India is a bustling buffet of magical scenery and non-stop action, and this is your once-in-a-lifetime journey to see, do, and experience as much of it as you can. Set your senses alight on the ultimate adventure from north to south: take a sojourn to where the spices grow, glimpse the rose-tinted splendour of the Taj Mahal, and drift in a bamboo houseboat through the backwaters of Kerala. Get ready to have your perception of the world changed forever.
Tour Operator: Contiki
- You'll enjoy plush hotels with twin-share rooms to refresh and revive after intense days experiencing India's magical sights and sounds. One special night will be spent adrift in the arms of a traditional Keralan houseboat, the quintessential South India experience.
Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply.Please check price at time of booking
26 Jan 20
16 Feb 20
1 Mar 20
22 Mar 20
Day 1 - Arrive Delhi
What’s up Indian explorers! Who’s ready for an intoxicating dose of spice, flavour, yoga, beauty,colour, culture, and everything else wonderful that India can provide? The next 22 days are likely tobe some of the best of your life so get ready for some serious memory making, starting off withmeeting your new travel fam this evening.
Day 2 - Delhi
Delhi, prepare to be officially conquered. Today is all about exploring one of the world’s mosthustling, bustling, and all out crazy cities, home to a staggering 25 million people (for real). Togetherwith our Local Guide we’ll be taking in the sights and learning the stories of Old Delhi, hopping in rickshaws during our explorations to weave a paththrough the back streets. Stopping for lunch to appease rumbling tummies with tangy street fooddelights like kachori, pakora and jelebi we’ll then make our way to the Gurdwara Sikh Temple.Riding high on the culture wave the afternoon is then yours to explore Delhi your way with free timeto go a-wandering. Maybe swap mayhem for tranquillity at the Lodi Gardens, or visit the legendaryHumayun’s Tomb. Dinner tonight is a DIY vibe, tasting the very best of Delhi with your new crew.
Day 3 - Delhi to Agra
Today’s the day peeps (you know what we’re talking about). After stocking up at breakfast we’lljump on the bus with Agra in our sights.Who’s ready for some serious bucketlist ticking? Linking up with our Local Guide we’ll mosey ourway over to two of India’s finest, visiting first the UNESCO World Heritage Agra Fort, and then themain event – the Taj Mahal. We’ll hook you up with an entry ticket so you can explore at your ownpace, learning about the incredible love story that resulted in the creation of one of the New SevenWonders of the World. Take your time exploring – after all, you’ve probably been waiting a lifetimefor this moment – then tonight head out with the gang for a DIY dinner, Agra style.
Day 4 - Agra to Ranthambore
Still living off the Taj dream we’ll wave goodbye to Agra early this morning with eyes firmly on thewild horizon.Feel the calm of nature sweep over you as we arrive at Ranthambore National Park, one of thelargest and most renowned National Parks in Northern India and our home for the night. After alunch pit-stop we’ll make our way to the Dhonk Craft Centre, a cooperative that was set up to servea dual purpose – to employ those who would otherwise only find income from tiger poaching, andalso to preserve traditional artistry. Handicrafts lovers will be in craft utopia at the beautifulcreations on offer from the local ladies, and spending is guilt free knowing that your money is goingtowards sustaining a local community. Feel good vibes on high we’ll end the day with a tasty groupdinner set against a back drop none of us will be forgetting any time soon.
Day 5 - Ranthambore to Jaipur
Who’s up for more legendary #NOREGRETS moments? Damn right you are, as this morning is allabout one thing – tigers. Oh yes have we got one incredible Free Time Add On lined up for you – asunrise safari adventure to try and spot these magnificent predators as they should be seen – in thewild. Safari trucks will pick you up from your accommodation, then we’ll head out into the lushforest for some serious wildlife watching. Wild animals AND an epic sunrise all before breakfast, andJaipur next on the agenda? You could call that one way to start the day.Old and new, colour and chaos, camels and rickshaws - Jaipur is a hustling hot mess of wonderful. Once you've checked in, now's your time to get custom clothes made by a local tailor. Or if you're after some relaxation time, head upstairs to the hotel rooftop, you'll get a perfect view of the city. Gather your crew up here for dinner and watch the sun go down on this beautiful city, but get an early night because tomorrow it's time for the Amber Fort!
Day 6 - Jaipur
Ready for more of exotic, chaotic Jaipur? We thought so. Today is all about seeing the city your way,heading out to explore armed with maps, insider tips from your Trip Manager, and a healthy dose ofcuriosity. For those keen on grabbing a real slice of India, Amber Fort should be high up on theagenda. Built from red sandstone and marble and comprising of multiple palaces, pavilions, templesand more, the Fort has both Hindu and Muslim architectural influence and is a true Indian must-see.
Day 7 - Jaipur to Udaipur
Jaipur you’ve been glorious, but the lush green hills and lavish marble palaces of Udaipur are callingus today as we jump on the coach for a full day of cross country travelling. Watch from the windowas the landscape changes from flat dry lands to gorgeous green, and prepare yourself for an entirelydifferent Indian experience.
Day 8 - Udaipur
Completely unique, Udaipur’s colonial architecture and shimmering lakes give the city a distinctlyVenetian, romantic feel unmatched arguably in the whole of India. Our locally guided city tour willsee us exploring the majestic City Palace and the Jagdish Temple, then after lunch the day is yours tocontinue your city wanderings. With fantastical palaces, tranquil boat rides on the lake, bustlingbazaars, crooked colourful streets and endless eating joints to choose from, you’ll be absolutelyspoilt for choice.
Day 9 - Udaipur to Mumbai
Rise and shine kids – we’ve got a plane to catch and a certain Bollywood beauty to crack open.Mumbai, we incoming.Fast, furious and fantastic, Mumbai is a completely unparalleled sensory overload. Slums andmillionaire mansions live side by side, tropical forests rub up against towering skyscrapers andcolonial masterpieces, whilst gangsters, artists, celebrities, servants and fisherfolk all walk the samewalk. The best way to understand this complex city is to get out and amongst it, and that’s exactlywhat we’re going to do. Our Local Guide will take us to the Dhobi Ghat, a massive human-poweredlaundromat with 1026 open-air troughs, and to the serene Hanging Gardens. Tonight, we’re hitting the D-floor Bollywood style, with a Dance Class (Free Time Add-On) to learn some of the sweet moves that Bollywood is famous for.
Day 10 - Mumbai to Goa
Want to see a different side of Mumbai? Rise with the locals for our optional Mumbai at dawn tourto watch the city as it starts its day. Back for breakfast, we’ll then make tracks for the airport. Feelingthose butterflies at the prospect of golden Goa?Sunshine, spirituality, tropical palms, golden stretches of beach and a hippy, happy, laid-back charm– this is Goa. Slide seamlessly into beach time with a cold beer in hand, revelling at the prospect ofhaving nothing to do but enjoy your stunning surrounds.
Day 11 - Goa
Wake up with a smile this morning as you remember exactly where you are, knowing today isentirely yours to do as much, or as little, as you want. Spirituality is a big part of the Goa experience,so start your day with some optional yoga on the beach, clearing your mind and stretching yourtravel tired limbs. Tonight is our final night in Goa, so makesure you do it right. Sunset and beers on the beach ticking the boxes?
Day 12 - Goa to Chennai
We may be parting ways with some of the group today but there's so much more to look forward to. After breakfast, take a flight to Chennai and keep this adventure going.Welcome to Southern India! Unite with the team for a pow wow before having a free evening to unwind in our hotel or take to the streets to suss out this city.
Day 13 - Chennai to Pondicherry
This morning we’ll peel back the layers of Chennai, seeing Kapaleeswarar Temple and St Thomas’s Church, driving along Marina Beach & walking through the markets by the Chennai Fort. Now starting to feel acclimatised to life in India, we kick on to our second destination.Our journey through Tamil Nadu will see us stopping at Mahabalipuram Shore Temple & the peculiar boulder of Krishna's Butterball. Arriving in ‘Pondy’ we’ll find a delicious fusion of French beauty & Indian soul, and have a free evening to enjoy it how we see fit.
Day 14 - Pondicherry
Today you can jump onto an optional Heritage Walking Tour to go deep into Pondicherry’s unique history. You can then devour cake and coffee at ‘Eat My Cake’, a café run by local widows, and visit the progressive experimental township of Auroville. A vegetarian lunch in a solar powered kitchen will warm us up for some zen vibes by the breathtaking gold dome of Matrimandir.
Day 15 - Pondicherry to Kumbakonam
Though our affection for charming Pondy will be sky high, our great voyage must continue. Kumbakonam – we’re coming for you.Arriving in Kumbakonam in the bounds of two rivers, we’ll begin uncovering South India’s artisans by visiting a bronze casting & silk weaver’s home. By night you can dress to the inspiration of our Dharasuram temple visit, wearing a Saree or Dhotti to our included dinner.
Day 16 - Kumbakonam to Madurai
Devour a hearty breakfast and throw your worldly possessions back in your bag. A city of mesmerising history is waiting for us, and there’s a locally guided trip to Brihadeeswarah Temple in Tanjore en route.One of the oldest cities in India, Madurai is the pride & soul of Tamil Nadu. Here we’ll see a palace of great pillars, ride a rickshaw, & witness an evening procession at the awe-inspiring Meenakshi Amman Hindu Temple.
Day 17 - Madurai to Periyar
Another state hop awaits us this morning, as we journey out of Madurai to Kerala, the West coast state that sways by the Arabian Sea.After our cross of the state of Tamil Nadu we’ll arrive in Kerala, ‘the land of coconuts’. We’ll pull up by the elephant & tiger reserve of Periyar National Park where we can explore a spice plantation & watch an ancient style of Martial Arts called KalaripayattuI.
Day 18 - Periyar to Kumarakom
After a wildlife boat safari along the Periyar River, we’ll take a leisurely journey to our next destination. En route we’ll frolic through a tea factory & plantation, enjoying one of Kerala’s proudest exports.Dreamy sighs all round as we arrive in the lake region of Kumarakom. We’ll have a free evening here amidst the fresh country air, trying to contain our excitement for tomorrow’s water adventure.
Day 19 - Kumarakom to Kerala Backwaters
Waving goodbye to the agricultural lands of Kumarakom, we’ll trade one quaint setting for another. A day of boating on the beautiful backwaters are waiting on the other side of this bus ride.Arriving in the tranquil backwaters of Kerala, we’ll board a traditional houseboat made of wood, bamboo & palm leaves. Drifting past slow grazing cows, we’ll see Kingfishers darting through the forests & season our sightings with many spicy fish curries.
Day 20 - Kerala Backwaters to Cochin
Shed a few tears & snap your last “local climbing coconut tree” pics. Our boat will be sailing back to the shores so we can poke our way through Cochin.Back on solid ground we’ll soon find ourselves amidst the bustling spice markets and fort lands of Cochin. Here we can eat keralan delicacies, marvel at palaces, and watch the golden sun drop behind the Chinese fishing nets known as Cheena vala.
Day 21 - Cochin
It��s our final full day on tour. Wander through saree filled markets, marvel at monuments, eat your body weight in street food, or simply sit in a bookstore or café and watch the chaos and charm of Indian life passing by.
Day 22 - End Cochin
Our time on tour will end in the Southern spice lands of Cochin. Having bonded deeply in these spiritual lands, we’ll say heartfelt goodbyes before going our separate ways.