New brochure, new adventures… India and Beyond
Starting to think about your 2015 holiday? Find out what we’ve got lined up for the Indian subcontinent in our latest brochure with our sneak peek at what’s new, what’s particularly good value and what we’re most excited about!
Hampi, in the Deccan region.
This month marks an exciting time for Cox & Kings, with the release of a number of new brochures for 2015. Showcasing our tours to the Indian subcontinent, our India and Beyond brochure is packed with a mixture of tried and trusted favourites and exciting new itineraries.
We spoke to Balaji Kandasamy, Cox & Kings product manager for the Indian subcontinent, who shared what’s new for 2015.
At a glance: What’s new
“We’re going slightly off the tourist trail, and are expanding our luxury travelling camp offering.”
Featuring a number of exciting additions to Cox & Kings’ long-standing tours to the Indian subcontinent, the 2015 brochure expands the current offering with more off-the-beaten-track destinations and a greater number of luxury travelling camps.
Additions to look out for include:
• Three luxury camps will open; one in Nagaland, and the others near Lucknow and near Dudhwa National Park. The two latter luxury camps can be visited individually.
• The Nagaland camp (Kohima) is designed for travellers to attend the wonderful Hornbill Festival, which takes place in December and showcases the rich local culture.
• A new wildlife tour of Sri Lanka, called Sri Lanka: Wonders of the Wild
• River journeys along the Ganges – two notable tours are Discover Assam and the City of Light.
The Hornbill Festival
What we’re most excited about
“Sri Lanka, without a doubt.”
When asked about the most exciting element of the new brochure, Balaji enthused about tours to Sri Lanka. Explaining that the destination is opening up very nicely, he noted that there’s a lot developing in the country at the moment, with new boutique hotels cropping up across the island – and particularly on the east coast. Indeed, he highlighted the latter is especially exciting, as the difference in seasons between this region and the rest of the island, paired with the new accommodation, means that Sri Lanka can now be a year-round destination.
What’s more, the country offers real variety in terms of the price brackets it caters for and, while being a small destination, is extremely diverse.
Sri Lanka, Polonnaruwa
Brochure highlights for first-time visitors
“For a lot of people, it’s still the Golden Triangle.”
Newcomers to the Indian subcontinent will find the India and Beyond brochure has a lot to offer – and Balaji commented that the classic ‘Golden Triangle’ combination of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur is still among the best options.
Touring the Golden Triangle, which includes famous landmarks such as the Taj Mahal, is an excellent option for holidaymakers who want to travel for approximately a week.
Those with longer to spare should aim to spend a week in the north and a week in the south, because they’re wildly different. An alternative is the Grand Tour of Northern India, which is a signature tour and combines plenty of history and culture with the opportunity to gain a more in-depth understanding of the country.
Taj Mahal at sunset
Brochure highlights for return visitors
“For someone who has seen all the main tourist destinations, I would suggest private travel. That’s where they have the choice.”
For those who have travelled to India before and seen the main destinations, private tours are the best option. Balaji highlights that Cox & Kings covers the regions of India comprehensively, making it simple for visitors to go off the beaten track. A handful of the options include:
• A week in Gujarat, north-west India which encompasses the cities of Bhuj, Ghondal, Bhavnagar and Ahmedebad. The Colours of Gujurat, a sample journey, covers all these sights.
• A trip to Karnataka in south-west India, full of world heritage sites.
• A tour of the Kashmir Valley in the far north, an area set against the spectacular Himalaya. Attractions include Sringar, set against the shores of Dal Lake, and the Dachigam National Park, a biodiverse area home to the endangered Kashmir stags. The Srinagar: Heart of the Kashmir Valley journey can be taken as an escorted or private tour.
• A train journey, such as the Deccan Odyssey – these often go off the beaten track, combining destinations suitable for first-time visitors and lesser-known spots for return travellers.
“One of the challenges when you go off the tourist trail is the quality of the accommodation in some of the places, and that is something the train journey addresses,” Balaji shared.
Dal Lake in Srinigar
Off the beaten track
“If I were only able to choose one, it would have to be Karnataka.”
Getting off the beaten track is, of course, a wonderful way to have a more unique travel experience. Brimming with history and culture, Karnataka is home to a variety of spectacular ruins and monuments, and is known for its unique character – something that stems from the fact that, unlike much of India, it was never conquered by the Mughals. The Journey to Hampi private tour showcases the main highlights of the area.
Other options for getting off the beaten track include Aihole, which was once regarded as the cradle of Indian architecture, and Hampi, which is great for admiring the hilltop shrines of the Deccan region, as well as wildlife parks in north-east India or Sri Lanka.
Keshava temple in Karnataka
Brochure highlights: Value
“Sri Lanka is extremely good value at the moment.”
Thanks to the strength of sterling against the Indian rupee, now is an excellent time to visit the Indian subcontinent – Balaji stresses the 2015 tours are very attractively priced. And of course, the combination of the calibre of long-standing tours and exciting new additions makes just as big an impact.
In terms of the best-value tours in the 2015 brochure, Sri Lanka stands out for its pairing of value for money with exciting expansions in its tourism possibilities.
Elephants in Sri Lanka
Choosing your tour
“The best option would be to speak to a Cox & Kings India expert.”
Perhaps one of the most exciting things about the brochure for 2015 is that it’s a window into your travel possibilities. Indeed, Balaji noted that it really serves as an introduction to what’s on offer from Cox & Kings in this part of the world, and that you’ll find yet more possibilities online and by speaking to their team directly.
And of course, for those struggling to decide between the myriad tours on offer, a conversation with the experienced travellers at Cox & Kings is the way to go; using their extensive expertise and drawing on personal experiences, they can help you select the best itinerary for your travel preferences.
Brochure highlights: Cox & Kings’ favourite
“It’s difficult to pick a favourite, though at a push I would say the train journeys – simply because they allow you to cover quite a bit in a short space of time, and allow you to take in some of the lesser-known sites.”
Picking a favourite element from the brochure would be a difficult decision for the best of us. When Balaji was pushed, he opted for the selection of train journeys, praising them for the variety they offer, which allows you to take in a mix of better- and lesser-known attractions, as well as their good value and their ability to cover a large area of India in a short space of time.
See the India and Beyond brochure for yourself, or call 020 7873 5000 to speak to a Cox & Kings India expert.
The Deccan Odyssey train
Photo credit: Thinkstock/ iStock