Need some help planning a trip

Dec 3rd, 2010, 01:52 PM
  #1  
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Need some help planning a trip

Hi there... My partner and I would like to go to India in March (if possible). I was there many years ago and love India and would like to go back. We would like to arrive in New Delhi and leave from Bombay. I am thinking of spending time in New Delhi, Agra, then onto Jaipur and the surrounding area and then maybe to Varnasi. Then fly to Kerala to spend a couple of days there and onto Bombay. What is at issue is that my partner is limited in getting around since he has some health issues. I would like to inquire about getting a driver in each place and then possibly joining up for day tours here and there. I also need to build in 'down days' so that he can rest.
I am not the sort of traveler that wants to go with a huge group and be carted from one bus to the other. I would be incredibly unhappy. Aside from hotels, can anyone suggest driver/guides in each of these areas -- or perhaps you have a better suggestion on how to organize a trip such as this. I am thinking we should be gone three weeks- which is a long time for us. Appreciate any help. Thank you.
susan300 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 02:53 PM
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i think you need to contact an indian agent who will assist you.... i like castle and king....avrind, the owner, is a nice guy and could help you a lot...
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 02:57 PM
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Can you provide a day-by-day account of where you will be? Also include how you plan to travel from point to point (fly, train, car).

It will be more helpful to see your actual itinerary.

Just off the top, you would not want to go from Agra to Jaipur and then double back to Varanasi. Find a good map of India to see where these cities are.

Not to get personal, but what is the nature of your partner's limitations? Walking, endurance, taking stairs? That would help too in advising you.
Jaya is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 03:08 PM
  #4  
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taking stairs, endurance - those are problems. I will take your advice and look at a good map and be more precise. thank you.
susan300 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 04:23 PM
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Jaya asks important questions that will help you determine how to proceed. Check a map to make sure you're not retracing your path. Is it easy for you and your partner to travel by air? Or by train?

I would recommend Ramesh Meena and his company ramindiatours.com. Ram is extraordinarily conscientious and will make sure your trip is wonderful. His English is excellent and he is a very safe driver.

Once you decide on an itinerary, we may be able to suggest hotels. My husband and I stayed in heritage hotels last year, which we enjoyed, but elevators are not common in those sorts of properties --- nor are they in many of the monuments. The one exception is the fort in Jodhpur which does have an elevator up to the top, then a leisurely stroll back down to the bottom.
indianapearl is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 06:59 PM
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thank you Indianapearl. I will definitely do my geography research. This might not work out for us because of Bob's health issues, but am going to give it a shot. While I loved being in Mumbai almost forty years ago, I'm thinking maybe we should just limit ourselves to the Northern area. I do want to see some of the smaller villages and am open to even more suggestions.
susan300 is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 07:50 PM
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Taking stairs and endurance may make navigating train stations a problem. Some large train stations like in New Delhi have multiple platform levels and lots of stairs. Flying or driving may be better options.

Also, don't travel once it starts to get dark. Public lighting in India is dismal at night. Do you travel during daytime hours. Keep a purse sized flashlight with you - one with a strong, bright beam.

A reputable/reliable car and driver will help a lot. Ramesh Meena, mentioned above, has been used by several Fodorites.
Jaya is offline  
Dec 3rd, 2010, 10:39 PM
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I would recommend short duration travels between two given destinations. For example travelling between Delhi & Jaipur, though merely 157 miles, due to the condition of the road will consume nearly 6 hours. You could overnight at Hotel Neemrana Fort Palace, a lovely destination, with fine evening views and entertainment. If you are planning Delhi to Agra than the Bhopal Shatabdi train leaves Delhi at 06:15hrs & arrives in Agra in a couple of hours. Similarly, travelling between Agra & Jaipur could be done with an overnight at Laxmi Vilas Palace, Bharatpur which is a delightful place to be in or at 'The Bagh Bharatpur'. You simply need to slow down your travels.
In Kerala the distances are not long but a few roads are busy, consuming a lot of time. You may visit Cochin with Hotel Old Harbour; at Kumarakom it could be the 'Kumarakom Lake Resort' or the 'Spice Village' at Thekkady etc. etc. A 'Day cruise' in the backwaters is highly recommended with lunch onboard.
I would be in the newly refurbished Taj Palace & Towers Mumbai, next month, so more of that later on!
Most of the well known destinations are connected by air / train, however, if you wish to do some delightful off-beaten Fort Palaces, you would need a car. The tours in the plains would not be arduous though the same view may not hold good for our hills. Nonetheless, by proper planning that is in consonance with health demands of your partner, a truly remarkable itinerary could be developed.
Merry Christmas!
vp_singh is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 03:03 AM
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Susan, you and Bob can do this and have a great time!!! the key is to share your thoughts with an INdia-based travel planner (for an individual tour for the two of you, not a group)

Based on both of your needs for physical comfort, i'd say your revised idea to limit to one geographical area is a good one. Try to avoid planes and trains, unless absolutely necessary. Sure, they and the rr stations and airports can be fun--but also chaotic, and exhausting

Have a safe and careful driver who speaks and understands English. Have a travel plan where the driver will pick you up first thing in the a.m. after the hotel breakfast (or whatever time you want) and then again drive you directly to the hotel at the end of the day.He will leave you to rest in the hotel if you want, or will leave you alone and return to get you (and the guide, if chosen) in a town.
IF you must take a train or plane, make sure you chose a company with a reputation for having one of their local employees meet you literally right outside the door of the train, to help with luggage and navigating the frequent chaos of Indian train stations.

A good travel planner will intuitively "get" what you both want and need. I think your idea to limit to one large geographical area/states is a good one.

People on Fodors (including me) are passionate about "their" travel agents/tour planners. I've had two great trips to India planned by Mrs. Faith Pandian, who lives in South India, started a small business yrs ago, and with her husband and brother as partners, has seen it grow with employees, connections, and local offices all over India. I went to areas in the South , and areas in the North. Her agency is called Indianpanorama www.indianpanorama.in Whether or not you contact her, her website is informative, has different suggested tineraries which of course can be customized for clients, and gorgeous photos taken by Faith and her family during their frequent travels. Check out the newsletter on the website too.

Contact several travel planners, get a few estimates, so you can compare prices, itineraries, and "vibes." You will see personal recommendations on this thread, and other Fodors Forum threads about India. These recommended people include the very knowledgeable VP Singh (above) or Ram at ramindiatours, or castle and king (see first response), as well.
CaliNurse is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 09:59 AM
  #10  
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thank you. I appreciate all this good advice. We will figure it out. I will also look at the different travel agents and see if we can plan a trip that will work for both of us.
susan300 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 10:51 AM
  #11  
 
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Susan, I would start by deciding on your must-see places -- sounds to me that with three weeks you should be able to see the places you mention in your original post. I recommend that you spend at least 3 days in each location, otherwise your trip will be too rushed and your enjoyment will be limited. Many travelers on this forum prefer to have travel planners work out the details for them. Some prefer to work out their own schedule and hotels -- I am the latter type -- I like the planning stage of travel and it helps me understand a bit more the places I am visiting. We used Ramesh Meena (also mentioned by others above) as a driver on both of our trips to India (saved us from a bad start on our first trip) and can't recommend him highly enough. He can help you with as much or as little as you decide -- planning the route or choosing hotels or just as a driver. Email him at: [email protected] or: [email protected] or by phone: +919829807074. Here are the links to my two India trip reports, which may be helpful to you. We have all learned from our travel experiences and are here to help with any specifics. Happy planning!

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...-travelawg.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...outh-india.cfm
travelaw is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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I have seen in other posts the name of a person Atay...? Does anyone know who he is- a travel agent? Does he have a website? thanks
susan300 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 11:24 AM
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Do you mean Ajay as mentioned in this report:

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...t-381549-2.cfm ?

He's with yatrik.com, a company I can personally highly recommend.
Marija is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 11:40 AM
  #14  
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here's another question: do you recommend a driver who is a guide or should I look at this as two separate services? In other words picking up tours in places where I go?
susan300 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 12:16 PM
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We picked up guides where we thought we needed them and that worked fine. These are better as two separate services.
travelaw is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 03:27 PM
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mr. vp singh - how do I get in touch with you please?
susan300 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 03:29 PM
  #17  
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here is a rough itinerary
3 days in Delhi
fly to Varanasi and stay 2 nights
Agra- 2 nights
Jaipur, Udiapur and Jodpur-split up into possibly 8 days
fly back to Delhi and go home
susan300 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 04:23 PM
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With a good company, your driver IS in many ways like a guide, pointing out interesting places, taking you to his favorite temples if they are on the route, etc. One of Faith's drivers with Indianpanorma even took us off the beaten path a bit (after checking with us if it was ok) to take us to his family's home in a small hamlet in HImahcal Pradesh. Priceless!!
That said, yes, you should have separate guides , where you want. ou can either do as travelaw says above, or have your travel planner/agent set up thier recommended guides in places where they will add to the trip.

Do check websites, etc , for Faith, Ajay, VP Singh, Ram, and Arvindh as mentioned it above, send some initial enquiry letters stating your itinerary, and take it from there. DO be specific about any special needs you have, and ask how they will be accomodated.
CaliNurse is offline  
Dec 4th, 2010, 04:31 PM
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This is Mr. Singh's website:
http://www.legendsandpalaces.com
He's the person I want to travel with when we go to India again.
Marija is offline  
Dec 5th, 2010, 05:30 AM
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Continue to refine your itinerary ie what you will do each day in each city. Are there any particular sites you want to see that you know of already?

The more you plot out your itinerary the better it will be to see if what you're planning is manageable or too ambitious.
Jaya is offline  

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