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Oberoi trip . Do i need to book guides etc?

Oberoi trip . Do i need to book guides etc?

Mar 15th, 2006, 09:14 AM
  #1  
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Oberoi trip . Do i need to book guides etc?

Hi

My wife and I are heading off to Indiin 10 days time. We are regular visitors to Asia but have never been to India.
Thanks to some excellent advice from Hobbes and Craig we are doing the following itinerary.

Delhi-Ranthambore (by train)-,Jaipur(car)-Agra(car)-Delhi-Shimla(plane)-Delhi (plane).

We will be spending 2 nights in each place apart from Delhi where we will be for a total of 5 nights and Wildflower Hall Shimla where the stay is for 3 nights.

I have got the transportation from one hotel to the next all pre booked. The Oberoi are charging a fortune for it but I feel comfortable using them.More than $1000 !!
However i havent booked any guides for the local areas. Is it best to pre book or is it possible to do so at the hotel when we arrive.
I read that Craig had a "golf cart" from the oberoi in Agra to the Taj. Did you book that or is it part of a tour we can take?

I assume its best to have guides for each area ? Is it possible to do ones own thing in Delhi or do you suggest always having a guide?

Any tips greatly appreciated.
barnetda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 10:15 AM
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We found that having guides was helpful but you will need drivers as well. I had contacted a couple of the Oberoi's for quotes and they seemed on the high side but not totally unreasonable. I don't think you need to prebook but it would be one less thing to worry about when you are there if you do.

Alternatively, you could use one of the agencies recommended on this forum such as Compass to provide a driver and Toyota Qualis or other SUV-like vehicle for your entire trip (except Shimla). They could also arrange guides. I don't think it would be a problem cancelling the Oberoi drivers. Granted, you don't have much time to make the arrangements but as long as your lodging is set, it shouldn't be too hard.
Craig is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 10:52 AM
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Thanks Craig.

I think i can leave the oberoi transportation as I am comfortable with that. We will be in delhi for 2*1 days and 1*2.5 days. Is it simple to book a guide/driver at the hotel or with an agent? Also we would really like to wander around a little bit on our own, did you do it or were you mostly with guides in delhi.

The cart to the Taj sounded interesting. is that part of a oberoi local package?

Many thanks
barnetda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 11:25 AM
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Oops - forgot to answer the cart question. The hotel provides the cart at no extra charge. You would have to hire a guide though either through the hotel or on your own.

Delhi is a big huge city so you would need a driver to go most places. If you are staying at the Oberoi, I do not believe there is much to see within walking distance. We stayed at the Imperial and were able to walk to the Central Cottage Industries Emporium. We had guides for 1/2 days but kept our driver working for the full day. If you want to go shopping, you will want to ditch the guide. It would probably be easiest to book a guide through your hotel the day before you need him. If you use an agency, you could e-mail them and set it up in advance. I don't think I'd use an agency and book while in India.
Craig is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 11:36 AM
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Craig

I really appreciate the info.

I cant wait.

Ive lived in Asia a few times but never visited India.

Thanks for the info.
barnetda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 12:29 PM
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You can certainly do Delhi on your own, using taxis and/or rickshaws picked up on the street. Or I suppose the Oberoi could call a taxi for you but it will more expensive than walking a block away. You do need a good guidebook with a map, and a willingness to bargain helps.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 01:17 PM
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Excellent. I want to get a guide to do the sights but really want to get out and about in the City on our own to get the feel of the place and to get some photos of local life.
barnetda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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In Ranthambore you do not need a guide. You are presumably doing jeep safaris and have the driver and his partner to - hopefully - point out the tigers. In Jaipur you definitely need a guide for a day IMO to explain the sights including Amber Fort, the palaces, the observatory (fascinating). etc. Go to the Rambagh for a leisurely meal on your own, wander thru the hotel and imagine what life in the palace would have been. In Agra I always reco seeing the Taj twice, once with your guide and once on your own. You could do the early morning viewing on your own as that is when it is least crowded. See Fatehpur Sikri and Agra Fort wth your guide, the history is amazing. In Shimla you do not need a guide. In Delhi do 1 day at least with a guide. However, I'd suggest booking a car and driver for all your days in Delhi as early April is going to be warm and you will want your a/c car handy rather than looking for transport. The cost of a dedicated car/driver is just worth the comfort IMO. I would agree that you do not need to get it from the Oberoi.
hobbes is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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excellent info Hobbes many thanks.

I will sort out a guide for Agra, Jaipur and Delhi .

I will probably just ask the Oberoi to arrange as it makes life a little easier.

We are both very excited about this trip.
barnetda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 01:56 PM
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While AC is always nice, having a dedicated car and driver is not going to help barnetda get a feel for the city.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 02:10 PM
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Actually I found Delhi to be kind of boring (for photos, etc.) compared to the other places on barnetda's itinerary where it actually would be great to wander around.

Be sure to visit the fort at Ranthambore.
Craig is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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I think impressions of Delhi are determined by what you see. On our Delhi-Rantahmbore-Jaipur-Agra trip one of the girsl said the morning we spent seeing a mosque, a temple and a gurudwara in Delhi with our guide explaining how the 3 different religions are practiced was the most fascinating to her. Was an off the beaten track suggestion from our guide which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Shopping in Delhi is fab. Pull up my earlier posts. You may enjoy taking pictures on some shopping halts e.g at Dilli Haat.
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Mar 15th, 2006, 03:00 PM
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Excellent info .

Many thanks to you all.

Hobbes I will check out your previous posts.

Thanks
barnetda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 03:58 PM
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Do not miss the new Akshardham Temple in Delhi.
agtoau is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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Agtoau: I will make sure we dont miss the Akshardham Temple in Delhi.

Hobbes: I saw somewhere (i cant find it for some reason) that you had mentioned a new train running from Delhi to Agra which now takes 2 hours.

I had booked a car to drive us from Agra to Delhi. It will be longer and the quoted cost is $250. I wonder if you would recommend getting the new train servie from Agra back to Delhi ?


barnetda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 05:13 PM
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$250 from Agra to Delhi is ridiculous but the drive is very interesting for photos. The train is not new. The express train is about 2 hours but you won't see anything.
Craig is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 05:19 PM
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The prices i have been quoted by Oberoi are:

Ranthanbore to Jaipur $160

Jaipur to Agra $275

Agra to Delhi $250

Chandigarh to Wildflower Hall $100 each way.

This are one way drop offs.

I dont mind paying over the top but i have a feeling i am paying way over the odds.

Unless the car journey toDelhi from Agra is special I am begining to think the train may be better. Apparantly its a new service just started in less than 2 hours.
barnetda is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 05:59 PM
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The prices quoted by Oberoi are over the top. However, that is to be expected. They are a luxury brand name, not in the business of taxi service, and there will be a substantial mark up. On the positive side, you are likely to get a very superior product - comfortable cars, professional level drivers & service, and more importantly - peace of mind.

agtoau is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 06:02 PM
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By all means, take the train to Agra. It's convenient, comfortable and fast. Oberoi will drop you off and pick you up from the train station. The driver will even escort you to your seat if you want him to. (I'm not joking. Oberoi can be a little over the top in terms of the service.)

As for the other prices Oberoi quoted you, you could arrange transportation more cheaply. It just depends on whether or not you're up to doing the legwork 10 days before you leave. If you can afford it and don't really care about the money, I would bite the bullet at this point. You'll have a great time either way.

My one piece of advice is to let your individual guides know how much or how little of the "real" India you want to experience. They'll assume that because you're staying at an Oberoi property you won't want to get your hands too dirty. Which might be the case. No judgement intended. But if you want to go off the beaten track, let them know.
TravlinFool is offline  
Mar 15th, 2006, 06:06 PM
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Thats true.
barnetda is offline  

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