My Itinerary - HELP!!!

#1 May 20th, 2015, 02:14
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#1
Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this post. My wife and I are traveling to India for 2 weeks in December. Our first week is seemingly set with Delhi (2 days), fly to Varanasi (2 days), fly to Agra (1 day), drive to Jaipur (2 days). However, we are STRUGGLING with our second week plans. We are debating splitting it pretty much evenly between Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, and Udaipur with some stops and potential overnights in places such as Rohet or a luxury camp OR flying from Jaipur to Kochin (2 days - arrive late the first day), driving to Munnar (2 days), houseboat (1 day), lake or beach resort (2 days). We are looking to stay at fairly high quality hotels in each location, but are big travelers and love what India has to offer.

Our debate stems on a few things for our second week - (1) do we want a change of pace in our second week by doing the south as opposed to more forts, palaces, etc in the north? (2) a tea plantation in munnar and the houseboat trip in kerala seem to potentially be more unforgettable experiences than jaisalmer/jodhpur/udaipur (3) staying in the north seems "easier" travel wise (4) both seem great and we just really cannot decide which second week is better...

ANY feedback such as opinions on where to spend our second week, recommendations in jaisalmer/jodhpur/udaipur or kerala, other additions to either trip that would be truly unique and unforgettable, etc would be SUPER APPRECIATED. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!
#2 May 20th, 2015, 02:41
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#2
Hello ID2015 and welcome to indiamike.

What's your travel experience, have you been to somewhere like India, somewhere with the real 'we're not in Kansas any more' feeling?

I ask for a reason, the Kerala option really is a stunningly diverse option and you'll see 2 very different sides of India, but I'm worried you'd be left with a skewered view of North India.

Varanasi is one of my favourite places in India, but it's a real love it or hate it kind of place, and this could be compounded by visiting it so early in your trip, and if it doesn't go well, Agra & Jaipur aren't the kind of places to experience the best side of India, whereas Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur are.

But missing Kerala is missing some of the very best that India has to offer.

Difficult choice.

Maybe just quit your jobs, abandon your family & friends, sell your home and spend 6 months in India.

Well, maybe your original dilemma isn't so bad after all.
#3 May 20th, 2015, 02:49
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#3
Hi Steven. Thanks for some feedback. In the past few years we have been to Slovenia, Budapest, Croatia, New Zealand, Australia, Portugal (all over), Ecuador and Santiago Chile. We really enjoyed getting to some isolated parts of Ecuador and getting to some real untouched areas. We have not been to India in the past.

Why is Jaipur not the best side? Would you lean towards the Kerala itinerary we mentioned over Jaisalmer/Jodhpur/Udaipur?
#4 May 20th, 2015, 03:00
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#4
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Originally Posted by IndiaDec2015 View Post
Why is Jaipur not the best side? Would you lean towards the Kerala itinerary we mentioned over Jaisalmer/Jodhpur/Udaipur?
Jaipur has some great hotels and restaurants, and lost to see and do, but it's the constant hassle from experienced touts (who know every trick in the book) that spoil your experience.

Realistically, the Kerala option is crazy, but damn, it would be nice, however, if you're looking to do this & that, see this place and travel there, then you'd miss what Kerala is all about, a week relaxing in a place that's on the tranquil backwaters, yet a 5 minute walk from the beach, then 3 or 4 days in the hills, that's Kerala, if you rush it you wouldn't get the same enjoyment.

On such a short trip you'd be best to stick to Rajasthan & Varanasi, or maybe Rajasthan & Rishikesh/Haridwar instead.
#5 May 20th, 2015, 03:10
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#5
Thanks Steven - what would be the minimum time you think is worthwhile for Kerala and what would your itinerary be? Do you have any recommendations for activities/side trips/great experiences in Jaisalmer/Jodhpur/Udaipur?
#6 May 20th, 2015, 03:13
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#6
Personally I should stay in the North or the South if I had only 2 weeks.

Apart from this, keep in mind that in Devember fog can cause serious delays in the Delhi Varanasi Agra area.
Flights Varanasi -Agra are are only on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, see here.

For the cities in Rajasthan everyone has his favouritis, and for us Jaipur is not on that list.

You could consider to take the overnight train from Agra to Udaipur, 1AC is rather luxurious.
From Udaipur fly, with a stop in Mumbay, to Kochi

Unless you absolute want to go to a beach resort, skip it and divide those days over your other destinations.
#7 May 20th, 2015, 03:15
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I lean toward staying in the north. Rushing to and through the south is going to rattle your brain. It's a whole 'nother way of being, and I suspect you'd be better to assimilate the north more thoroughly than to get a game of ping pong going in your skull.

I like steven_ber's suggestion of exploring other parts of the north. Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle are only part of the picture. Dunno as I'd necessarily plump for Haridwar and Rishikesh, though. Nothing wrong with them, but you might also consider the Kumaon division of Uttarakhand. You could look into Shimla, the summer capital of the Raj, for another take on the Indian experience.

You can't go wrong, whatever you decide. It might relieve your stress to recognize from the start that travelers like you, with such extensive experience, will surely make more than one trip to India. In which light, btw, I'd recommend applying for a ten-year visa. As I recall, it took us only three trips to amortize the expense.
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Last edited by hfot2; May 20th, 2015 at 19:06.. Reason: Brain running ahead of fingers: Kumaon – Uttarakhand, of course
#8 May 20th, 2015, 03:16
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Thanks Vonkla. Does this mean that you would recommend Jaisalmer/Udaipur/Jodhpur over a week in Kerala?
#9 May 20th, 2015, 03:20
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#9
Would you still recommend staying in the North if we were looking for a more "nature-y" experience at some point of our trip? If we did just stay in the north what would you change about our itinerary below? It doesn't feel complete to us and we feel like we might be missing out on some great experiences without adding much (if any) travel
Delhi --> Varanasi --> Agra --> Jaipur --> Jaisalmer --> Rohet/Jodhpur --> Udaipur
#10 May 20th, 2015, 04:08
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by vonkla View Post Personally I should stay in the North or the South if I had only 2 weeks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaDec2015 View Post Thanks Vonkla. Does this mean that you would recommend Jaisalmer/Udaipur/Jodhpur over a week in Kerala?
It is a long time before you travel, so take the time for your destinations.

If you stay in the North consider to exchange some of the Rajasthan destinations for places like Khajuraho and Orcha.
If you like wildlife Ranthambore is an option.

You can also stick to the South and adding Tamil Nadu to Kerala.
Have a look at destinations as Thanjavur and the Cauvery region, Madurai and Ooty.
#11 May 20th, 2015, 04:21
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#11
Hi Vonkla,

Thank you for your responses. We have looked at Madurai and would consider there instead of Kochin and then doing Munnar/houseboat/lake/beach. I guess our ultimate conundrum right now is staying north or going south. Which would you recommend for our second week if this were potentially our only time to ever have the honor of traveling to india? Would you put Khajuraho over any of the other cities in the north that I previously mentioned?
#12 May 20th, 2015, 08:25
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#12
I agree with Steve Ber on the Jaipur vs. Jodhpur question. The charm of Jodhpur is more readily apparent than that of Jaipur.
#13 May 20th, 2015, 09:14
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaDec2015 View Post ...if this were potentially our only time to ever have the honor of traveling to india...
Oh ye of little faith! With a travel record like yours, you will be back.
#14 May 20th, 2015, 11:34
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#14
I also vote for staying either in the north or in the south, rather than doing both in such a short space of time on your first trip.

Some suggestions:

Add a day to Delhi and take a day off Jaipur. (As Delhi will be your first stop it's worth spending an extra day to settle in. Rushing from site to site over two days before moving on to a new destination is bound to wear you out.)

If nature-spots interest you, then as already suggested, Ranthambore is an option. Alternatively, you could go by road up to the Mcleodganj and Dharamshala and the surrounding areas in Himachal. I've been there in December once and it was great. (Of course this would mean cutting out the Rajasthan part of your trip-which would be a pity)...but there's only so much you can do in two weeks.

Visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar is also an option.
#15 May 20th, 2015, 11:50
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#15
Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaDec2015 View Post Khajuraho over any of the other cities in the north that I previously mentioned?
Khajuraho is unique but outside of the temples, there's precious little to see or do. Combined with other places like Orchha and Gwalior the circuit is better balanced. If you do that much, you'd have to cut parts of Rajasthan such as Jaisalmer and I wouldnt recommend that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vonkla View Post If you like wildlife Ranthambore is an option.
Everyone likes Ranthambore and in December, it will be sold out. Hence, IndiaDec2015, if you're not going to stay at a luxury hotel, book the safari as soon as it opens. If your hotel is upmarket, they'll arrange the safari for you - make sure to tell them.


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