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India for Softies : A slow comfortable tour around some of Northern India

India for Softies : A slow comfortable tour around some of Northern India

Old Oct 12th, 2016, 05:51 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,630
Ah yes, the scrum where there should be a queue! Try an Indian train station ticket office in the run up to Christmas.... The Chinese are pretty bad too.

Great report, thanks. Next? Well, you were in the Bhutan room.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Oct 12th, 2016, 11:12 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 272
Thank you for reading and for all your responses.

Annhig and Lolazahra, I do hope you both get to India some day. It was a simply amazing trip and very easy to manage.

It really is not even faintly scary or difficult once you are there and, as we found, there are many comfortable places to stay in all price ranges. English is so widely spoken that if you get slightly lost or into any other minor pickle we found it very simple indeed to sort it out compared with say Spain or Italy where we do not speak the language.

Hiring a car and driver made it all very relaxing as well as there was no last minute panic or crush on busy stations to catch trains or buses and no need to lug your bags on and off them.

To thursdaysd- Ahaa...... Bhutan, now that's an idea !
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Old Oct 21st, 2016, 01:50 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Just finished your trip report and loved the content. A very easy read and could visualize your experiences easily! That is just the way I would like to visit India. I will be making my third trip about the middle of December with a friend who is making this trip gor the first time. Two retired 60+ women of Indian origin, doing this trip together. Neither one of us were born in India and with no idea of how to trace family roots!

Problem with dealing with your agents is everything seems very regimented, 1 night here, 2 there, 3 elsewhere! I like the idea of having your own car/driver, but want to book hotels when I am ready to move on. If we like a place then we can be free to stay a few extra days! You said you booked your own hotels online. Can you share what the daily cost of car/ driver was?
Ravisingh is offline  
Old Oct 21st, 2016, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,075
In dealing with agents - any agent - you need to be specific about what you want. For many people three or four days in a place is plenty. Just remember that it takes four nights in a place to give you three full days. Sometimes agents can get you better prices on hotels - you'll have to check. In any case, I always recommend that people use an agent to book their car and driver. That way you have back-up if something goes wrong. If you contract directly with a driver, you don't have that.

If you have never used an agent, be aware that you will need to negotiate exactly what you want. Your agent wants you to be happy and will gladly make changes (even on the fly) if that is what you want.
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Old Oct 21st, 2016, 09:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
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Thanks Kathie, I just want to know the ball park figure on approx cost for car & driver, for day/month/week, before I start negotiations with an agent
Ravisingh is offline  
Old Oct 22nd, 2016, 01:21 AM
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Hello Ravisinghe, I paid a total of 28000 INR for my trip as described above [i.e.morning pick up from Jodhpur hotel and transfer from Jodhpur to Jaipur, use of car and driver for sightseeing during a 4 night stay in Jaipur, transfer Jaipur to Agra, use of car and driver for sightseeing for 2 night stay in Agra, transfer on final day from Agra to Delhi airport via expressway]. We paid 20 % in advance via a secured online payment system and the balance once we got there.

We booked and paid for our hotels independently, as we did not want to give any untested company too much money up front. However having now personally experienced the service and set up of the company we used I would be happy to consider them for hotels as well should we ever travel to India again.

I imagine that the price depends on type of car [ours was a large and very comfortable Innova] the distance you want to travel, and whether travelling in the low season like us or in high season etc. So sensible to get several quotes from different places based on your trip plans and then to negotiate from there.

I agree with Kathie that it is important to be clear about what you want and to double check exactly what is included e.g. we specified we wanted air conditioning, working back seat seat belts, a driver who spoke basic English. When we got the quotes we also checked that road tolls and petrol, drivers overnight expenses were included and that the quote included VAT and taxes. Plus we went for an agency that reviews suggested did not take you on unwanted shopping trips for commission ! I guess I also sort of informally assessed the clarity of their email communications and speed of response.

As described in my trip report we felt that the agency we used 'India by car and driver'and Raj our driver, fully met all our requirements and exceeded our expectations.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2016, 01:37 AM
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As a P.S. for Ravinsingh; I notice you mention that you are of Indian descent and maybe interested in tracing your ancestors.

Genealogy is one of my interests and by complete chance I was looking at a blog this am which said a whole lot of new records are now online in respect of records kept during period of East India Company and subsequently British rule. Just copying the link in case by any chance any of your family had any links with those institutions !

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Old Oct 22nd, 2016, 01:41 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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loncal - thanks for the financial info [the driver seems pretty reasonable and comparable with what a similar deal cost us in Sri Lanka a few years ago] and also for the link to the records. Both my mum and grandma were born in India and though my mum has a birth certificate, her mother never had one which led to problems when my mum wanted a passport for the first time.

I would love to try to trace Grandma - we think that she was born in "Madras" in about 1900 - so thanks!
annhig is online now  
Old Oct 22nd, 2016, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 3
Thank you so much Ioncall for your response regarding the financial info and the link to trace family. Both my paternal grandparents were born in India and were taken to Fiji as indentured labourers to work the sugarcane plantations during the British Raj. I never met my grandfather since he passed away when my dad was a preschooler but I knew my grandmother well and that is the side of the family I am most interested in meeting, since I heard many stories from her growing up. Unfortunately I was young and did not write down any of the information.

I have contacted both India by car & driver and Castle & king. Waiting to hear from them.
Ravisingh is offline  
Old Sep 21st, 2017, 08:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 262
Bookmarking for future. Great report! Thanks.
hax is offline  
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