The Indian Golden Triangle
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
We had never had a desire to travel to India. But, we wanted to see tigers in the wild. It made most sense to combine the two - a visit to India's magnificent Golden Triangle with a spot of tiger spotting.
We had limited budget and limited time so for us the most convenient option was to do an 8-day escorted tour. Not something that we usually do. Possibly, not something we will do again for a few more years. But, it proved to be the perfect way to see, explore and get a true taste of India.
“India is a real melting pot. It attacks all of your senses. Colourful, characterful and unique. It doesn't disappoint.”
On this tour you really do hit the ground running. As our night flight from Heathrow to Delhi was delayed, it meant we were late checking into our hotel and cases didn't arrive to our room. There was very no time to catch our breath before heading out straight away for the afternoon tour.
FTM Top Tip: Wear layers in case you don't have time to change. Pack some face wipes, deodorant and a toothbrush in your hand luggage so you can freshen up in minutes!
What do you see on this tour?
Delhi (2 nights) - including city tour, Mahatma Ghandi memorial. You really experience the sights and smells of India. The hustle, bustle, back streets and not forgetting the wandering cows.
We stayed at The Grand New Delhi - nice, but not terribly memorable :)
Agra (2 nights) - early start to the breathtaking Taj Mahal (see separate post on making the most of this phenomenal place).
We stayed at the Mansion Grand Hotel which had a fabulous infinity pool with view of the Taj Mahal in the distance.
Travel by train (what a fabulous experience - book first class if you want air conditioning!) to Ranthambore including three game drives to spot tigers ... we saw 5 in total (so lucky)
We stayed at the Ranthambore Regency - a lovely, quirky family-run hotel. they made the best curries on the trip ...
Jaipur (2 nights) - my favourite city. The 'Pink' city with beautiful architecture and vibrant colours. You'll also see lots more temples.
We stayed at The Lalit Jaipur - my favourite hotel on this trip
Ending with one night at Roseate House near Delhi airport before our flight home. A nice bit of luxury for the final evening and not too far to transit to the airport.
Escorted Tours make things easy
If your time is limited an escorted tour is a great way to get a snapshot of a country. Really, you don't need to 'think'. You get dropped off, escorted around and get back onboard your tour bus. You can even change money on the bus meaning you don't have to find a bank or ATM. It really is that easy.
Some may be have read about tourists getting hassled in India by street sellers. Again, with an escorted tour this issue is removed. Each day after each attraction visit or tour, there is a 'bus bazaar' which provides the opportunity to part with your rupees on things like Taj Mahal snow globes (surprisingly popular on our trip!), jewellery, guide books - even local gin!
Avoiding 'Delhi Belly'
We were issued with some high strength natural peppermint tablets that were great for preventing illness. For us they really worked and pleased to say we weren't ill once.
FTM Top Tip: We were advised by our guide to stick to vegetarian food whilst in India. In the main, we did. But one day there was bacon at breakfast. Another night there was butter chicken. Just be careful - most meals are buffet style so inspect carefully.
It's important to be sensible. Buy bottled water (some people we know decided to boil the water and then wondered why they became ill). Avoid salads and fruit that has already been peeled (stock to bananas, oranges).
Get your jabs before you travel
You're travelling to India. It's not clean. There is sewerage in the roads. You will see poor sanitation. Get your jabs before you go: tetanus, Hep B, Typhoid. We didn't use malaria tablets as it wasn't necessary for the season we were travelling. But, when out in the bush tiger spotting, I did wear long sleeves and use mozzie repellant.
FTM Top Tip: Don't leave getting your jabs too late. We were 1 day out from the 8 week cut off from our GP. That meant we had to go private to get our jabs. It's much MUCH more expensive. Don't do what we did. Get your jabs done in plenty of time, then you won't feel ripped off like we did.