Always dreamed of seeing this magnificent wonder of the world? Well look no further, it’s time to make it happen! This guide will explain how to get to Agra and have the best experience possible at the Taj Mahal!
- Arrive in Agra
- Check into hotel
- Go to Agra Fort (bonus)
- Visit Taj Mahal
- Eat a big breakfast
- Explore Agra
- Head out
The first thing you’ll need to do in order to see the Taj Mahal, is get to Agra. There are a few options for this:
- Book a car – ask your hotel to book you a car to drive you to Agra. This is a great option if you’re coming from Delhi or Jaipur. There is no commercial airport in Agra, so this is your best bet.
- Take an Uber – this is what many locals would do, but the tricky thing about Ubers for foreigners is there are extra fees where the drivers might try to scam you. We took an Uber from Gurugram to Agra and paid $35 for the ride and $4 extra for tolls (although the driver was pushing us for like $20). When you take an Uber from one state to another, there will be interstate tolls. The best thing to do is ask for the receipts and pay them that exact amount. This might seem simple, but they will likely still try to scam you and say the receipt is emailed later or something and they’ll just tell you a random number to pay cash.
- Book a Tour – There are plenty of tours (check out Airbnb Experience, TripAdvisor, Viator) that will take you from Delhi or Jaipur to Agra for the day to see the Taj Mahal. This is a great option if you don’t want to deal with your own transportation and don’t have much time. The only down side of this is that it will be a long and exhausting day, and you won’t make it to the Taj Mahal at my suggested time to visit, sunrise!
Where to Stay:
Where we stayed: Ramada Plaza Agra, this is a bit outside of the main area, but we have a timeshare that allowed us to stay here! It’s a nice hotel and a comfortable place to stay.
Good for Foreigners: Radisson or Courtyard Marriott. You may be thinking, why stay at one of these big hotel chains if I want an authentic Indian experience? In my opinion, it’s better to be safe (with food, water, and your own safety) in Agra, especially when you’re just there for a day or so. These big hotel chains will be very comfortable and have hygienic food you can count on.
Luxury: Oberoi. This is easily the nicest hotel in Agra, and if you want a luxury experience, this is the place to go.
After you arrive in Agra, get settled in your hotel and then head out to explore Agra Fort! A foreigner ticket to enter Agra fort is 600 INR and you can hire a tour guide right by the ticketing area. There is so much incredible history to this fort, I highly recommend hiring a guide. This is also a great precursor to visiting Taj Mahal since you will start to understand the history of Agra and the Mughal dynasty.
I recommend a chill dinner at Pinch of Spice in Agra. This is a safe and tourist friendly place to eat, with good food! My partner and his Indian family also enjoy this place and recommend it to people – so it’s not just a touristy spot.
After enjoying dinner, go back to the hotel and get to bed early. We’ve got an early morning tomorrow!
The moment you’ve all been waiting for is here! Firstly, I highly recommend booking a tour to visit the Taj Mahal. You will have someone guiding you through the ticket and entrance process, then you will get the full history and have a personal photographer. We had a connection with My Taj Tour so we used them for a private sunrise tour! I don’t see any tours that start and end in Agra on their website, but you can email them and ask for a private tour (email@example.com), they were great! You can also find tour options on Airbnb Experience.
You can also just show up at the Taj Mahal and find a tour guide by the ticket counter. The Taj Mahal opens one hour before sunrise, so try to time your arrival so that you get there about right at sunrise. A foreigner ticket is 1100 INR (about $14) plus an additional 200 INR if you want to go inside (I recommend this!). Once you have your ticket, you’ll have to go through security. Check the Do’s and Don’ts on the Taj Mahal Website here.
Enjoy the incredible monument and wander around taking photos. Hopefully your early arrival ensured less crowds and a better environment to enjoy the majestic Taj. If you purchased the Mausoleum add on ticket, you will approach the Taj and put shoe covers on to go inside. Take it all in and enjoy your time at this beautiful wonder of the world.
After enjoying the Taj Mahal, go get a nice big Indian breakfast and relax. I enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Courtyard Marriott, but the best luxury experience would be breakfast at Oberoi. You need a reservation at Oberoi to even enter the property and they don’t take walk ins, so if you’re interested, book ahead! Nothing is quite as good as dosas, omelets, fresh fruit, and unlimited chai and coffee after an early wake up and wandering the Taj Mahal.
There’s not a ton to do and see in Agra, but if you want to spend a little more time in the city before heading out, you can check out Itmad-ud-Daula (Baby Taj). I really enjoyed visiting here since it was much less busy than the Taj and you can get up close and personal to the mosaic inlays and architecture. Here’s another blog on more things to see and do in Agra.