Jul 14th, 2009, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,152
BTW - don't rely on hand-washing on the trains - only cold water on Indian trains. Take your own TP (take the center cardboard out of the roll and squish it) and Purell or equivalent. Ditto public toilets.

Re: rail tickets - it might be worth considering an Indrail pass. I bought mine from - there's no agent in the US. But I hear it's easier to buy through the Indian Rail website than when I traveled (see for my train trip round India).

Don't know where you live - I'm in NC and use the Duke Travel Clinic for inoculations etc. - see if there's an equivalent near you.

I don't think I'd skip Jaipur, both the fort and the palace are worth seeing, and it will give you a good taste of Rajasthan, then next time you can go to a different area.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 03:34 PM
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I have two kinds of travel packs with hand wipes: (1) is by Clorox and is a disinfectant; and (2) the other by Playtex (yes, the underwear folks) which is just for cleaning one's hands after a messy thali. They're both in self contained, nifty little packets that are flat and fit inside a fanny pack or other pack. I got mine at Target, which has a section in their cosmetics/drugs section for travel sized goodies, but don't know where you're from, so don't know if that's a possibility for you. Trust me, I've seen lots of patients through the years, smart people who thought they were immune and found out to their dismay that they weren't.
indianapearl is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 05:05 PM
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I apologize if I missed these points as I just scanned the replies, but auto rickshaws are not advisable in my opinion. They are no match for the huge trucks and busses and other fast moving traffic on Delhi streets.

Hire a car and driver for the day(s). Make sure the driver speaks an acceptable level of English.

If the girls are interested, there is a doll museum (Shankar's International Doll Museum) in Delhi. I haven't been to it in about 15 years so I can't attest to how it is now, but it's quite large.

Also, take the girls to one of the bangle shops and get bangles in their size. Tons of colors and designs to choose from. They'll have fun. Get bangles made of metal or "laakh" (hard gum resin), not the glass ones that will break.

There is a toy section at the Cottage Industries Emporium too they might enjoy.
Jaya is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 05:20 PM
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jaipur was one of my best indian experiences....i loved it there and stayed 4 nites.....plenty to do...and shop...

one day in delhi is almost a waste.... won't you be dog tired from the trip there and the kids....yikes, i can't imagine...

you have no down time until the end of the need more in between...

sheraton is nice in jaipur and has a nice pool for the kids...

i'm afraid that this is all i can offer....i need to take another nap after thinking about this whirl-wind tour...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 05:40 PM
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Actually, maybe you should do the trip in reverse, and start on the islands? That way you'll be well over jet lag and rested up before tackling the main travel. Fly into Kolkata and out of Delhi.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 05:58 PM
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Morning Marge.

When I was in Gujarat last I was staying at the House of M.G. I watched as a car pulled up. Out of the car clambered a family; mum, dad, three children, all under ten. Smart, intelligent, European - all having the most miserable time you could possibly imagine.

Daddy was carrying two sleeping children while Mummy supervised the remaining child. He was sulky and exhausted. Mummy was frayed. Daddy was stoic and grim.

They stood in the foyer, surrounded by comatose kids, a pile of luggage and blank-eyed staff, having The Trip Of A Lifetime.

The driver shook his head.'Two children sick,' he said, 'Daddy won't talk. We've been in the car all day. They're all exhausted. The kids aren't interested in buildings! They don't care.'

I saw them driving off the next morning. I thought they were on the trip from Hell.
dogster is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 06:25 PM
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So Marge...

We'll all have to make sure this doesn't happen to you.

'yes I travelled on buses and trains but it was at least 20 years ago! So,of course, now I only remember the really good bits...'

Pollyanna... I think you've said everything in your comment above. lol lol lol. But I so admire your spirit in wanting to show your family the things you loved so I think it's all fine - just not very practical. The most practical part is the Andamans - although, the average 5 and 10 year old may not be able to tell the difference between the Andamans and, well, pretty much anywhere with a beach.

At the moment, this trip is hoist on the petard of your own old memories. It's not twenty years ago.

I think you may well be deliberately choosing the transport options you are because you want to chuck them in the deep end and meet kazillions of people and have that 'real deal India' thing... not just because of money. All well and good. One is ten, one is five. They may not yet have eyes to see.

Your poor mute husband loves you. I'm happy. Just what does HE think of all this? Given my knowledge of British men on holiday in India HE'S likely to the one that gets sick FIRST, moans the most and sinks into a sullen torpor. Lol lol lol.
dogster is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 07:54 PM
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'OK, maybe I'm mad but I don't want it too easy. If we have car/driver, I might miss something (or someone) might I? Of course, I don't want to put our family through hell either.'

Here's the nub.

Like an army, you can travel as fast as your slowest recruit. So predicate it all on your children. Or do you have a deal on who carries the sleeping 5 year old around Delhi, Jaipur, Varanasi...?

Like an army, you need support services. No, I'm not talking a suitcase full of pharmaceuticals. Your children won't get typhoid, plague, rabies or leprosy - but they are far more likely to pick up the squits, or just feel kinda crappy or don't understand that this is jetlag...
they may not be very interested in soldiering on.

You need a traveling pod that can change, shrink or grow, stop or start when you need it to. So think car and driver. On that nice savaari site you'll see the different types of cars and vans. Don't get the littlest, cheapest and crappiest one. Then, if things go pear-shaped, you always have your life-raft.

You can be the boss. You tell him where you want to go. Check this for inspiration [it's a great read, too]:

Check this out:

and this:

Before you make assumptions that flights are just TOO expensive go here:

and here:

and check.
dogster is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 08:24 PM
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an excellent idea to do things in reverse
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 14th, 2009, 11:38 PM
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Thanks for all of the above. I especially like the army quote. Our youngest, robust as she is does tend to flag at 5pm.
Will give all of the above some serious thought as hubby and I sit down tonight to sort out itinerary. Flights are booked though into Dehli and home from Kolkata.We chose these flights since the times were so sensible. Leave UK at 8pm arrive next day Dehli 3pm. Maybe children will sleep on plane - maybe not.
Indianapearl, I am gonna search for these wipes in UK as I haven't heard of them.
Good tips Jaya, the girls will especially love the bangles. An Indian lady has been into school recently and the girls want an "Indian dress".
Back with car and driver sounds the best option, I have emailed two of the suggested companies.
Would have done more research but spent loadsa time reading the fantastic trip reports and other stuff.
Thanks to everyone taking the time to help. Off to work and school now - all of us.
MrsMarge is offline  
Jul 15th, 2009, 12:31 AM
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Emerald Gecko/Wild Orchid or Barefoot at Havelock,splendid places.
Links: & Wild Orchid.
Book in advance as its season in November.
inquest is offline  
Jul 15th, 2009, 03:22 AM
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You also better practice answers to questions like "Why is that ragged boy without an arm banging on the car window..." Did you ever think that when a travel agent who stands to make money off of you says "Don't bring the kids," he or she may be onto something?
Marija is online now  
Jul 15th, 2009, 04:16 AM
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Marija. Note your comments; not sure what you mean about husband having to "amuse kids". This will not need to happen, husband ready for fast paced trip, if it's too fast for girls, we will slow down. We will be as prepared as can be for all going t*** up.
The travel agent simply recommended not to take the girls to Varanasi - not India and, she did have a more costly alternative plan!
We will answer questions re beggars etc as we see fit. Just like we do in the local cities regarding the sights we see. Whilst beggars aren't often maimed nor are they children, the addicts begging on our streets are often young amputees. Even the girls' school are happy about the trip! it has become an enjoyable project for them at home too. If they hate India, then so be it. They can take their own children to Disneyland.

Thanks Inquest - really fancy gecko.
MrsMarge is offline  
Jul 15th, 2009, 05:04 AM
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Good for you. Just make sure to give us a trip report when you get back. Pretty please!
thursdaysd is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 07:34 AM
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Hi MrsMarge -- having traveled for years with my daughter (granted you have 2 while I only had one), I am sure you will all do fine. It sounds like you have the right attitude and will respond appropriately to any issues that come up with the girls. If you are going in heads up (I won't use your particular phrase, lol!) to possible problems, and are willing to be flexible, everything will work out. If you haven't read it, I recently posted a trip report on our recent travels through India, it could be helpful -- we went to a few of the places you are planning to go.
You might consider hiring Ramesh Meena to drive for you ~ he did a fabulous job for us (his contact info: phone numbers - 919829807074 and 91925246594; email addresses - [email protected] and [email protected]). bonnieheather of this forum also used him and she is in the process of posting her trip report ( Like others, I think your itinerary sounds rushed, but I don't know what to tell you to cut. We opted not to do the tigers, since we read that spotting them is pretty rare and we had seen them up close and personal in Thailand. BTW, no bid deal on riding the elephants up to the Amber Fort. You just hire them at the bottom and ride up -- I think 2 person per elephant will work for you. You will be hounded by photo wallahs who will chase you down to sell you the pictures later, but it was fun. The girls will enjoy it. Hope you all have a blast on your trip!
travelaw is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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travelaw, thanks for such a positive, heartwarming response. Just today I printed your report off and left it at work. I find it easier to read paper than a screen; especially 65 pages! I am looking forward to reading it all though. We are still trying "trim it down". The girls want to try the safari even though we have stressed how remote the chance is of actually spotting a tiger! I won't drop the Taj and we all want to go snorkelling in the Andamans. Maybe Varanasi will have to go and we just fly to Kolkata. We are definitely going to contact Ramesh. I think dogster's point of having a car/driver to fall back on will really help. Thanks again for your response.
MrsMarge is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 11:01 AM
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Ramesh will drive for us in mid-Nov-mid-Dec for about 3000 INR/day, all inclusive (fuel, fees, tolls, etc.).
indianapearl is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Mrs marge- Have you taken the girls to third world countries before?

We started traveling with our two daughters when they were 2 months old. elder DD made her first foreign trip to japan at 4 mos. By 18 they'd been all over Asia, US, Mexico, Australia, fiji, Europe, etc., adn they were excellent travelers. I've been to India 5 times in the last four years- on four of those trips I had one DD with me.

So. as a mom who has both traveled on my thumb as a 17yr old and one who has dragged 2 daughters all over the world ovet the last 24 years, I'd have to say that this is not an itinerary that I would do if I wanted my kids to enjoy it. You have no relaxing time built into your days, and you don't even have a hotel at all on many days. Bathrooms on India trains are gross, and India is not only dirty, but hot. while I have nothing against honest sweat, you have many days where you will be unable to bathe or use a sink for brushing your teeth. You can bet that at least one of you will be needing to spend quality time on a toilet at some point, and if you have no hotel, that's pretty darn hard in India.

As a 20 year old traveler, you did what you wanted, and no one else was depending on you. If you felt crummy you just adjusted accordingly since you had no itinerary. Even if the girls can figure out why they are so stresssed, It's a rare five year olds who can articulate that she needs the family to slow down, especially knowing you've go so many places to see.

I am not suggesting you don't take the kids. What I am suggesting is that you slow this trip down a bit. No, slow it down a lot.

Doing the Andamans first might be a good idea ..Do the long hard voyage, then relax. Hit India being somewhat accustomed to the food, culture and time zones. Do your boat rides in the Andamans and then save Varanasi until another trip.

Buses in India are a miserable way to travel, and have lousy safety records in India. Delhi to Jaipur is 5-7 hours by highway. Can you sit that long if the AC doesn't work? If the music is at 100 decibels? Get a driver or take a day train.

I like Ranthambore, but the game drives are each 3 hours - either in a bumpy Jeep or on an open top cantor with 15 or so other people and no shelter from the sun and dust. Never saw a tiger and we did about 4 rides. It was bearable only because we had a lovely tent to return to each morning and evening. Skip it and promise a trip to Africa in a few years.

Don't bother with Delhi Fort. You can go to a better fort in Agra or the Amber Fort in Jaipur is cooler, more scenic and the elephant ride is fun. Build in time to wathc them bathing the elephants below the fort in the river too. In Delhi take a cycle rickshaw through Cadni Chouk or go to Qtab minar, Akshardham temple or the Jama Mashid instead. Go outside Haunuman temple and have their hands decorated with mendhi. (NO more that 50 RS a palm, but remember, you cant touch anything till it dries about an hour later!)

Kids can always cope, but it takes a lot of the fun out of things. India is best savored slowly.
lcuy is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 07:19 PM
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Well, Io hit submit, then had to edit in my mind! Sorry for all the typos....
lcuy is offline  
Jul 16th, 2009, 09:22 PM
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lcuy gives you REALLY good advice, Marge.
I wonder if you'll listen.

Report back with your plans.
dogster is offline  

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