Highlights of India
No person may lay claim to the mark of Traveler having not visited India.
Land Arrangements per person $6,590
In-country Airfare per person $985*
15 Day Itinerary
With Private SUV, Private Driver, Private Boat & Private Guide
*New Delhi/Amritsar, Amritsar/New Dehli. New Delhi/Jaipur, Jaipur/Jodhpur, Udaipur/New Delhi
Day 01 / Depart United States
Relax and enjoy the excellent service aboard your chosen airline as you wing your way to the cosmopolitan city of New Delhi, India.
Day 02 / Arrival New Delhi
Your private driver and guide who will accompany you to your hotel for some rest and relaxation prior to beginning your noontime touring of the city will meet your early morning arrival. Sightseeing begins with a view of the Parliament, India Gate, and President’s House. Continue to Old Delhi and stroll through the Red Fort and its audience halls, one of which was the former site for the “Peacock Throne”, one of the Fort’s magnificent treasures taken during a victorious conquest by invading marauders. Visit the Jama Masjid Mosque where a call to prayer pervades the narrow cart lanes of the Chandi Chowk bazaar. The street scenes present a myriad of colors and activities found only on the pathways of Old Delhi. A visit to the Ghandi Memorial completes the day, allowing you time for an evening at leisure.
Day 03 / New Delhi – Agra
Leave the bustle of New Delhi behind as you travel cross-country with your private driver and guide to the city of Agra, holding title to three UNESCO Heritage sites, namely the Taj Mahal, Agra’s Red Fort and Fatephur Sikri. The most notable, the Taj Mahal was begun in 1632 by Shah Jahan as a symbol of love for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, it took the work of over 20,000 laborers to complete the project. It’s sheer beauty and symmetry is a wonder to behold.
Day 04 / Agra
Visit the Taj at sunrise, mid-morning and with a sunset view from Agra’s Red Fort – each a completely different experience. Your local guide will stroll with you along the footpaths of the gardens as well as enter the Taj, allowing ample time for you to photograph and reflect upon the serenity inspired by this remarkable setting. Continue on to Agra’s Red Fort, where Shah Jahan spent his last days overlooking his monument of love, the Taj Mahal. It is from this vantage point that you gain another dramatic view of the Taj.
Day 05 / Agra – Jaipur
Today’s journey takes you to the “Pink City” of Jaipur. En route stop at the beautifully maintained site at Fatephur Sikri. Built by Akbar as a capital city, it was thereafter abandoned and left deserted. Upon completion of your visit, a short drive over country roads lead you to the main highway for an exciting commute past caravans of tribesmen and camels carting wood supplies to the marketplace.
Day 06 / Jaipur
Begin your ascent to Amber Fort by elephant as you slowly climb the hillside that, together with the massive walls, helped protect the inner palaces and temples. It is a never-ending complex of inner halls and courtyards that literally come to life with the telling of its history by your private guide who will accompany you throughout the day. Descend the fort to drive through the old city where you will see the buildings of reddish stone giving title to the “Pink City”. Pass the Hawa Mahal or “Wind Palace”, primarily a façade that allowed the women of the court to privately view the gala processions. Return to your hotel to enjoy a leisurely lunch, and thereafter, continue your exploration with an afternoon visit to the City Palace where you will find an elaborate collection of period costumes and old weaponry.
Day 07 / Ranthambhore
Excitement fills the air as you travel toward the renowned Ranthambhore Tiger Sanctuary, where you will begin your hunt and capture by memory or in photo of the elusive and awe-inspiring Bengal Tiger. Two safaris will be arranged for you to enjoy the bountiful vegetation and the abundant varieties of wildlife that inhabit the region. The National Park at Ranthambhore provides the traveler with an excellent opportunity for sighting a Bengal Tiger – a thrill beyond comparison.
Day 08 / Ranthambhore – Amritsar
A final safari awaits the adventuresome that choose to avail themselves of a last chance meeting with the Bengal Tiger in the wild. The chance to find the tiger in these environs is excellent with the sightings prolonged as the experienced rangers take their vehicles ever so close to their location. Return to the comfort of your abode for a hearty breakfast before your departure by road and air to the holy city of Amritsar, site of the Golden Temple.
Day 09 / Amritsar
Founded in 1577 by the fourth Sikh Guru Ram Das, Amritsar is the spiritual and cultural nerve center of the Sikh religion. This morning, visit the magnificent Golden Temple known by locals as Armanda Sahib. It is the holiest shrine of the Sikh community and a superb synthesis of Islamic and Hindu styles of architecture. The temple is surrounded by the holy waters of the Amrita Samovar. The holy texts of the Guru Grant Sahib are recited daily in the sanctum within this temple. The pool of water is said to have curative properties, and devotees travel here from across the world to bathe in its sacred waters. Visit the Central Sikh Museum, which houses paintings, coins, manuscripts and arms.
This afternoon, drive to Wagha Border, between India and Pakistan to watch the Beating Retreat and the Change of Guard taking place within handshaking distance of the Indian and Pakistani forces. In the evening, revisit the Golden Temple to watch Palki Sahib, in which Guru Granth Sahib is taken back to Akal Takht.
Day 10 / Amritsar – Jodhpur
A connecting flight through Delhi wings you to Jodhpur and your luxury boutique hotel located inside the Walled City. Rao Jodha, the Rathore ruler of the kingdom of Marwar, founded this historic city in 1459. With the majestic Meherangarh Fort towering over opulent palaces, colorful bazaars and the sands of Thar Desert, Jodhpur epitomizes all the romance and feudal splendor of Rajasthan. In the late afternoon, explore the medieval bazaar of Jodhpur, where merchants are selling textiles, antiques and spices. The bazaar lies clustered around a clock tower and is a fascinating area to explore with its little shops selling silver jewelry, lacquer bangles, tie-dyed fabrics, soft camel leather shoes, puppets, clay figurines and colorful heaps of sweets and spices. The pavements are lined with henna artists who decorate women’s palms with intricate, lacy patterns.
Day 11 / Jodhpur – Jaisalmer
This morning, visit the Meherangarh Fort, the most authentic surviving taste of ceaseless rounds of war, honor and extravagance that characterized Rajputana. The royal apartments within the fort now form part of the outstanding museum. Its rich and varied collection includes a golden throne, fine miniature paintings, traditional costumes and fascinating weapons. Proceed to Jaswant Thada. This elegant pillared marble memorial with its fine lattice carving is the cenotaph of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II whose innovative irrigation schemes brought water and prosperity to this parched land. Local people regularly come here to offer prayer and flowers at his shrine. Cenotaphs of subsequent rulers and members of the royal families are also located here.
In the afternoon, travel a distance of 180 miles in 5 hours to Jaisalmer. Arrive in Jaisalmer and check-in to Suryagarh – a luxury boutique hotel. Its creation has been a labor of love enabled by local craftsman, indigenous materials and centuries of architectural expertise. Jaisalmer is the westernmost town of Rajasthan on the fringes of the Thar Desert. This historic city was founded in the 12th century and was once a flourishing trade center strategically located on the busy caravan trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Its earlier rulers grew rich by looting gems, silk and opium from the caravans, but by the 16th century Jaisalmer had become a peaceful town whose wealthy traders built splendid palaces and havelis.
Day 12 / Jaisalmer
Begin the day visiting Gadisagar Lake, a rainwater reservoir built in 1367, which was once Jaisalmer’s sole source of water. The lakeshore is lined with Ghats and temples made of local golden-yellow sandstone with a beautiful gateway leading to the waters. Continue on tour to visit Jaisalmer Fort, which rises like a fabulous mirage out of the sands of the Thar Desert, the awesome contours of its 99 bastions softened by the golden hue of the stone. Built during the 12th century by Maharawal Jaisal and added to by his successors, this citadel stands on the peak of the 263 ft. high Trikuta Hill.
In medieval times, Jaisalmer’s entire population lived within the fort and even these days, thousands of people reside here, making it India’s only living fort. Royal palaces, a cluster of Jain temples and delicately sculpted Havelis are all contained within its walls. Jaisalmer havelis were built in the 19th century by the town’s merchants and ministers and are the most spectacular examples of the Rajasthani stonemason’s art. The havelis of Salim Singh, Nathmalji and Patwon are the finest examples of this type of architecture, their golden stone façades so finely carved that they could be made of lace. In the afternoon, visit some of the beautifully carved Jain temples at Lodruva. These temples are the only remains of a once flourishing Marwar capital. End the day at Sam Sand Dunes at sunset where rippling sand dunes stretch as far as one’s eye can see. Return to your accommodation to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure.
Day 13 / Jaisalmer – Udaipur
Your morning drive across the desert sands returns you to Jodhpur for your connecting flight the city of Udaipur. A late afternoon private boat launch glides you across the lake, passing the summer palaces and scores of washerwomen on the Ghats dramatically providing both a scenic and a comparative venue of present day India.
Day 14 / Udaipur
A morning visit to the City Palace offers a bird’s like view of the lake below and the hillsides that ring the environs. The palace houses a brilliant display of “Pichwai”, the fine miniature painting made famous by Indian artisans. Drive across the shoreline of the lake to the gardens area, and thereafter return to your hotel for a relaxing lunch and the remainder of the day at leisure.
Day 15 / Udaipur – New Delhi
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and thereafter join your connecting flight to New Delhi for an afternoon of relaxation or further exploration of the city environs. All too soon your holiday has ended and it is time to board your homeward flight to the United States.
Day 1 / United States – Bangkok
Relax and enjoy the exemplary service aboard your chosen airline jetliner as you wing your way across the Pacific bound for the exciting city of Bangkok.
CROSS INTERNATIONAL DATELINE
Day 2 / Arrival Bangkok
The innate friendliness and hospitality of the Thai people await your arrival. This storied city of brilliantly colored temples, jewel-bedecked dancers and joyous children splashing in canals will weave its sensuous magic about you. Your private escort who will greet and accompany you to your hotel meets your late evening arrival.
Day 3 / Bangkok
Golden-tiled roofs glowing in the morning sun draw you to riverside to join with your private guide aboard a motorized longboat that will whisk you to the klongs (canals) interlaced within the backwaters that surround the city. Stilted houses dot the banks of the shoreline, with children playing in the waters, passing sampans filled with produce en route to market make the journey a photographer’s delight. Disembark nearby the Thai Royal Palace to visit the exquisite temple of the emerald Buddha. Stroll the grounds as you begin to compare the unique and varied styles of architecture as you begin to distinguish among the Thai, Burmese and Cambodian influences. Return to your hotel for the remainder of the afternoon at leisure, and to find pleasure in some of the offerings among a fine selection of amenities. (B)
Day 4 / Bangkok - Hanoi
Having enjoyed the beauty and glorious surroundings found in Bangkok, it is time to wing your way high above the jungle carpet to Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi. Founded some 4,000 years ago by the Hung Kings, it shares borders with Cambodia, China, and Laos and claims a magnificent shoreline stretching some 2,000 miles. Your private guide who will accompany for lunch at a popular local restaurant meets your noontime arrival. Thereafter, visit the Temple of Literature; enjoy a cyclo ride through Old Town, a visit to Ngoc Son Temple, and the Hanoi Hilton, where captured Americans were held during the time of conflict. End your day with a performance of water puppets at the Thang Long Theatre. (B/L)
Day 5 / Hanoi ~ Ha Long Bay
This morning, begin your tour with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, his former private residence, the One-Pillar Pagoda and the Ho Chi Minh Museum, all encased within the center of the city. Upon completing your visits, your private guide will accompany you for a leisurely lunch at one of the more popular restaurants within the city. Thereafter, drive across countryside to Ha Long Bay, one of the most beautiful settings in all of Vietnam. The Bay covers some 930 square miles and is dotted with a myriad of over 3,000 islands. Upon arrival, you will have the remainder of the evening at leisure; perhaps to walk along the sidewalks and pathways found aside the shoreline. (B/L/D)
Day 6 / Ha Long Bay ~ Hanoi
Begin your day by private charter aside the hundreds of isles and monoliths that comprise one of the most beautiful settings within Vietnam. Shades of emerald from grass and vine, tethered to stately monoliths project their sunlit glow across the placid waters of this peaceful bay. Artists both young and old have tried to capture on canvas or in prose the dynamic and sensual beauty of this region. It will be for you to capture its beauty either in memory or photograph when you cruise the waters of this spectacular bay. Enjoy lunch aboard your vessel prior to joining with your private driver and guide for a return to Hanoi. (B/L)
Day 7 / Hanoi ~ Hué
A morning stroll among the local residents who enjoy their sidewalk exercise completes your visit to Hanoi. Fly to the city of Hué, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all cities within Vietnam. Upon arrival, enjoy a leisurely lunch at a popular local restaurant prior to a drive across the countryside to the Kai Dinh Tomb, one of the more elaborate tombs among Vietnam’s former emperors. Stop by villages, where conical hats, incense sticks and duck raising are their means of livelihood, and lastly, visit the open-air market, where one can find some rather unique and amazing choices. (B/L)
Day 8 / Hué
Board your private launch to cruise the Huong Giang (Perfume) River to the Thien Mu Pagoda, perhaps the most famous in all of Vietnam. Continue to the Ming Manh Tomb. Completed in 1843, its design has elaborate bridges that link the various ceremonial halls, each surrounded by the magnificence of a landscaped natural setting. Enjoy a relaxing lunch in the town and thereafter, visit the expansive Citadel, known as the Forbidden City of Vietnam. It is the site of the fierce battle during the TET offensive of 1968. Return to your accommodation to enjoy an evening at leisure. (B/L)
Day 9 / Hué ~ Danang ~ Hoi An
A morning drive takes you south along the coastal highway across three mountain passes as you view the South China Sea, making your way to the town of Da Nang, where you will visit Marble Mountains. Set along the South China Sea, they depict the harmony between mountain and sea, forming a splendid display of natural color. The staircase leading to the inner caves is your gateway to viewing a temple set within the center of the cave, with sunlight glowing downward from a natural skylight formed at the mountain top. Thereafter, visit the Champa Museum, where you will find an impressive display of statuary dedicated to the former Champa people who held vast territories within the Champa Kingdom. Enjoy lunch within the town followed by the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. (B/L)
Day 10 / Hoi An
Begin your day with a leisurely breakfast, followed by entry into the small town of Hoi An to enjoy a walking tour discovering its history as an international seaport generations ago. The town has become a popular tourist attraction with local artisans busy at work in their craft shops found along the narrow lanes that dot the landscape. Visit the Tan Ky old clan house, the 400-year-old Japanese bridge and the Fukien Assembly Hall. Your morning ends with lunch within the town, and thereafter a return to the hotel for the remainder of the day at leisure, perhaps to enjoy some of the fine amenities offered at the resort. (B/L)
Day 11 / Hoi An ~ Saigon
Fly to Saigon, a city like no other, which welcomes you to partake in all of its offerings, be they a beautiful temple in Cholon, a stroll through the city or simply the purchase of a silk garment as a memento of your visit. Upon arrival, enjoy a relaxing lunch within the city before the start of you tour. Your exploration of the city begins with a visit to Reunification Palace, which was the accommodation for heads of State, a visit to the site of the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the colonial-styled architecture of the inner plaza and dockside, where the never-ending movement of boats ply the waters of the Saigon River, moving both passenger and merchandise to market. Drive to Cholon for a visit to its enormous market prior to arrival at your hotel to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B/L)
Day 12 / Excursion: Mekong Delta
Join with your private boatman and guide as you embark on a daylong excursion to Ben Tre province, famous for its coconut plantations and peaceful waterways. Upon arrival, enjoy a “Xe Loi” (cyclo) ride through the local village of Huu Dinh, followed by a private boat cruise through the small canals of the delta waterway. En route, stop at a village brick kiln and thereafter, switch to a private sampan taking you through the narrow backwaters of the delta to the home of a private family. If you choose, you can bicycle from their home to another part of the village where handcrafted sampans are produced. Continue your ride to the home of a former Viet Cong soldier who fought the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and is now making rice paper as his livelihood. Enjoy a five-course lunch at a specialty restaurant within the village before embarking on your private watercraft to return to Ben Tre city. There you will board your private vehicle and return back to Saigon. Your visit to the Mekong complete, enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B/L)
Day 13 / Saigon ~ Siem Reap (Angkor Wat)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and at mid-morning depart for the airport to join your noontime flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, site for the magnificence of Angkor. Upon arrival, your private driver and guide will accompany you to enjoy lunch within the town. Thereafter, join with your private driver and guide to begin your exploration of these spectacular ruins with a visit to the south gate at Angkor Thom, the site of Bayon, the Royal Enclosure, Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. Return to your accommodation, perhaps to visit the town enjoying the night market and the colorful array of local kiosks and restaurants within the town. (B, L)
Day 14 / Excursion to the Ruins at Angkor
Begin your day with a private boat excursion along the waters of Tonle Sap Lake and the many floating villages that dot the waters landscape. It is a pleasurable journey to a very unique setting. Return for lunch within the town prior to a continuation of your touring of Angkor, beginning with a visit to the Bakan tower at Angkor Wat temple. Travel deeper into the forest for a visit to perhaps the most spectacular ruins at Ta Phrom, which in particular is a photographer’s delight with much of the grounds encased in rooted Banyans, which have overcome the many walls and foundations on site. It is a remarkable temple ruins, one not to be missed and surely not forgotten. Return to your accommodation to enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B, L)
Day 15 / Siem Reap ~ Luang Prabang
Complete your visit to Angkor with a private boat exploration of the stilted fishing villages along the waterway to expansive Tonle Sap Lake. It is a colorful journey, highlighting life upon the river leading to the expansive lake where fishermen take to the waters by wooden boat. Upon return to Siem Reap, visit Les Artisans D’Angkor where master craftsmen teach the young the art of sculpting and craft design. Many of their creations are beautifully adorned and can make for excellent choices as a memento of your holiday. Enjoy lunch within the town, and thereafter join your onward flight to Luang Prabang. (B, L)
Day 16 / Excursion on the Mekong River
Begin your tour with a visit to the colorful Royal Palace, built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. Thereafter, board your private launch for a journey to the Buddha caves at Pak Ou. While traveling on the Mekong, you will have the opportunity to stop at a village to see a generations-old rice-making mill and stroll through the grounds to see how villagers live their lives along the banks of the Mekong. (B, L)
Day 17 / Siem Reap ~ Yangon
A morning drive takes you to the district of Puok for a visit to the silk farm, which maintains a weaving project for young people in the region. You will see all stages of the silk weaving process, from the growing of the mulberry trees, the raising of the silk worms to their life cycle and how the thread is then woven into some of the beautiful silk garments sold within the towns and cities. Thereafter board your flight to Yangon, capital city of Myanmar (Burma), “Land of Pagodas” and one of the world’s least traveled countries. The warm welcome given visiting tourists by the Burmese people adds to the charm and enjoyment of your stay. (B/L)
Day 18 / Yangon
Following breakfast, join with your private guide and driver to visit the Sule Pagoda, dating back over 2,000 years. From there visits will be made to the reclining Buddha, Karaweik Hall, Royal Lake and Bogyoke market to find the greatest array of goods within Myanmar. A special treat is in store upon visiting on of the most sacred shrines within the country, the Shwedagon Pagoda, considered by many to be the most impressive pagoda in the world. Its main spire rises to a height of 396 feet and is adorned with thousands of semi-precious stones, all surrounded by multi-layers of gold leaf. (B/L)
Day 19 / Yangon ~ He Ho ~ Kalaw
A morning flight wings you to He Ho in Upper-Burma to meet your waiting guide for transport across the pine-scented woodlands to reach what once was a favorite hill station retreat for British administrative officials, located on the rim of the Shan Plateau. En route, stop at a farming village where Pa-O and Shan people live working the soil as their livelihood. Nearby, visit a small cave where Buddhist devotees have placed numerous Buddhist statues. Upon lunch within the town, enjoy a walking tour through this peaceful setting with the atmosphere so very reminiscent of the colonial era. Nowadays the town is a market center for ethnic minorities that reach here from the hillsides to gather necessities. (B/L)
Day 20 / Excursion to Green Valley Elephant Camp
Completing an early breakfast, drive to the Magwe elephant camp. Upon arrival you will be greeted by the camp’s team who will inform you about the project of rescuing elephants from their former life of hauling timber within the forests. Within the camp, you will observe how the mahouts and their families live while caring for the elephants. You will have a chance to both feed and bathe the elephants by riverside. (B/L)
Day 21 / Kalaw ~ Nyaung Shwe ~ Inle Lake
This morning’s drive takes you across the countryside to the embarkation point at Nyuang Shwe to board your private launch whisking you across the lake to the site of your accommodation. En route you will see the famous Inthar leg rowers, who wrap their lower leg around the paddle as they search the waters for their favorite fishing sites. Passing the floating gardens at Inle, you will visit the Phaungdaw OO Pagoda, dating back to the 18th century, the Nga Phe Monastery, and the weaving village of Inpawkhon (B/L)
Day 22 / Excursion to Indein Pagoda complex
Board your private launch taking you to the western shore of the lake where you will disembark and begin the stair path lined with hundreds of small stupas overgrown by moss and greens to the top of the hillside and the Indein Pagoda complex. Continue on foot to a nearby village where the residents continue to grow their crops in generations-old fashion. Walking past the many fields of rice and flowing creeks, arrive at the village of Sae Ma and onward to Tha Le. Enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants prior to returning to your resort. (B/L)
Day 23 / Inle Lake ~ Yangon ~ Bangkok
Return by boat to Nyuang Shwe for transport to He Ho for you return flight to Yangon. You will have the use of your private vehicle; time permitting, for additional sightseeing prior to boarding your connecting flight to Bangkok. (B)
Day 24 / Bangkok ~ United States
All too soon you passage throughout Southeast Asia has come to an end and it is time to board your flight homeward carrying with you some marvelous memories that will be rekindled again and again over a lifetime.
ADVANCED BOOKING DISCOUNT:
A tour booking and full payment made 6 months or more prior to the departure date qualifies you for a 10% discount on Land Arrangements.
CUSTOM TOUR OPTION:
You are welcome to visit our custom tour page using this basic itinerary as a model and customize the entire day-to-day tour program or begin anew to craft one that matches your choice for countries and locations to visit, length of stay at each destination, choice of 4 or 5 star accommodations and number of days for travel. Once provided with an overview of how you would like to see the itinerary completed, First Cabin will send you a draft for review and work together to finalize an itinerary to your specifications.
Book Your Luxury, Personalized Itinerary Well In Advance of Your Departure Date and Qualify for a 10% Discount On Land Arrangements.