Nearly there but need some advice! for Jan 09

#1 Jun 10th, 2008, 00:59
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  • AmyLan is offline
#1
Ok, so, Ive been seriously trawling the internet, looking at maps, and looking at many various and wonderful locations for weeks now, and have hopefully put together a vague plan that you good people can pull to pieces/ praise/ improve upon for me.

Were leaving for India on the 17th January 2009, and plan to stay around 8 weeks. Were both first timers to India, my friend has been backpacking round Europe a few years ago, but Ive never had more than a two week trip away. Id like to think Im laid back and as ready for India as I can be, but with the itinerary Ive tried to keep in mind that many people on here have said dont cram too much in, so Ive tried to balance the hustle and bustle of the major cities with what I think are slightly calmer places, though I stand to be corrected

Were both 25 year old females, would prefer to use trains and planes rather than buses (though if the bus is the only way to get to a great place then so be it!) This is going to sound like a cop out, but we enjoy a bit of everything, culture, beaches, countryside, cities....so were after a combination...I know its not possible to see India in 8 weeks, but were hoping for a good mix of stuff, of North and South, of tourist places and slightly less touristy areas.

Anyway, heres what weve got so far;

Delhi (3 days)

Train to Amritsar (2 days)

Back to Delhi

Train to Jaipur (2 days)

Train to Bundi (3 days)

Taxi to Pushkar (2 days)

Train to Jodhpur (2 days)

Train to Agra 2 days (1 to do daytrip to Fatehpur Sikri)

Train to Lucknow (3 days)

Train to Varanasi (3 days)

Fly to Kathmandu (3 days 1 of which to go to Nagarkok)

Train to Kolkata (4 days)

Train to Puri (4 days)

Train to Chennai (2 days)

Train/fly? Madurai (2 days)

Train to Tajore (2 days)

Train to Kerala (4 days)

Fly to Bangalore (3 days)

Fly to Goa (3 days)

Train to Mumbai (2 days)

How does that look? Is there anywhere there that you'd recommend I should stay longer? Or the other way round?

Also, a few questions which Ive been trying to answer myself but havent got very far with;

A lot of the routes Ive seen on here tend to take the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur-Pushkar sequence, is there any reason for that? Ive looked at in on a map, and because we want to head east to Lucknow, Varanasi, Kathmandu and Kolkata it seems logical to go over the Jaipur, Pushkar etc first?

Is it worth going to Darjeeling between Kathmandu and Kolkata? Anything that I *need* to see there?

Is it worth adding Udaipur at the beginning? Much Ive read makes it seem quite similar to many of the other places well be visiting

Where could we best fit Rishikesh in?

Were wanting to go to the Corbett Nature Reserve too (if the plans allow) Would it be better to go Varanasi- Corbett Kathmandu, or Kathmandu Corbett Kolkata ?

Sorry for such a long post, any help on anything would be really really appreciated! Thanks
#2 Jun 10th, 2008, 10:30
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  • wonderwomanusa is offline
#2
I think you've underestimaated the effects of constant train travel, and are still trying to do too much in 8 weeks.. and you want to add Darjeeling, Corbett Park and Rishkesh? Too much!

One thing you haven't told us is how you plan to get out of Kathmandu and to a train bound for Kolkata. This will take up most of a day if you're flying, and it's about a 12-hour bus trip (quite a wonderful trip, by the way) if you do it by road.

If you're going to add Udaipur (which isn't really like anyplace else, I think), then you should also add Ranakpur, a wonderful Jain temple around 90 miles away, accessible by bus or private car.

And if you're going to end your visit in Mumbai, then maybe you should try to get to Aurangabad on the way ... so you can see Ajanta and Ellora caves. They are truly spectacular.

My advise would be to concentrate on the north -- cut out Madras, Maduarai, Tanjor, Kerala, Bangalore, and Goa -- that will give you time for Corbett (if it is open in February; it might not be) aned Darjeeling.

Go back to India another year for the South .. there are a lot more places to see than the ones you've named, and you could easily do another 8-week trip.
#3 Jun 11th, 2008, 22:08
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#3
Thanks Wonderwoman, I thought that might be the case. There's just so so much that I want to see, the more places I look at the more I add stuff to the list - novice mistake I guess

One of the main reasons we wanted to visit the South is for some relaxation time (beaches etc) - as India will be such a blast to the senses. If we cut off the South as you suggested, do you think there'd still be enough places to relax a little?

So;

Delhi - Amritsar - Delhi - Jaipur - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Agra - Lucknow - Varanasi

Do you mean it'll take a 12 hour bus ride to get to the train heading for Kolkata, or that the journey in total from Kathmandu - Kolkata is 12 hours?

Depending on that really (I'm not sure I fancy a 12 hr bus ride as well as a long train ride...) we'd then go;

Varanasi - Kathmandu - Kolkata - Puri - Aurangabad - Mumbai

How does that sound?

Thanks again for all your advice

Amy xx
#4 Jun 11th, 2008, 23:34
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  • singsub is offline
#4
a few tips -

chuck amritsar

bundi is "1 day-able"

include udaipur and ranakpur. as WW said, its unlike anyplace else.

chuck lucknow or make it 2 days max. in any case you will see better muslim architecture in delhi and agra.

you best fly from kathmandu to kolkata. there is no direct train in any case. or go to darjeeling from kathmandu (by car) and then take overnight bus/train to kolkata

4 days for puri is a bit much. 3 days about enough for puri, bhubaneswar and konark package.

chuck bangalore -unless you consider glass panelled buildings of software companies to be "tourist spots"

try to include jaisalmer/ajanta-ellora instead of corbett. both these places as also udaipur are better than amritsar, lucknow or bang-a-lore.

if you need help planning the entire trip let me know.
#5 Jun 12th, 2008, 11:07
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  • wonderwomanusa is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyLan View Post Thanks Wonderwoman, I thought that might be the case. There's just so so much that I want to see, the more places I look at the more I add stuff to the list - novice mistake I guess
Nah .. the rest of us often have too many places on the list, but we also know there's no way to get to all of them. Think of them as alternatives.

Quote:
One of the main reasons we wanted to visit the South is for some relaxation time (beaches etc) - as India will be such a blast to the senses. If we cut off the South as you suggested, do you think there'd still be enough places to relax a little?
You don't need to go South for beaches; Puri will do if you just want to hang out and breathe clean air for a while. However, if you expect to wear a bathing suit, you could be in for some harrassment if you're on the main beach. I've learned to swim in salwar kameez... and it saves me from getting burned to a crisp.

So;

Quote:
Do you mean it'll take a 12 hour bus ride to get to the train heading for Kolkata, or that the journey in total from Kathmandu - Kolkata is 12 hours?
Approximately 12 hours from downtown Kathmandu to the nearest train station ... which might be Raxaul/Birganj on the Bihar border. Flying is much faster, especially if you can get a direct flight to Kolkata, which is a long way from Raxaul.

Quote:
Depending on that really (I'm not sure I fancy a 12 hr bus ride as well as a long train ride...) we'd then go;

Delhi - Amritsar - Delhi - Jaipur - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Agra - Lucknow - Varanasi


Varanasi - Kathmandu - Kolkata - Puri - Aurangabad - Mumbai
This would work for me, and you won't have any impossibly long rail journeys (like 30 hours at a stretch), though I'm not sure about the Puri to Aurangabad run, as I think you are going to have to change trains somewhere.
#6 Jun 12th, 2008, 18:05
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#6
Thanks Singsub for your tips.

Were keeping Amritsar on the list, as for me it sounds a wonderful place. What makes you say chuck it?

Lucknow was on the itinerary as Id thought it was a bit calmer paced...an IndiaMiker said somewhere that after Delhi-Varanasi-Agra-Jaipur as a first introduction I might well be looking for the first flight home its a bit too expensive to go flying home on a whim, so we wanted to avoid that

Is it possible to go Udaipur - Ranakpur - Jodhpur, or would we have to go back to Udaipur after Ranakpur and then continue to Jodhpur?

Wonderwoman, Im not too keen on the million hour travelling time from Kathmandu to Kolkata, well try for the flights instead. All I've found so far is flights connecting in Delhi which defeats the purpose really! I'm assuming there's direct flights out there, I'll keep hunting


Changing on the way to Aurangabad wont be a problem, I'll get back to looking at that route and see what appeals as somewhere to stop en-route for a couple of days. Is there anywhere you'd recommend?

The other thing Im a little concerned about is the route too touristy? Like are we likely to bump into the same travellers all over the place. While im under no illusion that there obviously will be people doing the same thing as we are and that we're far from unique, I wanted to try if we could to avoid the typical routes, and to see a few places that were off the travellers map... do some of the places fit that bill?

Thanks again to you both, it really is appreciated
#7 Jun 12th, 2008, 20:56
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  • n kumar is offline
#7
Hi,
I advice you to skip major cities like chennai, calcutta, bombay, lucknow, ofcourse bangalore and use these days for your itternies.
I also advice you not to skip south as you can see a lot of cultural changes. I will come back with my suggestion later.
#8 Jun 12th, 2008, 21:13
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  • singsub is offline
#8
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmyLan View Post Thanks Singsub for your tips.

We’re keeping Amritsar on the list, as for me it sounds a wonderful place. What makes you say chuck it?

Lucknow was on the itinerary as I’d thought it was a bit calmer paced...an IndiaMiker said somewhere that ‘after Delhi-Varanasi-Agra-Jaipur as a first introduction I might well be looking for the first flight home’ – its a bit too expensive to go flying home on a whim, so we wanted to avoid that

Is it possible to go Udaipur - Ranakpur - Jodhpur, or would we have to go back to Udaipur after Ranakpur and then continue to Jodhpur?

Wonderwoman, I’m not too keen on the million hour travelling time from Kathmandu to Kolkata, we’ll try for the flights instead. All I've found so far is flights connecting in Delhi which defeats the purpose really! I'm assuming there's direct flights out there, I'll keep hunting


Changing on the way to Aurangabad won’t be a problem, I'll get back to looking at that route and see what appeals as somewhere to stop en-route for a couple of days. Is there anywhere you'd recommend?

The other thing I’m a little concerned about – is the route too touristy? Like are we likely to bump into the same ‘travellers’ all over the place. While i’m under no illusion that there obviously will be people doing the same thing as we are and that we're far from unique, I wanted to try if we could to avoid the typical routes, and to see a few places that were off the travellers map... do some of the places fit that bill?

Thanks again to you both, it really is appreciated
Hmmm if you ask me Amritsar doesnt have much else to offer barring the golden temple, nothing spectacular anyway. also its a sort of de-tour from your travel plan. you cant proceed anywhere from there- you will have to come back to delhi

lucknow...capital of the kingdom of Oudh, has good monuments true, but like i said before the best example of islamic architecture in india is agra and delhi. lucknow might be anticlimactic after those two places.

its very possible to go to jodhpur from udaipur via ranakpur. in fact i would recommend it, esp if you are doing the journey by car. the road through the aravalli hills is quite beautiful.

there are more flights connecting kathmandu to kolkata direct.

given your ambitious itinerary, its unlikely you will meet the same people too often.
#9 Jun 14th, 2008, 21:52
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#9
Thanks

Had a bit of a change of heart now - as I do really want to see the South, and coming back in the future may not be possible (especially for more than a couple of weeks)

Rewriting my plans now to exclude going any furthur west that Varanasi (cutting of Kathmandu and Kolkata) then hopefully we'll have enough time to see a small part of Southern India too
#10 Jun 14th, 2008, 23:01
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  • snonymous is offline
#10
I would recommend, for what it is worth: Skip the cities and skip the North altogether. Spend all the eight weeks in the South.
#11 Jun 15th, 2008, 21:37
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  • singsub is offline
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naah, i wouldnt go with that. you should see places in the north too, esp varanasi, udaipur, jaisalmer. also you can do an overnight train journey from varanasi to kolkata bypassing kathmandu and then proceed to the south after doing the puri-bhubaneswar-konark triangle. ultimately its your call tho...
#12 Jun 16th, 2008, 22:51
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#12
Thanks for the advice Snonymous, but like Singsub said there's quite a bit that I'd like to see in the North. We're looking at cutting out a fair few of the larger cities though, so hopefully that'll give us more time that we could spend in the South

Singsub, thanks I didn't realise you could go straight from Varanasi to Kolkota.

We're really trying to cut things down now, using all the advice on here, and will hopefully have a better itinirary pretty soon
#13 Jun 17th, 2008, 00:10
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#13
hmmm if you dont mind... just list the places you want to see, and one of us here i am sure can come up with a feasible itinerary for you.
#14 Jun 17th, 2008, 01:06
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#14
Ok, you asked for it!

Delhi (3 days)
Amritsar (2 days)
Jaipur (3 days)
Bundi (6 days)
Udaipur - via Chittorgarh (5 days)
Ranakpur - via Kumbhalgarh (6 days)
Jodhpur (5 days)
Agra (1 day)
Lucknow (4 days)
(possibly Corbett Tiger Reserve here)
Varanasi (7 days)
Mumbai (0 days)
Goa (6 days)
Cochin (6 days)
Mumbai (4 days)

The number of days in a placce don't include the time spend travelling, and it's generally by train but with flights between Varanasi and Mumbai, and possibly between Mumbai - Goa - Kerala - Mumbai

Hows that looking? I'm not actually sure if I've improved anything since my first thoughts...it 'looks' a bit better, but I'm ready for the (constructive) criticism
#15 Jun 17th, 2008, 02:49
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  • faustus77 is offline
#15
a lone dissenting voice to appreciation of Pushkar
If ther is one place i would not like to see again it is pushkar(not at the time of camel fair because i have notbeen there at that point of time)No bad experienceas such but overrated,maybe due to lonely planet guide praising it.

Very similar place though without the lake ,is Puttuparthi a far far better place( i am not a disciple of Shri Satya Sai Baba)

Similar hotels,similar tourists similar feel etc
I would also recommend avoiding Amritsar
Incidentaly Darjeeling is about 18 hours by bus to Kathmandu.Pl check.
As of today this area is full of stranded tourists with no hotels and no transport availble.
Regards
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