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Help with Itinerary - India and Nepal

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Sep 5th, 2008, 10:01 AM
  #1
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Help with Itinerary - India and Nepal

Hi, thanks in advance for your help! Making my first trip to India in December with a friend (we're young - 25 and 27) and have hungry eyes. We want to do as much as we can, but don't want to rush and cram...that's hard to do in 2 weeks. Could you guys please take a look at our itinerary and let me know your suggestions? It's much appreciated!

Arrive Delhi early am of Dec 6.
Dec 6 - explore Delhi
Dec 7 - board 6am train to Agra to see the Taj
Dec 7 (evening) depart by overnight train to Varanasi (2 days here). Can you recommend a place to stay? I've read about the Rashmi guesthouse, and it looks good....
Dec 10 - fly to Khatmandu. We want to see the Khat Valley, Chitwan Nat'l Park for an elephant safari, and Pokhara for other outdoor adventure. If anyone can suggest hostels or hotels (cheap but safe for 2 solo girls) and short treks, safari's, white water rafting, and meditation/yoga locals it's appreciated).
Dec 17 (flexible) - depart back to India.

We're debating flying into Jaipur to spend 2 days. Or, if you guys think it's best to spend some more time in Nepal we can stay 2 extra days then fly directly into Delhi for our departure back to the states.

I can't thank you enough for your help and consideration. India and Nepal here we come!
Laurie
ellewin is offline  
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Sep 5th, 2008, 11:46 AM
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I can't help with India, but I can give you some input on Nepal. In 7 days, you want to go to three different places: Kathmandu Valley, Pokara and Chitwan. Frankly, this is unrealistic. Travel is slow in Nepal and frankly, not very reliable. In a week choose two places, and make sure you allow time in Kathmandu on either end, as you may not leave or return on the planned days. You could easily a fill a week with things to do and see in the Kathmandu Valley. I'm returning to Nepal in October, and I'll spend 8 days in the Kathmandu Valley, and I expect I won't cover all of the things I want to do in that time.

As I look at what you plan to do in India, it strikes me that you are trying to cover far too much in two weeks. I'd suggest you choose India OR Nepal for your two weeks.
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Sep 5th, 2008, 12:32 PM
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But Kathie, even though in my eyes, you will always be the next Kumari, it's just possible that you are not 25/27 years old - with 'hungry eyes'... lol.

Gawd, I wish I was. So, with 'hungry eyes' as my guide and inspiration, I'll beg to differ here.

I actually reckon that for a slash and burn, first time tumble through India/Nepal it's perfectly do-able.
Yup, it's a madness, but that's O.K. They're young with two weeks to spare. Why not?

As young people can sit up all night on flights to Delhi, don't get jetlag, then go touring all day this might work for them:
www.delhibedandbreakfast.com
- a day longer in Delhi might be smart.

A day trip to Agra is a lo-o-o-ong day. People do it, 'tho, all the time.

I'd grab a flight to Varanasi, save a bitta time and crazyness on the train. Check out
www.flykingfisher.com
A day longer in Varanasi would reward you. Rashmi Guest House is PERFECT.

Flight to KTM is a smart move. I've done it, just a crazy airport scene getting out... stay the extra two days in KTM, don't try to do Jaipur - too hard.

Then just think KTM & Pokhara. Lots of stuff to do out of Pokhara. Run, jump, fly, hike, trek - gasp. Stay in Thamel in KTM. That'll be your thing.

There you go: two opposing points of view. Now discuss... lol.
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Sep 5th, 2008, 02:54 PM
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Hey guys,

How is KTM "a crazy airport scene getting out"? Ya'll are worrying me. What are we getting into there in December?

Thanks!
travelaw is offline  
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Sep 5th, 2008, 10:19 PM
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Stay calm ladies - my crazed Australian shorthand should actually mean; 'getting thru Varanasi airport and on to your KTM flight is a fairly crazy experience.' I wouldn't want to spoil the fun by explaining it all to you.

You'll survive. Getting OUT of KTM is easy. Just give yourself a bit of time lee-way.

So ladies? Still up for it all? Don't let old Dogster down...

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Sep 6th, 2008, 08:23 AM
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LOL, dogster, our advice is not far apart.
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Sep 6th, 2008, 12:06 PM
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Still up for it? Of course! But with Kathie's comments ("you may not leave or return on the planned days") and yours ("crazy airport scene") I was thinking we needed to be prepared for the worst. I can handle just about anything, but its always nice to know in advance if you're heading into adversity, and what you might need to employ as options. From your comments in response, I take it there is nothing to worry about at the airport in KTM, outside the usual crap we face at airports in general these days, and the local color.
travelaw is offline  
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Sep 6th, 2008, 12:38 PM
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You'll be fine in KTM airport. It's easy. Just pay a porter guy a dollar to zoom you thru - it's absolutely worth it. KTM is still prone to strikes and demonstrations at odd and unexpected times - but you can't possibly prepare for that. That's where Kathy's advice comes in... but, in my three long visits to KTM in the last year or so, I've only been held up once, trying to fly to Jomsom. Then I was trapped in Pokhara for five days. I wouldn't fuss too much.

Varanasi is the only crazy airport - but you'll get on, with maximum hassle and a sense of humour.

I guess you've seen
www.seat61.com
for stuff on trains in India.
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Sep 6th, 2008, 01:04 PM
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You just need the leeway in your itinerary to be flexible. Even without strikes and such, flights are what I'd call semi-scheduled. For instance, the last time I was in KTM, we wanted to do a sightseeing flight to see Everest. We had a flight scheduled at 7:30 or 8, no flights of any kind took off until noon, due to fog. People we talked with conformed that this was quite usual, and that people headed for Pokara might have their flight shifted by a day or even two depending on the fog and such. There also aren't many (maybe any, these days) spare aircraft, so if there is a mechanical problem you'll just have to wait for parts to arrive.

I have vivid memories of the domestic terminal 14 years ago. People and their luggage was weighed in for flights , and "luggage" included rolls of chicken wire and live stock. The little goats were darling, but I don't think I'd want one in the seat next to me.

Remember, it's an adventure - no matter what happens. No flight - do something else.
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Sep 6th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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Actually, I can say, with no pretense, that my entire life has been an adventure, so I'm sure I will not be fazed in the least. When you travel a lot and have live in some of the places I have lived, you absolutely must earn to be very flexible, laugh a lot, and greet issues with an attitude of "making memories." But as I said above, its nice to know what you're walking into

Yes, thanks dogster, I have come to love the man in seat 61. Its a very helpful site. And thanks Kathie for your info regarding the mountain flights -- we were thinking about making one the same morning of our flight to Dehli (since we'll be at the airport anyway . . .) and now I think we will discuss whether we want to try to do it on a different day or take our chances on it not happening and just not worrying about it if we can't do it. It will be our first trip to Nepal, but unlikely our last, so if we can't do it, there will surely be opportunities in the future. And you really had me laughing about the rolls of chicken wire, livestock and little goats. It brought back memories of living and flying around Central Asia some years ago. The local airline, our single choice of carriers, had planes with no seatbelts, seats flopping back and forth and certainly no safety procedures -- we regularly had to deal with overcrowded planes, kool-aid and rubber chicken meals, and suitcases, bed rolls and those big plaid carriers taped up and full of who-knows-what falling out of the luggage rack and spilling out into the aisle. It wasn't unusual to make an unscheduled landing and see the ground crew take parts off old planes sitting near the runways and using them to fix the plane you were on. In fact, one time we did fly with a little goat on board! On that same flight we also had a man cooking his shashlik on his little charcoal grill in the back, and vodka bottles rolling out from under the cockpit curtains. Only God knows how we ever survived those years. . . yes, I do believe we can handle just about anything!
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Sep 6th, 2008, 02:23 PM
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Ah, it sounds like you are well-prepared for Nepal. Have a great time!
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Sep 8th, 2008, 07:59 AM
  #12
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Oh my gosh, you guys are awesome! This is SO much more helpful than the thousands of guidebooks I've purchased! Sometimes too much information just makes things more difficult.

Yes, we are young and hungry, but also a little over zealous at times. I've traveled a ton for my age (30+ countries already) and my friend is just starting out but she's as adventurous as they come. To save time and see/do the things we want to do, do you think it's a bad idea to skip Katmandu entirely and simply do Pokhara and Chitwan? (sp?) In India we'll be doing mostly cities, so in Nepal our priority is to be outdoors and do such things as the elephant safari, a short trek, a day of outdoor meditation/yoga and ideally either white water rafting or kayaking. Any chance I can get your thoughts on this? If this seems like a better plan, do you guys know if we can fly into Pokhara or something near there instead of going all the way to katmandu? Or would you suggest a train instead?

Again, thanks!
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