacular backdrop of the Annapurna range and the striking fish-tailed summit of Mount Machhapuchhre (6977m) spectacularly rising behind Lake Phewa. We enjoy a sightseeing tour on day 15 and an evening sail boat trip. The rest of our time in Pokhara is free - hike, bike, shop or relax - the choice is yours!
Overnight: Pokhara | Breakfast x 2
Pokhara - Kathmandu. Driving north we arrive in Kathmandu, Nepal's capital. Kathmandu is Nepal’s biggest and most cosmopolitan city, the meeting place of a dozen ethnic groups and once one of the most important points on the caravan routes between Tibet and India. Our sightseeing will include an overview of the city taking in Pashupatinath Temple which stands on the banks of the River Bhaginiti, Swayambhunath Pagoda and colossal Bodhnath. We’ll also explore Durbar square in the heart of Kathmandu, which is home to more than 50 stunning temples and shrines.
After our tour there's free time to relax, explore and shop on your own. For a unique experience, opt to take a Himalayan scenic flight to see Mt Everest. The hour long flight (offered by a number of local companies) offers views of a seeming endless chain of snow capped peaks, as you fly above the clouds, over glaciers and lakes, rivers, gorges and see the world’s highest and most enigmatic mountain - Mt Everest.
Overnight: Kathmandu | Breakfast x 2
Tuesday. Our holiday concludes after breakfast today, with a departure transfer to Kathmandu Airport.
Discover beautiful Amritsar on our 3 day/ 2 night Golden Amritsar bolt-on. Home to the world famous Golden Temple and the seat of the Sikh religion. Built in 1803 and made of marble, copper and pure leaf gold, the temple is an amazing architectural feat. During your stay, we watch the sunset spectacle at the Wagah Border - the only road crossing between India and Pakistan where the fascinating changing of the guards and ceremonial lowering of the flags take place with great pomp to a cheering crowd of thousands.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
The modern and smart Almondz Hotel offers guests good sized well appointed rooms which all come with complimentary Wi-Fi. The in-house restaurant is highly recommended providing diners with delicious food and a friendly service. Please note that the majority of hotel rooms do not have windows.
The beautiful heritage style Mandawa Haveli is a fine example of typical Rajasthan architecture - set in terraced gardens with pretty courtyards. All rooms are well appointed with intricately carved wooden beds and king-size royal portraits. An evening spent enjoying a lavish Rajasthani dinner in front of a traditional folk dance is highly recommended. Well located in the heart of Jaipur city on Sansar Chandra Road, just a few minute’s drive from the Palace of the Winds.
Set amongst 2 acres of landscaped gardens, the Udai Vilas Palace is a traditional hotel taking guests back to a bygone era. Guest rooms are spacious and well equipped with comfortable beds and large windows. The hotel is famous for its barbecue nights and Rajasthani Folklore evenings. On an evening why not grab a nice cold beer and sit by the pool - a great way to end the day! Well located near the Bharatpur Bird sanctuary - great for keen twichers!
Recently built, the Raj Mahal is an oasis of elegance and luxury offering high standards of facilities to all its guests. Guest rooms are simply furnished with classic Indian four poster beds. There is an outdoor pool to relax in and the onsite restaurant, Rajsi Bhoj comes with excellent reviews. Why not take a walk along the riverside and see how many different birds you can spot? Located a short drive from central Orchha close to the Betwa River.
A popular heritage property, the Ramada is smart, modern and elegantly furnished. Rooms are good in size and have marble flooring with beautiful views out of the bay windows on to the stunning landscaped grounds. Guests can relax in the refreshing outdoor pool and sip a tasty beverage at sunset from the master cocktail makers at the bar. Very well located just a short walk to the fantastic erotic temples of Khajuraho.
Originally an ancient Nepali King's Palace, the Surya Hotel has been beautifully restored to its former glory. Guest rooms are classically furnished with excellent amenities and beautiful European-style bathrooms. Meals are served in the Canton Royale Restaurant which serves up a delicious array of Indian and International cuisine. Those wanting a nice drink should head to Sol Bar for cocktails and other assorted beverages. Well located in the north of Varanasi.
Set in 4 acres of wood land the Buddha Maya Garden Hotel stands impressively with its terracota finish and spacious rooms.
Lying on the edge of Chitwan National Park, the Tiger Land Safari Resort offers simple accommodation close to the animals! Guests stay in individual huts which are clean, cozy and comfortable - no TVs here - you're here to see the wildlife! Meals are served in the onsite restaurant offering a selection of local and international cuisine. Located with great access to the National Park.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in India, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.
I enjoyed every minute of the tour. Many thanks to Nand, he did a great job!”
What a fabulous guide, the best I have had over my many years of travel.”
I don't feel like I completely embraced the countries hustle and bustle but I don't believe that I wanted to experience it any more than what I did as it is a very overwhelming atmosphere compared to home. I saw a lot of the country and the transition into Nepal was seamless (expect for the bus breaking down, in saying that it was fixed as best and quickly as possible - not disappointed by that). Varanasi was a fabulous experience perfect amount of time spent there with chance to see everything I wanted to. Whilst I was made aware I think that it is important to point out the weight allowance on the internal flight. The add-on balloon option was an incredibly AMAZING experience. Staying in the jungle in Chitwan was another peaceful, relaxing, exciting, educating experience. The option to do the flight around everest was another excellent add-on option. Overall it was a great experience and would definitely travel with on the go again. ”
the tour of India from Delhi to Varanasi was great. I did submit a review form for that. This is my review of the seven day add on to Nepal. There were five of us so we did not have a guide travelling with us. Our driver had very limited English and was not communicating with us. he would, for example, stop and just jump out and leave us not knowing if we were stopping for a break or meal. The journey was too far by van, the roads are terrible and the van had no shocks. 11 hour bumpy ride from Varanasi to Lumbini was not pleasant at all, in fact it was sickening. we should have flown. Also the drive from Pokhara to Kathmandu was too long. The 35 minute flight would have been a delight . hotels were very good along the way and local guides in Pokhara and Kathmandu helped us with illnesses. Chitwan resort staff were excellent. But because of the extensive travel by van on poor roads, i would not recommend this extension.”
The tour was fantastic , the boys and the oldies all mixed well with the group. Our guide in India, Yousouf was brilliant, his knowledge, humour and patience was really the icing on the cake and made the holiday.
The guide in Nepal, Prab, was a let down in comparison. We struggled to get info out of him and he did not come into his own until we reached Kathmandu.
The hotels were good and the food was excellent apart from lunch in Agra.
A hlloiday to remeber”
I enjoyed every minute of the tour. Many thanks to Nand, he did a great job!”