Indian railway is certainly is the ‘lifeline of the nation’ runs about 14000 trains with its commendable performance since it started in 16th July 1853. It’s known to be the largest railway network in Asia and world’s largest railway. From old steam engines to modern diesel and electric locomotives, this rail journey is for the romantic with some resilience covering four states in India in 14 days.
About TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS
The company with over 28 yrs old experienced team is committed to bringing the best in both quality and value to small group journeys, private car guided tours and tailor-made tours to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Being a leading travel wholesaler we introduce travellers to the amazing culture and offer tours at unbeatable prices and with unparalleled comfort. For your protections TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS is approved Destination Management Company by Ministry of tourism Govt of India and member of IATA, AFTA, ATAC, IATO and PATA to name few. We are proud to say that our team is very experienced with in-depth knowledge of destination. Our reputation is built on providing world class service with real personal touches that make a difference to your holiday. We understand the importance of giving attention to even the smallest of details and care about the countries to which we take you and make sure that we have a positive effect on the environment. Respect for locals and their way of life is an essential part of travelling with TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS.
“You Rely on us and we rely on experience”
India by Rail - 14 Days/13 Nights (Private Car Tour/Train Journey)
Day 01: Arrive Kolkata
Day 02: Kolkata
Day 03: Kolkata – Darjeeling
Day 04: Darjeeling
Day 05: Darjeeling
Day 06: Darjeeling
Day 07: Darjeeling – Varanasi
Day 08: Varanasi
Day 09: Varanasi – Agra
Day 10: Agra
Day 11: Agra – Delhi
Day 12: Delhi – Shimla
Day 13: Shimla
Day 14: Shimla – Delhi Departure
Being a seasoned traveller ourselves we have discovered the travelling time is unpredictable sometime you reach a destination so late that you are tired to go out for dinner or search for a proper dinning place around the vicinity of your hotel which may become a chore during your holiday, hence we have removed the hassle by including most of breakfast and dinners in all our brochure tour packages.
Pre & Post Tour Accommodation
Do some exploring before the trip begins or add couple of nights after the tour to relax before boarding your flight. We offer competitive rates in all destinations- book in conjunction with your main tour - ask TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS or your travel agent.
Add-On (Short Tour packages)
Make the most of your time away - after all, you have travelled all that way. Our Add-On can be used as short breaks in their own right or as pre/post tour additions. With all arrangements made for you they are the perfect way to discover more of your destinations - ask TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS or your travel agent.
Private Car Tours
Our private car tour is not about leaving you alone to explore destinations or country; it’s all about giving you to opportunity to choose your own dates and travelling on leisurely paced by your own privet car and driver. Your itinerary will be private, personalised and flexible which can be chosen from our selections or customised according to your request. Your private local English speaking guide will escort you in each destination during sightseeing tour; and when you want to explore town own your own; you are perfectly free to do so.
Our Group and Private Car tours have been designed to feature a selection of the destination’s highlights, but they may not meet all of your requirements. At TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS we are proud to offer expert tailor-made services that enable us to construct your perfect holiday. Perhaps you would like to vary the standard of accommodation or modes of transport. On the other hand, you may want to create an entirely individual itinerary that includes destinations and experiences not covered in the featured itineraries. Whatever your needs, we are happy to design a personalised itinerary and quote without obligation.
“The Holidays you dream are the holidays we pack”
What better way to spend quality time with your loved ones than to get away from the daily hectic schedule and escape to a place of sheer relaxation and comfort.
A perfect family holiday is like a Pandora’s Box of excitement, relaxation, fun, good times and wonderful memories that will be cherished for a life time. Let us tailor your every wish for that ideal family time together a dream come true and an experience that will be passed on to generations.
This itinerary can be customised to create your family holiday.
What Makes Us Different?
Being your Local Travel wholesaler and one of the True Destination Specialists our team in Australia, New Zealand, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan ensures that every itinerary is well balanced and filled with amazing cultural experiences, breathtaking scenery and historical sites. Most must see and must do’s are included giving you opportunity to witness sights, taste delicious cuisine, visit bazaar for souvenirs, meet and experience life of locals at the same time have some free time to explore town the way you like.
Whichever itinerary you select all are included complete travel and transfer by charted air-conditioned vehicles, local English speaking guide, sightseeing, entrance fee to the monuments and parks, safaris, boat ride, cultural shows at the theatre or hotel, domestic airfare in economy class, train fare in best available air-conditions class and not to mentioned the current govt taxes of the county. For more details of inclusions please refer to the inclusions column of the itinerary.
All prices shown are on per person basis on twin/double and apply when you share room with travel companion. For single traveller we do offer single room and price is available on request.
You don’t need to worry about currency fluctuations. Once we receive your full payment, your land tour price is guaranteed and protected against any increases.
100% Protected Holiday
We are a member of IATA, ATAC and AFTA which ensure that your holiday is 100% protected.
No Hidden Cost
We love transparency so the prices quoted by THO are almost all inclusive and help the traveller to budget their holidays accurately. All we ask you to do is relax and enjoy your holiday, knowing that all prepaid expenses have been included in your initial tour cost. Please refer to the tour inclusions for more details.
Value for Money
Being a local Travel Wholesaler, our huge buying power help us pass the discounted rates to our clients. We also do FREE hotel upgrade at some destination as a gesture of appreciation to our valuable travellers. Apart from this our local team of experts adds incredible value for your dollar.
Loyalty Rewarded 5% Off
Many of our clients choose to travel with us time and time again. As a valued client, we offer you a 5% discount off your second and onwards tour package. This offer applies only to the tour cost of your trip and conditions do apply. Speak to us for details when making your booking.
Multi Trip Discount 5% Off
If you have the time why not combine two or more of our tour and save? In any one holiday, we will discount your second and onwards trip by 5%. Tour package must be minimum 10 days or more from our brochure and discount applies on lowest price tour package. Discount does not apply to add-on pre & post accommodation, train journeys, flights and/or any small packages or services.
BIG SAVINGS when travelling with your friends and family
The advantage of a true specialist is their knowledge and confidence in assisting anyone who is keen to visit a destination but like to do things differently. Is a special occasion? Do you want to experience a festival, lead a culinary adventure, organise a yoga and wellness group or cycle the off beaten tracks of India or Sri Lanka with people close to you? Or do you find parts of one of our tours appealing but want to alter dates or itineraries to better suit your groups’ needs?
Please contact us with your wish list and our team will be glad to tailor-make your special tour ensuring all possible activities and ideas are incorporated, making a unique group tour.
(Best suited discount will be offered and any discount can not be combined with any other discount or promotions)
24/7 Helpline and assistance by THO Local Offices
Apart from 24/7 helpline for emergency assistance; our guest relation manager will call you to make sure everything is going smoothly. Our 36 local network and associate office Manager will be there to assist you in every destination.
The tour packages are usually “Land Only” and do not include international flights. We therefore recommend that you contact us or your travel agent to book your flights well in advance of travel, when you can generally gain access to specials and discounted airfares. This will ensure you can travel on the days that suit you and your tour.
Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our journeys. Speak to us or your travel agent about comprehensive insurance to cover your travel arrangements. This must critically cover medical expenses in case of an emergency. Note that travel insurance automatically provided with credit cards generally does not provide adequate cover. Its your responsibility to ensure that you have appropriate and comprehensive travel insurance.
Our elderly travellers who are aged 70 years or more, or with a per-existing condition that affects their fitness to travel or any medical dietary requirement, must be advised at the time of booking. We recommend all travellers should visit their Doctor for these aforementioned purposes and/or to confirm that they are physically able to undertake the day-to-day requirements of the tour.
Type of Accommodation
As there is so much to see and do in India during the day therefore everyone deserves a good night sleep. We choose quality accommodation according to the category you are travelling in, based on providing a place of rest that offers not only comfort but also an authentic experience rather than staying in a hotel that could by anywhere in the world. Every hotel might be different according to location, amenities and services. While selecting hotel we consider great location, private bathroom facilities and air-conditioning to name few.
Comfort: 3 star hotels offering basic and clean private facilities.
Deluxe: 4 Star hotel, Palaces and Heritage properties offering above average to very good facilities.
Luxury: 5 star hotel, Palace and Heritage properties offering full range of facilities and exceptional services with unique feature.
The cities which do not have more choice of hotels, the best suitable category of hotel is provided.
It is also possible to take a combination of comfort, deluxe and luxury accommodation in one itinerary.
Nepal being adventure destination, choices of accommodation are limited hence basic 3* or best available hotel in the itinerary except at some location where 4* and 5* hotel options are offered.
In Bhutan itinerary basis 3* hotel accommodation is used unless requested.
Selecting Your Holiday Type
Most of our journeys are suited to those with normal fitness and mobility levels. To assist you in choosing a journey best for you we have graded our tours;
Easy Paced: These programs are set at a comfortable pace. Walking and climbing of stairs involved is generally in and around major tourist attractions though you may require walking from road till boat jetty while embarking or disembarking boats.
Moderate: These tours are not strenuous but you will require good amount of fitness as they may include days with long periods of walking or soft trekking, climbing of stairs, embarking and disembarking boats and where longer distances may be travelled by uneven roads.
Adventurous: These refer to programs where your physical fitness needs to be on highest level. Trekking, cycling, climbing, walking and more adventurous activities may be included.
Travelling In India
The key to travelling in India is patience! Distances can sometimes be vast, roads are often congested and rustic and time is not necessarily of the essence. With many different options of travel, each will bring with it a different perspective of this fascination country.
Our Small Group and Independent tours use a variety of transport options to get you from city to city. From Private car, deluxe charter coaches, to domestic airline and air-conditioned trains, you’ll be taken from hotel to hotel in comfort.
India has one of the largest rail networks in the world with over 60,000 kms of tract and 7,000 stations. Travelling by train in India can be an experience in itself and a wonderful way to get in touch with the locals.
Passport & Visas
India: Visa is required for all foreign nationals.
Apply online for a Pre-Approval at https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html .The online application should be submitted a minimum of 4 days in advance and a maximum of 30days of the proposed date of travel. TVOA links may also be found in websites of Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Bureau of Immigration, Incredible India etc.
As of 27 Nov 2014 nationals and passport holder of 34 countries including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Finland, Luxem Bourg, Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia and Myanmar to name a few, can avail a Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) facility upon disembarking at international airports Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Goa, Hyderabad, Kochi and Trivandrum only. You will require to pay fees along with require documentation and is subject to verification and satisfaction of the Immigration. Please contact High Commission of India for updated information.
Sri Lanka: Every tourist visiting Sri Lanka required visa prior to departure. Visa must be obtained atleast 01 months prior to arrival in Sri Lanka by visiting www.eta.gov.lk The Tourist visa is valid for stay within 30 days. Passport must be valid for at least six months before you commence travel to Sri Lanka. Fee will apply.
Nepal: Visa is required for all foreign nationalities and the best way to apply for visa is from the Royal Nepalese diplomatic missions in your home country. Tourist Visa also can be obtained on arrival. Passport must be valid for at least six months before you commence travel in Nepal. Fee will apply.
Bhutan: All foreign nationals require visa for Bhutan.
Visa can be arranged by TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS. To process this we require clear readable colour copy of passport (page containing passport no and face picture in JPEG or PDF format) and current colour passport photograph and at least 30 days prior to date of entry into Bhutan. Remaining validity of passport should be at least 6 months from the date of exit from Bhutan.
Tourism Council of Bhutan issues visa clearance letter closer to travelling date which we email or fax you or your local travel agent. Travellers are required to produce aforesaid visa clearance copy at the time of check-in for their flights while those entering Bhutan by surface via Phuentsholing or Samdrup Jonkhar, they are required to produce this Visa Clearance letter at the Immigration counter. Actual visa is stamped at passport on arrival in Bhutan.
Visa only service is not offered in Bhutan, you would have to book a service tour package from TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS that includes accommodation, guided tours, transfers etc
Myanmar: Visa is required for all nationalities.
Visa can be arranged by TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS. To process this we require international flight details, clear readable colour copy of passport (page containing passport no and face picture in JPEG or PDF format) and current colour passport photograph and at least 30 days prior to date of entry into Myanmar. Remaining validity of passport should be at least 6 months from the date of exit from Myanmar.
HOW TO BOOK
You can contact our associate travel agent, call our local office, email us or book online. Booking forms must be completed to ensure TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS has on file all the necessary information such as passport details, travel insurance policy details and emergency contacts etc. Travellers over the age of 65 and those with pre existing medical conditions will also be required to provide a medical certificate to certify they are fit to travel. By booking through travel agent or online means you have read and agreed to the TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS booking conditions. For more detail please click here.
Team at TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS wishes you a wonderful holiday!!!
Day 01: Arrive Kolkata
Meet and assistance on arrival by TOTAL HOLIDAY OPTIONS representative at the arrival lounge holding plaque card and transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure and stay overnight at Kolkata. (No Meals)
Day 02: Kolkata
Kolkata or Calcutta, the city that Dominique Lapierre so memorably called “The City of Joy”, was the erstwhile capital of British India and has been the gateway to India for the better part of the 19th century. Alive with art and culture at every street corner, the city is dotted with historic temples, art centers, museums and botanical gardens. After breakfast enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of this sprawling metropolis and home of five Nobel laureates. Visit Victoria Memorial; a fantastic museum that will take you into the world of past history, where one can view the photos and effigies of prominent personalities who made an incredible contribution to the glory of India and houses a group of mind-blowing figures above the north porch that epitomize prudence, learning and motherhood, Howrah Bridge; located over the Hoogly River, it is considered to be the busiest bridges in the world, was set up in 1874 and stands on two 270 feet high pillars, Eden Gardens; the oldest and finest cricket playground in the country, which has undergone tremendous modernization and today boasts of its large accommodation of about 1,20,000 spectators. This quaint little fishing village has grown up to become the most populated city of India bearing the scars of more than three hundred years. Stay overnight at Kolkata. (B,D)
Day 03: Kolkata – Darjeeling
The day is at leisure, to explore this city with a rich heritage, bustling streets and bewildering variety of facets. In the evening begin your Indian rail experience by transferring to the busy Sealdah Station to board Darjeeling Mail. Bedding will be provided by the train attendant while you enjoy overnight train ride in air-conditions sleeper class. Overnight on board. (B)
Day 04: Darjeeling
Arrive in the morning and if weather permits, enjoy the narrow gauge toy train pulled by a small steam locomotive, or transfer by Car to Darjeeling. Experience an unforgettable scenic ride through the hills and stay three nights at Darjeeling. (B, D)
Day 05: Darjeeling
Enjoy your leisurely breakfast as the day kept free for your own activities. Darjeeling is a fascinating place where you can see Buddhist monasteries, visit a tea plantation and see how the tea is processed, go for a ride on the chairlift, spend time hunting for bargains in colorful markets and handicraft shops, or go trekking to high-altitude spots for closer views of Kanchenjunga. Stay overnight at Darjeeling. (B, D)
Day 06: Darjeeling
An early morning excursion to witness sunrise over the Tiger Hill and visit famous Ghoom Monastery while returning. Enjoy toy train ride and explore this beautiful hill station that conjures visions of serenity, of vibrant green hills steeped in splendor, a land of breathtaking beauty crowned by the majestic Himalayas. Stay overnight at Darjeeling. (B, D)
Day 07: Darjeeling – Varanasi
After breakfast travel to New Jalpaiguri to board overnight express train to Varanasi. Bedding will be provided by the train attendant while you enjoy your overnight ride in air-conditions sleeper class. Overnight on board. (B)
Day 08: Varanasi
Morning arrive Varanasi or Mughalsarai station and transfer to the hotel. Late afternoon enjoy guided sightseeing tour of one of the oldest living city in the world. Varanasi has been named after the two tributaries of Ganges that flows through the city named Varuna and Assi rivers. It was later changed to Benares and re-christened Varanasi. A city of traditional classical culture, it is the microcosm of Hinduism. Blessed by a legend and revered by religion, it has always lured a large number of pilgrims and worshippers from times immemorial. A city with rich and vibrant past, it has no exquisitely carved palaces, no impregnable fort, and no architectural splendor but still has an inherent charm of its own, with ghats dotted with temples and maze of alleys alongside. Conclude your day with witnessing grand prayer at the temple and experience the city come alive with chanting mantras and smell of the flowers. Stay overnight at Varanasi. (B, D)
Day 09: Varanasi – Agra
An early start to enjoy sunrise boat rides on river Ganges. The river will be thronged with early morning bathers, raising their faces to the rising sun and reciting the sacred mantra. One can see the perpetual movement of the pilgrims on the steps, the vivid colors of their clothes glistening against the pale gold water, the triangular flags fluttering atop the temple spires. Varanasi is associated with the promotion of spiritualism, mysticism, Sanskrit, yoga and Hindi language. Ravi Shankar, the internationally renowned Sitar maestro, and Ustad Bismillah Khan, (the famous Shehnai player) are all sons of the blessed city or have lived here for major part of their lives. Later, proceed for an excursion to Sarnath, the once prime center of Buddhist religion with a 2500 years old history hidden into it, an old world of stupas and viharas, where ancient relics, manuscripts, and inscriptions bear witness to a glorious past. Lord Buddha got enlighten in Bodhagaya and came to Sarnath where he preached his first sermon, making this little village one of the four important geographical landmarks in the life of Buddha. Board your overnight train to Agra; bedding will be provided by the train attendant while you enjoy your overnight train ride in air-conditioned sleeper class. Overnight on board. (B)
Day 10: Agra
Morning arrive Agra and relax at the hotel. Agra is globally renowned as the city of the Taj Mahal but besides this, the city has many other monuments that exemplify the high point of Mughal architecture. In the 16th and 17th century, Mughal period, Agra was the capital of India. It was here that the founder of the dynasty, Babar, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of the river Yamuna. Here, Akbar, his grandson raised the towering ramparts of the great Red Fort. Within its walls, Jahangir built rose-red palaces, courts, and gardens, and Shah Jahan embellished it with marble mosques, palaces, and pavilions of gem-inlaid white marble. The land is gifted with tokens of love and kinship. Afternoon enjoys a guided sightseeing tour and visit Agra Fort and Itimad-Ud-Daulah also know as mini Taj Mahal and finish your sightseeing tour at the Taj Mahal, the most perfect marble building in the world. stay overnight at Agra. (B, D)
Day 11: Agra - Delhi
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast travel to Delhi, evening free to relax or explore local bazaar and stay overnight at hotel. (B, D)
Day 12: Delhi – Shimla
Start your day after breakfast with a train journey from Delhi to Kalka. At Kalka, you will board the Himalayan queen train for an unforgettable journey. The Guinness Book of ‘Rail Facts and Feats’ records the Kalka –Shimla Railways as ‘The greatest narrow gauge engineering feat in India’. Traveling on this train is a thrilling experience as the landscape of charming hills, thickly populated trees of oak and pines, tunnels, bridge, and valleys, which one encounters on the way leaves a lasting impression of ecstasy and joy. A distance of 96 kms is covered through 103 tunnels, 969 bridges; it has 919 curves, 20 railways stations and 5 level crossings on the route. Transfer on arrival and stay for two nights in Shimla. (B, D)
Day 13: Shimla
Enjoy your leisurely breakfast as the day is free to walk around the famous mall and surrounding area. Shimla has a great diversity in landscape, with lush greenery on one side having a mesmerizing effect and snow-clad mountains on another side which are equally stunning. If a few buildings are reminiscent of the colonial past, modern structures aptly remind that Shimla has succeeded in keeping pace with time. Explore Shimla and experience why this was once called summer resort of the Britishers. Stay overnight at Shimla. (B, D)
Day 14: Shimla – Delhi Departure
After an early breakfast travel to Kalka railway station to board your train to Delhi, arrive late evening and transfer to the airport to board your onward flight. (B)
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Grade: Easy to Moderate
Accommodation in a hotel with private facilities
A private air-conditioned car with driver for sightseeing
Meals as specified (B=Breakfast, D=Dinner)
Local English speaking guide during sightseeing
Entrance fee and monument charges
Boat ride at Varanasi
Toy train ride
Train ticket in air-conditioned sleeper class
Assistance and transfers
All current collectible taxes
Any international or domestic airfares
Train fares other than specified in the what's included section
Airport taxes, visa & passport fees
Extra baggage charges
Early check in or late check out
Meals other than specified in the what's included section
Tips & gratuities
Travel & medical insurance
Camera & video permits
Expenses incurred due to flight / train cancellation or delay
Any expense of a personal nature, like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, mini bar, postage etc
Any optional excursion or tour
Entry charges at monuments/forts etc
Any other expense not mentioned in the what's included section
Country Visited: India (Capital: New Delhi)
Overland travel by private air-conditioned car with driver
Itinerary can be customised to suit your requirements
Order sightseeing may vary according to local conditions
Normal Hotel check-in/out 1200 hours
Currency: Indian Rupee (INR)
Electricity: Current is 220V, 50Hz -Type C (European 2-pin), Type D (Old British 3-pin),
Time Zone: GMT +5.5 hours
Ask for pre and post accommodation