Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

According to various travel sources, like Travel + Leisure, Forbes, CN Traveller, WanderlustIndia is going to be a hot 2024 travel destination, so I am bringing you my India Travel Guide

And to be honest, I was not surprised at all with this hot 2024 travel destination prediction. I spent 2 weeks in India in February 2023 and absolutely fell in love with the country! 

India is the 7th largest country in the world and has a 2nd largest population of the world, therefore India is a part of South Asia subcontinent, often called Indian subcontinent (a physiographic region in Southern Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate, projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas)! 🤯 

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Choosing the right itinerary is not an easy job, especially as there are many different things you can do in India: from hiking the Himalayas, swimming in the ocean to admiring Taj Mahal, one of the 7 New World Wonders. 

This India Travel Guide is covering the best of India: from bustling and vibrant modern city of Mumbai, seeing the best of Rajasthan (Udaipur and Jaipur), being left in awe after seeing Taj Mahal to finishing your trip in India’s capital – New Delhi

Heads up! Some links in this blog are affiliates. If you click and buy, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, I only recommend stuff I’ve tested or trust. Your support keeps this blog going—thanks a bunch!

🇮🇳 Read my blog on 5 Essential Tips for Surviving India – Top Things to Know before you go there (from how to get a tourist visa to which medicines to bring).

Short on time? Here are my recommended hotels and tours in each city 👇

How to get to India

From London you will find direct international flights to Mumbai and Delhi easily. I was flying with Virgin Atlantic from London Heathrow to Mumbai, and had my returning flight from Delhi to London. Both were around 10h long and I found flying with Virgin Atlantic pretty comfortable even when flying Economy like I did! The seats are comfortable, there’s enough leg-room and you get to eat and drink a lot! 😅 Usually direct flight tickets for this kind of route are around £700 pp, but you can also find cheaper options with layovers. For the best prices check here

Getting around India 

Let me tell you something: trying to travel via trains in India is mission IMPOSSIBLE! When I was preparing for a trip to India, I read Thor knows how many articles on Pinterest trying to understand how to book train tickets and get on trains. I was even in touch with our Indian friends who were contacting some local guides trying to sort out the train tickets for us. And do you know what we were told? ⤵️

Guys, it’s too complicated to book and reserve train tickets for non-Indians as they get sold out months in advance (seriously!?), you can come to the train station and check at the ticket counter if some people gave up and cancelled at last minute, but then you’re risking ending up in the 3rd class and you don’t want to travel like that. Best is to just book a taxi, it’s cheap to do this here. 

Alrighty, a taxi will do it then! 😅

I really wanted to experience train rides in India, but I didn’t want to complicate my life there and waste time on trying to get on the train, failing and then trying to find another option when instead I could be exploring the historical sites and living my Indian dolce vita

Find the best taxi transfers on GetYourGuide 🚕

Jaipur, India Travel Guide

Jaipur, India

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Agra, India

So, on shorter distances (as in 3-4h drive) use taxis by GetYourGuide in the link provided above.

On longer distances, the best is to fly. Domestic flights are cheap and take around 1-2h. Easy, convenient and affordable. 

I was flying with IndiGo, for the best prices go to Skyscanner.

Steal my travel route below:

✈️ Mumbai – Udaipur

✈️ Udaipur – Jaipur

🚕 Jaipur – Agra

🚕 Agra – Delhi

When to visit India

Generally, the best time to visit India is from October to March. The weather is the most pleasant then. You can expect warm, dry and sunny days. From April it tends to get very hot, while between June and September India is experiencing a monsoon season.

But as mentioned already, India is a subcontinent, therefore North India, particularly the Ladakh region is great during the summer months because it gets really cold there during the winter.

☀️ Destinations in this India travel guide are best to visit from October to March, so if you plan on doing the similar route, these are the months to go.

Mumbai – 3 days

Mumbai – if India and England had a baby 🥰

First impression: shockingly CLEAN! All these horror stories of India being dirty didn’t come true in Mumbai. On the contrary, the city felt very European and Western, with skyscrapers all around, beautiful long beach on the Arabian Sea and impressive Victorian buildings – at times I felt like I was in some kind of tropical London (if only that could be possible…). Overall in India I didn’t get to experience the culture shock everyone was telling me about, but maybe also because I went to Egypt previously and was shocked there. But it is chaotic though…

Day 1 in Mumbai

You’ll need 3 days in Mumbai, especially because on your first day you will pretty much do nothing and just try to adjust to your jet lag. I suggest you book a nice hotel with a pool and restaurants/bars within its walls, so you can really relax on your first day, have some sleep, grab food and drinks and go to sleep again. 

I stayed in President – IHCL SeleQtions and really loved my stay there. The hotel has 2 restaurants (Italian and Thai), a buffet, cafe and a bar, and a poolside area. I recommend Thai restaurant, especially green and/or red curry, so delicious! 😋

Mumbai, India

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai

HOWEVER, if you want to indulge in a complete luxury and treat yourself with a 5 ⭐️ hotel, then you have to stay at Taj Mahal Palace 🤩!

I booked a night there for Valentine’s Day and it was THE BEST STAY EVER!!

Built in 1903, the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai is a grand hotel with a view of the Arabian Sea and stands opposite to the Gateway of India. It has 9 restaurants, including popular ones like Wasabi by Morimoto – make sure to reserve a table in advance because it gets booked up! Because we were there on Valentine’s Day, the hotel organised a barbecue in the outside area with live jazz music. Can it BE more perfect than that!? 🥹

The hotel rooms have Indian-inspired decor and come with modern amenities like a TV and minibar. There’s also a 24-hour butler service (I felt like Kevin from Home Alone Lost in New York while staying there) and the staff was really, really friendly 🫶.

The hotel also offers luxury experiences like the Taj Salon, a landscaped pool, and high-end shopping with brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior. 

Taj Mahal Palace is located in Colaba, and it’s a short walk from the National Gallery of Modern Art while the Mumbai International Airport is 26 km away, making it a very convenient location. 

Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, India Travel Guide

Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, India Travel Guide

Alrighty, now that you’re all set where to stay and how to spend your first day in India (and Mumbai), let’s get into Mumbai Day 2:

Day 2 in Mumbai

On Day 2 you will cover the main historical monuments and sights of Mumbai and make a lot of steps! 😄

Start your day with visiting Gateway of India and Taj Mahal Palace – even if you’re not staying there, it’s an icon of Mumbai and the most beautiful building there. In the end, many famous faces stayed there including: King George V, Queen Marry, The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Alfred Hitchcock, the Dalai Lama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and even Neil Armstrong! Cool, right!? 🤩

To learn more about Indian history, go to Chhatrapati Shivaji Museum (Prince of Wales Museum).

Walk towards C. Shivaji Terminus and admire the architecture during your walk (don’t miss the Flora Fountain). When you reach the train station, you would not believe that a train station can be THAT beautiful.

No better place to experience local life than visiting one of the many local markets in the city. I suggest you go to the most famous one, Crawford Market. Do note that you are not allowed to visit the market on your own, there’s even a walled disclosure that you can only enter with a certified local guide. Don’t worry, there are plenty of them roaming around and targeting tourists like yourself, usually they’re dressed in white and will show you a certificate that they are THE guide you need by yourself.

I never really understood why you need a guide, but it is not a scam, but a real thing. You don’t need to pay them, but they will expect a tip, so make sure you give them something. The Market is really, really, really crowded and big, we tried to find some local clothes for the wedding, but everything was of a poor quality, so we gave up. Later we found a shop at the local market next to Taj Mahal Palace and bought the clothes there (that’s an interesting story which I will share in my upcoming Mumbai post). 

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Crawford Market, Mumbai, India Travel Guide

Finish your day of sightseeing at Marine Drive, relax on a beach (no bikinis please!). It’s anyway not clean for swimming, though you’ll see locals swimming in there) and enjoy the sunset. You will probably take a bunch of selfies with locals, so prepare for that! 😅

I was doing this on my own, but you can also book a tour with the local guide if you prefer it this way. Find the best tour here.

Day 3 in Mumbai

My initial plan for Mumbai Day 3 was to visit the Elephanta Caves. The Elephanta Caves are a collection of cave temples predominantly dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, which have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri (literally meaning “the city of caves”), in Mumbai Harbour, 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) east of Mumbai.

But the second I checked into Taj Mahal Palace, I knew I just wanted to have a relaxed day there – in the end we paid £372 for 1 night and felt like we wanted to make the most of it! I do not regret this decision, but I do think a day trip to Elephanta Caves is a great activity which I will do next time I’m in Mumbai. 😊

And this concludes activities in Mumbai in this Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide.

Udaipur – 2 days

Did you know that the award for The Best City in Asia of 2023 went to Udaipur

Travel & Leisure is organising the voting yearly and their readers get to vote. Udaipur won the first place for the 2nd time in the past 5 years.

And I have to say, I am not surprised at all! I was blown away by its beauty the second I landed there (there was a cow anecdote during landing, but I will tell you that in my upcoming Udaipur post – stay tuned 🐮)!

Udaipur is also called The City of Lakes and The White City. 

It’s built on Lake Pichola and every building is white there, therefore the nicknames. 

Udaipur, The Best City in Asia 2023

Udaipur, The Best City of Asia 2023

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Taj Lake Palace Hotel, Udaipur

Udaipur is in the desert state of Rajasthan and has around 604,000 people.

Realistically you can visit the best of Udaipur in 1 full day, but I recommend 2 days, so you can really get to enjoy it and relax in one of the many great luxury hotels there for the affordable price. 

The white building on the lake (photo above) is Taj Lake Palace Udaipur Hotel – the most luxurious and probably the most expensive hotel in Udaipur! But if you want to experience this luxury treatment, stay on the lake and live your la dolce vita, you have to stay there then 🤩

BUT, what if I tell you that you can stay in another PALACE for LESS money!? 😃

Shiv Niwas Palace

Welcome to Shiv Niwas Palace by HRH Group of Hotels 😍

Long story short – we landed in Udaipur around 7 pm and it was already dark. And you know how it is when you arrive somewhere during the evening – you don’t really notice much, the experience is just so different during the day! When we booked 2 nights at Shiv Niwas Palace we knew that the hotel is right next to the City Palace – main attraction in Udaipur. BUT, what we didn’t realise (dummies), is that Shiv Niwas is PART of the City Palace complex. So we actually stayed in THE PALACE!!! 😱

And you can guess what it meant – enjoying the amenities as much as we could, therefore, book 2 nights in Udaipur, so you can explore the main sights and live your best life in affordable palaces. Ah, Asia, if only there were such things in Europe that don’t cost a fortune! 🥲

We paid 2 nights with breakfast £293!!!

Shiv Niwas Palace, Udaipur, India

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

What to do in Udaipur:

🏰 visit the City Palace

🛕 visit Jagdish Temple

💖 have a romantic dinner at Lake Pichola

🌅 watch the sunset at Lake Pichola

For more activities, check here.

Jaipur – 3 days

Now is time to explore the Golden Triangle: Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. The most popular tourist destinations, especially for the first time visitors. 

My favourite city in all of India was Jaipur aka The Pink City 🩷

You can easily spend 4 days there, I will mention what you can do on your 4th day (it was on my list too, but unfortunately I just didn’t have enough time for it – but I guess that means I will have to go back someday!). 

Even though Udaipur and Jaipur are in the same region, Rajasthan, they are actually very far away from one another, therefore the best is to fly from Udaipur to Jaipur (1h flights vs. 8h car drive). You can go back to my India Travel Route above to check the best flight options. 

Day 1 in Jaipur

On your Day 1 in Jaipur you will cover the main city centre sights:

  • City Palace
  • Hawa Mahal
  • Tattoo Cafe (here you’ll find the best views of Hawa Mahal)
  • Jantar Mantar
  • Johri Bazaar
Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Day 2 in Jaipur

Day 2 is the best one if you ask me!

We booked a car driver with our hotel who was driving us to the spots we wanted to see AND who showed us some of the hidden gems in Jaipur! 🤩

You will need to rent a driver for the day because not only Jaipur has 9 million people which is more than New York and London, but it’s also very hilly and a lot of attractions are spread out. Because of that, no one would be willing to get you to one sight only and if you try to book an Uber, they will be offering you a full day service and will cancel your ride to one sight only! We spent 30 min trying to book an Uber and in the end we gave up, went back to the hotel and took their driver – they all offer the same price pretty much, we paid only £20 for the full day! 

So either organise this with your hotel, or for even better prices, book this kind of service on GetYourGuide.

Make sure to cover these sights on your Day 2 in Jaipur:

  • Gatore ki Chhatriyan (Royal Tombs which we didn’t have planned, but our driver took us there and discovered to us a hidden gem 🤩)
  • Amer Fort (also called Amber Palace)
  • Shiromani Temple
  • Panna Meena ka Kund (famous stairwell)
  • Water Palace (on the lake, you can’t visit it, only admire it from the distance)

The best activity in Jaipur

And then the best thing happened – our driver told us to visit an Elephant Sanctuary in a nearby village (you will drive that way towards the Water Palace). We instantly said “yes”!

Guys, I can’t even describe this feeling to you! We spent £30 there (£20 for the package and £10 for the tip). Our package included – befriending an elephant and feeding her. You can also walk with them if you’d like. All the money you pay will be spent for their food, especially bananas as they LOOOVEEE them 🤣

Our elephant was called Nena, which is my nickname, so we found the bond immediately – she’s my little big soulmate 🥹🩷

You can watch this experience that I documented here.

I didn’t plan to visit any of the wildlife sanctuaries in India because I was more focused on exploring the major cities and their rich cultural heritage, but I am so happy I had a change of my travel plans and included the sanctuary too – what a great experience! Incredible India ❤️

Jaipur, India

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

After the elephant experience, I thought there’s no way we could experience another cute moment like that.

But I was wrong – because India is a country of wonderful people 🩷.

Our driver took us to a local restaurant that is also a very good spot for tourists and there there was this little boy with his father, dressed like a little Raja, who was dancing while his father was playing music. And yes, it is questionable what kind of education this little boy gets and whether he’s forced to dance for tourists, but to be honest, it didn’t feel fake nor forced. He was so cute and in the end I was dancing with him 🫶.

My heart was full that day and I wish I could relive it once more and I hope you will do too.

Day 3 in Jaipur

Day 3 in Jaipur is also spread out, but you can use tuk-tuk and there’s no need to book a full day ride. Just stop any tuk-tuk you see, agree on the price and tell them where to drop you off. Then repeat until your day of sightseeing is done and you’re back in your hotel 😊.

On Day 3 cover these sights:

  • Patrika Gate
  • Albert Hall Museum 
  • Sun Temple
  • Monkey Temple (oh yeah, there will be monkeys, some say there are 4000 of them there 🙊)

If we had more time, we would also visit Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort, so either add an extra day, or depending on your arrival time in Jaipur, try to squeeze them. Or also have another reason to return some day like I do 😊.

Patrika Gate, Jaipur

Hot 2024 Travel Destination: India Travel Guide

Where to stay in Jaipur: 

If you want to stay in the most unique boutique hotel, then stay at Pearl Palace Heritage Boutique Hotel

Each room is called differently, we were staying in Nirvana. It was decorated like we were in a jungle and China lol (check it on my IG story highlight here). We paid 3 nights with breakfast £112 and that was the cheapest accommodation in India we had. 

P. S. Don’t confuse it with the Hotel Pearl Palace which is a sister-hotel, but a different one. Also a good option to stay.

Another great hotel which was my first choice, but for some reason the payment on Booking.com didn’t go through. The hotel cancelled our reservation, so we ended up in the Pearl Palace Heritage Boutique Hotel (no regrets though!) We tried first: Alsisar Haveli – Heritage Hotel.

For a more luxurious stay, check The Leela Palace Jaipur

Agra – 2 days

The only place I didn’t like in India so far was Agra. Why?

I will tell more about it in my upcoming Agra post, but shortly, people are really rude and they only see money in you. They’re using the fact that one of the 7 New World Wonders, Taj Mahal, is there and they know people will always be visiting to see it regardless of everything, so they give rights to themselves to misbehave. 

But hey, Taj Mahal IS there. 🤩

Realistically, you don’t need more than 8h in Agra. But because you will spend around 4h in a car from Jaipur to Agra and you want to visit Taj Mahal early in the morning, you’ll do that on your Day 2 in Agra.

Day 1 in Agra

On Day 1 just get to Agra, check into your hotel and relax. After all, you need this after 3 busy and chaotic days in Jaipur 😁.

I stayed in Courtyard by Marriott Agra, and even though it had good reviews and looked nice, I was NOT happy with my stay there.

Firstly, there was a wedding and all the wedding guests were in the common area, specifically, in the pool area, so we COULD NOT relax and enjoy the amenities because of them!

And because there was a freakin’ wedding in the hotel, the music was so loud, and was played late in the night, so we COULD NOT sleep. And when we finally fell asleep, at 6 am in the morning, those same wedding guests started partying again and woke us up! 

On top of that, the staff was very rude (remember how I told you that people in Agra are rude, well, it even applies to the hotel staff here!; at least in Marriott). We waited for the coffee that never come and overall had a pretty bad experience and WOULD NEVER stay there again.

Hotels in Agra

But, based on my previous and current research, here are some great options for you including the one luxury hotel:

ITC Mughal, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

Taj Hotel & Convention Centre – they have a great view of Taj Mahal from their pool area 😍

The Oberoi Amarvilas – just 600 m from Taj Mahal, practically you’re in its courtyard more or less 😍

Taj Mahal, Agra

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

Day 2 in Agra

Your Day 2 in Agra starts from the early morning, but not too early!

You will find a lot of blogs that advise you to go there for the sunrise – not mine!

Why not?

Visiting Taj Mahal for the sunrise is very popular and a lot of other people will have the same idea. Even if you buy your tickets online, you will still have to queue because you don’t buy a specific timed ticket, but rather you choose from morning and afternoon options. So with your morning one you can visit from the sunrise to noon. You have to check when is the sunrise on your visit because it’s different depending on the season. The afternoon one starts from 12 pm till the sunset. Check for sunset times too!.

When to visit Taj Mahal?

Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays. 

Ideally, you want to come just after the sunrise. For example if the sunrise is at 6 am, you want to be there between 7 am and 7:30 am (like I did). That way you still get to enjoy a little bit of sunrise, you don’t queue. And most importantly, you get to enjoy Taj Mahal without million people around you.

At 10 am it already gets crazy and will be overcrowded. 😳

Taj Mahal Tickets

Official tickets for Taj Mahal (and Agra Fort) are here

You can also get a guided tour

If you don’t have a guide, a million people will try to offer you their service and will drive you crazy a bit, we had to be rude to them in the end, otherwise they would not leave you alone. If you want to avoid being in a situation like this, then it’s definitely better to book a guided tour above. Do note that once you enter Taj Mahal nobody will bother you anymore though. 

Be aware of scams in this place – from fake guides, photographers etc.!

Oh, and monkeys! 🙈

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal, Agra, India

About Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal is the ivory-white marble mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal, a wife of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan who built this in 1670. It took 22 years to be completed and apparently the builders fingers were cut off, so they can never again build something as beautiful as Taj Mahal. 😱

It is one of the 7 New World Wonders 🌟

Seeing it in person is the ultimate dreams come true. 🥹

Check my Instagram Post on more of how to visit Taj Mahal without crowds.

Once you’re done with visiting the Taj Mahal (you’ll spend around 2h there easily), then it’s time to visit Agra Fort

Agra Fort, India

Agra Fort, India

And now an unfortunate anecdote: 

In the morning before visiting Taj Mahal, I started sneezing like crazy! I thought, well okay, maybe it’s because of all the dirt and dust in the air!

At Taj Mahal I noticed I was feeling a bit weak, but I didn’t want to give much attention to it and just enjoyed my 2nd New World Wonder (I have seen the Colosseum too). 

And then around 2 pm when the car picked us up to drive us to Delhi, I realised something was wrong. 

My body was getting weaker and weaker, the headache was stronger and my throat started to hurt too – by that point I knew I was getting sick! 🥲

Luckily I had Lemsip with me even though my husband made fun of me when I packed it to India.

His exact words were: Are you really going to bring Lemsip!? Do you know it’s going to be 30 C degrees!?

Anyhow, by the time we arrived in Delhi (around 6 pm), I was really, really sick. We didn’t have anything planned for that day, but we did plan a lot of things on our Day 2 in Delhi – unfortunately I never got to see any of it as I spent my last 2 days in India in a hotel, sleeping, drinking tea and Lemsip, fighting fever and trying to get better for my 10h flight back to London. 🥹 Below is me in a hotel room and the only things I have seen from Delhi – next time! 🫶

Sick in Delhi, India

Sick in Delhi, India

Luckily, I didn’t have to go to the hospital, but I did have a Travel Insurance and if it got worse or I stayed a bit longer, I might have had to use it!

Don’t think it will never happen to you and have the insurance always, always, always!

I am using Allianz Travel Insurance

I wrote a post on 5 Essential Tips for Surviving India and there I mentioned what medicines you have to bring with you, so have a read! 🤓

Delhi – 2 days

Despite the fact that I didn’t get to see anything of Delhi, I will still share a list of things I wanted to visit with you, to help you plan your activities there. And I WILL visit all these things some other time. 😊

Firstly, let’s talk about hotels!

I was SO happy with our choice of hotel in Delhi, given the circumstances right.

It had a restaurant and cafe, so we could just come down, grab something to eat and drink and go back to the room.

The hotel was Crowne Plaza New Delhi Okhla, an IHG Hotel – honestly, cannot recommend it more!!

Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur, India

Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur, India

Another good options are:

The Oberoi New Delhi – pricey, but gets most recommendations online and looks absolutely stunning 😍

The Leela Palace New Delhi

Shangri-La Eros New Delhi

What to do in Delhi: 

I had only 2 days in Delhi, one that was a full day of exploring (didn’t happen as we already know), but ideally, you need at least 2 full days to see the best of Delhi.

This is what I had planned:

  • Humayun’s Tomb
  • Red Fort
  • Jama Masjid
  • Lotus Temple
  • Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

Find your Delhi Tours here

And there you go – your Ultimate India Travel Guide 🇮🇳

I bet you can see why India is predicted to be a Hot 2024 Travel Destination. Tell me, are you already checking those flights on Skyscanner? 😁

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