Recently, I spent an hour looking for group tours to India and Nepal. I could only find two, a BBC Earth Trip through Tauck and a Discovery Tour via Gate 1.
Theses are two very different trips.
The Tauck tour BBC Earth Journey of Northern India & Nepal is 17 days. The cost is from $10,640 pp, double occupancy, plus air. This seems to be one of Tauck’s most popular trips as it is always sold out. The tagline is that it immerses you in the Earth Journeys experience, featuring custom-made BBC Earth on-tour film vignettes and when the opportunity arises, the use of field equipment. There are game-viewing safaris in search of the elusive tiger, a flight over the landscapes of Mt. Everest, a visit to a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu, and visits to the wonders of Northern India.
My question was can I have a similar experience for a fraction of the Tauck trip price.
The Gate 1 tour, Incredible India and Nepal, is 19 days. The cost is from $3500 pp based on double occupancy, airfare not included. This trip has no tagline. It is a tour focused on the Wonders of Northern India and Nepal. Unlike Tauck, there are additional expenses for optional tours and meals. This journey includes stops in Pokhara and Samode, neither place is usual for itineraries to Nepal or Northern India.
Comparing the Tours
I am not going to spend time comparing things we already know. The hotels, meals, and transportation methods will be better on Tauck. They use five-star hotels and cater to a mainly North American clientele. However, I decided to create a spreadsheet and really look at the differences in these trips day by day.
The spreadsheet helped me to decide that I do not like how the Gate 1 tour is organized, you change hotels ten times. This is exhausting and for someone like me, it means something might be left or lost.
Also, while I have read Pokhara is a pretty place, I have also read there is nothing to do. Bhaktapur is a preferred stop in Nepal for me.
I am also confused about the purpose of the stop in Samode. According to Gate 1, you are to join a village jeep safari. Safari to me means hunting. Therefore, a village jeep safari to have a glimpse of the village life followed by lunch at a hotel seems dumb.
The Tauck tour is also rigorous but it changes hotels less, eight times. Also, the tour is consistent with the theme, you go on two safaris of animals, you are contained by the theme from BBC Earth.
I think the Tauck Tour is a better tour. It is more comprehensive. The Gate 1 tour does not make sense to me.