Ask the Experts: Where can I find sun, sea and culture in January?

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This week’s keen traveller is Caroline from London, who has a tall order for a winter holiday. ..

I’m looking to go away in January – somewhere with sun, sea, culture and a bit of adventure that’s not too expensive! I’m thinking India, but have you got any ideas? Caroline in London

It’s a tight brief, but our Experts are prepared for anything! Let’s hand it over to the Experts themselves, Sarah and Claire, and see what advice they’ve got for Caroline.

Sarah Jones from STA Covent Garden says…

A sunny, cheap, exotic January destination that has buckets of culture and room for adventure can only be India.

Apart from the Himilayan region, the temperatures around the country in January are in the 20s – late 20s, bringing a pleasant not too overbearing climate to enjoy all that the country has to offer.

Most people don’t have time for exploring both the north and the south, so it may be best to choose one or the other.

If you’re looking to see those landmarks that make India famous – the grand Taj Mahal, the holy Ghats of the River Ganges and palaces of Rajasthan, then the north is the place to go. Here you will be overrun with rich traditions, monuments and smells that make India uniquely its own.

Our 15-day Essential India tour is a perfect way to experience, quite literally, essential India. Not only will you see the above mentioned staples of the Taj, Varanassi and the Amber city of Jaipur but you also get a taste of Indian village life in the small rural community of Alipura.

Get the ultimate overview of India, on our Essential India tour

Alternatively, there is the more chilled-out south which will settle your sun, sea and sand requirements. You can start in the beach paradise of Goa with its white sandy beaches, perfect sunsets, near permanent sunshine and partying ways.

After a few days here you can make your way over to the state of Kerala. Here, you can get your inner hippy out with its famous meditation hotspots whilst marvel at the views of the Arabian Sea – a more tranquil and spiritual option to the wilder Goa.

The 7-day Beaches and Backwaters trip is a great itinerary to look at, which not only encompasses the serenity of the beach spots and harbour towns, but also includes a stay onboard a houseboat in the backwater canals – pretty awesome.

A trip to the south can be finished off with a few days in the buzzing Mumbai, experience all things Bollywood and all things Shantaram (well, maybe not all things…) before jetting home.

Claire Whittington from STA Travel Brighton suggests…

With flights starting at £402 including taxes, more culture than you can shake a stick at, temperatures around 27 degrees, a beautiful coastline and the fact that even crossing the roads can be an adventure… India has to be the place for you!

Looking for culture, festivals and history? Then head to India!

Why not book yourself a 31-day adventure from Kolkata to Kochin by train? It’ll help you make the most out of the time you have and ensure you don’t miss anything India has to offer.

Even better for independent minded travellers, this isn’t a “school trip” tour – there will be no holding hands in pairs or head counts at each tourist attraction. Oh no, on this trip you will be travelling with the locals on the trains and sharing your experiences with like-minded travellers – plus the price includes all your travel, transfers enroute and all accommodation.

This way of travelling also gives you the freedom to do what you want in each place, as there’s no tour guide, just our fantastic “honchos” on hand along the way. Honchos are basically your very own local resident, on hand to show you around the place you’re visiting. They’re on call from 9am – 9pm (and most will stay out later with you for a drink or dinner), and they just love showing you around.

Your honcho will take you to the “must-see” places, but they’ll also take you to their favourite cafe to hang out, or to that little temple that’s amazing inside but you would have just walked pass. You don’t have to spend all your time with them, either – if you want to head off and do your own thing, no worries! They’ll point you in the right direction and off you go!

A trip to Varanasi will tick your culture and adventure boxes

This adventure includes stops in Varanasi, where you could take a sitar lessons like John Lennon did many years ago, or watch ancient traditions and religious ceremonies take place along the Ganges. You’ll also go to Agra where you can wonder at the beautiful Taj Mahal, and Udaipur where you can wander around the vibrant, colourful buildings and markets and step back in time at the palaces and forts.

Finally, the trip gives you plenty of stops along the coast where you can relax on the beach or watch the fishermen using century old methods to catch your dinner for that night.

The trip also gives you some more unique experiences, including a camel safari and overnight stay in a desert camp, and staying in a Rajasthan Palace – try organising that yourself!

Awesome stuff, thanks Experts! If you’ve experienced sun, sea, and culture in India, let us know about it in the comments thread below. Or if you want our Travel Experts to give you a bit of inspiration for your travels, drop us an email!