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First time to India - Two simple questions

First time to India - Two simple questions

Nov 15th, 2006, 10:56 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 678
a. Two nights at each of the three destinations in Rajasthan shall suffice.
b. Ask a tour operator to make a tentative itinerary for you...it is cost free.
Best wishes.
vp_singh is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 04:54 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Hi. I just returned from India so, hopefully, I can give you a bit of good advise. I, too, prefer to travel on my own and have done so extensively around the world without help from travel agents. However, I will say that I was very grateful that I had enlisted some help for my trip to India. I built my own itinerary, choosing the destinations, hotels, flights and trains and had a travel agent in India book everything for me. They also arranged for drivers and pickups in each city. As I only had a short time in India (12 days) I cannot tell you how much time and energy this saved me. You are still free to do as you please. I told the driver where I wanted to go and the guides what I wanted to see. I think I would have been too overwhelmed and frustrated if I would have had to figure out every detail myself. So many people are not to be trusted, especially taxi drivers. It's nice to know you have a driver that will take you to the hotel of your choice. It did not cost me much more than if I would have done everyrhing on my own and it was definitely worth it. India is overwhelming, even for the well travelled Unless you have lots of time (which you do not) you will want to be organized and have most things like hotels and transportation preplanned. Good luck, you will love India.
landini is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 09:12 AM
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Thanks Hlsam, Mitch, FanofIndia, John, Singh and Landini. I've checked the tour operators you've recommended me for ideas.

This is what I've come up with:

1st week: Delhi and Varanasi,
2nd week: Agra and Jaipur,
3rd week: Udaipur and Goa.

I'm definitely taking your word on having my itinerary fixed with a travel agency.

Don't be gentle and tell me whether I have lost my mind with this itinerary I've come up with or it's doable!

I know that I have to take a plane to go to Varanasi and Goa. I don't know yet about how to get from Agra to Jaipur and Udaipur.

Thanks again!
Castellanese is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 11:47 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Visited India as ist time travellers (husband, wife and 14 year old daughter)in January 2006 arranged by Compass Tours who were absolutely wonderful with airport pickups, guides and drivers.
We drove from Delhi(3 nights) to Agra(2 nights)and then to Jaipur(2 nights).
Must admit that the road between Delhi and Agra was very busy but a road trip allows a better feel of the passing scenery which is so rich and diverse in India.
Jaipur (pink city) with Amber Fort, City palace, Observatory(jantar mantar) is a must see.
The shopping is very good with a mix of modern and old. Stayed at Jas Vilas (small hotel) - very hospitable and welcoming.
Due to time constraints we flew from Jaipur to Udaipur(2 nights) - most of he hotels are situated in and around scenic Lake Pichola.
If you are a James Bond fan then you would find Udaipur interesting as Octupussy was filmed here. The roads are narrow and winding with lots of interesting little shops and art workshops - we loved it. The Palaces were also very interesting.
Best of luck.

anom is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 12:32 PM
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Hi, once more. Yes, fly to Varanasi, but on the way back there is a night express train 1845/0745 to Delhi. Saves a flight and hotel night. The train has 1st class a/c.
Delhi/Agra has an express train at 0600 daily, called the Shatabdi Express. You could then go out to all the sights in the area over 2/3 days.
Agra/Jaipur. Not good rail or air. The road is fine, and again jaipur is 2/3 days.
Fly to Udaipur, and then vis Bombay to Goa.
FanofIndia is offline  
Nov 17th, 2006, 08:22 AM
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Thanks Anom for sharing your experience and the name of the company you used to fix your tour!

Thanks once more FanofIndia for that detailed itinerary. When you say 2/3 days, do you mean 3 nights? 3 nights are 2 days and a half, would that be OK?

If I spent 3 nights on each location (Delhi, Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur and Goa), I would still have 3 more nights left to add to any of those locations to complete 3 weeks. Where should I add them?

A indian travel agent told me to add those 3 other nights in Mumbai since I was going to stop there on my way to Goa anyway. However, I had already left out Jodhpur out of the itinerary because I think that two locations per week are more than enough. Aren't I right?

Thanks again!
Castellanese is offline  
Nov 17th, 2006, 10:17 AM
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I would definitely NOT add Mumbai - it's not a great tourist destination. I'd be inclined to add more to Goa, have a rest on the beach, and Varanasi, soak up the atmosphere. Rather than Mumbai, if you were going to add another location near there, I'd add Auranagabad and visit Ellora and Ajanta. But slowing down is always a good idea!
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 17th, 2006, 06:04 PM
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You can certainly travel alone, but you may want to try www.intrepidtravel.com for your first visit. It's an Australian trip organizer that limits groups to 12 (tho' groups are often smaller)and is praised by independent travelers. They have excellent itineraries -- you can do Basic, (a bit roughing it) Original, Comfort, or a variety of other opetions like Indpendent travel, family or adventure travel. Prices seem reasonable and trip lengths vary. Check it out; you may feel more comfortable trying a group for the first part of your trip.
partout is offline  
Nov 17th, 2006, 08:56 PM
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By leaving out Jodhpur you probabaly will also leave out Ranakpur temples - One indologist is known to have said that the greatest regret he has to live with is the fact that he did not visit the temple though he was in Rajasthan for number of years - not a very bright idea at all! 03 nights in Bombay, what for?
vp_singh is offline  
Nov 18th, 2006, 02:42 AM
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Thanks Singh and Thursdaysd, Mumbai is definitely out.

I left out Jodhpur because I felt I was already visiting (and moving) too much in three weeks. However, my bookguide advises to visit the Ranakpur temples while being in Udaipur, is that right?

I've been advised to split those three other nights between Goa and Varanasi, and take nights from Agra.
Castellanese is offline  
Nov 19th, 2006, 03:11 AM
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I'll add 2 nights in Jodhpur and the other extra night in Goa. I'll start working with a travel agent from here.

I want to thank everybody for their wonderful help!

Castellanese is offline  
Nov 19th, 2006, 04:20 AM
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Back in Jan 1984, I arrived in New Delhi with a Lonely Planet guide and spent a great 7 weeks touring the country. I did it again in 1988. There is so much to see, I wouldn't waste my time on the beach (Goa), or with a travel company going to the same few places every tourist goes to.
kaneda is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 07:27 PM
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Hi again after almost a year.

Well, I didn't have the opportunity to go to India this year, but, perhaps, I'll visit it next year.

I went to Morocco, instead, last month and even though I think it's a very interesting country and I definitely don't regret having visited it, I swear I will never go back to a muslim country again in this lifetime.

I felt like I had stepped back in time in Morocco and I loved that about it, but the whole being ripped off just because I am a tourist and continuously being asked for money in exchange for any kind of help when I needed to get somewhere got on my nerves. I won't comment on my problem with Islam because that's a topic for a different forum. I may be asking a stupid question (I know I am), but is Rajasthan similar to Morocco? Rajasthan is a muslim state, isn't it?

I still want to visit India, but the thought of visiting a muslim place again freaks me out.

I don't know how much time do you need, but I've decided that I only want to visit Taj Mahal, Varanasi and Goa. I can spend what's necessary to visit those three places, but I know they are way apart from each other. I know, or at least I understand (Do I?) that Agra is a muslim city, but I'm willing to visit it just for the Taj Mahal.

What can you guys tell me about my dilemma (or lack of open-mindness towards different cultures?)

Thanks again!
Castellanese is offline  
Oct 1st, 2007, 08:05 PM
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Castellanese, au contraire Rajasthan is an overwhelmingly Hindu state and its heritage is overwhelmingly Hindu.
agtoau is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 02:56 AM
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Honestly, I dont see what being a muslim place has to do with being hassled by touts and people asking for money. These are poor countries where begging happens, and where tourists are an opportunity. Plenty of people complain about feeling like walking $ signs in India, and India (Hindustan)is mostly hindu, not muslim. Id say youd be best off taking a tour, which will insulate you from the interactions which make you uncomfortable.
jjkbrook is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 04:04 AM
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What on earth happened to you in Morocco to make you decide you will not visit a muslim country (or area) again?

Jeez - that takes out Turkey, Egypt, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc.

Was your trip to Morocco your first ever to a "non western" country? Do you perhaps confuse the sometimes seemingly perpetual seeking after business, baksheesh, income really, with the religion?

I can assure you that you will come across the same in Hindu dominated areas of India, and areas of Africa that are neither Hindu nor Muslim, but "Christian".

What you experienced is another culture, and another economy - one where people struggle to survive, and visitors from the first world with their obvious (relevant) wealth are of course a source of that hard-to-come-by money.

If that is your attitude then I would strongly recommend taking a tour to insulate you from it all, and allow you to see the buildings (or whatever it is you are going for) without needing to really think, or know, where you really are.

Varanasi is amongst the most amazing places on the planet. And India is a perfectly safe, easy place to travel in (middle aged women included).

chimani is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 04:51 AM
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I too think that your issues in Morrocco have to do with economy and culture vs. religion. Though I haven't been to Dubai or say Kuwait I doubt you or I would be hassled for money there. Jm2C.
jacketwatch is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2007, 05:03 AM
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I checked Castellanese's other posts to see if this was her visit outside the US and Europe, and it certainly seems to be. I think she may be confusing non-western countries with Islamic countries. BTW - trip report?
thursdaysd is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 03:31 AM
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Hi again,

It was, in fact, my first trip to non-western country. I think that you're right in the sense that I may be confusing economy and culture with religion.

I don't like travelling with a tour company because you miss "the real deal". If I'd visited Morocco with a tour company, it would've all seemed like a fairytale and Morocco is far from being that.

Somehow, I thought Rajasthan was a muslim area. I definitely must read more before going to India.

I've usually been to Europe and the US on vacation, but never to a country such a Morocco. Like I said before, I don't regret having it visited it because it sure was a great experience, but it wasn't my dream destination. Other people I've met who have been to Tunisia and Argelia told me they felt the same way I do.

Thanks for all your opinions.
Castellanese is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2007, 05:17 AM
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If you do go and you probably know this already, don't go in the summer. You will roast. Fall/Winter is best, or early spring.
jacketwatch is offline  

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