For personal and professional endeavors, I have spent considerable time in Delhi. In addition to the city's diverse historical and cultural identity, little compares to Delhi's shopping scene. From luxury brands in DLF Emporio to handicrafts and antiques in Sundar Nagar, India's capital is overflowing with markets, malls, and bazaars. Many travelers visit Dilli Haat, an open-air market that features both permanent and transitional vendors. The space, designed to resemble a traditional village market, was created to showcase products from across India. Another popular spot is Paharganj, known locally as the Hippie Market. Located near the New Delhi Railway Station, Paharganj offers bargain-friendly bags, shoes, clothes, textiles, incense, jewelry, and more.
For almost a decade, Sodha Travel has been offering private and custom tours to South Asia. Many of you know how our passion and expertise for the region creates unique and memorable experiences. Now, Sodha Travel has been recognized as the leading company in Oregon to offer USA tours to Indian travelers!
Immersion and integration are key components to understanding and appreciating the heart of a culture. Luckily, travelers don’t often have to venture far from popular destinations to comfortably merge the foreign and familiar. Last year I spotlighted Talabgaon Castle in Rajasthan, India. The 200-year-old fort is nestled in Dausa, only two hours from the "Pink City" of Jaipur. The car horns, bustling markets, and crowds are replaced by stunning sunsets, poolside cocktails, and village life. It is a rare opportunity for travelers to experience the rural lifestyle and authentically engage with the locals.
The Tiger Express is off to a "roaring" start! India's newest semi-luxury train offers 6 day/5 night packages from Delhi to Bandhavgarh and Kanha national parks. (Kanha is also included in Sodha Travel's popular Jungle Book itinerary.) Named for the most notable resident of the parks, Tiger Express is the first wildlife circuit collaboration between the Indian Railways and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
Welcome back to the continuation of my interview with Audrey*, a professional tour guide who has been leading groups worldwide for 12+ years. Last week, Audrey discussed her greatest challenges, favorite destinations, and suitcase romances in Confessions of a Tour Guide: Part I. Read on to learn about her strangest guiding experience and the one thing she wishes all travelers would consider when packing their bags:
Tour guides can be a valuable part of a journey. Their expertise, connections, and advocacy can bridge the gap between what a traveler sees and what a traveler experiences. On the surface they often appear calm, friendly, and patient - answering endless questions, assuring the water is safe to drink, and quenching the thirst for knowledge and excitement in a foreign land. But have you ever wondered what your tour guide is really thinking?
Delhi is a bustling metropolis that incorporates the ancient with the modern. The capital city is brimming with eclectic neighborhoods, historic monuments, garden parks, and...snow? Welcome to Ski India, Asia's largest indoor snow park. Offering a ski track, bobsleds, ice skating, ice lounge, and interactive play area, the sci-fi themed attraction is sure to excite and inspire children of all ages.
On your next visit to Vietnam, skip the big bus tours and spend a few days exploring the magnificent landscape of Sapa. Established as a hill station by the French in 1922, Sapa overlooks the terraced rice fields of the Muong Hoa Valley. Thick mist and low clouds across the valley add to the panorama, now mostly populated by H’mong, Tay and Dao hill tribes.
Located just fours from Bangkok is the picturesque Khao Laem National Park. It is a part of the Western Forest Complex, a system of protected wilderness in the Dawna-Tenasserim Hills area of western Thailand. Not on the popular tourist circuit, the national park offers travelers the unique opportunity to enjoy a houseboat in Khao Laem Lake. Often termed raft houses, the communal lodging docks at a new location each night. Guests spend their days lounging in a hammock, kayaking, interacting with locals, and participating in scheduled activities like hiking and visits to hillside villages.
Inspired by Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name, The Jungle Book has been adapted once again for the big screen. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him into leaving the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives. Pack your bags and go from reel life to real life on an action-adventure in the heart of India. Follow in the footsteps of Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, and Kaa as you recreate your own The Jungle Book itinerary.
In the heart of Sri Lanka live the Veddas, an indigenous tribe who takes immense pride in an age-old lifestyle of hunting, collecting fruits, and worshipping spirits. Even with the impact of modernization, they treasure their traditions and maintain a fierce cultural preservation. Most Veddas speak Sinhala and Tamil - the official languages of Sri Lanka - as their native dialect is now nearly extinct. With faces blessed with sharp eyes, theirs is a heritage that spans hundreds of years.
As an India Destination Specialist who recently completed my 12th visit to the country, I have had my fair share of cultural mishaps along the way. India has become my second home, with countless lessons learned about how to best acclimate and immerse. (Check out more in my Tips for Traveling to India with Children.) Here are five mistakes that travelers make in India:
We are very excited for the opening of Haveli Dharampura, owned by friends of Sodha Travel. The hotel is nestled in Chandni Chowk, a location we adore for the eclectic mix of shops, eateries, and local flair. Considered one of the oldest and busiest street markets in India, Chandni Chowk is also positioned between two important historical sites: the Red Fort (Lal Qila) and Fatehpur Masjid, a 17th century mosque. (For more on the hustle and bustle, check out Spotlight: Chandni Chowk)