Exotic. Atmospheric. Historic. Vast. Populous. Amazing. Chaotic. There simply aren’t enough adjectives and superlatives to describe one of the world’s most fascinating countries. Explore the stunning Himalayas, tea plantations, colonial hill stations, deserts, and temples of Rajasthan in the north. Or in the south visit the heavenly beaches of Goa, the spice plantations, and backwaters of Kerala.
India isn’t the easiest country to experience. It can be challenging and over-crowded but for all the sights, sounds and smells, such as the bathing ghats of Varanasi or the chaos that can be Delhi, the rewards are immense.
Accompanied by our driver-guides, you’ll be taken on an immersive cultural journey to experience the best of India. Whether you choose to travel through Rajasthan and the North of the country or enjoy a more laid-back experience in Kerala and the South, there’s an incredibly diverse portfolio of character-filled accommodation to choose from.
For just some ideas of what there is to see and do in this huge and diverse country, here are our suggestions for the Top 10 things to do in India with kids. Namaste!
Our India with Kids top 10
1. Enjoy a camel safari in Rajasthan
It’s the quintessential Rajasthan experience, taking a camel safari out into the Thar Desert, lolloping over the ocean of sand with these ships of the desert. Camels have been traditional transportation in Rajasthan for centuries, and if you don’t fancy actually riding one, then you can be taken on a camel cart through the backstreets of some of Rajasthan’s most famous towns instead.
2. Be wowed by the majesty of the Taj Mahal
As one of the world’s most iconic buildings, it can feel surreal to be there in front of the Taj Mahal in real life. The ivory-white marble building is a mausoleum, built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife and, exquisitely decorated, is as stunning inside as out. The colour of the temple changes from sunrise to sunset, so you might want to visit more than once! See other places to visit in India for more inspiration as well as our collection of Photos of India, sent in from families who have travelled with us.
3. Explore the backstreets of Jaipur (and more) by bicycle
If you really want to get a local’s-eye-view of India, then taking a bicycle through bustling city streets or quiet rural roads is arguably the best way to do it. One of our favourite places to explore is the ‘Pink City’ and Rajasthan’s capital, Jaipur. Rise early and watch the city come alive – children running errands, hawkers shouting, and people going to work. Best of all, because you’re exploring under your own steam, you feel absolutely part of it. There are several opportunities to do this on our 15–day Wonders of Rajasthan sample itinerary.
4. Discover the Kerala backwaters by rice barge
If there’s a quintessential image of Kerala, then the converted rice barge (also known as a kettuvallum) is it. Essentially a houseboat, this is slow travel at its best. You’ll sleep and eat on board as you explore the meandering backwaters, flanked by lush, tropical green vegetation. Watch the world go by from the riverbanks, sip on a chilled beer or coconut water and dine on authentic, freshly cooked South Indian food. It’s an ‘India with kids’ must-do experience that the whole family will love. For more information take a look at our 15-day Kerala Family Holiday sample itinerary
5. Go tiger spotting at Ranthambore National Park
Once the private hunting grounds of the Maharajahs of Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park has been at the forefront of tiger conservation since 1973, when it became one of India’s nine Tiger Reserves. Today, the reserve boasts over 40 tigers and myriad other species which you can spot on a jeep safari through this stunning reserve. For more information about the WWF conservation efforts, visit The Tigers of Ranthambore.
6. Enjoy beautiful beaches in Goa or Kerala
Picture the scene. You’re sitting at a beach shack, eating freshly caught and cooked seafood, being cooled by gentle winds under the shade of a palm tree. You’ll see fishermen pulling in their catch, sari-robed women selling trinkets, the odd cow or two and your kids shrieking with delight in the Indian Ocean waves. After the busy streets and temple hopping of North India and Rajasthan, enjoying a completely different pace of life in Kerala or Goa in India’s south is the perfect tonic! R&R at its best. Find out more about when to go to India.
7. Take a cycle rickshaw or tuk-tuk (pretty much anywhere!)
Three wheels are often better than two when it comes to getting from A to B in India. Cycle rickshaws and tuk-tuks are cheap, ubiquitous, and ideal for zipping through India’s infamous city traffic, or for a more chilled-out journey through rural areas. Above, is a cycle rickshaw, which is pedalled by its owner and is perfect for shorter journeys. The iconic tuk-tuk, pictured in the intro, is basically a motorbike taxi that has been modified to carry more passengers, its overhead canopy providing shade and shelter. No visit to India with kids would be complete with a ride in both modes of transport!
8. Learn to cook authentic Indian cuisine
Indian food is one of the world’s most delicious and diverse cuisines, and a boon for vegetarians given the large majority of the country doesn’t eat meat. From puris and masala dosa in Kerala, to the vast array of dry and wet curries in the north, there’s no better way of getting an authentic experience than by joining a cookery lesson, which we can arrange as part of our two example India with kids itineraries.
9. Take a sunrise boat trip on the Ganges in Varanasi
As India’s spiritual epicentre, bear witness to pilgrims coming to wash in the holy waters of the Ganges or be cremated here (the ultimate goal for Hindus). Simply watch daily life as it unfurls from sunrise to sunset. It’s an India with kids highlight. Varanasi is a beautiful if chaotic city, particularly along the riverside bathing ghats (steps) where you’ll experience the whole spectrum of colour, sights, and smells (not all of them easy to stomach). One of the best ways to see it is from the river itself, by taking a sunrise boat trip to get an alternative view of daily life. Read more about Indian family holidays in our customer reviews.
10. Live like the locals and go shopping in a bustling market
A refreshing fresh coconut, anyone? India’s streets are packed with an array of hawkers’ stalls and markets, selling everything from fruit and veg to juice and sugar-cane stalls to colourful clothes. Not to forget one of India’s vices, Paan or betel nut – you’ll see red spit on the pavements. Exploring them is a fantastic way to get an insight into local life.
India with kids – what next?
For more information about what you can experience on a holiday to India with kids, have a look at our India Family Holidays section. You can also check out the best time to visit on our When to go to India page. For the best advice on family travel call us on 01728 752 751 or send us a message using our contact page. We’d love to hear from you.
Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel
We are always delighted to get feedback and hear about your experiences when holidaying in India with kids, so do send us your reviews and photos. Thank you!