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Trip Report -photo tour

Ukraine
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Trip Report -photo tour

This was a photo tour in 2011. We had a group of 14 people and hired a bus for our whole trip. We used Ajai Travels for that and were very pleased with their service. We did have to prepay 50% of service (send bank transfer and were kind of nervous) and the rest was paid to the driver in the end of the trip. The driver and his assistant stayed with us through the whole trip. Every morning they were right on time to pick us up and the bus was clean inside and outside. The driver was also wearing a white shirt all the time! We didn’t know where they were staying those nights that we were not in Delhi, but we suspected that they slept in the bus.

My first trip to India (pretty much to the same locations) was in March and it was very hot then. This time we were very comfortable as far as the weather.

This is the break-up by days of our trip:

Nov 29-30 Delhi. We stayed in The Pearl Hotel. They met us at the air-port (as advertised in their website). The only problem was that they sent 2 four-seat cars for our group of 14. Amazingly we managed to fit in all of us plus our luggage on top of the cars! The hotel was pretty good! We were there again in the fall of 2012 and the hotel looked like a totally different place – we were surprised how they managed to run it down so badly in one year!

Dec 1. We drove to Jaipur and had some time in the evening for sightseeing. Stayed at Hotel Umaid Bhawan.

On the way to Jaipur we asked our driver to stop in some village and that was probably the highlight for all of us.

Dec 2. Sightseeing in Jaipur.

Dec 3. Driving from Jaipur to Agra through Fatehpur Sikri.

We stayed at Anand Villa – the worst hotel on this trip. Linen was dirty. We requested to change it. What they put on the beds was not cleaner than original set. The rats running around our bathrooms, musky smell… All that for $50 a night for a double room!

Dec 4. Agra. We were in Taj Mahal at sunrise. No crowds at this time (the crowds gathered by 9am). Definitely come early!

Dec 5. Drove from Agra to Delhi for an evening flight.

On this trip we ate in restaurants that obviously cater to tourists. We were washing our hands obsessively, but still two of us were sick (which looked like food poisoning) in Agra.

I have more details about this trip and some pictures here - familytravelphoto.weebly.com/india.html

Mumbai (Bombay...
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1. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

Maia11,

Excellent photographs. You are very good at portrait. I liked it.

Thanks for a nice report and excellent photographs.

Next time you may try Delhi - Khajuraho, Varanasi - Delhi - Jodhpur - Jaisalmer - Udaipur - Mumbai - Goa and Kerala. Ample opportunities for photography and you will get a great variety of people, lifestyle, food etc.

Sanjiv

Mumbai (Bombay...
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for Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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2. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

Fantastic photos! Thanks so much for posting this review.

Some advice to people who are reading this report:

1) Pay a little more attention to the tripadvisor hotel reviews. It will save you some trouble. In general in India, low budget hotels are not great, although there are some exceptions. Usuallly hotel beds are hard and rooms are small. "Family" rooms with 4 people to a room are rare. If you can afford to spend more, please get better hotels.

2) Tummy upsets are because of eating unfamiliar spices and not necessarily a reflection of hygiene levels. Eating at places which cater to tourists is not a guarantee that you will not get Delhi Belly. If you have a sensitive stomach, eat familiar foods. Western breakfasts are available and light dinners are a good idea. For lunch you will probably have Indian food. Keep the spice levels low by requesting simpler dishes. If Indians eat hotel food, the kind that is served in restaurants, on a daily basis, we also will get stomach upsets. We don't eat this kind of rich greasy spicy food every day at home. At home, we eat dal, rice, roti and simple vegetable dishes, and in most homes meat is not eaten on a daily basis.

3) Don't try to save costs on hotel transfer from the airport. Get a good vehicle and stay with that vehicle from airport pickup to end. If you are in a large group avoid trains. They are expensive and headachey to manage the logistics, and it doesn't make sense for the Golden triangle (Delhi/Agra/Jaipur).

4) If you are in a group, hire an English-speaking escort instead of doing everything yourself. They will usually take care of hotels, bags, illnesses, route changes, emergencies etc and you don't have to deal with drivers who speak very little English. Driving a bus is not a well paid occupation in India and it doesn't usually attract people with any education. You will enjoy the trip more if you also have someone explain the things you see on the inter-city drives. It's more expensive than just hiring a bus but not significantly so, especially when the cost of the escort is spread over the group.

Italy
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3. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

These photos are fabulous, can you tell me what camera you use, as it's a photo tour I know you must be an expert photographer but the colours are incredible.

Italy
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4. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

Also i saw your Vietnam report, which was also wonderful.

Ukraine
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5. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

Thank you for comments about the pictures. Chrella, On India trip I used Canon 1D Mark II and Canon 5D Mark II. I find India and Vietnam to be the best places for People Photography! India has so much in terms of colors and textures!

Sanjivmulye, thank you for suggested new itinerary. It looks quite wide in geography. How much time would you recommend for a trip like that?

Deepa_Krishnan, I agree with your comments. There are ways to make travel around India less adventurous! We did our best with the budget we had.

Mumbai (Bombay...
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for Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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6. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

maia, your photos are truly beautiful. Do you mind if I put a couple of them on my blog with a link back to your site?

Ukraine
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7. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

Feel free to use the photos on your blog, Deepa_Krishnan!

Italy
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8. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

Thanks for the info, i've had a look through them again and can't believe how much detail is in each photo, just beautiful.

9. Re: Trip Report -photo tour

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