Over my travelling years, I’ve come to realize that with whom I travel is as important as where I go. That’s because everyone has a different way of taking in a new place. You could be the tourist who is happy to whiz by on wheels, or you could be the traveler who wants a taste—a tangible one— of local culture. One friend has told me that her strategy for discovering any city is through its bars and pubs—which is probably why we’re still friends. That said, for whatever lens you want to use to see Delhi, there is a tour that can help you focus and explore with like-minded travelers. You can make the most of Delhi winters, for instance, with the Heritage Walks or Delhi By Cycle, with frequent stops for hot chai. If you’re here in the summer, the air-conditioned Hop On Hop Off tour might be a good idea (especially if you want to live like a local and grumble about traffic). Or, you can ride on the wild side of the regal roads leading to the houses of Parliament on a Segway. Consider these five great tours of New Delhi:
Delhi Heritage Walk
Although there are many heritage monuments dotted around the city, I think the Heritage Walk is an excellent way to connect the historical dots, since the walks are themed. That way, you learn what one monument has to do with another, as it was intended all those years ago. Walks can be customized to your areas of interest.
Hop On Hop Off
If you’d prefer cruising down the roads rather than walking them, you’ll love the HOHO bus service. After all, if you’re going to get familiar with the city’s traffic snarls, you may as well do so in an air-conditioned guided tour that has nearly stops to cover in a day (in this case, on the Red Route.) Passes are valid for 24 hours and buses run every 45 minutes.
Rashtrapati Bhavan is the most regal part of town, home to beautiful, stately buildings where the political decision-makers congregate. That’s probably what makes this 45-minute tour on a Segway even more fun: you get to whizz about town where others fear to tread. The tour includes a quick training session, helmet, elbow and kneepads.
Delhi Food Walks
As many people will attest, the best route to a city’s heart may run through your stomach. DFW was started by one man on a mission to discover Delhi through its delicacies, and ended up discovering the strong sense of community that emerges from foods in certain neighborhoods. Pick a theme, or ask for a customized experience; food walks are hygienic and leftover meals are donated to those who need it.
Delhi by Cycle
If you’ve eaten your fill on the previous tour, you may want to work it off by cycling through town. On this tour, your group of up to nine people is accompanied by a friendly tour guide in bright orange, who will maintain a nice pace as you pedal through Old or New Delhi. Just like riding a bicycle, this tour will be something that isn’t easy to forget.