This is a whirlwind trip of Northern India. You should be prepared for two or three long coach journeys and two overnight sleeper train rides. If you approach the holiday in the right way you will find it a rewarding experience, culturally and culinary (and possibly in terms of wildlife spotting)
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
We visited the Taj Mahal at dawn. This wasn't just the same trip every other tour company was doing, they made a special effort to get us there before the crowds - at the front of the queue!
When the gates opened, we dashed down to get our pictures before anyone else had come in.
The other highlight was, of course, the food. I was almost disappointed when we went to restaurants that served English food.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Bu was an excellent tour leader, very knowledgeable about the areas we visited and the cultures we saw. He was also helpful when there were a couple of mishaps with things getting stolen.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Overnight trains - Do bring something to padlock your bag up with - There are rings on the underside of the bottom seat to which bags can be locked.
Don't bother bringing extra bedding - A pillow, two sheets and a blanket are provided and there isn't really room to unpack. You may have to be prepared to sleep in your clothes.
Pack your valuables away in your bag before you get on the train - don't keep anything important in your hand luggage - keep it in your suitcase / in your pockets. Someone on our trip had a camera stolen when they went to the toilet.
Crowds - Don't put your wallet anywhere that pick pockets can get at it easily.
Food - The most likely cause of an upset stomach will be exposure to strong curry. Bring some Immodium. You can always switch to plain rice and yoghurt while your stomach calms down.
If your trip is the same as ours, you will probably visit one or two restaurants toward the end with non-Indian food options. So if you absolutely do tire of Indian food (There is so much variety, you shouldn't), then you will have that option later on.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
To be enjoyed, this holiday needs to be approached in the right way.
You need to be prepared to rough it a little - particularly on the train and there will be some long road journeys (although you may enjoy seeing India pass by as you drive by)
There is a lower standard of living and you may encounter some beggars.
If you are prepared for these things you will get the best out of it.
Similarly the sighting of a tiger is not guaranteed. Go on the safari for the other animals and you may just be rewarded with a bonus.
They will try to find you a tiger, but the chances are small (We only saw a paw print).