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India (Golden Triangle), Bhutan and Air India

India (Golden Triangle), Bhutan and Air India

Jan 19th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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India (Golden Triangle), Bhutan and Air India

Hello All,

Booking a trip in August 2013 for 8-10 days in North India, and another 8-10 in Bhutan (Paro, Thimpu, Punakha, and Haa). A few questions;

1- How many days should one allocate to see and eat in Delhi, travel to Agra, travel to Jaipur and catch a flight to Bangkok? We were thinking 8 days - is that rushed? Fairly OK?

2- Has anyone flown JFK-DEL direct on Air India? They're offering a pretty good price on business class (Executive Class) and not sure about their reputation. There are many mixed reviews, but we really only care about the 777-200 used on this route.

3- Any recommendations on travel methods between Agra, Delhi, and Jaipur and the amount of time to spend in Agra and Jaiupur?

4- Is a 7 day trip enough for Bhutan if we stay with Paro, Thimphu, Haa, and Punakha?

Thanks a bunch.
appalaw is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 04:56 AM
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Not sure what exactly your route will be: JFK-DEL-PAR-BKK? Do you plan to fly from Jaipur?

A reasonable pace would be:
Delhi - at least 2 or 3 full days
Agra - 2 nights, 1 full day
Jaipur - 3 nights, 2 full days
Travel by car is best - you will see more. It has been a while since I did it and the roads have improved, I think. If stopping at Fatephur Sikri on the way to Jaipur from Agra, traveling should take most of the day. Delhi - Agra, maybe 4 hours.

We just returned from Bhutan in November. We spent:
2 nights, 1-1/2 full days in Thimphu
2 nights, 1 full day in Punakha
3 nights, 2 full days in Paro
Travel times by car are about 2 hours between Paro and Thimphu and about 3 hours between Thimphu and Punakha.
We did not visit Haa, but we did go about 1/2 way south from Paro to the Chele La mountain pass - the drive took about 1-1/2 hours.

Hope this helps.
Craig is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 05:28 AM
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It really depends on your budget as how you wish to travel in India - a mixture of car and train is always nice.

I would agree with Craig on the timings, and I think if you want to fit Haa in you need at least 8 days. You should also not budget too tightly with your time. Landslides = car delays and also flight delays are common in the Himalayas in August so don't book any onward international flights too close together.

Are you visiting Bhutan in the same trip and heading back to JFK? Why not fly direct from Delhi to Paro?

Kath at PanoramicJourneys
PanoramicJourneys is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 07:55 AM
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Thank you both. We're on the verge of booking the JFK-DEL on Air India and hoping for the best. Arrival in Del will be at around 3 pm on August 9. The trip seems to be breaking down as follows:

Aug 8: JFK-DEL
Aug 9: Arrive Del and sleep.
Aug 10-16: Delhi
Aug 17: One way to BKK and onwards to Yangon.
Aug 18-19: Bagan
Aug 20: Yangon
Aug. 21: BKK
Aug. 22: One way on Druk Air - BKK-Bhutan (Paro)
Aug. 22-29 Bhutan
Aug 30 - One way to Druk Air and Arrive in Del at 11ish spend the day in Delhi and flight home at 1am on 31st.

While in Delhi, we wanted to get to Agra and Jaipur, and while in Bhutan, we hoped getting to Paro Thimphu, Punakha, and Haa.

From your responses, it seems that the amount of time should be enough. I don't know yet whether we can fly from Jaipur to BKK with some time to catch an onwards flight to RGN, but I will look into it. If we can that will be pretty awesome. I was very surprised to learn that there are no flights between Delhi and Yangon without essentially an overnight layover in Kolkatta.
appalaw is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 08:47 AM
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So your India/Bhutan trip also includes Burma? Do your 6 days labeled Delhi include your Golden Triangle trip?

From what I see, you will have at most two days in Bagan (if you can transit both Bangkok and Yangon on on to Bagan on Aug 17), then most of a day in Yangon on Aug 20. First of all, I think it is unlikely that you can get from Delhi to Bangkok to Yangon to Bagan in one day. I expect that, at best, you will overnight in Yangon and fly to Bagan the morning of Aug 18.

Frankly, this is MUCH too rushed. As much as I love Burma, I think you need to cut the Burma potion of your trip so you have enough time to enjoy both India and Bhutan. If you choose just India and Bhutan, you will have more time to enjoy and less travel time. Your all too short side trip to Burma adds three days of travel to your trip.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 09:05 AM
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Thanks Kathie. We are planning on a sleepover in Yangon on the 17th and leaving on an early morning flight to Bagan for a two day swing through Bagan on the 18th and 19th. We have a total of 8 days allocated to the Golden triangle - full days on the 10-16 (including those days) and one day before home on the 30th. Although I completely agree about the Bagan portion adding on time, It is unlikely we will make it back there for another two years, so we've decided to force the issue. The challenge here will be getting to Yangon from Delhi on the same day. As of right now, we can leave Delhi to Bangkok, and connect to Yangon on an evening flight that allows us to catch an early flight to Bagan on the 18th.

On the way back, we are spending a day (and night) in Yangon (Aug 20) to see some friends, and same in BKK on Aug 21. Aug 22 we will leave for Bhutan. This would all be easier if somehow a flight emerged from Delhi to Yangon. I was actually quite surprised to learn that one cannot fly direct from Delhi to Yangon. Since India is competing to reduce China's influence over Myanmar, it may be a good idea to connect the two major cities. This last comment is not only extremely selfishly motivated, it belongs in a different forum.
appalaw is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Here is a quick question for a Golden Triangle expert. How ambitious is it for us to leave Jaipur very early and head straight to the DEL airport for a 12:25pm flight to BKK?


appalaw is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 10:34 AM
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That is really pushing it, considering you really need to be at the airport at 10:30 am. Given the traffic, I would be very nervous about making it. It is a vacation, not a stresser after all.
kmkrnn is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 10:47 AM
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personally i think you may be setting yourself up for at least one failure if not more..

have you ever been to asia before?? its not like travelling in the usa or europe---its slow and unpredictable.

there are no flts from jaipur to bkk that i am aware of.

personally i would want 3 full days in jaipur..

check air india very carefully before you buy... it is not a preferred carrier..
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 11:03 AM
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Are you aware you must have a visa in advance for Burma? I agree with Bob above, I think there are too many moving parts to this itinerary and you are very likely to run into problems. Save Burma for it's own trip - even if it is two years from now.
Kathie is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 11:47 AM
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Well now that I see your itinerary, I tend to agree with Kathie and Bob that there are a lot of moving parts, much to do in a short period of time and much that can (and will) go wrong. That being said, how about doing JFK - DEL - PAR - BKK - RGN - BKK - ? - JFK. This might cut out some backtracking, I think (and you'd being flying around the world!).
Craig is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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P.S. You will also need a visa for India (and Bhutan, of course)...

Consider using Snow White Tours for Bhutan. Kencho is fabulous and will customize your tour to your needs, while putting you in the best rooms in the hotels you choose.
Craig is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Thank you all of you. Your concerns are real and help us to put things in perspective. We have been to Asia before - five times, and this will be trip number 6. My greatest concern was our time in the triangle and it seems we will leave a day earlier rather than later, so departure from NY now is Aug 7 instead of Aug 8 to allow an extra day in Delhi or Jaipur. I am fully aware that we will need a visa for India, Burma, and Bhutan. We are working closely with someone for Bhutan - in fact he resides here in NY and his brother runs the show in Paro, so we feel pretty good about the Bhutan itinerary. Burma is not a problem either since we have ample support in Yangon from friends locally. The flight right now is as follows with room to spare for delays etc.

DEL-BKK - one way.


BKK-Paro One way
Paro-DEL One way


The issue that comes up is with Myanmar. Although it kind of makes sense to cut it out, we seem fairly unwilling to compromise on that right now. Once we land in Delhi, we will have to install the number of days there, Agra, and Jaipur. Our trip to Yangon from Delhi will eat up a whole day, and our trip from Bagan to Bangkok will allow us to spend a night in Yangon and another in Bangkok before we take our one way to Bhutan. I guess what I am wondering is, how best to organize the initial part of the trip in India with knowledge that we will have a full day in Delhi on Aug 30 before leaving on the 31st. If our days in Indian were as follows, any suggestions would be welcome.

Arrive Del: Aug 8 at 15:30
Aug 9
Aug 10
Aug 11
Aug 12
Aug 13
Aug 14
Aug 15
Aug 16 Back to Delhi

Aug 17: Del-BKK-RGN
Aug 18: Bagan
Aug 19: Bagan
Aug 20: To Yangon and stay in Yangon
Aug 21: To BKK and stay in BKK

Aug 22: To Bhutan
Aug 23:
Aug 24
Aug 25
Aug 26
Aug 27
Aug 28
Aug 29
Aug 30: One way from Paro to Delhi and spend the day in Delhi.

Aug 31: 1 am flight from Del to JFK.
appalaw is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 07:40 PM
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aug 8 arr
aug 9 drive to agra and sleep on way
aug 10 agra
aug 11 drive to jaipur w/stop at FS
aug 12 jaipur
aug 13 jaipur
aug 14 drive to delhi
aug 15 delhi
aug 16 delhi
aug 17 del to bkk

sep 1 start to plan the next trip to the same places to see all the things you overlooked...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 08:13 PM
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Thanks. This helps. Sep 1 is usually a pretty depressing time, so the planning for the next trip begins each time. To your time, we will going back to India for a lengthier trip in 2014.
appalaw is offline  
Jan 20th, 2013, 09:39 PM
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Please share your thoughts on Air India. Their Business call seats direct from NY to Delhi see pretty attractive. I'm finding a ton of mixed reviews online. I'm probably booking these tickets this week, but not sure what you mean by being careful. Anything I should be aware of specifically?


appalaw is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 05:29 PM
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Thanks for some of the tough love. We just booked our Air India business tickets to leave NY on August 7 and return on Sept 1 - this should create some more breathing room on the schedule. Now the comes this extremely long wait. We've never booked a trip this early.
appalaw is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 06:22 PM
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I would leave some extra time between flying from Paro to Delhi and leaving Delhi for your return flight. When we were in Paro the airport was closed for three days ( I do not know why). Our flight left on time the 4th day. But not making your flight from Delhi could be costly.
Elainee is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 07:38 PM
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We've decided to reverse the trip and start with Bhutan and make our way back to Delhi through Bangkok and Myanmar. The India portion of the trip is really just a preview, if you will. Over the last several years, we've managed to find reasons not to go, but are doing a quick swing through to see some major spots and find our way back to it justice. Many thanks for your advice.
appalaw is offline  
Jan 21st, 2013, 07:42 PM
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i have no first hand knowledge about AI, but it never gets even passing grades from most passengers..

same with china air or air china---why do you think they are sooo cheap...
rhkkmk is offline  

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