India Tours & Holidays
There’s probably no other country on the planet that blazes its way into your memory like India.
Years later, you can still hear the morning calls of the chai wallahs; see smoke curling over the Ganges during a golden Varanasi sunrise, and smell the rich aromas of simmering curry. A lot of India tours rush from highlight to highlight, ticking them off in a blur of temples and tikka. But not us. Our India holidays are more about spotting Bengal tigers in Ranthambhore or Panna National Park, hanging with nomads in Jaisalmer, meeting the holy men of Pushkar, or hunting down the best street eats. This isn’t just the India you see on postcards. This is India as it is. Raw, bizarre and totally addictive.
Our India trips
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India at a glance
Delhi (population, 32.94 million)
Indian Rupees (INR)
Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Kashmiri, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Telugu, English
(GMT+05:30) Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi
Type C (European 2-pin) Type D (Old British 3-pin) Type M (see D)
Learn more about India
Best time to visit India
Culture and customs
Top places to visit in India
Food and drink
Geography and environment
History and government
Top 10 Sensory Experiences of India
Festivals and events in India
India travel FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
India can be overwhelming sometimes but most travellers enjoy their time in India without any problems. That said, some regions experience ongoing issues, and there are several things a traveller should keep in mind when travelling through India to minimise their chances of running into any trouble.
Yes, all foreigners entering India will need a visa. Whether you can apply for an e-visa is dependent on your nationality, the duration of your India tour and how you plan on entering the country.
While travelling through India, on a tour or otherwise, it’s expected one would tip porters, drivers, restaurant staff and other service workers given the low wages they earn.
Internet access is generally very good in India, with most cafes, restaurants and accommodations offering free wi-fi, even in the more rural areas. There is also good phone coverage for data use if you choose to purchase a local SIM card to stay connected for the duration of your India tour.
If you do wish to purchase a local SIM in India, make sure your phone has been unlocked before your tour begins. There are quite a number of carriers that are all very competitive, but Airtel is probably the best option for travellers. You’ll need to a copy of your passport and visa to pick up a SIM, and the process can sometimes be a hassle, but rates in India are very affordable given the competition.
Squat toilets are the most common toilets in India. Always carry your own toilet paper and soap or hand sanitizer, as they are usually not provided. Flushable, Western-style toilets can be found in up-market restaurants, some higher-end hotels and in some tourist areas.
India’s unit of currency is the rupee:
- Cup of tea = INR 7-10
- Small bottle of beer = INR 150-350
- Meal at a local restaurant (thali, masala dosa or similar) = INR 40-60
- Meal in a tourist restaurant = INR 80-100
India is notorious among travellers for sickness – we’ve all heard horror stories about Delhi belly. We do not recommend ever drinking the tap water in India, and travellers should avoid drinks with ice and foods that haven’t been cooked or peeled. Salad is off the menu for now – let your inner-child rejoice!
Credit cards are being accepted an increasing number of cafes, shops, restaurants and accommodations in India, with Mastercard and Visa being the most common. That said, cash is still king, especially outside of cities like Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai.
ATMs are widespread across India in both cities and smaller towns. Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus and Maestro are the most commonly accepted cards, but of those Visa and Mastercard are more likely to have success. The daily withdrawal limit differs from bank to bank.
The weather in India varies from region to region, but it’s generally safe to say that December–February sees dry, cooler weather before the heat intensifies from March–May. June, July and August are the monsoon months, though the amount of rain differs across the country, while October, September and November see rainfall ease once more.
India has different classifications of holidays because of the multitude of faiths in the country. There are compulsory holidays and then various others chosen by government offices within each state. The following are the compulsory ‘gazetted holidays’ taken by government offices across India:
- 26 Jan Republic Day
- Feb/Mar Maha Shivaratri*
- Mar Holi*
- Mar/Apr Rama Navami*
- Apr Mahavir Jayanti*
- Mar/Apr Good Friday*
- May Buddha’s Birthday*
- May Eid ul-Fitr (end of Ramadan)*
- Jul/Aug Eid ul-Adha*
- 15 Aug Independence Day
- Aug/Sep Janmashtami*
- Aug/Sep Islamic New Year*
- Sep/Oct Dussehra*
- Oct Birth of the Prophet Mohammed*
- 2 Oct Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday
- Oct/Nov Diwali*
- Nov Guru Nanak Jayanti*
- 25 Dec Christmas Day
*Please note these dates may vary. For a current list of public holidays in India go to World Travel Guide's website.
The majority of Indian society is still conservative, and while most travellers will have a welcoming and hospitable experience, discretion is still advised for LGBTQIA+ travellers, particularly in more remote towns and villages which may be more conservative. The same advice is also given to heterosexual couples (and couples of all other sexual orientations) as public displays of affection other than hugging and holding hands are generally frowned upon.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and, where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
As a general rule, knowing some common words in the local language, carrying a written itinerary with you and taking to the streets in a group, rather than solo, can help make your travel experience the best it can be.
What you decide to pack and wear in India will depend on where you are and what time of year it is. The weather across India usually follows the monsoon cycle, so it’s quite easy to plan what to pack when it comes to rain, but temperatures will vary quite a bit from the north to the south.
Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
Go to: https://travel.gc.ca/
From the UK?
Go to: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/
From New Zealand?
From the US?
Go to: http://travel.state.gov/
The World Health Organisation
also provides useful health information. Go to: http://www.who.int/en/
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in India, you may find yourself travelling by Jeeps.
Safari through jungles and national parks aboard a jeep, which is ideal for conquering the difficult terrain and offers supreme wildlife viewing opportunities.
Cruising the waterways of India is a revealing, inspiring experience. Whether it’s the iconic Ganges or peaceful Kerala backwaters, seeing India from the water is a must.
Travelling by train is one of the great experiences of India. It's a system which looks like chaos, but it works - and well.
Use the efficient metro to get around the sights and suburbs of Delhi.
Zip around the big cities of India by auto rickshaw.
Travelling with Intrepid is a little bit different. We endeavour to provide travellers with an authentic experience to remember, so we try to keep accommodation as unique and traditional as possible.
When travelling with us in India you may find yourself staying in a homestay.
Make new friends, feast on authentic home cooking and receive kind hospitality while staying with friendly families in India.
With walks, wildlife spotting and adventure sports nearby, staying in a jungle resort is the perfect way to see another side of India.
From ex-royal palaces to historic hill stations and converted forts, India is full of heritage properties that have been turned into comfortable accommodation with an old-world touch.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveller or you’re about to embark on your first trip, travelling can be as intimidating as it is exciting. That's the beauty of a small group tour. From handling the logistics and organising amazing cultural activities to local leaders who know each destination like the back of their hand (like which street has the best markets and where to get the most authentic food), travelling on a small group tour with Intrepid will give you unforgettable travel experiences without the hassle that comes with exploring a new place. Plus, you'll have ready-made friends to share the journey with. All you have to do is turn up with a healthy sense of adventure and we’ll take care of the rest.
Yes, all Intrepid trips support the Intrepid Foundation. In fact, we make a donation on behalf of every traveller. Trips to this country directly support our global Intrepid Foundation partner, Eden Reforestation Projects.
Eden Reforestation Projects
Eden Reforestation Projects are helping to mitigate climate change by restoring forests worldwide; they also hire locally and create job opportunities within vulnerable communities. Donations from our trips support restoration across planting sites in 10 countries around the globe.