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Itinerary Travel Help in North India - 10 days

Itinerary Travel Help in North India - 10 days

Old May 13th, 2016, 04:42 PM
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Itinerary Travel Help in North India - 10 days

Hi all!

First of all, for a first time poster, I'd like to thank you all for all the (already available) research that has helped me get this far in my planning! I'm thinking about North India as my first real foray into Asia (I've only been to Singapore for work..) with my husband in the beginning of September for my 30th birthday. We are a fairly adventurous couple, and are totally fine with seeing as.much.as.possible in a pretty short span of time.

That being said, we want to spent time where it's worth it. This is what I'm thinking, and I really need a sounding board / advice to see if I'm on the right path - see if I can/should cut anything out. Cost (between driving and trains), is not a bother to us, but we just want to make the most time efficient decisions where possible.
___________________________________

DAY 1: Arrive Varansai (after an overnight layover in Bombay) early Sunday afternoon.

DAY 2: Full day in Varansai. Hire a car (let's say 9pm Monday) to Agra.
I've looked at trains / flights as well, but the timing doesn't allow for a full day in Varansai, so I'm trying to be efficient here.

DAY 3: Agra arrival early (hopefully for the sunrise at the Taj)
Take the evening overnight train to Jodhpur (8:35pm - 6:35am) - Does this train actually often run THAT late?

DAY 4: Arrive Jodhpur. Stay overnight.

DAY 5: Jodhpur. Train to Jaisalmer (Thurs) at either 5:30pm or 11:45pm. Is there much difference between the two options?

DAY 6: Arrive Jaisalmer. Stay Overnight.

DAY 7: Camel Trek (sleep in desert overnight).

DAY 8: Jaisalmer - Udaipur via hired car (with leisurely stops along the way)
- See Kumbhalgarh Fort / Ranakpur Temple / Dilwara Temple
- Arrive Udaipur Sunday night

DAY 9: Udaipur. Stay overnight.

DAY 10: Udaipur back to NYC at 5pm.
___________________________________

I know I already have a lot here, but I've already decided to cut out some of the major cites (Delhi & Jaipur), and even some of the smaller ones (like Khajuraho) that all seemed really amazing. I'm looking for a comprehensive taste of North India in a short span of time (I know), and just want to make sure this makes sense. Any thoughts would be VERY MUCH appreciated for a newbie! Thank you!
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Old May 13th, 2016, 06:10 PM
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I understand the desire to see a lot on a trip. Especially when you're going as far as India, and presumably would stay longer if you could.

But you're about to hear a lot of people say you're doing too much for the time you have.

Travel in India usually takes longer than you think it will. And what about time to recover from jetlag?

Or to sleep?
Day 2 - you'd have to drive all night, I think.

And Day 8 also looks undoable to me, based on how long the drive alone would take. Without any stops, maybe 10 hours of driving?

And with this itinerary you'll have so little time in each destination that you'll barely have time to see anything.

My thought is no more than 3 of those places in India in 10 days. Actually 9 1/2 days, as Day 10 is a travel day.
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Old May 13th, 2016, 06:25 PM
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Dear Trancass--hello and welcome to the Fodors Forum!

You'll have read a lot on Fodors about not doing consecutive one-night- stands (travel, that is!) in either in India or elsewhere. While I understand (from personal experience!)that time constraints force people into wanting to see as much as possible in a short time, and not all of us have the luxury of loads of time (or money) for long trips, I (hoping I can be honest here) think your itinerary is too much in too brief a time.

Much info you get on-line about the time between places is inaccurate, based on "best-case" scenarios, and often, times will take another 50% over what you are expecting. If not...you're lucky. But please think like that as you ponder your route.

Are you saying you want to hire a car/driver, leave Varanasi at 9 PM, travel overnight to Agra and get there in time for sunrise? Driving (or being driven) at night on roads in India is not the best idea...to be understated about it. You won't see a thing (which is some of the fun of being on those roads) but worse, driving in daylight, let alone at night, can be hair-raising. Finally, you may or may not arrive in time for Agra's sunrise. So you're not disappointed...n if you do, there's no guarantee you'll see much through the air pollution and haze.

I'd focus on an area within India that requires less travel. You could see Delhi, Agra, and parts of Rajasthan beyond the classic Golden triangle tour. Or you could see Varanasi, Agra, Delhi, Khajurao, Orchaa You don't have to see it all at once, right now, as tempting as that it. Folks here, and good travel agents, will have ideas for ten day itineraries. Or you could consider internal flights between a few of your desired destinations.

Here's but one possibility--just to show you a sample itinerary only--fast, but less frenetic than what you've listed.( This is from my favorite travel planner in just about the whole world, but there are others frequently recommended on Fodors.)

http://www.indianpanorama.in/tour-it...rth-india.html

Since you're only 29 yrs old now,, you have decades left to return to India (or anywhere) if you fall in love with it. I'd hate to see your first tripto this wonderful country turning into a blur, or just a mix of moments, without sufficient time to just relax and take it all in. Doing too much, too quickly , reminds me of those surface, quick impressions from hopping up and down during speed-dating, instead of taking time to know the person.

Other Fodorites will have ideas which may differ from mine.
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Old May 13th, 2016, 06:37 PM
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Ah! RJE posted replied same time as i. (Great minds, et etc!) Totally agree with hm, including that Day 8 is overly optimistic. "Leisurely" is not the adjective that comes to mind.

Don't despair! this ten day trip i s do-able! Just narrow your list of desired places a bit.

Progol, one of the regular FF post-esr, did a similar route a few yrs ago, starting in Varanasi , and including Jaiselmer and other Rajasthani towns. But she took twice the time, if I recall correctly. She is soon on her way to Sicily, but perhaps will see this in time for a reply.
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Old May 13th, 2016, 07:06 PM
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Thanks guys, really appreciate your thoughts here. Clearly there are just too many places to visit, with not enough time! If I were able to spare 3 more nights (for basically 2 full weeks), would this itinerary make sense? Maybe with an extra night in Jaisalmer, a proper night in Agra, and another night in Varanasi? Thanks again!
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Old May 13th, 2016, 09:12 PM
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A few more nights always helps!!!! B ut I'm not sure where you should divide up that extra time. Sound like you are set on these particular places. But really, really think about your travel times and routes and methods of travel between places. For example, your Day Eight should be spread into two or three days.
I'm hoping some other FF folks will chime in too.
Good luck, and have fun with the planning!!!!
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Old May 14th, 2016, 03:16 AM
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I'm debating a similar trip to you for my 30th birthday - 10 or 11 nights in October or November, still weighing Northern India versus Cambodia versus new areas of Japan. Although mine may be solo if my fiancé/family/friends don't want to come, which would be fine. I also tend to travel at a faster pace, but like things to make efficient logistical sense. So I'll be super interested in the advice you receive.

I will say in my initial itinerary building, I also cut Delhi and Jaipur. Jaisalmer and Varanasi are my two must dos, a bit hard to do Jaisalmer without Jodhpur, and Agra for an overnight. I was interested in Udaipur but cut it because I needed more time for Jaisalmer and Varanasi based on my interests in all the locations. Maybe see which of your locations is lowest priority, and then you can add those nights to your other destinations, giving you a little slower pace but still getting a good taste.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 11:53 AM
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Thanks again all! So I'm thinking about cutting Udaipur from the trip and doing the flight from Varansai to Agra to save some time. This is what I'm now leaning towards, which I think should make more sense? (I hope!)

Day 1: Arrive Varansai
Day 2: Varanasi
Day 3: Varanasi flight to Agra (afternoon)
Day 4: Agra - Train to Jodhpur
Day 5: Hire Car to Jaisalmer, Arrive Jaisalmer
Day 6: Jaisalmer
Day 7: Camel trek
Day 8: Hire car back to Jodphur
Day 9: Jodhpur
Day 10: Fly out Jodhpur mid afternoon
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Old May 14th, 2016, 02:33 PM
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That is much better.

One thought. Why take a train from Agra to Jodhpur and then drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer the next morning? The train from Agra to Jodhpur seems to take around 12 1/2 hours. It doesn't seem like you will have almost any time in Jodhpur after that (until you return after Jaisalmer), and will have to pay for a room for the night. Then, the drive from Jodhpur to Jaisalmer will take the better part of a day, We drove that route about 3 months ago and were slowed by a couple of extra hours in extensive road work on that route. And there is no way they would be close to done yet. But you might want to research that.

So if you are up for what I think is less time on one train route than the combined train-drive you put in your latest itinerary, you could you get a train from Agra to Jaisalmer (stopping in Jaipur). Get a sleeper. I have never taken this route, so not sure about this, you'd have to check schedules to see if it makes sense.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 02:34 PM
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,,, or can you fly from Agra to Jodphur?
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Old May 14th, 2016, 03:23 PM
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Perhaps you may want to reconsider the idea of going to jaisalmer. While we visited there for three days, it is a long distance to travel for such a short time. With the limited time frame, IMO you would be better off devoting more time to each destination. What time does your flight arrive into Varanasi? It will take approximately an hour to get from the airport into town. You may have little time on the first day. That gives you just day two to see Varanasi. You will likely wake up in the morning and have to depart early for the airport, so day three will be mostly a travel day. You have little time in Agra and then will be on a train followed by most of the next day traveling by car. Sounds like you are putting in a great effort to move about with little time at each destination. Besides the tourist sites, what we like most is taking time to stroll through markets and interact with the people. We thought Jodpur a great spot for that.

If you cut out jaisalmer, you could add time to your other destinations so that you could enjoy them better. I would consider time in Delhi too, which we considered a fascinating city.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 06:39 PM
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Thanks again for the input!

Rje - I haven't found any flight that goes from Agra to Jodphur.. Have I missed something? I was thinking about taking the overnight train from Agra to Jodphur (so I wouldn't have to deal with accommodation). The Howrah-Jodphur express train leaves at 8:15pm from Agra Fort and arrives Jodphur at 6:35am. That would then mean the 3.5 hour drive to Jaisalmer should get me there by noon (even with roadwork or a delayed train, I'd hope!)

Dgunbug - My flight would arrive in Varanasi at 12:30pm - so I'd hope I can get to my hotel by 3pm and enjoy a nice evening. Delhi might be in a separate trip for me (something like Delhi, tiger trek, etc.) - But it just really doesn't fit in 10 days, and Jaisalmer seems like a really special place - hopefully worth the trip!
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Old May 14th, 2016, 07:01 PM
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I agree with those who urge you to simplify your itinerary.

1). Can you fly into Delhi instead of Bombay? It's closer to Agra and Rajasthan.

2). Jaisalmer is in far western Rajasthan. Is there a special reason to go there? Jaipur is much closer to Delhi and has much to see.

3). Travel in India is extremely difficult. It will take much longer than you anticipate.

4). Don't underestimate how hot it will be in September.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 07:59 PM
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No I didn't say if it were possible to fly from Agra to Jodphur - that was a question for you to look into.

But where did you get the idea that the drive from Jodphur is 3 1/2 hours? It is about double that, possibly more, depending upon the road construction situation. When we made that drive in February, they were funneling 2-way traffic onto the same single unpaved (dirt) lane in some parts, with all the ensuing chaos you'd imagine that would create.
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Old May 15th, 2016, 07:14 AM
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I agree that you should try rerouting your flight into Delhi. The advise to include Jaipur instead of jaisalmer is a good one. There is a good reason that the classic tours go to the golden triangle and leave out jaisalmer. There is much to see and the distances are more manageable. If you intend to return in the future and you have more time, then you can include jaisalmer. While it is a fascinating city, all of India is fascinating and you will be glad you spent time seeing India rather than spending all your time traveling.
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