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Best options for women travelling in Northern India

Best options for women travelling in Northern India

Sep 21st, 2005, 05:31 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Best options for women travelling in Northern India

Planning a trip for 15 days in Jan-Feb 2006 to include Delhi, Agra, Udaipur,Jaipur,Jhansi Khajuraho or Ranthambore ( which would be better?)Being new to India and women what tour operator provides good value, with good hotels.Abercrombie is extravagant.How is Sita tours and Travels?Any other ideas please.
smp9meditate is offline  
Sep 21st, 2005, 05:52 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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check out Myths and Mountains. I took a great trip with them.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 21st, 2005, 06:30 PM
  #3  
 
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You seem to know that your schedule is too ambitious for 15 days. I would pick 4 places at most. Agra is a given, and there is a lot to see and do in Delhi so I would not skip that, esp as you are probably flying into and out of Delhi. I would drop Khajuraho, as it is fairly far away from the rest of your itinerary, a bit hard to get to and frankly there is not much beyond the temples which are a bit tedious after the first one or two. Not sure if Jhansi is worth the trip out either, esp for a first time trip to India, and esp if you had to drop Jaipur or Udaipur both I which I think are much more interesting. It is also quite a hike, as I recall you have to drive from Khajuraho for about 2 hours. You will be seeing a lot of forts in Rajasthan, and I am not sure that going to Jhansi is worth it.

I love Ranthambore and would certainly go there over Jhansi and Khajuraho, but if your group would be really disappointed not to see tigers than you may want to give it a miss as chances are better than even that you will not see tigers. I have, but only on 1 of 3 trips there; but still love it for all the wildlife and just the ambience of the place. However, I have been with people complaining bitterly that they came to see tigers and that kind of spoiled it. Also, bring gloves and hats and even a warm coat for the sunrise rides and it is quite cold in Jan and Feb.
There is no reason to take any special measures or tour groups because you are women. I have traveled alone and in groups of women in India for the last 15 years and would say it is one of the most pleasant places to travel as a woman (as opposed to say Italy esp for young women). No safety concerns other than those you would take in any other place with regard to your purse, etc., and very friendly people.

You could easily do this trip on your own, but if you have never been to Asia I would understand that you might want to be in a group. However, you will find the level of English to be excellent and I personally find travel in India to be easier than travel in China.
Cicerone is offline  
Sep 21st, 2005, 06:40 PM
  #4  
 
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The trip myths and mountains did for me was actually with a private guide and driver and it ended up being about the same price as if we had taken a group tour.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 04:05 AM
  #5  
 
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Between Khajuraho and Ranthambore - do you like widllife? If yes I would say go to Ranthambore as you are getting quite a bit of history and culture this trip! I have found India to be like Argentina was - a good travel agent gets you as good if not better rates than booking direct and it is worth it to have the car-driver-guide taken care of. We used www.presidenttravels.com, email - [email protected] for a trip Delhi-Ranthambore-Jaipur-Agra and were very satisfied with the arrangements. They are a small agency so very flexible. To give you an example we wanted to splurge on Amar Vilas but our overall budget was fixed so they found us lovely smaller, cheaper properties in Ranthambore and Jaipur such that we managed Amar Vilas within an overall budget. Feel free to make requests like that.
hobbes is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 05:08 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Also try Vikas at Ashoka Holidays. His email is [email protected]. Class act in my experience. Highly reputable, attentive and ethical operator. Their website is www.ashokaholidays.com. They have offices in New Delhi and Jaipur and have expertise with Rajasthan travel. And no I'm not "pushing" them! In fact, I'd recommend cintacting at least two agents to see what they have in mind given your requests and the costs. But, make sure you are doing an apples-to-apples comparison. Read all the specifics and see what is included and what isn't. And then go with your gut judgement as to which you feel best understands you and your needs.
Kenstee is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 06:51 AM
  #7  
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Thank you everyone for your great suggestions.I will definitely check out the tour operators you recommended.Has anyone had any experience with SITA tours and travels ( based out of California and in existence since 1933) i'm asking because they are US based and seem reasonable as opposed to COX & King or Abercrombie & Kent. Thanks in advance for your help.
smp9meditate is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 12:04 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Here's the facts. You get a much better rate dealing right with travel agents in India. US-based firms just sub-contract with Indian firms and take a substantial mark-up as a middleman. The travel and tourism industry in India is very good and most agents you will see reco'ed on this forum are very reputable. I suggest contacting at least two - present them with your plans - see what they have to say - and compare rates and services. You can customize any way you see fit.
Kenstee is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 05:30 PM
  #9  
 
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The only SITA I know is based in Delhi tho they may have US offices and is now owned by Kuoni so like dealing with a Swiss agent. I agree with kenstee - unless you are joining a pre packaged tour an operator based in India will get you the best deal. I got the same advice on the Latin America forum re Argentina and it was absouletly correct as I found on my trip. In many emerging markets local travel agents are a good bet.
hobbes is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 08:58 PM
  #10  
 
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If you have a map of north India before you, you will notice that Khajuraho lies some 468km east-southeast of Agra. The road is very very rough beyond Jhansi, which is some 200km from Agra. Gwalior, Jhansi , Khajuraho belong to a different tourist circuit & can not be coalesced with a tour, the locale of which is predominantly Rajasthan. So naturally, Ranthambhore gets a nod, in your case.
I notice it is intentionally fashionable to talk of super properties in Rajasthan, on this forum, while you can have a perfectly satisfying tour, staying at some other beautiful hotels at a fraction of the cost!
Best wishes.
vp_singh is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2005, 09:02 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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hi there. There are many operators that will provide a good safe and reputable tour, far less than A & K! Are you seeking a group tour, or are you seeking a tour OPERATOR to help you craft a custom-made private tour? I SEE the places you want to go in 15 days, and yes, that is quite alot of traveling, but with careful planning you can cover the distance. I actually LOVE khajurahO, as it is wonderful chance to glimpse rural INDIA and the villages around, and the Temples, extraordinary! Also, en route to KHAJ, it is a must to stop at ORCHA( about 40 minutes fromjhansi!) this is a very intersting small town, incredible romantic temples and it breaks up the journey. Also a great hotel/resturant to lunch which i can suggest in ORCHA to fuel up before the journey on to KHAJURAHO. By the way, most tours between Agra and KHAJURAHO will take the early am shatabdi train from Agra to jhansi(train originating from delhi and going to Bhopal)! From Jhansi it is about a 5 hour drive to Khajuraho on sometime rickety but scenic roads..Great journey! Also, near KHAJuraho, there is a small wildlife sanctuary called Panna, so you can go to Khajuraho and also do a small low-key safari nearbye! And as long as you get to Khajuraho, i would certainly/surely suggest going the distance and ending your trip in VaranasI for a otherwordly glimpse of INDIA! you can easily fly from Khajuraho, and i think Varanais is not to be missed! **YES, I know Sita in INDIA and Sita in California! They are totally different! Again, as other posters have commented, best to sort out details with a local operator who will both have the most extensive firsthand knowledge and acess to the best prices. All American operators to India, *rather most* will subcontract with an Indian company! iNDIA operators are at the source, know the terrain, have access to the best prices and are there for YOU~!1 i can suggest quite a few, as have alot of experince with various operators. some of my faves are Le Passge, TCI, cREATIVE tRAVEL, and KUONI. tHESE companies have some of the biggest pressence in INDIA and are very reputble.. Any further questions or reccos, drop me a line. I am a American woman/traveling to India for over 15 years and presently living in Delhi. happy to help.
Bonita is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 03:29 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 397
I have been travelling solo to India for ten years, and for most of that time have relied on Uday Tours <http://www.udaytour.com/> . I email my itinerary and they make all local arrangements - cars to meet me at airports and take me to railways stations, local guides where desired, etc. They are based in Delhi, and work with a network of other reliable tour operators all over India.

This summer I took my daughter to India for the first and Uday arranged accomodations and cars in Delhi and Jaipur, and all the train trips. I paid them a portion of the fee in advance by mailing a check, and the rest in cash (could also have used a credit card) when their agent met me in Delhi.

I have no idea how their rates compare with a US-based operator, but they will happily give you a quote based on any itinerary and preferences you give them. They reserved the hotel of my choice (Samode Haveli) in Jaipur, and got me a better rate than was advertised on the hotel's site.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

www.straughan.com (personal)
www.tvblob.com (work)
DeirdreStraughan is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 07:37 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 86
VP Singh hits the bull's eye when he talks about the top-end hotels. Of course India has hotels that are rated among the world's best by the more important travel books, and it is always wise to book these through reliable travel agencies. You get good rates and confirmed reservations as these hotels and agencies work in tandem.

However for those who read these forums to seek advice about independent travel at affordable rates, I suggest the family run properties of Rajasthan. Most of these are small, immaculately maintained (the owners take pride in this),friendly, and have a character that can only belong to owner run properties. The costs are really a fraction of what you will pay for the "world class chains".

To come to the topic, a fifteen day tour covering Delhi - Udaipur - Jaipur -Agra - Jhansi - Khajuraho - Delhi is possible with a small snag - do the Agra - Khajuraho sector by flight and leave out Jhansi. For the rest, one option is

Delhi - Udaipur by night train
Have a vehicle meet you at Udaipur and take the road route for
Udaipur - Deogarh
Deogarh - Jaipur
Jaipur - Agra

Agra onwards by flight.
Rajhelp50 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 02:07 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 397
"No one can touch a foreign lady"? I wish! I'm told that the men are more respectful in south India. North India for a woman alone can be dangerous. Delhi is dangerous for any woman - it is currently the rape capital of India, with young women being abducted off the street and gang-raped in cars. I read of multiple cases during the three weeks I was there this summer.

Women should take their personal safety EXTREMELY seriously in India. Since most international flights arrive in the middle of the night, arrange to be met by a car and guide from a reputable travel agency. Even the "prebooked" taxis from the airport can be dangerous.

best regards,
Deirdré Straughan

www.straughan.com
DeirdreStraughan is offline  

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