When it comes to your holiday, it’s important that every detail is taken care of. And for that reason, you can never ask too many questions. From packing tips to in-depth route plans and the finest restaurant recommendations, your time off deserves to be perfect down to the last detail.
Here at Black Tomato, there isn’t a day that goes by when our team of experts aren’t quizzed about their specialist areas. The team has been answering these kinds of questions for years, and recently we thought we would publish a few of the most frequently ones about some of our favourite destinations. Last time we talked about the stunning isles of Indonesia, and this month we’ve turned to the cultural spectrum India and have been quizzing our Travel Expert, James on this beautifully diverse nation.
To have your question published, tweet us @black_tomato and you might make it onto the list…
What would be your recommended route for a 2 week trip?
India is so vast and has so much to offer, that it totally depends on what you would like to do and experience. Most people will head to the state of Rajasthan on a first visit, which is the most colourful and culturally vibrant of all the states. While some of the cities are fascinating, I really like the rural part of this area, where you can see red turban headed locals and village life unchanged for hundreds of years. A brilliant two week trip we offer explores some of these areas, as well as some fantastic wildlife in Jawai and the old fortified desert town of Jaisalmer. If you are into the outdoors, a brilliant adventure for two weeks is heading up into the remote Himalayan region of Ladakh, where you can walk between luxurious Tea Houses, exploring Buddhist monasteries and sharing tea with locals en route. You could visit India 10 times and have a completely different experience every time, so the choice is really up to you….
What kind of traveller does India appeal to?
I would say a more intrepid and adventurous traveller. India isn’t for everyone, and if sitting on a beach and reading a book is your idyllic trip, India isn’t for you. I think it appeals to those wanting to see and experience something completely different to what usually surrounds them. It’s a place that never ceases to intrigue and excite me, so if you’re up for an adventure India is the place for you.
What should be at the top of my packing list?
Camera. India is a photographers dream. The colours and scenes that surround you every day will leave you trawling through reams of photographs on your return. A diary isn’t a bad shout either, as you’ll never be able to remember all the things that you’ve seen and experiences after a day’s exploring.
When’s the best time to visit?
It depends on the area that you visit, but India is virtually a year round destination. For the majority of the country, October to March is generally the best time. However if you are heading up into Ladakh or the hill stations, the UK summer months are generally best, from around May – August.
What are your favourite experiences across India?
There’s too many to choose from, but taking a hot air balloon over Amer Fort is pretty special. Tracking Tigers through Jungle Book country and swimming with elephants in the Andaman’s are up there as wildlife experiences. Everyday in India is an experience in itself.
What are your favourite hotels in the country?
I love the range of hotels on offer in India, from cosy little homestays to opulent old grandeur palaces. Shakti 360 in Kumaon has one of the best views I’ve seen I think, where you begin your day watching the sunrise over the Himalayas. The Raas Hotel is another special one, situated underneath Mahrangarh Fort which dominated the skyline of Jodhpur. A little further south is the stunning Jawai, a remote Leopard Camp that lies in a region shared by farmers and leopards. The tents are stunning, and the overall experience second to none. In the South you have the iconic Taj Falaknuma Palace, perched on a hill overlooking this historical city. As you arrive by horse and cart being showered with rose petals, you’ll realise why this place is so special. I could go on…