India: The Golden Triangle to Kerala 14 days
80.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Conjure up India at its most alluring—the mystique of Eastern religions, the swirl of colorful saris, and of course, the magic of the Taj Mahal. On this grand tour, you’ll experience it all—the sights, sounds and spiciness of the subcontinent. Hit the highlights of the Golden Triangle, with its exotic architecture and prolific wildlife. Then, travel south to Kerala to float on a houseboat through the swampy backwaters and feel the vibe of multicultural Mumbai.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
10 nights in handpicked hotels & 1 night aboard a river houseboat
Breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 8 three-course dinners with beer
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Evocative Mughal architecture
Taj Mahal at sunset
Tigers & elephants—India’s most regal creatures
Shopping the bazaars
Sadya—a feast on a banana leaf
Overnight Flight1 night
Delhi3 nights - hotel info
Discover Mughal heritage and pay your respects to Gandhi in Old Delhi
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Enjoy a restful morning to prepare for your explorations. After an included lunch, a guided tour introduces you to Old Delhi. Visit the Red Fort, a magnificent sandstone fortress built during the peak of Mughal power, and the Raj Ghat, Delhi’s tribute to Mahatma Gandhi. Opposite the fort are the black-and-white onion dome and minarets of the Jama Masjid, one of the most elegant mosques in India. Later, join your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.
Pass through the India Gate and climb the Qutub Minar
A local guide introduces you to New Delhi. Proclaimed the capital of India by British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, New Delhi is home to the Government buildings and Qutub Minar. Your guided tour takes you to all the major monuments, including the India Gate, the most famous war memorial in India. Afterward, spend the rest of the day as you like.
Agra1 night - hotel info
Take in the perfect symmetry and artistic mastery of the Taj Mahal
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Travel to Agra. On the way, stop to visit Sikandra, the mausoleum of Akbar The Great. Started by Akbar and later completed by his son, the tomb is a splendid monument and example of Mogul architecture. Enjoy an included lunch before visiting the Taj Mahal at sunset. Dinner is included tonight. Please note: Depending on weather, your visit to the Taj Mahal may take place at sunrise on Day 6.
Ranthambore2 nights - hotel info
See the world through rose-tinted glasses at Fatehpur Sikri
Make your way to Ranthambore today, stopping en route in the abandoned red sandstone city of Fatehpur Sikri. Ranthambore is famous for its association with Project Tiger, an organization dedicated to protecting of India’s tigers. Tonight, enjoy an included group dinner.
Spy on the Indian Tiger, revered for its power and beauty
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Spend the day at Ranthambore National Park on morning and afternoon game drives through wildlife terrain. Keep watch for the big cats and other large predators, like the sloth bear, striped hyena, jackal and the Indian mongoose. Lunch and dinner are included today. Please note: Tigers are elusive animals, and sightings cannot be guaranteed.
Jaipur2 nights - hotel info
Travel in regal Indian style—on the back of an elephant
Climb on the back of an elephant to ascend the slope to Amber Fort and Diwan-i-Khas, the Hall of Private Audience. Later in the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore Jaipur’s many markets and bazaars. This evening, sit down to an included dinner accompanied by a traditional puppet show. Please note: The availability of elephants is limited and cannot be guaranteed.
Cochin2 nights - hotel info
Indulge in coconut-flavored cooking and Kathakali dance in Kerala
This morning, fly from Jaipur to Cochin, by way of Mumbai. Cochin is a vibrant city situated on the southwest coast of the Indian subcontinent in the prosperous state of Kerala. Tonight, join your group for dinner and a spellbinding Kathakali performance.
Investigate Cochin’s unexpected European ambiance
On today’s guided tour of Cochin, discover why the city is considered the jewel in the crown of Kerala, as you explore the European heritage of a city whose harbor once teemed with merchant ships. Visit Fort Cochin, home to some of the oldest European architecture in India. Marvel at the St. Francis Church—the oldest European church in India—and Paradesi Synagogue, where you’ll see Hebrew-inscribed gravestones and wrought iron gates. Dinner is included tonight.
Mumbai1 night - hotel info
Extend Your Stay
Add Mumbai $549*
Immerse yourself in color in Mumbai, a city awash with swirling saris, bustling bazaars and natural sunlight. Marvel at the vibrancy of this high-energy city as you discover its fascinating history and contemporary culture.
Mumbai2 nights - hotel info
Passport & Visa
In order to enter India, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter India. You can obtain an individual visa through our recommended provider VisaCentral (www.visacentral.com/goaheadtours) or apply directly to the Indian consulate. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Indian consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you’ll have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Clothing and Packing Tips
Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. Temperatures throughout India can be exceedingly high, so it’s a good idea to dress in light, breathable materials. A sturdy pair of walking shoes is recommended for exploring the cities. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and rainwear are advised. Remember that it’s preferable not to visit religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).
There is some risk of the following diseases in India: malaria, rabies and dengue fever, among others. Travelers should make sure to wear protective clothing and insect repellent when outside, particularly in forested/rural areas. Sun protection is also highly advisable. No vaccinations are required for entry, but we strongly recommend that you check with your doctor at least eight weeks prior to departure for recommended vaccinations and the latest updates on requirements. For the most updated information on travel in this area, call the Centers for Disease Control and Protection at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or visit its website at www.cdc.gov/travel and view the sections on South Asia.
Important Health Tips
In order for you to stay healthy throughout your tour, we recommend the following: * Drink bottled water. Refrain from drinking tap water, including when brushing teeth. * Avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables unless they are cooked or washed in clean water and peeled. * Bring a small first-aid kit, including antacids, anti-diarrhea medication and any prescription medications.
In the northern regions of India, you’ll encounter a great deal of tasty meat-based dishes, including rogan josh and korma, as well as kebabs and biryanis. Tandoor cooking, probably the most popular cuisine in this region, involves vegetables, paneer (Indian cheese), or meat that has been marinated in spiced yogurt, cooked over coals. These are then served in a spicy gravy or sauce or as a kebab. However, if you’re not a meat eater, rest assured that many Indians are vegetarians for religious reasons, so delectable and flavorful vegetarian dishes abound as well. Throughout India, you’ll find that your meals are almost always served with either rice or bread—from unleavened rotis and tandoor-baked breads to the deep-fried puris and bhaturas and pancake-style breads.
Round-trip flights arrive in Delhi and depart from Mumbai. All other included transportation on your tour is by private motor coach, along with internal flights: Jaipur to Cochin and Cochin to Mumbai.
India operates on the European standard 220 volts or 240 volts.
India is 5.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and 10.5 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 10:30 p.m. in Delhi. Because there is no daylight-saving time, India is only 9.5 hours ahead of EST during the summer.
The Indian rupee is the currency you’ll be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, which can be used to access cash at local banks, as needed. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
Shopping on Tour
Please note that some excursions may include a stop at a market or specialty store. Go Ahead Tours has no relationship with these vendors and encourages you to research specialty items you’re interested in purchasing abroad before you leave to ensure you’re receiving the best quality.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
80.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
Travel in India per our guide, Raj, requires patience and tolerance: patience with the traffic; patience with Air India; patience with each other and patience even when looking for the elusive tiger. I loved almost every minute of the trip—the food poisoning was the exception. (I think my companions have adequately indicated the general displeasure with the Clarks hotels!) Yes, there were long days in the airport and I guess that is why most tours don’t try to do both North and South India on one trip. While this was an annoyance, I am still glad I did both as a return trip from the USA is an unthinkable 25 hours! Yes, travel to India requires patience and tolerance but I also think managing expectations is critical to a successful trip. Go Ahead would be wise to indicate that: “Free time for wandering/shopping” is dependent upon traffic; “Not included meals” will probably mean eating as a group at a restaurant with limited choices; “Centrally located hotels”…really? In addition, I would prefer to have a few hundred dollars added to the overall price of the trip and relax knowing the service providers are adequately compensated. Struggling with whom and how much to tip was an annoyance. Also, the option to pay for the last night of the trip rather than having to vacate a room a 9PM when the flight is scheduled for 4 AM should be offered! I was extremely impressed with our guide, Raj. He handled professionally the unexpected. His organization, planning and ability to move 28 Americans through crowded streets, onto trains, etc… was impressive. His knowledge and love of his country enhanced my enjoyment. I also appreciated his willingness to run interference with the street peddlers. Our guide, Douglas, in Mumbai was also incredible. I would highly recommend both of them. As stated earlier, I loved my trip. My travel companion described India using words that started with the letter “c”: COLORFUL, CHAOTIC, CORRUPT, CONTRASTING, CONFUSING, CROWDED, CONTRADICTORY, CHANGING, CHALLENGING, CRAMPED and CUMBERSOME. It is all of these. Highlights included experiencing Diwali, the festival of lights, and, of course, seeing that tiger! I would recommend this trip for the experienced traveler who does not need 5 star hotels and gourmet meals (although even I could have done with a few fewer buffets). While Raj said you need patience and tolerance, I would add that one needs to be fit and energetic and possess a sense of humor. India is a developing country. Its beauty is in the Mughal architecture, the temples, the animal preserves, the crowded streets, the quiet canals and especially the people. Go with these expectations and you will have a memorable time.
Really liked my tour Director
My tour director, Rage, ranks very high for me given the many tours I have gone on in the past few years. He was knowledgeable and professional. On our tour there were some very difficult travelers. He maintained his professionalism, was very patient and helped them as much as the rest of the travelers. Not an easy job. I was extremely pleased with all of our accommodations with the exception of two. They were the a chain-The Clarks. The staff were rude, lied about what they had done or not done, never helpful, and the food was not edible. At least 1/3 of our tour got sick the evening and morning of our stay in Agra. I would never return to this hotel and would caution anyone traveling to India to avoid them. I believe they are a liability to Goahead Tours. Otherwise I believe the accommodations were very good. I would stay in any of the other hotels we were in. I especially liked the river cruise and the Tiger Reserve. It gave a welcome slow down to a very hectic tour. I noted above I would recommend this tour to others. This would only be true in the event the Clark Hotels were replaced by others.
Touring India isn't easy
I was disappointed with the trip to India. Admittedly, much of what went wrong is because “India is India” -- a struggling Third-World country. But part of the problem can be laid at the feet of Go Ahead. The sound system on the bus was flawed so that even passengers in the front had difficulty understanding the tour guide. This problem persisted throughout our travels in the Golden Triangle. Would this have occurred on a more upscale bus? At the Jaipur airport many of us were unexpectedly and confusingly subjected to paying a new , excess-baggage tax. Did Go Ahead know of this tax ahead of time? Shouldn’t it have and then notified us? Worst of all, we spent the equivalent of almost two full days driving to and waiting in airports. One group member dubbed our trip the Go Ahead Airport Tour. Some said that Go Ahead should pay us for what we were enduring. In sharp contrast to the excellent Oberoi hotel in Delhi, the two Clarks hotels were disappointing. Numerous group members, including my wife and me, got sick from the food at one of these hotels. Again, I realize that cost is a factor in your choosing this hotel chain. And stomach problems can occur in even the best hotels. On our last night, in Mumbai we spent five hours in the middle of the night in the uninspiring airport waiting area. We could easily have stayed longer in the “day room” at the nearby Casino hotel, but that would have meant that Go Ahead would have paid more for the hotel and bus rental. Regretfully, I would not recommend the Go Ahead India tour . [In contrast, our trip last year to northern Spain, was quite enjoyable.]
The biggest negative on this tour was the stay at the Clarks hotels in two locations. At the first location in Agra almost half of the tour group became ill during the night after eating dinner at the hotel's buffet. My gastrointestinal distress lasted for several days, causing me to miss 2-3 days of tour events. At the second Clarks location in Jaipur, the hotel was a disaster. It was under construction, and was extremely rundown and dirty. After the food poisoning at the Clarks in Agra, I was dismayed to discover that all of the food on the hot buffet in Jaipur was at room temperature or cooler. All other hotels on the tour were great. A second negative was traveling on Air India within India. All four flights were extremely late and we never flew directly from point A to point B. Instead we zig-zagged across the country. This caused us to spend two entire days (one a 16-hour day) traveling. On a positive note, our tour guide, Raj, was superb. He was extremely knowledgeable, had a great sense of humor, and remained patient as he herded the 28 of us around India.
Caring Tour director
Everything was good except domestic flight luggage weight information was poor.
Need to Change the choice of accommodations
While the sights were quite interesting, the boat trip in Kerala delightful and the tour director Raj outstanding, so long as GoAhead continues to use Clark's hotels for some of the accommodations, I cannot recommend this trip. At one stay at a Clark's hotel one-third of our tour group got sick from the food. That is one of the other downsides of this trip: the food. It was truly terrible--except for that offered at the Oberoi hotels. It was one monotonous buffet after another. Even when we had meals that were not at a hotel, there was no opportunity to have a choice off the menu. Finally, the tour group was, in my opinion, too large. We had 28 people which filled the bus to capacity. GoAhead should be sure it emphasizes that this tour is not for the infirm (although, in fairness, their website does rate this as a "4" in difficulty). We had a number of elderly people who seemed to struggle with its demands. In summary, I find I agree with those people who say touring India cannot be done at second-class hotels. While many may think "the price i right" for this trip, they should also remember "you get what you pay for!"
India Adventure 2013
I love a great adventure and the trip to India far exceeded my expectations! I had always wanted to travel to India and wasn't quite sure what to expect. This north to souh tour highlighted several cities and destinations which fascinated and intrigued me. The extreme poverty in Delhi was something to behold. The people were delightful, friendly and as interested in us as we were in them. Our tour director, Rajeev, was an unending source of knowledge on all aspects of the Indian culture and history. He deftly guided us through the buy streets, temples, places and markets. Wherever we went he made sure the day was fascinating and colorful. His spontaneity was fun and unexpected as we experienced many events and moments in the lives of the Indian people the average traveler would not be able to enjoy. If I had to choose a favorite city or experience, I would not be able to. Each day was more fascinating thn the day before! Just when you thought it couldn't get any better, it did! We were most fortunate to see the famous tigress, "The Lady of the Lakes" at Ranthambore National Park. How exciting! I would highly recomend this trip to anyone who enjoys adventure and experiencing this world we share.
India golden Triangle
I presume you have seen what was written on the evaluation requested in India. The highlights were shared by everyone and are clearly obvious. We had a great group of fellow travelers. The two suggestions I have and feel strongly about are the following: 1. I know you are committed to sharing history and that is the guides forte; however with very foreign names and many sites to see I believe it would be better to distribute on the bus or prior to our trip a very basic sheet of facts about what we will be seeing. How much mythology can be internalized walking around elephanta? Also our tour guide was excellent and very personable but less focused on the social and present day issues and life of the Indian population and the hot trends in the city of interest. I suspect he was trying to be neutral but most tourists I imagine are interested in these facts - not to judge but rather to have something to understand and remember about the country being visited. He did respond when asked but we had much more past history than understanding of the thoughts of everyday Indians in each area visited. For example, What areas within India do Indian's migrate from and to. How does one present or hide ones caste status. How do the brightest students in the slums move beyond their situation. How does religious or ethnic tension impact growth economic, social, cultural. Our guide in Mumbai was superb in responding to any question we asked but we were only with her for one day and there was so much to absorb. Given the time and expense of traveling to India I truly believe at least a one day add on to tour Mumbai would have been a major enhancement to the trip - not just for those who chose the extension. Spending time in the church and synagogue in Cochin area could have been shortened so that everyone on the tour could have a day in Mumbai. Guide in Mumbai was really not necessary and repeated facts twice on the bus and once while touring. Overkill. One of the things which attracted us to Go Ahead when we wnt to Turkey is that you allow three in a room, saving the single supplement. Since I often travel with 2 others this was a bonus for us and we like rooming together. Also, including as many meals as possible is a feature go Ahead has which others do not. I know guides have our safety concerns in mind so try to orient us to what's coming next. I shared with Rajeer that only telling us what was next for that day was enough. It was too much to take in what we were doing the next day and he would need and did repeat information when it was next to explore. That might save his energy and improve group knowledge of what next. This tends to diminish when you hear too much because you are overloaded with information. I hope you find these comments helpful and would be glad todiscuss them further should you desire. i live in Lincoln MA so distance is not a problem. Tourism is a growing and competitive business and I like what Go Ahead Tours does so any enhancements might be helpful to continue to attract travelers
India: Urban and Rural
Our tour of India was an excellent blend of urban and rural sights. The urban portion was fast paced and the rural pleasantly relaxing –a good balance. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and provided a great deal of enrichment, including taking us to his own home for afternoon tea which was a highlight for most of us. The tour of Ranthambhore Tiger reserve was probably my personal favourite event. On two treks, one starting just before dawn, the other in the late afternoon going into dusk, we were able to a huge variety of animals and birds. We were able to see a crocodile crossing the lake, aiming for a large deer grazing on water plants near the shore. We sat transfixed for about five minutes as the croc swam toward the seemingly oblivious deer. At nearly the last second, the deer adroitly leaped out of the water thwarting the croc. In the park, monkeys,tropical birds and parrots abounded. The park excursion, about a third of the way through the trip, provided a relaxing break from the hustle of the main tour. We also loved the overnight houseboat tour of the backwaters of Kerela. The scenery was spectacular and we were able to see many of the river families as they went about their daily routines –children canoeing to school, women doing laundry on large flat rocks at the river’s edge and even tractors, pigs and chickens and produce being ferried along the river on a variety of styles of barge and boat. One issue there, though, was that the normal provider of the houseboats (Marvel) did not have enough boats available for our group (perhaps because it was the week of Diwali) and subcontracted to another provider whose boats were in poor repair and less well-appointed than the Marvel boats. In four of our group’s six boats, we spent the night in 88F degree temperatures and 82% humidity without the benefit of air-conditioning (broken) and with cabin doors and windows closed due to mosquitoes. So it was an uncomfortable night. It was certainly still worth the experience though. Kochi (Cochin) was a wonderful town and well worth exploring during free time. I could have used more time there, well more time everywhere. I looked up Go-Ahead’s upcoming tours hoping to find tours to other regions of India but I guess there are no others listed at the moment. I’d love to spend more time in the south and see also Bangalore, Goa and Tamil Nadu. Any chance of other tours of India being created?
India review thoughts
I would have liked a little more free time to wander. We didn't have any. We spent much too much time on the expensive shops. I think we spent at least three hours at the rug place (maybe more) and an equal amount of time at marble, jewelry etc. I also would have liked to have cut short the Kerala cruise and spend a little time in Mumbai.