This was my first time flying with Singapore Airlines and I was very impressed. Be sure to check in online before arrival as they have a separate queue which moves much faster! We travelled on the Boeing 777 Sydney to Singapore return and the A380 Singapore to Delhi return. The 777 was very roomy, large seat back screen with latest movie choices and food was quite nice. The A380 seemed a little smaller on room and seat back screen but overall I was very impressed with them. Flight connection times were good also.
I had expected India to be a bit smelly and dirty, with lots of poverty openly everywhere but it wasn’t like that at all where I travelled. The Government has put initiatives in place to try to clean things up a bit. It is still dusty and hazy but generally pretty clean.
We arrived late evening in to Dehli and our transfer was quick and easy which was great. We stayed at the Lalit Hotel in Delhi. It is in a good location, 4.5 stars, rooms are a good size, and clean and comfortable. There was a great gym and pool. The Buffet breakfast offered a good variety.
We had 2 nights here and visit Old and New Delhi. We took a rickshaw ride through the crazy street and alleyways, saw Ghandi’s resting place, Humayan’s tomb, a beautiful Sikh Temple and had dinner at a local restaurant (recommended by our guide) called Masala House – which was fantastic!!
We then travelled by bus to Agra. We visit the red sandstone fort, Agra Fort – this was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal Dynasty till 1638. So grand and amazing! Here we stayed at the ITC Mughal Agra Hotel. It is in a great location with beautiful rooms, and hotel facilities. Buffet breakfast was excellent.
Then we visit the Taj Mahal – no words can describe its beauty and wow factor. Our guide– Haji – was brilliant, so knowledgeable, passionate and a great photographer. I wasn’t aware of the history of this monument but it has a love story behind it. Our guides got us into and out of Taj Mahal with ease –which was fabulous as it’s incredibly busy.
Next was a long 9 hour drive to Ranthambore National Park. I thoroughly enjoyed this area but would highly recommend 2 nights minimum stay! It’s a long and bumpy ride not only getting there but the game drive as well. Here we stayed at the Nahargarh Ranthambore. The entry is breathtaking. It’s not that old but has been built to look like a palace. Everything is made in marble. The pool is gorgeous. Rooms were old style with very high beds.
The Breakfast box provided for the game drive was great, dinner and lunch were buffet style with fantastic Indian offerings. Our game drive safari started at 6am until 12pm. The main attraction is the Bengal Tiger and we were lucky enough to see about 6 of them! They are amazing- and to be so close and in the wild! We also saw Monkeys, Peacocks, a Leopard and Deer. The guides were excellent.
After the game drive it was a 4 hour drive to Jaipur – the Pink City!! Here we stayed at the ITC Rajputana Hotel for 2 nights. The hotel was lovely – 4 stars, clean, comfortable. Buffet not as big and varied as some of the other hotels, but was still fine. We had an amazing dinner at Sharpura House, on the rooftop of the hotel with a local dancer for entertainment. The Food was beautiful!!
In Jaipur we started the day off with a visit to Amber Fort –the ancient capital of Jaipur state. It’s set up high on a hill side. You ride up on Elephants and back down in jeeps. It was stunning. We then went to the local markets for a bit of shopping– saris, spices, jewellery, pants, singing bowls etc.
The next morning was an early start (3.30am) flying to Varanasi – the Holy City on the River Ganges. We flew with Spice Jet Airline who were good, similar to Jetstar here but included a small meal.
We visit a Buddhist Temple and Sarnath, which is a holy spot for followers of Buddha. Then some free time before heading to an Aarti Ceremony and boat ride on the River Ganges at sunset. It’s like a way of being thankful and blessing the holy river. It is a very spiritual and religious place – it has a different effect on each person but very moving for all. Dinner was at a local hotel on the river. Again, amazing!!
For our last morning we enjoyed a sunrise boat ride on the Ganges. There were many people swimming, doing their washing, cleaning themselves in the water. I’ve never seen so many people out and about at that time of day- very interesting to watch! We flew Varanasi to Delhi with Vistara Air who were really good.
Overall, Swagman and Trans India were fantastic!! We were looked after with the utmost care from start to finish. Between the airlines, transport, standard of accommodation, guides, drivers etc. they outdid themselves. I wouldn’t hesitate to book my clients with them.