Golden Triangle Tour, Is Driver AND Tour guide necessary?

#1 Sep 11th, 2012, 06:23
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  • desotodave is offline
#1
We're traveling to India in January, and booking a driver, hotels, etc. through a tour company. They are charging extra for an English speaking tour guide. I'm just wondering if a tour guide is necessary in addition to the driver.
#2 Sep 11th, 2012, 07:00
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  • Merchant is offline
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Your guide is an accredited professional who will facilitate your entry into all the sites and provide knowledgable commentary. Your driver will be happy to chat with you, but he won't be allowed to act as your guide when you are inside the Taj Mahal and other places. A tour guide is a legitimate profession.

I was at Mahabalipuram last year, where I have been many times, and said, "No thanks" to a tour guide. He responded, "No thanks means you come, you look at stones."

I saw the merits of his argument.
#3 Sep 11th, 2012, 07:01
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  • nycank is offline
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by desotodave View Post We're traveling to India in January, and booking a driver, hotels, etc. through a tour company. They are charging extra for an English speaking tour guide. I'm just wondering if a tour guide is necessary in addition to the driver.
It depends on what kind of a trip you are planning ? If I am visiting a new place/country I have a rough itinerary and have read up about the history, architecture of the places I plan to visit. I avoid local guides. Having said that, I have contacted local students in (Art history, Architecture, Sociology etc.) certain places to add color and insight to places which have had a whitewashed history or past.

You could ignore the guide extra, and then play it by the ear and eyes for certain monuments and/or cities.
#4 Sep 11th, 2012, 08:37
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I think there is an element of "it depends".

The driver is there to assist you with all your small requirements throughout your trip, showing you small places of interest along the way and describing different socio-cultural things you might see — marriages, funerals, festivals and other parts of daily life. They are not licensed guides and cannot take you inside monuments or temples to give detailed explanations.

I took the option of a guide for at least one day in most cities. Many destinations have self-guided audio tours available; and of course, you can do the research before you go; however a local guide can do some much more - like provide good suggestions for restaurants, suggest reasonable prices when bargaining, (be aware though, that if they take you shopping, they are probably on commission where they take you), getting you through a queue a whole lot quicker than everybody else, and fending off hawkers and and others trying to take your money.
#5 Sep 12th, 2012, 00:07
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  • vishal7ue is offline
#5
Frankly, originally being an Indian, I have never required to hire a driver for his English speaking skills. I do not think a guide is necessary as most drivers who are used to tourists would be able to understand and/or speak broken english.

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