India “is an experience for the senses”, says Vice President Sales, Insight Vacations, Carla Brake. Recently returned from Insight’s nine-day Essence of India, Brake shares the many highlights of her trip for this edition of Friday 5.
1. Why should India be on every traveller’s bucket list?
Brake: A trip to India provides an opportunity to experience a completely different culture. India boasts a number of fantastic cosmopolitan cities, a rich and fascinating history, delectable cuisine, impressively beautiful arts and monuments, and so much more!
It is a destination that takes you out of your comfort zone and gives you a renewed perspective on life. It teaches you to appreciate everything you have in life, to be open to religion and spirituality, and it allows your taste buds to try something new. Travelling to this beautiful land will definitely give you a true experience for the senses!
2. You just returned from India as part of your work with Insight Vacations. What itinerary was it and what made the trip so special?
Brake: I recently came back from our nine-day Essence of India itinerary that took me to Delhi, Agra, Samode and Jaipur. As someone who loves visiting new places, I was excited to experience a destination that has become such a big part of the Insight Vacations roster of destinations. The Essence of India journey is a great introduction to this exotic land because you get to journey through the famous ‘Golden Triangle’, and more!
The trip started in Delhi. With 16 million inhabitants, it is a city that is sprinkled with many dazzling gems including captivating ancient monuments, fascinating museums and art galleries, architectural wonders, a vivacious performing-arts scene, fabulous restaurants and bustling markets.
My highlight in Delhi was the rickshaw ride through the lanes of the Chandni Chowk Bazaar located in the old town. It is truly amazing to experience life as a local as they go about their daily routine amidst the hustle and bustle of the markets.
From there we travelled to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. To be able to stand amongst one of the Wonders of the World is truly magical. I was able to see the amount of hard work and detail that went into its 20-year construction – an amazing achievement that rendered me speechless.
Jaipur, commonly known as the ‘Pink City’, was definitely my favourite on the itinerary. I loved how the city was a mix of new and old. Jaipur’s star attraction is the Amber Fort, a beautiful fusion of art and architecture that is constructed of red sandstone and marble.
My entire Indian experience was so memorable. I learned a lot about a destination that is so rich in history and culture. India made me appreciate life so much more! The people of India are very proud and passionate who value the little that they have. For them, life is all about family and friends. It is this life philosophy that made me realize what is truly important in life.
Readers looking to read more about my personal journey to India can click here.
3. Thriving, often chaotic India is truly a unique destination. Yet it can also make travellers wary. Many dream of visiting but never do. How does a group setting like those on Insight’s tours make India a very do-able destination?
Brake: India is definitely a place everyone needs to see once in their lifetime. The uncertainty with travelling to India on their own is the unknown factor, such as where to eat, language barriers, and safety. Travelling with Insight Vacations will take all those fears away.
Anyone who thought they couldn’t travel to India can definitely do so with Insight Vacations. As the acknowledged India Specialist, we have many years of experience in the region. The peace of mind that comes with your travel plans being all taken care of, and not having to worry about transportation or accommodations is priceless. Insight Vacations allows you to be more open to a new experience, and truly enjoy it.
4. How do the service and product that go into making ‘the Insight Difference’ become especially important on an India tour?
Brake: With Insight Vacations’ India program, you stay in luxury accommodations (including palaces!), signature dining at handpicked restaurants, ride in comfortable air conditioned coaches, and have the most knowledgeable and caring Tour Directors with you every step on your journey, all the while experiencing the unique culture of India.
All of the hotels in the program are some of the finest in the world and your clients will experience legendary service and truly luxurious accommodations.
Also, having the luxury of a Tour Director from the region creates a dynamic experience given the wealth of knowledge that they will pass on to your clients – a truly exceptional aspect of our program. Our Tour Directors will also be with your clients the whole journey, acting as their personal travel concierge and assisting with anything they may need. At Insight Vacations, we like to call it a “friend in a foreign land”!
5. What India itineraries is Insight offering for 2015, and can you see the program expanding in the years to come?
Brake: India is now one of the top destinations on everyone’s bucket list and will definitely be a top priority for Insight Vacations in the years to come.
In fact, for 2015, we re-launched a new itinerary that travels to Kolkata, entitled ‘Classical India with Kolkata’ – a 14-day journey into the mysterious and enigmatic country where clients stay at the opulent The Oberoi Grand hotel in Kolkata, an elegant oasis of sheer luxury. Insight Vacations now offers six Luxury Gold itineraries to India, Bhutan and Kolkata ranging from seven to 13 days, including the following: Essence of India; Colours of Rajasthan (now ending in Delhi); Mystical South India; Imperial Rajasthan (now ending in Delhi); Classical India with Kolkata; Bhutan Dragon Kingdom and seven mini-stays from three to six days. Given the new Indian e-Tourist Visa being made available to Canadian passport holders, we look forward to welcoming more Canadians to India with Insight Vacations!
Twitter Handle: @InsightCarlaB & @InsightCAN