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Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

San Juan, PR
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Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

We're going to India in May and plan to do the normal New Delhi, Jaipur and Agra Combination.

Can we pick up tours once we arrive, or should be make arrangements beforehand with an agancy?

I figure that I can reserve trains from Deli to Jaipur and from Agra back to Delhi - but what's the best option from Jaipur to Agra?

Other option might be just to get a driver for one day from New Delhi to Agra - I see this offered on some hotel sites? Any opinions will be welcome.

Thanks! Rick

Mumbai (Bombay...
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for Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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1. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

Oh goody. I like this question because now I get to type one of my "analytical" answers!

1. Itinerary and planning time

If you are doing just 2-3 cities, and are willing to read up a lot of information on the internet, then you can plan your own trip. On this site, for example, there are many useful posts about the Golden Triangle, starting from the price of entrance tickets, to the best time to visit monuments, to how to avoid scams, hotel recommendations etc - but it is disorganised information and requires searching and reading a lot of past posts to get information. If you are short of time, and do not do your research, you will end up with some problems - I can't tell you how many people end up in Agra on a Friday, or miss out on interesting festivals, or can't find the right train tickets, or don't plan for the weather. For example, in May, it is burning hot summer; and it would be very sensible to invest in a hotel with a pool, never mind the premium in cost. It is off-season anyway and you should get lower prices.

2. Hotels

Whether you self-book or go through an agent depends on the type of budget you have for hotels - If you are travelling budget or lower mid-range, you should book your own hotels. If you are travelling upper mid-range or luxury, agents can offer better prices than internet rates at many hotels and the savings can be worthwhile, given the kind of prices today in India. Especially for May travel, it is the lean seasons and some agents will definitely have good prices on offer.

The hotel budget also influences your transport prices. While the smaller hotels will offer lower prices for airport transfers and in-city use, the bigger hotels have luxury cars with English speaking drivers in uniforms etc and will charge higher prices for cars.

One of the frustrations of dealing with smaller hotels in India is that many don't have online reservation, and are lousy with email responses.

3. Mode of Transport

Delhi-Agra can be done by train if you have no desire to stop at Mathura (which is enroute). Mathura is a major pilgrimage centre with its bathing ghats and over a 1000 temples (if you wish you could go to Varanasi but cannot, then Mathura is a good substitute; it is the birthplace of the Hindu God Krishna, and an ancient traditional religious centre). Also it is not over-run by tourists and retains its character.

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=mathura

Jaipur-Agra can be done by train if you don't want to stop at Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary or Fatehpur Sikri. In May, Bharatpur doesn't make as much sense, since the migratory birds that make it so wonderful Oct-Mar are gone. There are still, however, a wide range of interesting local bird species that are there all-year round. Fatehpur Sikri is an interesting 'ghost city' that was abandoned, it is well-preserved and retains its character even now. Whether you go to FS or not depends on if you have had enough of Mughal forts by the time you finish Delhi and Agra.

I did the Golden Triangle in 5 days in July and found it very convenient by car. I don't like the timings of the early morning train to Agra, it means waking up at 5 am or earlier, I am a worrywart about getting to the station on time; and in any case I have many early mornings on a daily basis, so I would really like a more relaxed holiday. Plus I really am a sucker for flexibility. If you are travelling with children or older people, I would highly recommend you abandon the train altogether.

Cars are charged "garage to garage", so if you take a car from, say Agra to Jaipur, it has to return empty to Agra. You will be charged for it. So it actually makes sense to take a car for the triangle; returning it to Delhi. Saves you the bother of booking vehicles in each city and is cost-effective.

I haven't typed even 50% of all the things I wanted to say, but really it's time I stopped! This is an interesting thread and I'd also love to hear other views on this.

Delhi
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2. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

I feel that it is better to go through a good and trusted agency as you can get all things under one window. Also since you are booking all things together from one place hotels,vehicles etc. you can get a good bargain because the total billing is high and the agent will like to be competitive and not lose doing your trip. For the hotel it will only be one or two night stay and they may not be too forthcoming for giving a discount.

I feel a hired cab will be better cos of the following reasons

1.The places you want to cover are not too far and make for comfortable drive with good highways.

2. Timings are more flexible,no chances of missing a train.

3. You do not have to bother looking for a cab for local sightseeing.

May turn out to be economical depending on the number of people travelling together.

Thnx

agra india
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3. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

Hi,Agra-Delhi-Jaipur very well connected with rail and road any time of the the day . It is not that all those who come here had all their arrangements done before but then one has a sense of comfort if it is done . So a person like u who want to experience something different or wants to do himself- so friend do from there whatever u can and rest organise on the spot . You have long time to decide and plan.

Many trains between Agra and Jaipur but then Gwalior Udaipur super express runs daily when it is from Jaipur to Agra Fort train no. is 2966 and when from Agra Fort railway station to Jaipur train no. is 2965. Reservation for this also can be done from indian railway site.

deepak

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4. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

Its better to Do that Golden triangle by road,its highly reccomended and more convenient in all aspect,if u want to do by train its just a matter of ur choice but u need cab again for ur transfers and sightseeings.

If u want a small passanger car that meant for 4 +1 (Driver)for Agra - Delhi u may can rely upon Cab Indica,its most cheapest and value for mony..that will cost u app RS 5000 , including all taxes and evrything(Fuel,Taxes,driver allowence ,parking).

for overnight.

And If u want some better substitute or big Cab,i would reccomend Cab Innova, that will cost u Rs 7000 App.

It would be not a big big problem if u arrange or book ur cab for Agra in advance.

Hiring cab on arrival could be very hectic.(Beaware of Touts Cabies)

ATB

Paul

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5. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

Its better to Do that Golden triangle by road,its highly reccomended and more convenient in all aspect,if u want to do by train its just a matter of ur choice but u need cab again for ur transfers and sightseeings.

If u want a small passanger car that meant for 4 +1 (Driver)for Agra - Delhi u may can rely upon Cab Indica,its most cheapest and value for mony..that will cost u app RS 5000 , including all taxes and evrything(Fuel,Taxes,driver allowence ,parking).

for overnight.

And If u want some better substitute or big Cab,i would reccomend Cab Innova, that will cost u Rs 7000 App.

It would be not a big big problem if u arrange or book ur cab for Agra in advance.

Hiring cab on arrival could be very hectic.(Beaware of Touts Cabies)

ATB

Paul

Belfast, United...
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6. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

Hey all, Im going to piggy back on this post - my question is practically the same.

My husband and I are currently planning our trip for Nov/Dec - a long way off I know but I like to plan in advance! We are looking at going for 3 weeks.

We also want to do the golden triangle, and really want to do a tiger safari too - from searching through the posts on here it seems Ranthambhore is one of the best places to go, is this right?

We are going to finish our trip in Goa.

We are quite lazy when it comes to getting from A 2 B so Im guessing our best option would be to get an agent to arrange our tours for us - but are we just wasting money? How convenient are the trains?

Sorry if thats a bit patchy Im right at the beginning of the planing stage and havent finished my DK travel guide yet!

Thanks

West Yorkshire
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7. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

RHolm & Pauline,

I'm planning my trip to the GT in November too so this thread has?is answering a load of my questions too! Deepa, Deepak, Doc & Guide Paul know their stuff and have been very helpful so far!

BTW Where is AlanJ?...he's usually good for info.

I was going to hire a driver/guide for a full nine days but I've decided to travel to each destination by train and bus in order that I experience different aspects of the culture and meet different drivers and guides. I will probably ask at my various hotels to recommend a few....and the one's mentioned on this forum too.

For the longer train journeys ie Varanasi-Delhi, I'll be on the sleeper. The forum on www.indiamike.com has a downloadable document thingy on the train system and what everything means - a very useful read!!

I work in a hspital in Leeds and loads of the doctors are Indian - that'll be my accomodation worries fixed as Dr Bhargava's grandmother lives in Varanasi, her parents live near Agra and Dr Gupta's family live in Delhi!! So there are benefits to working in the NHS!!

I'll be following the advice!

Take care

JOHN

MaineUSA
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8. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

I think the answer to this depends a lot on many different personal variables.

If one has the time and patience there's enough good advice on this board ( Deepa, Giude Paul etc.)plus hotel reviews to allow one to put together a tour on one's own.

On the other end of the spectrum are people like myself, with limited time to travel and plan, who do utilize the forums for information, but work with an agency to put things together. We utilized this approach in our trip to China in 2002. We used a US agency Pleseant Holidays which contracts with local agencies within the country visited to arrange airport transfers, train station transfers and guides/drivers. The trip worked out very well for us.

We utilized them again when we put together our India/Nepal trip in 2004. They contracted with SITA a local Indian agency. Again the trip worked out great and we avoided the airport/train station hassles and had a very positive visit. We read enough of the forums to be warned about the local scams.

We have also used Plesant Holidays and other local agencies for two subsequent trips to Bangkok, Nepal, Tibet, Saigon,Bhutan and Seim Reap. Again this allowed maximum use of our limited time plus an excellent experience.

So again whether you arrange the trip yourself, through an agency or a bit of both, it all depends on personal preferences.

Jaipur, India
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9. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

If you want hard work on a holiday, book yourself

If you want a holiday on your holiday, use an agent. Recommend use a Jaipur or Delhi based agent. For Jaipur based agents look at Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators website - www.ratorajasthan.org

delhi
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10. Re: Delhi - Agra - Jaipur Tours - Book Yourself vs. Agency

hello....

if you really want to see the real india and like to have a comfortable and budget trip all you need is just give a phone call to a man i know and everythiing is done ....i know it's difficult to believe but when few of my friends finished their tour through this man , i was also surprised ...yes it's true . he's not a proffessional tour operator but he helps people coming from overseas and he's a very honest man , he organise each and everything....

one of my friend also planned to take tour through this man...his hospitality is unbelievable... if you need his contact details just let me know...thankyou..