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Les Aug 15th, 2016 12:16 AM

Need help choosing a tour company.
At the end of last year, we toured of northern India on the Maharaja's Express, and had a wonderful trip. We would like to return to India to see a different area of the country (still to be determined which area). We loved the train journey, but after a review of itineraries for the Indian luxury trains, I find nothing that's exactly right for us, in terms of length of the trip (prefer about 2 weeks) and itinerary that avoids revisiting the places we've already seen, so I would like to plan an individual or small group tour that's tailored to our needs.

I am not necessarily asking for recommendations of what to see at this time, but rather, recommendations for a company that will help us put together a personalized tour. We're in our 70's, and normally make our own way in the world (no tours, just go wherever on our own), but at this time of life, doing that in India seemed like more trouble than it's worth (according to my son and his wife, who found it difficult and unpleasant to tour India on their own). Hence our first trip on the Maharaja's Express. We loved that trip (and the level of luxury and comfort it provided),and the country, and would like to return again, provided we can find a suitable company to help us with the arrangements. We could obviously arrange this trip on our own, but knowledgeable help with itinerary, travel arrangements, and hotels seems like a better idea (judging from other posts in this forum).

Looking forward to your recommendations.

rhkkmk Aug 15th, 2016 08:12 AM

I like castle and king in delhi

Kathie Aug 15th, 2016 08:47 AM

Castle and Kings gets excellent reviews here, also Legends and Palaces. Any of the well-regarded companies can set up a luxury private tour for you in India. The one recommendation I would make is to only use a company based in India. If you use a British or US based company you will pay a lot more for the same trip, and companies foreign to India will not have the relationships with hotels and drivers that an India-based company has.

Whichever company you choose, make sure you specify what you want (specific hotels or level of hotels), places you want to visit and for how long, etc. Any company will be glad to work with you to fine-tune an itinerary.

Happy planning!

CaliNurse Aug 15th, 2016 10:21 AM

How lucky, Les--a return to india!!!

Indian Panorama, based in Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, has never let me (or friends, or other Fodorites) down during numerous trips to India. Sure I could book everything myself, but don't, for many of the same reasons you stated .

I can't say enough good things about this company. In addition to references, which they will provide, upon request, there are also many detailed (not just first-timer, one-line) reviews from all over the world for them on tripadvisor.
Tell them what you want, when you want, how and the level you want, and they'll make it happen and will give suggestions based on your time frame and budget and interests. There are loads of "theoretical" itineraries on their colorful (check their personal photo gallery) informative website, but those are just basic ideas to get people started.

The person I use for initial planning is Tim Hawley: [email protected]

dragon88 Aug 15th, 2016 12:47 PM

I agree with all the above responses and tips. We used Castle and King as well and Arvind, the owner, refined many times our trip requests and hotels. They have great drivers and new vehicles. Arvind responds immediately to all your emails and questions. Happy Travels........

Les Aug 15th, 2016 04:19 PM

Thanks for your suggestions. We will look at all of them and attempt to put together a suitable itinerary.

Cyansiam Aug 22nd, 2016 07:02 AM

I can recommend Louise Nicholson.

Les Aug 25th, 2016 01:50 PM

Thank you, Cyansiam. Louise's site looks very interesting. I notice that she's not actually based in India, but uses Quo Vadis to provide the tour services. I'd appreciate some insight as to their reliability and resources.

Thanks again.

JerryS Aug 25th, 2016 06:35 PM

Legends and VP Singh.
Tell him what you want and he will customize a most wonderful and unforgettable trip.

Cyansiam Aug 29th, 2016 11:53 PM

Although Louise is not based in India she travels there extensively so can advise and make suggestions. She will then make sure the Quo Vadis staff follow instructions. Besides the guides and drivers there is always an agent to meet you and take you to the hotels and you have all the contact numbers beforehand. The guides are also in contact with this local agent and the Delhi office.

Our first trip with them was perfect with the exception of a hotel I chose so we were moved the next day to a better one with no extra cost, all arranged by the Delhi office.

The second trip this year had a lot more problems but again Quo Vadis did everything they could even when we wanted to leave Sikkim a day early, flights and extra night in the Delhi hotel were arranged with no hassle.

My advice is to be very precise in all your requirements.

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