Need urgent help planning my itinerary - Going for Honeymoon to Shimla+Manali+D'shala

#1 Apr 30th, 2010, 15:08
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  • stranger333 is offline
#1
Hi fellow members, I am a new member to this community and found my way here while doing a Google search, and must say that it is a great and very informative community. I have already read lot of posts by you guys and am more informative about Himachal Pradesh (HP) now than I was before. But since this is the first time that I am going to HP, I would really appreciate your help on planning a decent itinerary.

We are 2 couples traveling to HP for Honeymoon in June 2010 (from June 8th to June 15th) right after our marriages. Since both of us are Club Mahindra (CM) members, we have already booked our stay with CM resorts in Shimla, Manali and Dharamshala. I had to do this because the resorts were getting full and if I would have delayed, I wouldn't have got occupancy. So now, my stay is in:

3N/3D - Club Mahindra Whispering Pines at Gables Mashobra, Shimla (Mashobra,Shimla)

2N/2D - Club Mahindra SnowPeaks, Manali (Prini Village,Kullu)

2N/2D - Club Mahindra Kangra Valley, Dharamshala (Hotel Palace Heights, Yol Road, Sheela Chowk Sidhpur, Dharamshala)

My bookings are in the order of Shimla, then Manali and finally Dharamshala, and we will be traveling from Ahmedabad. For now, we have planned to take a flight from Ahmedabad to Delhi (fare around Rs. 2100 per person), and from Delhi we are planning to hire either an AC Tavera or AC Innova to Shimla. If I take an Air India flight, it reaches Delhi at 11 p.m., so I can spend a night in Delhi and then start for Shimla early in the morning. Now after reading about travel times and distance, I think it should take about 7-8 hrs by road to reach Shimla from Delhi, but I could be wrong. For now, we only plan to take taxi till Shimla, and then let the driver go back.

Suppose if we do this, then we will reach Delhi on June 7th night, start for Shimla at around 6-7 a.m. from Delhi on June 8th and reach Shimla by 3 p.m. on June 8th (i.e. if my 7-8 hrs road journey calc is correct). Then we plan to spend June 8th, 9th and 10th in Shimla roaming around Shimla and visiting near by areas, and then leave for Manali on June 11th early morning. Now again for this, we plan to hire a taxi (preferably Tavera/Innova) from Shimla to Manali, and we think that it should again take 7-8 hrs to reach Manali. Our check-in in Manali is on June 11th at 2 p.m., so if my calc about traveling time is correct, we should reach Manali resort by 2-3 p.m. Then we are going to spend June 11th and June 12th in Manali, and leave for Dharamshala on June 13th morning. If it again takes 7-8 hrs from Manali to Dharamshala, we should reach Dharamshala by 2-3 p.m. on June 13th, and then we will spend June 13th and June 14th in CM resort in Dharamshala and then finally check-out on June 15th morning and head back to Ahmedabad.

Now we know that we should have spent more time in Manali as after reading posts in this forum, I realize that Manali is way too beautiful and one can easily spend the entire 1 week there and still feel that it was less.. so 2 days might not be enough at all, but we didn't have a choice as rooms were available for only 2 days in Manali, and so we had to opt for 3 days in Shimla, whereas ideally we would have wanted to spend 2 days in Shimla and 3 days in Manali. But since these bookings are already done and confirmed, my questions are:

1) What all places should we visit during our above mentioned stay in Shimla, Manali and Dharamshala considering the fact that we are going on our honeymoon, so would ideally prefer places which are not overly crowded and also would like to avoid a clustered itinerary with too much traveling involved.

2) I figured that Shimla would be closer to Chandigarh, but there are no flights from Ahmedabad to Chandigarh, and flights to Delhi are available at a reasonable fare. So can you guys suggest if I have chosen the right mode of transport from Ahmedabad, or can I opt for something better and less time consuming and less tiring?

3) For my above mentioned plan, I plan to take a taxi from Delhi to Shimla, and then let the taxi go back.. then again take taxi from Shimla to Manali.. and then take taxi from Manali to Dharamshala.. so do you guys think that booking a car for the entire 7 days should be more feasible?? I would like to mention here that although both us couples plan to go till Shimla together, we plan to roam around in Shimla, Manali and Dharamshala separately and on our own.. so we will not be using the same car.. but again, while going to Manali from Shimla, and from Manali to Dharamshala, we will be going together.. So what do you guys suggest would be cheaper and convenient??

4) While returning back, we want to visit Golden Temple in Amritsar, but that is still a thought and not yet materialized.. In case if it doesn't materialize, we will be returning to different destinations i.e. One couple will be returning back to Ahmedabad, and the other will be returning to Delhi. So should we all come back to Delhi and then make our respective journeys, or is there some close-by place from Dharamshala from where we can get easy flights/trains to Ahmedabad and Mumbai at a decent fare.

Please help me out here guys as there is not much time left, and I need to finalize all the travel bookings (resort bookings are already done) asap. I will appreciate any bit of help/info you guys can provide.


Thanks in advance.


Rahul
#2 Apr 30th, 2010, 17:53
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#2
Hi folks, is the email too large?? If yes, feel free to comment on the same and I will try to edit and reduce the size.. I just thought of providing all the possible details of my trip so that all of you senior fellow members can help me plan a nice itinerary for me as I want to make my honeymoon a very memorable and special one..

Feel free to comment if you feel that it is a big email to read, and not worth replying..
#3 Apr 30th, 2010, 20:00
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  • madhu_nair is offline
#3
Hi Stranger,
Yes, it is quite long

Here is my cents for your Shimla stay.

I was in Mashobra a few weeks back and had passed by the CM resort. It did look like a nice one.
Mashobra is about 16kms from Shimla City.

You can spend a day in Mashobra (nice short easy treks).
Here is a post from our blog. You can go through it to see if you'd like to explore Mashobra.
http://10yearitch.com/?p=3277
Pictures : http://10yearitch.com/?p=3286

For Shimla, check the following posts.
Trip Report http://10yearitch.com/?p=3227
Pics http://10yearitch.com/?p=3229
http://10yearitch.com/?p=3223

You could spend a day and half in Shimla. I think 3D/N is good for Mashobra/Shimla. You do not need a car for Mashobra. You can rent a car to go to Shimla from Mashobra. It should cost you about 300 bucks for a small car.

To get to Shimla, you should see if you can fly into Chandigarh.
Chandigarh is about 3-4 hrs from Shimla. There are Volvo buses available from both Delhi and Chandigarh. Since there are 4 of you, may be renting a car makes more sense.

Safe Travels!
#4 Apr 30th, 2010, 20:07
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  • madhu_nair is offline
#4
Also, get yourself a copy of 'Outlook Traveller Getaways Himachal'. You'll find it at your local book store. It's a real nice book with a lot of details. It costs about 250-300 bucks.
#5 Apr 30th, 2010, 20:21
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#5
Thanks for the reply 10yearitch.. I guess because my post is so long, not many people bother to read it and so I am not getting much responses.. by the way, any idea wht's the frequency like for volvo bus between Chandigarh and Simla? I can take the Kalka Shatabdi to Chandigarh and then take the volvo to Simla
#6 Apr 30th, 2010, 20:49
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  • dhananjay is offline
#6

Hello

Hello,

As our friend 10YI Says Shimla is good for 3d .. its actually good ... all mahindra properties in Himachal Pradesh are nice ... Whispering Pines is a good property and its kind of heritage (Hotel Gables) before mahindra took up the place. Lots of walks ... Craignanoo is Nice, Moolkoti and Sipur Village are good. Walk to Charabara (Wildflower hall is good). You could even go downhill (2 hrs to tattapani) and indulge in rafting. So three days in shimla neat. As 10 YI says .. go to Shimla spend some time on the mall. Its Nice, one of its kind .. (I am from shimla, so would definitely say thumbs up for the Mall) it be as crowded as it can get. You would only need a cab from Mashobra to shimla. or if you go to tattapani. The walk in Mashobra can be done by self. For Shimla allow 300-400 Rups and For Tattapani 1200-1300 Rups)

You should actually hire a cab when you go to manali and keep it there on. The whole thing with Dharamshala should see you spending about 2500 (upper limit) a day on transport.

Patahnkot is the place near Dharamshala (4 hours) from where you can go to Delhi (Trains) Book them now.

Amritsar is not be missed, if its your first time. Allow Wagah, Jalianwalla, GOLDEN TEMPLE, Durgyani Temple. Its worth it.

Enjoy the trip,

Cheers and Regards,
Dhananjay
#7 Apr 30th, 2010, 21:37
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  • madhu_nair is offline
#7
You can check the bus details here http://www.hptdc.nic.in/bus.htm

The bus which leaves from Delhi goes to Shimla via Chandigarh.
Unfortunately the Chandigarh-Shimla leg can not be booked online.
But you can always go to the ISBT in Chandigarh and catch the bus.

Another option is to take a 'toy' train from Kalka to Shimla. It's a world heritage site (i think). It takes about 5 hours.

Hope this helps.
#8 May 2nd, 2010, 01:05
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#8
Hi 10YI and Dhananjay, thanks for your inputs and advise.. I am now thinking of flying to Delhi, and then from Delhi taking the shatabdi to Chandigarh, and then taking a taxi/volvo from Chandigarh to Shimla.. So reaching till Shimla is fine, and I think I can reach there by afternoon which is when I have to check-in into the CM resort.. But my question is that for my journey from Shimla to Manali.. and then later from Manali to Dharamshala.. and finally from Dharamshala to Pathankot (or Delhi - not decided on this yet).. should I rely on HPTDC buses.. or should I hire a cab at each location.. or should I just get a cab from Chandigarh itself all the way to Pathankot (i.e. keep the cab for next 7 days).. As we are four people, I think traveling in cab (Tavera/Innova) should be cheaper compared to volvo tickets.. but I could be wrong here..

so what do you guys suggest for this??

And Dhananjay.. I haven't ever been to Amritsar.. although my would-be-wife has been there.. but she wouldn't mind going again.. so can you suggest how should we alter our itinerary to include Amritsar on our way back.. And will it be very hot in Amritsar in June??


Thanks again for your help. And other IM folks, please provide your inputs too so that I can have a memorable honeymoon.
#9 May 2nd, 2010, 14:35
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#9
Hi Dhananjay, I saw your response to Sri's thread (kri_sri), and seems he too is planning his honeymoon at the same time as us.. I saw that you helped him outline a detailed itinerary which is not too hectic, very relaxing and in the same time, enjoyable.. Can you please help me do the same for my trip..

I know I have one constraint that I have already booked the hotels to stay (CM resorts in Mashobra, Manali and Dharamshala), so I will not be able to gradually travel from Simla and stay overnight at different places on my way.. but still, considering this constraint, can you please help me outline a nice itinerary which helps us visit places which are scenic, memorable and not too crowded.. I will really appreciate your help in this regards.


Thanks again.
#10 May 2nd, 2010, 21:30
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#10
Hi,
Having a car is always more comfortable. So if the cost seems ok, go for it. Esp since it's your honeymoon

HPTDC (non Volvo) buses are very basic and definitely not the mode of transport for honeymooners You'll never hear the end of it from your better half

Either hire a car for the entire trip or just use it for point to point transfers.
Cheers!
#11 May 3rd, 2010, 01:07
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#11
Thanks again 10YI for the reply and valuable info.. any idea how much would hiring a Tavera/Innova cost?? Now I have decided to take a flight to Delhi, and from Delhi, take the Himalayan Queen chair car to Kalka, and the same Himalayan Queen to Shimla.. The reason I have chosen Himalayan Queen over Kalka Shatabadi is because it looks like that the same Himalayan Queen train goes to Shimla from Kalka, and so there is no chance to miss the train due to delay.. but I could be wrong.. Is my thinking correct that its the same Himalayan Queen train between Delhi-Kalka and Kalka-Shimla? And is the Himalayan Queen Chair car air-conditioned and comfortable between Delhi-Kalka? I had read that between Kalka-Shimla, the journey is very scenic and there are some special deluxe trains which have wall-to-wall carpeted coaches, and has nice seating and music system and breakfast and lunch facilities.. is Himalayan Queen one of those?

From Shimla, I plan to roam on my own.. and then on 14th morning, I plan to take a Tavera/Innova to Manali and keep the car with me from there on for my onwards journey to Dharamshala on 16th, and then my journey between Dharamshala and Amritsar.. and then I plan to drop the car to Amritsar.. do you think this will be cost effective? or should I just hire car from one point to another??? and can you tell me how much approx. time it will take to travel between Shimla and Manali and from Manali to Dharamshala.. and finally from Dharamshala to Amritsar? Some of my friends told me that my journey will be very hectic and I will be spending most of time traveling which has discouraged me already but I can not do anything about this as I can not alter my bookings due to non-availability of resorts stays beyond what I have booked.. so do you also think that my traveling will be very hectic and cumbersome?

Sorry for asking so many questions.. but I hope that you will understand my concern since I have never traveled to HP and this is a special occasion for me.. I really appreciate yours, and all other fellow IM members responses.

Thanks
#12 May 3rd, 2010, 19:17
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  • stranger333 is offline
#12
No help guys??
#13 May 3rd, 2010, 23:28
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  • madhu_nair is offline
#13
Hi Stranger,
I have never taken the train from Delhi to Shimla. Hence can't comment on it.
I have heard good things about the Himalayan Queen. But just do a search on 'Himalayan Queen' - I am sure there some thread on that topic.

I have never been to Manali (plan to reach there later this month).

There is a separate thread on Taxi/Cab Prices on Himachal Pradesh forum. Dhananjay has provided some ball park numbers regarding prices. Check that out.

Once you reach Shimla, you can just hire a cab to go to Mashobra (CM Resort). Go there and see what works for you. Try the point to point option and see if works for you. If not, hire a cab for a longer duration.

Cheers!
#14 May 3rd, 2010, 23:59
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#14
Hi 10YI..I am not able to find much info on Himalayan Queen.. and can you help me plan an itinerary for Shimla, Manali and Dharamshala?


Thanks;
#15 May 4th, 2010, 16:07
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#15
common guys.. pls help.. my travel dates are approaching

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