5 Nights in India's Golden Triangle. Delhi, Jaipur and Agra

5 Nights Golden Triangle – Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India

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Colourful, loud, overwhelming… India delivered everything I wanted and more. People rave about India. They speak highly and with such passion, but it hasn’t really been on my radar. That is until I visited and became one of those people. I’ve seen one small corner of India and become hooked! Where in India should I go next? Have your say in the comments below.

Looking through a star window at the Amber Fort. Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

 

Ideal Itinerary – 5 nights

1: Evening arrival

2: Old Delhi – Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi Food Walks

3: Old Delhi – Street Connections Tour, Delhi to Jaipur

4: Jaipur – Amber Fort and Jaipur tour

5: Agra – Drive Jaipur to Agra and visit Fatepur Sikri and Taj Mahal

6: Agra –  Morning sight-seeing and evening drive Agra to Delhi for departure

 

This corner of north India is filled with history and cultural sights. Our five night golden triangle itinerary was the perfect amount of time to experience loads without going into temple/palace/history overload.

Old Delhi Food Tour spice market india

 

I did a bit of mixing and matching on this trip. I researched all our accommodation and booked our tours in Delhi, then we had a driver and guide to take us from Delhi to Jaipur and Agra. There are plenty of companies offering Rajasthan tour packages, but our combination worked well because we had the flexibility of choosing our own accommodation, but the security of a driver and guide. As it was, the one morning we had nothing planned we ended up in an argument with our tuk tuk driver after he overcharged us.

Humayuns Tomb in Delhi, India. Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

Day 2 and 3: Explore Old Delhi

Places to visit in Delhi

You can’t leave Delhi without experiencing some of the key tourist sights. There are lots of Delhi tour packages offering day trips to see the Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb, but it is really easy to jump in a tuk tuk and experience these for yourself. Just be careful to either negotiate a fixed price beforehand, or ensure the meter is set to zero when you jump in. Believe me – we learned the hard way!

 

Eating in Delhi

The two standout experiences were our tours in Old Delhi. Our first evening we joined Delhi Food Walks  for their Old Delhi Tour with Anubhav. Andrew and I were the only guests which was perfect for exploring the maze of laneways and back streets of town. We tried street food we’ve never heard of, as well as our favourite Indian classics that we recognise from home. If you like Indian food do yourself a favour and book one of these tours. I’ll be back to try their breakfast tour for sure!

 

Our guide knew which street vendors he could trust to serve up delicious local food. Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

Old Delhi Walking Tours

One of the things I was apprehensive about was the poverty. I know from travelling in SE Asia how confronting that can be. The worst we had was a group of women, one heavily pregnant, surrounding our tuk tuk to beg for money. It might have worked if I hadn’t spotted them analyzing the traffic beforehand for clearly western targets. Knowing we would face situations like this I looked for a more legitimate way to give back to the community.

Our wonderful guide on the Street Connections walking tour of Old Delhi. He showed us hidden gems while raising awareness for a worthwhile charity. Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

 

That search led me to Street Connections, a tour company set up by an NGO to help former street kids practice their English and earn an income. Our guide spoke fantastic English and was open and honest about what it was like to grow up on the streets. We were given the opportunity to donate to the orphanage which helped him, but this was not the focus of the tour. The morning was about showing us the hidden gems of Old Delhi and a glimpse into local life.

Our Street Connections guide escorted us to a hidden Old Delhi rooftop where we could observe the chaos of the streets below. Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

 

Day 4: Jaipur, India

Amber Fort, Jaipur

In the afternoon of day 3 we drove from Delhi to Jaipur.  It is about a five hour drive into Rajasthan and home to the simply stunning Amber Fort. Andrew and I couldn’t believe how exquisite this palace was, and more so, that we had never heard of it! We may have come to India for the Taj Mahal, but the Amber Fort was the highlight of our north India tour.

The Amber Fort, Jaipur was the highlight of our golden triangle tour. Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

 

This was also the perfect place to do a little shopping and at our request our guide took us to a screen printing store and a carpet store. The pride of my living room is now a silk woven carpet! It certainly wasn’t the cheapest purchase, but we Andrew did some good haggling to get a price everyone was happy with.

 

Women in Indian saris enjoying the view from the Amber Fort, Jaipur. Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

Now obviously guides/drivers get a commission at these shops. It’s the nature of the business. I was impressed by our tour guide in Jaipur who never pressured us to stops. On the other hand our driver got a bit annoyed with us that we didn’t do more shopping after our rug purchase. He tried everything to get us into leather, furniture, jewellery and clothing shops on the way to the airport.

 

Day 5 & 6: Taj Mahal, Agra

The Taj Mahal was saved for last and it didn’t disappoint. We arrived just in time for sunset got some great photos. It truly is a spectacular place and one that you have to see at least once in your lifetime.

 

Be careful of your Taj Mahal timings. The Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays so you may have to alter your itinerary. Originally we wanted to go from Delhi to Agra, Agra to Jaipur and Jaipur back to Delhi but we would have missed the star attraction. On regular opening days the Taj is open from sunrise to sunset, but if you want to visit the museum you’ll need to visit between 10am and 5pm.

 

Another one off the bucket list. The Taj Mahal is even more amazing in person as it is in the photos. Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

 

Advice for your Golden Triangle tour

Do your research into your Rajasthan tour package.  Our Indian tour guides and drivers were a mixed bag in terms of quality. Our driver stayed with us throughout and got a bit pushy when it came to shopping and tips. We had a different guide in Jaipur (excellent), Fatepur Sikri and Agra (both average). I’d also opt for a more comfortable vehicle because we did spend a lot of time in that car.

 

India has far exceeded my expectations! I went with the idea that I was ticking the Taj Mahal off my bucket list. Now I’ve had a taste I’m keen to get back and explore more.

 

The streets of Delhi are chaotic! Expat Getaways, 5 Nights Golden Triangle, Delhi, Jaipur & Agra, India.

 

India Accommodation

I loved our hotels in Delhi and Jaipur. Both were heritage hotels, secluded from the chaos of the streets.

 

Maidens Hotel, Delhi

Hotel Narain Niwas Palace, Jaipur

Courtyard Marriott, Agra

 

Delhi Tours

I cannot speak highly enough about these two tours. They truly made us feel welcome in the chaos that was Old Delhi.

Delhi Food Walks 

New Delhi Street Connections 

 

Transport

From Hong Kong

Cathay Pacific, Jet Airways and Air India all fly to Delhi daily.

 

From Singapore

Singapore Airlines, Jet Airways and Air India all fly to Delhi daily.

 

The rest of the world

You can fly direct to Delhi from all over the world including London, Zurich, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, New York, San Francisco and Sydney.

 

Photographs

Almost all photography is courtesy of my lovely husband over at Andrew Mizzi Photography. Be sure to check out his website for info on his camera kit, to purchase prints and of course more stunning photographs from this trip and our travels around the world.

 

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The Golden Triangle is a perfect Expat Getaway. In 5 nights you can travel through Delhi, Jaipur and Agra seeing ancient palaces, the scramble of Old Delhi and the majestic Taj Mahal.

 

Expat Getaways endorses a policy of full disclosure.  This getaway was not sponsored or paid for by any company mentioned, and all views and opinions are solely those of the author.

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