Comments please on proposed tour?

Jun 17th, 2003, 11:52 PM
  #1  
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Posts: 251
Comments please on proposed tour?

Two friends and I have been quoted the following for a guided tour in India. I'm not one for "tours" but think it may be a good idea due to the language barrier. The cost of $1050 per person sharing covers accommodation (bed & breakfast), all transfers, land transport as per the itinerary in an airconditioned vehicle, entrance to sites and sightseeing tours plus an English speaking guide. None of our group have been to India before, we are interested in culture and historic sights and live in Africa so are not wimps! I'd really appreciate any comments anyone may have about the proposed itinerary, what's included, whether it is worth the visit, is it too much driving/travelling (still tiring even if you are a passenger), and is the cost reasonable?
Thanks

Day-01: Arrive
Met on arrival at Delhi International Airport and transferred to the hotel of your choice. Overnight in Delhi. (Connaught)
Day-02: In Delhi
Breakfast at the hotel followed by a full day sightseeing tour of Old and New Delhi visiting - The Red Fort, Friday Mosque - Jama Masjid, The silver street of Chandni Chowk, Raj Ghat, The Hindu temple -- Birla Mandir, The India Gate, The Rashtrapati Bhawan -- President's House, The tomb of
Emperor Humayun, Qutab Minar and The Bahai Temple. Overnight in Delhi.
Day-03: Delhi-
After breakfast, transfer to airport intime to board flight for Udaipur. Met on your arrival in Udaipur and transferred to the hotel of your choice. Afternoon at leisure. Evening sunset boat cruise on Lake Pichola.
Overnight in Udaipur. (Raj Darshan Trident)
Day-04: In Udaipur
Breakfast at the hotel followed by a sightseeing tour of Udaipur visiting City Palace, Jagdish Temple and Saheliyon ki bari. Overnight in Udaipur.
Day-05: Udaipur -
After breakfast, depart for Jodhpur by road (275 kms/06 hrs) . On your arrival in Jodhpur, check-into the hotel of your choice. Overnight in Jodhpur. (Karni Bhawan)
Day-06: In Jodhpur
Breakfast at the hotel followed by a sightseeing tour of Jodhpur visiting The Mehrangarh Fort, The Jaswant Thada, The Sardar market.
Overnight in Jodhpur.
Day-07: Jodhpur -
After breakfast, depart for Jaisalmer by road (290 kms/06 hrs) . On your arrival in Jaisalmer, check-into the hotel of your choice. Overnight in Jaisalmer. (Jaisal Castle)
Day-08: In Jaisalmer
Breakfast at the hotel followed by a sightseeing tour of Jaisalmer visiting Jaisalmer Fort,Jain temples and Havelis.Sunset visit to Sam sand
dunes including camel ride. Overnight in Jaisalmer.
Day-09: Jaisalmer -
After breakfast, depart for Bikaner by road (330 kms/07 hrs) . On your arrival in Bikaner, check-into the hotel of your choice. Overnight in Bikaner. (Man Bilas)
Day-10: Bikaner -
Breakfast at the hotel followed by a sightseeing tour of Bikaner city -- visiting The Junagarh fort, Lallgarh palace Ganga golden jubilee museum and camel breeding farm. Later depart for Mandawa by road (190
kms/3.5 hrs) . On your arrival in Mandawa, check-into the Mandawa Castle.
Overnight at the Mandawa Castle.
Day-11: Mandawa -
After breakfast, short sightseeing tour of the Mandawa Castle and the nearby havelies of the Shekhawati region. Later, depart for Jaipur by road (170 kms/03 hrs) . On your arrival in Jaipur, check-into the hotel of
your choice. Overnight in Jaipur. (Alsisar)
Day-12: In Jaipur
Breakfast at the hotel followed by a full day sightseeing tour of Jaipur visiting Hawa Mahal - The Palace of Winds, The Jantar Mantar, The City Palace and the Amber Fort. Your tour includes a ride up the Fort on an
Elephant's back. Overnight in Jaipur.
Day-13: Jaipur -
After breakfast, depart for Agra by road (250 kms/05 hrs) enroute visiting Fatehpur Sikri. On your arrival in Agra, check-into the hotel of your choice. Overnight in Agra. (Howard)
Day-14: Agra - Delhi
Breakfast at the hotel followed by a sightseeing tour of Agra city
visiting the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. Later depart for Delhi by road
(220kms/04 hrs) . On your arrival in Delhi, check-into the hotel of your choice. Overnight in Delhi. (Connaught)
Day-15: Depart Delhi
Breakfast at the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure in Delhi until transfer to the International Airport intime to board your flight home.
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 10:36 AM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 6,751
Well overall it looks like a good tour. decent hotels in India are actually very expensive, so for 15 days I doubt you could really beat that. You would be hard pushed to do so much on your own and with a guide it will make life easier.
As long as it's a decent company with a good reputation I would say it's fine. It's not so much the language issue as so many sopeak English but it's getting things taken care of without people hassling you. Good luck!
JamesA is offline  
Jun 18th, 2003, 06:42 PM
  #3  
 
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Posts: 2,943
!What!?! I went on a 14-day tour of India and Nepal and it cost me $5000 US. You are getting off rather cheaply, by comparison. However, I stayed at better hotels. I doubt you could do better, but compare your itinerary with www.djoserusa.com. They offer low-cost tours to India.
ThinGorjus is offline  
Jun 24th, 2003, 05:33 AM
  #4  
 
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Posts: 492
I'd be interested in knowing which travel agency you are using. Thanks so much
jahlie is offline  
Jun 25th, 2003, 04:53 AM
  #5  
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Posts: 251

It's a South African based operation, Thompsons Tours. Don't know if they can help outside SA, although my friend who obtained the quote lives in Malawi! Worth a try:
www.thompsons.co.za

traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Jun 26th, 2003, 08:01 AM
  #6  
 
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Posts: 492
Thanks for the link. Thompson's looks like a great Africa tour company and I'll keep it in mind for the future. I'm currently building an itinerary with an Indian travel agency, Renaissance Reizen, which is giving me comparable pricing and amenities so I guess neither of us are too far off. My cousin and her husband used them for a recent trip to India and were pleased with the service. Hopefully we'll all have a great time.
jahlie is offline  
Jun 30th, 2003, 09:03 AM
  #7  
 
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Posts: 7,689
1. Trying to see Delhi in one day is not possible. You will spend more time in traffic than you will seeing the sights. My guess is that you will spend a very small amount of time at each site. Places like the Red Fort deserve some time, as does the Friday Mosque and Chandi Chowk. You also appear to have no time for shopping in the Connaught Circus area, which is a good shopping area. If you can remove Delhi from your itinerary and add a day to Agra or Jaipur, try to do that. IMO, it's just not worth one day in Delhi.

2. What month are you going? If you are going in the summer months, I think the itinerary is exhausting. The heat is really quite unbelievable. If you are going in the winter months, the itinerary is doable, but you are spending whole days traveling, 7 hours or so by bus on Indian roads is no picnic. To get to Jodhpur and Bikanir, you will spend one day traveling to then spend one day in each city. Not sure this is worth it.

3. The only hotel I know on your itinerary is the Connaught in Delhi. I am generally familiar with the Trident brand hotels, although I have not seen the one in Udaipur which is on your itinerary. The Connaught is a very basic hotel, I would say three stars, and in India this can mean very old furniture and little service. (The Trident looks better on the website and got some good reviews on the Rants and Raves page. The Connaught didn't even make the list.) As long as you understand this, I am sure you won't mind. If you are going in the summer months, make sure the hotel has air conditioning (a must in Delhi and Agra, maybe more optional in the other cities as they are more north and a bit higher in elevation).

4. As with Delhi, the one day itinerary for Jaipur is very ambitious. The Amber Fort is about 40 minutes outside Jaipur. It is a lot to do in one day, and I don't think you will get a feel for this unique city in that time. The City Palace is very large and you could easily spend a day here looking at the various exhibits and exploring other parts of the palace. Again, there is very little time for shopping which is really excellent in Jaipur for rugs, fabrics and jewelry.

5. One day in Agra is OK, although you will probably not get to spend very much time at the Taj, which is worth several trips IMO to see it at different times of day and under different weather conditions. The Red Fort is very large and quite interesting but I wonder how much time you will get to spend here are you are heading back to Delhi the same day. Also, check how much time you will spend at Fatephur Sikri. You would need at least 2 hours, more if you can. This is a very interesting and well-preserved abandoned palace.

6. Check to make sure how much if any time they acknowledge will be spent in "visits" to carpet making shops, etc; which are really just one guy making a rug and 10 guys trying to sell you a rug. They may not be willing to disclose this, but from what I understand of tours, there is always a bit of this. As you have a very tight schedule, you may not want to waste time in this manner.

7. Your itinerary does not include a trip to see tigers in Ranthambore National Park, about a 4-hour drive south of Jaipur. This is a really fantastic place, esp in the winter months. You might ask if the tour company could add it or substitute it for Jodhpur, Jaisalmer or Bikaner. (All the latter places are wonderful, but hard to get to in your limited time and worth more than one day, IMO.)

8. You really can do all of the above by yourself with a little time and effort. You won't be able to do it as cheaply and you will definitely have more hassle, However, you can also make the schedule you want or throw it out the window if you find a place you want to stay longer. I have never used a tour in India or elsewhere and really encourage you to try to do India on your own. As you said you are not wimps, and a big advantage in India is that English is very widely spoken, and they have a great train system. (Not sure what language barrier you are referring to, as I don?t find one in India; I live in Switzerland and definitely find one here.)

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