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 vacation? 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

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06 Jan 2021
US $1100
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05 Feb 2021
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12 Mar 2021
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19 Mar 2021
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30 Apr 2021
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23 Jul 2021
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06 Aug 2021
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24 Sep 2021
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08 Oct 2021
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15 Oct 2021
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20 Oct 2021
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22 Oct 2021
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29 Oct 2021
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05 Nov 2021
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12 Nov 2021
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19 Nov 2021
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26 Nov 2021
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02 Dec 2021
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08 Dec 2021
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15 Dec 2021
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17 Dec 2021
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22 Dec 2021
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26 Dec 2021
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31 Dec 2021
US $1070
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05 Jan 2022
US $1040
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07 Jan 2022
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12 Jan 2022
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21 Jan 2022
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28 Jan 2022
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09 Feb 2022
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11 Feb 2022
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16 Feb 2022
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18 Feb 2022
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25 Feb 2022
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11 Mar 2022
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18 Mar 2022
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29 Apr 2022
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03 Jun 2022
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23 Sep 2022
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07 Oct 2022
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14 Oct 2022
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11 Nov 2022
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01 Dec 2022
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14 Dec 2022
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16 Dec 2022
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21 Dec 2022
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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. 16 people.
Solos:
Solo travelers 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
Vacation type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are traveling 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 travelers 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 travelers 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 travelers 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 travelers 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 vacation.

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 travelers 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 vacation package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your inquiry.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
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.

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 traveling. 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
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

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.

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.

Climate

11 Reviews of North India cultural tour

4.5 out of 5 stars
SHOW
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5
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Reviewed on 05 Feb 2020 by

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


What an amazing trip! Where do I begin. I guess by praising our tour leader 'Ronny' {Ranobir Guhawho} was flawless, making sure everything ran
smoothly and efficiently' dealing with each problem with the minimum fuss and making the overall experience both authentic and pleasurable. It was our
first trip to India and group tour, and we really loved it. traveling on public transport, eating at local restaurants and on one occasion a meal at the home of
a very welcoming family. The cooking class was one of our highlights as was the night we attended a Bollywood movie. We Learnt a lot about India. its
history, its people, its culture and its religions. There is just so much to take in that it'll take a long period of reflection to really comprehend how amazing it
was.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be open to everything and Embrace the whole experience

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


We were introduced to many projects that supported and were run by local people. I was also surprised at how, with the dedication of local groups, they were really trying to tackle the ongoing issues relating to conservation and the environment within their local communities.

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


5 stars. We both certainly would travel with this operator again!

Reviewed on 21 Sep 2019 by

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


I loved meeting new people, all ages from all backgrounds. I've met people
that I'll never forget. The tour guide made us all feel safe and welcome in India. I loved watching the dance show and trying all the food.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Bring wet wipes and hand sanitiser. Be prepared to travel on trains for a while. Bring a sleep mask, air mask for pollution, ear buds for sleeping and consider buying a sim card. Bring walking boots.

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


Yes. I liked buying products directly from the people who made them.

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


It's a vacation I will never forget. I wish I could of spent longer on the trip because I feel I would of really got to know people better. India is an
amazing place and if you want to see the North of the country in a safe yet exciting way then this trip is a great start. Begining to end was planned really well and I loved it. Thank you to Abhi for helping us all out too.

Reviewed on 01 Aug 2018 by

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


Camping in the desert was great. Varanasi was a very spiritual experience. And Udaipur was a very lovely city.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for a full on Indian experience. Go with it and you'll have a great time. Also group travel is a great way to go.

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


I felt we reduced environmental impacts where we could by either walking or using local transport.

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


The best vacation I've had. Thanks to our friendly and knowledgeable guide, a lovely group and a fantastic itinerary.

Reviewed on 11 Feb 2018 by

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


Jaisalmer

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared to spend more than you expect on optional trips

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


Benefited local people, I hope so, environmental and conservation? Not sure

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


Fab

Reviewed on 06 Oct 2017 by

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


Ranthambore where we saw a tiger and a leopard as well as a host of deer and birds.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Be prepared for some very long bus journeys on bumpy roads.

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


I'd say our trip didn't have any negative impact and perhaps had some small positive effects eg because we shopped with providers chosen for their fair dealing with workers.

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


The itinerary was wonderful and worked really well with children, capturing their imaginations.

Reviewed on 14 Mar 2016 by

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


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, yes, yes.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation 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 vacation?


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 travelers booking this vacation?


Travel light!

3. Did you feel that your vacation 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 vacation overall?


Great vacation overall!

Reviewed on 23 Jan 2015 by

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


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation overall?


Vacation 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 vacation?


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

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation?


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 travelers booking this vacation?


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 vacation. Go with an open heart.

3. Did you feel that your vacation 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 vacation 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 vacation again.

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