Researching options and opinions

#1 Dec 15th, 2011, 04:48
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#1
Hiya,

I have been around and about on the forum a little while now and a more firm plan is forming in my mind but would really like some help if you dont mind giving it.

I planning to come to India for up to 18 days in February or March 2013 (moved from January 2014). I have 3 weeks max, ideally 18 days. I know I am planning early but I really want to make the most of my trip and make it one to remember - for better or worse This is what I would like to try and do -

My 'must' see's are - Taj Mahal, Varanasi, Jaipur (for Amber Fort, Floating Palace).

My 'really really would like' to see's are - Occhra or Khajuarho, Jodpur (to see all the blue and the fort), Armritsar, Dharamsala (for a taste of Tibet, will I get it here?).

And my 'would like' to sees are - Ranthanbore, a Hill Station Journey, a festival of some sort, visit an ashram - gosh, the list goes on lol

I will be flying into Delhi, would like to do an overnight train journey, a daytime train journey. I dont really want to be run ragged but want to do as much as I can and still take it all in

I will be travelling alone but would like some company part of the time so maybe a guide in some places where there is a lot to do in one place. A few creature comforts in hotels would be great, wifi now and again, air con etc

My absolute maximum daily budget is 10000RS, for absolutely everything you can think of.

All advice, suggestions etc is very welcome and appreciated
#2 Dec 15th, 2011, 11:07
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#2
So 18 days in February/March. You can certainly do all the "must see" places, and I would only add ONE more place, unless you want to be running around like a crazy person trying to squeeze in everything.

You should allow a couple of days to deal with culture shock and the time difference. For me, it's 12-1/2 hours of jet lag and that takes some days to get over with.

Because things in India always take longer than expected, and you will run into lots of things that you do not expect, please do not try to do too much.
The map is not the territory. --Alfred Korzybski
#3 Dec 15th, 2011, 20:10
Maston ka jhoomna bhi bandagi se kam nahi
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#3
With 10,000INR (INR=RS=indian national rupees) as your daily budget, you can stay with all the comforts you wish!
Within that much budget, you can also accommodate domestic flights in your schedule whenever you feel tired, just try few sites makemytrip or ezeego or google. Or try luxurious train journey, rajdhani express, it's one of its own kind of train experience. They provide you bedding, power points to food!
For train journeys, you may need to book well in advance ( I mean 6-8 weeks here if you are lucky).

18 days are more than enough to do your 'must' as well as your 'really want to do' lists. Basically, try clubbing all cities/towns from one area together so you don't need to come back and the whole trip looks like a triangular marking on map.

My suggestion would be to include ranthombore or jimm corbett national park in your itinerary as you are visiting north India during good weather. If you are including big cities like delhi, visit them quick and before you visit towns, other places which are full of nature and peace. This way you will have seen cities/cosmopolitans as well as done with crazy/chaotic part first.
Last edited by indi_r0ver; Dec 15th, 2011 at 20:11.. Reason: corrections
#4 Dec 15th, 2011, 20:22
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#4
Delhi - Varanasi - Kujaraho - Orchha - Agra - Ranthambore - Jaipur - Mussoorie - Delhi
#5 Dec 15th, 2011, 20:30
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Jo

If you go to Agra don't miss Fatephur Sikri, about 40 km outside the city heading towards Jaipur. I think that it was the most amazing place that we saw on our Indian trip. You might want to think about a car and driver to do Agra, Fatephur, Ranthambore and maybe on to Jaipur.

You have plenty of time to look at all the options and make your plan. Trains are a great way to travel but don't leave them too late. I was looking at a Varanasi - Agra train that is already full in all AC classes for the 5th March - over 11 weeks out from today.

You might want to check the date of Holi in 2013 and plan accordingly. I've not seen it myself and we will miss by a couple days when we go next year, but if you want to take part by all accounts you need to be prepared.

No doubt you will get lots more suggestions and advice.
#6 Dec 16th, 2011, 03:24
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Good addition, Fatehpur Sikri is famous for architecture.
#7 Dec 16th, 2011, 23:04
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#7
Thank you everyone, I am going to try and sit down tonight and go through all the places given here. I like the idea of doing cities quickly and getting more into towns.

One quick question,if I were to spend an average of half of my budget on hotels would I have enough to do everything else, or should I try and split it more like 1/3 hotel 2/3 for everything else - just so I can start to get a rough idea of types of hotel I can look at.

Thanks everyone, again.
#8 Dec 16th, 2011, 23:17
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Whilst looking at festival dates, I noticed that it will be a 12th year Kumbah Melah (?) in Allahabad and some dates mentioned coincide with my dates.

Knowing next to nothing about these things (and finding info a bit confusing to say the least) - does anyone know how this will impact on my visit to India in general and/or Varanasi ?
#9 Dec 17th, 2011, 04:27
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Assuming your 10 000 INR budget per day, one third 3333 will get you easily decent three star hotel room and it's more expensive for Delhi or metros. I would give you suggestion of checking hotels rating at tripadvisor which is really good for views. Atleast I find it personally very helpful for food and accommodation. Reviews on hotels dot com are okayish but tripadvisor updates are faster. Forget hostels with this budget, and hostels in UK and India are hugely different in terms of cleanliness. Other option is www.airbnb.com , I have tried it in europe and other places, it's like a home stay/ service apartments experience where you can directly interact/negotiate with owners and cheaper than hotels, better than hostels.

Kumbh mela will impact your travel. It may affect hotel availability too. I don't have full info about that. You can choose reverse way so that varanasi/allahabad are last leg, you can enter rajasthan first and do that part while kumbh is going on. There is no fun ending up thr during mela unless you really-really ( yeah twice) want to experience that. Religious rites/rituals are performed other days too if you can quietly sit and want to understand what's going on.
#10 Dec 17th, 2011, 05:31
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#10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsy Jo View Post One quick question,if I were to spend an average of half of my budget on hotels would I have enough to do everything else, or should I try and split it more like 1/3 hotel 2/3 for everything else - just so I can start to get a rough idea of types of hotel I can look at.
A couple of years ago, I spent around Rs600 for hotels, except for the biggest cities. Even found a nice place for that price in Paharganj, in Delhi. These were all spacious rooms with private bathroom (Western toilet) and none were dirty. That may have gone up to Rs700 or 800, but still a very good deal.

Also, I always travel by 2-tier AC, if it's available. If you're a senior citizen, you may get a 50% discount off the fair, and being older usually guarnatees you a lower berth.

Spend your money on food -- better, cleaner places mean you'll stay healthier.
#11 Dec 17th, 2011, 14:38
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#11
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Originally Posted by wonderwomanusa View Post Also, I always travel by 2-tier AC, if it's available. If you're a senior citizen, you may get a 50% discount off the fair, and being older usually guarnatees you a lower berth.
Ladies who are 58 or older get a 50% discount.
Men who are 60 or older get a 40% discount.

You have to tick the right boxes when buying tickets. It's not just sufficient to put your age on the form.
#12 Dec 18th, 2011, 01:51
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#12
Thanks everyone.

I am liking the sound of homestay/guesthouse type places, perhaps in smaller areas. I think I would like a more formal arrangement for the cities, although I am unsure why I feel like that.

Wonderwoman, would you mind letting me know the names any hotels you stayed at in the areas I am thinking of going, nothing like a personal recommendation

What a shame I can not get senior citizen discount, I love discounts but alas I am a few years off the lower age limit hahaha

I have looked onto a car and driver from a company recommended on here but would need to ask for a personalised tour as the ones they do are not suitable for my needs as of yet (although I could well change everything for peace of mind and total organisation lol)

Having a little look at Kumbh Mela I have to say it is the sort of thing that would absolutely fascinate me, however I think it may be a bit too hectic for me. I would love to observe from a distance tho so perhaps could sneak into Varanasi for the last day or something

One of the tours from the company I mentioned is 7 days - Day 1 Delhi tour, stay overnight. Day 2 overland to Jaipur, stay overnight. Day 3 - Tour of Jaipur, trip at Amber fort on Elephant, Day 4+5 Optional Ranthambhor Day 6 Onto Agra via Fatephur Sikri stay overnight, Day 7 - Back to Delhi. This trip is currently 51000 INR [thanks for the proper currency abbreviation ]. This doesn't include entry fees or food so I assume this would still come in under 70000 for days.

I would have to ask the company if we would be able to add Jodhpur but don't know how practical this actually is.

I could then leave the company at Agra and go down to Varansi overnight if possible stay there for 2 night. The maybe organise another tour operator for Orchha and Kujaraho then fly to Amritsar from there - that should take me up to 15/16 days and if I am still able to stand I could go on to Dharmasala lol

Phew, Wonderwoman I think I need to borrow your cape lol - good job I am only taking a 'carry on' size bag

What do you people "in the know" think of that idea?
#13 Dec 18th, 2011, 07:20
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsy Jo View Post One of the tours from the company I mentioned is 7 days - Day 1 Delhi tour, stay overnight. Day 2 overland to Jaipur, stay overnight. Day 3 - Tour of Jaipur, trip at Amber fort on Elephant, Day 4+5 Optional Ranthambhor Day 6 Onto Agra via Fatephur Sikri stay overnight, Day 7 - Back to Delhi. This trip is currently 51000 INR [thanks for the proper currency abbreviation ]. This doesn't include entry fees or food so I assume this would still come in under 70000 for days.
Do check what kind of hotels are being included. Does it include tip for the driver and parking fees and tolls for the car ?
#14 Dec 18th, 2011, 22:33
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#14
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Originally Posted by nycank View Post Do check what kind of hotels are being included. Does it include tip for the driver and parking fees and tolls for the car ?
Thank you nycank, tips for the driver were not included but I think all car related fees were, I will check. It didn't include entry to attractions.

The hotels were classed as mid range - all with air con, own bathroom with western loo, hot and cold water with clean and simple furnishings.

I am so glad I have got so long to plan because this is much more intense that I ever thought. I thought Thailand took a lot of planning but that was childs play by comparison with only 2 destinations
#15 Dec 19th, 2011, 00:19
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Originally Posted by Gypsy Jo View Post I thought Thailand took a lot of planning but that was childs play by comparison with only 2 destinations
Yes. Thailand has a broad range of hotels at every price point for tourists.

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