India Itinerary help

Old Dec 4th, 2007, 11:33 PM
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India Itinerary help

Sorry, i realized that i wasn't specific enough with my previous title.

Hey everyone, i'm a 26 year old guy planning to go to India for the first time. I'll be traveling with one other person. Was hoping people here could give me some advice. In general, I tend to like to see a city, experience the "must sees" but not dilly dally too much and experience the ins and outs of daily.

So here's my itinerary.

Day 1 Arrive in Kolkata from thailand at 1330. taxi to train station,
stop by Victoria gardens

Train Howrah to Varanasi
2000 to 930

Day 2-3 Varanasi, this is probably longer than i'd like, but due to the train schedule and my wanting to see both the sunrise and evening ceremonies, i have to send both days.

late afternoon train to agra

Day 4 and 5. early morning arrive at agral
taj, fort agra, fatepuri sikri.

anyone can suggest the best timing for this city and sites? i'd def want to see the taj during sunrise.

Day 6 leave for Jaipur ine early am.

Day 7 jaipur and amber fort. leave on night train for udaipur

Day 8. Udaipur arrive in am. Is this too much time?

Day 9: udaipur. leave on night bus for jodhpur

Day 10. Jodhpur for 1 day. night train for Jaisalmer.

Day 11. arrive early Am in jaisalmer. see fort and then camel/jeep trek through desert

day 12. return from trek afternoon. leave for delhi.

Day 13-14. delhi sights. late night flight back to Kolkata

Day 15. return to bkk in early am.

Please give any suggestions, particularly timing for these cities. I know many might feel its a hectic schedule, but that's how i've been used to travel, and due to time constraints, i'd really like to see all the above places. (only problem is kolkata, which i'm forced to fly into b/c the flight is 1/3 the price of flying into delhi using Jet airways)
kevin109 is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2007, 12:52 AM
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Kevin- This schedule truly optimistic for India. You are basing your itinerary on the assumption that your trains will run on time, the weather will be condusive to non-stop motion, and that you will actually sleep on the all night trains.

I travelled at this pace in my younger years, but that was in Europe where 6 hour delays on trains never happened, the weather didn't hit 45 degrees C,, and roads and train rails didn't wash out with great regularity.

You probably can physically do this trip, but I'd say it will only be possible if you don't book anything in advance. That way, you can adjust as you go along.

I just got back from my third trip to India, where a 4 hour drive from Agra to Delhi took eight hours. Nothing in particular made it last so long, just a couple of accidents, and some protesters marching down one section of the highway. We enjoyed the detours, but it still ate up an extra half day. Luckily, we had no other plans for the day.

For your 14 day trip, you've got 8 cities...a day and a half per city, including some really long travels. I would narrow it down to no more than 4 or at most five cities. If not, you'll have no time to do anything but sit on trains and hit the tourist "must sees" in each town.

What time of year are you going? Fog in the winter, floods in the spring and summer, and smog/haze during all seasons can disrupt travel and interfere with sightseeing.

Also, do you really want to take a night bus? The roads in India are horrible, and driving at night when all the long distance truckers, water buffalo, and dogs are competing for road space is even more dangerous. Bus drivers are not known for their cautious behavior or sober driving skills even during the day, and the buses are not known for their comfort.

I'd respectfully sugest you slow down a bit. Build in a little time for wandering, stopping for chai, or just sitting on a rooftop deck or balcony and watching the kabooters at sunset. I think you'll have a much nicer time.

If you love India, you'll find a way to go back and have another chance at the cities you bypass now. If you don't love India, well, with this brutal schedule there is a good chance of that. You've got the luxury of two weeks in India...Use your time wisely to savor the country, not just survive it.
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Old Dec 6th, 2007, 01:08 AM
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Hi Kevin

As lcuy said, its too optimistic.
Trains may run on time, but most often there are delays. Also, keep in mind that India is a tropical country, and you're likely to feel more exhausted everyday and will not enjoy any particular site.

I would recommend cutting a few places and giving yourself at least 2 days in each place (a bare minimum). This way you can see a monument/site in the morning and relax in the afternoon.
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Old Dec 6th, 2007, 02:47 AM
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Hi Kevin, I too think the itinerary is optimistic, but with a few adjustments, I think it can be done. I've done my share of whirlwind trips, and there have been places I have regretted not spending more time, but then again, I got a taste of what to come back for, if that makes sense.

You should spend 2 nights in Varanasi, and 1 night in Agra is sufficient, enough to see the Taj at sunset, sunrise and the Agra Fort and Baby Taj the following day. Then you could do Fatepur Sikri enroute to Jaipur instead of backtracking. Then spend 2 nights in Jaipur and cut out either Jodhpur or Jaisalmer.
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Old Dec 6th, 2007, 05:48 AM
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Add to me to the chorus saying this is too fast. Where else have you traveled at this pace? India is such a culture shock, and so chaotic and hot, that there's no way you can compare travel in Europe or the U.S. to travel in India.

Specifics: the more time you can spend in Varanasi the better. Stay by the river and see the town itself as a "sight" rather than just specific places. Visiting Sarnath, just outside, is also worthwhile.

Cut time in Agra to the minimum - it's likely the worst town in India for hassling tourists.

Leave out Jaisalmer - it's too far for this trip, and possibly either Jodhpur or Udaipur. Definitely forget the night bus. India's roads are full of accidents waiting to happen during the day, at night, with unlighted hazards like bullock carts in the middle of the road, they're much worse.

Again, the biggest "must sees" in India are the country itself, and its people. You can't experience them if you're on the move all the time.
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Old Dec 6th, 2007, 10:24 AM
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First of all Kevin,

Congrats on going to India for the first time! it will probably be your greatest trip ever. I went in 2002

Like you I had a short amount time and did a whirlwind trip with a lot of things to see. I will be a little repetitive ans say that this is an agressive schedule, but not that bad. I really wish you were flying into Delhi instead of Kolkata but saving $$$ is big.

A few tiny adjustments will make it OK. You're 26, might as well go all out. You will have plenty of time to rest when you get back home

As said, see Fatehpuhr Sikr ON THE WAY to Jaipur. Less time in Agra the better.
More time in Varanasi the better.

Between Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer it would be wonderful to drop one. Rank them in your order of priority. (of course I would drop all three for the chance to see tigers.)

Sleeping on the train is fine.

waynehazle is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2007, 06:02 PM
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Thanks everyone for the replies so far. I really appreciate your insighs and advice.

I forgot to mention that I'll be going in January/February, so I don't know if that makes my itinerary easier or worse, but as far as I understand there is much less rain and heat??

I def am appreciating the general advice on trying to cut back, but I just feel like I have so little time and I feel like if i see it, at least i'll know whether i'd like to go back. Going to europe w/ my buddies a few years back, we traveled aggressively but not as aggressive as i'm doing with india. One day, we left florence, traveled to miland, then got on the afternoon train to rome on the same day. We got from rome to venice in am, and left there by the same day in the evening. of course i know europe is much easier so i knowi'm probably being a little unrealistic.

In truth, i think we are a little scared to spend too much time in the indian cities. not exactly sure why, but somehow the train feels less intimidating?? that's probably crazy talk.

Then, as far as sleeping I can definitely sleep at any time. Im used to working 30 hour shifts, so i pretty much fall asleep at the drop of a dime.

I'm feeling you guys on the no overnnight bus. I hadn't thought of dangers of the road. I'll move it during the day.

Out of Jaisalmer, jodhpur or udaipur what would one recommend cutting???? I feel like jodhpur is probably the least unique.
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