Food tours to Thailand and India. Want to tag-along?
The tag-along concept is simple — make your own way to Bangkok or Delhi (use your frequent flyer miles, hotel rewards etc.) and meet up with Spirit House chefs and guide for four fun-filled days of food exploration and discovery.
These tours are a fantastic way to begin your holiday in Thailand or India — giving you a deeper understanding of the food and culture as well as some unique sights along the way.
As we show you in the video above: what started out as a boutique tour focused on Thai food culture and heritage has become four amazing days to see a side of Thailand that most tourists never get to experience.
Over the years we have finessed this tour and have a simply dazzling array of sights, sounds and tastes that, quite frankly, will leave you needing another holiday. The great thing about this tour is you will feel confident to explore the rest of this fascinating country with all its amazing diversity. So if you're planning a Thai holiday why not join us for the first few days?
The essential ingredients to enjoy our Tour? Be adventurous about tasting new food. Be flexible, as we sometimes alter the itinerary if interesting places attract your attention ... all part of the fun!
The video above gives you an idea on what the tours are all about but you can also download a complete in pdf format Download our booking forms
If you're 'old school' and don't like watching videos, here's a quick breakdown of the tour for you.
You make your own way to Bangkok and book your own hotel. This gives you the opportunity to use frequent flyer miles and hotel rewards etc. We all meet up in the lobby of the Patumwan Princess hotel at 8.30am on the first day of the tour, ready to hit the streets. The tour costs $800 per person (twin share) and includes one night accommodation in Ayutthaya on Days 3 & 4 of the tour.
Day #1: A fascinating walking tour of old royal Bangkok. Interesting food, Buddha factories and temples. This is a side of Bangkok most tourists don't see. You'll definitely want to bring your camera with you because we will start the tour by ferry travelling to two of Bangkok's most revered temples and the Grand Palace which are all in the neighbourhood.
Day #2: We're going to tour one of Bangkok's biggest wet markets and then take part in a private cooking class in a slum nearby. Don't worry, this cooking school is clean, professionally run and gives you a glimpse into yet another side of Thai life - fascinating and fun. We'll finish the day at the home of Thai Silk, Jim Thompson's house and a special treat - we take you on a short walk to the homes of traditional silk weavers where you can see the whole silk making process in action - this is not on any tourist map.
Day #3: Pack your bags we're off to Ayutthaya. We'll explore 13th century ruins, ride an elephant, learn how to make Persian fairy floss by hand - afternoon free to explore more ruins, relax in the pool with a beer etc. That evening we're off to watch the elephants bathe in the river and dinner in the local market.
Day #4: Early morning start to visit another fascinating ruin before heading to the river to take a long tail boat down to the King's old summer palace. We travel by rickety cable car to a bizarre neo-gothic style buddhist temple, visit the palace and should reach Bangkok by 2pm.
Here's a fantastic opportunity to share a Spirit House tag-along experience to the BEST of India. If you are intrigued to visit India, but also slightly apprehensive, then we have designed a food tour which should remove any doubts and have you rushing to join our exclusive group of eight adventurous food lovers.
In February 2016, when the weather is most comfortable for travel, we will explore Delhi, Agra and Jaipur - India's famous Golden Triangle.
Our tour incorporates spectacular sights, intriguing cultural experiences, eclectic shopping, and most importantly, some incredible food. We have organised street food tours, restaurants and three very special private dinners: one with a renowned foodie in her Agra home, another with a Maharaja family in their palace, and the most intriguing, lunch with a rural farmer in his Jaipur village. This is a chance to meet some local characters and hear their stories - as well as help out in the kitchen!
This trip, months in the organising with our Indian Tour Operator, promises to deliver an amazing 8 Day/7 Night introduction to India. Our focus has been on coming up with a fun, food and cultural experience - plus, most importantly, clean toilets - everything you have come to expect from a Spirit House Tag-along trip.
India being such a vast country, we can only dip our toes into one small area, but depending on your time and budget, use our tour as a stepping stone, acclimatise to the culture and food, then venture off on your own to discover the rest of this amazing country. With your airfares not locked in, there is flexibility to extend your travel throughout India or return home with some fabulous photographs and memories of an exotic adventure.
Let's explore the details below or if you're already sold, you can download our booking forms.
Make your own way to Delhi - this allows you to use frequent flyer miles. Please arrive on the starting date of the tour because we have organised airport transfers and hotel accommodation for everyone. (If you arrive the day before, you will have to organise a place to stay and transfers until the tour starts.)
The cost of the tour is $7,500 per couple - sorry, no single supplements yet - which works out to about $625 per couple per day and this includes everything apart from a couple of evening meals.
We are not slumming on this trip. Boutique hotels in Delhi and Varanasi, plus 2 palace hotels in Jaipur, guides, food experiences, transport and admissions are all included in the price.
The only extras will be dinner in Delhi. One of those nights we plan to visit one of Delhi's best restaurants (purely optional if you care to join us). Otherwise we plan to visit some trendy neighbourhoods each night in Delhi and we have a range of great places for us all to eat at these locations.
The following itinerary will explain more.
Day #1: Basically this is the day you all need to arrive in Delhi.
Organised Airport Transfers to your hotel which is located in a fascinating, historical yet trendy part of Delhi. There is nothing planned for today as most flights from Australia arrive late at night, but if you do get here early, great food, galleries and shopping are just a short walk from your hotel.
Day #2: Have a light breakfast because this morning we are off to explore the street food in the old part of Delhi. Rickshaw rides, spice markets, old neighbourhoods and fantastic food await us on this interesting half day walk.
Lunch - We will have lunch in a Haveli, a historic private home in the old neighbourhood
After lunch, we head back to our hotel which is in a neighbourhood that is safe, very upmarket and full of history. You can enjoy a nap, a massage, or head out the door and hit the shops.
Dinner - Tonight we go high end to India Accent, one of India's most acclaimed restaurants. This dinner is purely optional and at your expense, but the restaurant comes too highly recommended to miss. If preferred, there are dozens of trendy western and Indian restaurants to explore in the streets around the hotel.
Day #3: Sight-seeing of some of Delhi's historic attractions, with street food options on the way. Lunch is at a hugely popular, clean Thali restaurant where we can explore a different style of Indian cuisine with the locals.
Afternoon Free - A chance to do some shopping, a massage, or further local historic exploring. Dinner in one of the local restaurants at own expense. Early to bed tonight, because tomorrow we catch the 6.00 a.m. Delhi-Agra express train. We're off to marvel at the Taj!
Day #4: Early morning start on the Express Train to Agra to visit the Taj Mahal! We'll spend the morning visiting the Taj, Baby Taj (ver cool) and other sights. Lunch will be in a local restaurant before checking in to our hotel.
Afternoon Free - Time for a quick power-nap, massage etc. then let's head off before sunset to see the Taj Mahal from the other side of the Jumna River or a walk through a busy Agra market. Dinner will be in the private home of a renowned Agra foodie as she cooks some of her famous recipes for us.
Day #5: A big day of air conditioned driving, through the heartland of Rajasthan's desert to the exotic city of Jaipur. We'll break the trip along the way, exploring the eerily abandoned desert city of Fatephur Sikri, and stopping frequently for drinks and to sample local street food.
But it isn't only desert or ruins that will intrigue us. Our bus whizzes past villagers leading their camels, local farmers in their mustard fields, pottery merchants selling their wares. Being inquisitive folk, we'll stop and visit the potter and see how he makes his pots. And we'll watch the local 'Halwai' making fresh jalebis, samosas and kachoris ... famous northern Indian snacks on offer to travellers.
Lunch will be at a nice clean restaurant along the way.
Afternoon/Dinner Ever wondered how the Maharajas lived? Wonder no more, because tonight we are having our own "Hotel Marigold Experience", staying in one of their Havelis which has been converted into a boutique hotel.
The joy of being fabulously rich and having many wives is that your palace has many bedrooms, which is perfect if you ever decide to turn your house into a hotel!
Dinner will be at the Haveli of yet another royal family as we cook with them and all join in for dinner.
Day #6: Sight-seeing. Jaipur is a fascinating city rich with heritage and culture. We explore the old part of the city exploring ancient bazaars, unique food vendors, plus one or two select cultural and historic sights before heading into the country visiting a sprawling hill-top fort before arriving at a Maharaja's rural palace where we will spend the night.
Afternoon/DinnerThis afternoon is all about contrasts. After we settle into our palace and soak up the opulence, we'll jump into some jeeps and drop in on a local village to join one of the farming families who will make dinner for us over charcoal fires. A unique opportunity to experience the simple daily life of rural farmers - because such simple villagers are the beating heart of India.
Day #7: Head back to Delhi. The trip will take about 5 hours, driving through rugged Rajasthani countryside. We'll break half way with lunch in a magnificent fort that has been converted to a simply stunning hotel.
More interesting and very close to this fort is an ancient 'step well' known as a 'baoli'. These are inverted buildings that the Maharajas built to supply water to the region. This particular baoil is 9 stories deep and a feat of architecture and beauty.
Afternoon/DinnerWe arrive late afternoon at our Delhi hotel. Dinner at a local restaurant, the evening free to grab a drink, do some last minute shopping.
Day #8: A rest day - a good day to chill out, do some shopping because tomorrow you fly out to the holy city of Varanasi, regarded as the spiritual capital of India, the city draws pilgrims who bathe in the River GangesŐ sacred waters and perform funeral rites. Along its winding streets are some 2,000 temples.
Day #9: Fly to Varanasi, upon arrival we will check in to an old Haveli Hotel right on the banks of the Ganges then down to the river to witness the Arati Ceremony.
Day #10: Early morning, proceed for a boat ride on the Ganges after boat ride we'll walk along the Ghat and back to hotel for breakfast. After breakfast, proceed for city tour. Then in the afternoon we're off to Sarnath, the place where Buddha gave his first sermon and a very holy site.
Day #11: After breakfast we proceed to the airport and return to Delhi. Check in to the Hotel, dinner at leisure.
Day #12: Today you fly home or head off to your next destination.
As stated above. The tag-along concept means you pay your airfares and accommodation (where applicable) and we cover all daily transport, street/market food, lunch and snacks (excluding alcohol and evening meals). If you have any questions regarding the tours, feel free to call us on (07) 5446 8977 or email us.
Download our booking forms - fill in your details and send or fax the completed forms to our travel agent, Spectacular Events. Because each of our tours involves an overnight stay, by law we need to use a travel agent to handle bookings for our tours. You can book your airfares and accommodation however you like - Zoe and her team at Spectacular Events are also happy to help you with this side of your trip if you like.