Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

India trip for family with kids 17 and 21over Christmas holidays

India trip for family with kids 17 and 21over Christmas holidays

Old Jul 24th, 2012, 05:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 164
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
India trip for family with kids 17 and 21over Christmas holidays

Hi Fodorites,
I have received so much good advice from you guys over the years and wanted to get your tips for planning a trip to India for this upcoming Christmas break, approximately 12/8/12-12/29/12. It will be me and my husband, both early 50’s with no real health issues, pretty fit, a daughter age 17 and a son 21. My challenge is to plan a trip which has variety (the kids can get templed and museumed out rather easily) with some relaxation built in as well. We have 3 weeks total so that we can plan for a few days of recovery from the illnesses that we will likely get while traveling. We do plan to go vegetarian so hopefully that will help. My son will also be coming off a set of finals from a difficult college quarter. I am planning to do 2 weeks in the north and 1 week in the south. We have traveled extensively, including Europe, Australia, Amazon, Galapagos, Malawi, Zaire and South Africa, but I see this will likely be our most challenging trip in terms of impressions. I want to minimize exposure to the very aggressive touts if I can by perhaps doing Taj Mahal in a day,even though I recognize that this might not be doing the Taj justice. There are 4 of us so our best bet might be to get a private driver for many of our road excursions.I would love some tips of good drivers with English skills. I have some concerns about my daughter who is tall with waist length blonde hair. We will of course be dressing modestly, hair likely covered and bound, and always in a group, but she received some unwanted attention from Turkish men when we were there, even though she was only 10 at the time.
We would like to spend most of the time in Rajastan.
There seems to be much to do in Delhi so maybe 4-5 days there?
Considering the following activities ( not all ,of course)
High Tea at Imperial
Hazrat ud din Dargah- Gawwali singers, Thursdays and feast days
Red fort
Digambara Jain Temple- contains bird hospital
Humayun’s tomb
Shopping some place Connaught Place, Hauz Khaz?
Qutab Minar
Pahargang walking tours 2 hrs ,done by former street kids
Astrologer might be fun. A blog recommended Dr. Vinod Shastri. Any recommendations from this board?

Considering Agra, Jaipur on a 3 day trip from Delhi
Udaipur- 2 days?
Jodhpur vs Bikaner
Camel safaris both places. Not sure that we want to do one or not I understand camels are not too comfortable to ride
Mehrangarh fort looked interesting for Jodhpur and the National Research Center on Camels sounded quite interesting in Bikaner
Wondering about Ranthambore National park vs Nilgiri biosphere Reserve to see some wildlife. Tigers would be nice to see ,but sounds like it is unlikely to happen, wherever we go.

Would like to get to Varanasi, as we have heard that is a very important India experience but not sure how to get there inexpensively and in a timely manner.
We are not opposed to flying but that can get expensive as well.

We do plan to fly down south to Kerala, Karnataka ,or Goa for our last week
We are not averse to 1-2 days of beach time but are not beach people by inclination-being pasty white Seattleites doesn’t help either.

Appeal of Karnataka
it appears to have a very organized tourist industry there
Nandi hills ,hill station

Appeal of Kerala
Christmas at Fort Cochin
Kovalam resort or Varkala
I had read about a beach festival in a blog with 50 elephants ,that is supposed to happen in Thiruvananthapuram, but can’t find any info on line otherwise. Does anyone know more about it?
A day trip with punted canoe in the back waters sounds more appealing to us than the overnight with the houseboat.I would appreciate hearing people's experiences.

Goa also a possibility but I hear that it is very crowded and to avoid over the Christmas holidays
I have done a lot of research but realize there is way more than we can do during these 3 weeks! I would really appreciate help and look forward to reading your advice
venturesome4 is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2012, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 2,927
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello Evelyn, Going vegetarian should help with illnesses but is not guarantee. Don't eat from street vendors or food stalls, tempting as it may look/smell. Some of the hill stations may have snow and travel will be impaired because they usually don't have an effective snow removal system.

As for touts, don't worry about trying to avoid them just do what Indians do and ignore or shoo them away. They are used to tourists being too polite and they take advantage of that. You will always find some young girl carrying around a baby asking for money. It's your choice, but understand it's a racket. Don't feel guilty and don't hand over a lot of money if you do. A 20 or 50 Rupee note is a day's wages for them.

I don't know about Turkey, but in India people may look at your daughter's long blond hair because it's so different than the black hair they normally see. Also, it's really important to know that Indians stare. It's not considered rude. Woman will look you up and down to see what your wearing and what jewelry and accessories you have on. It's normal there so don't take offense. Men may look also, but being a family together I can't imagine they would attempt to touch your daughter since she is a tourist and a foreigner. She does not need to cover or hide her hair.

A lot of westerners visit India, don't feel worried about light hair or skin.

The astrology is probably a waste of time and money (my opinion).

Another place to see in Delhi if you want to see a magnificent hindu temple is Akshardam. It's closed on Mondays. Also note that the Taj Mahal is closed on Fridays.

Shopping in Delhi is extensive. One place to see the handicrafts from the various regions of India without haggling is the Cottage Industries Emporium. It's government owned and the prices are fixed. There is no return/no exchanges in India. Check your merchandise out well before paying. Jaya
Jaya is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2012, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,536
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
I would vote for Kerala for the south for a first visit. Although I like Mysore and the hills, Hampi is very hard to get to, being in the middle of nowhere, and in my view wasn't worth the effort (click on my name for my S. Asia TR). Goa is crowded even before high season, and although there are inland activities (Old Goa, spice plantations, a rather nice waterfall) it's mostly about the beaches.

I spent Christmas in Kerala in 2001 and really enjoyed it. (See http://wilhelmswords.com/asia2001/index.html - Cruising Kerala). I really liked the time on a houseboat, even though I regretted the lack of AC at night, but I gather there are now hundreds of boats and it's not the same experience.

Definitely try to get to Varanasi - there will be night trains. Dressing modestly is a good idea, although covering your hair is overkill. I give to a charity (girls' education) before going to India, so I can say no with a clear conscience (except occasionally to really elderly beggars).

Going vegetarian is also overkill, but you do need to be careful. Only bottled water (including for teeth), no ice unless you know it's from purified water, no raw fruit and veg. But the only time I got sick on my last visit was in the most expensive hotel I stayed in...
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2012, 07:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 164
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks thursdaysd and Jaya. We have traveled quite a bit and have remained healthy so I am not too worried but trying to take precautions when possible. I have an Indian colleague and he said what ever you do, best not to eat at the expensive hotels. We don't generally give money to beggers on the streets but will be looking into a charity to give to instead.Thanks for the tips about Kerala thursdaysd. I read your blog about your trip to India and really enjoyed it. It sounds like you had a wonderful trip. No doubt a number of things have changed in the intervening 11 years , just not sure how much! I had read some more recent blogs discussing traffic jams with diesel fumes etc., which put me off the houseboat idea It is good to know that Hampi is difficult to get to also.I will likely strike that from the list.
Any thoughts from folks on the blog about what to do or avoid in Rajasthan?
Any thoughts on how best of arrange a car and driver who speaks english?
Is it better to book an overnight train from Delhi to Varanasi in Delhi or on line from the US?
We usually do most of our travel plans ourselves but does anyone have a recommendation for a travel agent in the US who might be helpful?
I sure appreciate all the advice. It is time to cement the plans!
venturesome4 is offline  
Old Jul 24th, 2012, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 27,536
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
You should book your train tickets ahead of time - Indian trains are very popular with Indians and will sell out. See http://www.seat61.com/India.htm for info on Indian trains in general, and cleartrip.com for buying tickets.

You are probably better of with an Indian TA. There are several reports here from people who have used one - use "View by Country" to select for India and then look for the orange TR symbol.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jul 30th, 2012, 08:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 164
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
thanks Thursdaysd,for all your advice. I enjoyed your TR very much. Lots to consider.Trip dates changed when I realized that vacation dates for school had changed. Now flights more expensive but we are booked!
venturesome4 is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Feb 10th, 2018 01:27 AM
Aug 27th, 2007 04:55 PM
Feb 2nd, 2007 07:01 AM
Oct 26th, 2006 06:22 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -