Trip to India

Dec 18th, 2004, 08:59 PM
  #1  
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Trip to India

I am thinking about going to India next year for 2 weeks and am looking for suggestions. I typically like to explore maybe 3 areas in this amount of time and don't like to move fromm place to place every 2 days so a package tour is not for me. Can anyone suggest what 3 cities I should concentrate on and in what order. I love to shop and go to good restaurants so that is important. I am a 40 yr. old female who will be traveling on my own and am looking for reasonably priced hotels. I'm a pretty seasoned traveler but am wondering if I should seek the assistance of a resonably priced travel agent for this trip. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
austine is offline  
Dec 19th, 2004, 01:10 AM
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I would go with a local agent - becomes easier to organize stuff like guides, car transfers, train bookings, etc. The agent we used for our April trip to India worked with our budget so we could spend 1 night at a luxury hotel we wanted to stay at while still keeping the average down by booking us into small - and in 1 case a new - hotels elsewhere. In terms of suggestions time of year is imp. In 2 weeks I would suggest yoou could consider the foll (1) Delhi (sightseeing, shopping, eating out, the works)
(2) Jaipur (sightseeing, eating out)
(3) Agra (the Taj Mahal)
and (4) Ranthambore (wildlife - the great Bengal tiger if you are lucky).
You would fly in and out of Delhi as that is likely how your flights would be.

Another option would be
Kerala (Thekkady wildlife sanctuary, Kumarokam - backwaters and scenic beauty), Agra (the Taj) and Delhi (sightseeing and shopping).

Pl advise time of year and I can be more specific.
hobbes is offline  
Dec 19th, 2004, 02:02 AM
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Hobbes's last sentence is, surely, the all-important one here.

India is a vast sub-continent, subject in various areas to extremes of temperature and rainfall (or lack thereof); the monsoons could make or break your holiday.

If you have a choice of time, I would suggest you first get hold of a guide book such as "Lonely Planet" and narrow down your choices a bit, and then the experts on this forum could plan an itinerary based on the two or three "must-sees" you have identified, and tell you when to go. If you are "locked into" a particular time of the year, then let the weather conditions determine whether you head north, south, east or west.
Alan is offline  
Dec 19th, 2004, 03:14 AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I am thinking of going in February/March or October/November.
austine is offline  
Dec 19th, 2004, 05:40 AM
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I agree with hobbes for the suggestions, with exception of Ranthambore. There are tigers, indeed, but chances are you are going to see them only on a picture in the dining hall of your lodge. You ought to be rather lucky, so I frankly do not know how much time you want to invest in trying to see the very elusive tigers, especially if this is your first trip in India. At any rate, if you chose to go to Ranthambore, it really makes no sense to go for only one day (=two nights), you have to make sure you can have four or five drives into the bush, and hope for the best. Personally, I think you have better ways of using your time in India.
cram is offline  
Dec 19th, 2004, 12:20 PM
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Austine, if you choose the October/November option, you are right at the start of some VERY nice weather, with the monsoon rains all clearing away from the north/west areas, and the country fresh and green. I think it might still be a bit wet down south, especially in Chennai and that area. Your best bet, I would say, would be Rajasthan, and if you were travelling only on land, that would probably use up your two weeks very easily. However, the careful use of a few internal flights might allow you to expand your horizons.

You might find that one of the two-week passes from Jet Airways (Indian Airlines have one too, but Jet gets the best press)a useful way to see a bit of the country (see details on http://www.jetairways.com/Cultures/en-US/HomePage.htm), and, while EVERYWHERE they fly is enchanting, here are a few extra-special suggestions:

(1) Going north: Leh, in Ladakh. This area will be starting to get cold by mid-October, so it might make a good first stop (certainly don't leave it too far into November!). There are daily (early morning) flights from Delhi, and the flight across the Himalayas is sensational, not to mention the thrill of strolling around one of the highest cities in the world! Coming from Delhi, you will be sure that the plane must have been diverted and you're in the wrong country.

(2) going east: Varanasi and Khajuraho. Jet will allow the itinerary Delhi-Leh-Khajuraho-Varanasi because it's not REALLY "doubling back" (not permitted on their pass), even though it does keep going through Delhi -- but it has to do that because of the way their flights are routed.

(3) Going west: Udaipur (not the easiest place in India to reach by train or bus, so a flight is recommended), and then to Jodhpur.

From Jodhpur, maybe you could take an overnight train to Jaisalmer, which is definitely worth a couple of days. Return on the train to Jaipur, and from there finish your Jet Airways pass with a flight back to Delhi.

I didn't include Agra in all of that, because it's quite easy to get to from Delhi -- plenty of buses, trains, and some people even hire a car and driver for the day -- and, frankly, it's not the greatest city in India, even though it's on nearly everyone's "must-visit" list because of one building (which can be seen in ninety minutes).

Want a paid guide to accompany you every step of the way and show you around? I really envy you the choices -- and even though I haven't been to India in March, so I can't speak from experience here, I really do think that October/November is a great time to go, so hold onto that option, if possible.
Alan is offline  
Dec 19th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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OK. My two bits! Both March and Oct are starting to get warm so bear that in mind while planning. Let me first start adding to others' suggestions and then supplement with something of my own!

(1) Cram is abs right about luck and Ranthambore. We were there for a night in April, did 2 safari rides and saw tigers on both! Our closest sighting was 2 cubs at a 10 ft distance! Having said that chances of seeing tigers increase hugely in warmer weather when they hang out near watering holes so Feb and Nov will be better for other things but not for tigers. If u like wildlife there are other game park options you could explore for a couple of days - Kanha, Sariska, Corbett so let's move on from this one.

(2) Ladakh - I think it opens June and closes Sept so this may not be an option but you should check. I love Leh - it is one of the most enchanted places in India. But window of opportunity to visit is short. Also, on a 2 wk trip am not sure about this - bear in mind that going up and coming down you need time to acclimatize so a day is lost both ways.

(3) Rajashtan - comp agree - is amazing. You could easily spend a great deal of your time here. It does not perhaps satisfy your good shopping (I feel the same stuff with better variety is available in Delhi) and even good restaurant criteria AS WELL as say Delhi or Mumbai.

(4) Agra - IMO a trip to India without Agra is like going to Egypt and not seeing the Pyramids. Reality far surpasses any pics you may have seen. Also, Agra has the Agra Fort - worth an hour at least - and Fatehpur Sikri - worth 1.5-2 hours at least - of sightseeing. Alan is right tho that 1 night is enough and that train/car connections into Agra are so good that you do not need to factor this hugely into your planning. Just ensure you leave 1.5 days for this!

Just to make things interesting let me add Goa to your thinking - meets your reasonably priced hotels, shopping and restaurant criteria!
hobbes is offline  
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