Spending a few days on holiday in Delhi is a wonderful introduction to this great country and to its extensive and fascinating…
India is one of the most exciting and fascinating countries on Earth. From the mighty Himalayas of Ladakh in the north to the coastal backwaters and rolling tea estates of the tropical south, an India holiday can feel like a visit to more than just one country.
India contains an abundance of wildlife including tiger, one of the most magnificent creatures on the planet. Venture into tiger country to see this endangered species roaming free in its natural habitat. For those who prefer slower travel, travel by boat along the Brahmaputra or Ganges river.
Board the five-star Ganges Voyager on a 10-day river cruise into the heart of West Bengal. William Dalrymple, author and historian will join you onboard to share his knowledge of India and explore key regions mentioned in his latest book, The Anarchy.
Nothing prepares you for seeing your first tiger in the wild. The world’s most iconic big cat is a mightily impressive sight, leaving those that have seen them, exhilarated, moved and humbled by the experience. Thankfully, recent tiger census results show an increase in numbers, meaning this is the best time to be booking a tiger safari.
Read more about how you can travel on a Steppes Travel tiger safari in a sustainable manner.
When you travel with us to India you can expect the following to be included in your holiday:
Hotel accommodation in India varies hugely in standard and style, from region to region, so choosing a hotel to really suit you can be a bit of a minefield. Our India experts are crucial to booking the right room, in the right hotel, making sure you get exactly what you want and avoiding the many pitfalls of booking hotels directly online. We will also try and arrange a complimentary upgrade.
We are huge fans of the ‘Heritage Hotel’ where property owners who still inhabit their ancestral homes have converted them into small and atmospheric hotels. Staying in this type of hotel is an experience in itself and allows for an even deeper appreciation of India’s culture, traditions and people. These forts and palaces are central to village life and give the visitor somewhere comfortable to stay while exploring more rural parts of the country. We have been lucky enough to stay in many of them so are able to suggest which might suit you best.
India also offers some of the most wonderfully luxurious 5-star hotels, so if you are looking for something really special, we can include these in your journey.
It’s all here. Things to see and do, places to explore and moments to discover.
Ride the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. Experience the foothills by Indian rail.
Visit remote villages with their own, distinguishable cultural features and stay in small, boutique heritage hotels.
Head out on a game drive by Jeep in search of tigers.
Explore glorious old hill stations that take you back to the times of the Raj.
Walk the lush green paddy fields of the plains, through spindly rubber plantations and blooming coffee plantations.
Visit Khajuraho and discover some of India’s best-known temples covered with erotic carvings.
Journey to one of India’s holiest cities, and watch religious rituals being performed daily on the banks of the River Ganges.
Travel to Agra to witness first hand the incredible beauty of the Taj Mahal.
See a wild tiger strutting through the jungle, straight out of Rudyard Kiplings’s Jungle Book.
Go in search of tigers at Ranthambore National Park.
Visit one of India’s wildlife parks – Madhya Pradesh, Kanha, Bandavgarh, Satpura and Pench in search for tigers.
Our India experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure in India.
Every captivating tailor-made itinerary needs a perfect base. Our team has handpicked this collection of properties to give you luxury options in styles to suit any adventure.
Take a spiritual journey to the Kumbh Mela…
January is a very popular time to travel to India, due to mild temperatures and very little rainfall. The climate varies across India from snow in the Northern States to the Southern regions experiencing daily sunshine – perfect for an escape to Kerala’s beaches.
During peak season, February is an ideal month to travel to India, experiencing all regions of the country from Rajasthan in the North to Karnataka in the South.
Temperatures begin to rise with March typically being the last month of the peak season. A significant month for religious, Hindu festivals, March can become busy in some regions however also a perfect time to travel to experience Indian culture and wildlife.
With temperatures starting to rise, regions in Northern India start to become more accessible with excellent opportunities to discover hiking trails and the wildlife of these regions. Temperatures can sometimes exceed 40°C, with high levels of humidity in Southern India.
From May to September, Monsoon rains affect the North and Central states of India with daily rainfall and thunderstorms. During the Monsoon season, it is best to experience high altitude regions and avoid beach resorts.
Most regions of India will experience the Monsoon season in June alongside high daily temperatures and high levels of humidity. Whilst, not a popular time to travel, experience the mountainous regions as opposed to Central India to experience slightly cooler temperatures at the start of the month.
At the peak of the Monsoon season, most of the country experiences frequent, heavy rainfall. Whilst travel plans may be interrupted due to the climate, it is a great time to visit India to experience the national parks and the great outdoors.
As the Monsoon continues, the climate is very similar to that of June and July. Whilst not a suitable time to travel to India’s Southern beaches, other Northern Regions are popular with locals for hiking and outdoor pursuits.
As the final month of the Monsoon season, rainfall will be less frequent with the occasional sunny spell showcasing the lush, green vegetation that has flourished during the heavy rains.
As the monsoon rains have finished, humidity levels remain high and the peak travel season begins. During the month of October, there are lots of religious festivals, including Diwali, where some regions may become busier with domestic tourists.
As one of the best times to visit the country, November brings comfortable temperatures for sightseeing with the monsoon rains dying out from October. As the temperatures drop, however, Northern India and the Himalayas will become less accessible.
In December, temperatures and climate will be dependant on the region. In the Southern States, India will see a pleasant and mild climate, ideal for sightseeing, whereas, in Northern India and mountainous regions, snow and cold temperatures are likely.
A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.
My travels were first inspired by my love of the UK, which I take as much pleasure in exploring as countries far and wide. For me, travel is all about the adventure, the people I meet and the food I sample along the way.
In fact, I am never happier than when I’m cycling, trekking or simply eating my way through a country! My heart and head regularly pull me east, notably to India but I may also be found wandering through the galleries and piazzas of Italy or daydreaming about fresh ceviche in the far west.
As a child I read voraciously so the seed of travel was planted by none other than Enid Blyton. Family holidays ran the gamut from icy dips in the early summer seas of Cornwall, to camel rides in north Africa, from Times Square to Tenerife. A GAP year upon leaving school cemented the travel bug. After graduating University and before stumbling, happily, into a career in the travel industry I spent a couple of glorious years exploring southern and east Africa, large swathes of South-east Asia, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
India is a huge country and often travel distances are large. The best way to get around when you are combining different regions is taking a few internal flights. There is an extensive network of flights which are both frequent and inexpensive. Moreover, they are reliable and good. To experience the real India, take a train journey- no visit to India is complete without experiencing the bustle of an Indian railway station. We recommend express trains, which normally offer air-conditioned seats or first or second class sleeper cabins. All seats and berths are reserved for the ticket holder.
If travelling extensively through one region, such as Rajasthan for example, a car and driver will accompany you throughout. This is a great opportunity to get to know a local, and often become great friends.
To experience the real India is to stay at ground level and take a train journey. No visit to India is complete without experiencing the bustle of an Indian railway station. We recommend express trains, which normally offer air-conditioned chair seats or first or second class sleeper cabins. All seats and berths are reserved for the ticket holder. Tickets go on sale 60 days in advance.
The reservation list is displayed on the train itself, your name and reserved berth clearly shown. Berths are numbered in classes, so AC1 AC2 AC3 and sleeper class cars. There are toilets on the trains. Don’t expect pristine western standards but if travelling on an air-conditioned express train then the service is reasonable. High-speed express trains link cities efficiently, such as Delhi to Agra, Jaipur to Jodhpur.
We recommend that you speak to your GP and visit the excellent travel-medicine website http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx
It strongly recommends you get vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, poliomyelitis and hepatitis before travelling to and around India. The key for travel vaccinations is to start planning well in advance. Both diphtheria and tuberculosis require a three-month incubation period before the start of the trip. Start by consulting your GP (who will be able to advise if you are up-to-date with your polio and tetanus jabs); he or she may be able to provide the jabs or direct you to a travel medicine specialist.
India is a huge country – it is fourteen times the size of the UK – and its weather is wide-ranging with considerable regional variations. The key feature of the subcontinent’s climate is the monsoon, which breaks on the Keralan coast at the end of May and then works its way northeast across the country. At this time rainfall can be very heavy, particularly over the higher regions facing the sea. Thus the best time to travel to India, or at least the majority of the country, is during the dry season from November through to March when it is cooler. It is a great time to visit Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
The best time to visit the tiger parks is from October to April. If you can bear the heat, then May is also an option when the vegetation is not as thick and it is also mating season.
In the south – Kerala and Goa – the weather is comfortable from November through to January. In the Himalayas, the best time to go trekking is in August and September. However, we would recommend travelling earlier in the year, in March, if you want to try and see snow leopards.
One of the attractions of India is the tempting array of foods available. We recommend eating at stalls where there are more people and where you can see your food being prepared in front of you ensuring it is fresh. Avoid eating at buffets and where food has been left on display. Ask Steppes about the interesting street food tours you can arrange in advance of arriving in India, to ensure you don’t miss out on some of the most amazing street food eateries – often well-kept secrets amongst the locals.
India is home to more than 40 national parks. To help increase the odds of spotting a tiger, Steppes Travel can offer you a greater understanding of the local issues and differences between the parks, the best chance of being in the right place at the right time and advice on how to avoid the many pitfalls that create substandard safari experiences.
This would depend on the length of the journey and whether your car and driver are following the train or not. For many shorter journeys, the car would follow with luggage and you would be met on the other side.
As a general rule of thumb, if you are travelling overnight by train or for more than around six hours, then you will have your luggage with you.
There is poverty in India but the curve has flattened a lot in the last few decades because of successful government schemes covering health, education, monitory support, food and shelter for the poor. You may still see people, the majority of which are women and children, begging for money in the cities. However, begging has become a job for this sector and it is highly organised. Hence we recommend you not to encourage them by giving any money and simply ignore them. The best way to help is to donate directly to an NGO or buy food stamps that the homeless can exchange for a plate of food. This way you know your money is going to be used in a positive way
UK passport holders require a visa for India and you must obtain this visa before you travel to India. The easiest way to do this is to apply online for the E visa – there is no need to involve a visa company or to go to the Indian Embassy in person. You can apply online a maximum of 21 days in advance of the date of arrival when applying for a 30-day visa. You can also apply for one year and five-year visas, 120 days in advance. The fee has been noticeably reduced since 2020, and the cost is now $25 USD for 30 days, $40 or $80 USD for a one year or five-year visa. This fee is non-refundable and payable online. A passport photo must be uploaded online. Processing time is up to four days. On receipt of the e-visa by email, print and carry this with the relevant passport when travelling to India.
One of the great fears about travelling to India is the quality of the food. Let’s put your mind to rest straight away and say the opposite: the food in India is delicious and indeed one of the highlights of a visit to India. Indian cuisine is heavily influenced by religion, cultural and ethnic groups – one of the joys of travel to India is the diversity of the cuisine. Also, it is important to note that not all the food is spicy. Many of the diseases are waterborne, so do not drink the tap water.
Drink filtered water as opposed to water out of plastic bottles – we do not condone the use of single-use plastic. In terms of alcohol, beer, wines and spirits are all available although the quality is sometimes not what you might be used to.
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Everything went smoothly, we were met as arranged by extremely knowledgeable personnel. The guides and drivers came up to and exceeded, our expectations.
Tadoba is a very friendly and family orientated park. It was the best for tigers, with nine different tiger spottings during our stay. Birds and other wildlife was also great. Our drive, Richin, was very knowledgeable, both in India history and world politics as well as being a great naturalist and spotter.
Kate Hitchen was excellent and managed to book and organise our trip to India perfectly, it was even better than expected. Thank you.
Outlining a trip and having Joe fill in the details and make suggestions or changes meant we had a wonderful experience.
A great itinerary for an introduction to India. It has given us lots of ideas and enthusiasm for a return trip.
All guides, drivers and vehicles were superb and it was such a great way to see everything and know everything. The service was excellent.
Outlining a trip and having Joe fill in the details and make suggestions or changes meant we had a wonderful experience.
Charlotte knows India extremely well. Very happy to answer even the most trivial of questions. Nothing is too much trouble.