Years ago, I planned to spend six to twelve months travelling around India. Then this thing called ‘work’ got in the way, so my first visit (again, years ago) was restricted to a month. Of course, I fell in love with the place instantly.
India is the perfect country to dip into for a while, to embrace the sensory overload, go home then head back to explore a different part later. There is no other country more suited to travelling with a small group and a local leader. It can be an overwhelming experience, so many travellers who ‘go it alone’ in India end up frustrated and frazzled.
We choose leaders who are have been to uni, have often worked for a big multi-national company and, above all, have NOT been to tour guide school – they do not constantly recite tedious tourist spiels and look for commissions at carpet shops. They’re just good guys who love showing people around their homeland. Many are from the Rajput clan, a group of people with a long and proud heritage.
But enough advertorial. We have a new brochure. And we’re excited. Whether you’re looking for a short introduction to wonderful India, want to travel overland from Kathmandu to Kerala, or explore the mountains of Nepal, we have a remarkably comprehensive range of trips.
I’ve also been asked to offer a few tips on travel to India and Nepal.
The most obvious one regards when to go. For Nepal, it’s simple. Avoid the monsoon (late May through to the end of August). It’s rainy and cloudy. October is the most popular month, followed by April. This is when the weather is warm and stable. For me though, November and March are the best months, as there are fewer people on the trail. If you don’t mind colder weather, think about December – the skies are crystal clear and the trails are empty. I think it’s a great time to trek.
You can explore India all year really, although it does get very hot mid-year. By September it has cooled down a bit and by December, it can be positively chilly at night. For me, there is no bad time to go to India but I quite like the tail end of the monsoon (late August). The light for photography is great and the odd storm makes things exciting.
The next tip regards where to go. Starting with Nepal, I reckon either head out to the Annapurna region, characterised by terraced rice field and rhododendron forest back-dropped by beautiful mountains, or the Everest area. It’s drier and more stark, but the Sherpa culture and dramatic mountain scenery make it mind-blowing. For the Annapurna, check out our fantastic new 11-day Annapurna Community Lodge Trek It’s not too long, spends time off the busy trails and stays in our community lodges – high quality lodges whose profits support local schools. In the Everest area, we have introduced an easy 8-day Everest Express trek that offers insights into the Sherpa culture and views of mighty Sagarmatha (Mt Everest).
Where to go in India? Our overland trips are very popular for a reason – you see a lot! I like our new 15-day Maharajas & Mountains, if you want to cover a lot in a short time, but if you want to focus on one area, go for our 12-day Rajasthan at a Glance. We also spend a couple of nights at Chandelao.
To be honest, it doesn’t really matter where, or when you go. Any journey to the sub-continent is sure to amaze you and, like me, you’ll almost certainly go back.”