North India: Taj, Tigers & Palatial Beauty
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
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.
- Accommodation in twin rooms
- Max 14 travelers 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.
Day 01 Welcome to India
Prepare for sensory overload as you step off the plane in Delhi, where your exclusive 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 centuries of mighty leaders. You’ll have time to relax at your boutique hotel before meeting your group and Pack Leader. Then you’ll dive straight into the vibrant streets on an orientation tour of the city. On your first night, you’ll enjoy a welcome dinner at a downtown restaurant, getting to know your fellow travelers over a feast of delicious spice-laden dishes.
Day 02 Old Delhi Immersion
This morning is all about embracing the chaos of Old Delhi. This 17th-century walled area is the beating heart of the city, full of energy and bursting with life – as you’ll experience as you weave through the narrow alleys, navigating past rickshaws and spice stalls, craft workers and haggling merchants. You’ll join a local chef for a culinary tour of the old city, with a chance to meet local residents and find out what living here is like. Later, you’ll continue onwards to Bangla Sahib Gurudwara, a beautiful Sikh temple providing a free lunch for anyone who enters its doors, regardless of wealth or status. The rest of the day is all yours, whether you choose to spend it by the hotel pool or in Delhi’s ancient bazaars, where you can buy anything from rich textiles and silver jewelry to elephant dung paper.
Day 03 Agra Fort & Rooftop views
Leaving the lights of Delhi behind as you travel south to Agra, prepare yourself for an unpredictable drive, with everything from sacred cows to goats-on-mopeds causing congestion on the roads. 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 amazement grows as the stories of past rulers are brought to life by your guide. 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
Today’s highlight? Undoubtedly the sight of the Taj Mahal aglow with morning sunrise. Watching the beautiful domes and towering minarets change slowly from pale pink to sparkling white as the light washes over them is 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 area of jungle scrub is now one of the best places in India to spot wild tigers. As you check into your hotel for dinner, your majestic feline neighbours will be just waking up from their afternoon slumber.
Day 05 Tiger-spotting at dawn & dusk
You’ll be up early today for your dawn safari, hoping to spot a tiger from your open-top Jeep. This is a fantastic time to spot these majestic predators in their natural habitat, prowling through long grasses or ambling along dusty tracks. Even if the tigers are feeling shy, there’s plenty of other wildlife to look out for; the park is also 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 and mosques, hunting pavilions and crocodile-filled lakes, entwining history with the landscape – a fascinating visit in themselves. Back at the resort, the rest of the day is yours to spend as you please. Then, late afternoon, you’ll head out into the jungle again for a dusk safari, just as the tigers are stirring for their nightly hunt.
Day 06 PALACES & BOLLYWOOD
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. After working up an appetite, you’ll have the option to join a cooking class in a local family home to cook up an authentic Indian feast.
Day 07 CYCLE THROUGH A PINK CITY
This morning, you’ll take a sunrise bike ride through the oldest part of the city. Meandering through narrow alleys, you’ll visit the vegetable and flower markets, taste traditional breakfast snacks and join the locals at a temple as they offer their morning prayers. Jaipur’s star attraction – the formidable Amber Fort – is a few kilometres out of town, 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. You’ll spend the rest of the day exploring Jaipur’s other sights: the City Palace (home to the former royal family), the royal observatory of Jantar Mantar, and the ornate five-storey facade of Hawa Mahal – poetically known as the Palace of the Winds. End your action-packed day with a relaxing rickshaw ride through the city’s spice and flower markets.
Day 08 The call of the desert
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 bustling 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 explore or relax back at your hotel, before joining your group for dinner at the historic Khas Bagh haveli.
Day 09 TRIBAL VISIT & a camel safari
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 splendor 120 meters 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
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 – a 17th-century maharaja’s palace replete with domes, turrets and battlements. The rambling historic building is now a heritage hotel – and you’ll be bowled over to realise that this is where you’ll be staying. After checking in, your group will set off with a picnic to explore the surrounding countryside. You’ll travel in style in a vintage 4×4 truck, passing small villages and witnessing rural life play out: farmers tending cattle, children playing by the road and women in brightly colored saris going about their day. The lakes around Deogarh offer wonderful birdwatching opportunities, as well as a scenic spot to end the tour with tea, coffee and snacks.
Day 11 VINTAGE TRAIN ride
A new form of travel awaits you this morning: a 1930s meter gauge train. You’ll enjoy a scenic safari through the Aravalli Hills crossing multiple bridges and tunnels. Keep your eyes peeled for monkeys living alongside the rails. Back in your private minibus, your next stop? Udaipur. On the shores of placid Lake Pichola with a backdrop of craggy green hills, it’s arguably the most romantic setting of any Rajasthani town. 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 relax and enjoy. Explore the city at your leisure or sip mango lassi by the pool, feeling like you’ve slipped into a regal vision of 18th-century India.
Day 12 SUNSET LAKE CRUISE
You’ll start your final day with a visit to the City Palace, crowned with ornate turrets, cupolas and balconies, towering over the lake. At almost 250 metres in length, it’s the largest royal complex in Rajasthan, comprising 11 different mahals (palaces) with a single breathtaking facade. Part of the palace is now a museum, where you can explore rooms extravagantly decorated with glittering mirrors, priceless artwork and curios of a bygone era. You’ll have the afternoon free to relax or for any last-minute shopping, then tonight your group will head down to the lake for a picturesque sunset boat cruise. Floating on the shimmering water as the sky turns pink, you’ll have unforgettable views of the city’s many islands and palaces. You’ll 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?
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 Favorite 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.
Grand Imperial, Agra
A stately survivor of the royal past, this elegant heritage hotel will transport you back to the days of the Raj. Every room has a story to tell and with its rooftop bar, old-world restaurant and garden pool, it’s the perfect retreat after hours exploring the streets of Agra.
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.
Deogarh Mahal, Deogarh
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.
- 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 2pm ideally. The welcome meeting and dinner will be from 7 pm onwards starting 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.
- 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?
Tips are not included in this adventure. Your Pack Leader can advise on suitable amounts to tip local activity guides or services where appropriate, and we will provide a suggested tipping budget closer to your departure date. Please note that all tipping is optional and will depend 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 are the current Covid entry requirements?
Due to the changeable nature of Covid-19 entry requirements, we strongly advise Flashpackers to consult the travel advice issued by your local consular services well in advance of your departure date. Links to the key consular services can be found on our Safety page.
- What other vaccinations and medication will I need?
We recommend checking with your local travel clinic six to eight weeks before your trip to see if any medications or vaccinations are required.
- 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.
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