Air India Pass - Need Itinerary

Feb 17th, 2004, 11:10 PM
  #1  
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Air India Pass - Need Itinerary

I will be purchasing a 15 day Air India Pass (sold by Indian Airlines) that allows me to fly anywhere in India for 15 continuous days, the only condition being I'm not able to visit a place more than once.

I can start either in Kolkata or Madras (flying up from BKK), where would you start?
I'm torn b/c I want to visit both Bangladesh & Sri Lanka afterwards.

what itinerary would you choose?

Thanks in advance.
swede33 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 11:43 PM
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What month are you travelling? Monsoon months and very hot months would affect my suggestions on where you should go. What are you interested in, south India or north india or a combination? Beaches, cities, hill stations, mountains, etc.
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 18th, 2004, 12:25 AM
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I do not know what your interests are but having been to both can tell u that Sri Lanka is a far better tourist destination than Bangladesh. IN terms of people, food, sightseeing, variety - everything Sri Lanka scores IMO. IN that case u shd probably start in Kolkata and end as South as possible e.g Cochin so Colombo is a short flight from there.
Sameera_Anand is offline  
Feb 18th, 2004, 08:07 AM
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Doesn't Jet Airways offer a similar pass? If I were you, I would take Jet Airways anyday over Indian Airlines. It is an outstanding airline.
agtoau is offline  
Feb 18th, 2004, 10:11 AM
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Thanks to all for your timely responses.

Cicerone, I'm glad this post caught your eye, I think your responses are fantastic and very well articulated. To answer your question I'll be arriving April 23 (from your previous responses on similar threads I know it is withering hot in the the North). Secondly, at the risk of sounding cheeky I would actually like to see all aspects of (N/S/E/W) India - I realize it would be a whistle stop tour but I have some time at the end to revisit those places I enjoyed.

Sameera Anand - Thanks for your insights on Sri Lanka. Is Cochin the best place to fly to Colombo, or Trivandrum? Approx how much are the least expensive tickets?

Agtoau, thanks for the tip on Jet Airways. My question is, do they have the same or equivalent route structure?

Again thanks to all, I really appreciate your input.
swede33 is offline  
Feb 18th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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swede33,

Go to http://www.jetairways.com and check the "Overseas Exclusive->Visit India" menu.




agtoau is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 01:35 AM
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Trivandrum is furthest south but u need to check flt availability. Check Indian Airlines site, Air India site and Sri Lankan sirlines then figure out. I would say avoid very hot places e.g. rajasthan as on such a long trip u may get exhausted. In the north are some great cooler places. Checck out www.heritagehotels.com for int ideas of places to stay or www.ecoclub if u like eco resorts.
Sameera_Anand is offline  
Feb 19th, 2004, 03:20 AM
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Thanks for the kind words, when I lose my job from being on this site all day, maybe I can become a travel writer. . . .

Do you really have to use the air pass in 15 days? That is going to be hard to do in such a huge country like India. More importantly, this would mean that you will not have the time to see the many places where neither flies, like a drive down the coast from Chennai to Pondicherry, or going up the coast of Kerala or exploring its inland waterways. I also don't think you can fly to any of the hill station areas

Another thing to consider is that it may be faster to take a train or a bus than to fly. This is sep true with short hops, where getting to and from the airport, check-in, etc will add at least 1- 2 hours to your journey, not to mention the definite likelihood of delayed flights. Flying from Delhi to Agra is not any faster than taking a train or car, IMO, and may take longer. Same with Agra to Jaipur. . I would look at the prices of individual flights and determine if it may be cheaper to use ground transport as much as possible and flights only for longer distances. Note that many flights will require a connection through Delhi or Mumbai, which will add more time to your journey.

OK, so April and you know it is hot. My suggestion would be to start in the hottest areas in the north first, when you have the most energy, and leave the south and Sri Lanka for last so you can relax on the beaches and the slightly cooler temps.

As you seem to be aware, you really cannot see India even on a "whistle-stop" trip in 15 days, it is like trying to see all of Europe in 15 days, but even more so because distances between tourist spots in India are vast. A rough itinerary with about 2 days in each place would be as follows. I have picked my favourite places, they may not be yours. I have obviously left out lots of other interesting places like Udaipur and Goa. I believe Jet Airways flies to all these places, but again, it might be faster to take a train or car to some. It is most likely that flights out of cities other than Delhi will require you to connect through Delhi to get to your destination, which will eat into your time.

Kolkata/Chennai (Madras)
Delhi
Agra
Jaipur
Ladkh (fly to Leh) to cool off for a few days and see Buddhist culture
Varanasi
Trivandrium
Sri Lanka (not in the 15 days I assume)

Chennai is an interesting city and a starting point for a trip down the east coast. However, given your limited time, I would probably skip Chennai and just use it as a transit point.

I personally would not enjoy the above trip in 15 days. While 2 days in Agra is good, 2 days in Jaipur or Delhi or even Varanasi is not, IMO.

If you can take a longer trip, I see that Jet Airways has a 21 day pass for $750, that may be better as it will give you more time to do side trips like driving down to Ranthambore, or up the west coast from Trivandrium. I agree about using Jet Airways whenever possible, however you will find that they do not go to some cities. It may be economical to buy the Jet Airways pass and then buy the odd Indian Airlines ticket for the one or two cities that Jet doesn't service, you will have to do some mapping out and comparing prices.

I am not sure Bangladesh is worth the time and expense. It really does not have a tourist infrastructure from what I understand, and I think it would really be exhausting on your own and in the heat. I would add the time you were considering for Bangladesh to your Indian itinerary. Sri Lanka is great and definitely worth the time and expense.

I am now re-reading a great book called "Chasing the Monsoon" by Alexander Frater. The author literally followed the monsoon from when it first hit Trivandrium in early June and went all the way up the west coast, then across to Delhi and over to Assam, the rainiest place on earth. A great tale and will put you in the mood for travelling before and/or with the monsoon season, and understanding what a huge role the monsoon plays in Indian culture.
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