Spring Break tends to be a time of exciting travel for our family. Tuscany, Egypt, Israel, Germany…it’s a great time to get away, take a break, and explore new places. This year we decided to up the adventure and head to INDIA! Depending on what type of traveler you are this either sounds like a fantastic or terrible idea. (My husband and I were one of each.)
The biggest advice I have for India with kids is to make it as easy on yourself as possible. This is not the trip to do public transportation and hostels with children. It is easy and affordable to hire drivers and guides before arriving and to find excellent hotels. Well trained guides and smart hotels can help you choose ways to support the community that are helpful, rather than harmful.
Before you go, be sure to prepare for potential health issues. Bring medications (visit a travel doc for immunizations and suggestions) like anti-diahrreals and anti-histamines. Also pack snacks (street food is a no), rehydrating powder, nausea bands, etc. Having these on hand will make it much easier should anyone not feel well. That said- only one of us had any tummy trouble at all and the hotel was quite helpful in adding herbal teas and smart foods to our medication regimen.
Our revised golden triangle itinerary was split into three area: Ranthambhore, Agra, and Jaipur. We had a single driver throughout (Note: tourist vehicles can only go 80kmh, so driving between areas takes longer than you might think.), but different guides for each city. We flew into and out of Jaipur, bypassing New Delhi on the recommendation of friends from India. I think this was key to our enjoyment because we avoided much of the congestion! We also went at the beginning of the off-peak season (April), and while it was warm, it was no warmer than Oman, and the crowds were significantly less. Bring in car entertainment and charging cords for the car rides. Long days of driving are made better with videos and audiobooks.
Ranthambhore National Park
Just after landing we began our drive to Ranthambhore National Park. Our mission? See tigers! There are about 65 tigers in this park and 10 routes for safaris to be assigned to, so seeing a tiger is far from guaranteed. To increase our chances, we signed up for both an early morning and an evening safari. The ride is BUMPY, so I’d think twice with young children and/or pregnant women (and I’d recommend sitting near the front). I still have bruises! Our youngest is 4, and she’s about the youngest I’d want on this portion of the trip, as for much of the safari you are looking and quietly waiting- not an easy feat for toddlers.
The park itself was amazing! Beautiful scenery and so many animals. We saw TWO tigers (they live alone, so this was awesome!), many species of birds, two species of antelope, monkeys, crocodiles, chipmunks, and more. For my husband and son, this was the highlight of the trip!
The guide and driver are always keeping an eye out for tiger signs as you drive, as this is the biggest reason most come on the safari. They listen for the danger call of the deer and look for fresh tiger tracks. They also stop frequently to share information with each other as to what they have heard/seen.
This one particular species of bird, the Treepie, would always come near the vehicle when we stopped. I couldn’t believe how curious it was. They say it’s closely related to the magpie, which is one of the most intelligent birds.
The park was designated as a sanctuary is 1955, although hunting by the royal family continued there until much later. Thankfully the animal population has increased in recent years, and it remains the best place to see these animals int he wild when visiting the golden triangle area.
Keep following along on our trip! See part 2 by clicking here.