21 January, 2019
With the new year upon us it’s time to think about where to travel in 2019 and what are the top places to travel to in 2019 on your holidays.
One of the destinations that made the New York Times list of places to visit in 2019 was Hampi in India. That get’s our tick of approval! (Hampi is one of the stops on our 18-day suggested itinerary Backroads of Kerala and Karnataka. )
And it reminds us India has so much to offer travellers, and that it’s sometimes the lesser-visited places in India that are worth highlighting.
If you are planning to travel in India this year and are looking for some inspiration – here are a few ideas of places to see and do that, like Hampi, you may not have heard of before or might be different from what most tour operators can offer you.
However, we know they will give you a memorable holiday in India and are worth including in your India travel plans.
This list has been compiled based on our personal experience, first-hand knowledge of the places, activities and the destinations themselves.
Here are our recommendations for the best places to visit in India and the top experiences to have during a tour of India in 2019:
# Must visit destination in India in 2019:
India’s much-loved southern port city of Cochin (Kochi) comes alive for three months with its own Kochi Biennale. Discover a world of art and culture across the city from exhibitions to performances, film screenings to talks and more! Cochin is a lovely city to explore anyway – but the Biennale just makes it even more appealing. Be sure to head to Cochin while the festival is running – until the end of March 2019.
While you are they you can see the famous fishing nets of Cochin and the Dutch Palace, explore the lovely cafes and small boutiques and store and dine in one of the great restaurants to be discovered in Kochi.
# Best hotel to splurge on in India:
India is home to some of the best luxury hotels in the world – from palaces to grand heritage hotels to incredible resorts. One of our favourites is RAAS, in the blue city of Jodhpur in Rajasthan. A modern, design hotel, RAAS is ideally located in Jodhpur – near the step well, the bustling market near the clock tower and within walking distance of a new modern quarter dedicated to contemporary boutiques and cafes. On top of this – the hotel boasts one of the most impressive views in India – with every room having its own, very impressive views of Mehrangarh Fort. Relax by the pool when the heat of the day makes sightseeing too much and soak up the fort views, dine at RAAS’ rooftop restaurant and absorb the fort lit in all its glory at night. RAAS is our tip for the best hotel to splurge on in India this year. As you can see – the fort views are breathtaking.
# Best family activity in India:
Now this is a tough one to narrow down to just one experience! We’ve been travelling with children in India regularly for the past almost 8 years (and by regularly we mean at least twice a year), so we know family travel in India. There are so many great activities you can do when travelling with children in India – depending on their age and their interest we can tailor activities to suit your holiday. But here are some of the activities we have done in India which are great for families: craft/block printing workshops; village walks and tree planting; gentle bullock cart rides in villages; small boat rides in Kerala; cooking classes and more. What we find works well when you are travelling with children in India is to include a range of suitable hands on activities they can participate in and enjoy, as well as activities that reveal the country (such as boat rides and bullock cart rides) without just visiting site after sights. After all, that can get tiresome for adults let alone children! For more tips on travelling with children in India – visit our travel blog dedicated to the subject here.
# Top new experience/activity in India in 2019:
For wildlife enthusiast or those who like a more active pace of travel we are excited to offer cycling and camping programs in Satpura National Park this year. At Satpura guests are allowed to walk in the park – which is not common in other national parks of India. The park is home to birds and sloth bears among other wildlife. A new 30-day camping/walking program in the park offers a more down to earth experience for visitors compared with the tiger jeep safaris offered in other parks and will give you a first-hand experience of Indian parks and wilderness.
# India’s best city to explore in 2019:
Once the centerpiece of the British Empire in India, Kolkata is a city rich in history and legacy. With its imposing British monument, and vibrant and unique food scene – there’s a lot to discover in Kolkata. The best way to find the city’s heart is by joining one or several of the interesting walking tours run here by a group of Kolkata residents who are passionate about their home and its history. (Meet on of our favourite Kolkata guides here.) As well as the Oberoi Grand, the newly opened Calcutta Bungalow is a great value and interesting place to stay. This lovingly and painstakingly restored small hotel will give travellers a true experience of Kolkata.
For those interested in river cruising in India – Kolkata is a starting point for several river cruises.
# Best travel experience for female travellers in India:
Discover the fabulous pink city of Jaipur is a pink tuk-tuk driven by local women who will be your driver and guide as they show you their city. This initiative is run by a not for profit in the city and is providing employment and opportunities for women from poor backgrounds. A great way for women travellers in India to experience Jaipur.
What are the best places to visit in India?
Here are our suggestions for some of the best places to visit in India in 2019 and what you can expect to see and do there – from wildlife experiences to family travel in India to tips on the best restaurants in India. They are based on decades of India travel and exploration and have been compiled by our senior travel planners.
# India’s best places for village walks or walking in the countryside:
Walking can be a great way to discover a country and see more than just the cities. If you want a walking holiday in India – there are several great options for village walks or places to visit and stay where we can incorporate day walks. Two of the best options include village walks in Kumoan and day walks around Palighar.
# India’s top dining experience:
India’s top dining experience in 2019 may actual turn into a battle between the old and the new. Indian Accent in New Delhi has long held the crown of the nation’s top restaurant, and one of the best in Asia. In terms of fine dining, atmosphere and the taste and quality of the food – Indian Accent’s tasting menu ticks all the right boxes. But recently, a new contender has emerged on the block vying for the title of India’s best restaurant – and that’s Bombay Canteen in Mumbai – which recently was voted by one source as India’s top restaurant. We’ve tried both and loved both. Our recommendation – make a booking at both and compare the experiences! Two great dining experiences for foodies in India!
# Best place for a beach stay in India :
Our favourites for the best beach stay in India this year all point to Neeleshwer Hermitage on northern Kerala. We love this part of India as the resort has a very nice clean and well-maintained beach and a gorgeous pool. The resort boasts freestanding chalets; beach access and you can expect to savour delicious fresh seafood during your stay. This part of northern Kerala is relatively undeveloped – so while you won’t find a lot of other options for dining outside the resort or shopping, cafes etc. (as you do in places such a Goa) But it’s peaceful, the beaches well looked after by the resort and it’s a place where you can unwind and enjoy a beach break. With the opening of an international airport at Kannur, this part of India is now more accessible.
# What is the best place to celebrate a significant birthday or wedding anniversary in India?
Dev Shree at Deogarh and we know this from experience. We were part of a significant birthday celebration held at Dev Shree last year and know how truly wonderful a special occasion will be celebrated here.
# India’s best wildlife experience:
Vanghat Lodge in the buffer zone of Corbett National Park is not easy to reach and for wildlife enthusiasts it offers a true wildlife experience. To reach this 8-acre estate you need to cross a bridge by vehicle, trek a few kilometres and raft across a river. One of the most remote wildlife lodges in northern India, the lodge has just 4 private cottages. For suggested ideas about wildlife travel in India read here.
For more information about travel in India you may also like to read our other travel blogs:
To find out more about creating your ideal holiday in India – contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a custom made India holiday.