This is by far my favourite trip so far and I would definitely head back to this amazing country. There’s so much to say! So why is that? Let me start at the beginning…
Who to go with?
Now there are many ways and companies to go with, but I chose to travel with Gadventures. Why? Well I have travelled with this company before and so have several of my friends. They are great for a range of tours from comfort to yolo tours. Yolo tours are for the solo travels such as myself…and it was perfect! Looking for a budget trip with all hotels, transport and a group of like minded people this was a great place to start. If like myself you haven’t quite got the time or confidence to become a fully fledged traveller with no set plan, then I would always suggest these tours.
The tour that I specifically chose was called India on a Shoestring. It covers a lot of the North and looks like a lot of travelling, but that is part of the adventure. For example, where else are you going to experience a sleeper train where you have chai tea, local cuisine, bands and singing 24/7? Passing through local villages, towns, forests, mountains and farmland it is by far one of the best ways to see India. It definitely isn’t your typical 2hr commute to London!
Is this tour for you?
My time in India only covered the North. This is still a great amount though. Initially I looked into different tours that started in the North and ventured South or vice versa, however I would suggest looking into what you want out of the tour. For example the north and south are very different culturally and geographically. To spend more time taking in what India has to offer, separating India into North and South tours seems more fun to me. That is my opinion though!
So the tour style of this specific one is Yolo. What does this mean? This means that the tour has been designed for budget travellers, made for younger crowds packed full of adventures from the word go. Gadventures believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so their group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement.
Don’t worry though this trip wasn’t too demanding physically, graded at a basic level there are times when you will need to carry you bag for a while, and certain activities will require periods of walking i.e.. around the forts and up to temples. At the same time its not always compulsory so don’t freak out! I would recommend a set of walking shoes that are comfortable to walk in any weather (trainers, walking sandals, etc.)
Accommodation for this tour was also included. Don’t go expecting 5* hotels with pools and chefs on hand, but there was only once when the accommodation was questionable. I would describe the level as basic and it standard to share a room someone on the trip (unless you pay more for private, all on the website, approx £420), with the basic essentials i.e., bathroom and towels. Saying that, remember to take a travel towel anyway just incase. Transport is provided for you including private buses, cars, local buses, trains, sleeper trains etc.
So if you’re a solo traveller, I would definitely suggest looking at this tour or similar ones as you make great friends and experiences together without worrying where you’re going to stay or get there. This company gives you the chance to think all about what your going to eat, drinks, see and do!
When to go:
Personally I went in Janurary and I had no problems with the weather. It was slightly cooler and at nights the temperature could drop considerably, but it was still warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirt majority of the day time. There is more risk of rain and clouds but again we only had 3 days of rain over the 3 weeks I visited. Being in the north it has probably the biggest variation in temperature as you will passing through desserts, mountains, forests.
- Summer May-June
- Rainy July-August
- Cool September-October
- Autumn November-December
- Winter January-February
- Spring April-March
So is India for you?
I would definitely suggest that you have experienced some solo traveling before heading to India alone. This isn’t meant in a negative way, I say this because India is a country that is very different to anything you will have experienced before. It can be a bit of a culture shock when you first visit, full of poverty, pollution and organised chaos, but that is what makes in so unique to me. In India there are very different attitudes to time keeping, public cleanliness, privacy and service. Trains will sometimes be late, plumbing can sometimes be temperamental and power will often just vanish. Also long as you bare this all in mind though you will not be disappointed! Personally I can look back at a specific point when I was in hospital (will explain later) where the electrics went on and off due to the rain. Imagine that in the UK, the News would have a field day!
What will Gavdentures show you…
From the monuments of Delhi to the colourful cities of Rajasthan, experience three weeks of northern India’s best. Marvel at Jaisalmer’s mud fortress and Bikaner’s unique temple before journeying into the desert for an overnight camel safari. Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims and make your way to the Ganges River at Varanasi. Your expert CEO will take care of the hassles so you’re free to see the sights or just soak up the vibe – India is home to great food, fascinating culture, alluring sights, and friendly and inviting people. Discover the charms and mystery that make up this incredible country.
Sounds good? Hell yes!
What was included in the tour?
- G Adventures-supported New Delhi Streetkids Project walk.
- Guided tour of the Taj Mahal (Agra)
- Guided tour of the Amber Fort (Jaipur)
- Orientation walks in Old Delhi, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Pushkar, and Jaipur.
- Overnight camel safari.
- Ganges River boat trip at sunrise and sunset (including candle flower ceremony).
- All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
So whether you choose to travel with Gadventures or not, I will be sharing over the next few weeks some of my favourite times, experiences and memories of the 3 weeks I spent immersed in this beautiful yet chaotic culture.