Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Ranthambore

Jan 29th, 2009, 06:28 PM
  #1  
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Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Ranthambore

Hello,

We are planning a trip to India and would like to spend a week seeing the sights in Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Ranthambore. We will have 8 days and arriving end of June. Can someone please suggest a suitable itinerary, places to stay (not the oberois and high end ones) and details on the safari and if it is worth it. Or is Bharatpur a better choice?

Thanks in advance.
dtnestea is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:41 PM
  #2  
 
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I think we need more information.

So, dt - what research have you done so far? Any? What appealed to you? When you typed in your requests in the search box just up at the top of this page, when you read the trip reports and multiple posts on this topic, what took your eye?

When you looked thru your guide book, when you perused the five million travel websites about India - which excited you?

Do tell us. That'll help a lot.
dogster is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 09:11 PM
  #3  
 
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Hi

I'd like to piggyback on this thread. We are planning a similar trip for late April (we are late, I know) and could use some help. Dogster, I have spent a ton of time on Fodors and the web in general, but getting actual info from those who have been is critical. Maybe both DT and I could benefit from your help.

We may stay more like 10-11 days and IF we can do it, would like to start in Delhi and do Agra (day trip possible to avoid moving around so much?) and Jaipur. The only other thing we'd like to try to fit in is a trip to Rishikesh (my husband wants to spend a short time at an ashram--yoga and meditation practitioner) and Corbett. If we can't do that, then Ranthambore would work instead of Corbett.

We are travelling with 2 kids, 12 and 15. So, any itinerary that would help us to keep them happy would be great. Wildlife is one of those things. Elephant ride at Amber Fort is good?? Elephant safari at Corbett? How good or cheesy are these things? We've taken the kids to Eqypt and Morocco and the difference between some of the camel rides and "5 minutes treks" was ridiculous.

We can't do the very top end of things either...two bedrooms at the Oberoi for 10 nights is nuts...but would like to stay in nice places. For example, Khem Villas in Ranthambore looked great! even the Imperial in Delhi looked 1/2 the price of the Oberoi properties. I can't seem to focus in on a similar place in Corbett. Any advice?

I know it will be hot....but we can only travel on school breaks, so we are stuck with this time.

If you can help, that is great. Much thanks in advance to all you experienced India travellers.
pariskid678 is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 09:20 PM
  #4  
 
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May & June is certainly not the time to do the Golden Triangle. It would be much better to do a Hill Tour in these months. But for those, who, probabaly have no options, I would suggest that you stick to only Delhi / Agra / Jaipur in those 8 days in hand. It would be extremely exhauting moving about on account of the heat & perspiration. The heat is palpable inside the monuments.
It is pointless to go to Bharatpur for most of the migratory birds have taken off for cooler climates. Only a few species of local birds would be on sight.
Ranthambhore would be a better choice - if you had a couple of extra days to spare - as most of the water holes have dryed up & the lakes too have shrunk in size. Most of the animals stay closer to water, helping sight seeing. But be careful of the dates of travel for Ranthambhore Park is closed about three months during this time.
vp_singh is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 09:49 AM
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Yeah, it'll be hot - I'll be in India at the same time [April, May] - you gotta take it into consideration - with kids particularly. Twelve yr. olds, in my experience, are not too good at 'soldiering on'.

Paris, I'll give it some thought - I've just woken up, I need coffee. My initial [always best] thought was completely off-topic - Nepal instead.

But I'll try and stay on track. Off-season and heat means more TIGERS and 50% off the rates. I'm gonna search out a great deal I found for you. BaCK SOON.
dogster is offline  
Jan 30th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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www.andbeyondindia.com/

off season- rates @ 12,500 rs. Two of them have a stay 2 nights, get three deal. Indian game parks can be truly hideous. It ain't Africa. You must get a good one - or don't bother.

Why not send Daddy off for a bit of Rishikesh on his own and Mum and the kids do game parks at the same time? [That way, three in a room, off season rates - hey, looking good] Is that a possibility?

I guess you MUST see Agra, 'cos its famous, I guess you MUST see Jaipur, 'cos it's there. There are truly three million ways to achieve this Golden Triangle. Tourists have been doing it for three hundred years. Do you want to do it EXACTLY like everybody else in the world does it? Allocate two nights, three days as a basic minimum, stretch it to three, get a family-mobile and a driver [incredibly easy to sort out, I'll show you later] and off you go to see the Wizard, the wonderful wizard of...

you know the rest. There are many. many ways to skin that Triangle cat. They involve more time and a creative mind. I hope you have the latter - the former could be a problem. Another two nights could get you a stay in an amazing castle...

www.neemranahotels.com/neemrana/index.html.htm

or www.neemranahotels.com/pataudi/index.html.htm

or
http://www.samode.com/home/palace/s-place.htm

Or on and on into infinity.If the heats gets to you, all the places are interesting enuf to stay inside.

Really, it's all about the kids, isn't it? If they go feral, the holiday is spoiled. What kinda kids are they? well-travelled by the sound of it. Animals + proper accom. at these places = BIG BUCKS - and BIG TRAVEL [mostly] to get there. Think 3/4/5 hours to get there, 3/4/5 hours to get back. Minimum.

Wanna be more creative? Open their little eyes? [You won't do this, I know]

Delhi/quickie to Agra/
Varanasi/Kathmandu/Kolkata. Three flights, each to a fascinating central location. You stay dead-centre of things each place. Everything is walking from then on. As much excitement as you want - instant escape to your central hotel.

That'll get their little eyes rolling... lol. If interested, I'll show you how. Easy as pie.

But, sigh, I know you really just want to do the obvious. In which case, after Jaipur, you drive off looking for a game park, spend a lotta dough over three nights, come back, have two nights in Delhi - all over.




dogster is offline  
Jan 31st, 2009, 12:51 PM
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Actually unless you are used to it the heat then will roast you and to echo what dogster and VP said it will be pretty rough for the kids. If you must go then you must but its way preferable to go in the fall or winter. Delhi can get to be 115F in the summer. Not too conducive to enjoying a tour.
jacketwatch is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 06:34 PM
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Thankyou dogster, singh, Pariskid and jacketwatch,

One thing I forgot to mention was that we are travelling with a 11 yr old boy. He is the one who is more interested in doing this trip. He read somewhere that Taj mahal will eventually be closed to public because of the pollution and he wants to see it before that happens. He travelled to Africa with us when he was 7 yrs old and did not complain once.

Day 1 and 2 : We were thinking of doing 2 days in Delhi seeing Jama Masjid, Raj Ghat, Parliament, Red Fort, Qutub Minar, Lotus temple. 2 nights at Delhi

Day 3: Then travel to Agra. Leave early in the morning from Delhi so we can see Fathehpur Sikri and then see Taj at sunset. 1 night at Agra fathehpur sikri to agra is 37km. Delhi to Agra is 204km 41/2 hrs

Day 4: The next morning do a Sun Rise visit to Taj and then leave to Jaipur. Visit Amber Fort and jantar mantar night at Jaipur Agra to Jaipur is 237 km 5hr drive Fort and palace close at 5pm. observatory closes later.

Day 5: Hawa Mahal and leave Jaipur to Ranthambore Evening safari. Night at Ranthambore Jaipur to Ranthambore is 145km. Cover Pushkar temple on the way.

Day 6: Morning safari. and leave
Ranthambore to Delhi is 424 km.

These are the things we are contemplating on. Take a private car upto Jaipur and then take a train to Ranthambore and back to Jaipur. We can take a flight from Jaipur to S.India.

Ranthambore closes for the season on June 30th. Since it is off season and tail end of the season do we get better deals.

The other option is drive from Agra to ranthambore via Bharatpur 265 km.

Then go to Jaipur. Flyout from jaipur

I have no clue as to where we can stay and if all this can be done. Looks good on paper. We are short on time and dont mind cramming in on the schedule.

We know it is going to be hot but given the date of Ranthambore closing and our arrival into Delhi because of the schools closing in 3rd week of June on the Eastcoast, we have little choice. We prefer the heat to the monsoons.

Thank you for all your input. It makes it easier for me to make our travel arrangements.

I am sorry if I have managed to confuse you all.

Thanks for taking time to answer our questions.
dtnestea is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 08:18 PM
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Hqave you ever said to your keen, intelligent 11 year old boy..'you know, you can't have it all...'?

The first four days is a pretty standard hurtle thru the sights. If that's how you want to travel then it's a perfectly efficient way to do it.

Then, on Day 5 you seem to have taken opium, or some kind of travel hallucinogenic. Your fantasy life seems to continue from then on - lol. You might want to rethink.

Here are all the ways to get to Ranthambhore:

www.ranthambhore.com/faq.html

But, errr. you are going to Ranthanbore for ONE night? Via Pushkar? Mmmm - have you done the looking at map part of the planning? lol

I suppose your lad wants to see the tigers before they disappear, as well.

Then you go to South India as well?
dogster is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 08:51 PM
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I've just been breaking down your trip. Almost every day you are up at 5.00 a.m. - each day lasts about 12, 13 hours. Seems like hard work to me.You go all the way to Jaipur and, actually, you'll only spend about 4 hours actually seeing anything. You go all the way to Ranthanbhore for 5 - 6 hours safari in total. I don't get it.

I know you're trying to cram stuff in and please an inquisitive 11 year old - but I have the distinct feeling that you are all going to be too exhausted to enjoy ANY of this.
dogster is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 10:33 PM
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Dogster is spot-on for day 05. Travelling from Jaipur to Ranthambhore by car, you will need to retrace your way (from Jaipur), back to Dausa >> Lalsot >> Sawaimadhopur. This distance is approx. 150km & will take about 5 hours. The road from Dausa to Lalsot passes through, at times, densely populated areas with progress, of necessity slow. The road via tonk is in a bad shape & will take even longer. Pushkar is a good 141km from Jaipur & another 272km to Ranthambhore...impossible! You have a set time when you can enter / exit the Park, about 3pm?? for that time of the year, 2:30pm for winters.
Driving from Agra to Sawaimadhopur is not too bright an idea, entrain from Bharatpur, to take the evening safari. The cottages at Khem Villas will be a good idea as some of these open into wilderness, a small lake & the aravallis of Ranthambhore in the background!
vp_singh is offline  
Feb 1st, 2009, 11:25 PM
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Visit Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, with a stop at Fatepur Sikhri. or do Delhi, Agra and Ranthambore. You do not have enough time to do both Jaipur and Ranthambore.

The odds of seeing a tiger are extremely low in India. If you still want to go to RNP, take a train (the road is brutal) and keep your expectations low.

If you have been on an african safari, I'd do Jaipur instead. Visit Fatepur Sikhri and the nearby Bharatpur in between Agra and Jaipur if you want some outdoor time.

Might depend on the monsoon...it may have passed and the roads will be okay, or it might still be going on. Either way, allow time for delays. you can survive the heat, but you must go slowly! Personally, I think RNP would be torture in May or June...dusty, lots of bugs and hotter than Hell.

As far as mid range hotels, I enjoyed Samode Haveli in Jaipur, and have heard glowing remarks about Jasvilas in Jaipur.
lcuy is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 05:19 AM
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dtnestea – I believe that your son is quite misinformed that the “Taj will be closing soon due to pollution”. It is a statement which does not even make sense. Tourists are not damaging the Taj, although air pollution may be, but closing it to tourists is not going to do anything to stop the air pollution damage, which comes from industry in the area and to some extent from car traffic in Agra. Most importantly, India is also not about to close its Number One tourist destintation, rest assured. The Taj literally gets about 90% of all tourists to India (at about US$17 a head, its not a bad money maker either). If you are seriously contemplating making the trip to Agra because of an article your son read, perhaps this is a good time to teach him that much of what is written in newspapers and magazines is sensationalized or even wrong, and that he needs to learn to critically analyze what he reads. I would say that there is a better chance of the praymids crumbing into the desert due to the air pollution, or – more likely -- being completely engulfed by the suburbs of Cairo first, so perhaps you should go to Egypt (but not in April either I would say).

You say you “prefer heat to monsoons”; however most likely in June in north India you will in fact find BOTH, as the monsoon may be breaking right over you during your trip. See weatherbase.com for rainfall averages; if the monsoon is just a week early (not that unusual), you will be in the rain. I also believe that you do not know what “heat is”: we are talking over 100 F every day, and quite often over 110 F each day. And no place to find air con at any tourist site. And that punishing sun with no cloud cover. If the rain comes it is actually a relief. But then traffic stops and can slow you down and you have a VERY tight schedule.

I would agree with the other posts that I believe you are underestimating the travel times. I also don’t at all understand how you are going to see the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, THEN get to Puskar in the morning before driving down to Ranthambore AND get to the park in time for the afternoon drive. The game drives are not evening game drives like in Africa where the last hour or so is in darkness, they depart around 2 pm and last 3 hours or so. I see no reason to drive to Agra from Delhi in 4.5 hours when the fast morning train takes 2 hours. On Day 4, your day might be possible if you do not stop to eat or go to the bathroom, and encounter no traffic at all on the roads; although I question how much of the City Palace (i.e. the “observatory”) you will get to see if you try to include the Amber Palace and the drive up from Jaipur on the same day. FYI, Fatephur Sikri is on the road between Agra and Jaipur, and most people stop there on the way to Jaipur, and not ,ake a trip out and back from Agra (about an hour each way), although it is possible to do that. However in Agra you have left out the Fort and any other sites within Agra other than the Taj. I cannot stress enough how bad the road is between Agra and Ranthambore. The road between Jaipur and Ranthambore is good road, but the Agra-Ranthambore road is quite bad and IMO this might be the time your child will start complaining, and you will have5-6 hurs to listen to him.

With only 8 days, I heartily agree that you need to cut something out. With only 8 days I might even say to only go to 2 places, but with Agra being one of them, that is possible. However, driving all the way to Ranthambore for 1 drive seems like a big waste. Bharatapur is bird watching only, no big wildlife, and would be fine for 1 night (and more sense as it is on the way to Jaipur), but not sure if birding is what you are interested in.

pariskid678, in answer to some of your specific questions: the elephant ride up to the Amber Fort is about 10 minutes and is on the winding road up to the palace, so it is not a “nature” ride. Certainly fun, certainly touristy/cheesy, but certainly should be done. But is not a substitute for a safari or anything.

I am a big fan of Rikisesh, but note that it will only be marginally cooler there in April. It is on a much smaller scale than Varanasi, more walkable, very few tourists and your kids may find it more accessible for that reason. You could certainly travel to Corbett from there for a few days. You could easily do a day trip from Rikisesh to Rajaji National Park, see http://www.rajajinationalpark.in/. There is also excellent walking/hiking in the area and whitewater rafting, although by April I can’t say it will be really fast (which you may prefer for the kids). There are also actually tiger, snow leapard and other wildlife right in the hills around Rikisesh, I can’t guarantee you would see them, but there are seen from time to time. It is an easy train ride from Delhi (but also look into the Kingfisher flight to Deera Dun which is quite easy). I would suggest you look at that Ananda resort there ((http://www.anandaspa.com/), which is about 20 minutes outside the town, with wonderful with spa treatments, a tremendous view, and great yoga instructors, peacocks wandering the grounds; your husband could also go into town for instruction or even stay at an ashram on the river if he wants to total immersion experience. (I have to laugh at the concept of a “quick trip” to an ashram, it seems to really defeat the whole purpose of the spiritual experience!! It’s like we want instant enlightenment, which the sages along the Ganges there have been seeking for decades...) This hotel may be out of your budget, but is really worth considering if you can do it. The Glass House might be an interesting compromise if it is cheaper, the Neemrana group certainly have some interesting hotels, see http://www.neemranahotels.com.

Please remember that is will be VERY hot in April, see weatherbase.com and just expect hot hot hot. I don’t actually think a day trip to Agra would be fun, I think it would be more tiring in the heat than anything. I think it would be better to have a hotel room (and pool!) you can retreat to, and go to the Taj for sunrise (cooler and very beautiful and not possible with a day trip) and maybe sunset, and if you want do some other things during the day you can venture out for a few hours, or if only some one to go out, the others can stay at the hotel. Look at the Taj View Hotel, which is much cheaper than the Oberoi and perfectly fine (see their suites which may work for the whole family and have excellent views of the Taj). The Mughal (a Sheraton) would also be a good choice.

In terms of schedule, you could do Delhi, train to Agra, then drive to Jaipur, stopping at Fatephur Sikri on the way. Then you could, if you wanted a little adventure, take the overnight train from Jaipur to Rikisesh; your kids may think the sleeper trip is fun. (Haridwar Mail, departs Jaipur 11 pm, arrives Haridwar at Noon, then about an hour drive to Rikisesh. AC 2-tier is US$18 per person, first class AC is about US$25 per person but I am not sure that these are bunk bed seats, you would have to check.). Otherwise, you could go to Rikisesh first from Delhi (4 hours by train to Hardiwar or 1 hour flight) and then reverse the itin or go back to Delhi from Rikisesh and do Agra Jaipur and back to Delhi. There are many ways to do this.

Other places to consider for April would be Ladakh or the hill stations like Darjeeling or Shimla or a place like Dharamsala where the Dali Lama has his headquarters. I don’t know that you would say these are prime wildlife areas, but really beautiful scenery with mountains, very interesting culture and people. Ladakh has a large Tibetan Buddhist population and would be quite different, the other places are quite Alpine in their feeling/weather – and always the odd chance of seeing the Dali Lama, and you can of course visit the headquarters; I believe yoga instruction is available in town. And much better temps in April than the baking plains. You might also consider the south like Kerala, which while still hot in April, is at least on the sea so you can get a little sea breeze relieve, and you can do the houseboat thing and go to the beaches and then there are several wildlife parks in this area.



Cicerone is offline  
Feb 2nd, 2009, 08:20 PM
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Cicerone- i have recently heard from two Indian travel people that there has been talk of closing the inside of the Taj off to tourists in the very near near future. Too much co2 emitting from the humans, or something?

lcuy is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 01:34 AM
  #15  
 
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Thanks Cicerone and Dogster for all the helpful comments. I have got only a second to write here, but wanted to let you know that your comments are not going unread and are appreciated! I will come back later in the day and ask some more questions, but did want to say the following...

I know a "quick trip" to the ashram sounds like a bit of a joke, but really my husband is a serious practitioner of meditation. He has been on many week-long silent retreats, etc. Anyway, this trip is a family trip, not a retreat, and he just wants a taste of it...trying to fit alot of things in...I know.

The tour guy at Yatrik has recommended a place outside of Varanasi (Vajra Vinya institute). I am getting mixed reviews on Varanasi (Sarnath) vs. Rishikesh for getting some ashram/spiritual taste, combined with things the family could enjoy.

I'm going to check out all the things you guys mentioned. I do fear, more than the heat (I've done Egypt in June...mind you, when I was much younger) a ton of mindless running around and very little chance to see things and appreciate. I am trying not to underestimate the travel. We have the budget to fly, take trains or have a private car and driver (which all the tour co.s want to sell you). So, I just want to make it as efficient as possible.

Thanks again for all the comments. I will re-post later in the day.
pariskid678 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:51 AM
  #16  
 
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'I do fear, more than the heat... a ton of mindless running around and very little chance to see things and appreciate.'

Eight days. Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Bharatpur AND either Rishikesh or Varanasi. I reckon you could add in Kolkata there too, I think you've got a spare half an hour.

Hmmm - something's gotta give... unless we have all truly moved into the Twilight Zone. heh. I look forward to the next instalment.
dogster is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 05:59 AM
  #17  
 
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Ok, Dogster, wait no longer, here is the next installment. Listen, here's the deal. We have to go during a school break, so we don't have weeks and weeks to spend. So, we fall into the old trap of "If we are going so far away, we need to see as much as we can (within reason) while we are there" Even from Paris, India is a long way away and we can't go multiple times (at least not in the near future). So, we do the best we can with timing and trying to fit in a good number of things without going crazy. By the way, the kids are well traveled and are good travellers. They have not been to India, but have been to Egypt, Morocco, Turkey and tons in Europe. However, you are right when you say that if the kids are not happy, the trip is going to be a bust. So, we have to try and fit in good stuff for them (and nice places to stay...as you said, you need to have a pool and a place to get out of the sun.) I did look at the Samode properties previously. I had not seen the others you recommended.

However, I do think it is time for a sanity check on the travel and plans. So, here goes on our potential itinerary (proposed by tour operator. Maybe writing it down will help me to see if it is crazy. Please feel free to comment, but don't be too harsh...just remember how hard it was to plan your first trip to India with lots of conflicting ideas, preferences and advice.

Day 1 - Fly to Delhi. Overnight.
Day 2 - Tour Delhi
Day 3 - Fly Delhi to Varanasi.
Day 4 - Varanasi (Sarnath)
Day 5 - Fly Varanasi to Delhi. Drive to Agra. (Terrible travel day, I know...but how to do it otherwise?)
Day 6 - Agra
Day 7 - Drive to Ranthambore
Day 8 - Ranthambore
Day 9 Ranthambore to Jaipur (drive)
Day 10 - Jaipur
Day 11 - Fly Jaipur to Mumbai and exit.

Basically, there is a travel day on every other day. But, I am hopeful that some of the travel will be ok..like maybe we will see some decent things on the way and the travel is just part of the trip.

Just how crazy does this sound to you all? By the way, this is one of the more calm itineraries being proposed. Others I have received have more cities!

One final question guys. Is it possible to find someone to just be the guide and or driver for the trip? I can set up hotels and flights on my own...not a complete idiot, after all. But, we need a guide...with kids, we cannot leave too many things to chance. Not in India. Some of the prices that the tour guys are quoting are high...and they aren't even proposing the Oberoi and Taj properties. Ouch. We will do it, if necessary, but I hate to be ripped off. Advice? I have a reasonably high budget, but just don't feel like I'm getting a lot for my money on a bunch of these quotes.

Thanks and looking forward to replies.
pariskid678 is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 06:40 AM
  #18  
 
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dt - I've been lurking here and now that you've refined your itinerary, I'll chime in...

The itinerary now looks busy with every other day travel but it is doable. Don't forget what Cicerone said about the road between Agra and Ranthambore - I've not taken it myself because of her advice. In any case, you'll have all day. Do stop at Fatephur Sikri on the way, about 45 minutes outside of Agra.

While at Ranthambore, resist the temptation to do every single game drive - maybe just do the two on your off day but do find a way to fit in the Ranthambore Fort - you can explore it on your own in an hour or two - have your driver take you there.

You can book hotels directly, but my experience is that the local agencies can usually do better. It is best to shop around - booking one hotel through an agency does not mean you must book all of your hotels through that agency. Keep in mind that reservations can get "lost" and often your agency can bail you out if they made the reservation.

Guides are generally local so you will be met at each destination by a different guide. It is possible for your to have the same driver for your entire tour (except Varanasi) - arrange both guides and driver through your agency.

As for quotes, be very specific about what you want - type of vehicle, type of room, is breakfast included in the price etc.
Craig is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 08:32 AM
  #19  
 
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Posts: 396
We toured India for 17 days in March of 2006, arriving in Delhi and travelling through various cities and towns, including Agra, Jaipur and Udaipur, from where we flew to Mumbai. VP Singh arranged the entire trip and served as our guide (except in Mumbai). He provided a car and driver and was the most wondeful guide, charming, informative, undertstanding, etc. My wife and I recommend him without reservation.
Accomodations were sometimes "name" hotels and many times in heritage hotels and forts. Except for one location, everything was excellent. Total cost was extremely reasonable.
I would suggest you contact him or any other reputable agent in India to assist you in your planning. The good ones will work with you and accomodate your needs and desires.
Continuing to read the many posts in this forum will make you more educated and able to deal with the various proposals you will receive.

Good luck and have a great trip.

Jerry

By the way, the roads in India are truly third-world and travel by car is long and sometimes difficult but you will see many parts of the country other than the cities and this will greatly enhance your travel experience and understanding of the country.
JerryS is offline  
Feb 3rd, 2009, 03:05 PM
  #20  
 
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o.k. LOL, i'LL just go with the flow. Here are specifics [I'm gonna try and keep you out of the clutches of travel agents]

Day 1 - Fly to Delhi. [you'll sort that] Get a hotel pick-up. Trust me. Just do it. Overnight.

Where are you thinking of staying? What crap hotels are your travel agents trying to foist on you? Prices? Is the Imperial what you're after? Or is that too expensive? Look for off-season rates. Don't go too far down-market.

Day 2 - Tour Delhi
Have a look here:
www.delhimagic.com

These guys might suit your Delhi plans. I reckon you could get your own personal tour easy as pie. There are some terrible tour guides out there.

Day 3 - Fly Delhi to Varanasi.
Day 4 - Varanasi (Sarnath)
Day 5 - Fly Varanasi to Delhi. Drive to Agra. (Terrible travel day, I know...but how to do it otherwise?)
Day 6 - Agra

Varanasi is a GREAT idea. Good start. Use Kingfisher Airlines. Just do it. They will look after you from kerbside to your cab at the other end. Trust me. Just do it.

Flight331 Delhi/Varanasi 09.20 will get you there by 10.40

In Varanasi STAY BY THE GHATS.
My suggestion:
www.palaceonriver.com
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Rev...r_Pradesh.html

Get Pappu there to handle your pick-up/drop-off and tours. It's all done in one move.

[So far, no travel agents... lol]

Varanasi to Agra. FLY.
Go to www.flykingfisher.com/
and book Varanasi to Agra.

Kingfisher 334 at 13.30 [to Delhi - change to 2301 Delhi/Agra at 15.30] arrive Agra 16.30

So, we're still on schedule. No travel agents.

Agra hotel - where are you thinking? Price? Local touring in Agra I dunno - others will hepl there. Either way, all you need is a hotel transfer on arrival, a night in a hotel and one or two visits to the Taj and whatever else. Can be sourced locally, easily, I'd imagine.

Agra - Ranthambore: which part of Cicerone's comment didn't you understand?

'I cannot stress enough how bad the road is between Agra and Ranthambore. The road between Jaipur and Ranthambore is good road, but the Agra-Ranthambore road is quite bad and IMO this might be the time your child will start complaining, and you will have5-6 hours to listen to him.'

You're just not going to give up on this are you? O.K. I can't help you here. If you're determined, then do it. I'm sure you'll see one hundred tigers.

BUT whatever you do - you certainly don't need a guide OR a driver while there. All you need is someone to get you IN and get you OUT. Maybe your choice of safari lodge could sort this out for you. Then it's done in one easy move, totally safe and secure.

So think back. You can do this in a totally controlled manner, section by section, completely independently. Some will give you the line about hotel bookings going astray, weirdness and general horror - but it really doesn't have to be like that at all - particularly if you stay in reasonable places. Tell me your thoughts.




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