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North India Explorer QIN

Visiting: India
Trip Duration 16 Days
 

Reviews for North India Explorer

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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North India Explorer reviews verified by reevooReevoo

30 reviews

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North India ExplorerScores 8.2 out of 10 based on 30 reviews
(8 out of 10)

Denise

Portsmouth
Exhausting,exhilarating,an assault on all the senses at once.
Lots of early starts but a chance to see so much.
Some lovely hotels and some pretty basic ones too.
Sailing down the Ganges and a night camp on the banks was a definite highlight as were the rickshaw rides in Varanasi.
Our guide Narji was super organised, very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour which made the trip for me.
It was full on and more so a few days relaxing somewhere as an add-on would be perfect.
Confirmed traveller: 07 March 2017
Published on: 13 March 2017
(8 out of 10)

Joanne

Bristol
Full on tour but experienced true India! Absolutely fantastic tour leader who went the extra mile to make it such a well organised and enjoyable tour. Very good value for money.
Confirmed traveller: 06 March 2017
Published on: 08 March 2017
(9 out of 10)

John

Poole
This was a full-on tour that took in the major tourist towns and pilgrimage sites across North India. I saw wonderful buildings and experienced India at its noisiest and busiest. The Taj Mahal was incredible and so was the Red Fort and Amber Fort, the City Palace of Jaipur and the Ghats of Varanasi. Our tour leader was exceptional in his care for the group and made sure that we were safe; that we ate and drank safely and always had an experience to enjoy.
The hotel accommodation was good or very good but I do not enjoy sleeping on trains. The trains do not run to time and can be hours late. Camping was good and the food wonderful. Sailing on the Ganges was a personal highlight.
I spent £450 on food, drink, optional excursions and tips.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 21 February 2017
Published on: 23 February 2017
(10 out of 10)

A

Bridgnorth
From the first meeting our tour guide Rajesh was unbelievably supportive and informative with regards to the itinerary for the trip and also his attention to sharing his knowledge of the North of India. He demonstrated an understanding of the needs of individuals within the group and responded to these with insight and patience.

We had a really full itinerary and I felt that I really experienced the culture of India from stays in hotels; overnight train journeys; travelling in jeeps, Tuktuks (motorised and cycle powered); camel ride; sailing along the Ganges; camping on the banks of the Ganges; eating with a family that cooked the most amazing meal for us all; visiting historical temples/monuments/forts and markets and so much more.

This is the first Explore holiday I have experienced and the first group holiday. I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the experience and the enjoyment and entertainment that was afforded through the group. It is a life experience I will never forget and will remember with happiness.

I would not hesitate in recommending this trip to both singles and couples.
Confirmed traveller: 20 February 2017
Published on: 09 March 2017
(10 out of 10)

Susan

This was my first trip with Explore .
I really liked the variety of experiences -camping by the ganghes ,a meal at a family home , travel by local transport ,a camel ride ,cultural experiences,time spend at a wedding etc
our guide ensured that we were all safe and looked out for us .At the same time I felt that we were really experiencing something of the country .I've been on trips with another company where the country was mainly seen through a coach window but Explore definitely isn't like that '
Our guide was excellent -friendly and always helpful
Confirmed traveller: 20 February 2017
Published on: 23 February 2017
(8 out of 10)

Theresa

Thorough tour of the areas covered. Intense and feeling quite busy at times, but all good.
Confirmed traveller: 23 January 2017
Published on: 02 February 2017
(8 out of 10)

Stephen

High Wycombe
Bad points:
- This trip has a “full on” tour pace, but relies on 5 train journeys. We missed 2 days of our 2 week itinerary due to delayed trains. The indiarailinfo web site lists the average lateness of the train to Kolkata that we and previous groups were delayed on as 5 hours 56 minutes – so sometimes better, sometimes worse. One train with an average delay of 3 hours 45 minutes has a punctuality rating considered “Excellent”. Expect to miss chunks of the advertised itinerary.
- There was thick fog for day of the Ganges sailing trip that we didn’t miss. I gather this is common for late December to early January, so Christmas was probably the wrong time to do the trip. Also, the boats were too far from the banks to see much and the boat men kept insisting I lie down to keep the heavily loaded boat balanced, so it was hard to see or photograph what I could see.
- The tour guide organised excursions for a subset of the excursions listed in the trip notes. He gave no information on other options and did not ask what we were interested in seeing. He did help me organise the excursions I was interested in when I asked for help, but this meant that I was doing excursions on my own, and having to pay the whole cost as a single participant.
- Excursions tended to be organised for a short period in the middle of the morning or afternoon with the rest of the time hard to make use of. In free time after arrival, I would go out and explore the area near the hotel, then we would have an orientation walk and be shown the same things I had just seen.
- Many sites made an extra change for photography. Some sites made a big extra change, split between the group, to allow our tour leader to act as guide.
- Some sites banned photography.
- Some of the hotels used, especially in Varanasi and Kolkata, were a long way from the things to see.
- The cities visited have a lot of dust and traffic pollution.
- Constantly people on the street chat to you and you think you are getting a meaningful meeting with a local. Always after a few minutes they then get to now please come and look in my shop/art gallery etc. The result is that if you want to make it more than 100 metres from the hotel you have to ignore them, the result of which is that the shop keepers have blocked you from having any meaningful interaction with any locals. Very frustrating.

Good Points:
- This seemed an excellent itinerary with many varied things to see and do. As always with this type of tour, there was never enough time go to all the places I wanted to see at each city or to see everything at the places we went. Some of the forts and palaces were very impressive in area and decoration.
- I was surprised at the good standard of the hotels.
- I liked the idea of trying so many different forms of local transport.
- Our tour guide was a walking encyclopaedia. He was very helpful in organising optional excursions, finding things in shops, changing money etc. He was exceptionally thorough providing information on city to city travel.
- Each use of an overnight sleeper train saves a day for sightseeing and a night of hotel costs.
- When travel plans on the train were not working out, this was clearly being monitored early and there was good communication between the tour leader and his company, with alterative plans quickly put in place to get things back on track as well as possible.

Tips:
- When comparing with other trips, note that Explore are providing just city to city travel and accommodation. Almost all food, entrance fees and travel on excursions is extra. You will only have time to see some of the things described.
- Eklingi Temple is worth a trip out of Udaipur if you are interested in Hindu temples, but be aware that the big temple and all the smaller ones are inside a walled enclosure and you are not allowed to take a camera inside at all. (There are lockers outside.)
- The 'camel safari out into the desert' is a 60 minute ride through back streets to the edge of town where there is a photo opp. next to a sand dune.
- There is plenty to do in Varanasi if you research it a bit in advance. I suspect the problem some people have had is not being given much information combined with being stuck in a hotel in the middle of nowhere.
Confirmed traveller: 02 January 2017
Published on: 05 February 2017
(10 out of 10)

Pauline

Reading
We just got back from a thoroughly amazing and inspiring trip to North India, travelling overland from Delhi to Kolkata. We were lucky to be part of a lovely group of like minded people and we instantly all got on and had many a laugh and giggle. Our tour leader, Pradeep, was incredibly knowledgeable as a tour guide and also worked very hard to accommodate all our various needs including hunting down ATMs with cash in them, finding us restaurants that sold alcohol, arranging extra trips out on optional days and generally took excellent care of us all - nothing was too much for him! Tour highlights for me were Udaipur - our beautiful view of Lake Pichola and the City Palace from the roof top restaurant of our hotel, visiting the Amber Fort at Jaipur and obviously the sunrise trip to the Taj Mahal - stunning, although the Mini Taj was just wonderful too. I personally loved the experience of the overnight trains and found I slept really well and fully embraced the squat loos, however I know that not everyone in my group felt the same! It was a shame that the weather in Varanasi and on the Ganges was foggy and cold so the fact our river trip was cut by half a day was actually a good thing. It was also a shame that this weather slowed down/cancelled trains which meant we had a long coach journey from Agra to the Ganges boat trip (although this was excellently and speedily arranged and catered for), and missed a whole day of sight seeing in Kolkata - we only got to have dinner in a restaurant and sleep in our hotel before we departed to the airport early the next morning. None of this was Explore's fault - it was down to the weather, however, I would have gladly given up the free day in Varanasi for an extra day in Kolkata in retrospect. I thoroughly enjoyed all our cycle and auto rickshaw rides, our visits to temples and having lunch in the sikh temple in Delhi. It was a lovely gesture from Explore to provide us with a Christmas meal in Jaipur. My top tip would be to make sure you bring out lots of English money to change into Rupees as currently ATM's have long queues and many are not working due to the changes in their notes. Overall we both had a wonderful trip and would definitely recommend this tour.
Confirmed traveller: 02 January 2017
Published on: 07 January 2017
(9 out of 10)

Eva

Costa Mesa, CA
India is not for a novice traveler. Once you get passed the air & noise pollution, the country and people are beautiful!
Confirmed traveller: 28 November 2016
Published on: 02 December 2016
(7 out of 10)

Andrew

Carlisle
This was our first time to India and nothing prepares you for the noise, squalor and chaos we experienced in this country. Added to that was the cash crises which meant that for the first few days we struggled to get hold of Rupees to spend.
The cities were very polluted and many complained of sore throats at some stage or another.
The itinerary is fairly hectic, moving from centre to centre, often by overnight sleeper trains which tended to suffer from delays.
The main sights were spectacular with obvious highlights being the Taj Mahal and the Amber Fort at Jaipur with the procession of elephants carrying visitors from valley floor to the top.
The boat trip was exceptional on the Ganges - a real feeling of adventure and a unique experience.
Hotels were fairly basic and not always as clean as hoped for, but there were some really nice ones as well.
We missed seeing Kolkata due to a long delay on the last train ride. Perhaps the time in Varanasi could have been reduced?
Tips:
- be prepared for some early morning starts
- hectic schedule
- you need to be resilient to heat, noise, poverty, dirt, pollution, chaotic road traffic and white knuckle 'tuk-tuk' rides etc
- mosquitos only seemed to be a problem in Kolkata
Overall, this was an 'experience' type holiday and not one where you come home feeling relaxed and refreshed
Confirmed traveller: 28 November 2016
Published on: 30 November 2016