Embark on an incredible journey from north to south as you experience the very best of India’s culture, heritage and wildlife on this captivating small group tour. Experience the contrasts between the hectic cities, the slow-paced backwaters of Kerala and the elusive tigers of Ranthambore National Park as you tick off must-see sights including the iconic Golden Triangle.

• Delhi: 2 nights
• Agra: 1 night
• Ranthambore: 2 nights
• Jaipur: 2 nights
• Mumbai: 2 nights
• Kumarakom: 2 nights
• Alleppey (Alappuzha) (Houseboat): 1 night
• Cochin (Kochi): 2 nights


Day 1: UK to Delhi Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Delhi.

Day 2: Delhi On arrival, transfer to your hotel. This afternoon, visit the 42-metre-high India Gate and drive past the President House and Parliament Building. This evening, there’s a welcome dinner at the hotel hosted by your tour leader. Stay: Taj Palace, New Delhi (or similar). D.

Day 3: Delhi Enjoy a full day of sightseeing starting with a rickshaw ride through the alleys of Old Delhi and gain a different perspective on the city. Visit Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, and the Jama Masjid Mosque. Drive past the impressive Red Fort and Raj Ghat – a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Stay: Taj Palace, New Delhi (or similar). B.

Day 4: Delhi to Agra Rise early for a quick breakfast and board the Gatiman Express train to Agra. On arrival, visit the 16th-Century Agra Fort, home to the fairytale Jahangir Palace. This afternoon, visit Itmad-Ud-Daulah, also known as Baby Taj, a beautiful marble tomb studded with semi-precious stones. Continue to Mehtab Bagh, or ‘Moonlight Gardens’ at sunset and admire the views of the exquisite Taj Mahal. Approx. journey time: 2 hours. Stay: Trident, Agra (or similar). B.

Day 5: Agra to Ranthambore Rise early for another incredible highlight – watching the sunrise at the legendary Taj Mahal. To see this monument to love bathed in early morning sunshine is a very special experience. After breakfast drive to Ranthambore National Park, stopping in the deserted Mughal city of Fatehpur Sikri and at Umaid Lake Palace for lunch on the way. Approx. journey time: 6 hours, 168 miles. Stay: Vivanta by Taj – Sawai Madhopur (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 6: Ranthambore Today, join morning and afternoon game drives in open-top canters in Ranthambore National Park, one of the country’s leading tiger conservation parks. Stay: Vivanta by Taj – Sawai Madhopur (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 7: Ranthambore to Jaipur This morning you have the option of joining another game drive before breakfast. You’ll then depart the park and have a packed lunch on your journey to Jaipur which is renowned for its beautiful palaces and forts. Enjoy a free evening in the city. Approx. journey time: 4 hours, 99 miles. Stay: Jai Mahal Palace (or similar). B, L.

Day 8: Jaipur Explore the ‘Pink City’ of Jaipur with a full day of sightseeing. Visit the imposing Amber Fort, the City Palace and the Royal Observatory. Stop to admire the unique Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds) from the outside. Stay: Jai Mahal Palace (or similar). B.

Day 9: Jaipur to Mumbai Fly to the port city of Mumbai and transfer to your hotel. The afternoon is free to relax or explore on your own. This evening, a heritage walk takes you into the heart of the historic fort area. Explore the European half of the old town, admire the Victoria Terminus, F.W. Steven’s gothic masterpiece, and stroll along the Heritage Mile of Mumbai. Soak up the atmosphere at the ornate Flora Fountain and visit the historic art district of Kala Ghoda. Stay: Trident, Nariman Point (or similar). B.

Day 10: Mumbai Explore the city with visits to the Gateway of India, Marine Drive and the Prince of Wales Museum. Observe the city’s famous Dabbawalas (Tiffin meal delivery service) in action at one of the stations. Later, visit the Jain temple, Dhobi Ghat and Mani Bhawan where Gandhi once stayed. The rest of the day is free. Stay: Trident, Nariman Point (or similar). B.

Day 11: Mumbai to Kumarakom Transfer to the airport for your flight south to Cochin, a coastal city made up of a series of islands and canals. Drive south to Kumarakom, the gateway to the beautiful backwaters and lakes of Kerala. Transfer to your hotel which lies on the tranquil shore of Lake Vambanad. Approx. flight time: 2 hours; approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 30 miles. Stay: Coconut Lagoon (or similar). B.

Day 12: Kumarakom The region is known for its local family-run homestays, and today you’ll have the chance to enjoy a leisurely lunch at the charming Philip Kutty Farm. The day ends with an evening cultural performance at your hotel. Stay: Coconut Lagoon (or similar). B, L.

Day 13: Kumarakom to Alleppey Enjoy a free morning before one of the highlights of your tour, an overnight cruise on the tranquil backwaters. Transfer to the jetty to board your air-conditioned houseboat. Enjoy the serenity as you glide across canals, passing stunning scenery and remote villages. Approx. journey time: 1 hour, 20 miles. Stay: Deluxe Houseboat. B, L, D.

Day 14: Alleppey to Cochin Disembark and drive back to Kochi, stopping on the way in Kumbalangi, a traditional fishing village where you can observe local activities such as crab farming and net making. After lunch in the village, continue on to Cochin and relax at your hotel which is located near the iconic Chinese fishing nets. This evening, admire elaborate costumes, dramatic make-up and a combination of classical dance and drama during a traditional Kathakali dance show. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 33 miles. Stay: Eighth Bastion (or similar). B, L.

Day 15: Kochi Explore the city on a half-day tour. Vsit the Dutch Palace which was built by the Portuguese in 1555, renovated by the Dutch over a hundred years later and today houses works of art. You’ll also visit the Jewish Synagogue and Mattancherry Palace and learn about the city’s colonial history as you see the blend of Portuguese, Dutch and British architecture during a walking tour of Fort Cochin. In the evening, watch a Keralan cooking demo and sit down to a farewell dinner with a local family. Stay: Eighth Bastion (or similar). B, D.

Day 16: Kochi Transfer to Kochi airport for your flight to the UK. B.

Stay longer

Kovalam, 3 nights

Find a little peace following your tour and explore the isolated coves of Kovalam in Kerala.

Stay longer

Kovalam, 3 nights

Find a little peace following your tour and explore the isolated coves of Kovalam in Kerala.


Is this for you?

A tour for first-time visitors keen to discover the best of India with busy days but also time to relax.

Good to know

• For guests over 16
• Average group size of 10 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests
• Journey times do not take into account stops or local traffic conditions
• We recommend travelling with no more than one suitcase and one day bag.

What to expect

• Some long days with early starts
• A packed itinerary with a lot of travelling on the road
• Check-in at hotels is after 12pm
• India’s colourful cities can be hectic with a fast-paced way of life but this assault on the senses is all part of the experience
• Photography may not be permitted inside monuments, palaces or museums
• Luggage allowance on domestic flights is limited to 20kg, excess luggage can be taken for a locally payable fee
• We recommend comfortable walking shoes for your soft trek
• The overnight cruise on the houseboat is on a shared basis with other members of the group. Each houseboat has two to five bedrooms.

Accommodation on tour

We have selected quality hotels that are ideally located for local exploration and offer a comfortable base for post-excursion relaxation. In Alleppey you can enjoy the tranquillity and natural beauty of Kerala’s backwaters during an overnight cruise. Glide through the network of waterways in your own private houseboat – shared with other members of the group – complete with a small crew.

Solo travellers

Sole-use room from £5851


Tour dates

2020 Oct 8

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £5391 per person.


Day 6: Upgrade to a shared Jeep from £82 per person
Day 7: Optional Tiger Safari in a shared canter from £34 per person
Day 7: Optional Tiger Safari in a shared Jeep from £81 per person.

Kuoni highlights

On this tour you’ll see the unmissable highlights of hectic northern India, including the spectacular Taj Mahal, before heading south and slowing down the pace in the picturesque and peaceful backwaters of Kerala – all in the space of two weeks. A number of special experiences such as sunrise and sunset visits to the Taj Mahal, tiger-spotting in Ranthambore and a backwaters cruise are included.

Kuoni highlights