Halong Bay floating village (Dreamstime)
List 14 March

Adventure of a lifetime! 10 unforgettable trips with top-rated tour operators

Cruise the Galápagos Islands, desert camp in Sudan, hike to the Tiger's Nest Monastery in Bhutan... these 10 trips with our readers' favourite tour operators are truly unforgettable

Choosing a tour operator can be as tricky as picking a trip. Luckily, you helped solve this dilemma by voting for your top tour ops in our Reader Travel Awards 2018. We've ranked them according to your satisfaction ratings, so read on for their signature trips…

1. Explore a lesser-known corner of India

Indian temple at night (iStock)

Indian temple at night (iStock)

Delve Inside Karnataka with Holiday Architects and hunt for hidden India. Take in the temples of Belur and Halebid, sniff out incense centres in Mysore, and spy tigers and elephants in Nagarhole NP. See the Tibetan communities and coffee region of Coorg, and end on the sands of Neeleshwar.

Who: Holiday ArchitectsVoted joint 1st place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: Year round

How long: 13 days

2. Cruise Ecuador's Galápagos Islands

Sea lion on the Galápagos Islands (Sea Lion Travel)

Sea lion on the Galápagos Islands (Sea Lion Travel)

See wildlife wonders on Llama Travel’s Galápagos + A Taste of Ecuador tour. Stroll colonial streets in capital Quito before cruising the Galápagos Islands aboard the San Jose, spying wild marine iguanas and penguins before climaxing in tropical Guayaquil.

Who: Llama Travel – Voted joint 1st place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: Selected dates

How long: 14 days

3. Go off-grid in Malaysia

Iban longhouse in Malaysia (Selective Asia)

Iban longhouse in Malaysia (Selective Asia)

Uncover hidden nooks on Selective Asia’s Borneo: Beyond the Ordinary tour. From jungle treks and bedding down in an Iban longhouse, to exploring the rarely visited bird- and orchid-rich Maliau Basin, known as ‘Sabah’s lost world’. A trip to remember.

Who: Selective AsiaVoted 3rd place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: Year round

How long: 14 days

4. Tackle Peru's alternative Inca Trail

Machu Picchu (KE Adventure Travel)

Machu Picchu (KE Adventure Travel)

Ford the Andes from Choquequirao to Machu Picchu with KE Adventure Travel. Trek soaring peaks and deep canyons to descend on the little-seen Choquequirao ruins, before weaving through cloud forests and riverine valleys to its iconic Inca sister site.

Who: KE Adventure Travel – Voted 4th place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: Selected dates

How long: 13 days

5. Ignore the stereotype of Sudan

A desert camp in Sudan (Wild Frontiers)

A desert camp in Sudan (Wild Frontiers)

Join Wild Frontiers and go Beneath the Sands of Sudan. Pitch up in desert camps along the Nile, visit ancient pyramids and UNESCO-listed Jebel Barkal across the northern Nubia, and meet the nomadic people that make this land so special.

Who: Wild Frontiers – Voted 5th place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: 10 November 2018

How long: 8 days

6. Explore Vietnam's bustling streets and backwaters

Halong Bay (Audley Travel)

Halong Bay (Audley Travel)

Have a ‘best of’ adventure with Audley Travel’s Highlights of Vietnam trip. Head north to south, pedalling through buzzing capital Hanoi and cruising between the karsts of Halong Bay en route to the fox tunnels of capital Ho Chi Minh City and the white sands of Phu Quoc.

Who: Audley Travel – Voted 6th place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: Year round

How long: 16 days

7. Follow the Silk Road in the 'Stans

Turkmenistan (Undiscovered Destinations)

Turkmenistan (Undiscovered Destinations)

Join Undiscovered Destinations in the Heart of the Silk Road. This adventure through Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan soaks up the mosques and mausoleums of Khiva, the Islamic artistry of Samarkand, and slides past waterfalls, lakes and peaks in Tajikistan. Spectacular.

Who: Undiscovered Destinations – Voted 7th place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: 16 September 2018; 21 April and 15 September 2019

How long: 15 days

8. Discover mountain kingdoms in Nepal and Bhutan

Tiger's Nest Monastery (Dreamstime)

Tiger's Nest Monastery (Dreamstime)

Join Bamboo Travel’s Kathmandu & The Highlights of Bhutan trip and go from the dzongs (fortresses) and palace of Bhutan capital Thimpu to the terraces and Tiger’s Nest Monastery of the Paro Valley before easing up in Nepalese village Nagarkot.

Who: Bamboo Travel – Voted 8th place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: Year round

How long: 13 days

9. Ride the Spanish rails

Coastal views on the Slow Train route (Inntravel)

Coastal views on the Slow Train route (Inntravel)

Take the Slow Train through Asturias with Inntravel, winding along the lush Costa Verde, passing the fishing villages of Cudillero and Ribadesella, and soaking up the scenic character of Oviedo’s Old Town – all against a backdrop of the rugged Picos de Europa.

Who: Inntravel – Voted 9th place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: 1 May – 23 July and 1 September – 31 October 2018

How long: 7 nights

10. Enjoy a classic journey from the UK to Italy

Venice (Kirker Holidays)

Venice (Kirker Holidays)

Hop on board the Venice Simplon-Orient- Express with Kirker Holidays for a truly classic rail journey. Steam through rolling French countryside and alpine Swiss hills while devouring fine wine and cuisine en route to Venice.

Who: Kirker Holidays – Voted 10th place in the Reader Travel Awards 2018

When: Year round

How long: 3 nights