From bustling street-food tours to the peace of the Taj Mahal, India is an irresistible patchwork of tastes, sounds and sights. Here, three Qantas Frequent Flyers let us in on their recent Indian sojourns so you can get inspiration for your own subcontinental adventure.
“I loved the colour, vibrance and busyness”
James Radford, Gold Frequent Flyer
I travelled to Delhi for my first-ever solo business trip. I was only there for five days but I wanted to explore as much as possible. I flew Qantas Business Class on Points over there and economy on the way back. Both flights were faultless: the cabin was new, the crew were lovely and the food was excellent.
I stayed at Le Meridien hotel in New Delhi and each morning I’d try to go for a run to the India Gate – a war memorial that looks a bit like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
I had a wonderful lunch at The Leela Palace New Delhi where the Jamavar restaurant serves incredible local food. I also found a tour guide online through Get Your Guide to show me the main sights like the Red Fort, the Khari Baoli spice market, Lotus Temple, Humayun’s Tomb and the Jama Masjid mosque. It’s really worth hiring a guide because they have such incredible knowledge and they get you into tourist spots quicker, which is very handy.
One of my friends at home recommended a visit to the Khan Market, a cool shopping area popular with expats, diplomats and wealthy locals – it reminded me of the shopping in Seminyak or Canggu in Bali. I also went to Chandni Chowk, one of the oldest markets in Delhi – I would definitely recommend jumping in a tuk tuk to explore it. It was great.
“You just show up and let India take you on a journey”
Fenella Horne, Bronze Frequent Flyer
My partner Cal and I were heading back to Sydney after living in London for nine years and we wanted to travel first. We arrived in Delhi not knowing where we were going next. This is a place where you can wing it: you just show up and let India take you on a journey.
On our first day, we had a driver who took us to Humayun’s Tomb. It’s a UNESCO site built in 1570 and it took our breath away.
A friend recommended the restaurant Indian Accent in Delhi, where we had a six-course tasting menu for lunch. We also did a three-hour walking street-food tour, just wandering around trying local foods such as chole bhature (a type of deep-fried bread) and jalebi (a sweet orangey-red snack).
From Delhi, we went to the Taj Mahal. We arrived at sunrise; it’s giving me shivers thinking about it. The scale, the serenity – it's so peaceful there.
Our favourite place was Udaipur, called the City of Lakes. It’s up in the mountains where the Taj Lake Palace sits in the middle of a lake.
We also visited Jaisalmer where we rode camels into the desert and stayed in tents. At night, there was traditional music. They pulled Cal up, then me. Suddenly, there were 50 people dancing! It was so much fun.
Our last stop was Goa where we went to Bamboo Yoga Retreat for five days. You do yoga on a remote beach, which is incredible.
“You must catch every sunrise and sunset that you can”
Ennea Miller-Hunt, Silver Frequent Flyer
One of my best friends is doing an internship in India so it was the perfect excuse for my friends back home (I’m originally from England) and I to visit; a mini reunion of sorts. I flew Qantas both ways – the experience was great and I loved that I was able to collect more Qantas points with the flights. We flew into Mumbai and spent a few days exploring. Mumbai Harbour has loads of islands; we caught a ferry from the Gateway of India to Elephanta, famous for its caves. I also loved Elco Market. People would drag you into these family-owned shops and start throwing clothes on you. We bought all sorts of gorgeous handmade clothes.
Next, we headed down to Goa. The Old Town reminded me of Lagos in Portugal. It was the Holi festival, so the village children threw coloured powder on us as we walked the streets. People were playing drums and shouting, “Happy Holi!” It was a really special experience.
We booked a backyard retreat, like a homestay, that we found through word-of-mouth out in the backwaters of Olaulim. Our room was in a cave (seriously!) and the family provided us with everything we needed. They also recommended the best restaurants; I had the most amazing curries of my life! There’s a Portuguese influence in Goa and lots of dishes include fish – my favourites were Viva in Old Goa and Hidden Heart in Aldona, a gorgeous traditional restaurant.
We had four days kayaking and hiking in Olaulim, waking at dawn. The Indian sun is this bright red ball, unlike anywhere else in the world, so you must catch every sunrise and sunset that you can. I’d go back in a heartbeat.