Travel experience shared by a Peak time Travels customer staying at Georgia Atlanta (USA):
A few years ago, I joined a luxury trip of Northern India with Peak time Travels based out of Georgia Atlanta – USA. Having previously visited India as a child on a 4 week trip, I was excited to return and see how much I remembered. I was also keen to experience India as part of an organised tour and see how it differed to travelling independently.
I think India tends to be a destination for travellers who’ve already managed to surf through South East Asia and are feeling more confident using local transport in Asia. As a traveller to many luxurious and locations in Asia, i believe that India as a destination – travellers either love it or hate it. But having experienced India both on a shoestring and now on a luxury budget, I believe that some proper planning and for some people, an organized tour can definitely make for the most enjoyable experience.
How to arrive in Style
You can fly direct from Atlanta Hartsfield, GA – USA to Delhi in 17hrs 55 minutes with one stop at London-Heathrow, United Kingdom . I flew Business Class with British Airways and was very impressed with their service. You’ll have a fully flat bed, delicious freshly cooked food and a wide selection of cocktails in the Skybar.
As per the guidance from Business Class consultant – peak time travels, they compared a wide variety of Business Class cabins and often find British Airways a more economical and luxurious alternative to the more well-known carriers. In fact, they are the one of the few cabins to offer a fully flat bed on all international Business Class flights.
The tour itinerary
Delhi is a city of culture and history. The only way to feel its soul is to explore it. Provided were the two options to spend 5 days. The first is a tour of the Golden Triangle which is sightseeing Delhi and neighbouring Agra and Jaipur. Another option to the 5 day visit, is to spend the first two days in Delhi and the next three at a hill station.
I took up Option 1 to visit The Golden Triangle Trip.
Begin the day with visits to the historical sites. Started with the imposing Qutab Minar, the famed brick minaret. After Qutub Minar visit Humayun’s Tomb- one of the best-preserved Mughal monuments in Delhi. Follow it with a visit to The Garden of Five Senses which is in the same vicinity. Spend some time there for a truly relaxing experience. Post lunch visit Raj Ghat, the memorial of the Mahatma and Jama Masjid – the largest mosque in India. In close proximity to the mosque is Purana Quila, yet another fort. To complete the sightseeing for the day, round it up with a drive to the Parliament House and the India Gate, both of which are well illuminated at night.
Next day, We then left Delhi in a private mini bus bound for Agra. The journey is an experience in itself; seeing whole families travelling on the back of mopeds, what looks to be the entire contents of a corner shop on the front of a push bike and local buses with passengers hanging onto the side of them. You’ll certainly feel grateful for the comparatively luxurious mode of transport you’re in!
From Agra, we continued to Jaipur (the Pink City), where we stayed 2 nights in the beautiful Rambagh Palace, before heading onto Jodphur (the Blue City), before returning to Delhi.
Luxury accommodation: Taj Hotels
On a tour like this, all transfers are included but even being collected from the airport in an air conditioned car, you’ll find it doesn’t take long for Delhi to take hold of you. You’ll be whisked though the noise of car horns, the sight of cows walking freely down the main roads and rickshaws buzzing past you, before arriving in New Delhi for the first of the incredibly luxurious hotels on this trip.
The Taj collection features some of the most impressive hotels in India and many properties are converted palaces. I challenge you to feel anything other than regal as you sip your gin and tonic in the gardens watching peacocks nonchalantly stroll across immaculately manicured lawns!
Learning from your guide
Other than budget, a key difference between independent backpacking and travelling with a tour is the valuable knowledge you gain from your guide. Their personal insight ensures you make sense of what you see each day, and I know I left with a far superior understanding of Ghandi, the Taj Mahal and what it’s like to live in one of the fastest growing countries on the planet than I ever would have gained from swatting up from my guidebook.
We had plenty of free time to shop in local markets and pick up some clothes and gifts. One tip – be prepared to haggle for bargains. If you don’t feel comfortable doing so, your guide will always help you get a bargain!
Highlights of India from this trip
The Taj Mahal features on many a travel ‘bucket list’ and it certainly didn’t disappoint me. Travelling with a tour means you’ll have entry tickets pre-booked for you, which means you can skip the big queues.
I would always recommend visiting at sunrise or sunset so you can see the colour of the marble changing with the position of the sun (makes for some truly spectacular photos!). It’s also far more comfortable visiting in the early morning or evening so you can stroll around the grounds in the cooler parts of the day.
I also enjoyed riding elephants up to the Amber Fort in Jaipur. Climbing up the side of the mountain on an elephant adorned with a beautiful headdress and visiting the Jantar Mantar observatory were memorable moments for me. We ended the day at the Umaid Bhawan Palace where Liz Hurley got married!
Visa and vaccinations you’ll need
Unlike most countries in Asia, India requires you to organise a visa in advance. Tour operators will give you in-depth guides on how best to apply and we can help you arrange the appropriate visas.
You will also need a number of different vaccinations when travelling to India. I was lucky enough to get the details in advance from the Travel Consultant – Peak Time Travels – GA who advised me of the vaccinations as well as the do’s and don’ts of cloths to wear.
Is India next on your list? We can help you tailor-make an itinerary just to suit you, or we can book you onto an organised group tour like the tour. Just call us for more info @ 770-849-9898 or toll free 888-922-9898 or request a quote by email to start planning your trip.