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First time/single Traveller India

St-lambert
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First time/single Traveller India

Hello to all TA.

This year for my 45th anniversary, I wanted to travel to India. As I travel alots in different part of the world, India is a country I want to visit.

Now being single traveler, after reading lots of post, I am still not sure if I choose a TO or private car/driver or do it on my own and take guides at different cities. I am not big on doing long drive, prefer train rides and maybe fly to save time as I prefer to visit. I plan to visit India early December (5-31) for at least 21 days and then taking a break for a week somewhere and maybe celebrate new years in India. I understand that India is a big country,like mine (Canada). So shoule I concentrate in some part of India like Rajashtan or for a first time see north and south.

Any Itinerary is appreciated specially no too miss places, as I don't know when I'll go back

Thank you all in advance.

Sydney
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1. Re: First time/single Traveller India

If you like train travel, then that's a big "plus" as far as doing it yourself is concerned; India has the largest rail system in the world, and getting it all to run (more-or-less) to schedule must be one of the most mammoth undertakings of the twenty-first century. Yet somehow it all comes together (albeit not without the occasional hiccup), and the lucky tourist can travel the length and breadth of the country in just about any class of carriage (from the incredibly basic 2nd-class unreserved, which don't require any pre-booking) to the 1AC of the best trains (which must be booked well ahead of time, as they are extremely sought-after.... fortunately bookings can be made on-line) and at just about any price you choose. It's a great system, and travelling it -- and planning your routes -- is one of the best fun-things you'll do on this trip.

If you're happy with internal flights from one place to another, then, again, you're well-served. India has several busget airlines for internal flights, and -- should you require half-a-dozen so that you can travel to the extremities of the continent -- you can even get a 7- day or 15-day airpass from Jet Airways or Indian Airlines. If you plan your 21 days carefully, you can really cover a lot of ground with one of these airpasses combined with some overnight train travel, so there's no reason why you couldn't at least have a look at various regions of India, though you'd probably be wise to spend most of your time in one area and get to really know the place.

It's hard to recommend an area.... they're all very special and surprisingly diverse; if this were my call, I'd be spending a lot of time in the north, around Rajasthan..... Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Udaipur, Bundi... this, in my opinion, is the India of one's dreams. But you absolutely have to include Varanasi in that list, and Khajuraho and Orchha -- which aren't too far way from these places if you travel by overnight train -- are really worth adding to the itinerary as well.

A lot of people do the car-and-driver tours and find them quite successful; certainly, they are easy to arrange -- either from home, using the recommendations on this forum -- or when you arrive, just by choosing one of the many offers you'll get, according to the rate offered and whether you think you'd like to "live" with that particular driver for two or three weeks. For myself, on our first trip, back in 2004, we decided to do it by train, plane, and bus, and we had a fantastic time. I am constantly amazed, now, at how really easy this was, and very little went wrong. For our second trip, we cut back on the "plane" option, simply because we found that the check-in process, the transport to and from airports (sometimes these are far from where you want to be) and the interminable waiting were, in the long run, less-appealing than the other rigours of train and bus travel (and bus travel, in particular, can have its rigours!.... however, you should try it, at least once.)

If you decide to head south, try not to miss Hampi, which is the closes thing India has to Thebes in Egypt or Angkor Wat in Cambodia. It's not all that easy to get to, however... which may, in fact, be one of its charms.

I don't know whether anything I've said in this post is of much use as far as specific advice is concerned (but I'm sure others will chime in with something specific for you to base your trip on) so perhaps I'd better stop ranting and raving and trying to talk you into doing things "my" way, and instead provide some websited for you to have a look at!

But do, at least, consider doing it yourself. Not only is this a much more-economical way, but there are so many other rewards... taking on a country as exotic as India and actually "beating" it is quite a boost to your holiday satisfaction!

Here are a few train schedule sites to have a look at, the last two of which is actually where you book:

www.seat61.com

www.indianrailways.gov.in/maps/all_india.htm

trainenquiry.com/TrainsBetwImpStation.aspx

www.indianrail.gov.in/

www.irctc.co.in

thomascook.in/indus/…IRHome.do

And, if you're planning to see a bit of Rajastahan, these bus timetable sites might be of some use:

http://www.rsrtc.gov.in/time_table.asp

http://www.rsrtc.gov.in/index1.htm

http://www.jaipurtravel.com/jaipur_bus.htm

indiatransit.com/public_transport/rajasthan_…

http://www.rajb2b.com/trbkjp.htm

http://www.redbus.in/

For budget internal airlines, have a look at

attitudetravel.com/lowcostairlines/…

For airpasses, I found these sites useful:

www.allairpass.com/index.php…

www.jetairways.com/Cultures/en-US/Singapore/

http://www.indianairlines.in/index.aspx

If you do want to hire a car and driver, this might be as good a place to start as any:

india-rajasthan-tours.com/rajasthan-travel-s… However, if you'd prefer someone you can trust to take the worries out of your travel before you even leave home (but I still think this is robbing you of much of the fun!), then I can confidently recommend Sanjay Saigal, who is an agent who works from home and takes a real personal interest in his clientele... he has high scruples and is a firm believer in the power of karma, so it is niot unknown for him to put your interests before his own profit (which he certainly did in our case.... twice!) Sanjay is contactable on indiaexpeditions@hotmail.com, and I think he has a website also, at http://www.access-india.com. He is based in Delhi, and if you wind up there, these are two good addresses to know.

Good luck, and how I envy you!

Mentioned in this post
Jaipur
Jaipur
Jaipur District, India
Jodhpur
Jodhpur
Jodhpur District, India
Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer District, India
Udaipur
Udaipur
Udaipur District, India
Varanasi
Varanasi
Varanasi District, India
Khajuraho
Khajuraho
Chhatarpur District, India
Hampi
Hampi
Bellary District, India
Egypt
Egypt
Africa
Jodhpur, India
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2. Re: First time/single Traveller India

Best to organise your travel with trust worthy tour operator. they can help you find car and driver who can understand your english,drive safely.

you do not needs to take car and driver for all your travel duration. you can do some train travel and some internal flights can save your travel time as Indian cities are quite far distances from each other.

Delhi to Jodhpur or Udaipur(Rajasthan) you can take flights. with in Rajasthan you can hire taxi and driver.

Take train from Agra to Varanasi.

there are also flights from Rajasthan to south India(Mumbai).

for tour operator you can serch on this form.

some good reviewed operators are Jaipur based TGS www.tgs.co.in

Delhi based Namaste India Tours www.namasteindiatours.com

for Mumbai and Delhi guided trips www.mumbaimasic.com

if you are in India first time you must ride camels,Indian trains, tast Indian masala chai(Tea+milk), try eating indian food Thali(most of north Indian good resot's serve).

Cheers.

Guidedesert.

Mentioned in this post
Jodhpur
Jodhpur
Jodhpur District, India
Udaipur
Udaipur
Udaipur District, India
Agra
Agra
Agra District, India
Varanasi
Varanasi
Varanasi District, India
Mumbai
Mumbai
Maharashtra, India
Jaipur
Jaipur
Jaipur District, India
Holland
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3,056 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: First time/single Traveller India

Great post by AlanJ.

As he has pointed out there is simply no need to book a car and driver to see India, indeed this kind of travel tends to obscure a large part of the indian experience. Of course the choice is down to the individual but there is certainly no real need to travel by car in India, train travel cover most destinations, is realaible (ok some delays are possible, and December in Northern India, fog delays can play a part)

But genrally speking trains are comfortable, and though you might miss out on a few things a taxi ride may offer it's a viable way to see the best of India.

You can easily book taxis at your destination for siteseeing or the cheaper auto rickshaws.

Further to Alan's suggestions try to Visit Madhya Pradesh which offers just as much as the state OI Rajasthan.

St-lambert
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949 posts
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4. Re: First time/single Traveller India

Tks to all. This is great Info. After reading this, I am almost convince to travel by myself, but sometiem you want to share the day with other people, this why I thought of going with a small group. Need to think about it. I will for sure thake your input, and suf the web for info.

Merci Beaucoup.

Regard

St-lambert
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949 posts
11 reviews
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5. Re: First time/single Traveller India

Hello me again

If I have plan a itinerary , is there Indian compangy that can book all your hotels/trains in advance in order to save time ? if yes please advise

Merci

Sydney
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2,897 posts
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6. Re: First time/single Traveller India

If youplan to travel all over India, I certainly wouldn't trust the bookings to a single company, just to save time.... no one company can know all the hotels everywhere, and you'll wind up being booked in the American-style "chains", which would be a great pity, because they are NOT part of the

Indian experience".

However, if you just plan to visit one area -- for instance, Rajasthan -- then certainly there would be companies with the expertise to look at your itinerary and make suitable bookings. I know that the man I mentioned above -- Sanjay Saigal -- did this for some Tripadvisor friends (from Coolum Beach in Australia) when they visited India a few months ago.

But I still think you ought to spend the time and do it yourself, using the advice on this forum and on Indiamike (have you discovered Indiamike yet?). Sanjay is as knowledgeable about his part of the world as anyone I know, yet he's not infallible, and his choice in Jaisalmer for my friends was, apparently, not all that great... whereupon they moved to the hotel I had originally told them about, Shahi Palace -- which Sanjay didn't know -- and had a great time. No discredit to Sanjay... he can't know ALL the "gems"!

Now, if you browse this forum you will see all the "finds" that travellers before you have made, some which don't have the budget to pay commission to the large agencies, and so slip "under the radar", so to speak. A good example of this would be Scindhia Guest House in Varanasi.... we stayed there twice, and found it so perfect (location, comfort, value, helpful staff) that I can't imagine any agent could have come up with anything better. We booked it after some enthusiastic recommendations on the forums, via the internet -- not through an agent -- and that means the proprietor (Kush) was involved in the process.... even before we arrived, we were "people" to him, not just a booking. He was actually waiting at the door when the autorickshaw driver led us up the long alleyaway that leads to Scindhia! Try getting that at Marriott or Novotel or Holiday Inn!

Why don't you work out your itinerary, print it out right here on this forum, and turn all us amateurs loose on it? I bet you get some great suggestions, and I also bet that there will be dozens of other potential travellers who will be watching every new recommendation, so you'll be doing a lot of people favours.

Mentioned in this post
Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer
Jaisalmer District, India
Varanasi
Varanasi
Varanasi District, India
7. Re: First time/single Traveller India

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Removed on: 28 May 2009, 23:33
Mumbai, India
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8. Re: First time/single Traveller India

For all ur travelling need u can rely upon on of the best online travel booking website

www.makemytrip.com (For Hotels,flights and Car rentals)

www.irctc.co.in (For Train reservation)

Happy Journey

Paul

New Delhi, India
Destination Expert
for New Delhi, India
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9. Re: First time/single Traveller India

Online travel agencies may be good for booking Flights, but for hotels booking, they do not offer much help, as they are just booking platforms.

So, in my opinion, search for Hotel Reviews on Trip Advisor or read posts at indiamike.com

India is a huge country and no single person, can ever claim to know all the good places..hence no single agency will serve the purpose......

DIY is more fun......

St-lambert
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10. Re: First time/single Traveller India

Can I travel by train to the mane cities in Rajasthan, this will avoid me of doing 5-6 hours by car ? Can I like travel alsways by train and then when in town, book a local guide and visit the area ?

Merci

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