India is known for its royal hospitality to all that want to tour this interesting country. The country stores rich reserves of culture and heritage and some of the most fascinatingly beautiful spots dotted around it, but still have a long way to go when it comes to cleanliness and hygiene. While a lot has improved over the past few years, the best way to tour India for travelers is on board one of its many luxury travel options.
The one that stands out amongst the usual options of luxury travel and accommodation options are the infamous luxury trains of the country that are jointly run and managed by the state governments and the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation of the government.
Luxury retreats offer award winning hospitality, great cuisines, safe and secure luxury accommodation with round the clock concierge and attendants and guided sightseeing tours. Every traveler aboard the luxury trains receives the attention and care of the staff fit for real kings and the interiors of these carriages are inspired from the real-life palaces of India. Indian luxury trains are the best place to start for first-timers and anyone who loves the romance of train journeys with unmatchable luxurious comforts.
Here are 10 tips for booking luxury trains in India, so that you can grab the best deals:
#1. So, many options:
India is home to 4 celebrated luxury trains that run around the tourist hot spots in the country. They are:
- Maharajas Express train
- Palace on Wheels train
- Deccan Odyssey Train
- The Golden Chariot Train
The Maharajas Express is the most popular of all the luxury trains, as it is the newest addition to this royal family and has won several awards and accolades. Offering several itineraries of 7 nights and 8 days around the most popular tourist spots of North India including the capital city of Delhi and the royal state of Rajasthan, this is the crown jewel in India’s collection of luxury trains. It passes through 5 Indian states in the north in one of its itineraries and offers its guest with royal treatment for everyone on-board.
The Palace on Wheels luxury train is one the oldest luxury trains of the country and the first of its kind designed with inspiration from the royal hunting carriages of bygone kings. The train decked out with state-of-the-art amenities offers a unique glimpse of the regal state of Rajasthan and adjoining areas for its guests on board.
Freshly renovated with updated interiors inspired from the interiors of Rajasthan’s palaces on 2017, the train includes cars that were originally owned by the real life royals of the country.
The Deccan Odyssey is the only luxury train that covers the plateau and some of the central and southern states of the country. The less traveled, pristine southern and central part of India along the Konkan coast offers a unique glimpse into a culture and cuisine lesser known to the tourists that throng the northern states.
The train focuses mostly on the state of Maharashtra that is home to the economic capital of the country, Mumbai. This city is also India’s answer to Hollywood with our home grown Bollywood and is populated with silver screen stars, musicians, writers and rich in talented blood.
Also Read: Top Attractions to Visit in Mumbai with Luxury Trains
The Golden Chariot is the only luxury train of the southern India that takes its passengers around the rich culture and heritage of the south. It is also noteworthy to be mentioned that amongst all the luxury trains around the country, the Golden Chariot is the most affordable option.
While they do not skimp of the quality of service or the luxury class accommodation, the only difference is that there are no extravagant welcome performances for the guests unlike the Maharajas Express and others and there isn’t a large Presidential suite made from an entire car. But the luxurious suites are a sight to behold as they are decorated with southern royal palatial inspirations.
So, if you want to book luxury at a comparatively more affordable price a good option is the Deccan Odyssey train. But for touring the northern states you have spoilage of options to choose from, out of which the Maharajas Express is the best.
Note: Currently Golden Chariot Train is not Operating
#2. Winter is the best season
While it may get really cold in winter months where you may be from, India being a tropical country gets pretty hot during the summer months. Winter season from October to March is the high season for tourism in India as the temperatures are low and humidity at comfortable levels.
While all the luxury trains are climate controlled for optimum comfort the sightseeing may be difficult at places where air conditioned buses cannot venture. The weather is not too hot and not too cold offering Goldilocks perfection for travel tourism.
So, plan your trip according to the departure dates:
#3. Remember to check for private butler service
All luxury train booking for travelers come with a private butler service. This is not like the room steward at a cruise or hotel; this is undivided attention from a hospitable attendant at all the times. We are talking about royal attendance like morning wake up calls, fresh flowers and towel animals on the bed at your room every day. No need to make your bed while on vacation, your private butler will do it! He will also carry in hot masala tea, or hot coffee, with freshly baked muffins, fruits and other great breakfast dishes while on board.
They are the best people to gather information about interesting tourist spots and other important information. A personal butler is the best way to enjoy luxury and eery luxury train India offers a private butler to its guests.
Note: It is recommended that you trip your butler generously at the end of the journey.
Also Read: Top 6 Luxury Train Journeys in India
#4. Flexible pricing
Luxury train bookings for the different trains may vary depending on the tour itinerary, the train, the journey duration and the season. Thus, guests can choose and plan accordingly in terms of budget. There are a few government recognized and licensed official ticketing partner agencies that offer hassle-free and secure online booking of luxury trains in India with special discounts on special seasons or for early bookings. So, make sure you follow these sites for some extra savings on your luxury train tickets and related information.
Some luxury train itineraries offer unique experiences like dinner or tea at a real life, working palace with the royals, which is ultra exclusive and definitely worth experience.
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More details about the fares of luxury trains in India are:
#5. Food and drink and all tours and excursions are inclusive of the prices
This is more for your information rather than a tip, all Indian luxury trains come inclusive of every meal and drink (unlimited at your disposal) included with the booking price. So, is every sightseeing tour and excursion out of the train to visit the local sights of the different spots. They are guided tours in private vehicles with timely meals all from the best of chefs.
Some unique experiences like tea at a fort during the sunsets and others alike are also inclusive for the special guests of the luxury trains. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails, mouth watering delicacies and visit some of the best spots in the country with the doting attention of a guide and VIP treatment all with your booking of the luxury train ticket! Some even come with free airport and hotel transfers and pickups.
[caption id="attachment_3072" align="aligncenter" width="2082"] Two dining cars on the Maharaja Express[/caption]
How to Book luxury trains in India?
#6. Be sure to check for doctor on board
Traveling can be really fun, but it always pays to be prudent about safety. While all the amenities and luxuries are taken care of in 5 Star rated hotels, seldom are there provisions for medical emergencies. Yes, it is exciting to think that you would be hurling down the railway tracks around Indian suburban fields of paddy, sugarcane and others, enjoying breathe-taking sights.
But what if you eat something that upsets your stomach or gives an allergic reaction in need of urgent medical attention? Sounds nerve wracking doesn’t it? We have got it covered aboard each and every one of our luxury trains. There is a doctor on board with reservations for emergency transfers to medical facilities if in need of emergencies. While that is a mandate for most trains it will still be wise to talk to the staff about the procedures when you board the train.
#7. You won’t miss a taste of home
Wondering how you will cope with spicy Indian meals served day-in and day-out. Well, you do not have to as all the luxury trains in India have two in-house restaurants where they serve you specially prepared Indian as well as western cuisine made to order as per your liking. You want mild, get mild. You want spicy, get spicy. And if you miss a taste of home, there’s a large selection of western delicacies to choose from.
#8. Train itineraries differ by the season
As discussed previously, India while has its share of hills and valleys and sea side beauties is a tropical country that may get harsh summers and turbulent monsoon. So, the train itineraries for each luxury train differ as per the season of the year to match with nature's timing.
That way you get to enjoy pleasant weather while on your tours out of the train and get to see the beautiful sights of the cities without burning heat or torrential rain pouring down all the fun. So, if you have a special route in mind or want to see specific sights make sure to check as per the season to ensure your booked itinerary has the places. Usually all the information is mentioned in detail on the internet.
Also Read: Luxury Trains to Explore Agra
Different itineraries offered by Luxury Train:
#9. The day times have day trips
The day times will have you up and ready after a sumptuous breakfast on board, all energized to take you around the place the train has landed you. Usually all the sightseeing trips and tours are timed during the day to help you get the best of the sights. So, you would usually be out of the luxurious carriage during the day times, only to return back early in the night for dinner, drinks and comfortable sleep fit for kings.
However, if you do want to skip a few tours and would much rather relax indoors in your palatial cabins then feel free to do so, by informing the staff on board.
Also Read: Glance Over Indian Luxury Trains
#10. Yes, they give you plenty of time to shop
You may be wondering when you do shop with all that is pre-planned and scheduled. Well, the itineraries come with large windows of leisurely walks around the cities and villages and trips to the local markets with trusty recommendations for the good stuff during the journey. So, you will have plenty of opportunities to shop and explore at your own pace once the main sightseeing trips are over, which is usually enough for travelers.
Finally, it is yet again important to note train journeys come with a unique sense of romance among travelers. And that is especially true when you are traveling aboard a luxurious carriage made with palatial inspiration, suitable for royalty. A journey on board one of the luxury trains is once in a lifetime experience, truly worth the efforts.
Further Read: How to See India by Luxury Train?
5 Best Luxury Train Journey for your Next India Trip
A Guide to Luxury Train Tours in India
Luxury Train Trips Are a Perfect Way to See the India
Why Should You Choose Luxury Trains to Discover India
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