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North India: Taj, Tigers & Palatial Beauty (2024)

Encounter India’s wild tigers, sip tea with locals in view of the Taj Mahal and dine by the light of the stars in the Thar Desert

North India: Taj, Tigers & Palatial Beauty (2024)

13 Days | From £2700

North India: Taj, Tigers & Palatial Beauty (2024)

Encounter India’s wild tigers, sip tea with locals in view of the Taj Mahal and dine by the light of the stars in the Thar Desert

North India: Taj, Tigers & Palatial Beauty (2024)

About your trip

This 13-day journey won’t forsake those iconic moments – think the Taj Mahal at sunrise and Udaipur’s intricate lake-side palaces. Yet, as always with Flash Pack, it’ll be the unexpected twists and turns that leave you speechless.

Take Jaipur, where you won’t just visit the city’s famed Amber Fort, but receive a special Hindu blessing within its walls. Or Old Delhi, where you’ll try street food from generations-old stalls led by a born-and-bred local. Then there’s Kachhpura Village, a little-known community sat in the shadow of the Taj Mahal, where you’ll enjoy rooftop tea and pakoras whilst absorbing an unseen view of India’s most famous icon. And beyond the sensorial cities? You’ll seek out tigers in Ranthambore National Park and dine by the light of the stars on the rolling dunes of the Thar Desert.

Expect boutique accommodation to welcome you each night, and India’s famed hospitality to leave you feeling humbled, all whilst new friendships blossom against a frenetic – yet endlessly addictive – backdrop.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Max 14 travellers per group
  • Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
  • All activities mentioned on the itinerary
  • 12 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 9 dinners
  • Stay in handpicked 3-5 star hotels
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip

Flashpackers must provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.

Itinerary

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Your Itinerary

  • Day 01 Welcome to India

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    Prepare for sensory overload as you step off the plane in Delhi, where your private Flash Pack transfer will take you right to the heart of the action. Cruising through the multi-lane streets of this buzzing metropolis, you’ll feel exhilarated by its sheer size and volume. This is a city which has seen the rise and fall of many emperors, with grand monuments, palaces and forts standing testament to its mighty leaders. Relax at your boutique hotel before meeting your group and Pack Leader and diving into the vibrant streets on an orientation tour of the city. Tonight, you’ll get to know your fellow travellers over a welcome feast of delicious spice-laden dishes.

  • Day 02 Old Delhi Immersion

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    This morning is all about embracing the chaos of Old Delhi. This 17th-century walled area is the beating heart of the city – which you’ll experience as you navigate the narrow alleys, past rickshaws and spice stalls, craft workers and haggling merchants. You’ll join a local chef for a culinary tour, with a chance to meet local residents and find out what living here is like. Later, you’ll continue to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, a beautiful Sikh temple providing a free lunch for anyone who enters its doors. The rest of the day is yours, whether you choose to spend it by the hotel pool or browsing Delhi’s ancient bazaars, where you’ll find everything from rich textiles and silver jewellery to elephant dung paper.

  • Day 03 Agra Fort & Rooftop views

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    Leave the bright lights of Delhi behind as you take the train south to Agra. Upon arrival, you’ll visit the mighty Agra Fort – one of the finest Mughal palaces in India. Walking through the chambers and courtyards of this red-sandstone and marble city, your guide will bring the past to life with stories of past rulers. This afternoon, you’ll experience a very different side to the city – one that few visitors get to see. Crossing the Yamuna River, you’ll explore an authentic Mughal village where many people still live without electricity or plumbing. You’ll share tea and pakoras on a rooftop overlooking the Taj Mahal and discover what ordinary life is like in the shadow of the world-famous monument.

  • Day 04 Taj Mahal at Sunrise

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    Today’s highlight? The majestic Taj Mahal aglow with morning sunrise. Witness the perfect symmetry of the domes and minarets as they turn from pale pink to sparkling white – a moment of pure magic. Built as a mausoleum for his wife by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, it’s the ultimate monument to love and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. Breakfast will be waiting for you back at the hotel, then it’s time to continue your journey south to Ranthambore National Park. Once a maharajas’ hunting ground, this vast jungle scrub is now one of the best places in India to spot wild tigers. As you check into your hotel for dinner, your feline neighbours will be just waking up from their afternoon slumber.

  • Day 05 Tiger-spotting at dawn & dusk

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    You’ll be up at dawn for your first safari, hoping to spot a tiger from your open-top Jeep. This is a fantastic time to spot the mighty predators, prowling through long grasses or ambling along dusty tracks. Keep a lookout for other wildlife, too; the park is home to leopards, sloth bears and hyenas, all roaming through the diverse ecosystem. At the centre of Ranthambore are the ruins of a 10th-century fort, as well as ancient temples, hunting pavilions and crocodile-filled lakes, entwining history with the landscape – worth a visit in themselves. Back at the resort, relax through the heat of the day, before heading back into the jungle for your dusk safari, just as the tigers are stirring for their nightly hunt.

  • Day 06 PALACES & BOLLYWOOD

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    After breakfast, you’ll set off on the road to Rajasthan’s colorful capital: Jaipur. You’ll be met with a rich array of sights and sounds in this dynamic city, with its famously pink historical architecture, decadent palaces and beautifully preserved courtyards. Take a couple of hours to relax by your hotel pool before getting ready for some serious fun – Bollywood style. On the roof of an old haveli, your group will enjoy a private dance workshop, where you’ll learn to shimmy, shake and groove along to the movie hits – it’s the ultimate feel-good exercise.

  • Day 07 CYCLE THROUGH A PINK CITY

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    Take advantage of the morning cool for a sunrise bike through the city. Visit the vegetable and flower markets, taste traditional breakfast snacks and join the locals as they offer temple prayers. Just out of town is Jaipur’s star attraction – the formidable Amber Fort – and you’ll be heading here next. This hilltop honey-hewed palace is a masterpiece of Rajput architecture. Within this incredible setting, your group will take part in a special Hindu ceremony to receive a blessing from the gods. Spend the afternoon exploring Jaipur’s other sights: the City Palace, the royal observatory of Jantar Mantar and the ornate facade of Hawa Mahal – poetically known as the Palace of the Winds. Why not end your day with an optional cooking class in a local home?

  • Day 08 The call of the desert

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    The Thar Desert is calling and you’ll soon be swapping city life for golden sand dunes as you travel west to Jodhpur. This 500-year-old trading settlement is dominated by the Mehrangarh Fort, looming larger-than-life over the jumble of Brahmin-blue houses that cluster around its base. Together with your group, you’ll take a tuk-tuk ride into the city to explore the medieval bazaars. Spreading out from the clock tower, you’ll discover a tangle of ancient incense-scented alleys where traders barter, vendors haggle and tiny shops overflow with exotic wares. Enjoy some free time to relax or explore, before joining your group for dinner at the historic Khas Bagh haveli.

  • Day 09 TRIBAL VISIT & a camel safari

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    Surrounding Jodhpur are a number of rural villages, inhabited by the Bishnoi, an ancient desert tribe. You’ll be welcomed into the community to learn about the 29 sacred principles that guide them to live in harmony with nature. After a picnic lunch, you’ll return to Jodhpur to witness the mighty Mehrangarh Fort from within its towering walls. Standing in splendour 120 metres above the city skyline, the imposing, invincible structure is even more impressive up-close. Later, as the sun starts to sink, you’ll head out to the desert proper to experience a sunset camel safari. Here you’ll sit under a star-filled sky to enjoy dinner with your group and folk dancing amongst the dunes.

  • Day 10 MAHARAJA LIVING

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    A new day, another city; and today you’re headed for Deogarh. This ancient town on the banks of the Betwa River is famed for its stunning hilltop Mahal: an authentic maharaja’s palace replete with domes, turrets and battlements. The rambling historic building is now a heritage hotel, still run by its princely owners – and you’ll be bowled over to realise that this is where you’ll be staying. After your action-packed adventure so far, you’ll have the rest of today free to luxuriate in your historic surroundings. Soak up the views over the surrounding countryside and sip mango lassi by the pool, feeling like you’ve slipped into a regal vision of 17th-century India.

  • Day 11 On to Udaipur

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    Back in your private minibus, your next stop? Udaipur – once the summer pleasure resort for the royal family. On the shores of placid Lake Pichola against a backdrop of craggy green hills, it has arguably the most romantic setting of any Rajasthani city. En route, you’ll stop off to visit the intricately carved Ranakpur temples – an incredible feat of Jain devotion – and for a luxurious lunch at the Mountbatten Lodge. Then, after checking into your final hotel, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy. You’ll want to head straight to the Old City where remnants of the 16th-century wall tangle around the lake with its bathing ghats and island palaces.

  • Day 12 SUNSET LAKE CRUISE

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    Start your final day with a visit to the lakeside City Palace, crowned with ornate turrets, cupolas and balconies. At almost 250 metres in length, it comprises 11 different mahals (palaces) with a single breathtaking facade. Part of the palace is now a museum, where you can explore extravagant rooms decorated with glittering mirrors, priceless artwork and curios of a bygone era. Later afternoon, your group will head down to the lake for a picturesque sunset boat cruise, the delicate pink sky reflecting in the shimmering water. Return to your hotel for a final farewell dinner, toasting your new-found friends who’ve been with you on this incredible adventure.

  • Day 13 On to KERALA?

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    Feeling pampered and restored, your North Indian adventure has come to an end. Enjoy a final breakfast at the hotel, before making your way to the airport to begin your long journey home. Of course, there’s plenty more of India to be experienced, so why not double up with our beach adventure in Kerala?

Our Favourite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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Ranthambore Heritage Haveli

Located in the land of Tigers, this heritage resort has been elegantly built in traditional architecture keeping in mind the natural surroundings and Rajasthani culture. With well-furnished rooms and a vast pool, this is the ideal spot to relax after a morning game drive.

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Narain Niwas Palace, Jaipur

The ornate facade and stained glass windows of this historic property provide a stunning backdrop for your stay at this grand family-run home. Think high ceilings with chandeliers, velvet sofas and peacocks wandering across the lawns.

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Deogarh Mahal

Standing proudly on the top of a hill, this impressive 17th-century fortress is replete with domes, turrets and battlements looking out over the Aravalli Hills. Decor is reminiscent of the Mughal era and the glittering mirrored lounge is a sight to behold.

Important Notes

Which airport do I need to fly into and out of? Plus airport code

Fly into Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL) in Delhi, and out of Maharana Partap Dabok Airport (UDR) in Udaipur.

Please be aware that the tour starts in Delhi and finishes in Udaipur. Udaipur’s airport is for domestic flights only, so you will need to make your own way back to Delhi (or another major city) for your return flight home.

The easiest way to do this is to book a connecting flight from Maharana Pratap Airport Udaipur (UDR) to Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), which you will need to organise yourselves. 

What time should my flight arrive (in time for the welcome meeting)?

Before 2 pm ideally. The welcome meeting will take place at 4 pm at the hotel, which is located approximately 60 minutes away from the airport. 

What time should my flight depart on the last day?

There are no activities planned for the last day, so leave any time you wish. Udaipur’s airport is a 45-minute drive from the hotel, and it’s a 75- to 90-minute flight from Udaipur to Delhi. Your Pack Leader can help you book transfers to the airport if needed.

Do you include airport transfers?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

A departure transfer is not included, but taxis to the airport are good value, especially if you split the cost with others in your group. Your Pack Leader can help you book your transfers the night before if needed.

Are tips included?

Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:

  • Pack Leader: 6 USD per day
  • Drivers: 5 USD per day
  • Local tips: your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip local guides, restaurants, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty (approximately 60 USD) at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.

However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.

Do I need a visa?

You will need a visa to enter India. Please check with your local consulate/embassy or India’s government website to see if you are eligible to apply for an e-visa: https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/evisa/tvoa.html 

In the section that asks for a reference, please use the following details:

  • Reference name: Creative Travel Private Limited (Mr. Dimple Singh)
  • Address: 283, Udyog Vihasr, Phase 2, Gurugram- 122016, Haryana, India
  • Phone number: +911244567777

You will need to have six months’ validity remaining on your passport as a minimum requirement and you must be able to show a return ticket.

What level of fitness do I need for this trip?

A moderate level of fitness is fine. There are no difficult hikes on this adventure.

Will the itinerary change?

Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. These changes can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting.

As captured on Instagram

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