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Avoid visiting India Christmas week due to fog?

Avoid visiting India Christmas week due to fog?

Old Jan 15th, 2006, 08:55 AM
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Avoid visiting India Christmas week due to fog?

We are just beginning to plan a trip (two weeks or so) to India for sometime between 11/06 and 4/07. We would be flying from the United States, presumably into New Delhi, and probably also going to Varanasi and Rajasthan, and conceivably south as well.

It would be best in terms of vacation time from work to include the period between Christmas and New Year's Day in the trip. But should we not do this because of a higher probability of fog? Is fog most problematic in terms of flying in and out from abroad (because of night flights), or is it a more general negative?

Also, is Christmas week just too expensive and/or popular with tourists?


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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 09:50 AM
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Fog (actually bad smog) is only a serious problem in Delhi, but it backs up all flights everywhere. I was in India over Christmas week a few weeks ago. Delhi, Varanasi, Rajasthan, Mumbai. We had very little problems with flights--we were on 8 flights over three weeks including transfers. The worst was about a three+ hour delay in Mumbai waiting to get to Delhi. However, there were some problems on the days we were not flying that were reported in the papers requiring flights to be diverted from Delhi to Lucklow and Mumbai.

The holiday season is expensive, but if you use a good agent you can get some good prices. We went very high end (Oberoi and the like) and it was great, but could have very comfortably gone a step down.

Just use a good agent in India and they will meet you budget and get you the best in the category.

We used a fabulous agent in Delhi: www.Yatrik.com (means "traveler" in sanskrit) I could not ask for more attentive service. We even changed some plans to stay in Bombay an extra day with less than 24 hours notice and they made the change in hotel and air adjustments with no additional charge and with a smile.

Ask for Ajay--he is the boss. Tell him Patricia from Boston suggested you contact him.
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Old Jan 15th, 2006, 12:12 PM
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Fog can be a major problem for flying in the winter. I was in Delhi the first two weeks of December and We were warned to always call ahead on our flights. We only say fog one morning when we weren't flying, but it was pretty thick. The concierge at the Imperial said it gets worse towards the end of December. Early morning flights are the most affected, so if you have a choice (many routes you don't), try for later flights. If you can, book the newer, private airlines such as Jet or Sahara instead of Indian.

The hotels and flights were quite full when I went, but as I'd made the reservations only 2 weeks prior, I was happy to still get decent rooms -- at double my August trip costs.

If you try to go earlier, don't forget that the festival of Diwali falls in November. My daughter said it was a lot of fun, but transportation can be very full with locals going home.

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Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 02:43 PM
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Yes, fog is a problem in Delhi. Not just Delhi,the majority of North and West India. I suffered this winter(Dec 05).Loads of cancellations. If you must go, then fly only Jet Airways.They have the best lounges and they put you up in a 4 star hotel when delayed overnight.Indian Airlines might or might not.

Mind you,Delhi has recently acquired the latest technology to help flights land in fog...but the pilots are not trained to land as yet.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 04:16 PM
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Fog is unpredictable. I was in Delhi in Jan and no fog at all. The situation is gettig better also with technology. Xmas week is a very expensive week for many places - Goa, Agra, Jaipur. The offbeat places less so but on the beaten track u will definitely pay a premium for traveling over xmas.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2006, 04:41 PM
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It is foggy then in Delhi and it all depends on your luck really. We went Jan. of 2005 and got lucky. My inlaws told us it had been foggy all that week except for the day (night) we arrived. Conversely we had our fiasco experience as well. We went in Dec.of 1997 and had to divert to Bombay where we stayed for 9.5 hrs!! Supposedly hotels had been arranged for us but that night Bombay got hit with 4 or 5 jumbo jets beside ours and as a result it was jammed and there weren't enough people in customs to process out so many people so we stayed in the airport all that time while being misled by personnel who at various times told us we would be flying out soon or we would be going to the hotel shortly, etc. Actually if you get fogged out thats not as bad as what can happen after.
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Old Mar 5th, 2006, 07:40 AM
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As others have said, the fog is an issue in Delhi. We would not let that stop you from taking a trip at Christmas time if you want to go then, as it does not have to have a huge impact on your travels. If you focus on the northwestern part, for instance (we did this at Christmastime this past Dec), you can elect to use a car/driver or the train to get around instead of flying. We had planned to fly (had purchased tickets), but ended up arranging the car/driver for virtually our whole itinerary once there (since fog in Delhi was delaying flights throughout Rajasthan). It turned out to be a stroke of luck -- the drives were among the most interesting days of the trip, as we got to see real life along the route (which is much different from life in towns you visit as a tourist). We did not take trains, but others on the board have (do a search for the posts) and have had great experiences.

In terms of whether it is too popular or expensive at that time of year, our sense was that the prices were higher throughout the Nov-Feb period since this is the time with the most moderate weather. We booked all of our hotels direct (9-10 months in advance) and had no problems. Other than at the hotels, we actually did not see all that many other tourists (we were pleasantly surprised).

We really enjoyed being in India at Christmastime last year -- if you go, have a great time!
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