Tour type: Small Group
Group size: Min: 2 | Max: 12
Accommodation: Comfortable budget hotels and Jaipur homestay
Transport: AC car/minibus, train
Highlights: Old and New Delhi, Forts and palaces in Bundi, Pink city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, the Taj Mahal and Red Fort in Agra, great views of rural India and its cities from your train carriage
This India tour provides a fantastic introduction to exploring Northern India and could form the perfect start to a longer stay in India, or as a complete visit in itself. The tour combines tours of the famous 'Golden Triangle' of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur with time in the Rajasthan town of Bundi which is packed with forts, palaces and step wells. You'll start in India's capital Delhi, where tours are available to explore both the narrow streets of Old Delhi, and the contrasting, modern wide boulevards of New Delhi.
We'll then take a sleeper train to Bundi where a local guide will show us around the town and explore the fort with us. Next stop is the capital of Rajasthan, the 'Pink City' of Jaipur which is full of busy craft and produce markets and famous for its jewellery and shopping. Tours to the nearby Amber Fort and to explore different aspects of Jaipur itself are available here.
Finally we head to Agra where we tour the hugely impressive Agra Fort, and of course, visit the beautiful Taj Mahal which we visit at sunset when the light is at its best. The tour then finishes back in Delhi.
Travel between the cities is done on Indian Railways in comfortable 2nd class AC carriages, which give a great view of rural India as it passes you by. Accommodation is in a mix of budget hotels, friendly homestays and heritage properties.
If our scheduled departure dates don't work for you, or you would prefer not to travel with a group, then we can also run this affordable tour privately for you. Please contact us for more information and prices.
Upon arrival our staff will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel in the centre of Delhi for the start of your trip (24-hour service). After check-in you’re free to settle in and start to explore the local area. You can also discuss and book any optional tours for your day in Delhi tomorrow. We pick a very central Delhi location for this tour, close to the bustling district of Karol Bagh, Paharganj, Connaught Place and New Delhi Railway Station.
Single room supplement (INSHSH)
Extra day in Delhi - pre-tour
A selection of sightseeing tours are available today to start discovering the different sides of Delhi. These include:
To enable us to make all necessary arrangements, these tours should be booked before arriving in Delhi.
In the evening we transfer to the railway station for our first taste of India’s famous railways and an overnight sleeper train journey to our next destination, the Rajasthan town of Bundi. Travelling on India’s railways is a fantastic way to see more of the country, and to meet some local people. We use the 2nd class AC sleeper carriage to ensure you travel in decent comfort.
Sleeper train to Bundi
Spinmonkey cycling tour
New Delhi half day by car
Old Delhi half-day walking tour
Salam Balak Trust walk
We arrive in Bundi this morning and transfer to our hotel. Bundi is a fascinating town, visited relatively little by tourists, and a huge contrast to the hustle and bustle and chaos of Delhi. The town is packed with temples, step wells and old palaces, with the large Taraghar fort overlooking the town and its blue painted houses from the hillside.
You have some free time to explore here, and a local guide will also take you on a walking tour of the town, taking in some step wells, the Garh palace, and the fort.
After time for a final early morning walk through the streets of Bundi this morning we leave for the nearby town of Kota to catch our next train to Jaipur, travelling for around 4 hours through the arid Rajasthan scenery, watching local farmers and villagers working in their fields as we pass by.
On arrival in the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, we transfer to our homestay style accommodation for the night. This evening, you could head out to enjoy the fun and spectacle of a classic Bollywood movie, or relax with some delicious Indian home cooking at the accommodation.
Jaipur is a busy and fascinating city, famous for its various markets, jewellery and shopping, as well as some beautiful buildings and the impressive Amber Fort nearby. You have a selection of optional tours available here to discover the city, including some with specialist guides focussing on particular themes. These include:
Jaipur tour options
We leave Jaipur early today for another train journey, this time heading east to Agra. We’ll arrive in time for lunch, and in the afternoon take an included guided tour to the UNESCO world heritage site at Agra Fort. The guide will then take you for a full sightseeing tour of the beautiful Taj Mahal at sunset. Truly one of the wonders of the world this elaborate monument to love was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and took over twenty two years to complete. Visiting at sunset is a beautiful time as the colours and hues of the temple change as the light fades.
This evening there’s an option to visit a local Hindu family for a cooking demonstration and delicious vegetarian thali dinner.
Cook with a Hindu family in Agra
The day is free to explore Agra further today, with some optional tours available which include:
This evening we’ll board our final train for the journey back to Delhi (around 3 hours).
Agra tour options
Your time is free today until we transfer you to the airport to catch your flight home. You could also choose to extend your stay in India by going on safari looking for tigers at Ranthambore National Park, or heading south to the beaches at Goa or Kerala.
Extra day in Delhi - post-tour
Regular group departures throughout the year. The tour is also available privately on any other dates for a small supplement. Please contact us for details and prices
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we most often use on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination youre visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.
All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.
Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.
The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.
This tour uses a variety of budget hotels, homestays and heritage style properties. Accommodation is based on same-sex twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning.Please check the Single Room Supplement option for details on room sharing options and charges for solo travellers on this tour.
Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. We want you to feel like you’re really experiencing the country you’re travelling through, but at the same time finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour.
All sightseeing tours and transfers (except pure walking tours) use private AC cars/minibuses approprivate to the number of travellers in the group.
Travel between towns & cities is done by train, providing a great chance to experience Indian railways and to see much more of rural India, and the outskirts of its towns and cities from your train carriage. The overnight sleeper journey from Delhi to Bundi is in a 4-berth compartment in the 2nd class AC sleeper carriage. Comfortable seats with fold down beds, with pillow, sheet and blanket are provided. All other train journeys are based on the 2nd class AC chair carriage.
The tour includes a 24-hour airport arrival transfer from Delhi airport to your hotel, and back to the airport at the end of the tour.
All other transfers between hotels, stations and during tours are also included.
We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to suggest flights to go with the tour. Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from.
Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour. Most of our Indian tours start and finish at Delhi airport (DEL).
We do also sometimes advertise flight inclusive packages from selected airports. Where these are shown on our website, prices are correct at the time of quoting, but are subject to continued availability of the fare used. Prices will be reconfirmed at the time of booking, and we will also provide the flight times and airline details before tickets are issued.
Flight inclusive prices are based on the cheapest Economy ticket class available which is generally non-refundable and non-changeable unless the flight is cancelled for reasons such as Covid-19, in which case the airlines are more flexible. More flexible ticket options, as well as Premium Economy and Business Class tickets are available on request for an additional supplement. Any changes made to flight inclusive bookings will be subject to the airline rules on your ticket.
We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guides. This tour therefore has a maximum of 14 travellers in each group. Departures are guaranteed for a minimum of 2 people.
Specialist local guides are used for all of the sightseeing tours mentioned in the itinerary, and for additional optional tours. For groups of 6 and over, a tour escort accompanies the group throughout the tour.
At Encounters Travel we have a policy of only using local Indian guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.
The tour price does not include entrance fees to the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary. You should budget Rs 2150 (approx. USD 35) to cover the included tours in Bundi and Agra. You will also need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit that are not listed in the main tour itinerary. A list of current entrance fees (Jan 2018) to the main sites in each location visited on the tour is given below. These are subject to change by the local authorities at any time.
Qutub Minar – Rs 550
Humayun’s tomb – Rs 550
Red Fort – Rs 550
Bundi Fort, Museum Sukhmahal, Taragarh Fort (composite Ticket) – Rs 550
Amber Palace - Rs 600
Jantar Mantar Observatory - Rs 250
City Palace - Rs 250
Nahargarh Fort - Rs 600
Sisodiya Gardens - Rs 220, plus Galta Temples - Rs 35 (Camera Rs 100)
Jaigarh Fort - Rs 110
Taj Mahal - Rs 1050
Agra Fort - Rs 550
Sikandra - Rs 350
Itmad ud daulah - Rs 250
Mehtab Bagh - Rs 200
Haggling is a traditional necessity, so its wise not to pay too much regard to initial prices. Instead fix an items value in your mind then negotiate towards it unhurriedly and don't be afraid to simply walk away if the price isn't right. Once you have offered a price though, you should be prepared to pay it as you may cause offence if you then back out.
While an accepted part of the culture and customs in India, tipping is always optional, and the amounts paid should reflect excellent service. We are often asked for advice on common amounts, and for assistance with tipping. Some suggested guidelines are given below.
Restaurants and taxis: Local markets and basic restaurants - leave the loose change. More up-market restaurants we suggest 5% to 10% of your bill.
Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour guide. We suggest USD 5-10 per person per day for local guides.
Drivers: You may have a range of private drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, for example if you don't have an extra accompanying guide. However USD 3-6 per person per day is generally appropriate.
Tour Guides: To answer your next question. . . as a guideline for tour guides who accompany you on the entire tour, we suggest you allow around USD 5-10 per person per day, but ultimately, as with all the tipping descrbed above, its up to your satisfaction with their service and your personal budget. You should not feel pressured to tip any particular amount.
You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
India: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Yellow fever rules for India are quite complicated and lengthy. Please read the WHO guidance.
Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting. In general the north eastern regions of India including Assam and Orissa are considered high risk,while the rest of India is generally considered low enough risk that anti-malarial tablets are not necessary for most travellers doing relatively short tours.
Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view this US CDC information about where the virus is present and follow the links to further information detailing which countries need you to have a Yellow Fever vaccination as part of their entry requirements. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary.
Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.
Your passport expiry date must be at least 6 months after your time in India finishes. Do not bring a full or almost expired passport. You must also have a machine-readable passport or you may be denied entry. If you have an old-style manually issued passport you will need to replace this with a new machine-readable passport before you travel.
Most nationalities (including UK, USA, European, Australian, Canadian) will need to arrange their Indian tourist visa in advance. A new online e-visa system is available which makes the process more straightforward than before. You can make your application online at indiavisaonline.
Visa requirements for India can and do change regularly and we suggest that you arrange your Indian visa early and re-check your specific visa requirements prior to travel for any changes.
The time in India and Sri Lanka is GMT plus 5 1/2 hours.
The time in Nepal is GMT plus 5 3/4 hours.
The time in Bhutan is GMT plus 6 hours.
The time in Tibet is GMT plus 8 hours.
Daylight saving adjustments are not applied.
In Nepal, India and Sri Lanka, sockets are mainly two round pronged and 230 volts (Type C,D,M). In Bhutan a range of different sockets can be found, including two and three round pronged and three flat pronged (Type D,F,G).
Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don't have one already. Standard UK-European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are sometimes available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already but cannot be guaranteed.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
Rupee (INR; symbol Rs) = 100 paise. Notes are in denominations of Rs 2,000, 1000, 500, 200, 50, 20, 10 and 1 Coins are in denominations of Rs 10, 5, 2 and 1, and 50 paise (Rs 0.5). Note: The import and export of local currency is prohibited. Sometimes smaller vendors will not take bills larger than Rs 500. It is best to carry a range of rupee notes if you are shopping at bazaars and local markets.
Note: You must present your passport whenever you change currency or travellers cheques. Commission for foreign exchange is becoming increasingly rare; if it is charged, the fee is nominal.
Credit cards: In major cities, the full cadre of banks cards are generally accepted including debit cards, American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa. However, in smaller towns and villages, choice is generally narrowed to cash or MasterCard and Visa.
ATM: 24 hour ATM machines can be found in all the major cities and most large towns. Visa, MasterCard, Cirrus, Maestro and Plus are amongst the most commonly accepted cards.
Travellers cheques: These are gradually getting less accepted but may still be changed at larger banks and some larger hotels. The most widely accepted currencies include US Dollars and Pounds Sterling. Some banks may refuse to change certain brands of traveller's cheques whilst others may exchange quite happily.
Luggage: Suitcases are fine, though you may find rucksacks or large bags are more practical. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips - you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always porters to assist.
Luggage allowances: Most international airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 23kg per person of luggage to go in the hold of the plane. Domestic flights often have smaller allowances around 15kg. As airline rules vary we recommend that you take no more than 20kg of luggage if your tour just includes international flights, and no more than 15kg if there are any domestic flights included in your itinerary. Please ask us for details if you are unsure about luggage allowances on your tour. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover. Most airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage so we suggest that you take no more than 5kg unless you have confirmed that your airline(s) will allow more than this.
Clothing: The weather is mainly hot most of the year with significant variations from region to region. The coolest weather lasts from around the end of November to the beginning of March, with fresh mornings and evenings, and mostly sunny days. The really hot weather, when it is dry, dusty and unpleasant, is between March and June. Monsoon rains occur in most regions in summer anywhere between June and early October.
NOTE: India is very traditional and some heads will turn if you dress provocatively in public. Short tops, short skirts / shorts, tight or body revealing clothes etc should be avoided. You might invite unwanted attention from certain men who stare and pass comments at women to amuse themselves. More detailed climate information is available on the India Country Guide page on our website.
Suggested List: This is a guide only - there's no problem if you bring more or less with you. Cheap comfortable clothing is also readily available in India and laundry is inexpensive. It is also worth having some smarter clothes for going out. Towels are provided and laundry services are available in all the hotels we use.
Men: Lightweight trousers, shorts, light shirts & t-shirts, Swimwear
Women: Light cotton skirts/dressers, loose-fitting trousers, light shirts or t-shirts, loose shorts, Swimwear
Men & Women: Jumper/sweatshirt/fleece, Long sleeved shirt(s) (for cool nights, protection from the sun & mosquitoes, and visits to religious sites etc), Handkerchiefs, socks & underwear, Comfortable trainers/sandals for daily wear, Other shoes/sandals for evening wear, Sunhat or headscarf (headscarfs come in handy for some sights which require women to cover their heard)
First Aid: Although First Aid and medication is readily available in India, it may be very different to what you are used to so individuals should consider bringing along their own personal kit. Your personal kit might include: Sunscreen, sunblock & aftersun, Insect repellent/relief, Antiseptic cream/spray, Plasters and a bandage, Lomotil or Imodium against diarrhea, Pills against nausea, Aspirin for heat-stroke (or hangovers) Your kit should also include your brief medical history, including allergies, blood group, drug vaccinations etc. We suggest bringing copies of prescriptions if you will be carrying medicines on board your flight.
Toiletries: Razor, soap & box, shampoo, Toothpaste, toothbrush & container, Sanitary items
Note: If you wear contact lenses, you should consider taking or wearing glasses instead, as lenses can be uncomfortable and/or cause infections in hot and humid climates.
Other useful items: Sunglasses, Small Torch, Money belt, Camera and equipment, Toilet paper (this is not always provided in public toilets so it is a good idea to carry some spare tissues in your bag. It should be placed in the basket beside the toilet, not flushed away, for you might block the pipes).
IMPORTANT: As it can get extremely hot in India, and the sun can burn very quickly, it is very important to ensure you are protected from the sun with sun-cream & sun-hats, and do not get dehydrated.
We run small-group departures on our Indian tours throughout the year, with less frequent start dates during the hot and wet monsoon months of June to September. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website (please check the website for up-to-date prices and special offers).
Private and tailor-made tours are available on any dates and may be adjusted to fit your personal requirements, available time and budget.
If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...
You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.
Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.
Note - to comply with insurance sales regulations, our travel insurance policies are only available to customers booking directly with us. If you have booked through a travel agent you will need to arrange your own insurance.
If your tour includes car hire, ior if you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.
If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.
IMPORTANT: We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour. If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.
Before purchasing any travel insurance, please check the coverage provided for situations related to Covid-19, and for the rules about government travel advice. Your normal policy may not be suitable. Details about our own policies cover levels are given on our website.
We are a UK registered company and are committed to providing our customers with financial protection to provide peace of mind and to allow you to book with confidence.
We have therefore partnered with Trust My Travel Ltd., which provides financial protection services to over 2000 partners around the world. Funds paid to us by our customers are protected via an Insurance policy held by Trust My Travel. Each traveller and the description of services sold is declared against Trust My Travel’s insurance policy directly against our financial failure. In the event of our insolvency, you will be refunded for any unfulfilled products and/or repatriation to the UK (where applicable). Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.
It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.
All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).
You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')
It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.
General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.
You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.
Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Travel Aware' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.