Rajasthan two weeks in February - some questions

#1 Dec 16th, 2009, 01:20
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#1
Hello everyone,

I've been reading and searching this incredibly helpful forum as I've been preparing my family's itinerary. We're close to settling on the following itinerary and I was hoping some of the experts here could lay eyes on it and offer comments.

We are a family of 3 adults. Previous experience traveling in south India, but not the north. We have been trying to arrange a driver + hotel for our tour, and were quoted a rate of $760 per person for a driver + Toyota Innova+ 10 nights of 3 star hotels for the following itinerary:

Early February:
Day 1: Night arrival in Delhi. (night Delhi)
Day 2: Delhi sightseeing. (night Delhi)
Day 3: Drive to Agra, sightseeing. (night Agra)
Day 4: Morning sightseeing, drive to Jaipur. (night Jaipur)
Day 5: Sightsee Jaipur. (night Jaipur)
Day 6: Drive to Udaipur. (night Udaipur)
Day 7: Sightseeing in Udaipur. (night Udaipur)
Day 8: Drive to Jodhpur, see Ranakpur en route. (night Jodhpur)
Day 9: Morning sightseeing Jodhpur, drive to Jaisalmer. (night Jaisalmer)
Day 10: Jaisalmer. (night Jaisalmer)
Day 11: 4 pm overnight train to Delhi.

Some questions:

1. General comments on this itinerary? We heard mixed things about Bikaner and didn't want to do a long drive through the Shekhawati region (hence the overnight train from Jaisalmer). Also nixed Pushkar too many bad reports.

2. Our tour company offers an option to have a guide at each site for a total of $150 (for the family, not per person). They also offer to buy all the monument fees ahead of time for an additional fee. Are either of these options worth it, or should we seek guides and buy monument tickets right then and there?

We are concerned about being hassled by a horde of 'guides' and/or waiting in long lines to get tickets to these monuments.

3. Is $760 per person a reasonable price for this kind of tour (which includes 10 nights of 3 star hotels and a driver with Toyota Innova)?

Thanks ahead of time to anyone for their comments - we really appreciate this site.
#2 Dec 16th, 2009, 09:19
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  • Hal is offline
#2
Welcome to the site!

I'd get some more quotes. By my estimation you should be able to get that for $150 a day, rather than $225. Then again, they have to drive all the way back from Jaisalmer empty.

I'd leave the fees for monuments open so you can change your mind as you go. One of the great things about a car and driver is you can go when and where you want. Don't let the driver or tour company dictate the itinerary or pace.

The tour companies can make a lot of money off your hotel bookings and you may not get the best deal. You could be paying Rs 1500 a night for a Rs 800 room. Remember that 3 star in India is something quite different from 3 star in the States. Make sure you check the hotels they're booking you into. There's reviews and lots of threads about hotels here. Also recommendations for trusted tour companies.
#3 Dec 16th, 2009, 12:23
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#3
I agree with Hal.

If you can post the names of hotels here, may be some members can offer their reviews.

Guides usually charge Rs. 750 ($15) per day, so the guide fee seems reasonable, but you can still ask to bring it down as the actual site seeing is on 8 days only.
I did not fully understand the dread term "Terminal Illness" until I saw Terminal 1 D of Delhi Airport.
#4 Dec 18th, 2009, 00:21
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#4
Thanks, Hal and delhiwala, for your useful input. We're in the process of getting more quotes, including from an agency recommended on this site.

I'm going to look up reviews of these hotels, but for curiosity's sake, here they are:

Delhi - Avalon courtyard
Agra - Howard Park plaza
Jaipur - Shahpura House
Jaisalmer - Himmatgarh Palace
Jodhpur - Mapple Abay
Udaipur - Udai Kothi

Some may be more in the 4 star range, on second thought - IF we actually get them. I wonder if some tour agencies might change hotels at the last minute to save themselves money.

We are also considering adding back a day in Pushkar (unfortunately), since the driving time between Jaipur and Udaipur is 7 hours or so.

Will update you guys on what becomes of us.
#5 Dec 18th, 2009, 12:02
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#5
Avalaon Courtyard is on the outskirts of Delhi, may ask for a more central hotel.

Howard Park Plaza, Shahpura House and Udai Kothi are nice places. Udaikothi is particularly very good.

Himmatgarh Palace is OK sort of place.

No idea about Maple in Jodhpur.
#6 Dec 18th, 2009, 12:46
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#6

Here is some recommendations on Guides and Hotels

Hi,

I came back from rajasthan tour in last week of november ... covering Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur and Chittorgarh.

To me it looks very steep for guide services $150 for 3 people !! I would actually advice to take Audio guide services which is available in palaces of Rajasthan. I liked audio guide services very good as they are from the palace/govt authorities so no body will harass you on prices. Also sometimes human guides tend to skip some parts of palaces in order to save there time. So i would highly recommend taking AUDIO GUIDE Services when you reach there.

About Hotels... i would actually suggest following hotels:

Jaisalmer - HOTEL FIFU Positive things : - Best thing is that owner is not pushy and is quite honest, he will not try to sell things)
- Camel Safari arranged by them is also good... if you needed i will share some pics with you. But do negotiate on safari as they offered us a package of 2 night stay and a camel safari
- In case you reach early to the hotel he wont charge extra, Also once you are back from safari, you may use the room (even without extra day bookin) to freshup
- He gives very practical tips on what to do, what to see etc
Negative thing:- Though for me it was not a negative aspect but for some it may be so i am sharing this as well
Location of the hotel is in a quiet alley. i liked it becos it was away from traffic and histle bustle and is just 10 min walk away from main road.

They offered the whole package of 2 nights and overnight safari in Rs 5500 which was ok. It might be slightly high now as this is main tourist season.

Jodhpur - Hotel Devi Bhawan

I liked this hotel because of greenery and quite atmosphere which is in contrast to the noisy city.
Owner is also good but dont buy water bottles or bus tickets from here as they charge extra

I think it costed us Rs 1650 or 1800 per day.. somewhere around that

Jaipur - Hotel Umaid Mahal

I liked this hotel because of the heritage tag. It is good too

It costed us Rs 2300 per day as we got a discount of Rs 500 for reserving through internet.

Udaipur

I stayed in Hotel Rangniwas palace in Udaipur. Standard/Delux rooms are PATHETIC... they are very small. The only plus point was the location of this hotel as this is very near to the palace (walking distance). So even if you wanna go there... book suites only . i think they cost around Rs 2000

Regards
Ajay
#7 Dec 21st, 2009, 00:14
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#7
Thanks for your helpful input, ajaysin and delhiwala. I looked into those hotels and they actually look great. I am now tempted to book hotels myself - is this a crazy idea?

I'm concerned that hotels might not respect or abide by online bookings (or any other form of booking), that we might get there and they tell us that oops, sorry, they actually don't have any rooms available.

With the tour company route, I'm concerned that they might play games with the hotels - that is, tell us at the last minute that they couldn't get a room at such-and-such hotel and now we need to stay somewhere else that is not as nice but gives the tour company a higher margin.

We did get a roughly similar quote from a company that is respected on IM, but they don't guarantee any particular hotels. They just say they'll put us in a particular class of hotel and mention a few possibilities but they reserve the right to put us anywhere.

Any thoughts about all this?

I'm sorry this all sounds so paranoid, but I'm trying to fully think through all the possible problems.
#8 Dec 21st, 2009, 00:49
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#8
I think there is no problem in booking them on your own. In fact hotels prefer direct bookings as they don't have to pay commission to the travel agents.

All these hotels are reputed hotels in their class, I wouldn't have worried about online booking.
#9 Dec 21st, 2009, 23:11
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#9

Arrow Should not be a prob

Dear jlc43,

I booked all my hotel rooms online before actually starting the journey and i didnt face any problems. Do make sure to keep a copy of printouts of booking confirmations though.

I didnt face any issues in the hotels i stayed though nont sure of all the hotels.

Regards
#10 Apr 1st, 2011, 02:39
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#10
Can anyone suggest private guides and contact information with knowledge of history, architecture and culture in jaipur, udaipur and Jodphur? thanks
#11 Apr 1st, 2011, 09:13
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#11
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#12 Apr 2nd, 2011, 03:56
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#12
thanks for the info!!

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