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India in March w/two globe trotting kids?

India in March w/two globe trotting kids?

Sep 24th, 2005, 06:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 39
India in March w/two globe trotting kids?

My two kids (7 & 10), my Mom (63) and I are headed for India during the last two weeks in March. I hope to get to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Ranthambore National Park at the very least. I would like to add either Udaipur or Jodphur. I am willing to spend alot more for this trip in order to stay at nicer hotels. Any thoughts?

Animals, tea plantations, interactive museums, temples and crumbling forts fascinate the kids. Just seeing tigers, monkeys and elephants would make the trip a huge success in my daughters' eyes. The girls and my mother are inveterate travelers.

We usually make all of our own travel arrangements. Since we will be a party of all women and girls should we go with a tour group or is it safe to do this trip on our own? Since we will be a party of 5 (with lots of luggage by the end of the trip), will it be difficult to get a private driver with a large enough car or van in India?

Many Thanks to all the Fodorites for your help on planning this and previous trips!
jmcdo is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 07:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
i too am working on a trip...most everyone who has been suggests that you use an in india agent for your planning...i hope to do that....many are mentioned on this site...

you could also take a standard tour as there are so many of you and you are planning a pretty simple route....too much regimentation for me and i think it might be difficult for the kids, especially if they need some down time or a quick change of scenery...
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 24th, 2005, 09:53 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 530
I am currently working on a trip for our family of 4 for the end of Dec/beginning of Jan this year. I am usually a complete do-it-yourselfer when it comes to travel planning. We have done China, Viet Nam, etc on our own. But not when I am taking my kids to India, because of the unique challenges of traveling there that are discussed in other posts on this forum.

At the recommendation of many people on this board, I am working with Durjay Sengupta at Compass Tours to create an individual program. He has been great about customizing it based on our interests.
We got started on our planning very late (only about a month ago) and I was worried that we would not get any accommodation at all. Durjay has worked very hard to get us into our preferred hotels in most locations. He has been immediately responsive to my emails and most impressive of all....I had to phone him earlier this week, with an urgent question. I caught him on his mobile, as he was putting his daughter on the school bus. Even without his files in front of him, he was able to discuss our program in perfect detail. That impressed me a LOT, because I know he is extremely busy right now and juggling lots of individual tour plans.

The nice part of using Compass is that we don't have to hunt for guides and drivers when we arrive in a destination. Everything will be pretty seamless, which gives us the ability to maximize on our time there. (We only have 12 days). I also like the security of a local contact, in case of something going really wrong with the plans.

Good luck!
Lindsey is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 03:47 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,753
I'm with the others on this...we have done most of Asia ourselevs but in India it makes sense to have a customnized tour. Bear in mind that end march is already getting warm and it just increases your energy for other things if guides, trasnfers, etc are taken care of. We worked with President Travels, a local agency like Compass - www.presidenttravels.com, email [email protected]. Re your plan adding Udaipur makes sense from logistics point of view. Also consider adding Sariska if your kids are big on animals.
hobbes is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 05:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Perhaps you have already read my trip report and know that we used Compass Tours for our India trip last February. As the above posters have said, a customized tour is the way to go. It is just a matter of communicating your requirements down the the last detail. We had a Toyota Qualis which is like a minivan or midsized SUV. It would not be big enough for 5 people + driver + guide - you should ask if it is possible to get a van - I should think that it is.

We stayed at Oberoi's Amarvilas and Rajvilas in Agra and Jaipur respectively and thought they were well worth the money. In Delhi, we stayed at the Imperial, which I would also highly recommend. At Ranthambore, there is an Oberoi but we did not stay there opting for a more authentic tented safari experience at Sherbagh. I think the kids would prefer the rusticness of Sherbagh over the pure luxury of Vanyavilas - don't know how your mother would feel about that though.

There are animals everywhere in India - monkeys, camels, cows and of course, the "dancing bears". The kids will enjoy the elephant rides at Amber Fort outside Jaipur. If you are very lucky, you will see tigers at Ranthambore - late March is a good time for that as it will be hot and the tigers will be out looking for water.

Bring plenty of sunscreen and hats as most all your activities are outdoors. You will probably not find any interactive museums and I do not remember any tea plantations. There is plenty to see though and much to learn about India's colorful history through its forts, palaces, tombs and temples.

Do not try to do too much. I would only consider adding Udaipur or Jodhpur if you have a full 14 days on the ground. India is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace especially since it will be hot when you go.
Craig is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 413
Greetings! India is a great country to travel with kids and by the sound of your post, the will absolutely LOVE IT, temples everywhere, forts abounding, and the roadside, almost an open zoo! For example, on the route from Delhi to JAIPUR u will probably see Cows, Monkeys, camels and elephants too! I have enconterd many families traveling in India over the years, and quite often the kids are having a better time than the folks! The country is so kid-friendly, even fancy resturants and hotels, and they will have the run of the place. I can also give you a detailed list of the sights/places that i have found Kids LOVE THE MOST, as i have been leading tours in the region for over a decade and have met alot of families on these group tours and also families doing private trips!!, I will get to that later, but i would certainly suggest you craft-custom-make a private tour in India and i would be happy to answer some of your questions or concerns related to that too. Anyways, to name a few places kids LOVE in INDIA!
1.IAmber fort in Jaipur-by elephant!
2.!JAISALMER!, medival city, fort, in the desert, SPECTACULAR!, Also-can do camel Safari nearbye* i See it is not on your list, but may suggestas it is such a fascinating place.this may very-well be the top place to take kIDS in INDIA!
3.Fathephur Sikri-the abandoned city en route to AGRA! aND of course TAJ!
4.JODPHUR-if your kids are into forts, then this would be a good choice too in Rajasthan!
5.about temples-do visit both the Birla Temples in Delhi and in JAIPUR! tHEY are very special, the one in Delhi will give a great into to Hinduism and the one in Jaipur is breathtaking!
6.U might also consider going to the Temples of Khajuraho after Agra, with a stop in ORCHA. i TOO have found kids love these places, and then you can also take a small train trip as it is part of the [email protected]!
7. I also always suggest a visit to Varanasi,sunset/sunrise on the ganges by boat, spectacular! I know these places are not on your list, but you might ponder a few.
7. And one more idea, i do not know how long you have, but i might suggest ending your trip in KTM. Can fly easily from Delhi. There are fascianting colorful builidngs/temples with animal carvings, and also the famous Monkey Temple=Swaumbunath(a Stupa in the vcalley swarmed by hundreds of MonkeyS!)*Anyways, those are a few suggestions, plenty more!
***In terms of the trip, yes, I certainly suggest putting together a private CUSTOM-tour via a loal-agent. And yes, many tour companies will have access to a mini-van that can seat about 10 people, so your family will be comfortable and can stop at your leisure. I would suggest putting together a private tour that includes all the travel-logistics, then your time will be free to concentrate on the Country! I will suggest that you contact [email protected] He can certainly help you put this trip together-beautifully! He is the manager of a very large-reputable company in Delhi-(LE PASSAGE TO INDIA-Offices all over the country) and someone i have known and trusted for years. He is also one of my favorite people in India. Do let him know Bonnie suggested to contact and he will take excellent care of your family. U will have people looking after your trip every step of the way! Take care and feel free to be in touch with any other questions or concerns! would love to hear about your trip. happy travels!
Bonita is offline  
Sep 25th, 2005, 12:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Bonnie has some great ideas for those with a lot of time. Fatephur Sikri outside of Agra is a must and easy to fit in. I wished we had had time to visit Varanasi. I would pick one place from her list if you have all of those 14 days on the ground and that extra time that I was talking about - the camel safari sounds great, for example.
Craig is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 01:55 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 39
WOW! Thanks for the fantastic suggestions! The elephant ride at the Amber Fort sounds great. Has anyone done this ride? How safe is it?

My youngest is a little monkey herself - she would be in heaven if we had time to visit the Monkey Temple. I will definitely use a local tour guide! Lindsey, where are you going on your trip? I hope you will post a trip report when you return.

Craig, I had not seen your trip report. I plan to study it in depth. Again, many thanks for all of the suggestions.
jmcdo is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 03:24 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,892
Since I wrote my response, a tour guide was trampled to death and two tourists were injured by an elephant at the fort. The government's response was to ban all elephant rides at the fort. I think it is a huge over-reaction on the part of the government and certainly a big slap in the face to the mahouts (caretakers of the elephants). Sorry.
Craig is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 04:55 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,753
I did not know the ride was canceled, have not been following the news as closely as Craig! We did the ride last year April and enjoyed it. Bear in mind that end March is already tapering off for season so it will be far less crowded than Jan or Feb when it is peak season whcih is a good thing from the perspective of attractions like elephant rides. It maybe reinstated so keep your fingers crossed...
hobbes is offline  

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