This week, our fabulous Experts return to the panel to face a question of untold adventure. Centring around one of the world’s most alluring regions; a place of romantic history, and incredible modern life.
They call it the Golden Triangle, and it’s formed by three of North India’s most revered city’s: Delhi, the mighty capital; Agra, home to the Taj Mahal; and Jaipur, The Pink City. Teetering on the edge of Rajasthan, this is a region that has long attracted the eye of foreign explorers, and it’s soon the turn of Kylie from Lincoln, who has emailed the Experts to ask them for some straight-up advice.
How long do I need to explore India’s Golden Triangle? And as a single female, is it a destination you would recommend? Thanks Experts! Kylie in Lincoln
But can they meet the task? Can they lay down a response worthy of such a grand location? There’s only one way to find out, let’s hand over to the Experts…
Sarah at STA Travel Covent Garden kicks off with…
The Golden Triangle is a definite for any traveller visiting northern India. It’s generally known as Delhi, Agra and Jaipur and is home to some of India’s greatest treasures. The amount of time to spend travelling it really depends on the person, and how much time you have in India, however I’d say you can comfortably see the sights in a week, or just over.
The capital, Delhi, contains a real mix of old imperial grandeur, such as the India Gate and Connaught Place; classic India, the Jama Masjid Mosque and Chandni Chowk in the Old quarter; and modern India.
It’s an incredibly busy place and can be a bit stressful but there’s a lot to see, so definitely spend a few days here.
A day or two is plenty in Agra; the home to the breathtaking Taj Mahal. It’s best to see it at the crack of dawn when the sun rises over it (and there are less people). There’s also Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri, ancient relics of the Mughal Empire. The city of Agra itself is pretty small and has little more to offer, it’s quite touristy, and has many touts.
Jaipur — the ‘Pink City’ — is the biggest city in Rajasthan, and famous for its pink sandstone buildings. It is another busy place but it boasts some incredible sights of Indian prestige. You could spend a good few days exploring the city’s majestic palaces, forts and temples, the Amber Fort and the Hawa Mahal being two famous ones. Jaipur is a much more relaxed place to stay than Delhi so I’d preference this one over the two.
Travelling as a solo female in India does have its difficulties; India is very conservative with regards to sexuality, and Western women are generally seen as the cultural opposite, which can unfortunately result in harassment, from comments onwards.
This isn’t something to get overly anxious about and definitely shouldn’t put you off visiting this incredible country, but it can lead to a less than comfortable travel experience. A major rule to follow is to always dress modestly; avoid showing too your legs and shoulders, which will prevents unwanted attention.
Another way to feel a bit safer as a female is by joining up with other travellers (consider groups with a male or two in), or by doing a tour. There are a number of tours that visit the Golden Triangle, including the appropriately named ‘Golden Triangle‘. It’s 8 days long, £399 (but there’s currently some offers), and provides an Indian guide. All-in-all, if you’re a savvy traveller and aware of the culture then you’ll be fine.
Kim at STA Travel Dundee decided on…
Hey Kylie, thanks for a great question. It’s a tricky one, and a lot of what I’m about to say depends on your individual personality. You will hear a lot of people talk about the leering and general intimidating behaviour aimed towards Western woman, and I won’t lie, it does happen. On the flip side, however, don’t let it put you off, because India will blow your mind!
As Sarah said, try and aim to travel in a group, and enjoy the rich and vibrant chaos of India without compromising your safety.
We offer plenty of sustainable travel groups, which provide small group tours using local transport and accommodation to give you more realistic experience. We offer a variety of trips around the Golden Triangle, to suit any budget and time frame.
One of the stand out tours (and also one of our most popular, ever!) is the Roam India adventure. It’s a 20-day epic, that takes in the classic Golden Triangle (Agra, Jaipur and Delhi) but also builds in the holy city of Varanasi, and a larger swathe of Rajasthan. It’s a magical adventure, and here’s a hint: right now, you can grab 10% off as a solo traveller (or 15% as a twosome), as part of the Year of Travel promotion.
Heather at STA Travel Nottingham concluded…
The Golden Triangle is a great choice within India, but it can be challenging to travel alone, so I would recommend joining a group trip. This will make it easier for you to travel, plus it takes all of the hassle away and means you’ll meet some great new friends. I would echo the Sarah’s nod to the Golden Triangle; in 8 days, you get to see so many different things, and the trip covers the colourful contrast between the northern cities of India.
As a bonus, you also get to visit Bharatpur, which is a deserted city that has been perfectly preserved. If you have a bit of extra time in India it is well worth continuing your travels, perhaps heading south, towards Goa and having some time to relax outside of the cities. Come back and tell us what you decide!
Fantastic work, Experts! They crammed so much info in this week; it’s certainly taught me a thing or two. How about you? Remember, if you’re thinking of booking a group tour, or looking for cheap flights, we’ve got it all on offer as part of your year of travel!