Honestly, I had second thoughts after booking this trip to India, OLA’s first tour after the pandemic…
But soon I understood there was nothing to worry about, even though the first tour, we were in good hands, everything was taken care of, very-well organized and day-to-day communicated clearly.
The guides were very knowledgeable, friendly and available at all times. Them being local was the best!
A big thanks to Anuj and Nikhil! They were so patient with me :-)
Overall, I had an amazing time in India! This was my second tour with One Life, it definetely exceeded my expectations and I will be back again!
My favorites in India were:
- Jeep safari in Bikaner + magical sunset at the sand dunes
- Rooftop in Jodhpur, amazing views on the blue city and the fort, especially at sunset! With the call for prayer (ezan) on the background
- The bike ride in Udaipur surprised me a lot! I had no idea the scenery would be so amazing, for a moment I forgot I was in India.
- the Brahmin blessing at the holy Pushkar lake was for me an emotional experience
- I enjoyed the bollywood movie in Jaipur a lot! Even without subtitles, I could follow and enjoy a 3h long movie… the monkey temple in Jaipur was also stunning!
- ending the tour with a sunrise at the Taj Mahal was just magical and again emotional… perfect way to end the journey.
No need to mention the delicious Indian cuisine we could try daily for 14 days without getting tired of it… and none of us got sick on the tour, which means that the restaurants and bars were hand-picked by the guides!
One final note to future travelers: an open mindset is a must to visit North India, it is devastating to see the poverty… and confronting as well.
Also be prepared for the long train and bus journeys, but those journeys are also part of the India experience, I didn’t get bored for a second ;-)
Awesome guide, great knowledge and understanding
Operator's comment: Hi John, thanks a lot for the review! We're glad you enjoyed the tour :)
I have just returned from an incredible few weeks spent in beautiful India. As a solo female travelling alone for the first time, I was apprehensive about exploring India and this tour seemed the perfect way to see some of the highlights and make friends at the same time. I arrived a day early to explore Delhi, and our tour guide Imran, organised a private taxi and my own personal itinerary and I loved seeing Gandhi's home. He made sure I felt safe and settled by keeping in contact regularly on my first night before the rest of the group arrived. He even gave me tips and recommendations for places to visit in other parts of India when the tour ended and I continued my own travels. When I fell ill from food poisoning, Imran was very kind and caring, and made sure I had suitable food whilst I was recovering for a few days, and ensured I didn't miss anything in the meantime. I really appreciated that so thank you :)
My personal highlights where the lovely homestay at Varanasi with home-cooked breakfast and the sunrise/sunset boat ride, the delicious and authentic cooking lesson, the bike ride around the country side and local villages in Udaipur and the visits to the historic forts in Jaipur and Jodphur which where absolutely fascinating. I may be alone here, but I also loved the sleeper train for the unique experience and chance to chat with locals!
My room for improvement would be greater visibility around travel distances (as some days did involve very long journeys that aren't necessarily that clear on the itinerary), and some more rest time factored into the itinerary. Everyone on the tour loved the Pushkar experience, partly as a respite from the travelling, so I think the tour could be 15-16 days in length with more 2/3 night stops and therefore be done at a more leisurely pace. I will most definitely be returning to see South India next!
Operator's comment: Hi Lydia, thanks for leaving such a great and comprehensive review! We have taken your feedback on board and are working on some further India itineraries for the future. We'll definitely keep you posted of any developments! Hopefully you're able to join one of our other tours when the world opens back up :)
Not bad on the whole, but certainly room for improvement.
Positives include: the Varanasi homestay & river cruise, camel ride in Pushkar, the Udaipur haveli & bike ride, and some genuinely lovely fellow tourmates.
Areas for improvement: fudged timings (missed sunset at the Taj), too many overpriced touristic restaurants, more days than not starting at 5am unnecessarily, dubious modes of transport (two sleeper trains in third class), dubious accommodation (the Jodhpur haveli in particular), hidden costs and a tour guide who, while very knowledgeable about his country, at times didn't seem to want to be there or to have our best interest at heart (e.g. suggesting we leave the Taj before the mist lifted, or prohibiting us from joining the Holi party in Pushkar despite going out all night himself to party with his friends for Holi).
Hopefully the above issues can be resolved in future incarnations of the tour, as it has the makings of a really good North Indian experience.
My first trip to India, and my first time in Asia coming from the UK. This was the perfect introduction. It sounds negative to say that I won't be rushing back, but I will definitely return!
I travelled as a couple with my girlfriend (both in our mid 20s). We shared our tour with 6 others with a mix of nationalities from Iran, Australia, Canada, America and the UK. I was so pleased to share the tour with them, and it was great to hear their perspective on everything we shared together. Of course, your experience may differ, but I was happy, comfortable and trusting of our One Life companions. Late January weather was a little cold on the evenings, but perfect for sightseeing during the day.
I feel like a saw a real side to India I wouldn't have received from a more "holiday" focussed tour. It inspired me, sparked conversations I've never had, and showed me a way of life that contrasted with my own.
Without a doubt, It was hard work. You're not here to relax. You spend a huge amount of time travelling, and it never felt there was true down time. Accomodation ranged from outstanding to comfortable enough, and your experience with indian food will entirely depend on the individual. But it was worth it for the amount we managed to pack into our relatively short stay.
I was absorbed by everything. I'm not a spiritual person, but I was fascinated how spiritualism shapes Indian society. I was surprised by how stunning the Taj Mahal was in reality. I was amazed yet infuriated by the traffic, engrossed by the history (the impact of both the Mogul and British empires) and loved my first experience of Bollywood cinema. The trip also highlighted the wider problems in modern day India. We arrived during a time of unrest with the political situation as divided as we're seeing across Europe. All this against the backdrop you may be familiar with, air/noise pollution unlike anything I've experienced, a huge population, and poverty worse than I've ever witnessed.
What made the tour stand out was our inspiring guide Imran. Someone with a true passion for his country while making it accessible to newcomers. I couldn't have hoped for a more genuine, reliable guide who I felt genuinely cares for our well-being and enjoyment. More than anything, he helped me understand his perspective of India and helped form my own opinion of what I experienced on the tour.
What holds the tour back is the sheer relentlessness of it. Early mornings paired with long travel times on unreliable transport - arguably, it's part of the experience but it grinds you down. Once you've been to inner city India, you'll feel like you've been to every city. There didn't feel much difference walking around Jaipur, Udaipur or Jodhour, plus it's stressful and a little repetitive. You'll probably get ill at some point (I had a particularly bad night), but don't worry there are plenty of western style toilets around - worth packing some loo roll though!
If you've always wanted to visit India, this is without a doubt a great value way to do it. Just be prepared that the comfort level may not be what you might expect from other tours.
It definitely exceeded my expectations. It was my first time traveling with a tour and it was simply peace of mind. Everything was taken care of and we received so many valuable suggestions and information throughout the tour. The Tour guide (Imran) was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. HE set the bar so high for any tour guide I will ever encounter.
Cheyenne Angeline Jacqueline Johnson
Had a fantastic time in India!!! Being my 3rd tour with One Life I can honestly say I will be back again!!! Big shout out also to Imran who was the most awesome local legend!!!
Sean was excellent from start to finish. He brought a positive and upbeat mentality to the tour group and made a concerted effort to connect with every person in the group on a more than purely surface level. I understand that this was his first time guiding but don’t doubt that he will make an excellent guide on any and all future tours.
Operator's comment: Hey Jack, thanks so much for the awesome review! Sean will love the feedback. We are so glad that you had a great time :)
India has always been a dream of mine, since it’s such an interesting place. The country can be overwhelming if you’re not used to travelling, but the group tour made it so much easier. Our tour guide Sean did a very good job with guiding us throughout the country, especially since this was his first group tour in India. He has a lot of potential and this trip wouldn’t be the same without him. Overall I had a very good experience with good food, interesting places and good company.
Operator's comment: Thanks so much for the great review Julianne! Sean will love this great feedback and we agree India can be overwhelming if you are on your own so we are so glad you choose to come with us!
Do it. Just do it. If you have every wanted to do India and weren't sure about it, this is the way you should do it. After getting back I just find myself thinking constantly back to my time on tour a couple of months back. It just stays with you like no other place does. I'm so glad that I chose One Life Adventures to go to India with as they have done a great job structuring their tour to get the most out of each location you visit. You want free time to explore? You got it. You want a local showing you the best spots in their home city? You got it. You want to see the most amazing places in Rajasthan? Done. It wasn't a place I fancied doing on my own, but somewhere I know I needed to go. Just stepping out of the hotel into the street is an experience. The best part for me was the walking tour we did around Varanasi. You can feel the history there and see how it has been unchanged for the last 1000 years. Passing street vendors selling tea, listening to the chanting of the holy men, smelling the spices and incense in the air. It's crazy. Something I will never forget and will have to go back and experience once again in my life
Operator's comment: Hi Ambroos! Thank you so much for your review of our India tour. It's a pretty incredible place isn't it? We're glad you had such an awesome time and we hope to see you again soon!