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To tour [India] or not to tour, that is the question.

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Nov 14th, 2018, 02:46 PM
  #1
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To tour [India] or not to tour, that is the question.

Some of you here may remember that I've been thinking about going to India, in fact I booked a tour last year but cancelled for a variety of reasons. I have thought about going it alone, [by which I mean using the services of a company like India Panorama] but I am put off partly because I don't really fancy spending 2 weeks or so by myself with a driver and various guides, and partly by the fact that I feel that for my first visit to India I would like the the security of traveling with a tour company. Perhaps if there were two of us it would be different [we did this very successfully in Sri Lanka] but I'm concerned about safety as a women by myself in India, particularly when I have no experience of it

As for many of the tours I see offered by Intrepid, Jules Verne etc. one of the things that puts me off is the speed at which these tours travel and how they all visit the same places which must be terribly crowded. Then I found a nature tour which adds in some cultural aspects as well bird and animal watching and another one which covers the some of the same ground as more run of the mill tours, but does it in more detail.

This is the tour which concentrates more on birding etc:

https://www.naturetrek.co.uk/tours/t...northern-india

And this is the more leisurely one around Rajasthan:

https://www.explore.co.uk/holidays/a...in-north-india

Any thoughts and suggestions you may have will be gratefully received. I am thinking about late Jan/early Feb next year as I'm already committed to the Valencia GTG in mid March.
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Nov 14th, 2018, 03:26 PM
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I can't recommend Explore. I used them for Jordan and was disappointed (see my Middle East TR for details or start here: https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...heres-my-tour/ )

The Nature Trek spends more time than I would want in Bharatpur, and admits up front that you are unlikely to see tigers.

How about this: https://www.roadscholar.org/find-an-...orth-and-south
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Nov 14th, 2018, 05:00 PM
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After reading your initial post Annhig, I closed the computer while considering a reply, and ten minutes later reopened to find Thursdaysd's reply. While she and I differ on some aspects of travel in India, she "took the words
out of my mouth" with her totally spot-on comments here! My thoughts repeat/reinforce what she wrote:

1.Bharatpur. Even birders there told me they were disappointed. I thought the Kalaheo Sanctuary was "meh" (disclaimer:I am not a birder) and as for the town itself, it was one off the most dismal I've seen in India. One night there was too much for me. IF you are seeking a wildlife-oriented tour in choosing your trip, there are probably much better Indian safari tours.

2 The second-listed tour-.Unless missing a section of the tour description, I see nothing "leisurely" or "in more detail" than any other Rajasthan tours, in the one from "Explore." It looks vey much a typical fast-paced, standard-sited, Rajasthan tour.


3. Most important... After recently receiving a Road Scholar catalog and being intrigued by some of their Asia tours, I thought they'd be a perfect tour company to go with...on the same tour cited by Thursdaysd. It looks fantastic, with interesting places, good pacing, some unique lodgings. If I were doing a tour to get a great, interesting, overview of India...I'd GRAB this one!!!! I honestly don't think you'd beat it as a group tour!! Hoping they have departure dates that match your plans. You could meet up with them in New Delhi.

Re : solo vs group: I like "solo" travel (in my case, often with Indian Panorama's assistance before and during a trip). I rarely feel alone, or even lonely, but then, I enjoy quiet "myself' time in the evening. Based on what you write, I suspect you'll be happier and calmer with a group tour. What I like doesnt matter--you know yourself, and you live the choice. A custom private tour might work well for you IF you have a friend who will commit to that. Is that a possibility? Then if you have a travel mate, would you both want to do "just you two" trips, or as roommates on the above Road Scholar tour?

Overall, I'd say, go with a fantastic, reasonably paced group tour, such as that from Road Scholar.
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Nov 14th, 2018, 07:17 PM
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Ann we met a group of eight English people on tour in Bikaner. Led by Angela (also a Brit), she spends six months of the year in India and they had a really interesting itinerary including some private home stays. I’m sorry I didn’t get more details to pass on to you, but maybe try googling “small group/private tour”. They were from the north, and all having a great time.
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Nov 14th, 2018, 09:10 PM
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You should definitely go to India , It is a beautiful country with diverse culture and traditions.
Various Travel agencies are there to help you out, just go there and have fun
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Nov 14th, 2018, 11:48 PM
  #6
 
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Great idea from Sartoric to google "small group tour to India from UK" or similar

For example, doing that, i found this---just one among many. No comment or feedback from me on the itinerary, or the UK company (Newmarket) other than the lodgings sound wonderful.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/t...eparture-dates

I still prefer the Road Scholar one mentioned above, as it covers a variety of states in interesting ways. But it is a week longer.

Whatever or wherever you decide, do go. You'll have an amazing time.
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Nov 15th, 2018, 05:08 AM
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Road Scholar also has a shorter India trip.
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Nov 16th, 2018, 03:22 PM
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Dear all,

thank you all so much for taking the time to respond. honest opinions is what Fodors is about and I certainly got them. Thursdays - I had forgotten [if I ever truly knew] that your Jordan trip was with Explorer, and I take your and CaliNurse points about it. Calinurse - I might well be up for a solo trip in the future but not for a first visit to India - I feel I need the security of being with a group while I "suss" out a bit how the country works. And thanks for the link to Newmarket travel -that is a company I have looked at in the past but had overlooked this time - there are just so many companies!

Thursdaysd - you're right that that Roads Scholar trip looks good but the length and dates don't really work for me. Also they are very expensive compared with UK based tours and they don't include flights and single supplements. With the fall in the pound I think they are out.

Sartoric - good idea to google small group tours to India.

I will report back. I am still looking at Egypt too - I do fancy a Nile cruise and the idea of not having to pack and unpack all the time is very appealing.
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Nov 16th, 2018, 03:48 PM
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I'm not being rude, but how old are you? Do you qualify for Saga tours? My elder sister uses them extensively for travel in Europe, and I see that they have 18 trips to India.

This looks interesting: https://travel.saga.co.uk/holidays/destinations/asia/india/himalayan-heritage-trail.aspx?boardbasis=NONE

Did you look at Imaginative Traveler? They are UK based.

Last edited by thursdaysd; Nov 16th, 2018 at 03:51 PM.
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Nov 17th, 2018, 02:02 PM
  #10
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Hi Thursdaysd - sorry I have been somewhat remiss in doing the homework you had all set me, as I was "quite" busy today, welcoming my new tenant into our rental property, packing to go to Venice tomorrow, and going to watch our local rugby team play. So thanks for doing it for me!

Yes, sadly I've been qualified for Saga for some time! [in fact one of the staff at the place my mum has moved into asked me while I was carrying boxes from the car if I was the new resident in mum's building, and then about 10 minutes later she come up to me and apologised - she said I looked too energetic to be living there, but TBH I didn't feel it at that point!]

But I hadn't thought of them! They used to send us the brochures but they stopped. I did look at Imaginative travel - they look good too. Too much choice!

off to have a look now.
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Dec 2nd, 2018, 01:30 PM
  #11
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Back again. I seem to take one step forward and two back. [or is it two forward and one back?].

ok, I seem to have narrowed it down to these two tours of Rajasthan:

https://www.explore.co.uk/holidays/a...2019#itinerary

https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/...temples-tigers

Thursdaysd - Saga didn't seem to have anything that appealed in either Jan or early Feb which is when I want to go.
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Dec 2nd, 2018, 02:11 PM
  #12
 
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I already expressed my opinion of Explore - I would not travel with them again. Another Fodors poster used them for two tours in Central Asia and one tour was good and one bad. However, both tours are too fast paced, but the Wild Frontier's one is worst. I prefer the Explore itinerary. I didn't check the hotels and I notice that there are more meals included on the WF tour.

I would really keep looking.
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