Classic Indian and Sri Lankan Journey Ideas

From the architectural treasures of North India’s Golden Triangle to the ancient civilizations and tea plantations of Sri Lanka, discover classic journey ideas that follow time-honoured routes to piece together South Asia’s finest attractions. Each is crafted by destination experts from a trusted local travel company.

Highlights

  • Marvelling at the Taj Mahal’s ethereal beauty
  • Taking a classic Indian train journey into Rajasthan
  • Watching Pinnawala’s elephants take a river bath
  • Climbing Sigiriya, Sri Lanka’s iconic rock fortress
  • Riding an elephant to Jaipur’s hilltop Amber Fort

Experiential Golden Triangle

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 6 nights

From the glorious Taj Mahal to dinner at a traditional Punjabi kitchen, this unique take on the classic Golden Triangle route combines North India’s star attractions with experiencing the ‘real’ Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. With a classic train journey and a visit to a maharajah’s former hunting reserve – today among the world’s finest bird sanctuaries – included, this week-long trip is as experiential as it is unforgettable.

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South India Coast to Coast

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 10 nights

Sample what Rick Stein believes is the “perfect curry” on the Coromandel Coast, discover the world’s finest Dravidian temples in Tamil Nadu and sip tea surrounded by the glorious Western Ghats. Not forgetting, of course, exploring Kerala’s blissful backwaters on a private houseboat, or watching the sunset over Fort Cochin’s Chinese fishing nets. To experience South India is to travel from its eastern to western coasts on this most enchanting of journeys.

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Essential Nepal

  • When to go: February – May, September – November
  • Duration: 9 nights

After exploring the medieval temples of Kathmandu and Patan, this spellbinding ten-day introduction to Nepal heads west to Bandipur – a ridge-top village tribute to traditional Newar culture – and Pokhara, whose lakeside location is enhanced by a spectacular Himalayan backdrop. After visiting the Buddha’s birthplace in Lumbini, the trip culminates in Chitwan National Park, where canoeing down the Rapti River is complemented by a jungle safari on the back of an elephant. Welcome to Nepal’s enchanting essentials.

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Wild Golden Triangle

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 6 nights

Explore the rambunctious bazaars of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, spot little-known Ganges river dolphins not far from the Taj Mahal and take an elephant to Jaipur’s imperious Amber Fort. This ‘wild’ take on the classic Golden Triangle route combines North India’s landmark attractions with off-the-beatentrack experiences; from travelling down one of India’s cleanest rivers to discovering remote caves populated by friendly sadhus.

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Guesthouse Explorer

  • When to go: November – April
  • Duration: 14 nights

Nothing gets you as close to the ‘real’ Sri Lanka as staying in the island nation’s gorgeous guesthouses and heavenly homestays. Do just that on this two-week journey across its central and southern regions, where you’ll climb to the summit of ancient rock fortresses, marvel at centuries-old Buddhist frescoes and spend at least two days lazing on an impossibly pretty palm-fringed beach. There’s even time to travel on what’s regarded as one of the world’s finest train journeys.

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Adventure Nepal: White Water and Walking

  • When to go: February – May, September – November
  • Duration: 14 nights

From white water rafting along the thundering Trisuli River to hiking part of the awesome Annapurna Circuit, this two-week journey offers a truly adventurous introduction to Nepal’s great outdoors. Along the way will be the chance to explore medieval temples, traditional villages and holy caves, not to mention the spellbinding cities of Kathmandu, Pokhara and Bhaktapur. There’ll also be the opportunity to explore the jungles of Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the back of an elephant.

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Absolute Golden Triangle

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 9 nights

Stimulate the senses on this extended version of the classic Golden Triangle route, where the thrill of discovering North India’s must-see sights – namely the timeless Taj Mahal, Delhi’s Mughal marvels and Jaipur’s awe-inspiring Amber Fort – is complemented by a tiger-spotting excursion in Ranthambore National Park and a trip down one of the country’s cleanest rivers, the little-explored Chambal.

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Resplendent Rajasthan

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 14 nights

Depart Delhi’s Mughal marvels for Mandawa’s marvellous havelis; the first stop on a two-week journey taking in centuries-old Rajput forts, milky-white Jain temples and deserted former capitals. Combining such mesmerising attractions with unforgettable experiences – namely sunset boat rides, exploring sand dunes on camelback and riding a local train into the Aravalli hills – this is Rajasthan at its most resplendent.

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Essential Sri Lanka

  • When to go: July – April
  • Duration: 11 nights

From the bustling capital of Colombo to lush sprawling tea estates, experience Sri Lanka’s awe-inspiring essentials on this thrillingly luxurious multi-centre journey. Heading into the hills from the capital, you’ll take one of the world’s most scenic train journeys before heading to the south coast, where fortified towns rub shoulders with picture-postcard beaches. En route is the opportunity to stay in this teardrop-shaped island’s finest boutique hotels.

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Temple Hopping in Tamil Nadu

  • When to go: October – April
  • Duration: 6 nights

Largely untouched by would-be conquerors from the north, Tamil Nadu has firmly held on to its Dravidian identity – most notably via its collection of awe-inspiring temples. Dating from the ancient Chola, Pallava and Pandyan dynasties, they range from Mamallapuram’s modest Shore Temple to Madurai’s magnificent Meenakshi Amman complex. Discover both – and just about every monument in between – on this eye-opening north-to-south journey through one of India’s most awe-inspiring states.

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Himalayan Highway: Amritsar to Leh

  • When to go: May – September
  • Duration: 14 nights

A journey that begins in earnest at Amritsar’s exquisite Golden Temple culminates at the dramatic Himalayan surroundings of Leh, 3,500 metres above sea level. Experiencing Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist culture – and visiting the Dalai Lama’s adopted home town – en route, take one of the world’s most spectacular road journeys on this adventure-focused journey of a lifetime.

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Adventurers’ Golden Triangle

  • When to go: October – March
  • Duration: 10 nights

From cycling ancient trade routes in Rajasthan to rafting down the Ganges to Rishikesh, this adventurous take on the classic Golden Triangle route combines North India’s must-see sights with some seriously exciting excursions. Along the way will be the chance to witness ancient holy rituals, indulge in yoga sessions and take a ride on the back of an elephant.

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