Asia Forums

Post New Topic

Recent Activity

  • Announcement:
  • TEST (do not reply)
    by ibobi Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 20, 17 at 01:24 PM
View all Asia activity »
  1. 1 Trip Report DELL printer 1800:681:72O8 installation CONTACT DELL Tec*h by 24/7
  2. 2 Family trip to Thailand for Christmas and possibly New year
  3. 3 Skiing in Japan - need advice
  4. 4 Trip Report Laurel and Hardy in Drag Do Bangkok
  6. 6 Trip Report RHK's Fall SEA Trip
  7. 7 best way to spend two days in Chiang Mai
  8. 8 Travel options from Negombo to Mirissa
  9. 9 VN + Japan 6 wks March/April - which order?
  10. 10 Vietnam April 5 - 16
  11. 11 Trip to India Feb 1-18
  12. 12 Trip Report Nywoman an older single traveler explores Taiwan
  13. 13 Trip Report PNG : Plumed, primal, proud...
  14. 14 Wat Arun
  15. 15 Solo or group tour for first trip to India?
  16. 16 Miyajima Island
  17. 17 Trip Report Vietnam, Cambodia & Hong Kong - Fall 2017 Trip Report
  18. 18 What to do with a Layover in Taipei?
  19. 19 Vientiane to LP December
  20. 20 Safest beach area for solo female in Sri Lanka
  21. 21 Hotel in Vientiane 18-24 December
  22. 22 How to travel from Narita airport to Kawaguchiko
  23. 23 Prelim itinerary Java, Bali
  24. 24 5 days in Singapore
View next 25 » Back to the top

Moderate budget in India-- wing it for lodging--reserving a day ahead ok?

Jump to last reply

I'm going to put this out here, but I don't know if any of you will be able to help me because my impression is that many people who frequent this forum are definitely high end travelers who have either worked on their own or with an agency to get everything lined up before departure from home. But, here goes because maybe there are some people out there who have a travel style more in line with ours.

We are late planners and are just about to book plane tickets to India, leaving about a month from now. We are looking at a longer trip of 5 to 6 weeks, starting in the south (Kerala and Karnakata) and moving north into Madhya Pradesh, southern Rajasthan and maybe a bit of Gujarat. The Munnar area, the backwaters near Alleppy, Kochi, Udaipur, Jaisalmer, and Varranasi are the only super major destinations we plan on visiting. We also plan to got to some more off-beat destinations like Bundi and Mandu and also want to stay in a few more isolated spots with affordable heritage hotels like Prithvi Vilas Palace Jhalawar, Chandelao Garh, Ravla Blenshwara, and Fort Dhariyawad.

I plan to book the first week or so ahead (Mysore and Wayanad) but want to know if we'd be okay just planning ahead a day or two for the rest of the trip. I've been reading so much about pre-booking being necessary in high season but don't know if that means months in advance or if it means call ahead to get a spot. We are looking to stay in nice, interesting mid-priced lodging that has some character rather than being just another bland hotel room, and I'll admit I am a bit picky about lodging (not in terms of services or luxury) in terms of overall ambience, good value, and good location. So, we aren't super high end travelers who need luxury, but we also aren't backpackers who'll just come in and take any clean room.

I really would prefer not to get locked into an iron-clad itinerary for this length of time because we might really like a place and want to stay there, or we might hate a place we thought we'd like and wnat to get out of there as soon as possible. What do you think? If I've already done my research and have one or two places in each potential location that I'd like to stay, would we be okay just calling or e-mailing ahead a day or two? Or, would this be a total disaster? Thanks.

  • Report Abuse

    I'm a budget traveler and have been to India several times for trips of 1-2 months each. I've always gone in the winter so I suppose that's what's referred to as high season. The first trip I booked everything in advance although I made changes along the way with no difficulty even on that trip. On each subsequent trip I've booked ahead less often, usually just the first places as you have suggested doing.

    As long as your heart is not set on staying in very particular accommodations I suggest you play it as you go. Do some research and bring lists of possible places along and also ask as you go at places you stay, guests and proprietors, if you need suggestions. Some of the most interesting places I've stayed have been suggestions from fellow travelers. There are lots of comfortable budget places that you won't necessarily find online. It's the ones that are well known from guidebooks and websites and the accommodations that the package tour people use that are booked out first.

    Your travel style sounds very like mine and I encourage you to do exactly as you like and have an adventure. I think not knowing where you'll end up is far more interesting than never taking a chance.

  • Report Abuse

    Joannay--This is so reassuring to me. Never having been to India, it is so difficult to have an idea from far across the ocean of what will really appeal to us and how long we'll want to stay in places. We are interested in having a more relaxing vacation rather than one where we rush around to make sure we have seen every single site on a typical itinerary. From what I understand winter is high season, and that is why I was wondering about the necessity of pre-booking everything. And, frankly, the places that get pre-booked because all of the tour groups wanting to stay there usually aren't the places I'd be interested in anyway. Thanks much.

  • Report Abuse

    julies - I'm definitely more of a budget traveler than most posters here - probably than you are. My first visit to India was right after 9-11, and very few people were traveling. I had reservations for the beginning of the trip (Siliguri, Kurseong, Darjeeling and Kolkata) and for the end (Kochi and Chennai over Christmas with a friend), but did the rest on the fly. Sometimes booking a couple of days ahead and sometimes just showing up in town. I had no difficulties, but many of the places I stayed were very low-end - AC and en-suite but basic, the kind with one drain in the middle of the bathroom floor and maybe wthout their own generator.

    When I went back last winter I did make more reservations ahead of time, because when I started checking things before I left I kept having problems finding rooms, and I was staying a little more up-market. That said, I did do some of it on the fly, even booking for Christmas week a short time ahead - but this time I was staying in Trivandrum, not as popular as Kochi. I would say that if you definitely want a specific place you should book ahead, and if you want to stay somewhere where there are few options you should also book ahead. However, I would expect January to be easier than November and December, which is when I was traveling.

  • Report Abuse

    Book hotels at great prices on the fly all over asia. best for me all hotel
    Star levels even book day of never booked except for a
    festival.In the past backpacking negotiated for "hospitality
    discounts" of up to 50% on site.That was the absolute cheapest. best budget travel recos.

    Have fun!

  • Report Abuse

    I went a for a couple weeks in 2008 and think you can definitely get away with playing it by ear depending on the type of places you like to stay. I would definitely do some research before hand and have an idea or list of places in the area that are around.

    When my sister and I went to Thailand we booked but also played some hotels and our itinerary by ear and that worked well. India is a bit different as I found the lodging is either very low budget and not so nice, or expensive and clean. It is a beautiful country but also very dirty and you get what you pay for. It turned out to be an expensive trip due to the lodging but it was worth having a clean room to go back to after long days of visiting temples, the city, markets, etc.

    Also keep in mind that getting around is not as easy as other countries either. It could take three hours to travel 20 miles by car due to the roads. We mainly stayed Northwest though.

    For Varranasi I would book that one in advance. The town is very, very small. We stayed on the Ganges there and would book that in advance. That will be the last place you want to get stuck without a room :)

    Hope this helps a little and have fun!


  • Report Abuse

    Yes, Kathy, I am familiar with those bathrooms with the drain in the middle of the floor.......

    I've read so many recommendations for staying right on the river in Varanasi that I know that is one place where I'd definitely need to book ahead to get one of those more desirable places.

    After hearing what many of you have to say, I think what I will end up doing is to book some places I really know I want and then leave gaps in between where I could have some flexibility. As I've gotten older, my standards have gone up a bit and while we never do top-of-the-line luxury type places, we do want clean, nice and I am sure do tons of other more moderate-budget travelers.

    Actually this weekend at a party I had a conversation with a young woman who is very well-traveled and who spent a semester in India about 10 or 15 years ago. She told me that we'd definitely want to have nicer (better) lodging in India.

    So, now another question related to booking ahead. Many of the places I am interested in want a significant deposit in order to reserve a room, and they want a bank transfer. When we've done these in the past to reserve a room when traveling abroad, they've cost us big bucks--like $40 a time. Does anyone have any solutions for these types of payments when the lodging doesn't even take paypal muchless a credit card?

    Thanks again for all the help.

  • Report Abuse

    I did Western Union last time, which isn't cheap either. You could try asking whether the later ones will wait until you get to India, then you should be able to do a bank transfer for free. If you come up with a better answer I'll be really interested!

  • Report Abuse

    I suggest that in the places you want to book ahead, spring for a nicer place that takes credit cards. Many do and the whole bank transfer thing is so expensive and such a pain, by the time you pay for the transfer you could be staying in a more upscale place anyway.

    There's no protection whatever if you do a transfer while your credit card will cover you in case of a "misunderstanding".

  • Report Abuse

    Keep in mind that the "Incredible India" marketing campaign has been very, very successful, and lots of "out of the way" places are no longer under the radar. In my experience, the nice smaller places are the ones that book up in advance.You can get an Oberoi or Sheraton or Shangri-la a lot more easily that a decent small hotel in a city with few hotels.

    I don't think I ever started planning a trip to India more than 2 months in advance. I am really comfortable with winging it in much of SE Asia, but India? Not so much. Although I'm pretty comfortable with a wide range of accomodations (Youth hostel to $$$$$), decent, reasonably priced rooms can be difficult to locate in India. I call a room decent if it has a clean bed and sheets, no overpowering sewer or mold smells, and electricity for at least long enough to re-charge your camera and phone!

    If you are picky about your lodging, I think your plan to book many places and then leave some "holes" is the closest I'd go to winging it.

    I used Western Union for some hotels. Make sure you note the nights and room rate on your paperwork, then take a copy with you.

    How are you going to be traveling? Will you have a car to allow you to just change your destinations on the fly, or will you be taking trains and planes? Do you have an agent arranging the cars? A reputable one can book these hotels for you now, then you'll pay them when you arrive.

  • Report Abuse

    Bank transfers while in India are free even if I am using a US bank account???? I guess I don't understand how this works and how I'd do it if someone would even allow me to do it. Can you please explain further?

    I understand the concept of going with a more expensive lodging that will accept credit cards, but frankly usually we prefer the smaller more quirky type places with only a few rooms. These typically don't accept credit cards (here in the US either). So, a bit of readjusting in my thinking may have to take place about what I really want in India. I did just e-mail one place I've been in contact with who wanted a bank transfer and asked if by any chance they use Paypal. This isn't my favorite either, but it is better than a bank trnsfer, and we've sometimes used it in the past with international destinations.

    Even though I have never used an agent in the past, I am starting to think that may be my solution for visiting India. As I flesh this idea out, I am looking at a mix of buses, trains, flights and private drivers. I had planned to just have the owners of the lodgings we use arrange transportation (drivers, airport pickups, and train tickets) because it seems like all of them offer services like these, and I've always been successful with operating this way in the past. But, as you all say, India is different, and maybe I need to change my way of operation. Do you know if travel agents will book these really small ma and pa places if that is what I want? Becasue, as mentioned, it would probably work out to be easier and cheaper to just give the money via credit card to the agent so the agent can make the deposit for me.

    One more thing: for those of you who said you did make reservations but then changed them on the fly, are you talking about calling and saying things like I'd like to come in on Tuesday rather than Thursday? Or, are you talking about more major changes than that? Thanks again.

  • Report Abuse

    "Bank transfers while in India are free even if I am using a US bank account????" - you use cash. When I did it the target had an account with the ICICI bank, I withdrew cash from the ATM, and then took it inside. I filled in a form, and one of the clerks fed the notes into a machine (the locals were doing it themselves....)

    Everywhere I dealt with in India had email, I didn't use the phone. I booked on the fly to fill in gaps in my schedule, I don't remember making changes, but I'm sure you could.

  • Report Abuse

    Travel agents most often book tours to the usual places and if you decide to use one it may take an iron will on your part to bend them to your way of doing things. That was my experience and I ended up with exactly what I wanted but it took a lot of back and forth to get the chaff out (extra places, more upscale hotels, etc) and to slow it down to the kind of leisurely pace I like. And I wasn't using "small ma & pa" places that trip so I don't know if you'll find an agent with that sort of flexibility. But I think it's worth a try.

    The changes I spoke of were of the longer here and add a place there variety, not many but I did find them able to accommodate me. The agency in question was Indian Moments and I've recommended them to others.

    But, back to the beginning, you will give up the flexibility you seek to a large extent. But maybe, as you appear to be doing your homework and seem to know what you want, you'll end up with a prebooked trip that's exactly what you want. I did and wasn't sorry for a moment. There are so many places to see in India you'll never get to them all in any case and the ones you choose for this trip will be great and for the next and so on. Practically speaking I see no downside to booking with an agent if you get what you want and use this trip as reconnaissance for the next. It can be very relaxing to have all the big decisions made in advance.

    If you decide to play it as you go and your budget will allow for the occasional detour to a more upscale place when ma & pa are full then I see no problem with that either. Also, in the case of moderate distances your accommodations will be able to make onward arrangements for you, guest houses and cars & drivers when necessary which are not terribly expensive but certainly more than the trains. (I've never seen an Indian bus I'd ride in but maybe I haven't seen the better ones.)

    If I were you I'd at least email an agent or 2 and see how amenable they are to your ideas. If this is your first trip I think it would be a good start and maybe leave the winging it to subsequent visits.

  • Report Abuse

    One more thought: The trip I speak of that was booked for me was 3 weeks of a month-long visit. The last week I was on my own and this might be another approach for you, to book the early stages of your trip and use the latter part to pick up some spots you've heard about or even to return to a place you loved. I'd wanted to stay at the Oberoi Maidens Hotel in Delhi, the first historic hotel of the chain, lovely, smaller and very interesting. So the agent booked me in there on my arrival. I decided to return there after the tour part was over and was able to get the agent's discount which was significant, because I asked ($75 instead of $125 for a single). I then went to Shimla and back again to the Maidens before leaving the country. So a combination of booked and free time might work well for you too.

  • Report Abuse

    Are Indian buses like the chicken buses in Central America? If so, been there and done that. For 1/2 hour without luggage it is tolerable, but that is about it. I mentioned buses because some of the smaller guesthouse places I've been looking at out in the countryside of Kerala mention taking the bus and then getting a taxi the rest of the way. Guess it will primarily be trains mixed in with car and driver.

    I do wonder about the discounts that agents can get on lodging but wonder if it is only the more major places and chains or if it is the same with some of the smaller more inexpensive heritage hotels like we are looking at too. We really aren't big hotel fans anywhere in the world always preferring the smaller more unique lodging places. Guess my next move might be to start contacting agents to ask them exactly how they operate. I've been collecting names of agents and will add Indian Moments. Thanks again.

  • Report Abuse

    Please don't discount the possibilty of staying in some of the "heritage" hotels. They come in all sizes and price ranges, except rock bottom, and I think this is where you'll find the most unique experiences. Many of them are still occupied by local royal families and are full of Raj era furniture and memorabilia, great atmosphere.

    I suggest you find some places that interest you and compose an email that you can send off to several agencies and see what they offer. You'll know from the first answer if they mean to steer you in the opposite direction or if they'll work with you.

  • Report Abuse

    Hi Jannay,

    Just saw this thread. A minor point ...actually, the first Oberoi hotel was in Shimla:
    Clarkes Hotel.
    l it is no longer part of the chain, but the old metal keys still say "Oberoi" and there is plaque outside the hotel that commemorates Clarkes as Mr Oberoi's first hotel.
    We stayed there and loved it, even without the "5 star" approach of today's Oberoi Hotels.

  • Report Abuse


    "Frankly, the places that get pre-booked because all of the tour groups wanting to stay there usually aren't the places I'd be interested in anyway. "

    On my last two trips (the first one was decades ago) i saw hardly ANY large tour groups. In fact, the large tour groups i did see where students from India!! You may be envisioning something that exists much less than you are imagining. OR maybe I've just been lucky enough to avoid those places. I will be in Jaipur next month so maybe I'll see the large groups then. But i didnt see any noticeable tour groups except Indian people, in most of the olaces i visited--including Agra.

    And, it is not just "tour group"hotels that get pre-booked. There are popular SMALL homestays, and popular local hotels, that also may be full in peak season (e.g. Old Harbour in Ft Cochin, and Philipkuttys on the lake nr Vaikom) despite relaltively high prices.

  • Report Abuse

    Thanks for the added feedback. I am still almost obsessed with planning for this trip and have a huge list of the places we would like to stay over others. I know for sure we'll book some ahead of time in the south. If anyone else is reading this as they plan (probably for future years and not next month as I am doing) I have discovered that in quite a few places in Kerala rates drop Feb. 1. This says to me also that there may not be as much demand starting in this time frame.

    As far as the north I've actually worked out an almost day by day itinerary for 3 weeks. One of the things I've discovered is that if I want to hire a car and driver (I do) then in order to get a valid quote I will (understandably) need to tell them how many day I want the driver and where I want to go. After going through this entire exercise for that portion of the trip so I can get some qoutes, I may just end up planning and reserving ahead.

  • Report Abuse

    "...if I want to hire a car and driver (I do) then in order to get a valid quote I will (understandably) need to tell them how many day I want the driver and where I want to go." julies

    This is simply not true although whoever you're dealing with would like you to believe it is. What seems to be true from far away is not necessarily true "on the ground". If you feel more comfortable booking ahead then, by all means, do it. But don't feel compelled to do it because someone there is asking you to for their own purposes. If a more relaxed itinerary appeals to you, as I've said before, anything you want that can be booked ahead will be easily done after arrival and you can do as you please once you're there if you haven't paid in advance.

    Since you have a list compiled you may want to book particular hotels in advance but any accommodation can arrange for a car and driver from there to wherever you want to go at nominal cost. Do not feel you must make decisions about your itinerary because an agent has asked you to. You simply don't need to do it that way. They will try to get you to commit to all the particulars but if it's not what you have in mind to do, of your own volition, don't do it. Everything will be available once you're there. If there's one thing I know after months of travel in India I know this.

  • Report Abuse

    Joannay--Once again thanks for the reassurances. Gut level I too know that these are products people want to sell, and I will have some clout as a buyer since they want me to buy their product. I am vacillating so much on so many things and am trying to avoid getting caught up in this frenzy to have the perfect places all booked ahead of time. And, there is this nagging little voice in the back of my mind that tells me that I probably can get a much better price on some lodging if I wait until almost the last minute because some places will lower their price rather than just leave rooms empty.

  • Report Abuse

    Julies, my point was directed more at the all preplanned vs a more relaxed itinerary. I don't know if you'll get places to stay for less at the last minute. I do suspect that your car and driver expenses will be no more than the prebooked price, possibly less. I think you should prebook accommodations that are ones where you'd particularly like to stay. I think you can leave spaces between the prebooked places for some spontaneity and you can certainly book transportation as you go through your accommodations. Services in particular need not be booked in advance.

    Does that make more sense? I have a sort of rule, when I can't decide on a thing I do nothing and let it work out. I think it applies particularly to India which is such a different sort of place, one where until we have some experience we cannot foresee how much choice there may be. Most people, I believe, who continue to visit India stay longer and plan less and less as they gain experience in the country. It's really one of the beauties of travel there.

  • Report Abuse

    I think the reason companies may be asking Julies for her itinerary is to give a set quote. the alternative is to get a "xx RS/day + xx RS per kilometer + tolls quote", but if she is looking for a fixed rate over a period of time, she's going to have to provide an itinerary.

    The OP says she is "obsessing" over particular places she wants to see. Free form travel is not usually a good style for people who a) obsess over where they want to go, b) is very picky about their accomodation yet on a budget, and c) will be a first-timer learning the ways of India on the fly.
    I really think encouraging her that she can "just go" is unrealistic.

    Julies, you may be able to book at better cost once you get there, but do you have the stomach (or finances)if your gamble does not work?

  • Report Abuse

    I'm not "encouraging" one way or the other, simply giving her options. Her initial request was to know if spontaneity was possible and yes, it is. Given her subsequent concerns I advise a combination of booked accommodations with other possibilities in between, not at all "on the fly".

    Regarding transport, if she books it with one company, then yes, she'll need an itinerary which is why I suggest she not book with one provider. Unless she wants a set tour, and I believe she does not, then it makes no sense whatever to book cars and drivers ahead but as she goes, from one place to the next. It's how I do it, I've never been stranded, I travel on a budget and it's at least as economical as getting a price for everything at once. All accommodations in India arrange transportation. It's how it's done and no gambling whatever is involved. Misinformation is the problem here.

    Julies, if you continue to be concerned then you may as well book everything ahead. Make sure, as I advised before, that you get what you want and not the cookie cutter tour that saves travel agents the bother of special arrangements. Leave it for next time to have a more free form experience. It doesn't really matter this time and if you like it you'll be back. If you have someone else book everything you'll likely pay more but at least you can relax.

  • Report Abuse

    I think we are talking about two different things here! You are talking about getting transportation from one place to another, and yes, that is simple to arrange.

    I'm talking about reserving the places she is "obsessing about" rather than hoping she can get these nice places at a better price by booking at the last second.

  • Report Abuse

    No, I'm talking about both. Reserve "special" accommodations or risk not getting them. In smaller accommodations the price will likely be the advertised price, no better at the last minute in my experience.

  • Report Abuse

    Having been down the "obsessing" route, and now haviing found as Joannay says that with subsequent trips i am more relaxed about it, i get what both lcuy and joannay are saying.

    Bottom line: Julie, you are spending a lot of energy on self-described obsessing. You have a list of where you want to stay, etc. You also seem to be concerned about saving money if possible, by booking some things yourself. The savings--IF they are there--may not be worth it.

    Time IS money (in a zen sort of way?) What is it worth to you to be relaxed and have most of the trip settled and paid for, vs getting there and making your own plans?

    Dealing with the bank transfers for all those hotels, setting up this and that--I'd just let a good agent , who is flexible and sensitive to YOUR travel desires,--do it FOR you, at least for larg CHUNKS of the trip.

    Especially because it is your first time in India, I'd give my list of hotels, and tentative dates, to a few travel planners (eg ones mentioned on FF) and see what they come up with.I believe Joanna earlier suggested this too

    Joanna, you wrote "Travel agents most often book tours to the usual places and if you decide to use one it may take an iron will on your part to bend them to your way of doing things" Sounds like you had a bad experience, No wonder you are rightfully skeptical of this ilk of trip planners.I've found a local INdian company i love, and others on this forum have found folks they swear by. I and others on this forum are lucky in having found good travel planners. I was quickly able to weed out ones that wanted me to stick to THEIR itin rather than listen to what I wanted.

    "have a huge list of the places we would like to stay over others" Julie, I am curious what hotels you feel are "must-dos" and why and how you came to that list.

    With less than a month to go til you depart, i "feel" your sense of excitement mixed with some worries. If it helps...once you are there , it will all make sense(or make no sense) in a particularly Indian way!!!

  • Report Abuse

    Julie, no need to respond to my question above about your "must-do" hotels. Just saw the hotel list on another post here--WOW! You HAVE been researching!! S ome i'd heard of (and have on a "future Rajasthan list")--others, completely new to me. They sound amazing, and amazingly well-priced! You are gonna have a great trip.

  • Report Abuse

    Here's julies first post on this topic, six months ago:

    She has posted fifteen topics since on this same subject. It's a new world record in obsessive pre-planning. She still hasn't booked a thing.

    I'm very much looking forward to this trip report.

  • Report Abuse

    Yup Dogster--

    Haven't booked a thing yet, but we've at least applied for our visas (the 10 year ones taking on faith that we'll like the country and want to return), although we still haven't booked plane tickets. Actually I think in many ways doing the research first and then booking place tickets is the way to go because one can then determine the best ports of entry for the desired itinerary. And, for me this tactic has paid off because I have now changed my possible itinerary many times, and plane ticket prices still are the same as when I startted watching them months and months ago. This will probably amaze some of you, but about 5 or 6 years back we had a super trip to France where we bought plane tickets on a Friday and left on Tuesday for a fabulous two week trip in June. For that trip I'd done all of the research ahead of time though, just as I am doing now. And, it worked out realy well.

    Now to all of you who have been so kind and helpful--

    On other trips to other countries, with a couple minor exceptions, obsessing and doing a lot of research ahead of time has paid off for me because we've ended up finding places and experiences that call to us, not to the typical agent. And, we've never taken a trip we regretted or where we wish we hadn't gone.

    My problems with India planning stem from the fact that (a) it's huge, and narrowing down where we want to go is difficult, (b) we are going to go for in the neighborhood of six weeks, and we've never done a trip of this length before, (c) our more usual travel style is slow travel, and this is turning out to be a move-around-constantly type of trip because there seem to be no bases that will really work out, (d) we fall between the more typical styles of travelers who visit India in that we are neither high end nor the backpacker who is just looking for a clean place to crash at night, (e) as I admitted, I am picky about lodging in that I want unique in good location at a decent price point but am not at all looking for luxury or pampering, (f) in other places we've visited we've never had difficulties arranging drivers or tours or lodging once we've been on the ground so I keep asking myself why India should be so different, and finally (g) India is a place I have no experience to make any sort of comparisons that will aid me in planning, and this is probably the biggest hurdle I am encountering.

    My current (still evolving) plan is to start in the south, doing some backwaters, the more remote ghats, a few of the main towns, some walking/trekking etc., a few wildlife places and then work our way north, flying to Varanasi, then on to a pretty off the beaten path trip in southern Rajasthan and parts of Madhaya Pradesh. We'll see..... I'm sure I'll keep you posted.

    Thanks again. And, yes, this certainly won't be your typical trip report!

  • Report Abuse

    "Sounds like you had a bad experience..." CaliNurse

    No, on the contrary, I had an excellent experience as after much back and forth with my Indian travel agent I got exactly what I wanted. But I had to be quite firm, which was my point, and I've recommended the company many times since.

    The best part about using an agent for travel in India is that you can have a custom tour for the price of a package tour although many tourists apparently don't know the difference, hence the prevalence of tours of the "usual places". We who do our homework can take full advantage of this fact and get a dream trip for a relatively small price.

    Julies, I don't have the energy for obsessiveness but I understand the impulse. I'm a firm believer in enjoying the planning as much as the trip. In the planning and booking of that first trip I left uncommitted time at the end which worked out very well to put my new India skills to the test on my own. You might consider this as an option for you too.

  • Report Abuse

    I don't think there's anything wrong with what you're doing - not in the least - although you do do it a lot. In fact, I'm looking forward to every juicy detail as julies and India collide.

  • Report Abuse

    I thought I was being obsessive, but julies you have definitely outdone me with your research... and I have spent many hours reading trip reports, looking at travel agents websites, forums, places, itineraries, hotels, etc etc... ("are you still doing that? You won’t need to go on this trip, you’ve spent so much time on the computer…” Yep, but you are going to get a really great trip out of all this…well I hope so anyway…). I cannot match your incredibly thorough research julies, but I have definitely benefit from it!

    I am grateful to julies (and to many others on this forum) as I have gleaned huge amounts of really useful information. Just doing the research has been a somewhat overwhelming experience and at times I need to leave it alone for few days to process it all (yep already overwhelmed by India and haven't even been there yet!). But I am getting somewhere (I think), though at times I backflip and change my mind again… but then I realise I’m probably just trying to jam too much in again… India is vast, I get that, and the message I hear constantly is to "slow it down". For me it’s always about what to leave out in the itinerary, not where to go because there just seems to be so much on offer…

  • Report Abuse

    Hi Julie,

    We hired a driver for the trip and also went through an agency, it really made things a lot easier. We took the train once and our driver met us with the luggage as the drive would have been 8-9 hours. It was also nice having someone with us at times as it was just myself and my two sisters and at one point being alone at the train station, we had about 75 people circled around us sitting at a bench taking pictures of us and it got a bit uncomfortable. The agent an was more than fair, the driver for two weeks I think cost us $150 US dollars and he was an amazing guy. Let me know if you are interested and I can dig up who we used and his contact information. We went to a lot of the same places up north that you plan to visit and can send over some places that we stayed as well and enjoyed. Most were small quaint places and tented rooms that were family owned and pleasant.


  • Report Abuse

    Julie: I just came back from my first trip to India this month and I understand your confusion and uncertainty about it all. It's such a wonderful and diverse place...and I loved "almost" everything about it and can't wait to get back!

    A few thoughts: If you have specific hotels that you are interested in, why not contact them right away and see if they will hold a tentative reservation for you, and ask if you can confirm 48 hours or so before? If you find they are already booked out then you have part of your answer right there. I'm assuming you will get a local phone and you can give them your contact details so they can keep in touch with you as you go along.

    Secondly, I don't know about January, but when we went in November/December it was weddding season, so a lot of hotels were booked for weddings, not just because they were "tourist" hotels. And of course there are lots of pilgrims travelling as well. We did a combination of trains and cars/vans and the train seats had been booked months before and we still had problems getting the trains we wanted.

    Your posts have got me piqued, so I too am looking forward to hearing about how your trip works out!

    Have a wonderful time!

  • Report Abuse

    Kristi,I daresay we woudl ALL like to know the special places you stayed, and your driver's and agents name!!!
    If you can dig up that info nd post here, i t will probalby beneift many of us Fodorites.

    Carobb, i think you were going with some Aussie friends to Rajasthan? Are you still planning for that trip? Sounded like great fun for a group pof pals!!!

  • Report Abuse

    Kristi--I too would love that info you are ploanning to dig up. I assume what you said above about a driver for 2 weeks for $150 must have been a typo. Or, does sthis mean you paid the agency a separate fee for the car and then the driver portion of that was $150. But, even this seems way too cheap. What agency did you use, and what type of car did you have?

    Kuluk--Thanks for the idea about at least starting by seeing if they are full for our tentative dates and then a possible tentative hold. Did you just get a local sim card for your phone. We've done that for many other places we've traaveled, but I am hearing a few things now about that not working too well because of some Indian security measures. But, maybe I am wrong about that, becasue it would make it so nice to just pick up a card and some time when we arrive. I already know that one needs another passport photo to do this. I am pretty much giving up on the idea of using trains unless I get a plan together immedaitely because I am aware of (and incredulous) that trains need to be booked so far in advance.

    Thanks all, and have a safe start to the new year!

  • Report Abuse

    "incredulous that trains need to be booked so far in advance"

    Well, there are a lot of trains, but then there are a lot of Indians as well. You'll find far, far more locals on the trains than foreigners. However, there is a tatkal quota for last minute bookings - 48 hours in advance, I think. You'll pay a little more, and there are no discounts (I get a senior discount) but it is an option. I used the tatkal quota for one trip last time, bought from a local TA. I also hear that there is an excellent chance that you will actually get on the train if you are waitlisted, although that's not something I've relied on personally.

  • Report Abuse

    Julie: I traveled with a group of friends and we had different phones, all worked well with the pre-paid system, either Air-Tel or in my case, Vodaphone which they said worked better for Blackberry. We just gave them (the phone kiosk) a photocopy of our passport, the local address where we were staying, which happened to be a friend's house, but could have been anywhere, and paid a very small fee for the sim card and points for phone calls, sms and internet. The only tough part was that it's very hard if not impossible to top off your card in another city, so be sure to have enough to last you for the trip, or figure out a way to have someone top you off in your original city.

    We used Exotique India and were very happy with their services. We did have them book our transportation and hotels, and it worked out well for us. One of the hotels had a wedding during our stay and we decided we wanted to move. We made a call to our agent and he moved us the next morning to a hotel we liked better anyway.

    Our trip only took in northern India but I'm sure you will have an incredible time. India blew me was so much better and fascinating than what I had imagined!

  • Report Abuse

    Regarding an Indian sim card, on my last visit I bought one from a supposedly reputable chain phone store in Kochi. For security purposes a copy of my passport was taken and the form filled out which the store was then to send to the proper bureaucracy. But they didn't and my sim was canceled a few days later. I returned to the store, which they apparently weren't expecting, and they said yes, now they'd do it. My phone was turned off again a few days later. All this to explain that in India, when bureaucracy is involved take nothing for granted. In this case I believe it was the store that was happy to take my money then not follow through and the system has far more patience in allowing such things to happen than we have the energy to counteract, if you see what I mean.

    I cannot advise you what to do in a similar situation as I never succeeded in getting it straightened out. The system was against me from the start, a dishonest vendor with no incentive to do the right thing. I would suggest that you get a recommendation for a place to buy the sim card from the people with whom you stay first as any backlash will come from a local to whom you report an incident rather than a tourist who they'll never see again.

  • Report Abuse

    Cali - yes originally I was doing a trip with friends (yes we are Aussies) but it didn't work out and only two of the group went on that trip - Rajasthan and Gujarat in October.

    Now I'm plannng a trip with my partner for October and November this year which will be a different trip altogether. Still going to Rajasthan but instead of Gujarat, Varanasi (for me) and Himalayas (for him - Kathmandu or Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Samthar).

    I was also planning to buy a sim card in India. I recall reading something on indiamike about which sim card is best to purchase. Will check my long list of disorganised bookmarks...

  • Report Abuse

    I've always bought sim cards from Airtel. Never had any issues except that sometimes it can take over an hour to get the paperwork done. I like to buy the card in an Airtel store, but will normally but top them off in the convenience shops, which are everywhere.

    India cell service is surprisingly good, even when you are out in the middle of nowhere.

  • Report Abuse

    Hi Julies and CaliNurse, Apologies for not sending over early, I had to dig this info up. The name of the agency is Castle and Kings and Arvind was our contact there and our driver's name was Krishna. I was incorrect about the driver's fee, I think it was $100 each between 3 of us. It is a very long thread but below is their information and I hope this helps!!

    CASTLE & KING INDIA INC - Hassle free india.

    Suite T-305, Sector 5, Plot no. 7.
    Dwarka- New Delhi - 110075
    Tel : (+ 91) 011 - 45572470 / 64501150
    T/Fax : (+ 91) 011 - 25084950

    After office Hours. (20:00 Pm - 09:00 Am)
    Mobile No. 91- 9868712102 (24 Hrs.)
    Tel:0091-11-64501150 / 0091-11-28532844
    Fax: 91-11- 28531544

    We advised him where we were interested in going, seeing, etc and after working with him, he tailored our schedule as follows. If I go back, I will definitely be using them again! If you get a driver, ask for Krishna....I am so bummed I lost his contact information :(

    Below was our itinerary, hotels we stayed at and cost of each. The car is mentioned in the beginning of the string:

    Here Goes:-
    Nikko Met: 13000X02= 26000/40 = 650 $ 3 Person
    Varanasi: 6500 X01 = 6500/40 = 164 $ 3 Person
    Agra: 14000X02=28000/40 = 700 $ 3 Person
    Ranthambhore: 34000/40 = 850 $ 3 Person
    Jaipur: 5600 X02= 11200/40 = 280 $ 3 person
    Nimaj: 17500X01 DBL = 17500/40 425$ Single 14900 X01= 14900/40 =372 $
    Jodhpur: 11500X01 = 11500/40 = 288$ 3 person
    Udaipur: 9700X02=19400/40=485$ DBL SINGLE 8785 X02 = 17570/40 = 440 $

    In this travel I add the SUV 4WD car for the entire tour as well as all the safari and all the inclusion are included madam.

    That cost would be 410$ per person

    On the total tour cost I am taking 10% as my service charges.

    Day 01:

    Company representatives will receive you on arrival at the international airport in Delhi late in the evening. Transfer to your hotel. Relax.

    DELHI, the capital of kingdoms and empires is now a sprawling metropolis with a fascinating blend of the past and the present. It is a perfect introduction to the composite culture of an ancient land. A window to the kaleidoscope - that is India.

    Overnight at Delhi.

    Day 02:

    Breakfast at Delhi. Proceed for a full day tour of Old & New Delhi.

    OLD DELHI - A sightseeing tour of Old Delhi would entail visiting the Raj Ghat - the memorial site where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated; Jama Masjid - the largest mosque in India and the Red Fort - once the most opulent fort and palace of the Moghul Empire.

    Cycle rickshaw ride from Jama Masjid to Chandni Chowk.

    NEW DELHI - An extensive sightseeing tour of New Delhi would include a visit to the Humayun’s Tomb, the Qutub Minar, a drive along the ceremonial avenue - Rajpath, past the imposing India Gate, Parliament House, the President’s Residence and would end with a drive through the Diplomatic Enclave.
    Relax in the evening.

    Sight Seeing : Quitab Minar (Lotus Temple, Indian Gate.War Memorial)
    Want to see North & South blocks & the erstwhile viceregak kidge on the
    Kingsway. Secretariat Buildings, We would like to go to Chandni Chowk in a Rickshaw, the business center in old Delhi, Sis Ganj, Jama Masjid.

    Overnight at Hotel.

    Day 03:
    Delhi – Varanasi:
    Flight: IT 331 Dep: 09:20 Arr: 10:40

    After breakfast our company representative will give you transfer to airport for the flight to Varanasi.

    On arrival check in the hotel. Afternoon on leisure. Evening visit the Temple and explore the Pooja Ceremony.

    About Varanasi
    Standing on the western bank of India's holiest rever Ganges, Varanasi is the oldest surviving city of the world and the cultural capital of India. It is in the heart of this city that there stands in its fullest majesty the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in which is enshrined the Jyotirlinga of Shiva, Vishweshwara or Vishwanatha. Here gravitate the teeming millions of India to seek benediction and spiritual peace by the darshan of this Jyotirlinga which confers liberation from the bondages of maya and the inexorable entanglements of the world. A simple glimpse of the Jyotirlinga is a soul-cleansing experience that transforms life and puts it on the path of knowledge and bhakti. Vishweshwara jyotirlinga has a very special and unique significance in the spiritual history of India. Tradition has it that the merits earned by the darshan of other jyotirlinga scattered in various parts of India accrue to devotee by a single visit to Kashi Vishwanath Temple. Deeply and intimately implanted in the Hindu mind, the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has been a living embodinent of our timeless cultural traditions and highest spiritual values. The Temple has been visited by all great saints- Adi Shankaracharya, Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekanand, Goswami Tulsidas, Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati, Gurunanak and several other spiritual personalities. The Kashi Vishwanath Temple attracts visitors not only from India but abroad as well and thereby symbolises man's desire to live in peace snd harmony with one another. Vishwanath being a supreme repository of this spiritual truth thus strengthens the bonds of universal brotherhood and fellow feeling at the national as wll as global levels. On January 28, 1983 the Temple was taken over by the Govt. of Uttar Pradesh and it's management eversince stands entrusted to a Trust with Dr. Vibhuti Narayan Singh. Former Kashi Naresh, as president and an Executive Committee with Divisional Commissioner as Chairman. The Temple in the present shape was built way back in 1780 by Late Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar of Indore. In the year 1785 a Naubatkhan was built up infront of the Temple by the then collector Mohd. Ibrahim Khan at the instance of Governor General Warren Hastings. In 1839, Two domes of the Temple were covered by gold donated by Punjab Kesari Maharaja Ranjeet Singh. Third dome but was remained uncovered, Ministry of cultures & Religious affairs of U.P. Govt. took keen interest for gold plating of third dome of Temple.
    Varanasi, Kashi or Banaras, is older than traditions. The divine grace of this city lies is unique combination of physical, metaphysical and supernatural elements. Ghats of Varanasi are natural supplement to the concept of divinity. It is a city witch liberate soul from human body to ultimate. The much quoted Sanskrit Skloka Proclame ' Kasyam maranam mukti' (death in Kashi is Liberation). In fact the extension of this belief could be visualised in early concept of ' Pancha Trirtha' symbolically identified with the human body it is explicitly equated with the fire elements (Panch Tattva) of witch body is composed interesting people now defining as all the Ghats are points on the divine cosmic road ( 12th Zodiacs X 7cakras of body thus 98 ) represents its manifest transcendential dimension. That is how this frame shows a cosmic order and harmonic relationship between micro cosmos (divine order) and micro cosmos (human order)through the interlink of mesocosmos ( the physical order of ghats). The Gahadvala inscriptions ( c.12th cent) mention only five ghats . A mid 17th cent.

    Overnight at hotel.

    Day 04:
    Varanasi – Agra:
    Dep: 13:30 Arr: 14:50 IT 334
    Dep: 16:10 Arr: 17:05 IT 2332

    Enjoy boating on the river Ganges in the dawn. Explore the city of Varanasi - the Spiritual capital of India after breakfast. Visit Ghats, Kashi Vishwanath Temple
    After breakfast explore the Varanasi, late in the afternoon our company representative will give you transfer to the airport for the flight to Agra.
    Reach Agra late in the afternoon.

    AGRA: Two great Mughal monarchs, Akbar and Shah Jahan, transformed the little village of Agra into a befitting second capital of the Mughal Empire - giving it the name Dar-ul-Khilafat {seat of the Emperor}. Today a visitor to Agra is caught up in a world of contrasting edifices, of red sandstone and white marble, narrow galleys and quaint buggies, and that irresistible charm that this favorite city of the Mughals still retains. It is not surprising, that modern Agra still reflects its Mughal heritage most conspicuously. A walk down the narrow bustling streets of the city will introduce the visitor to the wafting aroma of Mughlai cuisine.

    Check in at hotel and proceed for sightseeing.

    Enjoy battery van ride to the Taj.

    TAJ MAHAL: Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder which is always the soul raison-de-etre for every tourist's visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from it’s stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen. Proceed for sightseeing to the AGRA FORT - Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone. Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction.

    Overnight at Hotel.

    Day 05:

    Early in the morning proceed for the sightseeing of Taj mahal.

    TAJ MAHAL: Little needs to be said about this architectural wonder which is always the soul raison-de-etre for every tourist's visit to Agra. Built by Shah Jahan, the Taj is a white marble memorial to his beautiful wife Mumtaz Mahal. This monument took 22 years to be completed and was designed, and planned by Persian architect Ustad Isa. Apart from it’s stunning design balance and perfect symmetry, the Taj is also noted particularly for its elegant domes, intricately carved screens and some of the best inlay work ever seen. After visiting the Taj Mahal drive back to the Hotel and have a relaxed breakfast. After lunch Proceed for sightseeing to the AGRA FORT - Built by the famed Mughal emperor Akbar in 1565 AD, the fort is predominantly of red sandstone. Ensconced within is the picture perfect Pearl Mosque, which is a major tourist attraction.

    Visit Itmadullah’s Tomb built by Empress NOOR JEHAN in memory of her father (The interiors of which are considered better than the Taj).

    Overnight at Hotel.

    Day 06:
    Agra – Bharatpur – Ranthambhore:
    By Train: Kota Jan Shatabadi: Dep:10:45 Arr:13:05

    After breakfast drive to Bharatpur to catch the train for Ranthambhore. En-route visit Fatehpur sikri. The deserted, red Sandstone City, Emperor Akbar built that as his capital and palace in the late 16th century is an exhilarating experience. It a veritable fairytale city and its "ruins" are in pristine condition ... it's not hard to imagine what the court life must have been like in the days of it’s grandeur. Also visit the Bulund Darwaza, the largest gateway in the world.

    Continue drive to Ranthambhore. Reach and relax in the hotel, you can relax or watch some slides on the tiger.

    Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve, at the junction of the Aravalis and the Vindhyas, is a unique example of natural and historical richness, standing out conspicuously in the vast, arid and denuded tract of eastern Rajasthan, barely 14 kilometers from Sawai Madhopur. Get in tune with nature for a luxury holiday in the heart of the jungle. Ranthambhore - perhaps the best place in the world to sight a tiger in the wild. The Ranthambhore National Park has had more Tiger sightings than any other National Park in the country. It has come to be known as "The land of the Tiger", where most of the documented footage of this majestic beast has been recorded.

    It spreads over a highly undulating topography varying from gentle to steep slopes; from flat topped hills of the Vindhyas to the conical hillocks and sharp ridges of the Aravalis, from wide and flat valleys to narrow rocky gorges. An important geological feature the ‘Great Boundary Fault’ where the Vindhya plateaus meet the Aravali hill ranges, meanders through the Reserve. The National Park is bound by the rivers Chambal in the south and Banas in the north.

    Ranthambhore forest is of tropical dry deciduous type, further classified as Dhok climax forest because of the predominance of Dhok (Anogeissus pendulla) found nearly everywhere. Dhok is an extremely hardy tree, capable of withstanding prolonged droughts. The leaves of this tree are good fodder and they are browsed by herbivores, and form a significant part of their diet. Even the dry, fallen leaves, eaten by them, are rich source of nutrition.
    Palas or Cheela or the Flame of the Forest (Butea monosperms) blooms magnificently around mid-April. During the period, Kachida and Anatpura provide an amazing view, like a forest on fire. Around Kamaldhar massive Gum trees (Sterculia urens) with smooth white trunk stand out conspicuously. Similarly, Gurjan (Lannea coromandelica) with greyish trunks at the banks of the lakes and soft wood Salar (Boswellia serrata) dotted atop hills are noticeable.

    Fruits of Ber (Zizyphus spp.) and ‘crocodile bark’ Tendu (Diospuyros melanoxylon) are highly relished by Sloth Bears.

    The lakes abound with aquatic vegetation including duck weeds, lilies and lotus.
    A haven for a multitude of wild animals, the Park boasts of playing host to tigers, leopards, the elusive caracals, hyenas, sloth bears, wild boars, crocodiles and so on. Besides, there are over 300 species of birds, from the majestic Crested Serpent Eagle to the exotic Golden Oriole.

    Tiger, at the apex of the food chain, lord over the kingdom in a subtle way. Solitary by nature, it operates in stealth. Therefore tiger sightings, frequent as they are, are always a matter of chance. However, even evidences of tiger's activities are very exciting.

    The other kinds of cats found in Ranthambhore are Leopard (Panthera pardus), Caracal (Felis caracal), Leopard Cat (Felis bengalensis), Fishing Cat (Felis viverrina) and the Jungle Cat (Felis chaus). Besides the big cats, the other large predators found in Ranthambhore include Sloth Bear, Striped Hyena, Wolf, Wild dog (or Dhole), Jackal, Indian Fox, Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Common Indian Mongoose, Small Indian Mongoose, Ratel (or Honey Badger), Marsh Crocodile and the Indian Python. There are two species of Antlers, namely the Spotted Deer (or Chital) and the Sambhar Deer, and, two kinds of Antelopes, namely the Indian Gazelle (or Chinkara) and the Bluebull (or Neelgai). Black Buck (another kind of antelope), which is rarely found in the National Park is common in Devpura area, in the outskirts of the park.

    After lunch proceed for the Jeep Safari.

    Overnight at resort.

    Day 07:

    After breakfast proceed to Lake. After lunch proceed for the Jeep safari.

    Overnight at Hotel. (B,L,D)

    Day 08:
    Ranthambhore – Jaipur:
    By surface: 180 Km 3 Hrs,

    Early in the morning go for the safari. After lunch drive to Jaipur.

    JAIPUR - The origins of the beautiful city of Jaipur can be traced back to the eighteenth century, during the reign of Jai Singh II who ascended the Amber throne in 1699. Jaipur today, epitomizes the spirit of Rajputana. In-spite of growing into a bustling metropolis, it still retains it's character and history - A beautiful fusion of the yesteryears and modernity. Popularly known as the Pink City because of the extensive use of the locally abundant pink plastered stone, painted so in honor of the visit of the royal consort of Queen Victoria. Jaipur thrills the soul with its massive forts, magnificent palaces, exquisite temples and lush gardens. Reach and proceed for the sightseeing of Jaipur. In the evening explore the Jaipur local markets,

    Overnight at Jaipur.

    Day 09:

    Breakfast at hotel.

    Proceed for excursion to Amber Fort in the outskirts of Jaipur. Elephant ride ascent to the fort.

    AMBER FORT PALACE - Amber is the classic romantic Rajasthani fort palace. Its construction was started by Man Singh I in 1592, and completed by his descendent Jai Singh I. It’s forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise where a beautiful fusion of Mughal and Hindu styles finds it's ultimate expression.

    Proceed for sightseeing of the city.

    CITY PALACE - A delightful blend of Mughal and traditional Rajasthani architecture, the City Palace sprawls over one-seventh of the area in the walled city. It houses the Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum.

    JANTAR MANTAR - This is the largest and the best preserved of the five observatories built by Jai Singh II in different parts of the country. This observatory consisting of outsized astronomical instruments is still in use.

    HAWA MAHAL - The ornamental facade of this "Palace of Winds" is a prominent landmark in Jaipur. Its five-storey structure of sandstone plastered pink encrusted with fine trelliswork and elaborate balconies. The palace has 953 niches and windows. Built in 1799 by Pratap Singh, the Mahal was a royal grandstand for the palace women.

    Visit a rug factory and see the ladies at the intricate work or a gem factory and see the gem cutting and polishing process.

    Overnight at Jaipur.

    Day 10:
    Jaipur – Nimaj:
    By surface: 240 Km 5 Hrs,

    After breakfast drive to Nimaj. Reach and transfer to the Nimaj Camp.
    Chhatra Sagar consists of nine traditional Rajasthani tents sitting on a one hundred year old dam. Each tent is beautifully designed with its own en-suite bathroom and sitting area overlooking a breathtaking lake. The camp is situated in the hunting preserve of the Nimaj estate and run by the local ruling family. It is a truly peaceful place in which to relax after visiting the bustling Indian cities.

    Overnight at resort.

    Day 11:
    Nimaj – Jodhpur:
    By surface: 180 Km3 Hrs,

    After break fast drive to Jodhpur.

    Reach Jodhpur.

    Set at the edge of the Thar Desert, the imperial city of Jodhpur echoes with tales of antiquity in the emptiness of the desert. Once the capital of the Marwar state, it was founded in 1459 AD by Rao Jodha-chief of the Rathore clan of Rajputs who claimed to be descendants of Rama - the epic hero of the Ramayana. The massive 15th century AD Mehrangarh Fort looms on the top of a rocky hill, soaring 125 Mts. Above the plains. The city is encompassed by a high wall -10 km long with 8 gates and innumerable bastions.
    Relax in the hotel and visit the museum of UMAID BHAWAN PALACE.

    Overnight at Jodhpur.

    Day 12:
    Jodhpur – Ranakpur – Udaipur:
    By surface: 265 Km 5 Hrs,

    After breakfast proceed for the sightseeing tour of Jodhpur - gateway to the desert beyond, home of the Rathors of Marwar, visit the Mehrangarh Fort, rising up a hilly scarp, built on the advice of a hermit, overlooking the city in the image of a long sentinel. Inside the Fort are a number of palaces added by successive rulers. In this palace you would see different miniature paintings & cradle room. After this you would visit Jaswant Thada Memorial. After lunch drive to Udaipur, En-route, visit the RANAKPUR TEMPLES, dating back to the 15th century. 200 pillars, none of which are alike, support its 29 halls. The Temple abounds with intricate friezes and sculptures. Includes visits to two more Jain temples and the Temple of the Sun God with its erotic sculptures.

    Start for Udaipur after breakfast. Reach and check in at hotel.

    The city of Dawn, Udaipur is a lovely land around the azure lake, hemmed in by the lush hills of the ARAVALLIS. A vision in white drenched in romance and beauty, Udaipur is a fascinating blend of sights, sound and experiences and inspiration for the imagination of poets, painters and writers.

    Its kaleidoscope of fairy-tale palaces, lakes, temples, gardens and narrow lanes strewn with stalls, carry the flavor of a heroic past, epitomizing valor and chivalry. Their reflection in the placid waters of the LAKE PICHOLA is an enticing sight.

    Udaipur is the jewel of MEWAR -a kingdom ruled by the Sisodia dynasty for 1200 Years.

    Relax in the evening.

    Overnight at Jodhpur.

    Day 13:

    Breakfast at hotel.

    Proceed for sightseeing tour of Udaipur, stopping first at City Palace. Here you will marvel at rooms with mirrored walls and ivory doors, colored glass windows and inlaid marble balconies and the Peacock Courtyard.

    Also visit the lovely Sahelion-ki-Bari Gardens, the Jagdish Temple and the local folk Museum.

    Proceed for Evening Motor launch cruise on the placid waters of Lake Pichola. From he boat you will be able to view the city of Udaipur as it rises majestically above the lake in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. Also visit the Jag Mandir Palace - the other island palace in the middle of the lake. Spend some time at the Jag Mandir Palace.

    Overnight at Udaipur.

    Day 14:
    Udaipur – Delhi:
    Flight: Dep: 14:00 Arr: 15:40 IT – 2332

    After breakfast explore the city again, late in the afternoon our company representative will give you transfer to the Airport for the flight to Delhi. Reach and transfer to the Hotel. Relax. Late in the evening proceed for the Dances of India and have the farewell dinner with us.

    Overnight at Hotel.

    Day 15:
    Delhi – Home:

    After breakfast our company representative will give you transfer to the airport for the flight to Home with sweet memories of India.



    5* & Deluxe resort
    Nikko Metropolitan
    Taj view (Superior City Facing room)
    Khem Villas (Luxury Cottage)

    Occupancy detail
    Per person
    USD 1999
    USD 2399

    I think we booked our own airfare though.

    256 $
    317 $
    117 $

    Kristi :)

43 Replies |Back to top

Sign in to comment.