How to pick the best day tour of Delhi
With over 4,179 tours and experiences of Delhi on Tripadvisor, Getyourguide, tourwithlocals and viator, the choice is staggering and perplexing at the same time. Here is how to pick the best tour of Delhi that’s right for you.
Search for day tours of Delhi and you will be spoilt for choice. Tripadvisor lists over 1500 tours and trip if you look for things to do in Delhi. Here are the 1566 tours you will find on Tripadvisor for Delhi. This is a long post. Skip to the How to pick a tour of Delhi section if you don't have time to read the analysis below.
- Tripadvisor's tours of Delhi
- Tripadvisor experiences or Viator's tours of Delhi
- Getyourguide's tours of Delhi
- Airbnb Experiences of Delhi
- Why is it hard to pick a tour of Delhi
Popular Things to Do in Delhi as per Tripadvisor
- Private Sightseeing Tours (205)
- Multi-day Tours (192)
- Cultural Tours (204)
- Private Day Trips (27)
- Featured Tours and Tickets (5)
- Cultural & Theme Tours (225)
- Overnight Tours (26)
- Full-day Tours (28)
- Day Trips (171)
- Top Things to do (384)
- Sacred & Religious Sites (42)
- Theater, Shows & Musicals (7)
- Food Tours (19)
- Half-day Tours (31)
- Top Cultural Experiences
Many of the listed tours are masquerading as others. Tripadvisor allows tour operators to choose different categories for the same tour so your food tour can also list in a culture tour or a private sightseeing tour. This is weird but true. So, you really don't have 1566 tours of Delhi. Each tour can pick 3 categories, so I think you will find about 500 unique tours of Delhi out of the 1500+ you see on Tripadvisor.
Categorising tours of Delhi
Tripadvisor’s tours of Delhi do not sort the way they should to make decision making easier. You would think that sorting by “popularity” on Tripadvisor would sort based on the total number of customers or reviews of a tour, but it does not do that. Do yourself a favour and go down the list of results to find what you are looking for.
Now this is just one tour aggregator. Now lets look at the offerings on Viator for Delhi.
Viator’s tours of Delhi
- Top Insider's Pick
- Air, Helicopter & Balloon Tours
- Classes & Workshops
- Cruises, Sailing & Water Tours
- Cultural & Theme Tours
- Day Trips & Excursions
- Food, Wine & Nightlife
- Holiday & Seasonal Tours
- Luxury & Special Occasions
- Multi-day & Extended Tours
- Outdoor Activities
- Private & Custom Tours
- Shopping & Fashion
- Shows, Concerts & Sports
- Sightseeing Tickets & Passes
- Spa Tours
- Tours & Sightseeing
- Transfers & Ground Transport
- Viator VIP & Exclusive Tours
- Walking & Biking Tours
- Weddings & Honeymoons
Viator or Tripadvisor Experiences - as it is called now - lists 2431 tours of Delhi in 21 categories. However, their categorisation is confusing.
A cultural and Theme tour could also be a day tour or a part of sightseeing tour. Some of the cultural tours are private & custom tours too. They are not necessarily group tours. I don’t know how they pick their “insider picks”, their VIP & Exclusive tours. Viator, just like Tripadvisor, has many tours which are sorted oddly. Also, the listed prices are misleading. Viator lists the lowest price but that price is not available for single travellers.
Lets move on to the next tour aggregator, which is Airbnb.
Airbnb Experiences of Delhi
Airbnb lists 99 experiences of Delhi. They range from $15 to $250 per person. They categorise their experiences in five managable categories:
- Classes and workshops
- Food and Drink
The interface is easy to navigate and the list of 99 experiences is curated by Airbnb. This is a big difference when you compare them to the thousands of tours/experiences available in Delhi on other aggregators. Lets look at one more aggregator.
Getyourguide tours of Delhi
They have 83 activities for Delhi most of which are low quality in our view. Getyourguide is good at search engine marketing. They have worked with many travel bloggers and pay them affiliate fees to list getyourguide tours on their blogs. I picked 3 blogs that recommended Getyourguide and all of them are affiliates. This means they get a cut from Getyourguide if you buy a tour after visiting their website. This is not necessarily bad. However, it does not sit well with me.
These 83 activities are listed 20 at a time and you can search based on the duration of the tour or how much you want to spend. However, a lot of the tours on getyourguide are taking you for a ride. For example, one evening food tour walk of Old delhi and New Delhi takes you Kamla nagar. We lived in Kamla nagar. We love it to death but its not in New Delhi. And, should not be on the agenda of a 5 hour tour that picks you up from your hotel but drops you off at one of the busiest metro stations in the Delhi - the Chandni Chowk Metro station.
Clearly, this is not a sensible tour.
One 8-hour private tour of old and new Delhi is listed at USD 7.5 but when you try to book it, the price goes up to $51.75/person. What’s even more interesting is that the tour with admission fees and lunch goes up to $108. A 15x increase from the listed price.
This is so broken.
Just one more aggregator and then we are done. Its Toursbylocals.
Toursbylocals Tours of Delhi
Toursbylocals tours of Delhi are not popular. So, lets avoid them to keep this article shart.
Why is is hard to pick a tour of Delhi
The trouble with all these tour aggregators they are not focused on the traveller any more. Majority of them do not curate tours any more. Anyone can list their tour. The other problem is that their rating only goes to 5. This makes it really hard to evaluate a tour against another. Finally, the biggest issue is that the guide make or breaks a tour and most tour companies allot guides based on availability or on a rotation. So, your tour maybe very different from another’s.
And most guides are not good at adding drama, context and perspective even though they might know the facts. And, just because you are local to Delhi does not make you an expert on Delhi or at telling stories.
Do you choose on the basis of number of reviews? More the number of reviews the better the tour may not always be true. Group tours always have more reviews than private tours that does not make them right for you, even if they have 5 stars.
How to pick the tour of Delhi that's right for you?
The single biggest question to answer is, "what kind of a traveller are you?". No tour is right for everyone. Answer these questions before picking a tour:
- What do you want to experience in Delhi - Food, culture, art, shopping, markets?
- Do you want your tour to be customised to suit your needs or are you ok with group tours?
- Do you want to learn about history, architecture or want to see how locals life our life?
- How much time do you want to spend on a tour. Delhi is big and getting from one place to the next takes time. Doing it yourself is possible if you pace yourself but you can cover a lot of ground with a private tour and make the most of your time in Delhi.
- Do you want to buy gifts to take back home to friends and family? If yes, Delhi has great deals. Stuff from all over India is traded in Delhi
Top mistakes that travellers make while picking tours of Delhi
Here is our list:
- Picking tours just based on number of reviews. As mentioned earlier, this can be misleading.
- Picking really cheap tours - Many tour operators are not transparent about pricing, so be careful. Many operators take commissions from shops. So, they will take you to the same shops no matter what you want to buy.
- Often times, booking through aggregators is costlier than booking directly with the tour operators. Search the tour operator or guide on google and you might be able to save between 15-30% on costs.
Are you traveling alone to Delhi and looking to meet people?
If yes, pick a group tour. You will meet other travellers.
Can you afford a private tour of Delhi?
If yes, pick a private tour. Most private tours like ours customise the itinerary based on what you want to do and what you have already seen. Many travellers come to Delhi on group tours. They try to arrive a day early to take private tours to have more context for their trip.
If you are really on a budget check out free tours of Delhi at freedelhitours.com