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Solo or group tour for first trip to India?

Solo or group tour for first trip to India?

Nov 12th, 2017, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Most of the ppl I know who went to India went with a group visit. A friend of mne went solo 2ice and he had no problem. He is a 35 yrs old male dou.
bussa17 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2017, 07:22 AM
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Ann--Do wander in dogster's site (Nigel Triffitt) , if you weren't around for the ride many years ago:


That's an activity that can be penciled in for several weeks.
Marija is offline  
Nov 12th, 2017, 07:43 AM
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@Marija - lol. Dogster is much missed.
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 12th, 2017, 08:21 AM
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Yes to a lot of this!

I also would suggest either the north or the south if you are talking about 2 weeks. More temples in the south. If you are not a temple person, try the north! But I found the north more chaotic, dusty etc than the south.

I flew on Emirates, a 380 even back in 2010. Loved it. Spacious, free booze, good connection to Kochi in Dubai even though it was a madhouse at 2am.

And I miss Dogster too. Loved his attitude.

And to add, the B Minor Mass is certainly worth organising your trip around. Wish I could join you.. both in singing and travelling.

Best of luck and hugs
gertie3751 is offline  
Nov 12th, 2017, 12:08 PM
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I'm having problems posting, so if this manages to "take", thanks again to you all. I appreciate all your ideas and thoughts, even the ones I don't agree with!

Maria - I didn't know Dogster but his reputation precedes him, and I'll be reading the blog, no doubt, plus the other TRs etc which you've all pointed me towards.

thursdaysd - this is what I tried to post earlier:

I am not wedded to LGW but I am to premium economy, and Emirates will cost roughly 2x BA out of LHR, which I can get to reasonably easily on the train, so sadly, Emirates is out. Your itinerary looks great, though I probably won't be brave enough to use the overnight train - I too saw Inquest's post about that drive and I agree that it looks intriguing.

And I have already decided that I don't want to spend any nights in a houseboat though half a day might be ok.

If anyone has any ideas for a 2 week itinerary for the north, starting and ending in Delhi, which doesn't involve long drives, I'd be very interested.

Now to ask the agents what they think.
annhig is offline  
Nov 12th, 2017, 12:15 PM
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This sounds like an exciting trip.

My aunt is single, and a quiet person who doesn't like overbearing people or making small talk just to fill the silence. Still she has gone on several group tours to Thailand and Vietnam and really liked them. She has always managed to find others on her trips with a similar temperment, and some she has stayed friends with after the trip.

I can find out what company she uses, but I know it was not a solo-traveler group as some of her new friends have been couples.
5alive is offline  
Nov 12th, 2017, 02:30 PM
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We had the pleasure of meeting Nigel aka the dogster once. What a character. My wife called him hot dog. . He was an amazing talented man, full of life, acerbic wit and humor. You may find this interesting:

jacketwatch is online now  
Nov 13th, 2017, 07:31 AM
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I just emailed 3 agents - indiabycaranddriver, panorama, and gardensinindia.

We will see what transpires.

I also spent a fun few minutes reading part of Dogster's blog, as well as thursdaysd's TR - both excellent reads.
annhig is offline  
Nov 13th, 2017, 08:25 AM
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BTW you can also consider Mr. VP Singh at:
We were very pleased with his services
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Nov 13th, 2017, 06:26 PM
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Dogster's reports were certainly the best I've ever read on Fodors, We travelled in his footsteps on the Assam Bengal Navigation cruise down the Brahmaputra and met one of the guide's he described - llets just say he had his own wonderful perspective and artistic license! I'm not sure anyone would have the same trip he would, or be able to bring as much color, joy and humor to the experience. He is indeed missed.

Annhig - great to hear you're planning an India trip, seeing the beauty and variety in the world is always helpful to my ability to keep moving.

I haven't travelled to India on my own so I can't help with solo travel advice, but I would recommend checking out the hotels listed on i-escape and Audley. We've loved some of the small boutique properties we've stayed in in India including Rohet Garh, Devi Garh and Ravla Khempur around Udaipur and Khem Villas at Rathampure and nearby.They also list places in the south which may be useful

Any of these smaller palace hotels(particularly those run by the local gentry) will greet you very warmly and I think you'd that particularly welcome when traveling alone. At a place like Shahpura Bagh and in Bassi Fort Palace we had dinner both with the family and other guests which was very convivial.

India takes time so i think the advice to go north or south is well thought out. I went to India three times before I made it to the Taj and if this isn't a "must do" for you I'd consider leaving it out of a Rajasthan/Delhi itinerary in order to give you enough time to enjoy the countryside. After Agra Jaipur is the most touristy town in Rajasthan and I'd happily skip that too but I realize that wouldn't be typical either. Given the family connection I'd be inclined to go south. I haven't been to the places you mentioned but I was curious to hear you don't want to do the overnight on the river boats, as several friends went and they said to skip it too.

Not sure you need any more regions to consider but I have to say we very much enjoyed the Assam Bengal Navigation Cruise we took.

We rarely do anything in a group but I'd just had surgery and we were looking for something that took us well off the beaten path but that was also comfortable and fully arranged for us. Something like that might give you the opportunity to be with other people for 5 nights or more without committing to the entire trip with them.

here's a link to our first India TR which may be out of date but just in case -

Best of luck!
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Nov 14th, 2017, 07:59 AM
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As i am shut out of posting on all threads except my own I have come back to say that I have emailed 3-4 agents. and so far [email protected] is the only one to respond so he is definitely top of my list for that reason alone. Also he seems to understand what I want to do, [probably better than I do myself at this point] sent me an individual response, not a proforma, and has given me a rough idea of cost that seems realistic for what I want to do, bearing in mind that I am not good at roughing it, especially when I am out of my comfort zone.

He suggests flying into Chennai, [probable arrival breakfast time] and immediately driving to a place called Mahabalipuram rather than staying in Chennai itself, then touring Tamil Nadu, through Kerala to Cochin, and then possibly flying back to Chennai at the end so i could spend a little time there, [probably easier at the end of the trip than the beginning, which I understand] and flying home from there.

Question - is there a particular reason why one might not want to do this trip in reverse - i.e. fly into Cochin and out of Chennai, which would cut out that internal flight at the end of the trip?

[fingers crossed it posts]
annhig is offline  
Nov 14th, 2017, 08:00 AM
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annhig is offline  
Nov 14th, 2017, 08:30 AM
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Just looked Mahabalipuram up on the map. Looks like the same place as I went to called Mamallapuram. Yes, go there! Nice temples, beaches, fish. There will be side-trips to take if you want.
Didn't stay in Chennai itself, went straight out down the coast.
Stay in Heritage properties if you have the option. More interesting and you really feel you are in India! They are like something out of Jewel in the Crown.
Yes, I can't see why you shouldn't do it the other way round.
Tim sounds like a good find.

Whatever is happening here at Fodors? I am having no trouble at all posting/reading both on desktop and IPad. Does Fodors favour the US residents??
gertie3751 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2017, 09:27 AM
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just tried to respond to you Gertie and failed. What is happening indeed?
annhig is offline  
Nov 14th, 2017, 10:11 AM
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No reason whatever not to do it in reverse, no reason for that internal flight. A good part of the itinerary I posted was reversed from my last trip!
thursdaysd is offline  
Nov 14th, 2017, 10:35 AM
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There’s a good reason TO DO the trip in reverse. We did much the same trip in January 2017, starting in Chennai, ending in Cochin. As we left the state of Tamil Nadu, (in Madurai) there were two excellent tours run by Indian Panorama and arranged for us by Tim. “Watching the city wake up” gave an excellent overview of many cultural aspects, and the “street food “ tour informed us of the many food items we’d been eating for the past week. It would have been great to have those at the beginning of our time in Tamil Nadu. Recommend The Bangala in the Chettinad region for heritage and amazing food.
sartoric is offline  
Nov 14th, 2017, 10:46 AM
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Having problems again from iPhone so try try again.
jacketwatch is online now  
Nov 14th, 2017, 10:46 AM
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And now ok but for how long)
jacketwatch is online now  
Nov 14th, 2017, 11:58 AM
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And don't miss Pondicherry for a taste of France-in-India.
gertie3751 is offline  
Nov 14th, 2017, 12:38 PM
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LOL, gertie, no favoritism to USA post-ers. iIt took two hours of attempts to post a reply a few days ago! You are right--Mamallaprum is same as Mahabalipuram.

Sartoric, do you mean there's a reason to NOT do the trip in reverse of Annhig's original plan to start in Chennai, and end in Cochin. You're saying that IS best because you wish you had done the tours at start ( TN) of your trip?

Annhig, you've not yet bought the round-trip ("return" as you Brits say ) plane tix, correct? IF that's the case, putting the "research" time in Chennai at the end of the trip is a good idea. Presumably you 'll want to investigate and visit history r/t your Mum and Gran. To spend a full intense day in Chennai at the very start of the trip--first time in India, after a long travel day--might be a overwhelming (as India city's are): not a gentle landing, literally and figuratively. Once you've had more time to get acclimated to India, it's a project you'll be more ready to take on at the end of the trip. There are frequent nonstop plane between Cochin and Chennai.

Other than the reason Sartoric gave, which is quite sensible--learn first to appreciate the rest of the trip-- no reason to not start in Cochin, and make you way back to Chennai. You are going to have an additional flight "leg" in any case (i.e. there are no nonstop flights afaik between UK and Cochin). It will be either at the start of the trip (UK--transfer airport-Cochin) or at end of trip (Cochin- Chennai-UK ) . Hope this makes sense??

Re: not roughing it, I understand! Years ago on Fodors, a very experienced traveler wrote, if there's one country where, on a first trip, should get the most comfortable and pampering lodging you can afford, it's India! My level of "affordability" has increased, to keep up with aging!! With many of the smaller "heritage" or "boutique" places and higher-end homestays, you can have relative luxury India-style (which is wonderful!) and still be very much a part of local life.
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