Monkey in Ranthambore, India Holiday

India Holidays

India is one of the most exciting and fascinating countries on Earth, offering incredible diversity from the mighty Himalayas in the north to the Andaman Islands and beaches (Goa) of the tropical south. Vast rivers, rolling tea estates in Kolkata, colourful cities of Rajasthan and abundant wildlife make a holiday to India feel like a visit to more than one country.

With the remake of Disney’s Jungle Book on our screens and the recent royal visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge who experienced elephant back riding in Kaziranga, there has been much to inspire a trip to India.

Every holiday to India requires intrinsic planning. Let us help craft a personalised holiday itinerary or recommend one of our small, expert-led group tours.

Explore the highlights of India



  • Stay at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world, namely Oberoi Amar Vilas, Agra or Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur.
  • Take the road less travelled, and stay in remote villages with strong cultural identity.
  • Plan your visit around a festival. Jodhpur is home to the RIFF music festival each October and Jaipur hosts the internationally acclaimed Literature Festival in January.


  • Rise at dawn to ride into the jungle in an open topped jeep in search of the majestic Tiger. See our Safari guide for where to go and when.
  • Join one of our expert-led Group tours to Central India, Ladakh or Assam to experience and learn about a variety of endangered species.
  • Stay at the glorious Taj Mahua Kothi Lodge in Kanha National Park for the ultimate luxury Tiger safari.




  • Spend time on board a private houseboat, cruising the backwaters of Kerala.
  • Walk through the gentle, rolling hills of Munnar, learning about tea production and taking in some of the most spectacular scenery classic Itinerary.
  • Retreat to a beach resort upon vast stretches of white sand beach. Spend a few days relaxing at Neeleshwar Hermitage, or Marari Beach Hotel and indulge in the art of Ayurveda.
River Cruising India

River Cruises

  • Board the luxury cruise vessel M.V. Mahabaahu to experience one of the Asia’s largest rivers, the Brahamputra.
  • Visit Varanasi and discover the remote towns and villages lining the banks of India’s sacred Ganges River.
  • Journey on the charming Hoogley River from Kolkata through beautiful scenery on board the MV Rajmahal.


Our India specialists recommend

  • Explore cosmopolitan Mumbai, sip tea or a cocktail at the Sea Lounge of the Taj Mahal, and watch the city pass by from your advantage point. 
  • Take a worthwhile visit to a NGO establishment during your time in India. Steppes Travel work closely with Restless Development who carry out invaluable work throughout the cities of India
  • Combine luxury safari lodges and explore the tiger circuit of Central India which is home to an astonishing array of wildlife. Help protect the tiger by joining our Tiger Safari. 
  • Spend three days at Orange County to explore Hampi in the company of a historian. 
  • Travel the length and breadth of India by luxury train. Experience the iconic railways dating back to the first rail journey of 1853. Much has improved since then.
  • Meet spice traders in Old Delhi
  • Tour the private ceremonial areas of City Palace in Jaipur and take high tea at the dining room of the royal residence.
  • Have an adventure with the whole family, exploring the slower paced South India where eco adventures abound. 
  • Search for snow leopards from your lodge in the Ulley Valley. Join a small group tour.
  • Kerala – Tropical, slow paced and home to Ayurveda, spend a few days drifting down the waterways on a houseboat of your own, daily life unfolding as you go.
  • Kashmir - At long last this summer mountain retreat has opened its doors to tourism once more. Whether you visit as part of a group or explore on an individual basis, a must do is to stay on a house boat and take day trips, paddled in style on a shikara water safari.
  • Ladakh is the last bastion of true Tibetan Buddhism and still has relatively few tourists. Experience its traditional culture on a walking tour passing wonderful old monasteries, isolated villages, glaciers and desert.
  • River cruise holiday in India - There are now a number of small luxury river boats with very interesting programmes that can take you into previously inaccessible areas. 
  • Stay at blissfully cool tea plantations in the foothills of the Himalaya – link to Darjeeling accommodation.
  • Get behind the wheel and self-drive through the Rajasthani desert - just for fun.
  • Tiger Safari holidays in India - Successful tiger sightings depend on being in the right place at the right time. To ensure the best game drive allocations you need to book early. We will advise you where private vehicles are possible, so you can maximise your enjoyment through having exclusive access to a dedicated naturalist. 


Our India Holiday Experts

Without a doubt a holiday to India requires some planning and the best place to start is to call one of our extremely knowledgeable and experienced travel consultants. Joe and Kate both have considerable experience of creating exciting, interesting and varied holidays to India without losing sight of the “must-see” places.

Advice from our India Experts

India is less a country, or even a subcontinent, but more a world of its own. Soaring mountain peaks, vast deserts, mega cities bursting with colour and clamour, ancient civilizations, unique wildlife, fabulous food. Whatever you crave from your travels India will deliver in spades. And throw in the odd surprise or two. With some of the world’s best hotels to retreat to after a day’s explorations what is stopping you?

Joe Parkes | Steppes Travel India Specialist

India FAQs

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When is the best time to travel to India?
The best time for travel to India is from late October seeing the end of the Monsoon rains to mid March before the daytime temperatures begin to climb in April and May.
Do I need a visa to visit India?
All visitors need a visa for India. There is now provision for an online e-visa for citizens of certain countries, including the UK. The visa has to be obtained before arrival in all circumstances. Tourist visas issued in the UK have six months validity from date of issue.
How do I avoid Delhi belly?
Do not have street food unless you can see it is being freshly prepared in front of you and generally hot food is safer. Food is amazing but if you’re not used to the street food you’re probably going to get sick. Most of the diseases are also water-born so instead of tap water stick to bottled water or sodas, especially if you’re traveling to smaller villages and towns. Avoid eating at buffets and where food has been left on display. Remember to clean your teeth with bottled water.
What vaccinations do I need for India?
The excellent NHS travel-medicine website lets you browse the immunisations and precautionary measures you might need for India. It strongly recommends you get vaccinations for typhoid, tetanus, poliomyelitis and hepatitis before travelling to and around India. The key for travel vaccinations is to start planning well in advance. Both diphtheria and tuberculosis require a three-month incubation period before the start of the trip. Start by consulting your GP (who will be able to advise if you are up-to-date with your polio and tetanus jabs); he or she may be able to provide the jabs, or direct you to a travel-medicine specialist.
Can I drive myself around India?
The traffic in India is insane, and once you leave a city the signposting deteriorates, and normally reverts to Hindi. As a westerner, driving in India is daunting at the least, and generally unsafe. Securing insurance to drive legally on the highway is convoluted at the best of times. For the thrill of being up front in the driving seat take a Jeep or ride an Enfield on one of our off road desert driving experiences in Rajasthan.
What clothing should I take?

When visiting any country it is important to respect their dress code. Women should avert from wearing sleeveless and tight-fitting clothing and dress modestly, especially when visiting temples and religious monuments.

Short dresses and skirts should also be avoided, loose trousers and long skirts being more favourable and cooler in the heat. If travelling during the winter months or in the north of the country, we advise a jumper for the evenings and early mornings when it can be quite chilly, and of course comfortable footwear for days out and about.

Can I eat food from street markets and stalls?

One of the attractions of India is the tempting array of foods available. We recommend eating at stalls where there are more people and where you can see your food being prepared in front of you ensuring it is fresh. Avoid eating at buffets and where food has been left on display.

Will I see poverty?
There is a huge poverty rate in India, due to overpopulation. You will see people, the majority children begging for money in the cities. Begging has become a job for this sector. The best way to help is donate directly to an NGO, or buy food stamps that the homeless can exchange for a plate a food. This way you know your money is going to be used in a positive way.
Is there an etiquette to photographing people?

When photographing people in India, we always advise to ask the person you would like to photograph beforehand out of politeness. In most cases people are happy to have the picture taken, especially children who will readily pose for several! If photography is prohibited, this is usually clearly marked.

Are there lots of mosquitoes in the Keralan backwaters?
During the day mosquitoes are not too much of an issue but by night they can be more so. We tend to advise against staying overnight on the houseboats in the backwaters, instead recommending you cruise in the day when you are able to enjoy the wonderful scenery in peace!
What is train travel like in India?
To experience the real India is to stay at ground level and take a train journey. No visit to India is complete without experiencing the bustle of an Indian railway station. We recommend express trains, which normally offer air conditioned chair seats or first or second class sleeper cabins. All seats and berths are reserved for the ticket holder. The reservation list is displayed on the train itself, your name and reserved berth clearly shown. Berths are numbered in classes, so AC1 AC2 AC3 and sleeper class cars. There are toilets on the trains. Don’t expect pristine western standards but if travelling on an air conditioned express train then the service is reasonable.  High speed express trains link cities efficiently, such as Delhi to Agra, Jaipur to Jodhpur. 
Do I have to take my luggage with me on the train?

This would depend on the length of the journey and whether your car and driver are following the train or not. For many shorter journeys the car would follow with luggage and you would be met the other side.

As a general rule of thumb if you are travelling overnight by train or for more than around six hours then you will have your luggage with you.

Where is the best place to see tigers?
India is home to more than 40 national parks. To help increase the odds of spotting a tiger Steppes Travel can offer you a greater understanding of the local issues and differences between the parks, the best chance of being in the right place at the right time and advice on how to avoid the many pitfalls that create substandard safari experiences.
Is it safe to travel to India as a single woman?
It is largely safe for women to travel in India alone. There are measures we can put in place to ensure you are well looked after. Some city hotels offer women butlers, and women’s rooms on a dedicated floor. Private same sex drivers and guides can be requested for your peace of mind. Train journeys can be organised with an accompanying escort.


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JLF at Southbank, London, India


Showcasing South Asia’s unique multilingual literary heritage, JLF@Southbank is an intense teaser to the Jaipur Literature Festival, to be held next January. Travel with Steppes on our exclusive group tour.

The London edition of JLF retains and resonates with the unique spirit of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival, which has firmly established its place in the global literary calendar as the world’s largest free literature festival.

JLF@Southbank will be held in collaboration with Alchemy, the Southbank Centre’s festival of South Asian culture.Festival Directors, Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple bring together a day of talks, music and readings.In true JLF fashion, the weekend will begin with music and finish with a debate.

Buddist Monk, Ladakh, India

Hemis Festival July 2016

This summer the Hemis Festival happens at the monastery during the 13 - 15 July. This festival is a definite attraction if you are in Ladakh.

This two day festival celebrates victory of good over evil. See the richly adorned masks that the monastery Lamas wear during unqiue dance performances. There will be an unfurling of a two-storey high "Thanka", depicting Padmasambhava, an event that happens once every 12 years, during the Tibetan year of the monkey.  Travel to Ladakh with Steppes Travel this summer, exploring this high altitude kingdom.


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Client Reviews

Langur monkeys, India, JK
'' Kate Hitchen was excellent.
Thanks to her knowledge and responsiveness the trip exceeded my expectations! ''

Amanda Morgan

Holi Powder, India
'' Excellent as always. 
There really is no substitute for a travel expert with recent personal knowledge of the destination. ''

Silke Bernau

Indian Elephant, India
'' Kate took time for face to face contact. 
She tailored the trip to our particular interests. We had an excellent driver and knowledgeable and engaging guides at all times. An excellent experience from first to last. ''

Graham Powell

Flowers and Coconuts, India
"Trip was booked at very late notice and it was great that Steppes were able to be so accommodating.
Local representatives in Leh were fantastic. Standard of everything was very high. The experience that we received in Leh was amazing."

Henry Tufnell

Rajasthani Woman, India
"We had several awkward requests and these were all dealt with extremely professionally. 
Steppes tailored to our specific needs and desires with Kate's knowledge and expertise on hand to steer us in the right direction. Our private guide and driver made a special holiday exceptional."

Sonia Bowen

Ganesha, India
"Everything we asked for was arranged and useful suggestions were made which enhanced our own ideas.
The car and driver were very reliable and we felt safe and at ease despite the traffic! Representatives and guides were prompt and reasonably well informed. It was a very professionally organised trip."

Trevor Clitheroe

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