Taking your family to a faraway country with a different culture may feel a bit daunting at first – but no need for that! We think India is a wonderful place to take your family and experience a real adventure and so does our rambler, Annie. She recently returned from India with her 3 kids, and wanted to share her Rickshaw adventure…
“India is crazy busy at times, especially in the main cities. But the locals, especially the guides, are always entertaining and very welcoming. I completely recommend it for families, but you should read up, be flexible, carry rupees for tipping, use insect repellent and always carry bottled water – thank me for that one later!”
Annie’s Family trip –
I’m not really a ‘sit on a beach’ kind of person, I want to get out there and have a proper adventure when away. I have three children, aged 12, 17 and 19, and as you can imagine, they all have different wants and needs which can make things a lot harder, especially when planning a holiday. After a lot of thought, I decided to pick Rickshaw Travel to help plan our India adventure. I could pick where I wanted to visit, how long for, and get advice on the areas that would be of interest to my family – as well as feel super confident that we would be looked after throughout.
Delhi & Mandawa
We landed at Delhi International Airport and were met by Rickshaw’s local agent who had a taxi ready and waiting. When you’re a mother of three, this is just what you need after an eight-hour flight, instead of having to go through the faff of sorting the transfer yourself. After a much-needed rest at our first hotel, we ventured outside to explore the Karol Bagh area of Delhi. Be prepared for an onslaught of smells, colour, noise and people trying to sell you stuff as you walk through the bazaars! There’s no need to worry about the food at the hotels – it was all really tasty, I have quite fussy kids and even my 12-year-old liked it. Most of our hotels had a wide variety of food – you should always find something they like.
Two nights in the lovely Mandawa Desert Resort gave us time to relax by the pool, slow down and experience our first camel ride to the desert. We got shown around Mandawa and all its painted havelis by a very amusing guide – he was great. You might think that your children wouldn’t be interested in a tour like this, but he’ll change your mind! He kept us all engaged and made sure that we all enjoyed it, no matter our age.
Jaipur & Tigers
Jaipur is a very big city with lots going on, but thankfully we had a little oasis in the midst of this – a little gem of a place with great staff, varied food (macaroni cheese for the less adventurous) and the best vegetable kofta I’ve ever tasted… and another swimming pool, which was great for the kids. After a crazy day sightseeing, it was heaven to sit in the garden of this lovely hotel and watch the kids mess about in the pool. We had a guide take us to see the Amber Fort, the City Palace, Hawa Mahal and Jantar Mantar – all fascinating, and again – another lovely guide who told us exactly what we wanted to hear. It was a nonstop day of places to see and did get very hot at times – always carry bottled water and sun cream!
After two nights in Jaipur, it was time to hit the road again for the 4-hour drive in an air-conditioned car to Sawai Madhopur. After a comfortable night in a large tent, we were up early for the first safari. Our guide was amazing with all my kids, especially my youngest. We saw lots of deer, monkeys, wild pigs and birds but unfortunately, no tigers. However, we were out again on our second safari later that afternoon and unbelievably we saw a large male and a female! The male tiger was asleep but woke up and went to drink from a nearby waterhole – we were all in awe of this magnificent beast; what a fantastic way to end the day.
Arga & the Taj Mahal
The next day, another change of pace – off to Agra! On the way, we stopped at Keoladeo Ghana National Park. A lovely place but not worth the money if you haven’t got long and your kids are young. It’s an ornithologist paradise and beautifully peaceful but unfortunately missed the spot with my kids. Our hotel in Agra was magnificent – we spent the evening relaxing and eating food at their rooftop restaurant – bliss. After grabbing a rickshaw and a short journey onwards, we arrived at the Taj Mahal. I would recommend just bringing cameras and wallets unless you want to be directed to the locker area to drop your bag off.
It’s pointless giving a description of the Taj – you just must visit! We walked around the whole area and even with the crowds of people it commanded a peaceful presence. Truly beautiful. Agra is a very busy place and there is a lot of poverty evident – we were asked for money more than anywhere else. We were used to people trying to sell us stuff, but this was the first time we had experienced actual begging, but we never felt unsafe! A train and a transfer later, we were back at our hotel in Delhi.
The following day we got picked up to go exploring by metro – which was only introduced in 2003, it was shiny and new but crazily packed – think London rush hour and more! We got taken to a spice market (I couldn’t stop sneezing afterwards!), the largest mosque in India and Sikh Gurdwara. We travelled through the streets by cycle rickshaw and really experienced the old Delhi before stopping to browse in Connaught Place.
After a busy day, we made our own way back and enjoyed our last dinner in India, before getting taken to the airport to jet off home… well after buying way too many souvenirs!
How did your kids find the trip?
Well, my youngest didn’t want to go – she hates flying and insects! But in the end, she was fine and only had one meltdown throughout the whole trip – and that was about an insect in our tent. My other 2 were really looking forward to it before they went and are at the age to appreciate what a special trip it was. They had an amazing time and the guides were very pleasant. I wouldn’t take children younger than the age of 12 on the trip we went on, I would recommend a bit more on the beach for younger kids – to give all the family a chance to wind down.
It was quite an educational trip too, as there is A LOT of history everywhere you go, and we all found it interesting, but lots of information that younger kids might find a bit dull. However, it was such a good mix of history, pools, animals, travel and scenery that there wasn’t a moment of boredom. To me, it was a happy balance between education and fun. My oldest actually said, and I quote – ‘This is my kind of holiday’. We were well looked after, and I would rather wander down the streets of Delhi than New York – felt my kids were totally safe!
Gosh, I do go on!