Small Group Tours

“I’ve been able to travel extensively these past 30 years and like a great Conductor, who can reveal the essence of a symphony, “The Art of Living Tours,” by Marieke Brugman, achieves that same magic wherever you go with her. You are a guest, not just a tourist, as she reveals places, tastes and sights only a true lover of that culture can offer. It is why I’ve done so many of her excursions (South Africa, Normandy, Spain, Turkey and India several times) and had the privilege of discovering the breath and soul of the places she offers to her intimate groups”.
Kenneth Payne


Art of Living’s guided journeys are never larger than twelve guests and sometimes as intimate as six participants. They are usually a mix of solo travellers and couples, and solo travellers are warmly welcomed.

Our trips peel back the surface layers, so you enjoy the unexpected, have your curiosity ignited, your senses and sensibilities nourished, your memories cherished, your personal freedoms respected, your expectations excelled.

If joining as a single traveller you are accorded a similar standard as couples and always treated as a valued guest. Whilst it is still the case that hotels around the world charge almost the same for a room for singles or double, we both try to ensure singles have the same standard of rooms as couples and the supplement being charged is passed on at cost. We never add to this.


We always travel in very comfortable transport – either air/conditioned SUV type vehicles or mini luxury coaches if there are less than nine guests, and small buses if there are more. We often use a vehicle larger than our needs, so as to afford everyone a window seat and a little extra space. Water, snacks and hand wash are always carried on board for passengers’ use. Luggage is always handled by our drivers, or their assistants and hotel porters, so it is only in airports that you need deal with your own bags.

It is sometimes the case that travellers might be worried about their individual needs and sense of freedom being curtailed in a group. However, with over twenty years experience, we can assure you that this has never been the case. If you need to skip a meal, or want to take a rest or have your heart set on seeing something that is not included, we do our utmost to both fulfill your wishes and make sure you are comfortable.

On the most positive side, our experience has also taught us the many advantages of travelling in a small group:
All the details are taken care of. You need feel no anxiety about how you will reach the next place, if a flight has been delayed, the quality of your hotel room, the choice of dining – indeed you are so relieved of all this minutiae, because it has all been personally vetted, it actually liberates you to be fully immersed in each and every experience.

Once our guests, even the most independent amongst them have appreciated these hassle free arrangements, they book over and over again because their joy in travel has been reaffirmed.

It is most likely you will meet travellers motivated by similar interests and sensibilities – the conversations will be stimulating, and new and often lasting friendships made. The sense of congeniality is heightened as AoL creates evening soirees and pre-prandial cocktail parties that allow people to reflect and share their days’ insights. We believe life has to be fun.

Whilst it may be more expensive to join a small group, this will be outweighed by the inclusion of things that might be additional or prohibitive for a private traveller, – more intimate access to guides, no surprising extras, special performances or private entrees, all meals and entrance fees, a sense of rarity and privilege away from the maddening tourist crowds. On most of our tours we also take care of day-to-day tipping – for hotel porterage, restaurants, local guides, though usually ask for a group contribution to a driver and or guide who may have accompanied us throughout a trip.


When Marieke is leading a program, there is a daily offering of joining her in a gentle yoga session or an early morning walk.
Most tours require a reasonable level of fitness and mobility. Whilst there is the occasional day on any tour that requires a lengthy journey, most days you are required to be able to stand for some hours if visiting a monument or museum, walk a distance of a few kilometres, climb stairs, negotiate uneven surfaces and sometimes steep terrain, and carry luggage for short distances.
That is not to say that we won’t arrange assistance – e.g. provide a mule if the village trek will play havoc with your knees, arrange your room to be near an elevator if one is available, source a jeep to reunite you with guests who may have undertaken the walk into a remote location.
However, if you have any doubts about the suitability of our trips with regards to your general state of health, you must disclose this and give us the opportunity to assess if we think you can cope and not compromise the rest of the group.
We look forward to welcoming you on one of our magical journeys.


Royal Rajasthan Barbie Mark

Hi Dear Marieke, how often we have thought of you and our wonderful Rajasthan trip! Thank you so much for sharing all your wonderful knowledge of India, shared with such a heartfelt passion that it was impossible not to come away sharing a little of that passion!  That to me is an indication of a very well thought out and loved tour, so thank you for taking us on the journey with you!
How wonderful to meet Durga also, a beautiful character and a great addition to the experience. Thank you again Marieke,

Royal Rajasthan Jono

Hi Marieke,
Oh yes, I am definitely back with a bang and trying desperately to keep some sort of ‘Karma’ about me… 
Where to begin….from our magical tented camp in Jodhpur that still sends shivers up my spine….to our picnic in the Aravlli hills with VB and his very elegant mum.
Our wonderful Indian food and desert fires at night. One of my most treasured feelings of India will always be the memory of Durga each morning wearing his beautiful turban and genuine warm smile….. such a lovely, lovely man is our Durga and what a privilege to spend time with him in his homeland.
You really do complement each other beautifully.  It certainly was a special time and only hope it won’t be our last.
Please keep me in the loop for new tours as we would all love to do another group holiday together.
A big hug and kiss from Jono and I xxxxoooo

Royal Rajasthan Lisa Brad

Dear Marieke ,
Thank you for the email and welcome home !
We really loved the Indian adventure Marieke and Durga style and felt we did experience so much more with the tented camps that were a favourite and all  the superbly chosen hotels  sharing some of the essence of India.. Every detail was thought about and the cuisine delicious. I have now stocked the pantry with The Very Best Basmati and have already attempted to make Indian dishes for the family, although not quite the Thali yet . I did love my yoga class with you on the rooftop at Deogarth and particularly loved the small town and our lovely Kashmiri boys at the turban shop. We loved our proud aristocratic Rajput Durga with a wonderful art of storytelling and a great sense of humour. You will be pleased to know that Brad and I are back to yoga once a week and Yin is our new experience .Brad is glued to Indian Summer and I am loving Nine Lives and am able to understand so much more regarding Hindu Jain and Muslim religion with a lot to learn. Thank you for such a wonderful experience in India and we will be back .We already miss the busy street life and the smiling beautiful faces .
Lots Love Lisa and Brad xxx


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