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India Itinerary/Help and opinions please

India Itinerary/Help and opinions please

Old Apr 29th, 2008, 03:28 PM
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India Itinerary/Help and opinions please

We have now booked international flights to Dehli and will have a total of 18 nights in India, so far our itinerary looks like this but feedback is welcome.
1)Delhi- 2 nights (really only 1 full day)
2)Agra -1 night
3)Ranthambore - 2 nights
4)Jaipur- 3 nights but 1 night is in Samode at Samode Palace.
5)Pushkar 1 night (on route to Jodhpur)
6)Jodhpur 2- nights
7)Udaipur- 3 nights (really want 3 nights here to slow down and relax a bit)
fly to Cochin
8)Cochin 2 nights (only 1 1/2 days for sightseeing)
9)Alleppey (sp?) 1 night on houseboat
10)Kumarakum Lake Resort -1 night.
fly back to Delhi in afternoon of last day. fly out of Delhi at 3am so only a few hours late afternoon and evening in Delhi.
Possible problems:
Not enough time in Delhi but what do we cut out as we are confirmed (flights) for the 18 days.
Question: Should we replace Pushkar/Jodhpur with: Varanasi -1 night and extra time in Delhi. the idea is to see and experience different things but not be so rushed it is all a blur.
Thanks for any input.
dma1 is offline  
Old Apr 29th, 2008, 04:38 PM
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I am no expert but time and time again in my readings on this board, India Mike, Tripadvisor, etc. people have stated Varanasi as one of the highlights of their trip(s).

I am sure people would suggest to drop Pushkar, Cochin or numbers 9 and 10 in order to gain time for Varanasi.

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Old Apr 29th, 2008, 07:34 PM
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Oh my God, this is a blur to me just reading it, let alone actually undertaking this trip....I would not find it relaxing, and I am not sure what you are going to see beyond the back seats of cars, airport waiting rooms and hotel rooms. Some random thoughts.

What time of year is your trip? While this itin is pretty bad for February, it would be well-nigh impossible for say April through September when it is bloody hot (and of course pouring rain in the south from about mid-June,)

If your plan is to drive from Agra to Ranthambore, hah, hah, hah. I love India, but their infrastructure leaves a lot to be desired and this road is clearly one of the best examples of their worst. The most bone-crunching, spine-twisting, pot-holed-filled, just worst road ever. I have not done it in some years, but I know recent posters here who would confirm that while parts have been paved since I did it last, most of it remains unpaved. And I mean dirt road filled with potholes. It’s like 5 hours, about 3-4 of which are really bad. I can’t stress enough that this is just not a good way to go between the two places. I would reorganize the itin. The park is about 3 hours’ drive from Jaipur, and easy drive on good roads. You could do Jaipur first and then the park, it will be a little bit of juggling but entirely possible. You can also train to or from the park and Delhi in about 5 hours, so you can use this as a start or end to this area.

One day in Delhi is just silly, IMO. Either skip it entirely or spend more time. I like Delhi a lot, but you have a very rushed itinerary and you don’t have to see it if you don’t want to.

Just 4 nights in South India also seems like a waste. The south is an entire trip in itself and you won’t really see it. I just made a similar comment on this to another poster who was considering 3 nights in Goa as part of a 14 day trip, the rest of which was going to be in Rajasthan and north India like yourself. He had a somewhat shorter time period than you, so with 18 days it is doable, but still, I think it is a long way to go quite out of your way for a beach, especially as you are breaking it up with such short stays (1 night on a house boat will not allow you to get very far into the mangrove areas, really nor to relax a whole lot IMO). If your plan is to fly Air India from Udaipur, then I really don’t think much of it. You may want to spend more time in Rajasthan and really see Rajasthan. Or as you say, go to Varanasi, which is course just hugely interesting and signifcant to both Hindus and Buddhists.

I think 2 nights at Ranthambore is good, try to time it so you can do as many game drives as possible. There are only 2 a day, one at sunrise and one in the later afternoon, if memory serves around 3 pm, but check on this. So if you can arrive for a late afternoon one, do 2 the next day, and then don the sunrise one before you leave, you will get a lot of drives in for the 2 nights.

My overall comment would be that if your goal is to see “different” things, then IMO you are not achieving it by going to Agra, Jaipur, Jodhpur, and Udaipur which have quite similar architecture and history. Other than Agra, they are all in Rajasthan, and all with Mughal history and architecture. Puskar is similar in that respect but has a great significance to Hindus so is exceptional, but the rest are in fact somewhat similar. Varanasi is not in Rajasthan and would offer a different experience as well. Don’t get me wrong, your plan has some very interesting and lovely cities on it, but I would not call any of them “different” from one another, and if that is what you truly want, you may want to rethink it. (To me, what you are doing is kind of like going to Tuscany, and hoping to see Europe. While very lovely, and certainly worth a trip, you can’t expect to see anything but Tuscan architecture and history in Tuscany, and it will begin to seem the same after a while.)

In the south, which is very different in terms of history, religion, food, architecture and langauge, all you are seeing is beaches and maybe a bit of Kochi (which is interesting), but are missing Mysore and major temple areas. So I think you need to make up you mind as to what you want to do. If you want “different” and in the north, then consider Dharamsala, or Rishikesh, or Chandigarh (are you a modern architecture buff?) or Ladakh or hill stations like Shimla or Darjeeling (the latter three would be dependent on the time of year your trip is). You have lots of options that may truly offer a “different” experience from the typical tourist tour of the Golden Triangle area of Rajathsan.

Cicerone is offline  
Old May 1st, 2008, 06:57 PM
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jvrab12, Thank you, I have now added Varanasi to our itinerary, I also get the impression that this is a "Must Not Miss" place and am very happy I've added it.
Cicerone, thank you also.....I think....(for giving me the "worst itinerary planner of the year" award.)
Seriously, I do appreciate your time in responding and I have made the following changes at your suggestion: Taken Jodhpur and Pushkar out, added 2 more nights in Delhi, so 3 at the beginning and 1 at the end, and added Varanasi.
Yes, we are going in February and no we are not driving to Ranthambhore from Agra.
We will take the express train from Bharatpur, I believe it is a two and a half hour journey.
We will also fly from Jaipur to Udaipur.
My itineray now looks like this:
1)Delhi - 3nights
2)Agra - 1 night
3)Rathambore - 2 nights
4)Jaipur 3-nights
Fly to Udaipur
5)Udaipur 3 nights
Fly to Cochin (Jet Airways not Air India)
6)Cochin - 2nights
Alleppey - 1 night (this does seem to be pretty standard) on Houseboat.
7)Kumarakum Lake Resort 2 nights (our Houseboat stay ends in Kumarakum so no travel really)
Fly from Cochin to Varanasi (either via Mumbai or Delhi)
8)Varanasi -1 night
Fly back to Delhi for a full day before returning to Vancouver via London.
Though this will be my first visit to India I feel sure it will not be my last, if we don't see a tiger on one of our three drives, it will not be the end of the world for me, I understand the park is magnificant anyway, the adventure and experience is what I am looking for.
If we are stuck in cars I will look out of the window and make the most of every minute, I am very very excited about this trip and know that whatever we see/do will be truly wonderful.
I have enjoyed reading your feedback to other posters and once again I do sincerely appreciate your feedback.
dma1 is offline  
Old May 1st, 2008, 08:03 PM
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Yours was not the worst itinerary I have seen, I have certainly seen people trying to do our same itinerary is less time, or greater distances in about the same. This looks better, I still think you will find you are seeing a lot of the same things, but at least you will get to experience them more deeply as you are spending more time in each place.

If you can fly via Mumbai to Varanasi, all things considered (i.e., if layover time is about the same, and it is not on Air India via Mumbai) I would take the Mumbai flight so as to avoid any possible fog issues in Delhi. While Dec and Jan are the worst for this, you can still have some in Feb. Mumbai does not have fog as it is not temperate like Delhi. Mumbai airport is also a bit better-organized and in my personal experience seems to have fewer delays (I have no stats on this, it has just been my experience).

Your attitude on Ranthambore is the perfect one, I have been there on 3 separate trips, and only saw tiger on one drive on one trip, so that is like 15 drives and tiger on only 1 drive (it was however, a mother and 2 cubs which even freaked the guides out, so I feel that the previous 14 drives were merit-building), but still I think the park is wonderful and you will see a huge variety of wildlife in any event.

My advice on your one day in Delhi before your return flight is to get a hotel room near the airport (either domestic or international, it really does not matter), rather than going all the way into Delhi to get a hotel, or worse, thinking that you will want to spend any time “hanging out” at the itnernatinal airport before your flight (you will want to get there as late as possible, 3 hours is more than enough 2 if you are business class). You can then decide where or whether you want to go into Delhi at all (you may just want to hang out by the pool and have a spa treatment, no shame in that I say after 17 days in India). I think having the ability to keep luggage somewhere, take a shower, have a nap, and have a place to just hang late at night until you have to leave for the aipirt late is more than worth the price of the room. (Ask about day rates or half day rates.) At the very least if you don’t want to get a hotel room, then hire a car and driver for the whole day and he can keep your luggage for you and take you around Delhi for the day. Try Kumar Tourist Taxi Service at [email protected] for a quote, I have used them several times and find them very reliable and not expensive. I found them in Lonely Planet. If you don’t stay at a hotel, I would also try to get a spa treatment at a hotel late in the day just so that you can then get the chance to take a shower and change before you get on an overnight flight. The Trident and the Oberoi would be good choices for this.

For hotels near the airort, try the Radisson (http://www.radisson.com/), the really lovely Trident (http://www.oberoihotels.com/ or http://www.tridenthotels.com/home/index.asp), or the Crowne Plaza Gurgaon (http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/) or the Park Hotel in Gurgaon (http://www.theparkhotels.com, I like their hotel in Delhi too, in the Connaught area, very good restaurants and a lively bar) the Grand Hotel (http://www.thegrandnewdelhi.com, there is also a Grand Hotel Intercontinental in Connaught Circus in downtown New Delhi, so don't confuse the two.) The Uppals is quite nice as well, but rooms can be uneven IMO, for that price I think I would go with the Trident if you can get in (uppalsorchid.com). From these hotels, you can get into downtown Delhi in about an hour or with good traffic, or you could also stick to places in south Delhi like the Qutab Minar and Haus Khaz Village so you could avoid having to drive all the way into the Conaught or the Old Delhi areas. Haus Khaz has some good places for lunch and is the SoHo of Delhi for shopping, and is easy to combine with a trip to the Qutab Minar which is something which should be on your list anyway.

Cicerone is offline  
Old May 5th, 2008, 12:04 PM
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I agree, South India is a different place and you should not miss Varanasi....all Hindus want to pilgrimage to the Holy Ganges River at Varanasi. Spectacular!
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Old May 14th, 2008, 05:06 AM
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cicerone - i met a british couple when i was at corbett some 10 years ago. we were in the same jeep for the morning safari. after 4 hours of driving around and seeing well, practically nothing, the lady tells me "i have seen more wild life during my 2 weeks travel on the roads of india than i have in this national park - bears, camels,pigs, elephants,peacocks,goats,buffolos - the works !!
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Old May 15th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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One night on the house boat is perfect. Make sure you pick the right boat with a good cook as the main activity (other than picture taking) is eating! If you are not on a budget look up Spice Coast cruises offered by CGH Earth http://www.cghearth.com/spice_coast_cruises/index.htm
Also in Cochin make sure you stay in the old town. There are great hotels, restaurants, shops and B&B's and you'll be able to walk everywhere.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 12:15 AM
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I'm an expat living and traveling in India a lot. Do you still want opinions or will that confuse you at this point. Sometimes, when you get to a point with your itinerary, you don't want someone give you any new opinions.

If you do, I'm happy to share.
gshah18 is offline  
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