First Trip to India

Reply

Old Feb 16, 10, 11:32 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 1,054
First Trip to India

I am thinking about travelling to India for the first time in October/November. Unfortunately we can't take that much time - maybe 8 or 9 nights. I guess I am looking for a very easy introduction to the country in relative comfort. I want to see some sights, but I do not want to be travelling for hours and that means that only 3 or a maximum of 4 stops would probably be possible. I know that this is a vast country and there are all sorts of different experiences to be had and I am finding the planning slightly overwhelming. I am probably less interested in the big cities and do not need beach time. What would you do?

Last edited by Londonjetsetter; Feb 16, 10 at 11:47 am
Londonjetsetter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 10, 11:58 am
  #2  
Four Seasons Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Berkeley, CA
Programs: Virtuoso, FSPP, STARS, MO FAN Club, PEN Club, Bellini Club, Dorchester Diamond Club, Travel Leaders
Posts: 1,698
Travel in India is difficult to plan, and I strongly encourage using an onsite (destination management company) to put together the logistics of your trip. I use a company called Pierce & Leslie, but Greaves Travel is another good choice.

There's also a company that uses a luxury train to tour India; the trip looks fascinating.


Originally Posted by Londonjetsetter View Post
I am thinking about travelling to India for the first time in October/November. Unfortunately we can't take that much time - maybe 8 or 9 nights. I guess I am looking for a very easy introduction to the country in relative comfort. I want to see some sights, but I do not want to be travelling for hours and that means that only 3 or a maximum of 4 stops would probably be possible. I know that this is a vast country and there are all sorts of different experiences to be had and I am finding the planning slightly overwhelming. I am probably less interested in the big cities and do not need beach time. What would you do?
DavidO is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 10, 12:16 pm
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: IAD/DCA
Posts: 31,510
Originally Posted by Londonjetsetter View Post
8 or 9 nights. I guess I am looking for a very easy introduction to the country in relative comfort. I want to see some sights, but I do not want to be travelling for hours and that means that only 3 or a maximum of 4 stops would probably be possible
- palace - umaid bhawan (5 km jodhpur airport) or rambagh palace (11 km jaipur airport)
- taj mahal - oberoi amarvilas (25 min agra airport)
- other - taj lake palace (40 min udaipur airport)
x other - amanbagh (2 hrs jaipur)
x safari - aman-i-khas (3.5 hrs jaipur) or banjaar tola (5 hrs jabalpur/nagpur)

air connections >
jodhpur / jaipur / udaipur / delhi / mumbai
agra - delhi

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/luxur...-thoughts.html
Originally Posted by DavidO View Post
There's also a company that uses a luxury train to tour India; the trip looks fascinating.
http://www.rirtl.com/ - new from cox & kings
http://www.theluxurytrains.com/ - others (cheaper)

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Feb 17, 10 at 10:31 am
Kagehitokiri is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 10, 1:08 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1
India

hi,
I can help you with your bookings. India is so vast that its hard to get a feel for all of it, in an 8-9 day trip.
I love Rajasthan- cities in particular are Jaipur, Jodhpur and Udaipur.
You can spend 2 nights in Agra, take the train from Delhi to Agra then do the rajasthan tour.

email me for further info, I would love to help.
Cheers!
ash318 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 16, 10, 3:30 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: new york city
Posts: 545
I think just one night in Agra is enough, stay at Amarvilas, get there in the afternoon, watch the sun set on the Taj, get up early and see it in the morning with the tour guide and then have breakfast back at the hotel. I'd drive from Delhi to Agra and then drive to the next destination which should be Amanbagh.
zigzag is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 17, 10, 7:42 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Here there and everywhere
Posts: 6,113
First time in India - from Vuittons

Originally Posted by Londonjetsetter View Post
I am thinking about travelling to India for the first time in October/November. Unfortunately we can't take that much time - maybe 8 or 9 nights. I guess I am looking for a very easy introduction to the country in relative comfort. I want to see some sights, but I do not want to be travelling for hours and that means that only 3 or a maximum of 4 stops would probably be possible. I know that this is a vast country and there are all sorts of different experiences to be had and I am finding the planning slightly overwhelming. I am probably less interested in the big cities and do not need beach time. What would you do?
8/9 days is really short, so my inclination would not be to try and cram in all the usual tourist sights, such as the Taj Mahal. If you enjoy your first experience of India, then you can do that next time around.

What I would do is something slow and relaxing, so that you get to experience the feel of the country, but also begin to see its possibilities.

I know that Aman Delhi is not perfect at this stage, but by October/November, it will provide you with the elements of familiarity and discovery, so I would fly into Delhi and check into Aman Delhi for 2 nights. They will sort out all your sightseeing needs.

Book your airfares direct to India - Virgin, BA or Jet are the best options.

Get Aman to pick you up from the airport, with their VIP service, which works really well.

Book a flight from Delhi to Jaipur with Jet Airways. Or get Aman or Taj to do it for you (they will).

Stay 3 nights at The Rambagh Palace, which is a Taj Hotel. Taj will arrange all your transfers and sightseeing options and will do it much better than any tour operator. Tell them it is your first time - they will be really happy to help you. If you want the direct contact details of any of the GMs, just PM me.

Drive (ask Aman to pick you up) from Rambagh Palace to Amanbagh (around 90 minutes). Stay 4 nights.

Drive back to Jaipur and pick up a flight back to Delhi. Done.

If you have more time, then do a side trip to Jodhpur and stay at Umaid Bhawan Palace, but don't try to do too much. This is the mistake that most people make when they first go to India. Just give yourself time to get the flavour of India. If you enjoy it, then I guarantee you will return.
vuittonsofstyle is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 17, 10, 8:31 am
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: IAD/DCA
Posts: 31,510
what about flying directly into agra?

with jet LHR-DEL its a 1 or 2 hour layover.

switch to kingfisher probably requires carry-on only or VIP assistance. (rather than exiting/reentering airport)
Kagehitokiri is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 17, 10, 8:38 am
  #8  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Watchlisted by the prejudiced, en route to purgatory
Programs: Just Say No to Fleecing and Blacklisting
Posts: 87,691
Originally Posted by Kagehitokiri View Post
what about flying directly into agra?

with jet LHR-DEL its a 1 or 2 hour layover.

switch to kingfisher probably requires carry-on only or VIP assistance. (rather than exiting/reentering airport)
Immigration and customs still has to be cleared at DEL, and the way the international arrivals is designed and separated from the domestic airport ("terminals") means that even if taking the runway-crossing bus, it's a sort of exiting of the airport ("terminal") still.
GUWonder is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 17, 10, 8:50 am
  #9  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: IAD/DCA
Posts: 31,510
so not possible, and you cant buy VIP services?

seems like AGR-DEL-JAI might not be possible either, depending on schedule at the time.
(and thats assuming rambagh only or rambagh and umaid bhawan)

but then jaipur (to jodhpur) to udaipur would be possible, and jet udaipur-DEL-LHR (4 hr layover)

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Feb 17, 10 at 9:03 am
Kagehitokiri is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 17, 10, 11:08 am
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 1,054
This is all great information, many thanks. I think it is probably right to focus on a couple of places only. I find it difficult to relax at the best of times and I don't want it to be an ordeal. I love the look of all of the places suggested.
Londonjetsetter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 17, 10, 6:33 pm
  #11  
Four Seasons Contributor BadgeAman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New York City
Posts: 399
I'm also making my first trip to India this year, at about the same time: last week of October and first week of November, 17 nights.

The itinerary Vuittons suggested sounds terrific, and I'll be staying at each of the hotels in that recommendation.

But one other option you might want to consider is the Aman India Journey, which is 2 nights at Aman New Delhi, 2 nights at Amanbagh, and 2 nights at Aman-i-khas, although you'd want to add at least one night to Amanbagh and Aman-i-khas to ensure a pace that balances all the off-the-beaten-path sites in with ample relaxation time. The Aman package includes all transportation between resorts, as well as breakfasts and some activities. And a tip: I booked the Aman India Journey through David O and Peirce & Leslie and got a rate that is at least $1000 less expensive than the published rate for the Aman India Journey. Plus, Peirce and Leslie guests are apparently frequently upgraded to the Pool Pavilions at Amanbagh.

One other advantage to the Aman India Journey for a short trip would be that you'd spend less time in the touristed cities and more time experiencing the local culture/color of less touristed sites. So particularly if you spend time in Delhi, that may be enough Indian city time for an 8/9 day trip, rather than both Delhi and Jaipur.
Groombridge is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 17, 10, 7:13 pm
  #12  
Moderator: Delta SkyMiles, Luxury Hotels, TravelBuzz! and Italy
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 25,211
Originally Posted by Londonjetsetter View Post
This is all great information, many thanks. I think it is probably right to focus on a couple of places only. I find it difficult to relax at the best of times and I don't want it to be an ordeal. I love the look of all of the places suggested.
I quite agree that this is a great Thread.
obscure2k is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 18, 10, 1:33 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Programs: QF Platinum & Lifetime Gold
Posts: 883
Originally Posted by Londonjetsetter View Post
This is all great information, many thanks. I think it is probably right to focus on a couple of places only. I find it difficult to relax at the best of times and I don't want it to be an ordeal. I love the look of all of the places suggested.
I envy anyone going to India for the first time. It is such a remarkable country that you will never forget your first trip.

The only suggestion I would make is to visit the Taj Mahal at Agra. I would have thought this was a must. I confess I probably had low expectations, but the whole Agra/ visit to Taj Mahal experience was one of my best travelling experiences.

I loved the Oberoi Amarvilas. A great hotel. I suggest 2 nights there, as it is a great hotel to visit and there are other sites around Agra that you will want to visit, eg. the Red Fort. Also, I would try to visit the Taj Mahal twice, at different times of the day.

The Amarvilas will arrange a guide for your visit. It is helpful if you have a car and driver. The Oberoi conceirge will suggest other alternatives if you do not wish to pay their extortionate rates.

I suggest you fly DEL-AGRA because the road/ rail trip is nothing special, although it can be an eye opener if you have not travelled much in the third world.

Also, India is great for relaxing. You are so focussed on surviving/ not getting sick/ everything being so different/ people sticking monkeys in your face/ walking up to you with cobras that you quickly forget about everything you worried about back home.
QF Lad is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 18, 10, 2:44 am
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Programs: BA Gold
Posts: 1,054
Originally Posted by QF Lad View Post
I envy anyone going to India for the first time. It is such a remarkable country that you will never forget your first trip.

The only suggestion I would make is to visit the Taj Mahal at Agra. I would have thought this was a must. I confess I probably had low expectations, but the whole Agra/ visit to Taj Mahal experience was one of my best travelling experiences.

I loved the Oberoi Amarvilas. A great hotel. I suggest 2 nights there, as it is a great hotel to visit and there are other sites around Agra that you will want to visit, eg. the Red Fort. Also, I would try to visit the Taj Mahal twice, at different times of the day.

The Amarvilas will arrange a guide for your visit. It is helpful if you have a car and driver. The Oberoi conceirge will suggest other alternatives if you do not wish to pay their extortionate rates.

I suggest you fly DEL-AGRA because the road/ rail trip is nothing special, although it can be an eye opener if you have not travelled much in the third world.

Also, India is great for relaxing. You are so focussed on surviving/ not getting sick/ everything being so different/ people sticking monkeys in your face/ walking up to you with cobras that you quickly forget about everything you worried about back home.
How stressful would it be to be picked up at Delhi aiport from a very early BA arrival (5am I think) and be driven straight to Agra to the Oberoi. Spend one night there, so that we get to see the Taj Mahal, and then back to Delhi for the 3 Aman experience?
Londonjetsetter is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Feb 18, 10, 3:00 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Programs: QF Platinum & Lifetime Gold
Posts: 883
Originally Posted by Londonjetsetter View Post
How stressful would it be to be picked up at Delhi aiport from a very early BA arrival (5am I think) and be driven straight to Agra to the Oberoi. Spend one night there, so that we get to see the Taj Mahal, and then back to Delhi for the 3 Aman experience?
Londonjetsetter, leaving Delhi at 5am is the best time to drive to Agra. It takes about 3 hours at this time, but if you leave later in the morning (ie. 9am/ 10am) it takes about 5 hours. Although it is only about 240kms, you battle traffic/ toll roads/ driver breaks/ camels walking on highway/ cows walking on highway/ driver dodging dogs on highway and so this slows down your progress.

I understand that the quickest way to go to Agra from Delhi is actually by train, and the trains leave early (about 5am) but of course you have to go into Delhi station to do this.

Only other consideration is how tired you are going to be after overnight flight to do journey to Agra on arrival.
QF Lad is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread