Itinerary for 4 weeks around India with children - request for feedback

#1 May 19th, 2017, 14:18
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#1
Hi

I have posted a couple of other questions elsewhere, however I would appreciate advice on my itinerary. I am really impressed with the warmth and level of knowledge in the India Mike community - it seems like one of the nicer and more generous online communities!
I will be travelling with my wife and two children (aged 8 and 11) in December and January. After lots of discussion and reading, we have a proposed itinerary.
We plan to get Indrail passes, which will make booking trains much easier; and we want to have our itinerary well in advance so that we do not have to worry about getting berths. I understand that SD enterprises in the UK can arrange these for us with enough notice.
I love train travel, and my wife and children tolerate it - so the long hours of travel are not too much of a concern. Some of the length of stays are due to train timings.
Prior to going on our solo adventure, we will be taking a family intrepid tour, which covers the Golden Triangle and other part of Rajathstan.
I have been to India before (albeit many years ago); none of the others have.
The possible itinerary is as follows:

Delhi to Amritsar 3 nights
Amritsar to Delhi 1 night (for transit)
Delhi to Mumbai 2 nights
Mumbai to Goa 3 nights
Goa to Hampi 4 nights
Hampi to Vizag 2 nights
Vizag to Araku 1 night
Araku to Vizag 1 night (for transit)
Vizag to Bangalore 2 nights (to see friends)
Bangalore to Cochin 2 nights
Cochin to Kanyakumari 1 night
Kanyakumari to Varkala 4 nights
Varkala to Alleppey. 1 Night
Alleppey to Aluva to Cochin airport to real life

We're not averse to changing again at all - any advice or suggestions would be welcome.

Many thanks again.
#2 May 22nd, 2017, 05:22
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#2
I forgot to mention a budget... we want to average - over 4 weeks - less than $100AUD on hotels - which means we can spend some more in some places e.g. Goa, Mumbai - as long as we spend less in others. As mentioned before, we will be getting 2AC Indrail passes for transport.
Thanks for any replies.
#3 May 22nd, 2017, 05:31
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#3
You don't mention the age of the children. Be careful not wear them out with a rigorous travel demand..
#4 May 22nd, 2017, 05:34
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#4
8 and 11, from another thread.
#5 May 22nd, 2017, 08:54
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#5
Yes - sorry - 8 and 11. Both pretty resilient. Both interested in lots of things, especially food.
#6 May 22nd, 2017, 16:19
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#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caramello View Post
We plan to get Indrail passes, which will make booking trains much easier; and we want to have our itinerary well in advance so that we do not have to worry about getting berths. I understand that SD enterprises in the UK can arrange these for us with enough notice.
As far as I know the Indrail pass has no advantage by booking trains, see for more details this part of the man on seat61.
You have all the time to get the registration by the IRCTC completed. The latest procedure is again described on seat61.
When you have done this it is easy to book the tickets by yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caramello View Post
Amritsar to Delhi 1 night (for transit)
Delhi to Mumbai 2 nights
Depending on your budget consider to fly from Amritsar to Mumbai, see here.

Quote:
Goa to Hampi 4 nights
Hampi to Vizag 2 nights
Vizag to Araku 1 night
Araku to Vizag 1 night (for transit)
Be careful by planning the trains since Goa-Hampi as well Hampi-Vizag don't run daily.

We visited the Araku valley as a daytrip out of Vizag some years ago. It was very nice but I doubt if it is worth the detour and the long travel time.
#7 May 22nd, 2017, 18:23
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#7
Thank you for that suggestion. I think the advantages for us of the Indrail pass are that we can get berths booked early, and hopefully stay together; that booking with IRCTC is limited to (I think) six trips in the month. I've done the sums - there is not a massive difference for the convenience of an Indrail pass. The biggest disadvantage to me is that if we get sick of trains and decide to fly, we have already paid for the trains. I think (hope?) this is unlikely. As I mentioned, I like trains and in my previous trips to India, my fondest memories are of train journeys. I particularly remember an omelette that I had on some kind of sweet bread on a station somewhere in Madhya Pradesh. I have been chasing that high ever since!
I have checked the days and times of the trains so that we can get them on the right days. It is the main reason why we are spending one too few days in Goa and one too many days in Hampi!
#8 May 23rd, 2017, 00:08
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#8
Hi,
In your Kerala stretch you are travelling to and forth. Why so? Is your return international flight from Kochi? If not, you can travel in southerly direction from Kochi with stops at Alleppey, Varkala & Thiruvananthapuram / directly to Kanyakumari and catch the return flight from Thiruvananthapuram (TRV). I doubt whether Varkala is worth 4 days. Are all places selected based on availability of rail connectivity? If not there are other options you can consider adding.
#9 May 23rd, 2017, 02:55
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#9
Thanks BIJURB.
We are flying from Cochin, however I'd welcome other suggestions as to where to go if not Varkala. We could go to Kanyakumari straight from Bangalore - there are connections - and work our way up. Where would people suggest stopping over about 7 nights?
#10 May 23rd, 2017, 03:09
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#10
cross-posted

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIJURB View Post Hi,
In your Kerala stretch you are travelling to and forth. Why so?
BIJURB's remarks make sense. An easy way to avoid this backtrekking is to take the overnight 17235 Nagercoil Express from Bangalore.
Nagercoil is just 15 km from Kanyakumari, we hired a rickshaw but a taxi is more comfortable.
#11 May 23rd, 2017, 03:26
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#11
Just another idea.
As I wrote before I don't think Araku valley is worth all the travel.

Have a look at the following idea:
From Hampi to Bangalore.
Bangalore to Coimbatore and next to Mettupalayam.
From there take the Nilgiri mountain train. In December don't go further up than Coonoor since the climate is better there.
Return to Coimbatore and travel to Kanyakumari.
#12 May 23rd, 2017, 05:23
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#12
Thank you. We did think of Coonoor, and will do so again - especially if the trip to the Araku Valley is not worth it. My main concern with Coonoor, from memory, was that we might to spend two nights in Coimbatore - one on the way there, the night before the train; and one of the way back, after the train. But Coonoor itelf looks lovely. I will look more into possible permutations using the train. I am not sure the kids could handle long bus rides - I barely can myself.
#13 May 23rd, 2017, 17:03
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#13
To redce days at Varkala, you can increase a day at Alleppey or Kumarakom , if you like the backwaters / staying overnight on a houseboat. You can add a day at Kovalam beach (near Thiruvananthapuram). Other places of interest near your route are Munnar, Thekkady etc. which are not connected by rail.
Is Amritsar, selected for spiritual reasons? If not, does not make much sense. You can plan for Shimla from Delhi (DLI / NDLS to KLK and KLK to SHMILA by hill train). Have you already evaluated the Rajasthan scene and decided to skip it?
To cut down days at Hampi (don't think many Indians go here) , you can skip Vizag - Araku sector and travel directly to Bangalore which has better connectivity. From there you can go to Kanyakumari and then travel upwards or take the Kochi route, as per your convenience & availability. - Biju
#14 May 24th, 2017, 04:47
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#14
Thanks Biju. Appreciate your advice.

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