India - do I need to book ahead?

Mar 31st, 2010, 02:34 PM
  #1  
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India - do I need to book ahead?

For some reason my trip planning for this fall is progressing super slowly. I really need to concentrate on the first part, Central Asia. But it's been too long since I was in India, so I'm thinking of adding India (mainly south), and Sri Lanka, and it would help if I didn't have to do too much planning for that part.

Last time I was in India was Nov-Dec 2001, right after 9-11 - there were hardly any other tourists around, and I mostly booked accommodation just a day or two ahead. If I don't head for the most popular places (already been to Varanasi, Agra, Jaipur etc.), do the India sages here think I can get away with winging it again? Note that I won't be staying in expensive places - more like the lower end of Lonely Planet's mid-range picks.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 05:38 PM
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my only thought is that india is one of the top destinations for people thses days....hotels at all levels are insufficient for the demand
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 06:01 PM
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I think you could have booked our home-stay in Udaipur the night before but sometimes she is booked out - you just don't know. And so you go to the next place I guess...

According to Dogster, our resident India expert (not like anyone is going to disagree with that) - you can easily make reservations at low-mid range at the last minute esp. at less popular destinations as nobody in India plans in advance.
Craig is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 08:00 PM
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If you aren't staying in 5* hotels or going in Dec/Jan, I think you will do fine. Last June, I went with reservations for only nights 1-3 and we had no problems booking day ahead- including Oberoi hotels in Delhi and Shimla, where June is high season..
lcuy is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 09:12 PM
  #5  
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Thanks for the input - sounds possible...

lcuy - no 5* hotels, but very likely Dec., but in the south.

That home-stay sounds really nice, Craig, thanks. I'm considering Udaipur for this trip, as I didn't get there last time. But I thought Ranakpur would be worth more than an hour. Was also thinking about Mt. Abu and Chittaurgarh.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 11:22 PM
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Oh thursday - I have a great idea for you!! If you're thinking Udaipur and Mt. Abu I want you to think carefully about this - you are within reach of Nth Gujarat. Start here:

http://www.poshina.com/

then explore at the bottom of this page for more.

http://www.heritagehotelsofindia.com...h-poshina.html

I can give you chapter and verse on wondrous heritage hotels in that area - which are more homestay than castle-stay, verrry interesting people to meet. Thursday - I KNOW you'd be happy. I have detailed research on this area.
dogster is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 01:27 AM
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Mt Abu is one hour from Poshina. Which is 45 mins from Danta:

http://bhavanivilladanta.com/Location.htm

which is an hour from:

http://www.vijayvilasvijaynagar.com/

there's more...

Hanu, the guy at Poshina is a totally fine fellow. He could organise you a whizz around at last minute with no issues at all. Totally normal - everything seems to happen last minute - BUT thursday, I think it's doable only if you have a laptop and one of those plug in dingles that gets you net access anywhere.

This is the homestay site for everywhere:
http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/Pag...ia-by-map.aspx

I've given you this portal just for fun, hoping you'll click on the map. Mahindra are a huge company, this is a totally kosher site.

www.mahindrahomestays.com
dogster is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 06:28 AM
  #8  
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Thanks much dogster - I hoped you'd chime in. Great websites - but serious absence of prices - Poshina looks like it's likely out of my price range. I am definitely considering Gujerat, although more Ahmadabad and the Kathiawar Peninsula. More research required.... (BTW - which is your blog piece on Gujerat? And are you going to redo Madurai - that's on my list, too.)

I really don't want to lug my netbook around on this trip, which I hope will start with a trek along the Pamir Highway, although I may bring an internet tablet (Nokia n800). You don't think I can rely on internet cafes?
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 06:51 AM
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Well, if you've done your research you could do it with a mobile phone - but with a puter you can book hotels, trains and flights, hire car and drivers and a take-away pizza without all that shlep.

$$ wise, Poshina won't be outta your limits. Remember, it's all up, meals, accom and touring locally. You'd do it easy for 3,000 all up. Most of the places are between 2,000 - 4,000 MAX.

Gujerat pieces are 'Death on the Mountain' and 'Tribal Warfare' so far.

You might like this place in Ahmedabad
www.artsreverie.com

What months is fall? That'll make a difference as to the prices.
dogster is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 07:06 AM
  #10  
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Yes, that's definitely doable, thanks.

I have to get the Central Asia bit sorted out before I know dates for sure, but I'm thinking I'd get to India mid to late October, starting in the north east (Shimla, Dharmsala, Kullu valley, maybe Corbett), and then work my way south.

I had thought about going round via China, Tibet, and Nepal, but now I'm thinking I'll keep it simple and just fly into Delhi. If I knew for sure I could transit Delhi airport without "entering" India I might add Nepal anyway, but the new two-month rule is a big nuisance.
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 07:16 AM
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Well, keep your eyes and ears open, thurdsday - do a search in India mike. There seems to be changes happening right now that may well solve your problem.
dogster is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 07:19 AM
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I reckon my story about that tuk-tuk lad's problems in Delhi were as much a product of his idiocy than anything else. I'd not fuss about that transit bit - zoom up to Kathmandu. Very easy. You can nip down to Kolkata very easily from there.

check www.skyscanner.com for direct flight options out of Kathmandu.
dogster is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 07:20 AM
  #13  
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That would be great! It will probably be easier to find a flight home out of Chennai rather than Colombo (at least using my FF miles).
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 01:42 PM
  #14  
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Oh yes, I thought those were the Gujerat pieces... At least you're not recommending the Tent City, right? I was thinking of India as providing a modicum of comfort (or at least lots of lovely food) after roughing it in Central Asia (mutton fat...).

BTW, a tiny request - that thin white type on black is a bit hard on my aging eyes, maybe a bigger font?

I noticed I got my directions wrong up-thread - I'm aiming for the north-west, not the north-east, this time, so no Kolkata.
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 01:57 PM
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I don't know how to change the font yet. lol. However, since you told me about this two days ago, quite a lot has happened so I'll get to that.

Why don't you increase the viewing size on your monitor? go from 100% - 125% or 150. Bottom right hand corner. I do that.

You'll be sure of lots of lovely food in Gujerat - and a lot of company if you're up for that. These old rajahs are fascinating company.
dogster is offline  
Apr 1st, 2010, 08:03 PM
  #16  
 
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"Note that I won't be staying in expensive places - more like the lower end of Lonely Planet's mid-range picks."
Dogster is right--refer to Indiamike!! The recommendations tend to be for far less expensive places--certainly not the Taj or Oberoi levels.
In the South, e.g. Kerala,there are wonderful homestays and guest houses within your budget.
CaliNurse is offline  
Apr 4th, 2010, 05:04 PM
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Pulling up a chair here in the Asia forum as I'm also planning my Indian adventure late in the year. Looking forward to reading all the great advice...
Nutella is offline  
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