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1st time going to Asia - need help with Nepal and India

1st time going to Asia - need help with Nepal and India

Old Oct 9th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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1st time going to Asia - need help with Nepal and India

Hello!

My sister and her husband are adopting a baby from Nepal. Due to his phobia of flying, I am making trip #1 with her. We will be there 11/13 - 11/27, flying through Delhi. The majority of the time will be outside of Kathmandu in the Children's Home, but we will have some tours organized by the adoption agency as well as other outings we can do on our own.

We would be happy to take any suggestions of places to eat, things to go, etc.. in Kathmandu.

Also, we will have three days in Delhi for some independent touring. We have done much travel internationally, but none in Asia. We are anxious to experience this part of the world! How would you suggest we spend our three days/two nights in the Delhi area? Do you recommend any tour groups or a driver to take us to the Taj Mahal? That is something we would definitely like to do.

We are in the very early stages of India planning and have to make some arrangements fast. Finally, what hotels are nice in Dehli? We are 34 and 29 and our budget would be to not exceed $120/night in Delhi.

I have been warned of safety tips with regards to food and water. A friend has recently told me of the Dengue Fever and to be sure to bring plenty of mosquito reppelant. Yikes!

Thanks!

Betsy_B

Thank you very much!
Betsy

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Old Oct 9th, 2006, 03:49 PM
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we also are going in november and today i picked up our script for malerone, an anti malarial....i would suggest you consult a travel clinic about this...

hotels are very expenisve in delhi....my guess is that for that price you may need to look at guest houses....someone, like bonita, will advise you better about this...

you can do the taj in one day from delhi on the train, but it will be a long day...driving might take too long for one day...

be very careful about your eating and of course only bottled water...
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Old Oct 9th, 2006, 08:27 PM
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Congratulations to your sister and her husband...

Hotels in Delhi are quite expensive and you are coming in during the tourist season as well. For hotels in that range, try the Oberoi Maidens (go to http://www.maidenshotel.com), run by the Oberoi group a very good local operator. This is about a 3 star hotel. For even less expensive choices, try the following (I don't' know these but picked them out of Allistar Sawday's book, "Special Places to Stay India" which is wonderful):

Delhi Bed and Breakfast at http://www.delhibedandbreakfast.com/

Master Paying Guest Accommodation at http://www.master-guesthouse.com/

Ahuja Residency at http://www.ahujaresidency.com/guest_house.htm

The Ahuja Residence is next to Khan Market, which has some great bookshops and some other shops as well and is not a bad location. I think the Master Paying Guest Accommodation has been mentioned on this site before and perhaps on tripadvisor.com

Also, if you are there on a weekend, it is worth checking the Oberoi New Delhi, a five star, but they sometimes have weekend specials (this is a business hotel, go to www.oberoihotels.com). The location of this hotel is better than the Maidens for a tourist in terms of access to sights. Although beyond the budget you quote, IMO the best hotel overall for location and quality and for tourists is the Imperial, at least take a look, go to www.theimperialindia.com. When you see hotel prices in Delhi, you may change your mind and decide to splurge anyway.

If you really only have 2 nights and 3 days, I personally would spend it all in Delhi as there is a LOT to see and do. There are many good museums and many historical sights like the Red Fort, Friday Mosque, Ghandi's cremation ground, Indira Gandhi's home, Nehru's home, the Qutab Minar, Humayan's Tomb and the whole Parliament building area. Then there is the National Museum, the Crafts Museum and the Museum of Modern Art just to name a few. Then you can do a little shopping and have some good meals. For a good reliable local car service in Delhi, contact [email protected]. They will give you a quote for picking you up at the airport, plus car service around Delhi. Airport pickup is about US$15 and it is about US$ for an 8-hour day of touring. they can arrange transport down to Agra if you want as well, albeit it isn't cheap.

A day trip to Agra is not a great idea, IMO, and certainly not one by car. (I don't recco day trips to places like Pompeii or Venice either, and would put Agra in the same group.) The drive from Delhi takes about 4.5 hours each way, so you are looking at 9 hours in the car. This is a trip by Indian roads, which while I love India, 9 hours on Indian roads in one day would be too much for me. Also, the round-trip fare by car will be about US$250. ( Even taking a car for an overnight will be about the same price. ) If you want to do this, you really have to take an early morning train like the 6 am Shabtabdi Express that will get you to Agra by 8 am and would give you maximum time in Agra. The most expensive train will be about US$35 for first class/executive class.

However, if you really want to see the Taj, then you should do yourself a favour and spend a at least one night so you can see it at dawn when it is quite beautiful, esp in the winter months when cooler temps and cloudless days mean quite spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Also, you should really get out to Fatephur Sikri, the abandon capital city, and also try to see the Agra Fort. There is also Sikandra which I find impressive and the Itimad-ud-daula (the "baby taj"). Agra has its own version of the Red Fort as well, and a great old town area which is away from all the touts at the entrance to the Taj. You could possibly take late night train down, stay overnight, spend a day there and come back that night if you wanted to spend less time, but even that is rushing things IMO in trying to "do" Agra and New Delhi is that short a time. Really I think you should pick one place. You will be a bit overwrought with the adoption I think, plus the jet lag. Relax and don't move around so much. You might consider skipping Delhi altogether and concentrating on the Agra area. But remember that you have to come back to Delhi for your flight to Katmandu, and also look at your arrival time of your flight from the US, it may not work to go right down to Agra. If you give me your arrive time, I can see what train times might work.

I would not take a tour down to Agra. Expensive, canned and rushed. For hotels in Agra, I like the Taj View which should be within the budget (go to www.tajhotels.com), there is also a Sheraton where the poster above got a rate of US$130 or thereabouts, you might ask him how he got that rate.

The "health issues" in India are really overrated, IMO. Make sure you have an updated tetanus. Make sure you have Hepatitis A and B shots, as you can get that anywhere, including the US. As you will be adopting a child and will be with children, make sure you have updated measles, Rubella and polio shots and boosters (there have been three cases of polio in Mumbai, and I don't know the prevalence in Nepal). These IMO are the things you need to worry about, malaria is really far down the list, esp in the winter months. You don't not really even need mosquito repellent in November in New Delhi, average temps will be in the 60 F and winter will have started. Take a look at weatherbase.com. There will be few, if any mosquitos, and you are in the city with good drainage and which has not had rainfall since September. If you want to wear repellent fine, this may be a reasonable precaution against Dengue for which you cannot take prophylactic medication, but think twice about taking malaria meds in north India in the winter. I never take malaria medication at all, I just don't like any of the potential side effects. Also, I don't like adding to the resistance of the mosquitoes, as people who really need resistant drugs, like children living in Asia, need them much more than I do.

I am not a fan of Katmandu, and have only been once many years ago, so cannot give reccos. It is currently not the nicest place to go, lots of strikes and curfews going on due to the Maoist insurgency. There are peace talks going on this week, but one never knows what will happen. Be careful in and especially going outside of Katmandu into the countryside. Info about the latest riots in Katmandu can be found at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/5268048.stm. The bbc is a very good source of info about the area, as is the UK embassy in Nepal at http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/ser...=1067968460507

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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 04:41 AM
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If you really want to see Taj Mahal, then you should head to Agra as soon as you arrive in Delhi. Take an early morning flight and return next day morning or same day by train /flight.Same day would be too tiring,in my opinion. Then you have only short time left in Delhi.If ok , then go ahead.
all the best.

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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 07:06 PM
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There is no air service into Agra, there has not been service for several years. That is part of the problem in trying to coordinate trips to Agra from elsewhere in India.
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Old Oct 10th, 2006, 11:04 PM
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I pulled out my Lonely Planet and Eyewitness Guides last night to look for some other reccos. I have to say I did not find a lot. Note that hotel tax in Delhi is 12.5% and many hotels also impose a service charge of 10%, so to keep to your budget of US$130 all in, you will have to look in the range of US$100 -110 per night. The good news is that the rates often include breakfast and airport transfers, but do ask.

Niruals Hotel
L-Block
Connaught Circus
Tel: 91 11-2341-7419, 5151-7070
Fax:91 11-2341-8957
E Mail : [email protected]
http://www.nirula.com/hotels/nirulas...new-delhi.html

The website is showing about US$90 a night for a standard room, and US$100 for a suite, excluding taxes. This is near Connaught Circus. Note that it does not get very good reviews on tripadvisor.com (see below).

Finally, I went to tripadvisor.com, a great source for hotels in Europe and getting better for Asia, and found the following:

Bajaj Indian Home Stay
8A/34 W.E.A, Karol Bagh,
Tel: 91-11-25736509
Fax: 91-11-25812905
E-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]
http://www.bajajindianhomestay.com/

Their website has rates at US$76 a night double occ, including taxes, breakfast and airport transfers. This hotel gets good trip advisor reviews and is near Karol Bagh which is a fun shopping area esp if you are interested in saris or pashminas as the wonderful Ahujasons is here.

FYI, Delhi Bed and Breakfast FYI was #1 on tripadvisor.com.
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Old Oct 11th, 2006, 10:53 AM
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Thanks to all, especially Cicerone for the wonderful information. You are such a help to us! The hotel links and B&Bs you gave are just perfect. We just may splurge a little more in Dehli as we would like to focus on being in a nice area with good beds. It turns out that we will have three nights in Dehli and 3.5 days. I agree with either/or on the Taj or city of Dehli. We have both done two months in Europe backpacking after college and jumped from city to city. Now, we prefer to spend more time in one place and really get to know it. I just did not realize how far Agra was. Wow!

We still need to do some more "homework" on this but I will certainly post our plans and ask for a critique from you, more experienced travelers.

We have not gotten any shots and it sounds like we'll need them. Thank you.

As for Kathmandu, we are aware of the strikes and termoil in Nepal and I suspect that besides a helicopter ride for a view of the Himalayas, we will spend most time with my new niece and other orphans. That is the entire point of the trip and I am sure my sister won't be able to tear herself away!

Thanks, again! I appreciate the time you put into the posts.

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