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Last minute reservations advice needed. South India

Last minute reservations advice needed. South India

Old Jan 12th, 2011, 08:15 PM
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Last minute reservations advice needed. South India

I am a first time traveler to India. I bought my air ticket, but I have made no reservations. I had planned to make arrangements as I go, but since reading the forum, I now see that I have made a mistake. Now I need to rush and make hotel reservations for a 22 January arrival in Bangalore. I am used to traveling mid-budget in SE Asia, basic rooms with a bath with a toilet and shower, sometimes AC. Do you recommend rooms with AC for my locations in India? A travel agent from India has contacted me to plan my trip. Is this a good idea? I plan on staying in the Sai Babba Ashram and the Amma Ashram. Can I do this? If not, I need hotels at these places. Thanks in advance, I'm panicked.
Jeff in Boulder, Co USA
Here is the plan:
1. Bangalore hotel, 2 nights, arrival 22 January 2011
2. Puttaparthi I plan on staying in the Sai Babba Ashram 6 nights.
3. Mysore hotel 4 nights
4. Amriaputri I plan on staying at Amma Ashram 3 nights.
5. Beach vacation in South Kerala. 4 nights, I have no plan. Any suggestions?
5. Tiruvannamalai hotel, 4 nights
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 01:12 AM
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I dont know anything about staying at the Ashrams. Is Amma at hers now?

If you havent yet seen it, check Indiamike.com because i think you 'll get more info on the ashrams and nearby accommodations there. There are thousands of posts on there---you'll use the search function and loads of related threads pop up.

How did the Indian travel agent find you? Did you get the person through personal recommendations. Nothing wrong with having India-bsed travel agent, but check reviews, feedback, here or on Indiamike. Perhaps as it is close to your departure, it would be easier to have the travel agent arrange your hotels and transport, and you could worry less about the details.

At the very least, at least you or the agent should book your place in Bangalore. Since it's a long trip of several flights and layovers from Boulder, laying your head on a comfy pillow IN Bangalore should be a top priority!Any particular reason you are staying there two days? Do you want a hotel as near as possible to airport, or in town? (The airport is quite a way outside the city).

What is your desired $ limit for hotels--i.e. "mid-budget"?

We loved the Metropole in Mysore (the one in town, not at Brindivan Gardens) -old colonial look, big central courtyard, terraces outside the rooms, yummy food , twinkling lights on the trees at night, walking distance(across crazy busy streets) to shopping. Two yrs ago--price about $80/night--not sure now.

Personally, i recommend AC, b/c in some places in the tropical South, open windows invite mosquitoes!

Try not to panic. You're going to India, which is amazing and overwhelming (usually in a good way!)no matter how prepared you are!

Once budget is stated, can give ideas for beach in So Kerala. think about if you want hotel /resort or homestay (like a bed and breakfast).
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 03:58 AM
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First relax easy to book hotels around your flights

then wing it when you get there what I usually do...

Careful with agents many online scammers

pay only with CC and www.insuremytrip.com always wise

www.yatra.com

www.makemytrip.com

www.asiarooms.com

www.agoda.com

All good personal experience...

Happy Journey,
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 06:23 AM
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Thank you Qwovadis and CaliNurse for your helpful replies!

I really want to feel good about just winging it as opposed to booking everything now. In SE Asia, every desk clerk was a Travel agent and it was so easy to travel. I guess this is not the case in India, right?

Budget: In SE Asia, I paid $8-$30/night for a room as opposed to budget for $3/night. Is $15-$30/night a reasonable hotel budget for India? The travel agent is with Holiday India that I contacted on the internet. I'll follow up on the India Travel Agent. I could find a local travel agent to help. This may be better.
Jeff
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 11:12 AM
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Jeffrey, if that's your room budget for India, you DEFINITELY should check Indiamike for information and hotel suggestions. Here on Fodors India, a perusal of some threads and replies will show that "mid-budget" is considered to be $100 or less!
Don't worry, there are hotels in your price range, but you won't find them mentioned here.
Have you checked resources like the the Lonely Planet book or on-line forum?

Qwo, great suggestions . Jeff, with many internet hotel-booking websites, you can sort/view by price, low to high.
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 01:59 PM
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I really liked Shilton Suites in Bangalore. It is pretty central and I think more midprice.

Here is my trip advisor review from 2009:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...ECK_RATES_CONT
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Old Jan 13th, 2011, 09:07 PM
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Some thoughts and suggestions:

1. I would not worry overly about not having hotel bookings. The exception would be Bangalore, which is a major business town and it is also prime convention season (I think the air show may be in January or early Feb which really fills up hotels in town.) So having a booking there may be a good idea. But otherwise at your budget and in the south, I think you are fine going without advanced bookings.

2. I agree that with your budget, the Lonely Planet guidebook and website will be very useful, although many of their high end reccos are quite expensive, so check all their listings. Tripadvisor.com has more and more Indian hotels on it these days, and may also be a good source.

3. My guess is that you may have trouble finding air con hotels with a budget of US$15-30. You will find fan-cooled, but I believe you may have to pay more for air con. (FYI the Mysore Metropole, mentioned above, is showing rates of about US$115 per night for January so I don’t think will work for you.) In Bangalore you don’t need it; kind of a toss up as to whether you want it in the other places. In beach locations it probably does not matter so much.

4. You might want to consider spending a few days on a houseboat in Kerala, it’s a unique experience that you can’t get in other parts of India. You should be able to find something in your price range.

5. The order of your itin seems a bit strange to me, as you are going northeast from Bangalore to Puttaparthi, then southwest to Mysore then northest again to Tiruvannamalai then southwest again to Kerala. Wouldn’t it be easier to do Puttaparthi and Tiruvannamalai together after Bangalore, then head to Mysore and then down to Kerala? While any way you do this will probably require train connections in Bangalore, it may save some time and backtracking to do the north parts first and then head south. You should be able to fly out of Trivandrum or Cochin in Kerala to connect to a flight to the US from Delhi or Mumbai.

6. I see from your other post that you are also considering including Chennai in the itin? If that is the case, I would say to skip Bangalore and do the itin south from Chennai by rail and/or local car hire to Tiruvannamalai, Puttaparthi, Mysore and then Kerala. This should save you some backtracking. Bangalore, while a very pleasant city, does not offer a lot for a tourist. It is kind of like San Jose CA: pretty but you wouldn’t go there instead of San Francisco. Chennai offers more for the tourist, and is also close to beach areas.
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Old Jan 14th, 2011, 03:46 AM
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You may also look into Hotel Geo for your stay in Bangalore. It is budget hotel and quite centrally located. Its rates can easily fit in to your budget.
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Old Jan 14th, 2011, 12:35 PM
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Cicerone--i love your use of the Bay Area city comparison!!!
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Old Jan 15th, 2011, 05:19 PM
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Dear Fordorers,

Ahhhh, Your information has put me much more at ease. Your words are what I needed to hear. Thank you Cicerone and williams_R. I am changing my itinerary to be less hectic by eliminating time in Mysore and Chennai. I am increasing my travel budget to $20-$65 for hotels with a more expensive splurge in Bangalore. Money is useless unless you spend it! I usually do not travel so many places in such a short time, but my travel companions have only 4-6 weeks. The criss-cross itinerary is probably not the most logical, but I have deferred to my friends on this. They want the beach vacation part between the two Ashram stays in Putta and Triu.
Yes, a Kerala house boat for more than one night. I like the idea. We have made time to do this. I have read mixed reviews of the houseboat experience, though.
I am researching where to stay in Kerala for some quiet beach time. Small village type of place with minimal tourist infrastructure. Any suggestions?
I am not familiar with San Jose, but San Francisco is my favorite USA city.
BTW, my travel friends are from St. Petersburg, Russia and speak minimal English, I speak no Russian. The 3 of us stayed in Thailand for 3 weeks and got along beautifully. It was an amazing experience of creative communication.
Yesterday a woman saw that I was reading LP India and we spoke. She reminded me that "You can make plans for India, but remember, India has plans for you." Beautiful~~
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Old Jan 15th, 2011, 06:03 PM
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I am sorry to hear you are dropping Mysore (although I would certainly drop Chennai). It's the only city I went back to on my second trip to India. It's cleaner and greener than the average Indian city, with a spectacular palace and some other worthwhile sights. You can also use it as a base for a (long) day trip to the wonderful temples at Belur and Halebid.

You will not necessarily need AC up on the Deccan plateau, but I would strongly advise it for the coast. Even if it's not that hot (as it wasn't for my recent visit) it will be very humid. I doubt the ashrams will have AC though, and quite possibly only shared Indian style bath. You'd need to check with each one individually.

I did a two night houseboat trip in 2001 and enjoyed it - although it was very hot at night with no AC - I hear the boats now have generators which would provide AC but also noise. However, friends were there last year and said it was a zoo. One of the guidebooks says there are now 750 houseboats!!!

You won't find an undiscovered beach in south Kerala, you'll need to go north - but not as far as Goa, lol. I stayed on one outside Kannur that was quite empty, although I'm sure it filled up during December.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 10:54 AM
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Thank you thursdaysd,

I may add Mysore after 6 March when my companions go home. Will it be too hot then? Maybe a 1/2 day trip to the backwaters?
Jeff
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 09:43 PM
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The suggestion of Mysore vis-a vis Chennai is a good suggestion.Lots to do in & from Mysore.I would recommend around 3 days.
Cant advise you about stay in the Sai ashram,but the Ginger hotel is closeby,at Whitefield.Its budget & value for money.
http://www.gingerhotels.com/bangalor...l_profile.aspx

Kerala(coastal, backwaters & lake) is normally hot & humid.An aircon room is a must.
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Old Jan 18th, 2011, 03:14 AM
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Hmmm. I stayed at the Ginger in Mysore, and I certainly wasn't thrilled. I even posted a bad review on tripadvisor.
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Old Jan 18th, 2011, 11:41 AM
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As stated above, we stayed at Royal ORchid Metroploe and loved it. But it is mor than %$30/night.
Loongo or an ATM,We stopped by Ginger (cant recall why) and it seemed an inconvenient location-- , but just roads around it. And aside from Thursdaysd review...it too is more than $30/night.
What do yo mean by "1/2 trip to backwaters" Trip once you're already in Kerala? You cna do from Alleppey town.
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Old Jan 18th, 2011, 11:43 AM
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OMG, typos. i meant "1/2 day trip" and "looking for an ATM"
IN or near Alleppey you can certainly find homestay within your budget.
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