Opinions on my travel plan

#1 Nov 21st, 2010, 19:50
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  • YellowOnline is offline
#1
Hello everyone,

I've been surfing on this forum for a few weeks now, but registered yesterday because it seems this website is pretty much the best place concerning India on the net.

The past days I've read lots of posts about peoples itineraries, about touts, about money, about trains, ... hell, I even read about solo female travellers and 60+ travellers even though I'm neither

Although I never plan my travels - usually I just get an airplane ticket and decide on-the-fly - this time I've been doing quite extensive research because (next to big cultural differences, but this is an itinerary-thread) it's such a big country. A subcontinent, even.

I'll be in India for 6 weeks from 13/12/2010 till 22/01/2011.
  • 12/12: Brussels -> Helsinki -> Delhi by plane
  • 13/12: Arrival Delhi at 6am, hoping to get to Jaipur by train as soon as possible - Delhi seems to be better at the end of my trip than in the beginning.
  • 16/12: Jaipur -> Agra by train
  • 17/12: Nighttrain Agra -> Varanasi
  • 21/12: Varanasi -> Khajuraho by plane
  • 24/12: Khajuraho -> Jhansi by bus and immediately Jhansi -> Orchha by whatever means available. By the way, is spending Christmas in Orchha a good idea?
  • 26/12: Orcha -> Jhansi (taxi or so) -> Bhopal by train
  • 27/12: Bhopal -> Sanchi and back
  • 28/12: Bhopal -> Mumbai by train
  • 29/12: Mumbai -> Goa by train. I'm not sure "where & what" in Goa. I seem to go in the busiest season so I'm a bit worried about prices and about the kind of fellow travellers I might meet there. I really want to avoid the kind of people who don't care much about the country and just want to party. It seems a nice place to spend New Year though.
  • 02/01: Goa -> Hospet (train) -> Hampi (bus)
  • 04/01: Hampi -> Hospet (bus) -> Bangalore (night train)
  • 05/01: Arrival Bangalore and continuing immediately to Mysore (Bangalore is not worth staying, as far as I read) by train.
  • 07/01: Mysore -> Kochi by whatever means available (Part 1)
  • 08/01: Mysore -> Kochi by whatever means available (Part 2). This seems to be the hardest part of the trip to get around, although there might be direct connections of which I can't find much information on the internet. On the other hand: I'd love to take the Toy Train from Ootacamund to Metupaliyam if tickets are available - like a lot of people here I have a weak spot for trains.
  • 09/01: Kochi -> Varkala by train. I have about 2 weeks left now in theory. In practice, things might have gotten a lot different by now. Most of the following is really "optional".
  • 11/01: Varkala -> Kanyakumari (I just want to see this geographical point) -> Madurai by train
  • 13/01: Madurai -> Trichy (spending the day) -> Thanjavar by train
  • 14/01: Thanjavar -> Villuparam -> Ponducherry by train. I'm meeting here with my neighbours who, coincidentally, are on a three-week dancing course in Chennai.
  • 17/01: Pondocherry -> Chennai by bus
  • 19/01: Chennai -> Delhi by plane (this ticket is reserved already).
  • 22/01: Delhi -> Helsinki -> Brussels by plane


Please let me know what you think of it. Anticipating on some critique: yes, I know it's too detailed and in reality I'll never be able to make it; but it's more of a reference, really. That's also the reason I didn't reserve anything in advance (except my flight from Chennai to Delhi).

Oh, and a final remark: I'm not sure if I should use the railpass or not. The advantages still aren't clear to me although I read a lot about it. If anyone cares to sum it all up: you're most welcome.
Last edited by YellowOnline; Nov 23rd, 2010 at 00:08.. Reason: Oops, something was wrong with the months
#2 Nov 22nd, 2010, 20:27
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  • mridula is offline
#2
Why just one day in Jaipur?
#3 Nov 22nd, 2010, 21:00
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  • YellowOnline is offline
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by mridula View Post Why just one day in Jaipur?
I think you misinterpreted my notation: I'll be in Jaipur from 13/12 until 16/12, so two full days/three nights.
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. (Mark Twain)
#4 Nov 22nd, 2010, 21:31
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#4
Oops my bad. To me it looks good. But then what do I know
#5 Nov 22nd, 2010, 21:42
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  • vonkla is offline
#5
Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowOnline View Post 02/12: Goa -> Hospet (train) -> Hampi (bus)
This and the rest will be January I assume

Quote:
07/12: Mysore -> Kochi by whatever means available (Part 1)
08/12: Mysore -> Kochi by whatever means available (Part 2). This seems to be the hardest part of the trip to get around, although there might be direct connections of which I can't find much information on the internet.
The quickest way is back to Bangalore and from there to Ernakulam
http://erail.in?T=MYS::SBC:
http://erail.in?T=SBC::ERN:

Quote:
Please let me know what you think of it. Anticipating on some critique: yes, I know it's too detailed and in reality I'll never be able to make it; but it's more of a reference, really. That's also the reason I didn't reserve anything in advance (except my flight from Chennai to Delhi).
It is peak time and you will be forced to make reservations. Inspect the availability of seats in erail.in
Quote:

Oh, and a final remark: I'm not sure if I should use the railpass or not. The advantages still aren't clear to me although I read a lot about it. If anyone cares to sum it all up: you're most welcome.
Even if you buy a railpass you still have to reserve the seats.
#6 Nov 22nd, 2010, 22:02
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  • kshil is offline
#6
Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowOnline View Post
29/12: Mumbai -> Goa by train. I'm not sure "where & what" in Goa. I seem to go in the busiest season so I'm a bit worried about prices and about the kind of fellow travellers I might meet there. I really want to avoid the kind of people who don't care much about the country and just want to party. It seems a nice place to spend New Year though.
  • 02/12: Goa -> Hospet (train) -> Hampi (bus)
  • 04/12: Hampi -> Hospet (bus) -> Bangalore (night train)
  • 05/12: Arrival Bangalore and continuing immediately to Mysore (Bangalore is not worth staying, as far as I read) by train.
  • 07/12: Mysore -> Kochi by whatever means available (Part 1)
  • 08/12: Mysore -> Kochi by whatever means available (Part 2). This seems to be the hardest part of the trip to get around, although there might be direct connections of which I can't find much information on the internet. On the other hand: I'd love to take the Toy Train from Ootacamund to Metupaliyam if tickets are available - like a lot of people here I have a weak spot for trains.
.
Your date seems to be messed up from Goa --> Hospet, onwards, you meant 02/02/2011 it seems.

There are some people who really like enjoying New Year in Goa but if you don't like to party hard and spend quite a huge amount of money, avoid Goa during Christmas to New Year.

I am not sure from your itinerary when you would reach Hampi. But it's always advisable to have 2 clear days for Hampi, there are so much to explore there, unless you just want to touch the place.

Try to find out options of moving directly to Mysore by Bus as well, I guess it would save time rather than taking train as train would always rout you through Bangalore.

Mysore - Kochi, for me easiest way would be move to Mangalore and enroute can visit Coorg (nice place with cofee plantations) and from Mangalore to Kochi you can have so many trains available.
#7 Nov 22nd, 2010, 23:04
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  • kadri is offline
#7
Getting train tickets in December is tough. So book in advance. Even buses gets full so book sooner.

Here are some bus booking sites in my website. It may come handy in case you don't get train tickets Click here
#8 Nov 23rd, 2010, 00:14
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#8
Oops, something went wrong indeed with with the months. Corrected now

I hate the news about booking in advance because that's just impossible. Prebooking means losing all flexibility and, hence, more than half of the fun of travel. This is depressing news that almost makes me want to cancel my holidays if not booking in advance would mean that it's no use trying

Hampi I had thought of two full days by the way: arriving 02/01/2011 and taking a nighttrain on 04/01/2011.
#9 Nov 23rd, 2010, 00:32
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#9
Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowOnline View Post I hate the news about booking in advance because that's just impossible. Prebooking means losing all flexibility and, hence, more than half of the fun of travel. This is depressing news that almost makes me want to cancel my holidays if not booking in advance would mean that it's no use trying

If you believe in extreme flexibility, in Indian Context that might turn out to be extreme Chaos specially if you try it in School Vacation time. If you want to travel without prebooking just defer the whole plan by a month and it would work out fine.
#10 Nov 23rd, 2010, 00:49
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#10
I checked it out meanwhile and I can't change my tickets, except if I would be seriously ill or someone in my family died or the like. And even then I'd lose quite some money. Seems I don't have much choice except chaos then.

If I reserve, how flexible are they if I want to take a different train?

By the way: I presumed that most of the time there would be seats for which the passengers wouldn't show up so I could get those. Plenty of info I read on the net came pretty much down to that.
#11 Nov 23rd, 2010, 01:26
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#11
Yes that's the problem with flight tickets, difficult to change and if at all can be changed it is associated with a cost.

Don't worry much about hotels/accommodations except the Goa where you might have to spend substantial amount. Else major concern is Rail Tickets.

Visit http://irctc.co.in for a fair idea about the train connection you are going to take and atleast for some rush sectors like Mumbai-Goa plan to book tickets in "Tatkal" Categories. These tickets are limited, not issued for all trains, only in selective trains you could get that and with some additional cost (not huge). But these tickets are non-refundable and can be bought only 48 hours before (If I can remember correctly), so in that way these might help you to maintain certain degree of flexibility.

Also do a good homework for alternative bus travels, in many states bus services are good, comfortable and many times even cheaper and shorter than trains. So do a research, only putting effort in research would help you to a great extent in this rush season.

Wish a safe and nice travel.
#12 Nov 23rd, 2010, 02:07
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#12
Actually, the above plan is just a less detailed version of my real plan. I had done some research and know for each and every mode of transportation exactly at what time I can take the train. I used http://www.trainenquiry.com for this. I also read you can buy an excellent time-table for all of India at most stations (granted, it's not as up to date as a website). I expected two problematic connections: the toy train near Oozy and, indeed, the Mumbai-Goa connection. I read great stories about the latter but in a worse case scenario, when no trains would be available, I could still take a plane.

Rooms in Goa easily double during that season I read, but as far as I know even a double rate should be still relatively cheap for me. My reference point, in my own city, would be like 5000rps per night. I cannot imagine a basic lodge rising this high (or am I wrong?). Also, again based on what I read, it depends on where you go in Goa. Panaji would be "the place to be" with according prices, but Arambol should be OK. Or is this info wrong/outdated?
Thanks for your help kshil!
Last edited by YellowOnline; Nov 23rd, 2010 at 04:42.. Reason: Removed typing errors
#13 Nov 23rd, 2010, 03:51
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#13
On Train Issue, Between Mumbai and Goa you have atleast 8 trains available and most of them provides tickets in "Tatkal" scheme, that means you could book one just 48 hours before the journey. So I don't see much issue here. Flight would be extremely costly during that time for Goa, better option again by roads and there is good road connectivity exists between Mumbai and Goa.

On UAM MTP PASSR (Train no 661) UDAGAMANDALAM to METUPALAIYAM , you should get 2S Sitting ticket at ease, problem may be to book First Class but anyway its a 3.5 hrs trip only. I don't think you could get this ticket in "Tatkal"

But as I said keep options of other transports open as well. Yes Time Table is a good one to do research but finally you have to know which trains allow "Tatkal" Booking.

Goa, New Year rate can be anything as I heard and in India atleast nothing called standard deviation works, based on situation it can shoot up to any extent but then again if you compare rates of India with your country, you may not repent much. Yes 100% rate varies with locations but I am not that familier with Goa and hope someone else would be able to tell you on cheaper areas in Goa during New Year.
#14 Nov 23rd, 2010, 04:08
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#14
Another option of going from Mumbai to Goa could be by bus. Just an example here http://www.paulotravels.com/ismarts/...g_schedule.jsp

If travelling by the toy train is a must, then after reaching Ooty you can travel between Ooty and Coonoor. For this there would be 2S seats and you just purchase the ticket and travel.
#15 Nov 23rd, 2010, 05:02
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#15
1st major problem, you're going to attempt the North India section right at the worst possible time, the Major heavy fog season starts between the 12th and 15th December, train/flight delays can easily reach 12 hours and often more.

Mumbai-Goa just before NYE, join the annual scrum for tickets or spend half your spending money on flights.

Why Mumbai? just to get to Goa?

Why not spend NYE in Hampi? you'll avoid all those who've no interest in India, yet still get to celebrate with other tourists.

A 23 hour train journey would get you from Bhopal to close to Hampi.

3 or 4 days may not be enough for Hampi, you'll see what I mean when you get there, the place is a one-off and everyone loves the place, leave the beach for Kerala and spend more time in Hampi, rent a bike and have a really relaxing 5 or 6 days.

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